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Family Matters: Easy Meal Idea


Easy Meal IdeaI recently prepared a meal for my family that was so easy to make, and it was delicious not only for dinner but it also made a great leftover meal for the next day.

Slow Cooker Pork Loin
Cut pork loin in 3/4” to 1” pieces, and dip in a milk and egg mixture to moisten the outside of the meat. Place pieces of pork loin in breadcrumbs (flip several times to make sure they are covered). Place the breaded pork loin in a slow cooker and seal off with cover. I put 3 layers of pork chops with no problem. Do not put any type of water or juice in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours. Remove from slow cooker, and you are ready to eat. Meat comes out crunchy and tender. If your family likes gravy, it would be great on top of the finished pork loin.

Baked Diced Potatoes
Wash whole potatoes thoroughly in warm water. Cut potatoes in half and then cut into small cube-shaped pieces (as large or small as you like). Place in a large bowl, rinse with cold water and then drain. Add olive oil in the bowl and mix potatoes until they are covered. Add at least 1 package of dry ranch dressing, and toss potatoes so the seasoning is mixed in well. Bake at 400° F for 1 hour or until tender. Remove from oven and enjoy. Potatoes are soft, full of flavor and better for you since they are baked!

Try this easy meal idea and use the extra “free time” to enjoy your family or to do something special for yourself…you deserve it! Count your blessings daily and give thanks for time with your family.



Family Matters: Sunday Morning Pancake Bites


Pancake BitesIt’s 7:30 on Sunday morning, time to get up and wake the kids for church. As I’m walking to my daughter’s room, I can hear her and her sleepover buddies already up and giggling about something they think is so funny. That’s what 14-year-old girls do: giggle! I told them to start getting ready for church, and then I walked into the kitchen to make them something for breakfast.

I hadn’t bought groceries this week, and we didn’t have time for a sit-down breakfast. I needed something quick and easy so they could eat on-the-go. (You know, 14-year-old girls will take as much time in the bathroom getting ready as you will allow them!) Luckily, I had a Brookshire’s Blueberry Pancake Mix, 2 eggs (and 2 eggs is all I had in the refrigerator) milk and maple syrup. So, blueberry muffins from a pancake mix is what’s for breakfast this Sunday morning.

One-by-one, the girls grab a blueberry pancake muffin and head out the door to church with a Bible in one hand and a muffin in the other. It’s so nice when Sunday mornings can come together like this!

This recipe is super easy, and you are in and out of the kitchen in less than 30 minutes.

Pancake Bites

Ingredients:
2 cups Brookshire’s Complete Blueberry Pancake Mix
2/3 cup Brookshire’s Milk
1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F, and spray your mini-muffin tin or paper baking cups lightly with Brookshire’s Cooking Spray. Mix all ingredients until just combined. Fill the cups of the tin 1/2 full with the batter. Bake until lightly golden-brown, about 15 minutes.

Makes 12

You can also use regular Brookshire’s Pancake Mix, and add your own choice of toppings like fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, cinnamon and sugar or any other yummy delights you can think of! If you have time to sit down for breakfast, serve with maple syrup, honey or butter then enjoy!

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Family Matters: Cookies with Kids


Cookies with KidsOne of my favorite Christmas memories growing up was making cookies with my mom and siblings. She’d make pan after pan of rolled sugar cookies, and we’d decorate them, some more intently than others. I was the type of kid who was good with sprinkling some colored sugar all over the cookie and calling it a day. My brother, on the other hand, would painstakingly position individual jimmies to create cookie art. Rumor has it, he still does that to this day.

My boys take after me. They’ll get a little creative with their cookies, but they won’t spend a lot of time on them. For them, the more sugar, the better. Who cares what it looks like!

They love eating sugar cookies, but they mostly like baking other types of cookies. I think they do this for the cookie dough. (I can neither confirm nor deny that I let them eat a hunk of the raw dough…but let me point out that no children were harmed in the creation of this blog.)

We have so much fun baking together. Over the holidays, we made Jumbo Candy Cookies, a recipe from my boyfriend’s childhood that I was not familiar with. Oh my gosh, they were delicious! They’re my boys’ new favorite cookie, and they’re so easy to make.

When we were making these, I was trying to show the boys how to level off the top of a measuring cup with a knife, and oatmeal ended up in every nook and cranny in my kitchen! My older son was a little over-zealous with his leveling technique and the oatmeal flew! I think he has the hang of it now, just in time to make another batch of Jumbo Candy Cookies!

The best part about these is that you’re supposed to make them HUGE! (monster-sized!)

Jumbo Candy Cookies

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup M&M’s candy
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
2 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Spray baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugars until well-mixed. Add salt, vanilla and peanut butter; mix well. Add in M&M’s, chocolate chips, raisins, baking soda and oatmeal. Stir until well-combined.

