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Walking


Walking

My 12-year-old son had to write his autobiography recently.

He refused any help on the essay, even to verify important facts such as how much he weighed at birth and when he started walking.

He wrote that he started walking at 10 months, which isn’t even remotely true. He was 13 months when he finally tentatively struck out across the kitchen, only to make it two wobbly steps before my shrieks of delight scared him so much that he plopped right down on the floor and began to howl.

While walking at 10 months is on the early side of normal and 13 months is on solidly average, anything in that range is right on target. My mom claims I walked at 9 months, skipping crawling all-together. My pediatrician also told me, at the time, that he doesn’t really worry until a child isn’t walking at 18 months.

So, watch your little one. Don’t panic and enjoy the time before you have to batten down every door and cabinet in your house.



Potty Training


Potty Training

My friend just had twins, which is super awesome, except that she’d hoped to have her two-year-old son potty trained before the babies’ arrival.

It didn’t happen.

Try as she might, Evan would not pee-pee on the potty.

I don’t blame the kid. He wasn’t ready. It’s far easier to play with Thomas the Tank Engine and let ‘er rip in your diaper than it is to stop what you’re doing to have to go to the restroom.

While between two and three years is normal for potty training for a lot of girls, boys often take longer, easily age three, often approaching four.

I’m a firm believer in not pushing it. It will frustrate you more than it’s worth. Make that kid almost beg to go to the potty because he’s so ready to be rid of diapers.

With that said, there are gentle nudges you can provide to nudge him in the right direction. Big boy and girl underpants are huge. My younger son didn’t want to tinkle on Thomas, so that worked for him. Nothing worked for my older son, and he was almost four by the time he potty trained. Nothing I did was effective and I just got upset. I let it go and waited until he asked me. After that, there were no issues.

So, watch your toddler for signs of toilet readiness, but again, don’t force the issue. It’ll happen in due time.



Shop the Sale: Salsa Verde Beef Tacos


Salsa Verde Beef TacosThe tradition of Taco Tuesday has been re-instituted in our house. We had it going for a long time, but I kind of got burned out. Back by popular demand, this time I’ve gone on the offensive against the taco doldrums by creating a Pinterest board where lots of yummy and creative recipes reside.

On Taco Tuesday, I’m cooking for three hungry guys.

Two of them would prefer the ground beef variety with a crispy shell.

One of them likes anything beef.

Personally, I’d make shrimp or fish tacos with a crunchy slaw and avocados if left to my own devices. Needless to say, I get ruled out ALL the time.

Last week, we made grilled chicken soft tacos. This week, because chuck roast is on sale at Brookshire’s, I’ll be making these Salsa Verde Beef Tacos. The guys get their beef; I get my green stuff. It’s a win/win. Since this should freeze well, maybe I’ll break out the leftovers next week and serve half Salsa Verde Beef Tacos, half shrimp tacos. Another win.

Salsa Verde Beef Tacos

Ingredients:
1 Tbs vegetable oil
3 lb boneless beef chuck roast
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 (16 oz) jar salsa verde
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
2 limes, freshly juiced (juice reserved)
2 Tbs hot sauce, or to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
12 flour tortillas, warmed
limes, for serving
optional toppings: shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, avocado, sour cream

Directions:
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium–high heat. Rub the beef with the cumin, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef to the skillet; brown each side for 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the meat to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the salsa verde, onions, lime juice, hot sauce and garlic on top. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours.

Remove the meat from the slow cooker; shred it with 2 forks. Return meat to slow cooker and stir in the cilantro. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat and use for tacos.

Serve the meat in warm tortillas and top with preferred toppings. Serve with lime wedges.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 575, Calories from Fat: 163, Fat: 18 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 203 mg, Sodium: 734 mg, Potassium: 1048 mg, Carbohydrates: 27 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 73 g

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Mi Blog Hispano: Guiando a nuestros hijos a la Universidad


Guiando a nuestros hijos a la UniversidadComo padres, tenemos la responsabilidad de guiar, motivar e incentivar a nuestros hijos para que estudien en la Universidad. Es importante que ellos comprendan que su educación universitaria les va a permitir tener un futuro asegurado y  próspero. Para muchos de nosotros a quienes nos ha tocado emigrar a este país, el camino ha sido duro pero siempre con la intención de poder darles una vida y un futuro mejor, para que ellos puedan estudiar.

Por experiencia propia sé que a veces, como padres, nos sentimos un poco desorientados en como guiar a nuestros hijos hacia esa ruta del estudio universitario, quizás porque se viene de otro país donde las cosas son diferentes, por eso es ideal que podamos hacer una planeación financiera desde que nuestros niños están pequeños,  para luego cubrir sus estudios sin contratiempos. Si no tomamos previsiones con anterioridad no sabremos cómo vamos a pagar las matriculas o cuales son las cosas que se necesitan para aplicar a becas o a créditos estudiantiles… A veces nuestros hijos prefieren comenzar a trabajar, ganar dinero, meterse en deudas con la falsa promesa de que algún día más adelante van a seguir estudiando, y en la mayoría de los casos eso nunca pasa.

