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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Stewart


When I was in high school I had really beautiful friends. Like, strikingly beautiful. And not just outside but also inside too. We were all involved in school activities… band, pon poms, theatre, speech, football, tennis, and soccer. One of the things that we bonded over, was our weekends at each other’s houses. Playing spoons, going on long walks, or just sitting around laughing and being teenagers. There were four of us girls that hung out a lot. And three awesome doods that came around whenever the four of us would get together. We were inseparable.

I remember being the short chunky one in high school that always wore overalls. The three girls, I most often hung out with, were like 5’11, super skinny with great hair and no pimples. And then there was me, short at 5’6 with big boobs, a bit chunky at the time with lots of acne. I recall a time when we were all in the musical South Pacific my sophomore year and all the girls had to do that scene…. Where we’re in bikinis and grass skirts and we sang “Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair.” And I am just exploding out of my bathing suit top. And my besties are just owning it showing their cute little bellies. Humbly and the most beautifully. I laugh thinking about it. Because back then it was fun and body image wasn’t a thing. At least for me it wasn’t.

On the weekends we would get together and make this very famous thing… that probably made the chunky part of me. I mean every weekend we would make Puppy Chow. I know you know it. The Chex Mix, the peanut butter, the chocolate, and then the powdered sugar. Who ever invented this snack had to have been high. We would eat it like popcorn. So in honor of those sweet high school days, I’d like to share with you a recipe of the Puppy Chow that once owned the friendships of four ladies from the Midwest. And I am SO thrilled to share this with you!!!


(The 1996 Version)


Melt peanut butter and chocolate together, either on the stovetop or in the microwave

Next, add 3 cups of cereal to a large bowl. Pour 1 cup of your chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the cereal.

Add 3 more cups of cereal to the bowl and then pour the rest of the chocolate/peanut butter mixture on top.

Stir until the cereal is evenly coated. If there are pools of chocolate/peanut butter at the bottom of your bowl, add more cereal ¼ cup at a time until all that deliciousness is coating your cereal.

Once your mixture is at or below room temperature, add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix until combined.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature, if it lasts more than 0.3 seconds.

The southernmost city in Illinois is called Cairo. As in Cairo Egypt. Having grown up in Central IL, I can honestly say I’ve never been there. It was known for its railroads and proximity to the Mississippi River. I invite you to listen to a song by Sufjan Stevens. From his album called Illinoise…the song “Out of Egypt, into the great laugh of mankind, and I shake the dirt from my sandals as I run“ is written about this little city. It makes me feel like turning back in time. In a time warp machine… When we were all in High School. When our only care was getting to the next chair in band or passing Mr. Sauers History tests or deciding which house to go to on a Friday night to make more puppy chow and watch the movie SHAG. When 1996 was all there was and all you needed to know. Roll up jeans and bangs. Perms and Proms. And laughs. So many laughs.

It’s amazing to think that it’s been over 20 years since we all hung out. In our living rooms, laughing hysterically. From Church Youth Group Trips, Band Trips to Disney World, bus rides and hotel rooms…or just living room hang outs. I’m blown away by the passing of time and I would give anything to go back for a day with those ladies. They were always the ones that grounded me and made me be a better person. I took their friendship throughout my life as I traveled through adulthood and it forever grew my faith, my family, and my friendships now. So if you’re reading Andrea, Angela and Melissa… I love you ladies. And I always have. Thank you for the loves and the laughs and the puppy chow.

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