Spearfish Canyon Half Marathon, 2016, Part II

Part I was posted Tuesday, you can read it here.

A few minutes before 0730, the woman volunteer said the start time is 0730. If you are further back in the pack, your official race start time is still 0730. I was OK with this since I’m not exactly going to finish near the top! Some of the faster looking runners were up to the front and I was about in the middle. My goal was to start out conservative and dial it up after 3-4 miles. It seems like it takes me a few miles to find my pace, breath, etc. There would be 5 water/Gatorade stops and 3 porta potty stops I believe. The road was open to traffic throughout the run. There was very few people cheering since there are few places to pull off of the main road. As we got closer to town, there were a few cheerleaders and a few signs. They were appreciated!

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My goal for this run was to finish under 2 hours and to keep my pace at about 9 minutes/mile. The first 3 miles went as expected. I kind of tried to find my place in the pack, pass some people and was passed by others. I felt great in the cool air and downhill road. I took water at the 2nd stop and used one of the cups to thrown water down my neck/back. On the 3rd stop I only threw water down my front and back. I wasn’t thirsty. I usually do not run with water or nutrition so this was “normal” for me. Miles 4-9 were great. I felt totally in control of my breathing and felt the pace was just fine. There was a lot of shade and pretty much no wind. The road was winding so I did my best to run on any flat parts, usually the middle of or side of the roads.

My support crew was at the city park waiting for me to finish. Alayna & Kathy and Mark & Jeremy in addition to my sister, Jodi, the photographer!.

Mile 9 is where I could feel the heat starting to come on. It was getting more and more sunny with less and less shade. We were getting closer to town so the road was becoming more flat, not so much downhill. Around mile 9 was a water stop where you could grab a paintbrush and brush a stroke on a board to make your mark against child abuse. I thought this was really neat and made sure I swiped a big mark on the painting. There was water here and again I threw it down my shirt around my neck.

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After the painting is where I really felt things start to unravel for me. Up until this point, I had continually been looking at my watch to see my pace and I was OK with it. I figured I could finish sub 1 hour 55 minutes which was thrilling to me. But most importantly, I just wanted to finish strong and healthy. I told my friends the night before that I was disappointed in my Fargo half from fall 2015 because my finish was so poor and I felt so awful physically. I wanted redemption!

With every step I felt like the sun was getting brighter and brighter, the temperature I was certain was rising every minute. It was hot! There was no shade anymore to be found and not a breeze. I made a bunch of tradeoffs in my head – don’t walk, keep it around 9:30 min/mile, don’t walk too long, keep it under 10 min/mile and so on and so forth. I think every runner does this? I would take a few quick walking breaks and then start running. I’d look down at my watch to see I was running 8:30 min/mile. I think coming off from going downhill and being in cooler temps, it was just hard to mentally take it down a notch. But I needed to. My breathing was getting very labored, it felt humid. I just wanted to get through these miles. Towards the end when we got into Spearfish, we entered the park onto a paved path. Thankfully there was some shade and I make sure to find it. I was a bit disappointed in myself as I saw the possibility of a sub 1:55 slip away. But I was still happy. I felt good actually, minus the heat. Towards the end, a pack of guys came through and said ‘finish strong, c’mon let’s do this’. I was grateful for their encouragement and kept running. As I neared the finish line, I was looking for my sister or husband. Pretty soon I heard my husband yell c’mon Sarah! I then felt relief and smiled. I was done. I knew I was under 2 hours too. Soon I saw my sister and then just smiled even more. I got my medal right away and my crew handed me some water that I downed. I sat down on a chair and just caught my breath. They all looked so hot and sweaty! We took a few photos and talked about the run.

The race had plenty of muffins, fruit, water and chocolate milk on hand. Pretty soon I thought some chocolate milk might be good. I stood up to get some and chat with my friends. As I was chatting though, I felt myself get really dizzy and light headed. I told them I wanted to sit down and I did. I drank some of the milk. It was cold but hard to drink that thick stuff in the heat. I called my sister over to get me some more water and I noticed that the sweat was just pouring out of me. It was like my body knew I was done and was just decompressing. Pretty soon I got the chills so I was worried about some dehydration or heat stress. I just kept chugging water and that chocolate milk must have kicked in because I felt well enough to move around. I just wanted to shower now.

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Here are my overall stats:

My final finish online results (bib #676) are a gun time of 01:56:59.701, 94/278 finishers, 34/161 gender finish, 9/49 age group finish and an average pace of 8:55/mile.

