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Family Matters: What’s in your Kid’s Lunch?


Kids Lunch

What do you pack in a kid’s lunch box when they will not eat a sandwich? That’s right; my 12-year-old daughter, Grace, does not eat sandwiches. Not only will she not eat sandwiches but she also does not eat cheese, peanut butter, bread, pasta, nuts and very few vegetables. It gets really tough to make her lunch every day for school!

The best way to influence your child’s lunchtime habits, of course, is to pack it yourself. How do you pack a healthier lunch and end up with something they’ll actually eat and not toss in the trash so that they’re ready for an afternoon of learning, playing and growing? Get started here:

Get kids involved in planning: If your children go along when you do the grocery shopping, let them select some or all of their lunch components. (This works best, obviously, if you narrow down their choices first to just a few choices, so you don’t spend all day in the store.) If they don’t accompany you, ask for their requests before you head to the store. Again, this works best if you have a list of good choices to start from.

Get the proper packaging: Since kids don’t have access to microwaves or refrigerators, a small investment in thermal containers and cold packs is worth it. It will allow much more creativity in lunch packing – soups, pastas, cool desserts – and more importantly, it will keep cold and hot foods safe and appetizing to eat.

Pack ahead: Mornings are a rush job in most households. If you only have two minutes to throw lunch together, it’s far too easy to rely on leftover pizza and a bag of chips. Instead, pack the night before right after dinner and before you’ve cleaned up the kitchen. Make it a family project; older kids can make their own lunches while you load the dishwasher, or younger ones can help pull out lunch components with your supervision.

Make simple substitutions and phase them in gradually: You don’t have to make drastic changes, at least not right away. A few small substitutions will get you on the way to healthier lunches fast. For instance, substitute yogurt-covered raisins, trail mix or plain dried fruit for candy. Use mustard or fat-free mayo instead of full-fat mayonnaise or sandwich spread. Send pretzels or carrots with ranch dressing instead of chips and lean turkey instead of fatty pepperoni or bologna on a sandwich.

Experiment a little: We all tend to end up in a lunch rut. Get away from the sandwich-chips-fruit combo. Why not hummus and pita chips, bean dips and baked tortilla chips, or even a container of edamame? Make that sandwich on pita bread, a whole-wheat bagel or a tortilla. Try a Greek yogurt cup instead of pudding.

Allow the occasional surprise treat: Nobody can be perfect all the time, so it’s fun for kids to discover the occasional unexpected treat. A fun-size candy bar, a small bag of chips, a cookie – anything that’s school-approved should be included at least once in a while to mix things up and remind kids that moderation is the goal.

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Posted in: Family Matters


Shop the Sale: Cajun Catfish


Cajun CatfishAs summer winds down, there’s no reason not to capture the feeling of fishing, fun and fireflies with this Cajun-inspired catfish dish. It’s easy to make for a weeknight supper or feed to a crowd at a back-to-school bash.

Catfish comes in several different varieties and is found in all parts of the country, at all depths of bodies of water. Some catfish have a hard exterior: they are for eating. Other breeds of catfish have a mild white meat, which we like to catch, eat and enjoy!

Cajun Catfish

Ingredients:
2 Tbs yellow cornmeal
2 tsp Cajun seasoning or blackening seasoning
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
2 (6 oz) catfish fillets
1/4 tsp paprika

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine cornmeal, Cajun seasoning, thyme, basil, garlic powder and lemon pepper.

Add catfish and shake to coat. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 265, Fat: 13 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 80 mg, Sodium: 812 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 27 g.

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



Healthy Living: Grilled Okra


Grilled OkraOkra is definitely a Southern thing.

While I bristle when people accuse me of being from the North (I’m from the capital of the Confederacy, people!), there were some things, like okra and sweet tea, that took some getting used to here in the Deep, Deep South.

Okra and I have progressed in our relationship. I tasted it. Then, I tolerated it. Then, I liked it. Recently, I had it prepared in such a simple, healthy way that I even have come to crave that dish again.

The beauty of summer, and of veggies like okra, is that you don’t need to do much to them to make a delicious, healthy meal. Let the flavor of the vegetable stand out, and don’t overcook it to preserve the nutrients.

