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Family Matters: Electronic Timeout


Electronic TimeoutA few weeks ago, we were out to dinner as a family.

One kid was on his phone, texting friends.

The other kid was on his phone, too, checking for Pokemons. (He said that the plural of Pokemon is still Pokemon, but I’m not sure whether to believe him.)

Then, I got on my phone to check the weather.

My boyfriend had had it.

“Maybe we should all put our phones away,” he said, very nicely.

Sheepishly, we all did.

When I was growing up, we didn’t have electronics at the dinner table. We talked to each other (insert gasp here). We sometimes argued with each other. We laughed, joked and enjoyed each other.

We need to get back to that.

This year we’ve been trying electronic timeouts. It was nerve-wracking at first, but then we realized it was fine not to be holding the phone at all times, that people who “needed” us could wait an hour or two, and that we really ENJOY each other’s company.

So, maybe, just maybe, try putting all your phones far, far away during dinner, for an hour afterward, or for a pre-set time when you can just be together.

It’s pretty nice.



Shop the Sale: Roasted Chicken


Roasted ChickenWhen you Google “secret to perfectly roasted chicken,” you’ll get 3,100,700 results and just as many different secrets.

Scroll through the pages, and you’ll read about brining, trussing, drying, rubbing, basting, steaming, no steam, butter, olive oil, rosemary, lemons, onions, salt, rock salt, sea salt, kosher salt and wine, just for starters.

Bottom line: there is no one secret to a great roasted chicken.

I try to keep my roasted chicken simple, with a few ingredients to impart great flavor. I fall somewhere in the middle of the steam versus no steam debate, as I don’t add liquid to my roasting pan. I do use lemon, onions and butter. (It’s argued that you shouldn’t add anything that will produce steam, resulting in a less crispy skin when you roast a chicken.)

Whatever you add, even if it’s just salt and pepper, all you really need is a hot oven and to make sure you cook the chicken all the way through (trussing DOES help).

Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:
1 (5 lb) chicken
1 Tbs salt
2 tsp pepper
1 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 lemon, halved
1 bulb garlic, peeled and halved
1 sweet onion, quartered
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 Tbs butter, softened

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425° F.

Rinse chicken and pat dry, removing giblets from cavity.

Place lemon, onion, garlic and rosemary in the cavity of the chicken, then truss. Rub chicken with butter; sprinkle with salt, pepper and Lawry’s.

Roast for 90 minutes or until the juices run clear. Remove from oven and tent with foil; let rest for 10 minutes.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 987, Calories from Fat: 259, Fat: 29 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 467 mg, Sodium: 3326 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 165 g.



Healthy Living: Fresh Kiwi


KiwiMy older son LOVES kiwi in his lunch. It’s a good thing that it’s in season now, too. I pack it with a plastic knife and spoon, so he can cut it in half horizontally and scoop out the good stuff with his spoon. You can eat the skin, but most people prefer to skip it.

Kiwi, native to Australia, are packed with vitamin C. In fact, one kiwi provides 273 percent of your recommended daily allowance, and studies have shown that eating kiwi may even help to prevent or ward off colds.

They also have vitamin K, vitamin E, folate and potassium. They also have a ton of antioxidants and are a great source of fiber.

Studies have also shown that eating kiwi helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of blood clots.

Kiwis are usually eaten raw as is, but you can slice them into a salad or mix into a fruit salad.



Product Talk: Loaded Doritos


Loaded DoritosFrito Lay makes a snack that my older son is pretty much addicted to: Loaded Doritos.

Found in the frozen foods aisle near the Hot Pockets and other frozen appetizers and snacks, Loaded Doritos combine the flavor of one of America’s favorite chips with the texture and comfort-food feel of a mozzarella stick.

In Nacho Cheese or Jalapeño and Cheese flavors, Loaded Doritos cook up quickly in the oven or microwave. (We cook them in the toaster oven on a tray.) The outside is lightly breaded; the inside oozes warm, gooey cheese when you cook them.

The packages come in two sizes: servings for 4 or servings for 2. (Truth be told, my teenager could probably eat the larger box himself in one sitting.)

They’re definitely on the heavy rotation through snack foods he loves.

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine In: Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Tacos


Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken TacosIt’s been eons since I’ve written about anything buffalo chicken. We all know that buffalo chicken is a food group, so it was time to rectify that omission.

When I get a craving for buffalo chicken, I become single-minded. It’s all I can think about.

It’s happening right now.

This recipe is fun because you can add as much or as little hot sauce as you want. Then, top it with a variety of things that may traditionally go on tacos or not. I only use a little hot sauce in the actual cooking process, as one son does not like anything “spicy.” I can just add more as a topping on my individual serving.

I like these with flour tortillas, but you can also use corn. I like sour cream, but my son will top his with ranch dressing. I also like to mince celery for a bit of a crunch. Cilantro is also a great complement to this taco. I love it with crumbled bleu cheese; other people in my family prefer cheddar.

These are fun for a Friday night at home!

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
8 oz Frank’s Hot Wing Buffalo Sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1 pkg dry ranch salad dressing mix

Directions:
Spray the liner of your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken in crock. In a small bowl, whisk hot sauce, garlic and ranch dressing mix. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Remove chicken from slow cooker; shred with a fork. Add chicken back to slow cooker. Stir until blended with juices.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop chicken onto tacos. Top with cheese, sour cream, avocado and other toppings of choice.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 335, Calories from Fat: 116, Fat: 13 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 151 mg, Sodium: 1725 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 50 g.

