How to Pick the Perfect Watermelon

How to Pick the Perfect Watermelon

How to Pick the Perfect WatermelonI’m sure you’ve seen people strolling the produce aisle, thumping, sniffing, squishing their produce all in an attempt to pick the perfect melon. Some of that nonsense is in vain, but some of it will help you on your way to the sweetest, juiciest melon you’ve ever tasted!

Symmetrical Matters: Look for a perfectly round melon. Okay, so I’ve never found a perfectly round one, but look for the closest thing to a symmetrical melon you can find. That means it’s been given balanced sun. A lopsided watermelon will have underdeveloped seeds, which means less sugar and less flavor.

The Sweet Spot: That yellow spot, or “ground spot” as it’s often called, matters. Look for one the color of butter. Do not buy a watermelon without that yellow spot or with a white or green spot. The watermelon gets that spot when it sits and ripens. So the longer it sits to ripen, the larger the spots, the sweeter your watermelon! Watermelon lacking that spot have been picked too soon!

Color Clues: Look for a watermelon that is dark green in color, and has a dull sheen to it. A shiny appearance indicates an under ripe melon.

The Uglier the Better: Speaking of that yellow spot, find the one that looks like it was invaded by little brown lines and swirls. Might not look pretty, but the more lines, the more the melon was pollinated {bees are responsible for those lines!} and the sweeter your fruit will be.

Seeing Dots: If you see black dots {especially around the stem}, don’t set the melon down. That is the sugar seeping out. And if you have a melon so sweet the sugar is trying to escape, you know you’ve found a good one!boise-idaho-dirty-dash-picture

Pick It Up: Lift that baby up and then lift melons of similar size as well. The heaviest melon for its size is best.  The ripest watermelons have the most water, and so it goes without saying they would be the heaviest.

Knock It Off: Some people say you should knock on your watermelon; a ripe melon should produce a hollow sound. A dull thud would indicate an under ripe melon. This has never worked for me. It’s so hard to tell the sound it’s making, so I ignore this step, use the others and always find the perfect melon!

And there you have my fail-proof method to choosing the most delicious watermelon EVER!

Now that you’ve picked the perfect melon, here are some delicious recipes to use that melon in:

Make Your Own Vitamin Water

Watermelon Vitamin Water – Takes boring ol water up a notch. Yum!  {Pin it for Later}

Watermelon, Feta, and Red Onion Salad – I know this sounds like a weird combo, but trust me, it is delightful.  Like summer in your mouth, people.  {Pin it for Later}

Dehydrated Watermelon – This is also known as Watermelon Candy, because it’s just as good {better if you ask me} than a big ol Snickers bar. {Pin it for Later}

 

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How Supermarkets Influence Our Shopping Habits

Saving money at CostcoWe all know grocery stores are in the business of making money, and sometimes, we even KNOW that we are being duped into spending more money–or subconsciously buying things that weren’t on our list, but have you ever wondered HOW they do it?  I hadn’t really given it a ton of thought until I ran across an article on treehugger that kind of detailed a couple of the supermarkets’ marketing strategies.  I thought they were interesting enough that I would pass the info along.

albertsons shopping tripThe first one is the most obvious.  They use our love of habit and our desire to be fairly efficient and mindless when we shop by placing certain foods on end caps–though, their prices are not necessarily any different than standard. They are convenient and right in your face, though, so you toss them in your over-sized cart {oh, yeah, over-sized carts is another way they trick you into buying more}.

costco giant bearsThey re-arrange the aisles frequently so that you have to go up and down the aisles looking for a product, and hopefully throw a few extras in your cart in the meantime.  This drives me CRAZY.  Yeah, Costco, I am talking to you.  CRAZY.

Next, they use stereotypical combinations, like chips near the sandwich condiments {which leads us to throw the “classic side” in the cart while we are thinking sandwiches and burgers.

brachs candy heartsFinally, they play to the fact that you are probably tired, stressed, hungry, etc.  They reaaaaallly want you to need a snack at the checkout counter, and purposely make you walk through the bakery to get to other staple items {the smell of fresh baked goods breaks you down}.  While some grocery stores have also stocked healthier options at the weak points {checkout}, they will likely continue to provide sugary and salty foods too, because they are big time money makers.

Those were the big ones that the article mentioned, and honestly, after reading it, I have to admit, at one point or another, I have totally fallen for all of them.  They. Got. Me!

How about you, do any of these get you from time to time?

~Mavis

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Free Kindle Books, Jell-O, Kind Bars, Pepper Spray and the Best Carrot Cake Recipe Ever!

