Monday, October 29, 2012

Thank you!

I spend a lot of time, on this blog, talking about myself.  About the F.  About Arnie.  Right now, I want to talk about you, peeps.

Thank you all so much, from the bottom of my heart, for reading my blog and sticking with me.  I started this blog in September of 2010 for my friends and family, and I can't believe how it's grown!  I hope to keep on growing and hope that you'll stick with me throughout the process.

If there are any changes you'd like to see to the blog, recipes you want me to try - ANYTHING - please leave a comment and let me know.  I'd love to hear from you!

image here

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Favorite Things Thursday: Tiga

The first time I saw this video was in college, and I've never been able to forget it.  My mom and aunt are in town for a visit, so I leave you with this.

See you next week!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jalapeno Popper Dip

All of my regular readers know that football season is big business around our house.  You can find us cheering for Notre Dame on Saturdays and for the Bears on Sunday (or the Raiders if you're the F, but that's not important).

Regular readers also know that we love our food spicy, so it should come as no surprise that I put a total of 10 large jalapenos in this dip.  From both a texture and a heat perspective, I think it was the right choice.

I based my recipe on this recipe, but I obviously used many more jalapenos and I substituted fat free sour cream for the mayo (a decision that I strongly recommend).  I also used substantially less of the topping than the recipe indicated, with great results.

The dip turned out great and I would definitely make it again.  I honestly didn't think it was spicy enough, but that's easy to remedy with additional jalapenos (or I may even add hot sauce).

I would also probably add more bacon because, really, who doesn't love more bacon.

I am worried that having such gorg wedding shoes is going to turn me into some sort of Fendi-aholic.

Fendi via Barneys

Between the wedding shoes and these, I'd say it's a totally reasonable and understandable addiction, wouldn't you?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers

Let me preface this post by informing you that you will not get a photo of the final product.  To say that these stuffed peppers are nothing to look at in their final, edible form would be an understatement.

This recipe, which I discovered on pinterest, naturally, did not indicate that one should pulverize the vegetables in a food processor to begin, but that is exactly what I did (not intentionally - but I got distracted and things happened).

I had to really smoosh my peppers into the crock pot. but smoosh them I did, and they fit just like the recipe said they should.

I used ground turkey in my recipe instead of beef or pork, and I also left out the tomato paste in favor of dumping a can of tomato sauce over the top of my peppers.

I set my crockpot to cook on low for 9 hours, then threw some cheese on top when I got home from work for a little extra something.  The peppers were good, but I have one caveat:  you really need to season the stuffing MUCH MORE than the recipe says.  They were bland.  I added extra seasoning to mine, and they were still bland.  And nobody wants a bland pepper.  Otherwise, they were super-filling and easy, so I plan on trying them again.  I will report back.

These, however, are in no way, shape, or form bland:

B Brian Atwood via Bergdorf Goodman

I am loving the subtle color-blocked snakeskin and think these would be amazingly versatile.  Happy birthday to me?!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Quickie Friday: Cheesy Spinach Dip

I am a lover of all things spinach.  Combine that with cheese and you have a winning combination, in my book.

I threw a block of 2% velveeta, 10 oz. of frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed dry, of course), a block of fat free cream cheese, and two cans of Rotel (the habanero kind) into my crockpot with cayenne and white pepper (plus a little salt) and set the whole thing on low.  Let me tell you, peeps, it was DELISH.  And couldn't have been easier.  We had this dip with whole grain tortilla chips and whole grain pita bread slices, and it was perfect.

On Wednesday I signed up to take my first class at Above the Barre Fitness and I am super excited.  I know not, however, what to wear, especially on my feet.  A little googling led me to these:

Have any of you ever taken a barre class?  Any tips or tricks?  I'm going in blind . . . and completely out of shape.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Rolls

My love of buffalo chicken has been discussed around these parts before (see here, here, and here) so when I stumbled upon another buffalo chicken recipe, this time on pinterest, I had to give it a try.

