share. The Brookshire's Blog

Family Matters: Grace’s Garden


My daughter Grace, who is 10, is my outdoor, nature-loving, recycling type of girl. She wants to garden, save all the animals and recycle everything in the house. So it didn’t surprise me, in early spring, when she started saving all the seeds from the fruit she had eaten. She would dry the seeds out and then plant them, hoping they would grow into big fruit trees someday. Most of the time, she usually forgot where she’d planted her seeds.  

This year, she planted cantaloupe seeds from a cantaloupe I had bought at the store. She put up some fencing and made a scarecrow to decorate her little garden. She watered the seeds everyday, and would you believe they started growing?  At first, I thought they were weeds or bull-nettles and was thinking about pulling it all up. But instead, I let her keep watering them and continued to watch them grow.  

I’m so glad I didn’t pull her garden up because it produced a handful of cantaloupe. And may I say, the best tasting cantaloupe we’ve had all year. My daughter is so proud of her garden and already has plans for a bigger garden next year. 

So the next time your kiddo wants to plant a garden, love on nature or recycle everything in the house, let them do it and give them the tools to do it with. You may just reap the benefits!



Shop the Sale: Stuffed Baked Potatoes


A staple meal of my college days and early single life was the baked potato.

I could toss them in the oven or microwave and forget about them while they baked and they’d emerge fluffy, light, steamy and delicious. I’d top them with broccoli and cheese, sour cream and cheese, butter and cheese, or basically anything with cheese.

These days, I still love making baked potatoes a meal, but I try to avoid the cheese. And the sour cream.  And the butter. A baked potato is high in carbohydrates and vitamin C, but I try not to add a lot of extra fat with (admittedly delicious) dairy products.  I also make sure to eat the skin of the potato, which is super-high in potassium, something that helps alleviate the symptoms of my restless leg syndrome and helps your muscles recover more quickly after a workout.

Russet potatoes are on sale at Brookshire’s this week. Stuffed with this vitamin-laden and colorful salsa, they are an easy meal in itself. Almost all the ingredients are on sale, so take advantage of this in-season special this week. The salsa is almost meatless, but the bacon imparts a nice, smoky flavor and adds depth to the meal. You won’t even miss the butter.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 large Russet potatoes
4 strips Wrights’s brand smoked bacon, cooked crisp
1 medium yellow squash, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 Hot House orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 Honey Sweet Yellow onion, diced
1 cup Bird’s Eye Steamfresh corn, lightly steamed
3/4 cup Pace Picante Sauce

Directions:
Scrub Russet potatoes. Prick with a sharp knife and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender.

While potatoes are baking, cook bacon. Reserve drippings for another use. Crumble bacon in a large bowl.

Add zucchini, squash, corn, onion, pepper and picante sauce. Stir to mix. Serve on top of the baked potato, fresh out of the oven.

Nutritional Information: Calories 403; Calories from Fat 64; Total Fat 7.1g; Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 645mg; Total Carbohydrates 74.9g; Dietary Fiber 12.7g; Sugars 12.6g; Protein 12.0g



Healthy Living: Eggplant


Ever since the days my mom cut eggplant into strips and fried it and told me they were French fries, I’ve been in love with the majestically dark purple vegetable.

Truth be told, she probably never had to trick me into eating eggplant; I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love it. My brothers and sisters, on the other hand, were probably a different story.

Not only is eggplant delicious, but it’s good for you too. Eggplant is a great source of dietary fiber. One cup of cubed eggplant has 2.8 g of dietary fiber, or 8 percent of the recommended daily intake. Dietary fiber soaks up water in the digestive track, helping slow the intestines from absorbing starch and sugar. The delayed absorption helps lower cholesterol and sugar levels, ultimately preventing heart disease and stroke, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Eggplant is rich in several B vitamins, including B1, B3 and B6, which help your body convert carbohydrates into usable energy by helping to break down fats and proteins. It’s also full of magnesium, manganese and potassium. One of the best parts! It’s essentially fat and cholesterol free (as long as you don’t fry it!).

This is one of my favorite things to do with eggplant – I use it as a topping for pasta or just eat it as is. It’s delicious either way.

