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Family Matters: Grooming

GroomingYes, cats groom themselves, but they could use some help from their human friends to stay in tip-top shape.

We see cats licking their fur to stay clean. They do a pretty good job of it, but you can also help them.

Cats don’t really need a bath. If they do, use room temperature water, and place an oven rack in your sink or bathtub. The cat will cling to that instead of to your arm.

Brush your cat regularly. They’ll probably love the feeling of being groomed with a medium-bristle brush. Don’t brush against the grain of their hair, though. That will probably ruffle some proverbial feathers.

Regular brushing keeps their skin healthy, prevents matting, and reduces shedding and hairballs.

You also need to trim their nails, no matter how many scratching posts (or table legs) you have available for them.

If your cat has fleas, it might be a good time to see your vet or professional groomer to take care of the issue.

Shop the Sale: Sunday Roast

Sunday RoastMy mom always made the BEST roast beef.

However, it seems like in my adult years that when I try a roast beef recipe, I get shredded beef or more of a pot roast instead of a piece of meat I can slice and serve with a sprinkling of pan gravy.

Tonight, I’m going to try another new roast beef recipe, and I think this one is going to be a winner. Of course, I’m already starting out winning with rump roast from Brookshire’s.

Use rump roast. Not chuck roast. Chuck roast tends to “shred” and we want to slice, remember?

Be sure to bring your meat to room temperature before you sear it. You’ll get the most beautiful sear that way, I promise.

When you take the meat out of the oven and let it rest, whisk about a tablespoon of flour into the pan juices on the stove over medium-high heat (if you cook in cast-iron, you can just set the skillet on the stove and not dirty another pan). Cook, stirring often, until thickened and bubbly for a brown pan gravy.

Perfect Roast Beef

2 Tbs canola oil
2 1/2 lbs rump roast, room temperature
2 white onions, chopped
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 300° F.

In a heavy cast-iron skillet, heat oil over heat. Season the room temperature rump roast with salt, pepper and garlic, massaging spices into meat.

Sear in the hot oil, turning so each side gets browned.

Remove from heat and add onions, carrots and water.

Roast for 20 minutes per pound for rare or 30 minutes per pound for medium-rare.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 407, Calories from Fat: 145, Fat: 16 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 16 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 59 g.

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Healthy Living: Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese

Greek Yogurt Mac and CheeseI love mac and cheese.

It’s one of my favorite dishes, and I try to make it as often as possible.

I even make a mean Cauliflower and Cheese dish, also featured on this blog.

While I love the cauliflower variety, sometimes you just want some pasta.

Even while eating pasta (use whole-grain for added fiber and health benefits), you can make a healthier sauce for the mac and cheese using Greek yogurt instead of butter and cream for the base.

This is so creamy and tangy that you don’t even miss the added fat.

The Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, and it gives the sauce a rich, full flavor.

Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese

8 oz whole-wheat macaroni or other small pasta
8 oz sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cups fresh baby spinach
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions (about 8 minutes).

Drain the pasta well, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and toss with spinach to wilt the spinach. Return the pasta and spinach to the pot.

Add about 1/4 cup of the reserved water to the pot, and stir in the cheese until melted. Stir in the Greek yogurt and all the spices; stir until smooth and creamy. Thin with remaining reserved water, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 321, Fat: 5 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 13 mg, Sodium: 373 mg, Carbohydrates: 45 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 25 g.

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Product Talk: Grandma’s Molasses

Grandma’s Molasses Marble CakeFall and holiday baking season are upon us, and there’s nothing like the rich flavor of molasses to use in your cool weather treats.

Grandma’s Molasses is an unsulfured, sugarcane molasses that is a great alternative to sugar and a perfect ingredient for baking or seeping into slow-cooked dishes like baked beans.

Molasses is one of the earliest ingredients used in baking. Originally sourced from the West Indies, having molasses to sweeten your cakes and breads was considered a status symbol at one time.

Grandma’s Molasses comes in Original or Robust varieties. Both are kosher and gluten-free. Robust molasses is more concentrated and less sweet than original. It’s made of a blend of “first molasses,” which is what remains once the sugarcane juice has crystallized, according to the company website.

Whether you’re making barbecue sauce or baking cookies, molasses is a deep, rich, aromatic ingredient that will enhance the flavor of anything you make.

