After the skydive and anthem they officially started the walk and we made our way around the perimeter of the farm, through trees, trails, barnyard and next to a creek and pond with ducks and geese. The farm is a really great place for the walk and is really fun. Aidan went to play on the bounce slide they had set up for the kids with his Aunt and counsin while DH's parents and I walked. DH and his skydiving partner (Compulsive Flyers) manned their booth at the event and talked to people about skydiving, the indoor skydiving / wind tunnel where DH works, and MonaVie, their sponsor.
We had a really great day and it was, admittedly, good to be outside for the first time around so many people in almost seven months. It was still pretty surreal, but I wasn't as overwhelmed as I think I will be the next time we go somewhere crowded when we are inside. I don't particularly care for crowds in the first place, but after being so secluded, I'm pretty sure it is going to be difficult. In the meantime, I know that I am so blessed to have my boys. Speaking of which... (you knew I had to sneak in a couple of pictures, right?).
I think it helped to be in a crowd of people that I knew understood me, how I am feeling, and have been where I am now. There were so many amazing people and stories that were shared, the good, the bad, and the really bad. But, that is why we are all there and why we were doing this. So that others in the future hopefully don't have to go through this, or worse.
The round-up for the Blogging for Babies - Little Wonders Event was amazing. I got a lot of great feedback and so far have been able to raise $270 toward our $500 goal (you can see our progress on the little tracker bar at the top of the screen and still donate if you want). I owe it all to good friends, family and of course, this amazing food blogging community of incredible friends. Since January when I started this blog I can't begin to express how much being a small part of this community has meant to me. It has quite literally saved my sanity and given me something to look forward to.
This event has been amazing and I am so glad that people have enjoyed it. I look forward to continuing this next year. In the meantime, another huge thank you to everyone who participated. Please, if you haven't had the chance yet, go and check out the round-up so you can see everyone's amazing entries and check out their blogs.
The winning blogs of the event were Tartlette, Cannelle et Vanille and Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy. I am contacting these three lovely ladies to give them their choice of the prizes.
Now, you may recall from the round-up that I promised to post the recipe for the incredible Dulce de Leche Duos I pictured (and pictured again at the beginning of this post). You seriously have to make these to believe how good they are, here is the recipe with Dorie's notes included, and of course, my two cents is added as well.
Notes from Dorie: Just a few years ago, I would have had to give an explanation of what dulce de leche is and where to find it or, more likely, how to make it. Today the thick, butterscotchish, toffee-like spread made from slowly cooked sweetened milk can be found in ice cream and yogurt and, best of all, in jars - ready-to-use dulce de leche is now a supermarket staple. These cookies, flavored with ready-made filling, are round and flatish, crisp on the outside and soft, almost cakey and just a little chewy in their skinny centers. Sandwich them with more dulce de leche and you double the pleasure.
Notes from Holly: Though not technically from scratch, I boiled a can of sweetened condensed milk in a pressure cooker (yes, I know, I like to live dangerously but this has never scared me - I barely bring it to a boil and don't actually let the pressure ever build). I am still going to attempt actually making DDL from scratch soon, but the last time I tried was a dismal failure. Anyway, live and learn. I'm sure you can find it in the store to buy if you want to try these. However, if you don't want to brave the boiling can as I do, then you can always take a page from David Lebovitz and follow his directions which I have also had success with.
One more note, I really liked the cookies, but I think I underbaked mine (shown in the picture) and they weren't crisp at all on the outside, just soft and slightly chewy. So, take your pick, a little crisper sounds nice, but the soft was very nice, if not a bit messier, too. Also, while the DDL sandwiched in the middle was good, for me, the bittersweet chocolate ganache was heaven.
For the Cookies (Makes about 30 sandwich cookies)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup store-bought dulce de leche, plus more for filling
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar (I actually used dark brown)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft. Add the 3/4 cup dulce de leche and both sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Don't be concerned if the mixture looks a little curdled - it will smooth out when the flour mixture goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingedients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter.
Spoon the dough onto the baking sheets, using a heaping teaspoon of dough for each cookie and leaving 2 inches between them.
Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The cookies should be honey brown with a light sugar crush, but they will still be soft, so remove the sheets from the oven but don't touch the cookies for another minute or two. Then, using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remaining dough, making sure you cool the baking sheets before spooning the dough onto them.
When the cookies are completely cool, spread the flat bottoms of half the cookies with a small amount of dulce de leche, and sandwich with the flat sides of the remaining cookies.
Storing: Packed in a sealed container, the sandwich cookies will keep at room temperature for about 4 days; they can be frozen for up to 2 months.
For the Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache:
8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate (I used Lindt 70%), chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, bring the heavy cream barely to a boil. Remove from the stove and add the chopped chocolate to it. Let stand 2 minutes and then stir until fully combined and smooth. Let cool until firm enough to stir and spread on the cookies (or you can use a small piping bag).