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Shop the Sale: Haas Avacados

I’m a little obsessed with avocados. Some “experts” will tell you the sweet potato is a “perfect” food, but I’d put avocados right up there with them.

Buttery, velvety, mild and nutritious, the Hass avocado, with its green-to-black bumpy skin and luscious flesh, was cultivated and patented by Rudolph Hass in 1935. Hass avocados are known as the “year-round avocado” because of their seasonal availability and are grown in many places in the United States, making them readily available in your local Brookshire’s.

Avocados have more potassium than a banana, are low in calories and are chock full of “good” fats, not to mention they’re good for more than guacamole. Try this recipe today, while avocados are on sale at Brookshire’s.

Shrimp Stuffed Avocados 


Citrus Dressing
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp grated lime zest
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar

1 cup frozen precooked baby shrimp (about 6 oz)
3 Tbsp chopped mint (more for garnish)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (more for garnish)
2 oz queso fresco or mild feta, crumbled (more for garnish)
1/2 cup diced English cucumber, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup seeded and diced tomato
2 avocados, ripe yet firm
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce

To make the dressing, whisk together orange juice, lime juice, zest, pepper, salt and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

To make the salad, thaw shrimp and drain off any excess liquid. In a medium bowl, combine shrimp with mint, cilantro, cheese, cucumber and tomatoes. Split avocados and discard pits.

With a table knife, gently score flesh of avocado without splitting the shell. Scoop out avocado and add to shrimp salad, reserving avocado shells. Pour half of the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat. In another bowl, toss romaine with remaining dressing. To serve, divide lettuce among plates. Set avocado shells on greens and fill with shrimp salad. Garnish with additional cheese, mint and cilantro leaves, and serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 220, Fat: 13 g (2.5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 14 mg, Sodium: 430 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber 8 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 14 g.

Healthy Living: Mint, Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

Ahhh…summertime…watermelon meets cucumber. Watermelon likes cucumber. Watermelon hops into salad with cucumber. Watermelon and cucumber live happily ever after.

Watermelon has been called one of the world’s healthiest foods. Along with tomatoes, watermelon is one of the foods highest in lycopene. Lycopene is a nutrient that’s especially important for our cardiovascular health, and many experts believe that lycopene is important for bone health as well. Watermelon is high in water content, and water is an essential element to make all of our body’s functions work more smoothly. Watermelon is full of beta-carotene, antioxidants and vitamin C.

Cucumbers, with their high levels of vitamin B, are a quick pick-me-up (think afternoon snack). They are also full of water and help the body stay hydrated and eliminate toxins. Cucumbers contain high levels of lignans, which are associated with reducing the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, uterine and prostate. Cucumbers also contain high levels of potassium, magnesium and fiber, which work effectively for regulating blood pressure.

So, when you put them together, what do you get? A marriage made in superfood heaven.

Mint Cucumber Watermelon Salad
Serves 16

8 cups cubed, seedless watermelon
2 medium English cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced
6 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, cucumbers, onions and mint. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over watermelon mixture; toss to coat. Serve immediately, or cover and

Refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 60, Fat (trans saturated fat): 3 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 78 mg, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 1 g.

Healthy Living: Quinoa

One of my new obsessions is quinoa.  I make it for dinner about once a week; it has become a staple in my house. When I go to Brookshire’s I know to add quinoa to my grocery cart because I will have it sometime during the week. I normally reserve quinoa dishes for busy nights because it’s so easy and quick to make. Quinoa has a nutty flavor and can go with almost any ingredient.

Quinoa is not a cereal grain, but a pseudo-cereal. You cook it and eat it like a grain, but it is actually an edible seed. Quinoa is not only packed with protein, but it is a complete protein – meaning it offers all of the essential amino acids. Quinoa is also rich in fiber and iron.

This is one of my favorite quinoa recipes that I have very often. I normally have enough to take in my lunch the next day.

Southwest Quinoa
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

1 tsp canola oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup cooked corn
1 (15 oz) can Food Club Black Beans
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a saucepan, heat oil.  Add onion and garlic; cook until onions are tender. Add quinoa, vegetable broth and cumin to saucepan; bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add corn and black beans; cook until warm. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Calories Per Serving: 233, Fat: 4 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 538 mg, Carbohydrates: 39 g, Fiber: 7 g, Protein: 10 g

Healthy Living: Homemade Fruit Leathers

When we were growing up, mom made our school lunches: one sandwich, one piece of fruit, one cookie or small dessert.

Then, dad took over the job of packing lunches.

