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Healthy Living: Healthy Food Trends for 2016


Healthy Food Trends for 2016I’ve been reading a lot about the trends in health and fitness for 2016. Since we’re already almost 3 weeks into the year, you might have seen some of those already!

A few key points have caught my eye:

First of all, fat is back. We’re not talking about pile-driving a box of doughnuts, though. Instead, “low-fat” products with artificial ingredients are being kicked to the curb. This means we can embrace salmon, but we don’t have to sauté it in a stick of butter. Naturally-occurring fats (eaten in moderation) are okay again, while artificial fillers, sweeteners and fat substitutes are not okay.

That leads right into the new diet trend: mindfulness. Weighing your food and counting your calories are out, while eating consciously is in. Sure, eat the cookie but savor it, which promotes the mind-body connection of eating just one, instead of mindlessly snacking on the whole package. Do you want the cookie? Be mindful that you might have to give something else up to keep balance.

“Biodynamic” is a word you might be seeing a lot this year. It’s like “organic” on steroids. No pesticides, no chemicals, sustainable, local and everything that goes into pure, whole-foods are what goes into the term “biodynamic.” Look for it when you’re shopping!

Plant-based diet has been clarified as well. No, it doesn’t mean going vegan; it means choosing the majority of your foods from the earth, not from the processing center.

So, happy eating in 2016!



Product Talk: Rotel Diced Tomatoes


Rotel TomatoesRotel Tomatoes are for more than just queso dip.

Stop the presses!

I know! I know! It’s hard to beat gooey cheese and zesty tomatoes on a tortilla chip, but Rotel is so much more versatile!

Rotel, distributed by ConAgra Foods, is a delicious, healthy way to incorporate some vitamin C into your diet and get a huge bang-for-your-buck flavor.

Their signature blend includes vine-ripened tomatoes and diced green chilies, but there are also habanero pepper, chunky-style, Mexican-style and specifically-formulated for chili varieties. Ingredients are packaged at the peak of freshness to preserve flavor and nutrients.

Named for the original owners, the Roetteles, the veggies have been produced in Texas since 1943.

Chicken Burrito Skillet
(Recipe from conagrafoods.com)

Ingredients:
2 Tbs Pure Wesson® Canola Oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbs taco seasoning mix (from 1.25-oz pkg)
1 (15 oz) can Rosarita® Premium Whole Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
1 cup shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend
chopped cilantro, optional

Directions
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion and taco seasoning; cook 2 more minutes. Stir in black beans, undrained tomatoes and water; bring to a boil.

Stir in rice. Cover and reduce heat; simmer 7 to 10 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese and cilantro, if desired.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 338, Fat: 14 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 68 mg, Sodium: 672 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 26 g.

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



Dine In: Basil Garlic Chicken


Basil Garlic ChickenThe first time I went to Italy was around this time of year. It was cold and gray in Germany where I lived, and almost at the spur of the moment, a friend and I decided to flee south to what we hoped were warmer temperatures and sunny skies.

We got one out of two.

Crossing the Alps, chugging through Switzerland on an overnight train, lulled to sleep by the swaying rhythm of the wheels on the tracks as we lay in our tight berths, we doubted we’d ever be warm again. The snow-capped mountains didn’t give us much hope of warmer weather in Italy.

It wasn’t much warmer in the northern part of the country, but it was sunny.
We stopped first in Milan, the fashion capital of the country, if not of Europe itself.

After sightseeing all day in the cold while fairly sleep-deprived, we found a little trattoria tucked down a side street near our hotel. The lights were bright, the fireplace was blazing and the long, planked benches were crowded with festive folks.

We ordered this chicken dish, which warmed us from the inside out. The matron insisted the secret was the butter, which she probably churned herself.

I don’t churn my own butter, but I certainly enjoy making this dish at home. When tomatoes aren’t in season, you can substitute a can of diced tomatoes. Don’t skip the butter, though.

Basil Garlic Chicken

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 to 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh basil, shredded
1/4 cup salted butter
8 oz whole-wheat spaghetti

Directions:
Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Pound to an even thickness using a mallet, about one-inch thick.

Remove the chicken from the paper, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Dice the tomatoes, mince the garlic and shred the basil.

Cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet. When the oil is fragrant and shimmering, add the chicken and pan fry until golden-brown on each side. When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the pan.

Cool pan slightly. Add tomatoes and simmer until they’ve cooked down and are releasing juices. Add the garlic and butter; combine until butter is melted. Add the chicken back to the pan and baste with the sauce. Simmer for a few minutes until the chicken is well-coated.

Just before serving, stir in the basil.

Drain pasta; serve with chicken and sauce.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 571, Fat: 25.9 g, (9.5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 113.3 mg, Sodium: 64.7 mg, Carbohydrates: 49.4 g, Fiber: 3.9 g, Sugar: 5.6 g, Protein: 34.9 g.

