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Healthy Living: Sinus Allergy Relief Drink


Sinus Allergy Relief DrinkIt’s allergy season in the South, and it feels like it came back a little sooner this year than most.

Allergies are a histamine reaction to things in the air this time of year, like grass, pollen, ragweed, mold and any other host of things that are blooming nearby.

You might need to see your doctor about combatting seasonal allergies, but there are natural home remedies you can also use to alleviate symptoms, such as a stuffy nose and sinus congestion.

One of them is this drink.

Made with all natural ingredients, a wise, older woman that I know swears by this concoction. She drinks one portion daily and swears that it helps keep her sinuses from becoming inflamed, thus keeping her breathing easily.

Even if it doesn’t have magical, medicinal properties, it IS healthy for you, no matter why you’re drinking it.

If you don’t have a juicer, peel and chop all of your ingredients. Add about 1/2 cup sparkling water, and process in a food processer until desired consistency.

Sinus Allergy Relief Drink

Ingredients:
2 large carrots
2 oranges
1 green apple, cored
1 small piece ginger, peeled

Directions:
Put all ingredients in juicer, and process according to manufacturer’s directions.

Serves 1

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 437, Calories from Fat: 23, Fat: 3 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 95 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 21 g, Sugar: 65 g, Protein: 7 g.

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Healthy Living: Healthy Oat Cookies


Healthy Oat CookiesMy 13-year-old son told me he wants to eat healthier.

Big picture, he IS a healthy eater, but that kid can also put away some junk food after school.

We had to come up with a solution that would still let him feel like he was having some of the treats he likes but in a healthier way. Now, after school, he reaches for fresh fruit instead of the little, square, orange crackers he used to favor. I love that he’s doing this, and it’s motivated the rest of us to reach for more fresh fruit and vegetables, too.

Every once in a while, he wants a cookie or something sweet.

These are the perfect solution. Originally they were called “Three-Ingredient Cookies,” but I throw in some extra ingredients!

Healthy Oat Cookies

Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or nuts, crushed

Directions:
Mash bananas in a large bowl. Stir in oats, raisins, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds or nuts.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Scoop dough into 16 balls, and place evenly around a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Makes 16

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 60, Calories from Fat: 12, Fat: 1 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 2 g.

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Healthy Living: Pomegranates


PomegranatesPomegranates are one of the healthiest fruits on earth, and they’re still in season now.

Pomegranates are red and are about the size and shape of an apple, but really only their seeds (and the pulp and juices attached) are edible.

One cup of pomegranate arils (seeds) contain 7 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C, 36 percent for vitamin K, 16 percent for folate and 12 percent for potassium. That’s a lot. Also, one cup contains only 144 calories which is not a lot at all.

Pomegranates contain two compounds other fruits do not: punicalagins and punicic acid.

Punicalagins are the powerful antioxidants found in the juice and peel of a pomegranate, providing three times the antioxidant power of red wine or green tea. Punicic acid, or pomegranate seed oil, is the fatty acid from the arils, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

Pomegranates can help fight against heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity. It can also help fight prostate and breast cancers as well as lower blood pressure and fight arthritis. It improves memory, helps fight fungal and bacterial infections and can improve erectile dysfunction. It has also been shown to improve exercise performance.

Whether you eat the seeds or drink the juice, pomegranate packs a mighty punch.



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.

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Healthy Living: Overnight Oats


Overnight OatsMy sister got me hooked on overnight oats.

They’re so easy and delicious. Best of all, you make them in advance, and you grab them on the way out the door the next morning instead of driving through for a triple-decker sausage and cheese biscuit.

You can make overnight oats with pretty much anything you want. I make them in small Mason jars (because let’s be honest, those are cute and anything cute is more fun to eat), but you can also make them in any container with a lid.

