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Family Matters: Oobleck


On the last day of school one year, my older son, Curt, came home with a bag of slime.

No, it wasn’t the contents of a long-lost lunch bag, it was, as he explained to me in great detail, oobleck.

I watched him extract the green oobleck from the plastic bag, stretching it the length of his arm as he did so. Then he and his brother, Luke, proceeded to play with the oobleck for two hours.

Named for a slime in a Dr. Seuss book, “Bartholomew and Oobleck,” that had the power to gunk up a whole land, oobleck , besides looking like green gunk, has properties of both solids and liquids. Oobleck wiggles and jiggles like a liquid or jelly, but if you squeeze it in your hand, it will seem like a solid. In the scientific world, oobleck is called a dilatant, a substance that causes another to expand. If you slowly lower your hand into oobleck, it will sink, but it’s much, much harder to remove your hand without taking all the oobleck and its container with you. But in the real world, oobleck is just plain fun and easy to make with ingredients you probably have right in your pantry, perfect for a craft – or science experiment – on a hot summer’s day.

Oobleck

Ingredients:
Corn starch
Water
Food coloring (optional)

Directions:
Mix 1 part water with 1.5 to 2 parts cornstarch. Start with 1 cup of water and 1 1/2 cups of cornstarch, then work in more cornstarch if you want a more ‘solid’ oobleck.

Mix for about 10 minutes to get the right consistency. If you mix oobleck in a plastic bag with a zipper lock, kids can “squish” it to the right consistency.

Mix in a few drops of food coloring if you want colored oobleck.

Try this:
Squeeze or punch the oobleck. The cornstarch particles will not move out of the way quickly, so the oobleck will feel solid.

Mold oobleck in a container, but when you remove the mold, watch the oobleck lose its shape.

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Posted in: Family Matters


Shop the Sale: Southern-Style Cola Barbecue


It wasn’t until I moved to Texas that I learned that you could cook with cola.

I admit I was skeptical at first, but when a friend introduced me to sausage links simmered overnight in the slow-cooker in a combination of cola and barbecue sauce, I was hooked. The meat becomes melt-in-your mouth tender.

I’ve come to use that combination of cola and barbecue sauce to cook almost any meat. I especially love being able to use my slow-cooker during the hot summer months when turning on my oven is almost unbearable.

This week, the Brookshire’s sale circular is chock full of great goodies to use in slow cooker barbecue.

Southern-Style Cola Barbecue

Ingredients:
2 lbs Hormel Assorted Pork Chops OR Eckrich Smoked Sausage Links OR Brookshire’s Split Chicken Breasts OR Boneless Beef Short Ribs
2 cups Food Club cola
1/2 cup Food Club orange juice
2 cups Food Club barbecue sauce
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a large slow cooker and simmer on low heat for 8 hours.

You can shred the pork or chicken and serve on a sandwich, or serve whole alongside potato salad and corn on the cob. The sausage is great for parties alongside whatever you’re making on the grill and the short ribs are amazing with a side of mashed potatoes and green beans.



Healthy Living: Coconut Water


When I started working with a professional trainer, one of the first things he suggested was drinking coconut water after a particularly grueling workout.

Not to be confused with coconut MILK, coconut WATER, the clear liquid inside young, green coconuts, was, to my palate, a strangely refreshing beverage my trainer promised would prevent me from being too sore the following day.

He was right.

Coconut water is making the news all across the country and here in the South, it’s readily available and a natural alternative to sports drinks. Some claim to be energy enhancers and some claim to be an all-natural sports drink, so let’s just look at the facts.

One cup of coconut water equals 46 calories, nine grams of carbohydrates– six from sugar and three from fiber, and two grams of protein. It’s perhaps most touted for its potassium content, 600 milligrams of potassium per serving, which equals about 17 percent of your daily value, more than a banana.  Coconut water is also rich in magnesium at 60 milligrams per serving or 15 percent of your daily value; sodium with 252 milligrams per serving or 11 percent of your daily value and calcium, offering 58 milligrams per serving or six percent of your daily value.

