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Family Matters: Twice the Fun

Last week, my twin daughters turned 14 and decided they wanted to decorate their own cake for their birthday. I make cakes for family parties and have the decorating tips and coloring, so they have watched me prepare cakes for years. I was excited they wanted to decorate their own cake, knowing this would save me hours of work…nice break! I baked a large cake, mixed their desired colors of icing and let them go.

First came a long discussion of what each was doing on “their side” of the cake. They wanted to make sure whatever the other one was doing would not make their side look bad. A line was then drawn across the center to mark boundaries. Now, picture two teenage girls in the kitchen working beside each other for hours…not all fun and games. Immediate frustration came from them both trying to decorate at the exact same time and needing to turn the cake closer to them. This was followed by the critical evaluation of the other’s decorating skills (and impact it was having on their side). I finally decided that mowing the lawn would be a good escape from the kitchen trials.

The funny thing is that after it was all said and done, the cake looked great. Apparently,  they actually learned something from watching mom over the years. They worked together to accomplish a task and realized how much hard work, time and effort it takes, and according to both, their back and feet were throbbing (all along I thought it was my old age!). They have never volunteered to help me on a cake, and I am pretty sure after doing their own, that will still be the case!  We laughed as we listened to them tell their friends at the party how much fun it was to decorate. Even after all the drama, the end results brought much joy and trials were soon forgotten. The next life lesson will be how to clean up the kitchen after you get through decorating a cake!

Homemade Cake Icing

1 Crisco Stick
2 Food Club Butter Sticks
2 tsp vanilla
3-4 Tbsp  milk
1 bag powdered sugar (sifted)

Mix Crisco, butter and vanilla well, and then slowly add sifted powdered sugar. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Schedule a time to try this icing and encourage your kids to work together to decorate a cake of their own – life lessons learned. Count your blessings daily, and give thanks to the Lord for the time you share with your family. It “bakes” a difference!

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Posted in: Family Matters

Family Matters: Pets

A few years ago, I got a box in the mail that was labeled “Living Contents. Open Immediately.”

Intrigued (and thankful I was home at the time of delivery), I ripped into the box.

Inside was the most wonderful gift!

My mom had sent my boys a “Grow-A-Frog” kit. Along with a clear plastic aquarium, a lid and special food, there was a baggie of two tiny tadpoles.

The boys wanted to get started immediately, so we carefully rinsed the aquarium and set it up to be the tadpoles’ new home.

Over the next months, we watched the tadpoles develop into frogs. We saw them grow tiny legs, develop a distinct head, lose their “tails” and finally morph into two good-sized frogs!

We eventually found new homes for the frogs in a friend’s pond, but then we ordered new tadpoles and repeated the process.

The joy of the pet tadpoles came in the daily discovery and the renewed wonder in my boys’ eyes each day. It’s definitely one of the best gifts we’ve ever received.

Shop the Sale: Unfried Catfish with Lemon Cream

A few years ago, my son was invited to a friend’s birthday party. They were in preschool at the time, and when the invitation arrived, it was in the shape of a large fish. I thought it was going to be a fishing party.


The party was a catfish fry for a 5-year-old. It turns out that fried catfish was the birthday boy’s very favorite meal, so he patterned his party after his favorite fish.

 In all honesty, my son liked the bounce house and birthday cake better than he did the catfish, but the adults, on the other hand, were gathered around the deep fryer to grab a golden nugget of catfish as soon as it cooled down enough to eat.

This recipe doesn’t require a deep fryer, and catfish fillets are on sale at Brookshire’s this week.


Spicy “Fried” Catfish with Lemon Cream
Serves 6


6 (6 oz) catfish fillets
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
4 egg whites
Vegetable cooking spray

Lemon Cream:
1 (8 oz) ctn light sour cream
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
Stir together all Lemon Cream ingredients until blended. Cover mixture and chill until ready to serve.

Sprinkle catfish evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside.

Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper in a shallow bowl.

Whisk egg whites in a shallow bowl until frothy. Dip fillets in egg whites and dredge in bread crumb mixture.

Arrange fillets on a wire rack coated with cooking spray in an aluminum foil-lined 15 x 10 jellyroll pan. (Do not overlap fillets.) Lightly coat fillets evenly on both sides with cooking spray.

Bake at 375° F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until fish is golden brown. Serve with Lemon Cream. Garnish, if desired.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 337, Fat: 10 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Protein: 35 g, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Fiber: 1 g, Cholesterol: 118 mg, Iron: 1 mg, Sodium: 480 mg, Calcium: 93 mg

Healthy Living: Faux Chimichurri

Each night during our annual beach vacation, one family subset takes a turn cooking dinner. Last night was my turn. I had a great meal planned: marinated, grilled London Broil with chimichurri, grilled corn on the cob, roasted rosemary potatoes and a few other things.

