(Family Features) When it comes to Halloween, carving the same pumpkin designs each year can become routine. This year, save a pumpkin and carve your spooky masterpiece into a watermelon instead.
Nutrient-rich watermelon can be a healthy alternative to other sweet treats full of added sugar during Halloween festivities as it’s a source of vitamins A and C as well as the antioxidant lycopene and the amino acid citrulline.
Because they are made up of 92% water, watermelons can be an effective way to stay hydrated during trick-or-treating, and creations like a Mummy or Jack O’Melon can help satisfy sweet cravings while keeping friends and family members frightfully delighted.
To get started, consider these carving tips and tricks:
- To make cutting and slicing easier, the watermelon should be at room temperate when carving.
- Cut a small, thin, flat piece from the bottom of the watermelon to provide a stable base for carving.
- Draw the design on the watermelon rind with a dry-erase marker before cutting. If you make a mistake, this can make it easier to wipe off.
- Use a sharp knife with a pointed tip for easier, cleaner cuts. Consider a paring knife with a smaller tip for ease of detail.
- Blend scraps of watermelon that are too messy for dicing or slicing to create an easy juice.
For more watermelon carving ideas, visit watermelon.org.
Supplies and Tools:
- Cutting board
- Kitchen knife
- Dry-erase marker
- Paring knife
- Melon baller
- Vegetable peeler
- Cheesecloth or gauze
- Straight pin (optional)
- Battery-operated candle or light
- Small bowl
- Blueberries or bloody candy eyes
- Toothpicks, pins or glue
- Wash watermelon under cool running water and pat dry.
- On cutting board, place watermelon on its side and use kitchen knife to cut off 1/4-1/2-inch of rind from bottom to provide sturdy base, being careful not to cut too deep into white part of rind. Cut 1-2 inches from stem end to create opening for bowl to be added.
- Using dry-erase marker, draw eyes, nose and mouth, along with wavy slits around carving. Use paring knife to cut them out, being sure to cut through to red flesh to let more light flow through.
- Use melon baller to hollow out inside of watermelon. Reserve watermelon balls. Use scoop to remove remaining watermelon.
- Using vegetable peeler, remove green skin off outside of watermelon, similar to peeling cucumber.
- Wrap thin strips cheesecloth or gauze around mummy carving and secure with straight pin, if needed.
- Place battery-operated candle or light inside carving and fit small bowl into top of carving. Trim away excess rind to make bowl fit securely.
- Fill bowl with melon balls. Attach candy eyes or blueberries using a toothpicks, pins or glue.
Supplies and Tools:
- Round watermelon
- Melon baller
- Dry-erase marker
- Toothpicks (optional)
- Battery-operated light
- Using knife, cut thin slice from bottom of watermelon to provide stable base.
- Cut circular piece of rind from top of watermelon big enough to reach into and remove flesh. Carefully remove top section and reserve for use as “lid.”
- Remove flesh from inside watermelon using melon baller, reserving melon balls for snacking. Hollow out remaining watermelon flesh and use blender to juice scraps and excess juice.
- Using dry-erase marker, draw outlines of eyes, nose, mouth, hair, ears and other features on side of watermelon. If mistake is made with marker, wipe off using paper towel to start over. Following outlines, carve features into watermelon and remove excess rind.
- Safe, battery-operated light can be firmly placed inside watermelon to provide haunting glow.
- Place circular piece of rind back on top of watermelon.
Keeping fresh fruit around the house provides a healthier alternative when your sweet tooth comes calling. Understanding how and when to buy at the peak of ripeness (or just before, in some cases) can help you avoid food waste while keeping your doctor happy.
Consider these simple tips for recognizing ripe fruits:
- Strawberries: Check the area at the top of the berry near the stem and leaves. A ripe strawberry is fully red; green or white near the top means the fruit is underripe.
- Watermelon: The “field spot,” or the area where the melon sat on the ground, should be yellow, and a tap on the rind should produce a hollow sound.
- Cherries: Flesh should appear dark with a crimson color and feel firm.
- Blueberries: Similar to cherries, color should deepen to dark blue. A reddish or pink color may be visible in unripe berries.
- Blackberries: Look for a smooth texture without any red appearance. Because blackberries don’t ripen after being picked, they tend to spoil quickly.
- Cantaloupe: You should detect a sweet smell, and the melon should feel heavy upon lifting.
- Peaches: A sweet, fragrant odor should be apparent. Skin should feel tender but not soft.
