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Dine In: Banana Cream Pie Bites


Banana Cream Pie BitesIf you know me, you know I don’t like bananas.

It’s really the only food I will not eat.

When my boys were little and I was packing school lunches, I had to hold the banana in plastic wrap when I cut into it so my hands wouldn’t smell like the fruit.

Most people love bananas. They’re really good for you, chock full of potassium. I just don’t care for them.

Recently, my best friend and I were eating at the restaurant where her daughter works. It’s a French café and bakery.

After our super-healthy salads, she plunks down, right smack in front of us, two of the “Cupcakes of the Month,” which happened to be banana pudding cupcakes.

Now, I’m not opposed to eating banana in other forms other than the (healthy) raw form. I like a good banana bread and still bake my favorite Southern Living recipe several times each winter. I will put a banana in a fruit smoothie. When I was on a job interview once over lunch and my prospective employer told me to order the banana pudding for dessert, I did so and enjoyed it immensely.

So, I was up for trying the Banana Pudding Cupcake. After all, NOTHING this bakery has ever produced is less than excellent.

What I didn’t expect was to enjoy it so much! It was a delicious blend of banana and vanilla. Yummy!

I wasn’t up for baking cupcakes last Friday night, but I did see this Pinterest recipe and decided to try it! I have to say, it was delicious.

Maybe it’s made a banana convert out of me.

Banana Cream Pie Bites

Ingredients:
1 (16.5 oz) roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 (3.4 oz) box vanilla or banana pudding, prepared according to package directions and chilled
1 banana, sliced into 24 rounds
1 ctn French Vanilla flavored Cool Whip topping

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 24-cup, mini-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Divide sugar cookie dough into 24 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place dough in prepared muffin tin.

Bake until golden-brown and set, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven and use the back of a spoon to press each cookie down; let cool 10 minutes. Remove cups from pan to a rack; cool completely.

Place a slice of banana into each cookie cup. Top with a generous dollop of pudding and finish with vanilla Cool Whip. Serve immediately or chill until ready to eat.

Makes: 24 bites

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 104, Calories from Fat: 33, Fat: 4 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 7 mg, Sodium: 235 mg, Potassium: 18 mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 1 g

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

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: Twin Differences


Twin DifferencesI took a trip back in time last week, in lots of ways, but one of the big ones was that I spent the week with my sister and her twins, who turned six months old last week.

It’s been 12 years since I had a baby in the house, and wow, how quickly we forget, or at least how quickly I forget how little they are, how much they need and how simply sweet a baby can be.

Patrick and Emma are my sister’s twins, and they are as different as night and day. This isn’t unusual, according to experts, especially with boys and girls.

Emma is social and engaging, and she is physically developing ahead of Patrick. Patrick is quieter and less vocal, and he is slightly behind Emma’s physical milestones. Since multiples are usually born a little earlier (three weeks early for these guys), developmental milestones need to be adjusted just a little.

At six months, they are eating solid foods, responding to voices, cuddling into their parents, rolling over and having a great time laughing at amusing antics, like cousin Luke sticking his tongue out repeatedly.

Soon, they’ll be sitting up.

And then crawling and creeping.

Heaven help my sister.



Family Matters: Let Imagination Grow


Let Imagination GrowMy nephew Beau is a hoot.

He’s a lean, mean, superhero machine, and he’s not even three yet.

Beau was hilarious last week at the beach. I’m pretty sure his suitcase of superhero toys was larger than the one containing his needs for the week.

He was attached to those superheroes.

Around age two, you’ll see your toddler’s imagination start to skyrocket.

Beau was pretty convinced he was the real Batman, after all. When your baby is born, he has about 100 billion brain cells. By the time your child reaches the age of three, his brain will grow to have 1,000 trillion connections. Crazy, huh?

The way he develops these is through talking, taste, touch, sound, sight and smell.

To nurture your child’s imagination, read to them. Tell them make-believe stories. Weave a tale out of walking down the grocery aisle with them. Let them lead the way. Start a story and let them fill in a word.

Dress them up.

Play hide and seek.

Encourage them to solve problems through games.

Play with them. Give them a box and call it a pot. Give them a sock and call it a hat. Laugh.

The best way to nurture your baby’s imagination is to have one yourself. Be silly. Don’t be afraid to make a mess or make up a fictional story. Baby will love it.

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Family Matters: Jolly Jumper


Jolly JumperWhen I visited my parents’ house, they had an apparatus hanging from a door frame we used to call the “Jolly Jumper.”

It’s basically a seat that hangs from the door frame on a spring, and your seven to 12-month-old (and beyond) can sit inside and jump to their heart’s content.

Mine started in the Jolly Jumper at about 7 months. Luke, my younger one, jumped and giggled, and he had a great old time. Curt, my older, took the Jolly Jumper to a whole new level. Extreme Jolly Jumper, if you will.

He wouldn’t just bounce; he’d SPRING INTO THE AIR, getting slack in the line and landing back on the floor with a gentle “thud.” He’d laugh and laugh and laugh.

