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Dine In: S’mores Oreo Ice Cream Pie


S’mores Oreo Ice Cream PieI was in the mood to make an ice cream pie last weekend. I envisioned a S’mores Ice Cream pie, but when I mentioned it to my son, he said, “Oh, with Oreo ice cream?”

Why not with Oreo ice cream? We made a combination S’mores Oreo pie, and it was delicious.

The great thing about ice cream pies is that you can make any flavor combination you want. This particular pie borrows a technique from a famous ice cream dessert, the Baked Alaska. Make sure the pie is super frozen when you put it under the broiler, or it will quickly turn to ice cream soup.

Ice cream pie on Friday nights reminds me of growing up, when a bowl of our favorite frozen flavor was a weekend treat. Start it a day ahead if need be, so it has enough time in the freezer.

S’mores Oreo Ice Cream Pie

Ingredients:
1 prepared graham cracker crust
1 pint Oreo (or cookies and cream) ice cream
1 (8 oz) jar hot fudge
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup Oreo cookies, crushed

Directions:
Let ice cream soften, and stir in 1 cup mini marshmallows. Spread into the bottom of the prepared graham cracker crust; freeze until firm. Remove from freezer, and spread a layer of hot fudge over the ice cream. Put back into the freezer until fudge is firm. Preheat broiler in oven to high. Remove pie from freezer; spread with marshmallow fluff. Place under the broiler for 2 minutes or until marshmallow fluff is lightly golden-brown. Sprinkle with crushed Oreos. Either serve immediately or place back in freezer until ready to serve.

Serves 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 354, Calories from Fat: 123, Fat: 15 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 13 mg, Sodium: 288 mg, Carbohydrates: 56 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 37 g, Protein: 4 g.

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Family Matters: Springtime Benefits


Springtime BenefitsDays of beautiful springtime weather are upon us. We begin to breathe a little deeper, closing our eyes and inhaling as much fresh air as possible…what an amazing feeling! Another great feeling is getting out of the house and doing something with your family, like working in the yard.

I know, your first thought is “what is great about that?” Well, how about working side-by-side with your kids to pick up limbs, rake leaves, mow the yard, clean flower beds and plant flowers. If you are not looking for a big task, just get plastic containers, fill them with potting soil, and plant a few tomato , onion or radish plants, a little “garden” so to speak. The time you spend working together, communicating and spending time in the sun is so rewarding for a parent and the child. You have their undivided attention doing something that does not involve an electronic device, and you get the health benefits of the fresh air and sunshine. Even if you can afford to have someone else do your yard work, you need to do this once and see the benefits firsthand. You could also volunteer to do yard work for a friend or neighbor that needs help. Setting an example for our kids is so important.

Our youngest daughters like working at the barn with their dad, building things out of materials laying around and tearing things down to take to the scrap yard (for spending money). They built a wire cage to put our empty aluminum cans in and a planter made out of a pallet to put herbs in (herbs that keep mosquitoes away). These are things, along with yard work, that they enjoy doing, and it teaches them responsibility of helping around the house and earning money for “extra” things they might want.  All the time that they are working, they are visiting with dad about school, friends and life in general.  There is always a lot of laughter involved, and nothing is sweeter than seeing your child happy and smiling.

Springtime is a great time to reconnect with your kids – get outside and enjoy them, Time passes quickly, and they are grown and gone. Work together to accomplish something around the house. Laugh together to remind you of the joy of having kids, of raising them and of knowing you are teaching them to be strong, independent and thankful. Count your blessings daily, and give thanks for time with your family!



Family Matters: Fun with Mom


Fun with MomSome of my favorite memories with my mom happened in the kitchen.

Whether we were at the kitchen counter cooking or at the kitchen table crafting, to say that the kitchen was the heart of our home is probably an understatement.

My mom can create anything. She’s a wonderful cook and an amazing seamstress. She can master any craft or art, and she can grow anything beautifully. She has a million more talents I don’t even have room in which to enumerate.

She tried to pass along those things. Key word: “tried.”

I’m a good cook. Better than average, probably. However, when it comes to sewing, crafting or any other visual talent, I’m strictly skill level glue gun and spray paint.