- Pineapple: Smell is again an important factor for pineapple – a sweet scent shows it’s ready, but a vinegary one likely means it’s overripe.
- Raspberries: Generally follow the same rules as blackberries. Best eaten within a couple days of purchase, a bright red color represents ripe berries.
- Bananas: A ripe banana features a peel lightly spotted without significant bruising. Your best bet may be to purchase bananas still slightly green and allow them to ripen at home.
Find more food tips, tricks, recipes and videos at Culinary.net.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Family-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner
(Family Features) Morning routines, homework, practices and more are all part of back-to-school season, and even when time is short, flavorful meals can be, too.
Whether it’s breakfast and dinner together as a family or sending your little learner out the door with a nutritious lunch, making tasty recipes in your own kitchen doesn’t have to be a drain on an already busy schedule. With dishes like a new take on French toast to a quickly packed lunchbox and bolder burgers, you can keep your loved ones fueled for everything the school year brings your way.
For more back-to-school recipes, visit Culinary.net.
Freshen Up Family Breakfasts
A truly beneficial start to the day is usually centered around breakfast. Start your family on the right foot with a meal that delivers sweet flavor along with nutritious fruits.
This Honey Leches French Toast recipe swaps out syrup for hot honey combined with the crisp taste of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.
Visit honey.com for more family-friendly recipes.
Honey Leches French Toast
Recipe courtesy of chef Rob Corliss on behalf of the National Honey Board
- 2 tablespoons blueberry honey
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup light coconut milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1/2 cup blueberry honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 small slices premade pound cake
- nonstick cooking spray
- To make Honey Leches: In mixing bowl, whisk blueberry honey, evaporated milk, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla extract and cinnamon to evenly combine. Keep chilled.
- To make Berry Garnish: In mixing bowl, lightly toss raspberries, blueberries and strawberries to evenly combine. Keep chilled.
- To make Hot Honey: In small mixing bowl, whisk blueberry honey and cayenne pepper to evenly combine. Keep warm so hot honey is pourable.
- Heat electric griddle to 375° F.
- Arrange pound cake slices, side by side, flat, in casserole dish or pan with sides. Pour Honey Leches over and around pound cake slices; soak 1 minute.
- Lightly coat griddle with nonstick cooking spray. Remove pound cake slices from Honey Leches, allowing liquid to drain off, then place each slice on hot griddle.
- On griddle, cook pound cake slices approximately 2 minutes on each side until golden crispy and hot throughout.
- To serve, place two overlapping pound cake slices on plate (four plates total). Top each with approximately 1/4 cup mixed berries then drizzle each with approximately 2 tablespoons hot honey.
A Healthy, Happy Midday Meal
Back to school means back to packing daily lunches, and for parents aspiring to send healthier options with their children, look no further than a bento box loaded with the nutritional values of fruits, dairy and protein.
Surprise your little one with this Happy Lunchbox, a sweet treat to help keep him or her hydrated throughout the school day. Start with watermelon, a portable, versatile and easy-to-serve staple composed of 92% water for a hydrating snack. Add in a favorite yogurt flavor, mixed berries, cheddar cheese cubes and smoked turkey breast for a well-rounded lunch to maintain energy all day.
By assembling this nutritious meal using a divided bento box, you can add a little fun to an already flavorful lunch. Find more refreshing recipes for back-to-school season at watermelon.org.
Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board
- Watermelon, cut into sticks
- yogurt, for dipping berries
- 18 cubes (1 inch each) seedless watermelon
- 6 cubes smoked turkey breast
- 6 cubes cheddar cheese
- 6 coffee stirrers or beverage straws
- In small plate with dividers, assemble watermelon sticks with yogurt in one section and berries in separate section.
- To make Watermelon Kebabs: Skewer watermelon, turkey and cheese cubes on stirrers or straws. Assemble in third section of plate.
A Bigger, Bolder Burger
Making a meal everyone loves can sometimes be a challenge when tastes differ and each member of the family craves something different. However, turning to a nearly universally enjoyed staple – a burger – may be just the solution.
Next time your group debates the night’s dinner menu, turn to a customizable creation like the Brooklyn Bacon Bonanza Burger created by celebrity chef and author George Duran for Jarlsberg’s Global Burger Campaign. Topped with melted cheese and optional garnishes like fried eggs and tomato slices, this burger can be personalized to appease the taste buds of everyone under your roof.
