Keep Austin Weird Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry

Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir FryI have been waiting all summer to share this recipe – Beef, Veggie & Watermelon Stir-Fry!  –It’s steak “meats” watermelon (and loads of fresh veggies) atop of a plate of slightly chewy, insanely satisfying udon noodles. Earlier this year, the Texas Beef Council asked me to come up with my personal take on a Texas food tradition. “Focus on pasta,” they said, and “make it your own.”

Most of us know by now what happens when I’ve been let off the proverbial leash like that – I can go a little wild. But, my creativity isn’t random; it makes sense – to me, anyway!  My jam is merging together seemingly unlikely ingredients to make a beautiful recipe that not only comes together easily but also optimizes nourishment to support an active lifestyle.

watermelon carrots beans peppersYou might be wondering how my Beef, Veggie & Watermelon Stir-Fry a Texas “thang” – there’s no BBQ sauce in sight!  The Texas spirit is found in the local lean beef and farmer’s market produce sourced from these here Central Texas parts. It also has that far-out, Far East fusion flavor going on that’s so popular with some of the food trucks found down in the hip and happening parts of Austin that do their best to Keep Austin Weird. Heck, I do my best to Keep Austin Weird!

jen vw bus

I’m especially excited how this fit and fresh dish pairs up BEEF with WATERMELON as these are two of my all-time favorite foods ever in the history of all time, period.

Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry

This 30 minute dinner recipe features Top Sirloin, a super-lean cut of beef that has only about 5g fat and 150 calories per 3-ounce serving (along with about 26g protein)! Eating a protein portion approximately this size (25 – 30g), three to five times a day, gives me the power to feel fuller longer, stay active longer, and maintain a leaner muscle-to-fat body ratio. Of course, my meals aren’t always beef (variety is the spice of life, ya know), but lean beef is an AWESOME, nutrient-dense (think ZIP: Zinc, Iron, Protein) go-to choice that works beautifully in my life several times per week (or more).

profile facebook beef protein challengeIf you want to join the free Protein Challenge to learn more about how tweaking the protein intake in our life can help you feel and look better, sign up here.

 

 

 

 

 

What about the watermelon? Well, first off – it just screams summer in Central Texas.  I can’t think of a picnic, river tubing trip or day at the lake spent without sharing a huge watermelon with family and friends. If you’ve not ever tried watermelon warm and spiced up a bit, get ready to live on the wedge! The sweet heat flavor is fantastic and the high water content of this juicy fruit (92% water) helps keep you hydrated on most blazing hot days. Plus, watermelon is low in calories and a great source of electrolytes and antioxidants that help support my lifestyle as an athlete. Oh, and you’re going to LOVE the sprouted watermelon seeds sprinkled on the to — despite what your mama may have said, you CAN eat watermelon seeds (they’re very nutritious)!

Summer Squat Challenge -- Do 100 squats per day from this mix an match list!Learn much more about Watermelon for Fitness (uhh and don’t miss my Watermelon Workout Videos) at Watermelon.org. Here’s a little Watermelon Squat Workout I dare ya to try!

Note on the noodles: You don’t necessarily have to use the Udon noodles, I like to incorporate them when I need a little more carb energy in my life for long runs and endurance events. A great gluten-free option would be Soba noodles (made of buckwheat which is gluten free) or rice noodles . . . or just rice. I’m also going to make this dish in the future and try it totally grain-free by using spiralized zucchini or summer squash!

What have you been stir-frying lately? Favorite Fruit? Favorite type of Squat? Noodles, rice or nothing?  Please share in the comments  – XOXO, Jennifer 

This post was sponsored by The Texas Beef Council and the Beef Check Off, however all opinions, comments, enthusiasm and weirdness are my own. 

