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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

They're Baaaaaack

Farmers' Markets, that is!!!! So exciting. Really exciting that two new ones have sprung up within walking distance!!! This Red, White and Food shout-out is to Farmers' Markets everywhere...big hugs!

Shot I took of  last year's bounty

I forgot my camera last week but won't this week when I head up the street, around the corner and down a few blocks to the new Hillcrest Farmers' Market! I have gotten yummy eggs, Swiss chard, summer squash, leeks, broccoli, winter spinach, cucumbers and a de-lish cookie or two there. I will share more next Tuesday.

My home away from home, the Greenport-Shelter Island "hood", also just opened a new market and I know it is full of deliciousness as well. Can't wait to load up on Long Island's freshest there. Here are some scenes from their opening day, courtesy of their website.

Yum...Blue Duck's breads

Yay!!! Thank you so much for opening these markets. Be sure to find one (or start one!) in your neighborhood so that good, fresh food and health are within walking distance for every neighbor and family! xoxo

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day to everyone and a deep thank you to the men, women and their families who sacrificed so much for us to live free.

(For some reason, I am having trouble uploading pictures today.!)

One of the main goals of this blog is to share ideas on ways to continue living free as from harmful chemicals, toxins and a belt-busting, life-threatening body burden.

Grilling season is the perfect place to set yourself free...starting with the charcoal you use and how you prepare your to-be-grilled foods.

Something as simple as an oil and vinegar marinade will reduce the potential carcinogen levels (especially for grilled meats) by nearly 90 percent. Also, by switching to eco-friendly charcoal free of petroleum-derived chemicals is a big health boost. Cowboy Charcoal made from wood scraps is available at The Home Depot and Wicked Good 100% All Natural Hardwood Briquettes or any similar all hardwood choice is also good. Wicked Good has a "Weekend Warrior Blend" and is available in many states and online at  And, as tempting as it is, don't eat the charred fat on your meat. Switching to grilled tofu or seitan will take care of that urge and risk! Ha!

Here is a delicious sounding recipe for a grilled Memorial Day salad!

Grilled Asparagus Salad

2 cups tiny red potatoes cut to bite size and boiled until tender (you can finish these by brushing with olive oil and charring them lightly on the grill...just to punch up the flavor)
3 cups young greens with herbs or your favorite torn into bite sized pieces
1 cup artichoke hearts, drained
½ pound asparagus, trimmed then grilled

Ginger Dressing

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Juice of half a lemon with zest
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh mint, finely chopped (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Prepare a hot grill. Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes, drain and cool. Trim the woody bottom from the asparagus, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to grill. To make the dressing, put the ginger, garlic, lemon juice and fresh herbs in a mixing bowl. Add the rice wine vinegar, and whisk to blend well. Whisk in the olive oil and keep whisking until it is fully incorporated or use Mason go-to dressing shaker.

When the grill is ready, put the asparagus on the grill and cook for three minutes. Asparagus should be bright green but still slightly crunchy. If desired, brush cooked potatoes with olive oil and lightly char them, too. Lightly toss the greens with dressing, top with veggies and add more dressing as desired. Serves 2. 

I got this in an email this morning and while OGT is a meatless blog, that "cartoon" is spot on.

And no summer season kick-off is complete without sunscreen!!! I have found the perfect harmful rays, no harmful chemicals! Email me for info! xoxox

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pineapple by any other name

So,..this week whizzed by. I am still back on Monday mulling over my collection of stripes. I found even more after those pictures! Pretty funny!

With Memorial Day coming and the official launch of "grill season", I did want to share one more recipe from the class I went to last Sunday. It also gives me a chance to share some more folk art from Mexico. My parents used to call me "Penny Pineapple"...look at these beautiful pineapples calling my name...

And now, on to the grilled version! This is a salsa that is just yummy over lots of foods...and yes, even tofu! It is especially de-lish over grilled seitan cubes...

Grilled Pineapple Salsa (Williams-Sonoma)

1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into rings
1/2 red bell pepper (optional)
1 red onion, thickly sliced
olive oil
1 jalapeno chili
1/2 avocado, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
juice and zest of 1 lime
sea salt to taste

Drizzle pineapple slices and onion with olive oil, then place on grill with jalapeno. Cook, turning once, until grill "marked' and heated through, about 8 minutes total. Cook the chili until charred on all sides. If using red bell pepper, either grill with rest of veggies or dice raw.

Remove from grill and chop pineapple and onion into chunks. Put in a bowl. When chili is cool enough to handle, peel, stem, seed and dice it and then, add to bowl. Add the avocado and mint and stir to mix. Add the lime juice, stir again and season with salt.

