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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 

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

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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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

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

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

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

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.

Shop the Sale: Mexican Quiche

You can thank Bruce Feirstein that “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.” His 1982 book by the same name asserted that masculine men simply don’t eat egg and cheese-based pie.

I never understood Feirstein’s odd obsession of associating quiche with femininity, except for perhaps the French origin of the word “quiche.” Otherwise, a pie crust filled with meat, egg and cheese seems like a hearty enough meal for anyone!

And quiche is also as such a versatile dish, fitting your menu anytime of the day and for most any occasion. They also double, freeze and reheat easily for an easy option when you need something quick.

Shop the Brookshire’s sale this week to find four of the ingredients you need to make this delicious Mexican Quiche: Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, Brookshire’s Best pork sausage, Julio’s refrigerated salsa and Sargento shredded cheese. It’s the perfect week to try a new recipe for your family’s table – breakfast, lunch or dinner.


Mexican Quiche
1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
1 lb Brookshire’s best ground pork sausage, mild or hot
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup Julio’s salsa, mild or hot
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups Sargento shredded Cheddar Jack or Authentic Mexican Cheese
Garnishes: Sour cream and additional Julio’s Salsa

Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate. Brown ground sausage in a large skillet, adding onion and garlic halfway through cooking time. Drain grease from sausage, and add cumin and salt and cook two more minutes. Remove from heat and add salsa, eggs and cheese. Pour into pie crust and bake 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and eggs are set. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Cut into 6 or 8 wedges and top each wedge with a dollop of sour cream and additional salsa.

Healthy Living: Breakfast Cookies

Right around the time my boys were toddlers, they stopped eating.

These were the babies who gobbled up the homemade baby food purees I’d take such delight in creating. They’d eat spinach-sweet potato puree, strawberry banana oatmeal and even lima bean-chicken concoctions.

Then they got a mind of their own and feeding them wasn’t as easy as making airplane noises while swooping down with a long-handled spoon. It became necessary to be more creative and a little stealthy. One thing they’d eat by the dozen was cookies, or “coo-ees,” as they’d say.

I love this recipe because it’s so versatile. You can incorporate whole grains, which are naturally low in fat and have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health problems; natural sweeteners like honey, which is a natural energizer and boosts immunity; eggs for protein and all the fruit you can pack into one tasty morsel.  It’s also great because you can mix and match ingredients based on what you have in the pantry.

Although the recipe is named a “breakfast” cookie, my boys ate them any time of day.

Breakfast Cookies
Makes 36

3/4 cup mashed bananas OR applesauce OR sweet potato puree OR pumpkin puree
1/4 cup butter OR margarine OR natural peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar OR brown sugar OR honey OR molasses
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla OR almond extract
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour OR all-purpose flour OR ground oats
Dash cinnamon OR nutmeg OR allspice
Optional – dried fruit, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, chopped nuts
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream together fruit, butter and sugar.  Add egg and extract.  Mix dry ingredients and add to creamy mixture. It will be very stiff and sticky.  Add any optional ingredients.

Prepare baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Bake by rounded spoonfuls at 350 for 9 to 10 minutes.

These can be frozen as well.

Dine-In: Friday Night Panini Party

This morning I asked my 13-year-old, Smith, what he wanted for dinner tonight, thinking he’d answer “Steak and Potatoes!” I think both of my sons would eat steak and potatoes every single night if I would cook it for them.

But Smith surprised me by saying he just wanted a sandwich and chips. This is the same child who never, ever wanted me to pack sandwiches in his brown bag lunches for school, so I couldn’t quite figure out why his sudden interest in the very thing he had refused to eat for the last nine months.

Then I figured it out…he and a friend had just eaten at a local restaurant that makes some of the best Paninis I’ve ever had. In case you are not familiar, a Panini is an Italian pressed and toasted sandwich, filled with pretty much meat, cheese and vegetables you like.

Smith had ordered and enjoyed a roast beef Panini and was craving it again, so I did a little research and experimenting to get as close as I could to the description he gave me from the restaurant. I like this one on a baguette, but a wonderfully thick artisan-style sourdough bread would work just fine as well.


Friday Night Paninis 

2 French-style baguette loaves, cut in half and then split lengthwise
1/2 cup store-bought mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
2 Tbs bottled prepared horseradish
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 slices sharp Cheddar cheese
1-1/2 lbs thinly sliced roast beef
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup purchased steak sauce

Preheat an electric Panini press or heavy skillet. In a small mixing bowl, stir together mayonnaise, horseradish and garlic. Spread the cut sides of each piece of bread with the mayonnaise mixture.

On the bottom half of each sandwich, place a slice of Cheddar. Arrange the roast beef evenly on top, then top with another slice of cheese. Place top bread half over sandwich.

