share. The Brookshire's Blog

Family Matters: Caramel Popcorn


When I was growing up, my mom would make popcorn every night after we went to bed. I suppose it was her treat after surviving the day with five kids.

When I was old enough to be aware of the popping sound coming from the stove downstairs, the sound of the Revere™ Ware pan shaking across the electric elements and, of course, the delicious aroma wafting up the staircase, I vowed that as soon as I was old enough, I’d make popcorn every night, too.

It turns out that I don’t, but that’s okay because my mom will still make it for me every time I go home. I’m pretty sure she even still uses the same pan.

When I was a teenager, I’d stay up with her, and she’d make us each a bowl. We’d talk every evening over our bowl of popcorn. I think some evenings, it was the only time I’d emerge from my room after a busy day of school, field hockey practice and homework. I think some days, it probably served as my main meal of the day, if whatever she left me on a plate under a piece of waxed paper got carefully packaged back up and put in the refrigerator for leftovers if I got home way too tired to heat it up.

It’s funny how I was never too tired for popcorn, though, and for stories about how mean the coach was at practice that day, or how Tina J. had said something rude about Kimberly D’s double-layered socks in the hallway at school, or how frustrating it was to have a bottom locker, or how difficult it was to make it all the way to the math hallway in only 3 minutes after fourth period English class. Mom listened, and munched.

In the fall, she’d make double batches of popcorn at night. The next day, we’d use the cool bowls to make caramel corn. Then, we’d have huge batches of sweet stuff that she’d store in a big, white Tupperware® container that also doubled as a cake plate if you flipped it over and used the lid as the base of the cake plate. This was my brother, Jim’s, favorite way to eat popcorn and what he most often requested for his birthday treat to bring to school for his class, which happened to fall the day after Halloween. We’d package up baggies full of caramel popcorn to send in instead of cupcakes. If my memory serves me correctly, we also packaged up bags of caramel popcorn to send home with guests after his wedding 15 years ago, too.

Caramel Popcorn

Ingredients:
10 cups popped popcorn
salt
1 cup salted butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions:
Pop popcorn on stove according to package directions. If using microwave popcorn (use plain, not buttered), pop in package. Salt and let cool.

Melt 1 cup of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, and stir until thoroughly combined. Stirring continuously, bring the butter and sugar mixture to a boil.

Boil for 4 minutes without stirring. Add the vanilla; stir to mix. Boil for 1 more minute, and add the baking soda.

Remove from heat. Spread the popcorn on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper, parchment paper or aluminum foil. Drizzle the caramel over the popcorn. Stir, coating all the kernels. Let cool.

Chef Tip: Store this in an airtight container, or it will get sticky and messy.

If you’d like to make this into popcorn balls, form them into a ball shape right after pouring the caramel over the popcorn. You might want to wear food-grade gloves to protect your hands.

Add Ins: Mix in nuts, marshmallows, chocolate candies or other treats to make a fun, festive snack mix.

Serves 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 251, Fat: 19 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 49 mg, Sodium: 664 mg, Carbohydrates: 21 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 14 g, Protein: 1 g.



Family Matters: Making School Lunches with Your Kids


Dinner is finished.

The kitchen is cleaned up.

Homework is completed.

Now comes the time of the evening we like to prepare school lunches for the next day.

I used to do it in the morning when the kids were small. Now that my boys can help, we prefer to have it done the night before and save the extra minutes in the morning. It also helps that my older son has to be at school when it’s still dark for cross country practice, so getting lunch packed the night before gives us both peace of mind that he’ll be ready to roll out the door in the morning with a nutritious lunch.

Your kids can help you pack their own lunches from an early age. It’s a nice time to talk and be together, and when they help, it guarantees they’re getting things in their lunches they’re eating, not trading.

If you haven’t gotten a lunch kit yet or are using brown paper bags, Brookshire’s has some great ones still on the shelves, like the cute Fit & Fresh thermal lunch kits with adorable designs, the super practical and stylish Bento Lunch Kit with insulated bag and removable ice packs (I’ll just go ahead and confess: I got one of those for myself to bring to work), the Fit Fresh bag in sweet patterns like Riley Ladybug, or the durable Lifoam Lunch Plus Soft-Sided Lunch Kit that comes in styles and colors great for boys.