I shredded two chicken breasts (that I had boiled) and coated them, heavily, with Frank's Red Hot Wing Sauce.  It's important to let the chicken sit in the sauce for awhile, and stir it regularly, because it is very absorbent and you want the chicken to be as buffalo-laden as possible.

I laid out my wontons and, in one corner, placed bean sprouts (for crunch), some of the chicken, and a little bit of crumbled bleu cheese.

I baked them, on a preheated baking stone, at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.

And the result was nothing short of wonderful.  They were light, crisp, extremely flavorful, with just the right amount of crunch from the sprouts and zing from the bleu cheese.  We had ours with a football full of ranch for dipping (naturally).

Because buffalo chicken is a staple in our diet (particularly during football season) I thought it perfect to feature a shoe that is staple in one's wardrobe.  Behold the simple, pointed-toe pump.

Jimmy Choo via Saks

Now, obviously, the tangerine color makes it a little more of a standout than a staple, but given that I live in Florida and that color tends to pop against tan skin, I think they're entirely appropriate as a go-to pump.  No?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Favorite Things Thursday: Bern's

Obviously good food is one of my favorite things, and I even enjoy a cocktail and a dessert or two, from time-to-time.  Last week we hit up Bern's Steak House and it did NOT disappoint.

Those are desserts and drinks not to be avoided, if ever you find yourselves in the Tampa Bay area.  DEFINITELY a favorite thing.

*Clockwise from top left, Bern's in-house roasted coffee with cream and a glass of Kahlua; Salted Caramel Parfait; Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle (all photos taken by moi)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Knockoff Wheat Thins

I am very fortunate that, when it comes to food, I am inspired in both my real life and in my virtual life.  On the internets, I often turn to Smitten Kitchen for inspiration, as was the case when I saw her recipe for homemade wheat thins.  That was a stone I could not leave unturned.

I love making knockoff versions of anything (exhibits 1, 2, and 3).  These were almost too good to be true.  So easy!  So delicious looking! 

And they were easy . . . until I got to the rolling.  Rolling crackers as thin as wheat thins is HARD.  And I have chicken arms.  It took awhile.

And it took a lot of flour.  And it took some work to get my dough to roll into a rectangular-ish shape.  But I did it (this was the first roll - I'm not perfect) and it was worth it.

Because they were awesome.  Further accentuating their awesomeness was my real life food inspiration, my friend from All She Wants to Do is Bake.  She is very busy (which is why her fabulous blog is updated sporadically) and very fancy, and we had a lunch date yesterday that involved her VERY delicious homemade hummus.  And you know what it tasted great with?  These homemade, knock off wheat thins.  We were a match made in culinary heaven.

Much like these booties and I are a match in sartorial heaven.

Narciso Rodriguez via Barneys

I believe I am meant to wear them to lunch with the aforementioned friend, eating the aforementioned snack, while looking FANTASTIC.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Holy Guacamole

Despite my documented distaste for yogurt, Greek yogurt in particular, I find myself trying to incorporate it into my diet because I am not totally blind to the health benefits.  With football season in full swing (GO BEARS!!!) I decided that, this year, I am going to make some of our favorite things with a healthy-ish spin.  First up, guacamole.

I combined 4 avocados, a whole bunch of jarred jalapenos (that's a technical term, obviously.  I used about half a jar), and garlic in my food processor, along with a cup of greek yogurt.  I pulsed that mixture until it was relatively smooth, with a few chunks of avocado and jalapeno throughout.  I don't like my guac too smooth, but you could completely smooth it out if you prefer.

I then added an 8 oz. container of store bought pico de gallo to the avocado mixture (I have made pico, myself, in the past, but this is so much easier), and gave it a good stir.

And then I put together this artsy presentation because I'm hooked on instagram and a poolside shot of guacamole seemed like a good idea.  Healthy poolside guacamole is awesome (and for any interested parties, this chip and dip server can be found here).

