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I don’t wanna grow up…

Two week ago, I watched my best friend move in with her boyfriend, another good friend of mine who I’ve known since 7th grade, and it finally hit me: we were growing up.

Here she was, moving in. WITH A BOY! WHOA! Call me silly, stupid, naive, etc, but up until that point, it never crossed my mind that we were becoming A-D-U-L-T-S. Despite my impending 23rd birthday (9 days!), I don’t consider myself a grown up because of two things: I don’t pay a mortgage/rent/etc, and I don’t have a retirement plan. Very adult-like duties, don’t you think? 

In my head, those things constitute a childlike existence. Sure, I pay for everything I own and have car/cell/medical payments, but those don’t count. I have a pretty easy life, where I go to school (ha, 9 days and counting!), go to a pretty lovely internship (don’t ever want to leave!), and spend my free time baking, reading, shopping, running, or being lazy. I throw silent tantrums when I don’t get my way, I stutter when cute boys are around, I consider ice cream a diet staple, and I totally can’t hold my liqueur. 

So, seeing my best friend in her new house woke me up from my little daze. All of a sudden, I got really scared about the coming weeks and months. College provides this great safety cocoon that protects you from the “real” world at times. You have a set schedule, you know where you are supposed to be at 1:15 on Mon/Wed, and your nights are filled with papers and assignments. What’s a girl supposed to do when all those things disappear? What do I do  when the past 4 years have been consumed with college? Just thinking about this gives me the shivers…

Moving out (again), finding a stable job, taking care of yourself, and being truly independent. These are all on the horizon for me and it’s a bit much for me to deal with. Personally, I’d like to go back to the age of 10 when everyday consisted of recess, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Connect Four (I rocked at that game), and these muddy buddies.

What are muddy buddies? Only the best things created! It’s literally the snack of your childhood. Peanut butter and chocolate melted together, poured over chex cereal, with powdered sugar dumped on top. Mix it up a bit, and let it sit. Voila! You’ve got legal crack, only better. I remember the first time I had these at a friend’s sleepover. I remember sneaking in to the kitchen, after everyone was asleep, thinking that no one would miss a suddenly empty bowl of Muddy Buddies. I could just blame the dog!

To calm my quartlife crisis, I made these bad boys and it brought me back to the days of saturday morning cartoons and ovaltine. Rich, sugary, and messy, this is pure kid food. I think that making this with kids would be a great idea too, especially when dumping the powdered sugar on top of the melty, gooey mixture. Plus, lickingthe chocolate and peanut butter off  your fingers will make their day. If you are looking for a quick holiday treat, this will work as well as the whole recipe comes together in about 20 minutes. I guarentee that you will be the star of the party if you bring this to a holiday soiree this season.

One tip: don’t try to be healthy and use a different kind of cereal. Chex cereal was made for this snack and don’t think otherwise. I used Barbara’s Puffins, thinking I’d get the same result with the added fiber and whole wheat benefit and it just didn’t taste right. Too chewy, and dense for my taste. So use a kiddy cereal, and be done with it.

Now, if you will excuse me, A Charlie Brown Christmas is on and I’ve got a glass of Nestle chocolate milk waiting for me…

Muddy Buddies
Origin: Chex Cereal
Yield: 18 servings (1/2 cup each
Prep Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 15 min

● 9 cups Corn Chex®, Rice Chex®, Wheat Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal (or combination)
● 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
● 1/2 cup peanut butter
● 1/4 cup butter or margarine
● 1 tsp. vanilla
● 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

ps. to my best friend Julia, congrats on the new place! It’s fantastic and I’m sure you and Tony will make it even more lovely. Love you!

Champagne + us =  awesome

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December 9, 2008 - 8:23 am

My First Kitchen - This is my favorite post of yours so far. Let me tell you… where you are right now? Almost 23 and on the cusp of adulthood? It sticks with you for a long time. I’m about to turn 27 (which completely freaks me out by the way), and I still feel like I’m in a perpetual state of a fresh 23. Really. Super weird. I like not having class, but I hate paying a mortgage and meeting with a financial planner, and I still get a little woozy after just one glass of wine. Seriously. It feels like I’m still playing dress-up in the basement and sneaking champagne at New Year’s Eve. It’s like all the real adults are going to figure me out any day now. So you’re not alone. :) It’s a feeling that’ll stick around for awhile. But as long as you have childhood experiences to pull you back – like this snack that I’ve always called Puppy Chow – there’s always a chance you’ll feel young at any given moment. And wasn’t Charlie Brown just as cute and pitiful as ever? Enjoy your last few days of class.

December 9, 2008 - 8:48 am

Fuji Mama - The funny thing is that feeling of realizing you are “growing up” keeps hitting you again and again! Each new step you take in your life tends to feel like that and it’s weird. When I had my daughter the thought crossed my mind, “Wait, I’m not old enough for this? How can the hospital possibly trust me to take this tiny little baby home?” Weird!

