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Family Matters: How Do I Take Care of a Stray Cat?


If you find a stray cat hanging around your house, what should you do? First off, make sure the kitty is a stray. Some cats just like to wander and they have a permanent home somewhere else in your neighborhood. Give the cat a chance to go home.

If you determine that this cat has adopted your family, then you need to do some serious thinking about the responsibility. Just feeding it every once in a while isn’t doing the cat a favor, because you’ll create a dependency on your food that won’t be consistently met. If you feed a cat, you need to be prepared to do this permanently.

If this isn’t something you’re prepared to do, then you really shouldn’t start feeding the kitty. If no food is forthcoming, he’ll probably move along to a more receptive household. If you do end up feeding the cat, use good-quality dry food and provide fresh water as well.



Family Matters: Try a Tomato!


Kids are just like the rest of us: they learn best in a hands-on atmosphere. So when you’re trying to instill a love of vegetables with your children, maybe the hands-on method will help! 

Next time you’re at the store, pick up a variety of tiny tomatoes. Let your kids help pick them out, or just bring home a good selection. Grape and pear tomatoes (shaped just like they sound) are tiny bite-sized bursts of flavor. Cherry tomatoes are just a bit larger, but still small. From there, plum (or Roma) tomatoes are a big larger and egg-shaped. Slicing tomatoes are the full-sized ones. 

So what do you do when you get all these tomatoes home? First, everyone washes their hands. Then help your kids identify the different types of  tomoatoes. Pear, grape and cherry tomatoes should be easy! Talk about the thin skin that is fragile yet strong enough to hold all the juice and seeds inside.

Then get a knife—plastic or metal, depending on your child’s abilities—and cut one in half from top to bottom. Notice the pretty patterns. Cut another in half from side to side. Wow, there’s a difference, isn’t there? Slice up several more tomatoes, put them in a bowl and sample them. Save the rest for a salad tonight. And you know what? There’s a good chance your children will actually eat some!



Family Matters: Swaddling a Baby: Why?


For thousands and thousands of years, babies have been swaddled—you’ll read references in the Bible. This is when a blanket is wrapped snugly around the baby, holding the arms by his side. 

Why swaddle? Many experts believe that swaddling helps a baby feel secure and warm—much like his pre-birth environment, which was a little tight and cramped. It may also mimic the feeling of being held in Mother’s arms, as well—that close warmth is comforting. 

Something about it must work, or otherwise, mothers for centuries wouldn’t have carried on this tradition. If your baby gets fussy, give swaddling a try!



Family Matters: No Laughing Matter!


Parents never stop trying to find a snack that their kids will love—that’s good for them. Here’s an idea that will probably fill the bill: Laughing Cow Cheese. You’ll find them in the dairy or deli areas, and they come packaged in a round container filled with 8 wedges of foil-wrapped soft cheese.

It’ll remind you of cream cheese, and you can get several flavor varieties. The big difference, though, is that one wedge (enough for several crackers’ worth) is only 35 calories! This makes it a healthy snack for kids, and a smart choice for adults.

Great idea! Laughing Cow is no laughing matter—it’s good food!

 



Family Matters: Slowpokes, Rejoice!


Are you always the last family to take down holiday decorations?

If you still have piles of Christmas gift wrap sitting around, you’re in luck! 

This will provide the perfect family activity—and it’ll save you from having to find a place to store all that paper, as well.   

 

Here are several ideas for using leftover gift wrap:

  1. Wrap paper around an empty vegetable (clean) can and make a pencil holder!
  2. Make a bookmark from a gift wrap glued onto a rectangle of cardboard (maybe cut from a cereal box).
  3. Make book covers for school books or read-at-home material.
  4. Make greeting cards by folding paper in half or quarters. Hint: send some thank-you notes!
  5. Wrap cardboard boxes to make pretty storage totes.
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Family Matters: People Food For Pets?


You hear it everywhere: Don’t feed people food to your pets. Some people foods are deadly!

