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Go Back to School with Homemade Granola Bars

Homemade Granola BarsIt’s back to school time! That means alarms are set, lunches are packed, and all the school supplies are ready to go. Don’t forget the most important part – breakfast!

Everyone knows that it’s the most important meal of the day, but it’s often the meal where poor choices affect the way we eat and feel for the rest of the day.

Grabbing a granola or nutrition bar is a popular choice, but you need to read the labels and watch out for preservatives, sugars and high-fructose corn syrup.

When it comes to granola bars, it is easy and inexpensive to make your own. Plus, you know exactly what goes into them, and you can customize the ingredients to fit your taste or health needs.

When selecting ingredients, look for the following:

  • Brookshire’s Old-Fashioned Whole-Grain Oats
  • Brookshire’s Fruit & Nut Trail Mix
  • Brookshire’s Sunflower Seeds
  • Full Circle Organic Honey
  • Full Circle Organic Raisins
  • Full Circle Organic Agave Nectar
  • Full Circle Dried Fruit
  • Full Circle Peanut Butter
  • Dried Fruit, Nuts & Coconut Flakes from the Bulk Department

Homemade Granola Bars

2 cups Brookshire’s Old-Fashioned Whole-Grain Oats
1 cup nuts or trail mix
1/2 cup unsweetened dried fruit
1/2 cup Full Circle Organic Honey
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400° F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, spread out the oats and nuts. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Coat a pie pan with cooking spray.

In a large saucepan, spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray. Add the honey. Cook over medium heat without stirring until large bubbles form and the honey begins to darken around the edges. The bubbles will start small and increase to about 3/4 inch in about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Immediately pour the oats, nuts, dried fruit and pinch of salt into the pan. Spray a spatula with cooking spray, and stir the mixture until completely coated with honey.

Quickly press the granola into the pie pan. Place in the refrigerator, and allow to cool for 1 hour. Cut into wedges, and wrap in plastic wrap. The granola bars can remain at room temperature for up to five days, or they can be frozen.

View this recipe to print or add items to your shopping list.

Cornbread Dressing – a must-have for Thanksgiving

Cornbread DressingCornbread dressing at Thanksgiving is almost as big a tradition as the actual day. You will find it in almost every household, and it’s the type of dressing that family members crave.

That’s why I like to make mine with the best ingredients. The two most important ingredients in cornbread dressing are the cornbread and the stock. I like to get the Hodgson Mill Cornbread Mix because it’s made with stone-ground yellow corn and whole-grain wheat flour. Also, when I follow the recipe on the box, the cornbread comes out perfect every time.

For the chicken stock, I always reach for Kitchen Basics. It is a rich, high-quality stock that is made by simmering McCormick Gourmet herbs and spices with chicken and vegetables that are cooked long enough to extract layers of hearty flavor.

This year, I thought I would put a Texas twist on my cornbread dressing by using the Hodgson Mill Mexican Style Jalapeño Cornbread Mix. Adding that great spicy flavor that everyone loves is sure to receive rave reviews.

Jalapeño Cornbread Dressing

1 box Hodgson Mill Mexican Style Jalapeño Cornbread Mix
1 lb Jennie-O Italian Turkey Sausage Links (Hot or Sweet)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 egg
1 cup Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock
2 Tbs unsalted butter

The day before, cook cornbread mix according to package directions. Cut into small cubes, and leave out at room temperature overnight to dry.

When ready to prepare, preheat the oven to 350° F. Squeeze the turkey sausage out of the links. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; cook the turkey sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally. Cook sausage all the way through until it begins to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the onions, celery and garlic to the sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have browned (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat to cool. Place the cornbread pieces in a large bowl. Add the parsley, egg and sausage mixture. Begin working in the broth while stirring. Gradually pour in enough of the stock, so the dressing is not too dry but at the same time not too wet. Stir gently and stir well.

Butter a small casserole dish. Spread the dressing in an even layer. Dot the top of the dressing with pieces of butter. Bake until it’s heated through and lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes. Serve right away, garnished with additional parsley, if desired.

View this recipe to print or add items to your shopping list.

Great Gifts for Dad: Nordic Ware Grilling

Nordic Ware Grill AccessoriesIn the housewares department at FRESH, you will find a whole section of quality grill products. My favorites are the grilling accessories by Nordic Ware. I always have great success baking with Nordic Ware products in the kitchen, so when I saw they had pans and toppers for the grill, I was very excited.

Nordic Ware has been an American tradition since 1946. It’s most famous product, the Bundt pan, paved the way for a complete line of quality cookware and bakeware.

