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Dine In: Halloween Treats


Spooky Marshmallow DippersI just had a total breakdown.

As I write this, it’s several weeks before Halloween, and I feel quite accomplished to have procured costumes for my two children.

Then, I made the mistake of logging into my Pinterest account and typing “Halloween” into the search bar.

Holy spiders and slithery things, Batman! I thought I was doing well to have costumes nailed down and fake spider webs up all over my house (a few real ones, too, just saying). Now, according to Pinterest, I have to carve watermelons into brains, make black-light lemonade, serve hot dogs shaped as mummies and a cheese bull formed into a skull, and hand out homemade rice treats that look like candy corn.

I think I’ll hibernate until New Year’s.

Let’s be real: I have two kids, two jobs and a daily two-hour commute. I will not be carving watermelons into brains (although the black-light lemonade was pretty cool).

There are a few treats, however, that would be super simple to make for fun on Halloween night and your kids can even pitch in to help.

This is what we’ll be making for ourselves and close friends (seeing how it’s frowned upon in this day and age to pass out homemade treats to strangers). They’re super easy, super cute and make it look like I spend a lot of time on Pinterest.

Spooky Marshmallow Dippers

Ingredients:
24 large or jumbo marshmallows
12 oz vanilla candy coating/bark
variety Halloween sprinkles
orange food coloring
lollipop sticks or straws
wax paper

Directions:
Lay wax paper all over your work surface. Pierce each marshmallow with a straw or lollipop stick.

Follow the directions on the package to melt the candy coating/bark. Stir in orange food coloring to turn your dipping mixture orange.

Pour sprinkles onto a paper plate. Dip your marshmallows into the melted orange candy coating/bark. Allow the excess dip to drip off for a moment and then dip the still wet marshmallow into the sprinkles. Place on the wax paper to cool.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 135, Calories from Fat: 17, Fat: 2 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 48 mg, Potassium: 1 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Sugar: 19 g, Protein: 0.5 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

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Posted in: Dine In


Family Matters: Halloween Through the Years


Family Matters HalloweenLast night, I was thumbing through 12 years of Halloween pictures and it made me nostalgic.

My older son was 10 months old when his first Halloween rolled around, and I probably have seven dozen pictures of him sitting in the lawn in his green frog costume. It was probably also WAY too hot for the fleece costume, being October in Texas, but he was going to wear it, by golly.

My second son didn’t have to suffer through as many pictures, but he was only five weeks old on his first Halloween. He wouldn’t have known any better. He was a pea-in-the-pod for his first Halloween, a costume his father wouldn’t let me live down for months. However, when I was pregnant with him before we knew his gender, I called him “Sweet Pea,” so he was going to be a pea that Halloween come heck or high water. He was the sweetest, fattest little pea you’ve ever seen.

A few years later, they were Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Another year, they were Superman and Batman. I found a picture last night that was from one of my favorite years. Curt, the older son, was Mr. Incredible. Luke, the younger son, wanted to be a Sparkly Green Ghost. His words. I asked him what a Sparkly Green Ghost looked like, and he told me quite simply, “a green ghost who sparkles.”

Well, that was easy enough. We went to the fabric store, and he picked out a few yards of a sparkly green fabric. I cut eyes into it, and, voila, there was his costume. He loved it.

I made a spider costume one year, stuffing black tights with batting, sewing them onto a black sweatshirt then stringing the “legs” with fishing line so that the arms could move independently of each other.

There were two years of zombie costumes; those were easy ones and I got to play with gory, gooey costume makeup.

I thought this year could be the year they decided they were done with Halloween. Not a chance. They begged me to go to the Halloween store a few weekends ago. (I thought I could get ideas for homemade costumes, but they suckered me into buying some.) We’ll have a soldier and “Creeper” from Minecraft this year.

The fun part about my kids, and probably yours too, is that Halloween costumes aren’t only a big deal for a few hours one night a year. My boys wear their costumes out. I caught Luke sleeping with his foam Minecraft sword a few nights ago. So, even though I spent way too much money on a cardboard head and foam sword, you can’t put a price on that kind of delight.

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Posted in: Family Matters


Mi Blog Hispano: Infusiones para Conciliar el Sueño


Infusiones para Conciliar el SueñoEl sueño para algunos representa una parte más del día a día, como comer, respirar o caminar, pero realmente es más que eso y es importantísimo que estemos conscientes de lo fundamental que es el sueño en nuestro ciclo vital. Dormir adecuadamente tiene sus beneficios y la deficiencia de este también tiene sus consecuencias.

