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Family Matters: Caring for Your Kitten


Caring for Your KittenYou just brought your new bundle of fuzzy joy home. Now, what do you do?

Most kittens are ready to be weaned and rehomed at 8 weeks, so you’ll have a little ball of love on your hands.

First things first: take your new kitten to a veterinarian for a complete checkup and shots. You want to start his life with you in a healthy way.

As for food, offer your kitten a brand of food specially formulated for a younger cat. Either wet or dry food is okay. Just make sure it’s chock full of the nutrients kittens need to grow big and strong. Kitten meals should be about 30 percent high-quality protein.

Teach them good bathroom habits immediately. Most cats love to stay clean and don’t need much litter box training. Introduce them to the litter box in the space where it will remain permanently. Let the cat scratch around inside. Bring her back to the box frequently the first several days or until she has it down pat.

Pet your cat frequently to help it socialize. If it tolerates being held, snuggle with it and let it fall asleep on your lap or chest.

Provide your cat with toys like small balls, squeaky toys and things that move. You might need to provide it with a scratching post to protect your furniture as your kitten’s claws grow.



Family Matters: Exercise is Fun with Your Dog


Exercise is Fun with Your DogWhen I mentioned that I was writing a blog on doggie exercise, my boyfriend immediately offered that some people dance with their dogs.

Um, okay

I can just picture him twirling Astro, my 95-pound mutt, around the dance floor. Maybe they could get matching tuxes or something.

He wasn’t kidding.

Sure enough, get your dog to exercise by having him move and groove around the room with you.

Start by clearing furniture to give you both a large enough space to dance. Turn on some tunes and encourage him to weave through your legs, turn circles, leap into the air, spin around and back up to you.

Keep some low-fat treats in your pocket to reward him for participating.

Did you know doggies do yoga, too? Where do you think “downward dog” came from? Astro has downward dog mastered. Partner yoga moves can help your dog relax and relieve stress. Look for YouTube videos guiding you through the moves with your pup.

Play! Of course, this is great exercise. Throw your dog a Frisbee or a ball, and let him catch it or fetch and retrieve.

You can always take him on a brisk walk as well.



Shop the Sale: Greek Grilled Pork Chops


Greek Grilled Pork Chops

When I first moved out of the house, one of my mom’s friends gave me a cast iron skillet.

Not only did this cooking vessel weigh enough to take up most of my allotted baggage weight with the moving company, but it came with strict instructions: DO NOT WASH THIS WITH SOAP EVER.

That seemed like one too many rule to me, plus not using soap was just plain gross.

Or so I thought.

My cast iron skillet sat, untouched and unseasoned (yet unwashed with soap) in my cabinet for years, until I had occasion to make a recipe that specifically called for a cast iron skillet. I called my mom.

“What am I supposed to do with this again?” I asked.

She guided me through rubbing it down with vegetable oil and placing it in a hot oven for a few hours, taking it out, letting it cool, rubbing it down with more oil, then using it.

I did all that.

I made something in it. I can’t remember now, but when I finished, there were bits stuck to the bottom of the gleaming cast iron.

I was going to have to use soap, or so I thought until I ran it under hot water and everything washed off easily, no soap required.

From then on, it was true love.

A co-worker is about to get married and, while I don’t know her that well, we threw a shower in her honor a few weeks ago. I decided to get her one of the things that I love most in my kitchen: a cast iron skillet.

Her eyes bulged when she took the bag.

“What do I do with this?” she wanted to know.

So I told her.

Never, EVER wash it with soap.

You can make these Greek-inspired pork chops in your cast iron skillet as well.

This week, boneless pork chops are on sale at Brookshire’s, your grocery oasis right near home, no road trip required and, let me tell you, the prices are great.

Greek Grilled Pork Chops

Ingredients:
4 boneless pork chops, about 1 1/2 lbs

Marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp dried Greek oregano
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Whisk together marinade ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Greek oregano, garlic and black pepper. Pour into a zipper-lock plastic bag; place pork chops inside. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or at least 4 hours, turning a few times.

When ready to cook, let pork chops come to room temperature in marinade. Preheat the grill pan to medium-high heat. Slap the pork chops onto the grill pan, and let them cook about 3 minutes. Then, rotate 45 degrees to get lovely cross-hatched grill marks. Cook an additional 3 minutes on the first side; flip and cook an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 361, Calories from Fat: 169, Fat: 19 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 124 mg, Sodium: 101 mg, Potassium: 763 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 45 g.

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



Healthy Living: Drink More Water


Drink More WaterYou drank enough water today.

April Fools!

The fact of the matter is that most Americans do not drink enough water.

Doctors’ guidelines tell us that we should drink half our body weight in ounces daily.

So, if you weigh 100 pounds, you should drink 50 ounces of water daily.

Staying hydrated helps your organs function at their optimal level. It helps cleanse waste from your body. It helps your skin stay clear and your brain stay alert. Being well-hydrated can help you sleep well and perform at your best.