Grilled Okra

Ingredients:
1 lb okra, washed
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs Tony Chachere’s seasoning

Directions:
Wash okra. Trim both ends. Toss with olive oil and seasoning.

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Spray a grill pan with nonstick cooking spray and place okra in the grill pan. Grill, stirring at intervals, until okra is crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 97, Calories from Fat: 65, Fat: 7 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 8 mg, Potassium: 339 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 2 g.

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



Product Talk: Sushi


Sushi

One of my favorite indulgences in the entire universe is sushi. I love it. I crave it. I can’t get enough.

Let’s face it: restaurant sushi is an expensive habit. It’s delicious, but you’re largely paying for ginger rose garnishes.

Imagine my delight when Brookshire’s stores started serving in-house sushi, prepared right before your eyes and with the same quality sushi and sashimi grade ingredients used in the fancy restaurants with dragons made out of cucumbers.

There might not be any mythical vegetables, but Brookshire’s sushi is a delicious, fresh and affordable treat.

I’m partial to the spicy shrimp roll with fresh shrimp, sticky rice, nori and a special sauce, but I also love getting the rainbow roll, expertly festooned with slivers of avocado, tuna and yellowtail. I introduced my boys to nigiri, a fresh piece of fish atop a wedge of sticky rice. Dipped in a little bit of soy sauce mixed with wasabi (provided in the container with pickled slivers of ginger), this makes a splendid meal or appetizer.

They also make a mean California roll with avocado, cucumber and cream cheese. When I can’t decide, I get a combination platter, sometimes with crab, tuna AND California rolls. The sushi counter also has other treats like octopus, which I’m working up the nerve to try.

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine In: Chicken with Buffalo Fettuccine Alfredo


Chicken with Buffalo Fettuccine AlfredoIt’s no secret I love buffalo chicken. Buffalo chicken ANYTHING, that is. I made buffalo chicken breakfast burritos not too long ago. I can trace the affinity to all things spicy back to when I was pregnant with my first son. We’d ordered a pizza one night, and the delivery driver accidentally dropped off chicken bites with buffalo sauce that he claimed he couldn’t take back to the store.

I ate every last one and licked the sauce out of the plastic container. Oh yes, I did.

The love affair is now 13 years in the making and it hasn’t subsided. I don’t think I’ve licked sauce from anything since that moment, but I can’t be certain of that either. Weak moments, you know.

This recipe combines the best of both worlds for me and my kids. They love fettuccine alfredo. I love buffalo. We all win.

Chicken with Buffalo Fettuccine Alfredo

Ingredients:
1 lb fettuccine pasta
2 Tbs olive oil
1 lb chicken tenders
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbs milk
1 1/2 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
2 Tbs butter
1 cup half-and-half
3 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bleu cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, combine egg and milk in a bowl. Add bread crumbs to a separate bowl. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Dredge chicken in egg mixture, followed by bread crumbs. Cook in skillet until evenly browned, about 6-8 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your chicken. Set chicken aside and keep warm.

Melt butter in the same skillet, slowly pour in half-and-half, and stir in mascarpone cheese until it is fully incorporated. Whisk in parmesan cheese, bleu cheese and buffalo wing sauce. Let sauce cook for 1 minute to thicken.

When pasta is ready, drain and combine with buffalo sauce. Serve with chicken tenders.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 660, Calories from Fat: 245, Fat: 27 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 139 mg, Sodium: 929 mg, Potassium: 294 mg, Carbohydrates: 61 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 40 g.

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

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Posted in: Dine In


Family Matters: Pets and Storms


Pets and StormsWe recently adopted a beautiful dog, a two-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, Redbone Coonhoud mix that we named Astro. He’s huge with long, lanky legs like a newborn colt. Weighing in at 85 pounds, we call him the “Big Red Love Machine.”

I found out this week, however, that when 85 pounds of dog become terrified during a thunderstorm, it’s not a pretty sight. To his credit, Astro found my closet, an interior space with no windows or exposure to the outside of the house. He lay inside, shaking like a brittle leaf in a gusty wind, until the storm passed. Even then, he wouldn’t venture outside to use the restroom until the very last drop of rain had seeped off the porch roof into the grass below.

Storm anxiety for pets is a very real phenomenon that can be trigged by lightning, thunder, rain and even changes in barometric pressure, experts say.

