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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

From our table...

To this spooktacular table on the Internet...

To yours...have a safe and merry, bone-shaking, dancing in the moonlight Halloween!

And for my loved ones and all those dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I hold you dear to my heart...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Chowder's on!

While it's still Friday at Blogger HQ, it's Monday at our house. How about yours?

Soup is always a big hit around our house no matter what day it is and this sweet potato one is so good and the color so perfect for this week. It is also quick to make, just in case the Witching Hour starts super early at your house. Like sweet potato Vichyssoise, it is wonderful cold with a little cream swirled in.

Do you have traditional Halloween foods you cook up for your family?

Our kiddoes grew up on Witches Brew Stew, Scaredy Cat Punch, Bat Wing Biscuits and Ghost Pie that I made every Halloween. There were several years I didn't quite get to the biscuits and pie but the stew and punch were always bubbling away.

Now they are making these for their little goblins. Fun!

If you don't have a set menu, give this soup a try. The cashews look like teeth, claws, bone shards or half moons. And the chickpeas could pass for decide. Make 'em work for you! I served it with a lentil Waldorf-like salad and a rustic bread I baked up over the weekend. Between that bread and the cake on Friday, that's more baking than I've done in a long time. Maybe I am possessed!

Sweet Potato Chowder

3 leeks, cleaned really well and sliced (white part only)
3 sweet potatoes
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
4 cups veggie broth
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and drained again
Cashews, pan toasted

Melt butter in a large soup pot and sauté leeks, sweet potatoes, onion and garlic for a few minutes to lightly caramelize them. Add white wine and cook for a few minutes more. Add veggie broth, bay leaf and cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are done, about 20 minutes.

Remove about half of the soup to a blender and purée. I usually like to leave some of the soup chunky but feel free to purée it all. Add chickpeas and heat until they are warmed through. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve with pan toasted cashews and a few fresh oregano leaves.

For those in the storm's path today, be so careful. Be safe!

I just got this picture, taken about 9 a.m. from a friend on the eastern end of Long Island. Oh my. The docks are already under water. Take care...take really good care of yourselves and each other today. Oxox

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stoutly on the Side of Fun

It started out innocently. I needed some stout for a recipe. I got to the store and quickly, my eye caught hold of this...

I love cooking, especially baking, with stout and well, chocolate gets me every time! So why not give chocolate-y stout a try? And, to cinch it, the girl on the bottle looked jubilant holding up her frothy brew which to me (not much of a stout drinker) looked rather like an ice cream float.

And that's how it started. Before I knew it, I was buying chocolate ice cream and dashing home to whip up this devilish concoction. To heck with what I was going to bake. I gotta try this. It's Halloween season...I am throwing caution to the wind.

Now, to keep this idea afloat and to take it from devilish to wicked, I need to have a piece of Mylo Coffee Company's decadent shortbread as a partner in crime. Can't wait to see them at tomorrow's farmers' market!

Oh my, such wicked weekend fun! If you dare, give this a try. What are you doing that's devilish or not this weekend?

(Note: For those who've never had stout, it's rather bitter and I think people either love it or don't. Let the ice cream melt down into the stout and stir it up quite well. Really different! I am completely out of my element with beer but I bet you can also just use a milder dark beer or ale. This float is like a combo after dinner drink/dessert. I am going to try out a ginger beer float for Thanksgiving!)

Chocolate Stout Floats

1 bottle stout or dark beer of choice (the variety of flavors is so fun, leading to endless frothy combinations!)
2 scoops of favorite chocolate ice cream or ice cream of choice. Coffee ice cream would also be great!
Something else chocolate-y...maybe syrup or chocolate to grate?

Toss scoops of ice cream in a tall chilled mug or glass and pour in stout, little by little. One bottle will makes several floats. Stir well to mix it up. Taste and add some extra chocolate if you have it. Toss in an orange peel garnish and your favorite goofy straw.

Cop a devil-may-care attitude and have a great weekend!

Such a hoot!

And, I finally did make that cake!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Well Spent

While I had just a little time to explore this last trip, I did manage to hit the jackpot twice. There is a community wellness group I love and they had two events I was able to attend. One was a fascinating movie on advances in aging and the other was their fall seminar on optimum wellness. Pay dirt!

At the seminar was Chef Del who created the recipes for this cookbook...

If you haven't watched Forks over Knives, consider renting it. I found it time really well spent. I have already met one of the film's featured activists, Dr. Neal Barnard, and have talked about him and his amazing work often. And so, for me, it was so exciting to meet Chef Del in person and hear his story, too. It was one more piece of the puzzle coming together!  I tried several of his recipes and loved them, especially this salad that I first made for dinner the other night...

