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Product Talk: National Nachos Day


Today is National Nachos Day, and I hope you’re celebrating.

We are celebrating it.

My kids think the “National Food Holidays” are the funniest things, but go ahead, look it up for yourself.  You’ll see that I’m right.

What better way to celebrate than with a heaping pile of Brookshire’s Tortilla Chips with your favorite toppings?

Brookshire’s is full of products designed to make your nachos as unique as you are.

Start with the chips, of course.

Then, you could add browned ground beef, simmered with taco seasoning. You could add shredded brisket, smoked over the barbecue pit yesterday for Sunday supper. Chorizo is always a good choice! Maybe your protein of choice is diced rotisserie chicken from Brookshire’s deli, or even drained Brookshire’s black beans for a meat-free option. My kids will choose the ground beef every time. I opt for the black beans or a can of fat-free refried beans, myself.

One of my sons likes things spicy; the other does not. For the spice lover, slice up a few jalapeños from the produce section. Just be careful to remove the seeds and pith, and don’t wipe your eyes after you cut them. (I’ve made that mistake too many times.) Or, you could add a can of Old El Paso Diced Green Chiles. They give good flavor, some tang and nice heat without overwhelming spice.

The great thing about nachos is that everyone can have them their own way. If you’re serving them for dinner, you just put out assorted toppings, and everyone creates their own.

My older son loves diced black olives. Younger son? Not so much.

I love mine piled with diced avocado, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and Brookshire’s Chunky Tomato Salsa. Oh, don’t forget the cheese! I put it on top of the chips, put it under the broiler, and get that all melty before adding the other toppings. I like Brookshire’s Mexican Cheese Blend in the refrigerated section. You can also opt for queso fresco crumbled on top, or melted queso using Velveeta® cheese product and a can of Ro-Tel®.

Finish your nachos off with sour cream, hot sauce and cilantro. Happy National Nachos Day!

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Posted in: Product Talk


Terrible Twos


Last weekend, I watched my friend’s toddler have a meltdown at a birthday party.

No. No. No. He did NOT want to play the game. He did NOT want the green cupcake; he wanted the BLUE cupcake. He did NOT want to sing the appropriate song to the birthday boy.

It was terribly frustrating, and I’d dare say embarrassing for his parents, yet, at the same time, entirely developmentally appropriate. They certainly weren’t the only ones in that same position. (Sophie had to be taken to the car when there weren’t any PINK cupcakes.)

About the time your little wonder wall hits age 2, they begin to develop defiance, and that’s okay. He’s learning to test his limits, and he’s learning what he likes and does not like. He’s also learning how it’s appropriate to vocalize those likes and dislikes, and it’s up to you to teach him how to set those boundaries.

When your toddler screams with rage when it’s time to leave the playground because he doesn’t want to, it’s not your place to give in. It’s time to leave the playground. You might want to manage his expectations by giving him a countdown. “Joshua, we’re going to leave in 2 minutes.” (Toddlers don’t have a great concept of time, but a countdown can help prepare them). “Joshua, we’re going to leave in 1 minute.” Then, you leave. Don’t backtrack on what you say you’re going to do; be consistent.

If there’s not a pink cupcake, give Sophie options. “You can have the green cupcake, or you don’t get a cupcake. What do you choose?” Chances are, Sophie will pick the green cupcake. Remind Sophie that it’s Bryce’s special day, not hers. When it’s HER special day, SHE can pick the pink cupcake.

Also, keep in mind that your toddler needs to go into situations well-rested and well-fed. Keep him on his schedule. If you’re going to a birthday party, make sure he’s had his nap first and eaten his lunch. If you’re going to an unfamiliar house, pack his favorite foods just in case he needs a backup. (See Gerber’s Lil Entrees, below.)

TIP: Gerber’s Lil Entrees are great meals for your toddler to not only feed himself but also get great nutrition. Gerber’s recipes, with entrees like Chicken and Brown Rice with Peas and Corn, are designed specifically for toddlers, with a taste your little one will love, an easy-to-eat texture and the perfect size for easy self-feeding. If your little one doesn’t like his food touching, like my older son didn’t, Gerber made these entrees with two compartments that keep food separate.