Me interesé en profundizar en este tema porque en estos últimos días estuve durmiendo pocas horas, no sé por qué razón me estaba despertando en la madrugada sin poder conciliar el sueño de nuevo. En esos días noté que estaba agotada, de mal humor, triste, me costaba mucho concentrarme y hasta recordar cosas, así que, me preocupé y empecé a investigar y descubrí que esto tenía conexión con no dormir lo necesario.   

Durante el sueño, liberamos las hormonas que harán que nos sintamos bien al despertar, fortalecemos nuestro sistema inmunológico y nuestro metabolismo, se refuerzan la memoria y los conocimientos adquiridos, las articulaciones y músculos se relajan y se regeneran, al igual que nuestro corazón ya que, mientras dormimos, desciende la presión arterial y, con ello, mejora el sistema circulatorio.

En cuanto a los tratamientos de  belleza, la regeneración celular durante el sueño es mayor y la circulación sanguínea mejora, estas dos circunstancias hacen que nuestra piel asimile mejor los activos nutritivos presentes en dichos tratamientos cosméticos y que, al despertar, nuestra piel esté más tersa, hidratada y tengamos mejor aspecto.

Cuando dormimos nuestro cerebro también trabaja.  Por lo mismo es importante que logremos un sueño profundo para que nuestra mente reorganice la información que adquirió durante el día y para extraer los datos más relevantes. El sueño favorece que produzcamos ideas nuevas y más creativas y así logremos mejorar nuestra memoria.

Infusiones maravillosas para ayudar a conciliar el sueño

Como preparar las infusiones:

Caliente agua sin que llegue a hervir. Añade las plantas y deja reposar durante unos minutos. Puede añadirle azúcar o miel para endulzarla.

Valeriana. Una de las plantas más potentes para nivelar las alteraciones nerviosas, contribuye a la relajación de los músculos y a un sueño más profundo. También es recomendada para el déficit de atención, epilepsia, síndrome de fatiga crónica, dolor de cabeza, malestar estomacal, dolores menstruales, etc.

Pasiflora. Además de contribuir a conciliar el sueño gracias a su poder de relajación, es utilizada como antidepresivo. Es ideal para quienes no logran descansar por alguna preocupación o un bajón en el estado de anímico.

Tila. Es una de las plantas más reconocidas debido a que cuenta con propiedades somníferas, también es utilizada para curar los problemas digestivos y hormonales. Tiene efecto sedante sobre el sistema nervioso. Ayuda a quienes padecen nerviosismo, estrés e insomnio, alivia sus síntomas. En caso de padecer mucha ansiedad, se recomienda beber al día 2 o 3 tazas de té de tila en infusión, unos 15 minutos después de las comidas. Para el insomnio, una taza antes de acostarse.

Melisa o Toronjil. Es una planta relacionada con problemas relacionados con los nervios, es relajante y contribuye a conciliar el sueño.

Lavanda. Usada para combatir el sueño y es altamente relajante.

Manzanilla.  Propiedades relajantes ayuda a conseguir un mejor descanso  y disminuye  malestares estomacales.



Shop the Sale: Hobo Dinner


Hobo DinnerI was talking to my friend Paul today, gleaning inspiration for blogs. We like to talk food; he always has something that sounds delicious he’s cooking for dinner.

So, I asked him, “I need something new to do with ground beef.”

He responded instantly, “My mom used to make this meal she called a ‘Hobo Dinner.’ Super simple but much tastier than you’d think.”

Of course, I Googled it. “Hobo” dinners got their name from transients who would package all their food in aluminum foil and grill it on an open flame. No mess, no clean up, no cookware needed. When I Googled it, a lot of the hits came back for camping recipes, which excited me. Not only could I make this meal in my oven but also on my grill or at my campsite WITHOUT MESS! Did you READ that part?

There are several variations of the Hobo Dinner. My friend said his mom made it in one big pan, but most of the recipes I’ve seen call for individual servings. You can add or subtract ingredients to suit your tastes.

Ground Angus chuck is on sale this week at Brookshire’s and would be perfect for any variation of this meal.

Hobo Dinner

Ingredients (per individual dinner):
1/4 lb ground beef
1 potato, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
2 Tbs onions, chopped
1 sheet heavy-duty aluminum foil (18 inches x 13 inches)
salt and pepper to taste, optional

Directions:
Shape beef into a patty; place in the center of foil with potatoes, carrots and onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes. Open foil carefully.

