17 Pro Tips, Creative Fixins, Nutritional Fun Facts & More
- Sausage, especially smoked or andouille varieties
- Garlic bulbs, cut in half
- Corn on the cob
- Onions, sliced in half
- Lemons, cut in half
- Brussels sprouts
- Fresh green beans
First crawfish boil? Here is everything you need to know!
- Fill a large pot with enough water to cover seafood. We recommend cooking (and eating) outside using a 19-quart stockpot with an interior basket; alternatively, you can cook smaller batches on the stovetop instead.
- Add LA Fish Fry Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil and any other fixins. Stir well and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add crawfish. Return to a rolling boil, and boil for 5 minutes.
- Turn fire or stove off and let the crawfish soak for 15-25 minutes. NOTE: The longer seafood soaks, the spicier it will be.
- Serve drained crawfish & fixins over a large table covered in newspapers. Keep paper towels handy and use an extra plate or bucket to dispose of the shells.
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to get cookin' today!
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.
SHARE A MEAL TOGETHER
MODIFY THE FOOD TALK
LET EVERYONE HELP
I am a seasoned road trip veteran. We’ve taken a road trip the last four years in a row, and on the last two, we had our young daughter with us. We are either brave or foolish—even so, it’s always an adventure. While my husband tunes up the car and packs his swimsuit, it’s my job to do the other 97% of the packing, including the obligatory road trip food. The first year I loaded the back seat down with enough food to last us a month—that was my first mistake. Even worse, I forgot to pack the mustard and Tabasco sauce, which are absolute necessities for every sandwich—according to my Cajun husband—outside of peanut butter and jelly. It was a tragedy (despite the fact that I remembered everything else). Knowing how much food to pack and what works best is different for each trip and family, but I have a few ideas that can help make the road to delicious eating a little smoother and tastier.
To save time and money, eat out only one or two meals a day while planning your other meals/snacks as picnics or road meals. You might enjoy spending a little more on fewer meals rather than stopping at every fast food joint you pass; plus, you’ll probably eat a little healthier too.
Become a sandwich connoisseur. For a quick and easy meal, I love to stuff some sandwich bread, tortilla, naan, or pita with a pre-drained package of wild Alaskan salmon (other deli meats are welcome as well). If you are feeling adventurous, add some diced apple or other dried fruit. For taste, I also keep a small bottle of mustard and a few individual packs of mayonnaise.
Try to space out your snack and meal times when you’re driving long stretches; it’ll give you something to look forward to and help break up the journey. More importantly though, be sure to avoid over-grazing. An endless snack of chips can ruin your appetite for anything higher quality and more nutritious.
If you have a cooler, pack foods that are portable, satisfying, and nutritious. Produce like apples and carrots almost always keep things wholesome and convenient. Other easy options include cheese sticks, sandwich meat slices, small packs of hummus dip, or PB&Js.
Make your own trail mix with nutrient rich goods like pecans, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, and a variety of dried fruits.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a few treats—it is a vacation after all—but focus onbalancing it out with some more nutritious snacks. Cheesy popcorn, dried pea snacks, beef jerky, parmesan crisps, nuts and seed—these are great savory snacks to complement that sweet tooth. You might also check out alternative chips like black bean or naan chips.
For breakfast or a sweet snack, try dried fruit or fruit based granola bars like Kind bars or Lara bars. Individually wrapped chocolates are also a sweet way to finish a meal.
For more perishable items, stop by a grocery store intermittently to re-stock rather than trying to pack everything you need for the whole trip. That’s a great time to fuel up with fresh fruit, protein-packed yogurt (go Greek!), and a bottle of probiotic-rich kombucha tea.
Keep things clean by packing paper towels, plastic cutlery, paper plates, wet wipes, and hand sanitizer. You never know if your picnic time will be right after stopping by a random roadside petting zoo. (Special note: When your husband “graciously” offers to hold your child and hands you a bag of petting zoo food while you’re inside the pen, do not accept—unless you enjoy being trampled by livestock.)
For the little ones, a squeeze pouch can be a lifesaver (or a nightmare if they use it as their own personal volcano pouch). Try different varieties of fruits, veggies, and higher protein style pouches to balance out the nutrition. Above all, always supervise. Otherwise, they might end up painting your vehicle’s interior with sweet potatoes.
No matter if your journey is to the local playground or across the country, it can always be a healthy and delicious adventure. As for me, I always remember to pack the Tabasco now, but I might forget to bring my toothbrush. Priorities. Bon voyage!
Independence Day is right around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited! The 4th of July is a time to gather your friends and family, spend time outdoors, and enjoy the sunshine. For a great way to celebrate America’s Independence, follow these fun steps –
1. Plan Ahead
The questions usually start arising about a week before... “What are your plans for July 4th?” Beat everyone to the question by inviting friends and family to a backyard barbecue! You may not have time for paper invitations, but send a group text, create a Facebook group or send e-vites so everyone can mark it on their calendar.
2. Create the Menu
Don’t stress about preparing each dish. Guests want to help out by bringing dishes. So, when you get RSVPs from friends and family, ask them if they could bring a side dish or dessert. We’ve got a great selection of recipes here. Once everyone contributes a dish or two, you’ll have a 4th of July spread that’s worthy of celebrating!
3. Take Grilling Tips
Our Market Experts are Expert Grillers! Ask them for their best grilling tips when you’re picking out your favorite cuts of meat. Search our wide variety of Market items in our Meat Department.
4. Think Outside the Box
Meat and veggies are NOT the only items that are grill-worthy. Try your hand at grilling some of your favorite fruits, too. Our Catering Coordinator, Kate Rudasill, suggests splurging for a grill basket or grill wok to place your favorite fruit and vegetable slices in. Find other tips from her on our Cooking with Kate blog!