The pincer grasp


The pincer grasp is a big deal for your baby to develop during the latter half of their first year.

The pincer grasp, or using their thumb and pointer finger to pick up objects, is a handy movement used for feeding and grabbing objects when playing.

To encourage use of the pincer grasp, give baby small bites of food, like Cheerios if your baby is ready for that kind of food or soft bits of fruits or veggies otherwise, and let him pick them up off of his high chair tray or plate and eat them. Food is always a good incentive!

Board books with peekaboo flaps are also good for using the pincer grasp as baby has to open the flaps to see what’s inside. Activity boards with slider windows, buttons or other knobs also help develop this skill.

TIP: Organics Happy Baby Clearly Crafted Stage 2 pouches are perfect foods for your little one to enjoy. Thick and smooth, these are specially formulated for the child aged 6 months and up exploring the world of solid foods. These foods are all certified USDA organic, non-GMO project verified, gluten-free and kosher without artificial flavors. They do have delicious flavors like Bananas, Sweet Potato and Papaya; Pears, Squash and Blackberries; Apples, Kale and Avocados; Apples, Guava and Beets; Pears, Pumpkin and Passion Fruit; and Pears, Zucchini and Peas.



Cradle cap


One of the most common ailments for newborns is cradle cap. It kind of looks like dandruff for your baby, which might strike you as kind of weird to see your precious, perfect newborn with a scaly scalp. Don’t worry; it’s totally normal.

Cradle cap looks like scaly or yellow crusty patches on your baby’s head. It doesn’t imply illness or that your baby is dirty. It just happens.

It’s not harmful, and it will resolve itself, usually by six months but almost always by baby’s first birthday.

To help healing along, all you need to do is treat cradle cap at home, with products you can find at Brookshire’s.

About an hour before baby’s bath, rub his scalp with Top Care Baby Oil, mineral oil or petroleum jelly to help loosen the scales or crusty parts.

Then, when you’re ready to shampoo with Top Care Baby Shampoo, get his scalp wet, and then gently scrub the scalp with a soft bristle brush (a soft toothbrush actually works really well!) for a few minutes to remove the scales. Wash with baby shampoo. Rinse well, and towel dry.

TIP: OXO On-The-Go Wipes Dispensers are a must-have for your diaper bag, your car, your stroller, your travel tote, your beach bag, your briefcase or anywhere else baby might be. These sleek, streamlined, waterproof and leak-proof cases are perfect for carrying extra baby wipes for when you need them most. They fit into your purse or portable pack, and they are essential for carrying wipes for cleaning emergencies. The best part? You really don’t even need a baby to need baby wipes.



Shop the Sale: Rosemary Roast Beef


Rosemary Roast BeefPrep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 5 hours
Serves: 6

When you’re craving a decadent roast, you can’t beat the rich flavor of our Rosemary Roast Beef. Roasted with potatoes and carrots, and of course, rosemary, this is a beef roast the whole family will love. Pro tip: don’t forget to leave plenty of time for marinating. Marinate the chuck roast for up to 24 hours before cooking for a roast that will melt in your mouth. And here’s another tip: grab boneless chuck roast on sale all this week at Brookshire’s.

Ingredients
1 (12 oz) bottle dark beer
1 medium onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 (3 to 4 lbs) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
8 carrots (about 1 1/2 lbs), sliced diagonally
7 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 lbs), peeled and cut into eighths
2 large onions, cut into eighths
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water

Instructions
Combine beer, chopped onions, garlic, lemon slices and 2 tablespoons oil in large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Add roast; mix well and seal bag. Chill for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove roast from marinade, reserving marinade. Strain marinade; set aside. Sprinkle roast evenly with pepper.

Heat remaining oil in large heavy-duty roasting pan over medium-high heat. Brown roast in hot oil for 4 minutes per side. Add reserved marinade, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of pan. Bring to boil. Remove from heat; cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Bake at 300° F for 2 1/2 hours. Turn roast. Stir in carrots, potatoes, onions and rosemary. Remove foil. Cook roast for 2 more hours or until roast and vegetables are tender. Transfer roast and vegetables to serving platter. Skim fat from juices in roasting pan; set pan with juices aside to cool.

