RESOLUTION UPDATE: ONE MONTH IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS

June 21st, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

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It seems like just yesterday I was planting my watermelon seeds and watching them sprout on my windowsill for the very first time. Four weeks ago, I transplanted the seedlings into my outdoor garden and, I’m happy to report, the resulting sprouts are doing quite well despite my very limited farming experience.

I’ve kept a close eye on my baby watermelon plants in the month since they made the transition into an outdoor environment. I’ve watered them on days when Mother Nature didn’t do it for me. I’ve kept the weeds at bay by plucking them as soon as they got within eight feet of my melon patch. I’ve even stood over my little sprouts at night and sung a lullaby to help them drift off to sleep.

Okay, I’m kidding about the lullaby thing, but the watering and weeding parts were definitely on my to-do list. At the top of this entry is a photo of my future Sugar Baby watermelons. They still don’t look like much, but by the end of the summer (fingers crossed), they should be ready for harvest.

The watering, from what I’ve read is the most important part. They are, after all, WATERmelons. As such, they need steady watering throughout the growing season. Experts say they need about one inch of water per week. I have no idea how to measure inches of liquid, so I just give my patch a spraying whenever the soil seems dry. Is that not the right thing to do? I guess we’ll see in a few months.

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RUN, EAT, REPEAT: AN INTERVIEW WITH A RUNNER WHO LOVES WATERMELON

June 19th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

PrintLast week, I wrote about Jill Jayne, the creative force behind a kid-fitness program called Jump with Jill. Turns out, Jill isn’t the only fitness-minded person with a love of watermelon. Monica is a blogger/runner/watermelon lover behind the website Run Eat Repeat. She started her blog four years ago to document her diet, healthy recipes and the process of training for her first marathon.

Since then, she’s competed in countless marathons, and she’s currently on a quest to finish 13 half-marathons (at 13.1 miles apiece) in 2013. Monica’s love of watermelon caught the eye of the National Watermelon Promotion Board, and they asked her to be an official watermelon ambassador. She’s accepted the offer and will be running the Marine Corps Marathon later this year on behalf of everyone’s favorite fruit.

All that running makes her one of the busiest women I know, but Monica was nice enough to take a break for a quick interview here on What About Watermelon.

Now that you’re an official watermelon ambassador, I have to ask you: What do you like most about watermelon?

The taste! I cannot get enough. One watermelon = one serving in my world. I joke that my blog should be Run Eat (watermelon) Repeat.

Your website includes a recipe section, in which you share healthy meal ideas with your readers. Have you done much cooking with watermelon? 

I have to confess something: I have a file on my computer packed with watermelon recipes, but I never get to make them because I eat all my watermelon before I get the chance to cook with it. It’s a bummer, because I get excited every time I see a new recipe!

Your goal in 2013 is to run 13 half marathons. You’re clearly not afraid of the number 13. How’s your progress toward your marathon goal coming along?

I’ve done 10 races so far! I’m right on track to hit my goal. I’m pretty excited to run Marine Corp Marathon in October and then refuel with watermelon!

On your website, you describe yourself as a red headed Mexican girl from Southern California who’s willing to embarrass herself on the internet for your followers’ viewing pleasure. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you when it comes to being a marathoner? 

As a runner you have to get comfortable using porta-potties, because it’s the only place to go at races. So I’m used to getting in and out like it’s no big thing. I guess I’m getting too comfortable and didn’t pay attention because, at the OC Marathon a few weeks ago, I walked out of the porta-potty and toilet paper was stuck to my shoe. My friend saw it and said, “I didn’t think that actually happens to anyone!” Ha! Yep, it happens to me!

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QUOTABLE WATERMELON: I HATE MEETINGS

June 17th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

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Last month, I shared the first of what will be many slightly edited food quotes. That is, quotes that I’ve taken the liberty of adding the word “watermelon” to. And just like anything you add watermelon to, the quotes instantly become better!

I started with a Julia Child quote last month, and I didn’t set out to feature another Julia quote, but it just kind of worked out that way. In addition to being a fantastic French cook who paved the way for the many celebrity chefs you see on TV today, it seems Julia also had a way with words.

Today’s quote is a good example of that. Her words were true, of course, but mine are also true. Parties without cake and/or watermelon are parties I definitely want to avoid.

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“JUMP WITH JILL” WANTS YOU TO GET FIT (WITH WATERMELON!)

June 13th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

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Not to sound like an old man (even though I am pushing 40), but kids these days just don’t seem to play outside as much as we did when I was young. Jill Jayne agrees with me. Or at least I’m pretty sure she does.

Jill is a registered dietitian and the energetic, creative force behind Jump with Jill, a multimedia health program that makes nutrition and health fun for kids by combining music with entertaining fitness lessons. The live Jump with Jill show has been performed live 1,000 times for 250,000 kids all over the United States and Europe and has been featured in national media outlets including NickelodeonSprout PBSNPR, and The Washington Post.