Eggplant, Roma Tomato and Red Onion Ragu
Serves 4 

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
5 Roma tomatoes
1 large red onion
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs fresh spicy oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup goat cheese

Directions:
Wash eggplant thoroughly. Slice into 3/4-inch rounds. Spread the rounds on paper towels and salt liberally (don’t worry about using too much salt; you’ll be rinsing it off).

Eggplant holds a lot of water that can result in an end-product that is spongy from too much moisture. The salt sucks the excess water out of the eggplant before you cook it.

Let the salted eggplant sit for between 10 and 20 minutes.  It will start to sweat.

After 20 minutes, rinse the salt from the eggplant and pat dry. Dice.

In the meantime, dice your Roma tomatoes. Cut your red onions into chunks. They don’t have to be pretty.

Chop fresh spicy oregano. This is my most favorite herb of late and I grow it in my herb garden. It smells good and tastes delicious. Just enough heat for any dish.

Toss oregano with eggplant, tomatoes and red onions.  Drizzle your veggies with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bake at 325 F for about an hour, stirring about every 15 minutes.  The vegetables will get nice and caramelized.

Serve over pasta, as a side dish or as a topping for chicken or other meats. Top with goat cheese. 

Nutritional Information: Calories 150; Calories from Fat 79; Total Fat 8.8g; Cholesterol 3mg Sodium 38mg; Total Carbohydrates 16.2g; Dietary Fiber 6.4g; Sugars 8.4g; Protein 4.2g



Product Talk: Northwest Cherries


I used to have a very strict “no fruit and meat” policy.  In other words, I wouldn’t mix fruits and meats of any kind. And then I tried a raspberry chipotle barbecue sauce on pork tenderloin and I became a convert. The acidity in fruit actually complements most meats and proteins brilliantly, tenderizing them to mouth-watering morsels.

The stunning array of flavors you can get with oranges, pineapples, limes, lemons and berries is amazing.  So when I saw a recipe for a cherry sauce that was savory and slightly spicy, I knew I had to try it.

Cherries are my favorite summer fruit but they aren’t in season for very long. Usually they’re on the Brookshire’s shelves from June to the end of August. This is a fun way to use cherries in something other than a dessert and I like this sauce because it combines the sweet and the spicy.

Spicy Cherry Sauce
Adapted from www.nwcherries.com

Ingredients:
3 cups pitted, fresh sweet cherries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 Tbs local honey
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp crushed, dried red ancho chiles
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 Tbs oregano

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in heavy saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, 30 minutes or until mixture thickens; stir frequently.

Serve as a sauce on baked or grilled chicken, fish or pork. If using it with a grilled meat, apply during the last minute or two of cooking so the sauce doesn’t scorch.

Nutritional Information: Calories 104; Total Fat, 1g; Carbohydrates 22g; Protein 1g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Fiber 2 g; Sodium 154 mg



Dine-In: Super Foods on a Friday Night


During the sweltering temperatures of August, the last thing I want to do is add more heat with my stove or oven! And on a Friday night after a long work week, I’m looking for something to feed my family that’s cool, quick and hopefully still healthy for our bodies.

“Super foods” are foods that contain multiple disease-fighting nutrients. And How you feed your brain is at the center of most every human function, and how you eat may be the single-most effective tool you have to control weight, fight mental illness and live longer.

Our spinach salad is filled with foods that are optimal for super brain power. Feed your brain, feed your body! We make our salad with baby spinach, boiled eggs, berries, salmon, walnuts and a curry vinaigrette – all “super” foods that are known to help your brain function at its best. Your body, mind and taste buds will thank you!

Super-Food Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

Salad:
2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
2 Tbs dried cranberries
1 6-oz salmon filet
Olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 boiled egg, halved

Dressing:
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs curry powder
2 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
For the dressing, combine white wine, curry powder, honey, salt, and pepper and blend. Add olive oil. Blend well to combine.

For the salmon, place the salmon fillet on a large plate and brush with olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Put the salmon fillet on hottest part of the grill or in a nonstick skillet heated on medium-high heat, starting with the skinless side down. Grill for about 5 to 10 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness.

