Way back in March, I went on my first hike with my new veggie hiking group. They were a great bunch and we took sort of an urban hike through the streets of Beachwood Canyon where we saw some great architecture.  I have a tendency to get really “into” things, and my hiking excursion was no different. In addition to packing a hat, extra water, and a first aid kit, I also brought along a brown paper bag filled with delicious vegan trail mix. A hike isn’t the same without trail mix. I was so into the whole Saturday hiking idea and it was so beautiful outside, that I followed up the hike with a second hike in Runyon Canyon Park. A few years ago, my friends and I got hopelessly lost trying to find Runyon Canyon Park. In retrospect, it wasn’t nearly as cool as we thought it was going to be. There were a lot of dogs and a lot of trail runners. I have nothing against dogs on trails, but trail runners drive me nuts. I’m like a spooked horse every time one of them whizzes by. Also, I have a problem when dog owners don’t pick up after their pets and the entire park starts to smell like a giant horse stall. On the up side though, there were some great views of the city.
More relevant to my readers than the views, I made a really exciting trail mix for this hike. For me, a good trail mix has 3-4 main components. The compulsory components are granola, fruit, and nuts. You should include one thing from each category. The fourth component is more optional, and it varies from trail mix to trail mix. For our purposes, we can call it the “yum factor”. It’s usually something along the lines of chocolate or carob bits, and its job is to bring the outfit all together. In this trail mix, I used a hint of bourbon vanilla extract and plenty of cinnamon. The cinnamon and vanilla take this particular trail mix to a whole new level. You could probably use regular vanilla extract, but I would only do it if you were looking for an excuse to chase the trail mix with bourbon.

Happy Trails Trail Mix

  • 3 c. of your favorite granola
  • 1.5 c. freeze dried banana chips
  • 1 c. raw almonds
  • 1 tbsp. earth balance
  • 2 tbsp. raw sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. bourbon vanilla extract (see Trader Joe’s baking aisle)
  1. Melt the earth balance in a frying pan and add almonds, raw sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Mix well and cook until the sugar melts. 
  2. Add the banana chips and mix well to coat.
    Transfer to a bowl and mix in the granola. I used maple almond. 
  3. Lay your trail mix in a thin layer and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Don’t freak out like I did, the bananas will firm right back up as they cool. 

Makes 11 half-cup servings at 231 calories each.