We have my husband’s family reunion coming up over Memorial Day weekend and we struggle each year to get everyone to participate and even how to go about arranging it. Like a lot of families, we have people living in many different states but we always travel to Tennessee, which is where the family began.
This year one of the things I’m bringing is Milky Way cake, from a recipe passed down from my mother-in-law that my boys always request for their birthdays or holidays. It’s so good and holiday calories don’t count, right? 🙂
Does anyone else do a family reunion and have any ideas to pass along? How do you handle the food?
Here’s the cake recipe:
Milky Way Cake (makes one three layer cake)
8 regular size Milky Way bars
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup pecans (optional)
1/2 t. baking soda
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
Cream one stick butter and sugar and set aside. Melt one stick butter and candy bars in double boiler until candy is melted. Beat eggs into sugar and butter one at a time. Put baking soda in buttermilk, then add to melted candy bar mixture (take off of heat). Add chocolate mixture to butter and sugar and beat, then add flour a little at a time and beat to combine. Add nuts, chopped, if using.
Put into three round 8 inch pans, greased and floured, and bake at 325 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes.
(You will need to make this recipe twice for each recipe of frosting and to make two three-layer cakes)
2 ½ cups sugar
1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
1 stick butter
6 oz. chocolate chips
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow fluff
Cook sugar and milk over medium heat (until soft ball stage) about 3 minutes after it comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Add 1 stick butter, chocolate chips, marshmallow fluff, beat until smooth. Cool until almost cold before frosting cakes.
The cakes freeze well, frosted or unfrosted, wrapped well in plastic wrap and then foil.
You can find earlier excerpts from The Reunion here
“Brian, I do understand, but Casey’s what, 18, 19? And she is going to be out from under her parents’ roofs pretty soon anyway. You won’t have a lot of say so when she’s away at school, especially what she’s doing at night or on the weekends. It sounds like you did a great job raising her and now you’ll have to trust her to make good choices.“
Whoops, she knew she’d really stepped into it when his smile thinned and his eyes narrowed. “And you know this from your vast experience with child rearing?”
“Wow, sorry, of course not. No kids here. I didn’t mean to overstep. I haven’t even seen you in years and here I am giving you advice on your teenager –“
“No, I’m the one who’s sorry. I just apologized for how I treated you years ago and I’m being an ass again. Of course you’ve got opinions about how teenaged girls act. You were one. Your ideas are probably worth more than mine.” He looked up at her and she could see the sadness in his eyes. “It seems like Casey’s gone from being Daddy’s little girl to this almost grown up overnight and I hate it. I mean, she used to care what I thought and talk to me about everything!”
“Oh, Brian, I’m sure she still cares. Maybe it’s different for girls, this breaking away from being someone’s child and learning to live on their own. I know it was like some huge declaration of independence for me. It’s why I wanted to go out of state to college – get as far away from the little town and my parents as I could. Otherwise, I’d always just be mom and dad’s little girl.”
He looked down at his dinner plate and struggled to regain his composure. Just thinking about the recent issues with Casey was enough to drive him crazy. And here at dinner with Jen was not the place. He should be focusing on her.
“Forget I said anything about it. I’m sure she’ll come around.” With an effort, he changed the subject. “So tell me what you did after you went away to school.”
And Jen proceeded to tell him about how his not taking her to prom was actually a good thing because it had served as a catalyst to get her to change her life, come out of her shell, take care of herself by eating better and exercising and caring about her appearance. And that led to a boyfriend and then another whom she married after graduation and lived with in the Chicago area. But the marriage only lasted four years and even though she dated now on and off, it seemed as though she’d not found anyone she wanted to keep seeing.
“So it’s just you and Jack now?” he asked, his eyes teasing.
“Oh, yeah, and he’s a sweetheart for sure. And the perfect speed, too. He’ll do walks around the block or the neighborhood, but then he’s more than happy to snooze next to me on the couch while we watch a movie. He’s a real snuggler.”
