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

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Night of Nights is here....

Let the fun begin to howl, cackle and scream! It's Halloween!

We are coming down to the barbed wire here...little Trick or Treaters (hopefully about 500 of 'em) will start their merry dance in a few hours. Still lots of finishing touches to do...

Cute pumpkins, monstrous feet
Here's a look so far...
Come on in!

Pumpkin carving...serious stuff!

Pumps...Ready to roll

By daylight, cute. By nightfall, howling!

Our cemetery still needs work. The monsters need to show do the light and sound folks. While still a "work in progress", I borrowed some "tombstone moss" and bone shards for this salad. The stew (in wonderful lidded soup bowls) is a fall fave's...with dried eyeballs, of course!

Tombstone Moss and Bone Shard Salad (eerily adapted from Bon Appetit!)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch Tuscan kale, leaves stripped from stem and thinly sliced into ribbons
6 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and grated
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup almonds with skins
1 cup finely grated Pecorino

Combine lemon juice, mustard, shallot, garlic, sea salt and pepper in a glass jar. Shake well. Add olive oil (all but 1 tablespoon). Mix together shredded Brussels sprouts and kale.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and pan toast the almonds until browned and fragrant. Transfer nuts to a paper towel and let cool. Chop coarsely and sprinkle with a little sea salt, if desired.

Add dressing and cheese to kale/Brussels spouts mix and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped almonds and serve. Serves 4.'s your Night of Nights!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Many brooms make

Ghouling more fun! Last night, daughter Lissa jetted in on her broomstick from Gotham City to help with the Halloween hauntings. She will lend her artistic eye and cackle to our fun. When I was in New York last week, we talked about our family's traditional Halloween menu: Witches Brew Stew, Scaredy Cat Punch, Snow Ghost Pie and I realized, munchies?

I found this recipe for Dracula's Dip from Dr. fave go-to, deliciously green doctor. Seems just the thing to munch on while carving up those pumps! Have a great weekend...

This delicious spread uses no added fat and the sun-dried tomatoes (dried blood!) give it a wonderful smoky flavor. Spread it on crusty bread, use it as a dip for pita chips or spread on my new fave base, a Napa cabbage leave and roll up.

6 sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups cooked or canned great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and zested rind, if desired
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon each: salt and dried sage
1/2 cup vegetable broth

Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let soak until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, thinly slice, and set aside.

Combine the beans, rosemary, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and sage in a food processor and process until smooth. If desired, add some or all of the vegetable stock for a creamier texture. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if needed. Makes about 2 cups.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Love Halloween!!!

I had so much fun drooling my way around Economy Candy!! I saw candies I hadn't seen since I was a Trick or Treater myself...ruby red wax lips, wax fangs and moustaches, those little wax bottles full of sugar-y colored liquids, Beeman and Clove gum, Mary Janes, even candy cigarettes and of course, licorice of all kinds...ropes, swirls, Scotty dogs, twist sticks, gummies and drops. It was so much fun and it got me thinking...what's in those??? Probably don't want to know. 
Aside from those old-fashioned candy memories, another of my fondest memories of going out on Halloween was a stop off at my "headmaster's" house for apple cider, cinnamon doughnuts and caramel apples. While homemade goodies are impossible now as a public offering, perhaps you are having a private witch-y affair this year and want to try your hand at some old-fashioned Halloween treats?

Here is a yummy recipe for Caramel Apples. I am not quite ready to make mine yet or I would guide you through them. They really are super easy. You go ahead and get started. Click caramel apples and let me know how yours turn out!

In case you want to "green up" your Halloween trick or treats, here is a candy suggestion: Yummy Earth Lollipops with such fun names like "Wet Face Watermelon" and "Pomegranate Pucker". They are made by a great company, too, and can be found at Whole Foods.

Also, try DIY costumes or a costume swap. Those mass-marketed costume fabrics are scary. So is the made-in-China make-up. I know it is only for one night, but....remember, beets make great bloody lips and fangs, perfect oozing wounds, too. Just mix beet juice with your favorite non-toxic lip balm and apply.

