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Shop the Sale: New fish sandwich


What’s for lunch today? How about our brand-new fish sandwich? It’s on special this week at stores with full-serve and self-serve delis.

Just in time for Lent, which starts next month, we’ve introduced this ready-to-eat sandwich in our self-serve warmer, next to our chicken and pulled pork sandwiches.

Served on a soft warm sandwich bun, this is a filet of Alaskan pollock, a flaky, firm-bodied whitefish that is somewhat similar to cod, but tastes milder and more delicate.  The filets are coated with crispy panko bread crumbs, a style of Japanese bread crumb, which creates a crunchy crust that stays light and not greasy.

We make them fresh throughout the day, so they are ready when you are, whether for a quick lunch on the go, or to take home for dinner for the family. (Pick up some potato salad and cole slaw while you’re there, and dinner is done.)

This is a seasonal offering; we’ll only be making them through April. Starting today and for the next week, you can get 3 for $5 – so bring a friend or office buddy, and tell them lunch is on you.

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Healthy Living: Lighten up your cooking


Eating healthier does not mean giving up all your favorite foods.

And it doesn’t mean you have to learn a whole new set of recipes. In fact, you can “lighten up” many of your favorite foods with just a few quick tricks. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Use less oil in baking recipes. If a cake calls for 1 cup of oil, you can get away with using just 2/3 cup.
2. Let soups and stews cool, which allows the fat to rise to the top and solidify. You can then more easily skim off this fat with a spoon. Then, just reheat to serve.
3. Decrease the amount of sugar in recipes by 1/4 to 1/2. Try to never use more than 1/4 cup of sweetener per cup of flour. To compensate, cut back on sour flavors and use a bit more of sweeter flavors like vanilla and cinnamon.
4. Season your dishes with herbs, spices, lemon and flavored vinegar instead of high-fat and high-sugar sauces.
5. Add beans, vegetables and fruits to your favorite dishes to boost the nutrition and flavor, as well as stretch out the number of servings. Adding half a cup of black beans to a serving of your favorite soup will add just over 100 calories, but about 7 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein to the dish – a very good tradeoff in my book.

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Family Matters: Caring for kitty


Cats may seem like the perfect, low-maintenance pet. You give most cats plenty of fresh food and water, a clean litter box, and a couple cozy places to nap, and they are perfectly content.

But cats need health care too. Cats are somewhat less likely than dogs to be taken to the veterinarian annually, according to an AP-Petside.com poll, conducted last fall. So it’s even more important for owners to pay close attention to their cat’s weight, behavior and overall health, so you can catch any minor problems before they become bigger ones.

According to the experts at Nestle Purina Petcare, cats’ needs change over time faster than humans do. After all, since a cat’s average life expectancy is anywhere from 12-15 years, one human year translates into several cat years.

So they suggest owners pay attention to several facets of their cat’s health, to help maintain a long, happy life for your four-legged family member. (And, yes, if you’re a dog owner, these tips also apply to your canine friends!)

Weight-watching: Chubby kitties may look cute, but even an extra couple of pounds can create health problems for a cat. Ideally, a cat should have minimal abdominal fat and just a slight fat pad over their ribs.

Should your cat be a little pudgy, you can begin to control its weight by cutting back on any treats, especially if you have been slipping them forbidden people food, and making sure you are feeding the correct amount as directed by package instructions. If you’re already doing everything right, you might need to start feeding a cat food with less fat and/or fewer calories, such as Purina Cat Chow Indoor Formula or Purina ONE Healthy Weight Formula.

Energy level: Consider your cat’s daily routine. Yes, it may seem they sleep 23 hours out of 24, but the healthy cat also spends time playing. If yours seems sluggish, make sure you offer regular interaction. If the cat doesn’t have any interest in activity, especially those that it formerly enjoyed, consult a veterinarian.

Bad kitty: Cats that suddenly develop behavior problems, such as the occasional missed litter box incident, are most likely just bored. Add a new toy or two, and additional interaction, and see if that helps. However, behavioral problems can also be age-related or health-related.  Cats over age 7 should be switched over to a senior pet food formula, so they receive the nutrients they need for their age. Otherwise, you may want to consider a trip to the veterinarian, to rule out any health-related issues.



Product Talk: Home-grown milk


When I say that Food Club milk, produced right in Brookshire’s hometown of Tyler, Texas, is some of the best you can buy, I’m not just bragging.

I’m talking about the awards it has won – most recently, at the dairy products championship at the World Dairy Expo, in Madison, Wisconsin, a kind of Super Bowl for milks, dips, yogurts and cheeses. There, we competed against some of the biggest producers from the U.S., Mexico and Canada, and took third place for our 1 percent milk. (And we placed even higher with our blueberry yogurt, sour cream, and sour cream ranch dip, all starting with our great milk – but that’s a story for another day.)

And I’m also talking about the high standards we hold for every drop of milk that comes through our plant.