Most of the products in the Nordic Ware 365 Indoor/Outdoor Grill line are made from heavy cast-aluminum and have an eco-friendly, nonstick coating. A few of the pieces are also available in stainless steel. All products are designed to be used on the grill, but they can also be used indoors on the stove or in the oven.

The Nordic Ware products available* at FRESH include :

  • Grill Topper
  • Fish Griller
  • Texas Searing Griddle
  • Grill ‘n Shake Bake
  • Beer Can Roaster
  • Chicken Leg Griller

*while supplies last

Pair a Nordic Ware grilling product with a new set of tongs, Dad’s favorite grill sauce or seasoning, or a gift card for his favorite cut from the meat counter. You’ll have the perfect gift for Father’s Day – one-stop shopping for a great day for Dad!

Get Grilling for Memorial Day

Memorial Day GrillingMemorial Day weekend is often considered the unofficial start to summer. When you think about summer, some of the first things that come to mind are cookouts and grilling. The FRESH market is full of great ideas for grilling, from grass-fed beef and lamb to natural pork, organic chicken and fresh-from-the sea fillets and shellfish.

The grilling choices are endless, but this Memorial Day, I am looking forward to grilling a tri-tip steak. It’s a great choice for feeding a crowd and is a well-known cut of meat in Argentinian cuisine and gaucho-style grilling.

The tri-tip is a triangular section of the sirloin and comes from the point where the sirloin meets the round and flank. It’s a cut that is full of flavor because of excellent marbling and is more tender than flank or skirt steak.

Grill to medium doneness, and serve with a chimichurri sauce. Your summer will kickoff in a delicious way. Chimichurri is a traditional South American sauce that would be great on any grilled meat or fish. If you don’t have time to make your own, it is always available on the FRESH Dip Bar.

Grilled Tri-Tip Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

2 lb tri-tip steak
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbs garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh oregano
1/2 tsp dried chili de arbol, crushed
salt and pepper, to taste

Place meat in a 9 x 13 pan. Add marinade ingredients and rub into the meat on both sides. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight. When ready to cook, heat a grill to high and place the meat on the grill. Sear and seal on both sides. Preheat oven to 375° F. Take meat off the grill and place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the meat reaches medium temperature. Medium can be detected by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and cooking until the thermometer reaches 155° F. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Move to a platter and top with a few spoonfuls of sauce. Serve remaining sauce at the table. Feeds 4 to 6 people.

Chimichurri Sauce:
6 oz red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbs fresh oregano leaves
2 small dried chili de arbol, crushed
2 bunches Italian parsley
4 oz extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight to allow flavors to combine.

View this recipe to print or add ingredients to your shopping list.

Among Friends Gluten-Free Cookie Mix

Among Friends Gluten-Free CookiesI receive a lot of questions about gluten-free products: which ones work, which ones are easy to use, which ones are worth buying and, most importantly, which ones taste good? Replacing flour in recipes and products is a challenge, and there are many that miss the mark.

If you’re trying to eat gluten-free or add more whole-grains to your diet, Among Friends Cookie Mix is one to try. These cookies are practically guilt-free with ingredients like oat flour, premium chocolate, ground flax seed, sea salt and organic cane sugar. They are verified Non-GMO, certified gluten-free, low in sugar and high in whole-grains.

The founders, Suzie Miller and Lizann Anderson, did not intend to make a gluten-free product, but rather baked goods that are dense with nutrition without sacrificing great taste. The last thing they wanted to do was create a “healthy cookie” that tasted like the cardboard it was packaged in.

Their gluten-free flavors include Molasses Ginger, Double Chocolate, and Chocolate Cranberry. Being an avid fan of all things chocolate, I bought the Double Chocolate.

They were easy to make with only 2 eggs and 4 tablespoons of butter that needed to be added. The package was small but made more cookies than I expected (depending on the size, more than 2 dozen). They baked in less than 10 minutes and the texture was crumbly, yet moist. Chocolate chunks filled the cookies and enhanced the double chocolate flavor. They were not too sweet, which makes them taste rich and satisfying.
I look forward to trying some of the other flavors and seeing what other products they create. Finding healthy baking mixes that also taste good is a challenge, but with the Among Friends brand, making cookies “from scratch” is easy and full of good ingredients.

Family Central: A Bounty of Blood Oranges

Blood Orange CocktailEvery winter, I can’t wait until the day when the first shipment of blood oranges appears in the produce department at FRESH.

They are my favorite citrus fruit, and their short-lived season is usually too limited to meet my yearlong craving for these sweet, delicious oranges with dark red flesh and red-speckled skin.

The freshly-squeezed juice is sweeter than typical orange juice and has a slight berry flavor as well. Drink it, use it in salad dressing, add it to sauces or reduce to a syrup for cocktails or dessert.

