NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE: WEAK PAPER AIRPLANES AND VERY STRONG WATERMELON

March 25th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

Nine months. That’s how long I have to accomplish my New Year’s resolution of breaking a Guinness World Record for something — anything — related to watermelon.

I’d like to be brave and attempt on the current watermelon records for smashing watermelons with my head or crushing them with my thighs, but my first world record attempt will be something a little less physically demanding. In fact, the biggest risk with this feat is getting a paper cut.

That’s because my first Guinness attempt will be the record for the “Most Paper Airplanes Thrown into Watermelons in One Minute.” According to the Guinness website, the official tally is 12, and it’s a record held by Junguk Lee of South Korea.IMG_8133

Twelve. That’s it! Yes, I can see that framed Guinness World Record Holder certificate hanging on my living room wall now. I can also see my wife telling me to move it to the wall behind the door in the guest room.

The first thing I needed to do was make some paper airplanes. I also knew the airplanes had to have firm, pointy noses to allow them to pierce the hard rind of the watermelon. No problem! Ten minutes later, I had six pointy-nosed airplanes. They looked more like watermelon-piercing fighter jets if you asked me. I poked the tip of one against my finger. Pointy. Very pointy. This was going to be easier than I thought.

I stood about four feet away from my watermelon, wound up with my paper creation, and let ‘er rip like a 95-mile-per-hour fastball. The first airplane sailed a full 12 inches above the watermelon.

Okay. No big deal. I’m just getting warmed up.

I reared back with airplane number two and flung it forward with even more force than the first. It glanced off the side of the watermelon and careened towards our cat, who promptly pounced on it and claimed the aircraft for his own.

Maybe I was standing too close. I took a step back and hurled another plane toward the round, green target. Bull’s-eye!

Airplane number three landed smack dab in the center of the watermelon. Unfortunately, the flight also crumpled the nose of the airplane and left it lying in a sad little heap on the countertop. The watermelon, on the other hand, showed no signs of damage.

So, maybe this wouldn’t be as easy as I had thought. I needed to work on my throwing accuracy, and I definitely needed to work on creating sturdier airplanes. The latter point was driven home after a closer reading of the record on the Guinness website. Turns out, Mr. Lee of South Korea prepared over 50 paper airplanes for his record-setting attempt, and EACH airplane took six minutes to create.

Yep, lots of work and lots of practice lies ahead over the next 30 days. Stay tuned for my official world record attempt next month to see if all that practice pays off.

UP NEXT: SWEET WATERMELON TREATS

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE: WHICH OF THESE RECORDS SHOULD I ATTEMPT FIRST?

March 4th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

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Image courtesy of GuinnessWorldRecords.com

Break a Guinness World Record. That’s my 2016 New Year’s resolution, and it’s definitely a lofty goal. To be specific, my objective will be to break a Guinness World Record related to watermelon. Still lofty, but way more fun than attempting a record for, say, the most spoons balanced on your face (the record is 31, in case you were wondering).

Here’s how my journey will work: I’ll likely attempt several records this year and will walk you through a discussion of a particular record and one of my practice sessions. After that blog entry, I’ll practice some more and then write about my official world record attempt before moving on to another watermelon record.

For my inaugural record attempt; however, I’d like to get all of you involved by letting YOU choose which of the official Guinness World Records below should be first on my to-do list. Leave a comment with which one I should attempt first, and I’ll get to work next week by training for my brush with watermelon world record immortality.

  1. MOST PAPER AIRCRAFT THROWN INTO WATERMELONS IN ONE MINUTE – This record is exactly what it sounds like — just throwing pointy paper airplanes and getting them to stick in watermelon. The current record is 12, held by Junguk Lee of South Korea. I haven’t made a paper airplane in about 15 years, but I think I can make a serious attempt at this one.
  2. MOST WATERMELONS CRUSHED WITH THE HEAD IN ONE MINUTE – I get a splitting headache just thinking about this record attempt. (And I get downright terrified when I watch this video.) But, if I must attempt it, I will. By the way, the record is 43 watermelons smashed. It was set by a thick-skulled gentleman named Tafzi Ahmed of Germany.
  3. MOST WATERMELONS CHOPPED ON THE STOMACH IN ONE MINUTE – First of all, I’m not sure what Guinness means by “chopped” (they’ll provide specific guidance for all official attempts). Do I have to hold a watermelon on my stomach and let someone chop it with a knife? If so, please don’t vote for this one. If it means someone will be karate-chopping the watermelon with a hand, that’s a little better, I suppose. The record — whatever the chopping method may be — is 48, set by Bipin Larkin and Ashrita Furman in Jamaica, New York.
  4. FASTEST TIME TO CRUSH THREE WATERMELONS WITH THE THIGHS – What’s with all the watermelon violence in these records? Impaled with paper airplanes, smashed with heads, chopped with who-knows-what, and now crushed with thighs. Thigh strength isn’t my strong suit, but if you’d like me to take a shot at breaking Ukrainian Olga Liashchuk’s record of 14.65 seconds, I’ll do it.