Whisk together cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water in small bowl until smooth. Whisk cornstarch mixture into juices in pan. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until thickened, whisking to loosen particles. Drizzle 1/2 cup gravy over roast. Serve remaining gravy with meat and vegetables.

Calories per Serving: 1046, Fat: 61 g (22 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 225 mg, Sodium: 217 mg, Carbohydrates: 51 g, Fiber: 5 g, Protein: 68 g.

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

Chef Tips

Cooking With Beer
Beer isn’t just for drinking – it adds flavor and depth to many dishes. From brisket to bread, battering and braising, beer can liven the flavor profile of many of your favorite foods. The type of beer you choose will also make a huge difference. Full-bodied ales or stouts work well for red meat, batter and soups, while lighter beers like IPAs and lagers are great for poultry, marinades and braising. You can even use beer to make cake! Just google Chocolate Guinness Cake.

All About Rosemary
This Mediterranean native is now one of the most popular herbs used in kitchens around the world. It’s from the same family as mint, but has a piney flavor that makes it perfect for meat recipes like roasts, stews and soups. It’s also delicious sprinkled over bread dough before baking and as a garnish on many dishes. Rosemary is as good for you as it tastes, containing anti-inflammatory properties.



Product Talk: Louisburg Apple Cider


Louisburg Apple CiderThis morning, I was sitting out on the patio with my son, watching the sunrise and enjoying the chill in the early-morning October air.

Being that we’re in the South, I know that the cool October mornings bring warm October afternoons. By this time of the month as we head into November, we do get cooler days and definitely cooler nights and mornings. In other words, it’s perfect cider weather!

Louisburg Apple Cider is sold in the produce section at Brookshire’s because it’s just that fresh. Made from apples that come from the Missouri River Valley for the perfect blend of sweetness and tartness, the cider is milled right after the apples are harvested. They are shipped right to the store during peak season (now), so you can enjoy fresh cider during the best part of fall.

Enjoy your cider warm, cool or at room temperature. Stir it with a cinnamon stick, or enjoy with a wedge of lemon.

No matter how you like your cider, you’ll love the flavor of fall in your cup when you enjoy Louisburg Apple Cider available at Brookshire’s.

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Shop the Sale: Chorizo Meatballs with Chipotle-Maple Cream Sauce


Chorizo Meatballs with Chipotle-Maple Cream SaucePrep Time: 25 mins (plus chilling)
Cook Time: 20 mins
Serves: 6

Take this party favorite up a notch with our new twist on regular meatballs. With the flavorful addition of chorizo, these baked meatballs are delicious all on their own, but with the addition of spicy and sweet chipotle-maple cream sauce, they are off the charts. They’re so easy to make, and with ground chuck on sale, this is a great go to for weekend snacks or appetizers!

Ingredients

Meatballs:
1/2 lb fresh chorizo
1/2 lb ground chuck
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg

Sauce:
2 chipotle peppers, minced
2 Tbs Adobo sauce
4 Tbs sour cream
4 Tbs maple syrup

Instructions
Place all meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Using your hands, blend ingredients thoroughly. Make balls the size of golf balls or any size you prefer. Refrigerate until needed. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place meatballs on cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked all the way through. Serve with dipping sauce.

To make sauce, mix minced chipotle peppers and adobo sauce together. Combine with sour cream and maple syrup in blender. Chill before serving with meatballs.

Calories Per Serving: 308, Fat: 19 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 71 mg, Sodium: 913 mg, Carbohydrates: 21 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 14 g.

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

Chef Tips

What Is Ground Chuck?
Unlike ground beef or hamburger meat which can be made up of different types of beef cuts, ground chuck is meat that comes from the specific chuck cut, which is from the shoulder. It is a favorite for grilling as it has a good fat content that provides more juiciness and flavor than other types of ground meat. It is higher in fat than ground round or lean ground beef, but many agree that this is exactly what makes it tastier for dishes like meatballs.

