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Super Summer Dinners with Full Circle Fish

Grilled Ahi Tuna with Avocado-Mango SalsaThe summer heat is here, and that calls for light meals that are easy to prepare. That’s why I keep Full Circle frozen fish in my freezer – easy to thaw, cook and eat at a moment’s notice.

The selection, which includes Sockeye Salmon, Keta Salmon, Mahi-Mahi and Ahi Tuna, is all-natural and wild-caught from fisheries that are Best Aquaculture Practice-Certified.

All of the choices are great for grilling, searing or baking in the oven. A few techniques that I enjoy are cooking salmon on cedar planks, wrapping Mahi-Mahi in a parchment packet with lemon and white wine, or grilling Ahi Tuna with a light citrus sauce.

The fillets are individually vacuum-packed and can be thawed within 30 minutes in room-temperature water. After thawing, simply add you seasoning and get ready to cook. It’s that easy, and the results are delicious!

Grilled Ahi Tuna with Avocado-Mango Salsa

1 avocado, diced
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 mango, diced
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 small jalapeño, seeds removed and minced
1 Tbs fresh cilantro, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2 Full Circle Frozen Ahi Tuna Fillets
coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper

Place all of the salsa ingredients in a bowl; stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Heat grill to high and clean grates very well with a wire brush. Lightly oil the grates with cooking spray, or dip a paper towel in vegetable oil and use tongs to rub the towel over the grates.

Lightly oil and season the steaks. When the grill is very hot, add the steaks. Reduce heat to medium. Let sear for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and sear for the same amount of time on the other side. If the fish is sticking, give it another 30 seconds before attempting to turn. It may not be ready to release. Grill to desired doneness. Tuna steaks have the best flavor when cooked to medium-rare.

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BREW CLUB: True Vine Brewing Company

True Vine Brewing CompanyFounded in Tyler in 2011 by Ryan Dixon, Stephan Lee and Dan Griffith, True Vine Brewing Co. is the culmination of hard work and big visions. It is the first microbrewery in the East Texas area, and each quality-crafted beer is a creative expression of its founders. With more than 12 years of combined brewing experience, the True Vine team has worked hard to build the craft beer scene in the East Texas community.

They began brewing 10-gallon batches in their garage and transitioned to a 1,400-square-foot space where they brew 50-gallon batches of beer. The first official True Vine kegs were sold in January 2014.

More than just an East Texas brewery, True Vine strives to create true, authentic community through integrity and love in all they do. From artistically driven beers to the OPEN TAPS events they hold monthly in their Brewery BackYard, every specialty, handcrafted beer represents depth of concept and flavor.

In 2015, they expanded their production, and they can now brew 1200% more handcrafted ales. They’ve added new brews to their beer list and now offer their Mermaids & Unicorns Blonde and Rose City Pale Ale in cans. Find both on the beer aisle at FRESH.

Featured Beer
Mermaids & Unicorns Mythical Blonde was inspired by all the fairytale worlds the founders of True Vine experience as dads of six girls in the True Vine Brewing family.

The aroma of Mermaids & Unicorns is malty, biscuity and bready, and it holds hints of peach, banana and vanilla aromas from the late addition of Cascade and Jarrylo hops. This smooth, clean-finishing, mythical blonde is perfect for the Texas heat and cuisine.

Beer and Brown Sugar Grilled Chicken

2 cups water
2 cups True Vine Mermaids & Unicorns Mythical Blonde
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
4 chicken breasts
1/4 cup beer
2 Tbs honey
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

In a saucepan, heat water, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved; remove from heat. Slowly stir in 1 1/2 cups of beer, keeping foam from developing. Place chicken in a baking dish, and pour the liquid over the chicken. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.

When ready to grill, place the honey in a measuring cup, and microwave for 20 seconds to soften. Stir in the mustard, pepper and the additional 1/2 cup of beer. Remove chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Heat grill to medium. Place chicken on the grill, and baste with the beer-honey mixture while grilling. Grill on both sides, basting often until chicken is cooked through.

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Posted in: Beer & Wine

Cool and Creamy Coconut-Milk Ice Cream

Cool and Creamy Coconut-Milk Ice CreamThere’s nothing better on a hot summer day than ice cream ­— cool, creamy, refreshing and delicious in any flavor you choose. However, there are those with dairy allergies who can’t enjoy this cold summer treat.

Twenty years ago when my nephew was born with milk allergies, there were no dairy alternatives. Now, there are so many dairy-free ice creams that everyone can enjoy. The flavor and texture are great, and there is little difference between traditional and dairy-free.

