Glowing, radiant health is the new black. Our Green Table is serving it up, for the whole body! Healthy recipes and tips, the latest on eco-friendly food and "skin food"products and a head's up on ingredient safety are all woven into family-centered stories and discoveries. Bring informed, aware and empowered looks good on everyone!

Abrazos! xox Penny

Friday, April 29, 2011



I interrupt this blog post to send you to a link that is far more important. My son just sent me this. He and his partner worked on the music for this film. The subject matter is urgent, gut-wrenching and something we all need to help correct. There are 18 million lives at stake. Check out the review here...

and more about the film here
Then, become a part of the solution!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sipping the mood

There are tons of beverages with Mexico's name on them...beers like Leon, Victoria, and Corona, mixed beverages like margaritas or even just straight shots of tequila. There are also delicious Mexican coffees (negro or Cafe con Leche), Mexican hot chocolates and refreshing "Aguas Frutas"..fruit juice and sparkling water blends. Why...look here...I even found a yummy green drink! It's in the upper right corner of this picture of a fab salad I had...

And so, given that it is Thirsty Thursday, grab whatever Mexican beverage speaks to you and let it set the mood. Then, I would like to take you through some doors

Down some stairs

Maybe even down a steep hillside "funicular"

Until we are out on the cobblestone streets and I can show you some cool things...

Until then, relax and enjoy the view and dare I say it...the sunset! Happy Thursday! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shoe Fly Pie

Actually, I love that molasses pie. Being from Pennsylvania and all, it is a staple in my memory. But those are actually buzz I remember what I am writing about today. My mind is on overflow and it will take me days to share all that has gone on!

Somewhere between being just a little unnerved and truly unnerved, I take my seat as a passenger on the airplane. You'd never know which state I am in from the looks of me. I have an outward calm. Internally, not so calm. Especially on those three seater airplanes. Airlines should tell people that their full price ticket is buying a seat on a half-airplane!!

On a "normal" flight, my palms sweat a bit. Yesterday, even my feet betrayed my internal state. Sweaty. I flew from Mexico and then out of storm-socked Houston into storm-ravaged Little Rock, rattled more than a little by the weather, a super slow customs and concourses that are longer than should be legal. Forget passenger-friendly. Geez. Did the architect of that monstrosity of an airport ever fly? Ever? With bags? With a connecting flight to catch? Utopia complete with sunny beaches and endless ice cream will have to be the end destination if I am ever to consider flying through Houston again. Ugh. Houston, we have a problem is right.

Anyway...there was some good stuff that happened. I had great plane "mates" full of wonderful, generous human spirit. The gentleman behind me was very upset. He was elderly, disabled and really afraid if something happened that he would be in trouble and create a burden for others. The gal beside me, the two guys in front of me and I assured him that we four would help him, no matter what, and he should sit back and enjoy the flight (!). Once that bond formed, we five turned to other concerns....the cute sandals on my gal -pal's feet.

Aren't those great? Cute as can be. And the price...oh my. Check them
out here

That shoe chatter took about 15 minutes. All nervous and afraid silence would enhance our fears, I decided it was my turn to provide some sort of entertaining 15 minute distraction. I remembered I had squirreled away two pieces of fabulous veggie pizza (yes, Mexican style) and announced, "Pizza Party over at 14 A!"  While eating was maybe not the smartest thing, eat we did. Here is what the pizza looked like fresh from the oven. De-lish...

Obviously, we all got home safely and I am so excited to see if my pictures came out so I can share them. As a thank you for being my memory jogger, here is a recipe from for honest-to-goodness Shoofly Pie. There are two kinds of Shoofly Pie, one wet and one dry. I am not sure which this is but the picture looks fab...bubbly, butter-y and cinnamon-molasses-y enough to eat! 

Happy Landing Shoofly Pie

1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, dissolve the soda in the molasses and stir until it foams. Sir in the boiling water and pinch of salt. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter into crumbs.

