share. The Brookshire's Blog

Product Talk: Dry Powdered Milk

Food Club Instant Nonfat Dry MilkDo you need a last minute holiday gift that’s sure to be enjoyed by all or a hostess gift for your Christmas Eve gathering?

Why not make some homemade cocoa mix? It’s easy, quick and, of course, delicious.

Homemade cocoa mix is made with dry powdered milk, which is basically a manufactured dairy product made by extracting the liquid from milk until…well, it’s dry. Powdered milk is much more shelf stable than regular liquid milk and lasts longer, so it’s great for a drink mix!

Put this in a canning jar and tie it with a bow or attach some candy canes they can use to “stir” their hot chocolate, and you have an instant gift!

The recipe is easily adaptable for different serving sizes. This one makes about 45 servings.

Hot Cocoa Mix

10 cups dry milk powder
4 3/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar 1 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups powdered non-dairy creamer

In a large mixing bowl, combine milk powder, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder and creamer. Stir until thoroughly combined. Store cocoa mixture in an airtight container. Makes about 15 cups of mix, or enough for about 45 servings.

For 1 serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mixture in a coffee cup or mug, and add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Top with a dollop of whipped cream or a few marshmallows, if desired.

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Product Talk: Lunchables

LunchablesI’m sitting on the couch with my two sons right now. They’re playing a video game on the Xbox, and I’m getting some odds and ends finished on my laptop.

“What are you writing?” Luke asked.

“A blog for Brookshire’s,” I said.

“About what?” he asked.

“It’s called Product Talk,” I explained to him, “where we highlight an item you can find in Brookshire’s or Super One Food Stores.”

“Ooooooo, write about Lunchables,” he said.

So, I am.

I discovered Lunchables were created in 1985 to sell more bologna. After a product development specialist for Oscar Meyer ran focus groups, he learned that a primary concern of working parents (primarily mothers) was not having enough time to make lunches. Couple this with the need to sell more bologna and the Lunchable was born. This was in 1985.

As of the last count, there are 26 varieties of Lunchables ranging from ham and cheese with crackers to pepperoni pizza with a Nestle Crunch mini-bar and a Capri Sun pouch drink.

Lunchables range in price from just under $2 to just over $4. They’re pre-packaged and easy to drop into a backpack or lunch sack.

“Did you write about Lunchables?” Luke asked.

“Yep,” I told him.

“That’s so cool,” he said.

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Product Talk: Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer

Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer Who doesn’t love a great cup of coffee house coffee, especially with all the festive holiday flavors?

Who also doesn’t love a homemade gift, just in time for Christmas?

You can have both with this easy and delicious recipe featuring sweetened condensed milk.

Sweetened condensed milk is milk from which the water has been removed. In this case, sugar has been added so it’s a super sweet, concentrated form of milk. You’ll find it canned, usually on the baking aisle at your local Brookshire’s. It’s great for baking and for this delicious homemade creamer!

Save money and make your own coffee creamer at home! Check out this yummy recipe:

Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 Tbsp caramel ice cream topping
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk

Add sweetened condensed milk to a Mason jar. Add in caramel sauce and salt.

Stir or shake to mix well before you add the milk. Add milk and stir gently.

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

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Product Talk: Peppermint Extract

Candy Cane Dessert Squares‘Tis the season to enjoy all things peppermint.

Using a small bit of peppermint extract in your recipes is a way to infuse a lot of flavor and instantly channel all things holiday.

An herbal extract of the peppermint plant, made from the leaves, can even have medicinal properties when added to something like hot tea. It’s perfect for baking, cookies and candies.

Candy Cane Dessert Squares

36 chocolate wafer cookies, finely crushed (2 cups)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
two (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
2 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped (yields about 3 cups)
2/3 can coarsely crushed candy canes or peppermint candies

Combine crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 baking pan.

For ganache, melt chocolate chips and 2/3 cup cream in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Pour over crust. Place in freezer for 10 minutes.

For filling, combine confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese and peppermint extract in a large bowl. Beat with electric mixer at low speed until smooth and creamy. Gently stir in whipped cream and crushed candies. Spread evenly over ganache in crust and sprinkle with more candy, if desired. Cover and freeze at least 4 hours.

Cut into squares to serve. Serve frozen or refrigerated (store in the freezer).

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 300, Fat: 22 g (13 g Saturated Fat). Cholesterol: 62 mg, Sodium: 137 mg, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 3 g

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

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Reynolds Slow Cooker LinersThese are the best thing since sliced bread. I promise.

If you use your slow cooker as much as I do, you know how hard it is to get them clean sometimes, especially after a long-cooked meal.

Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners prevent a cooked-on mess and eliminate soaking and scrubbing slow cookers.

They feel like plastic, but they aren’t going to melt, I promise. They’re a mixture of nylon resins, and they’re BPA free and approved by the FDA for cooking.

They’re also tough. I’ll create my meals in the liner itself then freeze them, only to partially thaw them out, pop them in the slow cooker and carry on. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

When you’re done cooking, simply remove the liner (don’t spill the leftovers or you’re back to square one!) and throw it away.

It’s almost a miracle.

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Grilled Peanut Butter and BrieSay what?

Peanut butter goes with jelly, not cheese, right?

Or, so I thought.

My parents went to California last week to visit my sister and her family. When I talked to my mom on the phone today, she told me about an appetizer my sister made for a party they threw when my parents were visiting.