UP NEXT: MARCH PRIZE

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GUEST BLOG ENTRY: HOW TO “BEAT THE BLOAT” IN THE NEW YEAR

December 28th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

As a former competitive eater, I’m no stranger to eating more than I should. But trying to stay away from the food you crave around the holidays can be really difficult. So what do you do? We asked Elizabeth Somer, our expert nutritionist and dietitian, how to avoid feeling bloated and, more importantly, how to stay satisfied without being stuffed.

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Who hasn’t had one of those days when you can’t get your “fat” jeans to zip up? Your eyes are puffy, your canvas shoes are too tight, your stomach resembles a water balloon, and you feel like you’ve gained 10 pounds since lunch. One in every 10 people report being frequently bothered by bloating. The good news is, all of this is avoidable!

Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD; image courtesy of VickyandJen.com

Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD; image courtesy of VickyandJen.com

There are two basic causes of bloating. First, if you are puffy all over, that’s water retention. The one-two punch to beat it is to cut back on sodium and consume more water. (That’s right, consume more water!)

Give up the salty junk, like processed and fast foods, and consume more liquids to dilute the sodium in your body so your kidneys can flush out excess fluid. Watermelon is Mother Nature’s natural diuretic. It’s 92% water, low in sodium, and rich in another mineral – potassium – which makes it the perfect combo for flushing out sodium and being bloat-free. Compliment that watermelon snack with enough water throughout the day so your urine is pale yellow.

Second, if it’s only your tummy that’s pooching, that’s probably gas. Typically, too much gas-forming foods, such as legumes, sugary or highly refined grains, and even dairy products and wheat for some people, can cause gas when bacteria that live in your colon dine on leftovers your small intestine didn’t digest. The result is bloating and discomfort. Cut back or cut out these foods, eat frequent small meals, and avoid chewing gum, drinking carbonated beverages, and wolfing down a meal where you swallow air that ends up as gas later on.

As always, if your discomfort or bloating is chronic or painful, you should consult your physician to rule out a serious medical digestive disorder. But if it’s just water retention or gas, following these tips should help you beat the bloat in 2016!

UP NEXT: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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WHAT SHOULD MY 2016 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION BE?

December 11th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

Well, I did it. My New Year’s resolution at the beginning of this year was to prepare more meals using watermelon and I achieved my goal. From Sweet & Sour Watermelon Chicken in January to Cheesecake with Watermelon and Blueberry Sauce in March (my personal favorite this year) to Watermelon Pizza in August.

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It’s the first time I’ve ever kept a resolution — yes, I’ve got one last dish coming up next week — and that includes the time in college when I resolved to “take more naps.” (Naps, it seems, are harder to take than you might think, especially when you live in a noisy dorm with an even noisier roommate.)

As watermelon-related resolutions go, it was definitely my most successful attempt. The list of contenders includes my 2014 resolution to compete in a watermelon eating contest, my woeful attempt in 2013 to grow my own watermelon, and my 2012 resolution about competing in a seed-spitting contest.

And so, with 2016 just a few short weeks away, I’ve turned my attention to what next year’s watermelon resolution might be. I’ve got a few ideas, but I’m definitely interested in your suggestions. Leave a comment with which watermelon feat you think I should attempt in 2016 and I’ll add it to my growing list of resolutions to consider!

UP NEXT: ANOTHER GIFT FOR WATERMELON LOVERS

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A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE: WATERMELON CRANBERRY SAUCE

November 20th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

Eleven months into 2015 and I’m still chugging away at my New Year’s resolution of creating more dishes with watermelon! Being only one month away from completing my goal has me thinking about next year’s goal. If you have any ideas, leave a comment below.

It’s been quite a year of fresh, new watermelon-inspired recipes, but the last two will be geared toward the holidays. With just six days left until Thanksgiving, everything has finally come together at my house in terms of planning, prepping and priming.

