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Healthy Living: Cranberry Cleanse


Cranberry CleanseDid you overindulge during the holidays on fatty foods and festive drinks? It might be time to help your liver cleanse itself of some of the toxins you might be putting into it!

Your liver, the largest organ in your body, performs over 400 functions per day, including storing vitamins, iron, glucose and fats so your body can use them later, and metabolizing food into nutrients that benefit your body. The liver also eliminates toxins, medications and harmful substances from your bloodstream.

When the liver gets “clogged,” so to speak, it functions less efficiently.

Cranberry juice can help rid your liver of the build-up of toxins. As always, consult with your doctor if you want to try a cranberry cleanse.

A cranberry cleanse can help by protecting  the liver from chemical toxins, stimulating bile production and supplying  the liver with the nutrients it needs, such as antioxidants for detoxification. This works because cranberry juice (the unsweetened, organic variety, not the “cocktail” popular in many stores) is rich in vitamin C, which thins and decongests bile, allowing your liver to metabolize fats more efficiently. Vitamin C also helps produce glutathione, the antioxidant needed during both stages of its detoxification process. Glutathione is an effective chelating agent, which means it binds to toxic drugs and metals to make it easier for your liver and body to remove them. Finally, vitamin C is an antioxidant, so it helps to protect the liver from free radicals that damage cells and tissues.

The cleanse is pretty simple, really. Combine one cup of purified water with a half cup of pure, organic cranberry juice (unsweetened). Add one tablespoon of organic, pure apple cider vinegar and the juice from one lemon. Drink on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning. Some prefer drinking it over ice. I just chug it.

I noticed a difference in a week, feeling more energetic and lively! I hope it helps you, too.

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Product Talk: Stanley’s Barbecue Sauces


Stanley’s Barbecue SaucesA few weeks before Christmas, I was putting together a gift for an out-of-town co-worker. I decided on a gift basket full of products exclusive to Tyler, Texas.

I wrapped a Tyler candle (in “Tyler” scent), Nellie’s Scottish Shortbread, Texas Moon Gourmet Toffee, Tricky Dix Mojo rub and then ran to Brookshire’s for some Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue sauces.

Stanley’s, their website will tell you, is the oldest operating mom and pop barbecue joint in Tyler. What it cannot possibly convey, however, is the smell of smoked meats that permeates the entire area when you arrive. You can literally follow your nose to Stanley’s, which occupies an awkward wedge of space in the curve of a major thoroughfare in the medical district in Tyler. When I first moved to Tyler seven years ago, Stanley’s opened at lunchtime and served until the meat ran out, which some days was pretty darn quickly. Now, they’re open regular hours (including breakfast!) and have expanded their teeny eat-in space to accommodate more diners with a patio and frequent live music.

Their barbecue is nothing less than amazing, and some of their dishes (the Mother Clucker, the Brother In Law) have reputations that precede them far and wide.

The Clucker sauce is a white, vinegar-based sauce perfect for poultry. The BBQ sauce is good slathered on just about anything.

If you can’t make it to Stanley’s in Tyler, at least you can make it at home with small-batch sauces from Brookshire’s.

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Dine In: Spicy Black-eyed Peas


Spicy Black-eyed PeasHappy New Year!

I love the first day of the year; there’s so much potential, so much joy, so much hope.

The best part is that the clock striking midnight or the calendar page turning over isn’t the only way to signify a new beginning. It’s my personal belief that we are constantly renewed by the grace of the Lord, and that can happen at any hour of any day!

Back to New Year’s Day… Even though I grew up in the South, I had never been introduced to the traditions of eating black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day until I moved to Germany, of all places. My friends in the apartment across the hall were invited for New Year’s, and I asked them what they wanted to eat. “Collard greens and peas” was the answer. I was shocked. I’d never heard of this! I opened up my red and white-checked Betty Crocker cookbook and went to work.

That year, I thought the collard greens stunk to high heaven when simmering all day in my small apartment, and I didn’t eat any of the black-eyed peas. I think I still had a lucky year regardless of what it was I ate, however.

I’ve come to appreciate black-eyed peas so much more. Collard greens, well, not so much, but I can always swap it out for spinach, which is still leafy green and a promise of good fortune in the new year. In fact, this recipe originally didn’t call for the spinach, but I added it in and it worked just fine, not to mention killing two traditions with one stone. Or something like that.

Happy 2016, friends!

Spicy Black-eyed Peas with Spinach

Ingredients:
4 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (16 oz) pkg dried black-eyed peas, washed
1 (12 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
3 cups fresh baby spinach
4 Tbs hot sauce

Directions:
In a large heavy saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan, reserving the grease; crumble bacon. Set bacon aside.

Add the onions to the bacon grease in the pan and sauté until translucent and tender. Add the peas, tomatoes and green chilies, salt, chili powder, pepper and water.

Cover and cook over medium heat for about 1 hour, or until the peas are tender. Add spinach and hot sauce; cook until the spinach is wilted.

Serve topped with crumbled, crispy bacon.

