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Product Talk: John Soules Foods® Southern Style Chicken


John Soules Foods® Southern Style ChickenI heard a rumor that sounded too good to be true. I heard there was a frozen chicken product at Brookshire’s that tasted a lot like a place where we eat a lot and that’s closed on Sundays. I didn’t believe it.

One Sunday morning, my son wanted chicken and waffles for breakfast. I didn’t really feel like frying chicken, so I added “Southern Style Chicken” to my grocery list.

Found with the frozen foods, John Soules Foods® Southern Style Chicken comes in nuggets or strips. We were making chicken and waffles, so I opted for the strips.

We heated them in the oven, per the directions on the bag. When they came out, I asked my boys, who are connoisseurs of the other establishment, to taste them before we paired them with waffles and syrup. They agreed that they taste a lot like their favorite fast-food restaurant.

Lightly breaded, these strips and nuggets are 100-percent white meat chicken and so delicious. What we didn’t use for the chicken and waffles, we baked later in the week and used for chicken salads atop crispy greens tossed with fresh tomatoes, avocados and bits of crispy bacon.

We’ve also tried the nuggets dipped in barbecue or honey mustard sauce. They make great after-school snacks or lunches on the weekends.

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Posted in: Product Talk


Product Talk: Valentine’s Day at Brookshire’s


Valentine's Day at Brookshire'sThat’s right, ladies and gentlemen. You have two days left to be at the top of your Valentine’s Day game, but that won’t be a problem with the wide variety of gifts you can buy at Brookshire’s that say “I love you” perfectly.

You can start in the floral department. Traditionally, red roses signify Valentine’s Day, but what about pink, white, lavender, coral or another flower instead? Maybe she likes brightly colored assorted blooms, or she’s the type who would love it if you gave her a plant for her desk or house because your feelings for her will last longer than cut flowers. Brookshire’s has stems, arrangements, plants and vases to go with them, just in time for Valentine’s Day. There are fun balloons and cards, too.

Next, you might want to visit the bakery, where you can pick up a sweet treat like a cupcake to deliver to your loved one at work or a decadent dessert for your romantic meal. (I like to surprise my kids with cupcakes when they wake up on Valentine’s Day morning; sorry, teachers!)

Speaking of romantic meals, Brookshire’s makes it easy to put together something that will wow your love. Grab a copy of our Celebrate Cooking magazine in the store today for ideas, or put together a cheese board with assorted cheeses from the deli with sliced meats, olives and a loaf of freshly baked bread to start.

Then, our butchers can cut a perfect filet, pick out a lobster tail, or prepare a beef loin roast for you. Perhaps a shrimp scampi with some of the artisanal dried pastas would be a good choice, too.

A bottle of wine is never a bad choice for a thoughtful gift or as the perfect accompaniment to your romantic meal. Does your loved one prefer beer? An assortment of all their favorites is easy to put together with a make-your-own six-pack at Brookshire’s.

Don’t forget the candy! Pick up an assortment of any kind you can imagine.

Brookshire’s also has all of the cards and wrappings to make sure that your loved one feels special on Valentine’s Day.

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Family Matters: Eczema


Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common condition that affects 10 percent of infants and children. It’s basically dry skin and nothing to worry about.

More scientifically, eczema is a skin condition that usually has two components: dry, easily irritated skin and allergies.

Children with eczema have a tendency toward dry skin and do not retain moisture well. Their skin can take on a dry, rough texture and be prone to irritation. Dry skin can be itchy, leading to scratching that can lead to more irritation. Eczema can really be a vicious cycle for your child.

Underlying allergies can be a big component of eczema, even if you’re not aware of what the allergies may be. Already dry and irritated skin is less able to handle an allergic reaction and heal itself quickly.

Eczema can look like dry skin, with red patches or white bumps, in localized sections or in folds of the skin. It’s rarely covering the body, but it can in severe cases.

The best way to treat eczema is to moisturize from the inside out! Make sure your child stays well-hydrated, and then use an over-the-counter or prescription topical cream, lotion or ointment on their skin regularly.

Avoid irritants like perfumed lotions or detergents.

