Friday, August 29, 2014

Celebrations of life are sweet -- if cake and Nillas are involved!

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

It was just under a month ago that our family celebrated my mother-in-law Mary's 100th birthday.  She was surrounded by her family (her children, her three favorite nieces, and me, my mother, and my sister-in-law).  Mr. L made a video. We all took loads of pictures.

 The nursing home provided pizza, punch, and we brought a wonderful (HUGE) birthday cake that was gobbled up in no time flat. A good time was had by all.  It was a happy day we will long remember.

Sadly, two days later, Mary suffered a devastating stroke. A week later, she was gone.

Wow. How could such a small lady leave such a big hole in our lives?

The Cozy Chicks sent us a lovely dish garden that we will enjoy for years to come. Every time we see it we think of Mary and of the friendships we've made with the wonderful women here on this blog.  (Love you guys!)

Mary loved Nilla wafers and hard candy. We bought her boxes and boxes of wafers and pounds and pounds of candy, which she shared with members of the nursing home staff.  When we cleared out her room, we found the last box of Nillas in a drawer. It hadn't been opened.

Truthfully, neither of us are fond of Nillas (I'd prefer a GIGANTIC OATMEAL COOKIE with walnuts and raisins!!!) so we aren't likely to eat them. But ... I know that other recipes use Nillas as a base.  Among them, bourbon balls.  Our friend Jean used to make bourbon balls and bring them to work every year at Christmastime. Boy, they sure were the hit of the office party.  (She did NOT spare the bourbon!) I'm sure Mary would have enjoyed bourbon balls (although she drank beer when she was younger, and white wine these past couple of decades).

I've made bourbon balls before, but I was wondering if there were other recipes out there that use Nillas as a base and that you guys have made and enjoyed.  I know I'd be pleased to know about them, and I'm sure those reading the comments would, too.  So, if you have a recipe, please share it.  (If I make one, I'll let you know the results.)



JIll Werkman said...

I have a great dessert.
Crush and layer vanilla wafers on the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan
Slice and layer bananas on top
Next slice and layer neopoliton ice cream.
Make chocolate sauce- chocolate chips, confectioners sugar, pet milk
Pour over ice cream
Freeze until chocolate sauce is hard
Top with whipped cream
Crush more nilla wafers and garnish top.
Keep frozen until ready to serve

Denise Z. said...

My condolences on your loss. I loved the Nilla wafers story. My mother, who lived to be 89, had a thing for See's Candy, which she passed down to all nine (!) of her children. PS< that thing with the Neapolitan ice cream and Nillas sounds pretty fabulous ... And Trader Joes' has a great pre-made chocolate truffle sauce to top it off.

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

So sorry about the loss of your mother-in-law. What a wonderful party you had for her. I was going to suggest crushed Nilla wafers as the basis for cheesecake or banana cream pie, but I just read Jill's recipe above and it sounds amazing .I'm definitely going to try it.

katherine is love said...

So sorry for your loss. What an accomplishment to live to age 100! That's not something many people are lucky enough to accomplish.

I have used this recipe for cheesecake crust using Nilla wafters:

Mason Canyon said...

So sorry for your loss. Living to 100 is amazing. Just think of all the things she saw change in her lifetime.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Oh, wow -- that sounds fattening, and GOOD! Thanks for sharing.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Thanks for the Trader Joe tip!

Lorraine Bartlett said...

I never thought of a crust for cheesecake before. You and Mary must think along the same lines!

Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. She seemed like some kind a of a lady. What a wonderful birthday you all gave her. And what beautiful memories she left for all of you.

Kristin A. said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mom-in-law. She sounded like a special lady. May you find peace and strength and be comforted by sweet memories of your time with her.

Sue said...

Check Food Network for a recipe. Trisha Yearwood made a banana pudding cake using the vanilla wafers as the flour. It really looked and sounded good. Again, sorry about your mother-in-law. You will always have her with you through the lovely memories you have.