Monday, December 30, 2013

Year in Review

This has been a BIG year for me and for the blog.  I got married, traveled, got promoted, turned 30, and completely revamped the blog.  Here are a few of my favorite posts from 2013!

Brioche rolls.  'Nuff said.

The BEST french onion soup.  And so easy.

I developed a love of drop biscuit cobbler.  Blueberry, specifically.

I found a recipe for the tastiest (and most dangerous) margaritas.

The H and I ate in three spectacular cities:  London, Paris, and Rome.

The blog redesign (and rename!) launched.

And I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

2013 was an amazing year and I can't wait for 2014 to be even better.  Thanks for sticking with me through it all!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cookie Swap Time! Coconut Oatmeal Crisps


 As I announced previously, this year I decided to join the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  It was with some trepidation that I made this decision, as I normally only try out new recipes on people that HAVE to like what I make (ie the H or other immediate family members).  But I went out on a limb nonetheless and made some Coconut Oatmeal Crisps

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Oatmeal Crisps (adapted from BHG):

  • 1 3/4  cups  quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 3/4  cup  sugar
  • 3/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes, plus more for sprinkling 
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 3/4  cup  butter, melted
  • 1/4  cup  light-colored corn syrup
  • 1/4  cup  whipping cream
  • 1 1/2  cups  bittersweet chocolate pieces
  • 3  tablespoons  shortening

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get out a big cookie sheet to line with foil.  (I am normally hard core about using my baking stones for cookies, but they didn't work well with this recipe.)  Then combine your dry ingredients, including the coconut flakes.

In another bowl combine your butter, corn syrup, and whipping cream, and stir that into your dry mixture.  Drop the dough onto your foil by rounded teaspoons and bake for about 11 minutes.  The cookies will start to brown around the edges.  Remove the foil from the cookie sheet, replace with a new sheet, and start it all over again, allowing your cookies to cool completely on the foil (I had about 4 sheets of foil going during the process).

After all of your cookies are completely cooled, heat the chocolate and shortening in a double boiler, stirring occasionally, and then dip your cookies in the chocolate.  I then laid my cookies on a cooling rack with foil below, and sprinkled them with coconut before placing them in the fridge to harden a bit.  

I sent my cookies to three bloggers in totally different parts of the country (Shanna, Annakate, and Chrystal), and I hope that they enjoyed them!  I received cookies from two other bloggers, Erica and Lisa and dang, these people know how to make cookies.  They put me to shame! 



I bought The Shining Girls months ago (in April, I believe?) and it just arrived.  I haven't had a chance to crack it yet (it's on my agenda for the weekend) but I can't WAIT.  Word is it was slated for a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio before it was even released to the public.  I hope it lives up to the hype!


 Scuba Leggings via Express

I purchased these leggings (at the recommendation of a friend) for Thanksgiving and they didn't disappoint.  They wipe clean and they stretch, and they kept me warm in the below-freezing Minnesota temps.  I require nothing more of holiday eating attire.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Corn Casserole and The Book Thief


Literally years ago, I asked my sister for the corn casserole that she makes nearly every time I come home.  Instead of scanning it and sending it to me, like a normal person, she took a picture of the recipe with her phone and emailed it to me.

The best part about this, though, is that she wrote down the recipe, then took the photo and sent it.  And the recipe was a little loosey goosey on the details:

Who's ever heard of a CAN of sour cream?!  Anyway, I revised this and made my own (more exact) recipe.

Jalapeno Corn Casserole

2 stick of butter, room temperature
2 eggs
16 oz sour cream
2 boxes Jif Corn Muffin Mix
2 cans sweet corn
2 cans cream style corn
1/2 cup diced jalapenos

Mix the ingredients together, then pour in a 9x13 baker and bake at 350 for approximately 60 minutes, or until brown and set.  (My recipe is bigger than the original, and obviously packs a bit more of a punch).



I'm currently immersed in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and anxiously awaiting the release of the movie.  I'm already bracing myself for the fact that the movie will be a let-down compared to the book, primarily for two reasons:  (1)  the actress they chose to play Liesel has blue eyes and the author is VERY careful to point out that she has brown eyes (not insignificant in a book about WWII); and (2)  the book is narrated by death, which is effective and startling in a way that I wasn't expecting to enjoy, but that I'm afraid will come off as cheesy in the movie.  I guess we'll see!


I am, literally, wearing these jammies as I type:

These were a must have in my wardrobe for two reasons.  First, they look like prison stripes (the bottoms are also black and gray striped) which is hilarious in my family for a couple of reasons that I won't discuss here.  Second, the H and I walked down the aisle after we were married to the Imperial March from Star Wars.  We are dorks, and my dork status is even more solidified now that I own Darth Vader prison jams.  Expect a pic on instagram of me rocking these sometime soon.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pizza Dip and Divergent


The H is CONSTANTLY requesting things that are not particularly appealing to me, specifically the inclusion of pepperoni in everything.  Don't get me wrong, I like a greasy pepperoni pizza as much as the next girl, but I don't believe that pepperoni would improve upon everything else in the food-iverse.

