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Shop the Sale: Nature’s Own Whitewheat bread


When it comes to bread, do you have one of those picky eaters in your family?

You know, the ones who only want soft, fresh, white bread for toast and sandwiches – not the whole-wheat, higher-fiber varieties that you know are better for you?

Then maybe it’s time you got a little sneaky. Nature’s Own Whitewheat sandwich bread – on special this week at your neighborhood Brookshire’s – is tailor-made for white-bread traditionalists.

This bread is baked with a special enriched wheat flour and extra fiber, so it provides super nutritional benefits. It has about two grams of fiber in each slice, double what you get in a typical slice of white bread. It also delivers more calcium and iron than a typical whole wheat bread. And it’s made without artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup.

But just to look at it and taste it, you probably wouldn’t know you aren’t eating regular white bread.

The slices are just slightly more tan in color than a traditional white sandwich loaf. But the soft texture and the mild, wholesome taste will satisfy those who are looking for that fresh white bread flavor.  Try it in this simple update of the grilled cheese sandwich. Serve it with a cup of tomato or vegetable soup, and you’ll be getting the family to eat a lighter, healthier dinner without them even knowing it.

Grilled ham-and-cheese sandwiches

Makes four sandwiches

Ingredients:
8 slices white-wheat bread
8 slices deli ham, thinly sliced
8 thin slices sharp cheddar (about 4-6 ounces)
8 thin slices fresh tomato (about 1 large or two medium tomatoes)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter

Directions:
Lightly toast bread, on lowest setting of toaster, just to slightly dry it. Heat oven to 200 degrees.

Place four slices of bread on a cutting board and top with one slice cheese, one slice ham, tomato, then another piece of ham and another piece of cheese. Sprinkle each sandwich with a bit of salt and pepper, then top each with a piece of bread. Press together slightly.

Over medium heat, heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle. Melt one tablespoon butter, then add two sandwiches and cook until the bread is toasty and golden and the cheese is softened. Flip sandwich and cook until bread is golden and cheese is melted. Transfer to a warm oven and keep warm while you repeat the process with the remaining two sandwiches, using the second tablespoon of butter.

Transfer cooked sandwiches to cutting board and slice each in half. Serve.

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Posted in: Shop the Sale


Product Talk: Exploring Hispanic cheeses


Cheese is an important part of Mexican and Latin American cooking –but not just any cheese. There’s a whole world of specialty Hispanic cheeses out there. Mild crumbly cheeses to garnish a salad. Creamy, rich, meltable cheeses for sauces and pasta. Hard, intensely flavored cheeses to perk up any dish.

Smart U.S. cooks are finding out just how versatile these cheeses are, too. They not only make your Mexican dishes more flavorful and authentic, but they are a good, value-conscious substitute for many other kinds of commonly used cheeses. Here’s a starter guide to some of the most commonly found Hispanic cheeses – look for these varieties in the market section of your local store.

Asadero: Traditionally used in queso fundido – a kind of Mexican fondue that is similar to the chile con queso that’s popular in the U.S. It’s smooth, has just a bit of a bite, and melts easily, so it’s a good substitute for any melting cheese like Monterey jack, Colby-jack, fontina or American cheese.

Cotija: This is a firmer, stronger-tasting cheese that is typically crumbled or grated. Often called the “Parmesan cheese of Mexico,” it can be sprinkled over pasta or refried beans, over salads, or used to flavor tostadas or tacos. It’s salty and flavorful so you don’t need to use very much. Use instead of Parmesan, Romano, grana padano, or other hard, stronger cheeses.

Manchego: Creamy and meltable, with a nuttier, slightly stronger flavor than many of these other types. It’s good in sandwiches, pastas, or simply served with bread, crackers or olives. Mexican-style manchego is softer and milder than most Spanish-style manchego cheeses.

Panela: Mild and soft, this fresh cheese is often crumbled into tacos and burritos, or is good as a snack. It’s so mild that children will eat it like string cheese. It doesn’t melt well, though.

Oaxaca: The state of Oaxaca, in the southern part of Mexico, contributed this mild cheese, which is sometimes referred to as Mexican string cheese, as you can separate it into strands before eating or cooking. It’s somewhat similar in taste and texture to mozzarella, and good in quesadillas or even pizza.