It’s rich in vitamins B and C, contains all-natural sugars and shouldn’t contain any additives or colors. Coconut water is a natural diuretic and is naturally fat free. It’s available in pulp and low-pulp varieties.

I’m glad I tried the latest trend in healthy sports drinks, because let me just tell you, I wasn’t nearly as sore the day following an intense workout as I could have been. Thank you to my trainer and to coconut water.

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Dine-In: Grilled Pizza


Growing up, Friday night was always pizza night at my house. My mom would spend a huge portion of the day kneading homemade dough and letting it rise, punching it down and letting it rise again, while homemade sauce was simmering on the stove. We’d arrive home from school to the most wonderful medley of aromas in the air and knew dinner was going to be one we all loved.

Today, Friday nights are still pizza nights at my house, but I rarely (ok, never) have time to let dough rise and sauce simmer. Plus, with it being so warm outside, I hate to turn on the oven to the scorching temperature it takes to get a perfect crust: crisp on the outside, doughy and chewy on the inside, and firm enough not to bend under the weight of toppings.

So lately on Friday nights, I’ve been turning my gas grill into a pizza oven of sorts. The crust is crisp and smoky, the cheese melty, it’s quick and it doesn’t heat up my entire kitchen.

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

Pizza on the Grill
Easily adjusts to fit number of servings needed

Ingredients:
Pre-made 6-inch pizza crusts, such as Mama Mary’s or Boboli
Extra virgin olive oil
Herbed cream cheese
Fresh spinach leaves
Roma tomatoes, sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat either your gas grill or your charcoal grill to medium heat. (Make sure your grill grate is clean.)

Lightly brush both sides of pre-made pizza crusts with extra-virgin olive oil.

Place on the grill for about 3 minutes, or until char lines begin to appear. Flip the crust and repeat on the opposite side.

Remove crust from grill.

Spread with a thin layer of herbed cream cheese. Press a layer of spinach leaves into crust and top with thinly sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sometimes I also add thin slices of fresh mozzarella.

Carefully place pizza back on grill. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes until the cream cheese and spinach are softened and tomatoes render their juices.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: Summer Pupsicles!


When I picked up my German Shepherd, Duke, from the groomer one afternoon last week, I realized my dog was already wincing having to walk his paws across the hot parking lot.

The temperatures have already started their upward climb to triple digits, and we are all searching for relief from the scorching sun – including our beloved pets! Making homemade frozen dog treats can help make staying cool more fun! It’s an easy way to get your kids involved in a kitchen activity that is relatively easy and quick to prepare.

When Duke hears me opening the freezer, he comes running, even from a dead sleep! Often I just toss him an ice cube to cool off, which he seems to enjoy…although I think he deep down is hoping for one of his refreshing treats.

The ingredients are all natural and are actually quite healthy for your dog. You could use applesauce instead of the banana, or molasses instead of honey. Don’t use chocolate, though, as chocolate can be toxic to many of our pets.

These Summer Pupsicles are easy to make in large batches and keep on hand in your freezer. And they are a cost-effective way to provide a sweet summer treat for the dog days of summer!

Summer Pupsicles

Ingredients:
1 mashed banana 
1 (32 oz) Vanilla yogurt 
2 Tbs honey 
2 Tbs creamy peanut butter

Directions:
Blend all thoroughly in a blender or food processor until creamy and smooth. Place mixture into small paper cups and freeze until solid.  To serve, microwave the cups for three seconds to make the paper easier to release. 