Como padres es importante comenzar a motivar a nuestros hijos desde pequeños. Hablarles del futuro y que ellos se establezcan metas a corto plazo para que las vayan logrando poco a poco y también a largo plazo para que sepan hacia donde se dirigen. También es importante informarnos de que pasos hay que tomar y cuando hacerlo… El internet provee mucha información, también en las escuelas secundarias y en la Universidad se pueden encontrar personas cuyos trabajos son orientar en este aspecto llamados consejeros (Decidir a qué universidades solicitar admisión y cuando, obtener cartas de recomendación, escribir ensayos de admisión, etc.)

Dele mensajes positivos a sus hijos, sea un ejemplo de lucha y progreso para ellos, que ellos sepan que la prioridad es el estudio y que todo en la vida tiene su tiempo y que este es el tiempo ideal para ellos estudiar. Apoye a sus hijos, las estadísticas recientes muestran que el índice de estudiantes Hispanos que entran a la Universidad ha aumentado, pero a diferencia de esto el porcentaje de estudiantes Hispanos que se gradúa es sumamente bajo, es decir, que la mayoría se retira en el camino. Así que como padres decidamos ayudar a nuestros hijos y propongámonos a que ellos cambien el esquema y sean testigos del éxito que significa tener una Carrera universitaria, aliéntelos a lograrlo. ¡Si se puede!



Healthy Living: Body Weight Exercises


Body Weight ExercisesAt the beginning of the year, I read an article saying that “body weight resistance” exercises would be the “it” workout in 2015.

I guess if we can have a Hollywood “it” girl and guy, and Pantone can declare the “it” color of the year (It’s Marsala this year, by the way), we can have an “it” exercise.

It turns out that after I did a little research, body weight resistance exercises are vastly preferred by a lot of area trainers.

This simply means using your own body weight as resistance when you work out. Push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, planks, sit-ups, leg lifts and the like are all body weight resistance exercises.

There are no pushing machines at the gym or lifting dumbbells that your body can’t handle. It’s free; you don’t need anything beyond what God gave you, and you can work out anywhere.

My 11-year-old told me recently that he wanted to start “lifting weights” for upper body strength. Well, weight-lifting really isn’t recommended for an 11-year-old, but body weight resistance exercises are fine. He’s been doing push-ups, dips, planks and burpees, and he is having a great time with it.

So, if part of your New Year’s resolution was to get back in shape, start with what you have at home: your own body.



Product Talk: White Pepper


White PepperWhen my boyfriend said he was making dinner on Christmas Eve, he brought everything he needed with him. He’s good that way.

He even brought the spices he needed, including one I didn’t have: white pepper.

White pepper is also from the pepper plant (like black pepper), but this outer layer of the plant is removed before or after drying, leaving only the inner seed. (For black pepper, the fruit is left on the plant until ripe and sun-dried.)

White pepper tastes hotter than black but is less complex with fewer flavor notes. Often used for aesthetic reasons like to avoid “specs” in mashed potatoes, white pepper is often used in French cooking.

We used it in mashed potatoes. I liked the depth of flavor the white pepper adds; it gives the dish a heat that takes a minute to register on your palate. While I don’t care about “specs” in my food, it does make it taste delicious, and that’s all that really matters.



Dine In: Chicken Breasts Lombardy


Chicken Breasts LombardyFor my eleventh birthday, my parents took me to a French restaurant in downtown Richmond, Virginia. La Petite France was an iconic restaurant that opened in 1971, and it stayed in business until 2008.

I can’t even tell you how huge this dinner was for me and how it’s stuck in my head for 30 years.

First of all, we just didn’t eat out. If we did, it was McDonald’s, certainly not a fancy restaurant all the way downtown with valet parking and candles on the tables.

I’m really not sure what prompted my parents to pull out all the stops for my eleventh birthday, but they did.

I got all dressed up. At age 11, that meant a church dress (I can still see it…dove gray with magenta color-blocking on the shoulders), white tights and black patent leather shoes. My fancy clothes. My parents hired a babysitter for the rest of my siblings, and we drove downtown for dinner, just the three of us.

The restaurant was dim and hushed with candles and small lamps on heavy, white tablecloths. My dad wore a suit and tie, and my mom also had on a dress with heels. My dad pulled out the chair for me and my mom.

They ordered for me, I think. I wasn’t a picky eater so I’m sure anything would have been good. I had a chicken breast smothered in mushrooms and a wine sauce (I probably didn’t know that at the time), a fluffy roll served on a separate plate, and asparagus. There was a chocolate confection for dessert, which came with a candle blazing on it.

