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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaping Forward

Happy Leap Day!!!
Good bye, 144!

Today actually has a lot of meaning for me. What started out as a leap of faith is ending.

Tomorrow is “moving out of the apartment” day. Yuck. It takes 30 days to create a new habit and so you can imagine how embedded I am after three months here.  I have lots to do today…go pick up two special treats for my mom...
"I will take two of those, please!"

pick up shoes from the cobbler, then drycleaning, one last spin at the laundromat and then kisses for my kiddoes. I am heading out to Mom’s for a visit before I actually head home and so it is mercifully not “goodbye day” as well. Phew.

One of the things I am taking out to Mom’s is Israeli couscous, a new grain for her. My DIL made a marvelous salad for her visit into Brooklyn to see her great-grandbabies and my daughter made this luscious salad that we had for lunch the other day. Take a look…

Israeli couscous has a great texture and is a nice base for all kinds of creative add-ins. My sweet daughter is another absolutely wonderful and totally intuitive cook…adds in the perfect taste combinations every time. A picture will have to be worth a thousand words…again, no recipe!

Lissa's Luscious Salad

Prepare couscous according to package directions. Add in a melange of sauteed veggies...Swiss chard, carrots, leeks, asparagus...and then season with feta and
fresh black pepper. Yummy as an entree or chilled as a salad.

And so, on this Women and Wednesdays...take a leap of faith and try something new! xoxo

Friday, February 24, 2012


The babies are doing great! Both are beyond the newborn stage and are smiling, focusing their sweet eyes, cooing and acting well, like babies. Their cheeks are amazing. Like butter. Let’s see…which cheek needs a kiss? Smooch. Now, I gotta kiss the other. Double smooch. Oh, and let’s do one more just for fun! And then another. 

The days pass like the wind. I am dreading what one day soon will bring. I have to leave.

But until I do, there are still lots of kisses to plant and if you are like me, you are very concerned about the news reports of lead in most all lipsticks (Maybelline is the worst!). Let me now if you want your smooches to be non-toxic. Trulynon-toxic, not tauted as “natural” yet full of bad stuff. I have the “goods” for your lips! Email me ( and I will help you with lip glosses, lip balms and lip color.
Non-Toxic Kisses for Everyone!

While on the topic of “lip-smacking”, take a look at what my sweet DIL fixed for dinner the other night…a luscious tomato and chickpea stew served over orzo. So flavorful, so pretty!

She is an amazing cook. Everything she makes tastes so fresh. Alas, though, she is an intuitive cook...just knows what works and so there is really not a recipe for this, just suggestions. Here is what went into this delicious dish...

A new "kid" on the chickpeas, no can and look...
Zoom in and cheer...low sodium, high fiber! Sweet!

Chickpea Stew over Orzo

To tomatoes, either fresh, canned yourself or from a non BPA-lined can, like Eden Organics, add fresh herbs of choice like rosemary. Heat and reduce until the mix is stewlike, not soupy, and then add chickpeas, either cooked yourself or this new find. Serve over orzo. Garnish with fresh flat leaf parsley and slivers of garlic, sauteed until they are crispy. Vary the amount of chickpeas from little to lots depending on if this is a main vegetarian dish or you are serving another dish along with it, say a lovely salad with goat cheese. Just wonderful! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Stepping out?

I am surprised (and so are my kiddoes) at how far I walk every day here when I don’t at home. Hmmm. Interesting.

Saturday, I walked from Chelsea in lower Manhattan to the Upper East Side, about 70 plus blocks, close to 4 miles, and then walked around Brooklyn some, and had it not started to rain, probably could have kept going. I think what fires me up is the diversity I see. Really gets (and keeps) me going. 

Here are some shots from around Central Park which I dearly love...
Crystal blue skies around The Children's Zoo
Still Winter sunlight streaming through

"Lady" Liberty taking a few
Beautiful buildings
Beautiful doors
Beautiful baubles
Beautiful books inside

Beautiful signs of Spring

And then,  this picture. It's a little dark, but is the perfect "Food for Thought"...a gorgeous building ruined by Coke! Hmmm...

Each walk, each day is so different. For example, when I walk to my kiddoes, which is about 3 miles round trip, I have several choices of routes. I can walk The Cityscape/River Scenic, The HipsterChic, The Italian, The Polish, The Industrial Warehouse (least fave), The Brownstone or Brickstone, The Park and yes, The Donut/Cake/Cookie Route.

So fun…each of them is great. I love all the sensory input, from the architecture to the smells to the languages. I will really miss these walks. I only have a little time left here.

And so, I am going to try to figure out how to keep it up. How do you guys keep fired up and stepping out? Aside from an iPod (I am too clumsy to be plugged in and listening to music…plus I think it is generally a not-so-great idea), let me know!! It's Women and share!

Monday, February 20, 2012


Today is Presidents' Day and I don't like it much, but "happy" anyway to you. What happened to celebrating Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays separately? I loved those holidays as a kid and find it awful that this consolidated holiday is now mostly about shopping. Onward...