Shop the Sale: Asian-Style Loin Back Ribs


It’s easy to tell the difference between beef and pork ribs. But it’s also important to know what kind of beef or pork ribs you’re eating in order to prepare correctly. It’s all about location, location, location. Today, I’m just talking about loin pork ribs because they are on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

Loin back ribs come from the same part of the hog as pork chops. They are also called “baby back ribs” in the grocery store. Loin ribs are smaller in size than spare ribs and are less meaty and less fatty. They are also more tender than spareribs.  

This week, shop the sale to find a great deal on Hormel loin back ribs at your local Brookshire’s, and try our oven-prepared Asian-Style Ribs. Not all of us are master grillers, and this delicious recipe gives you a way to stay cool indoors and enjoy a new twist on tender pork ribs. 

I like to serve these ribs with Asian slaw and an egg and scallion fried rice. Easy and delicious! 

Enjoy! 

Asian-Style Loin Back Ribs 

Ingredients:
6 garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tbs peeled and coarsely chopped fresh ginger
3/4 cup purchased jalapeno pepper jelly
1/2 cup purchased hoisin sauce (on the Asian aisle)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup rice vinegar
6 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs sesame oil
2 Tbs Chinese chili-garlic sauce (on the Asian aisle)
9 lbs Hormel meaty loin back ribs

Directions:
In a food processor, combine everything except ribs. Pulse until smooth. Set the racks in a large baking dish and slather with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before continuing. 

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400°F, and cover three large rimmed baking sheets with foil. Remove the ribs from the marinade, reserving marinade. Cut each rack so that each piece has 4 to 5 ribs. Place ribs on baking sheets, meaty side down. Roast each sheet in batches for 30 minutes, turning over halfway through. Also, baste ribs with the reserved marinade at least three times throughout roasting, including once at the end. Remove from oven and preheat broiler of oven. 

Broil ribs 3 inches from the heat for 3 minutes. Let ribs rest for 10 minutes, before slicing and serving.



Healthy Living: Eat right and enjoy outdoor exercise


In our part of the country, we have an abundance of fresh local produce, such as the mouth-watering peaches we get to enjoy for just a few months each year. A large peach has only about 70 calories and is almost 90 percent water.  And one peach gives you more than 10 percent of your daily fiber requirement, making it a low-calorie, filling sweet treat that is much better for you than cake or pie!

You might not think that peaches would be a good choice with basil and mozzarella, as most of the time we pair our summer tomatoes with these two ingredients to make the traditional Italian Caprese salad.

But I think you’re going to love this summer take on a light, fruity salad that allows the best flavors of the season to shine through.  The tart, sweet peach is a surprising wonderful choice to combine with mellow mozzarella and aromatic basil.

Also, make sure you use a fruity, light olive oil, as you just want the oil to help combine the flavors of the salad – not let the salad take on the taste of the olive oil itself.

Summer Salad with Peaches, Mozzarella and Basil 

Ingredients:
3 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into wedges
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
8 ozs fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-sized chunks
3 tsp high-quality olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine peaches, basil and mozzarella. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper and gently toss. Can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time and refrigerated. Tastes great cold or at room temperature.

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Posted in: Healthy Living


PRODUCT TALK: Blueberry Crumble


Blueberries are bursting with flavor and are in peak season across the South right now.

When my boys were younger, we’d go pick blueberries straight from the bushes, eating as many as we bagged to bring home (blueberry bushes are naturally insect repellent, so farmers rarely use pesticides on them and you can eat while you pick). These days, I live within walking distance of a Brookshire’s store, so at the beginning of the summer, I walk straight to the store and buy pints of the beautiful, juicy berries.

One of my favorite things to make with them is a blueberry crumble. I have to admit, I love the brown sugar crust almost as much as the sweet, gooey filling. My mom had the best crumble recipe. In fact, I remember emailing her, asking for it, the day before I ran my first staff meeting as the supervisor to three other employees, some 11 years ago. I planned to serve it warm, with a healthy dose of re-organization.

She emailed back the recipe, adding, “You’re a good boss, Amy.”

