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Healthy Living: Watermelon Basil Popsicles


Watermelon Basil PopsiclesSummer is certainly a great time for frozen treats, but when you’re eating something like ice cream, you have to beware of the fat and calories you’re consuming. However, when you eat fruit, you can be a little more liberal with your portions and frequency.

These fun treats are frosty AND healthy, combining watermelon (which has tons of vitamins A and C) with fresh basil and lime juice. Then, you just pop them in the freezer.

As a working mom, I’m not home all day to monitor what my kids eat. I’d feel good about leaving these popsicles home unattended with two growing boys.

They’re quick and easy to make, too.

Watermelon Basil Popsicles

Ingredients:
1/4 cup water
3 Tbs honey
8 basil leaves, plus more for garnish
4 cups watermelon, cubed
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
10-count (3 oz) popsicle mold
10 wooden popsicle sticks

Directions:
In a saucepan, bring water and honey to a boil; stir to dissolve the honey. Remove from heat and add basil; allow to cool, then remove the basil.

In a blender, combine the basil simple syrup (the water and honey combo), watermelon and lime juice; puree until smooth.

Equally pour the mixture into popsicle molds, and insert an additional basil leaf or two for garnish. Next, cover with the top and insert popsicle sticks. Placing paperclips on the top end of the popsicle sticks will help them stay in place. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Once frozen, remove the popsicles by running water over the molds and gently pulling on the sticks. Wrap in wax paper and store in the freezer for up to a month.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 38, Calories from Fat: 1, Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1 mg, Potassium: 72 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 0.4 g

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Product Talk: Noonday Onions


Grilled Noonday Onion “Steaks”The Brookshire’s headquarters has the distinction of being very near the (very) small city where the world’s best onions are grown.

Noonday, Texas, population 798, must have magic soil or something because these are the only onions in the universe that I actually seek out.

I’m a bit ambivalent about onions, if I’m honest. I like them as a flavor base to some things, mostly soups and stews, but I don’t want them as a garnish, on my burger or in my salad.

However, Noonday onions are the exception to all of this. They are sweet and mild, and they give dishes a complementary flavor without being overpowering. I love them.

Last night, we decided to do something different with onions. You know how it’s popular to make cauliflower “steaks,” thick slices of grilled cauliflower? Well, we decided to do the same with Noonday onions.

I bought four large onions and two of us almost ate them all.

Grilled Noonday Onion “Steaks”

Ingredients:
4 Noonday onions, cut into 3/4-inch slices (so the onion holds together)
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

Directions:
Cut onions into thick slices with all rings together. Drizzle with olive oil on both sides; sprinkle with seasoned salt or seasonings of your choice (fresh rosemary is also delicious).

Preheat grill to medium-low. Oil grill grates well so the onions won’t stick. Place onions on grill and cook for about 7 minutes on the first side. Flip only once; continue cooking until onions are caramelized and browned.

It’s helpful to have a wide spatula or wide tongs to flip the onions, as they tend to shrink a tiny bit and come apart during the grilling process.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 106, Calories from Fat: 64, Fat: 7 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 5 mg, Potassium: 168 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 1 g

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Healthy Living: Peach Salsa


Peach SalsaEveryone in my family loves peaches, and they are at their sweet, juicy peak right now.

We eat them in our breakfast cereal, on salads, sliced, in pies, in cobblers, grilled and baked, but I’d never used them in a salsa before now.

This salsa is fresh and healthy, and it can be used so many ways. Eat it with pita chips or tortilla chips. Use it as a topping for grilled chicken, pork or fish. Serve it over greens for a peach salad.

Any way you use it, it’s simple and delicious.

Peach Salsa

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups ripe peaches, diced
1 cup tomato, diced
1 Tbs jalapeño, finely minced (about 1/2)
1/4 cup yellow peppers, small dice
1/4 cup red onions, finely diced
1 Tbs cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp ancho chile powder or other chile powder
1 Tbs brown sugar, packed
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together well. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 33, Calories from Fat: 2, Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 3 mg, Potassium: 181 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 0.8 g



Product Talk: Blueberry Oat Crumble


Blueberry CrumbleI was in Brookshire’s this weekend, and I was drawn to the beautiful produce department! All the colors are so alluring.

The palette of reds, greens, yellows, purples and blues was dazzling. I picked up peppers, zucchinis, cucumbers and melons, but my favorite find of the day was a huge container of the plumpest blueberries I’d ever seen.

Brookshire’s blueberries are locally-sourced and delivered to the stores at the peak of freshness. They are grown free of pesticides (blueberry bushes are naturally insect-repellant!), and this is the perfect time of the season for Southern berries.

I love blueberries so much that I tend to stock up on them during the summer months and freeze them, so I can enjoy them all winter long, too.

This is my favorite blueberry recipe; it reminds me of my mom.

