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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.



Healthy Living: Fatoush


Back in the late 1990s, when I lived in Germany, one of my very best friends there was from Lebanon. We were part of a close-knit group who spent more time together than apart.

Once a month we had a supper club at someone’s apartment. I always loved it when Paula hosted because she’d make the most exotic foods. Creamy baba ganoush, sweet and savory ma’amoul, dishes full of roasted nuts, decadent baklava and my favorite, fatoush. The names of the dishes would roll off her tongue as perfectly as the food tasted.

Fatoush is a wonderfully light and flavorful salad whose ingredients celebrate the end of summer. Serve this for an exotic twist at your next backyard barbecue. It’s also a great answer to “eat more vegetables.”

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

Fatoush
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup red bell peppers, sliced into strips
1 cup yellow bell peppers, sliced into strips
1 cup peeled cucumbers, thinly sliced
4 vine ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch wedges
1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
3 Tbs finely chopped mint
3 Tbs finely chopped parsley
3 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp high quality olive oil
2 tsp lemons, juice of
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pita breads, to serve

Directions:
Place the bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, mint, parsley and cilantro in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the garlic with the olive oil and lemon juice.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly to mix.

Toast the pita breads in a toaster until crisp and crumble on top of salad. Serve immediately or prepare ahead and add pita right before serving.

Nutritional Information: Calories 154; Calories from Fat 27; Total Fat 3g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 172 mg; Total Carbohydrate 28g; Dietary Fiber 4g; Sugars 7 g; Protein 5g



Shop the Sale: Pear and Walnut Salad


One of my first loves was blue cheese. Strange, I know, for a child to fall in love with stinky cheese. But as soon as I tasted it, I was hooked. One of my all time favorite salads uses blue cheese with walnuts, fresh greens and succulent, ripe pears. The sweet, savory and tangy combines for an amazing umami.

Bartlett pears are in season right now. Buy them when they’re firm and green. As they ripen, their skin will begin to yellow and the flesh begins to soften. I prefer them when they’re somewhere in between. They have to yield to the touch, but not be mushy.

Serve this salad with balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette.

Pear, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 (10-oz) bag Fresh Express Salads
2 medium Bartlett pears, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup blue cheese

Directions:
Toss all salad ingredients. Top with balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette. 

Nutritional Information: Calories 224; Calories from Fat 128; Total Fat 14 g; Cholesterol 13mg; Sodium 287mg; Total Carbohydrates 18g; Dietary Fiber 5g; Sugars 8g; Protein 10g



Shop the Sale: Stuffed Baked Potatoes


A staple meal of my college days and early single life was the baked potato.

I could toss them in the oven or microwave and forget about them while they baked and they’d emerge fluffy, light, steamy and delicious. I’d top them with broccoli and cheese, sour cream and cheese, butter and cheese, or basically anything with cheese.

These days, I still love making baked potatoes a meal, but I try to avoid the cheese. And the sour cream.  And the butter. A baked potato is high in carbohydrates and vitamin C, but I try not to add a lot of extra fat with (admittedly delicious) dairy products.  I also make sure to eat the skin of the potato, which is super-high in potassium, something that helps alleviate the symptoms of my restless leg syndrome and helps your muscles recover more quickly after a workout.

Russet potatoes are on sale at Brookshire’s this week. Stuffed with this vitamin-laden and colorful salsa, they are an easy meal in itself. Almost all the ingredients are on sale, so take advantage of this in-season special this week. The salsa is almost meatless, but the bacon imparts a nice, smoky flavor and adds depth to the meal. You won’t even miss the butter.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 large Russet potatoes
4 strips Wrights’s brand smoked bacon, cooked crisp
1 medium yellow squash, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 Hot House orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 Honey Sweet Yellow onion, diced
1 cup Bird’s Eye Steamfresh corn, lightly steamed
3/4 cup Pace Picante Sauce

Directions:
Scrub Russet potatoes. Prick with a sharp knife and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender.

While potatoes are baking, cook bacon. Reserve drippings for another use. Crumble bacon in a large bowl.

Add zucchini, squash, corn, onion, pepper and picante sauce. Stir to mix. Serve on top of the baked potato, fresh out of the oven. 

Nutritional Information: Calories 403; Calories from Fat 64; Total Fat 7.1g; Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 645mg; Total Carbohydrates 74.9g; Dietary Fiber 12.7g; Sugars 12.6g; Protein 12.0g



Healthy Living: Eggplant


Ever since the days my mom cut eggplant into strips and fried it and told me they were French fries, I’ve been in love with the majestically dark purple vegetable.

Truth be told, she probably never had to trick me into eating eggplant; I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love it. My brothers and sisters, on the other hand, were probably a different story.

Not only is eggplant delicious, but it’s good for you too. Eggplant is a great source of dietary fiber. One cup of cubed eggplant has 2.8 g of dietary fiber, or 8 percent of the recommended daily intake. Dietary fiber soaks up water in the digestive track, helping slow the intestines from absorbing starch and sugar. The delayed absorption helps lower cholesterol and sugar levels, ultimately preventing heart disease and stroke, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Eggplant is rich in several B vitamins, including B1, B3 and B6, which help your body convert carbohydrates into usable energy by helping to break down fats and proteins. It’s also full of magnesium, manganese and potassium. One of the best parts! It’s essentially fat and cholesterol free (as long as you don’t fry it!). 

