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Dine In: Steak and Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel Bites


Steak and Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel BitesSchool started this week, and that calls for a celebration, you know, before the weeks wear you out so much that you can only muster delivery pizza on Friday nights.

My boys LOVE this recipe, and I have to admit that I’m a pretty big fan as well. This is a great recipe for kids to help with, as they can roll pretzel balls to their heart’s content. You can swap out the filling ingredients. We’ve tried ham and Swiss with chopped pickles, roast beef with provolone, pepperoni and mozzarella, and scrambled eggs with ham and cheese. Did I mention we like this recipe?

The secret to the pretzel texture of the dough, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, is the boil-then-bake approach. Don’t skip this step, although it is a bit more labor-intensive. The result is well worth it.

Serve with a salad, and these back-to-school bites make a great meal.

Steak and Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel Bites

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil, for bowl
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 1/2 to 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 to 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups rare roast beef, coarsely chopped
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbs water

Directions:
In the large bowl of your electric mixer, mix warm water, sugar and salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water, no need to mix. Let sit for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes foamy.

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Family Matters: Mother’s Day Out


Mother's Day OutAt this age, your little one might be ready for a Mother’s Day Out situation. Lots of kids LOVE to socialize with others their age, while others are a little more hesitant to be left alone.

If you have the latter, ease your child into the situation by starting out small, leaving them for small increments of time. I remember leaving my younger son in the gym’s childcare so I could try to squeeze in a 30-minute workout. I also remember the loudspeaker at the gym asking me to return to the child care area before I even broke a sweat. However, we went consistently, and each time, he held out a little longer before he would cry for me. Finally (and it probably wasn’t that long in the great scheme of things), he played happily in the child care and actually got excited when I dropped him off.

My older son never had separation anxiety. He just took to new situations with ease, which is kind of funny considering their personalities today (total opposite of their baby years).

If you’re considering leaving your little one in a social situation, visit the facility and make sure it’s clean; the staff is competent, warm and friendly; and YOU are comfortable with the whole package. Then, take baby by for a visit, staying with them the first time. Remember, they will pick up on your cues, so if you are excited, you might help them feel more at ease.

Then, try to leave them alone. They might take to it easily; they might be nervous at first. You have to get a feel for your little one. In most cases, there’s no need to force the situation. If they hate it, try again in a few weeks.



Family Matters: Talk To Your Baby


Talk To Your BabyMy niece and nephew just turned seven months.

The twins are as cute as they can be and at an adorable age. I loved the time between six and 12 months. Babies are responsive and interactive, and you can really see their personalities emerging.

Emma is pure sunshine. She giggles and laughs, and her blue eyes sparkle. Her twin, Patrick, is much more serious. He looks at you with his big, brown eyes like he’s thinking deep thoughts.

Emma is having babbling conversations with her parents and her big brother and sister. They encourage her by babbling back and talking to her in voices with different pitches and volumes.

Patrick loves peek-a-boo. His big sister, Claire, will hold a blanket over her face and spring out from behind it, shrieking “PEEK A BOO.” Patrick will laugh and laugh.

Babies will also start to understand that different tones of voice mean different things and can start learning a stern “no.”

Your job is to facilitate this conversation with baby, no matter what form it takes. Baby loves the sound of your voice and can recognize the voices from family members. Talk, talk, talk.



Family Matters: Sleepy Time


Sleeping BabyThe other day, I was looking at my boys, both now in middle school, and missing the newborn days when they slept in my arms for hours on end.

I also remembered just how much a baby sleeps, although it felt to me like they were never doing that good sleep at nighttime.

A one-month-old baby needs eight hours of sleep at night and another eight hours during the day. At three months, it’s about 10 hours at night and five during the day. At six months, your little one needs 11 hours at night and about three-and-a-half during the day.

To help your baby get the sleep he needs, try to keep his schedule as consistent as possible. Put him to bed and wake him up at about the same time every day. Let him sleep in the same place each night and in the same place for naps each day.

Of course, if your baby is less than a month old, he’ll probably sleep anywhere and everywhere he can.

It’s not a bad thing to hold your baby while he sleeps during the first weeks of his life. You can’t spoil a baby, but you do want him to get accustomed to his own bed as well.

You might notice a newborn baby can sleep through anything, and there’s no reason to change your daytime routine to accommodate his sleep needs. However, this might change as he gets a little older and becomes used to silence (or noise).

Remember to keep baby’s crib clear of blankets or large stuffed toys. Use a sleep sack or other weather-appropriate pajama set.

Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it. The familiar transition will help baby get to sleep more easily and stay asleep!



Shop the Sale: Ribeye Steaks


Ribeye SteaksA few weekends ago, we went to Brookshire’s, and Paul picked out two of the most amazing steaks I’d ever seen in my life.