I ran out to the beach grocery store yesterday morning for all the ingredients. There was no corn on the cob. I knew there was a farmers market nearby, but I really didn’t want to make two stops. (BEACH TIME WAS A WASTIN’.) So, I grabbed yellow squash to grill instead. There was no balsamic vinegar on the shelves for the meat marinade. No problem.  A little red wine vinegar substituted just fine, but when it came time to get the ingredients for the chimichurri, I discovered, much to my dismay, there was no parsley and no oregano.

What to do?

I grabbed a bag of baby spinach and a container of basil. It would have to work.

I didn’t have a food processor, so I combined it all in the blender.




We ate it on the London Broil, but during dinner, we discussed other ways to use the tangy, green sauce during the week. Who knows? It might show up at the crab feast tonight.

Faux Chimichurri
Serves 16

8 oz baby spinach
1/2 cup basil leaves
6 large garlic cloves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice from one large lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor (or blender). Stream in olive oil as everything else is processing. Let stand for several hours for flavors to meld. Serve at room temperature.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 114, Calories from Fat: 114, Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 11 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 1 g

Product Talk: London Broil

London BroilI’m still blogging from my beach vacation. I know I’ve explained more than once already that in the big family group that congregates at Sandbridge Beach each year, each nuclear family takes a night to cook. For my night this year, I made a delicious and simple London Broil topped with an optional faux chimichurri (spinach instead of parsley, basil instead of oregano).

“London Broil” is a fancy term for top round or flank steak. It’s really just a marinated cut of meat grilled, then cut across the grain into thin strips and served–easy and delicious.

A London Broil isn’t the most tender cut of meat so a marinade is necessary. This is the recipe I used this week and it was yummy. I was unsure about the honey at first, but the sugars help give your cut of meat a beautiful sear.

London Broil
Serves 4

Large (2 lbs) London Broil
5 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey

Puree all ingredients (except London Broil) in a food processor or blender. Place meat in a zipper-locked bag or shallow pan. Cover with marinade. Place in refrigerator for several hours, turning several times.

Bring steak to room temperature before grilling. Place over direct, medium heat and grill about 7-8 minutes per side for medium rare (a London Broil should be pink inside). Let stand for several minutes. Slice diagonally across the grain. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 344, Calories from Fat: 90, Fat: 10 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 151 mg, Sodium: 998 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 52 g

Dine In: Grilled Shrimp Kebabs

Shrimp Kebabs I met my friend Kelly when I lived in Beaumont, Texas. We both taught preschool at the same school, and our boys, approximately the same ages, became fast friends. Kelly and her family were the fun party family to hang out with for Cajun summer cookouts and other fun times!

For fun on a Friday night, stay home and make Kelly’s shrimp kebabs. Nothing could be easier!

Shrimp Kebabs 

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 bell peppers in all colors, cut into large chunks
1 fresh pineapple, cut into 2-inch segments
4 poblano peppers, cut into eighths
Juice from one lemon

Divide shrimp and vegetables between 8 kebab skewers. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice. Grill over medium-high heat until shrimp is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 191, Calories from Fat: 20, Fat: 2 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 239 mg, Sodium: 283 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 28 g

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Posted in: Dine In, Seafood

Family Matters: The Beach T-Shirt Tradition

Every year, my family congregates at the beach. In addition to other traditions we hold sacred, all of the kids make an annual beach T-shirt to commemorate the vacation.

One year, the shirts were lime green with the year written on the breast pocket in Roman numerals. Another year, they were light blue with a skull and crossbones in homage to our annual “pirate scavenger hunt.”

The kids often decorate their own shirts. A few years ago, they used puffy fabric paints to detail fish on the front of their white T-shirts. We learned quickly that children really love decorating with large clumps of puffy paint that take days (and days and days) to dry.

Last year, the kids tried a new technique. They drew on the front of their shirts with permanent markers, then used a medicine dropper to drop small amounts of rubbing alcohol on the ink. The ink spread, almost like a tie-dye pattern. They were lovely!

This year, each kid received a bright orange T-shirt already emblazed with a superhero-esque styling of their initials on the front. The Man of Steel has nothing on CP, LP, JB, RB, GB, BH, CH and BB! My son Luke decorated his with thunderbolts. My nephew Greycen, who also answers to “Thor” this year, drew hammers on every available surface of his shirt. Claire, the only niece, got almost exclusive use of the purple, pink and silver fabric markers.

Throughout the week, the kids wear their T-shirts. Here’s to hoping we get them all in clean shirts, in one place at one time, for a picture.