Still, those times spent with my mom, learning something new, at least being exposed to it, are better than any material possession she could have given me. As a small child, we made clothes-pin dolls by the hundreds. Remember the wooden, stationary clothes pins used to hang clothing on an outside line that had two “legs” and  a “head?” We turned those into dolls with fuzzy yard hair, painted faces and all sorts of elegant clothing culled from my mom’s bag of scraps. We did the same thing with dried corn husks. Mom would twist and turn then fashion them into robust women figures, and I’d paint them, dress them and play with them until they fell apart. Mom spent hours trying to teach me how to sew and quilt. I can whip out a hem or sew a button with the best of them, and for years, I slaved over my grandmother’s solid metal Singer sewing machine until I conceded that sewing just really isn’t in my temperament. I remember painting a rock one time – red – and painstakingly cutting letters out of a magazine that I decoupaged onto the painted rock, “I love you, Daddy.” One year, we used stained glass paint in clear glass ornaments for Christmas décor. She let me punch down the dough and knead it when she made her famous raisin bread each holiday season. I stirred red sauce simmering on the stove for hours. I licked the beaters after she made chocolate chip cookies.

Now, with Pinterest offering projects galore, you don’t have to have great skills to spend time with your kids, at the kitchen counter or table, making memories.

If the memories turn out better than the project, well, that’s fine, too.



Dine In: Homemade Snack Mix


Homemade Snack MixTonight is another sleepover night, and the last time we did this with a gaggle of boys, I discovered they love a homemade snack mix.

So does Paul.

Seriously, those boys (big and small) can go through POUNDS of snack mix in a weekend. I do not exaggerate.

I should make batches with the entire boxes of cereal, but that would take up way too much time and oven space so I make it in small batches.

The secret is doubling the amount of the seasoning mixture that is called for on a regular recipe. As long as you spread out the mixture liberally enough on the baking sheets and it dries out, the seasoning mixture will absorb, dry, and be flavorful and delicious.

Snack Mix

Ingredients:
2 cups Food Club Rice Squares Cereal
2 cups Food Club Corn Squares Cereal
2 cups Food Club Wheat Squares Cereal
2 cups Rold Gold Pretzels
1 (6 oz) can Blue Diamond Roasted Almonds
12 Tbs butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
4 Tbs Food Club Onion Powder

Directions:
Mix cereals, pretzels and nuts in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, microwave butter until melted. Add Worcestershire sauce and spices to melted butter. Stir well.

Preheat oven to 250° F.

Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture in large bowl. Spread cereal mixture onto two baking sheets and place into the oven. Bake for 1 hour, stirring and rotating pans every 15 minutes.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 427, Calories from Fat: 255, Fat: 28 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 46 mg, Sodium: 607 mg, Potassium: 273 mg, Carbohydrates: 39 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 8 g.

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Family Matters: Easter Bunny Pops


Easter Bunny PopsWith Easter coming up soon, what could be better than Easter Peeps? You know Peeps, those adorable marshmallow bunnies and chicks that as adults we say we don’t like them, but secretly we really do and we eat them when our kids are not looking! Kids and big kids at heart still get excited when they see these fluffy marshmallow chick and bunny Peeps in their Easter baskets. If you didn’t know, they’re yummy to eat straight out of the package, too.

If you are like me, you want something quick, easy and super cute to take to your Sunday Easter dinner. With several little kids (and big kids) at the table, these bunny pops will be perfect. These are super easy to make, so I can recruit my 14-year-old daughter to help. She can actually make these by herself, which is also a bonus!

You and your kiddos can make these Easter Bunny Pops with a few simple ingredients found at Brookshire’s (you may have to get the super cute paper straws at a local craft store).

Easter Bunny Pops

Ingredients:
Peeps Marshmallow Bunnies
Brookshire’s White Bark Coating
pearl sixlets
wax paper
paper straws

Directions:
Use the Easter Bunny Peeps for this project. Take the desired number of bunnies out of the package, and separate them from each other.

Insert a colorful paper straw into the bottom of each bunny marshmallow.

Cover a sheet pan with wax paper. Melt white candy bark in a glass or plastic bowl in the microwave in 20-second to 30-second increments until melted, stirring in between cooking times. Dip each bunny into the melted bark, letting the excess drip off. Lay on the sheet pan.

