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, September 30, 2011

Now, that's Italian!

Double dose of is Friday and the end of September...already. Incredible. Time really does fly. My son has been here for a few days to attend one of his best friend's wedding and so I have been cooking "by request". I asked him what recipes did he want me to cook up?

Answer: Pasta Puttanesca

Normally I would do back flips for a request but another double dose...this request was Italian (which is not my forte) and anchovy-based (out for both of us veggies). But hey...I always learn most doing totally what I don't know how to do! And so, I jumped right into this culinary adventure.

Here is the first thing I learned...Puttanesca Sauce without anchovies is considered the Neapolitan version of this classic dish and so off to Naples I went. Always did want to see that beautiful city.

And here is the second...this recipe is super easy and super delectable! We ate it up with gusto and a little Pinot that's Italian! Try this yourself and enjoy this wish for your weekend...'Vivi bene, ridi spesso, ama molto e mangia italiano'

From steamy start to sunny-in-Italy finish

Pasta Puttanesca (morph from Rachael Ray and Ellie Krieger recipes)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, flattened and minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
25 kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers
1 28-ounce chunky crushed tomatoes (I used San Marzanos)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
fresh black pepper
1/2 to one pound angel hair pasta (or pasta of choice)
fresh arugula
Parmesan Reggiano

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute garlic with crushed red pepper flakes 'til garlic is soft, about 3 minutes. Add olives, capers, tomatoes, few grinds of fresh black pepper and parsley. Bring sauce to a soft boil, immediately reduce heat and let simmer about 8-10 minutes.

Cook pasta to al dente. Drain and add to sauce. Toss in handfuls of arugula and stir
until just wilted. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano and a nice chunk of a rustic bread.

If you want to omit the arugula in the sauce, have it as a salad dressed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. I have no clue how many this recipe is supposed to serve...truly pig-out food!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We are in the dawn of a cleaner pink...

OK, so I am going to get really personal here. It is Women and Wednesdays after all! I had my mammogram plus ultrasound this week and usually it is an all morning or afternoon affair. I am in a high risk category due in great part to DES exposure and have been having those tests since I was 20. Yes, 20. Lots of other stuff in between, too.

It has been about a year and a half since I have done everything I can food-wise to "clean up", including cleaning up both the food on my fork (which I have always been careful about) and the food going in through my skin (my newer focus). I have learned a LOT and made the healthiest choices possible and have shared all I do here. is something to think about. When I checked out,  I was asked, "BTW...what are you doing differently?" I told them I had significantly reduced the harmful chemicals in my food...all food, from my shampoo to my succotash!

Fave pink shake

I believe with all my heart that I have lowered my body's burden of toxic stuff and the results are  visible. My skin is noticeably different...clearer, smaller pores, softer and now, I have x-rays to prove there are changes within!

Wonderful...just plain, wonderful!

Now, all this leads up to a big favor...we are about to get deluged by a tidal wave of "pink". TONS of products with pink ribbons tied around promises to help eliminate breast cancer. Remember... companies can say just about anything on the front of a bottle, on a label or on a jar lid.

PLEASE...turn the product over to the back and read the ingredients, especially on your skincare and personal care items. Let me help you decipher the label.  Is that truly a clean pink product or a dirty Pitch anything today with petroleum derivatives (mineral oil, petrolatum, etc.), "Fragrance" and PEG's/PPG's. Nanoparticles, "enhanced delivery"? Dump 'em. Dirty. Really dirty.

Please, dear friends, think before you pink and let's clean up ourselves and the whole pink color world to live safer, healthier, more beautiful lives! A clean, gorgeous new pink is dawning... xox

For clean food on the fork and clean skin food recommendations, just ask me! I have a big beautiful list! xox

Coming next Wednesday...I will share an article I read in magazine while in the doc's office and a newspaper headline! Hair-raising stuff!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

While still talking addictions...

