Spring Showers Bring May (Flower) Salads
Did you know that pansies and violas are edible and taste just like lettuce? Pick up the ingredients for this real fresh, real delicious salad at your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers—flowers optional! The best part? Berries are in season now!
 

A Berry Pretty Salad

Spring Showers Bring May (Flower) Salads
 With Goat Cheese, Honey Toasted Pecans, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
 
Ingredients
5 oz salad greens
½ c. pecans
2 Tbs honey
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar (I used a well-aged variety for more sweetness)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
1 c. berries (I used blackberries and blueberries), rinsed and drained
1/3 c. crumbled goat cheese
Pepper, to taste
Optional garnish: pansies or viola flowers
 
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on these ingredients!
 
Directions
  • Toast pecans lightly in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes or until fragrant. While still warm, add honey to pecans and toss to coat.  
  • Mix extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and salt in jar or container. Shake vigorously until emulsified.  
  • Divide lettuce between two bowls for two large dinner salads or four bowls for smaller side salads.  Top with toasted pecans, crumbled goat cheese, berries, and salad dressing. Add cracked pepper to salad, to taste. Garnish with pansies or violas for an extra special and beautiful salad.

 
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 Orange-Lime Margarita
Looking for a light and festive drink for your Cinco de Mayo celebration? Try making a classic margarita from scratch with this simple, refreshing recipe featuring some bright and fun citrus—perfect to kick the party off!
 
Real Fresh, Real Delicious Orange-Lime Margarita
 
I was inspired by the beautiful “Cara Cara” oranges I spotted at my local Brookshire Brothers the other day. These pink oranges are only available for a short season, so keep an eye out! If you're not able to find them, navel oranges (and even grapefruit) work just as well in this recipe.
 
Not seeing a product you're looking for? Talk to your local store director or make a product request online!
 
Another special find was the Himalayan pink rock salt I used to garnish the rim to match the pink hue of the Cara Cara oranges. Bonus: the pink salt is also rich in healthy minerals! If salty isn't your style though, feel free to skip the salted rim. 
 
Real Fresh, Real Delicious Orange-Lime Margarita
 
If you’d like to sweeten things up a bit, add a little agave nectar (a great natural sweetener option). For any kids or any people with non-alcoholic preferences, skip the liquor and squeeze a few extra oranges to make a beautiful glass of fresh juice instead.
 
Recommended pairing: Chips and your favorite dips.
Check out these two salsa recipes recently featured in our $100 giveaway!
 
Don't forget to garnish with mint sprigs to make your celebration feel extra special.
 

Real Fresh, Real Delicious Orange-Lime Margarita

Makes 1 Cocktail
 
Real Fresh, Real Delicious Orange-Lime Margarita
 
Ingredients
1 ½ ounce freshly squeezed navel or Cara Cara orange juice
¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
½ ounce orange liqueur such as Cointreau or triple sec
1 ½ ounces tequila
Garnish of orange wedge and mint sprig
Optional: 1 teaspoon agave nectar to sweeten to taste
Optional: salt for glass rim
 
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or our digital coupons for special savings on these ingredients!
 
Directions
    • Moisten the rim of a glass with orange wedge and add salt to the rim if desired.
    • Add orange juice, lime juice, orange liqueur, tequila, and agave nectar to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
    • Shake until cold and then strain over crushed ice into glass.
    • Garnish with an orange wedge and sprig of mint.
    • Enjoy! 

 


 
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. 
 
Sprouting Good Health
Spring is in the air, and plants everywhere are bursting to life from their winter sleep. In the world of health and wellness, “sprouting” applies the same bursting-to-life principle as a way to unleash the nutritional powers of plant foods. Specifically, sprouting grains, nuts, and seeds are common practices that are known to enhance the nutritional qualities of wheat, barley, and other staple grains.  “Ancestral” style eating plans have been touting the benefits of this traditional practice for years, but only recently has it begun to catch on after it fell by the wayside with industrialization in the 1800s. Now, products are sprouting up everywhere, capitalizing on the merits of eating “properly prepared” seeds and grains.
 
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to get started with sprouting today!
 
So just what is so special about sprouting?  Sprouting unleashes a sleeping seed’s locked up nutritional potential—the same nutrition that feeds a tiny plant as it begins to grow.  Nutrients remain dormant until the seed is activated through germination, a process triggered by the perfect combination of moisture, temperature, and light. These same nutrients are also locked away from the human body during digestion unless it is first sprouted.
 