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IndefatigableWord of the Day: Indefatigable Definition: Never tiring, never wearying Used in a sentence: He was an indefatigable worker for any charitable cause.
lucy the puggle dog

With the cooler temps in the forecast, I’ll be taking Lucy the puggle princess on longer walks again. Yesterday we walked for about 30 minutes and I pretty much wore her out. I suppose I better ease into it. 😉 I miss our daily hour long walks.

I hope you have a wonderful day,

Mavis

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Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day – Up to 60% Off Select Logitech Accessories

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Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can. Don’t have a Kindle? Download the kindle app on your other devices. It’s easy! :)

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Amazon has the SABRE RED Pepper Spray – Police Strength – Runner with Hand Strap (Max Protection – 35 shots, up to 5x’s more) on sale for $10.06.

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Time to get new bra’s? Amazon has Playtex Women’s 18 Hour Sensational Sleek Wire-Free Bra’s on sale starting at $10.67.

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6pm has the The North Face Orello Jacket on sale for $39.99 shipped! Saweeeet!


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If you have kiddos… who need to get their wiggles out, or are looking for an inexpensive birthday party idea, Amazon has the Intex Playhouse Jump-O-Lene Inflatable Bouncer, 68″ X 68″ X 44″, for Ages 3-6 on sale for $37. Wahoooo!

Mega Bloks First Builders Fast Tracks Raceway 50pcs

Amazon also has the Mega Bloks First Builders Fast Tracks Raceway 50pcs Set on sale for $12.99. This would make a great birthday or Christmas gift.

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Looking for something fun {and inexpensive} to do with the kiddos this summer? Regal Cinemas is hosting the Summer Movie Express on Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am for nine weeks. Admission is $1 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Will Rogers Institute. Go HERE to see movies listings in your area.

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Now is the time to order seeds for your fall garden! Botanical Interests is offering FREE shipping on all orders over $40.

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REI Outlet Deal of the Day – Kid’s Hi-Tec Nepal Jr. Waterproof Hiking Boots $31.73 {was $65}.

Magic Chef 6-Bottle Wine Cooler

The Home Depot Special Buy of the Day – Magic Chef 6-Bottle Wine Cooler.

Animal Friends Ladybug Backpack

Walmart Value of the Day – Animal Friends 12″ Ladybug Backpack $6.

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Amazon has 30 Kids eBooks on sale for $1.00 each. Go HERE to see the titles available.

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Groupon has the Cuisinart SmartStick Handheld Immersion Blender on sale for $29.99 shipped! I use mine all the time for making mashed potatoes, sauce and soups. Giddy up! If you don’t have one, they are so cool. New to Groupon? Join Groupon Here!

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Cooking From Your Pantry | Menu Plan Ideas, Freezer Meals and Simple Recipes Week 29 of 52

Cooking From Your Pantry  Menu Plan Ideas, Freezer Meals and Simple Recipes Week 29 of 52

Cooking From Your Pantry  Menu Plan Ideas, Freezer Meals and Simple Recipes Week 29 of 52

After picking up 4 dozen eggs at Albertsons yesterday, and with ton of zucchini we have, I suspect just about every breakfast this week will involve some sort of skillet breakfast concoction. And I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Finally week of cooler temps, garden projects I think Ill actually get done and some fresh garden veggies to choose from. Bring it on!
Blackberry and Toasted Pecan Quinoa3 Breakfast Ideas

Blackberry and Toasted Pecan Quinoa – If you haven’t jumped on the quinoa bandwagon, this is a great recipe to start with.  {Pin it for Later}

Farmers Breakfast Skillet with Sausage and Eggs – We’ve had a lot of eggs around here lately for breakfast.  A big skillet breakfast stays with me all the way until lunch.  {Pin it for Later}

Best Ever Oatmeal Waffles – Adding oatmeal to pancakes or waffles is the perfect way to get a “stick to your ribs” sort of meal, AND still get to eat syrup.  {Pin it for Later}

4 Lunch Ideas and Dinner Ideas

Creamy-Avocado-Pasta-recipeRoasted Broccoli Parmesan – What is it about summer that makes simple vegetable side dishes so appealing?  Maybe it’s that they are all at peak season and taste so much better?  {Pin it for Later}

Roasted Red Beet and White Bean Hummus – Okay, before you turn your nose up at how weird this stuff looks, seriously give it a chance.  It is soooo delicious.  {Pin it for Later}

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup – I’ll admit, it’s almost too hot for soup.  Somehow, though, I still love it for a quick lunch in the summer time.  {Pin it for Later}

