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Healthy Living: Brussels Sprouts


Brussels SproutsMy kids recently discovered a new favorite vegetable: Brussels sprouts.

It’s more accurate to say that I recently INTRODUCED them to Brussels sprouts. I was lazy and took it for granted that they’d hate them because all kids hate them, right?

Nope.

My kids LOVE them now, as do several others I know. Brussels sprouts are a cultivar of German cabbage. One cup contains only 38 calories but has 342 grams of potassium, 3.3 grams of protein, dietary fiber and 3 grams of protein, plus 124 percent of the USDA for vitamin C.That’s a lot!

In addition, Brussels sprouts help you out with some cholesterol-lowering benefits, if you use a steaming method when cooking them. The fiber-related components in Brussels sprouts do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed.

So, steam them, roast them, grill them, bake them or enjoy them any way you like: they’re good for you!



Healthy Living: Blood Orange Quinoa Salad


Orange SaladCitrus season in this part of the country lasts as long as a Southern afternoon sitting on the porch sipping tea.

Thank goodness it does because there are so many delightful and healthy ways to enjoy citrus fruits. The best benefit, in my opinion, is the amazing amount of vitamin C it adds to your diet. I know for the past three months I’ve changed the expression from ‘an apple a day’ to ‘an orange a day keeps the doctor away.’ I think I’ve eaten an orange or a grapefruit (my personal favorite) at least once a day since flu season started!

There’s no reason to stop eating citrus when the weather warms. This refreshing salad features the best and brightest of what both seasons have to offer.

Blood Orange Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:
1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
3 blood oranges, peeled, seeds removed and cut into slices
2 navel oranges, peeled, seeds removed and cut into slices
1 pink grapefruit, peeled, seeds removed and cut into slices
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup honey lemon dressing
2 cups broccoli sprouts

Directions:
Cook quinoa, let it cool and fluff with a fork. Trim fruit into pretty pieces, discarding seeds. Stir salad dressing into quinoa. Carefully fold in citrus, feta, green onion and avocado. Top with broccoli sprouts.

Honey Lemon Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp honey
sea salt
ground black pepper

Directions:
Shake olive oil, lemon juice and honey in a jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 475, Calories from Fat: 144, Fat: 16 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 25 mg, Sodium: 341 mg, Potassium: 983 mg, Carbohydrates: 74 g, Fiber: 12 g, Sugar: 38 g, Protein: 14 g.

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



Product Talk: Clif Bars


CLIFBarA friend of mine is training for a triathlon.

You know, one of those crazy races where you swim, bike and run intense distances and still finish standing?

He swears by Clif Bars for a snack or even a meal replacement.

Clif Bars are basically organic energy bars. Granola bars, if you will, but so much more. They’re packed with all-natural protein and other good stuff.

According to their website, “As a food company, we play a critical role in helping to create a more just and sustainable use of the planet’s resources. The food we make connects us to the environment as well as to a complex network of people and organizations, including farmers, distributors and the people who eat our food. Through these connections and working with our trusted partners such as like-minded businesses, non-profit organizations and experts at the forefront of transforming our food system, Clif Bar is able to make strides in sustainability. Working and learning together, we continue to look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment and share with each other on this journey.”

So, not only do Clif Bars meet your nutritional needs, they take care of our planetary needs, too. 

That, my friends, is awesome. 



Healthy Living: Scrambled Egg Muffins


Egg MuffinIt’s February! Have your resolutions to eat better and be more healthy gone by the wayside? I’ve been trying to stick with mine, but I’ll admit that breakfast is one of the biggest challenges. I don’t usually sit down at the breakfast table in the morning to eat; I eat whatever I’ve grabbed in the car after I drop the kids off at school. So, a steaming hot bowl of steel-cut oats is out of the question most mornings.

I wanted something that was both portable and healthy. I saw a recipe for a breakfast “muffin” and by modifying the recipe a bit (replacing pork sausage with turkey sausage, swapping out half the eggs for egg whites and skipping the hash browns and adding veggies), I think I came up with a healthier version. I’ll bake a dozen of these on a Sunday evening and toss two in the microwave each morning on the way out the door.

Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients:
6 eggs
12 Tbsp egg whites
1 lb turkey sausage
3 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup onion
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners or spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.

Brown sausage and drain. Toss with spinach, bell pepper and onion; stir over medium heat until spinach is wilted and onions are opaque.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with egg whites then add crumbled cheese. Add sausage and vegetables to the bowl and stir well to combine.

Fill cupcake liners almost full.

Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until knife inserted in the center of each comes out clean.

Note: You can use almost any vegetables or cheese that you like!

