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Product Talk: Valencia In-Shell Peanuts


Valencia In-Shell PeanutsLast weekend, Paul and I were puttering around in our usual flurry of Sunday afternoon activity, trying to get our ducks in a row before the beginning of the work week. Generally, we’ll only eat one big meal on Sundays, but we will snack while we’re waiting (and puttering).

Last Sunday, Paul grabbed a bag of Cajun peanuts in the shell when we stopped by Brookshire’s after church to pick up something for dinner.

We tore through those things.

What was especially delicious about the peanuts was that the flavor and the salt weren’t just on the shell, they were infused into the peanuts. We ruminated over the method used to make this happen, and then we just Googled it. I love to Google.

Brookshire’s also sells Valencia In-Shell Peanuts in the produce department. These nuts are raw and just waiting to be infused with flavor and roasted.

We had to try it, and they turned out delicious. Now, take our word for it: roast in small batches. It might take you a lot longer, but you won’t end up with a soggy product. We wanted to do it on the smoker, but we decided we needed the heat from the oven. (It was the right call.)

Valencia Peanuts of Hampton Farms are grown in New Mexico and shipped right after harvest. We brined the nuts in a Cajun brine as well, and I was amazed at how fresh and flavorful they were. We’ll definitely be buying raw peanuts and roasting them ourselves again.

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Product Talk: Hampton Farms Hot Nuts


Hampton Farms Hot NutsWe had an unseasonably warm weekend, so Paul and I planned a porch party (for two). At the end of a long day of errands, we grabbed a comfortable seat in the sunshine and enjoyed the breeze, the melodies of the chimes, the smell of the grill and some Hampton Farms Hot Nuts for an appetizer.

We’d just run into Brookshire’s for some potatoes, you see, but the Cajun Spicy Peanuts were in the produce section and we were, well, hangry. You know, so hungry that it makes you upset? Hangry.

We grabbed the bag, our potatoes and headed home.

Once on the porch with our potatoes baking, we settled in to enjoy the warm weather and the peanuts. Paul tried to carefully contain the shells in a plastic bag, but we were on the porch, so what the heck? I was happy to crack shells and discard them at my feet, like we were eating in a popular chain steakhouse. The wind would take care of them, right?

Hampton Farms Hot Nuts are peanuts sold in the shell. This variety happens to have a Cajun spice. The wonderful part of these nuts is that the flavor is infused in the nut, not just dusted on the shell.

We had to read about how this was accomplished (because we’re going to try it at home with Hampton Farm raw peanuts in the shell, mind you). Basically, they brine the whole nut, in the shell, long enough for the flavor-infused liquid to seep into the nut. Then, they dry them and roast them (that’s a horribly simplified version, but it’s one I can understand!). The Cajun flavoring gets sealed right into the nut, so not only do you get that smoky flavor that you look for in a roasted peanut, but you get a dash of Cajun spice as well.

They are addictive.

So much so that I went back this morning and bought another two bags.

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Product Talk: Total Cluster Fudge “Soooommmmore”


Total Cluster Fudge-SoooommmmoreYou know how ‘they’ say “Never grocery shop while you’re hungry?”

Well, I do all the time. Maybe it’s because I’m always hungry or maybe it’s just poor planning on my part.

Either way, it’s resulted in some purchases that I might not have made if I was full of something healthy like salad (because let’s face it, who grabs a green pepper when they’re ravenous and want something quick to nosh on?).

But sometimes something catches your eye and, hungry or not, you want to try it right then and there. This happens to me all the time in Brookshire’s.

Like these brownies. I was walking PAST the bakery section on the way to the seafood counter when I saw this container of heavenliness. They were in my shopping cart faster than you could say, “Chocolate.” Not only was I shopping on an empty stomach, but it had been a long day and these sounded like they would hit the spot.

They did.

The bottom layer of these treats is a fudgy brownie, a little gooey, just how I like it. Then, over the brownie layer, was a layer of graham crackers, topped with another layer of soft brownie and the whole thing was capped off with perfectly golden mini-marshmallows, a S’more in a brownie.

I managed to only eat one (that night).

Next time, they’ll be on my shopping list, hungry or not.

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Product Talk: TGI Fridays Green Bean Fries


TGI Fridays Green Bean FriesThe other night, Paul was making dinner and I pulled out some romaine lettuce, some cucumbers and some Roma tomatoes to make a salad.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” he asked, with a slightly horrified expression on his face.

“Um…making a salad,” I stuttered.

“WHY. ARE. YOU. DOING. THAT?” he wanted to know.

