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Healthy Living: Deep Fried Twinkies


WalkingDid you know deep-fried Twinkies are actually good for you?

Yep, you got it! All that artery-clogging goodness can actually be a health benefit, said no one ever.

April Fools!

While we might want to try to trick ourselves into believing that a deep-fried Twinkie is in some way, shape or form not bad for you, it is. There’s nothing else to say about that.

Now that the days are longer and the evenings are brighter, it’s a great time to pick back up any outdoor activity you might have shelved during the colder, darker months.

I know I’ve started walking in the evenings. In addition, while my son practices soccer, I’ve taken to shuffling (other more fit people call it “jogging”) around the soccer fields while he works out. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

While the Centers for Disease Control recommend two and a half hours a week of moderate to high-intensity exercise, everyone has to start somewhere.

So for now, close out your computer and go for a walk! See you out there. 



Product Talk: Premium Crackers


Premium CrackersWe were just about to sit down to dinner last Saturday night when my boyfriend grabbed his car keys.

“I’ll be right back,” he said. “I forgot something important.”

My stomach growled. We’d spent the better part of the early afternoon making chili, and it had been simmering on the stove the rest of the day. It smelled so good, and I couldn’t wait to dive into the large pot of savory goodness.

But no…now I had to wait for whatever was so important we could not eat dinner without it.

He returned a few minutes later with one smallish bag.

I couldn’t wait to see what wondrous ingredient was inside.

He pulled out crackers.

Yes. Crackers.

Premium saltine crackers, to be exact.

“I can’t eat chili or soup without them,” he explained. “They’re my favorite.”

Sure enough, he consumed about a sleeve of crackers while he ate his bowl of chili. I have to admit, they are crisp, light, salty and delicious. I could have eaten them plain, without the chili.

I know what I’ll be stocking in my house from now on.

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Product Talk: Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips


Lays Cheesy Garlic Bread ChipsThe Frito-Lay company must have a marketing mastermind at the helm. You have to have been living under a rock not to have heard of the “Do Us A Flavor” campaign, where consumers come up with new flavors of Lay’s potato chips.

My kids and I heard the commercial in the car not too long ago, and they went wild trying to dream up flavors. Among their entries were “cookie dough” and “pork chop” (don’t ask…I have no idea). I thought maybe a fajita chip would be tasty.

One of the chips they already have (it might have come out of this contest last year) is Cheesy Garlic Bread. Hashtag #delicious. Hashtag #eatmorechips. Hashtag #nomnom. Hashtag #crunchy. (Clearly I’ve been watching too much Jimmy Fallon.)

We bought two bags initially, and I figured the three of us would share them. Guess who only got one chip?

Yeah, me.

Hashtag #sad.

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Product Talk: Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies


Oreo Cookie DoughI was scrolling through Facebook one night when I had to stop dead in my tracks.

There it was…the stuff dreams are made of: Cookie Dough Oreo cookies.

Instead of the regular white fluffy cream in the center, these had cookie dough cream!

Seriously, could there be more perfect flavors combined into one cookie?

The cookie dough cream, to me, had a slight coffee flavor, which I don’t think was intentional but made them all the more delicious.

These cookies are only in Brookshire’s stores for a limited time, so get them now! (Grab some milk while you’re at it!)

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Product Talk: Clif Bars


CLIFBarA friend of mine is training for a triathlon.

You know, one of those crazy races where you swim, bike and run intense distances and still finish standing?

He swears by Clif Bars for a snack or even a meal replacement.

Clif Bars are basically organic energy bars. Granola bars, if you will, but so much more. They’re packed with all-natural protein and other good stuff.

According to their website, “As a food company, we play a critical role in helping to create a more just and sustainable use of the planet’s resources. The food we make connects us to the environment as well as to a complex network of people and organizations, including farmers, distributors and the people who eat our food. Through these connections and working with our trusted partners such as like-minded businesses, non-profit organizations and experts at the forefront of transforming our food system, Clif Bar is able to make strides in sustainability. Working and learning together, we continue to look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment and share with each other on this journey.”

So, not only do Clif Bars meet your nutritional needs, they take care of our planetary needs, too. 

That, my friends, is awesome. 



Product Talk: Soba Noodles


Soba NoodlesAsian food is one of my all-time favorite cuisines. It’s mostly healthy, light and easy to cook. I make a lot of dishes with rice, substituting brown rice for white rice, but I’ve also been experimenting with noodle dishes lately as well.

I love udon noodles, which are thick, buckwheat noodles, but I’ve also become a huge fan of udon’s lighter cousin, soba.

Soba noodles are also made out of buckwheat and resemble a thin spaghetti. Commonly found in Japanese cooking, soba noodles can be served cold with a dipping sauce or hot in a soup.

This treatment uses them in a stir-fry.

