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Product Talk: Going Gluten Free


A lot of people these days are finding they are intolerant to gluten. Others are just avoiding it because they feel better without it.

Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.

People with Celiac’s disease cannot process gluten and it causes all kinds of distress for their systems.

Luckily, the number of gluten-free products available at Brookshire’s these days is phenomenal.

This is a quick and easy snack recipe to make with a gluten-free product you can find on any grocery store shelf.

Gluten-Free Ginger Rice Crunch
Serves: 24

Ingredients:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger or cardamom
6 cups Rice Chex cereal (gluten-free)
1 cup dried banana chips
1 cup unblanched whole almonds
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries or dried pineapple

Directions:
Heat oven to 250° F. Spray large roasting pan with cooking spray. In 1-quart saucepan, heat brown sugar, butter, honey and ginger to boiling. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
Into roasting pan, mix cereal, banana chips, almonds and coconut. Stir in brown sugar mixture until evenly coated.

Bake 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper or foil; cool about 15 minutes. Place in serving bowl; stir in cranberries. Store in airtight container.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 140, Calories from Fat: 70, Total Fat: 7 g, Cholesterol: 5 mg, Sodium: 85 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 18 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 10 g, Protein: 2g

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PRODUCT TALK: ASIAN PEARS


Walking through Brookshire’s last weekend, I spotted something I’d never seen, or heard of, before. And for me, that’s saying a lot. After all, I do eat voraciously. Wait! Did I say “eat?” I meant READ. I READ voraciously.

Ahem.

That little slip aside, the Asian pear is a sight to behold. Rounder than a traditional green pear, with a nutty-colored skin, the Asian pear has a texture more like an apple but a mild, subtle flavor.

The Asian pear is native to northern China but also grown in Japan.

A good-quality Asian pear is selected by smell rather than variations in firmness. Unlike other pears that yield to gentle pressure when ripe, Asian pears are ripe even when they are extremely firm. Select by their strong and sweet aroma. Asian pears, like green pears, are delicate and bruise easily. Ripen in a cool, dark place or refrigerate for a few days. They are meant to be eaten crunchy, not soft.

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Product Talk: Bacon


Bacon has reached cult status these days. It seems everywhere I look someone else is pledging their love to the salty strips of pork – even in chocolate!

You can find bacon salt at the grocery store, and I’ve seen some funny bacon bandages at a novelty gift shop in the mall. Nothing like covering your child’s cut with a “strip of bacon” to help wipe away the tears. 

I recently enjoyed this Pecan Sugared Bacon at a baby shower. I’ve had it before with brown sugar, but not with the wonderful addition of pecans. It is deliciously addictive, so consider yourself warned! 

Pecan Sugared Bacon 

Ingredients:
2 Tbs finely chopped pecans
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
10-12 thick-cut bacon slices  

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Mix pecans, brown sugar and pepper.  Lay bacon slice on mixture and press into one side only. Lay in a single layer on a lightly greased wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined baking pan (sugar side up). Press pecan mixture as needed on bacon slices. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut slices into desired lengths.



Product Talk: Parsnips


Parsnips might be one of those vegetables you overlook in the store or you’re not quite sure how to prepare it. So you slide by it in the produce section, trying not to make eye contact. 

But parsnips, a root vegetable, shouldn’t be passed over. They’re related to the carrot, but much paler in color and have a sweeter taste, especially when you cook them (I’m not a fan of the raw parsnip myself).

They can be boiled, roasted or used in stews, soups and casseroles.

In some cases, the parsnip is boiled and the solid portions are removed from the soup or stew, leaving behind a more subtle flavor than the whole root, and starch to thicken the dish. 


Find these in season in your local Brookshire’s right now!
 

Parsnip Fries with Rosemary
Serves 6 

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lbs parsnips or carrots, peeled, cut into about three 1/2 inch strips
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 5 sprigs rosemary
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 Tbs olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp (or more) ground cumin 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450° F. Mix parsnips, chopped rosemary, garlic, and oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread out in a single layer. Scatter rosemary sprigs over.

Roast for 10 minutes; turn parsnips and roast until parsnips are tender and browned in spots, 10-15 minutes longer. Crumble leaves from rosemary sprigs over; discard stems and toss to coat. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cumin, if desired.

Nutritional information: Calories: 180, Calories from Fat: 55, Fat: 11 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg,Carbohydrates: 20 g,Dietary Fiber: 6 g, Sugars: 10 g, Protein:  2 g, Sodium: 140 mg



Product Talk: Eggnog


My favorite night of the entire year is Christmas Eve.

