Last week, I was delivering food to a homebound, elderly woman who lives in an old ranch house surrounded by farm animals and gorgeous views. Going to this home is always rewarding; I imagine it 100 years ago in the dust of the Wild West.
The real reward is the fact that often a family member is visiting her - either her son, daughter or grandkids. This visit was no different. I could see her son from a distance. As I pulled in, he rested his shovel on the post and walked with the pace of a 70-year-old up the hill toward me. He and I have met several times and discuss the weather, animals and his mom. As he took her lunch, I asked him what he was doing today, he replied with "digging ditches."
This setting reminded me of the TV special I watched on the "Blue Zones." Residents of the zones produce a high rate of centenarians (people over 100 years of age), suffer less from common diseases, and enjoy more healthy years of life. The host of the TV special interviewed a woman from Sardinia, Italy, who was 110 years old, a supercentenarian. She spoke of fresh food, family and friends, then pointed to a man riding his bike, it was her 95-year-old son. I felt like I was in a Blue Zone at that old ranch house in Gypsum the other day: Family, food and exercise are just a way of life.
Socializing with friends and family, walking, eating root veggies and legumes are the Blue Zone secrets. The 110-year-old woman walked three miles a day to sell her root veggies at the local market. She then surrounded herself with family and friends while eating fresh food from the earth.
Here is a healthy meal to enjoy. It may be more pleasurable if you double it and share it with someone else. Guess what? You might live longer, too!
1 cup dried quinoa
14.5 ounces chicken broth
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
14.5 ounces garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
1 pound (31-40 count) raw shrimp
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 ounces crumbled feta
Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add dried quinoa, bring back to boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 12 minutes. Turn heat off and let quinoa absorb all water, fluff with a fork.
While quinoa is cooking, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium in saute pan, add onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
Add red peppers, garbanzo beans and diced tomatoes with juice, cook 5 minutes.
Add shrimp, increase heat to medium high cook about 8 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm. Spoon quinoa into mixture and stir. Sprinkle parsley and feta, stir until mixed- don't over stir. Garnish with lemon slices.
Serves two as a main course, four as a side dish.
Tracy Miller adds fruits and veggies to all her meals. She teaches culinary classes at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. To contact her visit ColorfulCooking.com.