Thank you for Doing My Taxes Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2010 was a year full of changes. Lucky for me they were all good changes. But changes also mean something the IRS likes to call a 1099 or sometimes 1098 and when you have more than one of them (try five) and lived and work in two different states it becomes really difficult to do your taxes on your own.

After a couple small tempter tantrums I got extremely lucky and someone offered to help. I made them these in thanks. I should really make them a couple more batches, that’s how fudged up my taxes were this year. As a matter of fact maybe that’s what I will make them next… homemade fudge.

(recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
*1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened  *2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
*1 egg *1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract *3/4 cup all-purpose flour *1/2 teaspoon baking soda *1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon *1/2 teaspoon salt *1 1/2 cups rolled oats
* raisins (as many as you like) * ½ cup almonds
Makes about 24 cookies  

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)

2.  Mix butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until creamy. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir together both mixes and then add oats, raisins, and almonds.

3. Chill the dough for about 30 mins. to an hour for thicker cookies. They will flatten if you bake right away. Which ever you prefer. Line up spoon size scoops two inches away from eachother on your cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and brown sugar. Cool and serve.

Fancy Watermelon Lime Jello Shots

I made these for our New Years Eve Party (with left over oranges and cherry jello we had in the pantry) and they were a huge hit. Who doesn’t love jello shots? Brings me right back to college. Unfortunately dixie cups don’t exactly look elegant alongside fancy cheese plates and party napkins. Not to mention the pink or blue stain on your finger all night from extracting.

Here is your solution! I am bringing them to a housewarming party tonight. Aren’t they gorgeous? The color combinations are endless.

*10 limes, *one box watermelon (or any kind of red color) jello * 1 cup vodka  *1 cup boiling water
– 10 limes makes 40 jello shots –

1. Prepare limes by cutting them in halves and hollowing out the peel. This may sound easier than it is. The trick is to take a paring knife and score around the insides carefully to loosen the citrus. Then spoon it out saving the fruit. (If you have a juicer for every 1 cup of lime juice add 6 cups of water and half a cup of sugar and 3 teaspoons of honey for an awesome limeade).

2. Boil one cup of water and add it to jello mix in a large bowl, stirring until it dissolves.

3. Slowly add one cup of vodka and stir. (For a kid friendly non-alcoholic version just use cold water instead of vodka)

4. Pour mixture into a cup with a spout (for an even pour). I use a measuring cup. Line up limes on a cookie sheet so they are secure and upright. Pour in jello mixture. Refrigerated over night.

5. Carefully (gingerly) quarter the halves with a sharp knife.
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My Love Makes Me Panko Crusted Salmon

Nick has made this salmon dish for me twice now and it is one of my favorites. I watched him make it last time so I could share it with you.

We try to have fish for dinner at least once a week for its health benefits. We choose salmon frequently because it’s low in calories and saturated fat and packed with omega 3’s which are proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, dry skin, fatigue and even mood swings. (Too bad it didn’t help out those mood swings this morning, right baby?)

*4 tablespoons unsalted butter *1 garlic clove, very finely chopped *1/2 cup panko bread crumbs *salt and freshly ground black pepper *2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice *1 tablespoon Dijon mustard *1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce *3 tablespoons honey

Purchase two fresh Atlantic salmon fillets from your local fish market (trust me the fresh stuff tastes better than anything prepackaged.)

Place your fillets on a parchment lined baking sheet. In a small bowl whisk the Dijon mustard and lime juice and then brush it over the salmon and the season with salt and pepper.

In a medium skillet melt the butter and add in garlic. Then add panko bread crumbs stirring until they are toasted and evenly coated in butter.

Pack the panko on top of the fillets generously and roast for 12 minutes or until cooked through (careful not to overcook. Dry rubbery salmon is not tasty).

While the salmon cooks simmer the soy sauce in a small saucepan until is reduces by half and then stir in the honey. When the salmon is out of the oven the last step is to drizzle the soy and honey sauce on top and serve!

Butterscotch Bread Pudding

I missed my work Christmas party/lunch this year because we were picking up Honey from the rescue agency. Lucky for me they brought back some leftovers, and the left over butterscotch bread pudding was amazing.

I was worried I wouldn’t be able to duplicate it because I tried to make bread pudding for my grandpa a couple years ago and the end result tasted like smooshed french toast. Not this stuff though,  I really think I hit this one out of the park.

We had it for breakfast AND dinner yesterday. We had to bring the leftovers to work today so we would stop eating it! (Allison if you see this, ask Nick for some!) Warning: Not a dish for dieters. Run while you can. 

Butterscotch Bread Pudding
serving size 10-12 small ramekins
or large casserole pan (recipe adapted from this one)
1 loaf Wonder Bread
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
3 small beaten eggs
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups butterscotch chips

1. Grease ramekins or casserole pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Cube the loaf of Wonder bread.
3. Add cream, milk, beaten eggs, brown sugar, 1 cup of the butterscotch chips (save the other for later) and vanilla. Mix well. Consistency should be like oatmeal.
4. Pour into ramekins or pan and bake for 50 mins. Cool.
5. Run a butter knife along the inside of the ramekin to loosen the bread pudding. Flip upside down on a plate. (not necessary if in casserole pan)
6. (Optional) Melt 1 cup of butterscotch chips and 1 table spoon of shorting in the microwave for 30 second intervals mixing in between until chips are melted into a sauce. Drizzle over pudding and serve.

Banana Brownies

Nick and I try to be healthy. We buy fruits and vegetables and wheat bread instead of white. I try to not use cheese and butter in my cooking all the time (that’s a hard one). We go to the gym and I take the dog for a run/walk everyday. But then things like this happen…

The bananas start to go bad, because we’ve been eating bagels for breakfast and I have to use them before they go to waste… I can’t just throw them out! So we put them brownies 🙂

*2 Bananas *1 box brownie mix *1/4 cup water *3 eggs *1 cup oil

This recipe is super simple and the bananas make the brownies extra moist and chewy. I’ve often thought of putting peanut butter chips into the mix as well but the simplicity of the chocolate and banana is too good on it’s own. (I love my Le Creuset pink glitter spatula)

 1. Follow instructions on the box for the brownie mix and baking.

2. Pour half of the batter into a pan lined with foil and then greased (better for removing stick free). Place your sliced bananas in rows and then top with the rest of the batter.

3. Let your boyfriend lick the remaining batter in the bowl and on the spoon. (That’s a rule in this household)

4. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center perfectly clean. Cool before you cut and serve.