I try to make sure we’re packing a large bottle of water, a sandwich or good protein, a fruit, a veggie and some kind of snack. Because let’s face it, lunch is more fun with a snack. I’m an “everything in moderation” kind of mom. My sister-in-law doesn’t send any “junk food” to school with her kids, and I admire that tremendously. If you do, no judgment here.

My boys like things like ham sandwiches on King’s Hawaiian® rolls, turkey and cheese roll-ups on whole wheat tortillas, Flatout® wraps stuffed with baby spinach and Roma tomatoes, or good old peanut butter and jelly on Sara Lee® Delightful™ slices of whole-wheat bread.

They love almost any fruit, so that’s easy. They favor bananas, peaches, apples or anything that’s “easy” to eat at school. Veggies are easy, too: baby carrots or celery with hummus, cucumber slices or spears, small bowls of salad in take-home containers, strips of bell peppers. Again, anything easy to eat!

Little bags of almonds are great protein and brain food for the day, as are slices of apple with peanut butter. The options are endless!

One thing we like to do is pack up plastic, zip-top bags of veggies and snacks for the week, so the process in the evening is more streamlined.

These no-bake granola bars are also a great snack option (I categorize them somewhere between a snack food and something healthy). Kids love them. They can help you make them, and you can feel good about packing them!



Family Matters: Treasure Hunt


We’re about to go on vacation, and every year, we go to the beach with my entire family.

The highlight of the trip, for the kids, is the night the “Pirates” come and visit.

The Pirates leave a clue somewhere in the beach house that one of the kids will find the next morning. The clue leads to another clue, which leads to another clue, which leads to another (you get the idea), which ultimately leads to digging for buried treasure on the beach.

You might not have a beach nearby, but you can still put together an awesome treasure hunt with a few simple supplies from Brookshire’s.

Start in the school supply aisle. Pick up a package of white paper (it could be notebook paper, copy paper or construction paper). Any white paper will work. Grab a felt marker or two as well. Then, head over to the aisle with the teas and coffee, and pick up a box of black tea. It doesn’t matter which variety. Then, stop over to the housewares and get a roll of twine.

When you get home, brew a cup of really strong black tea using four or five tea bags. After the tea cools, pour it into a baking sheet with a narrow lip. Dip several sheets of the white paper into the tea solution to make the paper look aged. Remove quickly and lay flat on top of newspapers or a dry towel to let dry. Dry the paper completely. You can burn or tear the edges of the paper slightly to make it look aged or rugged if you wish.

Write clues on the paper with the felt markers. Roll the clues (number them faintly in pencil on the outside so only you can see it to keep them organized), and bind them lightly with some twine (you can also dip the twine in the tea to age it as well). The clues can be something like, “Count off twelve paces north, then turn to the right and dig under the weeping willow.”

Now, you need something for the treasure! What do your kids love? You can find all kinds of treasures at Brookshire’s! Whether it’s gift cards to their favorite restaurant, movie theater, clothing store or phone app; a favorite magazine; hair care product; makeup brand or maybe a favorite snack, you can find it at Brookshire’s. (I wouldn’t hide or bury a YUMS cupcake though.) Get some fun gift wrap for the “treasure” and hide the bounty in a clever spot with clues leading your kids to it.

The treasure hunt will be a fun thing for you and your kids to experience!



Family Matters: Kids and Books


Yesterday, we cleaned out a spare room in our house, as it was way overdue for a thorough cleaning.

We had a wonderful trip down memory lane as we did so, boxing up what turned out to be hundreds of books from my boys’ childhoods.

My sons are 13 and 15 now, and we still had bookshelves full of toddler, preschool and elementary school readers that they loved. We had fun talking about the countless hours we’d spend flipping through picture books, reading chapter books, sounding out words as they learned to read, and talking about the imaginary endings they’d make up for some of their favorite stories.

Books were such a big part of their childhood, and it was a little sad to pack so many away. Both boys still read, although mostly for school these days. I have high hopes that all the hours spent with a book in the early days will circle back around, and they’ll read for pleasure when they have more free time.

We sorted the books into piles. Each son got a pile of books that were given to them with special messages written inside from grandparents, aunts and uncles. Then, childhood favorites were added to those piles. “Frog and Toad” for one son, all the hardback Dr. Seuss classics for the other. We boxed those up and put their names on them.

We also made another pile of childhood classics from our shelves, some of which were mine as a child, that we’d keep at my house, and maybe their children can enjoy someday when they come to visit. We boxed those up and labeled them as books to save.