Place a candy pearl on the back of each bunny to make a tail.

You can even wrap these up in individual clear bags, and tie with a cute bow to give as gifts. As you’re celebrating with your family and friends, remember that the true reason of your celebration goes beyond the Easter basket…Easter represents new life.



Family Matters: Earth Day Pancakes


Earth Day PancakesEarth Day is April 22nd this year, and we love to celebrate it.

Earth Day is a time to inspire everyone to appreciate our environment. For more than 40 years, Earth Day has been a special occasion to set aside time to plant a tree, pick up trash, plant a sustainable garden or clear out harsh chemicals in your home for a more natural approach.

These Earth Day pancakes are a perfect way to kick off the day with your kids. They’ll love the whimsical nature of these tasty treats, and it will start the day the right way!

Earth Day Pancakes

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cups Brookshire’s Baking Mix
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
blue and green food coloring (preferably natural)

Directions:
Mix baking mix, buttermilk (or regular milk), egg, sugar and vanilla. Mix until most of the lumps are gone.

Separate batter into two bowls. Add blue food coloring to one bowl and green to the other bowl. When that’s well-mixed, you might want to put the green food coloring into a squeeze bottle or into a plastic bag with the corner snipped off.

Preheat your griddle to medium heat. When it’s hot, place a dollop of blue batter onto the griddle, then draw “continents” on the pancake with the green batter to represent the Earth. Cook until edges are dry and bubbles stay open. Flip and cook another minute or two, or until cooked through. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 320, Calories from Fat: 97, Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 51 mg, Sodium: 831 mg, Potassium: 235 mg, Carbohydrates: 46 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 18 g, Protein: 9 g.

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Product Talk: Brookshire’s Pancake Syrup


Brookshire’s Pancake SyrupI tiptoed through the darkened house this morning, dodging pillows, stepping over sleeping boys and crunching rogue Doritos under my feet. It must have been a really good party. Sleepover, that is, as Luke keeps reminding me. “It’s NOT a SLUMBER PARTY, Mom!”

Oops. Note to self: Only girls call a sleepover a slumber party.

I made my way to the kitchen to start breakfast. Luckily, I had read my son and his friends the riot act before retiring to my room last night. They knew it would not be good if I woke up this morning, and they had not gone to bed yet. That’s what happened last time these kids got together, and it made for a really, really long day that day. I hated to return two boys to their parents without any sleep. Truth be told, I think they learned their lesson, as they retired at a reasonable hour last night.

Before I left them alone to play video games, eat Doritos and Hot Tamales, and laugh a lot, one of my son’s friends asked, “Are we having pancakes for breakfast?”

Well, yes! The last time they were here, we went through two pounds of bacon and more pancakes than I could keep up with at the griddle for breakfast.

So, I popped the bacon into the oven (best way ever to cook an entire pound at one time) and heated up the griddle.

Of course, there was Brookshire’s Pancake Syrup to douse over the pancakes.

As the boys were preparing their plates with the usual jocularity and good-natured ribbing, I heard my son ask, “Are you going to drown that pancake in syrup?”

I looked over and his friend had more Brookshire’s Pancake Syrup on his plate than actual food.

“I like it this way!” he said.

Brookshire’s Pancake Syrup has a rich, maple flavor and a thick consistency that clings to your pancakes to enhance them with the perfect flavor.

I’d better buy more for the next SLEEPOVER.



Healthy Living: Fro-Yo Bites


Fro-Yo BitesMy boys love dessert.

Every evening after dinner, they’ll ask, “Can I have a dessert, Mama?”

I’m always conflicted. I don’t see harm in having a small sweet after dinner because I want my boys to learn moderation, and I don’t think it’s all bad to have a controlled treat once a day. On the flip side, they’ve gotten in the habit of needing a sweet after dinner, and this really isn’t the healthiest thing, either.

For now, the treat remains, but if I can make it a healthier option, I’m all for it.

They generally like ice cream or another frozen treat like that. This recipe is much healthier than ice cream, and I feel better about them eating it in the evenings after dinner!

Fro-Yo Bites

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups oats
1/4 cup almonds, crushed
2 Tbs coconut oil, melted
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup sliced strawberries, raspberries or blueberries

Directions:
Line a mini-muffin tin with paper liners.