To serve, place spinach leaves on plate. Sprinkle walnuts and berries over. Place salmon in center and egg halves on each side. Drizzle dressing over and serve immediately (will have dressing left over). Serves one.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 670, Total Fat: 64 g, Saturated Fat: 8.1 g, Sodium 1567 mg, Carbohydrates15.3, Fiber: 5.3g, Protein: 15.3 g

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Posted in: Dine In, Produce


Family Matters: Traveling With Baby


My older son, Curt, was about five months old on Memorial Day weekend 2002. His dad and I thought it would be a great idea to rent a beach house on the Bolivar Peninsula for the holiday weekend and enjoy our first trip as a small family.

We opted for a beachfront cabin, not right in the thick of things so we could enjoy some quiet, but not too far out that we couldn’t get to the convenience store easily, either. This proved to be quite a serendipitous choice. This was the first time we’d be away from home with our son. Overnights to see his grandparents in Houston didn’t really count – their house was already stocked with a crib, swing, bouncy seat, diapers and a lot of the things we’d need for a long weekend with a baby.

I never realized how much it takes to get one small baby to the beach for three days.

First of all, we needed the portable play yard – and several changes of sheets to keep the sand off – for him to sleep in. We loaded the jogging stroller into the back of the SUV thinking it would be easy to transport him over to the sand with the big wheels (we were right – the jogging stroller with its sun shade was a lifesaver on the beach). It also came in handy to lull him to sleep on long walks along the ocean so one of us didn’t have to leave the beach during his naptimes.

Then there was the beach bag. And the baby beach bag. Diapers. Swim diapers. Hats. Suntan lotion in 19 different baby varieties. Baby powder (very helpful for getting sand off of mom and baby!). Pacifier. Baby sunglasses. Water. Baby wipes. Toys. And the list goes on and on, seemingly interminable.

We found ourselves running to the convenience store for things we’d forgotten, paying so much more than if we’d shopped at our local Brookshire’s before we left home.

So here’s a checklist of things you might need to travel with baby this summer, or any time.

• Car seat
• Stroller
• Portable highchair
• Portable crib
• First aid kit
• 1-2 outfits for baby per day
• Bibs and burp cloths
• Extra shirt for mom and dad in case baby has a blowout
• Toys and books
• Baby’s lovie
• Breastfeeding cover or 2 bottles filled with formula
• Sippy cup with water
• Baby food
• Diapers – about one for every two hours
• Wipes
• Plastic grocery bags to store or dispose of dirty clothes or diapers
• Infant car seat or convertible car seat
• Stroller
• Baby carrier (optional)
• 2 daytime outfits, 4 pajama/loungewear outfits
• 3 pairs of socks
• 3 days worth of bibs and burp clothes
• 1 pair of shoes
• 3 days worth of bibs
• 1 weather appropriate hat.
• Baby toothbrush and baby toothpaste
• Baby bath soap and lotion
• 1 baby bottle and 1 Sippy cup
• 2 favorite books (1 bedtime, 1 anytime)
• Baby formula and food
• Hand pump or breast pump if needed
• Baby detergent (optional)
• Baby bottle squeegee and dish detergent
• Baby monitor
• Noise maker
• Baby proofing stuff

Oh, and the baby.

Happy travels!



Shop the Sale: Chili Rubbed Pork Chops


I’m just going to be honest – my weight has been up and down over the years and I can’t blame it all on giving birth twice.

You see, I love food and I love cooking. What I forget sometimes is that food doesn’t have to be high in fat or calories to taste delicious.

When I saw the boneless pork chops on sale this week I was reminded of one of my favorite recipes from my ‘Healthy Foods’ files.

There’s so much flavor you won’t even miss the fat or extra calories.

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

Chili Rubbed Pork Chops with Lemon Green Beans

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
4 Hormel boneless pork chops
1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
Juice of one lemon

Directions:
Preheat broiler or grill and coat pan or grill grate with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine chili powder, brown sugar, cumin and garlic powder. Add Worcestershire sauce and stir until a paste forms.

Rub paste onto both sides of pork chops. Place on prepared pan/grill and broil or grill until pork is no longer pink – about four minutes each side.

Steam string beans. Drain. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice.

