Real Fresh, Real Delicious: Crawfish Boil

17 Pro Tips, Creative Fixins, Nutritional Fun Facts & More

 
Crawfish season is here! I love that a crawfish boil brings people together in an old-fashioned "food ritual” where everyone participates in the cooking before joining together to eat. The community part of it is almost as much fun as the eating!
 
My husband is from south Louisiana, and he can work through a pile of crawfish in short order. PRO TIP: For veteran crawfish eaters, plan for 4-5 pounds of live crawfish per person. For crawfish-eating amateurs, estimated 2-3 pounds and have plenty of fixins for filling tummies. 
 
A graphic feature with a blue-brick background as well as crawfish and fixins pictured in the corners. The text reads "Live Louisiana Crawfish. Bring on the boil!"
See your local Brookshire Brothers about ordering live Louisiana crawfish!
 
While eating crawfish is mostly about having fun, they're pretty nutritious too! DID YOU KNOW these little critters are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals? Specifically, mudbugs provide B vitamins, folate, vitamin E, and other minerals such as selenium (an antioxidant mineral).
 
Getting creative with the “fixins” can be a wonderful way to make the meal more filling, delicious, colorful, and nutritious. The boiling liquid makes a tasty “stock” that can be used to flavorfully cook a variety of sides. Mesh bags are available for keeping veggies and other sides separated from the crawfish in the boil. Some pros use frozen corn to help cool the water down and allow the crawfish to cook gently.
 
Need some inspiration for the fixins? Try some of these options for a fun and festive crawfish feast. Just remember to add sturdier sides with potatoes at the beginning of the boil and add more delicate veggies later in the cooking process.
 A southern crawfish boil with potatoes, sausage, corn, and other fixins in a large pot.
    • Sausage, especially smoked or andouille varieties
    • Potatoes
    • Garlic bulbs, cut in half
    • Corn on the cob
    • Onions, sliced in half
    • Celery
    • Lemons, cut in half
    • Asparagus
    • Mushrooms
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli
    • Fresh green beans
    • Carrots
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on ingredients & more!
 
Let the good times roll! Or, as the Louisiana French migh say "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"
 

First crawfish boil? Here is everything you need to know!

 
Cooking crawfish is an art with many questions: How long do you boil crawfish? How much water do you need? How many pounds of crawfish do you need per person? We're here to help with this guide featuring the Nothing to Mix – Just Pour and Boil recipe from our vendor partner Louisiana Fish FryWith just the right amount of the finest garlic, onion, paprika, and lemon, this powdered boil guarantees a perfect result every time.
 
Before you begin, keep your crawfish fresh in a cooler full of ice. When you're ready to start cooking, rinse them with fresh water.
 
A 16oz packet of Louisiana Fish Fry Crawfish, Shrimp, & Crab Boil SeasoningDIRECTIONS
  • 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

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. 

 
Make Your Own Beautiful Bouquet

• Step-By-Step Guide to DIY Flower Arrangements • 

 
 
Classic Mixed Flower ArrangementWhen people walk by my design area, they will often say, You make that look so easy, or, I wish I could do that. You should teach a class. I always tell them that there are simple designs you can do at home or in the office. It’s easy, plus you can start with any of the great selections in the floral department at your local Brookshire Brothers. We carry a variety of assorted blooms and premade seasonal bouquets, whether you’re looking for the latest general trend or something more particular. 
 
Additionally, we receive flowers on a weekly basis. Feel free to talk to someone in the floral department about which day they arrive so you can pick up the freshest blooms. In my 45+ years in the floral industry, the quality of our mixed bouquets, roses, blooming plants, and seasonal outdoor plants are a great value for the price.
 
Trim stems and add foliage
Once you’ve pick out your favorite flowers, you are DIY ready! First, open up your package and see how many stems in the bouquet that you can use. Usually, there is not much foliage so you might want to purchase a few extra stems of Leather Leaf, a fern-like foliage that will help hold the flowers in place. If you’re unsure what Leather Leaf is, your Brookshire Brothers florist will be happy to help.
 