Use salsa immediately or cover and place in 'fridge for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature. Makes about 1 cup. 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011


I don't feel like a creature of habit but like everyone I guess, I sure am. I took a look at my summer "wardrobe" over the weekend. The same one I have been wearing summer after summer and recalled a comment both my daughter and mom have made...that I always wear the same thing.

What? No, I don't. Uh...yes, I think they are right on this. Take a look...

Guilty as charged. These are my summer tops.

Additionally curious is that every single one of my tops with the exception of a very few solid tee's has stripes, as do some of my belts, my p.j.'s, some skirts and even one of the two pairs of pants I own is striped. Hmmm...any deep thinkers out there? I know I love the sea and most of these stripe-y garments are navy and white variations. Is this a marine/naval fetish? A longing to be part of the French Navy? Anyway, it was kind of weird seeing it all at once. Even Stubug is investigating the mix.

Interesting, too, that today I wanted to share a little about grilling and how to get those "stripes" on food without endangering your health! I went to a free technique class on grilling at Williams Sonoma yesterday and it was lots of fun. I will have much more to share on firing up the 'barbe as the grilling season unfolds!

Grilling Sampler

Here is one of the recipes from class and you can't tell from the sample I had on my plate but the romaine was beautifully grilled and striped, all done indoors with a special grill pan. And, was green and white! Quite yummy!

Grilled Romaine Salad (Williams Sonoma)

Grilled Romaine Salad (adapted from Williams Sonoma)

2 heads romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed (I prefer the romaine hearts)
olive oil for drizzling

Cut romaine in half lengthwise and trim base of the stem. leaving enough stem to keep leaves attached. Drizzle with olive oil to coat. Heat a gill pan over medium heat and add in romaine. Grill until leaves develop a little char and have begun to wilt. Turn over and grill on the other side until nicely browned. You want the lettuce to be a little wilted but still hold its shape. Transfer to a serving plate or individual plates. Dress with Caesar Dressing and garnish with cherry tomatoes (those would be great grilled!), avocado slices and grated Asiago cheese. Serves 4.

Caesar Dressing

2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
1/4 teaspoon whole grain or Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice with a little fresh lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 extra virgin olive oil (or combo evoo and your other favorite)
1/2 teaspoon honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make dressing, add first 6 ingredients and then slowly add in oils. Shake well to emulsify, stir in honey and then season with sea salt and pepper. Makes about 3/4 cup. Store any leftover dressing in the 'fridge.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Be Safe at Home

For the past 10 days or so I have loved visiting with my pal Deb and her husband Lloyd. I am so grateful for the afternoons we have spent. They are leaving Monday and I am happy/sad. THRILLED for them but sad for me. Solution: ROAD TRIP!!!

And so, yesterday, I was at the ready with my phone, waiting for Deb to call and see when we could meet up for our afternoon coffee. I talked to both my kiddos, too. The afternoon was good. Then, I got a call...

"Penelope Rudder? This is Be Safe at Home. Your mother has fallen and paramedics are on their way to her."

In the ring of a phone, everything changed. Within a few moments, I was able to call my mom, shout out to her that help was coming, call our neighbors, verify the police/medics were on their way and feel like, although I am half a country away, things were calm, being handled with love and efficiency and she would have help within minutes. By the time I talked to my brother in Canada a few minutes later, all was pretty well under control and I could assure him as well that things were good. This all went down in about 4-5 minutes from the time my mom hit the alarm button on her "necklace".

Everything turned out fine and she is skinned up but OK. To lighten the mood, I even accused her of doing some Dancing with The Stars moves...we are addicts. Seriously.

I thought it was appropriate to share one of Mom's favorite recipes while I make a call to my hairdresser...more than a few new gray hairs today! And tons of hugs to Be Safe at Home and to neighbors extraordinaire, Tim and Robin!  You guys are amazing. What a great job you did!

For those of you in a similar long-distance caregiver situation, check to see if this company is available to you. Also, like we did, do a couple of dry runs to be sure it does work as promised and have some other folks on board who know where your family emergency information is and can get to both that and your loved one. I found this company as a recommendation from my mom's local police and fire departments and we did a full "rehearsal" with them. Also, now that we have gone through the real thing, I am aware of several "tweaks" I need to make to have this go even better! xoxoxo

Mom's Broccoli Salad

6 cups fresh broccoli florets
6 green onions, sliced
1 cup diced celery
1 cup green grapes
1 cup seedless red grapes
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar. honey or agave nectar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, onions, celery and grapes. In another bowl, mix mayo, sugar and vinegar. Pour over veggies and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Stir in almonds just before serving. Serves 8.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I am feeling the heat

Earlier in the month we had some chart topping temperatures here (in addition to the worst set of storms since The Depression). According to my car, it hit 90 plus 3-4 days in early May. I lived through it knowing those days weren't here to stay.