NadaMoo Coconut-Milk Ice Cream is one of our favorites. In 2004, the founders started making small batches of coconut-milk ice cream for their own dairy-free friends and family in Austin, Texas. It wasn’t long before other people found out how delicious it was, and strangers were calling them for pints of the ice cream. That’s how NadaMoo began.

For this company, including great, wholesome ingredients is just as important as the ice cream being dairy-free. Each batch is USDA-organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, kosher and fair-trade certified.

This multi-generational, family-owned business makes their products in the “heart of Texas.” Their family-oriented passion project has united dairy and dairy-free fans, joining a gap between non-dairy and delicious.

At FRESH, you can find four flavors: Lotta Mint Chip, Vanilla…Ahhh, Creamy Coconut and Gotta Do Chocolate. Give them a try! You won’t be able to taste the difference!

Full Circle Snacks Add to Vacation Fun

Full Circle Snacks Add to Vacation FunSummer is here, and you know what that means: time to plan the summer vacation! Of course, that usually means endless hours in the car anxiously waiting to get to your destination. Meanwhile, everyone is asking you, “Are we there yet?” or my other favorite, “How much longer?”

While you can’t make time pass any faster, you can make the car ride more fun. Packing a food bag filled with wholesome Full Circle snacks will certainly keep smiles on everyone’s faces. Since Full Circle products are filled with all-natural, organic, wholesome ingredients, it makes snacking a real pleasure instead of a guilty pleasure.

Full Circle is Brookshire’s wellness and USDA-certified organic brand that provides a healthy, environmentally-conscious eating and living experience for the entire family. At FRESH, you can find several great choices for summer snacks. Some of my favorites are the Full Circle Organic microwave popcorn, the graham crackers and the PB Blasts Organic cereal. Just fill up some snack-sized plastic bags with assorted treats and you’re ready to go. There’s also a great selection of juices for filling the cooler.

So, get the car packed, the food bag ready and the cooler iced down. Once you hit the road, your Full Circle snacks will make a long drive seem like no time at all!

Full Circle Favorites:
Fruit Juice
Cereal Bars
Dried Fruit
Fruit Snacks
Peanut Butter
Assorted Cereals
Graham Crackers
Cheese Crackers
Snack Crackers
Animal Cookies
Plus MORE!

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Posted in: Grocery, Kids, Organic

BREW CLUB Style of the Month: American Pale Wheat Ale

Lagunitas’ A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ AleA refreshing summer style, this Americanized version of a German Hefeweizen ranges within the pale to golden range in color. It has a long-lasting head with a light to medium body, and higher carbonation is proper. Traditionally more hoppy than a Hefeweizen, American wheat beer differs in that it should not offer flavors of banana or clove. Most use a substantial percentage of wheat malt. It can be made using either ale or lager yeast. Generally brewed with at least 30-percent malted wheat, these beers are typically served with the yeast in the bottle and pour cloudy. There may be some fruitiness from ale fermentation, though most examples use a fairly neutral ale yeast, resulting in a clean fermentation with little to no diacetyl.

Featured Beer:
Lagunitas’ A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale: Very smooth and silky. A truly unique style featuring a strong hop finish on a silky body. A hoppy pale wheat ale that is great for IPA fans but so smooth that the hefeweizen fans like it, too.

The ale smells of grapefruit and orange. When you take a sip, you get that splash of citrusy hops along with some earthy hops before it smooths out to some wheaty goodness, and finishes creamy and a little bitter. Lagunitas beers are known for their distinct flavors. Once the hops fade, the wheat character starts to emerge.

Lagunitas is a very hop-forward brewery, and there is no doubt about it with this beer. If you have friends that don’t like hoppy beers, have them try this. I bet they won’t be able to put it down. ABV: 7.5% IBU: 65

American Pale Wheat Ale Food Pairings
These beers pair well with any light flavors and creamy textures. Try them with grilled chicken or fish with lemon as the seasoning, Caesar salad, fettuccine Alfredo and soft cheeses like Camembert, mozzarella or goat cheese.

Grapefruit-Glazed Shrimp with Grapefruit Salsa

Grapefruit Salsa:
1 orange, peeled, sectioned and chopped
1 grapefruit, peeled, sectioned and chopped
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbs green onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbs cilantro, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 grapefruit, juiced (approximately 1/2 cup)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

Mix orange, grapefruit, pineapple, tomato, jalapeño, green onions, cilantro and a dash of salt in a bowl. Cover and chill about 4 hours.

Light the grill or heat a grill pan to medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, grapefruit juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Add shrimp to the marinade, stirring well to coat. Let marinate for 20 minutes. Thread shrimp onto wooden skewers. Cook the shrimp until just done, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Brush each side with glaze while grilling. In a small saucepan, bring the remaining glaze to a boil. Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat and pour over shrimp skewers.