 

Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry
Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry
Print Recipe
This fit and fresh dish features top sirloin, my favorite cut of lean beef, paired with farmer’s market-fresh produce, flavors of the Far East, and some funky South Congress food truck fusion. Keep Austin weird!
Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry
Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry
Print Recipe
This fit and fresh dish features top sirloin, my favorite cut of lean beef, paired with farmer’s market-fresh produce, flavors of the Far East, and some funky South Congress food truck fusion. Keep Austin weird!
Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Instructions
  1. Toss together beef with garlic, water, soy sauce and sesame oil. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together hot water with cornstarch until dissolved. Stir in watermelon juice, lime juice, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 to 2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek according to personal preference for spicy heat.
  3. Drain and discard marinade from beef. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over high heat. Add one-half of beef to skillet and brown for 45 seconds without stirring. With tongs, quickly turn beef and cook additional 30 seconds or until barely browned. Take care not to overcook. Transfer to a warm plate immediately. Repeat browning with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and beef.
  4. Add final 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Add green beans and peppers and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add matchstick carrots and ginger and stir-fry an additional 1 minute. Add cooked beef and watermelon juice-chili sauce mixture and stir-fry another 1 minute, or until slightly thickened. Remove from skillet from heat and stir in watermelon.
  5. Garnish with chopped green onions and sprouted watermelon seeds. Serve immediately with prepared udon noodles.
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Spicy Shrimp & Watermelon Kebobs – Summer on a Stick!

Summer on a stick! My recipe for Spicy Shrimp & Watermelon Kebabs is a salute to so many things I love about the warm-weather season – grilling, shrimp, watermelon, being outside and enjoying my family.

summer shrimp and watermelon

It’s also featured in the upcoming August/September issue of Simple & Delicious magazine (available on newstands July 12th). . . I just got an advance copy!

spicy shrimp and watermelon simple delicious magazine

watermelon cutting tipIn the magazine, I mention how much my three boys love watermelon.

It never fails that every time I’m cubing the watermelon for this recipe, the kids start circling around like flies – I swear, they can eat it faster than I can prep it!

That’s fine by me, though — watermelon is such a healthy and hydrating treat for the summer! By the way, here’s a handy way to slice up a watermelon that makes it easy to eat – it’s not your traditional wedge!

This is the perfect, light meal to make for the 4th of July weekend – guests will marvel that you grilled watermelon, and it’s so easy!Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp shipped straight to your door.

By the way, I like to use Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp from www.sizzlefish.com They are already peeled, de-veined and frozen with no additives – plus all their products are healthy, high-quality perfectly portioned and have an athlete’s lifestyle in mind! These little babies are shipped right to my door in vacuum-sealed in individual serving size packets (8 shrimp per packet) – that allows me to tweak the recipe based on how many people will be joining for dinner!

What are you grilling this weekend? Big 4th of July plans? Running a race? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Shrimp & Watermelon Kabobs
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
6 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
6 minutes
Spicy Shrimp & Watermelon Kabobs
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
6 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
6 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. For glaze, puree the soy sauce, sriracha, honey, garlic and 2 cups of watermelon in blender. Bring to a boil in small saucepan. Cook uncovered, until reduced by half.
  2. On four soaked wooden skewers, thread shrimp, onion and remaining melon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. On oiled grill race over medium heat, grill kabobs, covered or until shrimp turn pink. Brush with half the glaze during the last 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with remaining glaze.
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Day in the Life of a Watermelon Addict #LivingOnTheWedge

I could have named this post “Watermelon Wednesday,” but the current title seems so much better because variations of the events that unfold below could happen any day of the year. For reals, I’m always #LivingOnTheWedge , y’all!

5:15 am: Wake up, drink coffee, check my Instagram feed and remember that my friends @WatermelonBoard are hosting a fun photo contest on Instagram. Tag your pics of watermelon #100DaysofWatermelon for chances at prizes all summer long.

100DaysSummerWatermelonBanner

 6:00 am: Trying to get out the door fast, so I eat a protein bar and chug some watermelon juice – it’s just the hydration I need to tackle my 8 mile run on this hot and muggy morning.  Also, research suggests that drinking watermelon juice before an intense exercise session can help reduce heart rate and next-day muscle soreness (thank you L-citrulline)!

Tsamma Juice TheFitFork.com

6:48 am: Mid run full-bottle chug of Nuun Active (watermelon flavor, natch) – packed optimal electrolytes, made with clean ingredients, low in calories and sugar – plus vegan and gluten-free. Save yourself 20% with discount code NUUNAMBASSADORFRIEND

nuun ambassador jennifer fisher watermelon

8:41 am:  Snack on Organic Raw Sprouted Watermelon Seeds – why our mom’s told us not to swallow them is beyond me, they are packed with amazing nutrients.

You can eat watermelon seeds!

9:29 am: Brush teeth with some Watermelon Toothpaste – yeah, it’s for kids, but it’s totally free of yucky stuff . . . . and it tastes like my favorite fruit, so don’t judge.


