Watermelon Wednesday: Aqua Fresca 4 ways

Watermelons are in season now. Enjoy a few recipes to beat the summer heat. www.ChefShayna.com

Is Watermelon Wednesday even a thing? I propose that it should be because with watermelon you can never go wrong. I never understood those people that don't like watermelon. Crazies- jk, I still love you. Looking at this large stack of watermelon makes me drool. In fact It's is scary how much I love watermelon. I can eat plain, use it make a beverage, add it to a salad; because it is a perfectly cooling and crisp food to eat in the summer and since keeping cool has become a full time job we have been consuming a lot of it. This summer we have taken it a step further and really enjoyed making and drinking watermelon juice and using the juice to make more treats. The girls enjoyed working together to create the latest video (check it out below). 

I let the girls have free reign of the kitchen to make this recipe. Other than cutting the watermelon getting out the glasses and bowls, I let them work together to get out the ingredients. At first Lady A did not want to partake in the video but then realized how much fun Little Miss was having and when asked (again) decided that she did want to join in. 

Speaking of Summer and activities for kids. I want to share some of my latest parenting thoughts and things I am working on in my own parenting “practice.” Over the years I have gotten so wrapped up in the scheduling and planning of my girls activities that I lost sight of creating space for them to just be kids. Last Spring it dawned on me that our lives are too regimented without much time for free play so I decided that I would register the girls for only a few camps but really embrace the down time of summer. My oldest daughter attended the few planned camps and then was home. I started to second guess myself and doubt my decision to not plan an event every day of every week. Talk about FOMO friends. Would she be missing out on enrichment opportunities? Should she be socializing more? Oy vey! These feelings have forced me to think deeper about this and to  have conversations with other mom friends (of both kids my age and some that have grown children). What I’ve concluded is it is VERY important for kids to be “bored.” To have time to “figure it out,” and to learn how to entertain themselves. As moms it is not our job to entertain our kiddos ALL THE TIME. I also don’t mean substituting in technology as a entertainer. I mean allowing them to linger in house, whether it be in a playroom or room, and just play. Sometimes I have given the girls random objects, like a rock, cup, pen, and toilet paper roll and told them to play. It is incredible to see what they come up with. Today I gave them a few of our “lost socks” from the laundry room and asked them to orchestrate a puppet show. They stayed busy for hours and put on a cute little show when Dad got home from work. It is both a practice for the girls and for me. During the last few weeks of summer, I encourage you to let the kids be bored and see what happens. Let go of what you think a “perfect mom” should look like, and embrace the unbusy, unscheduled, play time. 

Parenting advice. I rarely give it but learned a valuable lesson this summer, and that is that it is important for kids to have time to be bored. More on that... www.ChefShayna.com

Thank you for the mommy moment. I have found that sharing my thoughts and hearing thoughts from other mamas has been helpful because it takes a village right? Do you have a mama community and find this to be true?

Okay back to the recipes...

Watermelon Aqua Fresca... drink in Season. www.ChefShayna.com

Watermelon Aqua Fresca
1 small watermelon, blended
1/2 cup water
2 TB agave
2 TB lime
Mint for Garnish (I will float it in the pitcher for added flavor.)

Watermelon Popsicles are a great treat for kiddos to make and enjoy eating all summer. www.ChefShayna.com
Living your best summer life sipping on Rose decorated with watermelon ice cubes.

Watermelon is an easy fruit for kids to cut because it is so soft. I like to cut it into “steaks” and let the little ones use a safety knife to chop it from there. Because we are blending it, it doesn’t have to be perfect or cut uniformly, so let them go to town. After blending the watermelon into juice there are serveral recipes that you can create. Of course you can serve up an ice cold glass of Aqua Fresca and garnish it with fresh mint and a slice of lime. This is a great drink to make for a party. You can create fruity popsicles or make ice cubes to garnish a lovely glass of rose or other adult beverage. You can also mix in a bottle of rose and freeze to blend into a Frose. My favorite dessert the last few nights has been a Watermelon Granita with homemade whipped cream and a few berries it is practically guilt free too.. So with the same few ingredients, you have a lot of options for things to create.

Watermelon Granita... a great dessert to enjoy without feeling guilty. www.ChefShayna.com

Watermelon Granitas
I have a lot of silicon ice cube trays from my baby food making days. They make percent 1 oz cubes so I often freeze chicken broth, tomato paste and fresh herbs to save for later. To make a Granita freeze a tray of the water juice and be ready to make this dessert any time.
Use a fork to flake 3, 1 oz frozen watermelon cubes into a small cup. Layer on fresh whipped cream and some berries. Garnish with chopped fresh mint or basil and enjoy every last bite.