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Healthy Living: New Year, New You


New Year, New YouAs the new year approaches, so many people are making promises to eat better and exercise more. I count myself among them. As the ball drops on 2016, I find myself facing some pretty significant health issues, far beyond your garden variety “I need to lose five pounds” challenges. I’ve been reading more and more about the connection between what you put in your body and how it functions. Now, my challenges have nothing to do with diet, but it’s critical to pay attention to diet for optimal health.

Experts analyze the trends for the upcoming year, looking at things that are gaining momentum as this year draws to a close.

Two foods that will be hugely popular in the new year are date nectar and maple syrup, replacing refined white sugar as natural sweeteners. Naturally sweet, you need less because of their bold flavors.

Pre-chopped, frozen fruits are a great way to make healthy dishes faster, without losing nutrients.

The sales of cacao bars have soared more than 37 percent over the past year, and experts expect that to keep growing. Cacao, instead of a milk chocolate bar, has less fat and bigger flavor. Cacao also has health benefits.

Medjool dates are becoming more and more popular, and are full of vitamins and natural sweetness.

Almond milk is the new soy, gaining popularity as the milk-substitute of choice.

Anything coconut continues to be on the forefront of the health-conscious. Look for coconut waters and milks to replace higher-fat products in cooking and baking.

Bone broth is all the rage, taking the place of richer stocks.

On the fitness front, body-resistance exercises continue to rule the workout world (think push-ups, pull-ups and other activities that use your body weight as resistance). Revive the leg warmers. In addition to yoga and Pilates, barre and ballet-style fitness classes (for adults) are hugely popular.

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Winter Oreos


Winter OreosI’m a sucker for a holiday spin on an everyday product.

Oreos are no exception.

I mean, who doesn’t love the Oreo? I love it even more with red cream sandwiched between the chocolate wafers. Admittedly, it doesn’t taste any differently than the regular cream, but it’s so much more festive with the holiday look.

Nabisco took it a step further by stamping four, fun winter shapes into the chocolate wafers: a penguin, a snowman, a snowflake and ice skates.

The Winter Oreo will be available for the next several weeks, according to the Nabisco website. I’m going to stock up to keep the spirit bright all winter long.

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine In: Italian Festive Bread


Italian Festive BreadSome might say the words “Italian” and “Festive” go together like pepperoni and mushrooms, and I have to say I agree.

In Italy, every meal is a celebration; at least, that’s what I experienced in my trips to the motherland. Food is celebrated, quality ingredients are a cause for joy and food and family go hand-in-hand. I’m pretty sure the expression “food is love” originated on the shores of the Amalfi Coast or in the hills of Tuscany.

So, it’s not a stretch to use the term “festive” for this bread. I used to make something like it when I lived in Europe, although I baked the meats and cheeses right into the bread and served the peppers on the side. It was perfect road trip food, combining carbs, protein, fat and the peppers to cut the fat. Plus, you can eat it with your fingers.

You can use almost any combination of Italian meats and cheeses in this bread, and the note at the end explains how to exchange the mayonnaise for butter.

Italian Festive Bread

Ingredients:
1 loaf baked Italian bread
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
4-5 basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 Tbs pepperoncini brine from the jar
4 oz sliced salami (or large slices of pepperoni)
4 oz sliced provolone
4 oz sliced mozzarella
4 oz sliced Muenster cheese
1/4 cup pepperoncini peppers, diced
1/4 cup red onion, sliced

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Slice the bread into 1-inch slabs, being careful not to slice all the way through to the bottom. Place on a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Mix the mayonnaise, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme and pepperoncini brine. Spread the mixture liberally over each slice of bread. Place a slice of salami between each slice of bread and add a piece of cheese, alternating varieties. Finish by adding pepperoncini pieces and red onion slices between each slice. Wrap tightly in foil and bake about 25-30 minutes or until the outside is crispy and all the cheese is melted.

Note: We don’t all like mayonnaise in my house, so I softened 1/2 cup of butter to room temperature, mixed the herbs into the butter and used in place of the mayonnaise.

Serves 4-6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 733, Calories from Fat: 354, Fat: 40 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 78 mg, Sodium: 1566 mg, Potassium: 135 mg, Carbohydrates: 63 g, Fiber: 3.6 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 31 g.

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

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: Birthday Hot Chocolate Bar


Classic Hot ChocolateNothing says “comfort” during the cold months more than a steaming mug of hot chocolate, and that’s just what we enjoyed for my daughter’s birthday.