December 9, 2008 - 9:17 am

Amy - One of my favorite things about your writing is how you connect food with a memory or emotion so beautifully. Like you, I’m in my early 20′s and still can’t believe I’m a “grown up”. I am a teacher and I often sit in my classroom and wait for someone to come in and tell me to stop “playing school.” I pay rent, practically live with a boy and still, I feel like a little girl. I don’t know when/if I’ll ever feel grown up, and just about everyone I know feels the same way.

Nostalgia aside, I freaking love Muddy Buddies and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Thank you for such a lovely post, and congrautlations on graduating from college! Good look with the job search!

December 9, 2008 - 10:14 am

cindy - i can’t shake that growing up feeling either. i’m 24 and have lived with my boyfriend for 3 years and it still feels like we are playing house.

my former boss made this every year for us around the holidays, but she called it puppy chow. muddy buddies sounds much more appetizing…not that the name ever stopped me.

December 9, 2008 - 10:14 am

PhillyGirl - Wow, I made these about a month ago and couldn’t keep my hands out of the ziploc bag! Kate from John and Kate plus 8 called them Monkey Munch and that’s how I googled the recipe which is the same. If you make the recipe again, after adding the chocolate, try putting the batch on a cookie sheet in the fridge to cool, then add to the ziploc with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time as you may not need to use all of it. I have a box of Wheat Chex in my pantry now for another batch but this is seriously SO wrong during holiday time.. this is NOT diet food!!

December 9, 2008 - 11:23 am

Caitlin - I’m in the same boat – just turned 23, and dear lord everyone I know is getting MARRIED! And some even have kids!!! Umm… I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys’R'Us kid… :)

December 9, 2008 - 12:05 pm

megan - Oh my! I literally just squealed aloud the second I saw this post and the photos. Muddy buddies, or puppy chow as my 2 friends and I call it, is a big time favorite and we make it all the time. In fact, I can’t fathom enjoying it without the other 2! And of course mixing food is a garbage bag is just too cool :) I feel like I could have written this post myself. Even though I am still 2 & 1/2 years away from graduation I feel the same way you do: Holy crap, the world is making me grow up whether I’m ready or not!

December 9, 2008 - 12:22 pm

eurydice - you are too adorable. i am 27, and now live on my own, in a condo, with a mortgage. and i can verify that each year just gets better and better and better. i’ve lived with one boyfriend in the past, and while it’s “exciting” it’s also sort of “annoying” and i’ve decided to live alone until i’m married. my favourite american snack is chex mix, so i will definitely have to try this concoction. except we don’t have chex here, so next time i’m in buffalo i will pick some up! :)

December 9, 2008 - 12:38 pm

sarah - oh! i know exactly what you mean. ill be turning 23 next year and that’s also when i graduate. it’ll be one of those “new phases” in life, which i haven’t had in a while so i’m semi-excited, semi-scared. i’ve also thought i’d do lot of exciting and adventurous things when i “grow up” but i realize i’m sorta already there. but at the same time i still feel like a baby! :P

well good luck, amanda! and yay for looking back at the good times. :)

December 9, 2008 - 12:47 pm

snookydoodle - Hi You remind me of my childhood memories and even yhough I ll be 30 in two weeks time I still feel like a child at times and still enjoy watching cartoons :)

December 9, 2008 - 2:10 pm

Stephanie - Becoming an adult is overrated. I haven’t lived at home since I was 19, I have been living with a man for the past 3 years, and I have been married to that man for 1.5 years and I still feel like a kid. I keep hoping that one day I’ll wake up and feel like an “adult” but it hasn’t happened yet. Sure, I feel like an adult on some days, but most days I feel like I’m a fraud even thinking I’m an adult. I’m starting to think that we don’t ever really grow up.

December 9, 2008 - 2:28 pm

everedefined - I LOVE MUDDIES BUDDIES! But we call it puppy chow and use crispix cereal because its bigger than chex but the same concept.

December 9, 2008 - 4:35 pm

Jesse - I agree, the growing up feeling never goes away. Now my friends are having babies and it’s literally blowing my mind. I must be OLD. I still have to curl up in front of cartoons every now and then to remind myself I’m actually not that old. And honestly, growing up is the best part. Every year gets better. Isn’t it wild?

December 9, 2008 - 6:11 pm

kim - My mom just sent my daughter a birthday package, and inside were two little baggies of what we call “Puppy Chow” for my two older kids. My mom made this stuff ALL the time growing up. I called her and told her I was upset there wasn’t a baggie in the package for me! I love this stuff! And I laughed out loud about the legal crack bit….so true!

December 9, 2008 - 6:23 pm

Ashley - Geez, y’all are making me feel really old! But even though I’m 31 with a 12 year old son I am free to be a kid when I’m not working or paying bills, lol.. and Muddy Buddies totally rock!
Ps.. age is just a number, I’m a firm believer in you’re only as old as ya feel (so, technically I’m still 17 :o) )

December 9, 2008 - 8:16 pm

Tia - I LOVE this snack, but we always called it Puppy Chow. :-D Muddy Buddies sounds nicer. lol Thank you for posting this, because now I’m craving it and want to make some.