And then decided to take to a neighborhood potluck (LOVE them...always a fabulous, deliciously well spent time!)

Here is his recipe...a really flavorful way to "fall" up a salad. If you aren't fond of nutritional yeast, then just leave it out!

Chef Del's Kale Salad with Maple-Mustard Dressing

Dressing: (note: this is a protein-rich, no oil dressing)
1 cup cooked cannellini beans
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1-2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

For the salad:
6 cups kale, ribs removed, then shredded (I used the kale from local Rattles Farm...amazing!) or you can use your favorite fall greens
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots (2-3 medium)
1 cup finely chopped broccoli florets
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed and drained again

In a blender, combine all dressing ingredients plus 1/4 cup filtered water and blend on high until smooth. Add more water as needed to achieve a smooth consistency. Taste and adjust flavors, if desired.

Place salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with dressing. I also added cubes of roasted butternut squash, some dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Any leftover? Delicious the next day, too!

What are some "well spent" community events you've gone to? Any movies, seminars, markets, neighborhood potlucks? Do share!

On this Women and Wednesday, remember it also Food Day 2012, honoring healthy, affordable and sustainable food. Eat well, be well, share well and thank your food producers!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Whoooo knows

Why is yesterday's post under October 16th? Seems to me yesterday was the 22nd! Well, anyhoo, scroll down and you'll find it!

And, as long as I am here today, another countdown has begun. Oh boy...can't wait 'til Halloween!

Friday, October 19, 2012


I have rediscovered waffles. My mom loves them and talked quite a bit about them this summer...even had a stash in her freezer. Practically begged me to eat some. I didn't bite.

This week I did...with a reboot of a Fanny Farmer recipe. The Fanny Farmer Cookbook was the first cookbook I ever had and so I thought, what better place to start? The batter makes enough for breakfast with plenty leftover for savory toppings, too. Little wedges even warmed up nicely in the toaster. I tweaked the recipe to make it more to my tastes with organic ingredients. So important!

Have a peaceful weekend!

Fanny Farmer's Waffles, Take Two

Stir together and set aside:
11/2 cups flour (I used a combo of organic whole wheat and buckwheat. I do love buckwheat!)
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Put in a bowl:
2 eggs (I used eggs from farmers' market)

Beat well. Add:
1 cup milk or milk and cream combo (I used coconut milk)
3 tablespoons melted butter (I always use organic, unsalted butter)

Add the flour mixture and beat until almost smooth. The original recipe says, "The batter need not be perfectly smooth. If it is thicker than heavy cream, add more milk. Thin batter makes tender waffles." Makes 8.

To cook, follow the waffle maker's instructions. I served the first batch with the traditional butter and real maple syrup. Pretty tasty!

What was your first cookbook? Any recipes you've rediscovered?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


This was a headline over the weekend...

And all I could think of as a reaction was, "Ugh!" and that headline also reminded me I hadn't shown you this...

Then I got this picture from Bernice Garden Farmers' Market...

The extent of the tangled food (or rather food-like) web really surprised me! I don't know why. Perhaps because it was just so gigantic, so invasive, so almost the total landscape of the grocery store and so stunning when put out there visually. Now is the chance to change our landscapes and our environments, both internal and external. Do you have your list ready for the farmers' markets this weekend? Who are your favorite real food producers and farmers? What are you cooking up for your families? Packing for school lunches? Whirling in a blender for baby food?

Wouldn't it be great if families got tax credits for eating real, unprocessed food? Now that's something to chew on!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yes, It Does!!

I am the second generation of women born in the United States with the birthright of being able to vote. I cherish that right and thank all the women before me and my mom who made it possible.

I cannot imagine what it is like to live in a country, state, city or village where I and all other women would have no voice. It is stunning to think that my grandmothers cast the first female votes in our family. I mean...that is pretty recent history.

I also live in a state where many say my vote doesn't really matter. My state leans very heavily towards one political party. Well, I am here to tell you, my vote does matter. It matters to me a lot that I can cast it freely. A lot. A whole lot. And it does count. A lot. A whole lot.

Whether or not my candidate wins, my vote counts for freedom and for equal rights. I get goosebumps every time I queue up on election day. It is a thrill, an honor, a right and a responsibility I cherish.

