Keep on the sunny side of life this summer

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By: Rachel Shenk

This morning, I awaken with one feeling in my body and mind: it’s going to be a good day! As I slowly dress and gather myself to walk our dog, I wonder what might be in store.

The early morning air is cool and brisk and, by the sound of the train whistle, I can tell that the humidity is low. After a fast bike ride to get to my first shift at work, I continue to ride that feeling: it just seems like the start to a good day.

I finish baking the pastries and the quiches, then mix, knead and put to rest three batches of bread as the first customers trickle in. With a smile, Jillian helps them and takes over as I get back on my bike to go home for breakfast.

Since it is such a good day, I break my routine of eating a bowl of granola and instead, I grab a couple of slices of sourdough rye with flax seed, spread them with butter and Nutella, and eat them up along with a glass of orange juice and a good espresso.

Back at work, the kitchen hums a happy note. It takes six of us to get things done and we run like a well oiled machine. Our conversation weaves in and out, covering many topics and causing much laughter. And the customers come at a steady but easy pace; we can handle this. It’s a good day.

For lunch, I get to fill my plate and carry it over to Jim’s shop, right across the way. We eat al fresco, pausing from our work to enjoy this lazy early afternoon. I get a look at the mandolin Jim has just put together. He thumps the top of it with his thumb and, in our minds, we can already hear the music it will play.

Back to the bakery, I roll out and shape a couple of pans of pastries. Laurel and I chug right through the Danish. Adrienne rolls out the butter. We cross off the last item on the List, then it’s time to finish and clean. A few more customers come and go.

Now, I need to get a good run in, have some downtime and unwind. But that feeling is still there. Good things are happening and, focusing on them, I move forward.

Amidst all the bad out there, and those things that we cannot change, there is a vein of gold running through. I know there are clouds, but I purposefully look for that silver lining. As summer arrives, I try to “keep on the sunny side of life.”

Here is a recipe that always makes me pretty happy, and with fresh vegetables now coming on, it’s an easy one also.

ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH CASHEW DIP

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roasted cashews
  • ¾ cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Variety of fresh vegetables, cut into finger sized pieces. I use onions, carrots, radishes, asparagus, snow peas, beets, peppers, turnips, zucchinis and more, depending on the season.
  • olive oil and herbes de Provence

Directions

For the dip:

  1. Put all the ingredients except vegetables, olive oil and herbs in a food processor. Blend until smooth.

For the vegetables:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, or get the grill ready. Toss cut vegetables with a little olive oil and herbes de Provence.
  2. Put on parchment paper and roast for 15 to 25 minutes, stirring a couple of times during the cooking. Roast to your liking. (I like them with a little bit of brown.)
  3. Serve with the cashew dip.
     
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