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Family Matters: Homemade Teething Relief


The months when a baby starts to grow his or her teeth are some of the most trying as a new parent. I can remember trying anything – from my own fingers and fancy refrigerated baby toys to all kinds of teething biscuits – to try and bring relief to my son’s restless little gums.

One thing I noticed was that many purchased teething biscuits contained palm oil (a saturated fat), as well as more sugar and preservatives than I wanted. One day, I decided to do a little research and find a recipe or two to make homemade biscuits that hopefully my teething toddler would like – and would be a bit healthier.

These are not very sweet, but because I did not have much added sugar in my child’s diet this early in life, he thought they tasted great….and it provided much-needed chomping!

Homemade Teething Biscuits

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose or oat flour
1 cup dry infant rice or oat cereal
1 very ripe banana, mashed until smooth
2 Tbs canola oil
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs honey, optional

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375˚F. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and cereal. In a small bowl, stir together the banana, oil, water and honey if using. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until dough comes together and is not too sticky. You might need to add a little more flour our water, depending on the ripeness and size of the banana.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out about 1/4-inch thick and cut into smooth circles. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely and store extras in an airtight container. You can also freeze up to two months.



Shop the Sale: Watermelon Sherbet Slices


With the temperature creeping upwards, we need to find easy ways to cool off and have fun indoors when it’s too hot to be outside. 

In our home, nothing welcomes summer better than the arrival of Goldenbrook Watermelon Sherbet in our local Brookshire’s stores! Not only is the sherbet delicious all by itself, I also enjoy making Watermelon Sherbet Freezes by blending the sherbet with club soda or lemon-lime soda and processing until smooth. It’s an easy summer frozen drink for all ages!

Another fun way to get your kids involved in the kitchen during their summer vacation is to make these adorable Watermelon Sherbet Slices. Each slice looks like a wedge of watermelon, and they are so easy to make. In no time at all, your kids will see success from their hard work, which makes this worth the time and effort – not to mention it’s just old-fashioned summer fun.

Goldenbrook Watermelon Sherbet is on sale this week at your local Brookshire’s, so it’s a great time to stock up for the hot days ahead. Enjoy!

Watermelon Sherbet Slices

Ingredients:
1 half gallon Goldenbrook lime sherbet
1 half gallon Goldenbrook Homemade Vanilla ice cream
1 half gallon Goldenbrook Watermelon Sherbet

Directions:
Prepare a round springform pan by covering the bottom with wax paper. Allow lime sherbet to soften and spread a 2-inch ring around the outer edge of the pan to form the “rind,” leaving the middle of the pan empty. The ring of lime sherbet should be about two inches in height as well. Return to freezer to harden.

Allow vanilla ice cream to soften and spread a 1/2-inch ring around the pan, just inside of the lime sherbet “rind” layer. Return to freezer to harden.

Allow watermelon sherbet to soften and fill the center of the pan to form the “meat” of the watermelon. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, smooth the top of the sherbet across the entire surface. Return to freezer to harden.

When ready to serve, run a knife around the edges before removing springform pan. Serve in slices, using a sharp knife to cut through. The slices will look like watermelon wedges!

NOTE: Goldenbrook Watermelon Sherbet has candy “seeds” already in the sherbet. Sometimes I add additional miniature chocolate chips if I want the look of additional seeds.

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Posted in: Shop the Sale


Healthy Living: Muesli


You can pretty much guess what I will bring home each week from the grocery store: bread, peanut butter, bananas, milk, blueberries, asparagus and the list goes on. One item that varies from week to week is my breakfast. I absolutely love oatmeal, but while a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal is delicious on a cold winter morning, it’s not something you wake up wanting in the hot summer. So during the summer I stick to cereal with cold milk.

When picking out which cereal I want each week, I start at the beginning of the aisle and look for a cereal that looks good to me. Knowing the NuVal scores range from 2 to 91, I know I will not find anything higher than a 91. I try to find a cereal with a high score that I know I will enjoy. I have come home a few times with the Post Shredded Wheat, which scores a 91. This week when searching for cereal, I came across all these delicious ingredients and a high NuVal score in a cereal called muesli. You don’t have to ask me twice –  it’s going in my shopping cart.

Each morning I pour a small bowl of muesli and add a little milk. I let the muesli soak up the milk for a few minutes while I’m getting my coffee ready and then I dig in. Muesli can be served with milk or juice or can be used as a topping for yogurt. If you like granola you will like muesli.

