My little sister, Christina, and I couldn’t be more different.
When she went outside to rough house with the boys, I stayed home and played barbies. Her room was green, mine was hot pink. I wore dresses, she despised them.
When my Mom would bring home treats from the grocery store; like a carrot cake, pie, or cookies, Christina would hold on to her portion for weeks. I’d polish mine off in a day then beg her to share, but she’d always refuse. She held on to those darn cookies for weeks until they’d get stale, moldy, or the dog stole them.
Hoarding precious things didn’t end there. She did the same to a family of fresh clams that she found on the beach when we were vacationing on Vancouver Island. The smell in the cabin got so bad that we had to switch places. My poor parents. I can only imagine what they had to pay to fix that mess.
I can proudly say that I never got into the habit of hiding fresh seafood in my dresser drawers.
Out of all of our differences, we did have one thing in common, snacks. Crackers with butter, cheez whiz and pickles, and; our favorite, homemade trail mix. Nothing got us more excited than a good trail mix.
During the summer months when Mom would stock the house with an unlimited supply of sugary garbage, we’d make our classic summer time mix. It consisted of craisins, candied pineapple, sugar cereal like cinnamon toast crunch, M&Ms, and roasted nuts. We rocked that sugary mix at the beach, our epic bike rides, summer camp, and everything in between.
I was reminded of our trail mix adventures the other day and decided to take a healthy crack at our old favorite.
This new mix is the grown up version of our summer original, beach bum style. Lentils add a healthy dose of protein and fiber, and I opted for seeds instead of nuts to be softer on my digestion. All in all, this is a trail mix anyone can feel good about eating!
Soak lentils in 4 cups of water in a medium bowl for 4-6 hours. The longer you soak, the less chance the lentils will cause gas or bloating when you eat them.
When the lentils are ready, preheat oven to 350F, drain and rinse them really well before spreading across a 13x9 rimmed baking sheet and sprinkling with salt.
Bake in preheated oven on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes, or until lentils are crisp and crunchy. When complete, allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, dice the dried apricots and pineapple chunks. Place in a bowl or on a large cutting board and add the rice flour, just a pinch at a time. Toss the fruit in the flour until the pieces are coated and no longer sticky where they've been cut.
Mix lentils with remaining ingredients and transfer to an airtight container for your next day at the beach!
I was forced to raid bulk barn for every last ingredient to make this recipe. Perusing isle upon isle of bulk bins for the perfect trail mix additions is one awesome way to spend a Friday afternoon, I tell ya!
The lentils baked up really crispy. I could have just stopped the recipe right here and chowed down on the baked lentils. Who needs the dried fruit?
My favorite part were the natural clusters.
I feel a lentil granola coming on. Would that be weird?
The pineapple and apricot pieces were too large, so I chopped them up and covered them in rice flour. Just a little is all you need and it instantly removes the stickiness so the ingredients wont clump together.
I taste tested a couple half dozen handfuls just to make sure the mix was perfect. A bit of extra dried fruit here, a couple seeds there…
I was skeptical at first but was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. It just works!
Like really, really, really works. The salty, the sweet, healthy fats, loads of protein and fiber. You’d think this mix was actually good for your health but it sure doesn’t taste like it ;)