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Healthy Living: Mayo-Free Slaw Salad

Mayo-Free Slaw SaladI don’t like mayonnaise. Paul doesn’t like mayonnaise. I do like coleslaw, and it’s such a fun complement to so many Southern dishes like barbecue or Tex-Mex recipes like tacos.

So, I went on a search for a non-mayo coleslaw.

Eliminating the mayo makes this dish healthier, too. A vinegar-based version of this dish, which gives you the acidity you need to pair with so many proteins, cuts out so much fat and so many calories. A bracing slaw salad lets you combine so many healthy veggies into one cohesive dish.

You don’t even have to use mayo.

Mayo-Free Slaw Salad

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs brown mustard
1 Tbs raw honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
3/4 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 cup English cucumber, grated
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 Tbs celery seed
salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk together dressing: vinegar, mustard, honey and olive oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine thinly shredded cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, green onions and celery seed. Season with salt and pepper.

Slowly drizzle the dressing onto slaw until desired amount is reached.

Chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 155, Calories from Fat: 119, Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Potassium: 197 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 1 g.

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Product Talk: Lay’s Potato Chips

Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion Potato ChipsI don’t know how the topic came up, but sometimes potato chips just pop into conversation.

We were probably hungry.

We were probably talking about snacks.

We discovered we both have an affinity for Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion potato chips.

So, guess what we had for lunch today?

Yep, Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion, with no healthy food preceding our pig out.


Lay’s chips have been a longtime favorite of mine, and they’ve come back into the forefront of the marketing scene over the past few years with their “Do Us A Flavor” campaign, which has snackers suggesting flavors for the light, crispy chips. Lay’s test-markets the most viable flavors.

This year, Southern Biscuits and Gravy, West Coast Truffle Fries, New York Reuben and Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro ended up in the finals.

The bags of chips are stocked at your local Brookshire’s, and America’s favorite will end up on the permanent rotation of Lay’s favorites.

You can still vote through October 18 at

I voted for Biscuits and Gravy!

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Dine In: Veal Milanese

Veal Milanese with Lemon Wine Caper SauceOver the weekend, we tried a new-to-me restaurant in our town where my boyfriend, Paul, used to be a regular. I can’t believe I’ve lived in Tyler, Texas, for seven years and had not been to this restaurant yet (especially with my love of eating out), but I hadn’t. When Paul suggested it for a pre-symphony feast, I readily hopped on board.

The Italian restaurant, in an unobtrusive commercial location, strikes the perfect balance between traditional and kitschy, with homage to the red-checked tablecloths that have come to mean Italian dining, juxtaposed with pictures of famous movie stars and singers that lend a slightly pretentious suggestion of connections to a bright, bold and flashy world. The lounge singer who came on while we were there was the perfect touch.

Kitsch aside, the waitstaff and the food were impeccable. The bread, freshly out of the oven, was crisp on the outside, and chewy and hot on the inside. The house Chianti was fragrant and fruity, and the meatballs were just like the ones my mom makes.

I indulged in the Veal Milanese because it’s a dish I would rarely make at home, except for maybe a special Friday night every once in a while. A traditional milanesa is a breaded veal cutlet. This version featured a lemon wine sauce, but what set it apart, other than the fact you could tell it was fresh and homemade, was the capers. The capers were plump and bright, and lent a burst of acidity to the rich dish.

This dish also works if you substitute chicken for veal.

Veal Milanese with Lemon Wine Caper Sauce

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup flour
2 lbs veal, portioned into 4 parts and pounded to about 1/2 inch thick
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 Tbs butter
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup capers
1/2 lemon, juiced
chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced (for garnish)

Mix salt, pepper and flour in a shallow dish.

Pound veal cutlets to thin and even dimensions.

