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Family Matters: Make Every Night A Family Night

Make Every Night A Family NightBe sure to put September 28 on your calendar as National Family Day. Family dinnertime does not have to be perfect. CASA’s Family Day is a national movement to celebrate parental engagement as an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance free. Eating at the table with your kids is a simple way to stay engaged with time to talk, eat and enjoy each other’s company. Don’t expect your meals to always turn out delicious where everyone is raving about your cooking. Also, don’t expect your kids to always be polite and on their best behavior. Let’s be real, good food is only as good as the people you enjoy eating it with. Dinnertime is about sitting down at the table for at least 30 minutes and catching up with everyone. Let the kids tell you what went on at school, open up to one another and share the day’s events with each other.

Keep your family grounded this fall with these 15 ideas for fabulous dinners and family nights:

  1. Enjoy a movie night with homemade pizza. Make your own individual pizzas, and let each family member take a turn selecting the movie.
  2. Have an overnight staycation at home with a cookout and camping. Pitch a tent in your yard, and cook over an open fire (or on the barbecue). Sit around the fire pit and tell stories.
  3. Volunteer as a family. Help out at a school fundraiser or serve meals at the local soup kitchen.
  4. Bake together. Take turns picking favorite recipes and let everyone join in on the fun.
  5. Take family photos. Get out the camera, and have some fun taking photos of each other. Be silly, be serious and have fun.
  6. Have a formal family dinner. Set the table with your best tableware, have everyone dress up and use your best manners. Give everyone a fancy name and title — like prince or princess — and behave as one would.
  7. Play show-and-tell. Have each family member choose an item that is important to him or her, and tell all about it.
  8. Play a casual game of baseball, football or basketball.
  9. Play “Name That Tune.”
  10. Make a family cookbook. Have every family member choose several of his or her favorite recipes and type it up. Make copies to pass out as gifts at Christmas.
  11. Have a family slumber party. Put blankets down in the living room and pile on top!
  12. Visit a local bookstore and read together. Buy a chapter book each member of the family can read aloud from to the others.
  13. Go for a walk around the neighborhood or park. Play “I Spy.”
  14. Play charades.
  15. Have a Bible lesson, songs and snacks.

Mi Blog Hispano: Recetas para el Regreso a la Rutina

Recetas para el Regreso a la RutinaSe acabaron las vacaciones y estamos de regreso a la rutina de las clases y del trabajo. Siempre este tiempo es emocionante porque regularmente tenemos historias y experiencias que contar de lo que se hizo durante las vacaciones. También está la alegría de los nuevos comienzos, estreno de uniformes, útiles escolares y conocer amistades y maestros nuevos.

A veces nos cuesta agarrar la onda de levantarnos temprano, de los horarios y las tareas, por eso estos comienzos a veces toman su tiempo en acostumbrarnos a los nuevos ciclos. Una de las cosas que también se hacen difíciles es comenzar a preparar recetas fáciles y nutritivas ya que no contamos con el mismo tiempo que teníamos durante las vacaciones de inspirarnos en preparar platillos elaborados. Es importante tomar en cuenta que las recetas deben ser balanceadas, económicas y rápidas de cocinar.

Les voy a compartir una de mis platos favoritos para compartir con mi familia en estos tiempos de corredera, tráfico y eventos escolares.

Receta de Ensalada de Macarrones con Queso

Prepara un paquete de macarrones de queso “Macaroni & Cheese dinner” (7 ¼ oz), tal cual como lo indica el paquete. Mientras hagas la pasta mezcla ½ taza de mayonesa con la mezcla de la salsa de queso del paquete en un tazón grande, caliéntalo por 20 segundos en el microondas en potencia alta y revuélvelo muy bien. Ponga la pasta en un colador y escúrrala, luego coloque la mezcla de mayonesa y revuélvala muy bien. Colóquele tres huevos duros picados en cuadritos, un pimentón grande, dos tallos de apio y tres cebollas picaditas en trocitos pequeños. Coloque en el refrigerador por lo menos una hora antes de servir o puede hacerla desde el día anterior y así ya estará lista para cuando regreses del trabajo o la escuela.

Shop the Sale: Bacon and Egg Cheese Ball

Bacon and Egg Cheese BallEverywhere I go, there are eggs on the food.

Eggs on pizza, eggs on burgers, eggs on noodles, eggs on sandwiches of any kind.

They’re easily the “it” ingredient of 2015.

What goes well with eggs? Well, bacon, of course.

Eggs and bacon clearly aren’t just for breakfast anymore, but when I was asked to bring a dish to a potluck brunch recently, I didn’t have to look much further than the classic breakfast staples. This cheese ball, a classic party food, makes breakfast so much fun. The trick is the soft-boiled egg. I’d probably soft-boil a few, just in case the first one doesn’t work out. Just remember to handle with care!