Learn more: We have the perfect petals for you, no matter the occasion—Weddings/Special EventsSympathy, Prom/HomecomingBabyand more 
 
Add the packet of floral preservative to a vase with fresh tap water and mix well. Slide your vase to the edge of the counter, and begin taking one stem at a time to measure how tall the tips of greenery should be from the rim of the vase. Start cutting your stems accordingly and add them to the vase in a circular pattern around the rim. When all the foliage is in, begin the same process with your flower stems. Make sure to leave some space between each flower head. The foliage helps support the flowers, which means the stems do not all need to touch the bottom, so long as all of them are under the water level. 
 
Choose Your Vase CarefullyWhen choosing your vase, focus on picking one with an opening that fits the size of your arrangement. In other words, avoid using vase with a mouth that’s too wide for a small amount of flowers. I actually find that an under-sized vase opening is somewhat better than an overly large vase where the flowers can get lost in the overall look.
 
Don't forget: Make Mother's Day extra special with flowers and this Puffed-Pancake Brunch Casserole recipe.
 
Remember, cutting stems is like cutting hair. If it’s too long, you can always take it out and trim it again. However, you can’t add stems back to the flowers when they’ve been cut too short. If you want the head of the flower to be at more of an angle, then you might need to cut it shorter so that it lays more closely to the edge of the vase. Once you’ve added all your stems, tweak it to your liking and then you’re done! Sit back and enjoy the view.
 
 

 
G. Dean Mooney is the Floral Manager at the Brookshire Brothers in Salado, TX

G. Dean Mooney is the Floral Manager at the Brookshire Brothers in Salado, TX—one of the largest floral departments in the company. With 45 years of experience, he is widely respected and his floral designs are immensely popular. 

 
 
 
 
Have a Ball with March Madness
You know that huge party you’re planning to throw for March Madness? With the really, really good snacks? We’ve got some ideas (like Moroccan Madness Pizza) and reminders that’ll guarantee a slam-dunk time:
 
Moroccan Madness Pizza
DON’T FORGET to check out our original list of suggestions for a game changing get together — “A Madness Inspired March: Basketball-Themed Watch Party Ideas
 

SET THE MOOD

The most memorable shindigs usually come down to the details, and that’s where setting comes in. Of course, you can’t forget putting out the décor—we recommend classic basketball colors (orange, black, and white)—but you really can’t forget the music. Spend some time creating a fun playlist with sports-friendly tunes (for when the game isn’t on).
 

BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE

We respect the sofa’s traditional role of Keeper of Chip Crumbs, Pennies, and All Lost Toys, but today it has a new job: comfortable, clean seating. Clear up the clutter and throw in some extra pillows/blankets if necessary. Consider adding some extra seating around the room as well, and don’t forget to keep the bathroom routes very, very obstacle-free.
 
P.S. - The crowd will go wild for this week's Member Monday offer: Get a FREE bag of Santitas or Calidad tortilla chips when you buy Velveeta (2lb)!  Not a member? SIGN UP TODAY!
 

NEVER MISS A PLAY

Record, record, record. Technology is a thing we should use, and use often (especially if it means replaying that LAST. SECOND. 3 POINTER)
 
ON SALE: Keystone Light 30 pk
 Pick out a new wine or beer to try from our featured What’s Hot picks for this week!
 

DRINK UP

Score big with your beverages. Invest in a variety you think your guests will enjoy, and place them in one spot (away from the television) to keep things simple and easy to clean up. Don’t forget to chill ahead of time.
 

CHOW DOWN

Cowboy Nachos, Cheddar Bacon Ranch dip, Wings and more. . . yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. You need it all (and you can get it all at your local Brookshire Brothers—on sale too!)
 
THIS WEEKEND ONLY: Join our text promotions and get $5 OFF on custom deli trays—perfect your party snacks! 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
 

NOTHING BUT NET

Literally, no trash/nothing/nada will be left behind if you look into putting a little hoop over your wastebasket. It may be cliché but—trust us—everyone secretly loves this particular cliché.
 
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to pick up all your party prep TODAY!
 
