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Product Talk: Thomas Bagel Thins


Product TalkI’m pretty sure a lot of you are in the same boat I am: I have to lose a few pounds. One of my biggest downfalls is bread. I love it. I REALLY love bagels. I found these Thomas Bagel Thins recently and they’re delicious, all the bagel taste and texture without the calories.

Bagel Thins come presliced and are bagel-sized, but much thinner (like I hope to be). They have five grams of fiber and six grams of protein in the whole wheat variety! I love them with peanut butter in the morning and topped with hummus for a mid-afternoon snack.

They’d also be a great sandwich bread or base for a “pizza.”

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Product Talk: Keebler Flipsides


Product TalkWe have a new addiction in my family: Keebler Flipsides crackers. I seriously cannot keep a box in the house for very long. I TRY to only go to the grocery store once a week. However, I bought three boxes the last time I went, and they were gone in three days. No joke.

Keebler Flipsides have a zesty pretzel on one side and a scrumptious cracker on the other. They come in Original, Cheddar and Garlic Herb. My boys like to slather creamy peanut butter on the Original flavor. For the cheddar, they slice slabs of sharp cheddar cheese and pair it with the already tangy cracker. They also will make cheddar and pepperoni “sandwiches” with that flavor. On the Garlic Herb, they like plain cream cheese, but the flavored cream cheeses are good, too!

The only problem with sharing this delicious snack with you is that there will be fewer boxes left for me!

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Product Talk: Wedding Cakes


Wedding CakeSeptember is the biggest month in the South for weddings, and several of my friends have recently become engaged.

Sarah’s fiance, a widower with four children, proposed by giving her a huge picture frame. In the frame was a picture of him and his children holding up a sign that said, “Will you marry us?” She cried. I cried when she told me about it; it was beautiful and perfect for their new family.

That was back in April, and Sarah has been planning a small, September wedding ever since. It has a country chic theme, and she’s decorating with lanterns, burlap, white cotton lace, wildflowers and fairy lights. What she couldn’t figure out, though, was what kind of a cake she wanted to go with her fairly casual theme.

So, she sat down with a cake specialist in Brookshire’s bakery. I was so excited she was able to order her cake from our local bakery. The cake designer was so nice! She sat with Sarah for over an hour looking at pictures Sarah had brought from magazines and showing her examples of cakes she’d made previously. Most importantly, Sarah got to sample the different flavors of cakes and fillings. They decided on a two-tier, round pound cake with raspberry filling in one layer and lemon chiffon in the other. It will have an ivory buttercream frosting, and they chose some wildflowers from the Brookshire’s floral department to put on top. Simple. Easy. Perfect.



Product Talk: Bleached Almonds


This is one of my favorite toffee recipes ever and it calls for blanched almonds. I sent the recipe to a friend recently and she didn’t really know what they were.

Blanched almonds are briefly heated in boiling water and then shocked in cold water to stop the cooking. Blanching makes the skins really easy to remove.  You don’t want skins in your toffee, right? Almond skins are fine when you’re snacking on the raw nut, but when you’re cooking with them, you probably want the skin removed.

Want to save time? Buy blanched almonds from manufacturers like Blue Diamond right at your local Brookshire’s.

English Toffee Bites

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
12 oz milk chocolate, melted
1 cup blanched whole almonds
1 cup finely ground walnuts

Directions:
On a foil-lined, 11 x 7 baking dish or in a silicone brownie bite pan with 24 bites, arrange almonds in a single layer. Set aside.

In a heavy pan, combine butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Cook over medium-high heat with a wooden spoon until butter melts, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a rolling boil. Continue boiling and stirring an additional 5-7 minutes until candy turns the color of almonds (at about 300°F). Pour over almonds.

Cool completely.

When candy is cooled and set (about 2 hours), spread chocolate over top of toffee. Sprinkle generously with ground walnuts. If doing both sides, use only half of the chocolate and walnuts. Allow top to set before flipping over and doing bottom side. When set, pop out of silicone pan and store in  airtight containers or cut into pieces.

Yield: 24 bites or one 11 x 7 pan

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 231, Calories from Fat: 152, Fat: 17 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 24 mg, Sodium: 89 mg, Carbohydrates: 18 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 16 g, Protein: 3 g

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Product Talk: Special K Protein Bars


While traveling, it’s important for me to pack snacks that travel well and can provide my kids with some level of nutrition AND keep them full, as much as that is possible these days.

Special K Protein Bars are the perfect solution. They come in so many different flavors: peanut butter, strawberry, double chocolate, chocolate caramel, honey almond and cranberry walnut, to name a few.

Special K™ Protein products are designed to increase daily intake of protein and fiber while managing caloric intake. Many people use the bars as a meal replacement plan. Diets high in protein (30 percent of total daily calories from protein) have been shown to help reduce hunger longer. Each bar has approximately 10 grams of protein to keep you fuller longer.

They’ll also make a great addition to a school lunch or a good after school snack. My kids love the peanut butter variety!

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Product Talk: London Broil


I’m still blogging from my beach vacation. I know I’ve explained more than once already that in the big family group that congregates at Sandbridge Beach each year, each nuclear family takes a night to cook. For my night this year, I made a delicious and simple London Broil topped with an optional faux chimichurri (spinach instead of parsley, basil instead of oregano).  

“London Broil” is a fancy term for top round or flank steak. It’s really just a marinated cut of meat grilled, then cut across the grain into thin strips and served–easy and delicious.

A London Broil isn’t the most tender cut of meat so a marinade is necessary. This is the recipe I used this week and it was yummy. I was unsure about the honey at first, but the sugars help give your cut of meat a beautiful sear.