Pizza Dip

1/2 package of pepperoni, diced, plus additional for layering
1 package chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2, 8 oz packages fat free cream cheese
1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
1 jar pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese (sliced or shredded)
Toasted baguettes

 Combine the chopped pepperoni, cream cheese, onion, and spinach and spread into a square baker.  Top the mixture with a layer of pepperoni, followed by a layer of pizza sauce and then a layer of mozzarella.  Bake at 350 for about half an hour, or until hot and bubbly. 


That is a terrible photo of a great set of books.  I have a lot of thoughts on this series, most of which are vaguely spoiler-y so I won't go into them.  But I will say this:  if you liked The Hunger Games, the Divergent series (comprised of Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant) is better.  Much like The Hunger Games, these books have a slightly heavy-handed (in my opinion) commentary on society and the government, but the characters are really well-rounded and Veronica Roth truly does them justice from beginning to end. 


VC Signature Peony Pump via Shoebox

After trying on a million pairs of shoes at Nordstrom, I finally settled on these (though I really, really, REALLY wanted these Rag & Bone booties, I didn't succumb to temptation), and they've been in heavy rotation ever since.  They are well-worth their relatively modest price and they go with everything! 

And the booties will be mine soon, I assure you.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Back, and (hopefully) better than ever

So here we are.  A new blog name, gearing up for another round of holiday festivities, and a new outlook on this whole thing.  A warning:  you're still not going to see much of the H on the blog for a variety of reasons, but you are going to see more of moi.  Join me for my first Cooking, Reading, Wearing post about, as promised, our wedding!


First and foremost, we had THE MOST AMAZING group of people in the universe help us with our wedding.  These photos are courtesy of our photographers-turned-friends Reid and Wendy at 12-1 Photography (they also have a great, fun company called Crash My Event that is doing cool things).  While I can't recall eating much of anything at the reception, I have heard nothing but great things about the food.  The pictures don't do it justice!

Who doesn't love a Tequila Lemon Poached Pear?

We couldn't have done it without Mallori, our go-to-gal at the Hyatt where we were married, and their amazing team.  I was never without a full glass of champagne (thanks to my waiter, who I asked to marry me more than once that night - H doesn't keep my champagne tank full the way he did)!


One of the best things about the H is that he really gets me.  When people were telling him to buy me jewelry as a wedding gift, he got on the internet and ordered me a quarto of Shakespeare's plays FROM 1776.  When I opened them I cried and asked if we could skip the ceremony so I could smell them all day.  That's love, ladies and gentleman (him for me and me for the books . . . and me for him, too, despite my many proposals to champagne cater waiter).


The shoes, as you ALL know, are Fendi, and my dress was from Pronovias with a custom belt created by the fantastic tailor at The Dressing Room.  Seriously, I had THE BEST PEOPLE around me while planning my wedding and the day-of.  I would love to post more photos of my friends and family, but not everybody's cool with having their face splashed all over the internet, so I'll leave them out of it.

This year has been huge for me in so many ways, and I hope that using it as a jumping off point for new content on this blog will re-inspire me and interest all of you!  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new content and style, and I look forward to writing more regularly now that I've kicked things off.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Let's Begin Again

I've been debating a revamp of this blog for a long time.  I love to cook, but I also love to do a lot of other things.  Then I saw this infographic, and it all became clear.

Specifically, this part:

This is so in-line with the people I know in my profession, and I've found that a lot of the people who read this blog are also interested in these things.  Books and reading, cooking and recipes, and the infographic has shoes!  HELLO!  With that in mind, the blog is starting from the beginning . . . kind of.

About 48 hours after this post runs, I'll be incorporating new content that encompasses, I think, a lot more of who I am, and that includes what I'm cooking, reading, and wearing.  I'm actually going to start it off with a wedding post, since I spent so much time planning and talking about it on Cookin' in Heels, and never shared.  The time for that is done, peeps, and you're going to get a much better idea of who I am.  I hope you like it, and I hope you'll stay with me during the transition.  It's going to be great!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Saturday Sip: Skinny Pina Coladas

My sister in law was in town about a month ago for our annual pilgrimage to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.  In order to prep for the main event, we drank these skinny pina coladas.

For a pitcher of these bad boys, I combined equal parts pineapple juice and strawberry vodka, without about a cup of coconut vodka, and then topped the whole thing off with club soda. 

We had them over ice and garnished with fruit.  Festive, low-cal, and nice to look at - I don't ask for much more.

Also nice to look at:

This bag was purchased for me by the H in Paris.  I love it.  It's a lot bigger than it appears at first glance, and since I live in Florida I can get away with the light color year round.  Festive and nice to look at, am I right?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

I love Trisha's Southern Kitchen, on the Food Network.  LOVE.  She is a riot.  Have you seen the Steel Magnolias episode?  It is absolutely priceless and, someday, I will make my own armadillo cake.  In the meantime, I'm content to watch Trisha be hilarious, although the H and I suspect that her sister Beth is actually the genius cook in the family, given the fact that she's on "assisting" Trisha in every other episode.  Regardless, I love them both (and I love when Garth makes an appearance.  It takes me back to my childhood).

ANYWAY, Trisha makes a Cold Oven Poundcake (a favorite of one of Beth's kids!  Beth is EVERYWHERE) and I always thought it looked delish.

I changed Trisha's episode ever-so-slightly by adding the seeds from two vanilla beans and a little more vanilla extract, and using about 1/3 cup less sugar.  Otherwise I left it exactly as is.

And it. Is. FABULOUS.  Moist and delicious.  And since I love vanilla SO much, the beans added a little extra oomph.

I enjoyed this poundcake with chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries.  Nightly.  Because that's how I roll.

For some reason, I saw these and thought man, they kind of look like my strawberry and chocolate-laden poundcake.

 Christian Louboutin via Neiman Marcus

Just me?  Whatever.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Big 3-0

Today's the day, peeps.  I'm 30.  3-0.  Dirty thirty.  And I'm PUMPED.

I'm also currently scooting back to Florida from Toronto.  If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'll know I'm traveling all over the place, but I'm doing my best to keep up the posts.

Have a happy Cookin' in Heels birthday, everyone!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cookie Swap Time!

I am thrilled to announce that, this year, I am going to be participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!  I can't wait to get started and share my cookies with you!

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013

Stay tuned!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Quickie Friday: Baked Tortellini and Spinach

Here's an easy one for you all on a Friday:  baked tortellini.  Throw in some frozen, chopped spinach (thawed, of course) and you've got a meal made in heaven.

I'm a big fan of Buitoni pastas, and they make my lazy meals so much easier.  Here's the recipe:

1 package Buitoni three cheese, whole wheat tortellini
1 package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 jar low sodium marinara
1 red onion, finely chopped
olive oil

Prepare the tortellini according to the package directions and preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  While the pasta is boiling, saute the onion in some olive oil until translucent, then add the spinach and pasta sauce.  Add the tortellini and top with mozzarella, then throw the whole thing in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Couldn't be any easier.  Seriously, this whole meal takes less than 10 minutes to prep.  I have been known to walk in the door, throw it together while still in my work gear, and to use the 20 minutes while it's baking to make myself more comfortable (i.e. throw on my jammies and pour myself a glass of wine).  Life is hard sometimes.

The fact that these are at H&M for less than $60 is also hard.

All I'm saying is that a world with these booties and meals that fast doesn't suck.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Favorite Things Thursday: Smokin'

I want to tell you about my new favorite weekend past time.

But first, a confession.

Sometimes blogging is a bit of a drag.  I love this blog.  I started it for me, but there is a LOT of pressure to get a million hits a month and make money off of this damn thing.  And I think you can tell from my last few whiny posts, I don't have time or energy for that!  I would love to hear from some of you who blog for fun about how you deal with the stress, or whether you care about statistics and/or pleasing the masses at all!

Alright, enough of that.

New favorite thing:

No, not fire (per se) but using the hell out of the grill.  But not grilling, either!

Smoking!  That's right, I'm a smoker.  And I'm not ashamed to admit it.  Smoking meat is my new favorite thing to do on the weekends, and the rewards are sweet.

This is my grill/smoker/everything:

And I love it.  I can toss some veggies on the left, and smoke meat on the right.  And, keep in mind, I lay in the pool and read a book when I'm not tending the food.  It doesn't suck.

I have now smoked and shredded multiple pork picnics (after rubbing them with a combination of cayenne, salt, and pepper), and then doused them with barbeque sauce.  It's a feast for the senses.  Really.

Rest-assured more smoking recipes will be coming.  And for those of you who like details - it takes about 12 hours, at 250 degrees, to smoke a 12 pound pork picnic (bone-in) with applewood chips.  You can thank me later.

Monday, September 30, 2013

No-Bake Strawberry Oat Bars

Prior to finding this recipe, I had never eaten a date.  Not that I can recall, anyway, and given my new-found love of them (due solely to this recipe) I think I would have remembered.

There's really nothing easier than this.  Combine the following in a food processor and pulse it until it combines:
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats

Once combined, press the mixture into a baking dish.  I used my square Pampered Chef baking stone.

Then top the whole thing with thinly-sliced, hulled strawberries.  And chill.

The recipe didn't call for chilling, but I liked these cold.  Mine also could have used more strawberries, but I didn't care.  These were wonderful.  And you know how they were best?  Crumbled up over frozen vanilla yogurt.  You're welcome.

I'm going a little off-script with my fashion in this post.  I have a (BIG!) birthday coming up, and the H claims he has no idea what to get me.  I suggested this:

Alexander McQueen via Neiman Marcus

I feel like there's a hole in my wardrobe that can only be filled by one of these beauties.  I also have a hole for Louboutins, though, if we're being honest.  Wish him luck, peeps.  He may need it!