“Because we don’t have a fresh vegetable with dinner,” was my response.

This is a conversation we frequently have during meal-planning at my house.

I ask, “What vegetable do you want?” and the response is always, “Salad.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good salad, and when I make them, I can get so creative with what I put into it.

However, my guys, all three of them, are a little less creative.

Oh, they can be creative when they try to argue that rice is a vegetable. I mean, it’s a member of the vegetable kingdom because it grows in the ground, but it is classified as a grain.

When I think “vegetable,” I think green or at least brightly-colored and healthy.

I told this to Paul, who listened, because he brought over green beans the next time he was making dinner.

Fried green beans.

They were delicious and brightly-colored.

TGI Fridays has a whole line of frozen appetizers and snacks that mimic the appetizers on their restaurant menus. Green beans fries are just that: fried green beans. Even when you reheat them, they are crispy and come with a zesty wasabi ranch dipping sauce.

I laughed so hard when he produced green beans, and I couldn’t argue that they didn’t count as my version of a vegetable.

They were delicious and fun to eat! You can find them in the freezer section of Brookshire’s in the “snacks” case.

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Product Talk: Fish in Crazy Water


Fish in Crazy WaterI’m all about fish these days.

A few weeks ago, I floated the query to my family, “Would you guys be interested in eating more fish?” and expected the answer to be a resounding silence, which would be answer enough.

To my shock, they were all for incorporating more fish into our diets.

I love fish. I could eat it 17 times a week, but I knew my guys would need to be eased into it.

I made blackened tilapia, a hit. I offered fish tacos, another hit. I baked salmon (mostly a hit). Then, I was skimming through Pinterest and looking for instructions on how to make three-dimensional cardboard stars, when I saw a recipe for Fish in Crazy Water. That was close enough to “Fish in a Crazy Household” that I had to click the link.

This recipe sounded so good that I had to put it on the menu immediately.

The recipe calls for snapper, sea bass, Branzino or Orata, so I went to the fish counter at Brookshire’s to see what was available for a good price.

I love going to the seafood counter at Brookshire’s because they never make me feel stupid if I don’t know what Orata is. (It’s a member of the bream family found in the Mediterranean.) Plus, the seafood experts will fillet, peel, steam, debone or otherwise prep your seafood for you! It’s a win/win.

This particular day, there was red snapper on sale, so that’s what I got. This recipe ended up being our favorite so far.

Fish in Crazy Water

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs fresh fish fillets (such as snapper, sea bass, Branzino or Orata), cut into 4 portions
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled and slightly smashed
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, washed and cut into matchsticks
2 or 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 pint ripe cherry tomatoes, washed and quartered
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
This recipe calls for a large skillet with a lid. If using a cast-iron skillet, placing a baking sheet over the skillet will act as a lid.

Heat the olive oil and garlic in the large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers and is fragrant, and the garlic starts to sizzle. Add the carrots, celery and onions. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften but not brown.

Add the cherry tomatoes; cook, stirring often, for a minute to heat the tomatoes until they begin to release juices. Add the fish to the pan, tucking it down into the vegetables. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook over medium-low heat at a very gentle simmer for 10 minutes, poaching the fish until it’s just cooked through and the vegetables are softened. Stir in half the parsley.

Divide fish, veggies and broth among 4 shallow bowls. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with the other half of the parsley.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 383, Calories from Fat: 142, Fat: 16 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 80 mg, Sodium: 148 mg, Potassium: 1363 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 47 g.

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



Product Talk: Rotel Diced Tomatoes


Rotel TomatoesRotel Tomatoes are for more than just queso dip.

Stop the presses!

I know! I know! It’s hard to beat gooey cheese and zesty tomatoes on a tortilla chip, but Rotel is so much more versatile!

Rotel, distributed by ConAgra Foods, is a delicious, healthy way to incorporate some vitamin C into your diet and get a huge bang-for-your-buck flavor.

Their signature blend includes vine-ripened tomatoes and diced green chilies, but there are also habanero pepper, chunky-style, Mexican-style and specifically-formulated for chili varieties. Ingredients are packaged at the peak of freshness to preserve flavor and nutrients.

Named for the original owners, the Roetteles, the veggies have been produced in Texas since 1943.

Chicken Burrito Skillet
(Recipe from conagrafoods.com)

Ingredients:
2 Tbs Pure Wesson® Canola Oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbs taco seasoning mix (from 1.25-oz pkg)
1 (15 oz) can Rosarita® Premium Whole Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
1 cup shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend
chopped cilantro, optional

Directions
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion and taco seasoning; cook 2 more minutes. Stir in black beans, undrained tomatoes and water; bring to a boil.