See below for a real fresh, real delicious recipe: Sprouted Quinoa and Pesto with Tomatoes
 
The process of sprouting increases all the B vitamins, vitamin C, antioxidants, carotenes, and fiber in the plant food. When wheat and other similar grains are sprouted, the protein not only increases, but also it becomes a better, more complete source of protein.  This is an important feature of sprouted products, especially for vegetarians or those who have limited intake of animal proteins.
 
Sprouted wheat in a bowl
 
In particular, seeds contain special substances called “anti-nutrients”, which essentially act as preservatives for their nutritional stores. These anti-nutrient compounds include phytic acid, tannins, enzyme inhibitors, and certain difficult to digest proteins (such as gluten).  Sprouting reduces these anti-nutrients, which helps makes the grain easier to digest and the minerals easier to absorb during digestion. Sprouting also decreases the gluten content of wheat, making it easier to digest.  Breads made from sprouted grains still contain gluten, however, so it’s still not an option for those who need to stay gluten-free.
 
Here are eight other nutrient-rich foods you might consider trying this season, including Kombucha, Fennel, Kefir, and more!
 
Even the Bible has a recipe for making sprouted bread: “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.” In reference to this verse, the “Ezekiel 4:9 Bread” is a popular sprouted bread that can be found in your local Brookshire Brothers.  Furthermore, if you like to bake, you might check out the variety of sprouted flours available as well.
 
Know of a sprouted food you want to see on store shelves? Make a product request today!
 
You can also think outside the breadbox for sprouted products. Consider sprouted seeds (like pumpkin or sunflower), lentils, barley, quinoa, rice, and more. Another fun option is sprouting your own foods at home. Most grains require an overnight soak in filtered water followed by a rinse every 6-8 hours to keep them moist and inhibit mold growth. Raw grains and seeds must be used for sprouting since heat treatment will prevent germination. Quinoa can be sprouted in as short as 24 hours while other grains and seeds will typically take longer.  When finished, the product should be cooked for a slightly less amount of time than the typical cooking time since it will have absorbed water during the soaking process.
 
So show your body some love. Improve the quality of the carbs in your life. Give sprouts a chance.
 
It doesn't hurt to show some love to white bread too. THIS WEEKEND ONLY, get a FREE 20 oz loaf of Fresh Harvest bread when you purchase Food Club butter! To sign up for this offer, text JOIN [insert your store number] to 59652.
Don't know your store number? You can use our store locator or shoot us an email at customerexperience@brookshirebros.com
 

SPROUTED QUINOA AND PESTO WITH TOMATOES
 
Ingredients
1⅔ cup quinoa
1½ cups chicken bone broth, low sodium and high protein preferred
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
One 14oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
One 28oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
12 ounces baby kale or spinach
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated, plus additional for garnish
½ cup prepared commercial pesto
 
PSST! Don't forget to check your weekly ad for special savings on these ingredients!
 
Directions
At least one day before finished recipe preparation: 
    • Place 1⅓ cup of quinoa in fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for one minute.  Place quinoa in bowl and submerge in filtered water several inches above the quinoa to soak at room temperature for one hour (may be soaked up to 8 hours or overnight as desired).  Drain quinoa in fine mesh strainer.  Leave quinoa in strainer for sprouting and to keep moist and drained.  Place a towel over the strainer to keep dust out.  Rinse every 2-6 hours to keep quinoa moist and fresh for about 24 hours until quinoa sprouts appear.  (The sprouted quinoa will look like it has little tails.)  Place in refrigerator for up to two days or until ready to use in recipe.
When ready to prepare recipe:
    • Place quinoa in large saucepan with 1½ cups chicken broth and ½ teaspoon of salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat, and then cover and reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.  (Cooking sprouted quinoa takes less time and liquid than unsprouted quinoa because it absorbs water during the soaking and sprouting process.)
    • In a large skillet, sauté onion over medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant.  Add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, and spinach/kale to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes until greens are wilted and the tomatoes and chickpeas are warmed through. 
    • Take off heat. Stir in pesto and 1 ounce Parmesan until combined.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. 
    • Garnish with additional parmesan as desired. 
 

