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Family Matters: Will Eat For A Snow Cone


Meat, corn, carrots and fruit are all the foods my daughter will eat. That’s it! She will not eat bread, sandwiches, peanut butter, cheese, pasta, nuts—nothing else! Oh, do we have a challenge packing her lunch everyday for school.  On the other hand, my teenager son will eat everything on his plate and in the house! 

Like other Moms, I come home from work and head straight to the kitchen to prepare dinner for that night. After slaving in the kitchen, I proudly sit dinner on the table thinking I have accomplished this grand task and that I’m truly an amazing Mom! Then out of her mouth comes the dreaded words, “I don’t like this, do I have to eat this, what is this stuff?” My self-accomplishment just went into the trash along with her dinner. 

I knew I had to devise a plan to get my picky eater to start trying new foods or she would be eating meat, fruit and those two vegetables for the rest of her life.  So she and I sat down and developed the “Will Eat For A Snow Cone” picky eater plan.

Here’s how it works. For every new food she tries, she gets to put a sticker on a chart, when she earns 10 stickers, she get a reward. When earning 10 stickers becomes to easy for her, then we’ll raise the bar to 20 stickers for a reward. Right now her reward is walking the dog 2.5 miles round trip to the snow cone stand. She looks forward to this every weekend and is working hard to earn her 10 stickers so she doesn’t miss out on her snow cone treat and walking the dog adventure. 

So in the future, I’ll keep preparing new foods for her to try. Hopefully she will find a few that she really likes. If not, I pray that when she becomes a teenager she’ll be somewhat like her older brother and eat everything on her plate too!



Family Matters: Our Camping Staycation


Our children never ask us what our plans are each spring break. They know that, in our home, spring break means one thing: Time to go camping! 

It seems everyone else had the same idea we did because every state park nearby was full before I could make our reservation. I guess lots of folks enjoy camping in the great outdoors! 

I did not want our camping tradition to be broken, so I decided we would just have to have a “camping staycation”— camping at home! 

We spent Thursday night preparing the menus and grocery shopping for the weekend’s events. Friday night’s menu was grilled steak, corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, rolls and our traditional s’mores for dessert. Saturday night was hamburger and hotdog night followed again with the kids’ favorite—s’mores! Sunday was a busy day – the perfect time to make taco soup in our slow cooker. 

Each night, we sat outside at our picnic table and pretended we were camping in a state park. We live in the country with lots of critters running around, so it was easy to imagine! 

One of our camping traditions is to watch scary movies at our camp site, so each night, I popped popcorn, and my husband set up a TV on the deck to make sure our scary movie nights continued. We turned off all of the outside lights, lit lanterns and built a fire in the outdoor fireplace. 

Even though we didn’t actually go anywhere to camp out, our family had a great time during our own backyard “camping staycation!” 

Slow Cooker Taco Soup 

Ingredients:
1.5 Lbs ground beef
1 chopped onions
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
2 cans pinto beans
1 can chopped chilies
1 can corn
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 pkg ranch dressing mix 

Directions:
Brown ground beef with onions. Drain water from beans and corn. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Add 2-3 cups of water. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.



Family Matters: Self-serve parfait bar


For birthday parties or a special after-school treat, kids love the fun of a make-it-yourself sundae bar. So why not steal the idea, but give it a healthier twist – and create a self-serve parfait bar. (After all, as Donkey famously said in the first Shrek, everybody loves parfaits!)

Grade-school kids can make these themselves, with a little supervision and prep work from you, and even younger kids can choose what toppings they want. You can make this work with just about any kind of non-citrus fruit, but berries, peaches and bananas seem to work the best. We’ve listed some treat ideas for toppings, but use your imagination. To keep it healthier, offer only a small amount of things like chocolate chips, and make sure there are plenty of better choices such as nuts and seeds.

For a shortcut, you can use pre-sweetened vanilla yogurt or honey yogurt, but I prefer plain. That way, you can control the amount and type of sweetener used.