Peanut butter and brie, as in the cheese.


We all know peanut butter is food from the gods. Food Club peanut butter is creamy, rich, delicious and packed with protein. It’s also packed with deliciousness.

My sister assures me it’s addictive.

This sandwich recipe has the most unlikely ingredients, but it works. Trust me. Slice them into slivers and serve as an appetizer.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Brie

(Per sandwich. Each sandwich makes 4 servings)
2 slices sandwich bread
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 oz brie, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar

Set oven to broil.

Toast one side of each piece of bread. (If using a sandwich thin, toast the inside.)

Spread peanut butter on the toasted side of one slice of bread.

Place brie slices on top of peanut butter.

Put the second piece of bread, toasted side down, onto the sandwich.

Return the sandwich to the oven, toasting one side then the other until the cheese is melted and both sides of the sandwich are golden-brown.

While the sandwich is toasting, combine Dijon mustard and cider vinegar in a small ramekin for dipping.

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

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Special K Nourish by Kellogg’sWhen I was in college, my mom would go to the local warehouse store and buy me industrial-sized boxes of individually packaged instant oatmeal. I ate it for breakfast and snacks for four years straight.

When I got out on my own, oatmeal in any form has still been a favorite, although I have to admit that time these days is even more scarce than what I *thought* it was in college. Oh, those were the days!

Now, I’ve discovered Special K Nourish by Kellogg’s. This hot cereal in microwaveable containers is not only delicious, but it’s filling and nutritious as well. My favorite flavor, Maple Brown Sugar Crunch, contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. It keeps me full until lunchtime.

Special K Nourish isn’t just oatmeal. It contains quinoa, barley and whole grain wheat, along with the oats. One carton is only 190 calories as well.

You can either add hot water to the bowl or microwave the entire container with added cold water, making it a great choice for people on the go!

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Food Club Parchment PaperNever ever underestimate the importance of parchment paper.

Have you ever made candy without it and ended up scraping a sticky, hardened mess off your supposedly non-stick baking sheet? I have many times.

Food Club Parchment Paper to the rescue! It’s papery on one side and a little waxy on the other (but not nearly enough to affect your food). Lining your pan with parchment paper makes cleanup a snap and removing food a breeze!

Try it with this delicious sweet and salty treat today.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

2 sticks butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 bag pretzels (You’ll use about 3/4 of the bag)
12 oz chocolate chips
sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Line a large bar pan with parchment paper and cover with pretzels.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. When it begins to bubble, add the brown sugar. Stirring occasionally, let the butter/sugar mixture meld together and brown. This should take about 3 minutes. Do NOT let it boil; you will have sticky goo that is no good. When you have a nice, brown caramel, pour it over the pretzels slowly and evenly. You can then use a spatula to spread it out; you have to work quickly and gently. It hardens fast so even pouring is the best method.

Bake the sheet for 5 minutes.

Remove the sheet from the oven and sprinkle the whole bag of chocolate chips evenly over the mixture.

Let stand for two minutes.

Use a silicone spatula to evenly spread the chocolate over the top.

Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.

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

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Product Talk: Pumpkins

PumpkinsWhen you walk up to your local Brookshire’s these days, you’ll be seeing orange. Pumpkins, that is, vast expanses of these beautiful harbingers of Halloween.

Whether you buy your pumpkin now or next week, there’s an easy way to help it last longer once you carve it out for your harvest party or trick-or-treating.

After you cut into your pumpkin and scoop out the insides (don’t forget to toast the seeds tossed with a little olive oil and sea salt), dip your pumpkin into a large container of water and bleach at the ratio of 1 teaspoon of bleach per one gallon of water.

The bleach will help kill bacteria and help your pumpkin last longer.

Dry your pumpkin upside down.

After it’s dry, add two tablespoons of vinegar and one teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water. Brush inside your pumpkin to keep it fresh for a much longer time.

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FritosThe State Fair of Texas, the largest state fair in the country, just ended, leaving behind enough memories of chicken-fried bacon, deep-fried Nutella and double-fried Oreo cookies to sustain me for the entire next year.

Fairs are known (notorious?) for their fried foods, but it’s never the deep-fried confections that make me think “fair.” It’s Frito pies.

The first year I moved to Texas, friends and I went to a regional fair where they bellied up to a brightly lit food truck and ordered a Frito pie.

“A WHAT?” I wanted to know. To the best of my knowledge, I was never exposed to this ooey-gooey-crunchy delicacy growing up in Virginia.

Oh yes, they were devouring cardboard trays full of Fritos piled high with chili, cheese, onions, jalapenos and onion straws.

I didn’t cave to the Frito pie temptation that day (I remember I was wearing a white sundress and was afraid to spill), but I did try it at another fair, the Southeast Texas State Fair, a few years later. (After I had children it really didn’t matter what I was wearing; it was probably stained anyway.)

The entire basis of the pie, of course, is the iconic Fritos corn chip, not a tortilla chip or a potato chip but a crispy, salty blend of Fritos goodness. I like the proportions on my Frito pie to be mostly Fritos with a little chili, a lot of cheese and a little mustard (don’t judge). As I’m not a fan of raw onions, I skip this step but have been known to garnish with jalapeno pepper slices.

While Frito pie will always remind me of the fair, it’s certainly not exclusive to this venue. Enjoy them watching the game, tailgating or just for an easy, fun dinner one night!

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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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