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Family Matters: Pets

FishThis is one of those “out of the mouths of babes” stories.

I bought a small submersible heater four our 5-gallon aquarium yesterday, an aquarium which houses ONE Beta fish. (Yeah, you know the kind that are supposed to be able to live in a small bowl without any problem whatsoever.)

Luke, my younger son, helped me install it, and by “install,” I mean suction-cup it to the inside wall of the aquarium and plug it in.

“Mom,” he said earnestly “why does the fish get a heater and we freeze all night?”

Once again, reality-checked by my 10-year-old.

He’s not wrong; I love sleeping when it’s cold, really cold. I’d write what temperature the house was yesterday morning when we woke up, but I run the risk of someone calling Child Protective Services. Now, the boys have blankets, warm pajamas and the whole nine yards. They’re in no danger of freezing, trust me.

The fish, on the other hand, was an entirely different story.

Scramble has been with us for about a year. There used to be TWO Beta fish in the aforementioned aquarium, divided by a big, black piece of plastic because male Betas are born to fight each other. However, we lost Boomba (the other Beta) about two months ago, so Scramble reigns supreme in the 5-gallon tank.

However, there has been more than one instance of late that I’ve come into the kitchen in the morning, or after work, and have been pretty sure he’s dead, floating lethargically at the surface. Then, I started doing some reading. Beta fish need water temperatures between 76 and 82 degrees. Again, without divulging the temperature of my house, let’s just say it’s not close to 76 degrees. So, if the air temperature is colder, it stands to reason the water temperature was colder, much colder.

So, the fish got a heater which keeps his tank at a balmy 78 degrees. (Hey, that’s practically bathwater in my house.)

He’s more responsive, he swims around far more frequently and I haven’t had that panicked moment of thinking we’ve lost Scramble, too.

Point being, pets aren’t people. Pay attention to their needs this winter and adjust accordingly!

Product Talk: Lunchables

LunchablesI’m sitting on the couch with my two sons right now. They’re playing a video game on the Xbox, and I’m getting some odds and ends finished on my laptop.

“What are you writing?” Luke asked.

“A blog for Brookshire’s,” I said.

“About what?” he asked.

“It’s called Product Talk,” I explained to him, “where we highlight an item you can find in Brookshire’s or Super One Food Stores.”

“Ooooooo, write about Lunchables,” he said.

So, I am.

I discovered Lunchables were created in 1985 to sell more bologna. After a product development specialist for Oscar Meyer ran focus groups, he learned that a primary concern of working parents (primarily mothers) was not having enough time to make lunches. Couple this with the need to sell more bologna and the Lunchable was born. This was in 1985.

As of the last count, there are 26 varieties of Lunchables ranging from ham and cheese with crackers to pepperoni pizza with a Nestle Crunch mini-bar and a Capri Sun pouch drink.

Lunchables range in price from just under $2 to just over $4. They’re pre-packaged and easy to drop into a backpack or lunch sack.

“Did you write about Lunchables?” Luke asked.

“Yep,” I told him.

“That’s so cool,” he said.

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Posted in: Product Talk

Dine In: Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Chicken Alfredo PizzaI changed jobs recently, and my new gig allows me flex time on the days my kids are home with me! That’s seriously the best benefit ever, especially now during the holidays when I want to be home with them and enjoy the season together.

More time with them means that Friday nights don’t necessarily mean take-out or frozen pizzas any more. I have time to make homemade crust and sauce! For this recipe, you don’t have to make homemade crust – a premade crust or frozen/refrigerated pizza dough works well, too.

Chicken Alfredo Pizza


For Alfredo Sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
3 cloves minced garlic
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup skim milk
1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg

For Pizza:
1 lb pizza dough (or one prepared crust)
1 large (or 2 small) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (about 1 1/2 cups) **Note: I love the flavor from grilling the chicken instead.
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
chopped fresh basil, if desired

Set a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 450° F.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add cream cheese; cook 1 minute until mixture is smooth, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add milk; cook 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Add parmesan cheese, stirring until cheese melts and sauce reaches desired consistency, about 2 minutes. Add in a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stretch the pizza dough to a 12-inch round, and transfer to a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel or parchment paper.

Spread Alfredo sauce over the pizza dough, leaving a half-inch border around the edge. Top with chicken, mozzarella cheese and parmesan. Slide the pizza onto the preheated stone, and bake for 12-15 minutes until the bottom is crisp and the cheese is bubbling.

Let pizza cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with chopped basil. Slice and serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1062, Calories from Fat: 642, Fat: 71 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (32 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 142 mg, Sodium: 1494 mg, Carbohydrates: 56 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 51 g.

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

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In

Family Matters: The Elf Returns

Family MattersYep, I’m one of THOSE moms.

You know the kind: the ones who stay up way too late on the nights preceding Christmas to create mischief with an elf named Saxon who comes to visit from the North Pole on December 1 every year.