 
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, Really Green Smoothie
With Saint Patrick’s Day around the corner, spring in the air, and the produce section at my neighborhood Brookshire Brothers overflowing with fresh seasonal produce, what better way to celebrate than with a tasty green treat?  No need for artificial food coloring when you can use nature’s pantry to create a delectable green smoothie that will please kids and adults alike. Plus, smoothies are a quick and tasty way to get in your daily fruits and veggies!
 
Healthy Shamrock Smoothie Recipe
 
The art of the smoothie is all about the combination of ingredients. At my local Brookshire Brothers, I spotted plenty of farm fresh produce for inspiration. I decided to blend fresh apples and cucumbers in my recipe, but feel free to swap out ingredients and make it your own. You can sub in fresh oranges, bananas, kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, double the frozen fruit, or whatever you feel inspired to do!
 
Shamrock Smoothie Ingredients: Fresh Kale
 
For a sweeter drink, choose frozen mango or frozen pineapple and use coconut water or 100% juice for the liquid component.  For a mildly sweet lower calorie smoothie, I used an almond/coconut milk blend.  If using the drink as a meal replacement, try using regular milk or half yogurt half milk to boost the protein.
 
DON'T FORGET: Check your weekly ad for special savings on these ingredients!
 
Shamrock Smoothie Ingredients: Coconut Water
 
I added a spoon full of chia seeds for some healthy omega-3 fats, but flax seed works as well or you can skip them all together.  For the green stuff, try hand fulls of fresh spinach, kale, or Swiss chard to make it as beautiful as it is healthy.
 
Healthy Shamrock Smoothie Ingredients
 
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make your own pot of (green smoothie) gold at the end of the rainbow.  Wishing you good luck and good health!  Enjoy!
 
THIS WEEKEND ONLY: Join our text promotions and get 10% OFF ANY FROZEN FOODS—perfect for adding frozen fruits to your smoothie recipe! To sign up, text JOIN [insert your store number] to 59652.
Don't know your store number? You can use our store locator or shoot us an email at customerexperience@brookshirebros.com
 
 

SHAMROCK SMOOTHIE
 
Healthy Shamrock Smoothie RecipeIngredients
1 cup frozen mango, pineapple, or other frozen fruit of choice
Two small or one large apple, cored and cut into chunks
1/2 cucumber or one mini cucumber cut into chunks
1 cup almond milk, coconut milk, regular milk, yogurt, coconut water, or 100% juice of choice
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or half a lemon squeezed)
1 Tablespoon of whole chia seeds or flax seeds (optional)
Two big hand fulls (about two cups packed) of fresh spinach, kale, or Swiss chard
 
Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers to pick up any ingredients you don't already have on hand!
 
Directions
Add all ingredients to blender and mix until well blended. Add greens in batches as needed.  
Makes 4 cups (32 ounces)
 
 

 
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. 
 
 
Lent: A Time for Mindfulness
The forty days of Lent are a time of reflection, fasting, and prayer in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Many who participate in Lent choose to fast from certain things, typically personal vices. Here are a few ideas on what you can give up (or take on) so that your time is purposeful, meditative, and constructive.
 
Lent: A Time for Mindfulness
 
TECHNOLOGY
Taking a rest from social media is a great way to improve mindfulness and well-being—particularly while eating.  When you avoid screen time and other distractions, you can fully engage and enjoy the company of who you’re with, whether it’s friends, family, or others. If eating alone, you might find yourself appreciating the subtlest of sensory inputs from what you’re eating—taste, smell, texture, appearance, even the sounds made while chewing—without the distraction of technology.
 
SWEETS
Sweets are another popular choice to give up during Lent. Whether you sacrifice soda, added sugars, or sweets in general, just the exercise of giving up sweets can show you how often you are tempted to indulge. For the best chance at success, have a plan in place when cravings strike. One classic strategy is to drink a glass of water, which comes from the fact that dehydration triggers snack cravings. Keeping fresh fruit handy is another great alternative.
 
SNACKING
Snacking mindlessly can be a problem if it leads to excess calorie intake, plus many snack foods can be full of empty calories without any intrinsic nutritional benefit. Consider limiting your snacks to one purposefully planned snack each day. Pick a time for your snack—such as mid-morning or mid-afternoon—as well as a choice with nutritional quality, such as nuts, seeds, fruit, cheese, popcorn, or dried veggie products.
 