Note: You can even serve this over rice for a heartier dish.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 280, Calories from Fat: 117, Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 31 mg, Sodium: 1949 mg, Potassium: 560 mg, Carbohydrates: 24 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 4.5 g, Protein: 18 g.

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



Family Matters: Car Seats


Car SeatsWhen my boys were little, the recommendation for car seats was to have children ride facing the rear until 12 months. After that, you were fine to turn them around. (Of course, it’s worth noting that when I was a baby, we only rode in car seats until the next child needed it. Perhaps, I exaggerate). Truth be told, the MINIMUM recommendation was 1 year old and 20 pounds, and that’s what I (and most of my peers) focused on.

However, times have changed. The American Academy of Pediatrics now talks more about 2 years old, suggesting children ride rear-facing until age two, or until they exceed the height or weight limit for the car seat. To quote verbatim, “A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under age two are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing.”

What about their poor little legs, parents might ask? Experts argue that children who are accustomed to riding rear-facing really won’t know any differently, and their growth isn’t rapid enough to notice a dramatic increase in discomfort as they grow in length.

If you do decide to turn your child’s car seat around before they reach age 2, just make sure to follow all the safety guidelines on the seat.



Family Matters: Make Bath Time Fun


Make Bath Time FunWhen both of my boys were about this age, bath time was their favorite time of the day.

After dinner, we’d go run the water in the tub, and as it got warm, they’d start the pre-bath ritual of getting undressed and taking off their diaper. They loved to help “test” the water by me holding them above the bath and dipping their toes into the running water (make sure you test it first to ensure it really isn’t too hot!). They’d giggle!

Sometimes I’d slowly lower them into the water; sometimes we’d do a splash landing in the warm suds.

I liked adding a bit of baby wash to the water, but then my younger son started to try to drink the bath water so that habit ended abruptly.

Bath time can be a lot of fun for you and your baby.

Roll up a towel or buy a spongy mat to keep on the floor for you to kneel on next to the tub. I always had a generous supply of washcloths and towels handy for emergencies, too.

Bath toys can be great fun and a great way to learn, too. We’d pour water from one container to another. One son loved water poured on this head. The other did not, and I’d have to hold a washcloth over his forehead to make sure no water dripped while I was washing his hair.

My older son loved the running water. I’d pull the drain plug so it didn’t get too deep to let him run his hands under the faucet. The other son loved to lay down in the water, so I’d only put an inch or two in the tub.

After bath is a great time for baby massage and to rub lotion all over baby! They’ll love it and so will you.



Family Matters: Diaper Bag Essentials


Diaper Bag EssentialsIs your diaper bag the size of a suitcase? I seem to remember mine was or felt that way, at least!

My diaper bag was actually a backpack, very handy when you need hands-free for an infant or an infant and a toddler. It was waterproof, also handy for spills, not that I ever spilled a sippy cup of watered-down apple juice into the bag, soaking spare diapers, wipes and making tubes of diaper cream as sticky as a half-eaten candy cane at Christmas. Okay, yes I did.

Diaper bags are a must-have when you have an infant because there’s no telling what they’ll need, even when you leave the house for 20 minutes.

Start with a sturdy bag. You might want a unisex one so your husband can still feel manly when he carries it, or you might want a Kate Spade model that will let you look stylish while sporting a burb cloth over one shoulder. Pick one that is water-resistant or get a water-resistant pouch to put inside. A backpack was handy for me, but you might like a tote style.

Always pack diapers. Always, always pack diapers. You might need four for a 20-minute outing. Yes, I’m serious. I know this from experience. A travel-size case of wipes is also essential. Brookshire’s has both of these items in bulk!

Pack a few empty zipper-lock plastic bags, just in case. You never know when you might have to improvise dirty diaper disposal. They’re also handy for sealing away soiled clothes until you can get them home to the laundry.

Speaking of soiled clothes: pack an extra set for baby, along with a few extra onesies and socks, because socks always get lost.

If your baby uses a pacifier, pack an extra 19 in the diaper bag, just in case the first 18 get thrown onto the car floor, onto the parking lot at the grocery store or borrowed by the toddler for fun.

If your baby uses a bottle, pack a few extras with nursery water and powdered formula packed in travel pouches so it’s easy to dispense for baby.

Pack a lightweight blanket to help with climate control or private nursing. A tube of diaper rash cream can be handy for a chapped bum.



Shop the Sale: Sweet and Savory Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites


Sweet and Savory Bacon-Wrapped Chicken BitesPhew!

What a week!

Did you all have a great Christmas? I did! My parents were in town visiting from out of state. I got to go to sleep and wake up Christmas morning with my kids and my love, and life is pretty much great.

I’m sad to see Christmas go, but I’m also ready to celebrate 2016. The past year brought so much joy and so many beautiful changes. I can’t wait to see what will happen in 2016. I’m looking forward to great things.

We’re going to ring in the new year quietly, as usual, but surrounded by family and close friends and, of course, good food.

