Monthly Archives: November 2015

Party Mix Recipe

I’ve been asked rather often whether I give out my Party Mix recipe.  I’ve never been one to keep my recipes a secret.  However, over and over again, I give someone a recipe and the recipient reads over it and decides that it’s too much work or too big or too fattening or too expensive or whatever.

So let me just tell you before you even begin —


There, now you know.

So you can adjust the size or skip the steps or substitute the ingredients to your heart’s content.  And you might be just as happy with the results as I am with my results.  I can only tell you that it has taken me years to fine tune this recipe and have it where I like it and feel good about giving it away.  Maybe some of you would like to get together with friends or family members and share the ingredients.  And that’s fine, too.  This specific recipe with this amount of ingredients will make almost 8 gallons of party mix.

2 (12.5 oz.) boxes of Honey Nut Chex

1 large bag Bugle snacks  (14.5 oz.) or 2 regular size (7.5 oz.)

4 bags (6 oz.) Caramel Sweet and Salty Bugle snacks

1 box (1 lb.) Stauffer’s Whales baked cheese crackers (or the equivalent of your preference.)

1 bag (1 pound) pretzels sticks (I like them skinny)

2 boxes Ritz Bits (7.5 or 8 oz.) sandwich crackers.  I prefer to get plain Ritz Bits, but haven’t been able to find them in bulk anywhere.  So, I use the crackers, (my preference is the peanut butter kind, but you can use any that you prefer.  However, when I’m finished with roasting my batch of party mix, I put on gloves and literally take all the little sandwiches apart.  I know!  It’s hard work, but it is worth it, and it doesn’t take very long and they come apart easily while they are hot.  Then the flavor of the peanut butter mixes in with the rest of the ingredients and that makes it good, too.  Our daughter, Rachel, insists that I used the cheese filled ones – once upon a time and that they were “much better!”  I don’t remember this and I don’t think I did.  But I might just have a mental block!

3 lbs. pecans, large pieces

6 cups regular Cheerios

(I have a kitchen scales, so I do the following by weight.  You can measure the amount of cups in a box and do it that way.  The reason I do it this way is that I have exactly enough to do another batch when I run low from giving away so much of the first batch!)

½ box (14 oz.) Wheat Chex

½ box (12 oz.) Corn Chex

½ box (12 oz.) Rice Chex

½ large (46 oz.) can cashews

½ large (52 oz.) can large Spanish peanuts

I put all of these ingredients together in my big round storage container and toss them until they are thoroughly mixed. (I have searched for another set of these containers – originally from Sam’s Club as a set of four different sizes – and the biggest one is measured to 7 gallons, but holds a good 8+ gallons,- but I cannot find them anywhere!  Not retail, not Amazon, not Ebay.  If anyone know where they are available, please let me know!) After the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, I mix the following thoroughly in a separate bowl:

7 Tablespoons Lawry’s Season Salt

4 Tablespoons Garlic Powder

I sprinkle this over the container of mix, a little at a time, tossing often to distribute evenly.  Then I mix the following using a whisk:

5½ cups vegetable oil

6 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

When that is thoroughly mixed, I pour it over the mix, tossing again after each cup or so until it is gone.  Then I toss and toss and toss until the oil mixture is evenly distributed.

Then I take five large foil pans (mine are like 11x19x3) and divide the mix between four pans (keeping one in reserve).  I have two ovens, so this is where it goes much faster for me.  The ovens should be preheated to 250 degrees, with the racks spaced just far enough apart to get two pans in at once.  I use two timers, and set one to two hours.  The other, I set for 15 minutes.  Every fifteen minutes, I take the empty pan, empty the bottom pan into the empty pan, and put it on the top shelf, and empty the top shelf pan into the now empty pan from the bottom shelf and put that pan on the bottom.  I keep doing that for every 15 minutes until the two hours are up.  Then I dump everything together on the table which I’ve covered with brown paper and let it cool.  When it is cool, I put it back into my big old container.  If I didn’t have that big container, I would put it into heavy-weight plastic bags and store it that way.  You can make it a long time ahead and freeze it.  (I’ve never done this, but I have an Auntie who has done this often and it doesn’t seem to lessen the quality at all.)

And that, my friends, is my Party Mix Recipe!



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The siblings break bread

It is a Tuesday afternoon.  I stir the white sauce that is slowly thickening on my front burner.  On the back burner, a large kettle is beginning to simmer with carrots, onions, celery, potatoes and seasonings.  The shrimp is thawed in the over the sink mesh colander, waiting for its turn to be added to the chowder that I’m putting together for our evening meal.