Use Brookshire’s Bacon for this recipe. On sale this week in your local Brookshire’s store, Brookshire’s Bacon stays crisp, even when cooked a few hours before you need it. This cheese ball lets you enjoy the creamy richness of the egg yolk with its best complimentary flavors: bacon and cheese!

Bacon and Egg Cheese Ball

8 oz aged cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 slices Brookshire’s Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 soft-boiled egg
crackers of your choice

Partially spread cream cheese on a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Place your soft-boiled egg gently in the center of the softened cream cheese, and use your hands or a small spatula to mold cream cheese around the egg, forming a ball.

Roll your ball of cream cheese in the shredded cheddar cheese until it’s covered, and then press bacon into the cheeseball, covering the bacon.

The cheese ball is now ready to serve, but you can also refrigerate it for a few minutes to encourage it to hold its shape.

Serve with crackers.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 336, Calories from Fat: 258, Fat: 29 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (15 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 105 mg, Sodium: 759 mg, Potassium: 189 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 18 g.

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

Healthy Living: Grilled Peaches

Grilled PeachesOne of my favorite healthy treats in the summertime is grilled peaches.

They’re a perfect summertime dessert or a healthy snack. Peaches are about 50 calories per fruit and have zero fat. They’re full of antioxidants and phytochemicals. They have lots of vitamins A and C, which are good for your skin. Peaches are also said to reduce anxiety! They have a diuretic effect, which is good for the kidneys and bladder.

Plus, they’re super-easy to grill.

Grilling a peach caramelizes it beautifully, bringing out all its natural sugars. If you use local honey, you get added sweetness and a crisp crust on your peach.

Slice your peach in half. Remove the stone. Brush cut-side with local honey. Place on grill, cut-side up, over medium heat; grill until it begins to soften. Flip over to cut-side, and grill until there are char marks and the honey has caramelized.

Serve immediately.

Product Talk: La Croix Sparkling Water

La Croix Sparkling Water It’s important to stay hydrated all year long, but this summer was an especially hot one!

La Croix Sparkling Water has been my solution all summer long to staying hydrated.


I’ve loved sparkling water for years, ever since I lived in Germany where they serve you sparkling water as a matter of course. Until recently, I hadn’t found an abundance of sparkling waters here in the United States.

La Croix changed all of that.

I keep several cases in my refrigerator at all times. I CRAVE it first thing in the morning. I pop open a can after I get out of the shower to help cool down and to start the day in a sparkling way.

I love the lime, the grapefruit and the cran-raspberry. Heck, I love them all. There’s Cerise Limón (cherry lemon) in my refrigerator at work. There is a berry flavor and a mango flavor I haven’t tried yet. In fact, there are 19 different flavors of La Croix Sparkling Water.

La Croix Sparkling Water has zero calories, zero fat, zero sodium, zero carbs, zero sugars and zero protein. The only ingredients are water and natural flavors.

Sometimes I add extra fresh lemon or lime.

In fact, I think I’ll grab one now.

Dine In: Crazy Candy Pie

Crazy Candy PieLuke was sitting next to me yesterday morning while I was scrolling through Pinterest on my laptop.

“WE NEED THAT!” he yelled, pointing at the candy confection on the screen.

I followed the link. It was a pie, full of bits of candy bars! Essentially, it’s like a blondie in a pie crust with candy. What more do you need to know?

“We should probably have that tonight, you know, to celebrate school starting on Monday,” he said.

That’s solid reasoning if I ever heard it.

This pie came together quickly and simply. It’s bright and colorful, and it was delicious.

“That sure was a special dessert” was Luke’s final comment on the subject.

I agree, Luke. I agree.

Crazy Candy Pie

1 frozen pie crust, thawed
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 cup candy bars (I used M&M’s, mini Twix, mini Rolos and mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups)
extra candy for the top of the pie

Preheat oven to 350° F. If using a frozen pie crust, make sure crust is defrosted.
Using an electric mixer, cream sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in baking powder, salt and flour. Mix well.

If you’re not using “mini” candies, chop your candy into bite-sized chunks.

Add candy to batter using a slow speed of the mixer or stirring it by hand.

Press batter into pie crust. It will be too thick to pour and somewhat sticky, so you might want to spray your spatula with nonstick cooking spray before you attempt this maneuver. Sprinkle remaining candy on top for decoration.

Bake for about 24 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the top of the pie is golden. It may still be a little jiggly in the center. Cool completely. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Nutritional Information (calculated with 1 cup of M&M’s): Calories Per Serving: 409, Calories from Fat: 159, Fat: 18 g, Trans Fat: 0.1 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 40 mg, Sodium: 248 mg, Potassium: 206 mg, Carbohydrates: 58 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 36 g, Protein: 4 g.

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

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In, Kids

Family Matters: Doggie Ice Cream

Doggie Ice CreamMy pup, Astro, loves a good bowl of ice cream.

