Yesterday was a crazy, busy day with a little bit of everything. You see we had a day packed full of things we had to do and while some things were fun and happy others were sad and bittersweet.
Yesterday, would have been my mother-in-laws birthday. I adored my mother-in-law! She was an amazing woman who raised five pretty, great kids. She enjoyed living life and enjoyed being with her family. She had reached a stage in life where you just do what you want with no apologies. She was known to stick out her tongue at people and moon people. Their was even an attempted mooning at my wedding reception… lol. God, I miss her! She would knit everyone these amazing afghans and cook for the family all the time. We would spend Friday nights at her house where she would cook up chili and everyone would snack on her chex mix, drinking beer and playing dominoes. It was great and is sorely missed by the family now that both of my in-laws are gone. When my mother-in-law was ill she started giving people in the family things. Things she wanted them to have. She gave me her recipe box. For someone like me who loves baking, being the keeper of the family recipes is an honor and a privilege.
So my group and my sister-in-law went to go visit my in-laws at the cemetery. We had not been since my father-in-law’s service last year. Both of them were cremated and my father-in-law still wanted to keep her with him like he had been. So we made the drive to the cemetery on a grey and gloomy day and located their spot. It was nice having at least two of her children there to wish her a Happy Birthday.
From there we had to head to my dad’s family reunion. You see, yesterday also would have been my grandmother’s birthday. She was a great woman who raised 12 children. No, you didn’t read that wrong, I said 12. She was a tiny thing too. I think I was taller than her by 4th grade. I was always amazed at how happy she could be with her house always overrun by so many people on any given day, and holidays? Forget about it. Yesterday was the first time all 12 of her children were together in years. It was amazing seeing them all in the same place at the same time. They all had most of their children their too and the older ones in the group also had some of their grandchildren there as well.
It’s funny, you tell people how big the family is and they are like, oh that doesn’t sound so bad but then they see it and it is a bit overwhelming. (There are 34 grandchildren and over 40 great-grandkids.) Like I said not all of the cousins made it or it would have been truly mind-blowing. So it was bittersweet yesterday. It was great to have so many of us together but it would have been better if my grandma was still here to be a part of it.
My brother did not make the family reunion yesterday. He had other, bigger plans. He called us there though to tell us when he was done. You see, he decided to finally put a ring on it and ask his awesome girlfriend of four years to marry him. My mom, sister and I have been huge nags where this is concerned. Kelly is a great girl and if he didn’t snap her up soon someone else would come along and do it. He got smart though and took the plunge and we were all super happy and excited!
So after the reunion we headed to my parent’s house to meet up with my brother and his fiancé. We ordered some food and all celebrated the big news. It was a good time for everyone. My brother proudly showed us the PowerPoint presentation he used to propose to her. It was a cute display of all of their firsts together.
We then FINALLY headed home. I was exhausted and beat and happy for the day to end.
So what recipe do I have to share with you? Well, I made Cookies N Creme Brownies for the family reunion. They are definitely a little on the over the top side of things but they were good.
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 8 oz. container Philadelphia Milk Chocolate Snack Delights, softened
- 2 c. sugar
- 2 lrg. eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. good quality dutch process cocoa powder
- 1/3 c. Jell-o Oreo Cookies N Creme Instant Pudding Mix
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt, if you used unsalted butter only
- 2 tsp. milk
- 2 1.55 oz. Hershey's Cookies N Creme Bars, chopped
- 1 8 oz. pkg. Hershey's Cookies N Creme Drops
- Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray or grease and flour it.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until well combined and fluffy on medium-high speed. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the flour, cocoa powder, pudding mix, baking soda and salt and mix on low until combined. Add in the milk and mix on medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir in the chopped up Cookies N Creme bars.
- The dough will be thick. Press it into the 9x13 pan and then top with the Hershey's Cookie N Creme Drops, lightly pressing them in. Bake for 30-35 minutes and then cool completely before cutting. Store in airtight container.