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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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Posted in: Dine In, Kids


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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Dine In: Homemade Bread Bowls


Homemade Bread Bowls I remember when serving soup in a bread bowl was all the rage, and I’ll never forget the first time I had it served that way.

I was in graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, and a class I was taking in public relations only had four students registered for the course. We only met once a week for three hours on a Friday morning. The professor elected to have class in a small bistro near campus in downtown Austin. We’d arrive and order breakfast with a never-ending pot of coffee, from which we got more than our money’s worth, and we’d pour over the lesson and engage in lively discussion and banter. It was one of my favorite classes, mostly for the ambiance and the readily-available caffeinated beverages.

Then, there was the soup in the bread bowl. I usually ordered breakfast, but remember, it was a three-hour class. If I’d eaten breakfast before my two-hour commute to class, I was hungry again about an hour into class. It was that odd time when either breakfast or lunch would work, and soup tastes good at pretty much any time of day or night.

This café served a velvety tomato soup in a whole-grain bread bowl that was sustenance enough for two meals, especially on those rainy, chilly days of the winter semester. I could savor the soup, then pick at the saturated morsels of whole-grain bread until there was nary a crumb left on my plate.

I made bread bowls recently for a soup we were going to have on a cold, Friday night, and my kids thought this was the most brilliant, novel idea they’d ever heard of.

Using instant yeast made this a practical meal for a Friday night after a long week of work.

Homemade Bread Bowls

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbs instant yeast
1 Tbs sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour, more as needed
2 tsp salt
spray bottle with warm water

Directions:
In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot or it will kill the yeast. Let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it becomes foamy.

Add 3 cups of flour and the salt, and mix at medium speed of the mixer until well-combined.

Mix in the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is smooth, only slightly sticky to the touch and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead until smooth. Place the dough in a bowl greased lightly with olive oil or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cover with a damp towel and let rise 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, punch the dough down and divide into 4 equal-sized pieces.

Preheat the oven to 500° F. Shape each piece into a ball, and place on a lightly-greased baking sheet.

Score the top of each roll, then spray with warm water and sprinkle with salt. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Bake for 2 minutes, spray again with water, then reduce the heat to 425° F. This will give you the crisp crust on the bread.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until golden-brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Using a paring knife, score a circle on the top of the bread. Remove ring of outer crust and soft, tender interior, leaving a thick shell. Reserve the removed bread for other purposes. Spoon soup into the bread bowl; serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 427, Calories from Fat: 12, Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1171 mg, Potassium: 238 mg, Carbohydrates: 89 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 13 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In, Kids


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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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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