To me, it’s better than Christmas morning – the anticipation of the birth of Christ and the festivities of the next day practically charge the air with electricity. I love leaving evening church services and coming home to a big meal – it’s traditionally lasagna in my house – and wrangling the kids to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Then, of course, it’s time to wait for Jolly Old St. Nick to bound down the chimney.

While you’re waiting, you can indulge in a treat we really only see once a year — eggnog.

Eggnog is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Brandy, rum, whisky, bourbon, Kahlúa, vodka, or a combination of liquors are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.

Here’s one eggnog recipe my family has enjoyed at Christmas Eve gatherings. Purchase pre-made eggnog from the dairy case at Brookshire’s to get you started.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Golden Blizzard Eggnog

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups eggnog
2 shots Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps
2 shots Arrow peppermint schnapps

Directions:
Add the shots of Goldschlager and Arrow to a mason jar, then fill with eggnog. Shake and pour into 2 cups.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 505,Calories from Fat: 128, Cholesterol: 112 mg, Sodium: 103 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 42 g, Sugars: 33 g, Protein: 7 g.

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

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Product Talk: Passion for Pomegranates


Pomegranates are considered one of nature’s “super foods,” thanks to the cancer- and disease-fighting properties of their juicy seeds. And this time of year, pomegranates make a powerful, delicious addition to your wintertime diet – whether you drink the juice or enjoy a snack of pomegranate seeds (which are completely edible).

A ripe pomegranate feels fairly heavy when you pick it up. You want to choose one that is not pale in color; Look for dark or bright red firm skin. And be sure to eat it as soon as you open the pomegranate. It’s easy for this super fruit to dry out, which won’t taste the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.

One of my favorite pomegranate recipes pairs the taste (and nutrition) of the fruit with toasted walnuts in a wonderful winter salad. It’s colorful and beautiful on your plate, not to mention great tasting and great for you!

Enjoy!

Winter Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranates

For the vinaigrette

Ingredients:
2 tsp shallots, chopped
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp thyme, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste 

For the salad
Ingredients:
2 lbs mixed salad greens
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and julienned
1/4 lb blue cheese
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:
To prepare the vinaigrette, place the shallot, vinegar, mustard and thyme in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Place salad greens, apples and blue cheese in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Add half the pomegranate seeds and walnuts, then toss again. Sprinkle the remaining seeds and walnuts over the salad. Serves 6.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 529, Fat: 40 g, Sodium: 347 mg, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Protein: 0 g, Fiber: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 g

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



Product Talk: Hominy


I never had hominy until I made a cooking mistake. In a hurry at the grocery store one night, I grabbed hominy off the shelf instead of the ingredient I needed for a soup. When I got home and realized my mistake, it was too late to run back to the store and get the correct ingredient.

I opened the can of  hominy, drained it, fished out a piece and popped it in my mouth.“This will do,” I thought, and emptied the can into my soup. It was a hit.

Hominy is essentially kernels of corn which are soaked in an alkali solution of either lime or lye.

The corrosive nature of the solution removes the hull and germ of the corn and causes the grain itself to puff up to about twice its normal size. It’s safe to eat, don’t worry!

Hominy can be made with either white or yellow corn, specifically maize, which is the type of corn used in making cornmeal and other grain products. Hominy can be ground into grits or used in soups, stews, casseroles, baking and breakfast dishes.

I love the taste and texture. Softer than corn, but chewier than a potato or pasta, hominy adds a texture to soups and stews that I find very appealing.

Hominy generally comes in a can. This is even better because this is the last week to participate in the Brookshire’s 2012 Spirit of Christmas Food Drive. Customers can help by donating non-perishable food items in the designated bin or by purchasing a scan coupon at checkstands in our stores. All contributions will go to the food drive. Brookshire’s partners with service organizations and volunteers to provide a box of food for local households screened by local agencies. In addition, our company matches each box with a free baking hen. 

So when you’re in Brookshire’s this week, grab a can of hominy for you, and one for the food drive.

Pork and Hominy Chili
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 tsp canola oil
8 oz boneless center-cut pork chops, trimmed and cubed
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tsp bottled minced garlic
1 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 cup no-salt-added tomato paste
1 (15.5 oz) can golden hominy, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 oz) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup light sour cream

Directions:
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chili powder and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper). Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in tomato paste, hominy, tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 238, Fat: 8 g, Protein: 18 g, Carbohydrate: 25 g, Fiber: 5 g, Cholesterol: 33 mg, Iron: 2 mg, Sodium: 650 mg, Calcium: 61 mg

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Product Talk: Candy Cane Christmas


Candy canes and Christmas go hand in hand. The red and white striped delights are everywhere during the holiday season — in chocolate bark, marshmallows, milkshakes, coffee and most anywhere else you can imagine a sprinkling of crushed Christmas candy canes! 

