share. The Brookshire's Blog

Product Talk: Kiwi Berries

Kiwi BerriesPaul and I went shopping in Brookshire’s yesterday, and as we were almost finished and headed to the checkout, Paul wanted to go back to the produce section one more time. “I have to see if they have something,” he said.

He was looking for kiwi berries, a fruit I’d never seen before.

They look like a large grape and taste like a kiwi (without the fuzzy skin). They are delicious, and Paul eats them like candy. In fact, he said they usually don’t make it home from the grocery store. I think the only reason they did yesterday was that we wanted to share them with my older son who LOVES kiwi.

These are great for school lunches because I’ve been sending him with a whole kiwi and a plastic knife and spoon to eat it with (he cuts the kiwi in half horizontally and scoops out the green insides with his spoon), but schools these days frown upon knives of any kind, even the plastic ones. With kiwi berries, he can just pop them into his mouth!

Kiwi berries are high in vitamin C and naturally low in fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are also high in fiber and a great source of potassium, vitamin E and magnesium. Kiwi berries are nutritionally dense and considered a super-food.

Kiwi berries should be stored in a cool, dry place and eaten soon after purchasing. Get them while you see them because their season is very short.

Dine In: Slow Cooker Pecan Pie

Slow Cooker Pecan PieYesterday, when Paul and I were in the checkout line at Brookshire’s, I commented on the tasty-looking picture on the front of a food magazine. Within seconds, he’d grabbed it off the rack and tossed it into the cart.

“I’m buying that for you,” he said.

So, what does it mean when your boyfriend rapidly buys you a cooking magazine you’d commented on?

  1. He loves you.
  2. He loves the recipe on the cover and hopes you’ll make it for him.
  3. All of the above.

The recipe was for pecan pie (his favorite) in a slow cooker (my favorite).

This recipe is especially perfect for a Friday night when all you really have to do is dump ingredients into a slow cooker, pour a glass of wine and sit on the back porch to enjoy the dusky twilight and each other’s company while the pie cooks.

You really want to line the slow cooker with parchment paper for this recipe. It helps keep the crust crisp. It also allows you to rotate the pie while it’s cooking to avoid hot spots, and it allows for easy removal of the pie once it’s finished.

Slow Cooker Pecan Pie

parchment paper
1 uncooked pie crust, rolled into the shape of your slow cooker
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Cut parchment paper into two strips, placing them down the sides and bottom of slow cooker, overlapping. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Press the pie crust dough into the bottom of the slow cooker on top of the paper, and press about 1/2 inch up the sides.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients until well-mixed. Pour on top of the pie crust.

Cover and cook on high setting for 2 to 3 hours, rotating the pie once through the process.

Remove pie from the slow cooker and let cool on a rack. Serve with ice cream.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 425, Calories from Fat: 181, Fat: 20 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 83 mg, Sodium: 232 mg, Potassium: 48 mg, Carbohydrates: 62 g, Sugar: 43 g, Protein: 3 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In

Family Matters: Treats not Tricks

Treats not TricksFall is my favorite time of year. The cooler weather, the crunchy leaves, soccer Saturdays, porch parties, fires in the chiminea, cooking out, camping, hiking and Halloween.

My boys LOVE Halloween. Confession: they decorated for Halloween on Sept. 13 of this year. They hung orange lights all over the walls in the living room. There are creepy spider webs on all the brick pillars inside our house and all over the trees outside. The holographic skeleton placemats are on the table, and the bat and spider banners are hung over windows and door frames. There are pumpkins galore on the mantle, sharing the space with the carved black cats. It gives them so much joy to decorate; I don’t even mind them using 97,000 push pins in the wall to hang the lights.

They also get a lot of joy from picking out a costume. They love to dress up for a night, pretending to be something they’re not. When they were little, I LOVED picking out their costumes and helping them execute it. For his first Halloween, Curt was a plush, cuddly frog (but it was so hot that night he could only keep the costume on for pictures). Luke was a pea-in-a-pod for his first Halloween because he was only 7 weeks old, and I’d called him “Sweet Pea” in utero. As toddlers, they were, among other things, a pink pig (Curt was obsessed with pigs that year), Woody and Buzz from Toy Story (one of my favorites; I spent a ridiculous amount on Disney costumes to make this happen), a green sparkly ghost (Luke’s idea), a spider (we made the costume with a black sweatshirt and 8 black, stuffed, knee-high socks) and Eddie from The Little People. They’ve always loved having a hand in creating their own costumes. Even as they’ve gotten older and a trip to the Halloween store is as much a part of the tradition as a costume itself, they still like to make part of their costumes. This year, Luke picked out a scary mask and wants to make a “straightjacket” of sorts, so we’re working on that. Curt opted for a black fedora and mask combo, but we’re going to spray a T-shirt with fake blood for effect.

Next weekend, we’ll paint and carve pumpkins. Maybe we’ll go to a pumpkin patch as a family and pick out the ones we’re going to decorate, another throwback to when they were little and we’d spend hours trying to get the perfect pumpkin patch pictures. I doubt they’ll sit on pumpkins for hours, but it will be fun to try.

