Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Ladies of Pink Heals Rock!

The first time I met Lisa Vingerling, was with Jimmy Rumba. Yes, that’s his name, Jimmy Rumba. He was teaching a party of twenty young, beautiful women how to Salsa Dance. Some women had long hair, some short and some none at all. But everyone was grooving and moving to the Latin music and laughing as they did.

Lisa is the founder of Pink Heals, a unique group that shows women under 40 that there IS life after cancer. That was Lisa’s answer when I asked her the goal of her non-profit. In Lisa’s words, “Being young and having cancer, is really an isolating experience, because the issues you face are very different than the issues faced by older women. Pink Heals confirms that there is life after cancer. Normal life. It will never the same as it was before, but in some ways, it’s better. You will get past it. You will stop thinking about cancer all day, every day. And you will become a better, stronger, more beautiful version of your former self. “

So how does Pink Heals accomplish lofty goals like helping young women have a renewed sense of self? What does this organization do to establish confidence and an ability to laugh, smile and enjoy everyday? The group approaches life after cancer in many different ways. Mostly just bringing women together and doing things that make them laugh and talk and learn more about their new normal. They dance, cook, learn about photography, party planning, and much, much more.

One special experience is Beauty & Bubbly. Lisa’s close friend, Robert Williams, asked her if he could help these young women feel beautiful. Robert is a talented makeup artist at SAKS in Buckhead. He organizes a bi-monthly event that invites under-40 cancer survivors to a glamorous makeup session conducted by skilled Dior and Trish McEvoy colleagues. A makeover, sparkling wine and a pink cupcake or two makes this event an incredibly special event.

Lisa’s positive attitude is contagious. Still in her early 30’s she means a great deal to me, as well as many young women in our community facing challenges that seem overwhelming. I’ve had the privilege of working with Pink Heals – here is a recipe that we have all enjoyed making and eating together.

Individual Whole Wheat Pizzas

1½ Cups Whole Wheat Flour

1½ Cups All Purpose Flour

2 Package QUICK-RISING Yeast

1½ Tsp Sea Salt

1 Tsp Sugar

1 1/3 Cup Hot Water (110 -120F) 

4 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Step One

Crank your oven up to 500F. Combine the Flours, Yeast, Salt and Sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine the water and oil in a measuring cup. Slowly drizzle the mixture into the processor with the motor running until it forms a sticky ball - the dough will be REALLY soft and sticky.

Step Two

Plop it out on a lightly floured surface. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it sprayed side down on the dough and let it rest for 15 - 20 minutes before preparing.

Step Three

On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 10 balls. Pat each ball into a pizza. Spread on your choice of toppings and bake until the crust is crisp and golden about 10-12 minutes.

Suggested Toppings:

Roasted Red Peppers

Sautéed Mushrooms

Caramelized Onions

Goat Cheese

Tomato Sauce


Kalamata Olives

Fig Jam

Fresh Basil

For more information about Pink Heals please visit the website at or contact Lisa at

This article originally appeared in the April 15th Edition of the Buckhead Patch at

Monday, April 11, 2011

Out of Indulgence Comes Inspirationa Guest Post by Healthy Sous Chef Partyologist, Lea Bowen

I recently traveled with family to Chatanooga, TN for a weekend spring break getaway. As a good mother should, I dutifully followed my husband and kids to the Tennessee Aquarium, RockCity! and The Chickamauga Battlefield. Seeing with the new eyes of my children, I enjoyed the tourist stops, but my real reason for traveling to Chatanooga was for a chance to revisit a restaurant I had discovered in the past, named St. John's.

Finally the night of my indulgence arrived - along with a torrential downpour. Arriving at the restaurant I was worried that the kids would be miffed at the lack of chicken nuggets on the menu - when all I really needed was a relaxing and tasty evening. My concern was unfounded. Outside the thunder and lightening crashed, but the stars aligned inside the cozy dining room. The kids were actually game to try something new and I, got my first taste of pork belly.

Being a voracious reader of food magazines, I have been reading about this trendy cut of pig for several years. My plate arrived with succulent pork belly, served on a bed of peperonata and topped with a perfectly poached egg. I went to bed that night dreaming of my delicious first course. Yup, this was only my appetizer, which I followed up with a pork tasting that included pork loin, pork rilette and a pork sausage. Indulgence at its best!

