Single Mom Chronicles June 13th 2019

Single Mom Chronicles June 13th 2019

*Disclaimer*….I had this post written and ready to go before I went off the rails for the summer.  Rather than hang onto it for a year, I’m posting it.  Yes, yes, it’s late.  But we still have watermelon coming out of the farms here and I was gifted a whole one by the lovely and wonderful Amanda.  It was like she knew I needed this watermelon.  It was kizmet.  So to continue….

Summer time was always a happy time.  Well, it still is.  But summer brought all kinds of treats unique to the season.  I’m talking about fruit.  Nothing taught me better on how to eat seasonally than being a single parent.  They can tell you all the time that eating fresh fruit and vegetables is “too expensive”.  Well, sure.  If everything you’re buying is out of season.  Understand….it’s all lies.

Now, if you learn how to buy seasonally….which, granted, is easier, I suppose, for folks that farm (or at the very least garden)… will cut your produce bill dramatically.  I’m not going to lie.  It takes practice.  And diligence.  How many different ways can you make zucchini, anyway?!  Amd wtf is a kohlrabi?!  And why would I even want eat that weird stuff?!  It’s true…not everything can be as grand as a strawberry or a juicy piece of melon when trying to shove fresh produce down your kids throats because you, too, need to feel like you’re doing SOMEthing right.

I wasn’t raised “eating seasonally”.  What does that even mean?!  Because when I walk into a grocery store, there are no “seasons”.  All the produce is available all the time.  This is a trap.  Yes, we as consumers have been lured into a produce trap where everything is shiny and available year round.  Understand this….this is not natural….and you’ll be fine.  All it takes is a little common sense and forethought.  And maybe some googling.  Like obviously, watermelon is not “in season” in December.  At least not in the United States.

When you buy out of season produce, not only does it not have the best flavors, but it likely was flown in from some other country or continent and the price will be higher.  So, yes, in that regard, buying fresh produce WILL be costly.  But they don’t tell you that part.  Instead, you walk into a store and look around at all the produce that is too expensive, give up, and move on to cheap processed foods.  That’s what the food conglomerates want you to do.  All you need to do is get a clear focus and pretty soon you’ll be spending even less than you would on processed foods.

Personally, I always found I could stretch my small dollars on more real food once I figured out the way I was being gamed at the grocery store.  The basics of seasonal buying is pretty simple. Once I got better at it, I found myself spending less money in general at the store.  And I found myself buying less and less processed products.  Several years go, the kid had a science project at school.  The directions said, “Bring these items in sandwich bags.”  What followed was a list of processed foods.  The plan was to set them on fire in the science lab.  Seriously?!  I had to go buy them because we had nothing on the list.  I was like….I’m a single mom!  And I’m winning!  Yanno, it’s the small things.

Where was I?  Oh, yes….buying seasonal.  Basically, citrus is winter fruit.  Apples are fall fruit.  Berries and melons are mostly summer fruits, and so on.  It’s the same with vegetables.  Spring is peas and lettuces, cabbages and broccolis….they come back around in fall.  Summer is zucchinis, tomatoes, peppers, and the like.  Winter is root vegetables and sweet squashes.  I mean that’s an over simplification, but you get the idea.

I’ve added a few tricks since then.  Like growing your own herbs…it could take an initial investment of about twenty bucks, but you save so much over the course of several months.  Like knowing which produce you can buy now while it’s in season and save for later when it’s not.  Like which apples will stay crisp the longest, etc.  The hardest lesson was not giving in to ridiculous notions of lemon tarts in July when lemons cost a fortune.  Sure, lemonade is delicious in the summer.  If you’re willing to blow a wad on lemons, which I am not.  So we drink iced tea, which also cuts out the sugar.

I know, I know….enough blathering and get on with the recipe already!  Once I got my kid into eating salad, the world was wide open.  Suddenly, nothing was off limits.  How’d I get salad into a child, you ask?  Well, with bacon dressing, of course.  Did you not see my last Single Mom Chronicles post?  After that it was a breeze to make salads.  This one has watermelon.  Obviously.  I mean, it IS summer time.  Go ahead!  Splurge on that seedless one!  My melon had seeds, as you can see, because it came from DC Modern Roots farm.  They also grow microgreens for me so the pictures show arugula microgreens.  I had some leftover from an event so don’t freak out about it.

Oddly, my kid enjoyed fresh spinach.  I feel very lucky about that.  This particular salad is made with arugula, but it’s totally easy to swap in baby spinach for the less adventurous greens eater in your house.  Many recipes on the internet include feta.  Unless you eat feta on the regular, skip it.  I didn’t want to spend five dollars on a single ingredient like feta.  I used shaved parmesan or romano because it was way cheaper and we actually used it in many other dishes.  And you just need a little bit to add a salty fat note to the salad.  Today, I love blue cheese in this salad and so I used it for the pictures.

Sunflower seeds are a nice addition and they aren’t expensive.  A handful costs less than a dollar and it lends a nice crunch, but not an overly powerful flavor.  I always wanted the watermelon to be the dominant flavor…especially with a kid.  And there’s really very little dressing with this salad because the melon is so juicy.  I just whisked a little olive oil with some rice wine vinegar.  It’s really just to gloss the lettuce leaves rather than be it’s own flavor component.  The watermelon juice lends a fantastic flavor to the rice vinegar, which isn’t bitey at all.  Any light vinaigrette works, though.  We have sweet onions in the farm stands here and I like the addition of a sweet onion in this salad, which is another very affordable option.

What I love about watermelon, is the fact that you can use up the rinds.  I’ve done pickled watermelon rinds, watermelon rind jam, and turned my hollowed out shells into serving bowls and marinating vessels.  Yes, marinating vessels.  You, too, can have watermelon marinated chicken on the grill!  I also toss the rinds out to the chickens.  They eat them right down to the skin.  I love it.

I especially love the low price of this salad AND that if I get a big melon, I can use the red portion twice because this salad only uses half of a large melon.  I’ve let the other half go for dessert at another meal, or it can be dressed and grilled as a wonderful side for bbq.  Muddle a few cubes with a can of seltzer water for an instant soda without all the garbage in popular soda brands.  This salad costs around ten bucks if you already have the fixings for the dressing.  Using only half the melon cuts that bill in half, too.  Best of all….it’s a fantastic serving of greens and fruit without having to cook anything.  Winning!

Watermelon Salad


  • 8 cups cubed or balled watermelon about a half of a large melon
  • 1 8 oz pack arugula or 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced sweet onion optional
  • 1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds optional
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons grated parmesan for a salty note or some goat cheese for a tangy note I used blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey or 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fine ground pepper to taste optional


  • Whisk the oil, vinegar, honey or sugar, and salt to taste.  Mash in a few cubes or balls of watermelon and whisk again.  Here, you can add the cheese to the dressing or leave it out and sprinkle it seperately.  I add a pinch of black pepper to my dressing, but it's totally optional.  Set the dressing aside.
  • Wash the lettuce, pick out any gross bits, and either leave it out to dry a bit or run it through a salad spinner.  Fresh spinach can be especially covered in sandy bits.  (I learned this the hard way)
  • Top the greens with the watermelon and cheese.  Pour the dressing over and toss to combine.  Serve immediately!

1 thought on “Single Mom Chronicles June 13th 2019”

  • I think it’s worth investing a few dollars in the purchase of a hand held grater for the addition of a wide variety of cheese. I know the recipe is about the watermelon and greens but you’re totally right about the addition of a bit of grated cheese. Any small chunks of cheese would be a fantastic addition and those smaller hand held graters are perfect. I just bought one and I love it.

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