1

10:43 am:  Purchase two of the cutest watermelon tank tops evvvvvahhhh for my trip to Los Angeles in July to share my love for watermelon (and demonstrate watermelon workouts) on behalf of Watermelon.org at IdeaWORLD Fitness Convention & Expo (yes, my job is awesome).

watermelon tank 2 watermelon tank 1

12:32 pm:   Lunchtime, how ‘bout a breadless with chicken, bacon, basil and provolone – and watermelon for the bun! I’ll have the recipe on this one posted tomorrow!

watermelon bacon  chicken sandwich

2:01 pm: Practice a little #WatermelonYoga ‘cause I’m crazy like that.

watermelon headstand jennifer fisher thefitfork.com

4:08  pm:  Take an afternoon work break and search watermelon-related hashtags on Instagram — #watermeloncake has  21,838 photos (yet my Chocolate Cherry Watermelon Cake is still the best) and #WatermelonYoga isn’t exactly trending with 12 posts – 11 are me (!!) and 1 is some pregnant lady – hahah!

Celebrate special summer days with a healthy "cake" made from watermelon!

6:00 pm: Make a batch of my Super Red Watermelon Quinoa Salad that almost got me on a season of Master Chef, but got thumped in the end. My delicious jumble of healthy foods and warrior spirit couldn’t quite compete with the OCD craziness of a lady who cried when her raspberry rolled 1 millimeter out of place.

“Super Red” Watermelon Quinoa Salad with Sprouted Watermelon Seeds is perfect for outdoor summer entertaining and packs well in lunch boxes

 8:09 pm:  Peruse through some past pins on my Living on the Wedge board and wonder if this “skinning a watermelon” really works. Must try tomorrow.

How to Skin a WAtermelon

9:17 pm:  Make my “to-do” list for tomorrow the old-fashioned way, with paper and pen (hello awesome watermelon pens)  — at the top of the list “Buy More Watermelon” !!!

watermelon scented pens

10:27 pm: Drift off to sleep and dream of watermelons growing in a field . . . . that means good fortune is on the way (and no, not a baby!)

Love WATERMELON as much as me?! Check out a bumper crop of my watermelon posts compiled in one place for more recipe ideas, watermelon workouts and helpful watermelon tips.

Tell me something, anything watermelon! Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Eight Amazing Fitness & Food Products + Giveaway

As a food and fitness blogger, it’s fun (and sometimes filling!) to test out all the new products that get sent my way.  I’m sharing the best from the last couple months (and some perennial favorites) along with any discount codes I might have. If I’ve listed it here, it gets legitimate thumbs up from me – other stuff gets tossed into the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all pile.”

Jennifer Fisher of The Fit Fork with Litehouse FoodsLitehouse Foods Organic Vinaigrette– I develop recipes for this awesome employee-owned company based in Idaho – they have delicious, healthy products ranging from artisan cheeses to Greek yogurt based dips and freeze dried herbs sold all over the US. Right now, I’m really digging their updated organic line which includes new flavors like two of my favorites — Organic Rosemary Balsamic and Organic Ginger Honey. Look for these in the refrigerated section of your produce department, purchase online or enter to win my GIVEAWAY for Five Free Litehouse Foods product coupons (use them on anything they make, not just the dressings – enter at bottom of post).

Salad with Somersaults Sunflower Crackers as croutonsSomersaults Sunflower Snacks – Available in sweet and savory flavors, these yummy little crackers are made mostly of sunflower seeds and offer up healthy fats, protein and vitamin E. My favorite way to use them is as a crouton alternative on my #BombAssSalads !! Use NEWFAN10 to get 10% off your order.