I hear the door into the laundry room entry way open and feel a surge of anticipation.  He walks into the kitchen with that familiar tread.  My brother is here!  I put down the  scissors I am using to cut the shrimp and dry my hands.  He is not a hugger, but he doesn’t mind a hug sometimes and this is one time when I get away with it.  His smile is steady, but there is a quiet in his bearing that stabs my heart.  He has traveled many miles alone over the last thirteen months, and today was no different.  There are 600 long miles from his home in South Carolina to Shady Acres, and he has driven them repeatedly in the last year.

It isn’t long until the door opens again and in come Uncle Jesse and Aunt Gladys.  We had invited them to join us this evening. These two. Our Daddy’s brother and our Mama’s sister.  Their presence and persons comfort me like no one else can.  Their support and understanding and love have been inestimable, and in them are the tangible remembrances of the two who were our parents.  It feels so right to have them here.

The doors keep opening and shutting behind my beloved siblings and their spouses.  Bert and Sarah come, bringing tender and delicious homemade biscuits.  Alma comes with luscious looking pumpkin pies, lamenting the fact that Jerrel has a DFA meeting, and then Mark and Polly complete our circle, with Polly bringing a marvelous tossed salad to round our the simple meal.  There are beloved faces missing.  Nel and Rose are in Pennsylvania.  Frieda is in Heaven.  Daddy and Mama — I fight back a catch in my throat, and purposefully put it away. We will be glad for who we have in this place, at this time.  We gather around the long dining room table, ten of us at this gathering, and Uncle Jesse prays the blessing.

How many times did I hear Daddy’s voice, raised in prayer at a meal time?  It’s been a long time, but the words of my uncle’s prayer wrap themselves around me with familiarity and quiet comfort.  He thanks God for the food, for the opportunity to be together and prays for blessing on this time shared and for the ones who made the food. Around the table, the hands are joined and we listen to his quiet voice.

And then the “Amen” is said and the food is passed and the conversation weaves a pattern of memories and laughter and tears.  We share so much common ground with each other and with these two whose genetic heritage is the same as ours.  There are stories of Grandpa Dave, and the laughter is vibrant and genuine.  We ask questions and talk about our childhood.  We wonder how our daddy would have handled getting old and infirm and dependent and agreed that God was incredibly merciful to him and to us when He took him HOME.

We don’t speak much about our Sweet Mama.  The missing has settled into a deep and dark chasm for me and there are days when I feel like my heart will burst with all the things I need/want to tell her. I know she is safe.  I know she is happy.  I know that it really was God’s timing.  And I also know that it won’t always hurt this bad.  But it’s hard for me to talk about her without the tears.  At least for now.  And so we remember the good times, several “safe” things, and draw strength and comfort and courage from the time we spend in sweet, sweet fellowship.

All too soon, the night is over.  Uncle Jesse and Aunt Gladys have a somewhat long trek back to their home in Dover and it’s dark.  I worry about them heading off into the November cold, but they are cheerful, dispensing hugs and thank yous and beaming good will to us all.  My brothers and sisters and their spouses gather their leftover food and also depart.  Certain Man takes down the table, puts away chairs and helps to straighten the dining room while I load the dishwasher and put away leftover soup.. The neight has been exactly what I’ve needed.  When I kissed my auntie good by, I smelled the sweet smell of cologne and her cheek was so soft against mine.  It wasn’t my Mama’s signature Chantilly, but it was reminiscent of how important it always was to our Mama that she smelled good.  Oh, Mama!  How I miss you!

The years did pass so swiftly.  Sometimes it seems like Daddy and Mama have been gone forever.  This isn’t something new or unusual or peculiar to the children of Mark and Alene Yoder.  It’s just life.  We had excellent parents.  Truly the best!  Human, flawed, and with their own foibles and peculiarities and sometimes follies.  But so right for us.  So full of faith that they lived before us, and they loved us.  This night reminded us so much of our Daddy and Mama.  But for me, the one thing that shone the brightest though the presence of our precious Uncle and Auntie was the faith mixed with that unconditional love.  We were so blessed.  We are so blessed.  The gifts that we’ve been given through no effort of our own, are gifts that many, many people all over this world have not been privileged to have.

For the gifts of Heritage, warm memories, siblings that are good friends and an extended family who cares — for these good gifts, —

My heart gives humble, grateful praise.


Filed under Dealing with Grief, Family, home living, My Life

Lord Jesus,

The apparition in the stormy night, when I’m rowing hard with all my might, and terror rises like waves that threaten to overwhelm my inadequate boat —

Oh, Lord Jesus!  Teach me that the thing that scares me most is truly nothing to fear.

Because it’s YOU!  Walking on the terrible waters of my life, bringing Hope and Calm and Salvation.

And when you are with me, this boat cannot sink.

And (whether it feels like it or not) all will be good.



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