Tag Archives: Watermelon

The perfect summer potluck dish

It. Is. So. Hot. Here.

During the winter, my housemates and I try not to use the heater in order to save money. It routinely gets down to 50 in our casa, and we walk around with multiple layers of pants and sweatshirts on. Likewise, during the summer, we try not to use the air conditioner and it routinely gets up to 90 degrees in our house. I have a new rule though: once it hits 87, I get to turn on the AC. I can’t sleep or study when it is that hot! Or eat for that matter, unless it is something cold. The heat has actually been a blessing because I have been getting so creative in the kitchen in order to make summer-friendly meals! Today’s recipe is amazing served chilled and a consistent crowd pleaser. I have brought it to a potluck, a work party, and fed it to anyone who comes over to our house!

Watermelon Tabouli with Goat Cheese

Recipe: Serves ~10 people

1 cup bulgur

2 cups water

1 large cucumber

3 cups watermelon, cubed

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp green onion, chopped

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

zest of 1 lemon

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Directions – Place a large pan on the stove and add the water and bulgur. Turn the heat on to high and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, remove the pan from heat and cover. Let bulgur sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and let sit for another 15 minutes. Scrape bulgur into a bowl and put into the fridge to chill. If there is any water left, drain first.

Chop the watermelon and cucumber into cubes. Finely chop the parsley, onion, and garlic. Combine all of the ingredients, except the goat cheese, oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest, in a bowl and toss with chilled bulgur. Drizzle the oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest over the mixture and mix again. Right before serving, add in the crumbled goat cheese and a sprinkling of salt and lightly toss one final time. Done!

Benefits

Parsley * is extremely high in vitamin K and also contains vitamin C and A, and some folate. Parsley also contains fairly rare volatile oils that have been found to halt tumor growth in animal studies and are considered “chemoprotective,” which means they can help neutralize carcinogens. Also rich in the antioxidants flavonoids.

Watermelon * a great source of vitamin A, C, B1, and B6. The antioxidants derived from the vitamin A help fight inflammation which contributes to many ailments, including heart attacks, diabetes miletus, and arthritis.

Cucumber * the peel is full of fiber and vitamin K and the meat is mostly hydrating water. Also a good source of potassium, beta carotene, vitamin C, and other antioxidants!
Bulgur * has one of the highest amounts of fiber of any grain. Also contains B vitamins, iron, phosphorous, manganese.
Question: What are your favorite summer recipes? Do share!

Poker face

Finally, I am back in action! Since getting home late Sunday night, I have been cooking up a storm, but simply haven’t had time to blog about it. To get back into the groove of things, I started by making a recipe or two from magazines. When creativity is lacking, there is no harm in looking to other’s – I assume that is why y’all read my blog after all! If you think about it, starting a blog is quite an egocentric activity. Unless you keep it completely private, you are assuming that people want to read what you have to say. Part of why I haven’t been blogging much lately is because I want the content I post to have meaning and value to you. I don’t want to just slap up a recipe or ramble about school. Providing useful recipes, workouts, and information about health-related topics is my primary goal for this blog, but sometimes it is hard to make the time create more meaningful posts.

Anywho, the reunion was wonderful. Just like last year, the entire family stayed in a house on Lake of the Ozarks and each day was filled with tubing, BBQ, fancy schmancy Wii games (that I can’t figure out how to play), ice cream, and swimming.

gramps and I

Spending time with my family brings me back to my roots. The stress of school, personal demons, and the daily grind melts away and I am left with my core self, which is both good and bad. Without all the distractions of daily life, the flaws that I see in myself become unavoidably clear. I need to be more patient, more agreeable, and more giving on other people’s terms. It is not challenging to be agreeable, patient, and giving on your own terms. What really counts is when you can be those things at the most inconvenient of times. I also want to be more vocal about my thoughts and feelings for others.

I really love people.

Instead of seeing the negative or irksome qualities in a person, I always see their best qualities first. And if I finally do notice someone’s lesser qualities (which is usually pointed out to me by another), I typically spin it in a positive light. For example, if a girl is a bit over the top and dramatic, instead of labeling that as obnoxious or self-centered, I would say it is because she is very confident and has highly developed social skills (and can work a room like no other). Or, I can justify a negative quality with something positive that outweighs it. For example, I have a friend who flakes on me often, but instead of thinking of it as rude, I simply think it is because she leads a very busy life and handles it with insane dedication and work ethic. It is nothing personal, she just wants to please (by saying yes to plans), but simply doesn’t have the time.

Usually, this way of thinking is good. For the most part, I think it enhances my relationships with others and lets them grow when others would cast off a friendship prematurely. Very rarely do I justify wrong behaviors or qualities to the point of getting myself hurt in the process, although it has happened. Anyway, back to the point, I have all these positive thoughts and emotions tumbling around in my head about my family, friends, and even people I don’t know very well, but I usually don’t express them. Half the time, I am probably walking around with far too stern of a face. I should probably smile a bit more and speak up a bit. Who doesn’t want to know how fabulous they are?