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

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: Staying Safe


Staying SafeYour small pet is exactly that, a small pet, so special care must be taken to keep hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats and other teeny creatures safe.

First of all, don’t let them run free. Keep them contained in a safe cage, roaming area or enclosure. This reduces the likelihood they’ll get stuck under or in furniture or stepped on by a larger creature.

Design a play area for them in a safe, enclosed space. Use cardboard boxes to create a playscape, but be sure to check for holes so they can’t escape. They are also likely to chew on cardboard, which could also lead to an escape route.

Don’t overestimate their climbing ability. Yes, your furry friend will likely tackle an incline or more vertical surface, but they’re not adept at climbing and can fall back, leading to spinal injuries.

Do not put their cages in direct sunlight; it’s too much for your small pet. Same with drafts, they can catch cold easily.

Finally, don’t mess with your nocturnal pet during the day. He wants to sleep and might not be so gentle in letting you know.



Family Matters: Putting Your Pooch on a Diet


Putting Your Pooch on a DietYou might not have been the only one to overindulge during the holidays; your dog might have gotten a bit fluffier as well. It’s easy for pups to sneak treats during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and the colder weather is making exercise more difficult.

To tell if your dog is overweight, feel around his ribs and spine. You should be able to locate both with only a thin layer of fat separating the skin from the bones. If you can’t find the ribcage, you have an overweight dog.

Don’t worry; it’s pretty easy to take care of on your dog. After all, your dog can’t raid the freezer at midnight for that gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream you have hidden in the back.

First of all, know the correct portion size for your pup. Consult your vet; they should be able to tell you quite easily how much you should be feeding him.

If necessary, cut back on the amount of food he eats. You might also have to evaluate the kind of food he eats and make a change appropriate for overweight or less active dogs.

Limit or restrict treats entirely. Just like with people, they can be empty calories. Use other rewards, like hugs or cuddles, for incentive.

Take your dog for a walk! It’ll be good for both of you.



Family Matters: Keeping Your Cat at a Healthy Weight


Keeping Your Cat at a Healthy WeightWe’ve all seen the grumpy cat memes where the fat cat is generally disgusted with life, but it’s not such a laughing matter in reality.

Cats can be prone to obesity because they don’t tend to get a lot of exercise.

First, talk to your vet about how many calories your cat should be consuming each day. This might be far fewer than you think.

Secondly, rethink the way you feed your cat. If you have food available to her all day every day, of course she’s going to want to eat it. Consider portioning out small amounts throughout the day, then removing uneaten food until it’s time to feed again.

Next, look at what kind of food you’re giving your cat, and have a discussion with your vet over what is the best for her needs. Read labels carefully. Just because a food says that it’s made from real meat doesn’t mean there’s much actual meat in the food, and cats thrive off of lean protein.

Try to get your cat moving by playing with her toys, giving her a scratching post or a place to climb, and by tossing objects for her to pounce upon.



Family Matters: Music To Your Ears


Music To Your EarsDid you know that your pet bird probably loves music?

We know birds sing, but that’s not even the kind of music we mean.

Letting your bird listen to music can make him a happier, healthier pet.

First of all, don’t play music too loudly. Nothing you play loudly will sound good to your pet bird. Keep the volume low, and experiment with what kind of music he likes to listen to. Nature sounds might be inviting to some birds, while others might like classical tunes.

Play it softly near their cages, especially if your bird is anxious or high-strung.

While you can let your bird listen to music for his enjoyment or to soothe him, don’t keep it on all the time or he will become dependent on the white noise.



Shop the Sale: One-Pan Lemon Chicken and Potatoes


One-Pan Lemon Chicken and PotatoesOne of my New Year’s resolutions was to curb my grocery spending and be a bit more conscious of what I’m spending my hard-earned money on.

Yes, I plan. Yes, I make a menu and shop from my grocery list and avoid impulse buys.

I will admit I’m not always great about shopping the sales. So, I’ve changed my strategy a bit, and instead of planning my menus on Sunday, I do it on Wednesday when Brookshire’s sales are announced.

This week, there’s chicken leg quarters on sale, and these are super economical. You get so much bang for your buck. Now that I’m feeding two teenage boys, I need all the grocery help I can get.

I also love a one-pan meal; it’s less for me to clean up after dinner!

One-Pan Lemon Chicken and Potatoes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs honey gold potatoes (or small roasters)
3 lbs bone-in (skin-on) chicken leg quarters
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbs lemon zest
salt and pepper
1 Tbs dried oregano
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tsp coarse mustard

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Quarter the potatoes. Place half of potatoes on bottom of a sturdy roasting pan. Arrange the chicken on top; add remaining potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.

For the sauce, combine lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, broth, mustard and olive oil; whisk well to combine. Pour over chicken and potatoes in the baking dish.

Cook for 20 minutes, uncovered. Lower the oven temperature to 375° F, and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken reaches 160° F.

For a crispier skin, broil chicken for a few minutes after it has reached the correct internal temperature.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 838, Calories from Fat: 291, Fat: 32 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 303 mg, Sodium: 357 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 102 g.

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



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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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