Throw A Green Dinner Party!

Early Show - katie lee joel - April 15, 2009 CBS

Early Show contributor Katie Lee Joel recently chaired the first-ever "Green Dance" at the American Museum of Natural History.

From organic and sustainable foods to environmentally friendly products, the whole evening was dedicated to Mother Earth.

It was a black-tie event, but there's no reason you can't throw a "green" party of your own at home!

Katie showed how on the show Wednesday.

By using sustainable, local or organic ingredients, your "footprint" on the earth is much smaller, she notes.

Katie prepared a minted pea soup, fresh mushroom and asparagus springtime pasta, and mini-cheesecakes drizzled with honey.

But when throwing a green dinner party, the food is only half the battle.

There's frequently lots of waste at dinner, especially during the summer, when we eat outside using paper plates and napkins.

But Katie's table was totally green, with everything from the placemats to the centerpiece 100 percent recycled, reusable, or repurposed.

After making the pasta, Katie poured the soup into espresso cups and garnished the dessert with the honey and bee pollen.

Bee pollen is said to strengthen the immune system through its antioxidant properties. It's been claimed that bee pollen improves oxygen uptake and helps accelerate recovery in training. Bee pollen is a mixture of bee saliva, plant pollen, and nectar. Some people take it thinking it has special health-enhancing properties; others take it because they think it acts as a performance booster.

On her table, Katie had:

  • Placemats made out of recycled brown craft paper. The leftovers from the roll can be saved for gift wrapping. It's very inexpensive and look great on a rustic table.

  • Herbs & Terra Cotta Pots: These serve a triple-purpose: place card (each one can be labeled with the guests' names), take-away gift, and table decor. Guests can take them home and every time they take a piece of the herbs, they're reminded of all the fun they had at the party. These are also very inexpensive. Each pot cost $.99, and the herbs about $1.79.

  • Centerpieces with fresh artichoke hearts: Using fresh vegetables as a centerpiece also serves a great double purpose -- artichokes are in season and, when assembled on a glass cake stand, look beautiful. When the party is over, you can cook them the following night for dinner!

  • Organic linens: Basically, using napkins that can be washed helps eliminate waste from paper or plastic products (napkins and tablecloth). People tend to use more napkins when they're disposable. Using linens also adds a touch of sophistication to the event.

  • LED votive candles: These inexpensive, battery-operated candles are perfect for outdoor parties: The wind will never blow them out! Each of the LED lights will burn for about 30 hours. Put them in your own votive, and they look like a real candle.

    FOR KATIE'S RECIPES, GO TO PAGE 2.

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