I don’t even know if ribeyes were on sale that day, like they are this week at Brookshire’s, but it didn’t even matter: we got them anyway.

We got SIX MEALS out of those two steaks. Six. For each of us.

The beauty of a good ribeye is that you don’t need to do a lot to it in order for it to be the most delicious meal you’ve ever eaten.

We simply rub it with David Wade’s Worcestershire Powder, a little Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and some black pepper. Then, we (we, meaning Paul) slap it down on the grill over high heat to get that wonderful sizzle, of course, and turn the heat down a bit, cooking approximately six minutes per side for a medium-rare, 2-inch thick steak.

We had steaks the first night (with baked potatoes, salad and cream peas), steak tacos the second night (with Paul’s homemade hot sauce) and then got several more leftover meals from the meat and grilled onions.

Since they’re on sale this week, you have a ton of delicious and economical choices



Mi Blog Hispano: Escuchar los mensajes de tu cuerpo


Escuchar los mensajes de tu cuerpoSiempre he sido una persona muy positiva y activa, encantada de vivir y disfrutar la vida, aprender, estudiar, pasear, trabajar, en fin me fascina estar en movimiento. Hace unos años mi ritmo normal comenzó a disminuir, comencé a tener frecuentes dolores de cabeza, a sentirme fatigada, cansada, un poco desconcentrada porque no dormía bien, me sentía triste, deprimida, mi cabello se estaba cayendo muchísimo, mi visión también estaba borrosa y mi ciclo menstrual comenzó a ser irregular.

Los cambios comenzaron a afectar mi vida en general, y esto comenzó a llamarme la atención porque yo sabía que algo no estaba correcto conmigo. A veces pensaba que lo que me sentía era normal y causado por el stress que todos tenemos en lo cotidiano. Cuando tuve la visita anual con mi médico general le comenté lo que me pasaba y no le dio mayor importancia, así que estuve sintiendo estos síntomas por más tiempo. Luego visité a mi ginecólogo para tener mi examen regular, me hicieron un eco abdominal y se dieron cuenta que tenía quistes en mis ovarios y que había que sacarlos porque estaban grandes, es decir que tenían tiempo que no funcionaban bien y era por esto que yo estaba sufriendo todos estos síntomas horribles.

Luego de tener la cirugía para extraer mis ovarios, es que he podido entender que los síntomas que había sufrido estos últimos años tenían que ver con eso. Ya estoy consciente de lo que me siento y por qué, y esto me ha ayudado muchísimo a entender y a tomar medidas para cada uno de los malestares que son consecuencia de no tener mis ovarios funcionando y generando las hormonas necesarias para que todo trabaje como es debido.

Lo que quiero compartir es que es muy importante estar atentas a los mensajes de nuestro cuerpo porque cada una de las respuestas y síntomas que tenemos que no sea normal; siempre tiene un motivo y es importante que los descubramos cuanto antes para poder tratarlos y corregirlos y así evitarnos consecuencias negativas en nuestra salud física y emocional. De esta experiencia aprendí que no debemos quedarnos nunca con una sola opinión si no estamos conformes con ella y si sabemos que algo no anda bien. Escuchemos a ese sexto sentido que tenemos e insistamos en conseguir la ayuda que necesitamos. Recordemos que la vida es bella y nuestro cuerpo es un regalo de Dios que necesita ser cuidado y esta debe ser una de las prioridades de cada día.



Healthy Living: Sweet Potato Slices


Sweet Potato SlicesI’m a sucker for any recipe that promises a secret ingredient.

Case in point, this sweet potato recipe.

If I’m browsing online, I have to click the link to find out what the secret ingredient might be. Call it a compulsion, but I have to do it.

In addition, sweet potatoes are one of those foods I know I SHOULD love, but I haven’t quite made it that far. That ambivalence fuels my determination to find the ultimate sweet potato recipe as well.

When I clicked on this link, I discovered the secret ingredient was kettle corn seasoning! Brilliant! That perfect balance of salty and sweet on a potato that needs both salty and sweet, in my opinion. I loved the result even more because sweet potatoes are SO GOOD FOR YOU. They are oozing with vitamins and nutrients, low in fat, high in potassium and often called “the perfect food.”

I’ll make this one again.

Sweet Potato Slices

Ingredients:
2 to 3 large sweet potatoes, about 1 1/2 lb
nonstick cooking spray
2 Tbs kettle corn seasoning
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Wash potatoes and slice into 1/2-inch rounds. Lay flat on a baking sheet covered with tin foil or parchment paper. Spritz with nonstick cooking spray, and sprinkle with kettle corn seasoning and cinnamon. Bake for 12 minutes or until tender on the inside and crisp on the outside. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 123, Calories from Fat: 2, Fat: 0 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 41 mg, Potassium: 540 mg, Carbohydrates: 28 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 11 g, Protein: 2 g.

