Creative gift giving brings me joy!
I have been on a homemade gift kick for the last few holidays this year because 1) it's so special to give and receive gifts that are handcrafted with love, and 2) it's usually 1000 times cheaper than just going out and buying a gift! I mean, who doesn't want to save a penny or two?!
So for Father's Day this year, I was searching Pinterest (y'all that's where I get my best ideas) and I came across this adorable gift from Vanessa at the Tried and True Blog. She created a spicy bunny snack mix that is just out of this world. Seriously, it's so simple - it was quick and easy to make, and it turned out to be a HUGE hit with my 1.5 year old niece (yes, this is spicy, and yes, that little gal can handle it!). Oh, and of course it was a hit with the dad's too, but I find it quite hilarious that my niece can't stop snacking on it.
Now we are totally an Annie's Homegrown snack household. At any given time you can find bunny cookies, bunny cheese crackers, chewy bars, and fruit snacks in our pantry. I love how all of their products are made with organic ingredients and they're focused on making such a positive impact on the planet, and the people they work with (and of course, those of us who swear by their snacks).
I'm totally having a flashback to the day trip to the zoo with my girlfriend and her boys. Jax totally wiped out going down a path and scraped his leg and arm up pretty bad. To curb his tears, my friend Audra offered Jax a snack bag of Cheez-Its. We cleaned him up the best we could, and we were off to the races again. As we turned the corner to look at the red panda exhibit, I leaned down to adjust something in the stroller, and looked up to find Jax picking up an orange cracker OFF THE GROUND and put it in his mouth. Y'all, I swear it happened in super slow motion. I raced over to him, stuck my finger in his mouth, and swiped that cracker out as quickly as I could.
The worst part???
IT WASN'T EVEN ONE OF HIS SNACKS!!!!
I. Could. Have. Died!! I definitely gagged, but I truly could have died (I have a horrible thing with germs if you didn't know). Before he could reach for more of the ground snacks, I kicked them out of his reach and redirected him. But you want to know the saving grace in my mind to this situation? It was an Annie's cheddar bunny! My immediate thought was, "Well at least it was an organic, healthy snack!"
I'm not sure I like that this is my first go-to memory when I think about Annie's snack crackers. But for real - don't let your kids eat floor snacks. I swear this exact situation is why some wise person created leashes for kids.
What's in the snack mix?
Anyway, when I saw that this gift was made using Annie's Homegrown snacks, I knew it was going to be good. Oh, and it has ranch seasoning which is quite irresistible! I couldn't find some of the exact ingredients that are used in the original recipe, so I had to use my imagination and make do with what I could find.
The original recipe calls for Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cheddar Bunnies, Annie's Homegrown Organic Pretzel Bunnies, organic snack crackers, ranch seasoning mix, red pepper flakes, and organic canola oil. Unfortunately I couldn't find the pretzel bunnies anywhere, so I already knew substitutions were going to be required.
For my adaptation of the recipe, I used Annie's Homegrown Organic Cheddar Bunnies, as well as the Organic White Cheddar Bunnies. I also tossed in mini pretzels we found at the store (just Snyder's brand). And my twist? Oyster crackers! I think we contemplated miniature saltine crackers, but I thought the shape of the oyster crackers would be a little different.
Just toss it all together!
I'm not even kidding when I say this is the easiest snack mix to put together. In a gallon ziploc bag, dump in the full bag of cheddar bunnies and the full bag of white cheddar bunnies. At this point, I eyeballed the ratio of bunnies and tried to add pretzels and oyster crackers of the same amount (seriously, just use your best guess as to how much to add). If you want it to be cheese cracker heavy, add a little less of the other two. Really won't make or break the recipe if you go by your preferences. Then add the ranch seasoning mix - you can make your own or use one of the packets - the canola oil, and the red pepper flakes. I definitely went with a lighter hand on the red pepper flakes because I know some of the dads in my family aren't too fond of all the spice, but apparently it wasn't too spicy in the end.
*I'd recommend mixing the spices into a cup with the canola oil before pouring it over the cracker mix. I didn't, and it was definitely much harder to get an even dispersion of oil and spices throughout the bag.
Dump the mixed contents of the bag onto a jelly roll pan (make sure it has sides, y'all!). Then pop it into a 250 (F) degree oven for 20 minutes, turning and stirring around the 10 minute mark. Once it's done, pull it out of the oven and let it cool fully before storing it!
Gotta make it look pretty
This one was an easy one to put together. I found a package of 4 Ball jars from Target, some old twine from my stash of Christmas supplies, spent 5 minutes in a word document to create these tags, and printed them on card stock. I will say because of the amount of mix we made - we filled these jars to the brim and had TONS left over to snack on. It would definitely all fit into one large container if you're making this just as a snack for yourself or if you're only gifting to one dad. But since we have so many dads in our family, we went with smaller jars to share the wealth!
Spicy Bunny Snack Mix:
(adapted from Vanessa Brady's recipe from Tried & True Blog)
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
- 1 box Annie's Homegrown Organic White Cheddar Bunnies
- 1 box Annie's Homegrown Organic Cheddar Bunnies
- 1/2 box oyster crackers
- 1/2 bag Snyder's Itty Bitty Mini Pretzels
- 1/2 cup Canola Oil
- Ranch Mix - 1 pkg or 1/4 cup homemade
- 2 tbsp Red Pepper Flakes (more or less according to taste)
- Preheat oven to 250°
- Mix all the ingredients together (*gallon ziploc bag REALLY helps).
- Evenly spread the mixture on a large jelly roll sheet and bake for 20 minutes (stirring and turning halfway).
- Remove from oven & allow to cool before packaging.
Original Recipe: https://www.triedandtrueblog.com/spicy-bunny-mix-gift/