OK, these are labor intensive and not VERY alcoholic, but they’re a nice, pretty treat! These are from kitchn, and I have a silicone cube mold that I use which makes them very large (like 2-3 bites), but they are easy to pour in and extract which makes it worth it. The formula is non-alcoholic liquid + liquid+ gelatin powder with optional fruit. I rarely have superfine sugar which makes it a little trickier, but it works if you have any fine sugar. The Bellini is my favorite one. The fruit makes it seem healthy.

5 Cocktail-Inspired Jello Shots

Margarita Jello Shots

Makes about 16 (one-ounce) shots

Just like the drink, these jello shots are packed with sweet and tangy lime flavor, plus a nice balance of tequila. And of course, what margarita would be complete without the salt?

Prepare the mold according to the directions above. Whisk together 1/2 cup water and 1 cup limeade in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the 2 packets of powdered gelatin over top and let sit for 5 minutes or until the gelatin is softened and the surface of the liquid is wrinkled. Warm over medium heat, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup tequila and 1/4 cup Cointreau. Garnish with sea salt before serving.

Cosmo Jello Shots

Makes about 16 (one-ounce) shots

Skip the martini glass — these cranberry and lime cosmos are meant to be eaten with your fingers.

Prepare the mold according to the directions above. Whisk together 1/2 cup water, 3/4 cup cranberry juice, and 1/4 cup lime juice in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the 2 packets of powdered gelatin over top and let sit for 5 minutes or until the gelatin is softened and the surface of the liquid is wrinkled. Warm over medium heat, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup vodka and 1/4 cup Cointreau. Garnish with lime zest before serving.

Lemon Drop Jello Shots

Makes about 16 (one-ounce) shots

Just like the namesake drinks, these shots are super lemony with a nice balance of sweet and tart flavors.

Prepare the mold according to the directions above. Whisk together 1/2 cup water, 1 cup lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons superfine sugar in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the 2 packets of powdered gelatin over top and let sit for 5 minutes or until the gelatin is softened and the surface of the liquid is wrinkled. Warm over medium heat, stirring until the gelatin and sugar are completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup vodka and 1/4 cup Cointreau. Garnish with lemon sugar before serving.

Bellini Jello Shots

Makes about 16 (one-ounce) shots

This classic bubbly brunch drink might just be even better when served on a plate. Take your pick between using sparkling wine, Champagne, or prosecco.

Prepare the mold according to the directions above. Whisk together 1/2 cup water, 1 cup peach juice or purée, and 1 tablespoon superfine sugar in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the 2 packets of powdered gelatin over top and let sit for 5 minutes or until the gelatin is softened and the surface of the liquid is wrinkled. Warm over medium heat, stirring until the gelatin and sugar are completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1 cup sparkling wine, prosecco, or Champagne. Divide 1 diced peach between the wells of the mold before filling with the liquid.

Baked French Toast

Baked French Toast

I love this one. You can make it the night before. I make it and then put the topping separate and then combine and bake in the morning. I’ve also added raspberries and/or blueberries. The fruit will cut the sweetness because it is very sweet. I never add maple syrup to it, but you can. You can also add nuts, but I don’t.

1 loaf Crusty Sourdough Or French Bread
8 whole Eggs
2 cups Whole Milk
½ cups Whipping (heavy) Cream
¾ cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

½ cups All-purpose Flour
½ cups Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoons Salt
1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
Fresh Fruit (optional)

Preparation Instructions
Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.

Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add nutmeg if desired. Add butter pieces and but into the dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a Ziploc in the fridge.

When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. (If you’re using fruit, sprinkle on before the crumb mixture.) Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture. Bake 1 hour or more for a firmer, less liquid texture.

Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.

Kentucky Butter Cake Cookies

I don’t make cakes. I mean, I can, but they are not my preferred baked good. My last attempt went horribly awry for example. However, I’ll do cupcakes and these cake cookies. These are inspired by the Kentucky Butter Cake, and I made them for Kentucky Derby one year. They are little round cookies with a glaze (no picture, sorry).