Drop in large balls on baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart because they will spread. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 3 dozen

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 202, Fat: 10 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 21 mg, Sodium: 173 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 5 g.

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Family Matters: The Weather Outside Is Frightful!


Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful!Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but it’s your job to keep your pup delightful!

Dogs might have a shaggy winter coat (some breeds, at least), but this doesn’t mean they’re fine outside in cold weather. If you’re cold, so is your pooch.

If you can, let your pet stay inside during cold times. Make sure their bed or crate is away from a drafty area. If they must stay outside during the day, an insulated doghouse filled with clean, dry hay will help them find refuge from the cold. It’s even better if it has a door to block the wind.

If you’re at risk of frostbite, so is your pup! Don’t allow them to be exposed to extremely cold temperatures for long periods of time. If you do go for a romp through the snow, knock snow and ice off their feet as soon as you come back inside. The pads of their feet are very sensitive to extreme temperatures. Make sure you dry off their coat, especially any hair that hangs down close to the ground.

Another good reason to wipe your pet thoroughly after they come inside is that some chemicals used for snow removal can be toxic to your dog. Salt and other deicers can irritate their feet and skin, and they should be wiped off immediately.

‘Tis the season for antifreeze, but make sure it stays in your car. Your pup might like to lick it because it has a sweet taste, but it can be fatal to pets, causing kidney failure.

Another cold weather car hazard is its warm engine. Pets might seek shelter in the mechanical areas of a recently-driven car. Honk your horn before driving off to startle any sleeping pet out of the car engine.

Finally, in the cold months, check to make sure your dog’s water bowl isn’t frozen over, and you may have to adjust their food intake to help them regulate their body heat. Ask your veterinarian about appropriate amounts of food and how to adjust it.



Family Matters: Small Pet Balanced Diet


Small Pet Balanced DietOnce upon a time, I got a hamster for my birthday, and it pretty much lived on my shoulder. It went where I went, played where I played and wanted to eat what I ate.

That’s not always a good thing for your small pet.

A balanced diet is important for your wee furry friend whether it’s a hamster, guinea pig or rabbit. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great addition to our Thomas Moore Feed products. Be sure to check with your veterinarian about what fruits and vegetables are best for each kind of animal and what kind of people treats are pet-appropriate.

Brookshire’s Thomas Moore Feed Small Pet Feeds are all made of Timothy hay-based formulas. Timothy hay is important for good digestive health for your small pet. Our hamster and gerbil feed is a seed-based blend that will provide the right amount of proteins and carbohydrates for growth, energy and warmth, while our guinea pig and rabbit blends are pellet-based to ensure a balanced diet for those kinds of small pets. You should always provide Timothy hay for your guinea pig and rabbit to help with their digestive and dental health.

Make sure you are providing your small pet with enough fresh water and fresh Thomas Moore Feed products!



Family Matters: Keep Your Feathered Friend Healthy


Keep Your Feathered Friend HealthyHumans aren’t the only ones watching their diets in this new year! We should be watching the diets of our feathered friends as well.

Wild birds can forage for a variety of seeds and plant parts, but our caged birds sing for the scrumptious morsels we feed them. It’s our job to meet their nutritional needs to keep them happy and healthy.

Seeds are a wonderful food for your exotic bird. Your exotics have refined tastes and need a varied menu to keep them interested in eating properly. Seed mixes add diversity to their diet if you offer canary grass seed, millet, safflower and more.

Further diversify their offerings with fruits, vegetables and pellets. Vegetables like radishes, carrots, turnips, cooked sweet potatoes, kale and green beans should make up about 30 percent of your bird’s diet, while sweeter fruits like apples, berries, kiwi and mango should account for about 15 percent of their diet.

Make sure you’re keeping your bird healthy with Thomas Moore Feeds Exotic Bird Seeds, a great source of omega-3 fatty acids for bird’s well-being!



Family Matters: Make Winter Purr-fect


Make Winter Purr-fectMake sure your cat has a purr-fect winter by keeping him warm, well-nourished and, of course, well-loved.

Keeping kitty warm starts from within, with more calories, that is. Your feline friend might need extra food to keep him well-insulated this winter, so leave out a little extra if he’s meowing more or indicating he’s still hungry. Now, if he starts out extra fluffy, he might not need the extra nutrients, so consult your veterinarian if you think your kitty is hungry.

You might also check with your veterinarian if you want to supplement your cat’s diet with extra vitamin E and B complex, which some studies show will help your cat be more resistant to the cold. Don’t just give them vitamins, however, because most of their nutritional needs are met with a high-quality food, and too much can cause some medical problems and a chemical imbalance.