Marble Cake

2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup Grandma’s® Original Molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves

Sift together flour, salt and cream of tartar. Cream together shortening, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Add milk alternately with flour mixture. Beat for 30 seconds. Place 1/3 of batter in a small bowl; stir in molasses and spices. Pour light and dark batters alternately into a well-greased, lightly floured, 8-inch tube cake pan or into a 9 x 9 pan. Bake tube cake for 1 hour in 325° F oven, or bake the 9 x 9 cake for 45 minutes in 350° F oven. Frost as desired.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 254, Fat: 10 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 28 mg, Sodium: 214 mg, Carbohydrates: 39 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 21 g, Protein: 4 g.


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Dine In: Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Chicken Cordon Bleu CasseroleGrowing up, the gold standard for a fancy meal was Chicken Cordon Bleu.

I figured if we were having that dish, it was a special occasion. This all stems from my parents taking me to a French restaurant for an early birthday, at age 10 maybe, and that clearly made a huge impression on me. Also, that was the first time I had Chicken Cordon Bleu, and I think I requested it for every birthday after that.

Chicken Cordon Bleu is still a pretty snazzy meal in my book, but it’s faster to make in casserole form!

You can purchase a rotisserie chicken to make this dish quickly as a great date night dish for a Friday night.

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

6 cups cooked chicken, shredded (from 2 lb chicken)
6 oz ham, diced
4 oz butter, melted
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs white wine, optional
2 oz lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
5 oz Swiss cheese, sliced

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken in the bottom of the pan, and top with pieces of ham.

In a food processor, combine butter, cream cheese, white wine (optional), mustard, lemon juice and salt. Blend until thickened. Pour over chicken and ham in the baking dish, and top with slices of Swiss cheese.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until hot and bubbly.

If desired, broil under high heat for 2 minutes to get cheese golden.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 605, Fat: 39 g (22 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 226 mg, Sodium: 928 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 57 g.

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Family Matters: Healthy Snacks

Healthy SnacksYour toddler is probably all about snacks! I know mine were at that age.

It’s not a bad thing for baby to have a few small snacks a day in between meals, as long as they are healthy. Goodness knows a well-timed snack has saved a harried mom from complete toddler mayhem and meltdown.

Use snacks to try to balance your toddler’s diet. If he had a whole-grain waffle for breakfast, some string cheese and fruit would be a good snack. If lunch was cheese toast and grapes, try some slices of apple and peanut butter for a snack, or slices of bell pepper and cottage cheese.

Don’t give your toddler a snack if he’s bored or cranky (unless you’re in the middle of a shopping mall and he’s about to lose it; then by all means, let him have some goldfish crackers).

Get creative with your snacks! Try carrot chips with hummus dip. Spread some tuna on whole-grain crackers. Let him dip celery in peanut butter. A small baked potato with cheese is a good snack, as are sweet potato fries baked in the oven. Slices of cucumber and bell pepper can be dipped in hummus or a small amount of ranch dressing. Top Greek yogurt with granola and fruit. Give him shelled edamame or chickpeas. Top cottage cheese with chunks of fresh fruit. Make him a smoothie with yogurt, milk and fresh fruit.

The options are endless.

Family Matters: Your Social Baby

Your Social BabyAt this age, babies can take a strong liking – or dislike – to other people. Until now, they honestly haven’t noticed much about who is around them. They know their parents and their siblings, but unless there is another caregiver in their lives day to day, they probably don’t know many other people.

Around this age, they will.

Your baby may be easy-going and completely unfazed if they are handed to a stranger, or your baby might scream like a wild man if he isn’t being held by Mom or Dad.

Introduce your baby to new people slowly. If it’s a social situation for you, don’t just hand your baby off. Let him get accustomed to the well-meaning friend who wants to hold your precious bundle before passing him off. Then, stay close by, so he sees you and knows this is a person who can be trusted. If he screams, take him back. There’s no point in forcing him into someone else’s arms if it’s not necessary.

If you’re introducing a new caregiver or occasional babysitter, introduce him before the first time that you need him cared for.

If the babysitter is coming to your home, have her come several times to meet baby, play with him and start to be included in his routine while you are still there. This will give baby a sense of security.

If you are bringing him somewhere else, bring him several times while you stay before having to leave him for the first time. You might see how he does if you leave for five minutes the first time then 10 minutes, and build up from there.

Different babies have different temperaments. Don’t be ruffled if your baby doesn’t like to be around others too much. Just introduce him slowly, like going to a playground and letting him sit on your lap. Or take him to a story hour or music class where he’s around others but doesn’t necessarily have to interact with them. Remember, your baby has his own little personality already, and it might be different from yours or from that of your other children!

Family Matters: Cough, Cold and Flu Season

Cough, Cold and Flu SeasonIt’s cold and flu season, which can be worrisome if you have an infant in the house.