Blueberry Oat Crumble 

Ingredients:
1 Tbs granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 Tbs orange juice
3 Tbs whole-wheat or all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup almonds or pecans, chopped
3 Tbs brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbs canola oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F.

Combine fruit with granulated sugar, orange juice and 1 tablespoon flour. Divide among four 6-ounce, ovenproof ramekins. Combine brown sugar, nuts, oats, the remaining 2 tablespoons cinnamon and flour. Drizzle with oil and stir to combine. Sprinkle over the fruit mixture. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet.

Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 252, Fat: 11 g (1 g Saturated Fat, 7 g Monounsaturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbohydrates: 38 g, Protein: 4 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sodium: 1 mg, Potassium: 179 mg

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Healthy Living: Blackberries


BlackberriesBlackberry season makes me happy.

I love these luscious fruits, juicy and bursting with flavor.

Besides being delicious, they’re really good for you, too. In addition, you can buy all you can carry this summer and freeze them for use in the winter. Just make sure they’re washed and COMPLETELY dried, then pop them into a freezer bag and break out again to beat the winter blues in January.

The health benefits of blackberries are myriad, according to the Huffington Post:

“Much like spinach, raisins, apples, plums and grapes, blackberries are rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C, but other nutritional benefits include a very low sodium count and having only 62 calories to a cup.

Their dark blue color shows that blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. Antioxidants lower the risk of cancers if the berries are eaten in their natural state.

Eating blackberries is said to promote the healthy tightening of tissue, which is a great non-surgical procedure to make skin look younger.

The high tannin content of blackberries provides a number of benefits to reduce intestinal inflammation, alleviate hemorrhoids and soothe the effects of diarrhea.

The leaves of blackberries, which are consumable, have been used to treat mild inflammation of the gums and sometimes even sore throats.

The astringent tannins are effective in oral hygiene when used as a gargle or mouthwash.”

So, run, don’t walk, out to get some blackberries now!



Family Matters: Summertime Grilling


Summertime GrillingNothing says summer like backyard grilling with family and a big pitcher of sweet iced tea. As an ambassador for families eating together as much as possible, summer is the perfect time to take dinner outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather and sunshine. From meats and vegetables to breads and desserts, I love putting my whole meal on the grill. It’s fun to try different foods and recipes on the grill, and totally get out of the kitchen and take it all outside.

With so many summer vegetables to choose from like squash, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes, it’s hard to decide which ones to grill. That’s why I like grilling them all! Below is the perfect marinade for grilling your summer vegetables.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to the grill. You can make wonderful memories with your family by being outdoors and by creating something new and exciting on the grill!

Grilled Vegetable Marinade
Serves 10

Ingredients:
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs canola oil
1 Tbs basil
2 Tbs oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt

Directions:
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Place vegetables and marinade in a food-safe plastic bag inside another container. Marinate 1 to 2 hours.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 89, Fat: 0 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1 mg, Carbohydrates: 23 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 1 g

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Family Matters: Zesty Strawberries


Zesty Strawberries  Looking for a simple, refreshing and absolutely delicious dessert for summer? This recipe is great for family gatherings, weddings, showers, church events…or just a special treat for your family. Fresh strawberries are in season, and though they are sweet by themselves, why not add a little zest to make them even more of a treat. This recipe is one that I recently enjoyed at an event and then decided to make for Mother’s Day, and they were a hit with the family and friends.

Summer is a great time to plan family gatherings or picnics for the important people in your life. Try this simple and easy recipe, and add some “zest” to your family gathering that they will not soon forget. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you share with your family!

Key Lime-Filled Strawberries 

Ingredients:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 Tbs lime juice
1 lb fresh strawberries
zest of 1 lime (optional)

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lime juice and lime zest. Place the creamed mixture in the refrigerator to chill. Carefully cut the strawberry tips and stems from the strawberries (be careful to not cut into the edges). Take a small spoon or metal 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon and hollow out the inside of the strawberries. Pipe or spoon the creamed filling into the strawberries and then refrigerate until ready to serve. These can be placed in the freezer for a few minutes to set the filling in case they tip over in the container. Additional lime juice may be added (up to 2 teaspoons) if more lime flavor is preferred.

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Mi Blog Hispano: Las Maravillas del Aguacate


Las Maravillas del AguacateToda la vida me ha encantado comer aguacate, sólo, o en ensaladas, como sea, siempre he sido una gran fanática  de este sabroso fruto. Cuando estaba pequeña recuerdo que mi mamá decía que el aguacate era bueno para todo, ella me lo colocaba  en el cabello, cuando este  estaba bastante maduro y ya no se podía  comer, para que me hidratara el pelo y le diera brillo.

Ahora resulta que he aprendido que el aguacate tiene innumerables beneficios como decía mi mamá y hasta es considerado el alimento más completo, por todo lo positivo que aporta para la salud, para la belleza y hasta propiedades afrodisiacas se le han atribuido al aguacate.