Also known as Moro oranges, this crimson citrus becomes available in late December or early January and lasts through March. Their limited availability is because the variety relies on cool nights to develop their blood-red color.

Their skin will darken over time as the red juice from the interior begins to seep into the rind. As the color deepens, the flesh will become sweeter and juicier.

Look for blood oranges that are heavy for their size and firm to the touch. Avoid blood oranges that have spongy spots on the rind. For best results, store in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

Blood Orange Simple Syrup

1/2 cup honey
1 cup water
2 blood oranges, juice and zest

In a saucepan, combine the honey, water and blood orange zest. Bring to a simmer and stir until the honey dissolves. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Stir in the blood orange juice and then strain the mixture into a clean, sealable container; chill. It can be stirred into sparkling wine, white wine, club soda or vodka. Serve with segments of blood oranges as garnish. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

View this recipe to print or add items to your shopping list.

Citrus-Braised Chicken & Blood Oranges

2 large bone-in chicken breasts or 4 skinless thighs
salt and pepper, for seasoning
3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, for juicing
4 blood oranges (3 sliced and 1 reserved for juicing)
1 Tbs Herbes de Provence
2 cups chicken broth, approximate

Rub the chicken with salt and pepper. Add oil to a wide-bottomed stockpot. Heat to high and sear the chicken until brown on both sides. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon and 1 blood orange. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the broth and herbs; bring to a boil. Scatter the sliced blood oranges over the top. Cover and transfer to a 350° F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or reduce heat to low and finish cooking on the stove. Keep an eye on the level of the liquid, and add more broth or water, if necessary. When the chicken is ready, remove to a serving plate. Spoon the sauce and blood orange slices over the top.

View this recipe to print or add items to your shopping list.

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 blood oranges, juiced
1 tsp honey
1 tsp mustard
pinch of salt and black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Combine the vinegar, orange juice, honey, mustard, salt and pepper in a jar fitted with a lid. Shake to combine. Add the oil, replace lid and continue to shake. Funnel into a decorative salad dressing bottle. Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups.

View this recipe to print or add items to your shopping list.

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Posted in: Family Central

Family Central: Holiday Plans

Holiday DinnerStressing about your holiday dinner already? Join the club. Few among us, except the compulsively organized, ever feel we’re really ready for the holidays.

Now that the countdown is officially on, it is time to get serious about your plans. Five steps to take now:

Shop today. I mean it: The crowds are only going to get worse. So, if you haven’t already, sit down right now, make a list of what you will need from the grocery store and get there as soon as you can.

Simplify the menu: Yes, overeating is part of the holiday tradition, but honestly, will people really notice if there are a couple fewer dishes on the buffet than usual? It’s easier to make larger batches of fewer dishes than smaller batches of many recipes. Think about those dishes that typically produce lots of leftovers; those are the first to forgo.

Similarly, if you typically set out appetizers for guests to graze on before a late-afternoon dinner, choose snacks that do not require cooking or last-minute prep – a variety of seasoned and sugared nuts, cheese and crackers, a prepared fruit tray or a selection of olives with interesting stuffings like garlic, bleu cheese and jalapeños.

Get cooking help: The pressure to make everything from scratch is probably self-imposed. Think about the two or three dishes that really signify the holiday to you – or that you most enjoy making – and go ahead and prepare those yourself. For the rest? Pick up prepared versions. Purchasing desserts, side dishes or even the main course (or some extra gravy and stuffing) will take a lot of the stress off the cook.

If you’re comfortable asking, now is the time to ask for help from guests. However, be thoughtful; make sure it’s something they can easily pick up, like beverages, a vegetable tray, or desserts or rolls from a bakery, so that you’re not simply passing your cooking stress on to someone else.

Delegate: If your children are old enough to help, put them in charge of specific tasks: Washing  little-used holiday dinnerware before use, creating a centerpiece, setting the table, or loading and unloading the dishwasher while you cook. If you don’t have children around, ask a close family member or friend to come over a few hours before the other guests arrive to help.

Distract with something fabulous: If you’re feeling anxious about your menu, especially if you’ve streamlined it, add something new and festive to make your guests feel special. This might be a special holiday cocktail (a cranberry mimosa or a peppermint hot chocolate); an after-dinner coffee “bar” with flavored syrups, creamers and imported chocolates to serve alongside; or a dessert buffet with a variety of pies and pastries cut into smaller portions so that everyone can try three or four.

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Posted in: Family Central

‘Tis the Season!

Blog_110314_HolidayMeals_270x198‘Tis the season to have a reason to eat good food! At FRESH, we can help make sure you do just that! This is such a fun time of year for us as we get to help you prepare for your family and friends and celebrate the season. Whether you are the most seasoned chef or need help figuring out which seasoning goes on your turkey, we can help you!