Dredge the veal cutlets in the flour mixture. Shake off excess; set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons olive oil with the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the veal and brown on both sides. When cooked through, remove from pan and tent with foil to keep warm. Deglaze the pan with white wine and swirl, scraping the bits of browned veal up into the sauce. Add the chicken stock; cook until the liquid has thickened. Add 1 tablespoon more olive oil, capers, lemon juice and parsley. Stir over high heat for about 5 minutes. Pour sauce over the veal. Garnish with sliced lemons and serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 687, Calories from Fat: 305, Fat: 34 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 250 mg, Sodium: 886 mg, Potassium: 853 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 59 g.

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Family Matters: Shedding

pet sheddingDid you know that your pet requires some seasonal care, just like your lawn and yard might? They do!

In the fall, a lot of pets go through a period of shedding their fur, getting rid of damaged hair and old skin cells. This is perfectly normal unless you note it’s excessive, then it could be a sign of something else like illness, stress or poor diet. Like I said, a little shedding is completely normal, albeit kind of messy.

Shedding can be managed and minimized with a few easy tips and tricks.

First of all, buy a grooming tool. Your pet might actually LOVE being brushed, and it’s nice bonding time with you. Brushing removes excess hair, stimulates the skin and promotes a shiny, healthy, clean coat. If your dog has dense hair, this job might best be left to a professional groomer who can work out knots and kinks, and even shave your pet’s hair down if necessary.

If you’re doing it at home, groom your pet on a weekly basis so you control the hair loss, and it doesn’t end up all over your sofa and carpets.

Secondly, make sure they’re eating good, high-quality food. Diet can affect how much your pet sheds. Check labels for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional adequacy statement to ensure the product offers balanced nutrition.

Next, during high-shed season, consider covering your furniture where your pet will be with a sheet or a slipcover to minimize hair on your furniture. Vacuum, dust and sweep as often as you can as well.

Bathing your pet during the summer months can also help reduce shedding during the fall.

The bottom line is that some shedding is normal, and it usually only lasts for a few weeks!

Shop the Sale: Slow Cooker Beef and Rice

Slow Cooker Beef and RiceI’ve made no secret of the fact that my younger son is obsessed with rice. Anything he can eat with the rice is A-OK in his book.

I’ve also overshared about my love of the slow cooker. Seriously? How did we get through life without this invention? Oh yeah, we didn’t work full-time, have second jobs, have to be at soccer practice by 7pm, but before that, homework, chores, more homework and, oh yeah, dinner.

I wouldn’t survive Tuesday nights without my slow cooker; it’s as simple as that. Dinner is ready when we walk in the door. Anything extra that has to be cooked, like rice, can be done during homework. We eat at a reasonable hour so no one is getting a stomachache at soccer practice, and we can get out the door (reasonably) sane.

I also love it when meat is on sale at Brookshire’s because then I can stock up for my meat-and-potatoes (or rice) guys!

Slow Cooker Beef and Rice

4 cups beef broth
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce1 onion, chopped
2 lbs rump roast, cut into small chunks
2 to 3 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup cold water
3 Tbs cornstarch
4 to 6 cups white or brown rice, cooked

Mix broth, Worcestershire sauce and chopped onions in slow cooker. Add beef. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. (I’ve found this works better on low.)

Just before serving, drain juices into a large pot; bring to a boil. Whisk together cold water and cornstarch. Add to pot and stir until thickened. Put gravy back in the slow cooker; stir. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 494, Calories from Fat: 139, Fat: 15 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 1970 mg, Potassium: 264 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 76 g.

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Healthy Living: Cuban Shrimp

Cuban ShrimpMy new obsession is to travel to Cuba.

Ever since the U.S. and Cuba established a more open door policy (aided, in part, by Pope Francis), I’ve wanted to go to the country that has for so long been verboten to American tourists.

You might say my interest started in the third grade, when a boy named Christopher came to sit next to me in Mrs. Armentour’s classroom. Christopher and his family had just moved to the United States from Cuba, a country that sounded exotic and fascinating. Christopher’s father was in Cuban prison (a story I never heard mentioned again) and his mother had taken Christopher and his brother to her native United States. It was all very alluring and mysterious.