Find more back-to-school meal solutions at jarlsberg.com.
Brooklyn Bacon Bonanza Burger
Recipe courtesy of chef George Duran on behalf of Jarlsberg
- 4 thick chunks Jarlsberg cheese
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup chopped cooked bacon
- 3 tablespoons sundried tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- nonstick cooking spray
- 4 eggs for frying (optional)
- 4 hamburger buns
- 8 thin slices tomato
- Place cheese in freezer about 1 hour ahead of time.
- Heat grill to medium-high heat. In small bowl, mix hot sauce and mayonnaise; set aside.
- In large bowl, season beef, pork, onion, bacon, tomato paste and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Using hands, mix until well combined.
- Using hands, form meat mixture into four balls. With thumb, make indentation in centers of balls and place one chunk cheese in center of each. Begin shaping burgers around cheese until patties form.
- Spray grill grates with nonstick spray. Grill burgers, turning frequently, until cooked through and cheese begins to ooze out, about 8-10 minutes.
- In nonstick skillet, fry eggs, if desired; set aside. Serve burgers on hamburger buns with chipotle-mayo, tomato slices and fried eggs.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (French toast)
(Family Features) Between balancing work with family and friends, squeezing in a healthy meal can be hard, and finding time for a workout can be even harder. A busy lifestyle demands quick, portable and convenient foods that let you refuel your body with better health in mind.
When time is tight, it may be tempting to reach for pre-packaged snacks or fast food, but you can make your own grab-and-go snack packs and meals at home in less time than it takes to get through the drive-thru lane.
A cool and refreshing superfood smoothie can give you a much-needed boost when your energy is dragging. Another smart snacking tip: fill sandwich bags with servings of fresh fruits and veggies that you can carry in your purse or gym bag to nibble on when hunger strikes. Options such as watermelon cubes or sticks are a great choice because they are high in fiber and water to help fill you up with nutrients instead of calories.
Also be mindful of how you answer sweet tooth cravings. A naturally sweet treat such as a slice of watermelon is a satisfying alternative to cookies or candy. In fact, working sweet flavors into your regular meals is a way to keep cravings at bay. This salad combines an ancient grain high in protein and nutrients with the sweet crunch of fresh watermelon for a rich taste and texture.
Find more tips and recipes to fuel your day at watermelon.org.
Ancient Grain Salad with Watermelon
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- salt, to taste
- 3 cups warm, cooked kamut grain (about 1 1/2 cups dry)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup diced green onions, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1/3 cup thin-sliced celery
- 1 cup corn
- 2 cups chopped watermelon
- In small bowl, blend oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. Add kamut and pecans. Stir thoroughly and let sit until cooled.
- In tall glass bowl, assemble salad by placing one-third of the kamut mixture on bottom, topped by half each of the onions and celery, corn and watermelon. Repeat. Add remaining kamut on top and sprinkle with remaining diced green onion. Present as layered salad and toss just before serving.
Nutritional information per serving: 247 calories; 13.2 g fat; 1.6 g saturated fat; 3.7 g protein; 28.4 g carbohydrates; 15 g sugar; 30 mg calcium; 1.2 mg iron; 291 mg potassium; 13 mg sodium; 3.7 g fiber.
Rosy Red Superfood Smoothie
Servings: 3 (1 cup each)
- 2 cups cubed watermelon
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 cup raspberry kefir
- 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup
- ice (optional)
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
Nutritional information per serving: 201 calories; 4.4 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; 6 g protein; 34 g carbohydrates; 29 g sugar; 3 mg cholesterol; 189 mg calcium; 1.6 mg iron; 438 mg potassium; 23.5 mg sodium; 4.8 g fiber.
(Family Features) There’s no time like a hot summer picnic to let your patriotic spirit show. These all-American snacks featuring a classic favorite fruit – watermelon – are the perfect solution for nearly any summertime celebration.
Watermelon is a patriotic picnic staple for countless reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a beloved treat that many people associate with memories from childhood. However, nostalgia isn’t the only reason adults are just as likely to gravitate toward watermelon at a summer event. Its sweet, cool and refreshing flavor also makes it a favorite for all ages.
From a practical standpoint, watermelon is also quite portable, versatile and easy to serve, and with a composition of 92% water, it’s a simple way to sneak in some extra hydration on a hot day. Another benefit is its value; watermelon is one of the best values in the produce section among fruit, and just one watermelon can feed up to three dozen people.