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. 
Cooking with Kate: 6 Easy Steps for Organizing Your Freezer
I love the start of a new year. It’s a great opportunity to organize and start fresh after the busy holidays, especially when it comes to the kitchen. In particular, cleaning out your freezer and/or deep freeze gives you a chance to free up a too-full freezer and make plans to re-stock for the busy months ahead. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping your freezers organized, plus a recipe for a yummy freezer-ready meal:
 
Opening the Freezer
 

How to Keep Your Freezer Organized in 6 Easy Steps

Label EVERYTHING
Always include what the food is, the date it was prepared, and recommended cooking instructions.
 
Freeze individual servings
No more thawing an entire bag or container of something you just need a little of. Portion out your meals or ingredients ahead of time, freeze them individually, and then just use what you need.
 
Freeze things flat
Using gallon or quart sized freezer storage bags is a GREAT way to store a lot of things. Fill the bag, remove the air, and lay it flat to freeze. Once frozen, you can stand it up on its side where it’s only an inch or two wide—a great space saving technique!
 
Inventory (right on your freezer!)
Keep a regular inventory of what you have in your freezer by keeping a list on the door of your pantry or where you write out your grocery list. BONUS: dry erase markers work on most freezer doors so you can write your inventory right where you need it! If you don’t want to write directly on the surface in your kitchen, purchase a small magnetic dry erase board and attach it to the side. Review and revise your list each time you use up or add something.
 
Keep a list of how long food lasts in the freezer
With a full freezer, it may be hard to decide what you need to eat your way through first. Find a good printable, like the FDA's guide or this easy to read sheet, to keep on hand so you always know which foods should be at the top of your list.
 
Remove or rearrange freezer shelves
Freezer shelves can sometimes get in the way instead of helping to keep things organized. Most shelves and drawers are adjustable and can be rearranged (or removed) to make the most of available space.
 
Keepin it fresh: How to store groceries: Tackle your fridge next with these tips and tricks for organization.
 

Tomato Basil Chicken

Ingredients
8 chicken breasts, boneless with skin
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup dry white wine
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons (heaping) tomato paste
1 package fresh basil, torn into small pieces
8 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
 
DON'T FORGET: Check your weekly ad for special prices on these ingredients!
 
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper chicken breasts.
  • Heat ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter. When oil/butter is hot, add chicken to the pan. Using tongs, brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.
  • Pour in wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes with their juice and add tomato paste. Add salt and pepper to taste, stirring to combine. Bring sauce to a boil, then turn off heat. Add fresh basil, 8 cloves of peeled (but whole) garlic, and the chicken. Toss to coat the chicken in the sauce. Place the lid on the pot or skillet and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
  • Remove lid and check sauce. If it's overly thin, remove the chicken from the pot and boil the sauce on the stovetop for 5 to 10 minutes. Check seasonings and add salt and pepper, as needed.
  • Serve with buttered noodles, steamed rice or roasted potatoes, fresh grated mozzarella and parmesan, a green salad, and crusty garlic bread.
  • To freeze: Let chicken cool and place in foil pan, baking dish, or gallon freezer storage bag. Cover tightly, label and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge before re-heating in the oven or on the stove for 30-45 minutes or until warm.

Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers to get started today!

 


View other recipes from Brookshire Brothers Catering Coordinator, Kate Rudasill.
Kate Rudasill, Catering Coordinator for Brookshire Brothers, has been in the food-service industry for the past 14 years. As a graduate of Texas A&M University, a student of The Texas Culinary Academy, and a Nacogdoches, Texas native, Kate grew up with Southern tradition in her blood which caused her to have a deep love for bringing people together with food.

 

 
Dorm Room Delicious

A Grocery Guide for College Students

While college has long been associated with fun and glory, it’s also been proven time and time again as a critical development stage in young adults. The patterns that college students establish in terms of love, work, and play largely become the patterns they keep for the majority of their lives, as established by psychologists such as Dr. Meg Jay (author of the bestselling “The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—And How to Make the Most of Them”). This idea fits with why students not only learn about their career fields in college, but also skills of professionalism, whether that means showing up to classes on time to composing mature emails.  Essentially, pathways in the brain become much more solidified after 30, which is why college is the ideal time to groom pathways of professionalism (rather than partying).
 