Top with grapefruit salsa.

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Innovative Marinade with an Old-Fashioned Story

Daddy Hinkle's Instant Meat MarinadeDaddy Hinkle’s Instant Meat Marinade is dedicated to the story of J. Frank Hinkle. Created by his grandchildren, the product line features wet and dry marinades that bring award-winning-steakhouse flavor to your table.

Daddy Hinkle’s father was born in 1860 in Missouri at the beginning of the Civil War. By the time his son, J. Frank, was born in 1886, the family had moved to Arkansas. Later, they would travel through Paris, Texas, and finally reach the Oklahoma Territory around the turn of the century.

He received a spotty education at best after moving from town to town following his father’s water-well drilling wagon. The young man was very much on his own at the age of 14 when his life of work and adventure began.

In search of his destiny, he traveled all over and worked at any job he could find. He finally found his calling in Texas. Oil was the new gold at the turn of the century, and he began in the oil fields as a roughneck. He worked his way up to driller then tool pusher. With parts from junkyards and by using his own hands, he built his first steam-driven oil rig.

As an oilman, Daddy Hinkle entertained a lot of people in restaurants and at home. He loved a good T-bone steak. His wife “doctored up” the steaks with a combination of garlic salt, tenderizer, celery salt, paprika, seasoned salt, pepper and everything else she could find in the kitchen cabinet.

Whatever the combination of seasonings, the steaks proved to be irresistible to everyone who dined with Daddy Hinkle. Since 1994, the marinades, seasonings and rubs have carried on the legacy of Daddy Hinkle.

The marinades and seasonings are sold at FRESH in a combination pack, dry seasoning on one side and wet seasoning on another. Daddy Hinkle’s is a two-part marinade that is easy to use and delivers superb flavor to all your favorite meats: steak, chops, grilled chicken, wild game, ribs, roast, brisket and more. Simply wet the meat with the liquid seasoning, and then sprinkle the dry seasoning on all sides. Puncture the meat with a fork in several places, and let stand for a few minutes at room temperature. Cook as desired and enjoy.

In addition to the original flavor, the dry seasoning also comes in a Southwest flavor that adds cumin and oregano to the mix. The dry seasoning is also great to sprinkle on grilled veggies or toss with roasted potatoes. It’s also delicious mixed into fry batters and anywhere you need a boost of flavor.

Asian Dipping Sauces for Any Occasion

Full Circle Asian Dipping SaucesSummer entertaining means outdoor cooking and long afternoons enjoying the sun and fun with family and friends. Of course burgers and hot dogs are a great choice, but chicken satay is a fun and versatile way to change up your grilling menu.

Satay is simply marinated and grilled chicken skewers. They are traditionally part of Thai cuisine, but I love serving them with a variety of Full Circle Asian Sauces. My favorite is the Peanut Satay, but I am also torn between Hoisin and Sweet Thai Chili.

Each of the Full Circle Asian Sauces are USDA organic with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. Sweet Thai Chili is exactly that – sweet and spicy with ginger, garlic, lemongrass, red jalapeños, and a touch of pineapple and orange juice.

Hoisin is a sweet and sour soy-based sauce flavored with molasses, miso paste, complex spices with a hint of vinegar, and finished with orange and toasted sesame.

Peanut Satay is rich with creamy peanut butter, coconut crème and red curry sauce.

This meal couldn’t be any easier. Simply marinate your chicken, grill it and serve with a variety of the sauces. Quick, simple and a great way to enjoy more sun and fun outside the kitchen.

Chicken Satay with Assorted Dipping Sauces

1 lb chicken tenders, trimmed
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbs Sriracha sauce, to taste
3 Tbs soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbs vegetable oil
Full Circle Organic Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, Hoisin Sauce and Peanut Satay

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes. Place shallots, garlic, Sriracha sauce, soy sauce, orange juice and vegetable oil in a blender. Blend well. Taste the marinade to see if you like the balance between salty, sweet and spicy.

Pour marinade over the meat; stir well to combine. Marinate for 30 minutes to 3 hours. Thread the chicken onto the skewers and discard the marinade.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Be sure the grates are clean and well-oiled. Place the skewers on the grill. Depending on thickness, grill about 5 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked through. Serve with dipping bowls filled with each of the Full Circle Asian Sauces.