I returned home feeling a bit guilty, yet inspired by my wonderful vaction meal. If not the pork belly, certainly the peperonata could be incorporated into a healthy weeknight dinner. I made my own version of peperonata and served it on top of yellow brown rice and grilled balsamic chicken. The peperonata reminded me of my vacation, while the grilled chicken and rice gently nudged me back to reality.

Here's my recipe for the peperonata, which is a delicious bed for any kind of meat - and super on bread brushed with olive oil, straight from the grill!

LEAs’s Perperonata:

2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion

1 Each Red, Yellow and Orange Bell Pepper, Chopped

1 14.5 Oz. Can of Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes (I used Muir Glen)

2 Garlic Cloves, Minced or Grated

¼ Cup of Balsamic Vinegar

Step One

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat and add the onions. Saute, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add peppers and cook for another 5-7 minutes, while stirring.

Step Two

Add the remaining ingredients and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer and continue to cook over low heat until the mixture has thickened and liquid has reduced. Serve warm or at room temperature over grilled meats or roasted veggies. Leftovers taste great on a log of goat cheese!

Friends, Poetry, Fun and Food

The Poetry Reading I attended at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont was wonderful. Each guest brought a poem they had composed, or one of their favorites. Some were funny, some sad, all the readings captured insight into the group of fellow survivors and friends. Vicki Woodyard, one of my journaling buddies has published a new book, "Life with a Hole In It". It's an amazing story of an amazing woman - it's her story. Vicki lost both her daughter and husband to cancer, and she writes about her life with grace and insight. I read the book cover to cover the weekend that I bought it. The book is available on Amazon here:

And because I can't resist passing on a recipe from the food that made us happy that night, here is my easy, healthy and delicious recipe for:

Mediterranean Goat Cheese Tarts

Olive Oil Spray

24 Wonton Wrappers

3 TB Olive Oil

2 Anchovies, Drained

2 Cups Julienned Multi Colored Bell Peppers

1 Cup Thinly Sliced Red Onion

½ Tsp Italian Seasoning

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

½ Tsp Grated Garlic

4 Oz Goat Cheese, Room Temp

¼ Cup Non Fat Greek Yogurt, Room Temp

1 Tsp Lemon Juice

Capers and Chopped Basil for Garnish

Step One

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a non-stick mini muffin pan with the olive oil. Press the wrappers into the tin and spray again. Bake for about 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the tin and let cool.

Step Two

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, dissolve the anchovies in the oil. Stir in the bell peppers, onion and Italian seasoning. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the peppers have softened. Add the garlic and cook and stir for another few minutes.

Step Three

While the peppers are cooking, mix the goat cheese, yogurt and lemon juice together.

Step Four

To assemble the tarts, place a Tsp of the goat cheese mixture in the bottom of each tart. Top with the peppers and garnish with the herbs and capers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Celtic Wisdom, Irish Feast!

This Guest Post is by my colleague and wonderful pal, Dennis Buttimer. Dennis and his wife Angela are good friends special to not only me - but to many participants at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Hospital. We had so much fun doing our class together a couple of weeks ago! Here the workshop recap from Dennis, along with some pictures of the yummy food:

The Friday Four on March 25th (pub salad with creamy tarragon dressing) reminded me of the workshop I facilitated with Nancy entitled “Celtic Wisdom, Irish Feast.”

We held this workshop at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont and we opened with Nancy’s extraordinary culinary skills in the form of a healthy version of Shepherds’s Pie, Pub Salad, Colcannon and delicious Apple Tart. Nancy shared some humorous stories of her adventures in the British Isles and after our lunch, I delved into the second half of the workshop.

We discussed five (5) facets of celtic wisdom: individual universes(our unique gifts), anam cara (soul friend), circle of belonging (community), tree of life (spirituality), and reverence of nature (God in all things). We dialogued about the gifts of this wisdom and the group went on to write and recite their own myths, limericks, poems and what community means to them. Imbued with Celtic energy, the participants shared insights, excitement and hope.

I applaud Nancy Waldeck for her people skills, cooking abilities, inspiration and for her fantastic book she has created: Taste and Savor:

Slainte’! (Cheers to good health!)

Dennis Buttimer is a counselor, facilitator, registered yoga teacher,
and wellness coach in private practice with his wife Angela at Buttimer and Associates, LLC.
Together they facilitate integrative health and wellness groups, classes and workshop. Their blog i