It starts with our suppliers. We work with a dairy cooperative that provides our plant with farm-produced milk, most of it from the dairy farming areas around Texas. Because of our relationship with these dairies, some of them small family operations, we receive only the highest-quality milk they produce.

We test all of our milk before it arrives in our plant, to weed out any that contains several different antibiotics or high microbial counts, which would indicate unhealthy cows or unsanitary procedures on the farm, among other things. We want our milk to be natural and healthy, so we don’t accept milk that shows traces of these substances.

Once it arrives at our plant, we process it using our state-of-the-art technology. Then we rush it on to our stores so you get it at the peak of freshness. And because we keep the whole process in-house, we are able to offer our Food Club milk at a value-conscious price.

But don’t just take my word for it – or even the word of those judges at the World Dairy Expo. Our Food Club milk comes in comes in fat-free, 1%, 2% and whole milk, as well as chocolate milk, buttermilk and Bulgarian buttermilk. (Those last two are terrific for baking.) Pick up the variety your family drinks and give it your own taste test.

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine-In: Mini Hot Dogs


I am so excited about this weekend! It’s going to be all about sports. I am going to my favorite baseball team’s fan fest, a basketball game and a hockey game. There is one food I must have while watching a sports game – a hot dog. Last year when the Packers played the Steelers I made these mini hot dogs and they were a hit.

According to a 2008 poll conducted by the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council,  63% of fans listed hot dogs as the food they could not live without at the ballpark. The same poll reported that 88% of sports fans have eaten a hot dog in the past year or will eat a hot dog in the upcoming year at a sporting event.

So do your part in helping the hot dog reign supreme at your next sports-watching bash.

Mini Dogs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
2 (16.3 oz) pkgs refrigerated biscuit dough, halved
1 (14 oz) pkg mini cocktail franks, heated
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup pickle relish
1/2 cup shredded 2% cheddar cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.  Pull each biscuit half in an oblong shape like a hot dog bun. Place mini hot dog buns on baking pan; bake 13 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let buns cool.

Make a lengthwise slit into buns.  Place warm cocktail franks into mini buns. Top with mustard, pickle relish and cheese.



Shop the Sale: Ciabatta at home


Ciabatta artisan bread is a traditional Italian sandwich bread that has become popular the last few years in the United States.

Ciabatta has a thin crust with a light, airy, moist interior. It’s frequently used for panini sandwiches, the classic Italian pressed sandwich, and it’s also a perfect bread to pair with hearty soups and pastas.  It’s also delicious just served warm, with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping; you may have enjoyed it this way at an Italian restaurant.

Often, however, you have to enjoy this bread in a restaurant or at a specialty bakery. It’s hard to make, even for experienced home bakers.

But now you can enjoy fresh, traditional ciabatta bread at home – even if you are not a master baker. Our Full Circle Ciabatta bread and rolls are ready for you to take home and bake in 10 minutes or less for home-baked goodness.

And this week, it’s on sale at Brookshire’s, along with several other favorites from our Full Circle line, so there’s no reason not to enjoy some fresh-baked bread.

Like all our Full Circle breads, our Ciabatta is all-natural with no trans fats. You can bake your ciabatta bread the day you bring it home, or freeze it for later use.

Several other Full Circle breads are also offered at special prices this week, including French baguettes, country white, and honey whole grain. So you can feel like a professional baker, right in your own kitchen.

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Posted in: Shop the Sale


Product Talk: Whole grains and General Mills


A new year often prompts us to make new pledges about living better and eating better – but we all know how hard those promises are to keep out in the real world.

So here’s some help, from some products that are probably already on your family’s table, Big G Cereals from General Mills.

Big G cereals include many favorite brands, such as Wheaties, Chex, Cheerios, Fiber One and Lucky Charms. Most cereals are already a low-fat, healthy breakfast option, but over the past few years, General Mills has been working hard to improve the nutritional content of their cereals. They’re boosting the whole grain content, lowering sugar, decreasing sodium, and adding ingredients with health benefits.

For instance:

  • All General Mills Big G Cereals now list whole grains as the first ingredient, and contain more whole grain than anything else. This is in keeping with a USDA recommendation that consumers look for products that list “whole grain” as the first ingredient listed on the nutrition information panel.
  • All Big G cereals advertised to children – like Trix, Reese’s Puffs and Cookie Crisp – now have 10 grams of sugar or less per serving. This reflects an ongoing effort to reduce sugar content in these products over the past five years. There has been an average sugar reduction of 14 percent on Big G kids’ cereals since 2007; some cereals have had their sugar content reduced by up to 28 percent. What’s more, General Mills continues these efforts, and is committed to reaching single-digit sugar levels on all its cereals advertised to children under age 12. And somehow, they’ve done this while maintaining the flavor and texture you and your children enjoy.
  • All Big G kid cereals provide a good source of calcium and many other vitamins, along with at least 8 grams of whole grain in every serving.