I can hardly wait.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blista Sista

Now home, I find I have not totally kept up my several-miles-a-day walks. They are not the habit here they had become in New York. I miss my harbor walks. Yesterday I got the bright idea to redeem myself and walk to a cooking class...a good, nearly two and a half miles round trip. It was a gorgeous day and so, why not? I completely disregarded the fact that my shoes I could walk 1000 miles in and have, were still at the shoe repair shop. But, I thought, what the heck, a shoe's a shoe, right?

Five blisters later I am well aware the answer to that query is "No!" Ouch... my dogs are barking.

By the time I hobbled home, it was dinner time and I had to blister up something to eat. Fast. I made some yummy things over the weekend but dinner was still an open thought. I bet some of you feel like that, get home late and tired and thoughts of cooking dinner, well, just rub you the wrong way.

Blista Sista to the rescue.

Instead of reaching for leftovers, I used the calm and common sense wisdom from the cooking class,"If you have some onions, celery, carrots and potatoes, you have dinner." (The cooking classes I go to often are the free technique classes at Williams Sonoma. I love them...they are fun and I always learn so much. My mom got me hooked on them!)

Well, I had leeks, celery and potatoes and along with some fresh salad fixings, considered that good enough. Here is what I made...

It is a leek and potato soup and I served it with an arugula, pear, pistachio and avocado salad. The soup I left garnish; just get it done. There are lots of leftovers to which I am going to add cream and chives and serve cold like a vichyssoise and then, add a few herbs and cheese and serve hot. Thirty minutes and dinner was on!

Chef Paul's "You've Got Dinner" Soup

2 large russet potatoes, diced
3 leeks, sliced (white part)
2 stalks of celery, small slices
Unsalted butter
4 cups veggie broth

Melt butter in a large soup pot and add celery, leeks and potatoes (I didn't peel them). Sauté for a few minutes until veggies start to soften. Add broth or water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook about 15 more minutes 'til potatoes are done. Blend soup in blender (Be careful! Hot stuff! If you have an immersion blender, use it.) Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Makes over 1 quart.

Part of the method in my madness was to have a healthy and fast dinner so I could then make a beeline to this...

This beautiful, totally delicious, tangy-sweet lemon tart came from Mylo Coffee Company at my local farmers' market. You can bet I will "beat feet", blistered or not, to them next weekend! Yum!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Beauties and The Beast

A couple of days ago, I got the cutest pictures of The Grand Ones. My grandson had a green drink mustache as bright and wide as his smile and my granddaughter was nibbling on a head of broccoli as fresh and sweet as her little face. Precious!

Then, my daughter sent me this picture of the scrumptious, all plant-based dinner she cooked...

And my son sent a picture of the gorgeous tomatoes he, his wife and friends canned...

Beauties all!

Last night I went to an emotional program on cancer and I had to keep all four of those images in mind. Cancer is not a beautiful subject. It is a beastly one. Sadly, it has affected so many of us, our families and friends. And so what I am going to say next is focusing on simple changes. I know many of you have complex situations you are dealing with, well beyond the scope of this blog. Hopefully, though, something here may help.

The topic last night addressed emerging findings that cancers are actually a collection of diseases and what we can do to strengthen ourselves and fight off these illnesses. And, if already fighting through cancer, what we can do now.

The answer goes back to the basics: detoxify, improve our immune systems and reduce inflammation. How we eat moving forward and nourish the cells we have today can be one of the frontline lifestyle warriors (along with exercise and stress management). In other words, fight with our forks, starting this very minute. That is a beautiful call to action!

Our best ammunition? Eating real food meals full of clean fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. Sip on good, clean water, green juices and tea, and a glass of organic wine and we will put our best bodies forward.

Please know all the recipes I post here have those goals and those goals are a major reason why I have shifted to a "plant strong" diet. My hope is that the "next generation of wellness" is here now and is actually full of people of all ages from my age and beyond to the very littlest ones.

Over the weekend, I plan to hit the farmers' markets and try out a few new plant-based recipes from a couple of new cookbooks. What will you be doing?

Let's blind this beast with our beauty!

Want to do it together? Just let me know!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tell it like it is, Barbra!

Barbra Streisand wrote a song about people like me, "People". People who need people...Goodness knows I do. Seriously, I do. Try as I might have to on occasions, I just know I can't do it alone. And, don't want to.

Over the weekend, I was delighted to catch up with some of my "peeps" here. While I missed connecting with my Farmers' Market buddies, I did catch up with Deb who, luckily was in town, and it was like a bucket spilling for both of us. "OMG, the time I've had!" We hadn't seen each other in months.

Good news, we each spilled it out on the table then helped each other clean it up. Phew! I know I feel better. More relaxed. Less alone. Lucky.

And so, on this Women and Wednesday, treat yourself to a little, laughter and companionship. And maybe, with a little more luck, Pad Thai, too!

