Colorful Cooking: Live long, live healthy with a few simple tips

by Tracy Miller
Special to the Daily Simple, healthy ingredients combine for a tasty meal in Shrimp Quinoa

Recently, 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 the island of Sardinia, near 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 – the 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 3 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!

Tracy Miller adds fruits and veggies to all her meals. She teaches culinary classes at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards and shares recipes Wednesday morning on TV8’s Good Morning Vail. To contact her log onto

1 cup dried quinoa

14.5 oz. chicken broth

1/2 cup onion, chopped

2 red peppers, chopped

14.5 oz. garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

14.5 oz. diced tomatoes

1 lb. (31-40 count) raw shrimp

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

4 oz. 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 2 as main course, 4 as a side dish.

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