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Family Matters: Quick & Easy Chicken Pot Pie


Quick & Easy Chicken Pot Pies

A family friend made Chicken Pot Pie one night for a get-together, and my family loved it. We, of course, then had to ask for the recipe, and we have been making it for a few years now. I did not eat Chicken Pot Pie, but after trying this recipe, I enjoy making it and eating it. This recipe makes two pot pies.

We often get in the habit of eating the “same old thing” because it is easier than trying to figure something else out, and we know the family likes it. Don’t be afraid to cook something new and different for your family to try. This recipe is packed with vegetables and chicken, and it is a quick and easy hot meal. Hope you enjoy this recipe and enjoy time at the table eating supper together. Count your blessings daily and remind your family to give thanks for a meal on the table each night.

Quick & Easy Chicken Pot Pies

Ingredients:
2 pkg deep dish pie crusts
2 large cans chunk white meat chicken breast
2 large cans Veg-All Mixed Vegetables
1 large can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
McCormick Season All

Directions:
Mix the soup and vegetables (drained) in a large bowl. Add some seasoning for added flavor and then add the chicken (break apart as you put in bowl). Mix all together. Pour in an uncooked pie shell and then flip the second uncooked pie shell on top of the filled one. Pinch the edges together around the pie, and cut small slits in the top of the shell for air and a small hole in the middle of the top. It may look weird, but when it cooks, the shell will lay down. Place in oven and cook at 350° F for approximately 35 minutes and until golden-brown on top. Remove from oven and it is ready to serve. My kids like to add grated cheese on top before eating.

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Family Matters: Walk the Talk


Treadmill

As a parent with children, we at times tell our kids how to act or what to do, and we later find ourselves not doing the same. Over the years, I have talked to my kids about overeating or eating healthy but not followed suit. Well, as I have gotten older, I have gained weight, and with my family history of heart problems and high blood pressure, that is not healthy. So, I went out and purchased a treadmill and starting walking every day.

I finally hit my tipping point a few months ago and realized that I needed to get in shape, not only for my own health but for my husband and four daughters. I want to be around to see my children have a family of their own (and some grandkids!). I now get up 30 minutes early every morning and walk one mile before work, and when I get home, I walk another mile. Two miles may not seem like a lot, but for someone who has not exercised in 20 years, it is a big deal. I started watching what I eat, and within two weeks, I can truly feel the difference and my family is proud of me. My goal is to increase my distance of course, but at least I have started in the right direction.

I say all this to tell you that as I have finally made the commitment to change my life for the better, I came home last week to find one of my children running on the treadmill. I was surprised and even more surprised to find out that the other three had been doing the same but none of them had mentioned it to me. Now, we take turns as a family working out on the treadmill. Not only am I now getting my money’s worth out of the machine, but my entire family is in the process of living a healthier life.

Remember: “walk the talk” in all that you do. This is so very important in our Christian lives especially. Let us all reflect Him daily in our actions and words, that His name may be glorified. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you have with your family.

 



Family Matters: Summer Saving Ideas


Summer Saving Ideas

During the summer months with teenage kids at home, our electric and grocery bills greatly increase. So, during this time especially, we try as a family to make good use of resources and find ways to cut back and save. A few ideas:

  • Plan meals the kids can cook for supper. This keeps parents from picking up fast food on the way home. 
  • Use your slow cooker. Go through the freezer and find meat you have not had time to prepare. Put the meat in the slow cooker when you leave for work, and when you arrive home, the main dish will be ready. Just open a few cans of vegetables or make a salad. 
  • Freeze leftover vegetables from meals and use them to make a stew, soup or pot pie one night.  Do not throw out any leftovers. Use for another meal or make something else later.
  • Refrigerate leftover breakfast foods like eggs, sausage or biscuits to be eaten the next day.
  • If you want fast food, find a cheap burger deal and make fries and drinks at home.
  • Rent a new release and watch at home as a family instead of going to the movie theater.
  • Cook a pot of pinto beans and cornbread one day, and then add beef and chili seasoning to leftovers and have chili for another meal. 
  • Teach the family to be mindful:
    • Don’t pour more milk than you need for cereal. If you do, drink it.
    • Don’t forget to tie the bread package so it does not dry out.
    • Don’t forget to close the chip package so they do not get stale.
    • Watch TV with lights off, especially during the day. 
    • Wash full loads of clothes, not just an outfit or two. This may just be a girl thing!
    • Hang clothes on a clothes line outside to dry, and then toss them in the dryer for a few minutes to soften them up.
    • Push the thermostat up when you leave for work. Anything cooler than outside, the kids will be fine.

With the cost of living and food prices rising, we need to all look for ways to save. Some things don’t appear to be big, but in the end, it all adds up. Teach your children to be good stewards of time and money, a great lesson in responsibility. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the opportunities we have to work together as a family!    

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Family Matters: Laughter Matters


Laughter Matters

When is the last time you laughed…I mean really laughed? Remember as a child when you used to get so tickled at something that you laughed until you cried (or almost wet your pants!)? Well, those days do not have to be gone. Recently, my family and I purchased some Christian comedian videos and sat down one night to watch several of them. You talk about funny (and clean). This made for such a refreshing and fun family time.