My boys anticipate Saxon’s arrival with almost as much enthusiasm as they do the Big Guy in Red.

I anticipate their joy when they find Saxon hanging out somewhere on the morning of December 1. After all, Christmas magic is especially strong in the young.

This year, Saxon arrived tied with a big red bow onto the antenna of our car.

Then, last night he levitated in from the living room ceiling, “Mission Impossible” style.

Another night, he hid under the Christmas tree skirt, and yet another time he was stowed away in the cargo pocket of my son’s school uniform pants.

Saxon is a very silly elf, and the boys get a huge kick out of him.

However, this year, Saxon has come with a little extra something.

It was my sister’s idea. She’s really smart that way. It probably helps that she’s a counselor for adolescents and teenagers.

Her idea was for Saxon to bring a positive message or missive every day, along with making some mischief during the night.

So, every morning, Saxon has a note for the boys.

“Pay someone a compliment today.”

“Do a random act of kindness for someone at school.”

“Smile at a stranger.”

“Hold the door open for a friend.”

“Say a prayer for someone who needs it.”

And etc…

I love the silly Christmas magic Saxon brings to our house, and this year I really love the Christmas spirit he’s encouraging. 

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Posted in: Family Matters

Mi Blog Hispano: Tiempo de Navidad

Para nuestra cultura Hispana la Navidad es una celebración predominantemente religiosa. Celebrar la Navidad, más que un día es toda una temporada de fiestas. En nuestra cultura Hispana Navidad es una temporada donde dedicamos un tiempo muy íntimo a nuestras familias.

Las Posadas,  es una tradición que compartimos con otras culturas Hispanas. Posada significa literalmente un lugar de descanso y reposo. Es la historia del viaje de Nazaret a Belem que hicieron Jose y María buscando “Posada”. Esta tradición se celebra en grupos de personas viajando de casa en casa a través de la comunidad pidiendo “Posada”. Los de la casa tienen que rehusar darles “Posada” hasta que lleguen a la última casa donde son invitados a entrar y compartir tamales con chocolate. Este ritual se celebra por nueve días (Diciembre 16-24). Algunas otras tradiciones importantes durante esta época son; “La Misa de Gallo” y “Las Pastorelas”

En México se celebra  esta época reunidos con la familia y amigos cantando y tocando villancicos Navideños. Algunos de los más populares son “El niño del tambor” y “Blanca Navidad” Por lo regular se quiebra una piñata durante la fiesta de la “Posada”.

La  Navidad en México está llena de “sabor”. Esto se refleja en la tradicional comida Navideña. Las bebidas típicas Navideñas son: Atole, chocolate caliente y ponche Navideño. El famoso atole, es una bebida hecha a base de masa, fécula de maíz, leche, agua, azúcar, canela, vainilla, fresa o sabor de chocolate. El chocolate caliente es perfecto para tomarlo acompañado con los buñuelos. Usualmente las madres o abuelas son las que se encargan de preparar estas deliciosas comidas y bebidas.

Cuando llega este tiempo de Navidad, se siente un aire diferente en el ambiente ya que es tiempo de decorar, tiempo de fiestas y alegría, ya que muchas veces también significa tiempo de encuentros familiares y vacaciones.

Lo más importante en Navidad es recordar la verdadera razón de celebración de este tiempo, para mí,  es tiempo dar gracias ya que hace más de dos mil años recibimos el mayor regalos de todos.

¡Les deseo una Feliz Navidad rodeados de amor y salud!  

Shop the Sale: Sugar and Spice Spiral Ham

HamI truly think Christmas Eve is my favorite night of the entire year.

I love the anticipation and expectation of Santa’s nocturnal arrival. I love being surrounded by family and friends, and I always get a sense of peace, hope and complete happiness at the Christmas Eve church service.

Our church service always falls around supper time, so it’s somewhat of a challenge to prepare a meal that’s both festive and will work with the evening’s festivities. I often make a lasagna that will bake while we’re at church, but last year I had an extra ham begging to be eaten. I found this recipe in a cookbook that I’ve probably had for 20 years, a gift from a friend’s church in Petersburg, Va. I loved it because the pecans give the ham an unexpected flavor and wonderful texture to the sweetness of the rub and the saltiness of the ham.

Sugar and Spice Spiral Ham

1 Hormel Spiral Sliced Ham
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp grated lime zest
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
22 to 25 pecan halves, finely chopped

Heat oven to 250° F. Remove ham from all packaging materials. Place ham face down in roasting pan. Cover pan with aluminum foil; bake ham 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare sugar rub. Combine brown sugar with dry mustard, lime rind, ginger, pepper, allspice, cloves and finely chopped pecans in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with a fork. Stir in lime juice to moisten sugar mixture evenly. Set rub aside.