Why is this important to you? Well, you already know the importance of lowering your sugar consumption, and taking in the recommended allowance of vitamins and minerals. But whole grains are increasingly recognized as an important factor in healthy eating, and most Americans don’t eat enough.

Simply put, whole grain means the complete grain. When grains are refined, as in white flour, the bran and germ are removed, so you don’t get their nutritional benefits, which include B vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.

Recent USDA recommendations suggest adults should get about 48 grams of whole grains daily – which means whole grains should make up about half of all the breads, cereals and other such products you consume.

That sounds like a lot. But when you consider that a bowl of Big G cereal has at least 8 grams of whole grains – and often as much as 16 – you can get a good start on that daily requirement just by eating breakfast. And suddenly, that New Year’s resolution to eat better doesn’t seem quite so impossible.



Dine-In: Roasted carrot soup


If a big pot of soup is your family’s go-to meal during the winter, you are probably always looking for new recipes so you can mix it up a bit. Here’s an interesting variation on typical vegetable soup. It relies on roasted, pureed carrots for natural sweetness and a smooth, creamy, satisfying texture.

To make this a completely vegetarian version, use vegetable stock for the entire amount called for, omitting the chicken stock. If you are watching fat and calories, you can substitute milk or even skim milk for the half-and-half; just use slightly less. The texture won’t be as creamy, but the caramelized flavor of the onions and carrots will still really shine through.

I like to serve this with some crusty bread and a couple of croutons on top, as a garnish.

Roasted Carrot Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. carrots (about 8 medium), peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 tsp. olive oil
Kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 3/4 cup unsalted chicken broth or stock (I like Kitchen Basics brand)
1 3/4 cup unsalted vegetable broth or stock
3/4 cups half-and-half
Fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the carrots, onion, 1 teaspoon of the oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt on a rimmed baking sheet and then spread in an even layer. Roast until the vegetables are well browned and softened, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Do not burn the vegetables, as this will cause the soup to be bitter.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a large saucepan. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, cover, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the carrots soften further, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and bay leaf; cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the broths. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the soup is flavorful, about 5 minutes.

Puree the mixture in a blender (or food processor) until smooth, and return to a clean saucepan. (You may need to do this in two or three batches, to avoid overfilling blender container.) Add the half-and-half and warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Thin with extra broth if needed. (The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Warm over low heat until hot; do not boil.)

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: New Year…New You


As we celebrate the New Year, let us all take a few minutes to reflect on the past year and look ahead at what we want to accomplish this year.

Whether you focus on marriage, family, friends, work, or life in general, there are things we can do (without much effort) that would make a difference in all of areas of our lives.

Think about compassion, patience, generosity, respect, kindness, self-control, integrity, gratitude, faithfulness and, most importantly, love.

When is the last time you showed compassion, had patience, expressed generosity, practiced respect, acted out of kindness, used self-control and upheld integrity?  What about showing gratitude, faithfulness and expressing love to others?

Everyone likes to receive these types of things, but we ourselves often fall short of extending them to others on a daily basis.  There are no greater attributes we can teach our children or accomplish as a family than having a passion to make the world around us a better place to live.  We are all extended mercy and grace daily, and we receive blessings we never acknowledge.

My prayer, for you and your family, is that you to find joy, hope and the courage to be different and to make a difference, in the lives of others this year. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you have to share with your family.



Shop the Sale: Naturally low-fat chicken breasts


If you overindulged both diet-wise and budget-wise over the holidays, it’s time to get back on track. So we are helping out with some terrific buy-one, get-one-for-1-cent deals this week at your neighborhood store.

And that includes some staples that will help both your wallet and your waistline, like Pilgrim boneless skinless chicken breasts. Buy a package, get another for a penny. And because the skin – by far the fattiest, most calorie-laden part of poultry – has already been removed, you start out with a lean, protein-dense main ingredient.

Need some inspiration? Search for some on our recipe database, on our newly redesigned website.  You’ll find hundreds of easy, delicious recipes to jumpstart your menu planning, like this chicken and brown rice pilaf , ready in just 20 minutes!

Or, here’s a simple baked chicken recipe that gets lots of flavor, but not too much fat, from Parmesan cheese and garlic. Pair with rice pilaf, a green vegetable, and fruit for dessert, and you won’t break the budget OR your diet.

Parmesan-lemon chicken
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
Juice of three lemons
6 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded or grated, divided
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add minced garlic and saute until soft, two-three minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes. Add lemon juice, four tablespoons parmesan, parsley, chili flakes if using, and a dash of salt and pepper. If mixture is too thick, thin with a little water or chicken broth.

Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken breasts in pan and pour butter-lemon-parmesan mixture over them. Bake for about 20-25 minutes; remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining two tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast registers 165 to 170 degrees.



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.

Healthy Living

Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

Shop the Sale

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

Family Matters

Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

Dine In

Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.

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