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Healthy Living: Cinnamon Apple Chips


Cinnamon Apple ChipsSo far this summer, I’m losing the battle with my kids and fruit consumption, and this practically breaks my heart. There is nothing better than summer fruits.

It also begs the question: If my kids aren’t eating the abundance of fruit I’m leaving in the basket on the kitchen counter, what do they do with the fruit I pack them EVERY DAY in their school lunches? I’m not sure I want to know.

Since I’m often gone in the morning before they wake up for the day, I leave a note. Every day, the note says, among other things, “Eat some fruit. Drink a lot of water!”

My kids aren’t listening. I had to resort to a toddler tactic: turn the fruit into a fun snack.

They helped me make these, and they devoured them. That figures.

Sometimes, though, it’s whatever it takes!

Cinnamon Apple Chips

Ingredients:
4 apples, cored and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 to 2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 to 2 tsp granulated sugar, if needed
nonstick cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 200° F. Slice the apples and place them in a large bowl. Toss with cinnamon and sugar, if using. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the apples on the pan in a single layer, so they are not touching.

Bake 2 to 3 hours until the chips are dry but soft. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container or zipper-lock bag for up to 4 days.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 210, Calories from Fat: 6, Fat: 1 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 4 mg, Carbohydrates: 56 g, Fiber: 10 g, Sugar: 42 g, Protein: 1 g.

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Dine In: Tuscan-Roasted Asparagus


Tuscan-Roasted AsparagusOne of the things I’d love to do in life is live in Tuscany for several months and take cooking classes with people who speak nothing but Italian.

It’s on my bucket list, right near the top. Unfortunately, on top of another list is “braces for two.”

I might not get to Tuscany any time soon, but I can dream about it. My brief visits there have imprinted the smell of fresh basil, simmering tomatoes, fragrant lemon and earthy rosemary into my memory, and I’m determined to get back there someday.

In the meantime, I’ll distract myself with Tuscany-inspired recipes, using fresh ingredients! This dish would be a lovely side to a grilled main course or a perfect potluck dish to bring to a Fourth of July celebration. You can serve it warm or at room temperature.

Tuscan-Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs asparagus, woody ends removed
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1 large beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F.

Lay asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place tomato slices on top of asparagus spears. In a small bowl, whisk extra virgin olive oil with lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Drizzle over tomatoes and asparagus. Sprinkle basil and parmesan on top, and roast until cheese begins to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 98, Fat: 5 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 9 mg, Sodium: 137 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 9 g.

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Blueberry-Raspberry Smoothie


Blueberry-Raspberry SmoothieBreakfast is very important to me, and sometimes I don’t get the nutrition I intended. Smoothies, though packed with nutritional value, can be very expensive to purchase themselves. I love making them at my house, varying the ingredients each time to see what comes out of it. This particular smoothie I’ve made repeatedly because it’s so good (and friends keep requesting it).

Blueberry-Raspberry Smoothie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 dollop whipped cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups soy milk
1 handful fresh baby kale or spinach
2 tsp honey
1 1/2 cups ice

Directions:
Place all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!

Calories Per Serving: 153, Fat: 5 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 6 mg, Sodium: 95 mg, Carbohydrates: 22 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 6 g.

Serves 3

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Posted in: Nutrition, Produce


Dine In: Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese


Cauliflower Mac and CheeseLast Friday night, I was craving a big, heaping bowl of mac and cheese like no one’s business. It was the only thing I could think about. I needed it. I wanted it. However, I didn’t want to go to the store and get macaroni (I’m lazy on Friday nights, what can I say?), so I had to find something else to use.

I had cauliflower.

I went online to find a recipe for cauliflower mac and cheese because I’d heard someone else doing it at some point, and I found that swapping noodles for cauliflower was pretty simple. Other than that, it’s simply the same recipe.

I had my heaping bowl of cheesy, creamy goodness and enough leftovers for several more meals!

Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese

Ingredients:
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F, and spray an 8 x 8 dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Bring a large stockpot of water to a rolling boil, and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling water until they are tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. They’ll continue cooking in the oven.

Drain the cauliflower, and pat dry with paper towels.

In the meantime, bring the cream to a simmer in saucepan. Whisk in cream cheese and mustard; stir until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of cheese, remaining salt, pepper and garlic powder; whisk until the cheese melts. Add cauliflower to the pan; stir to coat. Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and bake until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 171, Calories from Fat: 115, Fat: 28 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 44 mg, Sodium: 1021 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 10 g.

