Very similar to the Negroni, with bourbon replacing gin.


Very similar to the Negroni, with bourbon replacing gin.
Prep Time4 mins
Course: Happy Hour
Servings: 1 cocktail
Calories: 199kcal


  • 1 1/2 fl oz bourbon
  • 1 fl oz vermouth red/sweet vermouth
  • 1 fl oz Campari


  • 1 twist orange peel


  • Add Campari, vermouth and bourbon to a shaker.
  • Fill shaker with ice and stir well.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with an orange twist.

Cafe Mocha on the Cheap

I confess.  Over the years I’ve had relationships with multiple espresso makers. The longest fling was with a Wega MiniNova which unfortunately developed a leak that never got fixed.  If money were no object I would have quickly replaced it with another Wega.  In the meantime, while saving my pennies, I’ve come up with pretty good solution.

The good news is that for about $35, accessories not included, you can buy an AeroPress to make consistently good espresso.  The bad news is that it takes 10 minutes to make one cafe mocha, or at least that’s how long it takes me.

Cafe mocha!  What’s great is that I can whip one up at home much faster than going somewhere to buy one, and, to me, it’s just as good. Plus it’s much less expensive.

Cafe Mocha Ingredients

The mug I use is almost 15 fluid ounces, make sure yours is microwave safe.  If you like your coffee drinks hot it’s important to preheat the mug, so fill it up with water and put it in the microwave on high for about three minutes or until the water starts boiling.  Make sure to note how long this step takes in the microwave, you’ll be using the exact same time to heat the milk.

Finely Ground Coffee Beans

As a rule of thumb I use 1/4 ounce of coffee beans per cup of coffee.  However, when making a cafe mocha I use a whole ounce of coffee beans for three AeroPress servings (150 milliliters total for 3 servings).  Often I’ll use from 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of decaf beans to reduce the caffeine.  You’ll want a fine grind when making espresso so you may need to experiment with different grind settings.

Add 150 milliliters, or 5 fluid ounces, of water to a microwave safe measuring cup and heat on high in the microwave until it just starts to boil (this is contrary to the AeroPress instructions, but I find it much easier… just stick with me).  Be sure to note how long it takes in the microwave to boil the water as you’ll heat the milk for the same amount of time.

Milk Ready to Froth

Pour 7 fluid ounces of milk into a 2 cup measuring cup.  You’ll want the extra space of the larger measuring cup when frothing the milk using an immersion blender.  Heat the 7 fluid ounces of milk for the same amount of time it took to bring the 5 fluid ounces of water to a boil, be sure to not boil the milk.

Frothed Milk in a Measuring Cup

I always froth the milk in the sink because there’s always some milk that spills during the process.

Completed Cafe Mocha

Add about an ounce of chocolate syrup to the expresso and stir.  Pour in the frothed milk and spoon the foam into the top.

Making Chocolate Shavings

Back when I started making cafe mochas I didn’t add shaved chocolate.  When taking photos I thought the chocolate garnish would look great.  What a surprise when I drank the Cafe mocha after the photo session!  It wasn’t the taste so much as the smell of the chocolate when lifting the mug to take a drink.

Cafe Mocha with Chocolate Shavings

For the total experience I highly recommend the chocolate shavings.

Cafe Mocha on the Cheap

Use the AeroPress to easily make a mocha for one.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 1 15 fl. oz. mug
Calories: 218kcal


  • 1 oz ground coffee fine (espresso) grind
  • 5 fl oz water heated
  • 7 fl oz 2% milk heated
  • 1 oz chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 oz chocolate bar shaved


  • Fill mug with water and heat in microwave until water boils, about 3 minutes.
  • Measure coffee beans and grind.


Be sure to note how long it takes to boil the water as that’s how long the milk will be heated.

French Baguettes, Just Shorter

Have I mentioned that baguettes are my nemesis? I have yet to bake one that I’m happy with. This recipe is currently a work-in-progress and will be until perfected.

Why is the recipe here in the first place? Well, it’s not like the bread is bad. It tastes great, and the crust has good color and is crunchy. I’m after a baguette with a lighter crumb, one with larger random air pockets than it currently has. The baked loaf needs to look better too.

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Stuffed Pasta Shells

Stuffed Pasta Shells

These stuffed pasta shells are a yummy favorite. Both the marinara sauce and the filling can be made ahead to speed up meal preparation. Leftovers keep nicely in the refrigerator and longer in the freezer.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 555kcal



  • 5 qt water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lime juice from
  • 6 oz jumbo pasta shells 1/2 box Barilla jumbo shells, about 22


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 9 oz ricotta cheese
  • 6 1/2 oz mozzarella cheese grated, divided 5 and 1 1/2
  • 1 1/2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or parmesan, divided 1 and 1/2
  • 2 Tbsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp parsley plus sprigs for garnish
  • 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 cups Easy Peasy No-Cook Marinara Sauce must be thin, divided in half
  • 1 5.5-oz can Tomato juice like V8, to thin marinara sauce, if necessary


  • Unless the marinara sauce was made in advance, start by making the marinara sauce to allow enough time for the dry herbs to hydrate and spread their flavor.
  • To prepare the pasta, add 5 quarts of water, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 bay leaves and juice of one lime to a 12 quart stock pot and bring to a boil.
  • When the water is boiling add jumbo pasta shells and cook for 9 minutes.
  • When shells are done drain in a colander and turn open side down on a baking sheet to dry. Be sure to reserving one cup of pasta liquid in case the marinara sauce needs to be thinned.


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Add extra virgin olive oil to a skillet and heat on medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until just before the oil begins smoking. Add the garlic and sauté until slightly brown, about 1 minute.
  • Add ricotta, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, basil, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and extra virgin olive oil mixture, salt, and pepper to a 2 quart mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. The mixture will be a bit thicker than cottage cheese.

Marinara Sauce

  • Cover bottom of 13 x 9 x 2 glass baking dish with half of the marinara sauce.
  • Using a tablespoon stuff each shell with 1 to 1/2 tablespoons of filling, angling the stuffed shells in a 3 by 7 pattern. Squeeze the extra pasta shell where it best fits.
  • Spoon the remaining marinara sauce between the shells as much as possible. Sprinkle with mozzarella set aside earlier and bake for 30 minutes.


  • Garnish with Parmigiana-Reggiano set aside earlier and parsley sprigs, and serve.