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



Family Matters: Cookies with Kids


Cookies with KidsOne of my favorite Christmas memories growing up was making cookies with my mom and siblings. She’d make pan after pan of rolled sugar cookies, and we’d decorate them, some more intently than others. I was the type of kid who was good with sprinkling some colored sugar all over the cookie and calling it a day. My brother, on the other hand, would painstakingly position individual jimmies to create cookie art. Rumor has it, he still does that to this day.

My boys take after me. They’ll get a little creative with their cookies, but they won’t spend a lot of time on them. For them, the more sugar, the better. Who cares what it looks like!

They love eating sugar cookies, but they mostly like baking other types of cookies. I think they do this for the cookie dough. (I can neither confirm nor deny that I let them eat a hunk of the raw dough…but let me point out that no children were harmed in the creation of this blog.)

We have so much fun baking together. Over the holidays, we made Jumbo Candy Cookies, a recipe from my boyfriend’s childhood that I was not familiar with. Oh my gosh, they were delicious! They’re my boys’ new favorite cookie, and they’re so easy to make.

When we were making these, I was trying to show the boys how to level off the top of a measuring cup with a knife, and oatmeal ended up in every nook and cranny in my kitchen! My older son was a little over-zealous with his leveling technique and the oatmeal flew! I think he has the hang of it now, just in time to make another batch of Jumbo Candy Cookies!

The best part about these is that you’re supposed to make them HUGE! (monster-sized!)

Jumbo Candy Cookies

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup M&M’s candy
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
2 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Spray baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugars until well-mixed. Add salt, vanilla and peanut butter; mix well. Add in M&M’s, chocolate chips, raisins, baking soda and oatmeal. Stir until well-combined.

Drop in large balls on baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart because they will spread. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 3 dozen

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 202, Fat: 10 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 21 mg, Sodium: 173 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 5 g.

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



Shop the Sale: Country-Style Ribs


Country-Style RibsCountry-style ribs fool me every time because there’s no bone in them to have to gnaw! For YEARS, I didn’t eat ribs in public, and I still don’t CHOOSE to do so very often. They’re just…messy. Good, but messy.

Not so with country ribs.

Country-style ribs are the meatiest variety of pork ribs, and are cut from the sirloin or rib end of the pork loin. You eat them with a knife and fork, or only a fork if they’re tender enough.

The ones we made last weekend certainly fit the bill, and we didn’t even have to do much to them. A good spice rub, a hot sear and then some slower cooking on the grill were all they needed. You could even marinate or brine them to infuse them with more flavor before you cooked them.

Country-style ribs are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so don’t be afraid because you won’t get messy.

Country-Style Ribs

Ingredients:
6 country-style pork ribs (about 2 1/2 lbs)
juice from 1 lime
2 Tbs cumin
1 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

Directions:
Bring country-style ribs to room temperature. Drizzle with fresh lime juice and massage into meat. Combine cumin, red pepper, black pepper and salt. Rub into all sides of the country-style ribs.

Preheat grill to high heat. Sear ribs on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Turn heat down to low; cook until ribs are cooked through (145° F) and tender. Remove from grill; let rest until they reach 150° F internal temperature.

Serves 3

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 489, Calories from Fat: 160, Fat: 18 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 186 mg, Sodium: 1491 mg, Potassium: 78 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 81 g.

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



Healthy Living: Fitness Trackers


Fitness TrackersA new study has shown that the No. 1 fitness trend in 2016 is technology.

Are you surprised?

I wasn’t.

Specifically, people are spending millions on wearable fitness trackers.

You might have heard of Fitbit, but there is a myriad of brands that offer much of the same thing. I got fitness trackers for each of my sons and my boyfriend for Christmas.

A fitness tracker generally will record your activity level, like number of steps taken and amount of calories burned each day. Some show distance traveled or heart rate. The ones I bought track your hydration and your sleep patterns.

Most fitness trackers sync to an app on your phone or computer, so you have graphs, time-lapse information and at-a-glance data.

What do you do with all of this information?

At a glance, you can tell if you need to get moving! Most fitness professionals recommend that you aim for 10,000 steps a day.

If you’ve set a target goal for calories burned, your fitness tracker will let you know that you’re still 200 calories away from goal, so maybe you’d better schedule a brisk walk after dinner.

It will tell you that you’re not getting enough uninterrupted sleep, so maybe changing your sleep habits will help you feel better and be healthier.

As with any fitness equipment, you only need it if you’re going to use it, but for tech geeks and those who like to keep exact track, this is a great tool in your lifelong journey of healthy living.

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Product Talk: Cape Cod Potato Chips


Cod Potato ChipsCape Cod Potato Chips have a simple slogan, “Home of Ridiculously Good Chips.”

I decided to put that slogan to the test when I saw them on the shelf at Brookshire’s, specifically the Sweet and Spicy Jalapeño flavor.

These kettle-cooked chips lived up to their big branding!

Crunchy, crispy and light tasting, these chips were definitely delicious.

