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Healthy Living: Grilled Okra


My friend, Nicholas, sent me an excited text not too long ago.  “Hey – I have a great idea for your blog,” he said.  Well obviously I wanted his great idea, because if it excited him, it was bound to interest others.

“You know how most people fry okra,” his text continued, “Well I made a healthier version.”

I was all over this.  Do tell, I texted back.  I was especially curious because, I have to admit, okra has never been my favorite vegetable. I like it in gumbo, but beyond that I don’t really cook with it.

However, it’s super mega healthy and has a lot of great benefits, including (according to nutritionandyou.com):

• Okra is just 30 calories per 100 g and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. It is a rich source of dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins; often recommended by nutritionists in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
• The rich fiber and mucilaginous content in okra pods help in smooth peristalsis of digested food particles and relieve constipation condition.
• The pods contain healthy amounts of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as beta carotenes, xanthin and lutein. It is one of the green vegetables with highest levels of these anti-oxidants. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
• Fresh pods are the good source of folates; provide about 22% of RDA per 100 g. Consumption of foods rich in folates, especially during the pre-conception period helps decrease the incidence of neural tube defects in the offspring.
• The okra pods are also an excellent source of anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-C, providing about 36% of daily-recommended levels. Research suggests that consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop immunity against infectious agents, reduce episodes of cold and cough and protect the body from harmful free radicals.
• The veggies are rich in B-complex group of vitamins like niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. The pods also contain good amounts of vitamin K.  Vitamin K is a co-factor for blood clotting enzymes and is required for strengthening of bones.
• The pods are an also good source of many important minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium.

It didn’t take him long to text back, “I grilled it!”
Yum! What a great idea.

He sliced it in half lengthwise, then tossed it with a teeny bit of extra virgin olive oil, and slapped those babies on a grill over medium  heat.

I can’t wait to try it myself.



Shop the Sale: Northwest Gala Apples


I grew up not far from Charlottesville, Virginia, where Carter’s Mountain orchard is a stone’s throw from the homestead of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello.

There, in the shadow of the historic rotunda, is a family-owned orchard where you can pick your own apples in the fall and fill up on homemade cider and apple butter while your eyes feast on the palette of fall colors in the magnificent foliage.

One of the joys of picking your own apples is eating them fresh from the trees, with nothing more than a quick buff on your flannel shirt. The other is devouring the tasty treats you can make from apples.

Northwest Gala Apples are on sale at Brookshire’s this week. See what you can make with them.

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

Apple Butter Bread 

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine, melted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 pint (1 1/2 cup) apple butter, divided
1/2 cup apple juice
1 cup finely diced Northwest Gala apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 

Directions:
Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup apple butter, apple juice, margarine and egg. Fold in apples and walnuts. Pour half of the batter into prepared pan. Spread remaining 3/4 cup apple butter over batter. Gently pour remaining batter over apple butter. Bake at 350° F for 65 to 75 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched in center. Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan and continue cooling on rack. Makes 1 loaf. 

Nutritional Information: Calories 440; Calories from Fat 103; Cholesterol 20 mg;Sodium 318 mg;     Total Carbohydrates 81 g; Dietary Fiber3 g; Sugars 48 g; Protein 7 g

Recipe from Carter’s Mountain Orchard 



Healthy Living: The Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen


There’s been a lot of hype in the news the past two years over the “Clean 15” and the “Dirty Dozen.”

The Environmental Working Group (an organization of scientists, researchers and policymakers), has studied which fruits and vegetables are grown exposed to toxins such as pesticides.

They put together two lists, “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean 15,” to help consumers know when they should buy organic and when it is unnecessary. These lists were compiled using data from the United States Department of Agriculture on the amount of pesticide residue found in non-organic fruits and vegetables after they had been washed.

The Clean 15 are a list of fruits and vegetables that, when conventionally grown, bore little to no traces of pesticides, and is safe to consume in non-organic form. This list includes:

  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onions
  • onions

The Dirty Dozen tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals, with some testing positive for as many as 67. For produce on the “dirty” list, experts recommend that you buy organic produce, which should be pesticide free. The Dirty Dozen are:

  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce

Now that you know, it’ll help you make the choice between organic or non-organic when you’re doing your family’s grocery shopping.



Product Talk: Spicy Pumpkin Seeds


When picking your pumpkin for Halloween, you might want to select one that is just as delicious to eat as it is scary on your porch! Not surprising, the “Jack-O-Lantern” pumpkin is the perfect one for carving, and if you save the seeds, you can make these delicious Spicy Pumpkin Seeds!

Now I admit, it’s a lot of work to clean and shell those seeds, so you can just as easily pick them up at Brookshire’s – already ready to go!

Another helpful hint for cooking with pumpkins: Look for the “Sugar Pie” pumpkin to make the most delicious bread and pies this holiday season!

