When I got married and was living in Florida, thousands of miles away from Mrs. Wheeler, I really missed it and craved it once December rolled around. I decided to call her for the recipe so I could make some, and I was glad I did. She mailed me the recipe, all typed on a 3x5 card and a $20 bill to buy the ingredients. She was a special lady. Mrs. Wheeler will always hold a special place in my heart. Every year that I make her party mix I remember the love and generosity she exuded to all those around her.
This makes a wonderful handmade Christmas gift when you package it in a pretty Christmas tin. It is affordable to make and can really be made tailored to your special tastes (I like it extra seasoned). Here is Mrs. Wheeler's recipe (see picture below) and I will also share how I make it.
1 stick of butter or margarine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
few drops Tabasco sauce
1 scant tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp garlic salt
4 cups Corn Chex cereal
4 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 cup Wheat Chex cereal (this is our least favorite, and it comes in a much smaller box so it makes sense to decrease for economical reasons)
2 cups pretzel sticks, broken in half
1 1/2 cups salted mixed nuts (or your favorite nut, I used whole cashews here)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large roasting pan, place the stick of butter or margarine and place in oven to melt. While the butter is melting, mix the cereals, pretzels and nuts together in a large bowl.
Once butter is melted, add remaining ingredients to pan (Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and salts). Mix well.
Add the cereal, pretzel and nut mixture to the butter mixture and stir well to get everything coated.
Bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees, stiring every 15 minutes. Cool, and package for gifts. Just to warn you, those nuts are hot when this first comes out of the oven. I burnt my tongue. Just warning you. I know the smell is so amazing that you can't help yourself...but try. You want to be able to taste it later, and if you kill your taste buds, well I can't help ya there.
I like to line my tin with a clear plastic bag, then gather it together at the top and tie with a ribbon. Then clip the excess bag off the top. It really looks more like a gift when you package it nicely in a tin.
Doesn't that look pretty? Guess where I got these pretty Christmas tins? Yup, the Christmas Tree Shop. I think they were only $0.69. Yes, I do love a bargain. The ribbon came from Target's dollar bins.
Photography by T-Cracka (who is actually Travis Sharkey, but my son calls him T-Cracka which I find hilarious).