Real Fresh, Real Delicious: Harvest Muffins
Looking for the perfect homemade gift that is sure to make the season merry, bright, AND delicious? Try gifting scrumptious and moist muffins that are freezer friendly for a quick breakfast or a perfect pairing with a cup of coffee for chilly mornings. Muffins are the perfectly portable crowd-pleasing present.
 
Banana nut muffins are one of my favorite varieties, but for something a little extra special, try this recipe for Harvest Muffins that have a delicious and nutritious secret—they are sweetened with sweet potato instead of any added sugars! Sweet potato adds natural sweetness and extra nutrition in every bite. I hope you make a double batch for you and as a gift to a loved one this holiday season! Merry Christmas!!
 
Need more ideas? Give the gift of food with these five fun and easy suggestions featured last Christmas! 
 

Harvest Muffins

(Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

Several delicious looking muffins cooling on a rack
Bringing Baking Back: Make memories in the kitchen this holiday season with recipes, savings, and more! 
 
INGREDIENTS
    • 1¼ cups dried cranberries or cherries
    • ¾ cup pecans, toasted and chopped fine
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • ¾ cup apple cider
    • 2/3 cup buttermilk
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • ¼ teaspoon grated orange zest
    • 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
    • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
    • ½ teaspoon table salt
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 ¼ cups peeled and shredded sweet potato (about 1 small potato)
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with parchment liners or grease well. Finely chop ¼ cup cranberries and combine with ¼ cup toasted pecans. Set aside for topping.
  2. Melt butter in a 10-inch stainless skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes.Cook, stirring pan constantly until has a nutty aroma and is dark golden brown, another 1 minute or so.Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk apple cider, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest into the browned butter until smooth. In a separate large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and cloves together. Using rubber spatula, stir the butter mixture until combined.Fold in sweet potato and remaining 1 cup cranberries and remaining ½ cup pecans.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups and sprinkle with reserved topping mixture.Bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs attached but no wet batter.Rotate muffin tin halfway through baking.
  5. Let muffins cool for 10 minutes before turning them out of muffin tin and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.Serve.
 
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers for all holiday needs! 
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
 
 
No-Fuss Side Dishes (Plus a Fun Dessert!)
I love Thanksgiving-style sides so much that I cook them year-round. Why not? Everyone needs healthy, delicious, no-fuss side dishes that can please the whole family. As you’ll soon see, oven roasting is my absolute favorite way to prepare any vegetable. It can bring out their magical qualities enough to lure even the wariest eaters to the table. Even better, roasting veggies means I can toss them in a hot oven while I’m working on something else. A giant piece of foil on the sheet pan makes clean-up a cinch too.
 
So, here’s the run-down on my family’s go-to Thanksgiving sides (plus a special dessert).
 

Roasted Veggies

Roast your green beans instead of casserolizing them this year (“casserolizing” is my new word contribution to English language—you’re welcome). If you prefer another veggie over green beans (Brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc.), this roasting recipe will still do the trick; your choice greens will come out of the oven spotty brown with a few crisp edges. Yum. Top the roasted vegetables with a little chopped bacon (cooked) or a sprinkle of cheese, and you’ll be in side dish heaven. 
This is more of a method than an exact recipe, so have fun with it and enjoy!
 
A bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts
 
INGREDIENTS
    • Brussels sprouts, fresh green beans, or asparagus—trimmed and washed (amount can vary based on needs but it should still be able to fit in a single layer on a large sheet pan)
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • Optional toppings: chopped pecans or walnuts, parmesan cheese, chopped cooked bacon
DIRECTIONS
    • Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Cover a large sheet pan with heavy-duty foil. 
    • Take prepped veggies and place them on the sheet pan with a good drizzle of olive oil for a light coating. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add other seasonings and spices as desired.
    • Place veggies in the oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes. 
    • Optional (if you’d like them to be even more browned): Before removing from the oven, turn the broiler on high and place on top rack for a minute or two. Watch closely as they turn even more spotty brown and caramelized. 
    • Top with any other optional toppings and serve immediately. 
Pro Tip: Sometimes it works best to place veggies on very bottom rack for first 10 minutes of cooking time and then move to very top rack of oven for last 10 minutes of cooking to help brown both top and bottom, but this is optional. Check on veggies toward the end of cooking time and look for them to have little brown spots.
 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Any time I get sweet potato duty for Thanksgiving, roasted sweet potatoes are my go-to recipe. The prep is a breeze, and they come out caramelized on the outside while still creamy on the inside. Moreover, they’re perfectly delicious left as is, or you can jazz them up even further with a drizzle of maple syrup, fresh herbs, or chopped pecans. You can also easily substitute with butternut squash for another spin on this delicious recipe.
 
Several sweet potatoes on a cutting board with some slices and a knife
 
INGREDIENTS
    • 5 pounds of sweet potatoes (about 8 medium potatoes)
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1 ¾ teaspoon salt
    • Pepper, to taste
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 
DIRECTIONS
This recipe starts in a cold oven.
    • Peel potatoes (or scrub well) and trim ends. Cut into ¾ inch thick rounds. 
    • Toss potatoes in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste until evenly coated. Line an 18- by 13-inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray (my favorite is coconut oil spray). Arrange potatoes in a single layer on two baking sheets, dotting evenly with pieces of butter, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and place potatoes in cold oven. Turn oven to 425 degrees and cook potatoes 30 minutes.
    • Remove baking sheets from oven and carefully remove top layer of foil. Return potatoes to oven and cook until bottom edges of potatoes are golden brown (reversing and rotating pans halfway through cooking time), 15 to 25 minutes. 
    • Remove baking sheets from oven and, using a thin metal spatula, flip slices over. Continue to roast until the bottom edges of the potatoes are golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let potatoes cool 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to platter and serve.
    • Optional toppings: If desired, drizzle lightly with real maple syrup, chopped toasted pecans, or fresh/dried thyme leaves, to taste.

Five Cup Fruit Salad

This super simple fruit salad is a family favorite recipe. Everyone is always fighting for the last serving, and the best part is it’s portable, healthy, and oh-so-easy to make. We always double (or triple) the recipe to make it go a little further and help settle any fights over who gets the last spoonful.
 
A young girl enjoying fruit salad at the table
 
INGREDIENTS
    • 1 cup drained pineapple chunks
    • 1 cup grapes (any variety)
    • 1 cup mandarin orange segments, canned or fresh
    • 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
    • 1 cup sour cream (regular or light) 
Read more: Check out this Honey Lime Fruit Salad recipe too (as featured in a recent Cooking with Kate post).
 
DIRECTIONS
    • Mix together all ingredients and serve.

Pecan Pie with Maple Syrup and Brown Sugar

Dessert is always a highly anticipated part of any Thanksgiving celebration. This dietitian isn’t going to tell you to skip the dessert table because that’s just cruel. Instead, what I recommend is to contribute a delicious dessert made of real fresh, real delicious ingredients from your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers. Above all, enjoy your dessert fully without any guilt. There’s a time and a place for restraint and Thanksgiving ain’t it. 
 
My favorite recipe is a pecan pie that skips corn syrup in favor of brown sugar and maple syrup. The flavors are out of this world.
 
A delicious homemade pecan pie in a glass dish. 

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie”

 
INGREDIENTS
    • 1 cup maple syrup
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • ½ cup heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon regular molasses
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
    • 2 cups toasted and chopped pecans
    • One 9-inch unbaked pie shell, chilled in the pie plate for 30 minutes
Read more: What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers? Try these tricks from Catering Coordinator Kate Rudasill.
 