But if reality means your dog or cat will indeed have a few people foods, here are some foods that are healthy choices for pets: 

Green beans

Carrot sticks

Cucumbers

Zucchini

Apple slices (without seeds)

Cooked lean meats 

Baked potatoes

Bread

Unsalted pretzels 

Bananas

Unsalted almonds

Plain, cooked pasta 

 

Source: ASPCA.org



Family Matters: Queso Dip with Tortilla Stars


Cut your tortillas with a cookie cutter—it makes them extra special!

Makes about 2 1/2 cups or 18 servings

Ingredients:

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs water

1 (15 oz) can stewed tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles, drained

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce (optional)

1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

3 oz fat-free cream cheese, cubed

3 oz regular cream cheese, cubed

Tortilla Stars (see below)

Directions:  In a 2-quart sauce pan, combine onion, garlic and water. Simmer over medium heat until water evaporates. Add tomatoes, chili, chili powder and optional hot sauce. Cook and stir until heated through. Add cheddar and cream cheese and stir over low heat to melt. Serve with star shaped chips or fresh vegetables.

Tortilla Stars: Use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut shapes from flour tortillas.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes—until dry and crisp. Store in a sealed plastic bag at room temperature.



Family Matters: Healthy Eating Basics


It’s such a vague concept: a healthy diet. What makes up a healthy diet? What are the basics of eating healthy—especially when it comes to our children? We want them to be healthy and strong, but we also know that it’s hard to stick to a restrictive eating plan.

  

 

Healthy Eating Basics: 

1. Give kids a healthy variety of foods and let them make choices from that group.

2. Tune into hunger cues. Teach kids to eat when they’re hungry, job just because it’s a habit (like while watching TV)

3. Eat until you’re satisfied—don’t insist on a clean plate.

4. Make sure everyone eats breakfast.

5. Keep snacks, like cut up veggies, fruit and whole-grain crackers in easy-to-reach spots.



Family Matters: Shopping Tips for People on the Run


Doesn’t just about everybody complain about how busy they are? I mean, really. How often do you hear anyone say they have free time and nothing to do with it? It happens; but not often. So for all you busy folks, here’s a list of time-saving grocery-shopping tips!

 The Top Ten Ways to Save Time on Groceries 

10. Try liquid egg replacer (like Egg Beaters) instead of in-the-shell eggs. They’re quick easy and lower in fat and calories! Omelets, anyone?

9. Canned beans are a quick and healthy alternative to meat. It’ll save you time as you add them to soup, chili, pasta sauce and salads. Black beans, salsa, shredded cheese….wrapped in a tortilla….yum!

8. Visit the deli. Besides a great selection of meats and cheeses, our prepared foods are better, easier and cheaper than takeout. You can get anything from fried chicken to eggplant parmagiana.

7. Try a bagged salad or slaw mix for quick and easy fresh veggies. Slaw mix + ranch salad dressing = instant cole slaw!

6. Ready-to-use pizza shells are found by the deli or dairy section. Load them up with cheese, sauce and toppings and dinner’s ready!

5. Frozen fruits and vegetables make it easy to eat healthy. Throw the veggies into casseroles and soups, or get the ready-to-steam variety that can be on your table in 5 minutes.

4. Whole-grain pita, wraps and English muffins are great sandwich alternatives.

3. Pre-marinated and pre-seasoned meats, vegetable, chicken and seafood skewers save prep and cooking time.

2.Pre-shredded cheeses save prep time.

1. Single-serve dairy products, like yogurt, cottage cheese and puddings make it easy to snack and run!



Family Matters: Super Cereal!


One of Baby’s first foods is cereal—baby cereal. It’s mushy and soft, just like a First Food should be. Once babies get a bit bigger and have a tooth or two, they once again begin cereals: real cereals. They make great finger foods and are easy to digest. Until recently, many of the well-known varieties have been full of sugar. It really limited the options for health-minded parents. 

 

Just recently, General Mills announced that it will lower the sugar content of its children’s cereals to 10 grams per serving (it used to be 25% higher!). This is good news for families who like familiar brands, but want to eat a bit healthier! The General Mills announcement follows a similar one by Kellogg’s. 

Isn’t it interesting to see how manufacturers actually DO respond to customer demand? Never hesitate to let a company know how you feel about their products. Since you’re responsible for their profit or loss, they WILL listen!



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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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