London Broil

Ingredients:
Large (2 lbs) London Broil
5 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey

Directions:
Puree all ingredients (except London Broil) in a food processor or blender. Place meat in a zipper-locked bag or shallow pan. Cover with marinade. Place in refrigerator for several hours, turning several times.

Bring steak to room temperature before grilling. Place over direct, medium heat and grill about 7-8 minutes per side for medium rare (a London Broil should be pink inside). Let stand for several minutes. Slice diagonally across the grain. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 344, Calories from Fat: 90, Fat: 10 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 151 mg, Sodium: 998 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 52 g



Product Talk: Checkers/Rally’s Famous Fries


I was walking through the freezer section at Brookshire’s not long ago, and I saw something out of the corner of my eye that stopped me dead in my tracks: Checkers/Rally’s Famous Fries in a bag in the freezer case.

I was instantly transported back to the early ’90s in Lynchburg, Virginia, where I went to college. There was a Rally’s fast food joint about two miles from campus. Sometimes on Sunday evenings, my best friend Amanda and I would walk to Rally’s and back for dinner. I guess we rationalized the walk negated the calories. Rally’s fries were the BEST. Seasoned, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, they were well-worth the four-mile round trip. I remember the hamburgers being really salty, but the fries were sublime.

Rally’s has long since closed, but knowing I can get the fries at Brookshire’s and bake them in my own oven without a four-mile walk, brings a priceless memory back to life!



Shop the Sale: Ground Chuck Empanadas


When I found out I was moving to Texas from Virginia all the way back in 1997 when I accepted a spot in the master’s program for journalism at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em!), my friend Wendy gave me a Tex-Mex cookbook. 

“Enjoy your adventures in the Lone Star State and learn to cook some yummy food,” she inscribed in the front cover.

Although my plan was never to stay in Texas after I graduated, I find myself still here 15 years later. I’ve had many adventures, and I’ve learned to cook some delicious food (tamales still elude me so if you want to teach me, please send us a message!).

Empanadas are one of my favorites. A little hand-held pie, an empanada can be either sweet or savory. I love this version with ground chuck and some surprise sweetness in the raisins. Delicious.

Ground Beef Empanadas (Picadillo)

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz ground beef chuck
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup drained green pitted olives, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 cup canned tomato puree or sauce
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
One 1-lb pkg frozen puff pastry
All purpose flour, for dusting
2 large eggs, beaten with 1 Tbsp water

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Heat the oil in a heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef chuck and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the olives, raisins, carrots and onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the tomato puree and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and cool to room temperature before filling the empanadas.

Grease a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the pastry out to 1/4-to-1/8-inch thickness. With a knife, cut out 4 equal squares measuring 4 1/2-by-5 1/2 inches. Add 2 tablespoons of the cooled beef mixture to the center of the square. Brush the edge of each square with some egg wash and fold to shape into triangles. Crimp the edges with a fork. Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheet and brush them with the remaining egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Makes 8 empanadas 

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 172, Calories from Fat: 80, Fat: 9 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 64 mg, Sodium: 640 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 12 g, Protein: 7 g



Product Talk: Philadelphia Cooking Crème


If you know me at all, you know I firmly believe cream cheese is a food group. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to all things cream cheese. I have a Philadelphia brand cream cheese cookbook at home, and I plan to someday write the definitive cream cheese cookbook.

So, imagine my delight when the Philadelphia brand (makers of all things cream cheese) came out with Cooking Crème. A more “pourable” version of cream cheese, Cooking Crème is perfect for sauces and soups. It comes in several flavors, leaving very little work for you to do when creating a delicious meal at home. Choose from Italian Herb, Savory Garlic, Creamy Pesto, Savory Lemon and Herb, or Santa Fe Blend.

Also, imagine my delight when I met a man who feels the same way about cream cheese that I do, earning him scads of points in my book. He also gets bonus points for being an adventurous eater and being more than willing to eat anything I whip up. This recipe was born on a night of “let’s see what’s in the fridge and pantry” and will become a regular meal in the rotation!

Italian Herb Cream Pasta

Ingredients:
12 oz linguine
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cups fresh spinach
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tub (10 oz) Philadelphia Cooking Crème in Italian Herb

Directions:
Boil water in a large pot. Add pasta; cook until al dente.
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic, squash and bell pepper. Sauté until the vegetables begin to soften. Add can of tomatoes and reduce liquid by half. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add Cooking Crème and heat through. Drain pasta. Toss with sauce and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 446, Calories from Fat: 143, Fat: 16 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 95 mg, Sodium: 583 mg, Carbohydrates: 62 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 17 g



Product Talk: Udi’s Gluten Free Lemon Streusel Muffins


Many people eat a gluten-free diet these days.

What’s gluten-free? It’s avoiding anything with gluten, a protein found in foods processed from wheat and related grains. That means bread, pasta, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, rolls, etc. Some people do it for health reasons because their bodies cannot process gluten. Other people say avoiding gluten just makes them feel better.

However, it’s not always easy to avoid your favorite gluten-laden treats. That’s why Udi’s Gluten Free is committed to providing delicious products that won’t wreak havoc on your stomach, including these muffins that caught my eye in the frozen foods section of your local Brookshire’s.

“Moist and delicious, our Lemon Streusel Muffins will definitely add lift to your morning routine. Indulge in the soft, harmonious balance of light citrus flavor and sweetness. Best served warm from the oven or microwave,” according to Udi’s Gluten Free .

I don’t eat gluten-free, but these muffins are delicious if you’re being health-conscious or just want a tasty treat.

 A package of four muffins costs $6.



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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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