I like Mark Bittman, his columns and cookbooks. While still on the topic of addictions, his article in Sunday's New York Times was fabulous. Our Red, White and Food shout-out for this week goes to Mark and that marvelous Grey Lady...

To read his latest thought-provoking article, "Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?", click here.
Thanks, Mark!

Pix from Internet

Monday, September 26, 2011

Addiction Number What?

I think I have talked about several addictions here...mostly all good,  but I have lost track of the number. At any rate, I have a new one on the table. Take a look...

This is probably the simplest and most de-lish salad I have had in a long while. And, it is made with a new taste adventure for me...purslane* (see below). Don't remember ever eating purslane, but oh boy, will I ever be making up for lost time. It is nutrient-dense like all greens and richer in omega-3's fatty acids than any other vegetable. Sweet!

Here is the recipe...

Terry's Super Salad (Thank you to Terry's Finer Foods in Little Rock for my impromptu salad class Saturday...they knew a possessed woman when they saw one!)

Take one bunch of purslane, 1/2 bunch of cilantro, 1 diced jalapeno, a little sea salt and pepper. Mix it all up and splash with the juice of half a large lime. Toss in grated Queso Fresco to taste and grab a fork. Fabulous!

Here is what my dinner looked like. Terry's Super Salad with some pretty darn super lentils I mixed up into a cold salad and sauteed Swiss chard and mushrooms over red rice. Last of the season corn and gotta love the huge pat of butter...did I mention addiction enough yet?  Happy Monday!

* Yes, I know purslane is considered a weed, pigweed, to be exact and so to be safe, please get it from someone who is growing it for culinary use. I don't want you digging up your yard (or someone else's) and perhaps risking exposure to a bunch of yard chemicals!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hello Gorgeous! Come Nibble and Party!

Oh my...finally. Finally. Oh is The Day! It's Fall, everyone!

Helloooooooooooo, Gorgeous!!
Fall from the talented eye of Darby Nowatka

Welcome to this glorious season from two of my favorite places...under a fabulous tree and walking along the fall beach...

Now, fall-o us and fall in line! Come on over to Heather's House Party for Our House Shelter!

It recently came to my friend Heather's attention that the residents of Our House Shelter are in need of some good, basic toiletries and we need your help providing them! We want to offer USA-made products, all without harmful chemicals and without gluten, too, so that we can help residents stay safe and healthy.

Here are the party Heather's House Party for Our House and help us out if you can!

Need something to munch on while you are shopping? This recipe welcomes fall...

Our House Shopping Dip (like a tapenade)

1 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked, drained and quartered
1/2 cup pitted olives...kalamata are yummy here
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
parsley sprigs, about 4-6

Crack out your blender or food processor and blend all ingredients until smooth. Spread on baked pita chips, fresh bread or veggies. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. A little scoop on small, boiled potatoes is sublime! Makes about 1 cup.

Have a delightful weekend! And, thank you in advance for helping Our House.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

And the Lady is sipping...

On Thursday, I usually talk about beverages. Today, I must confess, I am seriously, seriously into ones especially. I am not sure how it happened but 'em. Sipping one as I write.

There is a favorite at Whole Foods that I am hooked on and am in the process of tweaking here at home. It is called The Trice. Now, before I go any further, for long time readers, these are not the same as my magic protein shakes that I have in the morning. These are quite juices.

If you don't have a juicer or blender and need to come and use my Vitamix...come on over! Certainly, we can make this ourselves. The Trice contains lemon juice, ginger, parsley (don't turn back now!), cucumbers, spinach, celery and carrots with a little extra water to make it juice-y. It has such a great a veggie lemonade. Pull your blender/juicer out and give it a whirl!

Benefits I have noticed...very refreshing, filling, alkalizing and just a couple of these seemed to help me lose some of my water weight from travelling. Celery and cucumbers are both mildly diuretic.You may remember that it took me 2 days to get home recently...two days on and off airplanes which don't agree with me very much on the best of days. Mention a flight and I swell like a toad; add changes in air pressure and poof! An easy 2-3 pounds.