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BREW CLUB Style of the Month: Hefeweizen

Franconia WheatDescription:
Another name for Weissbier, “hefe” means yeast and “weizen” means wheat, so Hefeweizen is “yeast wheat.” Germans prefer to call the brew Weissbier, while here in the U.S. it is generally referred to as Hefeweizen. The beer is yeast turbid because it is unfiltered.

A typical Hefeweizen has a very characteristic flavor that is produced by the interplay between the Hefeweizen ale yeasts and the trace elements from the large portion of wheat in the brew’s grain bill. This flavor is variably described as clove-like, banana-like, phenolic, sour, spicy or even bubblegum-like. Because of the complexity of the Hefeweizen flavor, these beers are only mildly hopped. This puts them in contrast to many blond lagers, such as the Pils/Pilsner, which are fairly strongly hopped for an assertive up-front bitterness.

For extra “spritziness,” most Hefeweizens are also, what is called, bottle-conditioned or tank-conditioned. This technique involves adding fresh, unfermented beer to the finished and fully fermented beer right before packaging the brew into kegs or bottles. At this stage, the finished beer still has plenty of live yeast cells in suspension that start a new fermentation with the added unfermented beer. In this process, the yeast converts the small amount of new sugar into additional alcohol and carbon dioxide. Because this final fermentation occurs in a hermetically-sealed environment (the bottle or the keg), the new carbon dioxide cannot escape. Instead, it is trapped in solution in the brew. This conditioning creates the Hefeweizen’s enormous effervescence.

Featured Beer:
Franconia Wheat: A Bavarian-Style Wheat Beer. Using an original German yeast strain in the brewing process contributes to the natural fruity flavor of banana, orange and cloves, giving it an outstanding and refreshing taste. It comes unfiltered, leaving all the natural goodness in it.

Franconia is located in McKinney, Texas, and was founded by Dennis Wehrmann. Born in Nurnberg, Germany, in the midst of Bavaria, he grew up in an area surrounded by several historic breweries. However, not just the area influenced his decision to become a brew master. You can tell the love for brewing beer must be inherited.

Beginning with his grandfather who owned the brewery Franken Braeu in Tanna, Germany, his mom has a degree as a brewery lab technician. The majority of his uncles were either brew masters or in some form involved in the brewing business.

The name Franconia means Franken in German, a small region within Germany having the largest number of breweries per population ratio in the world. Franken was also the birthplace of Wehrmann. It was also chosen to carry on the family brewery name of Franken Braeu.

Hefeweizen Food Pairings:
These beers pair well with any kind of cured pork, sausage or smoked ham. Roast or fried chicken, chicken Caesar salad, seafood (such as scallops, lobster and salmon), apple tarts and turnovers also pair well.

Avocado-Apple Salad with Balsamic Glaze

1 medium apple (Granny Smith or Pink Lady, preferred)
1 large avocado, firm but ripe
1 large tomato
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
4 romaine spears
2 Tbs mint, sliced into thin ribbons
vinaigrette dressing
balsamic glaze (located near the balsamic vinegar)

Cut and core the apple into 1-inch chunks. Add to a mixing bowl. Cut the avocado into 1-inch chunks. Core and cut the tomato to a similar size. Add to the mixing bowl. Stir gently to combine. Add the salt, mint and 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette.

Lay the romaine spears on salad plates. Fill the spears with the apple mixture. Drizzle a small amount of balsamic glaze and add extra vinaigrette, if desired. Garnish with additional mint leaves.

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Posted in: Beer & Wine, Recipes

Full Circle Agave Nectar: A Naturally, Sweet Choice

Full Circle Agave NectarA walk down the baking aisle brings many options for sweeteners. There are so many choices, and navigating all of the offerings can be confusing.

Full Circle Agave Nectar is a USDA Organic natural sweetener with 60 calories per tablespoon, zero fat, zero sodium and 16 grams of sugar. It comes in light and amber, and looks similar to honey or maple syrup. However, the flavor is sweeter, clean and more like sugar.

What is agave nectar? How does it compare to other sweeteners? How do you use it in recipes that call for sugar?

While agave is best-recognized as the plant from which tequila is made, it has also been used for thousands of years as an ingredient in food. The nectar made from the plant is known in Mexico as aguamiel, or “honey water.”

It is most often produced from the Blue Agaves that thrive in the volcanic soils of Southern Mexico. The plant comes in many sizes and colors — well over 100 species. Blue Agave is preferred because of its high carbohydrate content, which results in a high percentage of fructose in the final nectar.

When the agave has grown to 7 to 10 years old, the leaves of the plant are cut off, revealing the core. When harvested, the core resembles a giant pineapple, and can weigh in at 50 to 150 pounds.

