Tomorrow is the big day. After months of waiting and meticulous planning, I finally get the chance to shower my sister with love, this time not for her wedding, but for the baby boy she is bringing into our family. This will be the first child of hers, meaning my first nephew. Exciting, right! Tell me about it.
This little boy has no idea what he is in for. Little does he know, he’s got an auntie out in Chicago who is eagerly waiting to spoil him to death.
As a type A person who lives and breathes event planning, I had way too much fun planning this special event for my sister. Since we set the date for October, my sister and I naturally opted for the most fitting theme: Pumpkin.
Yes, on October 8th, we will be welcoming a little pumpkin into the Wamser/Duncan/Kubik family. Go crazy folks.
The menu, the décor, and the activities all revolve around fall – both of our favorite seasons. [Are we basic? Probably. Okay yes definitely]
It’s a pumpkin-filled brunch affair fit for our future king. We’ll be scarfing down a variety of pumpkin muffins, breads, fall-flavored oatmeal, biscuits with apple butter and apple preserves, egg dishes loaded with autumn squash, and plenty of fresh fruit. The whole she-bang. We’ll even be polishing it off with hot apple cider while we snack on fall candy favorites like candy corn and more. Jen also insisted rather than the typical cake or cupcake route for dessert, we whip up some pies like its Thanksgiving Day.
Sounds glorious right?
Yet, take a step back. As a celiac, this menu doesn’t sound all too inclusive for a gluten free kiddo like myself. I’ll admit I told my mom, sister, and her mother-in-law to not worry about me at first, with the fear of cross-contamination, especially as I have been having dietary issues over the last few months. But my parents, god love them, wouldn’t have that.
They went out and purchased all new bakeware and utensil so I could partake in the fall food fun. I can guarantee that all the muffins, her egg dish, and some of the snacks will be safe for me to enjoy. Can I get an amen?
But since, I’m all the way out in Chicago, my mom and sister’s mother-in-law did most of the baking. However, I insisted I wanted to be a part of the baking fun (I mean come on it’s the best part!), so I prepared one of my personal snacks – trail mix.
This trail mix is special though. It’s not just your ordinary handful of nuts and dried fruit. It’s….pause, wait for it….maple-infused.
It calls for all kinds of my favorites, but the best part about it is that the ingredients are completely flexible – the best part about trail mix. You can customize it to your hearts desire.
This time around here’s what I put in the mix:
• Pumpkin Seeds
• Roasted Almonds
• Toasted Walnuts
• Dried Cherries
• Dried Apricots
• Golden Raisins
• Cinnamon Chips
• And of course concocted my fall-flavored glaze – maple syrup, sea salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
It’s the easiest recipe in the world, but tastes like you spent hours slaving away in the kitchen.
So let’s get cooking!
First things first, take out a baking sheet and line it with some parchment paper. You also need a large saucepan.
From here you’ll add the maple syrup into your saucepan. Put it on medium heat until it begins to boil. Then, add in the pumpkin pie spice, salt, and your nuts of choice. Stir them up until caramelized and the syrup is reduced. (I’d say about 3-5 minutes)
Once the nuts are completely covered, take them off the heat, and spread them on the parchment paper on your baking sheet. Let them cool, so they harden.
From here, you’ll grab your extra add-ins like the chocolate or dried fruit. Take the hardened nuts and your extra goodies and mix them all together in a bowl, breaking down the maple-nut clusters as much as you desire.
And voila! You have the perfect sweet treat! One fitting for our future pumpkin and entire family.
Maple-Glazed Fall Trail Mix
• ¼ cup of pure maple syrup
• 1 ½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice
• pinch of salt
• 2/3 cup of pecan halves
• 1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds
• 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds
• 1/3 cup of roasted whole almonds
• 1/3 cup of dried cherries
• 1/3 cup of dried apricots
• ¼ cup of golden raisins
• 1/3 cup of butterscotch or cinnamon chips
Enjoy and happy snacking!