Do-it-yourself yogurt parfait

Makes 2 parfaits

Ingredients:
1 cup nonfat plain or Greek yogurt
2 Tbs honey or agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sliced fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, peaches, pineapple)
1/3 cup granola

Directions:
Additional toppings, such as toasted coconut, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, chocolate shavings, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts

Combine yogurt, honey or agave nectar, and vanilla.

In an ice-cream sundae glass, or a medium-size clear plastic cup, place a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt. Layer with about one-quarter cup of fruit and a spoonful of granola. Repeat layers of yogurt, fruit and granola, ending with one small dollop of yogurt. Repeat to make second parfait.

Let each guest add choice of toppings. Serve immediately.

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Family Matters: Packing a healthier lunch


What’s in your child’s school lunch? More people – including British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver – have been asking that question lately, hoping to encourage parents and schools to give children a more nutritious mid-day meal.

The best way to influence your child’s lunchtime habits, of course, is to pack it yourself. But how do you pack a healthier lunch and end up with something they’ll actually eat, and not toss in the trash, so they’re ready for an afternoon of learning, playing and growing? Get started here:

Get kids involved in planning: If your children go along when you do the grocery shopping, let them select some or all of their lunch components. (This works best, obviously, if you narrow down their choices first to just a few choices, so you don’t spend all day in the store.) If they don’t accompany you, ask for their requests before you head to the store. Again, this works best if you have a list of good choices to start from.

Get the proper packaging: Since kids don’t have access to microwaves or refrigerators, a small investment in thermal containers and coldpacks is worth it. It will allow much more creativity in lunch-packing – soups, pastas, cool desserts – and more importantly, it will keep cold and hot foods safe and appetizing to eat.

Pack ahead: Mornings are a rush job in most households. If you only have two minutes to throw lunch together, it’s far too easy to rely on leftover pizza and a bag of chips. Instead, pack the night before, right after dinner, before you’ve cleaned up the kitchen. Make it a family project; older kids can make their own lunches while you load the dishwasher, or younger ones can help pull out lunch components  with your supervision.

Make simple substitutions, and phase them in gradually: You don’t have to make drastic changes, at least not right away. A few small substitutions will get you on the way to healthier lunches fast. For instance, substitute yogurt-covered raisins, trail mix, or plain dried fruit for candy. Use mustard or fat-free mayo instead of full-fat mayonnaise or sandwich spread. Send pretzels or carrots with ranch dressing instead of chips; lean turkey instead of fatty pepperoni or bologna on a sandwich.

Experiment a little: We all tend to end up in a lunch rut. Get away from the sandwich-chips-fruit combo. Why not hummus and pita chips, or bean dips and baked tortilla chips, or even a container of edamame? Make that sandwich on pita bread, a whole-wheat bagel, or a tortilla. Try a Greek yogurt cup instead of pudding.

Allow the occasional surprise treat: Nobody can be perfect all the time, so it’s fun for kids to discover the occasional unexpected treat. A fun-size candy bar, a small bag of chips, a cookie – anything that’s school-approved should be included at least once in a while, to mix things up and remind kids that moderation is the goal.



Family Matters: Homemade Ornaments


Does it feel like the holidays rush by every year, and they’re over before you’ve even had a chance to relax and enjoy them?

This year, make a promise to slow down and create some special holiday memories with your family – in the kitchen, of course. These old-fashioned dough ornaments are fun for the whole family to make, and easy enough that even the littlest kids can get in on the act. Double or triple the recipe and you’ll have enough dough to invite friends, neighbors and cousins for an ornament-making party. While the ornaments are baking, serve hot chocolate and play board games, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

The basic dough recipe is below, but you can find illustrated step-by-step directions in the December issue of Celebrate Cooking. You can pick up your free copy at your local store, or view the digital edition online at brookshires.com.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Dough Ornaments

Ingredients:
4 cups Food Club Flour
1 cup Food Club salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
Red and green food coloring

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead by hand until elastic and smooth.

Divide dough into roughly three equal pieces. Leave one portion white. In the other two portions, work in red and green food coloring by kneading,  adding color until you reach the desired hue.

Roll small pieces of dough into long, thin ropes and twist together to form candy canes and wreaths. Hand-cut small bows of red or green dough to decorate wreaths. Place ornaments on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake until hard, about one hour.