Imagine our glee when we opened our lunch boxes at school to discover a sandwich, a fruit roll-up and a cookie. Two desserts! We’d hit the jackpot!

I think this newfound nirvana lasted maybe a week before someone slipped and ratted dad out. He honestly didn’t know that a commercially prepared fruit roll up did not count as a serving of fruits or vegetables. Bless his heart.

However, fruit roll-ups or fruit leathers are super easy to make at home, taste a lot better and don’t leave red dye No. 40 all over your hands.

And best of all, they probably do count as a serving of fruit.

Homemade Fruit Leathers
Serves 10

3 cups ripe, chopped fruit (Strawberries and peaches are my favorite. I can’t get bananas to work right, but we also love raspberries.)
Sweetener, to taste (I use about 3 Tbs honey. You could also use granulated sugar).

Preheat oven to 150° F or the lowest temperature your oven will go. Line a 11 x 17 baking sheet with a Silpat nonstick baking mat or parchment paper.

Purée the fruit and sweetener in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour fruit mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread to about a 1/8″ thick. Tilt the sheet back and forth to evenly distribute the fruit mixture.

Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 6 to 8 hours, until fruit mixture is set and the center is not sticky. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Gently peel off the fruit leather from the Silpat mat or parchment paper. Cut into squares or strips (I’ve found a pizza cutter is great for this). If you want to make fruit roll-ups, roll the strips in parchment paper. Store in an airtight container.

Calories per serving: 34 g, Calories from fat: 0 g, Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 0 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Sugars: 8 g, Protein:0 g

Healthy Living: Edamame

My college BFF, Amanda, is somewhat of a hippie – at least that’s what I called her. Turns out she’s just very, very conscientious of what she eats, drinks, and what kind of products she uses around her house. She likes things to be natural, organic and good for her and her family.

Amanda was the one who first introduced me to edamame when I visited her in Seattle where she now lives. Hippie food, I teased her. Then I couldn’t stop eating it. It’s like candy, but healthy! You pop one in your mouth and you just have to keep going.

Edamame is essentially an immature soybean, the green ‘bean’ inside the pod.

Not only are they delicious, but they’re highly nutritious as well. Edamame are rich in folates, manganese, and vitamin K. They are a great balance of carbs, proteins and fiber. They’re chock-full of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Three ounces of edamame is about 100 calories, with 12 grams of protein, 569 mg of potassium, 12 grams of carbohydrates and six grams of fat.

The best thing is, they’re so easy to prepare. Simply steam them, toss with a little sea salt and olive oil if you wish, and pop ‘em in your mouth.

Healthy Living: Local Honey

I have horrible allergy problems.  The irony is that I’m not allergic to anything except cats – which I don’t have – and sulfa medications, which I avoid taking.

Now, when I say I’m not allergic to much, I’m not allergic to much that standard tests cover. But even one allergy doctor told me those skin prick tests don’t test for a lot of environmental factors.

For a vast majority of the year, I couldn’t breathe through my nose and nothing seemed to help. I’ve been through every allergy medication there is and nothing really worked. Then a few years ago, I decided to cut out as many medications as humanly possible and I found myself being more open to natural remedies for simple ailments.

Last year, my friend told me about the benefits of local, raw honey. Not the stuff in the squeeze bear, the stuff sold in the produce department at Brookshire’s stores.

Local honey can help alleviate allergy symptoms. The thought is that the bees are collecting nectar from the very plants that are making you feel bad, and so with honey you can ingest small amounts of the very allergen that is troubling you and build up a resistance to it. Just a tablespoon of local honey each day can relieve the symptoms of pollen related allergies, many experts say. Start taking the honey about one month before you typically experience symptoms of allergy problems.

Other health benefits of local, raw honey include:

  • Increases calcium absorption
  • Can increase hemoglobin count and treat or prevent anemia caused by nutritional factors
  • Can help arthritic joints
  • Works as a natural and gentle laxative, aids constipation
  • Provides instant energy without the insulin surge caused by white sugar
  • Contains a wide array of trace minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, chromium, manganese and selenium̶  all essential elements for productive cellular insulin sensitivity and blood sugar balance. Honey does have an effect on blood sugar and contains approximately 53 percent fructose, so one should only consume this in moderation.


Healthy Living: Fatoush

Back in the late 1990s, when I lived in Germany, one of my very best friends there was from Lebanon. We were part of a close-knit group who spent more time together than apart.