5. Enjoy the Fireworks
Now that all the cooking, socializing, and eating has commenced, you can sit back and relax while watching the firework show!
Have a safe, fun, and tasty 4th of July!
As seen in Charm East Texas
Holiday baking brings so much joy. There is nothing quite like that first taste of cinnamon- and nutmeg-scented pumpkin pie each year. Every family seems to have a tradition that revolves around some sort of holiday baked good, even if it’s just “Mama bakes ’em and we eat ’em”.
Cookies, gingerbread houses and Christmas candy all have a common denominator — sugar. We all know we need to eat less sugar, but the holidays are the hardest time to achieve that goal. Even though it is important to eat less added sugar, there are some natural sweetener options available for baking that have what I like to call “intrinsic benefit.” If you’re going to eat sweets anyway, at least choose a sweetener that has some sort of benefit built in, like antioxidants, minerals or a lower glycemic index. Don’t get me wrong, these sweeteners are still sugar, so they will increase your blood sugar and have plenty of calories, but used judiciously, naturally sweetened baked goods can be a lovely addition to your holiday baking spread. Here’s some options to add to your pantry.
Most of the refined sugar sold at the grocery store is beet sugar. Sugar beets are a GMO crop, so people who would like to avoid eating GMOs should choose cane sugar, which is never GMO. Organic cane sugar will be free of pesticides and other contaminants. Cane sugar has a slight molasses flavor and smell but can be used one-for-one in recipes that call for regular sugar. Cane sugar is nutritionally almost exactly the same as regular refined sugar. Turbinado (also known as Sugar in the Raw) is similar to regular cane sugar, but it is more coarse in texture and has a little more molasses added back to it for flavor. Because it is coarse, it can’t be used as a direct substitute for sugar.
Sucanat is a special type of unrefined cane sugar made by beating cane juice with paddles to form gold-brown granules. It resembles brown sugar in appearance, but it is not the same thing since brown sugar is simply regular refined sugar with molasses added to it. Sucanat has a deep molasses flavor because it retains all of the molasses naturally found in cane juice, which enriches the sugar with vitamin B6 and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and selenium. It can be used one-for-one (preferably measured by weight instead of volume) in recipes that call for sugar, but it first needs to be ground in a spice grinder for about one minute until it is fine and powdery so as not to alter the texture of baked goods. Products baked with Sucanat will be a slightly darker color.
Coconut sugar is a flavorful sugar option that is available now at most grocery stores. It is made from the sap of coconut palm flowers, which is boiled down to make granules. It has a subtle nutty aroma which works well in most baked goods. Similar to Sucanat, it can be used one-for-one in place of regular sugar in recipes, but because it has irregularly sized granules, it should be ground in a spice grinder for about a minute prior to measuring. There isn’t a lot of information on the nutritional content of coconut sugar, but it likely retains some of the nutrients available in the coconut plant, like vitamin C and several minerals. It is believed to have a lower glycemic index than refined sugar, but it still has the same amount of carbohydrates and calories as refined sugar.
I’ve opined about the heavenly origins of honey and its many health benefits in a previous issue. Honey is rich with enzymes, vitamins, minerals and even live bacteria that are all beneficial. Honey can be used in baking if the recipe calls for it specifically, or it can be substituted for corn syrup. However, honey doesn’t work well for candy making because it is chemically different from corn syrup.
Maple syrup is the neatest thing ever. Tap a hole in a maple tree, let the sap drip out, boil it down, and you’ve got maple syrup. It takes around 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. Don’t confuse maple syrup with pancake syrup, which is just sugar syrup with artificial flavoring. Aunt Jemima ain’t got nothin’ on the real thing. Maple syrup is great in baked goods because of its distinctive flavor. Use maple syrup in place of corn syrup in your pecan pie this season. The pie will have a slightly looser texture, but the flavor will be off the charts. Look for recipes like maple cake and other delicious ideas for baking with maple syrup. Maple syrup is rich in riboflavin, minerals and antioxidants. Grade B syrup (which is not inferior quality, just stronger tasting) has even more healthy minerals than Grade A, so I prefer to use Grade B when I can find it.
Date sugar is an interesting product made by grinding dried dates into a powder. Its properties are completely different from regular sugar since it is actually dried fruit, not pure sugar, so it won’t work as a substitute in normal baking applications. It should be used in recipes specifically designed for date sugar like date-nut bread. Date sugar is rich in antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Another option often employed in holiday baking, especially for those dealing with diabetes, are artificial sweeteners and reduced-sugar products. Artificial sweeteners are a complicated topic, but my usual advice is that they are probably safe if eaten occasionally and in small amounts. That being said, I don’t recommend Splenda (sucralose) because there is some preliminary research indicating that it may have a harmful effect on gut bacteria and insulin response. Sugar alcohols and stevia are probably the safest low-calorie sweeteners available. (Sugar alcohols can cause gas and bloating if used in excess.) The myriad other options in colorful little packages on your restaurant table are probably safe, but I generally recommend practicing the precautionary principle when determining whether a relatively new and artificial substance in the food supply can cause harm. If in doubt, err on the safe side and stick with the most natural products available.
Get adventurous and try your hand at baking with some of the delicious and flavorful natural sweeteners available for some special holiday treats this year. And remember, enjoy the holidays and don’t feel obligated to undertake a major New Year’s resolution after it’s all over. Choose to eat mindfully throughout the holidays. Take the time to savor each bite slowly, listen to your hunger and satiety signals (no, really, the leftovers will be there later), and remember that the only reason the food is extra special is the people with whom you are sharing it. May you savor each bite and each moment this holiday season.
Try out some of these great products and brands at your local store. Speak to your Store Director and Shop Brookshire Brothers Brands here.
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious healthy foods and providing nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does community 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. Look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas.