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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Two hearts

One of the first sets of dishes I had my then youngster son dubbed “Happy-Sad Plates”. They were the classic Pfaltzgraff pattern “Yorktowne", blue stencil on white stoneware. I am sure you have seen it. Anyway…that is how I feel today. Happy-sad. Really happy. Really sad. 
I have loved every minute…every second of my four month stay here in New York. From the very purpose of it to the extras that came along, it has fit me like a glove. I am very fortunate that New York is my home away from home. Both kiddoes and now their children and my mom live here. And before them, my grandparents and great-grandparents and so on. Places I go to now as a 60 plus year old, I went to as a 6 month old. A big chunk of my heart and soul, my history and future live here.

I hate leaving. The only thing that saves me is that in the yin and yang of things, leaving creates another opportunity to come back. Also in the yin and yang of things, I find both profound peace and energy here. When stressed, between bites of soothing chocolate, I either close my eyes and envision or actually look out over the most peaceful scenes ever…the faces of my children and their children or the farmlands and the waters of Long Island’s North Fork. All positively melt away stress. The beach at Bootlegger’s Alley is pure solace. It knows my joys and sorrows better than any place on earth.

By the same token, I have never felt such energy and possibility walking the streets of New York City and Brooklyn. The scenery is always changing, bustling, pulsating with good, creative Life Force. Give me a street to walk and I am a happy gal. Looks like someone else with my name loves it, too.

Don’t get me wrong. I do love where I live. But I am a Pisces…symbolized by two fishes…and not knowing much at all about astrology, I take it to mean, I have two hearts, a back up one for when I need it. Like today. Leaving my children, their precious babies and my mom will be dreadful and my emotions will be on overdrive. One heart will really hurt. 

Good luck to the person who is my seatmate on the plane. 

P.S. I am also happy that I have stayed really well despite living out of a suitcase, more or less, for four months and at times, being beyond exhausted. What I have been doing and eating works and I am so glad it has!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just like Pea Soup

Where I sleep has a big picture window…perfect for catching the ever-changing water and sky scenes. Recently, the planets have been so close and the skies so full of stars that I have felt like I was back in my college astronomy class. Just heavenly!

Waking up is fun, too, because you never know what you are going to get…a beautiful dawn like on my birthday (see March 15) or this...

which usually looks like this...

Fog. Lots of it. Thick as can be. Like “pea soup” or so they say. And, it just rolls in. Mom says she has never seen so many days with fog than this past year. The other day I was on the ferry and the afternoon was glorious…bright sun, crystal blue skies and water. I got off and started walking up the hill to Mom’s and whosh! was chased the whole way by an out-of-nowhere roll of fog. By the time I got home, I was nearly frozen (temp had dropped 20 degrees) and her house was socked it. It is really fun. Coastal living is a hoot. Keeps you on your toes (and keeps them moving!)

And so, to fit the weather wonders, I found this pea soup recipe in Mom’s stash. I believe it is from Newsday. I like the use of whole peas…very spring-y. The kiddoes and babies are coming out to welcome in Mom’s 89-th year and so I have the soup pot a-simmering. Happy weekend!

Raviloi and Green Pea Soup (adapted some...I would add lots of grated Parmesan when serving!)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups veggie broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
9 ounces baby ravioli (ravioletti)
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter* see note
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large soup pan over medium-high. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add wine, broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil and add the ravioli and peas. Cook 6 minutes (or according to package directions), until ravioli is cooked through; swirl in butter.
Serve topped with the Parmesan cheese (LOTS of it for extra flavor). Makes 4 servings

*Note: For the butter, run, don’t walk and find this wonderful butter. The carbon footprint is a little high because it is an Irish butter but so are the omega-3 fatty acids! This butter is from grass-fed cows. So exciting…do any of you know of a local source for grass-fed butter? My, it’s good…spring-y too!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gold lights lead to green lights...

March has been gorgeous from the skies above all the way to the water's edge.  I like March for a lot of reasons but mostly, because technically, it is the last month of winter. I say that with more than a little wistfulness. I love winter and really am sad to see it go.

I have spent portions of the last five or six winters in New York, and except for this year, mostly on Shelter Island. I love the quiet beauty of everything during the winter. And, also love it when it gets a little rough and tumbly with winds and snow. That's the time to crack out a fire...

