My newsfeed is covered in two things this week: the ALS ice bucket challenge and back to school. This is only the second year ever in my life where I won’t be going back to school, and I love school. OK, maybe I didn’t always love school. High school and middle school didn’t need to be a thing. But elementary school? Awesome. College? Most awesome. Why was college so awesome? Let me tell you:
- I went to Iowa State, you know, that one in the #1 Best College Town. Yeah, that one.
- Inexpensive access to good sports. I didn’t play, obviously, but I’m a really good tailgater. Really. Good.
- Creating your own schedule, therefore three-day weekends for two consecutive years. Fridays are still really hard for me.
- Weekdays that are actually just bar specials: Karaoke Night, Taco Tuesday, Pint Night, Mug Night, etc.
- Free (kind of) access to a really nice gym with pools, climbing walls, everything else you would ever need to get your sweat on and access to exercise classes that cost a fortune in the real world (don’t worry yoga and kickboxing, I haven’t forgotten about you, I just can’t afford you).
- Living within walking/biking distance to a large pool of friends who are always willing to do something even if that something is just napping on the roof.
- Napping on the roof. (Or napping in general, just naps, I love naps.)
- Complete creative freedom when producing content for classes and student publications. In school your creative career seems like it’s going to be so cool because you pick the subject of each project, then you graduate and you’re much more limited. (Just me? OK.)
- Weeklong parties (Hi, VEISHEA. Or rather, RIP, VEISHEA). Nothing says college like washing sushi and French fries down with a beer at 11 a.m. then proceeding to stand in the front yard while hula hooping with a street full of partiers the rest of the day.
- Unending opportunities to learn new things and try things you never would have otherwise. There is a club for everything out there and they give you discounted prices on anything you want to try—like skydiving! There is also a class for everything and if you came in with a year of credit like I did, there was time to try a fun one each semester (read: alcohol class, human sexuality, history of rock and roll, all the sports and anything you want to know about how the human mind works. SO COOL.)
Anyway. That life is over now, but I still get nostalgic when fall starts to creep in (not that we have that in Phoenix) and the yellow school buses are back on the roads. I was one of those kids (nerds) who never ate hot lunch. You couldn’t have gotten me to try a crispito for anything, I never new what the appeal was to those grayish looking roll-ups covered in yellow sauce was.
My mom packed my lunch every single day, God bless her. And every single day I ate a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich (the crust preference varied on and off throughout the years). She didn’t use plastic bags like other moms. Instead she wrapped my sandwich in foil. I would unfold it into a little tray and when I was done, I wrapped it all up in a foil ball and then squished down each side into a perfect cube. This went on until high school (and sometimes during high school).
After I was diagnosed with Celiac I had trouble finding a truly good gluten free PB&J. So when the craving hit, I went with a rice cake slathered in my favorite sandwich middles. It does the trick, but then I had an idea better than rice cake bread: rice crispy treat bread. Oh my goodness. These are the best, most addictive, sweet, sugary, can’t-even-imagine-how-bad-this-is-for-me PB&J treat. I’ve already brought them into work three times because we just can’t stop eating them.
- 6 cups crisped rice cereal
- 1 (10 ounce) bag mini marshmallows
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup peanut butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 (10 ounce) jar jam/preserves
- Whip the peanut butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy (add more powdered sugar if necessary). Set aside. Note: You could substitute with whipped peanut butter to avoid added sugar (but you're already eating a rice crispy, so are you really concerned about sugar at this point?)
- Place half the marshmallows and half the butter in a large microwavable bowl. Microwave for one minute on high, stir. If not fully melted, continue to microwave in 20 second increments.
- Once melted, stir in 3 cups of the rice cereal until evenly mixed.
- Pour the mixture into a greased 9x9 pan. Press the mixture down to pack it in tight, using parchment paper.
- Spread the peanut butter mixture on top to evenly cover. Follow with the jam/preserves.
- Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour to let the mixture set up so it doesn't squish everywhere when you top it. Note: You can freeze it until solid if you want a very clean look, just make sure to thaw before eating!
- Repeat steps two and three with the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture on top of the peanut butter and jam and pack in tightly by pressing with parchment paper.
- Cut and enjoy!