Pour 1/3 of the molasses mixture into the unbaked crust. Sprinkle 1/3 of the crumbs over the molasses mixture and continue alternating layers, finishing with the crumbs on top. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the crumbs and crust are golden. Don't overbake!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rescue Remedy on the Menu

If you live where I do, you are pooped this morning. We had some wicked tornadoes and storms roll into town about 2 a.m. Usually I move the pups to an inside corner of the bathroom, but when a "whirling dervish" roared over the house and the power went out, I gathered up the three babes and went into the basement where we stayed huddled for an hour. With all kinds of sirens blaring, the pups were close to hyper-ventilating.

I wish I had had Bach's Rescue Remedy  available for them because cuddles and "You are sweet, good pups. This will be over soon!" was clearly not enough. A friend just this week said how great these homeopathic drops are to settle down storm-scared or nervous pups safely and there is lots more information on the Rescue Remedy website,  Also, think I will get some of the human version. Being holed up in the dark, damp basement with all sorts of unseen creepy-crawlies had me a little less than thrilled as well! While calm in a storm, if I get to thinking about spiders and bugs crawling near me...eeek and double eeek!

We just got our power back and from watching the news, there are trees down everywhere, many schools and roads are closed and many families in mourning this morning over their losses last night. My heart goes out to them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tax Tips-y

I got a fun email from Food and Wine this morning that could make last minute tax preparation more fun, but hopefully not less accurate! The email gave 10 recipes for "reinvented" cocktails. They all look great. Sampling them all...whew, wouldn't I be the tipsy one!

And so, picking out just one, this cocktail sounds yummy, especially after our mango discussion last Thursday, and more fun than lethal, especially if you lighten up the tequila a little. The chili powder is great brain food and look at the variety of vitamin-rich, anti-oxidant fruits in this recipe! Ha...who am I kidding? Happy Thirsty Thursday!

Mango Margarita (adapted from Food and Wine)
1 tablespoon chili powder (good brain food!)
1 lime wedge
1 small mango—peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped (3 ounces)
3 ounces grapefruit soda
1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
2 ounces orange liqueur
1- 1 1/2 ounces agave nectar
2-3 ounces silver tequila
1 cup ice

Spread the chili powder in a flat dish. Moisten the rim of a margarita glass with the lime wedge; dip the rim in the chili powder to coat. In a blender, puree the mango pieces being careful to remove any strings attached to the pulp (you can also use frozen here...just like last week). Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into the glass and serve. Take out tax form and just do it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Truth Comes Out in Glamour

Before heading to a health fair today, I wanted to get the new May issue of Glamour magazine. I had heard earlier in the week there was a great article on toxins. Ran all around to the grocery stores...not in yet, but the issue is in Barnes and Noble and I am sure, airport news stands (oh, spare me, please!!).

This is one brave article considering page after page of Glamour's advertisers...not exactly toxin-free folks and what they have "hidden" is probably mind-boggling and surely, health-threatening. Although the article covers just the tip of this scary iceberg, it is such a huge step for these facts to be spelled out in a mainstream magazine. Pick up a copy and let me know what you think.

Well, I am off to spread the "living without harmful chemicals" message. I would love to share it with your family and pals, too...even long distance, we can make a party out of this! How perfect for a "Girls Night" or "Guys Night", family, church or any kind of group! Packed with information, I also make it fun and did I mention, have lots of freebies for my hosts? Contact me for details on hosting your own event. Big cheers to Glamour!!  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not's Berry Farm

is one I prefer to do business with...the farms that absolutely do not use pesticides on strawberries and this Red White and Food shout-out is to them.

Those luscious, juicy, sweet heralds of spring, strawberries, are sadly among the most "poisoned" foods we can eat and are listed in the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen...foods so toxin-rich that they are classified as "must buy organic" foods. This from The Daily Green:  Up from No. 6 in 2009, strawberries rank No. 3 on the 2010 Dirty Dozen list. Why? 59 pesticides have been detected in residue on strawberries. Read more:

I don't know about you, but that's 59 things I don't want to have to worry about.

From what I can gather, the main culprit is a chemical called methyl idiodide, a gas pesticide that is injected into soil and "uploaded" into the berries. This chemical has been linked to many serious health conditions as well as ground and water contamination.