Try to identify triggers, like foods or environmental factors that may cause flare-ups. Your pediatrician should be able to order allergy testing that can help you identify these things.



Family Matters: Soothing Gas Pains


When my second son was born, he was a champion eater. He also had some award-winning gas pains. He’d draw his legs up toward his tummy and howl after a feeding. It was horrible. Babies get gassy when they swallow air, either when they are feeding, sucking on a pacifier or simply crying.

He ended up having to take a prescription gas-relieving medication, but there are so many things you can try (and we tried) to naturally help relieve gas in your infant.

First, keep their head higher than their body during feedings. That way, the milk sinks to the bottom, and air goes to the top without getting trapped. If you’re bottle-feeding, using a bottle with a collapsible liner allows air to be removed from the bottle as the baby feeds, so there’s not excess air trapped there as well. If bottle-feeding, using a low-flow nipple also helps with reducing air intake.

Burp your baby after feeding, or even during if you’re nursing and switching sides or if baby takes a natural break. Hold him on your shoulder and pat or rub firmly until he belches. If he doesn’t burp, wait a few minutes and try again.

You can help your baby work out gas by laying him on his back and pumping his legs in a bicycle motion. Hopefully this will help him pass gas. Rubbing his belly gently might help as well.

Sometimes a warm bath can also help relax them enough to pass gas.

If the problem is chronic, take a look at what formula you’re using or what you’re eating. You might need to eliminate foods from your diet if you’re nursing or change formulas if you’re bottle-feeding.

Finally, over-the-counter gas drops might provide some relief for your gassy baby! Check with your pediatrician.



Family Matters: First Foods


Around six months old, baby will start eating solid foods!

Some pediatricians recommend the transition around four months; pay attention to your baby. If he’s still vigorously thrusting a spoon out of his mouth at four months, try again at five or six. I think I tried at four months with my first child, which caused some digestive issues, so we tried again at six months with no problem. Jjust pay attention to your child’s needs! Baby should be able to hold his head erect and upper body stable before he starts solid foods.

Cereal is a good first food. I preferred single-grain oatmeal to rice (rice was constipating for both of my boys). I mixed it with breastmilk. You can use formula or water to get it to a consistency your baby can eat easily. Just a few spoonfuls should be enough to start.

When introducing solids, you only want to introduce a new food every three to four days. This way, you can make sure that if baby has a reaction, you know which food he is reacting to. After cereal, mashed avocado is a good one to try, or pureed sweet potato. Cooked and pureed carrots and other nutrient-rich veggies are good first foods. Then, move on to fruits, and cooked and pureed meats after that.

Don’t get discouraged if baby rejects a food once, twice or several times. This is normal! Keep trying. After you’re sure he is not allergic, mix it with something you know he likes to introduce it again.



Product Talk: Brookshire’s Spices


Brookshire’s SpicesIf you could see my spice cabinet, you’d think I need an intervention.

Yes, I said spice CABINET, not just spice rack.

A million years ago when I first moved out on my own, someone gave me a counter-top spice rack. It was adorable. It spun. It held 12 jars.

Twelve.

I think I outgrew it the first time I went grocery shopping.

The newest additions to my spice cabinet are the Brookshire’s Get Spicy line.

These fun and funky flavor combinations will have you getting spicy in no time.

9-Oh!-3 (get it?? 903???) is an all-purpose spice with the East Texas flavors of peppers and three salts. I use it to rub on meat.

Cluck It Up is a chicken rub that’s also delicious on turkey and pork.

Jal-uva can be used in place of lemon pepper in your recipes. It’s amazing on chicken and pork, and it’s delicious on roasted potatoes.

Taco Y Mas is perfect for classic Tex-Mex dishes like enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, quesadillas and burritos.

Bayou B’s adds a little Louisiana flavor (we are only a stone’s throw away, after all) to your next meal.

Beef It Up is a hearty blend of spices for your next grilling or smoking adventure. I love this for all red-meat rubs!

Smoked Sausage with Black-Eyed Peas

Ingredients:
1 lb smoked sausage
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Bayou B’s Cajun Seasoning
4 cloves garlic
4 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tsp parsley, finely chopped
8 cups chicken stock
1 lb black-eyed peas
1 Tbs green onions, chopped

Directions:
In a large stockpot over medium heat, sauté sausage for 5 minutes or until it starts to render.

