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Product Talk: Sweet P’s Seed and Fruit Granola


Sweet P’s Seed and Fruit GranolaMy older son loves to eat Greek yogurt for breakfast every morning, but he likes it with some added texture.

Enter Sweet P’s Seed and Fruit Granola located near the bakery in your local Brookshire’s.

Sweet P’s granola is made from healthy, fresh ingredients and baked into a sweet, crispy granola that is the perfect topping for yogurt or pudding, eaten alone as a power-packed snack, or served with milk for cereal.

The Seed and Fruit variety is full of pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds, cranberries, raisins, whole-rolled oats and honey.

He sprinkles it over his yogurt, and I’m confident he’s had the breakfast of champions.

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine In: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and Panela


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and PanelaWarning: Wine Country recipes ahead.

I spent last weekend visiting my sister in California, in the heart of wine country. Apparently, there are 43 wineries in the immediate vicinity of her house. Alas, it was only a weekend trip, so we only hit three of them. Luckily, there are more visits to be planned.

Aside from enjoying some seriously valuable sister time, I ate and drank my way through Wine Country, and it was well worth every single calorie.

Our first stop on Saturday was at Oak Mountain Winery, where we had lunch reservations to eat in the Cave Café. The cave clings to the side of the steep hill where the grapes are grown, and it is quite an extensive storage area for casks of wine. It also has an amazing atmosphere for a fine meal.

There were seven of us, so we opted for a bottle of sangiovese and a bottle of zinfandel. We shared a charcuterie board and the most amazing Brussels sprouts that I’ve ever eaten. Their recipe includes a roasted guajillo sauce, but I didn’t recreate that part at home.

If you can’t find panela cheese, use Mexican queso fresco instead.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and Panela

Ingredients:
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt and pepper
1/4 cup shallots, minced
3 Tbs garlic, minced
1/4 cup almonds
8 oz panela or queso fresco

Directions:
In a large cast-iron (or other ovenproof skillet) over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until fragrant and shimmering.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

When the oil is ready, sauté shallots and garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Toss in almonds and stir.

Remove from heat; stir in Brussels sprouts and Balsamic vinegar.

Season with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until leaves are browned and Brussels sprouts are crisp outside and tender inside.

Toss with cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 4 (as a side dish)

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 236, Calories from Fat: 136, Fat: 15 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 19 mg, Sodium: 258 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 13 g.

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



Family Matters: Sleep Pattern Disruption


Sleep Pattern Disruption A lot of my (younger) mommy friends have been complaining that their toddlers have a significant backslide in sleep between the ages of two and three.

This throws them for a loop.

First of all, they’ve had at least a year of blissful, uninterrupted sleep from when their little one finally slept through the night after infancy.

Secondly, a lot of these moms have introduced a new sibling to the mix, so their older baby getting enough sleep is crucial.

Ironically, the older child may backslide because of a new sibling. Whether it be due to a little unconscious jealousy, insecurity, disruption in their routine or being woken by the new baby, your toddler might start waking up during the night, too.

One friend’s son was having bad dreams. Nothing she did would get him to settle back down into his own bed. Against everything she said she would never do, she put him in her bed for a few nights, and then he was fine to go back to his own bed after the brief phase of night terrors passed.

Another friend’s son woke up around 2am to get a drink of water one night. Then, he did it the next night, and the next and the next and the next. The doctor finally advised taking him out of his routine entirely. My friends sent him to his grandmother’s house for the weekend, and when he came home, the pattern had been broken.

There’s not a lot of reason for your toddler to wake up at night. They may wake up because they have a wet or dirty diaper, and they are starting to be aware and uncomfortable (in this case, it’s probably time for potty training). They may actually need a drink. (You can leave a sippy cup of water near their bed for easy access. Don’t leave milk or juice as it could spoil, and it pools in the teeth overnight, which is bad for dental development.)

They might just need some comfort and to be tucked back in. If sleep disruptions persist, consult your pediatrician.



Family Matters: Make Your Own Baby Food


Make Your Own Baby FoodOne of my favorite gifts that my friend received at her baby shower last week was a baby food cookbook, for when her 6-month-old is about ready to start solids.

Note: Some babies start solid foods earlier, but both of my boys were ready at 6 months.

It was an organic cookbook full of great recipes for first foods for their precious daughter. Since Mom is quite the gardener, I’m sure she’ll have tons of options available for when her daughter is ready for solid foods.

You don’t need an organic cookbook or a garden to make your own baby food.

Making my sons’ food was one of the joys of that age period for me. It’s simple, and you know exactly what’s going into their meals.