Serves 1

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 371, Fat: 16 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 82 mg, Sodium: 81 mg, Carbohydrates: 28 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 28 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

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Posted in: Shop the Sale


Healthy Living: Sucralose


Crustless Pumpkin PieWe’re caught between a rock and a hard place these days. Natural sugar is highly caloric; artificial sweeteners are, well, artificial. However, sucralose, often sold by the brand name Splenda, is a non-caloric sweetener first introduced in 1976. It is a good substitute for sugar in baked goods because it’s heat resistant and shelf stable. It doesn’t cause cavities; it’s safe for diabetics as a substitute for sugar and does not affect insulin levels. Sucralose is used as a replacement for other natural sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium or high-fructose corn syrup.

This recipe uses Food Club Brand Sucralose instead of sugar, and when you serve it this holiday season, you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus chilling
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/3 cup Food Club Sucralose
2 Tbs honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup evaporated fat-free milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, sucralose, honey and spices. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat lightly until just combined. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until center appears set when gently shaken. Cool for 1 hour on wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Calories Per Serving: 72, Fat: 1 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 42 mg, Sodium: 46 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 4 g.

View this recipe to print or add to My Shopping List

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Tajín Seasoning


Tajín Orange Mango SaladI was shopping in Brookshire’s this morning and looked at the pre-cut fresh fruits because I needed to grab something for my boys’ school lunches.  Let’s face it, I don’t always have the time to process a pineapple or to peel and slice apples. Brookshire’s can do it for me!

While I was perusing the aisle, making my selections (mango, pineapple, strips of bell peppers, kiwi), I saw a jar I’d never seen before.

Tajín seasoning.

It said it was a great seasoning for fruit.

I’d never heard of a seasoning for fruit, so I bought some, of course.

Tajín Clásico Seasoning is a blend of Mexican chiles with lime and salt. You can sprinkle it directly onto fruit, or use it on veggies or with soups and stews. I’m probably one of the rare people who doesn’t like the sweetness of fruit, so I thought I’d try it on the fresh pineapple to see how it cut the sweetness.

It is delicious!

The chile and lime brought out the flavors of the pineapple without masking the fresh natural flavors. I can’t wait to try it on more things.

Tajín Orange Mango Salad (recipe from Tajin.com)

Ingredients:
1 head romaine lettuce, washed
1 cup spinach leaves, washed
1 orange (half in wedges and half for juice)
1 mango, sliced
1 small onion, cut into slices and soaked in water with lime*
TAJÍN Clásico Seasoning®, to taste

Directions:
Divide half of the orange into wedges and juice the other half. Reserve the juice.

Break the head of lettuce into pieces with your hands. Arrange the leaves on a platter, spread the spinach leaves on top of them and then alternate the orange wedges, mango and onion slices. Finally, add the orange juice and TAJÍN Clásico Seasoning® to taste.

*This removes some of the bite from the onion. Soak the slices in ice cold water with a touch of lime or lime juice for about 10 minutes.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

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Posted in: Product Talk


Family Matters: Getting Your House in Order


Family MattersAs a family of six, it is a task to keep our house straight and “tidy” as some would say. We are pulled in different directions, and the house sometimes is the last thing thought about, in the order of things that need to be done. As parents, we must remember the importance of teaching our children what it means to have responsibilities and to do their part at home and in life. “Getting your house in order” has more than one meaning and both, I believe, are essential.

A family must work together to keep the house running, straightened and ready for company at any time. I don’t mean it has to be perfect, but as I tell my kids, “If someone stops by unexpectedly, what do you want them to see?” They couldn’t really care less, but they know what I mean! It takes a lot to make a house a “home” and that means everyone working together to do their part. It is not the responsibility of one person to tend to the house. It is individuals working together to make it a home.

For our family, “getting our house in order” means we are active in our local church. We help weekly with a missions group, we volunteer where needed and we sometimes just spend more time in prayer. A church is like an extended family, and without everyone doing their part, it will not be as successful as it should be and the message may not be heard by all. Maybe it’s making a phone call, cooking a meal, making a house visit, stuffing envelopes, etc., but without each one, the church will not accomplish their mission.

I recently read an article with the example of a chain: one link is strong yet can’t do much by itself, but when chain links are joined, they are strong, unbreakable and can be used for so many things. Teach your children the significance of finding their place at home and at church. Age does not matter; there is a place and a need for everyone to serve. Teach them now how to “get their house in order.” What a wonderful legacy to pass on, especially in the world we live in. “Link” together as a family – step up, find your place and help make a difference!

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Posted in: Family Matters


Shop the Sale: Extra-Crispy, Spicy Fried Chicken


Extra-Crispy, Spicy Fried ChickenI won’t lie: there’s been a national chain fast-food chicken restaurant commercial on lately that has me drooling.

I don’t eat fried food. I really don’t, but oh my goodness, this fried chicken looks good.