Stir in the onions, salt, Bayou B’s Cajun Seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions are wilted. Stir in the chicken stock and peas.

Bring the liquid to a boil, and immediately turn down to a simmer. Cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the peas are tender. Serve garnished with green onions.

Serves 4

CHEF’S TIP: Serve over steamed white rice or crumbled, homemade cornbread.

Per Serving:
Calories: 510, Fat: 35 g (11 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 95 mg, Sodium: 2700 mg, Carbohydrates: 22 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 3; Protein: 30 g.

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

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Posted in: Product Talk


Family Matters: Safe and Fun Feline Treats for the Holidays


Safe and Fun Feline Treats for the HolidaysWhile cats don’t always eat table scraps, they are kind of sneaky about going into the kitchen and munching on your holiday feast while you’re eating in the dining room.

However, holiday indulgences that we love aren’t always good for your feline friend.

Turkey is one of them.

Turkey isn’t bad for your kitty (well, the bones are), but the richness of a roasted bird might not agree with his digestive system. You know what that means for you.

Do not give your cat anything with bulb vegetables like onions, garlic or leeks. They cause anemia in cats.

Absolutely no gravy, which typically contains garlic, onions or mushrooms.

Speaking of mushrooms, they are toxic to cats. Keep your kitty away from them.

Don’t give your cat bread: yeast also causes digestive issues.

Liver, while it sounds like a good idea, can cause organ toxicity in cats. Just avoid it.

Of course, avoid chocolate, candy or any other sweets.

Your vet probably has an emergency number for holidays. Post it on your fridge. Also, have the number for the Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA). Their number is 888-ANI-HELP, or 888-426-4435.



Family Matters: What Treats NOT to Feed Your Dog During the Holidays


What Treats NOT to Feed Your Dog During the HolidaysWith the holidays upon us, it’s tempting to feed our canine best friend some treats from the table. After all, we’re indulging, so why shouldn’t he?

There are a list of good reasons why!

I want to feed my dog, Astro, all the same treats that I’m enjoying, but not everything that’s good for me is good for him.

First of all, please don’t feed your four-legged friend bones from your holiday turkey, ham or even crown roast. No bones, period, unless they come from the pet food aisle at Brookshire’s and are engineered specifically for dogs. Real animal bones can fracture and cause serious, even fatal, damage in your dog’s digestive system.

Secondly, beware of holiday plants. Poinsettias and mistletoe are both poisonous. You also don’t want your pup ingesting needles from your Christmas tree! Keep these plants out of reach of your dog, and keep him away from your tree.

Chocolate is also poisonous to your dog in certain quantities. Don’t leave out dishes of chocolate, and closely monitor any chocolate treats in the house during the holiday season.

Alcohol can also be fatal to your pooch. While he might not WANT to attack your glass of glog, keep anything with alcohol in it far away from your pet.

Onions or any other bulb vegetable (like garlic, leeks and chives) are also bad for your dog. Don’t feed him table scraps with any of those ingredients.

Raisins and grapes are also super bad for your dog, so if he gets into the fruitcake or cinnamon bread, call your vet immediately.

Most vets offer emergency service (or a backup) on holidays. Make sure you have that number handy in case your four-legged friend DOES indeed get into something he shouldn’t eat.

In the meantime, provide his favorite (dog-approved) treats and his regular foods, and give him lots of love and attention to keep him from focusing on table scraps.



Happy Halloween


I’ve been a single mom for about as long as I’ve written this blog. Some years I have my kids on Halloween, and some years I don’t.

I’ve come to appreciate Halloween from a parent’s perspective, a child’s perspective and from an adult’s perspective who has enjoyed a fun evening with friends, delighting in the haunted hooligans who came by my house.

One of my favorite Halloweens (and I’ll deny this to my children, if any of you ever dare to show them this post) was one right after I was newly single. My friends showed up at my house (Adults, drive carefully on Halloween night. Children are out in droves, and you never know how early you’ll see a little Moana or Wonder Woman wandering the streets in search of treats.) for an evening of treats and tricks.