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Healthy Living: Dill Cucumber Bites


Dill Cucumber BitesDill is one of those spices that I think is highly underrated.

I remember when we had a guest for dinner who ended up taking over the kitchen (which does not sit well with me, by the way) and coating our beautiful ribeyes with dill.

As much as I didn’t like his interference, it was delicious.

Now, I will admit that I didn’t pursue the use of dried dill on my steaks, but I do use it liberally on salmon, in potato salad and in other savory dishes. Dill has a fresh, earthy flavor that reminds me of clean, summer grasses and bright flavors.

This snack is low in carbs, but it is high in protein and flavor. The fat from the cream cheese keeps you satisfied, and the tomato adds a bright burst of summer flavor.

Dill Cucumber Bites

Ingredients:
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
3/4 cup whipped cream cheese
1 Tbs dried dill
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Whip cream cheese with dried dill. Slice cherry tomatoes into halves. Toss with sea salt and pepper. Place a dollop of dilled cream cheese onto each cucumber round, and top with a cherry tomato half. Chill and serve.

Makes 12.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 20, Calories from Fat: 2, Fat: 0 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 80 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 2 g.

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Healthy Living: Watermelon


WatermelonI bought the cutest, personal-sized watermelon at Brookshire’s today.

Other than tasting great and being easy to handle in a small, personal size, watermelon is a healthy summer fruit and a wonderful option for staying hydrated this summer.

Each bite of watermelon contains about 92 percent water and 6 percent sugar. That’s really not that much sugar, all things considered.

Watermelon has a lot of lycopene, which supports cardiovascular health. You’ll get the most lycopene when the flesh of the watermelon is dark red.

Watermelons also have properties that make them wonderful for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support. They also contain a lot of vitamin C, about 16 percent of the recommended daily value. In addition, vitamins B6 and A are also found in abundance in watermelon. There’s also some potassium, while the fruit is very low in calories and is fat-free.

I love adding a few cubes of frozen watermelon to my water, and then enjoying the cool, refreshing flavor as they chill my water.



Dine In: Greek Slaw


Greek SlawI visited a new restaurant recently, and a side order of coleslaw came with my meal.

I’m pretty picky about my coleslaw. I like vinegar-based versions, but I don’t always like a lot of mayonnaise.

This Greek version alleviates that issue, and it will become my go-to recipe for a coleslaw. I love the crunchiness of the cabbage paired with the salty creaminess of the cheese. I think next time I make it, I’ll throw in a handful of chopped green or black olives.

We are fully into cookout and party season, so this is a wonderful addition to a backyard, back porch or back patio picnic or cookout. It would be wonderful with some grilled meats on a relaxed Friday night, under some fairy lights.

Greek Slaw

Ingredients:
1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
6 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp dried dill
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Chop cabbage; toss with feta cheese and green onions. In a small bowl, whisk red wine vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil together. Add salt, pepper and dill; mix well. Pour over cabbage mixture, and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving to let flavors blend.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 208, Calories from Fat: 165, Fat: 18 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 20 mg, Sodium: 270 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 2.5 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 5 g.

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Posted in: Dine In, Produce


Dine In: Jalapeño Sausage Balls


Jalapeño Sausage BallsI tend to get stuck in a pattern for Friday night meals. When I lived overseas in Germany, my best friend Susan and I walked down to our favorite Greek restaurant every single Friday night.

When I had kids, I continued a tradition that my mom started by serving pizza on Friday nights.

Now, I tend to use the smoker for Friday night festivities. I run home at lunchtime to put dinner on to smoke (or prep it in the morning, depending on what we’re smoking), and it’s done by the time we’re home from work and relaxing on the back porch.

I saw a smoked dish on Instagram that I wanted to try, and it only takes about two hours on the smoker. Even if you don’t have time to run home at lunch on a Friday, you can still enjoy this on your porch on Friday evening.

You can switch up the fillings, too. I have one person in my family who doesn’t like cream cheese, so he just gets cheddar. I have another who doesn’t like jalapeños, so he just gets cheese pressed into the middle of the sausage ball. I like bleu cheese, so I’ll mix that in with mine. The sky is the limit.