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Dine-In: Pasta Caprese Made Easy


When the weather warms up, I don’t want to spend a lot of time over a hot stove. The scary thing is it’s only May! I think we are in for a long, hot summer this year.

But one of the great things about the South’s warmer weather is all of the wonderful produce we now get to enjoy.  From tomatoes and corn to fresh herbs and berries off the vine, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to go from garden to plate with a delicious, easy meal.

Tonight, I’m skipping the meat and making a wonderfully simple – yet filling- summer pasta with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese.  This dish tastes best when you use the highest quality olive oil and fresh mozzarella cheese you can find. And you’ll want to use fresh lemon juice, shallot, garlic and basil alongside your tomatoes…fresh ingredients really do make a difference in our Penne Caprese.

Friday nights are a great time to relax and unwind.  Just open a bottle of your favorite wine, heat a loaf of crusty French bread and finish the meal with a scoop or two of lemon ice cream for dessert.

Enjoy!

Penne Caprese

Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1
shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 lbs of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 lb of penne pasta, cooked and drained
12 oz of high-quality fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
 

Directions:
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Let sit about 20 minutes. Toss in the pasta and fresh mozzarella cheese. Gently fold in basil. Check again to see if you need more salt and pepper. Tastes great served warm, room temperature or refrigerated.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: School’s Out Celebration Picnic


My kids are home from school today, and we’re celebrating with three of their favorite summertime casual recipes! These are easy and delicious – and the pasta salad and lemon cookies pack nicely for summer picnics at the lake. If you want to take the sliders with you on a picnic, I suggest keeping the ingredients separate until you are ready to assemble and enjoy!

My younger son likes lime more than lemon, so I tried the cookies with fresh lime and lime zest and they are just as delicious!

Kids of all ages love picnics – even if you just throw down a blanket in your back yard and invite the neighbors over for food and an evening of flashlight tag!

Enjoy!

BBQ Meatball Sliders 

Ingredients:
24 purchased frozen meatballs
1 cup purchased barbecue sauce
3/4 cup sliced Mozzarella cheese
24 sliced dinner rolls, sized for one meatball
3/4 cup diced cooked bacon
24 bread and butter pickles (sliced)

Directions:
Place meatballs in 9×13-inch baking pan and cover with barbecue sauce. Bake according to package directions until cooked through (cooking times vary with different meatball brands).  When ready to serve, place one slice of cheese on bottom of each roll. Top with meatball, bacon and one pickle slice. Top with other half of roll and serve. Tastes just as great served cold as well.  

Picnic Pasta Salad 

Ingredients:
1 lb cooked rotini pasta
2 cups raw broccoli florets or diced zucchini
1 cup tomatoes, diced
6 oz sliced pepperoni, diced
1 (14 oz) can black olives, drained, sliced
1 1/2  cups Italian dressing
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Directions:
Combine all ingredients with pasta. Refrigerate until cold. Tastes better over time. 

Glazed Lemon Cookies 

Ingredients:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice, plus more if necessary
1 tsp grated lemon zest 

Directions:
With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla and salt and beat to combine. Gradually add flour, mixing until just incorporated.  Divide dough in half and shape into 1 1/4-inch-diameter logs. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350°. Slice logs into 3/8-inch-thick pieces and space them 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment-lined or greased baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden, 16 to 20 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest until it forms a thick but pourable glaze (add more lemon juice if necessary). Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and let set, about 15 minutes.



Healthy Living: Father’s Day Fun


With Father’s Day quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad.

Growing up, my dad spent a lot of time playing with me and my brother.

When my brother started getting serious about basketball, I can remember my dad and my brother playing basketball on the driveway almost every night.

When I got serious about soccer in the third grade, my dad and I would always go running together. I remember the first race I did together was the Azalea 2-mile run in Tyler. I still have the T-shirt from that spring race.

Later that fall, my dad and I did a 5K at UT Tyler. Up until my dad had his heart attack when I was a sophomore in high school, my dad and I would frequently run together. I would also enjoy running with my dad and I know my brother really cherished playing basketball with my dad. After my dad had quadruple bypass surgery, he could not play basketball with my brother for a long time and running was out of the question.

Back in October, I decided to start running again and signed up for my “first” 5K. It was quite an emotional race. About a quarter of a mile into the race, it hit me like a bolt of lightning that my running partner, my dad, was not able to run with me.