Garmin Vivoactive stats:

  • 1:56:58 time
  • 13.20 miles
  • 8:52 min/mi
  • Elevation gain: 466’
  • Elevation loss: 1,736’
  • Max elevation: 4,953’
  • Min elevation: 3,676
  1. 8:51
  2. 8:45
  3. 8:40
  4. 8:27
  5. 8:28
  6. 8:28
  7. 8:30
  8. 8:14
  9. 8:27
  10. 8:48
  11. 9:15
  12. 9:47
  13. 10:19
  14. 9:53

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Again, I am really happy. I wish I could have finished stronger but that heat was no joke. Also, the heat being 85 degrees at 0930 is NOT typical for Spearfish. But it is what it is. That is the thing about running. You can’t control so many things. Some runs are good, some aren’t. I did go into this run more relaxed. I had pizza and beer the night before, I wasn’t so strict with every single workout. I had a fun, busy summer up to this point. This was a big change from the year prior. I used Runner’s World 10 week sub 2 hour half marathon plan that I purchased online for $9.99. It was money well spent. They laid out each week clearly with what you needed to do. I followed it pretty closely, especially the track workouts. I adjusted the weekend runs as needed and I always doubled up my Thursday run distance as I didn’t feel the mileage was quite high enough. I also made sure to bike about 2x per week for cross training. And I stretched a lot to keep my foot healthy.

You might think an all downhill race is easy. Well, I’d rather downhill than uphill for sure!! But there is stress added to your body you don’t think about. One tip would be to wear thicker than normal socks as your feet take a pounding. Your legs (quads) will likely be sore the next day. I did see in Runner’s World Magazine a month or two ago that this half marathon is listed as one of the most beautiful. It is stunning and with a small group, it was just excellent overall. I prefer smaller groups and everyone was just great. I can’t say enough about this run.

It should be noted that I am a bit superstitious. I ran in the same hat for every run during training. I never washed it once. (I really need to wash that.) PINK was on the radio as we left, I saw a lot of birds and I had a 7 in my bib number. To everyone else these are probably weird or make no sense. But to me – it was all good!

I can’t wait to see what will be our next adventure as a group. Us ladies continued on south to Hill City to wine and beer sample and we met up later with the guys in Deadwood for fun. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate! These people have made summer 2016 the best! Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe and I Love Mine!

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living, Misc | 1 Comment

Spearfish Canyon Half Marathon, 2016, Part I

On Saturday, July 9, I participated in the Spearfish Canyon Half Marathon, 13.1 miles. Runners started in Savoy and followed Highway 14A, Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, to the Spearfish City Park. This is a slight downhill road race with amazing views along Spearfish Creek. The race entry was $55 and is an annual fundraiser benefiting the abused and neglected children through the Northern Hills Area CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Program.

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As usual, I have a lot to say and will cover the whole weekend, we made it into a mini vacation. Spearfish is about 5 hours from Hazen and it is one of my favorite places to visit. My husband, nephew and myself left from Hazen and met up with my sister and two friends who were driving together from Fargo. We met in the tiny town of Amidon where there isn’t much but there is a bar! It’s called Mo’s Bunker Bar and we stopped in for a beer on this hot afternoon as they were opening at 2 p.m. They had Shake of the Day and my nephew won! This rarely happens. I have never seen it done (you have to roll five of a kind in one shake) and this was the first time in the 2-year history of the bar someone won. So, we obviously celebrated. A few beers and a shot later, we were on the way to Spearfish (I wasn’t driving).

We got to Spearfish at about 5:30 local time. I wanted to drive out and see Highway 14A so I knew where/what I’d be running. We went about halfway or more up the highway until I realized we were almost out of gas and running short on time. We turned around but it gave me a very good idea of what the last 7-8 miles of the run would be like. We fueled up and checked into our motel. We stayed at Bell’s Motor Lodge Motel – a tiny place on Main Street right off of downtown Spearfish. The place was a bit older but super clean, nice and cold and had an outdoor pool. The rates were cheap (especially since this is high season) and accommodations great. Our room had cable, a nice big bathroom, microwave and a fridge. They even have kitchenette rooms you can reserve.

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The guys loaded me up to go check in (also very close to downtown and our hotel) for the race.

PRE-PACKET PICK-UP will be Friday, July 8th, 2016 from 9 am to 7 pm at the    
                NHCASA office 741 N 5th Street, Spearfish
OR at 6 AM at the Spearfish City Park the day of the event.

