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Product Talk: Spontex One-Use Disposable Gloves

Spontex One-Use Disposable GlovesI was never the type for wearing dishwashing gloves. While I know they go a long way in keeping your hands soft and supple, and protecting your jewelry and nails, but to me, it was just too much hassle to pull them on and off, dry them, store them, etc.

However, there is definitely a time and place for protecting your hands from household tasks.
Case in point: Cleaning the boys’ bathroom.

This weekend, we had the additional task of having to remove an old toilet seat and replace it with a shiny, new (CLEAN) one. While we do clean the bathroom on a regular basis, the nuts and bolts of the toilet seat are a place that the boys clearly overlooked in the cleaning process.

Gloves to the rescue.

These close-fitting, sturdy, durable gloves allowed us to maneuver the nuts and bolts easily to remove the seat without getting our hands messy.

Now, my boys want to wear them for ALL the bathroom cleaning needs.

I also used them this week when I needed to clean something with bleach and didn’t want to get it all over my hands.

Inexpensive, disposable and oh-so-hygienic, these gloves now have a permanent place in my cleaning cabinet!

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Product Talk: Alpine Spiced Apple Cider

Alpine Spiced Apple CiderLast week, Texas got rain for the first time in four months.

As with everything, we do it bigger in Texas. We didn’t just get a little rain; we got inches upon inches upon inches. I’m not sure of the final tally, but it was somewhere between a drizzle and build-an-ark.

Needless to say, last week was swampy. Your clothes never completely dried out between mad dashes to your car from the office or into Brookshire’s. Your feet were never warm, and there was no point in even trying to fix your hair.

But suddenly, there was sunshine in a mug! A co-worker brought Alpine Spiced Apple Cider drink mix to work, and we made steaming cups full of fall-scented goodness.

Caffeine-free and fortified with vitamin C, Alpine Spiced Apple Cider is a blend of apples and cinnamon that can be served hot or cold. The sugar-free variety has only 15 calories! We had the traditional, but I’d love to go back and try the Pumpkin Spice as well.

In single-serving pouches, a mug of warm cider was easy to prepare, but the process could be made even easier with single-serve cups for single-serve coffee machines.

It was so good that I braved the weather that evening to stop at Brookshire’s to buy some for my family, too.

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Product Talk: Bigelow Teas

Bigelow TeasIt is a salted caramel tea morning if there ever was one!

It’s drizzly, foggy, overcast, dank and dark, and I couldn’t wait to get to work and brew a cup of Salted Caramel Tea from Bigelow.

Or, maybe it will be Pumpkin Spice or Apple Cider Tea. I’ll decide when I get there; I have a whole stash in a basket in the work kitchen.

Bigelow Teas are comfort in a little bag that blossoms when you steep it in just-under-boiling water (you want your water to actually come to a boil when you make tea, as that helps to oxygenate your water and bring out the full flavor of your tea).

Each Bigelow tea bag is sealed inside a foil bag for optimal freshness, and is made with the freshest of ingredients to give you full flavor and lots of health benefits.

Tea healthy? You betcha. Teas are filled with antioxidants, the kinds of things you need to fight cancer. Tea helps protect against heart disease and high blood pressure. It also gives your brain a boost (maybe I should start having a cup at around 3pm when I start to tank every afternoon).

Best of all, it’s just delicious. Bigelow Teas come in so many varieties that you’re bound to find at least one you love. I just came off of a peach tea kick, which I drank either hot or cold all summer.
Find a great selection at your nearest Brookshire’s.

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Product Talk: Kiwi Berries

Kiwi BerriesPaul and I went shopping in Brookshire’s yesterday, and as we were almost finished and headed to the checkout, Paul wanted to go back to the produce section one more time. “I have to see if they have something,” he said.

He was looking for kiwi berries, a fruit I’d never seen before.

They look like a large grape and taste like a kiwi (without the fuzzy skin). They are delicious, and Paul eats them like candy. In fact, he said they usually don’t make it home from the grocery store. I think the only reason they did yesterday was that we wanted to share them with my older son who LOVES kiwi.

These are great for school lunches because I’ve been sending him with a whole kiwi and a plastic knife and spoon to eat it with (he cuts the kiwi in half horizontally and scoops out the green insides with his spoon), but schools these days frown upon knives of any kind, even the plastic ones. With kiwi berries, he can just pop them into his mouth!

Kiwi berries are high in vitamin C and naturally low in fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are also high in fiber and a great source of potassium, vitamin E and magnesium. Kiwi berries are nutritionally dense and considered a super-food.

Kiwi berries should be stored in a cool, dry place and eaten soon after purchasing. Get them while you see them because their season is very short.

Product Talk: Hershey’s Cocoa Special Dark

Dark Chocolate PuddingHershey’s Cocoa has been a baking staple since the first Hershey’s factory was erected in 1903! For more than 100 years, we’ve been enjoying the rich flavors of Hershey’s Cocoa.

Who doesn’t love a delicious brownie, or a mug of steaming hot chocolate? I know I do. However, I’m partial to a dark chocolate, with a higher cacao ratio.

Hershey’s now makes their cocoa in a Special Dark variety, and let me tell you, it is spectacular. The formula, which is 100% cacao, is a blend of natural and dutched cocoas. Dutched cocoa is a cocoa that has been washed with a potassium carbonate solution, which neutralizes cocoa’s acidity to a pH of 7. Basically, it’s a darker cocoa with a smoother, more mellow flavor that some describe as “woodsy.”

Whatever they do, I love it.

So when I found out recently that one of Paul’s favorite desserts is chocolate pudding, I knew I wanted to make him some with Hershey’s Cocoa: Special Dark.

I topped it with homemade whipped cream and we ALL devoured this tasty treat. It’s super-fast to make, and super-delicious to eat.

Dark Chocolate Pudding
Serves 6

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Hershey’s Cocoa: Special Dark
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs butter
2 tsp Mexican vanilla or pure vanilla
whipped cream or other toppings, to taste

In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Gradually pour in milk and cream, stirring to combine.

Bring to a boil slowly. Once mixture starts to bubble, stir rapidly for two minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter, mixing well to combine. Pour into individual ramekins, or leave in pot and chill.

When set and chilled, serve with whipped cream or other toppings.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 196, Fat: 4 g, (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 2 mg, Sodium: 244 mg, Carbohydrates: 38 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 5 g.

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

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Product Talk: Foster Farms Buffalo Wings

Foster Farms Buffalo WingsOn vacation last summer, we spent a dreary, drizzly day touring the USS Wisconsin, a naval warship dry docked in Norfolk, Va. We spent hours on the ship, where a very enthusiastic and loquacious World War II-era volunteer (who had served on the ship) taught us how to tie every kind of knot that you might ever need in your whole entire lifetime. He went into great detail. Very great detail.

Point being, by the time we ended that adventure, we were hungry. No, starving.

Being in unfamiliar territory, we didn’t want to venture too far off the beaten path to look for lunch. I was willing to Google some great places to eat, but the teenagers in the backseat weren’t as accommodating. We ended up eating at a national chain restaurant that served chicken wings.

Now, you KNOW I love buffalo chicken, so I ordered the buffalo chicken hot wings.

Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious.

I love hot food. I love spicy food. I love hot, spicy food.

However, for whatever reason, these wings bamboozled me, setting my mouth (and my stomach) on fire. No amount of water quelled the flames I was facing (and I wasn’t desperate enough to drink milk, even though dairy products are the most effective at cutting the heat from fiery foods).

I swore I would never eat wings again.

That was until I was tempted to try a frozen brand from Brookshire’s. You know how the “never” word works!

Foster Farms Hot & Spicy Buffalo Wings ARE hot and spicy, but not enough to require an oral lavage and case of antacids.

They bake up crispy, yet saucy, and have a deep tang with a burst of flavor that satisfies all the senses.
Best of all, you don’t have to work with the raw chicken; you just pop them in the oven and heat them quickly.

These have become a favorite in our household, and I’ll keep choosing them over mouth-burning, stomach-churning wings any day.

Product Talk: Lay’s Potato Chips

Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion Potato ChipsI don’t know how the topic came up, but sometimes potato chips just pop into conversation.

We were probably hungry.

We were probably talking about snacks.

We discovered we both have an affinity for Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion potato chips.

So, guess what we had for lunch today?

Yep, Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion, with no healthy food preceding our pig out.


Lay’s chips have been a longtime favorite of mine, and they’ve come back into the forefront of the marketing scene over the past few years with their “Do Us A Flavor” campaign, which has snackers suggesting flavors for the light, crispy chips. Lay’s test-markets the most viable flavors.

This year, Southern Biscuits and Gravy, West Coast Truffle Fries, New York Reuben and Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro ended up in the finals.

The bags of chips are stocked at your local Brookshire’s, and America’s favorite will end up on the permanent rotation of Lay’s favorites.

I voted for Biscuits and Gravy!

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Product Talk: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin SnickerdoodlesIt’s inevitable.

It’s the time of year we’re going to talk about pumpkin. Have you seen the hashtag #pumpkinspicelife? It’s because everything this month is pumpkin. That’s fine by me!

Pumpkin is super-healthy. It’s also super-great to cook with.

Libby’s Pure Pumpkin comes in a can, packed with nutrients, low in calories and fat and virtually sodium-free.