 

 

Nuttzo chocolate syrup and strawberries on my protein pancakesNuttzo Nut & Seed Butters –  My nutty shines through, Nuttzo has named me a VIP Ambassador for their organic and non-GMO Nut & Seed Butters. This stuff is so good, you’ll want to spread it on everything – or just eat right out of the jar. Save 20% on purchase with discount code FITFORK-20

 

 

bright planet skinBright Planet – There is so much to love about this small, woman-owned bath and skin product company – not only are there eco-friendly, human and organic products wonderfully pampering (loved the scent), but they also are mindful of their place in the bigger world. For example, for each purchase made, Bright Planed donates two healthy meals to children in need. Get Bright Planet on Amazon

 

Kevin - CEO of Nuun and Jennifer Fisher of TheFitFork.comNuun Hydration Tablets – This is not your standard Nuun Ambassador shoutout – I’ve been on the team for years, and am so happy to report that just recently the formula has been improved!  They’ve added non-GMO sourced dextrose to help body absorb fluids more efficiently (still keeping under 1g sugar), using only clean ingredients such as plant-based sweeteners, and are gluten, dairy and soy free and given a “Clean Sport Certification” by Informed Choice. Use code NUUNAMBASSADORFRIEND at checkout to receive 20% off order.

Vitamin Dose BeverageVitamin Dose Beverage – I don’t know about you, but I hate swallowing pills. That’s why I was all over these little specially blended cans of drinkable vitamins. They are non-carbonated, caffeine-free, low-calorie and taste good too.  Get your Vitamin Dose on Amazon

 

Gnarly NutritionAltra superior 2TsaGnarly Nutrition – I am a protein powder nerd, I love trying all the new ones I find. Totally into the “Chiseled Chocolate” Grass Fed Whey Protein Supplement. It’s made with quality New Zealand Whey (happy cows there, I guess) and offers 12.5 g protein along with BCAAs, Glutamine and no artificial anything. Also, other full-on sports nutrition products including some vegan stuff.  Get Gnarly on Amazon

Superior 2 from Altra Running – Okay, disclosure, I’m an Ambassador and admitted junkie of their super light and flash-fast The Ones 2.5 (and all previous versions!). So, it took the color golden yellow and the promise of “more grip and less weight” to get me to try the award-winning trail shoe that everyone’s raves on. I was looking for something that was still light on the feet, take me from trail running to gym and me obstacle course appropriate – score!  Get Altra Superior 2 on Amazon

 

Tsamma Juice TheFitFork.comTsamma Juice — Tsamma Juice from Frey Farms makes me swoon plus, it’s another woman-owned biz. Everyone knows what a huge watermelon fan I am (for both healthy recipes and sports performance benefits). It’s so awesome to have access to sweet, yummy handcrafted watermelon juice during the middle of winter – look for it at your grocery store in the produce section, Costco or buy online.
 

Have you tried any of these health and fitness products? What are you favorite new finds? Please share in comments! XOXO – Jennifer

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Healthy Recipe Pins from 2015

First of all — HAPPY NEW YEAR! Before I move forward into 2016 with all the healthy recipe ideas that are bouncing around in my head, I wanted to share my most loved recipe pins from the last 12 months. If we’re not already following each other on Pinterest, let’s connect today!  So, here you go — a collection of pins that are my most popular. Top Healthy Recipe Pins from TheFitFork.com

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Mash – This simple-to-make sweet potato dish is paired up with cauliflower for a creamy, dreamy side dish for Thanksgiving or any other time of the year. This side dish recipe has been pinged on Good Housekeeping, Canadian Running Magazine, Glamour and a zillion food, health and wellness blogs.

(Slow Cooker) Salted Chocolate Caramel Crunch –  Crunchy cereal, pretzels and an assortment of nuts get a sweet upgrade with a coating of caramel and chocolate. The secret surprise is that this easy snack mix recipe is made in the slow cooker!

Black Bean, Zucchini and Corn Tacos – This summer-inspired vegetarian meal is quick and easy dinner solution for the patio – when the season passes, just swap out the zucchini for a winter squash like butternut!

Balsamic Slow Roasted Tomatoes – Scrumptious beyond imagination, this easy veggie recipe turns what I consider to be a typically bland tomato (if purchased from a consumer grocery store) into a magical topping for salads, eggs, steaks, pasta and more.   Also, freezeable!

Mom’s Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad – This versatile veggie salad can be served as a side dish, atop a bed of lettuce or as a relish for tacos.  Inspired by my mom’s family favorite recipe and kicked up with a little of my chipotle chili powder addiction. A winner in the California All-American Avocado Recipe Contest.

Brain-Boosting Cinnamon Peach Smoothie – One of the things I love most being a healthy food bloggers is explaining how the ingredients in my recipes help optimize well-being. For example,  the cinnamon and natural sugars in this smoothie recipe help improve alertness and brain function – the perfect snack for study sessions or work day pick-me-ups.

Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce – I made this quirky barbeque sauce to accompany my Brisket Tacos with Watermelon Rind Relish for the SXSW Taco Takedown in Austin this year.  Basically, in Austin, the weirder and wackier the better and this crazy condiment stole the show!

Southwestern Steak Chili – This delicious chili recipe fills the kitchen with the scent of smoky, spicy goodness and just might cause a stampede to the table. A bowl full (or two) makes a hearty, happy and healthy meal for even the hungriest hombres in your home.

Strawberry Greek Yogurt Tart – Not only is this strawberry tart gorgeous, it’s better for you made with protein-packed Greek yogurt and a gluten-free chocolate crust. A stunning finale to any celebration or Sunday dinner.

Yoga and Fitness Bloopers from TheFitFork.comAlso, don’t miss my Running and Fitness Recap (with Bloopers) from last week.

 

 

 

 

 

And, because everyone else is doing it (haha), my #BestNine2015 on Instagram. These are the nine most “liked” posts, but not necessarily my favorite – it’s a bunch of abs, inversions and the peculiarly popular yellow shorts.

Best Nine 2015 on Instagram - @TheFitForkl

What is YOUR favorite recipe of 2015? Please share the link or just give me the down and dirty description in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Running and Fitness 2015 – My Highlights, My Bloopers, My Gear 

The Events: To the best of my memory, I raced eight 5ks, one 5-miler, one 10k, four half marathons, one marathon and two obstacle course Spartan Races (the Sprint and Beast).   I also competed in the CrossFit Games Open, Austin Fittest Challenge, the Zilker Relays and a CrossFit event called “Sprint & Snatch.”   Loved them all!

Most Unexpected Race Win:  In October, I was the first OVERALL winner of the Hill Country Half Marathon in Marble Falls, Texas. Granted, the field wasn’t Rock ‘n Roll marathon kind of huge, but that being said, I beat all the women and the MEN with my scrawny legs — the hills were some of the worst I’ve ever seen (not kidding, one went upward for at least half a mile).Jennifer Fisher winner 2015 Hill Country Half Marathon

Craziest Conditions in a Race: The Spartan Beast Dallas was not what I was planning for, it was crazy! With a half marathon being in my wheelhouse, I expected to nail this Spartan Beast Dallas Sand Bag Carryrace — but unforeseen Texas flooding delayed the start for hours and created a running situation in ankle deep mud the entire distance. I was sore the next day in some pretty weird places!  Although hoping to do better, I managed to pull off a 2nd place podium finish in the Elite Master division (and it was only my 2nd Spartan, and first “beast”).

Most Unusual Prize Won in a 2015 Race: A $250 gift card for a tattoo! I am no saying if, when and where I used it! :-)

Best Pre and Post Race Festivities at a Race:  Hosted by Health and Cooking Light magazines, The Fit Foodie Run in Austin (but also in Fairfax, Chicago and San Diego) proves that a healthy lifestyle can mesh with culinary enthusiasm!  The weekend is packed with celebrity chef tasting, food and fitness interactive demos, yoga sessions, and yoga boot camps – there is so much food! Plus, the goodies and samples you get to take home from the after run are some serious healthy nom-noms – bring a big bag!

Best Running & Fitness Moments on Instagram: Of course, I blew up my @thefitfork profile with photos of my favorite yoga poses and running with friends!

Favorite Women-centric Race: I’ve been an ambassador for Zooma Race Series for 4 or 5 years now and have run that hilly Austin-area half marathon and said – “never again” at the finish line. But, after I catch my breath a few minutes later, I’m like Jennifer Fisher at Zooma Texas 2014“awesome, that was the best race ever despite the course challenges.” The Austin race is now defunct, but the other fabulous locations across the country beckon for a mini-vacation! Created and run by women, this race focuses on females supporting each other, no matter age, ability or life situation – and the weekends make great girlfriend getaways!  My mom and I have made a tradition of it! Even though I’ve been in a role to mentor and support the runners, I can’t tell you how much more energy and inspiration I’ve received from them – always so happy to see those smiles and high-fives at the half-marathon turnaround.

