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Healthy Living: Banana Chips


Banana ChipsMy kids love bananas and can go through a bunch in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, for whatever reason, they sit on the kitchen counter, and I have to make a snap decision on what to do with the rapidly ripening fruit.

Often, I peel the bananas and freeze them, using the fruit for smoothies later.

Lately, I’ve been making banana chips. If I thought bananas went fast, these go faster. The boys gobble them up. Seriously, I have to hide them. They’re delicious plain or as a topping to yogurt or oatmeal.

Banana Chips

Ingredients:
10 bananas, thinly sliced (the more thinly sliced, the crisper they will be)
1 lemon, juiced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 200° F. Cover a baking sheet with foil, parchment paper or a baking mat, and lightly grease with cooking spray. Sprinkle banana slices with lemon juice.

Arrange bananas in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 2 hours. Flip the slices, and then bake for an additional 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven, and transfer the chips to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 266, Fat: 1 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 6 mg, Carbohydrates: 68 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 36 g, Protein: 3 g.

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



Product Talk: Melissa’s Black-Eyed Peas


Melissa’s Black-Eyed PeasI always love spring and summer because they mark the arrival of black-eyed pea season.

I love black-eyed peas so much.

Now, I can get Melissa’s Black-Eyed Peas in the produce section of Brookshire’s. These vacuum-packed peas are refrigerated and ready to eat. Just heat and serve if you can wait that long, I may have had a spoonful straight out of the package).

These black-eyed peas are delicious served as-is, in soups, in stews, as a side dish, or in a casserole or salad. Cook them with salt, pepper and bacon. Steam them or simmer them in a little water on the stove. You can also microwave them. They’re super simple, fresh and delicious.



Product Talk: Sunday Brunch


Sunday Brunch Dog FoodIt’s National Pet Month, and there’s no better time to celebrate your playful pup than with a wonderful meal you can get for him right off the shelf at Brookshire’s.

Sunday Brunch canned dog food is prepared with savory lamb, rich rice, hearty potatoes and fresh apples. Your pup will enjoy the feeling of Sunday brunch with the family, and it’s full of whole-grains, potatoes, proteins and apples.

Sunday Brunch is made with omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat for your pup. Cans are good for two meals, mixed with dry food, for a succulent feast for your four-legged furry friend.

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Posted in: Pets, Product Talk


Dine In: Grilled Dijon Onion Rings


Grilled Dijon Onion RingsDuring this time of year and if it’s Friday night, you’re going to find me on the back porch, likely with a fire going in the chiminea and something on the grill.

My favorite thing about the grill, aside from the scent and sizzle, is the variety of options you can cook outside. Not only do we grill our protein for almost every meal but most of our side dishes as well.

So far this year, I’ve grilled zucchini, baby portobello mushrooms, asparagus, squash, eggplant, green beans and onions.

These Grilled Dijon Onion Rings are amazing with steak. Grilling them gives the onions a smoky sweetness that is a wonderful complement to a rich steak.

Grilled Dijon Onion Rings

Ingredients:
3 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp lemon rind, cut into 1-inch julienned strips
2 sweet onions (such as Noonday), cut into 1/4-inch slices

Directions:
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Whisk Dijon mustard, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, thyme and lemon rind in a small bowl until well-combined.

Brush one side of the onion slices with some of the mustard mixture. Place the onion slices mustard-side down in a grill pan/basket/griddle.

Grill for about 5 minutes on the first side, while you baste the other side with the remaining mustard mixture. Turn once, and grill for another 5 minutes. Remove from the grill, and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 48, Fat: 2 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 136 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 1 g.

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

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Posted in: Dine In, Produce


Family Matters: Handprint Gifts


Handprint GiftsMother’s Day and Father’s Day are rapidly approaching, and (to me) there’s no better gift than something that your little one has had their hand in. Literally.

Handprint gifts are the best. I can look back from years ago and see the sweet preciousness in their tiny handprints.

One year, my younger son made me a clay flower pot with his handprint as the green base and stems of a plant with his multicolored fingerprints as the flowers. It’s in my kitchen, holding pens and pencils.

Another year, we made footprints in a concrete paver for the back garden. Their sweet little feet are forever immortalized in concrete with the date and their names stamped into the stone. It’s my favorite thing in the backyard.

I have a bookmark with my oldest son’s handprint cut out of craft foam, mounted to green pipe cleaners to look like a flower. It has his name and the date on the back, lest I forget which small, sweet hand it belongs to.

I have handprint clay molds and handprint Christmas ball ornaments.

The possibilities for these special gifts are endless (there are so many ideas online that I can’t even name them all). I promise that any gift this unique will be treasured forever, and you won’t even feel bad about wiping their chocolate pudding handprints off the living room wall.



Family Matters: Solid Foods


Solid FoodsBy your baby’s seventh month, he’s been introduced to solid foods.

Some babies are more adept with solids at 7 months than others, but all should catch up by the 12-month mark.

By 7 to 12 months of age, your baby should be able to hold a bottle or sippy cup, and drink from it while sitting upright in a high chair.

He should be able to eat thicker pureed foods (7 to 8 months) and softer finger foods.

Your little one will enjoy teething biscuits that soothe swollen gums. While teething, they’ll often put anything, edible or not, in their mouths to chew on.

Your baby’s meals are more consistent these days, and breast-feeding is equal or lesser to the amount of other food they are taking in. Your little one stays full longer after eating.

In the second half of their first year, baby knows what he likes and does not like, and he will reach for food he’s interested in. That doesn’t mean to stop offering food he turns away. Sometimes it takes several attempts to get baby to enjoy something new.

Baby will show a strong reaction to new smells and tastes. Keep offering them to him to help expand his palate.

During this time, he will start to eat finger foods. Let him pick them up and make a mess! He’s learning fine motor skills and enjoying significant sensory development.



Family Matters: Baby’s Vision


Baby’s VisionMy best friend’s daughter is going to have a baby any day now, and they’re both beyond excited (rightly so!).

My best friend’s love language is decorating. She’s helped her daughter prepare the nursery, painting the walls the perfect shade of light, smoky blue, hanging vintage toy airplanes from the mobile over the crib, and framing antique maps for the walls to complete a theme of travel and adventure for her new grandson.

He’ll love it in a few months, but in the early days and weeks, your baby can’t see very well. Unlike hearing which is completely developed by the end of baby’s first month, vision takes longer to form. In fact, when baby is born, his vision is about 20/400, and he can’t see color well. It will take 6 to 8 months to fully mature.

Initially, baby can see about the distance from his face to yours when you’re cuddling him.

He might not be able to make both eyes move in tandem in that first month, so don’t be alarmed if they cross or wander randomly. They’ll get stronger as he develops. Lock eyes with your baby and move them back and forth. It will help him learn to do the same.

While baby can see color, he might not be able to distinguish tones. This is why he likes high contrast patterns in black and white over pastel pictures. He’ll also like bright, primary colors and objects that are all one color.

Baby also doesn’t have very good depth-perception. He might reach for your nose and grasp the air several inches in front of your face. This will start to come together around the 4-month mark. You can help him by handing him an easy-to-grasp toy, like a rattle. Have him reach for it and take it in his grasp. Position it differently, so he has to look for it in different places.

Baby’s favorite thing to look at is your face. Let him spend lots of time gazing at you. He might also like a mirror and might start to recognize himself during the latter half of his first year.

Eye exams are part of every well baby checkup. Make sure to let your pediatrician know if either of baby’s parents have serious vision problems or a family history of vision problems.



Healthy Living: Using Sunscreen


Using SunscreenWe should all REALLY wear sunscreen all year long. Let’s be honest. How many of us don’t even think about it until the warmer months when the sun beats down a little more intensely than at other times?

I know I don’t (although I use a facial product with an SPF every single day, all year long).

As I was taking out the sunscreen today before a trip to the state park, I realized that I need to be a little more diligent about using sunscreen all year long.

Using sunscreen is the best way to help prevent melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. It also takes the consistent, proper use of sunscreen to make it most effective.

Use sunscreen every time you’re going to be outdoors, even in winter and on cloudy days. Ultraviolet rays can damage your skin under both conditions.

Use about  1 1/2 ounces of sunscreen each time you apply it, which should be about every 90 minutes in the sun, or more often if you’re swimming or sweating. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks all types of UV rays, with a number of 15 or higher.

Use sunscreen or wear protective clothing over every inch of your body. Adding a hat helps, as does wearing a cover-up over your swimsuit for beach days. Use a special sunscreen on your lips, and don’t forget behind your ears and on your scalp.

Remember, tanned skin doesn’t look healthy if it’s riddled with melanoma!

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Reusable Cooling Towel


Reusable Cooling TowelYesterday, I ran into Brookshire’s for two things: King’s Hawaiian Rolls and skim milk.

I came out with about seven things, including dill pickle-flavored popcorn (delicious) and a bag of crispy M&M’s.

I also came out with a reusable cooling towel.

I happened across this little gem in the refrigerated section, near the aforementioned skim milk. As luck would have it, I’d dashed into Brookshire’s between the two sets of soccer games for which my 13-year-old son was refereeing that day. Four games in one day is a lot, even if temperatures are only hovering around the 80-degree mark. We haven’t even seen the hottest of the game days yet.

I grabbed a towel. The cooling towel helps cool you down before and after hard work or exercise, the label says. The material becomes cooler than the air when wet.

He always has water with him. He just needs to wet down the towel between games, and apply the cool fabric to his face, neck or chest, whatever helps cool him down in the hot summer sun.
It comes in a plastic carry container, so he can keep it in his duffel bag easily, and we just wash it in the machine with his referee uniform between weekends.

The sports complex has little shade, and while he brings lots of water, I feel good knowing he has one more tool for staying cool and refreshed when he’s at work.

These would also be great for trips to the park, lake, zoo or amusement parks! Anything outside, really. At $3.99 each, you can get one for everyone in the family.

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine In: Beef Enchilada Dip


Beef Enchilada DipOne of my favorite restaurants has a new, seasonal dish on their menu that I’ve been ordering every time we go eat there: Cowboy Nachos.

The dish consists of a mound of crispy tortilla chips topped with a beefy, black bean chili and tons of melted cheese, garnished with sour cream and guacamole. It’s heaven on a plate and satisfies all the senses for me: crunchy, creamy, cheesy. What more do you need?

This dip is a great alternative to my favorite nachos to make at home. Not everyone in the family likes all the same things, so heaping everything on a plate of nachos wouldn’t work out for us.

If you make this dip, it allows each family member to control their amounts and add the garnishes they like.

It’s a fun way to wind down with the family on a Friday night.

Beef Enchilada Dip

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 large white onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10 oz) cans red enchilada sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
cilantro, sour cream or olives, for garnish
tortilla chips

Directions:
Brown the ground beef and onion together in a large, cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet. Add garlic; cook for about 1 more minute. Drain grease.

Stir enchilada sauce into the meat, and mix until well-combined. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the cheese over the meat mixture. Reduce heat to low, and let cheese melt. If you want the cheese more browned and bubbly, place under broiler until the cheese is the desired consistency.

Garnish with sour cream, cilantro and olives, if desired. Scoop with tortilla or corn chips.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 485, Fat: 31 g (17 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 147 mg, Sodium: 1142 mg, Carbohydrates: 8g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 42 g.

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



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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.

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Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

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