For us, Halloween has always been about family. Not about devils, spirits or anything else evil or wicked. It’s just about enjoying the time together, being creative and having fun.

Shop the Sale: Smoked Sausage Casserole

Smoked Sausage CasseroleIt has been dry as a bone in East Texas where Brookshire’s is headquartered, but today, it’s finally raining.

I think it’s only rained once since May, and the landscape is a dust bowl, needless to say. My backyard is a sand pit, and my big, old dog tracks it in every time he goes in and out. So then, by default, my living room is a sand pit, too, and it takes a lot of work to keep it clean.

Right now, the rain is falling blissfully, gently enough to let it soak into the parched earth but continuously enough that it’s helping the parched conditions.

I love to be outside on the patio in the evenings, but tonight is going to be all about candles, my couch and a movie! This casserole is the perfect comfort food. It’s warm, gooey and delicious. Of course, best of all, it uses Eckrich Smoked Sausage, which is on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

Smoked Sausage Casserole
Serves 4

3 cups baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb Eckrich Smoked Sausage
1/2 cup white onions, diced
4 Tbs butter
4 Tbs flour
2 cups milk
1/2 lb Velveeta cheese, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Boil potatoes until fork tender; drain and cool.

Slice sausage into rounds, then in half again to make “moons.”

Sauté in a heavy skillet with onions until sausage is slightly browned and onions are opaque.

Gently combine potatoes, sausage and onions in a large casserole dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour until a paste forms; slowly add milk and let thicken. Add Velveeta, salt and pepper; stir until smooth and creamy.

Pour on top of potato mixture. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.

Bake at 350° F for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 871, Calories from Fat: 587, Fat: 65 g (32 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 177 mg, Sodium: 2327 mg, Carbohydrates: 37 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 34 g.

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

Healthy Living: Truvia Brown Sugar Blend

Caramel Cheesecake BiteJust in time for baking season, Truvia has a way for you to enjoy all your favorite treats, with fewer calories!
Don’t worry about packing on the pounds this year when you’re baking with Truvia.

Truvia Brown Sugar Blend has the taste and texture of your favorite brown sugar, but with fewer calories.

Truvia itself comes in a packet and a spoonable form and contains just 3 ingredients: erythritol, stevia leaf extract and natural flavors. Truvia Brown Sugar Blend has only 5 calories per serving, almost 600 less than regular brown sugar per half cup.

Enjoy your holiday treats guilt-free this season, like this recipe for Caramel Cheesecake Bites, taken from the Truvia website.

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Posted in: Healthy Living

Product Talk: Hershey’s Cocoa Special Dark

Dark Chocolate PuddingHershey’s Cocoa has been a baking staple since the first Hershey’s factory was erected in 1903! For more than 100 years, we’ve been enjoying the rich flavors of Hershey’s Cocoa.

Who doesn’t love a delicious brownie, or a mug of steaming hot chocolate? I know I do. However, I’m partial to a dark chocolate, with a higher cacao ratio.

Hershey’s now makes their cocoa in a Special Dark variety, and let me tell you, it is spectacular. The formula, which is 100% cacao, is a blend of natural and dutched cocoas. Dutched cocoa is a cocoa that has been washed with a potassium carbonate solution, which neutralizes cocoa’s acidity to a pH of 7. Basically, it’s a darker cocoa with a smoother, more mellow flavor that some describe as “woodsy.”

Whatever they do, I love it.

So when I found out recently that one of Paul’s favorite desserts is chocolate pudding, I knew I wanted to make him some with Hershey’s Cocoa: Special Dark.

I topped it with homemade whipped cream and we ALL devoured this tasty treat. It’s super-fast to make, and super-delicious to eat.

Dark Chocolate Pudding
Serves 6

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Hershey’s Cocoa: Special Dark
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs butter
2 tsp Mexican vanilla or pure vanilla
whipped cream or other toppings, to taste

In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Gradually pour in milk and cream, stirring to combine.

Bring to a boil slowly. Once mixture starts to bubble, stir rapidly for two minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter, mixing well to combine. Pour into individual ramekins, or leave in pot and chill.

When set and chilled, serve with whipped cream or other toppings.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 196, Fat: 4 g, (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 2 mg, Sodium: 244 mg, Carbohydrates: 38 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 5 g.

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Posted in: Product Talk

Dine In: Pumpkin Beer Bread

Pumpkin Beer BreadMy friend Carlyle posted on Facebook today asking what she could cook with pumpkin beer.
After all, it is the season for all things pumpkin.

I started rattling off responses to her: barbecue, short ribs braised in pumpkin beer, beer bread…
Wait. Pumpkin beer bread?

Why not??

I love a good pumpkin recipe and this is one I have not tried. Until now. I’m going to make pumpkin beer bread for our porch party on Friday night.

Think of how delightful it will taste with a nice grilled steak and salad, sitting outside in the early darkness with the fire crackling nearby. Of course you can drink the remaining pumpkin ale during your meal, too.