To make the agave nectar, sap is extracted from the core, filtered and heated at a low temperature, which breaks down the carbohydrates into sugars. Lighter and darker varieties of agave nectar are made from the same plants.

Health Benefits of Agave Nectar
Agave Nectar has been used for centuries as a flavoring, though native populations also used it medicinally. The Aztecs used a mixture of agave nectar and salt as a dressing for wounds and a balm for skin infections. Agave’s use as a folk remedy persists today.

In recent years, refined sweeteners, such as granulated sugar and corn syrup, have dominated the modern diet. The problem with these substances is their high glycemic index – a measure of the impact foods have on our blood sugar. Foods that raise blood sugar quickly trigger the release of insulin. Excessive releases of insulin can lead to Type 2 diabetes, weight gain and obesity.

One of the most health-promoting properties of agave nectar is its favorable glycemic profile. Its sweetness comes primarily from a complex form of fructose called inulin. Fructose is the sugar that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. The carbohydrate in agave nectar has a low glycemic index, which provides sweetness without the unpleasant “sugar rush” and unhealthful blood sugar spike caused by many other sugars.

Though agave nectar is more calorie-dense than brown or white sugar, it is about 40% sweeter, so the amount of agave can be reduced. It may take some recipe adjustments recipes to substitute agave for other sugars. It also provides the same variety of functions in cooking, including browning, moisture retention, softening and food preservation.

Using Agave Nectar in Recipes
It is most easily substituted for liquid sugars like honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup and corn syrup. Using it in drinks, salad dressings, sauces and many desserts are among the easiest substitutions. More experimentation may be necessary when substituting for sugars in recipes containing precise chemistry. (For example, cooked candies and some baked goods.) If replacing all the sugar in a recipe with agave nectar does not produce good results, try replacing only half.

Here are some general guidelines from manufacturers:

Honey: Replace each cup of honey with one cup of agave nectar.

Maple Syrup: Replace each cup of maple syrup with one cup of agave nectar.

Brown Rice Syrup: When replacing a cup of brown rice syrup, use 1/2 to 1/3 as much agave, and increase other liquids in the recipe by up to 1/2 cup.

Corn Syrup: When replacing a cup of light corn syrup, use 1/2 as much agave, and increase other liquids in the recipe by up to 1/3 cup. Like corn syrup, agave nectar will not crystallize.

White Sugar: For each cup of white sugar replaced, use 2/3 of a cup of agave, and reduce other liquids by 1/4 to 1/3 cup. This substitution will also work for Demerara Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, Evaporated Cane Juice or Sucanat.

Brown Sugar: For each cup of brown sugar replaced, use 2/3 cup of agave, and reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup. Because the moisture content of brown sugar is higher than that of white sugar, liquids may not have to be reduced as much when substituting agave nectar.

Other Considerations: agave nectar may cause baked items to brown more quickly, so reduce oven temperature by 25° F and increase baking time slightly.

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Posted in: Grocery, Organic

Shop FRESH for Stanley’s Seasoning

Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q SeasoningsTyler’s own Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q is known throughout the state and frequently garners national attention. Hailing from our own backyard, we are lucky to have the smokin’ and stylin’ talents of owners Nick and Jennifer Pencis, their pit master Jonathan Shaw and the hard-working efforts of all the Stanley’s staff.

At FRESH, you can find their full line of products that include their famous BBQ Sauce (hot and regular), Rib Rub, Chicken Spike and Sweet Hot Pickles.

The BBQ sauce is a staple in my refrigerator. Along with mustard, ketchup, butter, eggs and milk, there must be a bottle of Stanley’s BBQ Sauce. Made from J.D. Stanley’s original handwritten recipe, it’s the perfect blend of sweet and tangy. It’s great for dipping, drenching or basting while grilling.

My latest discovery is the Chicken Spike. Created by Stanley’s pit master, Jonathan Shaw, it is the perfect spice for chicken. The ingredients list spices, garlic and paprika. How’s that for a secret ingredient list? I’m not sure what spices are included, how much garlic they use, or if the paprika is smoked or sweet. Honestly, I do not care. As long as I have this seasoning, I will never buy or concoct another chicken seasoning again.

It is now my “go-to” seasoning for roasted whole chicken and chicken breasts on the grill. The spices, salt and garlic are perfectly balanced. When I roast a whole chicken, I combine 3 tablespoons of the Chicken Spike with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and I rub it all over the skin and inside the cavity. Roast at 375° F to an internal temperature of 165° F, and this chicken is simple perfection.

You can also slather the skin with Stanley’s BBQ Sauce within the last 15 minutes of cooking and again when the chicken comes out of the oven. There’s nothing wrong with more great Stanley’s flavor!

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