Anyway...try it. Let me you have a favorite juice you like?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sole Food

I have written over 500 posts and so surely I have used this title before? Oh well...twice is nice!

I am thinking about my feet beloved "flip flops" broke and are irreparable. I call them flips but actually they are orthopedic, flip-flop looking wonders and I bet if I walked one mile, I walked several hundred, maybe a thousand in them...all around New York, all around Mexico, all around home. I am chagrined. Airport security will miss them...lots of sky miles on those flips. Good thing it is getting a little cool and flip season is almost over.

Back-up pair with fave summer blues

And for me, pedicure season is winding down, too. I don't get a pedi very often because for one thing, I cannot stand the smell of most salons and those awful petroleum-based, greasy, chemically-colored gels, scrubs and lotions most salons use. And, that's not even hitting on the toxins! I bring my own spa products a lot of the time. When I forget (I never forget the toxin-free polish!!!), sometimes the bottoms of my feet are so greasy from what the salon uses, I can hardly walk. Kind of takes the "zen" out of the experience for me.

I saw this recipe somewhere and think I may give DIY pedi's more of a try...looks good enough even for Cleopatra. Milk is an excellent skin rejuvenator. The lactic acid helps with exfoliating and moisturizing, too.

Sole Soak

Mix equal parts warm milk and warm water. Add a few drops of olive oil and your favorite essential oil. Soak feet in warm milk bath for 5-10 minutes or until milk cools. Yummy.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Playing it Clean and Safe

Many thanks to the Junior League of Little Rock for inviting me to speak tonight!!! I am so excited that they have embraced "Health and Wellness" as a focus and given me the chance to share what I know about keeping ourselves and our familes as safe, beautiful and healthy as possible!

Here is the link to the article I got yesterday that I will refer to tonight. For every woman and everyone who loves one a: must read!   (Click on those two words for article!) 

Then, here is what to do...let me help you "detox" your bathroom and replace your products with delicious ones that build your wellness and beauty without putting your health at risk...and, as an extra bonus, these products are all made from women manufacturers right here in the U.S.A!

To get clean and safe, go here or here: or email me! We can always make a party of this, too, and get you some freebies. I love to party. I love to give away freebies!!! Junior Leaguers, if you wish to order, let me know and I will give you a special September treatment as a thank you!

Thanks for playing it clean and safe with me tonight, JLLR! Here's to our health for generations to come! xoxo

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Get that "F" word off your chest!

For some reason, I got on a Coco Chanel jag while I was in New York and read three books about her. Fascinating woman.

One of the most pertinent things to what I do and share here is the story of Chanel #5 "coming to America". It seems her business partners (this was in the 1930's) did not want to use the real essential oils from Grasse, France. Instead, to mass market it more effectively ($) in the United States, they went to a "fragrance" plant in Hoboken, New Jersey, and matched the fragrance synthetically, with chemicals they didn't think the American woman would care about having on her skin.

Coco insisted that French women wouldn't wear that industrialized stuff. Her business partners assured her we Americans would. And we did. And furthermore, Europe bans over 1300 chemical additives; the US bans just 9 and so it was truly an open opportunity for the mix masters. Unbelievable to me what we didn't know and how we were marketed to with lesser quality, synthetic vs. real goods. I have always loved Chanel fragrances. Wonder what they are real-ly like?

Moving forward...

Of course, we know now that "F" word, "fragrance" is where legally, over 600 chemicals can hide, many of them really harmful...hormone disruptors, allergens, immunosuppressors, etc. And so, here is the thought for Women and Wednesdays...get that F word off your chest, your arms, legs, face and eyes, too....and check out all your lotions and creams. Especially those that go on your children, from infants on up. Oh, and teens. Eeek. Keep them out of the mall sprays-of-perfume-in-every-store!!

