share. The Brookshire's Blog

Healthy Living: Fighting Back Against Bugs

Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can have an outsize effect on your summer health and happiness. It only takes a few of the little critters to make you itchy and miserable, or, in rare cases, seriously sick. (Ticks, for instance, can carry Lyme disease, and mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus.)

A good insect repellant with DEET is often your best protection from pesky bugs. But if you prefer to avoid or limit the use of these sprays, especially if you have young children, there are other, less intrusive ways to lessen your chances of being a bug’s victim of choice:

Bug-proof your yard: Mosquitoes love to congregate in standing, stagnant water, even small areas that may escape your notice. Look for, and eliminate, puddles in and around plant saucers, trash containers, outdoor shelves and furniture, barbecue grills, playground sets, or low spots in the yard. Remember to clean out rain gutters; clogged ones may harbor water, and mosquitoes. If you have a kiddie pool or a bird bath, empty and clean it at least once a week. For an in-ground or larger above-ground pool, skim the surface regularly. Mosquitoes can lay eggs right on the water’s surface. Finally, if you have a water feature, like a pond, consider adding goldfish. They eat mosquitoes.

Wear the right clothes: Mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors, so wear white or pastels. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts, though often impractical and uncomfortable in summer heat, are better protection than skimpier summer clothing. However, proper clothing is especially essential if you’re spending time hiking or camping in the woods or in tall grass, where ticks are more of a risk.

Natural repellants: Citronella, in candles, spray or oil, is a natural, fragrant, non-toxic way to repel insects, especially fleas and mosquitoes. Essential oils from some other herbs, including catnip, rosemary and lemon thyme, also can deter insects.

Go batty: What are some of the most efficient mosquito-eating animals? Bats! One small brown bat can eat hundreds of mosquitoes in a single night. If you can stomach the idea, consider creating a bat habitat in your backyard; Bat Conservation International has plans and bat houses for sale online. (By the way, bats are nocturnal, so you may rarely even see them, and they will typically not bite unless threatened.)

Blow it off: Mosquitoes like still air, not breezes. Put an oscillating fan or two on the patio, or consider installing a ceiling fan on your covered deck.

Using DEET: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reviewed DEET, the active ingredient in many insect repellants, and determined that it poses no health concerns to the general public. That said, use it safely: Do not spray it on your face, do not over-apply, don’t apply it on children’s hands or faces, and wash it off after you go back inside. If you spray it on clothes, wash them before wearing again.

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Posted in: Healthy Living

Product Talk: Baked Goodies for Special Diets

The problem with many bakery products produced for those on special diets – whether sugar-free or gluten-free – is that it’s often all too easy to taste what’s missing. The sugar, for one. Or the wheat flour that gives cakes and muffins their moist, delicate texture.

That’s why I’m so proud of the Tasty Bakery line of specialty loaf cakes, muffins and cakes that we introduced recently. Having tried them all, I can say these are so good, you’d be happy eating them even if you don’t have dietary concerns.

But for the growing number of people who have food sensitivities, allergies, or a need to cut down on their sugar intake, these goodies are an especially great find.

Take the no-sugar-added cookies, cakes and muffins. Fruit nectar, not artificial sweeteners, creates the sweet taste of goodies like blueberry muffins, apple loaf cake and oatmeal raisin cookie. Fruit nectar doesn’t deliver the “aftertaste” or off-taste you may have experienced eating some other no-sugar-added goods. And they are still lower in fat, calories and carbs than traditional recipes.

The sugar-free baked goods, like the loaf cake, are sweetened with lacticol, an ingredient made from milk sugar lactose. Lactitol does not raise blood glucose or insulin levels, so it’s considered a good sweetening alternative for diabetics. In addition, you may find lactitol easier to digest than other sugar-free sweeteners, which in some people cause stomach discomfort.

And the gluten-free items – like chocolate chip cookies, wild blueberry muffins and peanut butter cookies – are made without wheat or other gluten-containing ingredients, like malt flavoring or modified food starch with a wheat source. They are baked in a dedicated facility, so there’s no contamination by these allergens. However, again, if you didn’t know they didn’t contain wheat, you might not guess.

The Tasty Bakery line is also certified kosher. The last piece of good news? They come packaged in cute little gift boxes that make them a great take-along hostess gift or party offering. Or, of course, just a little present to yourself and your family.

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Posted in: Product Talk

Family Matters: Beach Nut Baby Products

Beech Nut baby products are made with natural ingredients; no artificial color, flavors or preservatives.  Beech Nut places their product in one of four stages.

Stage 1 is products appropriate for babies about ready to eat solid food. The last stage, stage 4, is foods more appropriate for your toddler. Check out Beech Nut’s website! They have a lot of good information on eating habits for your little one!

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Posted in: Family Matters

Scoop it up!

Ice cream scoops can come in rounded half ball form, straight shovel-like form, and they even have scoops with a leaver to easily push out the ice cream. For easy scooping, just run the scoop under warm water to help loosen the frozen ice cream.

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Posted in: Entertaining

M&M’s + Chex = happy trails

Caramel Crunch Trail Mix
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 12

1 cup caramel bits
2 Tbs heavy cream
1 cup peanuts
3 cups air-popped popcorn
1 cup Chocolate Chex
3/4 cup Peanut or Milk Chocolate M&M’s
Preheat oven to 225° F. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine caramel and heavy cream; stir until caramel is melted. Spread peanuts, popcorn and Chex cereal over baking sheet; mix well. Pour caramel sauce over popcorn mixture. Place popcorn in the oven and bake for 1 hour stirring occasionally. In a large bowl combine popcorn mixture and candies.