I didn’t know about all that. My strategy was to earn my way into their professional hearts through their stomachs. It must have worked; we remain friends to this day and when I left the company some time later, they all paid me kind compliments that had nothing to do with my culinary skills. Apparently the Blueberry Crumble – or the massive reorganization of the department – must not have been too bad.

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

Blueberry Crumble

Ingredients:
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 Tbs lemon juice
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup quick oats
1/3 cup butter
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
Spread blueberries in square, 8 x8 baking dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix remaining ingredients, sprinkle over berries.

Heat oven to 375 F. Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is light brown and berries are hot. Delicious served warm with whipped cream or ice cream.



Dine-In: Stir-Fry Friday


We eat a lot of Asian stir-fries in our home. They are easy to throw together with whatever meats and vegetables I have on hand, and I always have rice or noodles in the pantry to serve alongside.

Hoisin Beef is one of my teenage boys’ favorite stir-fries, and I usually also stir-fry broccoli to add something healthy and green to our plates. I’ve also had this dish served with steamed and then stir-fried sweet potatoes.

Made from a combination of fermented soy, garlic, vinegar, chilies and some sort of sweetener, hoisin sauce is dark and thick with a strong salty and slightly sweet flavor. I dilute it here with a bit of water, as it can overpower the dish otherwise.


You can make homemade Hoisin Sauce, but I haven’t found that it’s any better than what you can find on the Asian aisle at Brookshire’s. And using purchased hoisin sauce makes this dish even easier on a Friday night after a long work week. In about the time it takes you to cook your rice, dinner is on the table, and your weekend can begin!

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

Hoisin Beef

Ingredients:
1 cup white rice
3/4 cup purchased hoisin sauce
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
4 Tbs canola oil
3 Tbs chopped green onion
2 Tbs finely chopped garlic
1 lb flank steak, sliced thinly against the grain
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 cup snow peas

Directions: 
Cook the rice according to the package directions.

In a small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, ½ cup water, soy sauce and brown sugar. In a small pan, heat    1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onion and garlic and sauté 20 seconds. Add hoisin mixture, and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens a bit, about 1½ minutes. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large skillet to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and heat through. Add steak and stir-fry until cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium-high, and wipe out inside of wok with a paper towel. Add remaining ½ tablespoon oil. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add snow peas and cook for 1 minute more.

Increase heat to high, and add the sauce to the wok. Add the steak, and stir-fry until warmed through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately over hot cooked rice.



Family Matters: Summer Camp At Last


Summer has arrived and kids are packing up for summer camps. My oldest child, Luke, has always loved going to camp. He has never had a problem being away from home for a week’s time. On the other hand, my daughter Grace, who is 10, has never had the desire to attend an overnight camp….not until this year. Grace has decided to attend camp as long she can take a friend and they can be bunkmates.

Packing a kid for camp can be a real challenge. Unpacking them from camp can be even more of a challenge. The last thing you want is your camper to come home with a sticky and wet suitcase. I am so thankful I had a good friend give me her tips to packing up little campers.

Packing For Camp – What You’ll Need:

6 extra-large resalable plastic bags
Sticker labels
Permanent marker

On each of five bags, or depending on how many days they are staying at camp, write the day of the week on the bag. Pack enough clothes for that day in each separate bag. You should include a T-shirt, a pair of shorts, and under clothes in each bag. On the sixth bag, write “Wet Clothes.” Tell your camper that this is the bag to put all their wet clothes in. This way their suitcase does not become a wet mess.

I have packed up my son’s clothes this way for several years now and, for the most part, it works pretty well. However, there were years he came home with only two of the bags ever being opened. I guess he wore the same clothes all week. I’m sure this system will work out perfectly for my daughter on her first overnight camp experience.  Hopefully, she will not be like her older brother and come home with none of her clothes having been worn.



Copyright © 2010-2014, Brookshire’s. All rights reserved.
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.

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Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

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On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.

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Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

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