For the seasoned chefs that might need a new recipe this season, check out the recipes on our website! We have lots of tasty treats that might put a new spin on an original you have tried before. We are also always available to help you put together your favorite dish when you come to the store. Don’t quite know how to cook that lamb? Ask our market specialists!

Don’t want to stress this holiday? We have the answer for you! Our FRESH chefs work hard to prepare the meals for you. We offer three complete dinners, sides packages, family packs and individual items by the pound. Here are the highlights:

FRESH Turkey Dinner (serves 6-8)
12-14 pound turkey, brined and roasted to perfection with cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, whipped sweet potatoes, green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce for $99.99

FRESH Ham Dinner (serves 6-8)
Spiral cut, glazed ham with cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, whipped sweet potatoes, green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce for $89.99

Beef Tenderloin Dinner (serves 6-8)
Roasted, whole thyme-scented beef tenderloin with cabernet demi-glace, cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, whipped sweet potatoes, green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce for $169.99

Side Dish Pack
Side dish package includes cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, whipped sweet potatoes, green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce. Each side dish is also available in family packs or by the pound from the chef case.

In addition to full meals, we offer a large selection of small bites, party platters and desserts. Whether you are hosting a cocktail party or needing some appetizers to hold over the crowd until dinner, our amazing hors d’oeuvres are perfect for any gathering, whether casual or elegant.

Ordering is easy. All you need to do is pick up our “Oh JOY-full Table Holiday Guide and select the complete meals, sides or small bites that you desire, and call our Catering Department at 903-747-3512. You can also stop by the Catering desk at FRESH to place your order.

‘Tis the season for FRESH to help you make it the best year yet!

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Posted in: Family Central

Family Central: To run or not to run?

Blog_101314_Running_270x198When I first started running, I capped out at 3 miles. It was my happy place. Three miles were just enough for me. I was sweating, burning calories and feeling great.

When I decided to try to go farther than my three-mile route, things got a bit tricky. Most experienced runners I spoke with told me it was a mental game. “Running is all mental,” they would tell me, noting that the farther I pushed, the easier the distance would come. Although I doubted in the beginning, the past few years of running consistently have taught me that this is about 90 percent true.

Another thing I have learned about running is that no matter how many races I complete, I have the tendency to procrastinate my training. One of the easiest ways for me to truly commit is to sign up early, pay my entry fee and get it on my calendar.

We, at FRESH, are working hard getting ready for the next FRESH 15 race. Even though most people aren’t thinking about the event quite yet, the best way to commit is to register early, and get a jump start on your training and your mental preparation.

Commit now to the FRESH 15, sign up and get ready to cross the finish line on March 7. Signing up early will not only save you money, but it will also help you start to prepare mentally to accomplish your goal – whether it’s the 5k or 15k. We are cheering for you and are here to help you throughout your training journey. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and website for beginning, intermediate, and advanced 5k and 15k training plans. Be mentally tough and make the decision to run NOW.

Pink Pumpkins for Cancer

As you are well-aware, FRESH believes in supporting our community, and we do so by staying up-to-date with fundraising efforts. Not only do we host fundraising events, but each department in the store also has a unique way of giving back to the community. Our vision of sharing the wonders of food with you is also another method of giving back.

My co-workers and I get extra excited when it comes to the fall season due to all the things that are pumpkin-related. From desserts to pumpkin-scented candles and from pumpkin soups to roasted pumpkin seeds, this fruit is widely associated with fall. Here at FRESH, pumpkin cheesecakes and pumpkin pies are devoured and make fall one of our favorite times of the year!

To add to the pumpkin craze, the FRESH Produce Department offers pink pumpkins for a very limited time. You read this right: we offer pink pumpkins at FRESH! This particular pumpkin has a unique pink skin with orange interior, and it is just as delicious roasted, puréed or cooked in soups, pies and desserts. What’s even more distinctive about pink pumpkins is that it helps with the fight against breast cancer. For every pumpkin sold, a percentage of the proceeds go to the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation.

America’s pumpkin growers have committed to donating a percentage of proceeds, thus creating The Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation in 2012. This fairly recent association ensures that the funds benefit reputable organizations that use the highest percentage of dollars on actual research. The Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation consists of a board with no paid employees, simply volunteers who aim for low administrative costs.

Pink pumpkins are offered during the last week of September, a very convenient time as Breast Cancer Awareness month begins in October. A little bit goes a long way, and just a simple purchase of this seasonal fruit can help the fight. Stop by FRESH to ensure you get your pink pumpkin today!

View our favorite pumpkin recipes here!


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