Perhaps part of Cuba’s allure is that is has been cut off from the United States for so long, during the years of Castro’s rule and subsequent domination by the Communist Party.

Cuba was discovered and claimed for Spain by our pal Christopher Columbus, although Ameri-Indian tribes inhabited the island just 93 miles off the coast of the U.S. before he arrived.

Cuba’s culture is a blend of Spanish and African, with emphasis on rich music and healthy, flavorful cuisine.

The cuisine features a lot of black beans, citrus fruits, more black beans, saffron rice, mangos and more black beans. (I happen to LOVE black beans.)

But this shrimp dish highlights the citrus flavors I conjure up when I imagine an island visit.
The hot pepper tempers the sweetness of the juices, and the spices say “island” to me! This dish gets its flavor from whole, healthy foods!

Cuban Shrimp

10 cloves garlic
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin, optional
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 lbs large to jumbo raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
kosher or sea salt, to taste

Start by making a paste of the spices, using a mortar and pestle (or a bowl and a heavy spoon). Mash the garlic, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes until they form a chunky paste. You can also use a food processor. Whisk this into the orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice and olive oil and add cumin.

Separate the sauce in half and set half aside. Add shrimp to the other half and marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes (no longer or the citrus will cook the shrimp, ceviche-style).

Drain the shrimp, but reserve the marinade.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with salt. Sauté for 30 seconds.

Cook an additional 2 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through. Remove to a warm platter.
Increase the heat to high and add all the sauce. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce reduces by half and thickens. Pour over shrimp and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 508, Calories from Fat: 269, Fat: 30 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 320 mg, Sodium: 331 mg, Potassium: 271 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 46 g.

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Product Talk: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin SnickerdoodlesIt’s inevitable.

It’s the time of year we’re going to talk about pumpkin. Have you seen the hashtag #pumpkinspicelife? It’s because everything this month is pumpkin. That’s fine by me!

Pumpkin is super-healthy. It’s also super-great to cook with.

Libby’s Pure Pumpkin comes in a can, packed with nutrients, low in calories and fat and virtually sodium-free.

Pure pumpkin is not just for pumpkin pie (although that’s a mighty delicious way to use it). You can mix it into oatmeal for a vitamin boost. You can mix it with a prepared cake mix to make a low-calorie muffin. And you can use it to make cookies; snickerdoodles to be exact.

I wasn’t sure how these would go over at my house. I mean, I LOVE pumpkin, but I wasn’t sure how the people who would (hopefully) be eating the vast majority of the cookies would react.

I needn’t have worried: two dozen of this spin on the classic cookies were gone in the first day. (Disclaimer: They did NOT eat only cookies all weekend.) Chilling the dough overnight is a must; they were tender on the inside and crisp with cinnamon sugar on the outside.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Makes 4 dozen

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar for topping
2 tsp ground cinnamon for topping

Cream together sugar, butter and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer until pale yellow and fluffy. Add eggs and blend thoroughly.

In another bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add in small batches into the wet ingredients. Do not over-mix. Add the pumpkin puree at low speed.

When well-mixed, place dough in the freezer for 90 minutes (or in the fridge overnight).

Pre-heat oven to 350º F. Mix extra sugar and cinnamon together well in a bowl. Roll a small mound of dough (about 2 Tbs) into a ball in your hand, and then roll in cinnamon sugar. Place on baking sheet 12 to a sheet (they will spread a little).

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes. When just the edges of the cookies start to brown, you will know they are done. The middle part of each cookie is going to appear undercooked. Cool on a wire rack and you will see them look like they are cooked through.

Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 94, Calories from Fat: 39, Fat: 4 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 13 mg, Sodium: 56 mg, Potassium: 40 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 1 g.

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Dine In: Butternut Squash-Stuffed Shells

Butternut Squash-Stuffed ShellsThis has been one of the best weeks in recent history for a variety of reasons, but principal among them was finding out that my parents are coming to visit for Christmas!

