In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Zone.”
An instance when I feel i’m in, “The Zone,” is during a run on a beautiful, Texan, summer day. Being kissed by the warmth of the sun, the cool breeze carrying the water from the resaca and brushing against my skin, the smell of freshly blooming jasmine flowers, the gentle gliding of colorful birds, the clear blue skies, the crispness in the air, my favorite songs joyfully filling my ears from the music player, the excited puppies in the yards wagging their tails upon my sight, the movement of my body feeling lighter with each step, the fruity taste upon my lips from my lip balm—makes me feel so in love with the moment. Not realizing I had been running for over two hours, my mind craved to keep going. I felt completely free. I felt completely at peace. It was my zone.
The Summer is upon us and thus begins all the beach fun, pool parties, BBQs and if you are in South Texas like me—hiding out in the coolest room in your home with the AC on max. Regardless of a summer picnic at the park, or just a lazy afternoon at home, nothing quite satisfies such as a cool, cucumber and tomato sandwich. This recipe is great for kids and adults alike. Give it a try for a fast sandwich fix, that’ll surely cool the scorching heat of the summer. For an added juicy treat, try some fresh strawberries on the side!
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Ready in: 10 mins
Recipe makes for 1 serving
2 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread (Substitute with White, or Honey Wheat Bread as per preference)
1 tablespoon of Land O Lakes Sweet cream Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil** (Substitute with any other type of spreadable butter, as per preference. Light spreadable butter also works well.)
½ large cucumber, peeled, sliced in circular pieces
1 small tomato, sliced in circular pieces
1 teaspoon of Chaat masala** (Optional, for an Indian flavor. Can be found in an Indian grocery store near you.)
2 Strawberries, cut (Optional, as a juicy side.)
Chill the sliced cucumber pieces and sliced tomato pieces in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Collect the chilled cucumber and tomato pieces from Step 1 from the refrigerator. Also collect the bread, butter, and optionally the Chaat masala.
Place 2 slices of whole wheat bread, apart, on a plate.
Spread ½ tablespoon of Land O Lakes Sweet cream Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil evenly on one slice of bread.
Repeat Step 4 on the other slice of bread.
Evenly spread the previously peeled and sliced, cucumber pieces on one slice of bread.
Evenly spread the previously sliced tomato pieces on top of the cucumbers from Step 6.
Optionally, spread the Chaat masala on top of the tomatoes for an Indian flavoring.
Place the remaining, buttered bread slice on top of the other, cucumber and tomato piled bread.
Place the cut strawberries on the side (optional), and enjoy!
What is it about the carnival that is so innately alluring to children and adults, alike?
Every so often the booming noises emanating from the bustling streets fade, and is replaced by the gleeful music of the touring carnival. The lure of the colorful stalls filled with games and plush toys; the heavenly temptation of sugary, deep-fried, meaty treats; the vivid call of adrenaline pumping thrill-rides; and the feeling of community and togetherness, all, budding from this one, universal celebration- the carnival.
Like a bug to a light, we are drawn to the flickering, beaming, luminescence displayed by the carnival. The dazzling ambiance turns even the most sophisticated of individuals into a child again. We emerge again, with a childlike innocence, eager to coalesce with the crowd and be rapt in the wonders that we out-grew long ago.
The carnival reveals to us, the innocence we have at heart, the thrills and unity we so seek. Unlike, the regular world, which is filled with a repetition of mundane tasks and responsibility. Bound by the strings of age, we float in stillness, and one visit to the carnival severs the strings and let’s us fly.
We fly high and far, to reach out and touch the stars, just as joyfully as would a child, lost in reverie.
Perhaps it is time again, for us to seek the next carnival, to rejuvenate our souls, in this fountain of youth.
Pictured, is a shot I took of a Ferris Wheel during a carnival event that was held in Brownsville, Texas back in March, 2014. The thick, gray, clouds behind the bright, vibrant, Ferris Wheel makes this shot so hauntingly beautiful to me.