DIRECTIONS
    • Make Filling: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat sugar, syrup, cream, and molasses in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Whisk butter and salt into syrup mixture until combined. Whisk in egg yolks until incorporated.
    • Bake Pie: Scatter pecans in pie shell. Carefully pour filling over. Place pie in hot oven (on a sheet pan covered with foil in case of spills) and immediately reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until filling is set and the center jiggles slightly when pie is gently shaken (45 to 60 minutes). Cool pie on rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until set (about 3 hours and up to 1 day). Bring to room temperature before serving.
    • Serve: Serve with homemade whipped cream and go to dessert heaven.
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers for all your Thanksgiving needs!
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
 
 
The Trick to Handling the Treats
Halloween is serious business for the little ones. After they don the perfect costume, they are ready to hit the neighborhood in search of some tasty treats. Since Halloween only happens once a year, it's fun to indulge a little and eat some of that hard-earned candy. Help your little ones avoid a tummy ache by taking advantage of kids' innate ability to regulate their appetites. One of the easiest ways is a well-timed and nutritious snack before heading out to trick-or-treat. Young children tend to naturally regulate their appetites, so they will usually slow down on eating sweets if they begin to feel overly full. Here are some of my favorite snack ideas to help!
 
A group of three trick-or-treaters walking down the driveway
 
  • Turkey and cheese roll-ups (Turkey mummies, if you will!)
  • Fruit of any kind, but especially easy finger foods like grapes, oranges, apple slices, or bananas
  • Yogurt cups
  • Cheese sticks of all kinds (There are tons of different flavors to choose from at your local Brookshire Brothers!)
  • Cucumber slices with a little vinegar, salt, and pepper
  • Cinnamon toast with butter on whole wheat bread
  • Or see some of my favorite grab-and-go snack options here!
And if you're looking for some unique options with a healthy twist to pass out in your neighborhood this Halloween, try some of these ideas. 
 
  • Fruit snacks and gummies, especially with natural flavors and colors (These fruit-filled recipes are frightfully good—and healthy!)
  • Inexpensive trinkets such as stickers, temporary tattoos, or bouncy balls
  • Simple chocolates
  • 100% fruit juice in small boxes or pouches
  • Snack-sized bags of freeze dried fruit, raisins, or pretzels (Another wicked-good snack to try: Rice Krispies Treats with fall flavors and fun topping ideas!)
  • Small bags of pre-popped popcorn (Make your scary movie night really pop with these three fun popcorn recipes!)
 
Read more: Don't miss Angela's other nine tips for keeping Halloween healthy
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
 
 
Real Fresh, Real Delicious: Spice It Up
As seen in Charm East Texas
 
Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, and it's time to commemorate the occasion this Columbus Day! When Columbus set sail, one of his primary aims was to locate the "spice islands" along the Asian coast; exotic spices were rare and valuable commodities in those days. Columbus may have missed the mark in his search for the spice islands (landing on Cuba instead!), but in its place he discovered a whole new world where culinary inspiration awaited.
 
Spices are a quintessential component in the diversity of food and culture all around the world. In honor of Columbus Day this year, let's do a little of our own exploring and celebrate the diverse world of spices with all their delicious culinary magic.  They were magical enough to make Columbus sail across the ocean to find them, but luckily they are as easy to find as a quick trip to your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers.  
 
Cinnamon sticks with cinnamon powder on wooden background
 

15 Flavorful Facts On Spices 

  • All spices are rich in various types of antioxidants, making them a tasty way to bolster the body’s defenses against different diseases and illnesses.  
  • Those living in hot climates tend to cook with more spices because the spices inhibit spoilage.  Taste preferences are passed on genetically, and those who eat the most seasoned food tend to be healthiest, live longer, and have more offspring. 
  • Herbs come from the leaves of plants while spices are produced from other parts (bark, buds, roots, seeds, etc).  Some herbs and spices with very different flavors can come from the same plant, such as cilantro leaves and coriander seeds.
Charred Chile & Corn Salsa Recipe: Who doesn’t love cilantro?
 
  • The best all-around anti-microbial spices are thyme, cinnamon, tarragon, and cumin.  Spicy chilies and hot peppers kill up to 75% of bacteria, while black pepper, ginger, celery seed, and lemon juice kill about 25% of bacteria.  
  • Some spices—especially cinnamon and garlic—appear to have a pronounced beneficial effect on blood lipids, making them a good choice for heart health.  
  • Nutmeg and mace come from the same seed, but nutmeg is the seed while mace is the lacy reddish covering on the seed. Mace has a similar flavor to nutmeg but is slightly more pungent.
Get cooking: Fall in love with this winter squash recipe—featuring nutmeg and other herbs!
 
  • Fenugreek can safely help increase milk supply in nursing mothers.  
  • Saffron threads are stigmas from flowers cultivated in the Middle East. The flowers bloom for only one week of the year, and each flower produces only three threads that must be hand-harvested; it’s no wonder that saffron is expensive!  Saffron has a unique flavor that adds a distinctive and sophisticated touch to dishes. 
  • Oregano has strong anti-microbial properties, improves blood sugar, kills cancer cells, and can even function as a powerful antiseptic used in food packaging and the medical industry.
Wooden Spoon with shredded Oregano
Feelin’ chili: Oregano puts the comfort in this cold-weather recipe
 
  • Researchers in Brazil found an antioxidant in parsley, thyme, chamomile, and red pepper that improves neuron formation and strengthens the connections between brain cells.
  • Historically, spices were a valuable currency for trade. They were prized for not just food seasoning, but also medical purposes.  Many modern pharmaceuticals are based on compounds originally found in spices and plants.
  • Cinnamon has many benefits including blood sugar management, anti-microbial properties, heart benefits, cancer prevention, and even brain-boosting properties.
Think cinnamon: ‘Tis the season for apple butter!
 
  • Cayenne and other spicy peppers have been shown to increase metabolic rate and aid weight loss. Spicy peppers also aid digestion and have been shown to cut cancer risk.   
  • Turmeric contains powerful antioxidants that work well as an anti-inflammatory and can even act as an alternative to traditional over-the-counter pain relievers. With a slightly pungent and sweet flavor, Tumeric is very popular in Indian cuisine.  Its vibrant golden hue works well as a natural alternative to food coloring—you might just see it in organic macaroni and cheese! 
  • Foods that are well-seasoned can be more palatable with less salt.  Before reaching for the saltshaker, see first that your food is seasoned well with herbs, spices, and something sour such as vinegar or lemon juice. These alternatives can enhance a salty flavor without adding more salt.  
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to find your spice!
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
Real Fresh, Real Delicious Charred Chile and Corn Salsa
In the mood for something sweet, salty, and a little spicy?  I have just the thing to satisfy cravings for all things fresh, simple, and delicious—Charred Chile and Corn Salsa! Whether you’re tailgating with friends or enjoying #TacoTuesday with family, this corn salsa is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Plus, it’s easy and quick to prepare, and it’s a great way to enjoy seasonal produce!
 

Charred Chile and Corn Salsa

A hand reaching into a clear bowl of salsa
 
Ingredients
2 ears fresh corn, husked
1 poblano or hatch chile - Catch more hatch chile recipes on the blog!
2 large tomatoes or 3 medium, cored and chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, chopped fine (optional)
½ red onion, chopped fine
½ teaspoon of salt, plus more to taste
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tbs fresh lime juice
Pepper to taste
Tortilla chips for serving
 
Salsa ingredients on a wooden background (corn, hatch chile, cilantro, tomatoes, onion, and lime)
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 
Directions
  • Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt over chopped tomatoes and place in a fine mesh strainer to drain excess juice while preparing the rest of the recipe.
  • Place the fresh ears of corn and whole chile in a large cast iron or stainless skillet over high heat, turning occasionally until corn is charred in places and chile is blistered all over, about 10-14 minutes.  Reduce heat as needed to prevent scorching.  
  • Allow corn and chile to cool for a few minutes, then slice corn kernels off the cob with a sharp knife.  Remove the stem, core, and seeds from the chile, and roughly chop.  
  • Discard tomato juice.  In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, corn, chile, and all remaining ingredients (except chips) and stir gently to mix.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers for all your real fresh, real delicious ingredients!
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
 
 
Creating a Family Food Culture
As seen in Charm East Texas.
 
Nothing brings people together quite like a great meal.  Whether there’s an occasion to celebrate or the meal itself is the occasion, eating is a universally human activity that builds bonds in the company of others. A special occasion without the food wouldn’t feel as special. Within a family, the dinner table can be a powerful tool to help children learn about life, community, and eating well.
 
Shared family meals can help children of all ages learn what and how they should eat.  The right family food culture can create a safe and familiar place where kids may (eventually) be willing to try unfamiliar foods.  It takes time and persistence to craft a family food culture, but it is well worth the effort.  Every household can create their own unique food culture, complete with their own expectations, traditions, and special memories.  There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it—only a way that works for each family.
 
Happy family enjoying lunch while kids playing.
 

SHARE A MEAL TOGETHER

A great place to start is simply to make an effort to eat together (without electronic distractions). Joining together for a meal builds respect and shows each person how they are a valued member of the family.  Not every meal needs to be shared, of course, since this is neither practical nor necessary, but intentionally sharing at least some meals together lays the groundwork for breaking through barriers of picky eating, communication issues, and behavioral expectations.  
In my family, we choose to eat dinner together almost every night of the week.  Even when we occasionally bring home takeout, we still maintain the ritual of sitting down together and having a meal.  The television is off, phones aren’t allowed, and there’s often pleasant music playing in the background to help everyone feel calm and content.
 
Let's do family pizza night! Pick up a frozen pizza and customize it with your own combinations.
 
Our children have joined us consistently at the dinner table before they were old enough to understand why, and this in turn has created an environment of expectation.  Every night it’s the same: sit down together and share a meal where we all eat the same food. There is no short order cooking for dinner; the question “What do you want to eat?” is nonexistent. We all eat together, which means we all eat some form of the same foods. 
This has worked well for coaxing our sometimes-ornery three-year-old to eat most everything we eat. If we eat something she doesn’t particularly care for, she can choose to eat it anyway or go to bed a little hungry and eat more for breakfast the next day. Ninety-seven percent of the time she decides just to eat whatever it is that we are having.
 
Shot of an adorable little girl having breakfast with her mother at home
 

MODIFY THE FOOD TALK

Our family food culture also pays close attention to the way we talk about food. It’s easy to entertain criticisms that can be very damaging to the way children think about food.  In my family, we focus on never talking negatively about real food, even in a joking manner. We avoid using words like yucky or gross, and instead we choose to focus on framing foods as delicious and yummy before drilling down about the specific attributes that we like.
  
We stay away from categorizing food as healthy or unhealthy; rather, we focus on how some things are special treats should only be eaten occasionally (or we might get a tummy ache).  We use the same descriptive words for broccoli as we do for cupcakes—yummy and delicious!  Kids don’t usually get excited to eat broccoli when you tell them it’s healthy, but they might eat it when you tell them it’s delicious, buttery, and cheesy.
 
Mother and son doing the dishes together. They are talking and laughing as the boy washes and the mother dries dishes.
  

LET EVERYONE HELP

Another important piece of my family’s food culture is the cooking process.  My three-year-old often “helps” me cook, a source of wonderful encouragement for her to be a more adventurous and eager eater (even when it exercises all my patience). Allowing your kids to participate in the cooking process, even if they make a mess, will help develop competence and confidence in cooking and eating. My daughter started out just watching me cook, and I’d explain things to her before she’d run off after a minute or two.  Now, I always ask her if she’d like to help me, and we try to make her feel like an important part of cooking, setting the table, or cleaning up after dinner.
 