It’s a good thing that Brookshire’s has leg quarters on sale this week because they’re the perfect piece for frying up some nice, juicy chicken this week.

Every time I’ve had really outstanding fried chicken, the secret has been buttermilk. Soak the chicken pieces in buttermilk, and you’re almost guaranteed a beautiful finished product. It makes the chicken meat melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

The peanut oil is the key for frying. It gets hot enough to get a nice, crisp skin on the chicken without burning, while imparting an important part of the flavor profile.

Extra-Crispy, Spicy Fried Chicken

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 cup hot red pepper sauce
4 cups flour
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika
3 tsp cayenne pepper
1 quart buttermilk
salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
1 to 2 1/2 lb chicken leg quarters
peanut oil, for frying

Directions:
Place cut-up chicken in a large bowl, and cover with buttermilk. Cover and chill for two hours or overnight.

In a large bowl, add eggs, water and red pepper sauce. Whisk until combined.

In a large gallon freezer bag, mix flour, pepper, paprika and cayenne.

Remove chicken from buttermilk and sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Place all chicken pieces in freezer bag with flour mixture. Shake until all pieces are evenly coated.

Remove chicken pieces one at a time, shaking off excess flour. Dip each piece in the egg mixture and return to bag of flour. After all pieces of chicken have been dipped in the egg mixture and put back in the bag, give it a second shake to coat chicken pieces again.

Heat oil in deep fryer or deep pan to 350° F. Working in batches, drop each piece of chicken into the hot oil. Fry for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally if oil does not completely cover chicken.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 701, Calories from Fat: 236, Fat: 26 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 229 mg, Sodium: 2066 mg, Potassium: 409 mg, Carbohydrates: 74 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 41 g.

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Posted in: Shop the Sale


Healthy Living: Healthy Halloween Treats


Healthy Halloween TreatsHalloween is all about candy, right?

 Wrong!

Yep, I’m the mom who gives out the individual serving-sized bags of pretzels on Halloween. Laugh all you want, but in our house, we toss probably 85 percent of the candy. We just don’t eat it – or need it.

This year, instead of trick-or-treating, I’m hosting a backyard movie night for my boys and their friends. They’ve gotten to that age where trick-or-treating is a bit passé, but they still want to celebrate the holiday.

So, they will dress up, likely as zombies because that’s way cool, you know.

They’ll come here for dinner, pizza most likely because that’s delicious, you know.

Then, we’ll go to a haunted house.

Finally, we’ll come back to my house. I rented a projector to show a movie outdoors, so we’ll spread blankets in the backyard, watch a movie and enjoy some treats that are healthier than pizza.

I love the ghost bananas and the pumpkin tangerines! They’re super simple.

For the ghosts, peel a banana and cut it in half across the middle. Using chocolate chips, make a ghostly “face” on the banana, pressing the chips lightly into the fruit. For the pumpkins, peel a tangerine and insert a small piece of sliced celery into the top for a “stem.” Enjoy!

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Snyder’s Pretzels


Beer and Cheese DipWhen I lived in Germany, I was able to attend Oktoberfest in Munich several times. It’s practically a law in the county that you have to go at least once.

Oktoberfest, which actually starts in September, is the quintessential celebration of all things German, especially good food, good beer and a lot of celebrating.

There are two big things you see at Oktoberfest: liter-sized steins of beer and pretzels as big as your head.

Snyder’s has been making pretzels in the United States since 1909. Of German descent, the Snyder family opened a bakery in Pennsylvania, and their products have grown and expanded ever since.

I usually have a bag of the Pretzel Snaps (they look like a checkerboard) in my desk at any given moment for snacking throughout the day. I love all the flavors (Bacon Cheddar or Hot Buffalo Wing, anyone?) and varieties that Snyder’s offers.

This is a fun recipe using Snyder’s Pretzel Rods for dipping.

This is a recipe from Synder’s.

Beer and Cheese Dip
Ingredients:
1/4 cup Stout or Porter beer
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (16 oz) bag shredded sharp cheddar
1 jalapeño, minced (optional)

Directions:
Combine the beer, mustard, butter and cayenne pepper in a saucepan on medium heat until well-mixed.

Gradually add the cheese in 1 cup batches, whisking until the texture is smooth. Stop adding cheese once you have achieved your desired thickness; remove from heat and stir in minced jalapeño.

Note: For a tangier taste, reduce the shredded cheese to 8 ounces and add one 8-ounce package of cream cheese.
Serve with Snyder’s Pretzel Rods for dipping.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 501, Calories from Fat: 370, Fat: 41 g (26 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 127 mg, Sodium: 903 mg, Potassium: 150 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 29 g.

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Posted in: Product Talk


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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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