Need more green make-up tips? I am repeating these Halloween Make-up suggestions from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website...I'll be mixing up a batch for my mug, too!

Choose a base of: unscented lotion OR pure cocoa butter OR safe, fluoride-free toothpaste, avoiding mint flavors.

Check your pantry for: turmeric (I have LOADS if you need some!), raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, beets, avocado, spirulina, cocoa, chocolate sauce (share!), squid ink or other colorful foods, juices, herbs and spices

Yellow: Add 1/4 tsp. and a large pinch of stale turmeric to base Add some berries or a little beet juice to make Orange).
Pink: Using a sieve, mash the juice from 3 fresh or thawed frozen raspberries, blackberries or beets directly into the base. Or, use a deeply colored berry juice or puree.
Mint green: With a fork, mash 1/4 of a small avocado until creamy. Mix this into your base. Emerald green: Add small amount spirulina or bright green chlorophyll to base.
Purple: Using a sieve, mash the juice from several fresh or frozen blueberries into the base. Or, use blueberry juice.
Brown: Add cocoa powder or chocolate sauce to base.
Black: Use a small amount of squid ink in base for true black.
White: Mix powdered sugar and water.

Happy Women and Wednesdays! Here's to making an ever ghoulish but safer and greener Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cruising the Mother Ship

Oh we are talking and walking, I am right in front of the mother ship...

And from here, it is just a short 50-60 block stroll to Economy Candy to load up on Halloween goodies. Wonder of wonders...It's almost Halloween!

Have a Happy Monday and make it meatless. "Meatless" is definitely part of the race for life. Need a recipe? Our whole blog is full of de-lish meatless salads, entrees and tips! Go grab your black kettle and stir up something "good and green" for tonight. I will be making a simple lentil soup that cooks up in a flash.

Lightening Bolt Lentil Soup

Wash and pick through 1 pound bag of lentils. Add to a pot with 7 cups of filtered water. Toss in herbs of choice. I add bay leaves, a sprig of rosemary or heaping teaspoon of other herbs, some salt, fresh pepper and red pepper flakes for a little punch. Feel free to flavor the broth as you like it...spicy or aromatic. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes or until tender. Towards the end of cooking time, add in whatever soup veggies you like and let those cook until tender. Makes a very hearty soup, almost like a stew. You can add more water if you like a brothier soup. Here is what mine looked like and of course, not an eye of newt or bat wing in the mix...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rosemary for Remembrance

I have a lovely rosemary bush in my backyard. It is a stand out in my yard...for many reasons including the fact that I moved it a little late one year and although it was clearly upset, it made such a splendid comeback. Now it is about 4 feet in diameter and covered in new life. A stellar beauty.

This whole week I am sprinkling rosemary on everything. It is the herb of remembrance.

I am remembering many this week as it is our town's Race for the Cure and I am choosing to remember them with something green, so fragrant and so hearty that it breathes new life into every dish I have prepared. It is an herb that stands out and that is how I want to remember those on my heart. As stand outs. As stellar beauties.

I am also using rosemary to remind myself that I have a choice every day about how I live. The choices I make make me and I have more power to choose than I sometimes give myself credit for or use.

For me, the only color of the race for any cure is green. A beautiful color. Worth exploring in its fullness. Worth remembering. Worth running that race every day for the new life it gives.

And, at the end of the day, a nice long soak is perfect...

Rosemary Rejuvenating Bath

Fill tub with warm, not too hot, water and several handfuls of epsom salts. Stir the water up to dissolve them.Toss in several sprigs of fresh rosemary and, if you've got it, a few splashes of rosemary essential oil.  Slip quietly into the silky, fragrant water and soak away the day and get ready to welcome the next. Green...peace of health, green...peace of mind.

Happy Women and Wednesdays.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Golden moments my box full of beautiful golden Razor apples and am making my crunchy way through them.Yum!