Makes 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 187, Calories from Fat: 129, Fat: 14 g, Trans Fat: 0.1 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 119 mg, Sodium: 415 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 13 g



Shop the Sale: Northwest Applie Pie Parfaits


Apple ParfaitIt’s only two weeks into the new year and resolutions to eat better and be healthier are already slipping out the window.

Case in point: I was talking to my sons about incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our diet.

My older son, Curt, thought this was a great idea.

“Instead of dessert, I’ll have fruit after dinner,” he enthused.

“Great!” I thought. “It’s working!”

“Do you have strawberries?” he asked.

“No,” I replied.

“What about blueberries? Star fruit? Pomegranate?”

“No, no and no,” I had to tell him. “I have bananas, apples, grapes and tangerines.”

He thought for a moment.

“OK, I’ll have key lime pie,” he said.

Clearly, I need to keep some more exotic fruits – or fruits of his liking – in the house for snacking and “desserts,” but I can also make more desserts using fruit and other healthy ingredients.

This parfait is so easy and doesn’t have nearly the fat – or calories – of that key lime pie that was lurking in my fridge.

Northwest apples are on sale this week, along with Galas and Fujis, and any of these would make a delightful addition to this dessert.

Apple Pie Parfaits

Ingredients:
6 oz fat free vanilla yogurt
1/2 medium Northwest apple
1 tsp graham cracker crumbs
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
Cut the apple into small cubes, then place in the microwave; cook for about 1 minute.

Combine graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon.

To build parfait, layer 1/2 the yogurt then 1/2 the apple cubes. Repeat with remaining yogurt and apples, then top with cinnamon-graham cracker mixture.

Serves 1

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 142, Calories from Fat: 2, Fat: 0.2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 3 mg, Sodium: 108 mg, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 23 g, Protein: 5 g



Healthy Living: Faux Chimichurri


Each night during our annual beach vacation, one family subset takes a turn cooking dinner. Last night was my turn. I had a great meal planned: marinated, grilled London Broil with chimichurri, grilled corn on the cob, roasted rosemary potatoes and a few other things.

I ran out to the beach grocery store yesterday morning for all the ingredients. There was no corn on the cob. I knew there was a farmers market nearby, but I really didn’t want to make two stops. (BEACH TIME WAS A WASTIN’.) So, I grabbed yellow squash to grill instead. There was no balsamic vinegar on the shelves for the meat marinade. No problem.  A little red wine vinegar substituted just fine, but when it came time to get the ingredients for the chimichurri, I discovered, much to my dismay, there was no parsley and no oregano.

What to do?

I grabbed a bag of baby spinach and a container of basil. It would have to work.

I didn’t have a food processor, so I combined it all in the blender.

It.

Was.

Delicious.

We ate it on the London Broil, but during dinner, we discussed other ways to use the tangy, green sauce during the week. Who knows? It might show up at the crab feast tonight.

Faux Chimichurri

Ingredients:
8 oz baby spinach
1/2 cup basil leaves
6 large garlic cloves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice from one large lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor (or blender). Stream in olive oil as everything else is processing. Let stand for several hours for flavors to meld. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 16

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 114, Calories from Fat: 114, Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 11 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 1 g



Healthy Living: Black Bean Burgers


My family loves to grill in the summertime. Once the weather begins warming up, we start grilling almost every Saturday and Sunday for lunch. Some of my favorite things to grill are salmon on a cedar plank, asparagus, corn, zucchini and onions.

Recently, I have fallen in love with grilling black bean burgers. Not only do I love them, but so does my meat-loving boyfriend. I know he is not too crazy about having meatless meals, so I was rather nervous about him liking them the first time I made them. He ate the first burger and then quietly said, “Could I have another one?” I was in shock! I thought, if he likes them, anyone would. We have now added black bean burgers into our meal rotation.

Black beans are an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. They are also a good source of iron and protein with no saturated fat, making them a great substitute for meat in a vegetarian meal. Black beans get their black pigments from the flavonoid, anthocyanin. Anthocyanin aids in the prevention of cancer, inflammation and heart disease, and it helps protect your memory. So, with all these benefits, why not try a black bean burger?

Black Bean Burger

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and stem removed, chopped
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained, rinsed and dried, divided
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1 egg
1/2 cup cooked corn, dried
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
6 hamburger buns
6 lettuce leaves
1 avocado, sliced

Directions
Heat grill or pan to medium-low heat. 

In a food processor, pulse onion, garlic and jalapeno until finely chopped. Add 1 can black beans (make sure beans have been dried completely or patties will not stick together). Add cilantro, cumin and egg; pulse until well combined. Add mixture to a large mixing bowl. Dry black beans and corn, removing any liquid from the surface. Add remaining black beans, corn, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper; mix until well combined. Divide mixture into 6 patties. Line grill with foil. Place patties on grill and cook 6 minutes on each side, or until golden brown crust has formed. 

