Tropical Trail Mix

Tropical Trail Mix (1 of 7)

I’ll admit that I have jumped on board with the latest craze that has you wandering around town catching “things” and “hatching” other things. Since the app encourages people to get moving (in fact it only really works when you are on the “go”) it’s been a great surprise on how much time DH and I have spent wandering around this fine city of ours. The biggest downfall seems to be it always has us ending for ice cream.

Tropical Trail Mix (2 of 7)

When the people over at asked if I wanted to participate in a contest from Eating Bird Food that revolves around National Trail Mix Day on August 31st and requires me to create my own custom mix I thought “wow this is so much better for me than ice cream.” Trail mix is perfect for hobbies like this.  It’s a healthy, nutritious and delicious snack that is easily portable and 100 percent  up to you with ingredients. Want more fruit than nuts? Go ahead. Some chocolate or candy? Throw it in! No recipe is needed. Just a glorious mixture of what you enjoy the most.

What does The Tasty Gardener’s mix look like?

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Even though my wonderful Canadian city is seeing a heat wave like never before and is posting temperatures higher than cities in India and Egypt I still enjoy the tropical flavours dried papaya and pineapple bring to my taste buds. Sharp and sweet it’s amazing how there is no added sugar.

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I’m really new to goji berries despite the influx of positive media surrounding them. High in antioxidants, they have a mild, sweet flavour and a chewy texture. And their colour is just gorgeous isn’t it?

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You can never go wrong with roasted almonds.  A favorite on their own they add a wonderful crunch alongside these hardier and deeper flavoured pepitas which give my mix a boost of protein.

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And can we get more tropical than Macadamia nuts? You can chop these up if you want however I like them whole. Isn’t it the best feeling when you get a whole bite of your number one ingredient in a recipe? Like a piece of garlic in a caesar salad or a whole chocolate chip in a cookie? That’s how I feel about these nuts.

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So this is what my trail mix looks like? Look at those vibrant colours, it’s just bursting with taste. And packaged individually for days out exploring I know that sweet, nutty and salty blend will be just what I need.

What does your Trail Mix look like?

Nourish: Whole Food Recipes featuring Seeds, Nuts and Beans + A Blog Hop Giveaway


I will attest to the fact I wished carrots tasted like french fries so I could convince myself to eat more of them.  I really, really wish this!

Thanks to Nettie Cronish and Cara Rosenbloom I’m discovering that while whole foods won’t have that greasy, deep fried yumminess they still elevate my tastebuds, open up all my senses and make my body feel better. Healthy can taste great. Rosenbloom, the registered dietician, and Cronish, a chef have come together to create a cookbook full of delicious, healthy recipes encouraging readers that including nuts, seeds and beans into their recipes and their diets is a fabulous way to eat.

Chana Masala

Chana Masala

Nourish is not about a massive overhaul of your life.  It’s about incorporating healthy ingredients into food that you probably already eat at home.  Beans added to salads and soups, crunchy seeds stirred into grains, nuts coating your favorite meats.  Simple yet wonderful changes to easy and incredibly tasty dishes.

Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

All throughout the books the authors include nutritional information about the very things you should be eating and educate you on how to make these additions to your everyday meals. All of the recipes are vibrant and easy to follow, with mouthwatering photos to draw you in and after cooking many of the recipes they are just as divine to your taste buds as they are for you eyes.

Pistachio Studded Quinoa

Pistachio Studded Quinoa

Thanks to Whitecap Books and a group of amazing Canadian bloggers one reader has chance to receive a copy of this lovely cookbook.  You can enter by scrolling down to the bottom of this post and clicking on the rafflecopter link.  And by visiting the links to my blogger friends and entering there you have so many chances to win this great book. And you may also discover some new go to blogs along the way. These ladies rock!

Kelly from Kelly Neil Photography

Tiffany from Eating Niagara

Regina from Leelalicious

Redawna from Nutmeg Disrupted

Gwen from Devour and Conquer

Hilary from Cocoa Bean, the Vegetable

Erin from How to Eat

Jo-Anna from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Stephanie from Kitchen Frolic

Caroline from Do it All Working Mom

Libby from Libby Roach

Katrina from Kitchen Trials

Laureen from Art and the Kitchen

Emily from Best of this Life

Lauren from Lauren Follett Nutrition

Zannat from Food for Happiness

Sarah from Kiwi and Bean

Charmian from The Messy Baker

Make you leave a blog comment below telling me what changes you have made or would like to make to include nuts, seeds and beans into your recipes at home to be eligible for the rafflecopter entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to all legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province or territory in which they reside. 

No purchase necessary to enter. 

Giveaway will run from Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 12:01am to end on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 11:59pm. Winner is chosen at random via Rafflecopter. Winner will be contacted via email and given 48 hours to respond.  If not, a new winner will be chosen. Winner selected MUST correctly answer a skill-testing mathematical question. Winner’s name will be displayed on Rafflecopter widget. Email address will never be given out to any third party or anyone for that matter. 

Prize value is approximately $30CDN.

Spiced Nuts

Serves 1/4 cup

Spiced Nuts

Here's a great snack that I bet you can't just stop at one handful.

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 4 cups of mixed nuts
  • 1 x egg white
  • 1 heaping tbsp of grainy mustard
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne
  • Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly whisk egg white and add mustard, sugar, cayenne and salt to taste.
  3. Add nuts and toss well to cover.
  4. Spread out onto a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until nuts are lightly browned.
Recipe Type: Appetizer


I like to use a mixture of cashews, almonds, pecan, filberts and brazil nuts but you can use any nuts you prefer.

