Penny Warren
Penny Warren
For business owner Penny Warren opening a natural market was a dream five years in the making.

Warren ­- wife of 29 years to Kevin Warren and mother to three children: Jessica Thornton, 25; Meagan, 20; and Micah, 14 - opened Penny's Natural Market earlier this year.

There they sell a variety of supplements and alternative medicines.

The idea, she said, came to her five years ago after she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

"I looked to alternative medicine for help," she said. "As I got better I thought about helping others. We should help our fellow neighbors."

That was the day the idea for the natural market was born and over the next five years Penny kept coming back to it.

"I would get more and more excited and as I became better experienced with the supplements I realized that people need to be shown that there is an alternative," she said.

Less than six months after opening, business has remained steady, Penny said, with Thanksgiving being the slowest week.

She is even looking to expand her inventory and create more shelf space.

"I've got a friend that grows organic vegetables and I'm thinking of having him over on Friday and Saturdays to sell," she said.

Penny has also carried her healthy way of thinking into her home with her cooking.

"We eat very healthy," she said. "We don't always eat gluten free but I feel better when we do."

Penny noted, however, that eating healthy does not mean giving up such staples as meat.

"I eat meat but not a whole lot," she said. "I'll eat anything except celery."

A favorite among her family is chicken stir-fry over gluten free noodles.

"I'll cook anything but trying to switch to healthy food is challenging," she said.

Penny has shared some of her favorite recipes.

Vegetarian Chili

1/2 cup minced parsley

1/2 cup Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 can tomato sauce

2 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 cup diced onions

2 cups cooked basic kidney beans

1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos

Sauté the onion and garlic in 1/8 cup Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil until golden brown. Combine in large saucepan with the beans, add the remaining ingredients and the Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and cook for 10 minutes.

Black Bean Salad

1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, thoroughly rinsed, and drained (or 1 1/2 cup of freshly cooked black beans); make sure to rinse and drain the beans, if you are using canned beans

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced, or 1 whole pickled jalapeño pepper, minced (not seeded)

3 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

2 tablespoon lime juice (about the amount of juice from one lime)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Xylo-sweet (to taste)

Pink Sea Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the beans, onions, jalapeno chile peppers, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, basil, lime juice and olive oil. Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste. (The sugar will help balance the acidity from the tomatoes and lime juice.) Chill before serving.

GLuten-Free Cococnut Custard

1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar

1 cup long-grain white rice

3 cups half-and-half

5 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Bring the coconut milk, water, and 1/4 cup of the sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.

Stir in the rice. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm the half-and-half in a small saucepan over medium heat (do not allow it to boil). Whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and the remaining sugar in a medium bowl.

Whisking constantly, slowly pour the warm half-and-half into the egg mixture. Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface. Stir in the rice.

Transfer to an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Place the dish in a larger roasting pan or baking dish and transfer to oven rack. Carefully add enough hot water to the larger pan to reach halfway up the sides of the smaller dish. Bake until the custard is set, about 1 hour. Serve warm or chilled.

I don't drink alcohol, however, I absolutely love fun drinks in pretty champagne glasses! The ginger is full of anti-oxidants, good for digestion and is also anti-viral and anti-fungal. The lime juice is packed with Vitamin C and bioflavanoids.

Holiday Ginger Lime Mocktail

1/4 cup lime juice (freshly squeezed)

1 teaspoon zested ginger, (I use a microplane zester.)

12 drops liquid Stevia sweetener

18 ounces sparkling water

Combine all ingredients in a jar and stir. Pour over ice into 2 cocktail or champagne glasses and garnish with lime wedges. Enjoy!

Egg in a Hole

1 slice of Paleo Bread (Almond or Coconut)

1 can't believe it's butter

1 egg

Melt butter in a pan. Use a cookie cutter to remove the center of the bread and save the cut out.

Place the bread in the pan and break the egg, and drop it in the center. (Don't forget to fry the small piece of bread too.) Cook the egg and bread until desired consistency and flip to the other side. Let cool and enjoy!