Once a month we had a supper club at someone’s apartment. I always loved it when Paula hosted because she’d make the most exotic foods. Creamy baba ganoush, sweet and savory ma’amoul, dishes full of roasted nuts, decadent baklava and my favorite, fatoush. The names of the dishes would roll off her tongue as perfectly as the food tasted.

Fatoush is a wonderfully light and flavorful salad whose ingredients celebrate the end of summer. Serve this for an exotic twist at your next backyard barbecue. It’s also a great answer to “eat more vegetables.”

Serves 4

1 cup red bell peppers, sliced into strips
1 cup yellow bell peppers, sliced into strips
1 cup peeled cucumbers, thinly sliced
4 vine ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch wedges
1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
3 Tbs finely chopped mint
3 Tbs finely chopped parsley
3 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp high quality olive oil
2 tsp lemons, juice of
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pita breads, to serve

Place the bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, mint, parsley and cilantro in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the garlic with the olive oil and lemon juice.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly to mix.

Toast the pita breads in a toaster until crisp and crumble on top of salad. Serve immediately or prepare ahead and add pita right before serving.

Nutritional Information: Calories 154; Calories from Fat 27; Total Fat 3g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 172 mg; Total Carbohydrate 28g; Dietary Fiber 4g; Sugars 7 g; Protein 5g

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

Product Talk: Rosemary

Seasons change and so do my choices of spices and herbs. I go through periods of time that I pick one spice or herb and that is all I want to use. I have gone through many different flavors but right now my herb of choice is Rosemary. I have been putting it on everything, potatoes, carrots, and chicken. Rosemary has a sweet aroma, but you do not want to crush it; crushing it will allow flavor loss.

Product Talk: Cous Cous

Do you like to keep up with the trends? Maybe you’re the one setting trends in your community! Either way, trendy people need to know about cous cous. Have you tried it before?

Cous cous is a type of pasta. In Israel and other middle-eastern countries, cous cous takes all day to make and involves simmering grains in large pots. Here in the USA, however, you’ll almost always find Americanized, quick-fix cous cous.

It can be ready to eat in five minutes!

Picture a strand of spaghetti. Break it into the tiniest piece possible—about the size of a pin head—and that’s cous cous. Because it’s so small, it cooks quickly. Pour a cup of it into a pan of boiling water; turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let it sit five minutes to absorb the water. And presto—your cous cous is ready!

Cous cous comes in several varieties. In most of our stores, you’re likely to find regular “white” flour cous cous, whole wheat, and multi-color. The multi-color is made by adding vegetable juice to the wheat as it’s mixed. The result is red, green and orange cous cous.

Serve cous cous however you’d serve rice or pasta. Put it under a stir-fry, alongside chicken and broccoli, or blend with creamy cheese for an exotic mac-n-cheese! If you’d like to see another option, check out the April issue of Celebrate Cooking magazine (free in all Brookshire’s stores) and look for the Banana-Kiwi Salad with Cous Cous recipe—and let us know what you think! The recipe is also available as a webvideo (go to the page to see it).

Start a trend with cous cous. Don’t tell anyone it’s healthy—just enjoy it!

Family Matters: Carrots, Carrots, Carrots!

Carrots are a family-favorite vegetable. Stores recognize this, and Brookshire’s is no exception. If you cruise the produce section you’ll find full-sized carrots, baby carrots, petite baby carrots, shredded carrots and raw carrot chips.

Kids and carrots go together well. But have you ever wondered what to do with carrots other than eat them straight from the bag?  How about roasted carrots? Toss them lightly in olive oil, season with salt, pepper and cumin and cook in a 350 oven until tender and caramelized. Heat brings out the natural sweetness of carrots! You can also make glazed carrots by cutting up carrots and simmering with butter, sugar, salt and just a bit of water. When carrots are tender, uncover the pan and let the liquid reduce to a syrup.

But if your children only like raw carrots, there’s nothing wrong with that! Carrots are full of antioxidants and raw carrots maintain the vitamin A and other healthy goodness. Here are a couple of ideas that use uncooked carrots:

  • Julienned: mix up a vibrant, spicy salad of julienned (shredded) carrots seasoned with an Italian vinaigrette dressing. Toss in a few sliced almonds.
  • Sliced: Slice carrots into thin rounds. Serve alongside ranch or other dip, with toothpicks to make the dunking fun.
  • Shredded: marinate shredded carrots and dried cranberries in orange juice with a dash of vinegar.
  • Carrot-Raisin Salad: toss shredded carrots, raisins and crushed pineapple with enough mayonnaise to moisten. Chill and enjoy.

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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

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Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

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