Queso Fresco: A mild, crumbly cheese that’s often used atop beans, salads or tostadas; it doesn’t have the bite of cotija. You can substitute it for feta, which has a similar texture, but queso fresco doesn’t have quite as strong a taste as that traditional Greek cheese.

Quesadilla: A very mild, meltable cheese, perfect for grating and using in quesadillas, but also good in sandwiches, panini, or even melted on cheeseburgers. You may also find this cheese in a jalapeno flavor; it’s got the same texture but a hint of heat. It’s a great substitute for American, Monterey jack or Colby cheese.



Healthy Living: Smart snacks


Losing weight and getting fit always seem to be at the top of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions. After a month of holiday merrymaking, even if you’re not actively trying to lose weight, you’re probably ready to start returning to a healthier way of eating.

That doesn’t mean you have to give up little treats like the occasional snack.

In fact, I just ran across an idea from our friends at Kellogg’s that could help you snack and STILL lose weight: Substitute their healthy Special K snacks for higher-fat, higher-calorie snacks, and you could save from 246-306 calories per day.

Over a week’s time, that adds up. In fact, it would be enough of a calorie savings for the average adult to lose at least half a pound.

Their plan goes like this: The average adult, ages 20 to 70+, eats an average of 486 calories per day in snacks, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  Healthy Special K snacks – like multigrain snack crackers, strawberry fruit crisps, or sour cream and onion cracker chips – contain an average of 105 calories per serving.

So, even if you eat two Special K snacks every day, you’d still consume an average of only about 210 snack calories. Choose the lowest-calorie snacks, like Special K cereal bars, which contain only 90 calories per bar, and you’ll save even more calories.

Cutting calories, eating a balanced diet and exercising is the time-honored way to lose weight, of course. But, by the way, even the American Dietetic Association believes snacks have their place in a healthy diet for most people. Their caveats: 

• Snack only if you’re truly hungry. Don’t eat out of habit or boredom.

• Treat your snacks like nutritious mini-meals, and include their calories in the day’s overall calorie limit.

• Exercise portion control. You should always serve yourself an individual portion, rather than eating directly from the container, which makes it easy to overeat. Individually wrapped snacks are the way to go if you lack willpower.

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Orville Redenbacher Lives!


There really was an Orville Redenbacher. That wasn’t just a funny name that some marketing guys dreamed up to sell popcorn.

If you’re old enough, of course, you already probably knew that, because you remember the TV commercials ol’ Orville used to make in the ‘70s and ‘80s, wearing his trademark bowtie and glasses and talking a mile a minute about popcorn. He really was an Indiana popcorn farmer, who had started out as a popcorn-obsessed kid and then set out to develop the world’s best, fluffiest popcorn. He launched his self-named company in the 1970s, and the rest was TV, and grocery store, history.

Mr. Redenbacher passed on about 15 years ago, but the popcorn brand he started is still one of the best-loved in the U.S.  And just like the entrepreneur who started it, the brand keeps managing to reinvent one of our favorite snacks – with new ideas like their single-packet Flavors.

These flavor singles come in three varieties –Extra Cheese, White Cheddar, and, taking a cue from a popular potato chip flavor, Sea Salt and Vinegar. Each comes with a separate seasoning packet, so you can decide if you want just a light sprinkle of seasoning or an intense flavor. And, because they are sold individually, not in a multi-pack box, you can try all three, or stock up on each family member’s favorite flavor.

The new flavors join a big lineup of Orville Redenbacher’s products, including microwave popcorn in kettle corn, caramel corn, nacho cheese,movie-theater butter, and light varieties.

I understand why Orville’s popcorn has such staying power – it really is good, popping up big and fluffy and with few inedible widows, and with true, bright flavors.

And, of course, it’s benefited from our growing awareness that when it comes to snacks, popcorn is a pretty healthy choice. It’s a whole grain, so it delivers more fiber than the average salty snack food. And years ago, Orville Redenbacher’s ditched the trans fats and lowered the salt content in its leading variety.  So you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging. Seems that even back in the day, Orville Redenbacher was really onto something.