Spiced Nuts (6)

In a bowl lightly whisk one egg yolk.

Spiced Nuts (2)

Take a heaping tablespoonful of mustard

Spiced Nuts (3)

And mix it with the egg.

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Add the sugar, salt and cayenne.  Mix together well.

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Add the nuts and toss well to thoroughly coat them.

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Spread nuts on a foil lined baking sheet.

Spiced Nuts

Toast in preheated 350 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes until the nuts start to brown. Let cool and enjoy.

Spiced Nuts (8)



Trail Mix

The great thing about making your own trail mix is being able to constantly change the combination of ingredients you use.

Trail Mix

Recipe Type: Appetiser
Author: The Tasty Gardener
Serves: 14
You can make your own trail mix using any combinations of cereal, nuts, dried fruit and chocolate candies.
  • 1/2 cup banana chips
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup plain M&Ms
  • 1 cup dried apricots halved
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  1. Mix all ingredients together and place in snack size bags.
Serving size: per 1/4 cup Calories: 173 Fat: 10 Saturated fat: 4 Carbohydrates: 21 Sugar: 12 Sodium: 7 Fiber: 3 Protein: 3 Cholesterol: 1<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-13501″ title=”Spiced Nuts (6)” src=”” alt=”” data-mce-src=””>




Types of Nuts

Today is National Pecan Day.


  • Grown mostly in Spain and California.
  • Contains Vitamin E
  • 161 Calories per 1/4 cup.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge up to 6 months and freezer up to one year.
  • Can be used to make almond butter, sprinkled on desserts and ice cream, in salads and side dishes, eaten raw, toasted or salted.
  • Brazil Nut

  • Grown mostly in Brazil and Bolivia.
  • Contains selenium, magnesium and thiamine.
  • 280 calories per 1/4 cup.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge up to 1 month and freezer up to one year.
  • Used chopped or ground in sweet and savory dishes, covered with chocolate, eaten raw or salted.


  • Grown mostly in India, Vietnam and Brazil.
  • High in protein and dietary fibre.
  • 155 calories per 1/4 cup.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge up to 6 months and freezer up to one year.
  • Used in Asian cooking, made into cashew butter, eaten raw or salted.


  • Grown mostly in Northwestern United States and Turkey.
  • Contains, protein, unsaturated fats, thiamine and vitamin B6.
  • 180 calories per 1/4 cup.
  • Use as needed since they go stale quickly.
  • Used in candies, cookies, chocolates, eaten raw, toasted or salted.

  • Macadamia

  • Grown mostly in Hawaii, Australia and California.
  • Contains protein, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre.
  • 233 calories per 1/4 cup.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge up to 2 months and freezer up to one year.
  • Used in place of other nuts, ground into pastry dough, goes well with fish and coconut, eaten raw or salted.


  • Grown mostly in Southern United States.
  • Contains protein and dietary fibre.
  • 198 calories per 1/4 cup.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge up to 9 months and in freezer up to 2 years,
  • Used in pralines, pie, sweet and savory main dishes, eaten raw, toasted or salted.


  • Grown mostly in India, China, Nigeria, Indonesia and the United States.
  • Contains vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese.
  • 206 calories oer 1/4 cup.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge up to 3 months and freezer up to 6 months.
  • Used in all types of cooking, desserts, Asian Food, Thai food, eaten raw, roasted, salted and candy coated, made into peanut butter.


  • Grown mostly in Iran and North America.
  • High in protein and dietary fibre.
  • 160 calories per 1/4 cup.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 3 months. Do not freeze.
  • Used in cookies, ice cream, as breading for chicken and fish, eaten raw or salted.


  • Grown mostly in North America.
  • High in protein and Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • 183 calories per 1/4 cup.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 6 months and freezer for up to one year.
  • Used in desserts, salads, sauces, eaten raw or salted.
  • Chocolate Almond Bark

    Serves per 1" piece

    Chocolate Almond Bark
    Save RecipeSave Recipe


    • 4 cups mixed nuts
    • 1-2 pounds chocolate


    1. In a bowl over boiling water melt the chocolate.
    2. Spread the nuts out on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and pour melted chocolate over top. Let cool before breaking into pieces.
    Recipe Type: Dessert


    In a bowl over boiling water begin melting the chocolate in batches.

    Fruit and Nut Bark (1)

    I’ll melt a little bit then add more chocolate to keep it smooth and evenly melted.

    Fruit and Nut Bark (4)

    Fruit and Nut Bark (5)

    I decided to make a batch with just almonds and another with almonds and dried apricots.  I chopped the apricots up into small chunks.

    Fruit and Nut Bark (2)

    Spread the nuts and fruit (if using) on a foil lined baking sheet. Here I have one side with almonds and the other side almonds and fruit.

    Fruit and Nut Bark (3)

    Once the chocolate has been completely melted carefully pour it evenly over the nuts and fruit.

    Fruit and Nut Bark (6)

    You can use a spatula to smooth it out evenly and eliminate any bubbles. Leave it to cool.  If you are in a hurry to get your taste buds on these you can increase the hardening time by placing the the baking sheet in the freezer.

    Fruit and Nut Bark (7)

    Once completely hard break up into large pieces of  ‘bark’.  The top piece has the fruit in it while the bottom is just plain nuts.  Be warned.  While breaking into manageable pieces you will feel inclined to sample multiple times.

    Fruit and Nut Bark (8)