Family Matters: Autumn trail mix


After a long, hot – OK, super-hot – summer, we’re finally getting into the fall mood around my house. One of our favorite fall traditions for the past few years has been making seasonal goodies together. It’s just more fun to get in the kitchen when there’s a hint of cool air outside.

My daughter Grace’s favorite treat to make is a Harvest Trail Mix, good for Halloween or any fall occasion. Grace loves making this because there’s no real recipe to follow. She can mix-and-match, depending on what we have in the house and what she feels like snacking on. This is a good treat to take to fall parties or to let the kids munch on after school; Grace likes to include a small bag in her lunchbox, for a healthy treat.

Making trail mix is so easy that even very young children can help. For younger kids, you can put a small quantity of each ingredient in a large bowl and let them scoop as much as they want of each into the container, rather than turning them loose with big, spillable bags and boxes. Let them mix it with their (well-washed) hands! Then, store in a tightly covered container.

If you’re taking it to a party, older kids can also help you package it in individual packs. You can just use sandwich bags, or for a themed event, buy individual goodie bags and secure with black-and-orange ribbon or raffia.

Your ingredients can vary, but here are some ideas for a simple autumn mix:

  • Popcorn
  • pretzels
  • goldfish (any flavor)
  • Cheerios
  • raisins
  • candy corn
  • M&Ms (fall colors are fun)
  • Peanuts (plain or honey-roasted)
  • Yogurt-covered or chocolate-covered raisins
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
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Family Matters: 25 Things For Kids To Do This Summer


As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for summer, the words “I’m bored,” inevitably cross their lips! While kids do enjoy having some freedom during the summer, a few structured activities are always a good idea.

The following is a quick list of ideas to get your creativity flowing and to fill some down time during the summer months. You can let your kids pick from the list of what they would like to do or simply surprise them with a special activity each day. Doing activities with your kids not only provides a structured environment, but also allows for quality family time. This simple investment of time will be remembered for years to come.

So review the list below, visit websites, and see which activities are best for your family. With these 25 things to do, you may just escape the “I’m bored” this summer! 

Make home made ice cream

Have a picnic

Help make dinner

Bake some cookies

Set up a lemonade stand

Make a bird feeder with peanut butter and birdseeds

Make crafts from recyclables

Roast marshmallows

Eat watermelon and count the seeds

Make juice ice pops

Make smoothies

Pick flowers to decorate the table

Cool off with fruit ice cubes

Make placemats for the table

Paint with pudding

Pop some popcorn & enjoy a movie

Make fresh squeezed orange juice

Eat dinner on the patio

Make homemade play dough

Make treats for your pet

Write a grocery list and let kids do the shopping

Visit an orchard and pick fruits

Bake your own mini pizzas

Make homemade peanut butter



Shop the Sale: Buy One Get One For A Penny Sale!


It’s time to make your pennies count with our Buy One Get One For A Penny Sale! Take advantage of this sale with Buy One Get One For A Penny products such as: Boneless Pork Chops, Bagged Russet Potatoes, Grape Tomatoes, Doritos, Cheez-It Snack Crackers, Lean Cuisine Entrees, Mrs. Baird’s Bread and Scott Tissue. So start counting your pennies and save!



Shop the Sale: Celebrate Cooking!


Pick up the May issue of our CELEBRATE COOKING magazine, you’ll be berry surprised with all the money saving coupons and offers in this issue. Plus in this issue, we are topping off everything with sweet delicious strawberries! So…come by, pick up a magazine and start saving!



Shop the Sale: Easter Dinner


Are you looking to prepare the perfect Easter dinner this year? Look no further. We have the recipes and ingredients you need to impress your guests. On sale this week for Easter, Hormel Spiral Sliced Ham Half, or you may choose to get the grill going with Split Chicken Breast or Boneless Rib Eye Steaks. 

Complete your table with a Single Layer Coconut Cake from our Bakery or try our new Brookshire’s Best Honeycrisp Apple Pie. Your guest will never know this pie is not homemade! For recipes and menu ideas pick up our April Celebrate Cooking magazine or you can find it online. 

We hope you have a wonderful Easter dinner!



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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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