Have a keen eye and check your products for the word "Fragrance". If you find it and you will on gobs of products, if I were you, I'd toss those products. I can help you replace them with yummy alternatives that are truly safe and nourishing for your skin and for your family. Just ask! To keep your eyes even sharper, I have a new Eye Cream to share with you, too, without harmful chemicals or synthetic fragrance, of course! Fragrance around the eye area is a real NO! Just email me and I will help you! oxo

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More than just fire

It is hard to say all I felt about 9/11 and the 10th anniversary on Sunday, especially with almost my whole family there now and the new threats that arose. But I wonder can we come so close together to mourn and honor and then step away so far apart to live?

I watched a lot of the ceremonies and also a documentary on the firehouse nearest the World Trade Center. Two film makers chronicled the journey of a young man for his first summer as a firefighter, which included being a trainee on 9/11. Did any of you see it? When walking around NYC, I pass by several firehouses and am struck by how young most of the men are. Young. Very young.

In the documentary, among many other things, it also showed a lot of firemen cooking and serving up huge meals in the firehouse. As a matter of fact, before 9/11, the film makers wondered if this was going to be a more of a cooking show than a film about firefighting.

In Shelter Island, the firehouses hold a special place in my heart. As one of the commissioners, my dad was very helpful in unifying the two houses there so they could work more efficiently together. Every summer there are fundraisers, both full-blown, cooked-by-the-firemen barbecues. I got to go to one this year. As usual, the firemen at the grill and local corn were sublime. There is nothing like Long Island's corn...North Fork varieties preferred!

This Red, White and Food shout-out is to all firefighters for their bravery, dedication, service and yes, for their love of cooking.

Thank you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stormin' through to Fall

It is kind of hard to know where to start...or rather pick up where I left off. Such a month! Like most, I have had enough of summer storms, 100 degree temps, hurricanes et al. Fall...are we there yet? Bring it on!

One of the "better" days!

While in New York which is normally such an empowering time for me, I was powerless a lot, literally, and my well-intentioned neighbors offered to share their internet but the router was in their basement. Not a great place during all the rain from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Then, we all lost power. Even the well-wired/backed-up/go-to library...which was crushing. I took a hint and took a break.

During the hurricane, I cooked a lot on a camp stove and it will be a while until I eat scrambled eggs or drink instant coffee again although it was waaay better than I remember. And those LED lights? Champs when you need them but, ouch...strong and eye-piercing. My troubles were mostly ones of inconvenience and some selfish frustration that on top of everything else I had to do during this trip, I had to "do storms" as well instead of having the time to take the rejuvenating walks and "ferreting" adventures I love.

Very minor annoyances. My heart and healing thoughts go out to all those who suffered loss.

The couple of days I was actually in NYC, it also poured. I mean poured, and so I did not get a chance to refresh myself there either at most of my usual haunts or go prowling for new ones. However, I did learn a lot...protect your health and strength! Love your neighbor. I thought today it would be appropriate to both say "Hi! Remember me? I missed you!" and to share some stress-calming foods....just in case there's another storm brewing!

First of...avoid all red meats (you knew that was a given, right?) and as much dairy and sugar as possible. Very inflammatory. Who needs more cortisol?! The sugar in dark chocolate gets a pass though...manna...and so does the ice cream that is thawing. Eat it up...two to three scoops minimum! It helps a lot to crank your freezer up to high when you know the storm will hit. I am sure I got an extra day or two of "cool-th" because of that tip. Also, wrapped Mom's freezer in a sleeping bag. We certainly weren't getting much shut eye!

Breakfast, lunch and dinner 'til it thaws!

Eat lots of veggies, especially leafy green ones, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa and beans of all kinds and berries, too. I mainlined hummus and almond butter. It all seemed to work and I was amazed at how "calm" I felt. Many of these would be a snap to throw on a charcoal grill, too, and much more flavorful than the ole camp stove...although I felt very fortunate to have it!!! 

Hope you all are well! Anyone else have some thoughts?!