Pumpkin Beer Bread

3 cups self-rising flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs honey
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 (12 oz) bottle pumpkin ale
4 Tbs butter

Preheat oven to 375ºF and prepare bread pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
Sift flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt together. Add honey and pumpkin puree. Mix well. Slowly stir in beer until nicely combined and smooth. It will be slightly lumpy.

Cut 2 Tbs of butter into chunks and place in prepared baking pan. Put pan in the oven until butter is melted and bubbly. Spoon bread batter over melted butter. Dot the rest of the butter on top of batter.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean. Let bread rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 550, Calories from Fat: 38, Fat: 4.2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 10 mg, Sodium: 223 mg, Potassium: 81 mg, Carbohydrates: 66 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 4 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In

Family Matters: Holiday Baking Idea

Cranberry Fruit BreadThis recipe is one that a sweet friend shared with me in 1986 when I was working in the produce department of one of our stores. It is a great addition to any holiday meal with family and friends. You can bake this in small loaf pans, wrap in colored plastic wrap and give as gifts during the holidays…a personal touch that anyone would appreciate!

Cranberry Fruit Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1 egg, well-beaten
2 tsp shortening
1 tsp orange peel, grated
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup nuts, chopped

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add orange juice, egg, shortening and orange peel. Mix until well-blended, then fold in cranberries and nuts. Pour in 9 x 5 loaf pan, greased on the bottom only. Bake 55-60 minutes at 350º F.

Take time to get in the kitchen with your family this holiday season and do some baking together. Baking makes a difference, especially when it comes to spending quality time with your family, any time of the year. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for time with your family.

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Shop the Sale: Carolina Pulled Pork

Carolina Pulled PorkI’ve been craving some North Carolina-style barbecue. Pulled pork with a vinegar-based sauce on a soft bun with coleslaw.

Today, my boyfriend Paul is indulging me in that craving.

He got up at the crack of dawn and headed to Brookshire’s for a pork butt (which, incidentally, are on sale now at your local store), which he rubbed with a secret (until you read the recipe below) spice rub and put in the smoker, slow-cooking it over mesquite until it developed a glorious crisp crust and a juicy, tender, fall-apart interior. Then he toted it over to my house, undoubtedly leaving behind a trail of aromatic smoke. I’m surprised half the city isn’t sitting in my driveway right about now.
Meanwhile, I made a vinegar-based coleslaw (neither of us are huge fans of mayonnaise) to serve on top. In North Carolina, they pull (or shred) their pork, put it on a bun, add a dollop of sauce and a scoop of coleslaw and there you go! Dinner is served.

Carolina Pulled Pork
Serves about 10


4 lb pork butt
2 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1/2 Tbs ground black pepper
1/2 Tbs ground cumin
1/4 Tbs oregano
1 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
barbecue sauce, to taste

Combine spices in a shallow bowl until blended. Rub spices into pork butt until well-coated. Drizzle meat with Worcestershire sauce.

Prepare smoker or grill pan with mesquite chips. Smoke pork butt for 6 hours (1 1/2 hours per pound). Shred, either adding your favorite sauce to the meat or pouring it on top.
Serve alone or on a bun.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 364, Calories from Fat: 113, Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat:0 g, (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 167 mg, Sodium: 151 mg, Potassium: 741 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 57 g.

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Healthy Living: Fall Quinoa Salad

Fall Quinoa SaladDo you realize how hard it is to find healthy recipes on your Pinterest feed during the fall season? Everything is baked, buttery and stick-to-your-ribs (and thighs) kind of fare! There are cookies and breads and casseroles galore, but salads? Not so much.

This is always a favorite fall salad of mine. It combines the flavors of fall without all the fat. Quinoa is a super food, providing protein without all the bad fats associated with meats. It also has pumpkin seeds, which are little kernels of power-packed goodness in and of themselves.

Pumpkin seeds are chock full of minerals including phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron and copper, and they are a good source of vitamin K. They have been shown to contain phytosterols, which reduce levels of LDL cholesterol. Pumpkin seeds also contain L-tryptophan, which promotes good sleep and lowers depression (and you thought your slices of turkey at Thanksgiving dinner were the only things making you sleepy). Another benefit of pumpkin seeds is that they are high in zinc, which helps protect against osteoporosis. They are also a good source of vitamins E and B, and contain 30 grams of protein per 100 grams of seeds.

Fall Quinoa Salad

3 cups butternut squash, chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup rainbow quinoa, uncooked
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup red onions, finely chopped
3 Tbs pumpkin seeds, toasted
3 Tbs pecans, toasted and chopped

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Place diced squash in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil; season with cayenne, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and roast for 25 minutes or until squash is fork-tender and golden-brown.

While the squash is roasting, rinse quinoa under cold water. Place quinoa in clean water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 22 minutes.

Cool quinoa and squash.

Toss quinoa with roasted squash, cranberries, red onions, pumpkin seeds and pecans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together in a separate bowl. Pour over quinoa mixture. Chill for several hours and serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 284, Calories from Fat: 178, Fat: 20 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 13 mg, Potassium: 393 mg, Carbohydrates: 24 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 5 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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