However, his most famous feat was planting one chunky baby foot on the ground and spinning himself, nonstop, for minutes on end. I have him on video shrieking in delight.

While most kids don’t do that, they do benefit from the movement, the jumping and the stimulation. You benefit from the time to get a shower or hear baby giggles.

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Shop the Sale: Beef Empanadas with Avocado Cream Sauce


Beef Empanadas with Avocado Cream SauceI used to work with a woman named JoAnne who made magical empanadas. Her doughs were light and flaky, and her fillings were extraordinary. It would make my day when JoAnne showed up at work with a huge, foil-covered plate.

I’ve never perfected her dough (she wouldn’t give me the recipe, family secret), so I gave up trying. However, I’ve gotten pretty close to one of her fillings using a slow-cooked rump roast, on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

You can make the beef ahead of time if you want, and keep it in the refrigerator for a few days. You can also use a pie crust cut into rounds with a drinking glass or your own dough for this recipe. My favorite part of this is the avocado cream sauce, which I’ve been known to use for dunking my empanada instead of drizzling the sauce on top. Adding jalapeño peppers to the beef mixture makes it spicier, and you can also add a few drops of hot sauce to the avocado cream.

Beef Empanadas with Avocado Cream Sauce

Ingredients:
2 lb rump roast
1 white onion, diced
1 Tbs garlic, chopped
4 Tbs cilantro
1 cup salsa verde
1 pkg wonton wrappers
2 egg whites, beaten
1 avocado, mashed
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs heavy cream or milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Place rump roast in a slow cooker. Add in onions, garlic and cilantro. Top with salsa verde. Cook on low heat for 8 hours or until fork-tender. Shred meat. Drain MOST of the liquid, leaving enough so that the filling is not dry. Set aside to cool.

When meat is cooler, place 2 heaping tablespoons into the middle of 1 wonton wrapper. Fold in half once diagonally. Then, fold the edges up toward the middle, and fold the triangular edge toward the middle as well to make an envelope for the filling. Place on a baking sheet and brush with egg whites. Bake at 375° F for 10 minutes or until golden-brown.

Whip sour cream with avocado until well-blended. Thin the mixture with milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle on top of empanadas or use as a dipping sauce. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 449, Calories from Fat: 215, Fat: 24 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 17 mg, Sodium: 267 mg, Potassium: 276 mg, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 51 g



Mi Blog Hispano: Dar Vida a los Días


Dar Vida a los DíasHace un tiempo leí una frase en Instagram del motivador norteamericano Brendon Burchard, que me llamó la atención y  me hizo meditar, su reflexión decía lo siguiente: “La tarea más importante es que le dé más vida a sus días. Esto no significa hacer cosas nuevas. Más bien significa hacer menos. Significa hacer espacio para pensar, caminar, comer, dormir, leer, amar, soñar”, luego de leer esto, he estado pensando al respecto y recapacitando acerca de cómo vivimos nuestros días.

Si nos preguntamos qué es lo más importante en nuestras vidas,  quizás todos vamos a tener respuestas diferentes, para unos será la familia, o la religión, para otros; la carrera profesional o  los estudios,  la belleza física, algunos sorprendentemente contestarán que el carro o la casa, otros más increíblemente dirán que la fama. A veces nos afanamos en conseguir cosas que pensamos que son lo más relevante, nos ocupamos de más, nos cansamos y nos  estresamos y al final del día no estamos conformes, ni felices.

Es tan cierto que las cosas que nos contentan y donde deberíamos enfocarnos son esas cosas sencillas como pensar y meditar sobre la vida y las cosas positivas. Caminar para descubrir nuevos lugares, visitar amistades queridas, ejercitar nuestro cuerpo y mantenerlo saludable… Que bendición poder recorrer caminos… Ni hablar de comer, degustar los riquísimos platillos y postres de diferentes lugares. Leer es una de los placeres de la vida, para viajar en el tiempo, conocer personajes, creer en Dios… Nada mejor que un buen libro…

Tiempo para amar. Quererte a ti mismo, a tu familia y tus amigos, y sobre todo demostrárselos. Recordar lo importante que es amar al prójimo !Nada más gratificante que dar amor! Y de acuerdo con la frase, nunca dejar de soñar. Yo también agregaría  dos cositas, tiempo para ir al cine y  cantar.

Así que, pongámosle vida a nuestros días y valoremos cada pequeña cosa y oportunidad que nos hace feliz.



Healthy Living: Stay Hydrated


Stay HydratedWhile we’re at the beach and all through the summer months (especially in the South), it’s critical to stay well-hydrated. I, for one, don’t always notice when I haven’t had enough water.

Myriad studies have been done over the years to determine how much water your body needs each day. The answer actually varies a little, based on your activity level and various other factors, but experts agree that there is almost no such thing as too much water.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. It is critical in flushing toxins out of vital organs, carrying nutrients to your cells and providing moisture for the ears, nose and throat.

According to the Mayo Clinic, men need about 13 cups of non-caffeinated beverages a day while women need 9 cups.

Staying hydrated doesn’t have to be difficult.