Groceries play a small but significant role in this stage. Many new college students have enjoyed their parents cooking for the majority of their lives, which can leave them slightly unprepared doing their own grocery shopping and cooking. Universities have largely addressed this issue by offering wonderful meal plans and dining halls, but this option can still leave students dependent outside of college. Meal plans and dining halls might be replaced with fast food and credit cards once a student graduates.
 
The point is, it’s good to practice habits of independence, especially when living in a dorm. Start now, and these skills can potentially carry a student through the years from campus and beyond. In regards to groceries, here’s what we suggest:
 
 

Make a list and plan ahead 

Planning is the master key to independence. There are different types of planning a student can do, but no matter what, she should always have a list when she goes to the store. Usually grocery lists are based on meal plans for the week, which helps prevent the daily stress of wondering what to do for lunch/dinner that day. A list can also keep students from spending money on random items they don’t need, plus it’s less likely they’ll have to make more than one trip out for food. Lastly, a list can help a student distinguish the necessities from the luxuries. Put the most-needed things at the top of the list (fruits, veggies, grains, etc), and save the luxuries for the bottom if there’s money leftover (snacks, desserts, sodas, etc). P.S. – Parents, send your student off with a gift card for groceries and gas!
 
 

Plan according to sales

This strategy is particularly ideal for a college student budget. Find a weekly ad and/or sign up for weekly coupons, and then plan your shopping around the offers. A Stouffer’s Lasagna is $2 off this week? That can be dinner for Tuesday night. Some people might even find this kind of planning helpful in making decisions. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the meal planning (do I want ______ or ______ or ______ or ______ or ______ or…?), so when you’re limited to choosing things on sale, it takes some of the pressure off.
 
 

Plan according to practicality

Typically, the only “kitchen” a dorm room includes is a microwave and mini fridge. While this means you won’t be fixing filet mignon any time soon, there are still plenty of ways to be creative:
 
    • Some in-room breakfast options can include instant oatmeal, cereal, or a mix of granola and yogurt—all of which can be loaded with things like fresh fruit, honey, or cinnamon.
    • For lunch, you can keep it classic with sandwiches or make a microwavable quesadilla (with a side of chips and salsa!)
    • While Ramen noodles, Easy Mac, and Bagel Bites are traditional favorites, another convenient (and healthy!) dinner option is to pair a pre-cooked chicken with some frozen vegetables and instant brown rice. And when the weather is colder, there are many different great soups to try. (Read more: Cooking with Kate: It’s Always Soup Weather)
    • Don’t forget about non-food needs such as utensils, plates, cups, napkins, Tupperware containers, and more. Disposable items are always an option, but if your dorm room has a sink, consider using dishes you can wash and reuse (plus it saves money). Just be careful to not clog your sink with food! 
 

Plan according to nutrition 

Patterns of health are established in college as well, which means it's important to consider the nutritional values of your food. This type of planning is perhaps most important when it comes to buying snacks because that’s when most of us want to over-indulge. If nutritional value isn’t enough motivation, consider that healthy snacks (namely produce) are also often cheaper per serving than most unhealthy snacks, plus they’re versatile. For example, bananas can be eaten with cereal, peanut butter, or even with ice cream as a banana split. Some other great nutritional snacks include:
 
 
Refrigerated items: 
-      Apples
-      Carrots
-      Cheese sticks
-      Cherry tomatoes
-      Grapes
-      Hummus
-      Oranges
-      Sugar Snap peas
-      Cottage cheese 
 
Non-refrigerated:
-      Crackers
-      Dried fruit
-      Gold Fish
-      Pretzels
-      Trail mix
-      Microwave popcorn 
 
Visit a local Brookshire Brothers to get started today!

 

Keepin' it fresh: How to store groceries
With longer days and no school, summer is often a great opportunity to get things done around the house (especially if you skipped spring cleaning). While it’s common for a To-Do list to include cleaning the fridge out, not many people realize that there is an optimal way to organize the food in their fridge. Below are some tips on how you can keep your groceries fresh with good storage.
 