Essentially, we are trying to create an environment where eating all different kinds of foods, mostly homemade and from scratch, is normal everyday behavior.  Conversely, eating processed foods and “junk” food is not normal and it is only an occasional occurrence; however, we don’t forbid all treats because that seems to make them more desirable.  Even if we don’t categorize foods as being “junk” versus “wholesome” that often, it is more about creating an environment of balanced normality.
  

BE PATIENT

While my family most certainly doesn’t do everything “right”—and we definitely have our fair share of mealtime battles—our three year old is a great eater who only knows that all food is yummy and tastes delicious.  She’s never heard anything else from us.  Even if we don’t love a food, we try not to let on.  We may even cook things we don’t love periodically because we want all foods to be tried and accepted.
  
At first, it can be difficult to create a better family food culture, especially if older kids are complaining about certain things, so start small.  Maybe start by banning the words yucky or gross.  Remind them often that we don’t use those words when we talk about food; remind them instead that all food is yummy.  Even if it doesn’t sink in right at first, don’t worry, the seeds sown often take time to root and fully develop.
 
So, eat something yummy with someone you love and make it a habit you won’t regret.
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
Real Fresh, Real Brilliant Breakfast Ideas

• 11 Kid-Friendly Healthy Options for the Morning Menu • 

 
As summer winds down and schedules start filling up again, a fresh rotation of healthy breakfast ideas can make a great start to everybody’s day. Here are some of my favorite choices for keeping energy levels up and spirits high with the early mornings and busy days ahead.
 
Back to school items laid out flat in a ring around a banana.
 

Cereal

If you’re a fan of breakfast cereal, look for options that are low in sugar. You can always sweeten it with healthier alternatives, such as honey and fresh fruit mixed with plain Cheerios. Granola-style cereals are another filling and nutritious option with plenty of flavor combinations to mix it up.  
 

Bacon, Sausage, and Biscuits

Need a little down-home southern style breakfast to lift your spirits?  There’s a great selection of bacon, sausage, and biscuits at your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers to help you create a breakfast feast that is sure to please. I like to make little breakfast sandwiches with bacon, egg, cheese, and a biscuit; they're portable and delicious!
 

Breakfast Tacos 

Everybody loves breakfast tacos. With so many different options for fillings, you’re sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Refried beans, cooked potatoes, shredded cheese, tomatoes, salsa, chorizo, sausage, or bacon—there’s no shortage of fillings (or happy feelings).
 
Banana muffins on a cooling rack
 

Eggs

Eggs are the quintessential breakfast superstar—and for good reason! Whether scrambled, fried, poached, boiled, or even baked, they are packed with protein, heaps of vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats to keep your energy levels steady throughout the day. Not to mention, they’re carb-free! Even better, eating eggs provides a great opportunity to get some greens into your morning routine; eggs pair well with a wide range of veggies including chiles, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, avocados, and more. In particular, one of the easiest way to add veggies to your eggs is to keep some salsa hand for a flavorful combination on the ready! Lastly, if there's only time for a grab-and-go breakfast, boiled eggs are a great option.
 

Easy Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another filling and nutritious breakfast option! I cook mine with milk for more rib-sticking power. Try this basic recipe:
 
Use twice the amount of milk as oatmeal (for example, ½ cup oatmeal and 1 cup milk), a pinch of salt, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a handful of raisins, and a a drizzle of real maple syrup to sweeten. Put on the stove over medium heat until it simmers, turn it off for a minute or two, and eat!  For a decadent finish, try a splash of heavy cream for some healthy fat to help fill tummies for long busy days.  
 

Grits

For a savory hot breakfast cereal, try some delicious cooked grits with a pat of butter, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of shredded cheese. That’s as real fresh, real simple, and real delicious as it gets! 
 