I felt so grown up.

This recipe is pretty close to what I had at dinner that night, and it takes me back to those memories every time I think of a “fancy” dinner.

Chicken Breasts Lombardy

Ingredients:
1 (8 oz) pkg fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs butter, melted
6 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 green onions, chopped

Directions:
Cook mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 to 5 minutes or just until tender. Remove from heat; set aside.

Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/8-inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin.

Dredge chicken pieces in flour. Cook chicken in batches in 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Place chicken in a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish, overlapping edges. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and butter. Reserve pan drippings in skillet. Sprinkle mushrooms evenly over chicken.
Add wine and broth to skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken. Combine cheeses and green onions; sprinkle over chicken.

Bake uncovered at 450° F for 12 to 14 minutes or until cheese melts.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 586, Calories from Fat: 291, Fat: 32 g, Cholesterol: 193 mg, Sodium: 780 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 56 g

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Posted in: Dine In


Family Matters: The Butcher Shop


The Butcher ShopMy son came to work with me today.

He had a school holiday, and while he’s capable of staying home alone, he didn’t want to be by himself for so many hours. I don’t blame him.

So, this morning, he packed up his laptop, his headphones and his charging cord, and he prepared to hunker down in my office for the better part of 10 hours.

We dropped his brother off at school (amidst wails of “It’s not fair.”), and we headed to work.

Luke didn’t make a peep for four hours until I said I was getting hungry. His agreement was instantaneous.

I think he was expecting to hit up a fast food joint, but I upped the ante on him. We went to The Butcher Shop, a local favorite that specializes in burgers, homemade desserts and grinding their own beef. We’d been a few other times when Luke’s soccer team played in town for tournaments.

He was beyond thrilled.

Over burgers and a shared order of fries, I realized that I almost never get time alone with my boys one-on-one. The other boy is always around. Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t trade the company for the world, but it’s nice to have alone time, too.

We talked about all kinds of things, topics we may not have touched on had his older brother been with us.

I left lunch feeling very satisfied and not just from the burger and fries. My heart was full, and I realized that I need to schedule time alone with each son on a regular basis.

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Posted in: Family Matters


Shop the Sale: Baked Coconut Chicken Strips


Baked Coconut Chicken StripsI need sunshine. I need sunshine BADLY. I suspect most of us who live in this part of the country – or even anywhere in the United States during the winter months – share my sentiments. (Or, is it desperation?)

It’s the time of year when I’m ready to shed the vestiges of winter for the spoils of spring, but the one thing I’m not quite ready to give up is my cold-weather comfort foods.

This coconut chicken is a marriage of comfort (baked, crunchy chicken), sunshine and lightness. Because when I think of coconuts, I think of Hawaii, and Hawaii is a warm tropical place where there’s plenty of sunshine and light during some of the dreary days of winter.

This recipe is baked, not fried, so you can even imagine yourself on a beach in a bikini.

This week, Brookshire’s chicken breasts or tenders are on sale, so you can transport to the tropics with this family-friendly recipe.

Baked Coconut Chicken Strips

Ingredients:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 6-8 tenders, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness and cut into strips
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
2 eggs
1 Tbs water
2 cups coconut flakes
sweet & sour sauce or Asian sweet chili sauce, for dipping

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Whisk together flour and seasoned salt in a small bowl. Whisk together eggs and water in a second bowl. Place coconut flakes in a third bowl.

Toss strips of chicken in the flour mixture, and then dip in the eggs. Lastly, roll in the coconut flakes, being sure to coat well. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and chicken is cooked through. Serve warm with dipping sauce of choice.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 401, Calories from Fat: 172, Fat: 19 g, Cholesterol: 169 mg, Sodium: 301 mg, Potassium: 401 mg, Carbohydrates: 18 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 39 g

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

 



Healthy Living: Dark Chocolate


Dark ChocolateFebruary is American Heart Month, which is when we focus on good cardiovascular health. Programs like Go Red for Women highlight the fact that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American women.

February is also Valentine’s Day, which is when we love to give chocolate to people we care about.

Well, did you know that dark chocolate is actually heart-healthy?

Dark chocolate, with 70 percent or higher cocoa content, can be a good source of resveratrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids). Both are essential to heart health. Flavanal, a plant antioxidant, helps widen blood vessels and increases blood flow in the brain.

Studies show that daily consumption of dark chocolate lowered people’s blood pressure an average of two to three points.

Now, don’t think you can just eat a lot of dark chocolate candy bars; the sugar and fat contents of candy are counterproductive. You can mix a concentrated cocoa powder into a drink and take it that way.

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Posted in: Healthy Living


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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

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