After that, we still had almost 200 books left. We boxed those up, and I made a post on social media about “books free to a good home.” The first respondent claimed them and picked them up two hours later. Those books are now at home with two more little boys on their shelves and hopefully will provide hours and hours of enjoyment, just as they did for mine.

There’s nothing better than a good book for imagination and relaxation. Maybe visit the local library, little library, second-hand bookstore or a yard sale soon to see what treasures you can find.



Family Matters: Bootcamp Summer


Bootcamp Summer

I’m writing this on the first official day of summer vacation, and I’ve been doing some thinking over the weeks leading up to this day. My goal for this summer is that, come August, my teenage boys are ready to be self-sufficient and lead independent, productive lives. I’m calling it “Bootcamp Summer.”

It’s not that I’m not willing to whip up some pancakes and wash their bath towels for several more years, but all kids need to have the life skills to live on their own by the time they graduate from high school, in my opinion.

My introspection was prompted by a couple of things. First, I ran into a friend of mine who told me, in all seriousness, that her son brought an entire semester’s worth of dirty clothes home from college because he didn’t know how to do laundry.

Then, another friend who works in a call center for a local cable service had to work with a college student on the phone who didn’t know her address because her mom handles all her mail and her correspondence, including bills.

I started compiling a list of things that I wanted to do with my boys this summer to make sure they had all the skills they will need by the time they graduate from high school. We started out by ironing dress shirts the right way. Then, we filled out bank deposit slips (you know, the “old fashioned” kind) for their bank deposits.

They also cut the grass, weeded flower beds and put down mulch. They’ve been doing their own laundry and cleaning their own bathroom for several years now, so I polled my friends to see what other skills would be essential to know before they left the nest. Here’s what they said:

  • Cooking a few good meals, from planning, budgeting, shopping and executing, including re-purposing leftovers
  • Writing a check
  • Putting gas in a car
  • Changing a tire
  • Jump starting an engine
  • Washing dishes by hand
  • Loading a dishwasher correctly
  • Vacuuming
  • Changing/cleaning air filters in household appliances
  • Making their own appointments
  • Using a calendar and scheduling
  • Reading instructions and following them
  • Making a budget and sticking to it
  • Using public transportation
  • Establishing and maintaining good credit
  • How to check oil levels and replace oil in your car
  • Sew a button on shirt/pants
  • How to manage a retirement plan/401K
  • Fill out employment paperwork
  • How to (correctly) apply for a job, fill out a job application, ask for references and provide them
  • How to make your bed and change your sheets
  • How to send mail at the post office with insurance/overnight/signature-needed requirements
  • How to set up accounts in their name for utilities, etc… This might be hard to show them without actually doing it, but if you have the opportunity to do it yourself, bring them along for the process.
  • Familiarize them with their own important documents, social security cards, birth certificates, etc.
  • Using basic household tools
  • How to address an envelope and write a proper letter

What would you add to this list?



Family Matter: Summer Fun, Summer Challenges


Summer Fun, Summer ChallengesSummertime is hard, especially if your kids are school age, you work and you can’t take the whole summer off yourself.

My kids are now old enough to stay home alone during the summer, but it’s not much fun for them, if we’re being honest. There aren’t any kids of a similar age nearby, so they end up relying a lot on each other during the summer (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

The challenge comes in keeping them occupied in a productive manner, even though I still have to go to work each day. I’m sure I’m not the only one in this situation.

Generally, they sleep late. When they wake up, they each have a job to do around the house, like vacuuming or cleaning their bathroom. This summer, they’re going to be in charge of some meal prep, too. They exercise every day, usually alternating between running, walking and riding their bikes through the neighborhood (they keep a cellphone with them for safety or emergencies). They will still play outside in the sprinklers; I don’t think you ever outgrow that. I’ve purchased some books for them to read over the summer, as well as what they have assigned for school.

My older son just got a part-time job. My younger son will attend one week of theater camp, and we’ll take a family vacation together one week as well.

It’s not the best solution. They still have too much screen time, but I’d be curious to hear from readers in the comments about what you do with your kids during summer vacation!



Family Matters: Save, Spend, Give


Save, Spend, GiveBoth of my boys got their first jobs recently. I’m so proud of them both for wanting to earn money, for the responsibility it takes to hold down a job, and for the life skills they are gaining while working in their early teenage years.

With the first job comes the first paycheck. Seriously, nothing was more thrilling for them than holding that piece of paper in their hands.