I also had to make my way through the 'fridge this weekend. Had a lot of "halvies"... a half-used head of cabbage leftover from soup I made earlier in the week, half a bunch of golden beets, half a cluster of sunny zephyr squash. And so, I decided to make a harvest melange of them...all lightly caramelized which is my favorite way to eat most cooked veggies. If you have some halvies of your own...go for 'em whole-heartedly!.

Golden Harvest Melange

Melt a combination of olive oil and unsalted butter (important for flavor) in a skillet. Add a minced clove of garlic, if desired, and saute lightly.

Shred cabbage coarsely, shred beets (I had golden beets), and slice squash into fingers. Sprinkle generously with Herbes de Provence and add in a little extra rosemary (I will explain that on Wednesday!) Saute all until lightly caramelized and al dente.  Season to taste with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Lovely. And, even a bit more robust if you have some leftover brown rice on hand.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The postman always rings...

Actually, for the next few days, I am not even going to wait until he comes to the door. It is Razor Russet season and my mom has mailed me a box full.

Oh boy...cannot wait! I discovered these apples last year and they are magnificent! They are from one of my fave farmstands...all dressed up for the season. Here, take a look...

Wickham's Farmstand

This stand fronts a 200-year old farm that drifts all the way down to the glistening waters of Peconic Bay. An absolutely gorgeous piece of property. I have been going there since I was a little girl. It was also my grandmother's favorite stand. What you cannot see in this picture is a table full of their should-be world famous doughnuts. Just perfect, still warm, old-fashioned cake doughnuts sprinkled in cinnamon sugar. Oh my. 

And so, in honor of waiting for these fabulous Razors, I am going to bake up some others this weekend...just to whet my apple-tite! My favorite baking apple is a Red Rome. These turn out like individual crust-less apple pies.

Baked Rome Apples

Allow 1 apple per person and here is where I do go "large"...bigger is better! Core and stuff cavity with a bit of unsalted butter, brown sugar and plenty of cinnamon. Top with another bit of unsalted butter. Bake at 325 until done. Apple flesh will be soft and will have exploded the skin a little. Eat warm as is. We usually have this at breakfast but it would be a great evening dessert with a little ice cream or rum custard sauce.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I love learning about skin...what it should eat, how to best take care of it, how to dress it up on occasion. Good thing. Better late than never.

I owe my skin a big apology. The adage "ignorance is bliss" is baloney or in my case, skin cancer. I have talked about this oodles before but today was my quarterly dermo check-up. In lieu of being "torched" everywhere by that painful liquid nitrogen blaster, we decided I had too much suspicious stuff to cover this time and the doctor suggested a cream. OK...sounded great to me. As per any treatment, there would be a blister-y, sore stage but then, clear skin ahoy. Why not?

Kind of excited, I went and got my RX-filled. Then, I went home and read the box. Holy Moly!!!!

Does this make sense to you???? I really, really don't know what to make of this formula. Parabens, propylene glycol, polysorbate 60 (PEG), petrolatum? Aside from being among the top twelve things not to put on your skin, why in the world are they in a formula for already compromised skin? Money matters I imagine.

Here is the dirt on what's in my prescription:

Parabens: Linked to breast cancer
o Methyl Paraben: Allergies/immunotoxicity, non-reproductive organ system toxicity, irritation (skin, eyes or lungs), biochemical or cellular level changes.

o Propyl Paraben: Developmental/reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, allergies / immunotoxicity, and non-reproductive organ system toxicity.

Petrolatum. Can cause highly allergic reactions. Contamination concerns.

Propylene Glycol. Alters skin structure for enhanced skin absorption. A skin irritant that can cause allergic reactions. Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs).

Polysorbate 60. A PEG, contamination concerns with 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogenic.

I avoid these ingredients like the plague or more appropro, like the sun, and wouldn't dream of buying products that contain them.