Also awesome:  The F booked our honeymoon!  I still have absolutely NO idea where we're going, but I suspect that I'll be walking a LOT.  Enter Cole Haan and Maria Sharapova:

I have heard nothing but wonderful things about these flats and the Nike Air cushioning, so I definitely think they're worth it for 15 days of traipsing about a foreign country.  Have any of you tried these flats?  Are they worth it?!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Off to the Festival

Today the F, the F's sister, her good friend, and I are off to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Disney World.  This is our third year and I can't wait to see what they have to offer!

Follow me on Instagram to see what the day has to offer - I'm @Cookin_in_Heels!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Quickie Friday: Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

Fajitas in a crock pot.  Need I say more:

Throw a bunch of onions, a bunch of peppers, and whatever fiesta-ish spices you have in your house (I used cumin, cayenne, a little oregano, chili powder, white pepper, and garlic salt) in the crockpot with 4 frozen chicken breasts and 4 cups of chicken broth, turn it on low and let it go for 8-10 hours.  Shred the chicken, throw it on a tortilla with whatever fixins' you like, and have a margarita cuz dinner's ready. 

Oh wait, before you eat, please run to Target and get some of these:

I have no idea what a boot sweater is, but I'm cracking up that that's what these things are called.  Go forth and conquer with your boot sweaters, peeps, and please report back.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Crispy Tilapia with Red Sauce

While it continues to not be my favorite, I am coming around to tilapia and its place in my cooking repertoire.

This time I breaded it in a combination of panko and spicy Italian seasoning, pan fried it, and served it atop quinoa and spinach, with a store-bought marinara. 

It couldn't have possibly been easier, which I liked.  I don't know that tilapia (or any gilled fish, for that matter) will ever be my favorite, but this was the best its been so far (previous attempts here and here).

I know that opinions will likely vary from mine, but I think my favorite Kardashian (Khloe, for those who don't know) would agree that these may be the best boots CL has done so far:

Christian Louboutin via Bergdorf Goodman

And only Mrs. Odom could rock these booties in the way they deserve.  I would fall over.  In fact, I'm still recovering from the last time I DID fall over in super-high heels.  But that is a story for another day . . .

PS - Dear Khloe Kardashian Odom - If for some reason you stumble upon this blog post and wonder "why would this chick talk about me in a post where she is also discussing fish?" please accept my apologies.  This post and my spotting these booties occurred simultaneously, and I couldn't not give a shout out, because (1) they made me think of you and (2) I think you're wonderful and I wish you and Lamar the best.  You both seem lovely and hilarious.  XO - Ash

Monday, October 1, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

This is another recipe that I made aaaaaaaaaaaaages ago that did not meet great reviews from the F, but did meet great reviews from my colleagues, one of whom told me that she was thrilled the F didn't like them because that meant she could have more.

I can't recall ever having made cookies with shortening in the past, so I was skeptical.  I also added flaxseed, my new favorite ingredient, and used whole wheat flours.  I am certain that the flax addition and the change in flour changed the texture of these cookies dramatically, but they were still tasty.

They were almost like little muffins, light and airy with the perfect amount of banana.  Great for breakfast, actually, because they weren't particularly sweet and went very well with a cup of coffee.

While the F didn't particularly care for them at first, once he drizzled honey over one his tune changed - within moments they were gobbled up and my fellow librarians were out of luck.

The sudden love that the F had for these muckies (that would be a muffin/cookie hybrid, for those not quick with these things) was duplicated in my heart the minute I saw these booties:

Alejandro Ingelmo via Saks

My heart pitter-pattered at the sight of them, and I believe they will be forever in my dreams from this moment forward (much as I know the F dreams of my cooking).  My goal may be to save for them, at this point, because I could see them gracing a party of some sort in the near future.  They need to.  Desperately.