The first batch I made, I used steel-cut oats. Then, I read a few recipes that advised against using steel-cut oats as they don’t soften as much as using old-fashioned rolled oats. So, I made up another few jars with the old-fashioned oats. The first morning I tried the overnight oats, I grabbed the old-fashioned and they were delicious, but I actually prefer the grittier, nuttier texture of the steel-cut oats. I will say, however, that the steel-cut oats are better if you leave them in the refrigerator for TWO nights instead of one.

Oats are a great whole-grain, and studies have shown that they lower your cholesterol if eaten on a regular basis.

You can add in fruit, chia seeds, peanut butter or anything you’d like for your overnight oats.

The ratio of oats to liquid should be about 2/3 cup liquid (I use vanilla almond milk; you can use regular milk, soy milk, coconut milk or Greek yogurt) to 1/4 cup oats.

I add the oats to the jar last. I start with the vanilla milk, and then I add about one tablespoon of peanut butter. I put the lid on the jar and give it a vigorous shake. The milk and the peanut butter won’t combine totally, but you’ll find pockets of peanut buttery goodness in the oats. I add in 1 tablespoon chia seeds, about 1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar, a handful of blueberries and then the oats. I shake again to combine. Close and let sit in the refrigerator overnight! Viola! Breakfast is served.

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Healthy Living: Heart Health


Heart HealthHappy Valentine’s Day!

Let’s talk about keeping your heart…and those of the people you love…healthy.

There are some simple things you can do to love your ticker this month (and every month).

According to the American Heart Association, the first steps you should take toward heart health include:

  • Eat healthy. This means consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and fiber.
  • Get active. Try to do 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day. This can be done in three 10-minute bursts if that suits your lifestyle best.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. You can do this by eating healthy and getting exercise.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke. This includes vaping.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure. Diet and exercise, as well as maintaining a healthy weight, go far in helping both of those.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation, defined as no more than 4 drinks a week.
  • Manage stress. Believe it or not, diet and exercise help you do that as well. Try journaling, coloring, yoga or other cognitive exercises to help you get it under control.

Consult your physician about the specific things you need to do to improve your overall health, which will lead to a stronger heart.

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Healthy Living: One-Pan Roasted Sausage and Vegetables


One-Pan Roasted Sausage and VegetablesI was telling my best friend recently that I prefer vegetables to most fruits, and she thought I was crazy.

That’s fine; I’ll take a little crazy.

It’s true, though. I do prefer vegetables to fruits (although I definitely eat fruit, too), and I love roasting veggies for an easy, one-pan, healthy meal.

You can add almost any kind of vegetables to this dish. I often use Brussels sprouts instead of peppers or throw in some cauliflower as well. Make sure to dice the sweet potatoes in small pieces, so they cook as quickly as the rest of the veggies. You could also steam them for a few minutes before you add them to the roasting pan. You could also toss in a few pieces of diced apple for some sweetness.

Chicken sausage doesn’t have much fat, so you do need the olive oil. Although, I don’t usually use all of the six tablespoons.

I love making this one night for dinner then enjoying the leftovers the next day for lunch.

One-Pan Roasted Sausage and Vegetables

Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3/4 lb fresh green beans
1 large head broccoli, chopped
2 large green bell peppers, chopped
9 oz chicken sausage links
6 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs dried parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (if using foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray).

Chop all veggies, and add to a large bowl. Slice sausage into bite-sized pieces; add to bowl. Add in spices, and drizzle in olive oil. Toss to coat.

Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, and then stir before roasting for 15 more minutes.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 686, Calories from Fat: 411, Fat: 46 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 15 mg, Sodium: 453 mg, Carbohydrates: 67 g, Fiber: 17 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 12 g.

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Healthy Living: Homemade Noodle Bowls


Homemade Noodle BowlsMy sister-in-law, Lesley, is the healthiest person I know. She doesn’t put anything into, onto or near her body that isn’t of the purest, utmost, best quality.

She eats organic, doesn’t use chemicals to clean in her house, doesn’t use chemicals on her body, and only puts food in her body that is not processed at all, or minimally processed if necessary.

