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Family Matters: Foraging Treats for Pet Rodents


While searching for treats for small pets, I came across an absolutely ingenious idea that is not only a food reward for your small rodent (rat, mouse, guinea pig) but also a great foraging activity as well.

Start with a bell pepper. Cut a small hole in the side, leaving the top intact. Remove seeds and pith through the hole. Stuff the bell pepper with a few baby carrots, some 2-inch sections of celery, some sugar snap peas and chunks of the removed piece of bell pepper. Hang the stuffed pepper from a string in your rodent’s habitat, and let him forage in it to get his treats. Remove when vegetables begin to get limp, before they spoil.

 

TIP: Only offer this treat on an occasional basis, as too many fruits and vegetables can cause intestinal distress in rodents.



Family Matters: Pet Bird Treats


Help keep your pet bird cool this summer, even if he is an indoor pet, with some frozen treats that will keep him chilled and help his foraging skills.

Simply freeze some chunks of berry, banana and apple in an ice cube tray. Add in some birdseed if you wish. Let harden, and then give your bird a cube when he needs some good, cool fun.

He’ll enjoy pecking out the parts he likes, and he’ll stay cool doing it.

You can even freeze one of his favorite small toys inside an ice block, and let him chip it out with his beak.

TIP: Peel a banana, and freeze the fruit itself for another way to let your bird enjoy a cold, tasty treat.



Family Matters: Frozen Chicken and Apple Dog Treats


It’s so hot outside, and I can’t even imagine what it feels like to have a layer of thick fur on when you spend a couple hours a day outside.

My pup has plenty of shade and water when he has to be outside during the day, but it’s also great to be able to make him some cold, tasty treats to enjoy to help him beat the heat.

This super-simple recipe is nice for him to enjoy when he is outside in the hot, summer sun.

Frozen Chicken and Apple Dog Treats

Ingredients:
2 cups chicken stock (prepared without onion)
1 apple, thinly sliced

Directions:
Place multiple apple slices in the compartments of an ice cube tray. Pour chicken stock on top of apple slices. Freeze until solid. Serve to your pet one at a time when he’s outside to help cool him off.

TIP: Substitute fresh green beans or shredded carrots for the apples or coconut water for the chicken stock.



Family Matters: Catsicles


I recently adopted a cat. More accurately, he adopted me. He was abandoned by a neighbor who moved away. After a few months of seeing him wander the neighborhood sadly, I couldn’t take it anymore, and he became mine. He’s mostly an outdoor cat, so he needs to stay cool and healthy in the summer heat.

He loves this catsicles, and I’ve learned that they sell milk for cats (don’t use human milk! Your cat can’t digest it well, no matter what myths you see and hear!)

Keep some of these in your freezer, and your cat will come running.

Catsicles

Ingredients:
2 bananas, mashed
2 cups cat milk
1/4 cup dried cat food, crushed

Directions:
Combine the mashed banana and cat milk in a bowl; mix until smooth.

Crush the cat food, and place in the bottom of a small paper cup (like the kind you use in a bathroom). Pour banana mixture on top. Freeze cups until mixture is firm. When ready to serve, peel cups away from catsicle, and let your cat enjoy it outside.

TIP: Your cat might also enjoy eating wet cat food frozen. Simply freeze a pate-style food in a paper cup. When ready to serve, peel cup away, and let your feline enjoy it outside.



Dine In: Cowboy Butter


My co-workers welcome me back to the office on Monday mornings with the same greeting, “What did you grill this weekend?”

The joke has become that it’s usually meat with a side of meat.

It’s just a joke, sort of.

We do grill pretty much every weekend. While I try to include a wide variety of proteins and I really make an effort to get creative with grilled side dishes and vegetables, we do eat a lot of meat. We also do a lot of surf and turf, since I prefer seafood while my boyfriend is a carnivore through and through.

When I do want the ultimate indulgence, steak with cowboy butter is the way to go. This cowboy butter is actually amazing on any kind of red meat, seafood (I have to try it on lobster tail!), chicken or pork (yes, so pretty much anything).

Serve it as a warm side to your grilled meats, and it’s even delicious for crusty bread or cornbread.

Tip: This Cowboy Butter can be made ahead. Just keep it refrigerated. Reheat and melt when it’s time to serve.

Cowboy Butter

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, melted
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs prepared horseradish
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
2 Tbs parsley, freshly chopped
1 Tbs chives, freshly chopped
2 tsp thyme, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
In a bowl, whisk butter, lemon juice, garlic, shallots, mustard, horseradish, cayenne and paprika. Add parsley, chives and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 430, Fat: 47 g (29 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 122 mg, Sodium: 430 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 1 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: The Chores Can Wait


Chores Can WaitThis morning (Saturday), I woke up with a to-do list a mile long. Make that a mile and a half.

I wanted to get the grocery shopping done early. I had laundry backed up all week. There are at least four problem areas in my house that have stuff piled so high that someone might call “Hoarders” on me for an intervention if I don’t get them sorted out soon. The bathrooms weren’t cleaned this week. There was yard work that needed to be done if the homeowner’s association wasn’t going to be paying me a visit, and my list didn’t even include the daily things that just need to be done.

I drove my older son to work and came home ready to tackle the tasks at hand.

“What are we going to do today?” my younger son asked.