Creamy Avocado Pasta – I love this pasta because the avocados make it so filling, and I justify it because they are a healthy fat, right? {Pin it for Later}

simple cheesecake3 Sweet Treats 

Old Fashioned Apple Crisp – Nothing says summer like apple crisp.  This stuff is a summer staple at our house. {Pin it for Later}

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream – This stuff tastes like heaven over a hot bowl of apple crisp.  {Pin it for Later}

Simple Cheesecake Recipe – I like to bring this recipe to BBQ’s.  It usually goes over gangbusters.  {Pin it for Later}

Freezer Meal Meatloaf with American CheeseFeatured Freezer Meal Recipe

Simple Meatloaf – These long days of summer are the perfect time to start gearing up for back to school craziness.  This meatloaf recipe is easy, freezes perfectly, and tastes great with mashed potatoes.  {Pin it for Later}

jalapeno-pepper-jellyFeatured Canning Recipe 

Jalepeno Pepper Jelly – This stuff is soooo good over a block of cream cheese and crackers.  It is the quickest appetizer ever.  I like to have a couple of jars on hand for just that reason.  {Pin it for Later}

What are YOU planning on making this week?

~Mavis

Find more recipes on One Hundred Dollars a Month as well as on my Pinterest Recipe Boards.

 

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Gardening Tip – Use a Garden Hose to Outline a Flower Bed

Use a Garden Hose to Outline a Flower Bed

Use a Garden Hose to Outline a Flower BedWe have a few areas in our lawn that are heavily shaded by large pine and cedar trees.  Instead of investing money into grass seed and fertilizer every year, I decided to turn the areas into perennial flower beds with shade tolerant plants.

I could have popped over to Home Depot and gotten a can of marking paint to outline the beds, but that would have required getting dressed and spending money.  I didn’t particularly want to do either, so I grabbed the garden hose and went to town.

Use a Garden Hose to Outline a Flower Bed

The advantages of outlining a new flower {or garden} bed with a hose is that it is bendy.  I allows you to make rounded edges easily and totally visualize the space.  Best of all, you can change it if you don’t like it.

Cheap and effective.  Just the way I like it.

~Mavis

Use a Garden Hose to Outline a Flower Bed

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Weekly Grocery Shopping Savings Show and Tell {Week 29 of 52}

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keep calm and carry on jute toteI Ditched Costco. And I’m not looking back. I just couldn’t take it anymore. So a big thank you to everyone who chimed in last week and said it was OKAY to abandon that silly notion.

Here are some of the deals I snatched up this week:

albertsons shopping trip

Albertsons $ 15.28

Albertsons has medium eggs on sale for $0.99 a dozen* {with a limit of 4} so I grabbed 4 dozen of course. Our family goes through eggs like nobody’s business when The Girl is home so this was a great find.

Tillamook Yogurt was on sale for $0.38 each* so I grabbed 10 {the max allowed}. I loved the fact I could buy 10, and not a case of 24 or 36 yogurts like I would have had to do at Costco. Not having to remind my peeps to “take a yogurt in your lunch” everyday is a nice change. 😉

Tillamook Cheese was also on sale for $1.99 a package this past week. Luckily I was able to print off {2} $1.00 off cheese coupons before the print limit was reached {there was a coupon link at the bottom of the page, I’m not sure if it’s still there}. If you are still getting the newspaper each month, there was also a $1/1 Tillamook Cheese coupon in the 6/28 SmartSource you can use.

I also snagged 2 avocados and a red onion. Let’s just say it was nice not to have to buy 10 pounds of red onions when I only needed one.

*with Albertsons in ad coupon. Thru 7/21/15

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Amazon Subscribe and Save – Free thanks to Swagbucks!

*The prices I was able to get the items for above may no longer be valid.

Amazon prices can change super quick, so when I find a good subscribe and save deal on something, I simply add the item to my subscribe and save order for the next month. I like the flexibility of being able to add items to my list {and being able to delete them} before the shipment goes out. Sometimes I order toiletry products, sometimes food, but if I can’t find at least 5 items to get the additional 15% off discount, I won’t order anything at all.

peachesFred Meyer – $23.15

If you have been waiting for a great deal on peaches, cancel all your plans for this week because Fred Meyer has peaches on sale for $0.99 a pound!

On the agenda for this week:

Peach Jam. Slicing and Freezing Peaches for Smoothies and Peach Pies during the winter months.

Even though I spent a little more this week than I would have liked too, when I can get a deal on fresh produce, I snatch it up {and hope it all works out in the end}.