Nutritional Information: Calories 271; Fat 8.5 g; Carbohydrate 15.1g; Fiber 5.3g; Cholesterol 78g; Protein 33.7g



Healthy Living: Pears


For my birthday last weekend, my best friend and I went to Dallas. After a day of shopping at some local boutiques, we headed over to my favorite restaurant, Cheesecake Factory. There were so many delicious dishes to pick from, but I went with a flatbread topped with sweet baked pears, arugula, toasted walnuts and blue cheese. The combination of the sweet pear and sharp arugula was amazing.

Pears have a high NuVal score of 96. That is no surprise because they are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber. While I love to slice pears and add them to a pizza with arugula, toasted walnuts and blue cheese, they are also good in cobblers, salsas and salads.

Don’t know which pear to get? Well, Bartlett pears are the most flavorful and their juicy and sweet flavor is perfect for canning, cooking or added to a salad. As the Bartlett pears ripen, they turn from green to yellow.

Bosc pears are good for baking, cooking and poaching. You will not be able to tell if a Bosc pear is ripening based on its color, but on the area around the stem. As the pear ripens, the area around the stem will shrivel.

Red pears are sweet much like the Bartlett pears, making them perfect for salads, desserts and cooking. When the pear is bright red, it’s ready to enjoy.

Try a few different pears this week to find your favorite.

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Brookshire’s Famous Fried Chicken!


A few weeks ago I was asked to teach a “simple summer entertaining” cooking class to some ladies from Marvin Methodist Church in Tyler, Texas. We met one evening out at one of the church member’s lake houses. The setting was beautiful, and it was so much fun to cook, eat and talk with women of all ages.

Some of the ladies and I got to talking about fried chicken, which is not that unusual when it comes to potluck conversation in the South! One thing I noticed was that many of the older ladies talked about how their mothers and grandmothers would fry the Sunday dinner chicken early that morning, cover it with a sheet or paper towel, leave it on the counter, and go to church.

But most of the women no longer fry their own chicken, especially the younger ones and the ladies cooking for only one or two people. The women mostly said, “We just pick it up at Brookshire’s!”

Brookshire’s fried chicken gets rave reviews from our customers all across our stores. We have worked hard to perfect our recipe and train our partners in the stores so that you can be certain you will get the same juicy, crispy chicken you’ve come to love – no matter which store you visit! And we keep it at a price point that definitely makes it worth not messing up your clean kitchen!

Family food traditions are important parts of our memories, but a good tradition doesn’t have to mean you’ve spent early Sunday morning in the kitchen! Just pick it up on your way home from church or work, put it on your own platter, and we’ll keep your secret!

Enjoy!

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine-In: Feeling Festive Friday Night Pasta


There’s nothing better than the vast array of fresh fruits and vegetables available in the summertime.

In years past, I’ve grown zucchini and tomatoes, among other things, in my own garden, but this year, life got in the way and I didn’t plant my garden. Good thing there’s a Brookshire’s right down the road from my house.

My kids and I tried this recipe last week. My younger son was very excited to be having pasta for dinner, until he realized that it was not mac-and-cheese out of a box. His enthusiasm rallied, however, when he discovered this recipe included bacon. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t get excited about bacon?

We ate this warm for dinner, and then had the leftovers cold for lunch the next day. It was excellent both ways and my kids even went back for seconds. That’s a success in my book.

Feeling Festive Friday Night Pasta
Serves 6

Ingredients:
3/4 lb short pasta such as radiatore or cavatappi
4 slices bacon
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1/4 of a red onion, sliced (soak red onion in ICE water for about 20 minutes before using, it takes the   bite out of the onion)
Sea salt and pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz Feta, crumbled
1/2 cup spicy oregano, chopped

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove, let cool and break into pieces. Drain most of the bacon fat from the skillet, leaving about a tablespoon. Add zucchini, onion and tomatoes to the skillet and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are tender and tomatoes are softened, about 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the pasta and the cooking water to the skillet and toss to mix. Remove from the heat and add bacon and feta. Sprinkle with spicy oregano and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories 351; Calories from Fat 92; Total Fat 10.2g; Cholesterol 31mg; Sodium 511mg; Total Carbohydrates 50.9g; Dietary Fiber 3.1g; Sugars 8.4g; Protein 15.8g

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


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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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