Here is an article that shows what some farmers are doing to raise healthy berries...healthy for us, the workers and the environment and some more information on what you can do. The EPA is accepting public comment on this pesticide until April 30th. Read this and decide for yourself:

You have a right to know what you are eating and so ask before you buy, remembering what you eat becomes you! A special thanks to the farmers who are working so hard to feed us and do it safely. We are berry grateful!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Splendor by the Slice

Over the weekend, I watched Splendor in the Grass on TCM. While familiar with William Wordworth's lines in the poem, I had never seen the movie. It was hard to focus on the whole movie at times. Natalie Woods was so breath-takingly beautiful. Warren Beatty in his youth was quite handsome, too, but she really stole the show for me. Towards the end of the movie, where pizza makes its entrance, a light bulb went off that I had not yet shared some pizza news with you.

There are some great pizza places here at home: Za-Za's, Vino's, U.S. Pizza, Dam Goode Pies. In New York, there are tons of fabulous pizza places...all serving "Best in New York!" pizza, of course. I love Motorino's, Roberta's, Fornino's and while waiting for Lissa to go to grab a veg lunch, I stumbled across this beauty, John's. Not open yet, the owner saw me gawking in the windows and came out to talk to me. He invited me in to see his restaurant. Over 100 years old, the floors and wall murals were spectacular. The smells coming from the kitchen were, too, and I bet his pizza is fab (such a menu!!) and certainly among the "Best in New York!"

Here are some pictures of John's 100 year old floor and murals, one mural for every province in Italy with its matching coat of arms...

Near Mom, there is a pizza chain in strip malls, Michelangelo's, that we had passed by for years. Oh, big mistake that fortunately we corrected. Fabulous, fresh, savory, totally de-lish pizza with lots of delectable veg choices, which can be hard to find. Oh, my goodness...additionally fun because you can buy by the slice. For one who has trouble picking a whole pizza to try, that was a delicious solution for me. Check out their pizza case:

I had a slice of a broccoli-zucchini medley (shown on top of case) and mom had a salad slice and for our slice to share, we inhaled a basil pesto and tomato fantasy called "mama's favorite". It looked very much like the pizza coming hot from the oven to soothe Warren Beatty in the film.

Here is the closest recipe I can find to what mom's slice of pizza was...unusual and splendid by the slice...

Mom's Salad Pizza (a recipe morphed from Mom's stash of clippings and a "why don't we make it ourselves" pow-pow)

1 (12-inch) thin pizza crust, unbaked (G-F options are available, too. The key to this pizza is a very thin crust!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 cups arugula leaves or spinach leaves or combo
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 cup small grape cherry tomatoes (or larger ones, halved)
1/2 cup feta cheese or non-dairy cheese substitute
Dried and fresh basil, if desired

Brush crust with olive oil and sprinkle with dried basil if desired. Bake pizza crust until crisp and lightly browned. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the arugula, olives, tomatoes, and feta. Toss thoroughly. Scoop a generous amount of salad over pizza, top with fresh basil, if desired, cut into wedges and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Another idea would be to brush crust with pesto right before the end of the baking process.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I left my Mothers in New York

Literally, I left my real mom. But I also left my Kombucha mom. What? Who's that?

Given that "she" was a topic of conversation last night, I thought you might like to meet her, too. Kombucha is a beverage that is probiotic-rich and I drink it a lot. I know how to make it and want to teach a class on this tasty and sparkling drink. I also wanted to get a new "mother" ie: starter in New York. However, I didn't make it home with her. Decided having to explain her odd appearance to airport security might not be worth it and so I am having her sent. I opted to carry on a loaf of yummy sauerkraut rye instead.

My favorite kombucha...from the tap!

Kombucha belongs to a whole family of foods containing probiotics. In a nutshell, probiotics are beneficial bacteria and found at highest concentrations in fermented foods. In yesterday's post, the batter used for the dosa "pancake" is also fermented and there are many other tasty fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, kimchee, tempeh, kefir and honest-to-goodness real yogurt, not the over-processed stuff.

Most everything I share food-wise, from skincare here to food on the fork, I want to help boost the immune system and clean up the environment. (Stretching a bit, even the candy from Tuesday's post does the trick...a smile and a dash of childish glee work wonders!) Fermented foods promote the production of "good" bacteria in your gut by creating a healthier environment and they also inhibit the growth of yeast and other bad actors, help break down sugars, balance the intestinal pH, etc. Given that the bulk of your immune system's strength is in your gut, these foods play a really big role in helping fend off illnesses, allergies, fungal issues and a host of other woes. You can also take a probiotic supplement but you have to be sure it is really live and active, contains the right strains of good bacteria and is not expensive fairy dust. Eating probiotics is much more fun!