Toast hamburger buns on the grill. Add patties to hamburger with lettuce leaves and sliced avocado.

Serves: 6

Calories Per Serving: 400, Fat: 9 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 27 mg, Sodium: 943 mg, Carbohydrates: 64 g, Fiber: 11 g, Protein: 16 g



Healthy Living: Asian Chicken Quinoa Salad


I’ve written before about quinoa, a super-duper healthy grain. Since then, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has deemed 2013 “The International Year of the Quinoa.” Pretty cool, huh? 

Why does this grain deserve such a lofty designation?

Well, quinoa is tremendously high in flavonoids, which are great for many things including fighting allergies, viruses and carcinogens. Flavonoids may also have anti-allergenic, anti-microbial, anti-cancer and anti-diarrheal properties and serve as a high-powered anti-inflammatory.

Quinoa is also high in mono-saturated fats, found in a form that does not break down during the cooking process. Pair it with veggies and a lean protein and you have yourself a super meal. This recipe is from a blog I love, but I added chicken to make it a main course meal. This recipe provides 71 percent of the US Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin A.

Asian Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and diced
1 cup chopped red cabbage
1 cup shelled and cooked edemame
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced cucumber

For the dressing:
1/4 cup lite soy sauce or tamari sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp grated ginger
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Add water, quinoa, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

Grill chicken breasts. Let rest. Dice.

Place the quinoa in a large bowl and add the chicken, cabbage, edemame, red pepper, carrots and cucumber. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, green onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and stir to combine.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 560, Calories from Fat: 183, Fat: 20 g, Cholesterol: 130 mg, Sodium: 1177 mg, Carbohydrates: 38 g, Fiber: 7 g, Sugars: 4 g, Protein: 57 g



Healthy Living: NuVal. New Year, New You


I can’t believe 2013 is almost here! This year has gone by so quickly! Many of us start off the New Year with a healthy bang. We join gyms and stock our fridges with fresh fruits and vegetables in hopes to lose those unwanted pounds that seem to just appear over the Christmas holiday. Unfortunately by mid-January the visits to gym get fewer and the hopes of getting healthy diminish.  

At Brookshire’s we have an easy tool that lets you pick the most nutritious products in a short amount of time. NuVal is a scoring system that places food’s overall nutritional value on a scale between 1 and 100. Simply put, the higher the NuVal score, the higher the product’s overall nutrition. You can find these scores located in the blue double hexagon on the price tag.  

NuVal produces the scores by entering the information from the nutrition facts panel and the ingredients list into an algorithm, called Overall Nutritional Quality Index (ONQI). The ONQI takes into account 30 different nutrients that affect the health of the general public, including sodium, fat, carbohydrates, proteins, cholesterol, fiber, antioxidants and a number of vitamins and minerals.

 When using NuVal, there is not a particular score to shoot for; rather it’s a tool to help you compare items. If you normally buy a cereal that scores a 10, try to find one that scores a little higher, like a 17. Just remember the higher the score, the better the overall nutrition of the product. The NuVal system is not a diet and should not take place of any dietary recommendations provided by your doctor. NuVal is a quick and simple tool to help you pick the most nutritious foods for your family.  

I personally love using the NuVal system and use it every time I go to the store. I encourage you to give it a try this January!



Ask Leigh


Question:  On the last visit to my doctor for an annual check-up, she told me I needed to increase the fiber in my diet? Any suggestions? 

Answer:  When I think about adding fiber to my diet, I think of foods I don’t usually like to eat very often! I like oatmeal and I like raw broccoli, but I don’t want to eat them every day.  

A few foods you may not have thought of that are good sources of fiber include refried beans (1 cup gives you 13 grams of fiber), avocado (one-half is about 7 grams of fiber), and chunky peanut butter (2 Tbs gives you 3 grams). The recommended daily intake is between 21-38 grams, depending on age and gender. This isn’t easy to get in our fast-food diet! 

And to make sure we’re talking about the same thing, there are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber is what is found in oats, beans and a few fruits. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps to slow down how fast sugar enters our bloodstream – and some evidence shows it may help lower bad cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and help prevent hardening of the arteries. 

A quick fiber-rich dinner I like to make for my family is a simple black bean burrito. I use fat-free refried black beans and whole-wheat tortillas. Just top ‘em with cheese, lettuce, tomato – anything else you like and you’ve got a delicious, easy dinner that also helps you reach your daily fiber intake.

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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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