I always thought it was such a pain to have to stop and use the restroom during the day. Then, I realized that your body adjusts to being well-hydrated, and it’s not so much of an issue once that happens.

I don’t love water; I have to admit that. However, I do love adding lemon and especially limes (or cucumbers, blueberries or strawberries) to my water. The light, fresh taste makes the water easier for me to drink and adds some nutrients as well.

There are sugar-free flavoring packets to add to water as well; just don’t add caffeine, which can dehydrate you.

Drinking water also helps you feel full sooner so that you’ll eat less.

There is no downside to drinking enough water. It’s becoming especially critical as the days heat up and you lose more fluids from sweat and activity.



Product Talk: Sirloin Strip Steaks


Sirloin Strip SteaksYesterday afternoon, we went to Brookshire’s to pick out something for dinner.

We didn’t have anything particular in mind (except that I wanted mashed potatoes as a side dish), but we tend to lean toward red meat. Specifically, we tend to be ribeye folks.

Yesterday, salivating over the meat case in Brookshire’s, we saw some lovely sirloin strips.

A sirloin strip, also called the Kansas City Strip steak, is a cut of steak from the short loin around the back midsection of the cow. This particular muscle does little work, producing a tender cut of meat, although not quite as tender as a ribeye or tenderloin.

As far as fat content goes, it’s somewhere in between the aforementioned two cuts.

There is no bone in this cut of steak, just some slight marbling and enough fat to add flavor to the meat. As always, you want to bring it to room temperature before grilling or cooking. Season with salt, pepper and, our favorite, David Wade’s Worcestershire Powder.

For a less expensive price, it was a delicious steak, juicy, tender and full of flavor.



Dine In: Homemade Snack Mix


Homemade Snack MixTonight is another sleepover night, and the last time we did this with a gaggle of boys, I discovered they love a homemade snack mix.

So does Paul.

Seriously, those boys (big and small) can go through POUNDS of snack mix in a weekend. I do not exaggerate.

I should make batches with the entire boxes of cereal, but that would take up way too much time and oven space so I make it in small batches.

The secret is doubling the amount of the seasoning mixture that is called for on a regular recipe. As long as you spread out the mixture liberally enough on the baking sheets and it dries out, the seasoning mixture will absorb, dry, and be flavorful and delicious.

Snack Mix

Ingredients:
2 cups Food Club Rice Squares Cereal
2 cups Food Club Corn Squares Cereal
2 cups Food Club Wheat Squares Cereal
2 cups Rold Gold Pretzels
1 (6 oz) can Blue Diamond Roasted Almonds
12 Tbs butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
4 Tbs Food Club Onion Powder

Directions:
Mix cereals, pretzels and nuts in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, microwave butter until melted. Add Worcestershire sauce and spices to melted butter. Stir well.

Preheat oven to 250° F.

Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture in large bowl. Spread cereal mixture onto two baking sheets and place into the oven. Bake for 1 hour, stirring and rotating pans every 15 minutes.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 427, Calories from Fat: 255, Fat: 28 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 46 mg, Sodium: 607 mg, Potassium: 273 mg, Carbohydrates: 39 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 8 g.

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

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Posted in: Dine In, Kids


Family Matters: Terrifying Threes


Terrifying ThreesThe Terrible Twos had nothing on the Terrifying Threes in my house.

Both of my sons sailed through the second year with ease, but it was the older toddler years that were, ahem, challenging to say the least, with us.

I don’t think I’m alone in that, either.

Between tantrums and talking back, that was a tough time period.

Toddlers are testing their boundaries, whether they’re two or three years old.

They WANT to know what their limits are. Knowing their limits helps them feel safe to explore within the boundaries, so to speak. Don’t be afraid to set firm limits.

Knowing what to expect helps them cope, so a schedule, a bedtime, manners, behaviors and familiar activities can have a beginning, an end and a firm structure in place.

Sure, kids need free play; that’s not what I’m saying. Don’t let them set their own bedtime or wait until they’re too strung out because they’re ravenous to feed them.

Don’t let them continue with a bad behavior because it’s “cute” or it’s easier for you. It won’t be easier in the long run, I assure you.



Family Matters: Immunizations


ImmunizationsTo keep your baby healthy, it’s important to immunize them against childhood diseases. Even if he doesn’t appear to have anything wrong with him, immunizing him will keep him and others around him well.

Pediatricians recommend immunizations at 1 month, 2 months, 4 months and 6 months.

You don’t necessarily have to do them all at these times (some parents choose to delay or spread them out more), but it’s important for your baby’s health to have them done at some point early on.

When you bring baby to the doctor for shots, bring a lovey, pacifier or other soothing object. You might want to feed him or nurse while he’s getting his shots to give him something to help soothe. Hold the baby on your lap or closely to you when they get their shot, instead of laying them out on the exam table.

Some babies have no problem with shots. Others scream and scream and scream.

After your baby is over three months old, you can give them a weight-appropriate (ask your pediatrician) dose of Tylenol right before the appointment to help quickly ease the pain of the shots. Sometimes a cold or warm compress is soothing.

If a hard, red knot appears at the site of the injection, notify your doctor immediately.

Otherwise, baby may be fussy, and that’s totally normal.

Bring your shot records with you to each appointment or have your physician’s office print you a copy of the day’s immunizations at each visit to keep in your records.



Family Matters: Development in Babies


Development in BabiesWhen my younger son was about 9 months old, he suddenly stopped bearing weight. He stopped sitting up, scooting or pulling up.

I panicked. My older son had just been diagnosed with autism, and to see his little brother, who’d been progressing so well, suddenly stop was frightening, however misguided it was.

It turned out that my younger son was just a little hypotonic, meaning he had low muscle tone. His “abrupt” decline probably wasn’t as pronounced as I thought it was (I was probably hyper-vigilant because of the older son’s diagnosis), but it was still something to be addressed.

We had him evaluated by what, in Texas, is called Early Childhood Intervention (most states have a similar program for children from birth to 3 years old). He was assigned a wonderful occupational therapist who appeared to come twice a week to play games and cuddle with him, but the therapist was really performing targeted exercises to help make him stronger.

Within a few weeks, he was back to proper sitting, scooting and pulling up to standing.

There is a huge range of normal development in babies, but if you ever have any question, consult a medical professional. It’s always better to 1.) have peace of mind and 2.) be proactive. If there is something to address, the earlier you get on it, the better for your baby. If there isn’t, at least you can SLEEP like a baby!



Mi Blog Hispano: El Ejercicio Te Hace Más Feliz


El Ejercicio Te Hace Más FelizQue hermosos días hemos tenido últimamente.  Es el tiempo perfecto para disfrutarlo haciendo actividades afuera.  Podemos salir a pasear por el parque, andar en bicicleta, caminar más, o salir a correr.  A parte de ser el tiempo perfecto para estas actividades, también es muy buena costumbre.

Yo sé que es difícil empezar un plan para hacer ejercicio y mantener el deseo de seguirlo haciendo.  Parece que siempre que lo quiero hacer se me juntan los quehaceres y empiezan las excusas.  Pero nuestra salud es tan importante y no hay que hacerla a un lado.  El ejercicio ayuda a mantener nuestros cuerpos en mejor físico, y a nuestros corazones más saludables.  Además, hay varios estudios que revelan que la actividad física también te hace más feliz.  Y esto es lo que quiero compartir con ustedes hoy.

Los beneficios del ejercicio y porque nos causa más felicidad:

  1. Las endorfinas que son liberadas te causan ser más feliz. A veces estas son llamadas “las moléculas de la felicidad”.  Al hacer ejercicio, principalmente correr, el cerebro libera endorfinas que producen más energía, hace que estés más despierto, y si, más feliz.  Algunos lo describen como una sensación intensa de bienestar.
  1. Tu humor es mejorado. Esta sensación de bienestar te rendirá mucho tiempo especialmente si haces ejercicio regularmente.  Y al sentirte bien quiere decir que tu humor se mejora.  Sal media hora a caminar o correr por lo menos tres días a la semana.  Veras que te sentirás más feliz.
  1. Tu estrés es reducido. Las endorfinas tienen mucho que ver con esto también.  Incluso, las endorfinas ayudan a reducir la ansiedad, limpiar la piel, y mejorar el sistema inmunológico.  Toma en cuenta que tienes mucho tiempo para pensar y aclarar tus pensamientos al salir a correr.  Esto te va a ayudar a reducir tu estrés.  Si sales a caminar con tu pareja o amiga(o), el platicar con esa persona también te ayudara a reducir el estrés.  Menos estrés quiere decir más felicidad.
  1. Ayuda a controlar malos hábitos. Por ejemplo, el alcohol no es saludable.  Es algo que puede llegar a ser una adicción.  Igual son las drogas.  El ejercicio causa que estemos más alertos de esto, y pensemos en un nivel más allá al saber que no es bueno consumir estas cosas que nos dañan.  El ejercicio continuo nos ayudara a controlar estos malos hábitos o simplemente alejarnos de ellos para poder vivir una vida más feliz.
  1. Aumenta la autoestima. Cuando uno hace ejercicio, tu cuerpo físico va mejorando.  Al notar y al sentir esto, nos sentimos mejor de uno mismo.  Si te sientes bien de ti misma(o), obvio que te vas a sentir más feliz.

Motívate a correr.  Si no te motivas sola(o) entonces busca a alguien que te acompañe, o escucha música motivadora.  ¡Veras que cada vez que sales a correr, aunque sea una caminada de una o dos millas, te sentirás tan bien!  Después recuerda lo bien que te sentiste la última vez y esto te motivara.  Esto me ayuda porque aunque no sienta ganas de salir a correr, sé que al final no me voy a arrepentir.

Espero que estos cinco puntos de ayuden.  Ahora, ponte tus zapatos de tenis y vamos a correr.  ¡Tu felicidad te espera!



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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.

Shop the Sale

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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