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Posted in: Family Matters

Mi Blog Hispano: Hablando de la Alimentación Orgánica

Estos últimos tiempos he estado escuchando a mucha gente hablar de los alimentos orgánicos o de la dieta orgánica, y yo pensaba que era una moda más de la que gente habla para perder peso o para verse bien;  pero, conversando con una amiga que está en esa onda orgánica, me di cuenta que es mucho más que eso.

Mi amiga, quien además es nutricionista, me explico que los alimentos orgánicos son los que en su etapa de producción no utilizan fertilizantes, herbicidas o pesticidas químicos, como tampoco en los suelos donde son cultivados. Los alimentos orgánicos tienen mas nutrientes que los alimentos normales, poseen mejor sabor y ocasionan menos daño al medio ambiente y a las personas que los cosechan.

En cuanto a los animales que nos proporcionan carne, estos son criados de una forma mas saludable y no son inyectados con hormonas o antibióticos, ni tampoco son encerrados o maltratados , así que su desarrollo es natural, y nosotros al consumirlos tampoco estamos contaminando nuestro organismo con productos sintéticos  o químicos innecesarios.

Al comer productos orgánicos tenemos la oportunidad de vivir expuestos a menos enfermedades y a vivir con mas energía. Las alergias y otras enfermedades provienen de alimentos cargados de toxinas, químicos y hormonas. En cambio, un alimento orgánico esta libre de todo esto, permitiendo de esta forma que el cuerpo construya un mejor sistema inmunológico, fomentando así nuestro bienestar físico.

La comida orgánica es para la gente interesada en vivir una vida mas plena y saludable, llena de vitamina, minerales y antioxidantes y  también  para la gente interesada y comprometida en tener un mejor medioambiente.

Por mi parte, voy a comenzar a alimentarme lo mas orgánicamente posible, estando consiente de que quizás los alimentos orgánicos cuestan un poco más pero teniendo presente que mi salud y bienestar es importante y también que estoy poniendo mi grano de arena en mantener el planeta más saludable.

Shop the Sale: Baby Carrots and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I’m writing this blog post from my family vacation at the beach.

By “family vacation,” I don’t mean just the three of us; I mean all 19 of the people in my family–Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, spouses and kids. I love it.

It’s not always easy to feed that many people. We pretty much fend for ourselves at breakfast and lunch, but we do share dinners. Each “family” takes a turn providing an evening meal. There’s usually an appetizer, the main meal and “something else,” which is code for dessert IF you ate enough of your nutritious and delicious dinner.

Last night, my sister made dinner. While she was cooking, the kids were HUNGRY so she set out strips of red bell pepper, baby carrots and roasted red pepper hummus. Her kids apparently have been raised on hummus. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that while I LOVE the stuff, my kids haven’t had much exposure to this Middle Eastern spread. The kids dipped THREE POUNDS of baby carrots into my sister’s hummus and devoured them. That’s a lot of baby carrots. Good thing they’re on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

Baby Carrots and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Serves 12


1 lb baby carrots
2 large sweet red peppers
2 (15 oz) cans garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp pepper

Broil red peppers 4 inches from the heat until skins blister, about 5 minutes. With tongs, rotate peppers a quarter turn. Broil and rotate until all sides are blistered and blackened. Immediately place peppers in a bowl; cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes.

Peel off and discard charred skin. Remove stems and seeds. Place the peppers in a food processor. Add the beans, lemon juice, tahini, oil, garlic and seasonings; cover and process until blended.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with carrots. Yields 3 cups

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 113, Fat: 5 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 g, Sodium: 339 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 4 g

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Posted in: Shop the Sale

Healthy Living: Coconut Oil

The latest product to take the nutrition world by storm is coconut oil. If you haven’t already heard about how this product is being substituted for other fats, you will soon –like right about now.

Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. It’s become quite popular in cooking, especially if you’re looking for a vegan alternative to traditional fats. It’s high in saturated fat, but because much of the saturated fat of coconut oil is in the form of lauric acid, coconut oil may be a better alternative to vegetable oils when solid fats are required.

Studies have shown that coconut oil can help our bodies fight off viruses and bacteria. It also helps ward off yeast, fungus and candida. Coconut oil can help control thyroid and blood sugar, as it improves insulin use in the body. Coconut oil can boost thyroid function, helping to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. It increases digestion and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. One  study found that women who consumed about two tablespoons of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks not only did not gain more weight but actually had lowered amounts of abdominal fat, a type of fat that is difficult to lose and contributes to more heart problems.

Substitute coconut oil for most fats in baking recipes.

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Posted in: Healthy Living

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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

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