Es interesantísimo saber que el aguacate se originó en Puebla, México y que además este árbol ha sido cultivado desde tiempos remotos antes de Cristo, en Centro y Sur América. En los Estados Unidos, se comenzó a cultivar en el siglo 19, especialmente en el Estado de California.

Los nutricionistas afirman que el aguacate contiene todo lo que una persona necesita para sobrevivir y que también ayuda a prevenir el cáncer, enfermedades cardiacas, la diabetes, controla el Alzheimer y otras enfermedades.

El aguacate, contiene los diez elementos minerales más importantes de la naturaleza: Zinc, Sodio, Selenio, Cobre, Potasio, Manganeso, Magnesio, Hierro, Fosforo y Calcio. Posee además, gran cantidad de vitamina E, que protege contra las enfermedades del corazón, protegiendo las arterias y reduciendo el colesterol. También el aguacate tiene ácido oleico, que elimina las lombrices intestinales y los radicales libres, lo que evita la aparición de ciertos tipos de cáncer como dije antes, sobre todo de pulmón.

Por otro lado, tiene un alto contenido de calorías ya que un aguacate mediano tiene alrededor de 227 por pieza, así que si se está tratando de perder peso hay que evitar comer mucho aguacate.

Mi madre, imagínense que teniendo 5 hijos, usaba muchas recetas de cosas naturales y el aguacate era uno de sus ingredientes favoritos, algunos de sus usos eran: para el cabello reseco, para eliminar la caspa, expulsar lombrices, matar piojos, combatir las arrugas, suavizar labios agrietados, regular el colesterol, reducir estrías, eliminar ulceras bucales, reducir la diarrea y mucho más. Los animo a investigar más detalles acerca de este maravilloso regalo de la naturaleza como lo es el aguacate.



Healthy Living: Sweet Potatoes


Sweet PotatoesIf you could only eat one thing again and still stay healthy, a sweet potato is a pretty good bet.

Often called nature’s perfect food, sweet potatoes have a significant amount of beta carotene and can provide almost a day’s worth of the U. S. Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin A.

They are a complex carbohydrate and a good source of dietary fiber. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin B5, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium.

You probably don’t want to eat a sweet potato raw, but that’s okay because cooking them actually gives them a higher level of vitamin C.

Sweet potatoes are great baked, roasted, sautéed and pureed for soups and stews.



Dine In: Fettuccine with Goat Cheese, Bacon and Cherry Tomatoes


Fettuccine with Goat Cheese, Bacon & Cherry TomatoesSeveral years ago, we had “Pasta Thursday” every week in my house. It didn’t really matter what the dish was, but it contained some sort of pasta.

We’ve gotten away from that in the past few years, and it seems like we don’t each much pasta in the summertime at all.

Now that it’s cooler, pasta and pasta dinners have started reappearing on our menus. The boys love pasta and let’s admit, it’s fast, easy and inexpensive.

This recipe, to me, combines the best of summer flavors with heartier fall fare. While I’d normally take out as much fat as I could, make sure you use the bacon drippings as called for in the recipe. It makes so much of a difference. The original recipe didn’t call for whole-wheat fettuccine, but that’s pretty much all we eat any more. I love the nuttier flavor and the extra bite in the pasta when you use the whole-wheat kind.

This dish is also great to feed a crowd. I think it’s going to make an appearance at a porch party one Friday night soon.

Fettuccine with Goat Cheese, Bacon & Cherry Tomatoes
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp thyme, chopped
1 tsp rosemary, chopped
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
8 strips center-cut bacon
1 Tbs olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme, chopped
1 tsp rosemary, chopped
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
9 oz whole-wheat fettuccine pasta
3 Tbs basil, chopped chiffonade (into thin strips)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon chopped thyme and 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary. Roast in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and have started to collapse.

While the tomatoes are roasting, cook the bacon over medium heat in a skillet. Reserve the fat and drippings while cooking. Crumble bacon roughly with your fingers and set aside.

Without washing the skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and drippings to the skillet. Over medium-low heat, add the minced garlic cloves, and cook until fragrant and starting to brown, about a minute. Add the remaining chopped thyme and rosemary, and cook for another minute. Set aside.

Cook the fettuccine according to package directions for al dente pasta. When done, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and drain.

Add the cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and bacon to the garlic herb mixture in the skillet over medium-low heat. Stir together and cook for about a minute. Then, add the cooked pasta and toss, cooking for another minute. Add reserved pasta water if the sauce needs more liquid, but this shouldn’t be a saucy pasta.

Serve with plenty of chopped basil on top.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 431, Calories from Fat: 205, Fat: 23 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 52 mg, Sodium: 515 mg, Potassium: 944 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 11 g, Protein: 26 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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