Speaking of high-quality food, good nutrition promotes a thick, glossy coat, which can help keep your cat warm! Be sure to still groom him properly though. Excess hair can lead to problems with their digestive system. In addition, matted hair doesn’t keep your cat as warm as nature intended.

Inside your house, make sure the area where your cat sleeps is warm and draft-free. Keep his bed away from heat sources such as the fireplace or space heaters.

Also, when you start your car in the morning, honk the horn first. Cats are notorious for seeking shelter in warm vehicle engines.



Family Matters: Car Seats


Car SeatsWhen my boys were little, the recommendation for car seats was to have children ride facing the rear until 12 months. After that, you were fine to turn them around. (Of course, it’s worth noting that when I was a baby, we only rode in car seats until the next child needed it. Perhaps, I exaggerate). Truth be told, the MINIMUM recommendation was 1 year old and 20 pounds, and that’s what I (and most of my peers) focused on.

However, times have changed. The American Academy of Pediatrics now talks more about 2 years old, suggesting children ride rear-facing until age two, or until they exceed the height or weight limit for the car seat. To quote verbatim, “A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under age two are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing.”

What about their poor little legs, parents might ask? Experts argue that children who are accustomed to riding rear-facing really won’t know any differently, and their growth isn’t rapid enough to notice a dramatic increase in discomfort as they grow in length.

If you do decide to turn your child’s car seat around before they reach age 2, just make sure to follow all the safety guidelines on the seat.



Family Matters: Make Bath Time Fun


Make Bath Time FunWhen both of my boys were about this age, bath time was their favorite time of the day.

After dinner, we’d go run the water in the tub, and as it got warm, they’d start the pre-bath ritual of getting undressed and taking off their diaper. They loved to help “test” the water by me holding them above the bath and dipping their toes into the running water (make sure you test it first to ensure it really isn’t too hot!). They’d giggle!

Sometimes I’d slowly lower them into the water; sometimes we’d do a splash landing in the warm suds.

I liked adding a bit of baby wash to the water, but then my younger son started to try to drink the bath water so that habit ended abruptly.

Bath time can be a lot of fun for you and your baby.

Roll up a towel or buy a spongy mat to keep on the floor for you to kneel on next to the tub. I always had a generous supply of washcloths and towels handy for emergencies, too.

Bath toys can be great fun and a great way to learn, too. We’d pour water from one container to another. One son loved water poured on this head. The other did not, and I’d have to hold a washcloth over his forehead to make sure no water dripped while I was washing his hair.

My older son loved the running water. I’d pull the drain plug so it didn’t get too deep to let him run his hands under the faucet. The other son loved to lay down in the water, so I’d only put an inch or two in the tub.

After bath is a great time for baby massage and to rub lotion all over baby! They’ll love it and so will you.



Family Matters: Diaper Bag Essentials


Diaper Bag EssentialsIs your diaper bag the size of a suitcase? I seem to remember mine was or felt that way, at least!

My diaper bag was actually a backpack, very handy when you need hands-free for an infant or an infant and a toddler. It was waterproof, also handy for spills, not that I ever spilled a sippy cup of watered-down apple juice into the bag, soaking spare diapers, wipes and making tubes of diaper cream as sticky as a half-eaten candy cane at Christmas. Okay, yes I did.

Diaper bags are a must-have when you have an infant because there’s no telling what they’ll need, even when you leave the house for 20 minutes.

Start with a sturdy bag. You might want a unisex one so your husband can still feel manly when he carries it, or you might want a Kate Spade model that will let you look stylish while sporting a burb cloth over one shoulder. Pick one that is water-resistant or get a water-resistant pouch to put inside. A backpack was handy for me, but you might like a tote style.

Always pack diapers. Always, always pack diapers. You might need four for a 20-minute outing. Yes, I’m serious. I know this from experience. A travel-size case of wipes is also essential. Brookshire’s has both of these items in bulk!

Pack a few empty zipper-lock plastic bags, just in case. You never know when you might have to improvise dirty diaper disposal. They’re also handy for sealing away soiled clothes until you can get them home to the laundry.

Speaking of soiled clothes: pack an extra set for baby, along with a few extra onesies and socks, because socks always get lost.

If your baby uses a pacifier, pack an extra 19 in the diaper bag, just in case the first 18 get thrown onto the car floor, onto the parking lot at the grocery store or borrowed by the toddler for fun.

If your baby uses a bottle, pack a few extras with nursery water and powdered formula packed in travel pouches so it’s easy to dispense for baby.

Pack a lightweight blanket to help with climate control or private nursing. A tube of diaper rash cream can be handy for a chapped bum.



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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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