This Women and Wednesdays finds me flabbergasted.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A couple of new leaves

Happy Columbus Day! With his end destination in mind, today's adventure into a new world of flavors is actually going to start out Asian. I have recently been on an Asian greens jag and following in Friday's footsteps, wanted to share a "fun, easy, convenient and delicious" new sandwich.

First off, I am not much of a bread eater. I bought some Napa cabbage (delicious!) and looked at that whole head of beautiful leaves and decided two would make perfect "bread" for a sandwich. First, I slathered each leaf with the spicy nut butter I made. Hummus, peanut or almond butter would be good, too. Then I put on some pea shoots (such a fresh, fun flavor they have!) and 3-4 pieces of the Partied Up Zucchini (from Friday). One I ate as an open-faced sandwich; the other rolled up. Truly delicious and amazingly filling even sans bread. Made room for a cookie a shoe-in. Here...take a peek...

Then, to make it your own on this holiday, perhaps spread on some Genoese flavors in honor of Columbus. How about a dollop of a lovely pesto or rich tapenade?

Whatever taste adventure in search of new worlds you choose to take, have a great Columbus Day!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Learning in the Fast Lane

I gotta admit it. Fast food has some value. Nutritional waistland aside, fast food has made eating easy, convenient and fun. Some would even add "delicious" to the mix. Smart, smart marketing and delivery. 

Here is what I aim to do...make getting healthy easy, convenient and fun, too, and certainly delicious. I have decided to set Our Green Table up for parties, more officially than before, and offer up Our Wellness Cafe. I have come up with a Five Course Wellness Menu that I think is every bit the easy, convenient, fun and delicious way I view becoming healthier should be. There will be lots of tips on inner and outer wellness...the whole package, and always a DIY recipe as well as product recommendations. The DIY recipe for October is yummy!

Maybe Our Wellness Cafe will even party some day on YouTube! thing at a time! Contact me to book your Wellness Cafe. Such a perfect, fun way to play it safe and clean. Think bridal and especially baby showers, too!

To celebrate, I am partying up a fall favorite: zucchini. I experimented this morning making a nut cheese and thought it would be great as a dip with raw veggies. I only had zucchini on hand which I am not crazy about raw and so I used the nut cheese in a sandwich and marinated the squash for dinner. Easy, convenient, fun and delicious!

Partied Up Zucchini

Wash zucchini and slice really thin. (I think a mandoline would be perfect for this but I don't have one!) Place slices in a non-plastic dish and lightly salt with sea salt to draw out some of the water and "raw" mouth feel. Drain after a few minutes.

Marinate for a few hours (mine is brewing away as we speak) in this luscious, fragrant marinade:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (with grated zest)
1 teaspoon or more grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon turbinado raw sugar (maybe brown would work as well) 
1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

I am planning to serve mine over slices of last of season tomatoes and maybe serve with crackers spread with the nut cheese I made today, too.'s time to party!.

Have a happy, healthy and delicious weekend! xox

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Before you drink in

all that is an article that is so disturbing, I had to share today...normally a "beverage" day. It is so appropriate, given that stores, tons of products, even my hometown Steelers for heaven's sake, are drowning in a sea of pink. Please read by clicking Could-perfume-to-benefit-breast-cancer-also-cause-breast-cancer/ Our health is on the line, ladies and gentlemen.

Do not spray away your health!

Ok, now...go fix yourself a BIG glass of green tea or sip on a glass of organic red  wine. Feel healthy, think healthy, love yourself and love your neighbor. This is Thirsty Thursday after all...raise your glass and join me as we thirst for knowledge and for the truth about staying beautiful, healthy and safe!

P.S. Yes, we have made some changes! More on our fun Wellness Cafe tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Catch and Connect

Driving downtown Monday, a billboard caught my eye. October 8th is Fire Safety Day in my town.

Just last week, I read an article in the paper that caught my eye. And, then another in a magazine in the doctor's office.

Connecting the three together makes a perfect topic for today's Women and Wednesdays: the fire hazards of chemically laden hair care products.