I got my bib and race t-shirt from a very kind volunteer. Leading up to the race I was very nervous for the hot forecast. I typically run before work which means nearly all my runs are done in the dark, cool, humid times of 0430-0445 until about 0530-0600. On the weekend, I usually run when it is daylight, but still in the cool mornings. Race morning in Spearfish called for temps of 75 at the start time of 0730. I was very concerned. The volunteer kindly told me that since we were starting up in the canyon, the temps would be more like 57-58 degrees. I was so relieved. The route was all downhill into Spearfish and we would end in the city park. As we got down in elevation though, the temps would rise and it would be about 80-85 degrees. Yikes. I made sure to drink at least 4L of water Monday through Friday prior to the race.

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We met up with the ladies once again to get some dinner. We went to Dough Trader Pizza Company.  I highly recommend this place if you are in Spearfish. We love their wood fired pizzas. The outdoor seating is great and service is quick. We enjoyed 3 different kinds of pizzas and some $2 PBR beers. I considered it all to be carb loading. Haha. But seriously, I tried not to eat anything that was TOO cheesy, greasy or spicy. I really like spice but toned it down. The ladies were going to head to a brewery and our group decided to go downtown to check out Downtown Friday Nights. The Spearfish business association puts this on for most Friday nights throughout the summer. They close off main street and have bands, vendors, food trucks, beer stations, kids games and more. It is a great idea! After checking that out, the guys went to a sports bar to watch some UFC fights and I went back to the motel to get a good night’s rest.

DoughTrader

My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. so I quietly got ready and went outside to eat two pieces of seedy bread with peanut butter and drank a bit of water. I woke up my husband at 0600 to drive me to the park and said see you in a few hours! I got to the park at 0615 and the buses were leaving at 0630 to go up towards Savoy where the race would start. There were about 300 people running the half. In about a half hour, we pulled off the road, seemingly in the middle of nowhere at 0700. There was a water station and a friendly woman volunteering who told us the start line was just a few yards up the road but we didn’t see anything. I was expecting like an arch with a chip timing pad or something. There were also no porta potties. I was OK with that as I had taken care of those issues at my motel. HOWEVER, many of the 300+ runners were looking for some relief. The volunteer pointed the crew towards the beautiful Spearfish Canyon Lodge who opened their facilities to the runners. Apparently, there were new owners to the porta potty business and they were running late. Whoops. They did eventually show up about 10 minutes before the start of the run.

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I checked my bag with the same woman volunteer. We just threw them in the back of her SUV and she’d drive them into town. We walked up a few yards to see a white spray painted line about 6’ long with the word START on it. Here is the printed schedule that was posted:

Half Marathon Race Schedule:

  • 6:00 am Check-in begins at Spearfish City Park
  • 6:30 am Check-in ends
  • 6:35 Last bus leaves from Spearfish City Park to take runners to the start line in Spearfish Canyon (Savoy)
  • 7:30 am Half Marathon begins at Savoy in the canyon, ends in Spearfish City Park

I suppose that will be part one…this is already getting a bit wordy….

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living, Misc | 2 Comments

Kale and Sausage Pizza

This isn’t meant to be one of those recipes where you “sneak” in some veggies to make this a secretly healthy meal and your husband won’t realize he is eating kale. Except, it kind of is. I didn’t mean to sneak the kale in but we were leaving town and had a ton of veggies from our CSA basket to use up. What a better way that on pizza? I mean, I’ll eat about anything on a pizza!

KaleSausagePizza

Kale and Sausage Pizza

  • 4 thin crust flatbreads (I used Flat Out Spicy Italian)
  • ¾ pound bulk hot Italian sausage
  • 4-5 cups chopped kale, stems removed
  • 4 garlic scapes, chopped OR 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint Ragu or pizza sauce of your choice
  • 1 cup shredded cheese

Cook and crumble sausage in a skillet over medium heat on the stove until cooked through. Remove and drain, reserving about ½ Tbsp. oil in the skillet. Add in kale and garlic and cook until it wilts, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add in drained sausage and stir to combine.

Heat your grill to medium heat. Heat flatbreads until they start to crisp on both sides and hold their shape – 5-6 minutes total. Remove and add pizza sauce and top with cheese and then with the kale and sausage mix. Add more cheese on top if you like. Put back on grill and grill until cheese is melted, about another 3-4 minutes. Remove from grill, slice and serve immediately.