Cape Cod chips are made from hand-selected potatoes, cooked in small batches in a kettle in canola oil and lightly salted.

Added flavors include the jalapeño one, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, Sweet Mesquite Barbeque, and Aged White Cheddar & Sour Cream.

They also offer a line of reduced-fat chips and a new line of waffle-cut chips.

Every once in a while, they’ll introduce a limited edition flavor, currently Sweet Red Chili and Chipotle Barbeque.

If you love the chips, you’ll also love the popcorn and Dipping Shells, designed to stand up to some serious scooping.

Found on the aisle with other chips or featured on end caps, these potato chips offer a distinct flavor and a huge crunch!

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine In: Cilantro-Lime Rice


Cilantro-Lime RiceMy parents were in town for Christmas, and we had a blast celebrating together on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The day after Christmas, the six of us (my parents, me, my boys and my boyfriend) went and tried one of those escape rooms. You know, where you have to work as a team to figure out clues, open locks to get more clues and eventually escape the last lock on the door. It was so much fun! It was so DIFFICULT! The room we tried was the most difficult level. It was pitch black in the room with only glow-in-the-dark features which served the dual purpose of being clues and our only light source, save for a small flashlight. We had the benefit of knowing each other well and how the other people in the group worked together, but I can’t imagine trying this with a group of strangers. Ultimately, we did not succeed in getting out of the room in the time allotted, but I want to go back and try a different room soon.

After the adventure, we went out to eat. We grabbed Mexican food because my parents, being from Virginia, don’t have access to Tex-Mex on every corner.

The waitress suggested cilantro-lime rice to complement my dish instead of the usual Mexican rice. I don’t usually eat all the rice at a Mexican restaurant. I can take it or leave it, but I ate every morsel of the cilantro-lime dish. It was delicious enough to try to recreate it at home!

Cilantro-Lime Rice

Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 Tbs butter
salt, to taste
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp lime zest

Directions:
Bring water to a boil. Add the rice and butter, and then add salt to taste. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until cooked through and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. When rice is cooked, stir in cilantro, lime juice and lime zest. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 195, Calories from Fat: 29, Fat: 3 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 8 mg, Sodium: 27 mg, Potassium: 66 mg, Carbohydrates: 37 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 3 g.

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



Family Matters: The Weather Outside Is Frightful!


Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful!Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but it’s your job to keep your pup delightful!

Dogs might have a shaggy winter coat (some breeds, at least), but this doesn’t mean they’re fine outside in cold weather. If you’re cold, so is your pooch.

If you can, let your pet stay inside during cold times. Make sure their bed or crate is away from a drafty area. If they must stay outside during the day, an insulated doghouse filled with clean, dry hay will help them find refuge from the cold. It’s even better if it has a door to block the wind.

If you’re at risk of frostbite, so is your pup! Don’t allow them to be exposed to extremely cold temperatures for long periods of time. If you do go for a romp through the snow, knock snow and ice off their feet as soon as you come back inside. The pads of their feet are very sensitive to extreme temperatures. Make sure you dry off their coat, especially any hair that hangs down close to the ground.

Another good reason to wipe your pet thoroughly after they come inside is that some chemicals used for snow removal can be toxic to your dog. Salt and other deicers can irritate their feet and skin, and they should be wiped off immediately.

‘Tis the season for antifreeze, but make sure it stays in your car. Your pup might like to lick it because it has a sweet taste, but it can be fatal to pets, causing kidney failure.

Another cold weather car hazard is its warm engine. Pets might seek shelter in the mechanical areas of a recently-driven car. Honk your horn before driving off to startle any sleeping pet out of the car engine.

Finally, in the cold months, check to make sure your dog’s water bowl isn’t frozen over, and you may have to adjust their food intake to help them regulate their body heat. Ask your veterinarian about appropriate amounts of food and how to adjust it.



Family Matters: Small Pet Balanced Diet


Small Pet Balanced DietOnce upon a time, I got a hamster for my birthday, and it pretty much lived on my shoulder. It went where I went, played where I played and wanted to eat what I ate.

That’s not always a good thing for your small pet.

A balanced diet is important for your wee furry friend whether it’s a hamster, guinea pig or rabbit. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great addition to our Thomas Moore Feed products. Be sure to check with your veterinarian about what fruits and vegetables are best for each kind of animal and what kind of people treats are pet-appropriate.

Brookshire’s Thomas Moore Feed Small Pet Feeds are all made of Timothy hay-based formulas. Timothy hay is important for good digestive health for your small pet. Our hamster and gerbil feed is a seed-based blend that will provide the right amount of proteins and carbohydrates for growth, energy and warmth, while our guinea pig and rabbit blends are pellet-based to ensure a balanced diet for those kinds of small pets. You should always provide Timothy hay for your guinea pig and rabbit to help with their digestive and dental health.

Make sure you are providing your small pet with enough fresh water and fresh Thomas Moore Feed products!



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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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