Kentucky Butter Cake Cookies Serves: 24 cookies


•1 cup butter, room temperature
•1 cup granulated sugar
•2 eggs
•1 teaspoon vanilla
•2 teaspoons baking powder
•½ tsp salt
•3 cups all purpose flour

•¼ cup butter
•½ cup granulated sugar
•1 tablespoon water
•1 teaspoon vanilla
•optional ~ powdered sugar to dust

1.Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C
2.Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. Set aside.
3.In the bowl of the stand mixer beat butter and sugar together for 1 minute until mixed. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated, scraping sides as necessary.
4.Add in baking powder and salt, continuing to mix and finally the flour. Mix until dough just comes together.
5.Using a medium (2 tablespoon) cookie scoop drop the dough onto the lined baking sheet. Alternately you can roll the dough into balls if you want a thicker cookie. 6.Bake for 9-11 minutes until the edges are slightly golden. Don’t over-bake.

1.While the cookies are baking combine all ingredients into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir continuously until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Do not bring to a boil.
2.Allow the glaze to cool slightly (about 5 minutes) to thicken.
3.When the cookies are done spoon one teaspoon of the glaze onto each cookie while they’re warm. If the glaze gets too thick just heat it up a bit more.
4.Dust with powdered sugar after the glaze has set if desired.

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

This is really easy, one of the first recipes I learned on my own decades ago. I remember it being good, but it’s pretty basic. I like to coat the shrimp (whenever I cook them) with garlic salt and pepper. They get a nice little crust to them and a little color to this otherwise neutral-colored dish. Lastly, I get the small to medium shrimp. You get more and they’re bite sized.

1 pound linguini
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves

For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, add a couple of tablespoons of salt and the linguini. Stir to make sure the pasta separates; cover. When the water returns to a boil, cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the pasta is not quite done. Drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm. Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a bit more olive oil and serve immediately.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This is more of a casserole. It’s not an ooey gooey mac and cheese, but it’s a solid side dish. It can be a little bland, but I do like the mustard. It really compliments the cheese., This also freezes well. The topping doesn’t stay as crunchy or textured, but it’s fine. It’s better than throwing it away. Just make sure you don’t overcook the pasta which is sometimes what I do when I get distracted.

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch

Sparkling Champagne Punch

I love this punch, but I rarely have enough people over to make it. I rarely use the fruit listed and will just throw in some oranges slices and pomegranate seeds. Also, see my note on the wine. You can make the recipe as directed, but it’s not wrong if you just put the whole darned bottle in there.

3 TBS sugar
1 c pomegranate juice
2 (750-mL) bottles sparkling wine, chilled
3/4 c late-harvest white wine, such as late-harvest Riesling, chilled
2 oranges, thinly sliced crosswise
1 c diced fresh pineapple (1/2 inch)
1/4 c pomegranate seeds
Ice cubes, for serving

In a punch bowl, dissolve the sugar in the pomegranate juice, stirring vigorously. Add the sparkling wine and late-harvest white wine, then add the orange slices, diced pineapple and pomegranate seeds. Serve the sparkling pomegranate punch over ice cubes.  (NOTE:  um, funny story.  When I made this recipe originally, I thought it said 3/4 of a bottle of Riesling so I just added the entire bottle.  I’ve been making this recipe revised with 2 bottles of sparkling wine and 1 bottle of Riesling.  It’s super delicious.  We doubled the recipe for 20 people on Saturday and it went in a blink of an eye.  I didn’t add all the fruit, just sliced oranges.)

BBQ Pork

BBQ Pork

BBQ Pork was pretty good for a first try. I had to switch the type of pork I used and then overcooked it, BUT it was still good. Plus, now I know what to do to make it better next time. It took a long time, but it’s not labor intensive and doesn’t take too many ingredients. I think we happened to have everything but the pork. Definitely check the link for options and how to make it more authentic. I went the easier route.