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Product Talk: Planters Spicy Nuts & Cajun Sticks Trail Mix


Planters Spicy Nuts & Cajun Sticks Trail MixI’m sitting here on my couch on a Sunday afternoon, and my stomach is rumbling. I ate breakfast HOURS ago. I know I’m eating an early dinner, but I still need a little something to carry me through until the next meal.

I look over at my sweet boyfriend who is sitting next to me and reading me funny things from the Internet while I write these blogs. We seemed to have the same thought at the same time, and I jumped up to grab the bag of Planters Spicy Nuts & Cajun Sticks Trail Mix we bought yesterday.

I also grabbed some napkins because this snack is covered in Cajun goodness.
The snack mix hit the spot. A blend of peanuts, corn nuts, crunchy corn kernels, sesame sticks and corn sticks in a Cajun spice mix, this snack will set your lips on fire!

It didn’t take us long to make a dent in the 6-ounce bag.

This snack mix is 150 calories per 1/4 cup with 1.5 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein. You can find it on the aisle with cookies and crackers at your local Brookshire’s.



Dine In: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough FudgeMy obsession this summer has been Andy’s Frozen Custard, specifically a chocolate chip cookie dough concrete with molten peanut butter poured into the middle. Chocolate chip cookie dough is my love language. I pretty much love anything chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s my favorite flavor of ice cream. It’s my favorite “mix-in” at Marble Slab Creamery. Yes, I even eat it raw by the spoonful every time I make cookies, and I haven’t gotten sick yet.

My sweetie loves fudge, and I love cookie dough. Trying this recipe was a no-brainer, a beautiful marriage of confections. It comes together quickly. The only problem with it is that the recipe says it keeps for a week in the refrigerator. In what alternate universe does chocolate chip cookie dough fudge last a week? Not in my house, for sure.

The directions tell you that 4 cups of powdered sugar make softer fudge, while 5 make a stiffer, sweeter version. I split the difference at 4 1/2 cups, and I thought it was just perfect. It had a great texture without making your cheeks pucker from overwhelming sweetness.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

Ingredients:
For the cookie dough:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbs half-and-half
1/2 cup all purpose flour

For the fudge:
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup butter
pinch of salt
1/3 cup half-and-half
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:
Using heavy-duty foil or parchment paper, line an 8 x 8-inch pan, leaving about a 1-inch overhang. Spray liberally with nonstick cooking spray.

Make this fudge in 2 parts. First, you prepare the “cookie dough” portion, then you stir it into the fudge base.

For the cookie dough, combine butter and sugar in a large bowl, and beat together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, salt and half-and-half. Stir in the flour until just incorporated. Don’t overmix. Set aside.

To make the fudge base, combine the brown sugar, butter, salt and half-and-half in a heavy saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until the butter melts and the brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth and well-combined. Add the vanilla.

Add the cookie dough to the fudge base and stir gently to combine. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish; chill until set, at least 3 hours.
Keep in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In, Kids


Family Matters: Family Fishing


Family FishingThis summer, we have spent a lot of time fishing with our girls, our family and the kids’ friends. Since I was a child, I have always loved to fish, but as our family got busier, we never seemed to have time because something else was always more important. I can absolutely say that everyone has enjoyed not only catching fish but also the time spent laughing, getting fishing lines out of the trees, playing with the worms and the family gatherings to fry up the fish we caught. Nothing is better than the taste of fresh fish, french fries and hushpuppies. My middle brother is always the one that prepares and cooks our fish. No secret ingredient, just soaking it in milk the night before, rolling in yellow cornmeal, adding his seasonings, and frying it up nice and hot. Simple, but delicious!

Our friendly fishing contest consists of the largest fish, the smallest fish and kids against adults. There is midnight fishing, fishing at dawn and fishing until we are all too blistered and sore to move the next day. During this time, we are reminded of childhood memories of fishing with our grandfather or dad, and of being able to share with our kids as we all laugh at the funny things that have happened in the past, good and simple times long forgotten.

As we get older and go through life’s trials, we learn that it is getting back to these simpler things like fishing, sitting and visiting, and just enjoying each other’s company that is really important. Maybe fishing is not for you; maybe it is nature trails and bird watching. Whatever it is, as long as you are with family, it will be time well-spent. Fishing gets everyone out of the house, off the couch and cellphones put up (kids don’t want to drop phones in the water!!)…what better use of our time.

Now, as we move toward school starting and the cooler months, the cousins are all talking about weekend fishing and camping trips together and more family fish fries….what great memories for our kids and family. Fishing stories passed down for generations… Who would have ever thought that fishing would be the bond that “reels in” the family together and reminds us of the important things in life? Count your blessings daily and give thanks for time with your family.



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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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