Read more: Here’s 20+ ideas for mixing up a healthy snack with cottage cheese
 
SLEEP
Making wise choices to improve sleep habits is another excellent way to spend the Lenten season.  An earlier bedtime can lead to better sleep, in addition to more time for meditation and morning walks.
 
Did you know poor sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more? Find out more about healthy habits and why they're so important
 
NATURE
Make a commitment to spend some time outdoors every day. Whether it’s a walk, a picnic, a trip to the park, or work in the garden, being outdoors is a great time for reflection while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of fresh air, increased movement, and even vitamin D production from the sunshine on your skin.
 
Lent Suggestion #5: Enjoy nature
 
 
FISH ON FRIDAY
If you’re taking the more traditional "fish on Friday" path for Lent—in other words, a meatless forty days except for seafood on Fridays—plan wisely to make sure your diet is rich in the nutrients you might be missing out on.  Choose nutritious starches with plenty of protein such as beans, peas, Lentils, and quinoa. Eggs and dairy are also nutrient dense foods helpful with balancing the diet and providing protein. With your Friday seafood, be sure to choose a variety of selections to meet all your nutritional needs and alleviate boredom.  Your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers has a great selection of fresh, frozen, and packaged seafood options.

 


 
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. 
Chili: A Cold-Weather Comfort Recipe
A hot pot of chili on a cold winter’s day is one of the most comforting foods in the south—Texas in particular. Chili warms you inside and out, plus it’s filling, easy to make, and nutritious to boot. It really doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
 Hearty and Healthy
 
Everyone has their own homemade version, and mine is a little different from the usual fare of the region with its heavy reliance on bell peppers and tomatoes. I fall on the “no beans” side of the chili aisle, but feel free to change things up and make my recipe your own.
 
Ingredients
 
Even though it’s not vegetarian, my chili recipe definitely has its fair share of vegetables. I like to go heavy on the spices, but the spiciness of the finished dish is easy to adjust. Sour cream is my go-to topping if I’m in the mood for a slightly less spicy dish.
 
After prepping the ingredients, heat up the olive oil to get the party started.
 
Read more: An Ode to Olive Oil (as well as a recipe for an Easy Caprese Salad)
 
Onion and Peppers
When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions, white parts of the scallions, and all the peppers to the pot. Once they are softened, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Remove the mixture from the pot and set aside before cooking the ground beef. 
 
Onions and peppers are rich in immune system boosting antioxidants and vitamin C, so my chili doesn’t just warm you up, it can keep you well too!
 
DON'T FORGET: Check your weekly ad for special savings on these ingredients!
 
Ground Beef
 
After the pot is empty, add the ground beef and two teaspoons of salt to the pot. 
 
I prefer 85/15 ground beef because the finished result tastes beefier and is tender. Beef is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, not the least of which is iron.  If you prefer to go the vegetarian route, just sub in your favorite variety of canned beans.
 
P.S. - You can get $5 OFF on a $50 purchase of meat with this week's Member Monday offer (01/15). Not a member? Sign up TODAY
 
Spices Toasting
Once the beef is cooked through and broken up, add the onions back to the pot. Create a little well in the center of the pot before adding the spices. Toasting the spices briefly in the well helps brighten the flavors. 
 
Spices are one of the richest sources of antioxidants for your diet. I like to add a little chipotle chili powder for a smoky kick. 
 
Spices Stirred In
 
Now it’s starting to look like chili.    
 
Tomatoes Stirred In
 
Stir in the tomatoes. They add a bright punch of sweetness and acidity to balance out the flavors.
 
THIS WEEKEND ONLY: We're sending out a text offer for $5 off on a $75 purchase of groceries! To sign up, text JOIN [insert your store number] to 59652.
Don't know your store number? You can use our store locator or shoot us an email at customerexperience@brookshirebros.com
 
Completed with cilantro
 
Add water until the right consistency is reached and then let it simmer a while for the flavors to meld.  When it’s finished cooking, add the chopped cilantro. 
 
I love the flavor and color cilantro brings to the dish, but if you lean more towards the “cilantro tastes like soap” side, feel free to skip it. 
 
Choose Your Toppings
 
Top with your favorites and enjoy!
 
Read more: Consider turning your chili into a neighborhood supper! 
 
INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, diced medium
4 scallions, white parts minced and green tops sliced thin for toppings
1 large green bell pepper, diced medium
1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, diced medium
2 medium jalapenos, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 pounds 85/15 ground beef
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup chili powder
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)
1 can crushed tomatoes (23 oz)
2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
 
Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers to pick up any ingredients you don't already have on hand!
 
TOPPINGS
Shredded cheese
Corn chips or tortilla chips
Sour cream
Sliced green onions
 
INSTRUCTIONS
1. After prepping all ingredients, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. 
2. Add the onions, white part of the scallions, and peppers to the pot with the olive oil and cook for 6-8 minutes until softened.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Remove onions from the pot and set aside.  Add ground beef and salt.  Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until beef is no longer pink and cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. 
4.  Add the cooked onion mixture back to the pot and stir it in. 
5.  Make a well in the middle of the ground beef mixture and add all the spices and cook for thirty seconds before stirring into the beef mixture (toasting the spices briefly in a dry pan helps to bloom the flavors).
6.  Stir in the entire can of crushed tomatoes.  Add water until the correct consistency is achieved (about two cups) and adjust seasoning. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the chili simmer gently until the meat is tender and flavors have melded (about 20 to 30 minutes). Add additional water as needed to adjust consistency. Turn off heat, stir in chopped cilantro.  
7. Serve with desired toppings.
 

Need some more fast recipes to keep warm with? Check these out:

 
Real Fresh, Real Delicious: Fall in Love with this Winter Squash Recipe
Butternut squash is a seasonal favorite because of its delicious buttery undertones, plus it’s oh-so-nutritious! Check out the recipe from registered dietitian Angela Larson.
 
Turnips are a delicious low-carb alternative to potatoes with less than half the calories and carbs. Furthermore, they're rich in minerals, B vitamins, vitamin C, and—most importantly—in flavor.
 
Cooking with Kate: It's Always Soup Weather
Check out Kate's favorite recipes for #NationalSoupMonth: White Chicken Chili and Tuscan Bean & Kale Soup!
 

 
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. 
 
 
Give the Gift of Food: 5 Fun & Easy Ideas

Children Exchanging Gifts

‘Tis the season of giving… but that can add up pretty quickly if you’re shopping for friends, family, coworkers, cousins, neighbors, and more! Don’t stress. One gift that’s quick, easy, and cheap while still being thoughtfully creative is FOOD. Here’s a list of fun and simple ideas for edible gifts you can do without breaking the bank:

GO NUTS
Fill quart-sized mason jars with different types of nuts and dried fruits as a beautiful and nutritious gift of trail mix. Try alternating layers of shelled pistachios with dried cranberries for a festive red-green treat that is sure to satisfy.  Top with a piece of red or green construction paper, a piece of twine, and a gift tag to complete the presentation.

Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers to pick up any ingredients you don't already have on hand!

 ALL BARK AND TASTY BITES
Chocolate bark is one of the easiest confections, and you can go as far as the North Pole in terms of flavor combinations! Just melt your favorite baking chocolate according to the package instructions, spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add mix-ins and toppings, and then refrigerate until hardened. One of my favorite colorful holiday combinations is white chocolate, crushed peppermints, and unsalted pistachios or pumpkin seeds. S’more bark is another fun take: chocolate + marshmallows + pieces of graham crackers + pecans = YUM.

EVERYONE LOVES BANANA BREAD
Banana Nut Bread is always a classic, plus it’s a great source of potassium and B vitamin! Check out my recipe for the best banana nut bread ever, which can easily be made into mini-loaves or muffins for easy distribution. Your friends and family will surely appreciate your loaves of love.

INFUSE OLIVE OIL WITH ROSEMARY
Olive oil is a unique gift with a bright shining halo of health in the world of nutrition. You can personalize the gift buy infusing it with rosemary. If time allows, you can easily personalize the gift by infusing the olive oil with rosemary. Dry whole sprigs of fresh rosemary by placing washed sprigs on a baking sheet. Put it in the oven for 2 - 4 hours on the lowest temperature setting. When the rosemary sprigs are brittle and have cooled, add to a bottle with your favorite extra virgin olive oil and allow it to infuse for a week or up to several months. Gift the oil for dipping with your favorite Brookshire Brothers artisan bakery bread. #BestNeighborEVER

For more on the health benefits of olive oil (as well as a recipe for an Easy Caprese Salad), read my ode here!