Calming, soothing and stroking your dog can help, but you can take a more proactive approach to storm anxiety.

Practice getting your dog to settle on command. Use a special “inside” leash on the dog and practice having your dog lie at your feet while praising the calm behavior.

You can also try distracting your pup by offering his favorite toy, playing fetch, petting it and giving him treats (as long as he remains calm and you don’t upset his stomach. One or two is plenty.)

Let him have a safe place during the storm. For Astro, it was my closet. A bathroom, pantry or under a bed will work, too. Let your pooch pick out the spot he likes, within reason, and let him stay there during the storm if he wants to.

Snug garments, like the trademarked ThunderShirt, can soothe a pet by giving them close, tight, comforting sensory input they need to feel secure in the uncertainty of a storm.

If you want, you can also play recordings of storms when it’s NOT storming to try to desensitize your pet to those noises, as well.



Mi Blog Hispano: Mascotas Consentidas


Mascotas ConsentidasEs importante darles valor y cuidado a esas personas o cosas en nuestras vidas que nos llenan de satisfacción y felicidad, y al enumerar las miles de bendiciones que tengo, no puedo dejar de sonreír al pensar en mis perros. He tenido hermosas experiencias con ellos, desde aventuras hasta las más grandes tristezas al perder a mi primer gran amor en mascotas, llamado Payton, un Bull Terrier a quien criamos desde que estaba cachorro y quien nos cuidó a nosotros, dio mucho cariño a nuestra familia, nos acompañó y nos hizo reír tantas veces.

Ahora tengo otro perro de la misma raza, a quien adoptamos ya adulto y un bello Labrador a quien rescatamos de la calle hace algún tiempo. Son tantas cosas positivas que recibimos de estas mascotas, que en nuestro caso, lo único que queremos es darles en retorno el mismo cariño y cuidado. Hoy, voy a compartir con ustedes, algunas de las cosas que considero son importantes para consentir a su mascota:

  • Mantener a su perro saludable: Es importante conocer qué tipo de ejercicios y actividades físicas son las más recomendadas. Conocer las necesidades específicas de cada raza es importante para asegurarnos de que le estamos dando el tratamiento adecuado. En el caso de mi Bull Terrier, esa raza tiene muchos problemas con la piel, así que debo usar un champú especial para evitar alergias e irritaciones.
  • Escoger el alimento adecuado: Esto es muy importante porque de aquí va a depender que el perro este bien alimentado y nutrido, que tenga una buena digestión, un peso balanceado, que su pelaje y ojos  estén brillantes y en general que estén saludables y enérgicos. Al escoger el alimento para su perro, debe tomar en cuenta su tamaño, peso y edad para encontrar la comida adecuada. Es imprescindible, saber cuáles son las raciones adecuadas y cuantas veces al día se debe alimentar a su mascota, se debe evitar la obesidad o la desnutrición. Yo confío mucho en los productos Purina, ellos ofrecen las marcas Beneful y  Dog Chow con gran variedad en sabores y nutritivos ingredientes y además puedo encontrarlos siempre a excelentes precios en nuestras tiendas Brookshire’s, al igual que otros productos para hacer felices  a mis consentidos…
  • Ejercicio Adecuado: No hay nada que reemplace los paseos diarios, no sólo para mis mascotas, sino también para mí (Beneficio mutuo). Muchas razas requieren más actividad física que otras para mantenerse en forma, así que es bueno que conozcamos cuales son los requerimientos específicos de nuestras mascotas y así, ejercitarlas según lo necesiten. Recuerdo que Payton, era desde cachorro un perro muy enérgico y activo, era increíble ver como lo hacía feliz correr y saltar y luego en la noche dormía profundo como un bebé.
  • Visitar al veterinario regularmente: Un control periódico a nuestro perro, nos mantendrá al tanto del estado de salud del mismo, permitirá que tenga sus vacunas al día y que se detecte a tiempo cualquier problema o anomalía que éste presente. Como les comente, mi Bull terrier es muy sensible con su piel y con medicamentos recetados por el veterinario hemos encontrado calmar y mejorar mucho los problemas con su piel.
  • Cuidado con el clima: Es importante que tomemos las medidas necesarias durante cada estación de año. En invierno, debemos mantenerlos cubiertos y protegidos de las bajas temperaturas y en verano, es vital mantenerlos hidratados, en la sombra y con opciones de refrescarse adentro de la casa si el calor se pone insoportable.