I know in our house we have several jokesters, so we laugh quite a bit. There is such a need for true, heartfelt “belly” laughter that just takes over your body and restores our hearts to a good place. Life keeps us all busy and we so often miss things that should bring us joy. I think laughter is one of those things. There are two commercials that literally make me laugh out loud, and my family gets a kick out of watching me get so tickled, even though I have seen them a dozen times.

This past weekend, we had a women’s event at church, and we watched a female Christian comedian tell her life stories and her testimony. She was one of the funniest women I have ever heard, and it was such a blessing to be in a room full of women enjoying fellowship and “true laughter.” Looking back at our lives from childhood, there are some pretty amazingly funny stories we all have, but some people are just gifted to share those.

Whether it is your family or a group of friends gathered together, laughter matters. Don’t forget to take time with those you love and find the blessing of “true laughter.” God has given us so much to find joy and laughter in. Don’t let those moments get away. Rent a Christian comedian video and see what a difference it makes to have an hour of really good, clean and refreshing laughter. Count your blessings daily, and give thanks for the times you are given to laugh together.

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Family Matters: Family Down Time


Down TimeSpring is here. Have you taken time to smell the flowers, sat and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, or breathed in some fresh air? Most families are so busy that they don’t take time to just sit still, listen to the birds chirping, smell the fresh air and enjoy the blessings around them each day. It is important that your family has some “down time” to recoup from busy work weeks, daily pressures and the shuffling of children, and your kids need it, too!

Make plans to sit out on your porch with your family and catch up on what is happening in their lives. If you have a hammock, lie in it, soak up the sun and feel the breeze blowing while you leisurely enjoy your family. Break out the dominos or cards, and play some games with your children. This is such a great way to reconnect as a family, and there are no pressures and no expectations other than resting and taking a breather from your busy lives. 

If your family enjoys walking (but you never have time), go to a local park with your family and family pet, if you have one. Have a nice peaceful walk, enjoy a picnic and take a little nap while you breathe in the fresh outdoors. Take a drive in the country with your windows down, go fishing or take a family bike ride. Where would you rather be than with your family?

Everyone needs “down time” so we don’t get burnt out and start missing the wonderful things that each of us have been blessed with daily but miss due to being so busy. If we are refreshed and rested, it brings forth a new outlook and attitude for the people and things we encounter. “Down time” with your family will be what they remember. It’s the little things that count the most. Don’t let the most important thing in life pass you by. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for time with family!

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Family Matters: The Last Word…


Last WordsRecently, our family has endured the loss of several parents and close friends. These times bring sadness, but they also bring to light the life that was lived and to be remembered by those left behind.  As I have sat through the services, it has made me evaluate my own life and how I live each day. If it was me, what would be the “last word” said about the person I was?

Are we kind, considerate and loving to those we meet each day? Are we generous and giving of ourselves, our time and our talents? Do we judge others by who they are or where they came from? Do we greet everyone we meet with a smile and give words of encouragement? Are we honest, trustworthy and dependable? Do we work hard and diligently in everything? Most importantly, do we have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do we live daily to reflect it? The list may be different for each of us, but the question is – when they stand to honor your life, what do you want the “last words” to be?

I want my life to reflect things that will make my husband, kids and family proud. I want to be known as a Christ-centered wife, mother, sister, friend and (one day) grandmother who loved the Lord and had a faith that changed the lives of those around me. I had several friends who attended my father’s funeral tell me, “I wish I had met your father; he sounded like a wonderful man”…and that he was.  What a legacy he left for his kids and grandkids that he was loved, admired and respected by so many over the years. 

It isn’t too late to finish writing your story. It is up to you who you want to be. We all make our own choices in life; we just have to decide if they will be something that we want people to remember about us. What do others see when they look at you? What will your legacy be when you are gone?

When we hear the “last word,” it comes with tears, a deep sorrow and, in the end, an everlasting remembrance of those lost. Though they are gone, they will not be forgotten because their legacy lives on in the lives of those left behind. Praying your “last words” will be an encouragement and life changing to those who hear. Give thanks daily for the time you have with your family.

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Family Matters: Slow Cooker Delight – Sweet BBQ


BBQOur family enjoys all types of barbecue, and recently a friend shared a recipe which we absolutely loved and have made several times already. The recipe is so easy (which with a family is great), and it cooks while you sleep or while you are busy during the day. Try it and see for yourself!  

Slow Cooker Delight – Sweet BBQ

Ingredients:
pork loin or pork roast (medium sized)
1 pkg McCormick Grill Mates BBQ Rub
1 1/2 cans Dr Pepper
1 (16 oz) bottle Claude’s Barbeque Meat Marinade (liquid)
6-8 fresh garlic cloves
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce

Place pork in large slow cooker and rub the Grill Mates BBQ Rub all over the meat. Add the Dr Pepper, Claude’s Barbeque Meat Marinade and the fresh garlic cloves. Cover and cook 6-8 hours (until it is falling apart). Once it is cooked, pour out all of the liquid and garlic cloves in the slow cooker. Add Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce over the pork and heat to serve. 