WARM UP WITH HOMEMADE SOUP
Share your Christmas spirit by the spoonful when you save your loved ones meal prep time with homemade soup! Fix your favorite wintertime soup, separate it into mason jars to distribute, and add a tag with freezing and re-heating instructions for a personal touch. This gift is delicious and easy to freeze if your friends/family want to save it for later. One of my favorites to share is winter squash soup—get the recipe here!

May your holidays be filled with delicious treats and special memories.  Merry Christmas!  

 

 
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. 
 
 
Good Foods, Good Moods: Holiday Stress
 ‘Tis the season to be jolly, except sometimes it’s hard to keep up the merry spirit. Hectic holiday schedules, colder weather, shorter days, and time spent indoors can lead to a dispirited Christmas.  The holiday blues aren’t imaginary – seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is the official medical term for winter-induced depression.  Luckily, one of the easiest ways to combat the winter-time blues is a quick trip to your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers grocery store.  To keep your spirits merry and bright, focus on foods rich in the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, and K, arachidonic acid (found in animal fats), omega-3 fats, calcium, and B vitamins. Here’s a list of ten mood-boosters to help you keep the holidays happy.
  

EGG YOLKS

Egg yolks are nature’s multivitamin, and they don’t disappoint in terms of mood-boosting nutrition. In addition to vitamin A, vitamin D, and arachidonic acid, they also contain plenty of B-vitamins to make your days merrier.   
 

MILK

Drinking milk is a simple way to up your vitamin A, D, and calcium intake. Whole milk is even better (who knew?!) since it contains some natural vitamin A as well as arachidonic acid.
 
Girl Drinking Glass of Milk
 

SEAFOOD

Eating a diet with a good balance of omega-3 versus omega-6 fats is a well-established strategy in fighting depression. Omega-3 fats are found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.  Better yet, seafood is also rich in vitamins A and D (amongst many other nutrients), so eat a variety of seafood options including shellfish and even fish eggs for maximum benefit.
 

PROBIOTIC FOODS

The brain and the digestive tract are linked through the central nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system.  So what happens in the gut doesn’t stay in the gut! That means the healthier your gut bacteria, the happier you’ll be. Make probiotic rich foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and fermented vegetables (such as fermented sauerkraut) a part of your everyday diet.
 
Read more: Kefir, kombucha, fermented sauerkraut—these are three of nine foods you can challenge yourself to try this month!
 

ORGAN MEATS

If there’s one thing that’s the mecca of nutrition, it’s organ meats. In general, organ meats get little glory—but they are gloriously nutritious! Liver in particular is one of the richest sources of nearly every nutrient—ESPECIALLY vitamin A and vitamin D. 
 

DARK CHOCOLATE

Eating chocolate is good for your mood (any surprise?). Specifically, the darker the chocolate, the better. Cocoa powder is another nutritious option. Mix up a cup of hot chocolate with whole milk, a spoonful of cocoa powder and a sweetener of your choice (I like honey) for a delicious mood-boosting treat that will warm you from the inside out.
 
Peanut Butter Cup Smores Dip
Read more: HINT—dark chocolate is also great for s’mores. Check out these five fun ways to fix your favorite campfire treat.
 

BUTTER

If butter doesn’t make you happy, then I can’t help you (kidding). But seriously, butter is the best—and it’s actually good for you! It has the perfect trio of mood boosters: vitamin A, vitamin D, and arachidonic acid. Even better, it’s on sale in this week’s ad!
 

GREEN TEA

Drinking as many as four cups of antioxidant-rich green tea daily has been shown to decrease depression, with the effect increasing for every additional cup!
 
Read more: Did you know that pistachios are also rich in antioxidants—and it’s a distant cousin to mangoes and poison ivy?

CHEESE

Sprinkle a little Gouda cheer over your meal this holiday season. Cheese is rich in vitamin K2, another brain and mood boosting shining star. Some of the best varieties for vitamin K2 content are Jarlsberg, Gouda, Edam, Swiss, Emmental, and Blue Cheese
 

GO OUTSIDE

Going outside gets you exposed to bright outdoor light, even when it’s cloudy. When you’re outside, you typically move around more. And when you move more and get exposed to natural light, you sleep better. Light exposure, movement, and sleep are all closely connected with mood and wellbeing.
 