She’s also super mom, super physically fit and looks 25 when in reality she’s quite a bit older.

I want to be like her.

Or more like her because I know, for me, I can’t be quite that dedicated. I do enjoy the occasional Diet Coke or cupcake.

But really, she’s my health hero.

While this recipe isn’t Lesley-approved (only because I didn’t run it by her), it is Lesley-inspired.

She makes salads in Mason jars and eats them for lunches on the go. I love a hot lunch, and I REALLY love soup or soup-like meals. These jars are something I can control what goes in and how I eat them.

Plus, they’re super easy and portable!

Healthy Noodle Bowls

Ingredients: (listed per jar)
1/2 cup protein, such as cooked shredded chicken, shrimp, slices of beef or pork, cubed tofu, etc.
1/4 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp Sriracha
1/4 tsp lime juice
1 chicken stock bouillon cube or 1/2 spoonful chicken broth paste
1 pkg dried rice stick noodles
vegetables, such as spinach, shredded carrots, julienned red peppers, cabbage, green onions, diced onions, small broccoli or cauliflower florets, sliced mushrooms

Directions:
Prepare 4 to 5 clean, dry Mason jars for the week.

Create an assembly line by lining up all your jars and ingredients.

Start with wet ingredients on the bottom, pouring lime juice, Sriracha, soy sauce, and chicken broth paste or bouillon onto the bottom of the jar, then add protein.

Top with vegetables and then dry rice noodles, dividing between jars. Add any dry seasonings. Seal jar.

When ready to eat, boil 1 cup water (or equivalent measure to 2/3 the volume of the jar). Pour boiling water into jar; let sit for 2 minutes. Stir and eat.

You can make any combination of flavors, proteins and vegetables for these healthy, fun jars.

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Product Talk: Talk O’ Texas Crisp Okra Pickles


Talk O’ Texas Crisp Okra PicklesWe all know that being from the true South means we know our way around a kitchen and a cast-iron skillet.

We also love things like cornbread, beans and rice, and okra.

Oh my, do I love okra.

These Talk O’ Texas Crisp Okra Pickles are one of my favorite snacks.

They’re from Texas (no arguing Southern origins there), and they’ve been produced in Central Texas since the 1940s. First sold at Neiman Marcus, the Okra Pickles are hand-packed for the highest quality and flavor.

These delightful okra pickles are low-calorie, low-carb and go through a five-step quality assurance process before being jarred and shipped out to your local Brookshire’s. In hot or mild flavors, they are delicious in a Bloody Mary, a martini, chopped up for cornbread or served on a relish tray.



Healthy Living: Health Trends 2017


Health Trends 2017It’s January, so everyone is thinking about getting healthier, eating healthy or just generally being healthier.

I looked up the top health trends in 2017 because there’s something “new” and “hot” every year, right? I cross-referenced a number of websites to come up with this list of trends for the new year.

  1. Foods that fight inflammation, like turmeric and ginger tea, and substituting vegetables for grains and starches.
  2. Wellness travel, like taking yoga classes in Costa Rica or going on a hiking vacation in Colorado.
  3. Plant proteins instead of animal proteins. Think pea protein and hemp protein as substitutes for your beef or chicken.
  4. Have you noticed all the hair, skin and nail products on the market these days? Thank collagen and biotin for that, and for your strong hair and long nails.
  5. Franchised fitness clubs, like OrangeTheory and Pure Barre.
  6. Functional beverages. These are not shakes or smoothies, nor are they energy drinks or vitamin waters. Instead, they’re billed as “medicinal” and come in tonic or shot-sized servings.
  7. Clean inside and out. Less makeup. Less alcohol. Fewer ingredients. No preservatives. Less is more, in pretty much everything health and beauty-related.
  8. Rapid recovery in the form of cryogenics or other ways to restore your body quickly.
  9. Full fat foods are fine, but think olive oil not ice cream.
  10. Once again, wearable tech and body weight-training stay as popular as they were last year.
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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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