Today is in the mid-80's and I am thinking the grace period is over. Summer has arrived. Holy moly. I am so not ready to be hotter than hot for 4-5 months. Heat and humidity...I am crying uncle.

Actually, I am not...just thinking about it. I am drinking water and for this Thirsty Thursday, it is the Beverage du Jour. I drink filtered water and when travelling, use the EWG's report to find bottled water that is really what it says it is instead of just tap water. The reports are available below.

To make it more fun, I add in lemon and orange slices, cucumber slices and sometimes berries or mint. Just a head's up though, the lemon and cucumber act as mild diuretics and so beware of that and drink more than the 6-8 glasses. Also, with lemon water, because it is initially acidic, drink up instead of sipping on it for hours. According to my dentist, it takes the mouth 20 minutes to return to its proper pH and constant sipping on something like lemon water will throw the body off some and also increase the erosion of your tooth enamel. If you have babies (2 or 4 leggers) be sure they stay well hydrated, too!

Go pour yourself a tall one!

Here are the two reports from the EWG. The one on your home's tap water is here and the 2011 Scorecard for Bottled Water is here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

From My House to Yours

It is Wednesday and I am trying something new. It has been soooo hard for me to pick which of several news articles to talk about on Wednesdays. There are so many now that deal with the important issue of the safety of our personal care products.

Personal care products are actually the most important foods we "eat" every day...and you know from my point of view as a nutritionist, that's saying a really big something!

Why? Because we eat these products through our largest organ, our skin, every day, morning and night and sometimes, in the case of hand soaps and hand sanitizers, hourly. Most personal care products are the same...petroleum-based, riddled with dyes, perfumes (where manufacturers can legally hide 600 chemicals), "proprietary formulas" and 1,000's of chemicals that Europe has already banned. The U.S. only bans 9. 9!! You would be shocked at the list of what is in some products and the risks they pose, especially to our children, those with health challenges and Mother Earth.

Here is what I think: the more you "know", the more you will say "no" to using products like facial lotions, shampoos, shower gels, hand sanitizers, lip glosses, etc. that contain known harmful chemicals like PEG's, SLS, 1-4 dioxane, triclosan, pthalates, parabens and formaldehyde.  

Here is what I am going to do:

1. Several days during the week, on Facebook, I will post news articles about this issue so you can learn what is going on. My first one is there today (I hope!) On Wednesdays, I will post one on Our Green Table.

2. I am a starting with my own family and switching to products without harmful chemicals. I can help your family make the switch, too, to a safer solution.

3. I am offering to educate every family, every group who is interested in this issue until we all can live "free" of this chemical soup or at least, understand what we are being spoon-fed.

You are welcome to join me in any way you can. I have lots of ways you can help. And, we are growing a group...a grass-roots initiative and would love your involvement. Email me, and check out me out on Facebook:  Penelope Rudder or!/pages/Ava-Anderson-Non-Toxic-by-Penny-Rudder/110143655739892?sk=wall

More is more. Education leads to power and choice and life that's a lot more fun!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Sweet La Catrina

I just realized that I have been writing about Mexico for over twice as long as I was there! Today, I just cannot resist posting this last post...well, maybe it's the last...

Remember the fun of "old-fashioned" candies that I wrote about...those from Economy Candy and The Vermont Country Store? Well, they have a kindred store in Guanajuato, Mexico...La Catrina. So sweetly colorful and merry and filled to the roof with traditional candies, many made with my beloved smokey-sweet caramel, cajeta.

I am so attracted to these kinds of stores...not because I actually eat the candy...I really just love the delicious fun. This Red, White and Food shout-out is to La Catrina and her dulce-delightful store!

One of the many "La Catrinas" waiting to help!

Dulces, dulces, dulces

Monday, May 16, 2011

Saveur Every Bite

I love to cook and have learned how to cook a lot of dishes. However, I don't know much about authentic, bold, earthy Mexican cooking. That is why my eye caught the May issue of Saveur magazine. Look:

Here is another beautiful picture featuring a dish with those delicate and delicious squash blossoms I saw in the market.

This magazine is wonderful and gives me a way to make all these pictures I took in the market come to life...

The Salad Bar

Beans, glorious beans!

Roasted garbanzos and corn

Hot stuff!!

Go grab a copy . There are scads of recipes, most of the ingredients can be found locally, too, although a trip to a mercado authentico would be more fun! For Meatless Monday, here is a fabulous bean dish from Saveur.

