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Easy Affordable Trail Mix ($1.26 per cup)

As you can probably tell from this blog, I like to keep things as simple as possible. My trail mix is no exception. Don't get me wrong, I like a loaded trail mix, but not when I am making one from scratch. I want my pantry to have a limited number of ingredients so I can focus on buying quality ingredients in bulk while minimizing the chances for spoilage.

So my go-to trail mix is pretty simple. It's just raw almonds and dried cranberries. That's it. Just two parts almonds to one part cranberries. As an example, I grab a sandwich-size Ziploc bag and fill with 2 cups raw almonds and 1 cup dried cranberries. There is just enough space left to wiggle the ingredients around to distribute them evenly, particularly if you layer 1 cup almonds, 1 cup cranberries, and 1 cup almonds.

The best place I have found to buy these two ingredients is Costco. The Kirkland raw almonds are $13.99 for 3 pounds. Costco also carries 4 pounds of Ocean Spray Craisins for $10.99. In my sandwich bag example, the 2 cups of almonds weighs 10 oz and the 1 cup of cranberries weighs 5 oz. So that means my 3 cups of trail mix costs $3.78. You would be hard pressed to find even one cup of trail mix for that much and chances are it would be loaded with cheap ingredients like peanuts, raisins, and chocolate candy.

You can of course add other things to the mix like walnuts, pepitas, or dark chocolate pieces, but I found issues with each of these ingredients. The walnuts don't last as long as almonds once the bag is opened plus they become powdery. The pepitas are too small and slippery and always end up at the bottom of the mix throwing off the ratios. The dark chocolate pieces are fantastic but they add calories, cost, and create a melt factor that isn't always convenient. Sometimes for dessert, I'll just grab some of this trail mix with a square of a dark chocolate bar to satisfy that sweet tooth craving.

So next time you are searching for an easy, affordable, and satisfying snack, try a simple raw almond and dried cranberry combo.