Jalapeño Sausage Balls

Ingredients:
12 jalapeño peppers, tops removed, seeded and pithed
6 Tbs whipped cream cheese
6 Tbs sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 Tbs white onion, finely minced
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 lbs Owens Pork Breakfast Sausage
12 strips bacon, uncooked

Directions:
Remove the tops from the jalapeño peppers. Slice a slit through lengthwise, not cutting all the way through. Remove pith and seeds.

Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, onions and cooked bacon. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stuff each pepper with a heaping tablespoon full of the cream cheese mixture.

Using your hands, mold sausage around pepper, forming a ball and completely covering the pepper. Wrap sausage ball with two strips of bacon; secure with toothpicks.

Prepare smoker. Place sausage balls on rack, and smoke for about 2 hours or until cooked through. Alternately, place on the grill over indirect heat (the bacon will cause flare-ups if it’s not indirect) and cook through, several minutes on each side.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 460, Calories from Fat: 330, Fat: 36 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 104 mg, Sodium: 1576 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 29 g.

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Shop the Sale: Bacon Brussels Sprouts Skewers


Bacon Brussels Sprouts SkewersI posted on social media recently that I’m obsessed with Brussels sprouts. I was surprised at the number of people who “liked” my post and commented in agreement. I guess I thought that because we didn’t eat Brussels sprouts growing up that no one else did, either.

This is also a testament to the power of the parent who does most of the cooking. My mom didn’t like Brussels sprouts, so we didn’t eat them. I eat anything, so my boys pretty much get exposed to all kinds of food. More often than not, it’s one of them who doesn’t like something that is served. One in particular, I should say.

Back to Brussels sprouts… I eat them roasted with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. I want my boys to like them as well, so I found a simple recipe with everyone’s favorite ingredient: bacon.

Brookshire’s Bacon always cooks up crisply, with a bold, meaty flavor and beautiful, caramel color. It has a deep, rich flavor that showcases the meat, not the fat, and is versatile in any recipe.

After we tried this, I’m not sure one son was bowled over by Brussels sprouts, but he did eat the bacon.

Brookshire’s Bacon is on sale this week, and Brussels sprouts are at the peak of flavor. So, this quick, simple recipe should go on your menu list, for sure.

Bacon Brussels Sprouts Skewers

Ingredients:
1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts
1/2 lb Brookshire’s Bacon
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
wooden skewers

Directions:
Soak your wooden skewers in a shallow pan of water for at least 30 minutes before preparing this dish.

Trim ends off of fresh Brussels sprouts and remove loose leaves. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Separate bacon into strips. Thread one end of the bacon onto a skewer, and then place a Brussels sprout on the skewer. Wrap the bacon over one side of the sprout; thread through the skewer. The bacon will make an “S” pattern around the sprouts. Repeat until the skewer is full. Repeat with remaining sprouts and bacon.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place skewers on the grill for about 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and grill another 5 to 7 minutes. If the bacon is causing flare-ups, move to indirect heat and grill until browned and toasty and bacon is cooked through.

These can also be roasted in a 400° F oven for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 417, Calories from Fat: 280, Fat: 31 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 62 mg, Sodium: 1920 mg, Potassium: 786 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 25 g.

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Healthy Living: Fruit Salsa


Fruit SalsaOne of my very favorite things to bring to a summer cookout is fruit salsa.

It’s bright, it’s beautiful, and it’s so good for you. You can get an entire day’s serving of fruit in a few scoops of this delicious concoction.

Also, because it doesn’t have anything that can spoil, it’s great for an outside picnic or cookout.

We like to mix up the varieties of fruits we use, but we also use raspberry preserves to bind it all together. They’re our favorite. You can find the sugar-free variety at Brookshire’s to make it healthier, too.

We serve this with toasted cinnamon pitas, but you can also eat it on top of grilled meats or simply as a side salad with a spoon.

Fruit Salsa

Ingredients:
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 lemon
1 cup kiwi, diced
1 cup watermelon, diced
1 lb strawberries, stems and leaves removed then sliced
1/2 lb raspberries
1/2 lb blueberries
6 Tbs raspberry preserves

Directions:
Slice, dice and half all fruit; toss gently in a large bowl to mix.

Place lemon in microwave, and cook on high for 20 seconds. Roll lemon on the countertop, pressing with the heel of your hand. Slice down the middle horizontally; squeeze over the fruit. Add preserves, and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for several hours.

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 134, Calories from Fat: 6, Fat: 1 g, Sodium: 7 mg, Potassium: 302 mg, Carbohydrates: 33 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 22 g, Protein: 2 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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