Muffins

If you’re in need of more portable breakfast options, a big batch of muffins can be just the ticket. Muffins freeze well too, so make extra and keep a stash in the freezer for busy days ahead. Try my favorite banana nut muffin recipe for the ultimate portable breakfast.
 

A green smoothie in a mason jarSmoothies

Smoothies are one of the most versatile breakfast options since so many different things can work in a smoothie. Keep a variety of frozen and fresh fruit on hand. Freeze overripe bananas for an ever-ready smoothie ingredient. For the liquid component, I like options with protein such as milk, nut milk, yogurt, and even kefir (a dairy-based probiotic drink). Extra flourishes can be added like coconut oil, coconut flakes, chia or flax seeds. For more veggie power, check out this green smoothie recipe
 

Toast

If you enjoy toast, focus on fun combinations like peanut butter with banana, butter with cinnamon, or avocado with egg.
 

Waffles

I always keep a stock of frozen waffles on hand as a quick option that can be popped in the toaster and ready in minutes. My neighborhood Brookshire Brothers has a great selection of frozen waffles to make shopping easy. Some of my family’s favorites are Nature’s Path Organic and Van’s gluten-free waffles. You can also prepare an extra batch of homemade waffles (and pancakes!) to freeze and reheat another morning. Keep real maple syrup and butter on hand for wholesome and delicious finishing touches!
 

Yogurt

Yogurt is a fantastic all-in-one food that has a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat to keep energy levels stable, not to mention the healthy probiotic bacteria that's wonderful for digestion as well! Keep big tubs of plain yogurt and toppings on hand such as fresh or dried fruit, nuts and seeds (like pumpkin or sunflower seeds), dried coconut, granola, muesli, chia or flax seeds for healthy omega-3 fats, and honey to sweeten it up.  
 
And to celebrate both breakfast and the arrival of Hatch Chile season, try this family favorite recipe for ooey-gooey cheesy baked egg goodness with a little Hatch Chile flair.
 

Hatch Chile Baked EggsA serving of breakfast casserole on a plate

 
Ingredients
6 eggs
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons powdered mustard
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cottage cheese
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1 Hatch or poblano chile, peeled, stemmed, seeded, and diced
 
Toppings as desired: salsa, avocado, sour cream
 
 
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 
 
Directions
    • Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease an 8-inch square casserole dish.  
    • In a large bowl, beat the eggs.  Stir in the flour, mustard, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in all the cheese, butter, and diced chile and mix until incorporated.  
    • Pour the egg mixture into the casserole dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and the center is firm.  Serve warm with toppings as desired.
Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers to get started today!
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
Real Fresh, Real Delicious Summer Salad
Summer is in full swing, which also means cucumbers and tomatoes are at the peak of freshness and flavor. Take advantage of the seasonal nutrition with a colorful summer salad like this Cucumber, Mint, Tomato, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad recipe. It’s packed with fresh, flavorful produce you can find at your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers. Better yet, it comes together in minutes and always delights everyone, whether it’s the out-of-towners at your next summer shindig or just the kids excited for something new at dinner. 
 
Cucumber Mint, Tomato, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 

Cucumber, Mint, Tomato, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad

Cucumber, Mint, Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients

    • 1 large cucumber, seeded, and diced (peeling optional)
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella “pearls”
    • 1 sprig of mint, chopped fine
    • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • Pepper to taste 
Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers to get started today!
 
Directions
    • Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss gently to combine.  Serve.
Look up more quick and easy healthy menu options on the blog.
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 

 

Red, White, and Blue(berry) Popsicles
Whether you’re hosting a backyard party or a lakeside BBQ, your Independence Day get-together is a great occasion to cool off with this festive frozen treat.  Kids and adults alike will be delighted by these USA-themed homemade popsicles.  They are as pretty as they are easy and delicious. The bright flavors of fresh fruit will keep your taste buds happy and perfectly patriotic. Plus, they are sweetened with the best of nutrients—honey and fruit! Get ready for popsicle-stained lips and all-American smiles. Happy 4thof July!
 
Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers to get started today!
 

Real Fresh, Real Delicious Red, White, and Blue(berry) Popsicles

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “Striped Fruit Popsicles.”
 Real Fresh, Real Delicious Patriotic Popsicles
 
Don't stress about the rest of the menu—here's our simple Fourth of July Cookout Guide
 
INGREDIENTS
 
Strawberry Layer
4 ounces strawberries, hulled and chopped (3/4 cup)
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch of salt
 
Lemon Layer
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons heavy cream
4 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
 
Blueberry Layer
4 ounces blueberries (3/4 cup)
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch of salt
 
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on these ingredients!
 

DIRECTIONS  
    • Separately process all ingredients for each layer in a blender or food processor until smooth.  
    • Spoon strawberry layer into popsicle molds first, then cover molds and freeze until completely firm.  
    • Add lemon layer to mold and insert popsicle stick, cover with foil, and freeze until firm.  
    • Add blueberry layer, cover molds, and freeze until firm.  
    • To remove popsicle and serve, hold mold under warm running water for 30 seconds.
    • Makes six 3-ounce popsicles.
 
Keep the clean-up easy with this weekend's text offer: FREE Simply Done paper towels (2 pk) when you spend $20 (some exclusions apply). 
Not signed up for our text offers? Text JOIN [insert your store #] to 59652. 
Don't know your store number? Shoot us an email at customerexperience@brookshirebros.com and we'll help you out!
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
Snacks for Summer Adventures: Healthy, Portable, and Kid-Approved

5 Easy Picks For a Real Fresh, Real Delicious Summer

 
I’m always on the lookout for grab-n-go snacks that are nutritious, kid-approved, and perfect for all the summer adventures—pool days, ballgames, going to the park, and more. Here are some of my favorite selections from my neighborhood Brookshire Brothers store that are as delicious as they are nutritious! 
 
Summer Snacks
 

Quinoa Puffs

Kids (and kids at heart) love these little cheezy orbs of crunchy puffy goodness.  They would never suspect that the secret ingredient is quinoa flour, a healthy protein powerhouse!
 
FYI: This weekend's text offer will be FREE Simply Done foam plates (50 ct) when you spend $20 (some exclusions apply).
Not signed up for our text offers? Text JOIN [insert your store #] to 59652.
Don't know your store number? Shoot us an email at customerexperience@brookshirebros.com and we'll help you out!
 

Pea Snacks

Pea snacks are a crunchy snack that travels well and has a super simple ingredient list: pea and brown rice flour (aka LOADS of fiber and protein). Better yet, all the different flavors (from plain to spicy) will keep everyone in the family happy.  
 
 

Chickpea Snacks

If you’re looking for something with a little more bite, check out dried chickpea snacks. With a nice balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fat, they’ll keep the kids fueled up for all their summer activities. These also come in a variety of yummy flavors, plus they can make a tasty topping for salads and soups!
 

Coconut Strips

If you’re looking for a something on the sweeter side to nosh on, try some delicious “Dang” brand coconut chips.  These lightly sweetened crunchy strips of coconut taste great on their own, or you might combine them with nuts and dried fruit for a healthy, homemade trail mix. Coconut is full of healthy fat and fiber, which makes these an extra satisfying snack with staying power.  
 
Read more: There are many great reasons to go Cuckoo for Coconuts
 
Coconut Chips
 

Clementine Oranges

Everyone’s favorite. Little clementine oranges are hydrating, sweet, and tangy with a punch of vitamin C and potassium.  If you need a quick pick-me-up for the summer heat, grab one of these juicy “Little Cuties” and peel away!
 
Learn more: Did you know the best strategy for selecting a clementine orange in store?
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 

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