Turtle Tailgate Mix

snack mix

Hi folks.

Okay it’s confession time…

this cannot be keep secret any longer…

it needs to be shared…

before it drives me insane…er!

I hate football!

There it’s out there. I’ve finally set the truth free. Some of you may recall me sounding off about it during Super Bowl time. I may have gone off the deep end. This time I’m in control and keeping calm.

But I really hate football.

So why am I calling this Turtle Tailgate Mix? Well doh, I like football food. Just because I dislike the game does not mean I have to suffer and not have the food. I mean seriously people, have some compassion.

Okay I’ve got another one for you.

I’ve never been to a tailgate party…

*waits for the screaming to die down*

No really, I’ve never been to a tailgate party. I’m not a football fan. I can’t drink cuz of my stupid IBS. And quite honestly I’m usually at the barn when football is on. So it’s just never come up.

Are you ready for one more confession?

I used to pretend I liked football to get out of doing dishes. True story. Worked for eons. No one ever knew. Evil genius right!

Still want more confessions?

Once in high school we had a touch football game after school. Guys and gals. In order to not “hurt us girls” the guys wanted the game to be touch only. Well while I dislike football greatly if I’m going to play I’m going to play hard. I mean that competitive spirit just kicks in. Not sure if it’s the smell of the pigskin or the sweat playing tricks on my brain. Well, we started to play and my bestie gf had the ball. So I tackled her to the ground like my life depended on it. I know right. Let’s just say everyone gave me a wide berth for the rest of the game.

Want one more?

Hubs used to play football with a bunch of dudes on weekends. Same guys who all went to high school together. Lots of history and bonding. You know guys, smacking each other’s rears and all that jazz. So hubs got a little over-exuberant and broke some dudes leg. Yup. I think that’s right around the time he stopped playing. Can’t imagine why.

So as you can tell we have a wacky relationship with football. But I won’t hold that wackiness against it when it comes to football grub. When I hear the word “tailgate” I start to sweat, then my mind starts rattling around with the endless food possibilities.  So I’m here to prove even the most die hard football disser can still make a fabulous dish for a tailgate party.

You’re welcome!

snack mix

5.0 from 6 reviews
Turtle Tailgate Mix
Cook time
Total time
A great party mix that will remind you of turtles candy.
Recipe type: snack, chocolate
Serves: a small army of football fans
For the Caramel Sauce ( make in advance):
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of vanilla salt
For the Tailgate Mix:
  • 2 cups mini pretzels
  • 2 cups chex cereal
  • 2 cups crunch an munch caramel popcorn
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 2 cups chocolate cheerios
  • 1½ cups butter
  • 2½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 6 ounces semi sweet chocolate
Optional: 2 cups m & m candies (do not mix in until after mix has cooled)
For the Caramel Sauce (make in advance):
  1. Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Do NOT stir and bring to a boil, let it cook until it goes a nice amber colour. You can lightly swish or swirl the pan but do NOT stir at this point.
  3. Once the liquid is amber in colour remove from heat and add butter. Swish it around until it melts.
  4. Add the cream and remember it's going to bubble up as caramel does, so make sure you are careful and your pan is big enough to handle it.
  5. Whisk until mixed.
  6. Add vanilla and vanilla salt and whisk until smooth.
  7. Set aside to let cool.
For the Tailgate Mix:
  1. Combine all your dry ingredients (pretzels, cereal, popcorn, pecans and cheerios) into a large roasting pan, except for the m & m's, those go in later once things cool. Stir them up. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine your butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then let it boil for about 3 to 5 minutes. It will become thicker.
  3. Toss in the chocolate and whisk until it melts and mixture is smooth and slightly thick. Set aside for about 5 minutes to cool a bit.
  4. Now whisk the mixture then pour over the dry ingredients you have in the roasting pan. Give it a really good stir so you coat everything evenly.
  5. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment.
  6. Transfer your mixture to the cookie sheet and pop in a preheated 200 degree oven for 30 minutes. Make sure you stir the mixture half way through the cooking process.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave out to dry further and cool. About an hour should be good. And this is where you will learn how tough you are. It will be really hard not to just bury your head in the chocolate goodness you are smelling right now but resist people. Trust me.
  8. Once the popcorn is cool, you want to make sure it's spread evenly on parchment on cookie sheet(s).
  9. Now warm your caramel just a touch. You don't want it scorching hot but warm enough to drizzle, not hot enough to shrink the other ingredients. Drizzle over the mixture. You can let it dry then flip the mix over and drizzle again if you like.
  10. Pop back in a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.
  11. Let cool on pans.
  12. Add m & m's if desired. And let's be honest, who doesn't desire m & m's. Mix it all up.
  13. Enjoy with a big old I hate football smile!
You could totally half the chocolate mixture you pour over top. I tend to go a little over the top with these things. Or you could double the dry ingredients. My chocolate to dry ratio is a bit high. You can change up the dry stuff and use whatever you love. If you hate pretzels don't use them. If you prefer cashews use them. Be creative.

snack mix

Caramel Recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking.

Chocolate mixture is adapted from Paula Deen’s Turtle Popcorn.

So do you forgive me now for hating football?

Ya, I thought so.

This was suppose to be part of our Sunday Supper Tailgate Party a couple of weeks ago, but I was sidelined by a trip to the hospital. Since I’m recovering nicely I thought I’d pull this out and share it with you now. You’re welcome.

Hope your football season is awesome, your team wins and you get to eat lots of great tailgate food. I’ll be whipping up some great dishes you can eat while watching. Just don’t expect me to know what team is playing.