Favorite Yoga Pose:  Always the Crow or some variation! Hopefully this time next year, my hamstrings and back will be more bendy and stretchy so my Instagram profile can be more well-rounded! Jennifer Fisher TheFitFork.com Yoga Crow Pose

Running / Workout Injuries: Thankfully, nothing serious this year – eg. no stitches, concussions or pulled rib muscles like last year! Only falling off a box doing the Murph CrossFit WOD and spraining ankle, numerous palm tears, one lost toenail . . . looking for some wood to knock on!   Despite the healthy year for me, I did write a helpful post on 4 Ways Sports Injuries Build Better Athletes that will keep all of us focused on end goals.

Weirdest Workout Moment: It would have to be working out with watermelons for the second summer in a row on my #LivingOnTheWedge blog series!  I CrossFitted with watermelon, ran with watermelon, and even worked out in the swimming pool with a watermelon! Oh, you don’t want to miss that watermelon pool workout video – please make sure you are wearing Depends. On behalf of the National Watermelon Promotion Board, I will be taking the show on the road at IDEA World Fitness & Nutrition Expo in L.A. in July 2016. Summer Squat Challenge -- Do 100 squats per day from this mix an match list!

Best Blooper(s):  Oh, there are a lot of bloopers and outakes, my phone is filled with them!  Practicing on the parallettes is cause for crashing on my face or rear, but still it’s fun.  There are also some awkward moments coming out of a handstand in a walkover when my old back decides “no” midway through! 

More Bloopers: Because research shows you live longer if you laugh. Yoga and Fitness Bloopers from TheFitFork.com

Favorite Running and Workout Gear / Fuel:  Vim & Vigr Compression Socks (super functional , fashionable and fun  in a variety of stripes, polka dots and fun patterns), Altra Running Shoes (I love the super lightweight, zero-drop “The Ones” ) and Nuun for my hydration needs  — I’m digging their  fairly new product called PLUS for Nunn. Unlike regular Nuun that is virtually calorie free (there are a few, but under 10), PLUS provides a boost with fast absorbing performance carbohydrates that keep me hydrated and provide quickly sourced energy for demanding endurance events.  Also, I still love my bottle of Core Power High Protein Shake in Chocolate Lite Flavor for 20g of quality protein to help my muscles recover right after a long run or intense workout. My Running and Workout Must Haves

I’m also really appreciating mobility gear from ACUMOBILITY – a great company that I connected with this year at The Running Event that not only makes rollers and other mobility products, but also assesses, corrects and unifies movement to reduce injuries and unlock improved performance.   Stay tuned because I will be having an awesome giveaway at the beginning of January! And, for “on the go” rolling, I really love The Original Worm (based right here in Austin).

Most Used Mantra: When times get tough in a race, I break out the “If you can take it, you can make it” line from Unbroken. Or, when I try to get too controlling about stuff  –  “Where are you?  Here. What time is it? Now. What are you? This moment.” – from Dan Millman’s book , “The Way of the Peaceable Warrior”  Both books are so inspirational — read them!

Favorite Kettle Bell Workout:

20 Minute Kettle Bell Blaster

My Best Way to Stay Motivated: When I start to feel burned out, I take an active fun day! And, always more crazy with my friend Valerie (by the way, she’s an internationally known running coach, not kidding — check her out at @runrx ) 

What are your fitness favorites from 2015?! Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

Watermelon Spritzer Star of Al Fresco Fun

thefitfork watermelonThe summer season takes too long to get here and then leaves so fast.  I’ll personally miss the extended daylight to get in all my outdoor activities and wearing running shorts, flip flops and a ponytail 24/7! At least in Texas, we have a few more weeks (make that months) of warm weather to pack in some farewell picnics and patio dining. I don’t know about you, but I adore al fresco dining – something about eating outdoors makes me eat slower, savor the actual taste off food and linger a little longer over good conversation. With Labor Day weekend coming up, my family, friends and I will have plenty of opportunity to bond in the back yard and down at the boat dock.

Watermelon White Sangria Spritzer

Spritzers are always a favorite with the adults in my family – and since I’m not a big drinker (full disclosure, I’m a lightweight who might fall on her face after one full drink — but I can have “half”), I appreciate a cocktail that has a lighter touch of alcohol. Beso Del Sol White Sangria made such a delicious base for my Watermelon Spritzer, I’m so glad I had the big box because I had to go inside mid-party and stir up another batch!  Beso Del Sol White Sangria is made from 100% Spanish wine blended with fruit to create a refreshing and sweet drink that is ideal for any warm weather get-together. While my Watermelon Spritzer recipe adds extra fresh fruit and flavored sparkling water, this wine is also delicious on its own merits served chilled or over ice.

