January is a great month for movie watching: On any given night, it’s either snowy or cold and rainy outside, or someone is sick, or you just need a pick-me-up because you’re feeling the winter “blahs.” This month our Netflix Stream Team is watching movies with four-legged stars, and we’ve got a favorite movie in the house that fills the bill perfectly. The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986) is a movie about the adventures of a dog and a cat who are best friends. For some reason, one of our kids is obsessed with this movie. Any time he’s sick, sad, or tired, he watches this movie and instantly feels better. Happily, it’s stream-able on Netflix, so he can fire it up any time he wants without having to fumble with the DVD.
So what are you going to eat when you’re watching a movie about your favorite four-legged friend? Why, puppy chow, of course. Puppy chow is apparently a classic kids’ snack (popular in the northern Midwest) that we only learned about recently but has just about everything you’d want in a guilty pleasure – sweet, salty, crunchy. The basic idea is crunchy cereal coated with a peanut butter/chocolate mixture and then coated with powdered sugar. (Why is it called puppy chow? It’s supposed to look a little bit like some dog foods, but it’s strictly meant for humans – do not feed it to your dog.)
One thing we really like about puppy chow is that it’s easy for the kids to make. An older child can be in charge of melting the ingredients, the younger kids can stir (carefully) the cereal and the chocolate together, and everyone can shake it up. (We divide the cereal and the powdered sugar into a few different bags so everyone could shake.)
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips are OK)
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 8 to 9 cups crispy cereal squares (We used Barbara's Multigrain Spoonfuls)
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate, butter, and peanut butter together until smooth and evenly mixed. Remove from heat.
- Place the cereal in a large bowl and pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal. Stir gently until the cereal pieces each have chocolate on them (try not to break the pieces).
- Place the powdered sugar in a large ZIploc bag. Add the cereal, and shake to coat evenly.
- Serve immediately, or store in a Ziploc bag until ready to serve.
Of course you can be all kinds of creative if you want to make a healthier version of puppy chow. You can use vanilla protein powder instead of powdered sugar, for instance, or you can bulk it up with nuts, raisins, or even popcorn. But start with this classic recipe, and then you and your two-legged friends can decide how you want to adapt it for movie night. Just make sure you have enough on hand for all the kids.