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Posted in: Kids, Product Talk


Product Talk: The original English muffin


Hard to believe, but before McDonald’s introduced its Egg McMuffin sandwich in the early 1970s, many Americans barely knew what an English muffin was.

This is especially hard to believe if, like me, you’re a fan of this versatile, relatively low-fat breakfast bread.

You probably can’t really remember when English muffins weren’t widely available in the bread aisle. And it’s even more unbelievable if you consider just how long English muffins have been around.

A form of this small, round, flat yeast muffin has been eaten for centuries in England. (Where, coincidentally, they’re just called muffins. Go figure.) In the United States, however, the modern English muffin was created more than 100 years ago, by the founder of what’s still considered the leading brand, Thomas’ English muffins.

That entrepreneur, Samuel Bath Thomas, opened a bakery in New York in 1880, to sell his original “Nooks & Crannies” English muffins. His secret was griddle baking, which gave the muffins their distinctive texture: crunchy and cornmeal-dusted on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, and riddled with little nooks that soaked up butter, honey or jam.

Over more than a century, the company has stayed true to its methods and ingredients for continued high quality, but has also modernized with new flavors (like cinnamon raisin) and  whole grain varieties. 

But even the plain, old-fashioned English muffin is a sensible breakfast choice. A whole English muffin has only 120 calories, one gram of fat, and no cholesterol. Compare that to many popular brands of bagels (which can run upwards of 300) or a supposed “healthy” bran muffin (as many as 500 calories.)  They’re especially healthy if you skip the butter and try one of these higher-protein or lower-calorie toppings:

     • Spread with peanut butter or almond butter.
     • Top with sliced tomato, a little shredded cheese and broil until cheese melts.
     • Use apple butter or low-sugar preserves.
     • Try fruit-flavored, lowfat cream cheese.
     • Make your own low-calorie “mcmuffin” knockoff with sliced, hardcooked egg; turkey bacon;and skim, shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil or microwave until cheese melts.       

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Posted in: Product Talk


Shop the Sale: Blue Diamond Almonds


Already the most popular nut in the U.S., the almond has gotten a lot of attention lately. Almonds keep showing up on the list of “superfoods”, recommended by dietitians and doctors because they pack a lot of nutritional punch per calorie. 

The argument that almonds are a “superfood” is pretty compelling: 

  • Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fat – the kind we’re supposed to be eating.
  • Studies have shown that eating them regularly can help reduce your risk of heart disease and lower your cholesterol.
  • Almonds can help you lose weight! Some research shows that because almonds contain a balance of protein, fat and fiber, eating them helps you feel full and satisfied, leading you to reduce food intake during the rest of your day.
  • They’re gluten-free.
  • They’re often tolerated by individuals who are allergic to peanuts (which are actually a legume, not a tree nut.)
  • Ounce for ounce, almonds have more protein, fiber, calcium and Vitamin E than any other nut.

This week is a great time to get into the almond habit: Blue Diamond almonds, a trusted brand for more than 100 years, are on sale at Brookshire’s. 

My favorite way to eat almonds is just right out of the container. But you can also toss a few into your morning yogurt or oatmeal; use flavored or salted ones to add crunch to a salad; add a few for crunch into tuna or chicken salad; or substitute them for other types of nuts in your favorite cookie or dessert recipe. 

Blue Diamond has also developed several flavored almond varieties, both savory and sweet. I find these make a great, mid-afternoon snack that’s much healthier than heading to the vending machine for a bag of chips. 

Or try this recipe, courtesy Blue Diamond, which adds even more flavor, but very little extra fat, to plain almonds. 

Roasted Almonds with Coriander, Chili and Olive Oil 

Ingredients:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups blanched almonds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed

1 to 3 small dried red chili peppers

2 generous pinches of sea salt 

Directions:

Add the olive oil and almonds to a hot saute pan. Saute and toast the almonds until golden brown, shaking the pan regularly to color them evenly and accentuate their nutty flavor. Crumble in the coriander and chili to taste, and add the sea salt. Toss over and serve hot on a large plate.

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Posted in: Shop the Sale


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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.

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