Dad and boy with kite
 
Merry Christmas and HAPPY Holidays!
 

 
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. 
 
Nine for November: Try Something New

Nine New Foods and Drinks to Try this Month

What better way to celebrate the changing leaves than by eating something different?  Whether it’s a totally new-to-you food or an old favorite done a new way, challenge yourself to taste nine new things this month to add real fresh, real delicious variety to your life.  Here are nine ideas you can use to get started, but don’t let me limit you – just head to your local Brookshire Brothers grocery store for inspiration.
 

Nine New Foods and Drinks to Try in November 2017

 

KOMBUCHA

This probiotic fermented tea is a totally fresh way to get your daily dose of healthy bacterial goodness. This probiotic bacteria can do beneficial wonders for your gut and immune system. Better yet, kombucha is a perfect alternative to soda because it is bubbly, tangy, low in carbohydrate, and comes in a variety of flavors.

SPROUTED FOODS

These grains and seeds have recently become trendy, but, ironically, their consumption was common before the advent of modern food production.  Because grains are actually just seeds, they can be soaked and sprouted prior to consumption.  Sprouting unleashes a seed’s potential because they keep their nutrition stores locked up until germination—a process that sends a signal to the seed to release the nutrients needed to grow a plant.  Sprouting thus increases digestibility and the availability of nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C, and even protein. Most of these nutrients are hard to get enough of—especially for those with limited meat intake—which makes sprouts extra beneficial.  These foods—rice, wheat, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and a variety of others—are “sprouting” up regularly now, so give them a try!

Not seeing some of these items in your local store? Make a product request today!
 

RADISHES

So maybe you tried radishes once or even twice, and you subsequently wrote them off as something on the “don’t like” list.  Please, TRY THEM AGAIN.  You see, radishes are not the kind of thing you should just bite into and decide whether you like them.  Instead, they belong as a beautiful complement to other foods.  Slice radishes thinly and add them to salads for a beautiful pop of color and a zesty crunch with a faintly peppery bite.  Better yet, toss them in with a batch of roasted veggies.  When roasted they lose their peppery bite and become sweet little veggie orbs. Here’s the deal: Olive oil, salt, and pepper + any other roasting veggie of your choice + 425F degrees for about 20 minutes = RADISH MAGIC. You can even throw in the radish leaves with your roasted veggie mashup and they’ll crisp up in the oven to make nicely toasted chips.

TURNIPS

Turnips are cooked like potatoes and have a similar flavor, except they’re very low calorie and extremely nutritious.  Consider shaking your next soup up with turnips in place of potatoes—and don’t toss the turnip greens!  With a little butter, salt, and pepper, sautéed turnip greens make for a delicious side dish. Or, try tossing the greens in your vegetable soup similar to the way you would use spinach.  Delicious, nutritious, and thrifty—turnips have it all.

Read more: Turnip the volume with this real fresh, real delicious Vegetable Beef Soup recipe!
 

FENNEL

Fennel has a surprisingly diverse flavor reminiscent of licorice or anise.  The flavor may sound strange for a vegetable, but it is very complimentary to many foods.  Sliced, raw fennel bulbs make a wonderful addition to salads and even coleslaw.  Fennel also makes for a great soup, sautéed side dish, or roasted accompaniment to chicken or pork.  Moreover, the fronds look similar to dill, making for a lovely garnish.
 

KEFIR

Kefir is a probiotic fermented milk product that is similar in flavor to yogurt, but typically has many more strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast. AKA, it’s great for gut health.  You can find it in a variety of flavors similar to smoothie drinks.  However, be aware that—like yogurt—it often has added sugars, so keep an eye on portion size or choose plain products.  A fun twist on kefir is to make it savory rather than sweet by choosing plain kefir and adding salt to taste.

 
Lentils: Nine New Foods and Drinks to Try in November 2017
 

LENTILS

Lentils are nutrition powerhouses.  They are an excellent source of protein and rich in a variety of nutrients, including folate, vitamin C, iron, zinc, vitamin K, choline, and the other B vitamins. Lentils are most frequently found in soup recipes, but they can also be used in salads, rice dishes, or standalone side dishes.