Monday, October 8, 2012

On (our) Mark

I love Mark Bittman. Such a no-nonsense voice. Last week, with all the voices in my head (unpack those suitcases already!), his was one voice of calming reason. You see...over this past trip, I made a discovery that great health is more than great food and exercise. It is also great stress management and learning how to respond to stress in a healthy way instead of paying twice. Mark relaxes me. More on this Wednesday!

Here is his most recent article and is a level-headed response to that skewed Stanford study that (mis) stated that organic foods are not nutritionally superior to conventional ones therefore why buy and eat "organic" foods. Read his response here: Mark Bittman's Blog

I felt the researchers completely ignored the impact of all the conventionally used pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, etc. used to grow and create our conventional foods that are so altering our health and the health of Mother Earth. My liver thanks Mark for his reason. Now tell me, would you eat the food in the picture near the end of this post? Underneath all that toxic spray are berries...soaking in every drop. Think I will pass.

And so to further celebrate Mark, I made this soup. It is really easy, really good, a classic Mark Bittman recipe. What a comforting, fresh, no-nonsense way to start the week. Enjoy!

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky. (I did not do this...left all chunky)  Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired. Serves 4. 

I served this with a fresh farmers' market salad and a slice of toasted country-style bread, drizzled with a bit of fruity olive oil.

Which foods would you rather eat?


Friday, October 5, 2012

Full Court Press

While most of my trusty notebook is words, there is a picture in it that truly is worth 1000 of them. Here it is:

(tap on picture for full view)
It seems to me there is nothing you can do about the stresses in life other than handle them. I haven't yet figured out how to run and hide from them...have you?

This picture reminds me that stress is a full body event and so has to have a full body response. For me, the green drinks are a godsend because they help my immune system so much. I have noticed a huge difference in my health and ability to keep standing under stress since blending up that first bright green drink. They are always my first line of defense. Bottoms up!

Exercise also helps me and walking is the only exercise I've found that, thankfully, doesn't require Spandex. And, it's free.

The other whole body defense I love is soaking in Epsom salts. They are great! Very inexpensive and as well as helping detox and relax the body, also help deliver a calming dose of magnesium. Any muscle tension just melts away. Adding in a splash of lavender essential oil makes the bath ambrosial!

Here's a thought for the weekend: down a gorgeous green drink, go for a long walk and then soak away your stress in a salty, scented tub.

The "recipe" I use is: 1 cup Epsom salts, a few drops of lavender oil and for extra silky skin, 1 cup of baking soda to a tub of warm water. Don't use water that is too hot. It will dry your skin out and actually create too much blood flow. Calm and easy wins the day!

Any other thoughts on whole body ways to chase away the Big S? Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Notebook


It is hard to put the last two months into words. I have been in New York with family and upon leaving...well, you can imagine the tears. However, I tried something different while flying home this time.

Instead of wallowing in my sadness and lamenting the stress, I decided to pull out my trusty notebook and write down a list of what I called "Little Happies"...small things that became the big things that sustained me. I left off the list the happiness "givens"…loved ones, friends, sweet people I met, the sea and sunsets...for they are my core. Oxox. Instead, the list contained just the little moments that had given me a boost. I filled two notebook pages! Woo hoo! Now that's some "big" stuff.

Physically what kept me going were two things: green drinks (you knew those were a given, right?) and walking. I think I walked between three to five miles nearly every day and one day, a whopping, for me at least, eight to ten miles. I discovered some new routes and trails that were wonderful, just wonderful. I took my shoes to the shoe repair place yesterday. They were a sight!

Getting back in the swing of things, I made this recipe last night. It is from my son and daughter-in-law and is fabulous. It is somewhat soupy but luscious served over baked sweet potatoes...a little happy that sustains this dish in a big way!! This recipe is going into my notebook in ink. Hope you all are well!  Happy Fall!

Spinach and Chickpeas in Coconut Milk

2 teaspoons oil, butter or ghee
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 lemon, zest and 2 tablespoons of juice
dash of red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh spinach
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can coconut milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger

In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil and sauté onion until soft. Add garlic and ginger, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Cook 5 minutes. Add chickpeas and turn heat to medium high. Stir and cook until golden and coated with onion-garlic mixture. Add spinach by handfuls and wait until each handful wilts before adding the next. When all spinach is wilted, add coconut milk. Stir in sea salt, ginger and lemon juice. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes til heat through. Serve over baked sweet potatoes and garnish with cilantro. I added a side of sautéed green cabbage. Yum. Serves 4.