Rum & Cola Braised Short Ribs

Rum & Cola Braised Short Ribs

Turn your favorite drink into a meal.  Sometimes I throw my hands up and just indulge in a dish that makes me want to sing and this is one of those dishes.  To try and help myself not to get too carried away I make it as an appetizer and not the main course (at least not this yet).  Lol!   I wanted something that would melt in my mouth but also something that would provide me with a sweet delicious taste with a little bite to it and short ribs did the trick.  Hmmm hmmmm!  They were awesome!

Don’t look at the recipe and think, “Oh no!  That’s just too many ingredients I can’t do it!”  You can do this.  Half of the recipe is for the dry part and the other is for the wet part.  Then you just combine the two and into the oven the ribs go.  Try this recipe and let me know what you think.


4 lbs short ribs

4 tablespoons canola oil

2 onions, chopped

3 tablespoons garlic, minced

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ cup brown sugar

¾ cup dark rum

¼ cup soy sauce

1¾ cup Cola

1/3 cup dried dark cherries

2 cups beef stock

Juice of 1 lemon

Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper


Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Season short ribs with salt, pepper, onion powder and paprika. Set aside
  3. In a large Dutch oven, add oil and heat until hot.
  4. Sear short ribs on each side (top, bottom, sides, etc.). Remove to a paper towel and allow to drain.
  5. To the Dutch oven, add onions and dried cherries. Cook until cherries are plump and onions are translucent.  Add garlic and cook until very fragrant.
  6. Stir in flour and ginger.
  7. Add stock and cola; allow cooking for 5 minutes while whisking.
  8. Add soy sauce, lemon juice and brown sugar, continue whisking until all is well incorporated and has begun to boil.
  9. Return short ribs to pot, cover and place in preheated oven.
  10. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and cook for 2 ½ hours or until ribs are tender and a thick, dark, sticky sauce has formed. (It will thicken more as it sits.)
  11. Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes.
Colorful Couscous, Make it Good!

Colorful Couscous, Make it Good!

Who likes to hear the word healthy?  I do, I do!  I think these days we count it all joy to hear those words especially from our physicians.  Well, guess what, you can create something that is healthy, TASTY and colorful without losing flavor.  Here I have prepared a colorful, delicious and nutritious meal within minutes.  Try this and your friends and family will thank you, their heart will thank you.


Tri-color Israeli Couscous

¼ cupSun-dried Tomatoes, chopped

5 Black Olives, sliced

2 stalks, Celery, sliced

½ each of Bell Peppers, Red, Yellow and Orange, med dice

½ English Cucumbers, diced

Kosher Salt, to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Your favorite dressing (I used a Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette)

Method of Preparation

  1. Cook Israeli couscous according to package directions and set aside.
  2. Allow to cool.
  3. Place all ingredients into a large bowl and stir together.
  4. Add  cooled couscous!
  5. Shazam! You’re a superstar.

ENJOY THIS HEALTY DISH…it has all the freshest ingredients your heart could ever imagine!


Avocado and Salmon Starters

Avocado and Salmon Starters

Avocado and Salmon Starters

These Avocado & Smoked Sockeye were a hit with the crowd! The Creamy Chipotle Sauce was the glue. Talk about finger food..yum.

These Avocado & Smoked Sockeye were a hit with the crowd! The Creamy Chipotle Sauce was the glue. Talk about finger food..yum.

You will love making, eating, and sharing (well, maybe not sharing…) these tasty Avocado & Smoked Salmon starters.  Not only are they packed with the Omegas and nutrients we need, but the flavor profile is simply yummy!  The creaminess of the avocado with the savory smoked salmon and crispy bacon will make your tastebuds smile with the remaining appetizing flavors in this dish.  And look how beautiful all the colors are together!  This visual alone has your mouth watering already…right???


2 Avocados

Juice of 2 lime

6 oz. smoked salmon

4 Boiled eggs, crumbled

8 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Bunch of fresh dill

Kosher salt

Black Pepper

Creamy Chipotle Sauce (see recipe)

Black Pepper

Creamy Chipotle Sauce (see recipe)

Method of Preparation

  1. Juice the 2 limes. Set juice aside.
  2. Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. To cut the avocado and remove the seed follow the instructions below carefully.  Cut each half into 2 wedges.  Cut each wedge in half horizontally making 2 “squares.”  Line up each “square” onto a baking sheet or work top.
  3. Brush each avocado piece thoroughly with lime juice using a silicone pastry brush. (Sprinkle with a little salt if desired.)
  4. Squirt a dab of Creamy Chipotle Sauce in the center of each avocado piece then lay a strip of smoked salmon on top. The sauce will act as a glue.
  5. Drizzle infused olive oil on salmon. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper.
  6. Top with the boiled egg, bacon and fresh dill.
  7. Serve atop a fresh bed of greens on a platter.
  8. If you are brave, sprinkle a few crushed red pepper flakes on top for a kick!

To cut the avocado:   Cut into the avocado with your knife cut to the center (seed) and cut a full circle around the avocado (do not attempt to pierce the seed).  Twist the halves and open the avocado.  Using your knife on the half with the seed and with a gentle force of the blade hit the seed.  The blade should stay, wiggle the seed and remove it.

NOTE:  I did not peel the avocado for this dish as it is easier to pick it up and pull the skin off; however, these may be presented individually (or as a pair) with avocado skins removed and 1 or 2 placed on a bed of dressed greens with small diced tomatoes.