Most years, I only see my parents once during summer vacation in Sandbridge, Virginia. On extra-special bonus years, I might get another visit in. This appears to be one of those years.

I’m already planning my menu for the four whole days they’ll be visiting.

I come from an Italian family, and my mom’s stuffed shells are the best ever. Mine are never as good as hers, so I’m not even going to try to duplicate the recipe this time around. Instead, I’m going to honor the dish with a variation on the traditional take on stuffed shells.

This is a recipe full of interesting flavors. The butternut squash is slightly sweet, especially after it has roasted and caramelized. The spinach, with its touch of acidity, offsets the sweetness of the butternut squash while the creaminess of the ricotta is balanced by the texture of the pine nuts. Then, the lemon brings it all together with a lovely brightness.

This is a great dish for a fall Friday night or to put in your holiday repertoire this year.

Butternut Squash-Stuffed Shells
Serves 8

2 cups roasted butternut squash
olive oil, for tossing
1 box jumbo pasta shells
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 egg
1 tsp lemon zest, grated
4 Tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup butter
10 sage leaves (if you can’t find sage, substitute oregano or basil)
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon

Peel and chop the butternut squash, and then toss in olive oil. Roast at 425° F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Meanwhile, cook your jumbo pasta shells according to directions.

In a bowl, combine 2 cups ricotta, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, spinach, egg, salt and pepper. Combine well. Add the roasted squash and grated lemon zest.

Spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons of the mixture into each shell, and place in a single layer in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour 4 tablespoons of melted butter over shells. Bake shells at 400° F for about 20 to 25 minutes.

While the shells are baking, make your sauce.

To make the sage brown butter sauce, melt the 1/2 cup butter in a sauté pan until it’s golden-brown, bubbly and has a nutty fragrance. Add at least 10 sage leaves and sauté until slightly crisp. Remove from heat and add the fresh lemon juice.

Remove shells from oven, pour sauce over shells and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 527, Calories from Fat: 292, Fat: 32 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (17 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 96 mg, Sodium: 344 mg, Potassium: 370 mg, Carbohydrates: 41 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 20 g.

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Family Matters: DHA

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)DHA isn’t just another acronym in the alphabet soup of all things baby.

DHAs are vitally important for growth and development!

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, sperm, testicles and retina.

Fat is a major structural component of the brain, and DHA plays a role in that structure. Some researchers believe that consuming recommended levels of DHA may help support brain health. DHA has also been shown to help support heart health.

All varieties of Omega-3s are important, but research shows that DHA may supply the greatest number of distinct health benefits. DHA has a huge impact on brain and visual functioning as well as its role in supporting heart health. DHA provides a nutritional boost for baby’s growing mind and body, supporting brain and eye development and function. It has also been shown to support brain and heart health in all stages of life.

The best way for your baby to get enough DHA is to choose DHA-fortifi¬ed foods like Horizon Organic Milk with DHA. Horizon Organic Milk with DHA Omega-3 has the same wholesome, creamy and delicious taste that all Horizon milk is known for but supplies a vegetarian source of DHAs.

Make sure your baby is getting enough DHA with Horizon products fortified with this vital supplement.

Family Matters: Magic 9 Months

Magic 9 MonthsDevelopmental pediatricians say nine months is a critical month in baby’s growth.

They are doing all kinds of amazing things at once! Baby will be able to stand holding onto furniture, roll over on the floor, and commando crawl or look like he’s getting ready to crawl. He’ll be developing more fine motor skills, and will be able to pick up progressively smaller objects in a pincer grasp. He will start having favorites, and will show visible excitement at the sight of certain foods or special people.

Nine months is a pretty magical age, but remember, there is a wide range of development. However, if your baby isn’t doing any of the things mentioned above, have a chat with your pediatrician and have them take a look at your little one. My younger son was doing just fine with his fine motor skills but showed no signs of pulling up, standing or moving. A simple evaluation showed that he had low-muscle tone, and a few weeks with a physical therapist had him right back in shape and hitting typical milestone markers.

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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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