Espero que con estos consejos usted pueda retornar a su perro, todo el amor y el cariño que él le demuestra cada día. ¡Hasta la próxima! 



Shop The Sale: New York Strip Steaks


New York Strip Steaks

Sometimes I think, “What more can you write about steaks?,” especially one as flavorful as a New York strip.

Also known as a porterhouse or sirloin strip, the New York strip is part of the short loin and thoroughly marbled. In other words, you get a tender cut of meat with plenty of flavor.

I’m of the mindset that a good cut of meat should speak for itself, like a New York strip can. However, with a few enhancements, you can take this steak from delicious to sublime.

New York Strip Steaks

Ingredients:
2 New York strip steaks (about 1 1/2 lb)
1/2 cup Dale’s Marinade and Seasoning
3 Tbs McCormick’s Grill Mates Steak Rub
2 Tbs butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Place steaks in a zipper-locked plastic bag. Pour in Dale’s seasoning. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove steak from Dale’s. Sprinkle both sides with McCormick seasoning, salt and pepper.

Prepare grill to high heat.

Sear steaks on both sides, about 2 minutes per side over flame.

For a gas grill, turn heat to medium, or move steaks on a charcoal grill to indirect heat. Top with butter.

Grill until meat reaches desired temperature.

Remove from heat, let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 820, Calories from Fat: 486, Fat: 54 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (24 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 255 mg, Sodium: 1542 mg, Potassium: 3 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Protein: 76 mg.

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



Healthy Living: Cucumber Radish Salad


Cucumber Radish SaladI used to work with a woman who would munch on raw radishes at her desk.

I thought it was gross.

But hey, she was a tri-athlete and in amazing shape and great health.

Maybe I should have munched on radishes, too.

I have to be honest; I never really understood their appeal. I didn’t mind them in small quantities, shaved over a salad, maybe, but I definitely didn’t want to eat one like an apple.

I do love them in this salad. It’s seriously low-cal but full of flavor. Radishes are said to soothe sore throats and aid in digestion, as well as eliminate toxins from the body and help protect against cancer.

Cucumber Radish Salad

Ingredients:

For the salad:
1 English cucumber, washed and cut into thin rounds
10 radishes, washed and thinly sliced

For the dressing:
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbs olive oil
1 garlic, minced
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground pepper, or to taste

Directions:
In a salad bowl, combine sliced radishes and cucumbers; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing; taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Add the dressing to the salad; mix well and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 53, Calories from Fat: 33, Fat: 4 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 303 mg, Potassium: 153 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 2 g.

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



Product Talk: Dale’s Seasoning


Dales SeasoningIn the course of my job recently, I ran into a cute “little old lady” (her words, not mine) at a church fundraiser who cornered me to tell me all about a recipe that she wanted to see appear in the newspaper.

She didn’t have it written down, of course, because cute little old church ladies have these recipes locked in their minds like it’s a vault at the U.S. Mint.

The aforementioned recipes usually include measurements such as “a pinch” or “a smidge” or “a shake.”

This one was no different.

Cute church lady was rattling off the list of ingredients and I’m taking notes as fast as my shorthand would allow.

“And add a few splashes of Dale’s…,” she said, moving on to the next direction.

Dale’s? What was that? I wasn’t sure. I tried to ask, but she’d already moved on to a description of the banana pudding you serve AFTER the steaks that contain the Dale’s, whatever that was.

I went back to the office and looked it up.

Dale’s Seasoning is a marinade and seasoning that comes in liquid form. It’s sort of a smoky, Worcestershire-like, acidic deliciousness that blends well with red meat, seafood and poultry. I’ve tried it on steaks and in burgers, and it doesn’t take long for the flavors of Dale’s to permeate the meat. In fact, if you’d usually marinade a steak or roast overnight, give it about 30 minutes in Dale’s to do the trick! It’s that good.

Dale’s comes in regular and low-sodium varieties and is a fabulous all-purpose seasoning.

Now, if I could only find the notebook where I wrote down that recipe…

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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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