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Healthy Living: Sucralose

Crustless Pumpkin PieWe’re caught between a rock and a hard place these days. Natural sugar is highly caloric; artificial sweeteners are, well, artificial. However, sucralose, often sold by the brand name Splenda, is a non-caloric sweetener first introduced in 1976. It is a good substitute for sugar in baked goods because it’s heat resistant and shelf stable. It doesn’t cause cavities; it’s safe for diabetics as a substitute for sugar and does not affect insulin levels. Sucralose is used as a replacement for other natural sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium or high-fructose corn syrup.

This recipe uses Food Club Brand Sucralose instead of sugar, and when you serve it this holiday season, you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus chilling
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 8

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/3 cup Food Club Sucralose
2 Tbs honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup evaporated fat-free milk

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, sucralose, honey and spices. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat lightly until just combined. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until center appears set when gently shaken. Cool for 1 hour on wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Calories Per Serving: 72, Fat: 1 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 42 mg, Sodium: 46 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 4 g.

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Product Talk: Tajín Seasoning

I was shopping in Brookshire’s this morning and looked at the pre-cut fresh fruits because I needed to grab something for my boys’ school lunches.  Let’s face it, I don’t always have the time to process a pineapple or to peel and slice apples. Brookshire’s can do it for me!

While I was perusing the aisle, making my selections (mango, pineapple, strips of bell peppers, kiwi), I saw a jar I’d never seen before.

Tajín seasoning.

It said it was a great seasoning for fruit.

I’d never heard of a seasoning for fruit, so I bought some, of course.

Tajín Clásico Seasoning is a blend of Mexican chiles with lime and salt. You can sprinkle it directly onto fruit, or use it on veggies or with soups and stews. I’m probably one of the rare people who doesn’t like the sweetness of fruit, so I thought I’d try it on the fresh pineapple to see how it cut the sweetness.

It is delicious!

The chile and lime brought out the flavors of the pineapple without masking the fresh natural flavors. I can’t wait to try it on more things.

Tajín Orange Mango Salad (recipe from

1 head romaine lettuce, washed
1 cup spinach leaves, washed
1 orange (half in wedges and half for juice)
1 mango, sliced
1 small onion, cut into slices and soaked in water with lime*
TAJÍN Clásico Seasoning®, to taste

Divide half of the orange into wedges and juice the other half. Reserve the juice.

Break the head of lettuce into pieces with your hands. Arrange the leaves on a platter, spread the spinach leaves on top of them and then alternate the orange wedges, mango and onion slices. Finally, add the orange juice and TAJÍN Clásico Seasoning® to taste.

*This removes some of the bite from the onion. Soak the slices in ice cold water with a touch of lime or lime juice for about 10 minutes.

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Family Matters: Getting Your House in Order

Family MattersAs a family of six, it is a task to keep our house straight and “tidy” as some would say. We are pulled in different directions, and the house sometimes is the last thing thought about, in the order of things that need to be done. As parents, we must remember the importance of teaching our children what it means to have responsibilities and to do their part at home and in life. “Getting your house in order” has more than one meaning and both, I believe, are essential.

A family must work together to keep the house running, straightened and ready for company at any time. I don’t mean it has to be perfect, but as I tell my kids, “If someone stops by unexpectedly, what do you want them to see?” They couldn’t really care less, but they know what I mean! It takes a lot to make a house a “home” and that means everyone working together to do their part. It is not the responsibility of one person to tend to the house. It is individuals working together to make it a home.

For our family, “getting our house in order” means we are active in our local church. We help weekly with a missions group, we volunteer where needed and we sometimes just spend more time in prayer. A church is like an extended family, and without everyone doing their part, it will not be as successful as it should be and the message may not be heard by all. Maybe it’s making a phone call, cooking a meal, making a house visit, stuffing envelopes, etc., but without each one, the church will not accomplish their mission.

I recently read an article with the example of a chain: one link is strong yet can’t do much by itself, but when chain links are joined, they are strong, unbreakable and can be used for so many things. Teach your children the significance of finding their place at home and at church. Age does not matter; there is a place and a need for everyone to serve. Teach them now how to “get their house in order.” What a wonderful legacy to pass on, especially in the world we live in. “Link” together as a family – step up, find your place and help make a difference!