This year, my wife committed to preparing at least three dishes with watermelon for our Thanksgiving dinner, including this one for watermelon cranberry sauce. (I whipped it up yesterday to test out the recipe before the big day.) Make this to accompany your turkey, or just grab a spoon and dig in!

WATERMELON CRANBERRY SAUCE

INGREDIENTSBoulder-Canyon-Canyon-Cut-Chips-Logo

4 cups fresh cranberries

½ cup organic sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 lemon (juice squeezed from the lemon)

1 lemon (zest from the lemon)

½ cup maple syrup

dash cinnamon

2 cups minced watermelon

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat cranberries, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and zest in a 3-quart saucepan over medium low heat until it simmers. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the maple syrup and cinnamon to the pan. Simmer another few minutes. Remove from heat to rest for 10 minutes. Stir in watermelon and serve warm or chill and serve cold.

For a video showing step-by-step instructions from the National Watermelon Promotion Board, click here.

UP NEXT: INSIDE CHINA’S WATERMELON MUSEUM

 

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE: SMOKED MOZZARELLA PUMPS

October 23rd, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

I’d be lying if I told you that I picked this recipe for any reason other than that it looked so different from anything I’ve featured here on the blog before. I’ll also admit, rather embarrassingly, that I thought that “pump” was a new term for sandwich. It’s not, in case you were wondering, too; the sandwich is still a sandwich.

This recipe for Smoked Mozzarella Pumps puts other sandwiches to shame. Not only does it pack a tasty punch, with alfalfa sprouts and watermelon (I used watercress in mine), but what really brings the flavor is the pumpernickel. Slightly sweet and flavorful, the pumpernickel bread is definitely what brings this sandwich together to be the easiest recipe yet in my New Year’s resolution journey of creating more meals with watermelon.

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SMOKED MOZZARELLA PUMPS

DIRECTIONS

Spread the mustard on each of the cut sides of the rolls. Place a slice of cheese and watermelon on top of each roll bottom and divide the sprouts over the watermelon slices. Place the top of the roll over the sprouts.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cup honey dijon mustard

8 small Hawaiian or soft pumpernickel rolls, split

8 slices 1/4 inch thick smoked mozzarella cheese

8 slices seedless watermelon the same size as the cheese

1 cup fresh alfalfa sprouts

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our October prize — the watermelon welcome mat — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: GROWING THE WORLD’S LARGEST WATERMELON: FINALE

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE: GRILLED CHEESE ARUGULA PANINI

September 21st, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

When I first discovered this recipe I had to scratch my head. Being a self-proclaimed “foodie,” I must admit that I had only a fleeting knowledge of what was arugula was. Arugula, pronounced “a-roo-guh-lah,” is sometimes referred to as “rocket” or “rucola.” This leafy green is similar to lettuce, but with smaller, more pronounced leaves.

Notable for its high dietary nitrate levels, arugula helps lower blood pressure while packing a vitamin-filled punch. Health benefits aside, arugula is a delicious addition to this simple dish. Give it a shot, and let me know how you like it!

GRILLED CHEESE ARUGULA PANINI

INGREDIENTSIMG_6549

4 slices watermelon, approximately 4”x 4” x 1/2” thick

8 slices 100% whole grain bread

2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard

6 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided into 4 equal portions

1 bottle cooking spray

1 ½ cups baby arugula

INSTRUCTIONS

Place watermelon pieces between paper towels to absorb extra fluid. Set aside. On each of four slices of bread, spread mustard, and top with 1 ½ ounces cheese. Top with second slice of bread.

On a griddle or panini grill, spray cooking spray, and grill the four sandwiches on each side until cheese begins to melt. Remove from griddle/grill, open, and place a slice of watermelon and arugula inside. Close sandwich, and cut in half to serve.

NOTE: I made mine as a traditional grilled cheese instead of a panini. If you’re making a grilled cheese, use real butter – not margarine – on the bread. Melt it in the microwave first, and then brush it onto the bread. Also, cook your grilled cheese on a medium-low temperature (around 250 degrees if you’re using a griddle). It’ll take a little longer, but that trick (and the butter) will create a perfectly crispy grilled cheese every time.

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our September prize — the watermelon pop-out cutter — so comment as often as you’d like! 

UP NEXT: September Facebook Highlights

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE: MAKING WATERMELON PAD THAI

June 29th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

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When it comes to Asian cuisine, pad thai is probably my favorite dish. Maybe it’s because of the wide fettucine-like noodles. Maybe it’s because of the chopped peanuts. All I know is that it’s good, and I’ve never met a pad thai that I didn’t like.