Prior to my shifting to the hair care products I use now, my hair was truly flammable...way beyond normal.

I know this for a fact.

Several years ago, I bent near a candle and in a nanosecond, the flame caught my hair, sparking and burning a small section, smelling to high heaven and scaring me into the middle of next week. Frightening experience. I can only imagine the panic Michael Jackson felt. But, I did not in any way think I had the same types of flammable products on my hair.

Who's to say how much the products I was using contributed to that scare. For sure, my dried-out, brittle, coated-in-alcohol-and-waxy petroleum hair had some innate flammability of its own, right?

This headline from the article in our paper has me thinking:"13-year-old Helena-West Helena girl who was severely burned last year when a hot straightening comb ignited an antifrizz serum on her hair was granted permission Tuesday to withdraw her federal lawsuit against L’Oreal USA Inc." Note: She asked permission to withdraw now to refile it correctly.

And so, for those of you who are dying for gorgeous hair, please don't. Stay safe and live it up.

And listen, I feel your pain. Remember, I spend a good deal of time in humidity, especially in humidity plus wind and salty air. And rain. Did I mention rain? I used to not even empty the garbage without some sort of hair fix. Curly hair is product landmine. A bottomless powder keg. Enough is never enough. But, please, set yourself free and fight fire hazards with safe, non-flammable products!

How to be truly fire resistant? Give up the gels, sprays, creams, serums, mousses that are toxic, alcohol and petroleum-based goo (that's a hint...think how dangerous paraffin/petroleum candles are!).

I did a post a while back on hair straighteners and if you are me. I will help you embrace your inner and outer curly. Your hair and your scalp will love you for it, too. They will be breathing easy right along with your nasal passages and your lungs. (We aren't even going to get into what inhaling the toxic fumes, random sprays, etc. does...maybe we will soon!)

You would love what I use now. The Styling Creme is amazing...soft, pretty curls. Just ask me and I will help you, you can be beautiful, safe and healthy in candlelight or any light for that matter. xoxo

Monday, October 3, 2011

Putting legs on legumes

Continuing Friday's's Monday already!!! It was a gorgeous weekend here and a full one. Among many other things, it was also the kick-off weekend for National Vegetarian Month. Bill Clinton was in town and although I missed his appearances, I did not miss all the coverage on how trim he looks and how he has embraced a totally plant-based diet...much to his health's benefit. He eats fruits, veggies and a reported 27 varieties of legumes.

27. Yikes. That's a bunch. Seems I have some exploring to do. While I do love beans and legumes and eat quite a bit of them every day, Bill is way ahead of me on the variety trail. This past week while Christian and Reshma were here, despite many new recipes, I bet I only logged in about 5 varieties and they were the favorite suspects...French lentils, green lentils, chickpeas, black beans and pinto beans. Clearly, I need to branch out...put some legs on those legumes.

But...I think I might rest first after getting up before the crack of dawn to get to the airport by 5:30. While I do, here is a new bean enchilada I made...really quick and de-lish. The original appeared in Real Simple.

The filling chilling

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (I used San Marzanos)
1 tablespoon Mexican chili powder or more to taste
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed (I used "no salt added" by Eden Organics...BPA-free)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and coarsely grated
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1/2 pound Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
6 6-inch flour tortillas
2 scallions, thinly sliced and white and green parts separated

Heat oven to 450° F. In a blender, puree the tomatoes, chili powder, half the onion, 1 tablespoon of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper until smooth.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining onion and half the garlic and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the black beans, sweet potato, oregano, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until the sweet potatoes are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Stir in 1 cup of the Cheddar. Can be made ahead to let the flavors blend.

Spread 1 cup of the tomato mixture in the bottom of an oiled 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Roll up the bean mixture in the tortillas (about ½ cup each) and place the rolls seam-side down in the dish. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and 1 cup of Cheddar. Bake on the top rack of oven until the Cheddar is brown and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes. Serves 3-4.

I served this with a jicama "slaw".

Grab a plate...