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While the sausage drains, use your same skillet to wilt kale, onions and garlic.

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Crisp up your flatbread first. You don’t really need to cook anything here, just warm up the ingredients and melt the cheese. If you don’t crisp the flatbread you will have limp pizza and everything will fall off. Sad. Add as much of the toppings as you prefer. Make your own pizza is great for family night!

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This was a quick weeknight dinner and we both loved this! It’s a nice twist instead of plain old sausage pizza. Cut into triangles or other fun shapes. Enjoy!

Posted in Appetizer, Dinner, Dinner idea, Grilling, Main Dish | Leave a comment

Hazen Bottle Shop Mixology Workshop

I love to recap events I’ve gone to. It’s fun to type them up and remember what I found fun/interesting and it is great to have this as somewhat of a journal I can look back on in a year or more from now.

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On Thursday, June 23, 2016, we attended the Hazen Bottle Shop Mixology Workshop held at the Hazen Golf Club. For $20 you could buy an advance ticket to reserve your seat. There were about 45-50 spots available and I think they sold out or at least were pretty close to being sold out.

MixRoom

Mixology is making a bit of a comeback. A mixologist is something like a bartender chef who focuses on the art and craft of mixing drinks. I’m talking mixed drinks a step above a vodka/diet or typical bar drinks you might find. These drinks are elevated and reimagined using new techniques and methods.

MixMuddler

I arrived a bit early with a girlfriend and we snagged some front row seats. When it comes to alcohol, I want to be first in line to learn whatever I can. Each place setting was perfectly set up with a menu, muddler, shaker, glasses, water and more. We were met at the door with a Krause Collins which featured gin, fresh raspberries, thyme, lemon, simple syrup, club soda and tonic. This was light and refreshing, served in a mason jar – the perfect start to the evening.

MixCrew

By the kitchen was a large table of snacks – always an excellent idea when drinking. We grabbed some snack mix for our table and tasted pretty much everything – beautifully presented.

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D – one of the owners of Krause’s and Hazen Bottle welcomed us to the event and passed the presentation over to two young ladies who would teach us about mixing and shaking cocktails. The lead instructor informed us this would be a “shit show” in that we would probably be making a bit of a mess between all the mixing, the ingredients and well, of course, booze! The group did a great job of getting each drink ready for us with appropriate pour amounts of mixers and booze. Each table had a large container of ice to mix our drinks with.

MixInstructor

Our instructor (above) was kind enough to answer all questions and explain why certain things paired together and when to add ice or not. Some of the basic takeaway to make a good cocktail include:

  • Lots of ice
  • Simple syrup
  • Fresh (or dried) herbs
  • Fresh fruit
  • Juice or soda mixers
  • Experiment and find what you like
  • Don’t be afraid to add more mixer if your drink is too stiff/strong
  • Simple techniques on how to stir or shake a drink

These items individually add to a drink and combined create a fabulous drink. We ended up making five more drinks in addition to the Krause Collins.

  • Classic Cosmopolitan – served “up” in a martini glass this is a popular drink among women.
  • Irish Manhattan – the Luxardo cherries served in this were most excellent (stir this drink with a bar spoon from 12 to 6 o’clock).
    • Side note – Luxardo cherries are amazing. These are the original, Italian maraschino cherry except instead of neon red and full of sugar, these are dark (like almost black) and a bit nutty in taste. These are sold at Krause’s and I could have eaten half the jar. These will make you feel special, not like you are drinking a Shirley Temple. I think these would be good in a sour beer!
  • Perfect Palomino – made with tequila and I actually liked it.
  • Honey Peach Smash – we learned how to muddle on this drink. To get the taste out of the mint you gently “spank” it. For real – that was her advice!
  • Strawberry Pineapple Mojito – made with rum, this was a winner, loved the fresh berries in this.

MixMojito

My favorites were the mojito (above) and the Krause Collins.

MixMenu

I am extremely grateful for Krause’s Market and Hazen Bottle on putting on these fun events. We are lucky in our small town to have such a diverse grocer and a liquor store willing to try fun things for our citizens. Great event, as usual!

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As parting gifts we took home a 375mL of Absolut Vodka, a muddler, a shaker cup and other miscellaneous glassware. Guess I better start making some cocktails!