Jill is also a big fan of watermelon. She’s so much of a fan, she’s created a retro-inspired video series called Watermelon Workouts, in which she works out while carrying a watermelon to showcase the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. (That’s the star of the Philadelphia Jump with Jill cast, Kristina Psitos – better known as Philly Jilly – in the photo above with the watermelon van that transports her to and from her many appearances.)

In her latest Watermelon Workouts video, Philly Jilly trots her 15-pound watermelon around Philadelphia in a tribute to fictional boxing great Rocky Balboa. Check out Watermelon Workouts in the City of Brotherly Love below. Pretty impressive – but I’m not the best judge of fitness, considering that I get a little winded just lifting three watermelons out of the bin at the grocery store.

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SECOND SLICE: THE MYSTERIOUS BLUE WATERMELON

June 10th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

DEE ASKS: Probably 20 years ago, my uncle used to drive to the southern heel of Missouri and into Arkansas to purchase vegetables and fruit to bring back to mid-Missouri and sell. On one of his trips, he brought back an unusual watermelon to show his friends and family. The melon had seeds, but the flesh of the watermelon was blue. Has anyone else heard of this blue-fleshed watermelon? We have been trying to find another one in recent years, but everyone we ask in that area says they’ve never heard of them.

As soon as I read your question, Dee, I was immediately consumed by an urge to track down this mysterious blue watermelon. I personally have never heard of a blue watermelon (Although I’ve seen yellow watermelons), so I asked some of my watermelon farming friends about it. Much to my dismay, they had never heard of it either.

picThen I went online in search of the elusive watermelon and could only find the photo on the right of what looks like a very blue watermelon, but I think the picture might be the result of editing magic. (As you pointed out in a follow-up to my answer, it’s too much of a coincidence that the watermelon matches the cabinets and that everything else in the picture has sort of a bluish tint.)

It might be possible to create a blue watermelon using dye, but growing a blue watermelon by natural means would appear, I’m afraid to say, impossible. And so, the mystery remains unsolved … for now.

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RECIPE: WATERMELON DONUTS

June 8th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

We won’t get into the whole “donut” vs. “doughnut” thing because I think you know which side of that debate I’m on. What we will discuss is how great donuts are. I mean, it’s essentially a piece of cake that you can eat for breakfast! Sounds pretty good to me.

The National Watermelon Promotion Board has a recipe on their website for “Watermelon Donuts,” and since I salivate at the sound of both those words, I decided to try the recipe for myself. Their recipe calls for the donuts to be topped with slivered almonds. You can try that, but I’m a little more adventurous, so I’ve altered the recipe to include “assorted toppings.”

Which toppings did I choose? As you can see in the photo, I created my donut with crushed peanuts and a chocolate syrup drizzle. It was dee-licious! Which toppings would you use?

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WATERMELON DONUTS

INGREDIENTS

Watermelon
Sour cream
Sugar to taste
Vanilla to taste
Assorted toppings

DIRECTIONS

Cut out circular donut shapes from 1 1/2-inch thick slices of seedless watermelon. Eat leftover scraps of watermelon quickly, before anyone else does. Sweeten sour cream with sugar and a touch of vanilla to taste. Frost half the watermelon donut slices and place another slice on top of each, creating something that resembles a sandwich. Frost the top of your donut sandwich and sprinkle with your choice of toppings.

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VINTAGE PHOTO: SMILE FOR THE CAMERA!

June 5th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

I’ve posted several vintage watermelon photos in the past, but my search for pictures has revealed a common trend: People in the old days really liked posing for “happy watermelon eating” shots. That is, photos in which the subjects are seemingly overjoyed to be eating watermelon (or pretending to be overjoyed).

I’m not sure why people don’t take happy watermelon photos anymore, but they definitely should. Have we taken watermelon for granted in the 21st century? The lack of photos indicates that we might have. Or maybe watermelon was a rarer treat 80 years ago, and therefore something that made people happier when they ate it. That might explain it, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.

Whatever the reason for all the old school joy, it’s given me a lot of imagery to work with. Below, I’ve assembled five of the best “happy watermelon eating” scenes I’ve come across. Enjoy!

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ABOVE: The formula for a “happy watermelon eaters” photo is simple: 1) Eat your watermelon down to the rind, 2) Hold your rind in front of your mouth like a smile. The girls in this photo have the eating part down. The boys could use a little help, though.

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ABOVE: These happy watermelon eaters are even happier because they’re sharing their watermelon with each other. I’m glad it works for them. If I had to share a wedge of watermelon with someone, that would probably make me mad.

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ABOVE: The note scrawled on this photo indicates that this was some sort of birthday party. Apparently, no girls of any kind were invited.

