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Family Matters: Holiday Family Tradition

Holiday Family TraditionMaking homemade dressing and gravy for the holidays has been something I have done since I started my own family 25 years ago. It is a tradition at our family gatherings that I will make these items for the feast (they are happy they don’t have too!). My family loves my dressing and gravy and it makes me feel good to know how much they enjoy it. It takes hours to prepare and get that perfect finished item, but I love watching and listening as they sit down to eat.

Over the years, I have made dressing and gravy for other family members to serve at their family gatherings and for special school events during the holidays. My kids are always excited to volunteer mom to cook. I get a kick out of knowing they are happy to share with everyone how good they think it is and that mom would love to do it. I find joy in preparing food and sharing with others…and delight that my kids see this in me.

In recent years, I have begun teaching my girls how to make homemade dressing and gravy, telling them one day I want to sit back and relax and let them take over this job. Of course, they last about half way through the process and then get tired out! Well this week, my oldest daughter volunteered to make dressing and gravy for her work party (of course I figured that meant mom was making it!) but I was pleasantly surprised to find her cooking cornbread, boiling the chicken and chopping ingredients when I got home from work. I helped very little and in the end she had a great finished product. She came home from work beaming, her colleagues raved over how good it was…the excitement in her voice and smile on her face are my reward. She now knows she can do it, and I know when she has her own family she will share this recipe with her children and continue this family tradition.

Praying your holidays are filled with lots of dressing and gravy that fills your tummy and a warmth with family and friends that fills your heart. It’s not just dressing and gravy…it is that “fullness” of family tradition. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for time with your family!

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Family Matters: Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

Pumpkin Ice Cream PieIt’s officially pumpkin spice season, and pumpkins are popping up everywhere on our shelves at Brookshire’s. There are so many ways to get your pumpkin fix. From pumpkin cream cakes and pumpkin pie to pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin craft beers, there are so many ways to enjoy the wonderful flavor of pumpkin this fall season.

What could be better than two of my favorite desserts in one: pumpkin pie and ice cream, oh my! This recipe for pumpkin ice cream pie is the perfect dessert for your holiday gatherings or just to keep for you to enjoy!

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling
Freeze Time: 4 hours
Serves: 10

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
3 tsp vanilla extract, divided
2 cups Brookshire’s Whole Milk
4 whole cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
hot fudge, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup melted butter in a bowl; stir until evenly combined. Press into bottom and sides of 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned at the edges. Let cool completely.

Whisk together 1 cup sugar, egg yolks and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in 4-quart saucepan. Stir in milk, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg; whisk until smooth. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until thickened and mixture coats the back of the spoon. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl. Stir in cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Let cool, and then refrigerate until chilled. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer ice cream to pie crust, smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Freeze for 4 hours or until set. Garnish with hot fudge sauce.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 377, Fat: 18 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 147 mg, Sodium: 245 mg, Carbohydrates: 51 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 5 g.

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

Family Matters: Pets and Holiday Food

Pets and Holiday FoodI don’t know about you, but I’m pretty thankful for my dog, Astro. He’s sweet, loving, even-keeled, a great and loyal friend, and a great protector.

It’s so important, at this time of the year, to make sure you’re taking care of your pet and protecting their health, too. While you might think that you’re giving them treats, some things around the holidays we enjoy can be very, very bad for your pet!

First of all, no candy. At all. Especially not chocolate, which can be deadly for dogs.

The ASPCA offers these other tips:

  • A small bite of turkey is okay as long as it’s not on the bone and is well-cooked.
  • Sage is an essential component of most turkey seasonings and dressings, but it may contain small amounts of essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal distress, especially in cats.
  • No cakes, pies or other sweets!
  • Watch the bread dough, too, especially if your pet likes to snatch things off of the kitchen counter. Bread dough can expand in their stomachs, causing them all kinds of problems.

Bottom line, pets don’t celebrate holidays with food the way we do. It’s perfectly fine to keep them on their regular feeding schedule with their regular food.

Family Matters: A Whole New World

A Whole New WorldNO!

If that’s your toddler’s favorite word, you aren’t alone.

No, she doesn’t want to put on her shoes.

No, she doesn’t want to go to the store, and no, she doesn’t want to leave.

No, she doesn’t want to take a bath, and no, she REALLY doesn’t want to go to bed.