Remove ham from oven and uncover pan. Pat and rub sugar mixture over warm ham, covering top end first then smearing mixture down the sides as evenly as possible.

Return ham to oven. Bake uncovered 30 to 45 minutes, basting meat with pan juices every 15 minutes. Ham is done when center reaches 150° F on meat thermometer. (Please refer to label for proper cooking instructions.) Remove ham from roasting pan; place on a ham rack and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 526, Calories from Fat: 373, Fat: 41 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 48 mg, Sodium: 1067 mg, Carbohydrates: 23 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 18 g, Protein: 20 g

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Posted in: Shop the Sale

Healthy Living: Pomegranate

Healthy LivingPomegranate is quite the exotic fruit, or so they say.

Hard to get? Hard to use?


Pomegranate is actually readily available in most markets in the southern United States. It’s often been known as a Christmas fruit because of its ruby red color and succulent juices, but it’s healthy, too.

Pomegranates are chock full of polyphenols, an antioxidant that may slow aging. Pomegranates may also lower “bad” cholesterol, reduce inflammation and control blood pressure. Studies show that consumption of pomegranates can reduce the risk of prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

So, while they’re in season, eat ‘em up!

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Posted in: Healthy Living

Product Talk: Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer

Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer Who doesn’t love a great cup of coffee house coffee, especially with all the festive holiday flavors?

Who also doesn’t love a homemade gift, just in time for Christmas?

You can have both with this easy and delicious recipe featuring sweetened condensed milk.

Sweetened condensed milk is milk from which the water has been removed. In this case, sugar has been added so it’s a super sweet, concentrated form of milk. You’ll find it canned, usually on the baking aisle at your local Brookshire’s. It’s great for baking and for this delicious homemade creamer!

Save money and make your own coffee creamer at home! Check out this yummy recipe:

Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 Tbsp caramel ice cream topping
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk

Add sweetened condensed milk to a Mason jar. Add in caramel sauce and salt.

Stir or shake to mix well before you add the milk. Add milk and stir gently.

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

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Posted in: Product Talk

Dine In: Baked Brie with Balsamic Rosemary Cranberry Sauce

Baked Brie with Balsamic Rosemary Cranberry SauceI don’t know about you, but I’m entertaining a lot this holiday season. I have a couple’s wedding shower tomorrow, a children’s Christmas cookie decorating party Sunday and various other events until just after the New Year.

I love the challenges of coming up with new and different appetizers, party foods and meals for family and friends.

I saw this one on Pinterest last year AFTER the holidays, and as you might know, cranberries are hard to come by when it’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas, so I didn’t get a chance to try it until this year.

The tart cranberries offset the velvety, mild cheese and the rosemary gives it quite a fresh, earthy taste.

With all the busyness of the season, I’ve taken to having a few close friends over on Friday nights to avoid the hustle and bustle of the stores and restaurants and to take a deep breath at the end of our week.

I served this recently and it was a huge hit!

Baked Brie with Balsamic Rosemary Cranberry Sauce

1 cup frozen cranberries, thawed
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp water
pinch of sea salt
8 oz wheel of brie
8 oz puff pastry/crescent roll dough
1 Tbsp melted unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a small saucepan, combine cranberries, balsamic, sugar, rosemary, water and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes until thick.

Cut the puff pastry/crescent roll dough into an 8 x 8-inch square. If you are using crescent roll dough, make sure to pinch all the seams together to make one cohesive piece of dough.

Place the puff pastry on a greased baking sheet.

Place the brie in the center of the dough. Pinch the dough up along the edges of the brie. Do not totally cover the brie. Brush all edges of the dough with the melted butter.

Spoon the sauce onto the brie. Place the brie in the oven, and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are lightly golden and crisp. Allow baked brie to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving and slicing.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 404, Calories from Fat: 257, Fat: 29 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 32 mg, Sodium: 298 mg, Carbohydrates: 28 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 8 g.

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

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In

Family Matters: Christmas Gift Ideas

FamilyMatters_Baby13-36Months_228x173What are the best gifts for toddlers? We all know it’s the boxes and wrapping paper that the gifts come in!

Besides those, which can keep your toddler occupied for hours, toddlers love anything that promotes running, grabbing, touching, exploring, hopping, smelling, problem-solving, talking, pedaling, tasting, thinking, climbing and listening, for starters.

Try a set of wooden stacking blocks or a shape sorter. They love play tents and tunnels, tricycles, push toys and percussion sets (sorry, Mom and Dad). Little ones love anything that lights up or plays music.

Puzzles and stuffed toys are always a big hit, too! Did we mention books? Books, books and more books! Board books are a parent’s – and a toddler’s – best friend. Some varieties have different textures and windows that your little one can use fine motor skills to open up.

Tip 13-36 months: If you do want to make your wrapping useful, wrap toddler’s gift in a soft fleece blanket they can use to cuddle with later!

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.

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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