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Healthy Living: Healthy Halloween Treats

Halloween is all about candy, right?


Yep, I’m the mom who gives out the individual serving-sized bags of pretzels on Halloween. Laugh all you want, but in our house, we toss probably 85 percent of the candy. We just don’t eat it – or need it.

This year, instead of trick-or-treating, I’m hosting a backyard movie night for my boys and their friends. They’ve gotten to that age where trick-or-treating is a bit passé, but they still want to celebrate the holiday.

So, they will dress up, likely as zombies because that’s way cool, you know.

They’ll come here for dinner, pizza most likely because that’s delicious, you know.

Then, we’ll go to a haunted house.

Finally, we’ll come back to my house. I rented a projector to show a movie outdoors, so we’ll spread blankets in the backyard, watch a movie and enjoy some treats that are healthier than pizza.

I love the ghost bananas and the pumpkin tangerines! They’re super simple.

For the ghosts, peel a banana and cut it in half across the middle. Using chocolate chips, make a ghostly “face” on the banana, pressing the chips lightly into the fruit. For the pumpkins, peel a tangerine and insert a small piece of sliced celery into the top for a “stem.” Enjoy!

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Product Talk: Snyder’s Pretzels

When I lived in Germany, I was able to attend Oktoberfest in Munich several times. It’s practically a law in the county that you have to go at least once.

Oktoberfest, which actually starts in September, is the quintessential celebration of all things German, especially good food, good beer and a lot of celebrating.

There are two big things you see at Oktoberfest: liter-sized steins of beer and pretzels as big as your head.

Snyder’s has been making pretzels in the United States since 1909. Of German descent, the Snyder family opened a bakery in Pennsylvania, and their products have grown and expanded ever since.

I usually have a bag of the Pretzel Snaps (they look like a checkerboard) in my desk at any given moment for snacking throughout the day. I love all the flavors (Bacon Cheddar or Hot Buffalo Wing, anyone?) and varieties that Snyder’s offers.

This is a fun recipe using Snyder’s Pretzel Rods for dipping.

This is a recipe from Synder’s.

Beer and Cheese Dip

1/4 cup Stout or Porter beer
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (16 oz) bag shredded sharp cheddar
1 jalapeño, minced (optional)

Combine the beer, mustard, butter and cayenne pepper in a saucepan on medium heat until well-mixed.

Gradually add the cheese in 1 cup batches, whisking until the texture is smooth. Stop adding cheese once you have achieved your desired thickness; remove from heat and stir in minced jalapeño.

Note: For a tangier taste, reduce the shredded cheese to 8 ounces and add one 8-ounce package of cream cheese.

Serve with Snyder’s Pretzel Rods for dipping.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 501, Calories from Fat: 370, Fat: 41 g (26 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 127 mg, Sodium: 903 mg, Potassium: 150 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 29 g

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Family Matters: Don’t be spooked by these sweeties

Halloween CandiesWhat kid doesn’t love Halloween? Scary or silly, they get to dress up in their favorite costume. They can go trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating, attend a fall festival or host their own party. I have discovered that my daughter really enjoys making fun Halloween treats. She likes to wrap them up in cute gift bags and pass them out to all her friends when she gets to school. One of her favorite Halloween treats is these stacked skeletons.

These stacked skeletons are a wacky and wonderful way to celebrate Halloween!

Buy a pan of brownies from our bakery and cut into squares.

Melt 8 ounces of Food Club White Chocolate in the microwave and dip small twisted pretzels into the chocolate to coat. Spread out on a rack to let dry or buy pre-made yogurt-covered pretzels.

Stack several pretzels on top of the brownie to form the skeleton body. Top with a medium-sized Food Club Marshmallow.

Using food-safe frosting pens (purchased at a craft store), draw a silly, scary, spooky or sweet face onto your skeleton. Place in a baggie, tie with a ribbon and you’re ready to go with a Halloween goodie bag that’s sure to be a hit.