All you really need to get going are some storage containers (use ice cube trays and freeze individual portions if you’re going to prepare food in bulk), a good food processor or food mill, and lots of beautiful produce and whole-grains.

To prepare foods, most vegetables just need to be steamed until they’re very soft, and then pureed. I would use either the liquid from the cooking pot, or some breast milk or formula to help thin the puree mixture and add extra nutrients.

It was fun to make different combinations of foods. Sweet potatoes were good pureed with apples. My boys liked peas and carrots, and broccoli and carrots together, too. If you’re not freezing your portions, avocado or banana is great mashed with other foods.

Your baby will guide you as to what textures and consistencies he likes. Both of mine had to start out with a thinner, more watered-down mixture and build up to a thicker consistency.

You can even puree and serve baby leftovers of your own foods, if they are age-appropriate.



Family Matters: “Must-Have” Gadgets


Must-Have GadgetsI went to a friend’s baby shower last week, and let me just tell you, it’s been a long time since I went to a baby shower.

It was fun to see all the new “must-have” gadgets and products for your newborn.

The one that probably surprised me the most was the new style of nasal aspirator.

You want a nasal aspirator around when you have a baby because they can’t blow their noses or clear fluids from their noses and mouths, which can impede eating and even breathing. When my kids were babies, we used a bulb syringe, a suction device with a balloon-shaped piece at the end of a tapered cone that you simply inserted into the baby’s nose and squeezed (then thoroughly sterilized between each use).

Now, the hot nasal aspirator also has the little tube that you insert into the tip of baby’s nose, but instead of bulb suction, there’s tubing attached so you can use your mouth to suck out the baby’s blockage. It doesn’t make it all the way to your mouth, mind you, and the thought is that you can better control the level of suction with your mouth, instead of with the bulb.

My friend received three of them, so they are probably a big deal.

Whatever style you use, keep one on hand, as a clear airway is imperative to baby’s health.



Shop the Sale: Shrimp Fajita Bowls


Shrimp Fajita BowlsI just got back from a long weekend visiting my sister in Southern California. You know, home of all things healthy and homegrown.

It was amazing.

We ran to the grocery store on the first night there to get some supplies for dinner, and it was like a rainbow had exploded in the store with all the beautiful, fresh fruits and vegetables, much like I feel when I walk into the produce section at Brookshire’s.

We decided to make Shrimp Fajita Bowls because then everyone (the six in her family plus me and our other sister) could mix and match what we wanted to put in our bowl, but everyone would still be happy.

Shrimp Fajita Bowls

Ingredients:
1 lb Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup long-grain rice
2 cups sugar snap peas
2 cups carrots, shredded
1 cup cabbage, shredded
2 cups assorted bell peppers, julienned
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup purple onion, thinly sliced
1 pint button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 Tbs garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 avocado, diced
prepared salsa

Directions:
Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside.

Add olive oil to a large skillet, and heat over medium heat until fragrant and shimmering.

Sauté shrimp until they are pink through, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add remaining olive oil, snap peas, carrots, cabbage, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, garlic and cumin. Sauté until onions and peppers have softened, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp back into pan and heat through.

Scoop rice into bowls. Top with shrimp and vegetable mixture, and add salsa and avocado, if desired.

If you have more selective eaters, sauté ingredients separately and serve “salad bar” style.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 529, Calories from Fat: 152, Fat: 17 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 239 mg, Sodium: 331 mg, Carbohydrates: 61 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 34 g.

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



Healthy Living: Mardi Gras Salsa


Mardi Gras SalsaToday is Fat Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in to the excess and temptation that is synonymous with Mardi Gras.

You can eat healthy and still celebrate with family, friends, and a lot of beads and trinkets (necklaces are zero calories, after all).

I love this salsa because it’s the colors of Mardi Gras: gold, purple and green. It combines fresh flavors with a lot of healthy ingredients.

The pineapple is great for vitamin C, potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene, thiamin, B6 and folate, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber.

Black beans provide protein.

Garlic, limes and onions provide antioxidants.

Serve this with whole-grain pita wedges or other veggies like cucumber rounds or celery.

Mardi Gras Salsa

Ingredients:
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pineapple, cored, peeled and diced
1 large bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped (to taste)
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 limes, juiced
1 jalapeño, minced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; toss gently to mix. Refrigerate for several hours while flavors meld. Serve with pita wedges or veggies.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 377, Calories from Fat: 14, Fat: 2 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 7 mg, Carbohydrates: 72 g, Fiber: 16 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 22 g.