This dish could be an appetizer or a main meal. It’s great because it’s easily doubled or tripled, which is great timing considering that boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders are on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

I think it’s always a good idea to serve a hearty protein at a party, and this dish is perfect for New Year’s Eve!

Sweet and Savory Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites

Ingredients:
2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
4 (4 oz) skinless chicken breast tenders
8 slices thin-cut bacon, cut into halves
2/3 cup brown sugar

Directions:
Combine chili powder, garlic powder and pepper in a small bowl. Dredge chicken in the spice mixture to coat well. Press the spices into the chicken if necessary to help it adhere.

Wrap each strip of chicken in two slices of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. Roll the bacon-wrapped chicken in brown sugar until well-covered.

Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper (for easier clean-up) and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350° F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp and the chicken is cooked through.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 378, Calories from Fat: 117, Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 77 mg, Sodium: 924 mg, Potassium: 284 mg, Carbohydrates: 31 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 28 g, Protein: 33 g.

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



Healthy Living: Green Tea


Green TeaFor years, I drank what must have been gallons of green tea each day.

I got away from the habit during the years when all I could think about was caffeine, caffeine and more caffeine, but lately I’ve been reminding myself of how much I love the green stuff.

Green tea is super healthy for you.

First of all, you aren’t overloading your system with caffeine, which isn’t good for your heart and has a law of diminishing returns. The more caffeine you drink, the more you need for it to kick you into gear. The more caffeine you consume, the worse you feel.

Secondly, green tea helps blood flow. This is obviously good for your heart and all your extremities. Green tea can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Green tea is good for your brain. Studies show that people who drink green tea have greater activity in the working-memory area of their brains. Green tea is a brain food! It has also been shown to help block the formation of plaques that are linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Green tea has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar in people who are overweight and tend to be insulin-resistant.

Don’t boil the water for your green tea. That can destroy some of the benefits of the green tea. It’s better to drink it at 165 to 170° F.

Drink green tea with peppermint to help with digestion, with ginger to help with nausea or motion sickness, with lemon to help with colds or a stuffy nose, and with honey to help with a sore throat.

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Product Talk: Southern Comfort Eggnog


Southern Comfort EggnogFirst the disclosure: This product is alcohol-free, despite what the name may lead you to believe.

Now, I feel I can safely move on to my second point: It’s my older son’s favorite holiday drink.

I’m not sure where he first tasted eggnog, but ever since he did, he’s begged for the creamy, frothy drink during every holiday season.

I’ve even gotten him eggnog-flavored ice cream (try it with caramel sauce and some chopped walnuts!).

Southern Comfort Eggnog is about as close as you can get to the real thing, without the REAL THING. It has a rich taste and a smooth, creamy texture. I sprinkle some cinnamon and nutmeg on top before I serve it. You can add whipped cream if you’d like.

It’s kept refrigerated in Brookshire’s near the milks and creamers, so make sure you do the same at home.

Southern Comfort Eggnog is a seasonal product, created by the company as a platform to enjoy their Nog products. It comes in Traditional and Vanilla Spice varieties, and it will be gone from the shelves soon after the new year. Enjoy it while you can!

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine In: Merry Christmas


Cranberry ChutneyMerry Christmas!

It’s one of my favorite days of the year. Not only do I get to wake up to the squeals of excited boys, but my parents are here visiting from Virginia. My heart is full to overflowing.

Growing up, we always had a big Christmas breakfast. Mom would start the day before, making cinnamon roll dough from scratch. It would rise twice and then she’d roll it out, covering it liberally with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. The rolls would rise again overnight and be ready to be popped into the oven Christmas morning then topped with a warm, gooey glaze as they were served. We had those with Little Smokies sausages. Seriously, I could have eaten those out of the pan. We never seemed to have them any other time but Christmas, so I took full advantage when they were simmering on the stove.

The rest of the day, we usually snacked. It was such a novelty not to have to sit at the table and eat a well-balanced meal three times that day that we all loved it! Often, “lunch” would be one of the many varieties of Christmas cookies my mom had baked: sugar (which we decorated, another family tradition), snowballs (or Mexican wedding cookies, my favorite), peanut butter Hershey kiss cookies (peanut butter is a viable lunch, right?) or a peanut butter chocolate swirled roll-up cookie that I also loved.

Sometimes she’d set out bowls of nuts or plates of appetizers like cheese and crackers or an appetizer dip.

I think I’m going to do the same thing today. We’ll grill steaks later, but for midday, it sounds like the snacks have it!

Merry Christmas and happy eating!

Cranberry Chutney

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup water
12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup Granny Smith apple, finely diced
3 Tbs prepared horseradish
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
assorted crackers

Directions:
In a heavy pan, stir water and sugars together to mix. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in cranberries; return to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Stir in apple, horseradish and mustard.

Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Place a block of cream cheese on a decorative plate and surround with assorted crackers. Spoon a heaping mound of the cranberry chutney on top of the cream cheese to cover it.

Scoop the cranberry cream cheese mixture on top of a cracker and enjoy.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 178, Fat: 8 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 25 mg, Sodium: 114 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 2 g.

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



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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