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Product Talk: Local Produce Salad


Tomato, Cucumber and Onion SaladWe are lucky enough to live in the South, where summer produce is as plentiful as hot days and sultry nights.

Near the Brookshire’s headquarters in Tyler, Texas, we are doubly-blessed to have two of my favorite products on hand all summer: Jacksonville tomatoes and Noonday onions.

Both are sweet, juicy and can almost be eaten straight out of the fields. Jacksonville even hosts a tomato festival each year, with tomato-eating contests, cooking contests, a street dance, vendors and a showcase of the season’s best fruits.

I like combining the two products with a few other fresh ingredients to make a simple, but hugely flavorful, salad.

Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad

Ingredients:
4 large local tomatoes, diced
2 large local sweet onions, diced
4 large local cucumbers, sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
Combine all chopped fruits and vegetables in a large bowl. Whisk red wine vinegar with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. Refrigerate until chilled.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 90, Calories from Fat: 45, Fat: 5 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (0.7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 397 mg, Potassium: 454 mg, Carbohydrates: 11.1 g, Fiber: 2.7 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 2 g



Product Talk: StarKist Solid White Albacore Tuna


StarKist Solid White Albacore TunaI go through phases with tuna.

I love it, or I avoid it like the plague.

I only avoid it because, let’s be honest, it is rather aromatic and not the best choice to bring for lunch in a small, enclosed office space with multiple co-workers. Hey, I’m perfectly fine with it, but after my desk buddy asked several times what it was I had for lunch, I got the hint.

However, I love tuna.

StarKist Solid White Albacore Tuna is one of my favorite things to eat for lunch.

Each can is two servings (or one, if you’re me) and contains 100 calories, 10 grams of fat, 300 milligrams of potassium, no carbohydrates and 24 grams of protein.

You have to admit, that trumps the fragrance.

I don’t mix my tuna with anything; I just drain the can and pile it on top of raw baby spinach leaves with cucumbers, tomatoes, green olives and pine nuts.

Crazy delicious.

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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

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



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

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



Product Talk: Cream Peas


Cream PeasWhen I started dating Paul, grill master extraordinaire, he introduced me to purple hull peas. I wondered where they’d been all my life (Paul and the peas, that is).

He kept telling me that if I loved purple hull peas, then I’d REALLY LOVE cream peas.

The whole concept was strange to me. These little nuggets of deliciousness are called peas, but they taste more like beans with a more velvety texture.

The promised cream peas just came back into season, and I saw a bag in Brookshire’s yesterday, locally sourced from Canton, Texas. I snapped up a bag, thinking there was no way the two of us would eat all of them.

Think again.

Cream peas are now the other love of my life.

They’re so simple to prepare. I diced some bacon and sautéed it until it was almost brown. I threw in the peas, tossed them in the rendered bacon, and then filled the pan with water. (I also added salt and pepper.) I brought them to a boil, reduced the heat and let them simmer for about 90 minutes.

I can’t wait to have them again.

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Product Talk: Seagram’s Ginger Ale


Seagram’s Ginger AleGinger ale was one of those things that my mom would give me to sip when I was sick, room temperature of course, because that made your tummy feel better in a hurry.

Ginger ale does have great digestive properties (it’s the ginger), but as an adult, it’s a great beverage to sip even when you’re feeling great.

Light, crisp and refreshing, Seagram’s Ginger Ale has set the standard for the product across all brands.

Of course, this summer my guys have liked to jazz it up a bit! Lime sherbet ginger ale floats have been all the rage in our house!

Quick and simple, you can sip one on the porch in a matter of minutes!

Fresh Lime Sherbet Float

Ingredients:
4 fresh limes
4 scoops lime sherbet
4 cups Seagram’s Ginger Ale, chilled

Directions:
To make each float, squeeze juice from a lime into a glass. Top with a scoop of sherbet, then finish it off with ginger ale. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 260, Calories from Fat: 10, Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (0.5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 5 mg, Sodium: 66 mg, Potassium: 68 mg, Carbohydrates: 64 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 53 g, Protein: 2 g

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



Product Talk: Imperial Powdered Sugar


Peanut Butter Fudge PiecesThe way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, as the old saying goes, and my sweetheart has a sweet tooth!

Occasionally, I’ll make him a treat like this Peanut Butter Fudge that I cooked up a few weeks ago (there’s another batch cooling in the refrigerator right now, unbeknownst to him!). He claims he ate it until his hands started shaking from the sugar intake, and it was only then that he shared some with a co-worker. While I don’t want to send him into diabetic shock, I do love the compliment that he devoured the fudge.