One of my favorite Christmas cookies has a peppermint flavor, both in the cookie and the delicious icing. I first had this cookie decades ago at a neighborhood Christmas cookie exchange, and it was like no other cookie I had eaten before. I was delighted to get the recipe and to be able to share it with you! 

The addition of oats might sound a bit heavy with peppermint, but it gives the cookie a bit of depth and texture you don’t find in a regular sugar cookie. And the “drizzle” icing is foolproof for people who, like me, always have trouble making decorated Christmas cookies look like you see in all the food magazines. A drizzle works every time! 

Enjoy and Merry Christmas! 

Peppermint Rounds
Makes 36 

Ingredients:

COOKIE:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup regular oats
1/3 cup hard peppermint candy, crushed 

ICING:
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
Dash of salt
1/4-1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tsp peppermint extract
Red food coloring 

Directions:
Beat butter at medium speed until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg and vanilla, beating well. Combine flour and salt; add to butter mixture. Stir in oats and candy. Cover and chill 1 hour. Divide dough in half. Roll each portion to 1/8-inch thick on surface dusted with powdered sugar. Cut with 2-inch cookie cutter; place on greased, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350° F for 8 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool. 

For the icing combine powdered sugar and salt. Add half-and-half to desired consistency. Add extract. Remove 1/4 cup icing and stir in 1 to 2 drops of food coloring for pink color. 

Spread cookies with white icing. Before icing sets, drizzle lines of pink icing across the top of each cookie.   

Nutritional Information:  Calories Per Serving: 165, Total Fat: 6 g, Sodium: 81 mg, Carbohydrates: 27 g, Protein: 2 g



Product Talk: Brookshire’s Bacon


I’ve tried a lot of bacon in my day (Who hasn’t? Just admit it!) and hands down, Brookshire’s brand original sliced,  hickory smoked is my favorite. 

It crisps nicely when cooked, either in the microwave or on the stovetop, it’s not too salty, it’s full of hickory flavor and it doesn’t tend to burn. 

I could probably write 97,351 blog posts using bacon, but this is one I made last week and my family has already asked for it again. 

It combines the flavor of a jalapeño popper with chicken and, of course, bacon. The traditional jalapeño “popper” is a deep-fried, breaded jalapeño stuffed with cream cheese. This take on it makes a mouthwatering meal that would be great for a family dinner or  a special occasion. 

Jalapeño Popper Chicken 
Serves 4 

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/3-inch
4 oz cream cheese
4 oz cheddar cheese
2 jalapeño peppers, diced
1 Tbs hot sauce
12 strips Brookshire’s Original Sliced, Hickory Smoked Bacon
Toothpicks 

Directions:
Pound chicken breasts until they are about 1/3-inch thick.  Soften cream cheese. Add cheddar, jalapeño and hot sauce. Mix well.

Place about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture on one end of chicken. Roll chicken around filling. Wrap chicken with three slices of bacon, secure with a toothpick. 

Bake at 400° F for 25 to 30 minutes (I had to finish mine under the broiler to “crisp” the bacon).

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 614, Calories from Fat: 366 g, Total Fat: 41 g,Saturated Fat: 20 g, Cholesterol: 213 mg, Sodium: 1069 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 2 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 58 g.

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Product Talk: Cranberries


It’s cranberry season, and it’s time to try something new with these deliciously healthy berries! Most of us stick to our tried-and-true cranberry sauces and relishes for holiday meals, but this delicious Jalapeno Cranberry Salsa combines some of the best flavors I know to make a wonderful chunky salsa. You could easily use it as the relish for your turkey and dressing too!

And if you want to feel even better about adding real cranberries to your diet, scientific research shows that cranberries and cranberry products contain significant amounts of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Enjoy!

Jalapeno Cranberry Salsa
Makes 8 appetizer servings

Ingredients:
3 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 medium red onion, quartered
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and halved (use less for milder flavor)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
Dash kosher salt

Directions:
Place all ingredients in food processor. Pulse 8 times, until coarsely chopped. Scrape sides of bowl midway through pulses. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Tastes great served with sweet potato chips!

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 86, Total Fat: 0 g, Sodium 114 mg, Carbohydrates 23 g, Protein: 0 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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