Peaches with Cucumbers over Quinoa

Many years ago my father planted a small peach tree along the driveway of his and mom’s home in St. George, Utah. He cared for it and after a time, from year to year, it began to produce a few peaches. Dad passed away about 4 years ago and mom left the peach tree to fend for itself and this year it produced bunches of peaches! I had the chance to pick some fresh organic peaches right off that tree! The peaches were so incredibly sweet and delicious. Now that the home is being sold, I’m grateful I had one last chance to eat a few peaches from my father’s sweet little peach tree. Here is a wonderful way to eat this fresh fruit in a beautiful combination that will keep you coming back for more!

THE TWIST

Quinoa  (pronounced keen-wah) is unique in that it is the only plant based source of complete protein. “Complete” means that it contains all of the essential amino acids that are crucial to human function and health. Quinoa is a good source of magnesium which helps relax the blood vessels which in turn improves cardiovascular health, improves blood pressure and may provide relief for migraine headache sufferers. Quinoa contains manganese and copper both of which are needed to protect oxidative damage to cells and guard cells from damage caused by free radicals. Quinoa is high in fiber which can positively affect the condition of the gall bladder, the colon, protect against asthma and several cancers. The fiber, the minerals and other nutrients in quinoa can help regulate cholesterol, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, protect against stroke, obesity and many other degenerative diseases. Quinoa is thought to be a “good bacteria” for the gut, the intestines and the colon.

Cucumbers are about 95% water, keeping the body hydrated while helping eliminate toxins. Cucumbers contain phytochemicals which kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath. Due to the low calorie and high water content, cucumber is an ideal diet food for people who are looking for weight loss. They help cure diabetes, reduce cholesterol and control blood pressure. They are also good for promoting joint health and relieving gout and arthritis pain.

Peaches are a rich source of beta carotene that improves vision health by increasing blood circulation. They are a great source of vitamin C which is good for the skin and supports immune function. Peaches contain a high amount of fiber as well as  potassium.  They may reduce the risk of getting an ulcer, and help support digestive function. The antioxidants in peaches help reduce inflammation and work against cancer. The lutein in peaches may help prevent macular degeneration, an eye disease that causes blindness.

The walnuts contribute protein and they contain significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as well as manganese, copper, phosphorus, iron calcium and other minerals.  Plus, the antioxidant activity in walnuts is extremely potent which provides the body protection against damaging free radicals.

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PEACHES WITH CUCUMBERS OVER QUINOA

2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 t Himalayan sea salt
1 lg. English cucumber, diced
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 lg. peaches, pitted and chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup chopped basil leaves, about 25-30 leaves
Balsamic vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper
Peach slices and basil leaves for garnishing

Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under running water. Combine the quinoa, water and Himalayan sea salt in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer for 15 minutes until cooked through. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Set aside. In a large bowl combine the diced cucumber and chopped walnuts. Toss the chopped peaches with the lemon juice and add to the cucumber mixture. Mix in the chopped basil leaves. Lay quinoa on individual serving dishes or a large platter and layer the peach cucumber mixture over the top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar as desired and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with sliced peaches and basil leaves. Serves 6. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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