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Product Talk: Hershey’s Cocoa Special Dark


Dark Chocolate PuddingHershey’s Cocoa has been a baking staple since the first Hershey’s factory was erected in 1903! For more than 100 years, we’ve been enjoying the rich flavors of Hershey’s Cocoa.

Who doesn’t love a delicious brownie, or a mug of steaming hot chocolate? I know I do. However, I’m partial to a dark chocolate, with a higher cacao ratio.

Hershey’s now makes their cocoa in a Special Dark variety, and let me tell you, it is spectacular. The formula, which is 100% cacao, is a blend of natural and dutched cocoas. Dutched cocoa is a cocoa that has been washed with a potassium carbonate solution, which neutralizes cocoa’s acidity to a pH of 7. Basically, it’s a darker cocoa with a smoother, more mellow flavor that some describe as “woodsy.”

Whatever they do, I love it.

So when I found out recently that one of Paul’s favorite desserts is chocolate pudding, I knew I wanted to make him some with Hershey’s Cocoa: Special Dark.

I topped it with homemade whipped cream and we ALL devoured this tasty treat. It’s super-fast to make, and super-delicious to eat.

Dark Chocolate Pudding
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Hershey’s Cocoa: Special Dark
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs butter
2 tsp Mexican vanilla or pure vanilla
whipped cream or other toppings, to taste

Directions:
In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Gradually pour in milk and cream, stirring to combine.

Bring to a boil slowly. Once mixture starts to bubble, stir rapidly for two minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter, mixing well to combine. Pour into individual ramekins, or leave in pot and chill.

When set and chilled, serve with whipped cream or other toppings.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 196, Fat: 4 g, (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 2 mg, Sodium: 244 mg, Carbohydrates: 38 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 5 g.

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

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Product Talk: Foster Farms Buffalo Wings


Foster Farms Buffalo WingsOn vacation last summer, we spent a dreary, drizzly day touring the USS Wisconsin, a naval warship dry docked in Norfolk, Va. We spent hours on the ship, where a very enthusiastic and loquacious World War II-era volunteer (who had served on the ship) taught us how to tie every kind of knot that you might ever need in your whole entire lifetime. He went into great detail. Very great detail.

Point being, by the time we ended that adventure, we were hungry. No, starving.

Being in unfamiliar territory, we didn’t want to venture too far off the beaten path to look for lunch. I was willing to Google some great places to eat, but the teenagers in the backseat weren’t as accommodating. We ended up eating at a national chain restaurant that served chicken wings.

Now, you KNOW I love buffalo chicken, so I ordered the buffalo chicken hot wings.

Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious.

I love hot food. I love spicy food. I love hot, spicy food.

However, for whatever reason, these wings bamboozled me, setting my mouth (and my stomach) on fire. No amount of water quelled the flames I was facing (and I wasn’t desperate enough to drink milk, even though dairy products are the most effective at cutting the heat from fiery foods).

I swore I would never eat wings again.

That was until I was tempted to try a frozen brand from Brookshire’s. You know how the “never” word works!

Foster Farms Hot & Spicy Buffalo Wings ARE hot and spicy, but not enough to require an oral lavage and case of antacids.

They bake up crispy, yet saucy, and have a deep tang with a burst of flavor that satisfies all the senses.
Best of all, you don’t have to work with the raw chicken; you just pop them in the oven and heat them quickly.

These have become a favorite in our household, and I’ll keep choosing them over mouth-burning, stomach-churning wings any day.



Product Talk: Lay’s Potato Chips


Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion Potato ChipsI don’t know how the topic came up, but sometimes potato chips just pop into conversation.

We were probably hungry.

We were probably talking about snacks.

We discovered we both have an affinity for Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion potato chips.

So, guess what we had for lunch today?

Yep, Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion, with no healthy food preceding our pig out.

DON’T TRY THAT AT HOME, KIDS.

Lay’s chips have been a longtime favorite of mine, and they’ve come back into the forefront of the marketing scene over the past few years with their “Do Us A Flavor” campaign, which has snackers suggesting flavors for the light, crispy chips. Lay’s test-markets the most viable flavors.

This year, Southern Biscuits and Gravy, West Coast Truffle Fries, New York Reuben and Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro ended up in the finals.

The bags of chips are stocked at your local Brookshire’s, and America’s favorite will end up on the permanent rotation of Lay’s favorites.

You can still vote through October 18 at dousaflavor.com.

I voted for Biscuits and Gravy!