Adobo Sauce Explained
A style of cooking, a seasoning in Caribbean cooking, and a Spanish and Latin-American sauce, Adobo can be a little confusing. Derived from the Spanish word Adobar, it originally referred to a form of preserving raw food in a sauce comprised of vinegar, paprika, salt, garlic and other spices that evolved in Spain and Portugal, although it’s important to note that a similar method of cooking evolved in the Philippines independent of Spanish influence (it is only called Adobo there today because the Spanish naming of the dish by the colonists stuck). This tangy sauce not only preserved food, it also enhanced the flavor. Adopted in many areas of early Spanish and Portuguese colonization, there are now a wide variety of Adobo recipes, from Mexican to Puerto Rican, Peruvian to Filipino.



Happy Halloween


I’ve been a single mom for about as long as I’ve written this blog. Some years I have my kids on Halloween, and some years I don’t.

I’ve come to appreciate Halloween from a parent’s perspective, a child’s perspective and from an adult’s perspective who has enjoyed a fun evening with friends, delighting in the haunted hooligans who came by my house.

One of my favorite Halloweens (and I’ll deny this to my children, if any of you ever dare to show them this post) was one right after I was newly single. My friends showed up at my house (Adults, drive carefully on Halloween night. Children are out in droves, and you never know how early you’ll see a little Moana or Wonder Woman wandering the streets in search of treats.) for an evening of treats and tricks.

They insisted that we all wear costumes. I resisted, but they had a fabulously bejeweled tiara, a blonde wig (I’m a brunette), a magic wand and a silky cape. I mean, come on, who could resist that? I gave in and donned the sparkly garb.

They also brought treats. Every Halloween party needs a proportionate number of treats to tricks, right? If you’re trying this at home, look at Brookshire’s Real Big Deal this week, valid through 10/31/17.

When you buy one Mars Halloween Candy Variety Pack (which you’ll need for all the little ghouls and goblins who will come to your door), you’ll get an amazing array of goodies for free, not to mention all the M&M’s®, Snickers®, Twix® and Milky Way® candy you can eat.

Start with the Halloween Glow sticks. All your guests must be decked out in glow sticks. It’s important to note that these are also highly coveted trick-or-treat swag. You can give them out to your trick-or-treaters. My kids LOVE getting glow sticks, especially if they can wear them. The good thing to know about glow sticks, for adults or kids, is that after you get them home, play with them, stick them under your shirt and up your nose (don’t ask). If you put them in the refrigerator, you extend their life span, and you can repeat the very next night, when otherwise they’d be faded by morning. Note to self. So, stock up on some glow sticks during The Real Big Deal.

You’ll also get a 2-liter of Brookshire’s BLAST! Soda. To get the party going, also grab a gallon of Goldenbrook Ice Cream, drop a dollop into the soda to make a float. You can stir it with a glow stick for a really creepy effect.

Another item you’ll get in the Deal is a Halloween Shadow Tote, the perfect creepy accessory to stash your loot or your kids’ candy, or to give away to the trick-or-treater who has his candy in a plastic sack.

While the kids trick-or-treated, my friends and I snacked on popcorn, which is also part of The Real Big Deal. I popped what seemed like a ton. We enjoyed some with butter and salt, and some with dry Ranch dressing mix tossed on to coat it. Delicious!

For our “trick” of the evening, we got Brookshire’s Sandwich Cookies (also in The Real Big Deal). We took the ‘lid’ off the cookie and adhered the frosting side to my boys’ bedroom doors. They came home to cookies stuck all over their doors! Totally harmless, people! No damage done to paint and nothing more than a good wipe down with a hot washcloth to clean it up. No harm, no foul.

If you don’t have kids with you on Halloween night and don’t want trick-or-treaters visiting, make sure to turn off your porch light. An illuminated light lets pint-sized haunters know that you’re open for business. If your light is on, you’d better have that Mars Halloween Candy Pack, or at least be ready to fork over every dollar bill in your wallet. If your light is off, don’t feel bad about not answering the door; they’ll get the hint.

When trick-or-treaters do knock at your door, I’d advise against holding out a bowl of candy to them, like an offering. Grab a few select pieces and drop it in their bags. Otherwise, you might be offering a bit more than you’d planned on. Take it from me. Never, EVER, leave a bowl of candy out on your porch unattended with a sign that says something like, “Take One.” You’re guaranteed to only have ONE trick-or-treater that night.