Once preheated, brush cooking surface of Panini press or skillet with olive oil. Place the sandwiches in the Panini press and cook until the cheese has melted and the bread is a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Cook one sandwich at a time if necessary.

Using tongs or a spatula, transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and, with the bread knife, cut them diagonally in halves. Transfer to serving plates and pass with warmed steak sauce.

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Posted in: Dine In

Family Matters: Homemade Teething Relief

The months when a baby starts to grow his or her teeth are some of the most trying as a new parent. I can remember trying anything – from my own fingers and fancy refrigerated baby toys to all kinds of teething biscuits – to try and bring relief to my son’s restless little gums.

One thing I noticed was that many purchased teething biscuits contained palm oil (a saturated fat), as well as more sugar and preservatives than I wanted. One day, I decided to do a little research and find a recipe or two to make homemade biscuits that hopefully my teething toddler would like – and would be a bit healthier.

These are not very sweet, but because I did not have much added sugar in my child’s diet this early in life, he thought they tasted great….and it provided much-needed chomping!

Homemade Teething Biscuits

1 cup all-purpose or oat flour
1 cup dry infant rice or oat cereal
1 very ripe banana, mashed until smooth
2 Tbs canola oil
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs honey, optional

Preheat oven to 375˚F. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and cereal. In a small bowl, stir together the banana, oil, water and honey if using. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until dough comes together and is not too sticky. You might need to add a little more flour our water, depending on the ripeness and size of the banana.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out about 1/4-inch thick and cut into smooth circles. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely and store extras in an airtight container. You can also freeze up to two months.

Shop the Sale: Watermelon Sherbet Slices

With the temperature creeping upwards, we need to find easy ways to cool off and have fun indoors when it’s too hot to be outside. 

In our home, nothing welcomes summer better than the arrival of Goldenbrook Watermelon Sherbet in our local Brookshire’s stores! Not only is the sherbet delicious all by itself, I also enjoy making Watermelon Sherbet Freezes by blending the sherbet with club soda or lemon-lime soda and processing until smooth. It’s an easy summer frozen drink for all ages!

Another fun way to get your kids involved in the kitchen during their summer vacation is to make these adorable Watermelon Sherbet Slices. Each slice looks like a wedge of watermelon, and they are so easy to make. In no time at all, your kids will see success from their hard work, which makes this worth the time and effort – not to mention it’s just old-fashioned summer fun.

Goldenbrook Watermelon Sherbet is on sale this week at your local Brookshire’s, so it’s a great time to stock up for the hot days ahead. Enjoy!

Watermelon Sherbet Slices

1 half gallon Goldenbrook lime sherbet
1 half gallon Goldenbrook Homemade Vanilla ice cream
1 half gallon Goldenbrook Watermelon Sherbet

Prepare a round springform pan by covering the bottom with wax paper. Allow lime sherbet to soften and spread a 2-inch ring around the outer edge of the pan to form the “rind,” leaving the middle of the pan empty. The ring of lime sherbet should be about two inches in height as well. Return to freezer to harden.

Allow vanilla ice cream to soften and spread a 1/2-inch ring around the pan, just inside of the lime sherbet “rind” layer. Return to freezer to harden.

Allow watermelon sherbet to soften and fill the center of the pan to form the “meat” of the watermelon. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, smooth the top of the sherbet across the entire surface. Return to freezer to harden.

When ready to serve, run a knife around the edges before removing springform pan. Serve in slices, using a sharp knife to cut through. The slices will look like watermelon wedges!

NOTE: Goldenbrook Watermelon Sherbet has candy “seeds” already in the sherbet. Sometimes I add additional miniature chocolate chips if I want the look of additional seeds.

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Posted in: Shop the Sale

Healthy Living: Muesli

You can pretty much guess what I will bring home each week from the grocery store: bread, peanut butter, bananas, milk, blueberries, asparagus and the list goes on. One item that varies from week to week is my breakfast. I absolutely love oatmeal, but while a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal is delicious on a cold winter morning, it’s not something you wake up wanting in the hot summer. So during the summer I stick to cereal with cold milk.

When picking out which cereal I want each week, I start at the beginning of the aisle and look for a cereal that looks good to me. Knowing the NuVal scores range from 2 to 91, I know I will not find anything higher than a 91. I try to find a cereal with a high score that I know I will enjoy. I have come home a few times with the Post Shredded Wheat, which scores a 91. This week when searching for cereal, I came across all these delicious ingredients and a high NuVal score in a cereal called muesli. You don’t have to ask me twice –  it’s going in my shopping cart.

Each morning I pour a small bowl of muesli and add a little milk. I let the muesli soak up the milk for a few minutes while I’m getting my coffee ready and then I dig in. Muesli can be served with milk or juice or can be used as a topping for yogurt. If you like granola you will like muesli.

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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.

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