As frustrating as it is, it’s normal. Blessedly typical development for your little one.

Your two (or three) year old is caught up in exploring her world, a world where she is fully mobile, can walk from room to room unescorted and can discover the wonders around her. She’s also learning about limits, how it’s not safe to wander out the back door without a parent and how pulling the cat’s tail might not be the best of ideas. All of that is important stuff.

You can help by setting limits. Yes, kids like limits. They like to know it’s OK to go play in their bedroom alone, but not in the backyard. They need to know that when mom says “Don’t touch,” it’s for a reason (it’s hot, it’s sharp, it’s dangerous).

You can be on their side. “I know you’re having fun and don’t want to leave the playground, but you’ll see Camden in two days, so let’s go home and you can help me make dinner.” Distraction works, too.

You can reinforce and praise good behavior. “Thank you so much for not throwing a fit when I told you to pick up your toys!”

Give them choices. “You can pick up your toys now and we can watch a movie, or you can choose not to pick up your toys, which means I’ll have to take the toys away for tomorrow and you can’t play with them.”

Whatever routes you choose, be consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent.

Family Matters: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet PotatoesSweet potatoes are one of the best first foods for your little one! I think they were the first food, after cereals, for both of my boys.

You know sweet potatoes are packed with all the great things an adult needs; the same goes for baby. Plus, a little one is apt to enjoy a sweet potato as a first food because it mimics the flavors in breast milk and first formulas, which are slightly sweet.

Sweet potatoes and all orange vegetables, really, are great for baby’s vision development!

They’re super easy to prepare for baby.

Peel your sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Boil potatoes in water until VERY tender and almost falling apart. Drain, reserving some of the liquid.

Puree sweet potatoes in a food processor or blender with the reserved water, formula or breast milk until the consistency baby can tolerate. Freeze in ice cube trays for individual servings or serve immediately after they’ve cooled.

Family Matters: First Six Months

First Six MonthsBaby’s learning curve and physical development are extraordinary in their first six months. Just think about all the things they learn in that time, from little bundles of sleepiness in the first few days to rolling, playing machines by six months.

A few of the vitally important things babies learn during their first six months are trust, social development and all the fun things their bodies can do!

This activity helps promote all those things, upper-body strength in particular.

Get a soft blanket and lay your infant on the blanket, face-up. Hold on to his wrists and then count, “One, two, three, UP” and gently pull him into a sitting position. Watch as he holds his head up flush with his body, strengthening those neck muscles. Gently lower him back down to the lying position and repeat. I used to give them a big, tickly kiss when I did this with my boys.

Family Matters: Treats not Tricks

Treats not TricksFall is my favorite time of year. The cooler weather, the crunchy leaves, soccer Saturdays, porch parties, fires in the chiminea, cooking out, camping, hiking and Halloween.

My boys LOVE Halloween. Confession: they decorated for Halloween on Sept. 13 of this year. They hung orange lights all over the walls in the living room. There are creepy spider webs on all the brick pillars inside our house and all over the trees outside. The holographic skeleton placemats are on the table, and the bat and spider banners are hung over windows and door frames. There are pumpkins galore on the mantle, sharing the space with the carved black cats. It gives them so much joy to decorate; I don’t even mind them using 97,000 push pins in the wall to hang the lights.

They also get a lot of joy from picking out a costume. They love to dress up for a night, pretending to be something they’re not. When they were little, I LOVED picking out their costumes and helping them execute it. For his first Halloween, Curt was a plush, cuddly frog (but it was so hot that night he could only keep the costume on for pictures). Luke was a pea-in-a-pod for his first Halloween because he was only 7 weeks old, and I’d called him “Sweet Pea” in utero. As toddlers, they were, among other things, a pink pig (Curt was obsessed with pigs that year), Woody and Buzz from Toy Story (one of my favorites; I spent a ridiculous amount on Disney costumes to make this happen), a green sparkly ghost (Luke’s idea), a spider (we made the costume with a black sweatshirt and 8 black, stuffed, knee-high socks) and Eddie from The Little People. They’ve always loved having a hand in creating their own costumes. Even as they’ve gotten older and a trip to the Halloween store is as much a part of the tradition as a costume itself, they still like to make part of their costumes. This year, Luke picked out a scary mask and wants to make a “straightjacket” of sorts, so we’re working on that. Curt opted for a black fedora and mask combo, but we’re going to spray a T-shirt with fake blood for effect.