He discovered it when his person, Paul, brought him some Frosty Paws ice cream for dogs on one hot, early summer day. I can’t tell you how many cold, tasty “treats” Astro has had since.

He loves his person, and he loves his ice cream.

(Oh, the mischievous part of me was hoping that one day the boys would mistake the Frosty Paws for one of their ice cream treats…Yes, it’s safe for human consumption, but that would have made me laugh. Hard.)

Anyway, I decided to see how difficult it would be to make homemade doggie ice cream for Astro.

It’s so simple that I couldn’t NOT try it!

Basically, you combine yogurt with some dog-safe ingredients, freeze and voila! Homemade doggie ice cream.

This is Astro’s favorite.


1 ripe banana
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups natural plain yogurt
2 Tbs honey

Mash the banana and stir it into the yogurt, mixing well. Microwave the peanut butter for 30 seconds or until it’s easier to stir. Add the peanut butter to the banana-yogurt mixture, then stir in the honey and mix until well-combined. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. When your pooch needs a treat, pop out a cube and let him enjoy!

Shop the Sale: Buffalo-Style Pork Chops

Buffalo-Style Pork ChopsNeed I mention my well-documented love of all things buffalo? Probably not. You know this by now.

However, I’ve never tried it on pork chops.

The hot sauce is a bold complement to juicy pork chops, as pork can stand up well to the tang of the sauce. When you mix it with butter, you almost think you’re eating a hot wing with less mess, of course.

When I actually made this recipe, I used bleu cheese crumbles in addition to the provolone cheese to make it feel more like buffalo chicken. I just sprinkled them on top of the provolone and completed the directions as written. It didn’t disappoint. Now, one of my kids likes bleu cheese; it’s too stinky for the other’s taste. Either way, it’s an optional way to jazz up this dish.

One of the things I love about cooking these chops in a cast iron skillet is that the butter/hot sauce combo caramelizes on the chop, creating more of a crust than a sauce.

Boneless pork chops are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so take a chance and spice up your pork with this recipe.

Buffalo-Style Pork Chops

2 Tbs butter
3 Tbs Frank’s Hot Sauce
4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) boneless pork chops (about 10 oz each)
4 thin slices provolone cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Season each pork chop with salt and pepper. Set aside to rest.

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk the Frank’s Hot Sauce in the melted butter and cook until it bubbles. Toss pork chops into the bubbling butter mixture, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat; place a slice of provolone cheese on top of each chop. Place a lid or a baking sheet over the cast iron skillet until cheese is melty. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 531, Calories from Fat: 192, Fat: 21 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (11 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 237 mg, Sodium: 539 mg, Potassium: 1225 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 78 g.

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

Healthy Living: Greek Chicken Pita

Greek Chicken PitaFueled by the introduction of two new restaurants in my city recently (one Greek and one Mediterranean), I’ve been cooking with lots of fresh flavors this summer.

Lots of cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, basil from my garden, lemon, red onion and meals that are more “small bites” instead of heavy feasts.

It reminds me of my visits to the Amalfi Coast of Italy. The air is clean, the water is clear, the views are stunning and the food is some of the best in the world, in my opinion. Breakfast one morning was figs drizzled in local honey with whole-grain bread, freshly baked of course, and a selection of local cheeses. Then, lunch was a platter of olives, cured meats, cheeses, grapes and crostini. But dinner! Oh my! Dinner was a roasted chicken, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with just-picked oregano leaves, a block of feta cheese topped with slivered onions and drizzled with olive oil and lemons picked from the trees in the grove next to the hotel. It was sublime.

This dish reminds me of that meal, and even better, you can pack it for lunch.

Greek Chicken Pita

1 (6 1/2-inch) whole-wheat pita, cut in half to make pockets
3 oz cooked chicken breast, boneless, skinless and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup cucumbers, chopped
1 Tbs red onions, chopped
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup romaine lettuce, shredded
2 Tbs crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 oz)

Combine chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Whisk olive oil and lemon juice to combine. Add oregano and stir. Fold into chicken mixture and gently add cheese. Stuff into pita halves with romaine lettuce. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 245, Calories from Fat: 99, Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 43 mg, Sodium: 302 mg, Potassium: 269 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 18 g.

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

Product Talk: Special K with Red Berries

Special K with Red BerriesSchool has started and that means making sure my kids are getting a nutritious breakfast in the mornings. They’ve never been cereal types…until now, that is.

This year, I introduced them to one of MY favorite cereals, Special K with Red Berries.

They love how the red berries, dehydrated strawberries, plump up when they add milk, but they mostly love the taste!

Special K with Red Berries is a great source of fiber. It’s made with whole-grains including rice and wheat, and does not contain high-fructose corn syrup. At 110 calories per serving, it does not have any fat, and provides a lot of the vitamins and minerals kids need to get going every morning.

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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.

Product Talk

Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.

Healthy Living

Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

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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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