Serving watermelon at a party can be as simple as slicing wedges, or you can prepare a dish such as:
- A fruit basket, with the rind serving as a colorful bowl to hold the watermelon and other fresh fruits.
- A charcuterie board with a selection of fruit, cheese and protein for simple snacking.
- Creamy parfaits, perfect for a summery brunch or alternative to more traditional desserts.
- A creatively colorful and patriotic “cake” that makes for a tasty centerpiece on the dessert table.
Find more ideas for incorporating watermelon into your summer festivities at watermelon.org.
Easy Summer Thirst Quencher
A simple fruit-infused water can give your summer event an instant upgrade in no time at all. Add extra dimension and complexity to the flavor by adding some of your favorite herbs like basil and mint.
- 2 cups watermelon balls or cubes
- 1 cup other fruit, such as berries
- herbs, such as basil or mint
- Place watermelon, fruit and herbs in pitcher and cover with water. For best flavor, allow to chill in refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
Red, White and Blue Watermelon Parfait
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 container (6 ounces) Greek yogurt (vanilla, lemon or coconut)
- 1 cup watermelon, plus three pieces diced watermelon
- whipped cream, for serving
- In pint canning jar, layer blueberries, yogurt and 1 cup watermelon. Top with whipped cream and garnish with three diced watermelon pieces.
Note: To make ahead or make thicker, drain Greek yogurt on paper towels to absorb some liquid.
Patriotic Fruit Salad
- 1 watermelon
- Slice 1/4 inch off bottom of watermelon, lengthwise, to create stable base.
- Use pencil to draw zig-zag lines for basket opening. Using paring knife, make cuts through rind.
- Carefully remove top section, pull out large chunks of flesh and cut them into 3-by-3-inch squares.
- Trim 3/4-inch thick slices off squares to use for cutting out stars with 1 1/2-3-inch, star-shaped cookie cutters.
- Use ice cream scoop to remove flesh from inside basket and cut scoops into quarters for fruit salad. Place in bottom of basket. Add honeydew and blueberries; stir to combine.
- Cut out white stripes from honeydew.
- Garnish top of fruit salad with watermelon stars, honeydew stripes and blueberries.
Patriotic Charcuterie Board
- 1/2 medium seedless watermelon, cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
- 10 strawberries (dipped in white chocolate, if desired)
- 5 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted, salted cashews
- 2 ounces cured meats like prosciutto, pancetta, coppa, salami, soppressata, sausage or pepperoni
- 1 Honeycrisp apple, cored and sliced
- lemon juice
- fresh basil leaves
- On large board or platter, arrange watermelon, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, cashews, meat and apples. Drizzle fruit with lemon juice. Garnish with basil leaves before serving.
Flag Kebab Cake
- 1 pint fresh, washed blackberries
- 12 wooden skewers
- 1 seedless watermelon, flesh cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes (white part only)
- dips, such as yogurt, chocolate, caramel or marshmallow (optional)
- Thread five blackberries on each of five skewers, followed by alternating watermelon and cake cubes.
- On remaining skewers, alternate watermelon and cake so first and last cubes are watermelon. Place skewers on platter; fruit and cake will create stars and stripes when lined properly.
- Serve with dips, if desired.
(Family Features) Make Father's Day special by combining two of Dad's favorite things - sweet treats and the grill. Hot dogs have gone gourmet and a big, juicy hamburger or steak is a tried-and-true classic. But, this year, show Dad how much you love him with a healthy twist on two American favorites - the chicken wing and watermelon.
If Dad is usually the one manning the grill, review these simple tips for cooking chicken outdoors before you begin:
- Preheat the grill on high.
- Make sure the grate is well oiled to prevent sticking.
- Transport the chicken to the grill on one plate and use a clean plate to take the prepared food back to the kitchen.
- Use tongs to turn the chicken instead of a fork, which may tear the meat.
- Keep the grill covered as much as possible for quicker, more even cooking.
- Have a spray bottle filled with water handy in case of a flare up.
- Once you remove the chicken from the grill, allow it to "rest" for five minutes so it will retain its juices when cut.
Get the kids involved in the meal preparation by creating a fun dessert. They can use a small ice cream scoop or melon baller to scoop out watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew. Serve the cool, refreshing treat in a pretty bowl or thread the melon balls onto skewers. Slices of watermelon can also be cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters. Add the shapes to the plate for a fun garnish or place one or two on the rim of a glass to add a festive flair.