Pure pumpkin is not just for pumpkin pie (although that’s a mighty delicious way to use it). You can mix it into oatmeal for a vitamin boost. You can mix it with a prepared cake mix to make a low-calorie muffin. And you can use it to make cookies; snickerdoodles to be exact.

I wasn’t sure how these would go over at my house. I mean, I LOVE pumpkin, but I wasn’t sure how the people who would (hopefully) be eating the vast majority of the cookies would react.

I needn’t have worried: two dozen of this spin on the classic cookies were gone in the first day. (Disclaimer: They did NOT eat only cookies all weekend.) Chilling the dough overnight is a must; they were tender on the inside and crisp with cinnamon sugar on the outside.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Makes 4 dozen

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar for topping
2 tsp ground cinnamon for topping

Cream together sugar, butter and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer until pale yellow and fluffy. Add eggs and blend thoroughly.

In another bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add in small batches into the wet ingredients. Do not over-mix. Add the pumpkin puree at low speed.

When well-mixed, place dough in the freezer for 90 minutes (or in the fridge overnight).

Pre-heat oven to 350º F. Mix extra sugar and cinnamon together well in a bowl. Roll a small mound of dough (about 2 Tbs) into a ball in your hand, and then roll in cinnamon sugar. Place on baking sheet 12 to a sheet (they will spread a little).

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes. When just the edges of the cookies start to brown, you will know they are done. The middle part of each cookie is going to appear undercooked. Cool on a wire rack and you will see them look like they are cooked through.

Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 94, Calories from Fat: 39, Fat: 4 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 13 mg, Sodium: 56 mg, Potassium: 40 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 1 g.

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

Product Talk: Swiss Steak

Swiss SteakLast Saturday night, Paul said those words I love to hear, “I’ll cook tonight.”

I mean, I love cooking, but I really love when he cooks. Everything he makes is mouthwatering.

Last weekend, he said he was going to make Swiss Steak. I’d never had it before, nor have I ever cooked with tenderized cube steak. Also called tenderized round steak, this meat is sold packaged in your butcher shop at Brookshire’s, or the butcher can tenderize it for you. It’s simply a round steak or sirloin made tender with some serious pounding. My boys called it “the meat with holes” when they were younger. The holes don’t go all the way through, mind you, but you can still see those indentations where it’s been tenderized. It’s usually sold in filets or cutlets, and is good for a myriad of recipes!

Back to the Swiss Steak. It came together quickly and simply, and it was so delicious! We had enough for leftovers the next day (and the next). This is a great recipe for fall as it’s warm, hearty, savory and economical.

Paul’s Swiss Steak

2 lb cube steak, tenderized
4 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 Tbs black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup white onions, chopped
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes

Remove cube steak from packaging. Sprinkle liberally with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and black pepper. Dredge in flour. Heat a thin layer of oil in a cast iron skillet until it shimmers and begins to pop. (Make sure to get the oil hot enough, so your meat doesn’t just absorb it all.) Place steak in the pan and brown quickly, no more than 2 minutes per side. Remove steak to a platter lined with paper towels to drain. This might take several batches.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Place steak in a pan (can be in a single layer or doubled up). Top with slices of white onions; cover with tomatoes. Cover pan with lid or wrap tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 1 hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, noodles or something similar to catch all those delicious juices.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 291, Calories from Fat: 85, Fat: 9 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 90 mg, Sodium: 89 mg, Potassium: 380 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 35 g.

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

Product Talk : Mission Chicharrones

Mission ChicharronesI’ve made it forty-something years without ever tasting a pork rind, and I’ve been perfectly happy and lived a fulfilled life.

However, Paul and I were in Brookshire’s on Saturday, picking up a few items to grill for dinner, when we decided we also needed some snacks for the late afternoon lull before it was time to cook.

I grabbed Pirate’s Booty. Paul grabbed Mission Chicharrones, picante flavor.

Pork rinds.

We brought them home and tore into our respective bags. Being the gentleman he is, Paul held his open bag out to me first.

Like I said, I wasn’t sure about pork rinds, having successfully navigated a lifetime being pork-rind free.

However, I saw a recent episode of a show on Food Network where the cooks were making homemade chicharrones.

If you can get past what they look like to begin with (it is, after all, the skin of a pig), the process is actually pretty interesting. The rinds are dumped into a vat of (more) fat, and they puff up, crispy, crunchy and light as air before you remove them from the fat and let them drain.

I went for it, carefully reaching into the open bag.

I’d expected them to be weighed down by fat and greasy, but they’re super crispy, crunchy and airy.

I read that a lot of dieters eat them because they contain no carbs whatsoever. A half ounce has 80 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein.

Mission Chicharrones, found on the aisle with the chips, come in a 4-ounce bag.

Now, I can say I’ve tried them!

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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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