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

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:
1 tsp Food Club salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs Food Club olive oil
2 cups unsalted shelled raw pumpkin seeds
1 Tbs Food Club sugar

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix together salt and cayenne pepper; set aside. In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat oil. Add pumpkin seeds and cook for 5 minutes, or until evenly toasted. Seeds should pop. Sprinkle seeds evenly with sugar, salt mix and pepper; mix well. Transfer pumpkin seeds to baking sheet to cool. Serves 4.

Nutritional Information: Calories per serving:  417, Fat: 35 g, Cholesterol, 0 g, Sodium 594 mg, Carbohydrates 16 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 17 g.



Shop the Sale: Mushroom Risotto


Once upon a time, I was too scared to attempt to make risotto. 

The Italian rice dish of my dreams was supposed to be creamy, complex and time consuming. 

Admittedly, it is creamy. It is complex in its developed flavors and it does take some time to reduce the cooking liquids into a delicious bath of thick broth. But actually risotto is an amazingly simple dish with spectacular results. 

Harvest Club White Mushrooms are on sale at Brookshire’s this week. The addition of this simple ingredient elevates the flavors of risotto to angels-singing-at-the-gates-of-heaven proportions. While you do have to give yourself some time to bring this dish together, the minutes will be well spent. I promise. 

No fear involved. 

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

Mushroom Risotto
Serves 6 

Ingredients:
6 cups chicken broth, divided
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 lb portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 lb white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 Tbs finely chopped chives
4 Tbs butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.

Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutritional Information: Calories 654; Calories from Fat 176;Total Fat 20 g;Cholesterol 25 mg; Sodium 966 mg;Total Carbohydrates 85 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 29 g



Product Talk: Deli and Produce Platters


What do you get when 12 of your closest friends decide to move the football party to your house because the previous hostess had a plumbing leak?

Panic. That’s what you get. Sheer panic.

I know because this happened to me not too long ago.  Luckily, I had about 48 hours advance notice. Unluckily, about 46.5 of those hours were already committed to things other than party preparation.  That’s where Brookshire’s comes in. Let’s be honest: that’s where Brookshire’s saved my sanity.

A quick call to the closest store and I was not only in business, but would be proclaimed the hostess with the mostess after my friends saw the spread.  My secret? Deli and produce platters from your nearest Brookshire’s store.

I ordered the Fruit and Cheese explosion, a beautifully decorated platter chock full of baby Swiss, cheddar, Jackby and Muenster cheeses, green and red grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple and strawberries. It has a little something for everyone.

I also got the Drum Drums, where spicy chicken wing drumettes and crispy celery sticks are lined up and ready to be dipped in creamy ranch dressing.

To round off the meal, I ordered the Rounders, a tray piled high with slightly-sweet Hawaiian rolls filled with turkey breast, cooked ham, roast beef and yellow American cheese.

I could have also chosen from platters of fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, finger sandwiches, sandwiches on buttery croissants, snack wraps, salads, just meats and more. The options are endless and your deli staff can even work with you to create a custom offering.

“How did you pull this off?” my friends wondered.

Easy. Brookshire’s. 



Healthy Living: Back to School Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip


School has started and once again I face the annual challenge of reading, writing and arithmetic with my kids, plus the added test of providing them with a healthy, hearty lunch every day. 

I don’t know if your kids are like mine, but they’d eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every single day if I let them. Not that there’s anything wrong with peanut butter – it’s chock full of protein to keep their tummies full throughout the day, and it’s a good choice served on a whole grain bread – but honestly, I get bored making the same lunches day after day after day. I’ve started to swap out whole grain bread for whole grain pita pockets. The boys love ham and cheese in a pita pocket with mustard and they even make ‘mini’ pitas now so my boys don’t waste food (and there’s no crust on a pita so Luke can’t refuse to eat it!). They also like ‘mini meatball subs,’ meatballs and marinara with slices of provolone cheese in a whole grain bun. They don’t mind if they’re served cold. Sometimes we make our own “Lunchables” with whole grain crackers, slices of cheddar cheese and chunks of roasted chicken I have left over from a dinner. 

Getting a serving of fruit or vegetables into a lunch box is one of the most important parts of the meal, to me. My boys love bananas, clementine’s, grapes, strawberries, carrot sticks with hummus and, of course, apples. 

Last year I tried this delicious dip for apple slices, which soon became a big hit around our house – and in their lunch kits. 

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

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

One serving is about two ounces of dip and 1/2 cup fresh fruit

Ingredients:
4 oz honey flavored Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbs honey (use local honey if possible – it’s said to reduce histamines which cause allergy flare-ups)
2 Tbs of peanut butter
2 oz fat-free cream cheese, softened

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Chill in the refrigerator for 15+ minutes or serve immediately. Store in the refrigerator. 

Nutritional Information: Calories 145; Calories from Fat 86; Total Fat 10g; Cholesterol 17mg; Sodium 88mg; Total Carbohydrates 10g; Dietary Fiber 1g; Sugars 9g; Protein 6g



Shop the Sale: Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers


I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the fall. 