This year, we hosted Grace’s 14th birthday party at our home and let her invite a few friends over for a Tacky Christmas Sweater Birthday Party. We prepared a hot chocolate bar along with a batch of Christmas sugar cookies and a Christmas birthday cake. I prepared the hot chocolate on the stove and then transferred it to a slow cooker to keep it warm so the girls could dip it out for themselves.

The best part of the hot chocolate bar was all the delicious and fun toppings. Our bar consisted of marshmallows, peppermint bars, chocolate chips, chocolate dipping spoons and candies, of course!

The girls had a fun time making their custom hot chocolate, and then they all went outside to enjoy the colder weather with hot chocolate in hand. It was a perfect birthday party, and the hot chocolate bar must have been a success because they didn’t leave a drop for Mom! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to our Lord and Savior.

Classic Hot Chocolate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4

1 quart Brookshire’s Whole Milk
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
Reddi-wip®, mini marshmallows and cocoa powder, for garnish

Warm about 1/3 of the milk with chopped chocolate and salt, stirring until chocolate is melted. Whisk in remaining milk, heating until mixture is warmed through. Use whisk to mix hot chocolate until completely smooth. Serve very warm, garnished with Reddi-wip®, mini marshmallows and sprinkled cocoa powder.

Calories Per Serving: 570, Fat: 33 g (21 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 31 mg, Sodium: 274 mg, Carbohydrates: 64 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 12 g.

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



Shop the Sale: Maple Pomegranate-Glazed Turkey


Maple Pomegranate-Glazed TurkeyMy friend – let’s call her “Erma” – is looking for something different to make for Christmas dinner this year.

I can’t use her real name because she doesn’t want her mother-in-law to know she’s looking for a new recipe. You see, every year since she’s been married (all 23 of them) her mother-in-law bakes the turkey for Christmas dinner. And every year (all 23 of them) Erma’s holiday dinner is dry and flavorless.

“She doesn’t put anything on it,” Erma laments. “She just plops it in the pan and sticks it in the oven! Plus, she cooks it too long.”

But this year, Erma is hosting Christmas dinner for the first time. Her mother-in-law is relinquishing the kitchen, her only request being that they still have turkey for Christmas dinner, as is family tradition.

Erma is more than happy to oblige, but is looking for a way to liven up the Yuletide bird.

She found this recipe on the Honeysuckle Turkey website when she searched “Christmas turkey recipes.” Coincidentally, Honeysuckle turkeys are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so it’s the perfect time to buy one for your Christmas dinner.

Using the juice and the sweet syrup should make this bird juicy and flavorful! Maybe it’ll even start a new tradition.

Maple Pomegranate-Glazed Turkey

Ingredients:
1 12-lb Honeysuckle White® Fresh All Natural Whole Turkey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325° F. Unwrap the turkey in the sink and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the neck, giblets and any excess fat from the turkey; discard.

Coat the outside of the turkey with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a rack in a large roasting pan. Roast for 1 hour.

Combine the chicken broth, pomegranate juice and maple syrup in a non-stick skillet and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 30 minutes.

After 1 hour of roasting, begin basting with the glaze. If the bird gets too dark, cover loosely with foil. Continue roasting until a thermometer inserted into the breast reaches 165° F.

Transfer the turkey to a platter, tent with foil and let rest 30 minutes before slicing.

Recipe from honeysucklewhite.com

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 927, Calories from Fat: 240, Fat: 27 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 354 mg, Sodium: 447 mg, Potassium: 1792 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 25 g, Protein: 134 g.

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



Healthy Living: Winter Water Wonderland


Winter Water WonderlandIt’s about 7:30PM as I sit down to write this.

I think back to the day. I drank a glass of water when I woke up. Then, I had two cups of coffee. Then, a Diet Coke (Route 44 from Sonic size, nonetheless). Then, I had an unsweet iced tea with dinner.

How much of that, exactly, counts as water intake for the day? Approximately the first 8 ounces I had and nothing else. Everything else I had contained caffeine, which actually DEHYDRATES you, so it’s definitely time to pay more attention to how much real water I consume.

You need water as much in the winter as you do in the summertime. See that dry, scaling, ashy gray skin? Dehydration. Hair limp and lank? Dehydration. Nails brittle? You got it. Dehydration.

Experts say you should aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, that’s 75 ounces of water. Hot or cold doesn’t matter, as long as the drink doesn’t contain excess sugar or caffeine. If you are drinking caffeine, or alcohol for that matter, match that drink ounce for ounce with water, above and beyond your daily requirement for the day.

Water-based foods count toward your daily intake, like a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. You can even add them to your water to punch up the taste and nutrient level.