Next weekend, we’ll paint and carve pumpkins. Maybe we’ll go to a pumpkin patch as a family and pick out the ones we’re going to decorate, another throwback to when they were little and we’d spend hours trying to get the perfect pumpkin patch pictures. I doubt they’ll sit on pumpkins for hours, but it will be fun to try.

For us, Halloween has always been about family. Not about devils, spirits or anything else evil or wicked. It’s just about enjoying the time together, being creative and having fun.

Family Matters: Holiday Baking Idea

Cranberry Fruit BreadThis recipe is one that a sweet friend shared with me in 1986 when I was working in the produce department of one of our stores. It is a great addition to any holiday meal with family and friends. You can bake this in small loaf pans, wrap in colored plastic wrap and give as gifts during the holidays…a personal touch that anyone would appreciate!

Cranberry Fruit Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1 egg, well-beaten
2 tsp shortening
1 tsp orange peel, grated
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup nuts, chopped

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add orange juice, egg, shortening and orange peel. Mix until well-blended, then fold in cranberries and nuts. Pour in 9 x 5 loaf pan, greased on the bottom only. Bake 55-60 minutes at 350º F.

Take time to get in the kitchen with your family this holiday season and do some baking together. Baking makes a difference, especially when it comes to spending quality time with your family, any time of the year. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for time with your family.

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

Family Matters: Ooey Gooey S’mores

S’mores MilkshakeNothing says fall fun like making s’mores outside around a campfire. Even as the kids are getting older, these gooey delights have always been a favorite around our house. My daughter likes to roast her marshmallows until they are a perfect golden brown and warm in the middle. My son just likes to throw his marshmallows in the campfire and watch them burn up! That must be a guy thing! Either way, s’mores around our house celebrates family time together.

Recently, my daughter introduced us to this twist on classic s’mores. It’s like having a campfire dessert in a glass.

S’mores Milkshake

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4

8 jumbo marshmallows
1/4 cup hot fudge, warmed
1/2 cup graham crackers, crushed
4 cups Brookshire’s Chocolate Milk
4 cups Goldenbrook Farms Chocolate Ice Cream
1 Tbs Brookshire’s Sour Cream

Heat oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread marshmallows on prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Place sheet pan under broiler; cook until lightly charred. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Place warm hot fudge in a small, shallow bowl; place graham cracker crumbs on a rimmed plate. Take each glass and dip rim in hot fudge, and then gently roll in crumbs to create a crumb edge. In a blender, combine chocolate milk, ice cream and sour cream until smooth.

Pour milkshake mixture into glasses, and garnish each with reserved toasted marshmallows.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 650, Fat: 26 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 95 mg, Sodium: 352 mg, Carbohydrates: 92 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 14 g.

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

Family Matters: Shedding

pet sheddingDid you know that your pet requires some seasonal care, just like your lawn and yard might? They do!

In the fall, a lot of pets go through a period of shedding their fur, getting rid of damaged hair and old skin cells. This is perfectly normal unless you note it’s excessive, then it could be a sign of something else like illness, stress or poor diet. Like I said, a little shedding is completely normal, albeit kind of messy.

Shedding can be managed and minimized with a few easy tips and tricks.

First of all, buy a grooming tool. Your pet might actually LOVE being brushed, and it’s nice bonding time with you. Brushing removes excess hair, stimulates the skin and promotes a shiny, healthy, clean coat. If your dog has dense hair, this job might best be left to a professional groomer who can work out knots and kinks, and even shave your pet’s hair down if necessary.

If you’re doing it at home, groom your pet on a weekly basis so you control the hair loss, and it doesn’t end up all over your sofa and carpets.

Secondly, make sure they’re eating good, high-quality food. Diet can affect how much your pet sheds. Check labels for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional adequacy statement to ensure the product offers balanced nutrition.

Next, during high-shed season, consider covering your furniture where your pet will be with a sheet or a slipcover to minimize hair on your furniture. Vacuum, dust and sweep as often as you can as well.

Bathing your pet during the summer months can also help reduce shedding during the fall.

The bottom line is that some shedding is normal, and it usually only lasts for a few weeks!

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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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