This is one of my favorite things to do with eggplant – I use it as a topping for pasta or just eat it as is. It’s delicious either way. 

Eggplant, Roma Tomato and Red Onion Ragu 

Serves 4 

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
5 Roma tomatoes
1 large red onion
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs fresh spicy oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup goat cheese

Directions:
Wash eggplant thoroughly. Slice into 3/4-inch rounds. Spread the rounds on paper towels and salt liberally (don’t worry about using too much salt; you’ll be rinsing it off). 

Eggplant holds a lot of water that can result in an end-product that is spongy from too much moisture. The salt sucks the excess water out of the eggplant before you cook it.

Let the salted eggplant sit for between 10 and 20 minutes.  It will start to sweat. 

After 20 minutes, rinse the salt from the eggplant and pat dry. Dice.

In the meantime, dice your Roma tomatoes. Cut your red onions into chunks. They don’t have to be pretty.

Chop fresh spicy oregano. This is my most favorite herb of late and I grow it in my herb garden. It smells good and tastes delicious. Just enough heat for any dish.

Toss oregano with eggplant, tomatoes and red onions.  Drizzle your veggies with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bake at 325 F for about an hour, stirring about every 15 minutes.  The vegetables will get nice and caramelized. 

Serve over pasta, as a side dish or as a topping for chicken or other meats. Top with goat cheese. 

Nutritional Information: Calories 150; Calories from Fat 79; Total Fat 8.8g; Cholesterol 3mg Sodium 38mg; Total Carbohydrates 16.2g; Dietary Fiber 6.4g; Sugars 8.4g; Protein 4.2g



Dine-In: Super Foods on a Friday Night


During the sweltering temperatures of August, the last thing I want to do is add more heat with my stove or oven! And on a Friday night after a long work week, I’m looking for something to feed my family that’s cool, quick and hopefully still healthy for our bodies. 

“Super foods” are foods that contain multiple disease-fighting nutrients. And How you feed your brain is at the center of most every human function, and how you eat may be the single-most effective tool you have to control weight, fight mental illness and live longer. 

Our spinach salad is filled with foods that are optimal for super brain power. Feed your brain, feed your body! We make our salad with baby spinach, boiled eggs, berries, salmon, walnuts and a curry vinaigrette – all “super” foods that are known to help your brain function at its best. Your body, mind and taste buds will thank you! 

Super-Food Spinach Salad 

For the salad
Ingredients:
2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
2 Tbs dried cranberries
1 6-oz salmon filet
Olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 boiled egg, halved 

For the dressing
Ingredients:
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs curry powder
2 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

Directions:
For the dressing, combine white wine, curry powder, honey, salt, and pepper and blend. Add olive oil. Blend well to combine.

For the salmon, place the salmon fillet on a large plate and brush with olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Put the salmon fillet on hottest part of the grill or in a nonstick skillet heated on medium-high heat, starting with the skinless side down. Grill for about 5 to 10 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness.

To serve, place spinach leaves on plate. Sprinkle walnuts and berries over. Place salmon in center and egg halves on each side. Drizzle dressing over and serve immediately (will have dressing left over). Serves one. 

Nutritional Information:  Calories Per Serving: 670, Total Fat: 64 g, Saturated Fat: 8.1 g, Sodium 1567 mg, Carbohydrates15.3, Fiber: 5.3g, Protein: 15.3 g.

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Posted in: Dine In, Produce


PRODUCT TALK: Blueberry Crumble


Blueberries are bursting with flavor and are in peak season across the South right now.

When my boys were younger, we’d go pick blueberries straight from the bushes, eating as many as we bagged to bring home (blueberry bushes are naturally insect repellent, so farmers rarely use pesticides on them and you can eat while you pick). These days, I live within walking distance of a Brookshire’s store, so at the beginning of the summer, I walk straight to the store and buy pints of the beautiful, juicy berries.

One of my favorite things to make with them is a blueberry crumble. I have to admit, I love the brown sugar crust almost as much as the sweet, gooey filling. My mom had the best crumble recipe. In fact, I remember emailing her, asking for it, the day before I ran my first staff meeting as the supervisor to three other employees, some 11 years ago. I planned to serve it warm, with a healthy dose of re-organization.

She emailed back the recipe, adding, “You’re a good boss, Amy.”

I didn’t know about all that. My strategy was to earn my way into their professional hearts through their stomachs. It must have worked; we remain friends to this day and when I left the company some time later, they all paid me kind compliments that had nothing to do with my culinary skills. Apparently the Blueberry Crumble – or the massive reorganization of the department – must not have been too bad. 

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

BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE 

Ingredients:
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 Tbs lemon juice
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup quick oats
1/3 cup butter
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
Spread blueberries in square, 8 x8 baking dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix remaining ingredients, sprinkle over berries.

Heat oven to 375 F. Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is light brown and berries are hot. Delicious served warm with whipped cream or ice cream.



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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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