Sue's Watermelon Salad

“Twelve lucky women with only one thing on their minds (to enjoy themselves!) will gather at a beautiful hacienda to ‘Step Out’ of their ordinary lives for an evening.  The hostesses will see to it that the margaritas keep flowing, the dinner is delectable, and the Tarot card reader has his deck stacked.  A tattoo artist will be on hand to put ‘em anywhere you want ‘em, and the colorist will dye your hair to match.  The tattoos and hair color are temporary, but the memories are indelible.  Guys, don’t wait up.”

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It was 1998 and that was the description of the first fundraising auction item I ever hosted. It was the brainchild of two amazing women, my co-hostesses and auction co-chairs; the gals that taught me how to run fundraisers.  Our school, meaning our children’s school, had never held a fundraiser and these two women decided it was time.  Wonderful friends, they brought me in to form the event-chair-trifecta that changed the world.  Okay, maybe not the world, but at least the little world of our preschool and elementary school which is still hosting the same fundraising event to this day.

I learned so much from my friends during the six months or more that we planned, met, schemed and struggled with how to get a community involved and participating in a new event to raise money for a school.  They taught me many things, but the thing I remembered most and used numerous times in the years to come was how to create an auction item out of nothing.  We looked at our audience, analyzed our best buyers, scrutinized what would sell and decided one thing for sure....our mom’s needed a night out.  There was no question that someone would see that description and put together a group to pay the big bucks that our school needed.  And they did.

Bidding was fast and furious for Girls Night Out.

We had the time of our lives.  My two friends and I donned our aprons, mixed the margaritas and whipped up a simple dinner for a group of wonderful, happy, thankful, loving women.  The guests sat by the pool, they talked, they laughed and they swam.  They drank, they ate, they dyed their hair and got tattoos and had their fortunes read.  I felt like I had won the auction by having them there.

Whenever I come across this recipe I smile.  I smile at the memory.  I smile because of the education I received from my two friends.  And I smile because this salad was so darn good that it matched the night perfectly.

Sue's Watermelon Salad

 "When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way." - Wayne Dyer

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Sue’s Watermelon Salad

2 T sweetened shredded dried coconut 8 cups peeled and cubed seedless watermelon (1 small watermelon) 1/2 cup peeled and cubed jicama (1/2 medium jicama) 2-1/2 cups peeled and cubed cucumber (1 large cucumber) 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

In a small pan over medium-low heat, stir coconut until lightly toasted.  Remove from heat and set aside. Mix together all other ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon salad onto plates and sprinkle coconut on top.

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Credit:  Sue originally got a similar version of this recipe from Sunset magazine.