“A real snagger is more the word I was thinking,” Brian laughed. “I still can’t believe he stole my underwear while I was coming out of the shower.”
“He does love a good game of chase!” Jen laughed. And when she saw the glint in Brian’s eyes her breath caught. Apparently he wasn’t upset with her anymore.
“Well, who doesn’t love a good game of chase?” he leaned forward and casually picked up one of her hands, running his fingers over hers. She was aware of how much larger and harder his fingers were, a little roughened from the carpentry work, obviously stronger than hers. Now that she thought about it, everything about him was larger and stronger than she remembered.
Monday evening when Catherine arrived home she found a single deep red rose lying by her apartment door. Delighted, she picked it up and unlocked her door, glancing around for a card she might have missed. Nope, nothing.
She texted her date from Saturday to thank him, but it soon became embarrassingly obvious he hadn’t sent it. Awkward! If not a florist, how had someone gotten inside the gated apartment complex? How odd. She thought of her neighbors and how little she knew them.
Ouch! She had been clutching the stem too tightly and now there was blood on her hands…
Catherine pondered the question of who the rose was from all evening. She couldn’t shake the sense of someone having been in her apartment, but knew she was being ridiculous. The gentleman from the security company that managed her building had reassured her that no one would be able to get in or out unless they had a pass code or key.
Thoughts of calling the police flitted briefly through her mind, but what would she tell them? That the innocent blood-red rose on her kitchen counter somehow meant something sinister? Right, she could see the police officers’ smiles already. She double checked her door and window locks before turning out the lights and drawing the blinds.
There, off in the distance, did she see a pinprick of light from a match or lighter? But there was no following glow of a cigarette. Still, she stepped quickly aside as she continued to peer out an opening, glad that the wooden blinds hid her shape from outside view. Nothing. Really, what was wrong with her overactive imagination? She needed a good night’s sleep and things would look better in the morning.
In the distance, a tall man cupped his hand around the match as it caught and turned away from the building to light his cigarette, shielding the flame from the night breeze. Nothing seemed amiss in the area, so he got into the van and started his drive home.
Mitch hoped he’d found the right girl after all this time. His little sister would be about 27 or so now, if his memory was right. By the time he’d driven home, he convinced himself that maybe Catherine Delaney deserved to be left alone to live her life in peace. But other than his wife, Sam, he had no other family and it would be nice to think that someone cared about him. And that he had someone to care for, too.
He pulled into the garage and parked the van, closing the door after him against the dark and dampness and prying eyes. Sammy was waiting dinner for him, he knew, and she smiled that sweet and tentative smile that he loved as soon as she saw him.
“Honey, how was your day?” he enfolded her in a big hug and held on tightly. “Mitch, I’m good, so good,” she said excitedly. “I made a celebration dinner for us.”
“Wow, just because I got home on time today?” he laughed, taking off his gun walking into the living room to secure it in the safe. She knew how uncertain his schedule could be and he was surprised she’d make a special dinner without letting him know about it first.
“Come on, babe, sit down and I’ll dish everything up.” Sammy was already hurrying into the kitchen and he saw that she had, indeed, made a big pan of lasagna and her lasagna was one of his favorite things. There was salad and she was just lifting perfectly toasted garlic bread out of the oven.
“My, God, honey, that smells so good,” he almost felt as though he was drooling and picked up his napkin quickly to check. Nope, just starting to salivate over that wonderful tomato and garlic and melted cheese aroma.
Sammy sat down beside him and picked up her wineglass, which seemed to hold something other than the red wine he had in his. “To family,” she said.
Mitch clung to his wineglass with difficulty. Had she suspected he was looking for his long-lost sister? He knew he should have talked to her about this sooner…
“—in about the middle of December!” she finished, looking so thoroughly pleased with herself that he felt bad he’d missed the beginning. “Mitch, you’re all right, aren’t you? I know we hadn’t really talked about me getting pregnant right now, but these things happen –“ Her face fell as she realized he wasn’t even paying attention to what she was saying. Oh, no, he looked – disappointed.