THE DOOR

The warmest temperatures. Recommendation: Non-perishables
 
Lunch, dinner, breakfast, snack time, second breakfast—whatever the reason, most people are in and out of their fridge throughout the day. Consequently, the refrigerator door becomes a high traffic site for warm room temperatures. The USDA confirms these circumstances with their suggestion to store your least-perishable foods in the door, such as condiments. In fact, even though some refrigerators have door compartments for eggs, USDA claims it’s better practice to store a carton of eggs on a shelf.
 

UPPER SHELVES

Mild and cool temperatures. Recommendation: Ready to eat food
 
When it comes to organizing the refrigerator shelves, Science 101 reminds us that heat rises while cold air sinks. In other words, foods that do not depend on cold temperatures to remain fresh and safe should usually be stored on upper shelves in the milder temperatures. These foods might include leftovers, dairy products, cooked meats, and other packaged foods. Additionally, storing these foods at the top of the fridge keeps them separate from raw food that should be stored on the lower, colder shelves.
 

LOWER SHELVES

The coldest temperatures. Recommendation: Meats and poultry
 
Aside from the science of sinking air, the bottom of the fridge is also where the refrigerator coil is often located, rendering it the coldest place to store groceries. This is usually the best spot to keep highly perishable foods such as raw meat, poultry, and seafood. For best food safety practice, the USDA advises to keep these particular foods secure in the original packaging or a sealed container to prevent cross contamination.
 

CRISPER

Cold and moist temperatures. Recommendation: Fruits and vegetables
 
According to ReFED, fruits and vegetables account for approximately 40% of annual food waste in the U.S., which is more than almost all other types of food combined. Part of this waste could be resolved with better storage, which is where crisper drawers come in handy. These drawers are designed to retain moisture, making it the optimal place to store fresh produce (otherwise they dry out).
 
Most food guides further recommend separating fruits and vegetables if there are two drawers. A natural plant hormone called ethylene can cause sensitive types of produce to become overripe. In other words, storing an apple with cucumbers could cause the cucumbers to ripen too quickly. There are lists that specifically distinguish which produce types ethylene-generative and ethylene-sensitive, but an easy rule of thumb to remember is that most fruits are the former, while most vegetables are the latter.
 
Remember, the above guidelines are general. Some fridges have different designs so don’t ignore what you’ve noticed about your own fridge. Nevertheless, hopefully these tips will help you maximize the use of your fridge, as well as the life of your groceries!
 
 
On the summer road: Tips for the trip

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.

A man and woman take a lunch break with sandwiches outside their car on the side of the road

 

    • 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!

A man and woman consult a map outside their car as the sun sets

Popcorn + Movies = Summer Movie Nights

Need to unwind after a full day of summer fun? A movie night is a classic option that won’t break the bank and requires only a few crucial ingredients: the movie, the people, and—of course—the popcorn. We’ve pulled together a few ideas and recipes to make your evening really pop!

Nacho Popcorn

Some might say you can’t do better than regular popcorn, but have you considered what happens when you put TWO great things together? Case in point: Nacho Popcorn. It’s the best thing since the donut taco, and it only takes fifteen minutes to prepare. To go along with your salty and spicy popcorn, we recommend watching The LEGO Batman Movie or The Fate of the Furious.

Oven Caramel Corn

The pairing of caramel and popcorn is as time-honored as Belle and the Beast. Furthermore, this sweet and salty happily-ever-after only gets better when it’s prepared in the oven. Most people agree that oven cooking creates a better texture and taste, plus the clean up is easy if you line your pan in foil. Allow yourself to have a little fun with this recipe and enjoy our recommended tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast.

Cinnamon-Popcorn Snack

The wonderful thing about movies is that they can give you a glimpse of the world without ever leaving your couch potato position. Consider complementing your adventure with a spice that has its own exotic history—cinnamon. In other words, this snack bursts with flavor, and at only 150 calories per serving! Check out the recipe above while you’re movie surfing. We suggest Smurfs: The Lost Village and Kong: Skull Island.

Find a store near you to get started on creating your own popcorn recipes!

Fourth, Food, Fun, Fireworks

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!

 

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