He’s sweet enough without fudge, but if you want to sweet talk your sweetie with this culinary conversation, try this super easy recipe. It comes together in a flash using Imperial Powdered Sugar from Brookshire’s. My advice would be to weigh the sugar instead of measuring it, but a level amount will work just as well.

Peanut Butter Fudge Pieces

Ingredients:
8 oz unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tsp Mexican vanilla
1 lb Imperial Powdered Sugar

Directions:
Combine the butter and peanut butter in a 4-quart, microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 2 minutes on high setting. Stir and microwave on high setting for 2 more minutes. (Use caution when removing this mixture from the microwave; it will be very hot.) Add the vanilla and powdered sugar to the peanut butter mixture, and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. The mixture will become hard to stir and lose its sheen. Spread into a buttered 8 by 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Fold the excess parchment paper so it covers the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 206, Calories from Fat: 118, Fat: 13 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 20 mg, Sodium: 56 mg, Potassium: 72 mg, Carbohydrates: 21 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 19 g, Protein: 3 g

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



Product Talk: Brown Cow


Brown CowI don’t know why I like the Brown Cow company packaging but I do. It makes me smile every time I go into Brookshire’s.

I think maybe it’s because my mom used to have this ceramic creamer in the shape of a brown cow. She’d sometimes fill it with milk and let us serve ourselves from it on weekend mornings. We’d fight over who got to use the cow first, of course, and we’d fight over who the cow got to “sit” next to at the kitchen table.

So, the Brown Cow makes me happy.

Brown Cow also makes yogurt lovers happy.

According to the Brown Cow website, “Back in 1973, two self-proclaimed hippies in Ithaca, New York, embraced the idea of “homesteading” and bought a Jersey cow to provide milk for their family. Like all Jerseys, this brown cow, named Lily, made extra-rich and creamy milk. From that milk, her family began making small batches of extra-rich and creamy yogurt, which they shared and sold. And so, Brown Cow Yogurt was born.”

The website also states that “by 1983, Brown Cow had grown a lot and was making its yogurt in both Ithaca, NY and Petaluma, Calif. In 1989, the Ford family bought the company and moved all of its operations to Antioch, California. By 2003, the Fords sold the company that year to the New Hampshire-based yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm. Like Brown Cow, Stonyfield had a long history of environmental stewardship, promoting family farms and making wholesome, delicious yogurts.”

Brown Cow Yogurt is non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher and made with live-active cultures.

Try them all today – my favorite is the pomegranate berry!



Product Talk: Daiya Deliciously Dairy-Free, Cheddar-Style Shreds


Daiya Deliciously Dairy-Free, Cheddar-Style ShredsI think I’ve mentioned before that I have a son with autism.

Back when he was being diagnosed and we were beginning our journey in the world of the neurotypical 10 years ago, there was a lot of advice out there about dietary plans for children on the autism spectrum.

The gluten-free, dairy-free diet was the biggest one, the theory having something to do with leaky gut and intestinal issues that cause children to process foods differently, adversely affecting the way their brains process information. So many of my friends with children on the autism spectrum had tried it with great success.

However, back in those days, the gluten-free, dairy-free products on the market weren’t…let’s say…the tastiest. We loved our family tradition of pizza on Friday nights. Well, let me just tell you, 10 years ago, gluten-free, dairy-free pizza wasn’t the most delightful way to end a week.

All that has changed with products like Daiya Deliciously Dairy-Free, Cheddar-Style Shreds and other cheeses.

All Daiya products are dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free.

They mimic the texture and taste of regular cheese beyond the shadow of a doubt, but still with the dairy-free promise.

Swap it out for your cheese products today and see what lactose-free living is all about, without sacrificing taste and texture.



Product Talk: Brookshire’s Jumbo Flaky Homestyle Biscuits


Brookshire’s Jumbo Flaky Homestyle BiscuitsTo say my boys love biscuits is a total and complete understatement.

I recently made the perfect batch of biscuits. They were light, fluffy, airy and delicious. I slaved over them one Saturday morning. Did the boys eat them? No.

No, they did not. They wanted Brookshire’s biscuits instead.

Admittedly, Brookshire’s Jumbo Flaky Homestyle Biscuits are just as good as the ones I spent a good amount of time working on in the wee hours of a weekend morning. Better even, because getting up at 5am is not required.

They are light, fluffy, airy and delicious! My boys love pulling apart the layers, dripping with butter. Best of all, they’re simple to prepare. Just preheat the oven, open the can and voila! Bake. I like baking mine in a cast iron skillet. I melt about one tablespoon of butter in the skillet as it heats, until it’s bubbly and browning. Then, I pull the skillet out of the oven, add the biscuits, put it back in the oven and bake according to package directions. You’ll get a beautifully golden crust on the bottom of your biscuits.



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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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