They insisted that we all wear costumes. I resisted, but they had a fabulously bejeweled tiara, a blonde wig (I’m a brunette), a magic wand and a silky cape. I mean, come on, who could resist that? I gave in and donned the sparkly garb.

They also brought treats. Every Halloween party needs a proportionate number of treats to tricks, right? If you’re trying this at home, look at Brookshire’s Real Big Deal this week, valid through 10/31/17.

When you buy one Mars Halloween Candy Variety Pack (which you’ll need for all the little ghouls and goblins who will come to your door), you’ll get an amazing array of goodies for free, not to mention all the M&M’s®, Snickers®, Twix® and Milky Way® candy you can eat.

Start with the Halloween Glow sticks. All your guests must be decked out in glow sticks. It’s important to note that these are also highly coveted trick-or-treat swag. You can give them out to your trick-or-treaters. My kids LOVE getting glow sticks, especially if they can wear them. The good thing to know about glow sticks, for adults or kids, is that after you get them home, play with them, stick them under your shirt and up your nose (don’t ask). If you put them in the refrigerator, you extend their life span, and you can repeat the very next night, when otherwise they’d be faded by morning. Note to self. So, stock up on some glow sticks during The Real Big Deal.

You’ll also get a 2-liter of Brookshire’s BLAST! Soda. To get the party going, also grab a gallon of Goldenbrook Ice Cream, drop a dollop into the soda to make a float. You can stir it with a glow stick for a really creepy effect.

Another item you’ll get in the Deal is a Halloween Shadow Tote, the perfect creepy accessory to stash your loot or your kids’ candy, or to give away to the trick-or-treater who has his candy in a plastic sack.

While the kids trick-or-treated, my friends and I snacked on popcorn, which is also part of The Real Big Deal. I popped what seemed like a ton. We enjoyed some with butter and salt, and some with dry Ranch dressing mix tossed on to coat it. Delicious!

For our “trick” of the evening, we got Brookshire’s Sandwich Cookies (also in The Real Big Deal). We took the ‘lid’ off the cookie and adhered the frosting side to my boys’ bedroom doors. They came home to cookies stuck all over their doors! Totally harmless, people! No damage done to paint and nothing more than a good wipe down with a hot washcloth to clean it up. No harm, no foul.

If you don’t have kids with you on Halloween night and don’t want trick-or-treaters visiting, make sure to turn off your porch light. An illuminated light lets pint-sized haunters know that you’re open for business. If your light is on, you’d better have that Mars Halloween Candy Pack, or at least be ready to fork over every dollar bill in your wallet. If your light is off, don’t feel bad about not answering the door; they’ll get the hint.

When trick-or-treaters do knock at your door, I’d advise against holding out a bowl of candy to them, like an offering. Grab a few select pieces and drop it in their bags. Otherwise, you might be offering a bit more than you’d planned on. Take it from me. Never, EVER, leave a bowl of candy out on your porch unattended with a sign that says something like, “Take One.” You’re guaranteed to only have ONE trick-or-treater that night.

Finally, it’s NOT wrong on October 31 to have a (as my kids call it) “jump scare” skeleton, black cat or ghost hiding in the bushes by your front door (kids of  your own home or not), just waiting for unsuspecting revelers to stop by, hoping for a treat but maybe getting a trick as well!

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Posted in: Entertaining


Product Talk: Pumpkin Spice Cheerios™


Pumpkin Spice CheeriosYou can’t do a post in October without talking about Pumpkin Spice something.

Today, it’s Pumpkin Spice Cheerios™.

I grabbed them the other day while going for my regular Honey Nut variety. My teenage son was appalled when I brought them home. Then, he tried them. “These aren’t so bad,” he grudgingly admitted, “but don’t tell any girl I like them.”

Okay, I won’t.

For a limited time, General Mills will produce Pumpkin Spice Cheerios™ for all the lovers of pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. It’s pretty much autumn in a box.

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios™ are gluten-free with only 8 grams of sugar and 110 calories per serving, plus 17 grams of whole-grain. They’re also made with real pumpkin puree. Serve with your favorite milk, and you’ll have a balanced breakfast to start the day or a great snack for any time!

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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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