Finally, it’s NOT wrong on October 31 to have a (as my kids call it) “jump scare” skeleton, black cat or ghost hiding in the bushes by your front door (kids of  your own home or not), just waiting for unsuspecting revelers to stop by, hoping for a treat but maybe getting a trick as well!

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Posted in: Entertaining


Product Talk: Pumpkin Spice Cheerios™


Pumpkin Spice CheeriosYou can’t do a post in October without talking about Pumpkin Spice something.

Today, it’s Pumpkin Spice Cheerios™.

I grabbed them the other day while going for my regular Honey Nut variety. My teenage son was appalled when I brought them home. Then, he tried them. “These aren’t so bad,” he grudgingly admitted, “but don’t tell any girl I like them.”

Okay, I won’t.

For a limited time, General Mills will produce Pumpkin Spice Cheerios™ for all the lovers of pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. It’s pretty much autumn in a box.

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios™ are gluten-free with only 8 grams of sugar and 110 calories per serving, plus 17 grams of whole-grain. They’re also made with real pumpkin puree. Serve with your favorite milk, and you’ll have a balanced breakfast to start the day or a great snack for any time!

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Family Matters: Caramel Popcorn


When I was growing up, my mom would make popcorn every night after we went to bed. I suppose it was her treat after surviving the day with five kids.

When I was old enough to be aware of the popping sound coming from the stove downstairs, the sound of the Revere™ Ware pan shaking across the electric elements and, of course, the delicious aroma wafting up the staircase, I vowed that as soon as I was old enough, I’d make popcorn every night, too.

It turns out that I don’t, but that’s okay because my mom will still make it for me every time I go home. I’m pretty sure she even still uses the same pan.

When I was a teenager, I’d stay up with her, and she’d make us each a bowl. We’d talk every evening over our bowl of popcorn. I think some evenings, it was the only time I’d emerge from my room after a busy day of school, field hockey practice and homework. I think some days, it probably served as my main meal of the day, if whatever she left me on a plate under a piece of waxed paper got carefully packaged back up and put in the refrigerator for leftovers if I got home way too tired to heat it up.

It’s funny how I was never too tired for popcorn, though, and for stories about how mean the coach was at practice that day, or how Tina J. had said something rude about Kimberly D’s double-layered socks in the hallway at school, or how frustrating it was to have a bottom locker, or how difficult it was to make it all the way to the math hallway in only 3 minutes after fourth period English class. Mom listened, and munched.

In the fall, she’d make double batches of popcorn at night. The next day, we’d use the cool bowls to make caramel corn. Then, we’d have huge batches of sweet stuff that she’d store in a big, white Tupperware® container that also doubled as a cake plate if you flipped it over and used the lid as the base of the cake plate. This was my brother, Jim’s, favorite way to eat popcorn and what he most often requested for his birthday treat to bring to school for his class, which happened to fall the day after Halloween. We’d package up baggies full of caramel popcorn to send in instead of cupcakes. If my memory serves me correctly, we also packaged up bags of caramel popcorn to send home with guests after his wedding 15 years ago, too.

Caramel Popcorn

Ingredients:
10 cups popped popcorn
salt
1 cup salted butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions:
Pop popcorn on stove according to package directions. If using microwave popcorn (use plain, not buttered), pop in package. Salt and let cool.

Melt 1 cup of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, and stir until thoroughly combined. Stirring continuously, bring the butter and sugar mixture to a boil.

Boil for 4 minutes without stirring. Add the vanilla; stir to mix. Boil for 1 more minute, and add the baking soda.

Remove from heat. Spread the popcorn on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper, parchment paper or aluminum foil. Drizzle the caramel over the popcorn. Stir, coating all the kernels. Let cool.

Chef Tip: Store this in an airtight container, or it will get sticky and messy.

If you’d like to make this into popcorn balls, form them into a ball shape right after pouring the caramel over the popcorn. You might want to wear food-grade gloves to protect your hands.

Add Ins: Mix in nuts, marshmallows, chocolate candies or other treats to make a fun, festive snack mix.

Serves 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 251, Fat: 19 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 49 mg, Sodium: 664 mg, Carbohydrates: 21 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 14 g, Protein: 1 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.

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Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

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