Grilling out is a time-honored tradition so fire up the charcoal and let the celebration begin.
Look for more fun ways to enjoy watermelon and sign up for a free newsletter, at www.watermelon.org.
Chipotle Maple Citrus Watermelon Wings
- 2 cups watermelon puree
- Juice from 3 fresh lemons
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (can use light version)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
- Chicken wings or drumettes
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 3 cloves minced fresh garlic
- To prepare the watermelon glaze, simmer ingredients together in a heavy saucepan for 20 minutes or until sauce is thick. Makes 2 cups. Keep warm.
- To prepare the chicken, place the chicken in a large zipper lock bag with rest of the ingredients and seal tightly. Allow to marinate at least 2 hours or up to 12. Grill until cooked and arrange on a warm platter. Pour the glaze over the chicken and serve immediately.
(Family Features) Mothers are incredible people. This year, make sure you properly thank her for all she has done for you by celebrating her with a day she'll cherish forever.
Here are a few ideas to make this Mother's Day her most memorable yet:
- Plant a Garden Together
Before you shell out big bucks on chocolates and jewelry, consider a greener gift that mom can treasure from her window. Visit your local garden center or nursery and pick some vibrant beauties you know she'll swoon over. Supply the gloves, mom's favorite cocktails and snacks and make an event out of gardening with your favorite lady.
- Create Your Own Card
No matter how old you are, nothing says it better than construction paper, glitter and a little creativity. If she's a grandmother, involve the kids and make it a family craft project. Take a trip to your local hobby store to make sure you have all the goods for this tried-and-true ticket to mom's heart.
- Plan a Beautiful Brunch
Create a colorful, bountiful brunch for mom. Make a checklist of all the necessary ingredients, ensuring you serve all of her favorites! For a fresh twist on brunch, incorporate the sweet summertime goodness of watermelon and other fresh fruit. Impress her with Breakfast Six Layer Trifle, or make her smile with Watermelon Pancake Sandwiches. Design a homemade menu card, and throw in an arrangement of her favorite blooms for a finishing touch.
For additional recipes and brunch ideas, visit www.watermelon.org.
Watermelon's Many Benefits
Just like mom, watermelon is a sweet and wonderful thing. Mom always told you to finish your fruits and vegetables, but did you know that watermelon boasts immunity benefits? Here are some of the perks for eating this juicy treat:
Vitamin A - This vitamin is known to promote eye health, while boosting immunity through the enhancement of white blood cells.
Vitamin B6 - Boosts the immune system by maintaining normal nerve function and forming red blood cells.
Vitamin C - Protects immune system against infections, viruses and harmful free radicals that accelerate aging and other conditions.
Potassium - A two-cup serving of watermelon also contains potassium, an essential mineral that maintains water balance in every cell.
Mother's Day brunch wouldn't be complete without a fabulous serving of fresh fruit. These recipes include the summertime goodness of watermelon for a sweet addition sure to make mom smile.
Breakfast Six Layer Trifle
Serves: 8 to 12
- 3 cups organic fat free vanilla yogurt
- 2 cups low fat natural granola
- 4 cups watermelon, minced
- 3 cups organic fat free peach yogurt
- 2 cups organic crisp rice cereal
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- Spread the vanilla yogurt over bottom of deep glass casserole or trifle dish. Layer remaining ingredients in order listed above in even layers over vanilla yogurt.
Chunky Watermelon Lemonade
Serves: 2 to 3
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup raw sugar (or to taste)
- 2 cups seedless watermelon puree
- 1 fresh lemon, sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups chopped seedless watermelon flesh
- In half-gallon pitcher with lid, mix 1 cup of water with sugar until completely dissolved. Stir in rest of water, watermelon puree, sliced lemon, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Stir to mix well and chill thoroughly. Stir in 2 cups of chopped watermelon before serving.
Watermelon Pancake Sandwiches
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 8 silver dollar size (3 to 4-inch) natural blueberry pancakes homemade or prepared, warm
- 4 slices seedless watermelon, same size as pancakes
- Spread syrup over one side of each pancake. Place slice of watermelon on the syrup brushed side of 4 of the pancakes. Top the watermelon with other 4 pancakes, syrup side down. Serve immediately.