Frijoles de la Olla

2 cups dried pinto beans. washed and sorted
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 whole jalapeno, plus 1/2 jalapeno stemmed, seeded and minced
1/2 small yellow onion, plus 1/4 onion, minced
sea salt and fresh black pepper
For Pico de gallo:
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 tomato, cored and seeded, finely chopped
Crumbled cotija cheese and flour or corn tortillas for serving

Bring beans, garlic, whole jalapeno. 1/2 whole onion and 8 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, season with salt and pepper and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until beans are just tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

For Pico de Gallo, stir 1/2 jalapeno (minced), 1/4 onion (minced), cilantro and tomato in a small bowl until combined.

Ladle beans into a serving bowl, top with Pico de Gallo and cotija cheese. Serve with tortillas. Serves 6-8.

Note: Cotija cheese is mild, crumbly and a little bit salty. Feel free to substitute whatever fabulous cheese you love.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stop and Smell the Flowers

Blogger (the company that publishes this blog) had major outages this morning and so I am whipping this post up before it goes down again.

It is also Friday the 13th.

You know what...with technology, weather and superstitions all running a little haywire today, maybe this is a good day to just stop. And smell the flowers.

Here are some more pix from are everywhere...

on furniture

on walls
in pots

in trucks

in little angels' baskets

and Easter floats
in bird baths

in windowsills

and archways

Go find yourself some flowers today and breathe!! xoxoxo

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Some Days, More is More

I get really worked up on Wednesdays. So much so sometimes that Wednesdays flow right into Thursdays. Today is such a day.

While sharing the importance of understanding what is in our personal care products, I always want to leave us in a happy place with positive solutions to explore. Well, last night, with a little help from my pals, things got really happy and really positive. Look at this:

Think how fun that would be peeking out of the Travel Tote from yesterday's post!!! Wrapped up inside that pretty packaging is a facial care set, either 4 or 6 pieces, and of course, all without harmful chemicals.

Gorgeous gift on the outside as well as on the inside! And, for just for you, Our Green Table will give all our readers FREE gift wrapping for orders you email into me. The 4 piece set is 68.95. The 6 piece is 99.95 and that 6 piece set comes with a FREE blush. Toss this gift in the totes I have and voila...more is marvelous!

Wednesday plus Thursday.  More is more. More health, more fun for everyone! Let me know how to help you with your gifts...graduations, showers, teachers, coaches, "to me from me". Good health just got really pretty!  I am so excited I get to offer this here!!! And guys...we can "man it up" for you! No worries!

Go grab your favorite beverage, make a gift list and email me!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Eyes and Mouth Wide-Open, Travel Plans in Hand

Today I am wide-eyed. Yes, it is in part due to my annual eye exam and those dilating drops (go get your annual exam scheduled!!!) but also because of an article in the news.

You know those travel totes I talked about last week? They were a big success and so much fun to do. At that time...travelling was on my mind...making it safe, convenient and healthy.

Then, I saw this article in the news. Pediatricians: Toxics Endanger Kids Health (link is at end of post)

Read it over and over. I am beyond THRILLED that The American Academy of Pediatrics is speaking out about this and how they hit hidden ingredients and trade "secrets" HARD. Think about it. Some of the very most toxic products target the very most vulnerable: our children and they are manufactured by our most "trusted" brands.

This is a hugely BOLD statement put out by the AAP. Can it be we are turning the corner and having the issue of "Yes, there are toxic chemicals everywhere in almost every household product. Let's "say no!!" to those hazardous "natural" products and detox our families!" going mainstream??!!

Very exciting. I realized several months ago that just teaching people healthier options to eat was the tip of the toxic iceberg (ugh...please don't eat iceberg lettuce either!) and that also cleaning up "skin food" was a key element in getting health to a new place. I love doing "food" parties and get-togethers and sharing all I have learned about the safety of personal care products. 

And that's the trip I am on every day. Sharing what I know to help guide people toward choosing safer options.

This week I am offering those totes again...complete with a free set of BPA-free bottles. What are you out of...Shampoo? Conditioner? Shower Gel? Toner? Lip Balm? Everything I offer is family-friendly and budget conscious! Email me, and I can put together your Travel Tote. Where are we going? On a new health journey!! I have your itinerary ready!

Who do you know who can join us? Most vulnerable to this sea of harmful chemicals: you, those recovering from cancer or other illnesses, pregnant women. children, men (their "manly" stuff is really harsh), the elderly (skin is very thin and dry) anyone and everyone who wants a better future, today! 

Thank you to The American Academy pf Pediatrics for sounding off! I am listening and taking action! Read the article

Then take action by emailing me.