holiday gift ideas, preferably the kind that can be eaten (or used to
make something that can be devoured).
Hippie Chow began its existence in the summer of 2009 as a gift idea. Jennings was concerned about the highly processed, commercially manufactured snack product -- a savory concoction made with squares of cereal -- that her boyfriend, Joe Parrish, was taking to work every morning.
"One day I read the list of ingredients on the box," Jennings says, "and I was stunned by the amount of salt and sugar, not to mention ingredients that I couldn't even pronounce. I told Joe that I could make something better than that."
Jennings had never made granola before, but she did some research on what were the common ingredients in granola -- and, for the next six months, began a series of trial-and-error recipes, creating different batches for Joe to take to work.
"He came home with some good positive feedback," Jennings says. "And he shared the granola with his co-workers, and they provided feedback, too. It was about this time that I thought I could actually market this product and started thinking of names. I found out that Hippie Chow wasn't being used as a name for granola or anything else. And it just seemed a perfect fit for this creation."
After introducing her product at the Overland Park Farmers Market, Jennings began distributing it to local stores: Dean & DeLuca, Foo's Frozen Custard in Leawood, five Cosentino's Markets and eight Kansas Sampler locations. In September, Jennings added two new flavors to her granola line-up, including a peanut butter version -- which is becoming a top seller -- and chocolate.
She's planning to introduce more new flavors in 2011, including seasonal offerings. The granola makes a great holiday gift, says Jennings, because it can be eaten as a breakfast cereal, as a snack, as an ingredient in pancake batter or in dough for crunchy cookies. Her favorite cookie recipe using Hippie Chow granola follows: