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Product Talk: Epsom Salt


Epsom SaltI could extol the virtues of Epsom salt for hours.

Hours, I tell you.

I mix them into my bath water with a few drops of essential oil for the best, most relaxing bath there is.

They’re great for inflammation and swelling: I put a heaping tablespoon into the bucket of ice water my track athlete uses to soak his foot after a hard practice or competitive meet.

They’re wonderful for extracting toxins. Did you know that if you soak an area with a splinter in water with Epsom salt, the splinter will come to the surface of your skin, making it super easy to extract?

Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate and has about a trillion uses. Since it’s spring, I wanted to talk about one of them: homemade miracle plant growth stimulator.

Yep, you don’t need to put chemicals on your spring plantings to make them grow into bountiful and beautiful plants. Simply use 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon Espom salt, and dissolve into a gallon of water. I’ve used this on my new rose bushes, my new hosta, my tomatoes and my new annuals.

It has produced lush, huge plants in a short amount of time.

Add one more wonderful addition to the list of uses of Epsom salt.

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Family Matters: Save, Spend, Give


Save, Spend, GiveBoth of my boys got their first jobs recently. I’m so proud of them both for wanting to earn money, for the responsibility it takes to hold down a job, and for the life skills they are gaining while working in their early teenage years.

With the first job comes the first paycheck. Seriously, nothing was more thrilling for them than holding that piece of paper in their hands.

That first paycheck brought the opportunity for new life lessons. They opened their own savings accounts. They are responsible for their bank ledgers. They will learn how to reconcile a bank statement.

They will learn the value of the dollar.

My older son wanted to spend his first paycheck immediately. He knew what computer part he wanted to buy.

My younger son had an idea of something he’d like to purchase, but he also wanted to save his paycheck.

It was time to introduce “Save, Spend, Give.”

My parents always taught us to “pay yourself first,” so that’s what I’m teaching my boys. Seventy-five percent of their paycheck went into their savings account. They can buy a car with that money later on, if they can wrap their heads around the fact that this is an investment in their future.

The next part of their paycheck was cashed for spending money. You can decide what percentages work best for your kids and your family. Since 75 percent went into savings, we decided on 20 percent for spending, and the remaining 5 percent goes to giving. Philanthropy is an important value in our family. Whether the money goes to church or to a nonprofit agency, I want them to know that it’s important to give back.

Some families do 40/30/30, and this is great, too! With younger kids, you can use clear jars and actually divide the cash out so that the visual makes an impact on your children.

I hope this lesson will stick with my kids and carry on the very valuable skills they are learning as contributing members of the workforce.



Healthy Living: Whole 5® Puree


Whole 5® PureeWhen I saw this product on the shelf in the refrigerated section of Brookshire’s in the produce by prepared salads and bagged greens, I figured it was a juice.

It’s not. They’ll be the first to tell you that Whole 5® is a puree in which one serving contains the same antioxidant properties as five servings of blueberries. If you know your health facts, you know that’s a lot.

Whole 5® is not a juice or an energy drink. According to their website, “It is pureed whole food. It is dense nutrition that provides health-giving antioxidants and phytonutrients, plus natural sustained energy without stimulants.”

Whole 5® contains 15 super foods, including (all whole foods) grapes, apples, acai, pomegranates, blueberries, aloe, noni, cranberries, elderberries, bilberries, goji, nopal cactus leaf, plums, carrots and sweet potatoes.

It also contains two herbs: Chinese Skullcap and whole gentian root.

Finally, there are 13 trace minerals essential to overall health, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, copper, selenium, chromium, iodine, vanadium, molybdenum and sodium.

Adding an ounce of Whole 5® to your diet each day can give you more energy, help you sleep better, help you fight infection, and help you feel better overall. Recommended use is one ounce in the morning and one ounce in the evening.



Product Talk: Wholly Guacamole® Minis


Wholly Guacamole® Minis“Mom, I need to talk to you about something,” my older son said recently.

“Okay,” I agreed, with slight trepidation.

“I’d like some different fruits and vegetables in my school lunch,” he said.

Phew, that I can do!

I found Wholly Guacamole® Minis at Brookshire’s last week, to his delight.

These small, individually packaged guacamoles are great for his school lunch. I send along carrots, celery, cucumber spears or pita wedges for him to eat with the guacamole. He’s getting a great dose of protein and good fats to keep him alert and full throughout the afternoon. You know how hard that is to accomplish with teenage boys!

Find this product in the refrigerated produce section of Brookshire’s, near the bagged salads.

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Dine In: Italian Pasta Salad


Italian Pasta SaladMy favorite thing to do on a Friday afternoon is leave work, collect my boys, grab some groceries, and plop down on the back porch with a beverage and an easy dinner.

By Friday, I’m ready to relax! Sometimes that means going out to dinner, but for me, there really is nothing better than not having to leave the house for the rest of the night, not having to fight traffic and crowds, and not having to wait for my meal.

My back porch is a work in progress. I have a chiminea for fires, my two grills (charcoal and gas), solar lights, my potted herbs, and a semi-comfortable (like I said, “work in progress”) table and chairs set. It’s my favorite place to be in the evenings. When the weather warms up, I add a misting fan to keep the air moving and to keep us cool.

April nights are the best for porch parties, as we call them. You can even prepare this salad in advance, and then the work is complete for the evening. To make it a little hardier, you can add grilled, chopped chicken.

