share. The Brookshire's Blog

Family Matters: Breakfast Cookies


Breakfast CookiesGive me breakfast foods or give me cookies. I love them both! Then, what could be more perfect than cookies to start your day! Before you think I’ve gone off the deep-end, these cookies are packed with lots of wholesome ingredients like oats, bananas, blueberries and pecans.

These are so easy to make ahead of time and store in the freezer until you are ready to eat them. You can pop them in the microwave to enjoy hot or take them on the go with you. You will love these, and your kiddos will think you are awesome for giving them cookies for breakfast!

Breakfast Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Brookshire’s Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 cup Brookshire’s Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1 Tbs golden flax meal
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried blueberries
3 very-ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid form
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325° F. Combine oats, coconut, flax meal, salt, pecans and blueberries in a bowl. Stir in bananas, coconut oil, agave and vanilla until well-combined. Firmly press together 2 tablespoons of mixture into a 2 1/2-inch flat round onto baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Continue with remaining mixture. Bake at 325° F for 20 minutes or until golden-brown. Let cool on pan.

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Family Matters: Back to School


Back to SchoolGet your kids ready for back-to-school by engaging them in the process of making their own lunches.

School-age children can definitely pitch in when it comes to school lunches. Older kids, in high school perhaps, can be completely responsible for their school lunch. Younger kids can help with all the prep work, and they can have an investment in a healthy diet by helping to choose some options.

Take your kids grocery shopping with you on the weekends, and let them pick out some proteins, some fruits, veggies and maybe a snack or two for a treat.

When you get home, go ahead and package a lot of those items into individual serving sizes. For example, lunch meat can be rolled into rollups and saved in small, zipper-lock bags. Carrot sticks and celery can be cleaned, cut and packaged into bags as well.

Your kids can create trail mix with nuts, popcorn, pretzels and chocolate chips, and store in baggies, too.

Then, on school mornings, all you need to do is have them grab a protein, a fruit (whole, cleaned fruits like bananas, apples, peaches, pears, plums and grapes are great) and a veggie. Drop it in a bag with a bottle of water and a napkin, and voila! Lunch is served.



Family Matter: Dogs Home Alone


Dogs Home AloneBack-to-school can be a lonely time for your pet. It is for my dog, Astro. All summer, he’s had the luxury of having the boys home all day to play with him and to let him in and out at his whim.

When the boys go back to school, Astro is left to his own devices in the yard or in the house. Truth be told, he has to stay outside because it’s not always guaranteed I can come home in the middle of the day to let him out for a play and potty break.

Ease him into the back-to-school routine by leaving him in a quiet house for increasingly extended periods of time as it gets closer to school resuming. This might be hard if you have kids in the house, but hey, school supply shopping takes a few hours, at least.

You might use a white noise machine or leave your radio on set to a classical (soothing music, no heaving metal head banging for your pet) while you’re gone.

Make sure there are not too many temptations around the house of objects he could easily destroy. You might consider gating him into one room or area.

Fill a Kong toy will all kinds of toys to keep your pet occupied during the day. If your pet is outside, leave ropes, balls and other toys in the yard for fun and to help keep him occupied.

If your dog will be outside, fill a bowl with a few toys, then add water and freeze. Leave the ice block outside in the yard for him, and he will uncover the toys as the ice block melts during the day.



Family Matters: Bird Toys and Play


Bird Toys and PlayJust like kids, birds like to play, too!

Birds develop a fondness for play in the “child and adolescent” years between the time they are fledglings and the time they reach sexual maturity.

Provide your bird with plenty of outlets for his play.

They tend to like things that move and make noise. Birds also love a mirror. Place a non-breakable mirror in their cage or somewhere near their cage for them to enjoy their reflection.

Ladders, swings and bells are also fun for birds. Ladders are great because it gives them a chance to exercise, and swings fulfill a need for proprioceptive movement. Bells are a great cause and effect toy, as they will learn to ring them and enjoy the resulting sound.