What I love best though, is the time of day around 4:30 to 5:00-ish p.m., right when the sun looks like this...

Because when the sun looks like that, the woods look like this...

just washed in gold, but only for a few quick moments (and the pix does not do the color justice!). Then, grayness takes over and night begins to fall. It is such a magical moment. Like a sprinkling of gold dust to light up the end of the day. Wonderful.

Given that I have to move on and spring arrived officially yesterday...

The floral carpets are laid

and the osprey are back. Spring it is.

I have turned to mixing up a little magic for an old green shake. One morning, a little by accident, I added in a few jalapeno slices to my brew and oh my...loved it! It had a nice kick and I look forward to seeing what else I can pepper up. Kind of lit up my morning and added some spring to my day.

On this Women and Wednesdays, anything you have done that adds a little light or kick to your day, whether the beginning or the end of it?

Spring Kick Green Shake*

1/2 frozen banana or 1/2 orange
big handful of fresh spinach
2 leaves of kale, removed from stalk (optional and make sure they are young leaves, not the old "toughies")
few slices of ginger
big handful of mint leaves
dash to 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
few slices of jalapeno pepper
water, coconut water or coconut milk to taste
a few ice cubes
Mix up in blender until desired consistency. Drink up and enjoy your day!

*This is a very veggie forward shake...not at all sweet. You may want to add a drizzle or two of honey or agave nectar. You can also add in yogurt or protein powder and make this a meal.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

In a pinch

St. Patrick's Day is today and I am in a pinch (!) to cook up something green besides greens or create another salad with my lucky charm, kale. Mom found this recipe and it does the trick. Delicious “greens” in every bite. No pinching coming my way! How about you? Got your green on?

Ellie Krieger’s Orange Pistachio Wild Rice Salad (changed a little bit)

2/3 cup brown rice
2/3 cup wild rice
3 cups veggie broth (low sodium)
3 tablespoons chopped unsalted pistachios
1 orange (I used navel)
10 large basil leaves, sliced into ribbons or more
¼ cup minced red onion


1/3 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon orange juice (I used frozen concentrate that Mom had…undiluted)
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard (I used coarse grained Dijon)
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Combine rices and veggie broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook 45-50 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff and let cool completely.

Toast pistachios in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Cool. Grate orange zest and set aside. Section oranges and chop each section in half. If you want to, I highly suggest you can remove the white pith (too bitter for this slightly sweet salad) and membranes. Add orange pieces, basil, onion and orange zest. Mix well.

Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over rice mixture. Toss thoroughly well. You can put in fridge for a day or two or serve immediately. Serve each portion with a generous pinch of pistachios! Serves 6 as a side dish.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rolling into a new one...

Today is my birthday. Seems like I just had one.

 Dawn rolling into a New Year!

This birthday is uniquely special. It is the first one that I am a grandmother. I would love to be able to put into words what I felt as my grandchildren were being born…feelings and emotions both for them as well as for my own children and their loved ones. As well as for my mom. We are now officially four generations. Amazing.

It is also hard to express what being a grandmother feels like. When I hold my Grand Ones, it seems like just yesterday when I was holding my two. When I look into their faces, I see a combination of peace and possibility…and I hope for patience. I hope their lives unfold slowly and they live each season fully. Enjoy being Little Ones until it is time to move on to being Bigger Ones.

And so, that is my birthday wish…that all of us may live each season fully, as it comes, and that I will enjoy this new chapter of my life one slow, savory step at a time. And, I am also going to follow the lead of my Grand Ones. They just started rolling over. When they do, I believe, from the looks on their faces, they are both amazed and joyful. As I roll into a new year, I am going to act the same way. Happy day to you and Happy Birthday to me, all 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds of it!

What do you wish for on your birthday?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Scrambling for Time

It's the weekend...already! At least, it was when I started this post. And now look. The weekend has come and gone. The last thing I needed was to lose an hour!!

This week has really flown by…caring for Mom, running errands (LOVE Shelter Island’s library…what a case study in community wonderfulness), watching my “messages” for new pictures of The Sweet Ones and of course, watching all the episodes of Downton Abbey.