Beso De Sol White Wine Sangria is perfect for a spritzer!

To make the Watermelon Spritzer, simply add a glass one-third full of your favorite seasonal fruit (I used watermelon, grapes and peaches). Next, add chilled Beso Del Sol White Sangria to approximately the half-way point, more or less to taste and tolerance. Top with cold lemon-lime sparkling water, stick a sugar cane swizzle stick in it and enjoy!

Since it’s still pretty hot, I’ll want to make sure EVERYONE has a cold drink in hand – I am the coolest mom in town, after all! The kids will love a virgin alternative where I’ve swapped in lemon-lime soda for the wine – I also have rounded up a few other fun, fruity and thirst-quenching drinks that are perfect for your Labor Day al fresco dining.

These five fruity drinks are perfect for your next party and there are options with alcohol and virgin.

Blackberry Nectarine Margarita (with smoothie option)

Watermelon Sangria Spritzer (today’s feature, see recipe above)

Watermelon Coconut Cherry Sippers (non-alcoholic)

Mojito Mint Iced Tea (non-alcoholic)

Raspberry Acai Sipper (non-alcoholic)

What are you drinking this weekend?! Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

This post was sponsored by Beso de Sol, all opinions and recipes are my own.

 

Super Red Watermelon Quinoa Salad + #LivingOnTheWedge Questions Answered

Super Red Watermelon Quinoa Salad with Sprouted Watermelon Seeds has a secret ingredient -- beets!School may be starting, but that summer weather will be around these parts for a while  — and that means I can count on good watermelons through October here in Texas. Yeehaw!  When chopping up fresh watermelon for my kids’ lunchboxes, I always hide set aside a bowlful in the fridge to use as the superstar ingredient in in one of my salad creations.  This weekend, “Super Red” Watermelon Quinoa Salad was inspired by a dish I could both serve outdoors for al fresco dining (squeezing out the last few drops of summer pleasure before vacation ends) and also to package up during the week to take to school and work.

“Super Red” Watermelon Quinoa Salad with Sprouted Watermelon Seeds  is perfect for outdoor summer entertaining and packs well in lunch boxes

“Super Red” Watermelon Quinoa Salad lives up to its name – it’s super beautiful in shades of red made with ripe watermelon, shredded fresh beets and red onion. In addition to all the gorgeous nutrition these super food veggies offer, this quick and easy salad recipe offers enough protein to make it a meal thanks to hearty red quinoa and sprouted pumpkin seeds. Yes, you CAN eat watermelon seeds contrary to the old wives’ tale that eating them might make the fruit grow in your belly!

Raw Sprouted Watermelon SeedsI buy sprouted watermelon seeds to put on this salad and eat as a snack right out of the bag. Why “sprouted” seeds?  Not only does the sprouting process make them easier to eat and digest than the big black seeds, they are high in protein and a good source of iron and heart-healthy fats.  Sprouting seeds “wakes up” dormant seeds and kick starts the germination process that unlocks all their nutritional benefits.  You could make sprouted watermelon seeds at home, but busy-me prefers to buy – you could also substitute sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds in the recipe if you can’t find them.

Watermelon Q & A

Over the course of #LivingOnTheWedge this summer, I’ve received lots of reader comments and questions about watermelon. I’m sharing what I know with you inquiring minds of melon – another great resource for all things watermelon (including nutrition, recipes, and fun facts) is Watermelon.org.

What’s the best way to store a watermelon and for how long can you keep it?Storing watermelons at 55° F is ideal, according to Watermelon.org.  However, whole melons will keep for 7 to 10 days at room temperature – any longer and they’ll start they’ll lose flavor and texture. After cutting, store watermelon in refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. After cut, wrap watermelon in plastic or keep in an airtight container at 36° – 39°F. Also, I’ve noticed if you let watermelon sit in the juice that collects at the bottom of the container for too long, it loses the signature crisp texture – so I always drain off (and drink or save) the juice every time I get into my stash. Another strategy to maintain freshness is to keep melon stored in big chunks or slices as opposed to little bites. This cuts down on the amount of juice that drains out in the bottom of the container.

