Our United States home is in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. When not in our home overseas, we live in a cabin built on a hillside outside the town of Estes Park. The back of the cabin faces the Front Range of Rocky Mountain National Park–mountains towering 10-14,000 feet above sea level. We gaze at them on a deck in the summer or through picture windows near the fireplace in the winter.
There are no streetlights and the roads are unpaved. The landscape is native Ponderosa pines, wild grasses, sage shrubs, and wildflowers. The maintenance is digging up noxious weeds and harvesting fallen pinecones and dead branches for kindling. We built a campfire ring with rocks from the land and sit around it with stories and laughter or the silence of a starry night. This has been our home-away-from-overseas-home since 1991.
The summer season return begins with the first morning after we arrive. It’s early. The sun rises at 5:30AM. Coffee is started and we pull rocking chairs onto the deck. Mountains and clouds to the south and west are pink-tinged at first light. As the sun makes its’ way upward, the color shifts to yellowish gold. When it finally rises over the eastern ridge line, the sky turns robin’s egg and then lapis blue. Second cup of coffee, still in bathrobes, day begins.
There is a different way of living and “being” in the mountains. Time is simpler, less hurried, less structured. It’s not necessary to “do” much of anything for the first transitional days. We live casually in blue jeans, moccasins or hiking boots, cotton or flannel shirts, depending on the temperature.
We eat differently too. The thinner air and long days tempt us with food and drink that somehow belong in the high country. Hearty breakfasts of egg sandwiches [More Than Just an Egg Sandwich] are eaten on the sunny front porch. It fuels the day before re-stacking firewood, trimming dead tree limbs, or hiking into the National Park.
When it’s time for a break, there is a place downtown we like to go. Ed’s Cantina is a 30-year locally owned and operated Mexican restaurant. The sign on the side door says, “Get in Here”. Their logo: “Live Forever. Eat at Ed’s.” When we go there, Avocado Margaritas are what we find.
Dietitian Daughter, savvy in combining nutrition with great taste, showed us the way. We fell in love, one by one. It’s the reason we wind up at Ed’s on a warm summer afternoon.
For the nutritionally minded, avocados are one of the healthiest food choices around. They are a good source of mono-unsaturated fat, the desirable fat for lowering LDL [bad] cholesterol while raising HDL [good] cholesterol. Vitamins in avocados, E and C among them, are good for skin tone and texture. There is documentation for the avocado’s anti-inflammatory properties. Even in liquid form, avocados provide a nice range of health benefits!
We also eat a lot of avocados in easy-to-make, lime-y, homemade guacamole. Less is more with guacamole. Let the avocado shine with a light touch on ingredients. Use as a sandwich spread [breakfast egg sandwiches–yes!] or more traditionally as a dip with chips.
Keep your avo margs and guacamole as separate ventures, though. You can ingest too much of a good thing.
GUACAMOLE à la Colorado
- 2 [or more] ripe avocados
- diced red onion [or shallot]
- diced or pressed clove of garlic, optional
- juice of fresh lime
Cut around outside of avocado and separate the halves. Scoop the meat out of the rind with a spoon. Mash avocado in a bowl with a fork or potato masher. Add onion, garlic, S&P. Stir together. Squeeze in as much fresh lime juice as you like, to taste. Adjust seasonings.
Will keep in refrigerator without discoloration by covering with plastic wrap pressed down on top of guacamole, allowing no air space.
ED’S AVOCADO MARGARITA [AVO MARG by order]
- ½ ripe avocado
- Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila
- Agave syrup
- Limeade [they say theirs is homemade, but frozen concentrate is fine]
- Lime garnish
Into blender, scoop one half avocado, a shot or two of tequila, a generous squirt of agave syrup, an even more generous pour of limeade and lots of ice. Blend together on high setting. Serve in tall, salt rimmed glass, garnished with a slice of lime.
- Best when sipped on Ed’s outdoor patio with the Big Thompson River rolling by.
Live forever at Ed’s…