You still need water when you exercise, even if you don’t sweat as much.

A lot of delicious winter foods like soups and stews, especially commercial varieties, contain a lot of sodium. Cut back on sodium and drink more water to flush the excess from your system.
Finally, dress lightly and in layers, which helps reduce the way you sweat and therefore reduces water loss.

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Clementines


ClementinesI was thrilled to walk into Brookshire’s last week and see a bag of tiny, tender, juicy clementines!

I love this winter citrus and so do my kids (they’re so perfect for school lunches).

A clementine is sort of a cross between a tangerine and an orange. It’s Spanish in origin and features a dark, glossy orange skin that is easy to peel with super-juicy segments inside.

Less acidic than oranges, a clementine is very sweet and sometimes hard to distinguish from a mandarin orange.

At only 35 calories per fruit, it provides 60 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

One of the greatest things to do with a clementine this time of year is to peel it, eat the flesh and simmer the peel, along with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, in some water on your stove for a wintry aroma.



Dine In: Meatball Sub Bites


Meatball Sub BitesIt’s Christmas party season, and I have two to go to this weekend!

I love good holiday party food. I mean….a good holiday PARTY. Family, friends, food. Did I mention the food? I love the food.

Party food is just fun, and I love gatherings where guests bring their favorite dish. There’s never a shortage of delicious and varied treats.

I also just love a good party atmosphere, too. Laughing, talking, mingling and reconnecting with family and friends make the season bright for me.

I try to make something different when it’s up to me to bring a dish to share. I’m going to bring these Meatball Sub Bites to a party this Friday night. I have a little extra time on Fridays to bake these, as the workday ends a few hours early on Fridays. I’ll probably triple the recipe, too.

Meatball Sub Bites

Ingredients:
1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
12 frozen meatballs
1 1/4 cup marinara sauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line with cupcake liners.

Roll crescent roll dough into a rectangle; press seams together. Cut dough into 12 squares, and press each square into muffin pan.

Mix cream cheese with Italian seasoning and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Place a heaping spoonful of the cheese mixture on top of dough in each muffin cup. Top with a meatball. Drizzle with desired amount of marinara sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden-brown.

Makes 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 306, Calories from Fat: 158, Fat: 18 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 37 mg, Sodium: 718 mg, Potassium: 133 mg, Carbohydrates: 23 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 14 g.

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



Family Matters: Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful


Oh, the Weather Outside is FrightfulIt’s the time of year where the weather can change as rapidly as a teenager’s mood.

Last week, I left for work at 46 degrees and came home to 74 degrees. Yesterday, it started out in the high 60s and plunged into the high 30s by day’s end.

Just as you would send your children off to school ready for any weather, your pet needs to be treated with the same consideration, especially if they’ll be outside during the day.

Obviously, you don’t want to leave them outside for extended periods in freezing weather or precipitation during cold weather months. If you’re at work all day, consider crate training your pet inside, or hiring a pet sitter to come by and let him out during the day.

Don’t worry about cutting your pet’s hair during winter months. Like yours, it gets a little thicker to keep him warm in cold weather. If he’s naturally short-haired or a smaller dog, a coat or sweater might be appropriate for those really cold days.

When your pets come in from outside, especially if it’s snowing or raining, towel them off and pay special attention to their feet, which were coming in contact with the cold ground.

You also want to wash any chemicals from road de-icing off your pet as quickly as possible, so they don’t irritate their skin, or worse – lick it off.

Putting a thick layer of petroleum jelly on the bottom of their paws, on the pads of their feet, can help protect them when they go outside in cold weather.

Bottom line: If you are cold, your pet is cold, so keep him in with you when he’s not using the bathroom outside.

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Posted in: Pets


Mi Blog Hispano: 5 Ideas Para Alegrar La Fiesta Navideña


¡Cómo pasa el tiempo!  Ya queda solo un par de semanas para el gran día de Navidad.  Me encanta este tiempo festivo porque se empieza a sentir una armonía diferente.  Sales a la calle y se respira un aire navideño.  El olor a pinos, a fuego lento, a menta, canela, y manzanas llenan nuestros hogares.  Las tiendas están vestidas de colores rojos y verdes, se ven pinos decorados por doquier, se escuchan canciones navideñas en todas partes, y andamos buscando regalos para nuestros seres queridos.  Casi todos andamos sumergidos en esta época de alegría, paz, amor, y esperanza sin importar que creencias o religión tengamos.  Que hermoso tiempo para estar unidos entre familia y amistades.