Watermelon Waldorf Salad
Serves: 4 to 6
- 2 cups cubed watermelon (1/2-inch cubes)
- 1/2 cup celery, sliced
- 1/2 cup seedless red grape halves
- Dash of salt
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
- Stir together watermelon, celery, and grapes in bowl. Just before serving, stir salt into yogurt for dressing. (Add water to thin, if necessary.) Pour dressing over fruit; stir until coated. Sprinkle with almonds.
Better-for-you snacks kids will love
(Family Features) Kids love to snack. But left to their own devices, most kids don't always make the healthiest snack choices. A new study of long-term eating patterns in children, from researchers at the University of North Carolina, shows that kids today are getting nearly one-third of their daily calories from unhealthy snacks such as chips, crackers and candy.
Nutritious and delicious snacks are as close as your produce aisle. Watermelon is practically a multivitamin unto itself - and its natural sweetness is something kids love.
Did You Know?
- A 2-cup serving of watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamins A, B6 and C.
- Vitamin A found in watermelon is important for optimal eye health.
- Vitamin B6 found in watermelon is used by the body to manufacture brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), such as serotonin, melatonin and dopamine, which preliminary research shows may help the body cope with anxiety and panic.
- Vitamin C in watermelons can help to bolster your immune system's defenses against infections and viruses, and is known to stimulate the immune system and protect against free radical damage.
- A 2-cup serving of watermelon is also a source of potassium, a mineral necessary for water balance and found inside of every cell. People with low potassium levels can experience muscle cramps. A 2-cup serving has less than 10 percent of the daily reference value for potassium.
Try these fun recipes as after-school and post-activity snacks. For more kid-friendly recipes and healthy eating tips, visit www.watermelon.org.
Send some healthy lunch munchies to school - watermelon chunks are an easy way to brighten up a sack lunch and give kids a tasty nutritional boost in the middle of the day.
Healthy Eating Tips
Healthy eating habits start at home. One of the best things you can do for your kids is to be a role model for smart food choices. Here are some simple things you can do to help your kids develop healthy lifelong habits.
- Shop for food together and take time to examine, discuss and select fruit and vegetables that catch your child's eye. Allow your child to help you to prepare these healthful foods. For example, let your child use a melon-baller to create melon balls from watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew to create a festive, nutritious and visually appealing dessert.
- Make healthy snacks available at all times for your children by keeping the fridge filled with flavorful, nutrient-rich treats such as grapes, cherries, carrots and watermelon cubes.
- Simple changes are easier for your child to get used to. Try switching from full fat milk to non-fat milk, serving sherbet, sorbet, ice milk or fruit juice bars, or adding fresh fruit to his or her cereal in the morning.
- Serve your children colorful, deeply pigmented plant food. These foods tend to offer tremendous nutritional value. For example, red peppers, carrots, broccoli, oranges and watermelon are all packed with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
- Start each day with breakfast, preferably fruit with low-fat yogurt or granola. Make a fruit smoothie by blending watermelon cubes and a banana with crushed ice.
Makes 6 servings
- 1-inch cubes of seedless watermelon
- Smoked turkey breast
- Cheddar cheese
- Coffee stirrers or beverage straws
- Cut watermelon, turkey and cheese in cubes and skewer on stirrers or straws.
Serves 6 to 8
- 12 to 16 1/2-inch thick watermelon triangles with 3-inch sides
- 2 cups Greek vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A few drops almond extract
- 1 cup Craisins
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Arrange the watermelon triangles on a serving platter or glass cake stand. Mix yogurt with extracts and spoon yogurt over the watermelon in the fashion of nacho cheese sauce. Sprinkle craisins, white chocolate chips, and almonds over the yogurt and dust with cinnamon.
- 8 ounces sour cream
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Watermelon sticks or small wedges
- Blend together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small serving bowl. Use as a dip for the watermelon.
Watermelon Cut Outs
- Seedless watermelon, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick slices
- Granola or similar cereal
- Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut shapes out of watermelon slices. Frost with vanilla or other flavored yogurt. Sprinkle with granola.
Watermelon Berry Slush
Makes 6 servings
- 4 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
- 1 10-ounce package frozen raspberries
- 1 12-ounce bottle sparkling mineral water
- Place watermelon in a single layer in shallow pan; freeze until firm. Remove from freezer and let stand 5 minutes. Drop watermelon through food chute of a food processor or blender with the motor running. Add frozen raspberries alternately with mineral water, processing until smooth.