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ABOVE: There’s always one person in the “happy watermelon eating” photo that refuses to play along. In this case, it’s Mr. Bow Tie with the creepy blank stare.

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ABOVE: They look so happy, don’t they? And they’re not at all worried about getting watermelon juice on those beautiful white dresses. Good for you, ladies!

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JUNE PRIZE: WATERMELON MEMO PAD AND SCENTED PENS

June 3rd, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

I’m not ashamed to admit this, but when it comes to remembering things, I’m pretty much the worst rememberer in the entire world. Names? Forget about it. Dates? I only remember my wedding anniversary and my wife’s birthday (i.e., the “important ones”). Grocery lists? If I’m headed to the store for more than three items, I have to write it down.

Because of my absent-mindedness, I’ve been known to jot notes to myself at work and around the house. And, as long as I don’t forget where I put the note, the system seems to work pretty well. I usually use those sticky-note things or random slips of paper for my reminders, but this month’s watermelon-themed prize would come in handy, too.

It’s a watermelon memo pad AND a set of three watermelon-scented pens. That’s right, watermelon-scented pens. That’s a picture of the delicious prize duo below.

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According to their Amazon page, if you use these pens, “you’ll be tempted to eat your words.” That’s entirely likely with me, because I’ve also been known to eat paper. I wonder if that has anything to do with my memory loss.

I’ll choose one commenter at random from all the comments left on the blog this month to receive this pad-and-pen set. Of course, that’s assuming I remember to pick a name.

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HOW TO CARVE: A WATERMELON HIPPO!

May 31st, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

You might remember my monthly watermelon carvings from last year. They included a pig, a mouth, a shark, and a hedgehog, among others. I had a lot of fun with them, but I was forced to retire my carving knife and cutting board during the winter months due to the lack of full-sized watermelon in my local grocery store.

But at long last, spring has sprung and the giant bin of full-sized watermelon has returned! So I’ve sharpened my knife and I’m ready to restart my carving adventures. The first “how to carve” adventure of the season is a watermelon hippo, which I found on the “Carvings” page of the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

SUPPLIES

  • Long, oval-shaped watermelon
  • Kitchen & paring knives
  • Cutting board
  • Dry-erase marker
  • Large bowl & spoon
  • Channel knife (I used the tip of a potato peeler)
  • Toothpicks
  • Blueberries
  • Large marshmallows

 

watermelon - whole

As always, start by washing your watermelon thoroughly before cutting into it. The hippo works best if you can find an oblong watermelon. I was only able to find mostly round watermelons, but I made it work.

watermelon - mouth

Place the watermelon on its side and cut 1/4″-1/2″ off the yellow-spot side, being careful not to cut too deep into the white part of the rind. This will provide a sturdy base. Next, use the dry-erase marker to draw a mouth on the stem end of the watermelon. Cut out the mouth and scoop out the flesh inside.

watermelon - nose

Use the channel knife to add dimension and the appearance of a long nose with nostrils.

watermelon - eyes

Use the rind from the wedge that was removed to form two eyes and two ears. The ears are basically tear drop shapes with a little of the outer rind carved out of the middle. The eyes look kind of like sixes (with the middle carved out to make room for the blueberry). Attach the eyes and ears with toothpicks to the top of the hippo’s head, toward the back, and place blueberries inside the eyes to cover up the toothpicks.

watermelon - done

Last, attach two small marshmallows to the top of the mouth and two larger marshmallows to the bottom of the mouth to resemble teeth. (The small marshmallows can be cut from the larger ones.) Feel free to fill your hippo with pieces of watermelon or just leave him (her?) empty as a playful centerpiece during your next gathering.

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RECIPE: WATERMELON BREAKFAST LASAGNA

May 29th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

picLike most of my favorite watermelon-related recipes, this one combines two things I love: watermelon and lasagna. It’s also related to one of my favorite meals – breakfast.

And while this “lasagna” contains none of the sausage, pasta, and gooey mozzarella cheese that make the real thing so delicious, it more than makes up for it with layers of other goodies. I recently prepared this recipe, and even though it looked only vaguely like lasagna, it’s still a worthy addition to my morning meal rotation.

Like mom’s lasagna, you can probably tweak the recipe by adding all sorts of other ingredients to it. If anyone has any ideas for additions, leave a comment!

WATERMELON BREAKFAST LASAGNA

INGREDIENTS

4 cups cornflakes
2 cups minced watermelon
2 cups fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries
2 cups vanilla yogurt

DIRECTIONS

Place 1/3 of the cornflakes in an even layer in the bottom of an 8 X 8 serving dish. Mix together the watermelon, blueberries and yogurt and evenly spoon half the mixture over the cornflake layer. Sprinkle another layer of cornflakes over the yogurt and then layer the remaining yogurt over that. Sprinkle the remaining cornflakes evenly over the top.

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