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Product Talk: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles


Pumpkin SnickerdoodlesIt’s inevitable.

It’s the time of year we’re going to talk about pumpkin. Have you seen the hashtag #pumpkinspicelife? It’s because everything this month is pumpkin. That’s fine by me!

Pumpkin is super-healthy. It’s also super-great to cook with.

Libby’s Pure Pumpkin comes in a can, packed with nutrients, low in calories and fat and virtually sodium-free.

Pure pumpkin is not just for pumpkin pie (although that’s a mighty delicious way to use it). You can mix it into oatmeal for a vitamin boost. You can mix it with a prepared cake mix to make a low-calorie muffin. And you can use it to make cookies; snickerdoodles to be exact.

I wasn’t sure how these would go over at my house. I mean, I LOVE pumpkin, but I wasn’t sure how the people who would (hopefully) be eating the vast majority of the cookies would react.

I needn’t have worried: two dozen of this spin on the classic cookies were gone in the first day. (Disclaimer: They did NOT eat only cookies all weekend.) Chilling the dough overnight is a must; they were tender on the inside and crisp with cinnamon sugar on the outside.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Makes 4 dozen

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar for topping
2 tsp ground cinnamon for topping

Directions:
Cream together sugar, butter and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer until pale yellow and fluffy. Add eggs and blend thoroughly.

In another bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add in small batches into the wet ingredients. Do not over-mix. Add the pumpkin puree at low speed.

When well-mixed, place dough in the freezer for 90 minutes (or in the fridge overnight).

Pre-heat oven to 350º F. Mix extra sugar and cinnamon together well in a bowl. Roll a small mound of dough (about 2 Tbs) into a ball in your hand, and then roll in cinnamon sugar. Place on baking sheet 12 to a sheet (they will spread a little).

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes. When just the edges of the cookies start to brown, you will know they are done. The middle part of each cookie is going to appear undercooked. Cool on a wire rack and you will see them look like they are cooked through.

Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 94, Calories from Fat: 39, Fat: 4 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 13 mg, Sodium: 56 mg, Potassium: 40 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 1 g.

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



Product Talk: Swiss Steak


Swiss SteakLast Saturday night, Paul said those words I love to hear, “I’ll cook tonight.”

I mean, I love cooking, but I really love when he cooks. Everything he makes is mouthwatering.

Last weekend, he said he was going to make Swiss Steak. I’d never had it before, nor have I ever cooked with tenderized cube steak. Also called tenderized round steak, this meat is sold packaged in your butcher shop at Brookshire’s, or the butcher can tenderize it for you. It’s simply a round steak or sirloin made tender with some serious pounding. My boys called it “the meat with holes” when they were younger. The holes don’t go all the way through, mind you, but you can still see those indentations where it’s been tenderized. It’s usually sold in filets or cutlets, and is good for a myriad of recipes!

Back to the Swiss Steak. It came together quickly and simply, and it was so delicious! We had enough for leftovers the next day (and the next). This is a great recipe for fall as it’s warm, hearty, savory and economical.

Paul’s Swiss Steak

Ingredients:
2 lb cube steak, tenderized
4 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 Tbs black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup white onions, chopped
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes

Directions:
Remove cube steak from packaging. Sprinkle liberally with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and black pepper. Dredge in flour. Heat a thin layer of oil in a cast iron skillet until it shimmers and begins to pop. (Make sure to get the oil hot enough, so your meat doesn’t just absorb it all.) Place steak in the pan and brown quickly, no more than 2 minutes per side. Remove steak to a platter lined with paper towels to drain. This might take several batches.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Place steak in a pan (can be in a single layer or doubled up). Top with slices of white onions; cover with tomatoes. Cover pan with lid or wrap tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 1 hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, noodles or something similar to catch all those delicious juices.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 291, Calories from Fat: 85, Fat: 9 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 90 mg, Sodium: 89 mg, Potassium: 380 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 35 g.

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



Product Talk : Mission Chicharrones


Mission ChicharronesI’ve made it forty-something years without ever tasting a pork rind, and I’ve been perfectly happy and lived a fulfilled life.

However, Paul and I were in Brookshire’s on Saturday, picking up a few items to grill for dinner, when we decided we also needed some snacks for the late afternoon lull before it was time to cook.

I grabbed Pirate’s Booty. Paul grabbed Mission Chicharrones, picante flavor.

Pork rinds.

We brought them home and tore into our respective bags. Being the gentleman he is, Paul held his open bag out to me first.