Watermelon Jelly Logs
Makes 6 servings
- 6 3-inch x 2-inch x 5-inch watermelon rectangles
3 flavors all fruit or low sugar preserves
6 ginger, molasses or peanut butter cookies
- Using a melon baller, cut 3 divots into a long side of each watermelon rectangle. Fill each divot with a different all-fruit or low-sugar preserve. Serve each rectangle with a cookie.
Source: National Watermelon Board
(Family Features) Building out a full menu to please your brunch guests with simple, tasty recipes can help create a fun, flavorful atmosphere when it’s time for a morning bite.
By making a variety of dishes to accommodate an array of personal tastes, you can give friends and family the flavors they desire. With choices like Apple Strudel Pancakes and Mini Hash Brown Casseroles, you can fulfill a multitude of food groups from grains and fruits to dairy and meat. Allow the adults at your gathering to top off the meal with a spicy take on this Watermelon Bloody Mary, featuring simple preparation and a handful of garnish options.
Find more brunch recipes at Culinary.net.
Add Apples to Your Brunch Buffet
As part of a balanced brunch, these Apple Strudel Pancakes feature whole grains rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins to provide energy for you and your guests. With a rich, nutty flavor, buckwheat flour complements the sweet taste of apples and maple syrup for a twist on traditional pancakes. Find more nutritious recipes at aicr.org.
Apple Strudel Pancakes
Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
Apple Strudel Mixture:
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup thoroughly chopped walnuts
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups 1 percent buttermilk
- 1/4 cup safflower oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- nonstick cooking spray
- maple syrup
- To make apple strudel mixture: Boil water; add raisins. Remove from heat and let steep until raisins are plump and reconstituted, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In shallow pan over medium heat, add butter. Once butter melts and is bubbling, stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook about 3 minutes until sugar starts to dissolve. Add walnuts, apples and raisins. Cook apples until just tender when pierced with fork, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
- To make batter: In large bowl, mix flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, beat eggs lightly and mix with buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry, mixing as little as possible. Add apple strudel mixture and fold all ingredients together. Set aside.
- Heat nonstick pan or griddle over medium heat. Grease pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Once pan is hot, ladle about 1/4 cup batter per pancake taking care not to overcrowd pan. After 2-3 minutes, flip pancakes once.
- Serve pancakes warm with syrup.
A Small Brunch Bite
A full brunch menu calls for small bites on the side to complement the multitude of flavors brought on by a variety of brunch dishes.
For a clever option that’s quick to make, these Mini Hash Brown Casseroles provide a morsel bursting with flavor to pair with just about any morning meal. Made with refrigerated Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns, which are pre-shredded for a faster fridge to fork kitchen experience, you can make a batch of the tasty cups in less than an hour.
Find more brunch solutions and recipes at simplypotatoes.com.
Mini Hash Brown Casseroles
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- 1 package refrigerated Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns
- 1 pound Bob Evans Farms Original Sausage Roll
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup ham, cubed
- 1 cup red pepper, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Remove hash browns from refrigerator and let rest.
- In skillet, cook sausage according to package directions.
- Lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins. In bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add hash browns, butter, ham, red pepper, black pepper and cheese; mix.
- Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 27-30 minutes. Serve warm.
Sipping on Sweet and Spicy
Take your brunch the extra mile with a twist on the traditional mid-morning beverage. By adding jalapeno and horseradish to this Watermelon Bloody Mary, you’ll have a spicy, tasty version of a traditional brunch drink ready for your guests.
With watermelon balancing out the jalapeno, it’s an ideal balance of spicy and sweet with just the right amount of kick. Find more brunch recipes at watermelon.org.
Watermelon Bloody Mary
Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board
Yield: 4 cocktails
- 2 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper, stem removed, chopped
- 2 limes, juice only
- 6 ounces low-sodium tomato juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon horseradish
- hot sauce, to taste
- 1/3 cup vodka
- lime wedges
- chili lime salt
- 4 bamboo skewers (6 inches long)
- watermelon wedges (optional)
- prosciutto (optional)
- cucumber slices (optional)
- jalapeno slices (optional)
- green olives (optional)
- In blender, blend watermelon cubes and jalapeno pepper until completely smooth. Pour mixture through fine sieve set over pitcher.
- Add lime juice, salt, pepper, fish sauce, horseradish and hot sauce, to taste, to pitcher; stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Add vodka and stir.