 

FERMENTED SAUERKRAUT

Sauerkraut may have a funny name, but it’s definitely a star when it comes to adding a salty crunch to sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, or even as a snack.  Fermentation is the simple process of adding salt to the cabbage to create brine; thus, sauerkraut is traditionally made without heat canning.  If the right amount of salt is added, the conditions are perfect for the beneficial bacteria naturally present on the vegetable’s surface to multiply and “cure” the cabbage, creating flavorful compounds. The bacteria even improve the nutritional qualities of the cabbage because it can produce nutrients as the cabbage cures.  Fermented sauerkraut that has never been heated retains its wonderful probiotic qualities, plus it’s crispier than canned or cooked varieties. Better yet, you can even find different flavors, such as my favorite— Farmhouse Cultures Smoked Jalapeno Sauerkraut.

Read more: Don’t forget to see what our Pharmacy recommends for heart healthy nutrition.
 

KERRYGOLD BUTTER

Okay, so most people like butter, so it shouldn’t be a big ask to get you to try a new brand.  Kerrygold butter is worth a try because the flavor is rich and the beautiful golden hue is due to the high beta-carotene content of the premium quality milk. Once you taste it, you’ll never look back.

 
 

 
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.
 
 
 
6 Nutrition Tips for Surviving Midterms

Healthy suggestions for making the most of your brain when it's needed most

 
It’s that time of the year again. Fall is full-on pumpkin, Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and—dun dun DUN—college midterms are here! For those of you who know a student—or you yourself!—that could use a little extra brainpower during the long study sessions and test taking, I’m here to save the day with my favorite brain-boosting study foods, plus some tips and tricks for acing those exams.
 
(P.S. – While these tips are particularly important during times when the brain is working extra hard—like midterms—they’re also great to keep in mind for your everyday habits!)
 
 
Read more: Brighten a college student’s spirits with a care package during midterms—order one online today!
 

Fatty Fish

You may have heard it before, but I’m telling you again omega-3 fats really are good for the brain. Keep your noggin filled with good vibes by eating at least 3-4 oz each week of fatty fish like salmon or sardines.  Your dorm mates or coworkers don’t appreciate you microwaving a filet of salmon? No problem. Try ready-to-eat foods like canned sardines instead, or—my favorite—packages of wild caught Alaskan salmon. Slap it on some bread with mayo and a little relish, and you’ve got a full-fledged feast that’s on-the-go convenient.  Thank you… your brain says.

Read more: How to grocery shop on a college student budget—the ultimate guide
 

Dark Chocolate

Do I really need to give you an excuse to eat chocolate?  Chocolate is rich in antioxidants and brain-boosting minerals like iron and magnesium.  Best of all, it has a little bit of caffeine to get you through a slow slump, and I would wager that snacking on such a treat would help ease some anxiety (exam-related or otherwise).

 

Nuts and Seeds

Take your snack a step further by pairing the dark chocolate with some nuts and seeds. When you eat a variety of nuts and seeds, you also get a variety of brain boosting benefits.  Case in point: brazil nuts are loaded with the antioxidant selenium; walnuts are rich in omega-3;  almonds are full of vitamin E; and pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc and magnesium.  Mix up some trail mix and munch away.

Read more: Try this Cocoa Almond Trail Mix recipe from our catering coordinator Kate Rudasill! 
 

Mozart

Okay, so not exactly a nutrient, but listening to some calming yet stimulating music can help maintain focus—a particularly useful perk during long study sessions.  Besides, Mozart was pretty smart, so maybe listening to his music will make you smarter by osmosis.

Read more: Music is one way to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Here are six other healthy habits  
 

Coffee or Green Tea

A little caffeine has been shown to improve alertness and mental acuity, so an hour or so before heading into an exam (or, say, a major meeting) have a small cup of coffee or green tea.  Be cautious, however, about using caffeine to stay up late to study or work. It may interfere with your much-needed sleep.

Read more: Don’t forget about breakfast! Check out this recipe for Avocado Toast with Poached or Shirred Eggs.
 

Peppermint

One last trick to use is to pop a peppermint into your mouth before the big event (test, meeting, interview, etc). Studies have show that eating a mint is stimulating and can help improve blood flow to the brain.

 
While these tips will help sharpen your memory and ace that test, they’re also just great way to keep eating real fresh, real delicious. Don’t forget to visit a local Brookshire Brothers to pick up what you need—and good luck!!
 
 

 
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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