Week One: Puppy Chow for Puppies! (An Itty Bitty Bake Sale!)

Project: Bake Sale Fundraiser for a No-Kill Animal Shelter

Actual time taken: 3:15

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Of COURSE the first time I decide to embark on an ambitious once-a-week project, the year decides to start on a Wednesday. In the middle of the week. (Yes, that’s where Wednesdays usually are, Selena….)

Given not only the short amount of time I had to complete my first hour of volunteering, as well as the fact that half of the week stores are closed due to the holidays, I had to improvise right away.

As I tried to formulate a plan of attack, I realized I still have a bunch of leftover ingredients for my world famous (Well, famous in the touring Lion King cast, at least) Puppy Chow. It’s a gift I make for my cast and crew every Christmas- a confection of Chex mix, chocolate, peanut butter and powdered sugar. I make 100 little baggies for everyone, and it’s always quite an undertaking. In my hurry to get ready for the holidays, however, I somehow managed to overestimated my original recipes’ numbers…. By 14.

Whoops.

So Friday morning, I got to work. I had already worked out a pretty fluid system from making 100 baggies a few weeks before, so I clicked right back into my Puppy-Chow-Factory mode and whipped up five batches in one hour and fifteen minutes. (I’m quite proud of that fact- the recipe says it will only take 15 minutes and seeing as I’m usually completely inept in the kitchen- most of my entrée’s are blackened, whether it’s called for or not…- sticking with the average time on the recipe is quite a feat!)

Disclaimer: I’ll break it down for you here, but mind you, this is NOT a cooking blog or a cute Pintrist board. My kitchen is a mess, the bowls aren’t different pastel colors, and the end product doesn’t look like Martha Stewart was anywhere near my kitchen.

For the complete recipe, click here.

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Better Homes and Gardens this is NOT….

First, you mix 1 cup of white chocolate chips, 2/3 cup of peanut butter, and 1/3 cup butter. (It’s marked on the stick, FYI. As a baking neophyte, I didn’t know that before I began. Oh the things you learn by doing…)

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Put it in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Mine took about two 30 second intervals. After the first 30 seconds and a good stirring, it should look something like this:

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Let’s all say it now… ewwwww… (but it’s yummy. I promise)

After two 30 second intervals and a few good stirrings, it should look like this:

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Muuuch better…

When the mix is good and liquefied, stir in the teaspoon of vanilla, and start working in the Chex.

To save time, I premeasured the 6 cups of Chex and marked it on a Tupperware, so I wouldn’t have to measure cup for cup. I did the same for the powdered sugar, which comes later…

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Make sure the Chex is nice and coated before adding the powdered sugar.

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Stir until they are all coated and pretty white. My sugar tended to absorb the powdered sugar and turn a little tan, so I sprinkled a little more powdered sugar on top and kept it moving.

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Tan puppy chow is just as yummy as white puppy chow. It’s scientifically proven.

Then I bagged and tagged them.

(Clearly I’ve been watching too much Law and Order lately…)

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I spread the word among the cast and crew a few days before the bake sale, and by the time the weekend came, I had hungry crew guys asking “Where’s the puppy chow?!”

This was a good sign.

But I wasn’t ready.

I had told everyone originally that they would be on sale on Saturday, but when Friday night rolled around, I was too exhausted to make the remaining four batches, so I went to sleep, thinking I would wake up early Saturday and finish them.

Orrrrr not.

After kicking myself for slapping the snooze button four times (but trying to be a little gentle with myself, as per one of my New Year’s Resolutions…) I pledged to stay up Saturday night and finish, by hook or by crook.

After two shows Saturday, I found myself in my kitchen on throbbing feet making the last four batches, which ended up taking me two hours, waaaay off the 15-minute-per-batch mark, due to my delirious exhaustion.

But I was done. So I lugged the 72 baggies of sugar to work, and set to selling.

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I was nervous at first because there weren’t many bags sold during the first show, but apparently word got around that someone was selling the candy equivalent of crack downstairs, and the next time I checked we had made over $60!!

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I put our cutie pie “cubs” (that’s a Young Simba or Nala nickname) to work, counting cash for the cause

At the end of the day Sunday we had 14 bags left over out of 72 and had raised a grand total of $84.44!!! I was SO proud of this number, meaning that some people donated MORE than the suggested donation of $1 per bag! Now to deposit it and go on a shopping spree at Nordstroms!!!

Juuuust kidding.

(It wouldn’t get me much there anyway…)

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My very professional, Sharpie decorated donation box. Really channeling my inner fourth grader here.

I’m going to donate it to a local no-kill shelter, but I’m researching a few that my dresser knows personally before I decide on the particular shelter to give the money. I’ve heard some horror stories of “no-kill” shelters that  save the pet’s life, only to let them live in other shelters for years and years, forgotten in cages. So I’m being a little picky and vetting the various shelters around before sending our hard earned pennies over.

The last 12 baggies are going with my friend to her place of business (a “grown up job,” as I call it, at a local bank) to try to sell the last 12… wait, did I say there were 14 before? Oh, yeah. Aaaanyway, our new total is now $86.44 and I’m nursing a slight belly ache, tempered with a satisfied heart from the first week of volunteering well done.

I almost didn’t make my first weeks’ deadline, squeezing the bake sale out under the gun on Sunday. I was battling fatigue, as predicted, and finding it hard to find the time to make the Puppy Chow, so going forward I think I’m going to try to start whatever my hour of work that week will be earlier than Friday… but for the record, I blame my struggles this week squarely on the Wednesday that wanted to be a Monday….

(Also, a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who donated to the Bake Sale!!! You all seriously rock for taking me seriously. Seriously. Thanks.)

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