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to show you a picture of my neighborhood’s (perhaps all of Brooklyn’s) Donut Heaven…Peter Pan Donuts.

This donut shop has been here for decades and their de-lish donuts are the stuff of legends. On Fat Thursday, I couldn’t get near enough to get a picture. People were crammed inside and lined the sidewalks, waiting patiently for their favorites.

There is counter service available but you will wait an eternity for a seat. Many people have had “same seats” since Peter Pan opened in the 50’s and they spend quite a lot of time at the counter, "owning the stool" so to speak, nibbling donuts, washing down each bite with coffee and sharing the news of the ‘hood with their pals.

The staff is dressed in pink and green, speaking Polish to all the regulars and most of the customers and bagging up dozens and dozens of donuts without nicking the perfect glazes or mussing up the powdered sugar. Nutritional content aside, it is nice to see such an anchor in a neighborhood. The children who clamored for a jelly donut opening day are now grandparents. It is also nice to see, too, in the shadow of Manhattan’s gorgeous skyline, that a fresh, really de-lish donut and a robust cuppa coffee only cost $2.00. Make mine a double (not).

To compensate for my Saturday sugar spurge, I made this for lunch. I have shared that I am not much of a bread eater (especially after a marble cruller) but I do like an occasional sandwich, especially when it looks like this! Open-faced makes me happy-faced!

Black Bean Hummus Sandwich

On a luscious slice of whole grain bread, slather black bean hummus. Top with some fresh greens, roasted red peppers, sliced avocado, a sprig or two of cilantro and some mayo spiced up with a little chipotle. Squirt all with fresh lemon juice. Wash it down with some chilled veggie juice or green tea. Yum...presidential stuff!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fat Thursday

Last night I was so excited I could hardly keep from bursting! I had the joy of listening to my son speak and speak in a setting that was just dazzling to boot…the 40th floor of a building near Freedom Tower. The cityscape was magnificent and my son…oh my, a “mom moment” for sure! 

Anyway, to burn off some adrenaline (this was also my first nighttime visit to the city since coming here…I told you I don’t get out much! Ha!), I had the cab drop me off way before my apartment.
Donuts, served by a Knight In Shining Armour

I have said over and over, “These people can bake!” Seriously. Here are two signs that jumped off the sidewalk. “Fat Thursday"? Am I missing something? Donuts as an aperitif? Turns out this is a big holiday. For the "skinny" on it, read more about it here and maybe just read...don't eat every bite? Or, wash 'em down with yesterday's super healthy shake?

No surprise that donuts are not at all nutritionally heart-healthy, as a matter of fact, are among the worst offenders, but happiness and celebrating with friends go a long way in building better health, too! Happy Fat Thursday! Good thing it's only once a year!! xoxo

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Take Five!

After sharing your heart yesterday, please give a huge piece of love back to yourself today (and every day for that matter!) On this Women and Wednesdays, commit with me to understanding and fighting heart disease and ask 5 friends to join in with you. Then, have them ask five and so on.

While you cannot change your genetics, you can change your lifestyle. Here on Our Green Table, we do all we can to own our health and keep one healthy step after another on Prevention Road. Please join us! 

Here is a recipe from my favorite doctor, Dr. Neal Barnard. He "wrote the book" on prevention and health for life. His Monster Shake recipe (I renamed it for festive reasons!!) is a variation of a Vita-mix classic. I would also toss in a red keep it seasonal and extra heart-healthy! Drink up, Healthy Gals! 

Dr. Barnard's Heart Love Shake

6 cups fresh baby spinach or kale
1 1/2 cups fresh or drained canned pineapple chunks or pears
3 cups green grapes
1 1/2 bananas
1 1/2 cups water (I love coconut water in shakes!)
1 1/2 cups ice

Blend all ingredients together. Makes enough Heart Love for 6 servings. Enough for you and your 5 friends!! Perfect!!! xoxoxoxo

P.S. Add more ice for a thicker smoothie.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All you need is

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Phew...yesterday was a cold one. Winter-y blasts with gusts up to 30-35 miles an hour, making the wind chill in the teens. Today is still quite brisk but not as gusty. While I still have my eye on salads like this...

I will be getting out the soup pot to make this...

Pasta e fagioli

1 ½ cups dried chickpeas*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Sprig of fresh rosemary
¼ teaspoon dried pepper flakes
14 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 cups veggie stock
2/3 cup orecchiette pasta
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
Parmesan cheese

Soak chickpeas in cold water overnight. Drain and put in a large saucepan with sufficient cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered 45 minutes or until very tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, rosemary and hot pepper flakes along with a pinch of salt and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until onion has softened.

Increase heat to high. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, reduce heat to a medium simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until pasta is tender. Season with sea salt and pepper. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.