Feta, Cranberry & Basil Crostini

Feta, Cranberry & Basil Crostini

Feta, Cranberry & Basil Crostini

This appetizer came about one evening while I was thinking of a quick way to throw together an appetizer for guest who had just phoned to say they were in town and wanted to stop by.  I  knew I had lots of grape tomatoes and cheese as I love to keep each on hand.  After all, what’s better than cheese?  Duh!  Anyway, I put together the ingredients with my hot pepper and garlic  infused olive oil and success!  My friends and family raved about this dish so I started making it for just about every occasion.  Once you see how easy it is to make and then taste it, you will too.


1 pound feta cheese, crumbled

1 to 1½ cup dried cranberries, chopped

1 bunch of fresh basil, chiffonade

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used my garlic & red pepper infused oil)

Kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

Roasted cherry tomatoes


Feta, Cranberry & Basil Crostini 2Method of Preparation

  1. Add feta, cranberries, basil and olive oil in a large bowl. Fold together using a rrubber spatula to combine.
  2. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
  3. Serve on a crostini with roasted tomatoes.
  4. Note: Dried cherries can be used in place of the cranberries for a tart taste.


Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

I love celebrating spring!  It’s so colorful and full of flavor.  Skittles had it right…”taste the rainbow.”  Eating one of these little treats is just like tasting the rainbow.  This pot may not be gold in color but it is definitely golden in taste.  The crispy celery, the crunchy cucumbers, the refreshing cilantro and beautiful purple onions fair well with the sweet mango.  Who could, or would, resist one of these?  You just pop it right into your mouth, close your eyes and let your taste buds go to town. Don’t forget to top them off with the sweet Champagne and Mango Vinaigrette (recipe found under “Toppings”) for a perfect combination.


                                              Corn & Mango Stuffed Tomatoes


15 small tomatoes (plum or vine), halved horizontally

4 ears of corn (or 1 can of whole kernel corn, drained)

1 cucumber (English), seeded and diced

1 medium red onion, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

3 mangoes, peeled, seeded and diced

Fresh Basil

Fresh Cilantro

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Champagne and Mango Vinaigrette

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1½ tablespoons mango puree

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method of Preparation

  1. Very carefully slice a thin layer from the bottoms of the halved tomatoes so they sit flat on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Sit each half upright and scoop out the seeds leaving the flesh in the bottoms and on the sides.
  2. Spritz with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place under a hot broiler and char just a bit.  Still firm, remove and allow to cool.
  3. In a sauté pan, drizzle a little oil and add corn to color.
  4. Add red onions and cook until fragrant. About 2 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.
  5. In a large bowl, add cucumber, celery, basil, cilantro and mangoes. Squeeze a little of the vinaigrette into bowl and mix.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Fold in cooled corn and onion mixture.
  7. Stuff each tomato with the mixture. Squeeze a little of the vinaigrette atop, garnish with cilantro sprinkles and serve.
Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup

 Coconut, Ginger, Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup

Coconut-Ginger Sweet Potato Soup

 Hi.  I don’t know if any of you got excited about the fall like I do, but I’m pretty happy to announce that it’s here!  If you’re saying, “She gets excited about everything!”  You’re right!  I do.  What can I say, I love life…and food…and people…and traveling…and so on and so on.   Each season is a special time of the year that we can celebrate something…anything!  They are all unique in their own way, just like our foods!  Color in food is very important.  It’s natures way of communicating with us and letting us know that it provides and offers us all the vitamins, nutrients and minerals we will need to sustain life.    Isn’t that great!  “Sumbunny loves me out there!   Anyways, back to the fall and my love of this season.   One reason is because of the many new colors that come to life like purples and blues;  the yellows, mustards, tangerines, oranges, rusts and reds!   Foods like pumpkins, sweet potatoes, blue potatoes, purple squash, white rutabagas, cauliflower, eggplants, and then the many varieties of apples, kales, broccoli and fennel.  The list goes on and on.   The fall also offers an opportunity for us to start making soups.  Soups are a way of warming the heart and soul as well as filling the tummy!  Here’s one of my favorite fall soups to make at home.

Coconut, Ginger, Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Soup

with Toasted Walnut Cream


1 large butternut squash, peeled, large dice               Kosher salt

1 sweet potato, peeled, large dice                                4 ½ cups chicken stock

1 (14 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk                   1 (15oz) can coconut water

Garlic infused olive oil                                                   1 cup walnuts, toasted

3 tablespoons butter                                                     1 large onion, large dice

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced                               1 fennel bulb, diced

Pinch of cayenne pepper                                              1 tablespoon lemon juice

¾ cup chilled heavy cream                                           ¼ teaspoon hazelnut extract

Method of Preparation:

Place a metal bowl in the freezer to keep cold.

Place squash and sweet potato chunks on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast in oven until very tender. Remove and allow to come to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven add the butter, onions, fennel and ginger. Cook until onions and fennel are soft. Add sweet potatoes, squash, chicken stock, coconut water and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Cover and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Test the potatoes and squash, they should be soft and falling apart.  Turn off the heat and add the coconut milk to the mixture and stir.  Remove pot from burner.

Grind the walnuts in a food processor until very fine. Set aside.

Remove the chilled metal bowl from the freezer and beat heavy cream and hazelnut extract until soft peaks form. Reserve ¼ of the walnuts.  Fold the remaining walnuts into the cream. Add a pinch of salt if desired, gently stir and set aside for topping.

Puree squash in blender in batches until smooth. Using a sieve and a rubber spatula, press puree into a large container.   Taste.  Add lemon juice a little at a time, stir and taste.

Serve with a small dollop of walnut cream, sprinkle of remaining walnuts and a pinch of smoked paprika.

Inspired by a Food & Wine recipe.

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