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Mi Blog Hispano: Poderes Curativos de la Cúrcuma

Poderes Curativos de la CúrcumaHace unos días me encontré con un artículo en el internet que me llamó muchísimo la atención  sobre “Los poderes Curativos de la Cúrcuma”, gracias a Dios que me detuve a leerlo porque aprendí sobre los  maravillosos beneficios de la cúrcuma y tambien sobre los descubrimientos que se han hecho de como ayuda a prevenir el cáncer y otras enfermedades que atacan y afectan tanto a la gente en estos últimos tiempos.

La Cúrcuma es una especia  que proviene de la planta Curcuma Longa, tradicionalmente la usamos para  dar sabor y color a las comidas, pero su uso tiene más beneficios que aportar que sólo eso. Por esto mucha gente ha integrado este ingrediente en la dieta diaria. Existen muchos métodos para consumirlos, puede ser como Fuente de alimento, o ingerir su extracto en forma de píldora, o tambien  ingerir extracto de Cúrcuma liquida altamente concentrado.

La cúrcuma”,  su ingrediente activo principal, continúa brillando como un imponente agente  especial  ‘súper alimento’ anti-cáncer, con una amplia gama de beneficios tangibles para la salud, incluyendo su capacidad de inducir la muerte de células cancerosas y prevenir la cirrosis. Es importante destacar su increíble efecto anti-inflamatorio y anti-oxidante.

Un estudio reciente publicado en el Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, por ejemplo, se ha encontrado que una administración dependiente de la dosis de la curcumina activa efectivamente la apoptosis de las células de cáncer de hígado, lo que significa que apuraba la muerte de estas células. En sus conclusiones, los investigadores involucrados en este estudio declararon a la curcumina como un “fito-medicamento prometedor en el tratamiento del cáncer.”

La de Fundación Extensión de la Vida (LEF) tambien, ha conducido una amplia investigación sobre las propiedades anti-cáncer de la cúrcuma y encontró que la especie ataca una asombrosa cantidad de 10 factores causales que intervienen en el desarrollo del cáncer, incluyendo,

  • daño en el ADN
  • inflamación crónica
  • interrupción de las vías de señalización celular

Aunque una dosificación precisa de la cúrcuma  para la prevención del cáncer oficialmente no se ha establecido, estudios con pacientes humanos diagnosticados con cáncer encontraron que la dosis curcumina de aproximadamente 3,600 mg (3,6 gramos) indujeron la paraptosis, es decir la destrucción selectiva de las células cancerosas mitocondriales; la interrupción del ciclo celular del cáncer, regulación hacia abajo de células de cáncer,  destruyendo y deteniendo el desarrollo de células madre.

Una manera fácil de añadir más cúrcuma en su dieta

  • La cúrcuma puede darle vida a sus platos de arroz.
  • Los huevos pueden ser fritos o revueltos con mantequilla o aceite de coco con una pizca generosa de cúrcuma y sal del mar. No  olvides la pimienta.
  • Lentejas garbanzos o frijoles picantes.
  • Un refrescante elixir de  verano de cúrcuma puede prepararse poniendo a ebullición una raíz de cúrcuma, dejar que se enfríe un poco, descartar la raíz y agregar miel, limón o lima, y una pizca de cúrcuma molida con una pizca de pimienta negra. Vierta sobre hielo y disfrute.

Shop the Sale: Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls

Once upon a time, there was a kiosk in downtown Killeen, Texas, that served the very best Philly Cheesesteaks this side of the Mississippi.

The rolls were richly buttered and toasted.

The steak was thick and juicy.

The veggies were grilled to perfection and the cheese was melted perfectly. They were phenomenal.

A Philly Cheesesteak from that kiosk was the last meal I had before moving away from Killeen in 2001. They were that good.

Fast forward to today. There’s an inconspicuous Chinese food place down the street from my house. I hadn’t eaten there in all the years I’ve lived here until about a year ago. Now, I have an addiction to their hot and sour soup, and egg rolls. They are divine. Crisp on the outside, warm and flavorful on the inside.

I’d never put two and two together until I saw a recipe on Pinterest for Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls.