That first paycheck brought the opportunity for new life lessons. They opened their own savings accounts. They are responsible for their bank ledgers. They will learn how to reconcile a bank statement.

They will learn the value of the dollar.

My older son wanted to spend his first paycheck immediately. He knew what computer part he wanted to buy.

My younger son had an idea of something he’d like to purchase, but he also wanted to save his paycheck.

It was time to introduce “Save, Spend, Give.”

My parents always taught us to “pay yourself first,” so that’s what I’m teaching my boys. Seventy-five percent of their paycheck went into their savings account. They can buy a car with that money later on, if they can wrap their heads around the fact that this is an investment in their future.

The next part of their paycheck was cashed for spending money. You can decide what percentages work best for your kids and your family. Since 75 percent went into savings, we decided on 20 percent for spending, and the remaining 5 percent goes to giving. Philanthropy is an important value in our family. Whether the money goes to church or to a nonprofit agency, I want them to know that it’s important to give back.

Some families do 40/30/30, and this is great, too! With younger kids, you can use clear jars and actually divide the cash out so that the visual makes an impact on your children.

I hope this lesson will stick with my kids and carry on the very valuable skills they are learning as contributing members of the workforce.



Family Matters: Making Memories


Making MemoriesAs I’m writing this, my boys are gone on a spring break trip with their dad. By the time you read this, they will be home and my heart will be full. Right now, they’re on an adventure and making memories.

They’re going camping at a national park that they’ve never explored before, and I’m excited for them.

When it comes down to it, they’ve been pretty spoiled by spring break trips. They’ve been to the beach, to the Grand Canyon, to Arkansas and camping all around the state of Texas.

You don’t have to take a spring break trip to make memories, though. A weekend staycation or small trip to somewhere special makes memories just as significant as flying over the Grand Canyon, I promise you.

Look into hiking your closest state park. You don’t have to stay overnight to enjoy the great outdoors. We take day trips and make use of the day-use sites, where we can still grill out over an open fire, make a fire pit and hike the trails without having to sleep on the ground if we choose not to.

Find some local museums, or visit ones in a city nearby. You never know the gems you’ll find, or the people you’ll meet, inside.

Tour a few historic landmarks in your area. You might want to explore an old cemetery, being utterly respectful, of course. The artistry and history can be captivating.

Go to an amusement park for the day, and ride one ride that terrifies you.

Most of all, take pictures. Put together a photo book from a photo-sharing website, and the memories will last even longer.



Family Matters: Family Walks


Family WalksA few weekends ago, my 13-year-old asked if we could go on a walk.

I was tired. I had mountains of laundry to do and piles of papers to sort and organize for the upcoming week.

I said yes.

We had the best 45 minutes of the week together.

We put our phones away in our pockets (they were still counting steps!). We talked about things that happened during the week. There was no electronic interference or other people interrupting.

It was wonderful.

We did it again the next day with his brother. We found lichen-covered boulders and wild roses, and we counted rings in a tree that had fallen near the trail.

We don’t always have time on a weekday to take a walk. However, every weekend since that first walk, we’ve taken 45 minutes to just be together on a trail and not worry about anything except being together as a family.



Healthy Living: Healthy Oat Cookies


Healthy Oat CookiesMy 13-year-old son told me he wants to eat healthier.

Big picture, he IS a healthy eater, but that kid can also put away some junk food after school.

We had to come up with a solution that would still let him feel like he was having some of the treats he likes but in a healthier way. Now, after school, he reaches for fresh fruit instead of the little, square, orange crackers he used to favor. I love that he’s doing this, and it’s motivated the rest of us to reach for more fresh fruit and vegetables, too.

Every once in a while, he wants a cookie or something sweet.

These are the perfect solution. Originally they were called “Three-Ingredient Cookies,” but I throw in some extra ingredients!

Healthy Oat Cookies

Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or nuts, crushed

Directions:
Mash bananas in a large bowl. Stir in oats, raisins, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds or nuts.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Scoop dough into 16 balls, and place evenly around a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Makes 16

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 60, Calories from Fat: 12, Fat: 1 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 2 g.

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



Page 1 of 2412345678910...Last »
Copyright © 2010-2017, Brookshire’s. All rights reserved.
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.

Product Talk

Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.

Healthy Living

Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

Shop the Sale

On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.

Family Matters

Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

Dine In

Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.

Mi Blog Hispano

De Todo un Poco