The local farms look ready to spring to life. It is really exciting. I am not a “spring” person per se but I do love the smell of fresh tilled earth…you know, when it still smells cold and warm at the same time?  And, the first few valiant flowers. And, spring eggs.

My walks have changed and I am scrambling to get them in every day. The beach and water looks as lovely as ever…just cold!


Things are quiet. Exciting in their silence. That means the noise of new life is about ready to start up.

Spring foods are fun, fresh additions to the table…artichokes and asparagus are my faves. And it seemed fitting, as I am scrambling for time, to just scramble up some luscious fresh eggs and spring veggies for a simple spring meal.

That was my weekend...any ways that you scrambled for time?

Spring Scramble

Gently saute some fresh spring garlic and spring onions in unsalted butter or a combo of unsalted butter and extra virgin olive oil. Maybe add in some slices of new potaotes, too. Toss in some asparagus slices and saute for just a minute or two. Whisk eggs and add to pan. Allow two fresh eggs per person and then an extra yolk "for the pan". Makes really silky eggs!

Reduce heat to low and softly scramble. Just before eggs are set (I like mine "wet"), fold in tender leaves of spring spinach and some new peas and continue cooking until eggs are done the way you like them. Season with sea salt and fresh black pepper after cooking so the seasoning won't toughen up the eggs.To serve, garnish with fresh chives.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Downton Up

Oh, my goodness, speaking of being crazy for something...Mom and I are Downton Abbey addicts! Completely bound up!

Sunday was a little grey and gloomy...

What a better day to turn on the tellie and load up this amazing PBS series. My son sent both Season 1 and Season 2 to her as an early birthday present with a promise we would LOVE it and oh my, yes we do!! Already powering through Season 1, the big debate tonight is whether to watch a fave movie of hers on TCM or start into Season 2. Carry on, I say! It's Women and Wednesdays and so grab a pal and get caught up in this series!

Here is a lovely recipe for a perfect cup fo tea, a must sip for watching Downton Abbey. I love tea and look forward to mastering the proper way to brew it. The recipe and pictures are from a wonderful tea "atelier", Bellocq, located in an old warehouse near my apartment in Brooklyn.


To brew the perfect cup of wonderfully healthful tea, click perfect tea.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Crazy for...

Holding true to the The Prophet’s wisdom, I have always strived to be more like my kiddoes instead of parenting “mini-me’s”. And, I have learned so much from them. Therefore, I have dutifully and happily followed their lead into Israeli couscous! Mom also fell in line and had this recipe ready and waiting to mix up. Think the kiddoes would love this…we are all crazy for this really fun to eat couscous!

Couscous with Apricots, Chickpeas and Olives (adapted from Newsday)

½ cup orange juice
2 cups veggie broth
1 cup couscous
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (or more...see note)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup shelled edamame
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced\
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt

Bring OJ and ¾ cup broth to a boil; stir in the couscous and mint, cover and remove from heat. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add the remaining 1 ¼ cups of broth and edamame, cook for 2 minutes * Add the olives, chickpeas, apricots, vinegar and salt and cook 5 minutes, until most of the liquid had evaporated. Use a fork to fluff the couscous and combine with the vegetable mixture. Serves 4.

*Note: Next time I make this, I am not going to cook the edamame or maybe will just blanch it. It turned a funky color following the recipe exactly. Ha...I definitely should look more into the "intuitive" nature of cooking like my kiddoes do! Garnishing with extra chopped fresh mint helped brighten this up and so did the apricot "flower". It is really good hot and tomorrow night, we are going to try it cold. Either way, it's de-lish. Mom loved it! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Oops! I was sitting in my mom's car, in the rain, working on this blog yesterday and the Internet kept going in and out. Next thing I knew, the not-yet-ready version of yesterday's post went out. For those of you who missed the working link to the passage in The Prophet, it is there now. Take a look back....

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Prophet

Yesterday, before I left Brooklyn, my daughter and I were talking about the book, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. It is one of my absolute favorites and I have cherished a copy of it since I was 15.

Its beautiful thoughts and quiet wisdom, chapter by chapter, have helped me with the many chapters of my life. When she asked what advice (!) I had, I said the best parenting advice I ever heard is right here...

Sweet feet (from Internet stock)  

Have a great weekend!