Soba Noodles

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp sliced almonds
8 oz soba (Japanese-style noodles)
kosher salt
1 Tbsp plus 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
12 oz skirt or flank steak
freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, whites and greens separated, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp grated peeled ginger
2 heads baby bok choy, quartered
1 medium carrot, peeled, thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 head broccoli, florets removed
3 Tbsp oyster sauce
3 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread out almonds on a small, rimmed baking sheet. Toast almonds, tossing occasionally, until golden-brown, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain; rinse to cool and set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook until charred in spots, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes. Thinly slice steak against the grain.

While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat. Add scallion whites, garlic and ginger. Stir until softened, about 1 minute. Add bok choy, broccoli and carrots. Cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. Add to vegetables; bring to a simmer. Fold in scallion greens and reserved almonds and noodles. Serve steak with noodle stir-fry.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 57, Fat: 22 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 30 mg, Carbohydrates: 59 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 13 g, Protein: 34 g, Sodium: 1420 mg.

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

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Product Talk: Sweet P Cookies


CookiesI’m not usually big on sweets, but there’s one treat in the Brookshire’s bakery I cannot resist: Sweet P Cookies.

You know those big, soft, fluffy sugar cookies with the thick topping of frosting and usually sprinkles? Yes, those.

We just had some for Valentine’s Day, with pink icing and a blanketing of heart-shaped jimmies. Brookshire’s has them for pretty much every holiday and even all the days in between. Pastels for Easter, patriotic colors for the Fourth of July, orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas and fun colors for every time in between.

My boys love these cookies. Every time I bring a box home, which come in a package of 10, they’re gone within a few days. I limit myself to one at a time, but I could probably make a meal out of them.

They’re also great for school parties and to brighten up dreary days at the office.

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Product Talk: Amy’s Enchilada Verde


EnchiladaI get into lunch ruts.

I eat at my desk and work through lunch 99 percent of the time, and I generally pack leftovers from dinner the night before. Honestly, I get tired of being the one to clean out the fridge and eat the leftovers, so occasionally I peruse Brookshire’s for something out of the ordinary for me.

Last week, I discovered Amy’s Enchilada Verde meal. They’re in the frozen section, but if you took this dish out of its microwavable tray and put it on a porcelain plate, you’d never know it was once frozen!

Amy’s offers a wide selection of organic frozen foods, from burritos to pizzas to pot pies and Indian meals!

I tried the Enchilada Verde because it boasted two of my favorite things: spinach and cheese.

Amy’s website describes this deliciousness in this way: “Organic tomatillos are cooked and blended with authentic Mexican spices to create this delicious sauce bursting with flavor. Organic brown rice with organic vegetables and our traditional organic black beans complete the meal.”

I describe it as “YUM.”

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Product Talk: Grits


GritsGrits are one of those things that I’d heard about growing up but never tasted. My mom didn’t like them, so logically, we never really had grits around the house (although, she also hated lima beans but we still ate those).

So, when I finally did taste them, I had a “where have you been all my life?” moment.

Grits are basically ground corn. Native American in origin, they’re commonly eaten as a “porridge” type of breakfast food. (Is anyone else flashing to Goldilocks?) They’re also popular in Southern cooking. Modern grits are commonly made of alkali-treated corn known as hominy.

All that to say, they’re delicious!

Grits come in different varieties. There are some quick-cooking versions and some that take a tad bit longer to cook. There are even “instant” varieties that cook in a minute or two in the microwave. They also come in flavors, like butter.

I tend to use the quick-cooking type, and I add my own butter, salt, pepper and cheddar cheese for a delicious warm breakfast dish.

I also love grits at other times of the day, like at dinner. I tried this recently and it was a huge hit in my house.

Southern Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined large shrimp
2 bacon slices, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions, divided
5 cups water
1 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (3 oz)

Directions:
Combine first 3 ingredients; set aside.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in shrimp mixture, broth and 1/4 cup green onions; cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring frequently.

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually add grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in butter and salt. Serve shrimp mixture over grits; sprinkle with cheese and remaining green onion.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 408, Fat: 13 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Protein: 33 g, Carbohydrates: 40 g, Fiber: 2 g, Cholesterol: 246 mg, Iron: 5.1 mg, Sodium: 890 mg, Calcium: 154 mg

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Product Talk: Far East Couscous


ProductTalk_NearEastCouscous_228x173I just love the word “couscous,” don’t you?

Couscous (pronounced koose-koose) is made from tiny grains of pasta and is a staple of cuisines around the world.

Near East makes couscous that only takes minutes to cook on your stovetop and provides 8 grams of protein per serving.

It comes in so many flavors, too! Of course, there is original. My favorite is Parmesan, but there’s also Broccoli and Cheese, Mediterranean Curry, Herbed Chicken, Toasted Pine Nut, Tomato Lentil, Mushroom and Herb, and more.

Couscous is a great side dish to pork chops, steak, chicken and seafood, or it’s great in cold salads, too. 

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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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