Shortly after that I saw him on the side of the road, cheering me on. In November, I started to see my mom and dad at the trails where I ran. My dad would tell me he was training for a 5K. He wanted to walk 3.1 miles in 45 minutes. Later in that month, my dad and I signed up for the Turkey Trot. As soon as I got done running the race, I turned around and ran back to finish the race with him. I do believe he did meet his goal of 45 minutes. In January, I started training for a 10K. My dad started telling me if I was going to run 6.2 miles, he was going to walk it. I was so happy that my running had really rubbed off on him and he started to get physically active again.

Some of my favorite memories with my dad were running races, playing basketball on the driveway and kicking the soccer ball around in the backyard.

Playing with your kids not only creates memories, but it also benefits you and your children’s health.

This Father’s Day, instead of sitting around and letting dad watch T.V., get him outside. Organize a family or neighborhood game of kickball or basketball with all the dads.

Instead of eating at a restaurant, pack a picnic and after eating, kick a soccer ball around the park. There is nothing better than giving a gift that will benefit your dad’s health.

Dads are important people in many of our lives, so we must try to keep them healthy!



Product Talk: Cilantro, Pesto-Style


People seem to have a love-hate relationship with cilantro, with very few people I know having the opinion of “take it or leave it” when it comes to how they feel about its distinct taste.

I definitely fall in the category of those who adore the flavor of the vibrant green herb also known as coriander or Chinese parsley. But until recently, I only thought of adding fresh cilantro to my Tex-Mex or Asian recipes, brightening my salsas, salads and stir-fry dishes.

Cilantro is much more versatile than I realized until recently when a good friend introduced me to the delicious taste of cilantro pesto. She had replaced the traditional basil in pesto with an abundance of cilantro from her garden and served  it drizzled over grilled salmon. The flavor combination was amazing, and it opened my eyes and palate to many possibilities of cooking with cilantro that I had been overlooking.

Fresh cilantro doesn’t last long at all, but this recipe for Cilantro Pesto stores well in your refrigerator. If the olive oil in the pesto hardens, just return to room temperature or heat and stir before using. Pecans also taste great instead of walnuts…and I’ve now experimented with adding a handful of shelled pumpkin seeds or “pepitas” when I happen to have some in the pantry. Enjoy!

Cilantro Pesto

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and dried well
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
Sea salt to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
In an electric food processor or blender, blend cilantro, garlic, vinegar, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, walnuts and salt. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and blend into the pesto. Add more olive oil until the pesto reaches desired consistency. Store in refrigerator up to two weeks.

Serving Ideas:
Serve over cream cheese with crackers for an instant appetizer.

Toss with hot, cooked bowtie pasta.

Drizzle over grilled salmon or shrimp.

Serve as a dipping sauce with grilled chicken tenders.

Spread over pizza crust instead of traditional tomato sauce.

Spread thin layer inside corn tortillas when making cheese enchiladas.

Spoon a little into tomato or tortilla soup.



Family Matters: Smothered Steak & Potatoes Time


This is a meal that our family loves to make together. My two young daughters like to prepare the steak while I handle the potatoes. I believe they enjoy the “dipping” of the steak because of the mess it makes by the time they are finished cooking! Of course, they disappear when it comes time to clean up, but it is fun to watch them enjoy themselves while learning to cook… it gives them a sense of being needed and teaches them to be self-reliant.

By the time they leave our home they will be ready to cook for their families and hopefully remember all the fun, so they will choose to make these same kinds of memories with their own kids.

Smothered Steak with Brown Gravy

Ingredients:
Tenderized round steak
Flour
Vegetable oil
2 packages Food Club Brown Gravy Mix

Directions:
Take tenderized round steak and cut the pieces to individual portions.  Dip the steak in water and then in to a bowl of flour and repeat two times.  Place the steak in a shallow frying pan with oil (you do not want to cover the meat) and cook on medium heat until each side is brown on the outside.

Take all finished meat and put in a large glass cake pan.  Mix as directed two (2) packages of Food Club Brown Gravy Mix and pour over the meat, cover the pan with foil and cook at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes; then uncover for about 5 minutes.  Pull from the oven and cover until ready to eat.  The meat will be so tender it will melt in your mouth.

If you put two layers of meat in the pan you will need to add an additional package of Food Club Brown Gravy Mix to make sure the meat is completely covered.