Paper balls might also be a fun toy for your bird. Wad up a piece of scrapbooking paper, and place it in the bottom of his cage. You can also place a few on top of his cage and make him reach for them. Paper strips from your shredder are also fun for your bird. He’ll spend hours tearing at them. Paper cones and cups, slightly smashed, can occupy birds for hours. Place several around his cage.

Toys on strings suspended from the top of their cages can also give them something to bat around in space.



Family Matters: Cats Home Alone


Cats Home AloneCats are pretty self-sufficient, and they can easily be left home alone all day. However, they can get lonely, too.

If your cat is accustomed to having plenty of company, ease them into a back-to-school routine by leaving the house for several hours at a time.

You might want to leave a white noise machine or radio on that’s playing soothing music in your home while you’re gone, so your cat feels like it has company.

If your cat has a particular spot where he likes to sleep, put a stuffed toy or a hot water bottle (one he can’t puncture with teeth or claws) in the area, so he’ll have something to cuddle next to. Some pets respond well to an old-fashioned alarm clock, one that ticks, wrapped in a blanket or towel.

Make sure your pet has a clean litter box while you’re gone during the day, so he won’t choose other areas to potty while you’re gone.

Of course, make sure he has food and water available as well.



Family Matters: Small Animal Toys and Play


Small Animal Toys and PlayYour small animal, like a gerbil, hamster or guinea pig, loves to play in his cage! Despite the fact that you see them sleeping a lot, these animals, who seem to get a burst of energy in the evening, love a good romp through their habitat.

Provide tunnels for gerbils and hamsters to run through and hide. They will even sleep in these tunnels, where they feel safe and secure.

Balls are great for inside your small animal’s cage. Make sure the ball is size-appropriate for your pet, so he can enjoy it without swallowing it or having it be too overwhelming. Make sure it’s made of a durable plastic or other material that he can’t chew and shred.

Big plastic exercise balls are also fun for smaller pets. Hamsters love to be inside the ball and have free range to run around your house. Make sure they are on the floor, not a table or surface where they can fall. Also, make sure they are supervised when in the exercise ball, so they don’t get stuck under furniture or chased by larger pets.

An exercise wheel inside the cage can be a great option for a hamster or gerbil for exercise as well.

Many small pets love to chew, so visit your local pet store for a block of safe wood made specifically for your type of small pet that they can gnaw on to their heart’s content.



Family Matters: Leaving Your Toddler with a Caregiver


Leaving Your Toddler with a CaregiverHow do you know if your toddler is ready for a Mother’s Day Out or preschool program?

Well, kids show readiness in different ways. Does your toddler socialize and thrive in play groups? If so, they might be ready for a Mother’s Day Out program one or two days a week.

Is your toddler shy and quiet? He might also benefit from some socialization with other kids one or two days a week to start.

Start by visiting the facility you’re considering for his first away-from-home experience. Make sure it’s clean, friendly and that the teachers gel with your desired attributes. Find out how they discipline and what kind of snacks they offer. Also, ask about the daily schedule and routine, and make sure the facility is licensed.

Let your child interact in the room. It’s fine if he doesn’t seem thrilled at first; chances are great that he’ll warm up to it.

You might have to visit more than once before you leave him for the first time.

The first time my son stayed with another caregiver, it was in a childcare center at our local gym. I wanted to work out. It turns out that my workout for that day was going up the stairs to the gym before I was called back to childcare to pick up my crying toddler. We tried again the next day and the next. It took him about 3 weeks to be able to stay there for an hour. Then, he became the kid who didn’t want to leave when I arrived to pick him up. Point being, it might take a little work on your part, but your child will likely learn to love his playtime with friends.



Family Matters: Traveling with Baby


Traveling with BabyTraveling with a more alert baby can be a challenge at times. They love new scenery and adventures, but they don’t have quite the tolerance for it that adults have.