Do you know why watermelon helps alleviate morning sickness while pregnant?  The high water content in watermelon (92 percent) along with magnesium and potassium helps keep pregnant women from getting dehydrated, a dangerous condition that can also make nausea worse.  Additionally, the cool, mild, lightly sweet flavor of watermelon is easy to tolerate when queasy, especially when paired with other known upset tummy tamers like ginger, lemons or limes. Check out my recipe for Watermelon Ginger Limeade  — take a few sips every 10 minutes until you feel better!

Is it safe to eat a watermelon that was accidentally left in the car overnight in the summer?  My first reaction to this question was – “yes, don’t watermelons grown in the hot sun anyway?” But experts say to abide by the “when in doubt, throw it out” rule.  So, I would say if the outdoor temp was close to “room temp” then eat, if hotter,  throw it away (as horrifying as that is).

Is it okay to swallow watermelon seeds?  One reader said she remembered swallowing her share of seeds during watermelon eating contests as a kid, and was worried about the consequences. Unlike the fear that our mothers instilled in us as young-uns, watermelon seeds are 100 percent safe for consumption. There is nothing at all harmful about them and a watermelon won’t even sprout in your belly! Today’s recipe for “Super Red” Watermelon Quinoa Salad even uses easier to digest “sprouted” watermelon seeds (which can be grown or, easier, bought at a health food store) – they are actually good source of protein and alternative for people with nut allergies.

How many kinds of watermelon are there and which is the best? There are more than 300 varieties of watermelons grown around the world, although not that many are readily available in your local market. The Crimson Sweet is a popular choice that is reliably sweet –check out this link that sums up some of the best from Saveur. And, if looking to pick the BEST watermelon out of the bin, check out these Tips for Picking Watermelon.

What’s the most unusual watermelon recipe you’ve made? Okay, this was a fun question to answer because I got to reminisce about all my watermelon creations and give them superlative awards! Winning “Most Beautiful” is my Chocolate Cherry Watermelon “Cake” and taking the title of “Most Dramatic” is  my Sesame Salmon on Spicy Seared Watermelon, a recipe that caught the unsolicited attention of casting agents for the Food Network (apparently I’m not as exciting as my food although I beg to differ).   “Most Athletic” goes to My Creamy Watermelon Chia Seed Smoothie for its L-citrulline and protein perks that are good for pre and post workout while and “Most Cool” award goes to the Watermelon Coconut Cherry Chiller . Oh, and I can’t forget to mention my go-getter recipe,  Brisket Tacos with Watermelon BBQ Sauce – it’s definitely “Most Likely to Succeed” at your next backyard cookout or family Taco Tuesday night.

Winning Watermelon Recipes

Watermelon, Quinoa, Beet SaladWhat are you packing in lunchboxes this week? Aside from “don’t swallow watermelon seeds,” what other superstitious advice has your mother given you?  Do you have any unanswered watermelon questions? Please share and/or ask in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

BTW, this post was sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board — however, unless otherwise noted, all recipes, editorial content, and enthusiasm for watermelon are all my own.  

Watermelon, Quinoa, Beet Salad
Super Red Watermelon Quinoa Salad
Print Recipe
This delicious Watermelon Quinoa Salad is packed with nutritious benefits and is great f or Labor Day entertaining, summer parties and lunch boxes!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Watermelon, Quinoa, Beet Salad
Super Red Watermelon Quinoa Salad
Print Recipe
This delicious Watermelon Quinoa Salad is packed with nutritious benefits and is great f or Labor Day entertaining, summer parties and lunch boxes!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Place watermelon in blender and blend for about 1 minute, or until flesh is broken down. Pour watermelon through fine mesh strainer, collecting juice in a glass measuring cup. Collect 1 ½ cups of watermelon juice, reserving 1 cup for quinoa and ½ cup for dressing.
  2. Rise uncooked quinoa in fine mesh strainer and place in saucepan with 1 cup of watermelon juice. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until juice is absorbed. Pour cooked quinoa in bow and let cool in fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. While quinoa is chilling, make dressing by adding ½ cup of reserved watermelon juice to bowl. Wisk in jalapeno, salt, pepper, stevia, olive oil and cilantro. Set aside.
  4. Pull quinoa out of fridge. Add beets, red onion, green onion and spouted watermelon seeds to quinoa and toss with watermelon vinaigrette.
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