So, when I found this recipe for Watermelon Pad Thai on the National Watermelon Promotion Board website, I knew that I had to make it for my next new year’s resolution update (in 2015, I’ve vowed to prepare more meals using watermelon).

Anyhow, my first-ever attempt at making homemade pad thai turned out pretty well (that’s a picture of it above). The watermelon added a hint of sweetness to the pad thai, which paired well with the saltiness of the soy sauce and sautéed shrimp. From start to finish, it took only about 30 minutes, which isn’t bad for meal this good!

For more recipes using watermelon, check out the “Recipes” section of the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

UP NEXT: Our July prize!

Remember, all comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our June prize – a set of watermelon dip bowls – so comment as often as you’d like! 

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE: MAKING WATERMELON JELLY!

May 28th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

Okay, first thing’s first. When I found this recipe for “watermelon jelly,” I was excited.

“Oh, I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” I thought to myself, “I’ve never made jelly and I’ve definitely never had watermelon jelly, so this will be great!”

But then, about half way through the process of making this jelly, I realized that it wasn’t the kind of jelly that you might spread on a PBJ sandwich or a toasted bagel. Turns out, the “jelly” I was making was actually another type of gelatin. One that starts with “jell” and ends with an “O”. I can’t say the brand name here, and neither could the person who posted this recipe.

And that’s how I can to make watermelon jelly that’s not actually jelly, but it’s still pretty good. Check out the process below to see how I made it, and check out the recipe here to make your own.


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The ingredients in this jelly are pretty simple: just watermelon (which you’ll turn into 3 cups of juice), unflavored gelatin, lemon juice and sugar. That’s it!

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To make the three cups of watermelon juice that will serve as the base of the jelly, you’ll need to carve your watermelon into chunks. Yes, I bought a watermelon with seeds and, no, I didn’t mean to. If you do the same, don’t worry…the seeds will be ground up in your food processor (or blender), but they’ll be filtered out later.

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The next step, according to the original recipe, is to puree your watermelon chunks a food processor before filtering the blended result through a fine sieve like the one above. I didn’t have a food processor, so I used my blender, and it worked just as well. (TIP: Your sieve will probably get clogged up with watermelon pulp, so you’ll need to rinse it off in the sink a few times while you make your three cups of juice.)

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After you’ve got your juice, you’ll add three packets of unflavored gelatin to one cup of the juice and place the other two cups of juice in a sauce pan on the stove with some sugar. After the sugar has melted, stir in the lemon juice and the watermelon juice with the gelatin in it, and then pour the entire mixture into a square pan. Place the pan in the fridge for about six hours to allow the gelatin to work its magic.

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The next morning (actually this morning), my watermelon “jelly” was complete! It’s definitely more of a gelatin dessert (where’s the whipped cream?), but I still might spread some of this jelly on a slice of toast.

For more recipes using watermelon, check out the “Recipes” section of the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

UP NEXT: Our June Prize!

 

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION UPDATE: WATERMELON PIE A LA MODE

April 27th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

Last month’s attempt to make a New York Cheesecake with Watermelon and Blueberry Sauce was so successful, I made another cheesecake two weeks later. It’s true! Oh sure, I gained about five pounds over those two weeks, but it was totally worth it.

For this month’s attempt to keep my new year’s resolution alive (preparing more meals with watermelon), I’m sticking with the dessert theme by creating Watermelon Pie A La Mode.

It’s a little simpler than cheesecake and a lot healthier, too. And guess what? It’s almost as delicious. Of course, just about anything topped with a scoop of ice cream is going to be tasty, but that’s just my opinion.

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As far as recipes go, this one is pretty simple: just watermelon, pound cake, ice cream, and cherry syrup. The recipe on the Watermelon.org website calls for frozen yogurt and strawberry syrup, but I made a few substitutions. Feel free to do the same with yours.

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The first step will be to cut the pound cake into thin slices (about a quarter to half an inch thick) and then cut those slices into pie-shaped wedges.

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After you’ve cut your pound cake wedges, you’ll do the same with your watermelon. Feel free to use your pound cake wedge as a template for how big your watermelon wedge should be. As for the thickness, that’s up to you, but I made mind about three-quarters to one-inch thick.

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After your watermelon is stacked on top of your pound cake, top it with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle it with the sauce of your choice. It makes a great spring or summer dessert or, if you’re like me, a great breakfast. Enjoy!

For more recipes using watermelon, check out the “Recipes” section of the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

UP NEXT: Should I buy watermelon or grow my own?

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