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



Product Talk: King Cake


King CakeIt’s the time of year for king cakes to be decorating the shelves of your Brookshire’s bakery in their gold, purple and green splendor!

With tomorrow being Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, tonight is the perfect time to pick up your king cake for a celebration of Cajun culture.

King cakes in Cajun culture can be traced back to the 18th century in Mobile, Alabama. They’re also wildly popular in New Orleans (probably the unofficial capital of Mardi Gras), starting on the Feast of the Epiphany in January which celebrates the three kings who visited the infant Jesus.

King cakes can be a pastry or brioche. The Southern version is generally a baked brioche adorned in a simple sugar icing in Mardi Gras colors with matching colored sugar accents. Sometimes, they’re filled with almond cream, apples or other fruit filling, or in the case of one famous crewe, chocolate ganache. Baked inside each cake (or tucked inside the bakery box for you to insert yourself, for safety reasons) is a small plastic baby, representing the Christ child. As tradition holds, the person who gets the baby in their piece of cake has to provide the king cake for the next gathering.

King cakes are fun for your family, the office or a gathering of friends, so grab one tonight at Brookshire’s.

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Dine In: Cajun Dirty Rice


Cajun Dirty RiceIt’s the Friday night before Mardi Gras, so it’s time to indulge. Come Ash Wednesday, Christians all over the world go into a period of fasting until Easter.

Some people fast by not eating meat on Fridays. Some give up something valuable to them, like coffee, social media, chocolate or soda. Some people observe the time by doing acts of service for others.

Whatever you choose to do, tonight is the last Friday before Lent begins, so southerners all over the country are letting the proverbial good times roll.

This rich dish is an amalgamation of a few other Cajun dishes and uses prized ingredients like rice and andouille sausage. Andouille is a spicy Cajun sausage, but feel free to substitute another spicy sausage of your choosing.

My older son will dump extra hot sauce on this dish, and my younger son will add some cheese on top.

You could also add diced chicken thighs in with the sausage when you cook it, making sure the chicken is cooked through.

So, stay home tonight, and celebrate the last of the decadent before the time of preparation for Easter.

Cajun Dirty Rice

Ingredients:
4 cups chicken stock
2 Tbs hot sauce
2 cups long-grain rice
12 oz andouille sausage (or other spicy sausage), sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh scallions, chopped

Directions:
In a large saucepan, combine the chicken stock, hot sauce and rice. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 18 minutes without lifting the lid. After 18 minutes, do not remove pan from burner or lift lid, but turn off heat and let stand for 10 more minutes.

While the rice is standing, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, and cook until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic to the drippings from the sausage. Sauté for 10 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, and return sausage to the cast-iron skillet. Stir to combine and cook through. Add the rice; stir until all ingredients are well-incorporated.

Garnish with scallions and serve.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 668, Calories from Fat: 230, Fat: 26 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 71 mg, Sodium: 1904 mg, Carbohydrates: 82 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 25 g.

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

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Shop the Sale: Cheesy Beef and Polenta Skillet


Cheesy Beef and Polenta SkilletDid you know that you could cook without a grill?

Me either until mine met its demise last weekend when the bottom rusted out, literally.

Maybe not being able to cook without a grill is an exaggeration, but it did make me realize how much I depend on my grill, especially when it comes to cooking up some of the fabulous Angus ground chuck that Brookshire’s has on sale this week. I love a good burger.

Luckily, there are so many more things to do with Angus ground chuck than shape it into patties and slap it on the grill. One of those other ways involves my other favorite cooking implement: the cast-iron skillet.

If there’s something I love as much as the grill, it’s a one-pot meal, and this almost qualifies (two is fine, too). I love having all the food groups in one cheesy, melty, delicious pan, hot and bubbling out of the oven. Serve this with a side salad (because you can never have too many veggies), and you have a complete meal.

Cheesy Beef and Polenta Skillet

Ingredients:
1 cup plain yellow cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 lb ground chuck
1 medium onion, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 Tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Pour three cups of cold water into a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Whisk in salt and cornmeal. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in steak seasoning and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Stir to combine. Pour polenta into a greased cast-iron skillet and spread evenly. Set aside. Brown the Angus ground chuck in another skillet until cooked through. Drain most of the grease, and set meat aside in a bowl.

Add onion and bell pepper to the skillet. Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened but still have some crispness to them. Stir the ground beef back into the vegetable mixture. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste; stir to combine. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Pour the meat over the polenta crust and spread evenly. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 336, Calories from Fat: 168, Fat: 19 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 55 mg, Sodium: 664 mg, Carbohydrates: 27 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 18 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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