Claro que esta época también puede ser un reto para nosotros si es que estamos preparando nuestro hogar para la gran fiesta navideña.  Usualmente, mi familia y yo festejamos en mi casa.  Hoy, comparto con ustedes algunas de nuestras tradiciones.  Cada año estas ideas me han ayudado a mantener el ambiente lleno de alegría.  ¡Me encanta ver a todos mis invitados felices y divirtiéndose!

5 ideas para alegrar y disfrutar su fiesta navideña:

  1. Cuelgue el muérdago de Navidad (mistletoe) – Cada año cuelgo dos muérdagos de Navidad en mi casa. Uno a la entrada, y el otro al pasar de la sala a la cocina.  Aunque esta tradición no es mexicana, es tan divertida y a mis invitados les encanta.  Viene de un viejo mito de Europa que dice que si dos personas pasan por debajo de una rama de muérdago de Navidad, tienen que besarse.  Así que al entrar los invitados, tienen que darse un beso, sin importar quien sea.  A mis hijas les encanta pasar por debajo de ella porque saben que las abrazare y las llenare de besos.  Al entrar los abuelitos, también tienen que darse su beso.  ¡Nos divierte tanto esta plantita hermosa de la Navidad porque llena el ambiente de amor y felicidad!
  1. Escoja un lema de vestidura divertido para la fiesta – Cada Navidad escogemos un lema de vestidura.  Por ejemplo, una Navidad todos nos vestimos en pijamas navideñas.  En otra Navidad, nos vestimos con memelucos.  ¡Que diversión fue esta!  Otra navidad tuvimos un concurso para ver quien usaba el suéter de navidad más feo.  De tanto que disfrute ver la creatividad que cada quien puso en hacerse el suéter más feo, todos se me hicieron bonitos.  ¡Nos reímos tanto!  Esta idea de un lema de vestidura siempre ha sido un éxito.  ¡Se lo recomiendo!
  1. Saquen la guitarra y a cantar música navideña – Claro que es necesario tocar música navideña mientras llegan sus invitados. Yo pongo música en mi tele o en mi teléfono con bocinas, pero también es buenísimo que la música sea en vivo.  En nuestra fiesta navideña, nunca falta la guitarra.  Al acabar de cenar, hacemos tiempo para escuchar a mi padre y a mi sobrina cantar y tocar la guitarra.  Se siente tan bonito disfrutar de esta música.  Así que si tiene un músico en su familia, dígale que se traiga el instrumento.
  1. Tenga una mesa para entretener a los niños – Los niños son tan importantes en nuestras familias latinas. Queremos que ellos se sientan importantes, y siempre los tomamos muy en cuenta.  Así que vamos a continuar eso preparándoles una mesa especial donde pueden ser creativos.  Forre la mesa con papel grueso (butcher paper).  Puede usar los rollos grandes de papel blanco o color café.  Ponga vasos llenos de colores y marcadores.  Déjelos que se sienten a colorear y pintar en el mantel de papel.  Ellos se van a entretener tanto decorando este mantel.  Al final de la fiesta tendrá una gran pieza de arte para enseñar a los invitados.  En esta misma mesa puede poner rompecabezas o hacer alguna artesanía con ellos.
  1. Haga el juego de los regalos del elefante blanco – Este juego es aparte de los regalos que se dan entre familia. Antes de la fiesta dígale a sus invitados que cada quien traiga un regalo de $1 a $5, o usted puede escoger el precio.  Estos regalitos no llevan nombre.  Se ponen los regalos en una mesa.  Escriba números en papelitos para que cada persona saque uno sin ver.  Quien tenga el número 1 va primero y escoge un regalo de la mesa.  Lo tiene que abrir en ese momento y mostrarlo a todos.  La persona con el numero 2 hace lo mismo, pero esta persona tiene que elegir quedarse con su regalo o intercambiarlo con el regalo que le toco al número 1.  Continúe abriendo los regalos, pasando en orden numérica.  Cada persona tiene la opción de quedarse con el regalo que le toco o intercambiarlo con uno que le ha tocado a otra persona.  El juego sigue hasta regresar con la persona del número 1, quien hace el intercambio final y podrá escoger entre todos los regalos.  ¡Este juego es divertidísimo!  Mi familia y yo lo hemos jugado y nos mantiene súper entretenidos porque estos regalitos pueden ser muy chistosos.

Espero que estas ideas le ayuden a entretener a sus invitados en su fiesta navideña, y que disfruten de lo máximo con su familia y amigos.

¡Les deseo una muy feliz Navidad!



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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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