The pulled pork can be served as a main dish with vegetables and a salad, or make pulled pork sandwiches served with chips or french fries. My kid’s favorite is to put the pulled pork and grated cheese in a flour tortilla and make a rollup. 

It is simple and easy recipes like this that give you more time to spend with your family and make great recipes to pass down for generations to come. Make this recipe and fill more than their stomach – fill them with sweet memories. Count your blessings daily, and give thanks for the time you are given with your family.  

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Family Matters: Brothers…Make a Difference


BrothersIt’s funny to me that I have four daughters but grew up with seven boys…3 brothers and the others were family. I was a “tomboy” by every means and enjoyed hanging out with the boys and their friends. It was a given that no one messed with me or they would be answering to more than one. It was a great feeling knowing my brothers loved me and wanted to protect me. I always knew I was special to them, as they were to me.

We all married and have children of our own now. My brothers live close and I see them regularly. While my “other brothers” live away, they are not forgotten. I am always telling my girls stories of how much fun my brothers and I had growing up on our dairy farm. Having brothers was (and still is) a blessing and I treasure every moment with them.

We recently found out my youngest brother has cancer and will soon begin chemotherapy and radiation. It was a shock to our family, but we are all committed to facing it together. I now find myself in the role that my brothers played in wanting to protect and comfort him at all costs. I daily ask the Lord to give him strength to face each day and peace in knowing that he is loved by so many who will be there with him through this trial. My heart is broken and tears are shed, but my faith keeps me focused and gives me hope in the tough days ahead.

There is a lot that my brother will need in coming months. We will see that his needs are met, but most of all, he needs our prayers. In my family, we know there is “one greater” and we look to Him daily for direction, comfort, peace and understanding in all things. Our families have faced many trials over the years. The one thing we know for sure is that prayer works miracles, and that is what we are now praying for. God is good and His love endures forever.

Remember that even though we are not kids anymore, we need to always love and support our siblings. Don’t miss out on opportunities to tell those you love how you feel. Reach out to your “brothers” and let them know how special they are. Most importantly, PRAY daily. It makes ALL the difference. Count your blessings and give thanks for time with family!

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Family Matters: Valentine’s Tradition


Valentines

Flowers, candy and stuffed animals are what most people think about when you mention Valentine’s Day. At our house, we treat Valentine’s Day differently; we don’t do the traditional flowers and candy. My husband found after a few years of purchasing items for five women in the house that it is a lot of money spent on things that are short lived. So, he decided to make a new tradition that would not take the “sweetness” out of the occasion. 

Every year, my girls and I are treated to a home-cooked meal prepared by their dad and then a trip to a movie. We go to an early show (saves money), and since we just ate at home, no one is hungry for snacks at the movie (another money saving tip). As a family of six, we do not go to the movie but a few times a year, so this is a real treat for us to go together. The meal is always special knowing it was prepared with love and then sitting together as a family and enjoying it. 

To some, our Valentine’s tradition may not be what you consider spectacular, but to our family, it is something we look forward to each year. The money spent on flowers, candy and stuffed animals is something that no one remembers weeks later, but the time my husband spends making Valentine’s special each year, we will forever hold dear. 

Don’t go broke trying to show those you love the most that they are special. Focus on your family by personally adding a little “sweetness” to their Valentine’s. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you are given with them.  

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Family Matters: Hugs…A Special Touch


Family MattersAs you can guess, living in a house with four girls is always interesting, never calm and very seldom peaceful for long periods of time. When you have so many different personalities (and hormones) within the same household, you just expect days of total chaos, but I don’t think our family is any different from many others. Among all the drama and “life is never going to be the same again” happenings, there is a sisterly love and affection that they just have to be reminded of sometimes. 

I have always been a “hugger” when it comes to family and close friends and sometimes just to those that I realize need something to lift them up. A hug has a special effect on people – no magic, it is just that sense of comfort and the warm embrace that lifts the heart. It is such a small gesture and yet can have such a positive effect on those whom you choose to share. 

When our girls just can’t seem to find a “happy medium” or find kind words to express to one another, we make them stand in the middle of the room, both arms wrapped around their bodies and hug each other for one minute and then tell each other “I love you.” It is funny how long a minute lasts when you are embracing your sister. By the time the minute is over, they are laughing and giggling (as we are watching them), and in the end they rarely remember what the argument was about in the first place. It is nice to see them smiling and laughing, and without really knowing it, they are bonding. I think the expression “bear hug” is used because a good hug can calm even the most furious of situations.

As a parent, we cradled our little ones in our arms, what a great feeling it was, but as they get older, things change. The good news is that you can always embrace your child and squeeze them tight, and even if no words are spoken, the gesture (hug) alone speaks volumes. Your kids are never too old that they don’t need or would not welcome a hug. You will find that hugging your child will have a transforming effect on your everyday life…and theirs!

We are not promised tomorrow, so we must live each day with no regrets. Hug your family daily and be reminded of how blessed you are. Such a simple gesture will change your family and be a life lesson for your children. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you have to “hug” your family.  

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