A marriage made in heaven, I thought.

This week, boneless sirloin strips are on sale at Brookshire’s. There is only one basic way to grill a steak, but you might want to try something different this week when they are on sale!

Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls

10 egg roll wrappers
2 cups cooked sirloin steak strips
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
3 Tbs butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
5 slices provolone cheese, halved
canola oil, for frying
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the sauce:
1/2 cup light mayo
1 Tbs milk
1 tsp horseradish
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Fill your fryer or pot with at least 1 inch deep of canola oil. Heat to 375° F.

In a sauté pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the pepper strips and onions, and cook until soft and tender (about 5 minutes). Then, toss in the steak and garlic powder; stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Once cool, place an egg roll wrapper on a clean, dry surface and brush all the edges with the lightly beaten egg. Place a couple strips of the steak, peppers and onions at an angle in the center of the wrapper, and top with half of a slice of provolone cheese. Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper over the filling then fold in the right side and left side. Roll toward the remaining corner and seal closed.

Repeat with remaining egg roll wrappers and filling.

Place two to three egg rolls in the hot oil at a time. Cook and turn for 3 to 5 minutes or until all sides are golden-brown. Drain on paper towel-lined plate.

For the sauce:
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Add more horseradish if you want it with more of a kick. Serve egg rolls hot with a side of sauce.

Makes 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 436, Calories from Fat: 149, Fat: 16 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 160 mg, Sodium: 426 mg, Potassium: 622 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 49 g.

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Healthy Living: Cucumber Vegetable Cups

I’m throwing a bridal shower next week. My best friend’s daughter is getting married.

Did you read that correctly? My. Best. Friend.

If she’s MY best friend, this means I’m also old enough to have a daughter getting married.





For real.


It’s hard to acknowledge that we’re old enough to have children getting married and having babies, but we are, mostly.

I haven’t been to a shower in a while, I must admit, because my crowd is busy navigating the waters of middle school. We’re in that weird limbo between our own bridal showers and our children’s showers.

However, I DO have to admit that in all the showers I’ve been to recently, there hasn’t been much healthy food. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some cupcakes and some meatballs, but it’s always good to have a healthy option for a group gathering like a bridal shower or work event. So many people are eating gluten-free these days that it’s also important for them. These are a fun way to serve something artful and deliver a fun and healthy option, all in one.

Cucumber Vegetable Cups

2 large cucumbers (about 3 cups)
1 cup ranch dressing
2 cups carrots, sliced

Peel cucumbers. Slice into 1/2-inch rounds.

Scoop out seeds, leaving a shell at the bottom of each round to be filled.

Fill with a teaspoon of ranch dressing. Place carrot sticks inside cucumber cups. Serve immediately.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 35, Calories from Fat: 2, Fat: 0.2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 251 mg, Potassium: 194 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 1 g.

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Posted in: Healthy Living

Family Matters: Pets

Family Matters | CatMy boys wanted a cat. Begged for a cat.

They told me they’d clean toilets for a year for a cat.

Well, I can’t have a cat; I’m allergic. I’m sticking with my big doggie.

However, one day while riding home with their bonus mom, they saw a small kitten trying to cross the busiest thoroughfare in town, dodging traffic and surely expending one of its nine lives. They pulled into the mall parking lot and rescued the kitten who was riddled with worms, had an eye infection and was clearly malnourished.

They dropped it off at the vet, hoping the vet could get it healthy.

The boys, plus their bonus brother, must have really worked on the parental units that night, begging to pick the small, white, fluffy kitten up from the vet the next day and bring it home with them because that’s exactly what happened.

The kitten, a Manx, has big blue eyes and a little nub of a tail distinctive to that breed.

Remember the promise about cleaning the toilets for a year? Well, apparently their dad didn’t extract that promise, but the boys DO have to clean the kitty’s litter box.

It’s not their favorite chore in the world, but cat litter is engineered to lock in moisture and odors. It’s easy to clean and clumps to be easily scoopable. Plus, the kitten is worth it.

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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.

Product Talk

Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.

Healthy Living

Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

Shop the Sale

On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.

Family Matters

Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

Dine In

Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.

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