The best way to treat your infant’s cold, cough or flu is to try to prevent it in the first place. That doesn’t mean you have to hibernate for the next six months, but there are a few things you can do to cut back on the spread of germs. First, wash YOUR hands frequently, since you are the one touching baby the most. Make sure other members of the household do, as well. Teach other children, and anyone who comes in contact with baby, to only touch him on the feet. Keep hands off of baby’s hands and face, where germs can be easily transferred. Keep baby away from anyone who is sick, and don’t feel badly about saying “no” if someone wants to hold him or touch him who has the sniffles or a cough themselves.

If your infant does get sick, make sure you have a bulb syringe on hand for easy nasal aspiration. It’s hard to breathe when your nose is clogged, and baby is the same way. Suck extra mucus from his nose, if necessary. A small dose of saline nasal spray can help loosen mucus as well.

Baby might need to sleep upright to help with the congestion of a cough or cold. You can purchase a firm foam wedge, which fits under their crib sheet, to help keep your baby elevated. It’s also fine to let them sleep in an infant chair (bouncy seat) a few nights, as long as they are safely strapped in. Do not let baby sleep in a nursing pillow or car seat.

If baby is extremely congested or coughing a lot, bring him into the bathroom while you run a hot shower. Let him breathe in the steam to loosen congestion and ease his lungs. Of course, don’t stay in too long or let baby get overheated. You can also use a cool mist humidifier in baby’s room, far away from where he sleeps.

If you think your baby needs medication, consult your physician.

Shop the Sale: Smoked Whole Fryer Chicken

Smoked Whole Fryer ChickenRight now, right this very minute, I have a whole fryer on the smoker.

It’s kind of a misnomer, isn’t it, when you say you are going to smoke a “fryer,” but a whole fryer chicken was originally intended to be processed and fried!

However, as I’m sure you know, they’re delicious smoked or roasted, as well.

Not only are they delicious and deliciously easy to cook, but they smell good, too. Really good. In fact, I’m moving my laptop out onto the back porch so I can work downwind of the smoker.

Be right back.

There. Oh my. This is amazing.

The scent of the smoker always reminds me of fall, even when it’s still hitting 95 degrees down here in the South.

I’m going to love how this smells all day long!

Grab a fryer (or two, or three) at Brookshire’s. Fry it if you want. Smoke it if you want. Roast it if you want. Any way you cook it, it will be delicious!

Smoked Whole Fryer Chicken

1 whole fryer, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Twisted Q Crazy Chic Seasoning, or your favorite spice rub

Preheat smoker to 250° F. Sprinkle hickory wood chips near the heat source.

After chicken is rinsed and patted dry, rub with butter, and then sprinkle with seasonings, patting firmly to adhere seasonings to butter.

Place chicken in smoker and close lid. Do not open the lid during the cooking process to maintain proper temperature.

Smoke chicken until meat thermometer reads 165° F and juices run clear, about 1 hour per pound.

Remove from smoker and serve immediately.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 615, Fat: 22 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 292 mg, Sodium: 296 mg, Carbohydrates: 0 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 98 g.

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Healthy Living: Autumn in a Skillet

Autumn in a SkilletLast week, my aunt from Maine flew down to visit my mom in Virginia.

I was a little jealous. My aunt is one of the most amazing people I know and certainly one of the strongest women (aside from my mom) in my life.

They had four days filled with fun sister time (again, I was a little jealous). They walked through a designer house, took in the sights and sounds of Richmond, and finally went to western Virginia to visit some historical sites and go apple picking.

Going apple picking is one of my favorite memories from this time of year in Virginia. We did it as a family growing up, but I even went a few times in college, since the picturesque mountain where the orchard was located was also close to the school I attended.

The cool air, crisp fruits and distinctly fall aromas made for the perfect day. There’s nothing like apple picking in the fresh air except maybe turning those apples into delicious treats. This dish combines protein, good fiber, and a ton of vitamins and nutrients in one quick and easy skillet dinner.

Autumn in a Skillet

1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 slices bacon, chopped
3 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken stock, divided

Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet until fragrant and shimmering. Add chicken, salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add the bacon; cook until the bacon is crisp. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon, and add to the same plate as the chicken.

Turn the heat to medium-high. Add Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and onions. Cook and stir until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the onions are translucent. Stir in the apples, garlic, thyme and cinnamon. Stir in 1/2 cup of the broth. Bring the broth to a boil, stirring often, and cook down until the broth has evaporated. Add in chicken, bacon and the remaining 1/2 cup of broth. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 425, Fat: 20 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 106 mg, Sodium: 1250 mg, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 38 g.

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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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