Fermenting foods takes time and can be a little tricky. Here is the easiest recipe I have in my stash. It is from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and makes absolutely the most gorgeous pickled onions on the planet. I love them on so many dishes...fabulous on beans, salads, baked potatoes, burgers and sandwiches or just to munch on as is.

Pickled Onions

1 pound red onions, peeled (red as you can find!)
1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
4 marjoram or thyme branches
several small, dried red chilies, optional
bay leaf (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon black or mixed peppercorns, bruised
sea salt

Slice onions crosswise, about 1/4 inch thick. Separate into rings and put in a colander. Pour boiling water over them. In a bowl, mix other ingredients with 1 1/2 cups cold, filtered water and several pinches of sea salt,. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add onions, submerging them totally in the liquid. Use a plate if need be to squish them all under the brine. If there is not enough liquid to cover all the onion slices, mix equal parts vinegar and filtered water. Watch 15 minutes or so, you will see the color change to an absolutely gorgeous rose-y pink. Chill and then devour. Store in fridge for up to 3 weeks. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gunpowder Diffused Sip by Sip

Last Sunday, I was thrilled to be able to see my other family in New son's in-laws...for a few hours. LOVE them...we never have enough time together.

Sister Usha and I immediately went scurrying to the Patel Brothers...the mother of all Asian Indian food stores. Like Economy Candy is to candy, the Patel Brothers is to everything you need for authentic Indian cuisine. It was chock full of all kinds of rice, spices, pickles, chutneys, dal and wonderful fresh veggies. The new mangoes had also just arrived...the ones that are so prized and crate after crate stood temptingly by the checkout stands. But Usha said the first shipment is not the one she prefers. The sweetest ones arrive in May. Take a look at Patel Brothers website and drool... And, exciting news, there is online ordering available for lots of their products, just not for the mangoes and other fresh produce.

From there we hopped across the street and met up with the rest of the family and ate at The House of Dosas,

Dosas are soooo wonderful. I love them! Paper-thin and crepe-like, the "pancakes" can be made from rice, black lentil or chickpea flour and filled with all kinds of delicious potato, onion and other veggie fillings and rolled up like a wrap or cut into wedges. Oh, and did I mention, hot or not?

I ordered a "Gunpowder" Masala Dosa. Note to self...very appropriately named!!! It was hot alright! But not too hot to eat because I also ordered a Mango Lassi. The yogurt really cooled off the "gunpowder". Combining the cool creaminess of the lassi with my firing-squad dosa was a very tasty combo indeed. Yum...can't wait to go back!

Mango Lassis are also wonderful for luscious. If you can get your hands on the mangoes from India, grab a bunch and savor them. Here is a lovely story on just how special they are from NPR

And, here is a great recipe for Mango Lassis:

Mango Lassi (adapted from The Food of India)

1 pound 2 ounces fresh mango (or use frozen mango cubes which are not as sweet but are readily available)
1 cup chilled milk of choice (start with 3/4 cup)
1 cup thick yogurt of choice (start with 3/4 cup)

For fresh mangoes, blend pulp in a blender with just a dash of salt. Be sure to blend well or sieve to remove any fibers. The blended pulp should be syrup-y and thick and not contain any stringy bits. Chill. For frozen...just whiz in a blender and go ahead with next step.

Blend chilled pulp with milk and yogurt and add in remaining 1/4 cup of each to make a nice thick beverage. If you like it super cold, blend with a couple of ice cubes or add some crushed ice to the lassi. Taste. Add a dash honey if desired but it should be sweet enough as is and sweetness is not the goal here! I think I detected a hint of cardamom in mine at The House of Dosas, too. Serves 4.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy on Land and Sea

I got in last night after a "classic" flight...tons of weather delays, no planes available, gate and concourse changes and then the ultimate arrival jetway or ground crew available and so more waiting. Figured that travel times yesterday could have gotten me to Paris with time leftover for dinner at a bistro and a leisurely stroll along the Seine!