Zoo Trail Mix
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 12

1 cup animal crackers
1 cup Wheat Chex
1/2 cup Pretzel M&M’s
1 cup pretzels
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup dried bananas
1/2 cup almonds

In a large bowl combine all ingredients.

S’mores Trail Mix
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Serves: 8

3/4 cup Milk Chocolate M&M’s
1 cup mini marshmallows
2 cups Golden Graham Cereal
1 cup Cinnamon Chex

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients.

Healthy Living: Summer Safety

With the HOT summer days among us, it is very important to use caution while enjoying your summer fun. Use these helpful tips for staying cool this summer…. 

  1. Drink more fluids, regardless of your activity level.
  2. Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar.
  3. Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place.
  4. Wear lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing.
  5. Seek shade between 10 am and 4 pm.
  6. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
  7. Use a sunscreen that filters out both UVA and UVB rays.
  8. Reapply sunscreen after two hours outside, or immediately after swimming or sweating.
  9. Wear sun glasses to protect eyes from the sun.
  10. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect head, face and neck.


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Posted in: Healthy Living

Product Talk: Organic Milk

Most of us have some sort of milk ritual. It could be your breakfast is incomplete if not accompanied by a cold, creamy glass of milk, or your mother’s warm chocolate chip cookies are not the same without milk to dunk them in. From as far back as I can remember, before bed, my grandfather would get the same cup out of the cabinet and pour himself a glass of milk. For at least 22 years I don’t believe that man went a night without a cold glass of milk.

Unlike my grandfather, I don’t consume milk every night, but I always seem to need it for a recipe. My biggest problem with milk is that it seems to be out of date every time I open my refrigerator door. I always get frustrated that I have to pour so much milk down the drain. Lately, I have been buying organic milk for more than the reason of it being organic. If you notice organic milk tends to have a longer expiration date. For that reason, you can justify paying a little more for organic milk.

If you’re curious why organic milk is different than regular cow’s milk, here’s why: The USDA has a program, called the National Organic Program, which has set up guidelines on what can be labeled organic. This way you can’t just slap the word organic on just any product. Organic milk is milk that comes from cows that have not been injected with antibiotics or a hormone that will increase their production of milk. The next guideline is the food the cows eat must not be treated with any pesticides. Lastly, the cows must have some kind of access to a pasture or outdoors.

Now you know what the pros are to buying organic milk!

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Posted in: Product Talk

Dine-In: Eat All Your Veggies Day

Today is Eat All Your Veggies Day. There is no better way to celebrate than grilling up these vegetables!

Mexican Blend Grilled Vegetables
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Serves: 8

1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 purple onion, sliced
1 large tomato, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Food Club Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lime, juiced

In a large bowl toss together all ingredients. Make sure that all vegetables are coated in oil. Wrap vegetables in foil and place on grill. Grill vegetables for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender.

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 81, Fat: 7 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 3 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 1 g

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Posted in: Dine In

Family Matters: Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 6

4 cups fresh blueberries
1 lemon, juiced
2/3 cup Food Club Sugar
1/4 cup Food Club Honey
1/4 tsp Food Club Salt
2 (6 oz) Food Club Light Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 cup Full Circle 2% Milk
1/2 cup Food Club Chopped Walnuts

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add blueberries, lemon juice, sugar, honey and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved. With a potato masher, mash blueberries leaving some whole. Remove blueberry mixture from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl combine blueberries, yogurt and milk; mix well. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Transfer blueberry yogurt to ice cream maker and add walnuts. Follow manufacturer’s instructions until mixture is creamy.

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 145, Fat: 3 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 13 mg, Carbohydrates: 28 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 3 g

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Posted in: Family Matters

Grilling Tools 101

Summer is prime time for grilling, but just as you wouldn’t venture into the kitchen without the proper tools, you need the right equipment to do the BBQ job. Whether you prefer to cook with gas or charcoal, on a tiny hibachi or on a grill big enough for the whole neighborhood, here’s the basic toolkit you need to grill like a master.

Brush: Use for basting food with marinade, barbecue sauce or oils. A brush prevents overuse of grilling liquids; excess can cause your grill to overheat or even flame.

Spatula: Really, you need two: A heavy, metal offset spatula for flipping burgers and the like, and a thin fish spatula that can slide under delicate items like fish.

Grill brush: Use a sturdy wire brush to clean your grill after cooking, before food has a chance to dry onto the grate. Don’t skip this step; your grill will last much longer if kept clear of debris.

Meat Thermometer: Handy mini thermometers make for idiot-proof grilling. When you’re checking the temperature, be sure your thermometer isn’t touching any bone–this could give you an incorrect reading. Here’s a helpful guide to figure out if your meat is done enough.

Bamboo skewers: An inexpensive, disposable alternative to metal skewers. Use these to thread shrimp, scallops, vegetables or small pieces of meat. The resulting kabobs are easier to handle, and will cook more evenly, than the same food cooked a piece at a time. (To keep bamboo skewers from burning, soak them in water for at least 1 hour.)

Tongs: Stainless steel tongs allow you to turn food safely, quickly and efficiently. Choose a pair that’s lightweight, pinches together easily, and has a gripping edge that snares food without piercing it. (Piercing meat causes a loss of juice and flavor.) Tongs should be a medium or long length; too short and you’ll burn your hands.

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.

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