Stir in rice. Cover and reduce heat; simmer 7 to 10 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese and cilantro, if desired.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 338, Fat: 14 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 68 mg, Sodium: 672 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 26 g.

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



Product Talk: Cape Cod Potato Chips


Cod Potato ChipsCape Cod Potato Chips have a simple slogan, “Home of Ridiculously Good Chips.”

I decided to put that slogan to the test when I saw them on the shelf at Brookshire’s, specifically the Sweet and Spicy Jalapeño flavor.

These kettle-cooked chips lived up to their big branding!

Crunchy, crispy and light tasting, these chips were definitely delicious.

Cape Cod chips are made from hand-selected potatoes, cooked in small batches in a kettle in canola oil and lightly salted.

Added flavors include the jalapeño one, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, Sweet Mesquite Barbeque, and Aged White Cheddar & Sour Cream.

They also offer a line of reduced-fat chips and a new line of waffle-cut chips.

Every once in a while, they’ll introduce a limited edition flavor, currently Sweet Red Chili and Chipotle Barbeque.

If you love the chips, you’ll also love the popcorn and Dipping Shells, designed to stand up to some serious scooping.

Found on the aisle with other chips or featured on end caps, these potato chips offer a distinct flavor and a huge crunch!

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Product Talk: Stanley’s Barbecue Sauces


Stanley’s Barbecue SaucesA few weeks before Christmas, I was putting together a gift for an out-of-town co-worker. I decided on a gift basket full of products exclusive to Tyler, Texas.

I wrapped a Tyler candle (in “Tyler” scent), Nellie’s Scottish Shortbread, Texas Moon Gourmet Toffee, Tricky Dix Mojo rub and then ran to Brookshire’s for some Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue sauces.

Stanley’s, their website will tell you, is the oldest operating mom and pop barbecue joint in Tyler. What it cannot possibly convey, however, is the smell of smoked meats that permeates the entire area when you arrive. You can literally follow your nose to Stanley’s, which occupies an awkward wedge of space in the curve of a major thoroughfare in the medical district in Tyler. When I first moved to Tyler seven years ago, Stanley’s opened at lunchtime and served until the meat ran out, which some days was pretty darn quickly. Now, they’re open regular hours (including breakfast!) and have expanded their teeny eat-in space to accommodate more diners with a patio and frequent live music.

Their barbecue is nothing less than amazing, and some of their dishes (the Mother Clucker, the Brother In Law) have reputations that precede them far and wide.

The Clucker sauce is a white, vinegar-based sauce perfect for poultry. The BBQ sauce is good slathered on just about anything.

If you can’t make it to Stanley’s in Tyler, at least you can make it at home with small-batch sauces from Brookshire’s.

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Product Talk: Southern Comfort Eggnog


Southern Comfort EggnogFirst the disclosure: This product is alcohol-free, despite what the name may lead you to believe.

Now, I feel I can safely move on to my second point: It’s my older son’s favorite holiday drink.

I’m not sure where he first tasted eggnog, but ever since he did, he’s begged for the creamy, frothy drink during every holiday season.

I’ve even gotten him eggnog-flavored ice cream (try it with caramel sauce and some chopped walnuts!).

Southern Comfort Eggnog is about as close as you can get to the real thing, without the REAL THING. It has a rich taste and a smooth, creamy texture. I sprinkle some cinnamon and nutmeg on top before I serve it. You can add whipped cream if you’d like.

It’s kept refrigerated in Brookshire’s near the milks and creamers, so make sure you do the same at home.

Southern Comfort Eggnog is a seasonal product, created by the company as a platform to enjoy their Nog products. It comes in Traditional and Vanilla Spice varieties, and it will be gone from the shelves soon after the new year. Enjoy it while you can!

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Product Talk: Winter Oreos


Winter OreosI’m a sucker for a holiday spin on an everyday product.

Oreos are no exception.

I mean, who doesn’t love the Oreo? I love it even more with red cream sandwiched between the chocolate wafers. Admittedly, it doesn’t taste any differently than the regular cream, but it’s so much more festive with the holiday look.

Nabisco took it a step further by stamping four, fun winter shapes into the chocolate wafers: a penguin, a snowman, a snowflake and ice skates.

The Winter Oreo will be available for the next several weeks, according to the Nabisco website. I’m going to stock up to keep the spirit bright all winter long.

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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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