Today, I thought I would show you some pictures and wrap up with some tidbits shared by my airplane pal.

Trail of my tears and beautiful sea foam leaving Mom 

Soon, all smiles for the glorious morning and the rest of my family I am about to see!

Happy Family!

Happy Dog-Granddaughter Allie with Christian, Sameer and Reshma

Happy but pooped Allie

Happy Daughter Lissa and Jon

Happy Roger, Cat-Grandson

For a good while yesterday, I sat next to a very interesting man and we talked a lot about our families, health, current events, etc. He lives in California and said that a lot of people there are very concerned about the radiation levels and he was particularly concerned about his joints and inflammation. As you may guess, our converation turned to vegetables. He had read about spinach, kale, leafy dark greens and their anti-infammatory, healing benefits and about meat and its ability to increase inflammation. Starting in January,  he added a double dose of green veggies twice a week to his diet and sharply cut back his meat consumption. He said that within just a few weeks, his joint pain is considerably reduced and his cholesterol is dropping, too!! 

Sea veggies like the ones pictured below from a fabulous meal I had are also really rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients, calcium and potassium chloride, a supplement a lot of people are popping in California. Sea vegetables are well worth looking into and eating, too! And so, this Wednesday, I thought I would share some "'personal care" tips from a new pal. Simply put...whether from land or sea, go green!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

For the Love of Licorice

Spring is sweet and today I am giving myself some sweetness in the form of licorice. Oh my, I love it. Whenever I am in New York, I visit the mother of all candy stores, Economy Candy, My love for that store is truly like, well... like a kid would love a candy store. And, I feel like a kid in it. And, I am not alone.

Economy Candy holds the candy crown nationwide. Numero Uno. Really, it is worth a much sweet, floor-to-ceiling fun. Love the extra charge for whining. And if you need a fabulous hair cut, Anessa, who cuts my hair, is right around the corner! Then, you can go for lunch at ...see I have a whole tour just waiting for you!

I also like to order candy from The Vermont Country Store. They have several pages of their print catalogue dedicated to just licorice!!! And, online, under candy, they have a tab, The Licorice Shop

My new favorite is Mint Licorice, have a look. They are melt in your mouth yum!

This Red, White and Food post is for those old-fashioned candies,especially licorice and the stores that carry them. While not completely healthy, a little real sweetness, a little sweet fun always has a place in my heart.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Who needs a Stress Test?

The Beast

Really. There is a simpler and much more fun way. First, go to NYC and ride the subway. I know I have talked a lot about my love of walking the streets of New York. So much fun. But, to get to them, I have to ride the subway and climb out of the depths, stair after stair after stair, sometimes as many as 3-4 flights. And of course, I just can't take my sweet old time either. I have to go with the flow. New Yorkers are among the most fit people in the country and they can move it. That is when I know what kind of shape I am much thigh burn I experience climbing out of the bowels of the subways stations to land in one piece on the street.  Phew, let there be light!
The Beastly Twin: Almost there!!

Stress Test Part 2 is on Shelter Island. First, I have to lug my body and my bags up from the ferry to my mom's house...about 1 mile maybe. This past week, I had to do it about 9:30 at night in a freak slush storm, with a temp of 20 degrees with gale force winds. Wind chill: 0. Am I having fun yet? Then, the next morning, I go for my walk...have to see the sea from one of my favorite vistas off a dirt road called The Serpentine. To get there, I have to climb up a road dubbed "Divinity Hill". Local lore has it that many members of the clergy lived there. My take is that more than a few "divine" shout-outs occured walking up that hill!! It is one of those climbs that looks innocent, but jeez.
Look so innocent

Just rewards

To keep myself going, I have a traveling version of my green shake. Here it is:

2-3 ice cubes
3 leaves of kale
half dollar slice of ginger
1 half an orange
1 half a banana
Little bit of water

Blend away and drink up. I also add 2 scoops of protein powder when I have remembered to have some at Mom's. Serves and saves 1.

Fun P.S....the universe always answers. Remember the "Fountain of Youth" beverage from last Thursday? passes a fitting parade...marching towards eternal youth.  Let's fall in line!