Here comes the sun and summer. It’s a time to celebrate fun and no-cook foods. Grilling fish, poultry, and vegetables outdoors is popular but so is enjoying an abundance of fresh fruit (such as berries and melons) and vegetables (salads and corn on the cob) and fun finger foods without a lot of fuss.
Enter trail mix and ice cream with a twist. Trail mix or “gorp” is a word not uncommon to hiking fans. This mix of nuts and dried fruit goes back to seventies. It was touted as a popular energy snack for hikers and health-conscious granola guys and gals, like me. Its wholesome ingredients can include dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. As the season is changing around the Lake, I’ve learned that by enjoying fun foods, like trail mix, can make summertime fun at work and play.
Last summer when I was traveling to Victoria, B.C., I’d munch on trail mix (the pricey kind you buy in a bag at the airport). Once in Canada I followed the plan to swim in the morning, savor the harbor and boating in the afternoon. One day when walking on the wharf, I was taking photos of a lone sea otter that made me feel welcome like I was in San Francisco. After the unique bond, I treated myself to an ice cream cone. Sitting down on a bench overlooking the water, I reached into my purse. A bag of trail mix fell out. I thought, “I’m going to sprinkle the nut and fruit mix on the ice cream for a nice crunch.” Not only was it a twisted treat, to this day the combination of trail mix and ice cream are two treats I like and take me back to that special day I loved. So here, go ahead and enjoy my Canada-inspired summer fun fare.
Summertime Trail Mix
¼ cup golden raisins or dried pineapple
¼ cup ginger (crystalized)
¼ cup cashews
¼ cup white chocolate chips
¼ cup banana chips
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup sweetened coconut or popped popcorn (optional)
In a plastic container, combine the dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, banana chips, and seeds. Serves 4. You can eat it by the handful as a snack or top it on granola or oatmeal for breakfast.
2 cups premium gelato or ice cream
4 ice cream cones (your choice of type, organic, preferably)
½ cup Summertime Trail Mix
Put ½ cup of ice cream into each cone. Top with trail mix. Or if you’d like, you can simply put the trail mix into the cone without ice cream. Serves 4.
This trail mix combination is ideal for warmer days. The ingredients in the mix are lighter than what I use in fall or winter. The superfoods boast a summer-ish slant. And the ice cream or gelato (chocolate chip or vanilla bean are super) are decadent and even good for you in moderation. So, as summer arrives go ahead and mix it up for the thrill of it whether you’re working or playing hard.
-- Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, and Superfoods) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.