Paula AndersonEATING OUT, EATING WELLFree Press Health Columnist

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November 29, 2011
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Thankful to live in Grand Junction

The other night I pulled out half a red cabbage to go with some rice and a small salmon filet my husband and I were splitting. The only thing I had to buy for dinner was the fish - on sale: $5.It was wild-caught salmon at $8 a pound. Pricey, but the key here was not to buy a pound, because what turned out to be a little over half of that was plenty.Cabbage is one of those vegetables that can sit at the rear of your fridge for weeks, but I decided to Google a recipe and put it to use. Basically, I found one that called for some sliced cabbage and sliced apples, boiled and then simmered in water and white vinegar, with dashes of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I wasn't precise about it, but it turned out well. I cut the cooking time so the cabbage still had some crunch to it. It also took up a lot more of the plate than the rice or the salmon, as should be the case with fruits and vegetables.Once again, I was struck how easy it is to eat well - even in these lean times. We have much to be thankful for this season, particularly because we live where we do. Employed or not, there's always someone who has some extra onions, potatoes, or other produce to share. Late summer you can hardly give all the zucchini away!You can always put a meal together with a bit of pasta, some diced tomatoes and some salad greens. Even a box of mac 'n cheese gains nutritional ground if you steam some chopped carrots or a few broccoli florets to blend in. And if you eat an apple a day (from some of the best orchards around!) you've got your nutritional underpinnings right there. (Did you know apples will keep well in your crisper drawer for several months?) As we anxiously watch the "push-shove" drama being played out in Washington, it should be comforting to know that our entire future does not necessarily lie in the hands of our politicians.That's because we can grow things here to provide the thing we need more than anything else; and that's good food.Over the course of these columns, local restaurateurs have told me they're begging for a steadier supply of fresh, local produce that's available earlier in the summer and later into the fall. That's what their customers want, which translates into a potential market, which translates into entrepreneurial opportunities. If local produce is there for the restaurants, it can be there for the grocery stores and the local farmers' markets.(Many may not know that we once had a thriving tomato canning plant in Grand Junction back in the day!)Contrary to what goes on at the national level, here in this very well-networked community, we've shown many times that we can get it done. There's no shortage of talent, skill and know-how here in the Grand Valley.As I reflect on my blessings this Thanksgiving weekend, I'm so grateful for all that we have. We really don't need that much, and right here we have more than we know!-------------------------------Paula Anderson is a local writer who now does presentations on Healthy Eating & Our Relationship with Food throughout the Grand Valley community. She is also an owner of Yoga West Collective. She has served as a regular columnist for the Grand Junction Free Press in its early days, and was an award-winning columnist for The Daily Sentinel. Visit her food blog at Contact Paula at

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