Baked Sliced Potatoes

Ingredients:
Russet potatoes
Garlic powder
Morton’s Nature’s Seasoning
Colby-jack cheese, grated

Directions:
Peel as many potatoes as needed for your family. Rinse the potatoes and then slice in 1/4-inch thick, round circles into a large bowl. Sprinkle with garlic powder and Morton’s Nature’s Seasoning, and mix thoroughly so the seasonings get on all the potatoes.

Pour the slices into a glass baking dish, add small amount of water in the bottom and cover with foil.  Cook on 350 degrees until the potatoes are tender, then remove the foil and let the potatoes get slightly brown on top. Pull the pan out of the oven and add grated cheese; turn the oven on broil and place pan back in for just a few minutes until the cheese is melted and crunchy. You may enjoy them as is, or you can add bacon, sour cream, ranch dressings or chives to the potatoes once you get them on your plate.

Make a green salad (or green vegetable) to go with the meal and you are all set.

I hope you find the meal enjoyable while taking time this week to sit together at the table as a family. Savor the moments you have together. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you share with your family.



Shop the Sale: Keebler Club Cracker Bars


My mother had a rule for me when I was in elementary school: No talking until after you eat your after-school snack.

It seems that I was a bit grouchy each afternoon when she picked me up from school. The brown-bag ham sandwich, chips and apple I ate for lunch each day were nowhere to be found in my empty body by 3 p.m., and until my mother refueled me, I apparently wasn’t the most pleasant of people to be around. Most days, Mama made sure I had a healthy snack with a lot of protein and complex carbs, but every blue moon, she surprised my siblings and me and had these dessert bars waiting for us after school.

I think this recipe has all of my favorites in one place, making it a salty, sweet treat that will disappear as fast as you can get home from carpool!

School is almost out, and now might be a good time to celebrate with your kids an unexpected end-of-the-year snack. And even better, Keebler Club Crackers are on sale this week at your local Brookshire’s!

Keebler Club Cracker Bars

Ingredients:
Keebler Club Crackers to line bottom and top of a 9×13-inch pan (about 60 total)
1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
2/3 cup peanut butter, crunchy or creamy

Directions:
Line the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with Keebler Club Crackers. In a saucepan, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, milk, sugar and brown sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over bottom layer of Keebler Club Crackers. Top with second layer of Keebler Club Crackers. For the icing, melt together the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter on medium-low heat. Whisk carefully and pour over bars. Let cool before cutting into bars. Store in the refrigerator.



Healthy Living: Fresh Spinach, Leek and Mushroom Sauté


Some of my favorite recipes come from my dear friend, Kelly.

Kelly and I became close friends almost 16 years ago when we had our first babies only eight days apart. I had been friends with her brother in college, but only met Kelly after we had graduated, moved to Tyler and found each other in a childbirth class at the hospital.

If it weren’t for her, I don’t think I would have made it through the first year of wondering how on earth to be a mother. We began the habit of calling each other first thing each morning, mainly to see if we survived another night with our mysterious little newborns. We spent a lot of those early days pushing strollers together and figuring out ways to fill our days with activities for our babies.

Our bond has remained strong for almost 16 years and has just grown deeper as we have faced life’s unexpected good times and some very bad times together, embracing each other through it all.

Kelly now lives up the street, and it’s not unusual for me to pop in to sit and talk with her for a few minutes before supper time. She inspires me because she tries new, healthy recipes all the time, and I find myself asking her for her recipes quite a bit!

One of my favorites is Kelly’s Spinach, Leek and Mushroom Sauté. Spinach and leeks are meant to be eaten together, and the mushrooms add a wonderful, earthy flavor that makes this side dish perfect with all kinds of main dishes – from grilled shrimp to roasted chicken and even spaghetti marinara.

Kelly’s recipe is perfect just as it is, or sometimes I add a minced garlic clove to the mushrooms and leeks, or throw in a handful of fresh herbs if I happen to have some on hand. You’ll enjoy making it again and again.

Spinach, Leek and Mushroom Sauté

Ingredients:
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 leeks, white part only, sliced thinly
6 fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly
1 lb fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Pour one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and heat to medium heat. Add leeks and mushrooms and sauté until softened. Remove to a bowl and keep warm. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to skillet. Add spinach, in batches, and sauté until spinach is wilted and softened. Add the leeks and mushrooms back to the skillet and toss gently to combine. Drizzle with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir again to combine and serve immediately.



Copyright © 2010-2014, Brookshire’s. All rights reserved.
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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