Pulse oats and almonds 2 or 3 times in the bowl of a large food processor. Add coconut oil; pulse until coarse clumps form.

Press a small spoonful of the crust into each paper liner. Top with the Greek yogurt, and then top with the berries.

Place tray in the freezer and freeze until set.

Store in the freezer.

Makes 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 86, Calories from Fat: 39, Fat: 4 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 6 mg, Potassium: 93 mg, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 4 g.

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Family Matters: Easter Eggs


Homemade Easter Peanut Butter EggsAbout three years ago, I decided to stop putting candy in my kids’ Easter baskets. It almost never got eaten, and they were more about the iTunes gift card anyway. It was kind of a letdown, but it was really just not something they were interested in.

However, we started making our own Easter treats! Now, not only do they eat what we make and love it, but we also get to spend some quality time together in the kitchen, which is our favorite place to be.

These are so much fun to make! There is no baking required (so you can eat them more quickly!), and there are a lot of hands-on steps. You can really make these any size. We’ve done lots of bite-sized versions, and then my son, of course, had to try a super-sized egg, which he kept all for himself.

The spring-colored sprinkles make these pretty and festive, or you can use drizzles of colored decorative icing.

TIP: Some kids don’t like getting their hands dirty and that’s fine. Slip their hands into a plastic baggie sprayed with nonstick cooking spray to keep their hands clean, but still let them participate in the egg-shaping.

Homemade Easter Peanut Butter Eggs
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Brookshire’s Unsalted Butter, softened
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup Food Club Graham Cracker Crumbs, finely crushed
1/2 cup Food Club Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Food Club Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tbs shortening
Food Club Sprinkles, for decoration

Directions:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip butter for 1 minute. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add crushed crumbs, peanut butter and vanilla. Combine well.

Using your hands, shape the peanut butter mixture into 16 egg-shaped ovals. Place on baking sheets that have been lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.

When eggs are firm, melt your chocolate chips and shortening together in the microwave on medium-low power until smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Dip each egg in the melted chocolate, allowing the excess to drip off before placing on the waxed paper or wire rack. Decorate with sprinkles and chill again until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Serves 16

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 309, Fat: 18 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 15 mg, Sodium: 125 mg, Carbohydrates: 37 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 2 g.

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Shop the Sale: Boneless Glazed Pork Chops


Boneless Glazed Pork ChopsMy son returned home from spending the night at a friend’s house (apparently boy moms are NOT supposed to say “sleepover”), and after a two-hour nap, he couldn’t stop chatting about the great time he’d had with his school buddy.

They stayed up all night (of course) playing video games, flashlight tag, soccer, hide-and-seek, and slept on the living room floor in a blanket fort. They had pigs-in-a-blanket and doughnuts for breakfast, and for dinner, they’d had balsa wood pork chops.

Wait, what?

What is a balsa wood pork chop, I asked him, thinking maybe they smoked the pork chop over balsa wood, although I’d never heard of this and knew that balsa wood is super soft and probably doesn’t lend itself well to smoking. My mom used to craft dollhouse furniture out of balsa wood and could use a small craft knife to slice through it. More importantly, I had no idea how balsa wood would taste!

He set me straight pretty quickly.

You know, he said, that brown stuff that you pour on the pork chops, and it makes them taste good.

I wracked my brain.

They were really juicy, he offered. Kind of spicy, too.

It was driving me crazy. I went to the pantry, opened it and figured it out immediately.

Balsamic vinegar? I asked.

I opened the bottle, he smelled it and immediately, the mystery was solved.

That’s it, he said.

Boneless Glazed Pork Chops

Ingredients:
4 boneless pork chops
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:
In a bowl, combine brown sugar with balsamic vinegar and all the spices until a paste forms. Rub boneless pork chops with the olive oil, and then rub with the paste.

Heat your grill to medium-high heat, and grill chops about 5 minutes per side, only flipping once and keeping the lid closed between turns.

Remove pork from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 150° F; let rest until internal temperature reaches 160° F.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 625, Calories from Fat: 444, Fat: 49 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 146 mg, Sodium: 430 mg, Potassium: 611 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 39 g.

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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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