* Yes, I suppose you can subsitute canned chickpeas here but why? The flavor and texture of dried chickpeas is so superior. Cooking these up couldn’t be simpler. Here is the “no time, no stress” plan: soak overnight, wake up and while still in jammies, cook ‘em up. 45 minutes is all it takes and these can cook while you are brushing your teeth, eating breakfast and getting dressed. Done and done.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Opposites attract

What a crazy winter this has been…beautifully sunny and mild when it should be grey and bitter cold. I must admit I am sorry to have missed a “normal” winter. Even though I am in New York, it feels like home weather-wise. I dearly love winter in all its glory and find a peaceful, unique beauty in even the bleakest, greyest, most bitter cold days. Drat. Maybe before I leave…

As if Mother Nature hasn’t bemused me enough with her summer-like behavior, I have also made some “opposite” moves myself with equally surprising results. During winter I usually eat differently…more foods warmed by spice, lots of soups, more healthy fats and dense complex carbohydrates.

This winter I have eaten more lightly…lots of fresh vegetable (not fruit) juices and salads. I seem to crave them almost. Here is a picture of last night’s dinner…one of my favorites.

Kale Salad (one of 100's), Cabbage and Beet Salad and a slice of spelt bread

I am quite surprised that I have stayed so healthy (please don’t let this be a jinx!) in spite of all the extra stress and physical activity and yes, a de-lish sweet or two that I normally don’t eat. Not usually a bread eater, I have also eaten more bread than normal. Not a lot by anyone’s “normal”, but for me, two slices a day is a record high. I am grateful, for sure, but this “opposites attracting health” really has me thinking. I know all the walking has a lot to do with it and my body has tipped into a more alkaline state from the veggies I am drinking as well as veggies I am eating.. Anyway…it’s got me thinking!

Here are some more pix...

Anyway, while I am musing this over, here is a great article to read from yesterday's New York Times...really something to chew on,  great food for thought.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Couldn't stay away for long

From kale that is.

I picked up this recipe in Whole Foods last year and never made it. Last night, after lots of driving, I was looking for something quick and healthy and yum, this recipe delivered. I actually served it as an omelet but the original recipe served it over polenta. So flavorful. Enjoy!!!

Sun-dried Tomato, Kale and Mushroom Saute

1 tablespoon olive oil (I used oil from sun-dried tomatoes and while not a huge fan of sun-dried maters...these were de-lish)
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms (I used a variety)
sea salt and pepper
8 olive oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (I think Swiss chard would be lovely as well)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, sea salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic and cook about 2 more minutes. Stir in kale and 2-3 tablespoons water, cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until kale begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Toss well and season to taste. Serve as a filling for an omelet or over sauteed polenta. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan if desired.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Choco Fix (ed)!

When I am stressed, I reach for chocolate. I saw this sign in a bake shop and although a little blurry, you get the drift.

Funny how even the camera focused on the cookies on the shelf below. Shows where my mind is!

There are so many little bake shops on the walk to both my kiddoes' the yellow brick road only paved with cookies. There is even a chocolate factory to pass by and try to keep my mouth shut!!! Here are some more pix...

I have already done two cookie posts and while they are in keeping with our Green and Gold Rules (really good sweets), that's enough. And so, it was kind of fun when I got this recipe in my inbox this morning. It was a forward of a forward and so I sadly cannot credit the creator. Sounds so de-lish...just chock full of goodies and a perfectly yummy way to shue away some stress. Maybe even munch on during the Super Bowl. And while the long ingredient list may take some time to assemble, better to spend your time doing that than creating that picture at the bottom of this post!

Vegetarian Chocolate Chili

1¾ cups dried pinto (or Sangre de Toro or Rio Zape) beans, soaked overnight or quick-soaked
2 links Field Roast chipotle vegetarian sausages, crumbled
1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or organic canola oil
1 large green bell pepper diced
1 large yellow or white onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons hot or mild New Mexico chile powder
2 teaspoons chipotle powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1½ teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 26-oz carton Pomi chopped tomatoes or Muir Glen canned crushed tomatoes*
12-ounce bottle chocolate stout beer (wow...pretty fun ingredient!)
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons molasses (or substitute brown sugar)
1½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
Cooked brown rice (optional)

Toppings: Avocado, red onions, cilantro, yogurt or sour cream (soy or regular)

Drain the soaked beans, then place in a large saucepan and cover well with fresh cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 1 hour, adding water as necessary. Let them sit until you’re ready to use them, then drain, reserving the cooking liquid.

Heat a teaspoon of oil on medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the crumbled vegetarian sausages and cook for 3 minutes, stirring a few times (it will stick; it’s ok). Remove to a plate.

Heat the remaining oil on medium heat in the same pot. Add the onions, garlic and peppers. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot to incorporate the sausage remnants that stuck to the pan. Add the tomato paste, chili powders, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the tomatoes, beer, espresso powder and brown sugar or molasses. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the reserved vegetarian sausage and beans and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. If the chili seems much too thick, add a little of the bean cooking liquid. Stir in chocolate and lime and turn off the heat.

Serve on cooked brown rice with your toppings of choice, or refrigerate and serve the next day, when it’s even better.

* I recommend Pomi tomatoes in tetra packs, or Muir Glen tomatoes, as their cans no longer contain BPA.

Have a great weekend!

Oh words to describe! Well, maybe "ICK!" works.