December 10, 2008 - 12:51 am

Michelle - Your blog is so beautiful, I just happened to stumble across your blog and have the same exact feelings of getting older and losing my childhood and lack of certain “adult” responsibilities. I’M PETRIFIED! I just hope that by the time I’m an adult my blog will look half as pretty as yours :)

December 10, 2008 - 7:43 am

purpley - I just turned 29, so I know how you feel times 10. BUt listen, I spent all of my twenties feeling that impending dread that you’re feeling right now. I should have spent all that time just being happy that I’m still young and can eat stuff like this without worrying about cholesterol.

Don’t forget to enjoy 23! (you’ll miss it when you’re 24…;) Might make this for a dinner party…thanks for the recipe.

December 10, 2008 - 7:47 am

Elizabeth - Oh muddy buddies!! soooo freaking delicious. And its funny cause I was just writing on my blog this morning that my favorite childhood cereal was Wheat Chex! And don’t worry about getting old- working in the real world stinks but think about all of the free time you will have to bake and cook once the work day is over!

December 10, 2008 - 9:27 am

Stephanie - Oy this post hit home for me! I just turned 23 abuot 3 weeks ago, and in 4 days from right now, I will be graduating with a bachelor’s. You’re right.. this is not a time to celebrate graduating – it is a time to be completely freaked out by being THRUST INTO THE SCARY, REAL WORLD OUTSIDE OF COLLEGE, into a TERRIBLY SPARSE JOB MARKET at the moment. OH BOY, its all too much! I LOVE muddy buddies, but my current soothe-my-nerves-about-WHERE-IS-MY-LIFE-GOING-CRISIS is oreos dipped in milk, while laying in bed watching tv. There is something about holding an oreo between your thumb and pointer, dipping it into cold, cold milk, and licking your fingers when you’re done that is oddly comforting… in a bring-you-back-to-childhood-when-things-were-less-scary way. ::sighh::

December 10, 2008 - 9:57 am

katie - I loved making this treat as a kid. It was so fun and so yummy! Check out my blog and my christmas cookie giveaway!

December 10, 2008 - 10:08 am

pickyeatings - I love muddy buddies…and I think I need to have them at my holiday party.

I’m 26, married, and still not really a grown up. You never have to FULLY grow up.

December 10, 2008 - 10:32 am

joythebaker - oh god! oh god! oh god! i pay rent and have a retirement plan. please oh please don’t tell that this means that i’m an adult. that’s a hard one to swallow.
i totally understand your fears. moving on from college is a big deal! you’ll rock it girl! slowly but surely, one retirement plan payment at a time. it’s a good life. a little scary and a little daunting at times, but still all around awesome.
champagne and best friends help… tremendously.

December 10, 2008 - 2:52 pm

eliza - i want to say happy birthday to you in advance! when i was that young like you, i was a year away of getting married. so i understand your wish of not wanting to grow up. but sometimes being a grown-up is a lot of fun too. you’ll get there eventually (i hope!) and you may find yourself liking it, you’ll never know!

December 10, 2008 - 9:17 pm

Sharon - I’m 29 and went back to grad school because I didn’t like this whole “adult” thing. Can’t avoid it, but I can try.
And many thanks for posting this! I haven’t had it in years and have been thinking about it lately. Can’t wait to make it!

December 10, 2008 - 11:31 pm

Y - Never heard of muddy buddies, but I like them already! I think it hit me that I was growing up, when all my friends started getting married – and now they’re having kids! Then it hit me even more when I realised all those noisy schoolkids on the train were annoying the heck out of me, rather than me feeling that I was one of them. Using the words “Kids these days”.. is also a sign. As in, kids these days are in such a hurry to grow up, that it’s such a shame, because life seems less complicated when you’re younger. My take home message from being older so far has been, that life is fleeting and fragile and that we should use our days as best we can… including the occasional muddy buddy! (How did you get that shape and pattern on them?)

PS: Connect Four was “my” game too! :D

December 11, 2008 - 7:40 am

Celine - have I told you, lately, that I <3 you?
the pics are totally drool worthy, as usual.
also, I’m almost 12 years older than you are and I feel absolutely senile now. I don’t want to grow up either, dammit!
if we don’t get to interact before then, happy way early birthday wishes to you, A.!

December 11, 2008 - 7:50 am

Amanda - Thanks Celine :)

December 12, 2008 - 12:39 pm

Mona - Mmmmm!Puppy Chow!!!

December 14, 2008 - 11:09 am

lillie - love this post on so many levels! my childhood best friend and i have had a muddy buddy making tradition for years. i’m 24.5 myself, so i feel you on the “playing adult” business. muddy buddies always bring me back.

delighted that i just discovered your blog (:

December 14, 2008 - 11:10 am

lillie - oops! hehe, i unintentionally included that “.5″ with my age. as long as we’re under 30, halfsies still count, right?

December 22, 2008 - 5:18 pm

Michelle Hermon - Hmm, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATE.
It’s a coincidence that our birthday is the 23d and that neither of us want’s to grow up ;)
Anyways greetings from Sweden.

December 29, 2008 - 8:32 am

Teri Lyn Fisher - I heart muddy buddies so so much.

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