  • ▢1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar (white also ok)
  • ▢1/4 cup honey
  • ▢1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • ▢2 tbsp light soy sauce , or all purpose soy (Note 1)
  • ▢1 tbsp soy sauce , just all purpose (or more light soy) (Note 1)
  • ▢1 tsp Chinese five spice powder (Note 2)
  • ▢1 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola) (Note 3)
  • ▢2 tsp red food colouring , optional (Note 4)


  • ▢1.2 – 1.5kg / 2.4 – 3lb pork scotch fillet (aka collar neck, pork neck) OR pork shoulder (Note 5)
  • ▢2 tbsp Extra Honey



  • Cut pork in half to make two long strips. (Note 5)
  • Mix Marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  • Place the pork and Marinade in a stain proof container or ziplock bag. Marinate 24 to 48 hours in the fridge (3 hours is the bare minimum).


  • Preheat oven to 160C/320F.
  • Line a tray with foil and place a rack on top (recommended but not critical).
  • Remove pork from the marinade, save Marinade. Place pork on rack.
  • Roast for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, pour reserved marinade in a saucepan. Mix Extra Honey into marinade. Bring to simmer over medium high and cook for 2 minutes until syrupy. Remove from heat.
  • Remove pork from oven. Dab marinade all over, then turn. Baste then roast for a further 30 minutes.
  • Remove pork from oven. Brush with marinade again, then turn, brush with marinade and roast for a further 20 minutes. If charring too quickly, cover with foil.
  • Baste again on surface then bake for a further 10 minutes until caramelised and sticky. Meat should be tender but not falling apart, like with pulled pork. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  • Serve with rice and steamed Chinese greens. See notes for more uses!

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

These are 100% not as pretty as the ones on the website, but I did not have nearly as much buttercream as I needed. They were delicious but, as with everything else made with fresh fruit, they do not have a long shelf life.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes


For the cupcakes

  • ▢1 cup butter softened
  • ▢2 cups granulated sugar
  • ▢4 eggs room temperature
  • ▢1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ▢2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • ▢2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ▢1 cup milk room temperature

For the Buttercream

  • ▢1 cup 2 sticks butter, softened
  • ▢3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • ▢2-4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
  • ▢1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ▢pinch salt

For the Strawberry filling

  • ▢3-4 cups finely diced strawberries
  • ▢1 tablespoon granulated sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 cupcakes pans with 24 cupcake papers. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high for 2-3 minutes or until light colored and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Alternately add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the milk in three parts, stirring just until combined and scraping down the sides as necessary.
  • Spoon the batter into the lined cupcakes pan, dividing between all 24. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the buttercream, beat the softened butter in a stand mixer for 2-3 minutes until light in color and fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla and enough of the heavy cream or milk to make a spreadable consistency. Beat the frosting on high for 3-4 minutes or until very fluffy.
  • Make the strawberry filling by sprinkling the granulated sugar over the finely diced strawberries. Let sit for 15 minutes until the strawberries release their juices.
  • To assemble the cupcakes, spread a small amount of frosting on the top of each cooled cupcake, like a mini crumb coat. This will keep the strawberry juices from soaking into the cupcake. Then pipe a circle of buttercream around the outside of each cupcake. Fill the center with a tablespoon or two of the strawberry filling. It is best if the cupcakes are filled with strawberries just a few hours or right before eating them.

Lo Mein

Lo Mein

We made this lo mein last weekend. We had some lo mein noodles from an earlier shopping trip. The kids like it. We have different vegetable preferences so I think I’d like it more with meat or broccoli or something less, well, orange. Still, it was tasty for maybe a side dish.

Lo Mein


Lo Mein

  • 8 oz lo mein noodles (cooked according to package instrucitons)
  • large carrot julienne
  • 1 cup broccoli chopped
  • large red bell pepper sliced
  • medium onion sliced
  • garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp oil for frying

You basically make the sauce, cook all the veggies separately and then combine them all together, add the cooked noodles and sauce and then call it a day.

Roasted Chicken

Cast Iron Roasted Chicken

The husband made this one. I’m not looking up the recipe in my texts. It’s very similar to this one. (Updated: So similar that it is actually the recipe used.) It’s lemon and garlic and doesn’t take very long to make. It was so tender and juicy and delicious. We’re not the most delicate when it comes to carving and presenting it, but you can take our word for it. The hardest part is cleaning up my cast iron pan.