Toodles and smoochies! xx


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  1. 1

    Haha football lover or not you would be welcome to EVERY party if you brought this incredible mix :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. 3

    I’m actually going to a game this weekend…AND a tailgate. And I can hardly stand to watch more than a couple minutes! I love the game, just don’t love 2-3 hours of sitting. I’d much rather go back to the party and munch on your fantastic trail mix :)

    • 4

      Lol Liz, I am so glad I am not the only person who thinks it’s boring. I give you credit for going. At least the food makes up for it.

      Thanks my dear.

  3. 5

    I love you.

    I hate football too. It’s the worst. I hate all sports, but I grew up in a town that went C-RAAAAZY about football (every little boy got a football in the hospital at birth, the town is right next to the The Pro Football Hall of Fame, etc. etc.)

    I agree though…the food is a whole different thing. And this turtle mix is just….awesome! lol

    • 6

      I love you even more now. I am not a sports person either. I like playing them, but watching them is torture.

      Yet somehow I love the football food…ha.

  4. 7

    Totally decadent, totally delicious!

  5. 9

    Mmm been waiting for this recipe! Looks delicious :)

  6. 11

    haha! Loved all of your football confession stories! :) I am from Texas where they give you a football so you can learn how to throw the ball and play right after you come out of your mother’s womb. . so I never had a say in it. I love football and can throw a mean spiral throw. :) I am so making this tailgate mix. Awesome, I love it! :)

    • 12

      Thanks Alice. I tend to keep things real here. Too much so some days, lol. I would probably feel differently if I’d grown up in Texas. I like throwing a football and don’t mind playing it, but the watching it just doesn’t work for me. Hope you enjoy it. It’s worth the time and steps. So good. The downside is trying not to eat it all while it’s hot.

  7. 13

    hahaha!! This post just made my morning! You are too funny Kim! I’m definitely more in it for the food than the the football… which is why my brother’s hate sitting next to me at games. I don’t think I stop talking the entire time :) Love this trail mix! Would have been SO good at Saturday’s tailgate, bookmarking for next time!

  8. 14

    I like football! But I can’t stand the way it’s delivered – it takes way too much time. So I always record the games then zip through commercials, downtime between plays, etc. That way the game takes only a bit more than an hour to watch. So I can spend all the time I save doing other stuff – like reading about this terrific recipe! Sounds delish. Fun dish. ;-)

  9. 15

    Oh a yummy trail mix for sure…no matter what the occassion I think people would enjoy this :)

  10. 16

    I was raised by a mother who went to all of the games, even high school ones, for the Frito pies, nachos and other concession stand food, so I thought that is why football existed. To give folks a little entertainment while they ate. Still don’t understand fans that get so excited they stand up and drop the nachos off their laps. Let’s not waste food, people! It’s just a GAME.

    I love your sweet and salty tailgate mix! I’ll have to give this a try.

  11. 17

    You are too funny! I don’t hate football, just don’t have time to watch it. But snacks like this, I will always make time for!

  12. 18

    Ah Kim, I see you fell off the turtle wagon! Great recipe.

  13. 19

    HAHA! I don’t hate, I just don’t really care about it. I do love the food, as long as I can ignore the game. And I totally love this turtle situation you have here.

  14. 20

    Sorry I haven’t stopped by in awhile, I hope you are feeling better! My mouth dropped, you hate football???? You are missing out, LOL:-) Well you may hate football……BUT you make ROCKIN’ tailgate treats:-) Yum, Hugs, Terra

  15. 21

    So glad to know another non football fan. I have never even pretended to like the sport. But I do love turtles and anything with a hint of turtle taste, like caramel. So far I have never made a caramel sauce as much as I love it. I buy it in the jar and eat with a spoon, LOL. Wish you lived near me, could you mail me some. Hope all is well, drop me a line.

  16. 22

    I’m totally into this turtle tailgate mix… totally NOT into football. I’ll eat this while watching my chick flicks. :)

  17. 23

    I really only like my university’s football team, but I could really care less about the rest!

    I think you should write a turtle cookbook!

  18. 24

    You have nothing to worry about. I’ve been to ONE football game in my entire life. My eyes never even rested on the playing field WAY below us. I am a people watcher so I thoroughly enjoyed and was happily annoyed by the silly antic all around me. I ate everything there was to eat thought! Good luck to your son in college! I’m sure he was thrilled with his care package….they really want CASH don’t they?! Next time…

  19. 25

    I hate football too!–but I love tailgate food ;)

  20. 26

    Great to have you back to your old self! If you’re busting out the turtles again I know you must be feeling better! ;)

  21. 27

    Kim, I’m with you on Football. It’s ok to have it on the tv, just don’t expect me to sit there and watch. I’ll have a book in my hands if forced. However a football game just make a good excuse to have some food! I’m loving this mix and will have to whip it up soon. Tweeted it (cause I’m trying to learn twitter) hugs!

  22. 28

    I went to such a small high school. (How small was it?) It was so small we didn’t have a football team. Therefore, I have never understood the rules. Not a big fan either. I am a huge fan of this snack, though!

  23. 29

    Absolutely loved reading about your football rants — and thank god I am not the only one who refuse to understand the craziness of it all.

    Besides that, it definitely wont stop me from enjoying this delicious tailgate recipe!

    Glad you are back — hope you are feeling well. xo

  24. 30

    This recipe is pure evil! The sauce alone could be eaten with a spoon, without any of the other goodies you add to it. Your family must get up in the morning and bow to you – if they do not, they should!

  25. 31

    Back the truck up – I’m going to open wide and fit ALLLL of this in!!

  26. 32

    This mix looks simply delish. I am dying to make it.

  27. 33

    lol and drooling at the same time…


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