Products like Propel Fitness Water and Dasani Sparkling Water count toward your water intake and add a pop of flavor that regular water doesn’t provide. You can add fruits and vegetables to your regular water for an infusion of flavor, as well.

On a day when you know you’ll be out and about a lot, running errands or going to fun outdoor activities, freeze water bottles the night before. The next day, put the frozen bottle in your car, and as you go about your routine, the ice will melt, leaving you with a cool, refreshing beverage on a hot day.



Product Talk: Local Produce Salad


Tomato, Cucumber and Onion SaladWe are lucky enough to live in the South, where summer produce is as plentiful as hot days and sultry nights.

Near the Brookshire’s headquarters in Tyler, Texas, we are doubly-blessed to have two of my favorite products on hand all summer: Jacksonville tomatoes and Noonday onions.

Both are sweet, juicy and can almost be eaten straight out of the fields. Jacksonville even hosts a tomato festival each year, with tomato-eating contests, cooking contests, a street dance, vendors and a showcase of the season’s best fruits.

I like combining the two products with a few other fresh ingredients to make a simple, but hugely flavorful, salad.

Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad

Ingredients:
4 large local tomatoes, diced
2 large local sweet onions, diced
4 large local cucumbers, sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
Combine all chopped fruits and vegetables in a large bowl. Whisk red wine vinegar with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. Refrigerate until chilled.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 90, Calories from Fat: 45, Fat: 5 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (0.7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 397 mg, Potassium: 454 mg, Carbohydrates: 11.1 g, Fiber: 2.7 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 2 g

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

 



Dine In: Salami Roll-Ups


Salami Roll-UpsWhile we’re at the beach, we pack lunches every day to bring from the beach house onto the sand. No one, and I mean no one, wants to leave the beach to go back and be bothered to eat lunch, so we pack it and have lunch al fresco listening to the waves pounding on the shore.

I have to admit I’m not always creative when it comes to lunches, but my sister-in-law makes it look so easy. She concocts all these spreads, wraps and rolls for her kids, using all kinds of fun and fresh ingredients.

Yesterday, they ate spinach wraps spread with hummus and topped with roasted red peppers, cucumber slices and baby spinach.

We tried this version, which would also be great for a Friday night dinner, with a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc.

Salami Roll-Ups

Ingredients:
1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 lb salami, very thinly sliced
1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced

Directions:
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on the work surface. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the cream cheese on top of the plastic wrap and cover with another piece of wrap the same size. With a rolling pin or an offset spatula, roll the cream cheese out into an even layer, approximately 1/4-inch thick. This process can get messy, so be aware of the cream cheese seeping out of the edges of the plastic wrap.

Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and add the salami, laying the slices in an overlapping pattern and lightly pressing into the cream cheese. Cover the cream cheese entirely with salami.

Replace the plastic wrap; flip the salami and cheese mixture over so that the cream cheese is on top. Remove the wrap and place the sliced green peppers over the cheese.

Roll the salami over the cream cheese firmly. Roll the meat log and press the outer layers tight to hold it all together. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight. It’s easiest to cut when well chilled. Cut thin slices of the roll; serve as is or with your favorite cracker or crostini.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 310, Calories from Fat: 263, Fat: 29.2 g (16.6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 93 mg, Sodium: 653 mg, Potassium: 157 mg, Carbohydrates: 2.6 g, Sugar: 0. 9 g, Protein: 9.7 g

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



Family Matters: Family


FamilyIn the blink of an eye, I was transported back to childhood: my teenage years, to be exact.

I walked into the bedroom I was sharing with my sister on our annual beach trip, when 22 of us crowd into one house with a handful of bathrooms and have fun for a week. Her stuff was all over my side of the dresser, and my clothes were flung across the (small) space between the two beds crowded into the room.

Déjà vu.

While we never actually shared a room growing up, my first instinct was to screech, “MOOOOOMMMMMM, Beth’s stuff is all over my side of the room.”

Then, I realized that it was NOT. A. BIG. DEAL.

We see each other ONCE a year.

She lives in Virginia. My parents live in Virginia. My two brothers and their families live in Virginia. My other sister and her family live in California. We hardly ever see each other.

The week at the beach is probably the closest thing to heaven on earth I can imagine. We’re all together, in one house, at our favorite place in the universe with the people we love most.

Yes, someone is always in the bathroom when you need to use it. There is always someone using the one square foot of available kitchen counter space. You couldn’t sleep late if you tried, and the amount of stuff we haul to the beach each day would make Mayflower proud.

However, we sure do laugh a lot. Loudly. There’s always someone to go jump waves with you or to dig a sandcastle. There’s always someone who will pour you a drink or grab the water bottle you forgot when they go back up to the beach house. There’s always an extra pair of eyes on your children playing in the surf and an extra set of ears to listen to the stories your friends back home are tired of hearing. There’s a lot of extra love in that house.

So many of my friends’ families have lost touch with each other. They’ve fought. They’ve moved away. They’ve let the stuff on their side of the dresser get in the way.

So, I am thankful.

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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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