How did YOU do this week? Score any deals?

~Mavis

Total Spent This Week $38.43

Weeks 1-28 Shopping Exclusively at Costco $1,229.25 {$43.90 a week/$175 a month average}
Weeks 29- Shopping wherever the heck I want $38.43 {$38.43 a week/$153.72 a month average}
Total Spent Year to Date $1267.68

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

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Free Kindle Books, Amazon Subscribe and Save, The North Face and More

cabbage

criterionWord of the Day: Criterion Definition: Standard for judging, model Used in a sentence: We must set up some kind of criterion before we pass judgement.

cabbage

Hello Monday.

Yesterday the temps were in the mid 90’s {!!!} so I woke up early and pulled all those big, fat, beautiful cabbages that had gone to seed and tossed them in the compost bin. it was a sad day. Luckily though, cooler temps are on the horizon {mid 70’s this week} so maybe now I can dig in and get some garden projects done. I’m feeling better. Not 100% but I’m getting there.

Today is going to be a good day. :)

Mavis

*This deal post will be updated throughout the day so be sure and check back for deals. 

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Amazon Gold Box Deals of the Day – Sony HTCT260H Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer and 75% Off “Downton Abbey: Seasons 1-3″ on Blu-ray.

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Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can. Don’t have a Kindle? Download the kindle app on your other devices. It’s easy! :)

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Amazon Subscribe and Save Deals:

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Grab a box of Crayola 10ct Classic Fine Line Markers for just $1.27.

5 Ways to Treat a Cold SoreUgh. Cold sores are the worst! Here are 5 Ways to Treat a Cold Sore.  Find more cool tips on my Everyday Life Pinterest Board.

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6pm has the Sperry Top-Sider Square Diagonal Stripe Anchor Scarf in Red and Blue on sale for $14.99 shipped. Perfect for summer or the beach.

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Zulily has Life is Good Clothing for the whole family on sale today with savings up to 45% off.

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Check out these deals on watches:

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Nordstrom.com has the ‘Venture’ Packable Waterproof Jacket on sale for $69.90 shipped {was $99} and there are 5 colors to choose from.

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Find more Nordstrom Anniversary Dealschicken and thyme rice with carrots

Chicken and Thyme Rice with Carrots gives that plain ol rice side dish a kick in the pants. It’s all flavored up and delicious. {Pin it for later} Find more recipes on my Carrot Recipes Pinterest Board.

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REI Outlet Deal of the Day – Serfas True 1000 USB Front Bike Light with Thunderbolt Rear Light $142.73 shipped {was $320}.

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Amazon Prime special offer: Get a 3-month free trial to Audible

Right now Amazon Prime members can get a 3-month FREE trial for Audible!!! {I like to listen to audiobooks while I garden.} With over 150,000 titles to choose from you’d be CRAZY to pass up this freebie. Listen with the FREE Audible app on your smartphone or tablet. Yee-Haw!

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Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Plot Pictures 7/19/15

zucchini patty pan summer squash

backyard garden boxes squash plants

It is suppose to hit 90 degrees today and the garden I planted just 2 months ago is growing at a breakneck pace. Luckily if the forecast holds true, we should have some rain {and lower temps} later this week. zucchini patty pan summer squash

The squash plants are going crazy. I guess when you don’t pick for a week there will be an abundance. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it all {give some away, make a batch of zucchini relish, zucchini bread and zucchini chocolate chips cookies are just a few things I have in mind} but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

reseeding lawn grass seed

The Girl finished shoveling the 5 yards of Tagro we had delivered last week and now I need to get out there and plant some grass seed while the weather is nice.
Sawzall Reciprocating Saw

The HH cut down the worlds ugliest leaning pine tree with the Sawzall Reciprocating Saw last week and holy canolies what it made a big difference it made. You can actually see the front of the house now and not some weirdo tree. 

hosta

The only downside is the hosta plants are now in full sun. The Girl is going to dig some holes for me this week in the backyard and I’ll move the hosta plants once the weather cools down a bit. blueberry

Blueberries. They are beginning to ripen! Weeee!
cabbage

And check out this sweet head of cabbage. It won’t be long now until it’s really.

How is YOUR garden doing lately? Are your zucchini plants producing like mad?

~Mavis
botanical interests

This years garden is being sponsored by the awesome folks at Botanical Interests Seed Company. You can check out their website HERE, order their new 2015 Garden Seed Catalogor see the seeds I’ll be growing in my garden this year HERE.

Up for a tour? Read about our behind the scenes tour of Botanical Interests Seed Company.

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