Cooler, crisp weather. Football games. Leaves crinkling underfoot. Delicious aromas wafting through the house after a day spent outside hiking. 

This recipe reminds me exactly of that. 

I love using ground turkey in slow cooked dishes. It stays a bit more tender than ground beef and positively melts in your mouth after a day in the slow cooker. The fall-colored peppers are even on sale this week, so you can stock up and freeze extras for another day. 

Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers (for the slow cooker)
Serves 4 

Ingredients:
4 hothouse grown bell peppers (red, gold or orange) tops removed and seeded
1/2 cup brown rice

20 oz lean ground turkey
1/2 cup black beans
1 cup flash frozen corn kernels
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbs cumin
28 oz canned tomatoes, divided and crushed 

Directions:
Remove tops from bell peppers, core and seed.  Cook rice according to package directions. Let cool slightly.  Combine turkey, beans, rice, corn, garlic and cumin. Mix with about 3/4 cup of the tomatoes. Stuff turkey mixture into peppers (you’ll probably have a bit extra). Place peppers in slow cooker. Top with rest of tomatoes. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. 

Nutritional Information: Calories: 614; Calories from fat: 189; Total Fat: 21 g; Cholesterol: 145 mg; Sodium: 172 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 57 g; Dietary Fiber: 11 g; Sugars: 12 g; Protein: 50 g. 



Shop the Sale: Pork and Apple Tagine


I’ve been breaking my former rule of ‘no fruit and meat together’ more and more frequently these days and let me just tell you, it’s quite liberating. Why did I resist the delicious combination of fruits and meats for so long? 

I’ve been making up for lost time and this recipe, which combines two items on sale at Brookshire’s this week: Hormel Boneless Pork Tenderloin Roast and Royal Gala Apples. 

As soon as I read this recipe, I knew I had to try it. It reminds me of fall and is perfect for back-to-school. Don’t be intimidated by the word “tagine,” either. A tagine is simply an earthenware vessel popular in Africa and used to cook stews such as this one. Don’t worry if you don’t have one. I don’t either. I simply used a large stock pot. 

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

Pork and Apple Tagine
Serves 4

Source:  Recipe from Aussie Apples 

Ingredients:
400 g Hormel Boneless Pork Tenderloin
1 Tbs plain flour
2 tsp olive oil
2 red onions, cut into 6 wedges
1 bunch baby (or Dutch) carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 1/2 cups low salt vegetable stock
2  Granny Smith apples
2 Royal Gala apples 

Directions:
Cut the pork fillet into strips. Place flour in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper. Dip the pork into the flour, so it’s lightly coated. Shake off any excess flour. Heat olive oil in a flameproof casserole dish, over a medium-high heat. Once heated, add the pork in small batches and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until browned on all sides. Transfer browned pork to a plate and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium – low. Add the onions and carrots to the pan and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pork and spices to the pan and cook for a further 30 seconds, until all the ingredients are coated with the spices. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, place the lid on top and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Cut the apples into quarters and remove the core (leave the skin on). Add apple to the pork and vegetables. Stir gently and then replace the lid. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes, until the pork is cooked through.

Remove the cloves and cinnamon stick. Serve the apple and pork tagine with a large green salad and couscous.

Nutritional Information: Calories 250; Calories from Fat: 54; Total Fat: 6.0 g; Cholesterol: 54 mg; Sodium: 571 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 33 g; Dietary Fiber: 7 g; Sugars: 21 g; Protein: 21 g



Healthy Living: Cauliflower Poppers


Today is my younger son’s birthday. And in honor of the day, I asked him what his favorite healthy food was.

I expected him to try to rationalize how deep-dish-pepperoni-double-cheese pizza was his healthy favorite.

To my surprise, he did not.

He named his favorite vegetable: cauliflower.

I should have known as cauliflower is one of MY favorite vegetables and I steamed and pureed it for him, as a baby, by the pound.

Cauliflower only contains about 26 calories per cup and is very low in fat and contains no cholesterol. One cup contains two grams of dietary fiber and several anti cancer phyto-chemicals like sulforaphane and plant sterols such as indole-3-carbinol which appears to function as an anti-estrogen agent. Together these compounds fight against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers .

Fresh cauliflower is excellent source of vitamin C; and contains good amounts of many essential B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, vitamin B5, B8,B1 and B3 as well as vitamin K. It is also good source of minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, calcium and potassium. 

Luke’s Favorite Balsamic and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
Serves 4

Ingredients:
8 cups 1-inch-thick slices cauliflower florets, (about 1 large head)
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F.

Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more.

Nutritional Information: Calories 149; Fat 10g; Cholesterol 7mg; Carbohydrates 10 g; Protein 7g; Fiber 4g; Sodium 364 mg; Potassium 490 mg.



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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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