Like I said, I wasn’t sure about pork rinds, having successfully navigated a lifetime being pork-rind free.

However, I saw a recent episode of a show on Food Network where the cooks were making homemade chicharrones.

If you can get past what they look like to begin with (it is, after all, the skin of a pig), the process is actually pretty interesting. The rinds are dumped into a vat of (more) fat, and they puff up, crispy, crunchy and light as air before you remove them from the fat and let them drain.

I went for it, carefully reaching into the open bag.

I’d expected them to be weighed down by fat and greasy, but they’re super crispy, crunchy and airy.

I read that a lot of dieters eat them because they contain no carbs whatsoever. A half ounce has 80 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein.

Mission Chicharrones, found on the aisle with the chips, come in a 4-ounce bag.

Now, I can say I’ve tried them!

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Product Talk: La Croix Sparkling Water


La Croix Sparkling Water It’s important to stay hydrated all year long, but this summer was an especially hot one!

La Croix Sparkling Water has been my solution all summer long to staying hydrated.

It’s SO GOOD.

I’ve loved sparkling water for years, ever since I lived in Germany where they serve you sparkling water as a matter of course. Until recently, I hadn’t found an abundance of sparkling waters here in the United States.

La Croix changed all of that.

I keep several cases in my refrigerator at all times. I CRAVE it first thing in the morning. I pop open a can after I get out of the shower to help cool down and to start the day in a sparkling way.

I love the lime, the grapefruit and the cran-raspberry. Heck, I love them all. There’s Cerise Limón (cherry lemon) in my refrigerator at work. There is a berry flavor and a mango flavor I haven’t tried yet. In fact, there are 19 different flavors of La Croix Sparkling Water.

La Croix Sparkling Water has zero calories, zero fat, zero sodium, zero carbs, zero sugars and zero protein. The only ingredients are water and natural flavors.

Sometimes I add extra fresh lemon or lime.

In fact, I think I’ll grab one now.



Product Talk: Special K with Red Berries


Special K with Red BerriesSchool has started and that means making sure my kids are getting a nutritious breakfast in the mornings. They’ve never been cereal types…until now, that is.

This year, I introduced them to one of MY favorite cereals, Special K with Red Berries.

They love how the red berries, dehydrated strawberries, plump up when they add milk, but they mostly love the taste!

Special K with Red Berries is a great source of fiber. It’s made with whole-grains including rice and wheat, and does not contain high-fructose corn syrup. At 110 calories per serving, it does not have any fat, and provides a lot of the vitamins and minerals kids need to get going every morning.



Product Talk: Planters Spicy Nuts & Cajun Sticks Trail Mix


Planters Spicy Nuts & Cajun Sticks Trail MixI’m sitting here on my couch on a Sunday afternoon, and my stomach is rumbling. I ate breakfast HOURS ago. I know I’m eating an early dinner, but I still need a little something to carry me through until the next meal.

I look over at my sweet boyfriend who is sitting next to me and reading me funny things from the Internet while I write these blogs. We seemed to have the same thought at the same time, and I jumped up to grab the bag of Planters Spicy Nuts & Cajun Sticks Trail Mix we bought yesterday.

I also grabbed some napkins because this snack is covered in Cajun goodness.
The snack mix hit the spot. A blend of peanuts, corn nuts, crunchy corn kernels, sesame sticks and corn sticks in a Cajun spice mix, this snack will set your lips on fire!

It didn’t take us long to make a dent in the 6-ounce bag.

This snack mix is 150 calories per 1/4 cup with 1.5 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein. You can find it on the aisle with cookies and crackers at your local Brookshire’s.



Product Talk: Snack Time


Dried SnacksThey were there near the register, calling me like the siren’s song one evening at checkout.

Clear plastic packages of homemade snacks.

There was dried pineapple. Sesame sticks. Snack mix. Dried peas.

And, drum roll please, dried okra.

Holy, beautiful bite of deliciousness, Batman!

While I love all of Brookshire’s Snack Packs, I really, really love the dried okra. I guess they dehydrate it. Or bake it until its crisp. Or both. These little nuggets of happiness are crunchy, crispy and salty, all of my favorite things.

The okra is dried whole, so you can grab a piece just as you would a chip or a cheese puff. I can (and do) eat the whole snack container by myself at one sitting.

There are so many different snack packs at Brookshire’s. If dried okra isn’t your thing, try the dried mango or salty, crunchy peas.

Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong!



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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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