If you’re driving, make sure baby can see out the window. He’ll like to watch the trees go by. Pack a bag full of his favorite toys; he’ll need them for distraction on a road trip. If baby is eating solids, pack some of his favorite snacks. Who doesn’t love a car snack? Make sure you have his favorite blanket or stuffed toy for the car, as well. You might find that baby loves to hear his favorite music on the car stereo system or to see a familiar video on your car entertainment center. Mom and Dad might grow weary of Baby Einstein playing, but it sure beats a squalling baby. Make sure you have plenty of water, milk or juice so that he stays hydrated. Stop frequently if you need to. Bring a picnic blanket for the lawn at a safe rest stop or other area, so baby can move around a little when you stop.

If you’re flying, don’t forget that bag of toys! Baby wants to move around and wiggle, but there’s not much room for him to do so on an airplane. For his sanity and yours, you might want to consider getting him his own seat. That gives him a little more room to spread out (or to lay down if he has to nap). Baby books and toys like beads, rings or anything else that is attached and can’t be easily lost are great options. Bring his favorite snacks and plenty of fluids to keep him hydrated.



Family Matters: Traveling with a Newborn


Traveling with a NewbornSummer means vacation, even when you have a new little one!

Traveling with baby doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take some planning.

If you’re driving with your infant, consider a pull-down shade for the window closest to baby’s seat (that should be right behind the driver). Baby’s sensitive skin can get sunburned through the glass of the window. Make sure you’re diaper bag is well-stocked with all the essentials you’ll need in the car, including extra diapers and wipes, a bag for disposing of dirties, a burp cloth, formula and bottles if your baby uses them, a pacifier if needed, infant Tylenol and any other medications your baby takes, a teething toy, and a familiar blanket or lovey.

Baby might be comforted by having a parent ride in the back seat with him, at least during portions of the trip. Don’t be tempted to take your baby out and hold him if the vehicle is in motion. If your baby is fussy and upset, stop at a restaurant or safe rest stop where you can get out, stretch your legs and get baby some fresh air.

If you are flying, pack all of the above in a diaper bag. Consider feeding your baby during takeoff and landing, as pressure changes can hurt their ear drums. Keep a pacifier on hand to give them something to suck on as well, for the same reason. Try to schedule flights during your baby’s naptime; he might sleep the entire flight. If you are carrying a car seat with you for your destination, make sure it is properly installed in your vehicle after you arrive.



Family Matters: Berry-licious BlackBerries


Skinny Blackberry MuffinsSummer is the perfect annual permission slip for lazy Saturdays, staying in your pajamas all day, breakfast at 11am, hanging out around the pool with friends and eating blackberries. Yes, blackberries! My family just loves blackberries, and on lazy Saturday mornings, their request is for blackberry pancakes, blackberry muffins or even blackberry smoothies.

To try and fulfill their blackberry requests, this year we planted a few blackberry bushes of our very own! Sadly, we’ll have to wait about two years before they produce their first harvest. Oh well! In the meantime, Brookshire’s carries local Texas blackberries that are delicious and perfect for my recipes.

Being the health-nut mom that I am, I always try to twist recipes to be a little “better for you” than the traditional recipes our moms baked up for us. So, if you are feeling the lazy summer Saturday, bake up these Skinny Blackberry Muffins the night before, so you can sleep in and enjoy your lazy summer Saturday!

Skinny Blackberry Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp Brookshire’s Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup Brookshire’s Sugar or Splenda
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups blackberries tossed in 2 Tbs flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425° F. Spray a 12-cup regular muffin pan with cooking spray. Dust pan with flour; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to combine and set aside.

In another large bowl, combine egg, sugar, almond milk, oil, yogurt and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring gently until smooth and combined without over-mixing. Add blackberries, folding in gently.

Evenly distribute batter into cups of prepared pan, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 5 minutes. Lower temperature to 375° F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tops are set and lightly golden. Allow muffins to cool in pan on top of wire rack for about 10 minutes.

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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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