- Line rims of four glasses with lime juice from lime wedges; dip in chili lime salt poured on plate. Carefully put ice in each glass and divide Watermelon Bloody Mary mixture evenly.
- Add garnishes, as desired, by skewering watermelon wedges, prosciutto, cucumber, jalapeno and green olives. Place garnishes in glasses and serve.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Pancakes)
(Family Features) Summertime entertaining should be easy and fun. And it can be - with some simple solutions and fresh recipes.
Start with Simple Recipes
- For this tropical dessert pizza, make the cookie crust the day before. Mix the filling and store it in an airtight plastic container, then cut up fruit and store in individual resealable plastic bags. Be creative and substitute your family's favorite fruits. Kids will have fun arranging the sliced fruit on this yummy dessert pizza!
- Three ingredients plus three minutes equals one tasty marinade. Let the kids help pour the ingredients into a resealable plastic bag to flavor juicy pork tenderloins with a subtly sweet, spicy marinade.
- The combination of crisp watermelon, juicy tomatoes and fresh basil with balsamic vinegar creates a fantastic and refreshing light salad. Just cut up ingredients and store in separate plastic containers, then toss together right before the party to keep the flavors fresh.
- For picnics on damp ground, placing an inexpensive plastic tablecloth under a blanket helps keep dampness from reaching picnickers - and keeps your blanket cleaner, too.
- Wash, chop, measure and prepare your ingredients 1 to 2 days before an event or party. They can be stored in resealable plastic bags or airtight containers in the refrigerator to make putting together recipes much easier the day of the party.
- Save plastic grocery bags to send guests home with leftovers. Placing an empty plastic grocery bag in a picnic basket is also a great solution for collecting trash after a picnic in the park - it doesn't take up much room and will act as a waterproof barrier to prevent spills.
- Create a dipping station for barbeque and grill sauces using reusable plastic storage containers with lids. Guests can spoon sauces onto their plates; when the party is over, simply place the lids back on the sauces and store in the refrigerator. They come in all different shapes and sizes and even fun colors.
- Use resealable plastic bags for marinades. Put meat in the bags with marinade and refrigerate overnight. It helps save space in the refrigerator and clean up is easy. This also works for coating and breading.
For more tips on ways to make summer entertaining a breeze, visit www.PlasticsMakeitPossible.com.
Tropical Fruit Dessert Pizza
Makes 12 servings
- 1 18-ounce roll refrigerated ready-to-slice sugar cookie dough
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 8-ounce package fat-free cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
- 1 cup fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 26-ounce jar mango slices, drained, or 2 fresh mangoes, sliced
- 1 16-ounce can pineapple slices, drained, or 1 fresh pineapple, sliced
- 1 11-ounce can mandarin orange segments, drained
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur or orange juice
- 2 tablespoons coconut, toasted, optional
- Preheat oven 350°F.
- Press cookie dough into a 12 to 14-inch pizza pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 12 minutes, cool completely.
- In medium mixing bowl, blend together sugar, cream cheese, coconut extract until well mixed. Stir in orange rind and whipped topping, mixing until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture on top of cooled crust.
- Arrange mango slices around edge of iced pizza. Then, arrange pineapple slices around edge. Next, arrange mandarin orange slices in another ring to fill center of pizza.
- In small saucepan or in microwave, heat apricot preserves and orange liqueur just until melted. Spoon glaze over fruit. Sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired. Refrigerate until serving.
Terrific Tidbit: Go ahead and grate more orange rind than you'll need for the recipe - you can grate a whole orange or lemon and freeze the rind in a plastic freezer bag until needed.
Watermelon and Tomato Salad
Makes 10 (1/2-cup) servings
- 4 cups scooped out watermelon balls or chunks
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt to taste
- 1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese, optional
- In bowl, combine watermelon, onion, tomatoes and basil. Whisk together oil and vinegar and toss with salad. Season to taste. Refrigerate until serving.
3-Ingredient Marinade for Pork Tenderloin
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 2 1-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of excess fat
- 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup roasted garlic seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Preheat oven 350°F.
- In bowl, combine all ingredients except tenderloins. Place meat in dish or large resealable plastic bag, pour marinade over meat. If time permits, refrigerate overnight, turning meat several times.
- Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the tenderloin registers 160°F. Slice tenderloin, serve.
Quick Tip: Tenderloins come two to a package. If one will be enough for you to serve, halve recipe, freeze other tenderloin in freezable plastic bag.
Source: American Chemistry Council