I started to list off the things I was going to get done today.

“Okay,” he said, quietly.

“Why?” I asked him. “What did you want to do today?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said, noncommittally.

I went toward the shower, determined to get through my list.

Then, I stopped. I’d worked all week. He’d been cooped up in the house all week. I knew that he was itching to get out and do something. I knew he wasn’t asking me to do anything extravagant or expensive. I knew that he just wanted a few minutes of my time. Actually, with his brother at work, it was a golden opportunity.

I will admit that I hesitated for a moment. Oh, that list!

I went back to the living room.

“Do you want to go to the park?

Walks with Mom are his love language. Ever since he was a toddler, it was our thing to do together, even if we only made it 50 feet down the driveway and collecting rocks, which he’d hand me like treasures, all the while clutching one in his chubby little baby hand.

His freckled face exploded into sunshine.

“Yes!”

We went to the park. We walked on the trails for about an hour. We both came home with enough happiness to fuel the entire weekend.

I didn’t make it through my whole to-do list today, but that’s fine. It will all still be there tomorrow, but the chances to take walks with my teenage son are a precious commodity. I’ll always put those on the top of my to-do list.

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Posted in: Family Matters


Product Talk: Noonday Onions


Summer is (practically) here and so are Noonday onions.

Noonday onions were made famous over 40 years ago for their sweet flavor and crisp texture. Noonday, Texas exports them, and Brookshire’s stocks them all over the South for people to enjoy these onions full of deliciousness.

Noonday sweet onions are a yellow onion that’s harvested all summer long and honored at a festival each May. The city of Noonday is located a few miles south of Tyler, home to the headquarters of Brookshire’s. To qualify as a Noonday onion, these sweet treats must be grown within a 10-mile radius of Noonday.

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine In: Memorial Day Baked Beans


Memorial Day Baked BeansIt’s Memorial Day weekend, and I hope you’re going to get out and enjoy the long weekend with family and friends.

Memorial Day almost always means a picnic for me, and I love me some good picnic food.

I always head straight for the baked beans, if I don’t bring them myself, that is. I like them savory, not too sweet. To be quite honest, I could eat only baked beans and be quite happy. Well, beans and German potato salad, maybe. And homemade ice cream. And watermelon. Possibly a burger or rib.

Fine. I like it all.

This version of baked beans can certainly stand alone as a main dish and (for real this time) has actually done so in my house! It’s also good for a picnic or buffet because there’s nothing in it that will spoil, and it still tastes good at room temperature.

Memorial Day Baked Beans

Ingredients:
3 (16 oz) cans pork and beans
1 lb ground beef, browned
2 Tbs brown mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tsp cumin
8 slices bacon

Directions:
Mix beans, ground beef, mustard, brown sugar, ketchup and cumin together. Spread in a 9-inch square casserole dish. Lay slices of bacon on top.

Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes, or until beans are bubbly and bacon is beginning to crisp.

Serves 10 to 12 (as a side dish)

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 346, Fat: 11 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 64 mg, Sodium: 999 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 15 g, Protein: 26 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Healthy Living: Freeze Your Fruit


No doubt the summer months produce some of the best fruit of the year, but how do you maximize all those great flavors – and the nutritional value – later in the year?

You can freeze summer fruits for use a few months down the road without compromising their taste, textures or nutrients if you go about it the right way.

  • For raspberries and blackberries, rinse, dry thoroughly, and then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer overnight. The next morning, portion into freezer bags or containers and seal well.
  • For blueberries, remove stems, rinse and dry. Then, follow the same method for raspberries and blackberries.
  • For strawberries, rinse, dry completely and then remove stems. Chop or slice and freeze until solid.
  • If you want to freeze fresh cherries, rinse, dry, remove pits and slice before freezing until solid.
  • Bananas are easy. Just peel and freeze until solid. They’re great for smoothies and banana bread.
  • For stone fruits like peaches, rinse, dry, peel, slice, remove pit and freeze until solid.
  • Apples are easy, too. Rinse, dry, peel, cut into chunks and freeze until solid.
  • For melons, remove the inside flesh and chop. Freeze until solid.
  • Citrus fruits can also be frozen. Rinse, dry, slice or segment and freeze until solid.

All these fruits are great for smoothies, toppings on yogurt, mixed into oatmeal or cereal, or baked into breads, muffins or cookies. You get summer taste and nutrition all year long.



Product Talk: Mi Costeñita Spices


One of my favorite places in Brookshire’s is the wall of hanging Mi Costeñita spices in the produce department.

There are rows and rows of small packages of the most aromatic dried spices you can imagine, cumin seeds, dried peppers, oregano, smoky paprika, basil, garlic powder and so much more.

Founded in 1995, the Mi Costeñita company sells dried herbs, spices and snacks such as mango chips. Their selection of dried peppers is absolutely amazing, including ancho chiles, guajillo chiles, abol sin pata chiles and more. You can grind them into spices yourself, use them as seasonings in sauces and stocks, or finely dice for rice or a filling for enchiladas or tamales.

My favorite is the dried cumin seeds that I can grind myself. The flavor is intense!

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Posted in: Product Talk


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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

Product Talk

Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.

Healthy Living

Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

Shop the Sale

On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.

Family Matters

Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

Dine In

Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.

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