Italian Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
10 oz refrigerated cheese tortellini
5 oz mini pepperoni, or equivalent weight chopped pepperoni or salami
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 (3.8 oz) can black olives, drained
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup jarred mild yellow banana peppers, chopped
1 cup Italian salad dressing
8 oz parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water to shock the pasta into stopping the cooking process and to help prevent sticking. Cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl, combine pepperoni, tomatoes, olives, red onion and banana peppers; toss with cooled pasta. Add the dressing, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and cheese; toss gently to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving; serve chilled.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 799, Fat: 52 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 131 mg, Sodium: 1588 mg, Carbohydrates: 51 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 36 g.

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

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: Small Animal Exercises


Small Animal Exercises Your small pet, like a hamster, gerbil or rabbit, might seem to always be active (especially in the nighttime hours), but that doesn’t mean they don’t need some encouragement to exercise.

You can take your rabbit, ferret or other larger small breed animal for a walk on a leash, or provide time for him to move about outside his cage in a safe environment. Rabbits like to hop around in soft grass, so provide an enclosure for them to do so. A harness made for rabbits or other small animals can allow you to take them on a walk as well. (They don’t need to go far.) Just be mindful of keeping your small pet on a softer surface and out of harm’s way.

For your small pet that lives in a cage, like a hamster, gerbil or mouse, provide lots of tunnels that extend beyond the confines of the cage. Your pet will like to climb, explore and run. A running wheel in the main cage is also great exercise, and it will provide hours of movement and entertainment for your small pet.



Family Matters: Caring for your Puppy


Caring for your Puppy Puppy breath, puppy kisses, puppy snuggles. Nothing is better really, but it’s up to you to keep your puppy snuggable, happy and healthy.

When your puppy comes home at about 8 weeks old, you’ll want to have the house ready for him by having an established sleeping area, setting boundaries on where he’s allowed to be, having a designated area for his food and water, and making sure your house is safe from harmful objects and chemicals he might get into.

Although he won’t be fully vaccinated yet, make sure you have a vet and someone you can visit when his next round of shots are due.

Socialize your puppy with any other pets and with family members, especially children. Let them get used to each other slowly, if necessary. Teach small children how to be gentle and play safely with the puppy. Teach your puppy commands so that he also plays safely with the children.

If he is going to use a crate, introduce him to the crate on the very first day.

Take him outside often, on a leash, to the area of your yard where he can use the potty. Reward him for going in the right places.

Establish a routine for feeding, and stay on schedule. Take him outside after he eats to his potty area.

You might want to hang a bell from a ribbon on the back door knob, and teach your puppy to bat at the bell when he wants to go out.

It’s fine to tell your puppy “no” when he’s doing things he shouldn’t. It’s also great to praise his good behavior.

Have plenty of toys for your puppy to play with (so he leaves your shoes and your daughter’s dolls alone). Take him for walks for exercise. Puppies need a lot of exercise!

Make sure your dog is spayed or neutered when it becomes age-appropriate.

Finally, give your dog lots and lots of love, and you will have a best friend for life.



Family Matters: Bird Exercises


Bird ExercisesYour bird probably spends a lot of time in his cage, but he also needs exercise to stay happy and healthy and to have a good temperament.

Birds like to climb. Provide them with a ladder in their cage (and even one outside their cage for when you take him out). They will go up and down the ladder, and they’ll enjoy the exercise and movement.

Let him flap his wings. Take him out of the cage and perch him on your hand. Holding his feet with one hand, “fly” him around in a circle up and down, making large, slow motions with your arms so that he doesn’t get overly excited and flap too vigorously.

Take your bird on a walk. Yes, for real, but probably not outside. A harness made for your bird is perfect for walking him up and down hallways and corridors in your home.

Let him out of the cage, and let him do his own thing. He might fly, if his wings aren’t clipped. He might hop or walk around. Provide a safe environment for him to move about as HE chooses.



Family Matters: Caring for Kittens


Caring for KittensIt doesn’t get much cuter than a fluffy, fuzzy kitten, but you want to make sure your new kitten is as well cared for as he is adorable.

Prepare your home before you bring your new kitten home. Make sure it’s free from any dangers that could cause injury to your new ball of fluff.

Have a fresh, clean litter box ready, and start teaching your kitten to use it the minute you walk through the door. Make sure it’s in a semi-private area and not near any food or water bowls.

Have food and water bowls ready in a place that your kitten will become accustomed to being fed. Leave water out at all times.

Kittens have small stomachs and tolerate small meals more often. Dry foods tend to be best for kittens’ digestive systems. Consult your vet and follow package directions for the amount to feed your kitten by weight. Remember to adjust as your kitten grows.

Microchip your kitten, so if he gets out, you can find him easily when lost.

Spay or neuter your kitten as appropriate when they are old enough.

Keep his vaccinations current, along with any worming medications or flea-prevention treatments. Your kitten will likely keep himself clean, but help him out by cleaning his ears. Make sure he doesn’t get hair balls.



Healthy Living: Roasted Garlic Green Beans


Roasted Garlic Green BeansGrowing up, my mom cooked green beans frequently. They were flash-frozen, which is the healthiest way to buy them if you can’t get them fresh, and boiled (which kind of defeated some of the health of the flash-frozen status). I can’t say they were my favorite.

When I was old enough to cook green beans, I only bought fresh beans, and I steamed them. They were healthy, but they did not have a lot of flavor.

My boyfriend likes them simmered with bacon. Super tasty, but I’m not sure there’s any health value left whatsoever.

However, these beans are the best of both worlds. They’re fresh and healthy with heart-healthy olive oil as the added fat, and they’re full of great taste and flavor. I also love the texture from roasting the beans instead of cooking them with liquid.

Roasted Garlic Green Beans

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans, rinsed and ends cut off
1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
sea salt and pepper, to taste
5 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Toss green beans with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 17 to 20 minutes, stirring once. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 (as a side dish)

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 74, Fat: 2 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 12 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 3 g.

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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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