Posted in Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Misc | 3 Comments

Gio’s Meatballs

Here is another #freezermeals recipe we put together at the end of April when I visited Sarello’s in Moorhead for the CommonGround Freezer Meal party evening. We assembled these meatballs and froze them before cooking them. I simply cooked them at home and served them on top of zucchini noodles for a slightly more healthy take on the traditional spaghetti and meatballs.

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Gio is Tony and Sarah (Sarello’s owners) young son. I believe Tony and Gio came up with this recipe and it’s a pretty traditional meatball recipe that made delicious meatballs.

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Gio’s Meatballs – makes about 30 1” meatballs, serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4 cups tomato sauce
  • Noodles

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and milk together. Add ground beef, cheese, eggs, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper and mix together with your hands until incorporated.

Shape the meatballs into 1” diameter. In a pan, heat olive oil over medium and cook the meatballs under they are browned on each side, but not cooked through. Add tomato sauce and cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Serve hot over cooked noodles. Garnish with cheese!!

To store meatballs: freeze on a cookie sheet until hard to the touch so they freeze individually and don’t clump together. Transfer to a plastic freezer bag or container, label with date and freeze up to 3 months. These can be frozen totally raw or after being browned.

To store cooked meatballs: transfer meatballs and sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

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I spiralized some zucchini and sautéed it for just a few minutes with some seasoning and served the meatballs and sauce on top. This a lighter and healthier alternative for summer eating. Enjoy!

Posted in Dinner, Dinner idea, Main Dish | Leave a comment

Thai Chicken with Grilled Pineapple Slaw

I made this meal on a sunny, warm Monday and it totally hit the spot with such refreshing tastes in every bite. You grill the chicken and the slaw comes together in seconds so you don’t heat up your house and can get dinner on the table quickly. I encourage you to mix up the chicken marinade the night before to let the chicken soak in those flavors over night and during the day while you are at work.

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At first, the thought of grilling pineapple was a little weird to me. I’ve seen it done and decided to go for it. Pineapple was on sale at the store, so it must have been a sign! The pineapple gets even more sweet and you get that smoked grill flavor in the slaw. Yum, please.

Thai Chicken with Grilled Pineapple Slaw, serves 4+

INGREDIENTS

CHICKEN:

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 pound chicken tenders or breast, patted dry

SLAW:

  • 1-2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • ½ chopped pepper (orange, yellow or red)
  • 1 bag shredded coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 ear of corn, kernels removed (you don’t need to cook the corn)

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the chicken:  In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, ginger, oil, soy sauce, Sriracha and peanut butter.  Add the chicken and toss to coat.  Let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat your grill.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding excess marinade, and place on grill. Grill pineapple and pepper at the same time.

Remove pineapple and pepper when charred. Let them cool and cut into bite size pieces. Keep cooking chicken until done.

Place coleslaw mix in a large bowl and add all other ingredients tossing to coat. Add in grilled pineapple and pepper. Divide into 4 portions and EAT!

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This was so good. Totally refreshing and a great meal on a warm night. The sweet pineapple mixes great with the salty and slightly spicy sauce on the coleslaw. The slaw is nice and cold and the chicken warm and grilled. I’d put together the slaw while the chicken grills. Let it combine and soak in the fridge while the chicken cooks. Toss again before serving.

If you don’t like onions or pepper or corn, just leave them out. I basically was adding whatever I had on hand for veggies. Enjoy!

Posted in Dinner, Dinner idea, Grilling, Main Dish | 1 Comment

Watermelon, feta, cucumber salad

I put together this light, fresh dish for a small Women’s Wine Wednesday at my house. I loved the sweet fruit, salty cheese and mild cucumber all flavored with some lime juice, a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Delicious!

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I mean this screams summer! Right?

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Watermelon, feta, cucumber salad, serves 4-6 as a side

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 cups water melon, cut into 1” chunks
  • 1/2 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1/2-3/4 cup diced or spialized cucumber
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (I used a Persian Lime flavor)
  • Balsamic vinegar or glaze (optional)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Arrange watermelon on a plate. Zest one half of a lime and juice it. Pour juice and zest on the watermelon.
  2. Cut cucumber and place on top of watermelon. Top evenly with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and feta cheese.
  3. Toss diced water melon, cucumber and ½ cup of feta cheese with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Chill in fridge until serving, the colder the better.

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I’ve really been hitting the jackpot with watermelon this summer! Yum! Enjoy.

Posted in Appetizer, Healthy Living, Salad, Sides, Veggie | 1 Comment