Moral of the story: Spend time with your family. Remember the truly important things in life are love, relationships, and one’s happiness and health. Notice things you want to improve about yourself and hop to it!

Im going to end this crazy tangent right now and present to you the recipe that got me back into cooking.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Basil Oil

watermelon and goat cheese are a match made in heaven

Recipe: makes 3-4 servings

adapted from Martha Stewart

3 cups watermelon, cubed

1 cucumber, cubed

2 tomatoes, sliced

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup basil leaves

salt

pepper

Directions: Blend the basil and oil in a blender until just combined, so there are still a few chunks of basil. Set aside. Slice the tomatoes, cucumber, and watermelon and place in a bowl. Toss with lemon juice and goat cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with basil oil.

does anyone notice my ridiculous captions?

Benefits

Watermelon * a great source of vitamin A, C, B1, and B6. The antioxidants derived from the vitamin A help fight inflammation which contributes to many ailments, including heart attacks, diabetes miletus, and arthritis.

Tomatoes * also contain a LOT of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that has been shown in studies to reduce the effects of smoking. This does not mean it is okay to smoke, but if you do, it is a VERY good idea to make sure are getting lots of vitamin A daily. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, which has been proven to halt the growth of cancer cells!

It was even better the next day!

Weekend with the fam

This weekend was so nice. Loryn, my best friend since 3rd grade (!) and I drove up to Waco to stay with my mom and Steve. We watched lots of movies, went out on the lake, and cooked up a storm.

Breakfast Parfait

Bottom layer: 1/4 cup oat bran microwaved for 1 minute with 1/3 cup coconut milk then stuck in the freezer until cool

Middle layer: Plain greek yogurt with mashed melted frozen banana and vanilla

Top layer: 2 tbsp cashew butter and nana slices

Chili Zuch Fries

Slice a large zucchini and summer squash into thin rounds. Spray a pan with canola oil. Distribute the rounds around the pan and spray with canola oil again. DOUSE in chili pepper. Add a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and fresh ground sea salt and pepper. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes. Stir around and broil for a couple minutes, until darker brown. If you want them to be crispier, squeeze out excess water with a towel before baking.

A beautiful dinner! Lobster, salad, burgers, and squash fries!

Light Watermelon Margaritas

Blend: 3 cups watermelon, half a peeled lime, 2 shots tequila, 1 shot cointreau, dash of salt, ice

Neener!

So today I was out in the garden and I found this poor, dehydrated little orphan baby…

Because she was the cutest thing I have ever seen and she let me pick her up, I decided to take her in. She could hardly hop away and seemed lost. We are going to try to reunite her with her mama this evening. But first I am feeding her and taking a zillion pictures…

Merhhh!

Boob pouch! Can’t I just be a kanga?

Okay okay, no more.

While I was out there I also found a BEAST of a zucchini. Who needs chemical fertilizer and GMO’s when you can get this in your front yard?!

I am definitely going to do a post very soon about why you should try to only eat local/farmers market produce. In short, they have much more nutrition than conventionally grown produce that you find in the supermarket. Since you are eating veggies anyway, you might as well get the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals out of it as you can deserve.

Today’s recipe is perfect for a hot summers day, especially here in Texas! I wish I had made it before the 4th, but c’est la vie. This is seriously the best Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho I have ever had.

Recipe: Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 cup of watermelon (plus a few extra balls for garnish)

1 tbsp diced white onions

a slice of lime

half a lemon

powdered ginger

chili powder

cayenne pepper

1 tbsp cilantro (plus some for garnish)

salt

Blend the diced tomatoes until they are to your desired consistency. Add 1 cup of watermelon, 1 tbsp onion, lime juice, lemon juice, 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, several shakes of chili powder and salt, a few shakes of cayenne pepper, and couple shakes of ginger. Blend again. Try it and if you would like to add anything else.

There is one more secret ingredient…

Half a shot of cointreau!

Mmm liqua in my dinna.

The cointreau is optional and totally depends on your tastes. I have had it without and it was just as delicious. Garnish with watermelon balls and cilantro. Enjoy!

Benefits:

Watermelon * a great source of vitamin A, C, B1, and B6. The antioxidants derived from the vitamin A help fight inflammation which contributes to many ailments, including heart attacks, diabetes miletus, and arthritis.

Tomatoes * also contain a LOT of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that has been shown in studies to reduce the effects of smoking. This does not mean it is okay to smoke, but if you do, it is a VERY good idea to make sure are getting lots of vitamin A daily. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, which has been proven to halt the growth of cancer cells!

Cayenne and chili pepper * both contain antioxidants and temporarily raise your metabolism!

PS: Don’t forget to enter the Vega giveaway!