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Crosse & Blackwell, not just for Holiday Ham

Crosse & Blackwell, not just for Holiday HamBaked ham is a staple at holiday meals, beautifully studded with cloves and glazed with a traditional sauce like the Cross & Blackwell Ham Glaze. I remember my grandmother using it when I was a kid. I can still taste the fruity, spicy combination of pineapple, cherries, cloves and mustard.

The Crosse & Blackwell brand has been a beloved British tradition since 1706. Their sauces bring out the best in ham, beef, lamb or other meats as a bold and flavorful accompaniment. Spicy, sweet and tangy notes are ideal complements to almost any roasted meat.

The sauces also possess a versatility that lends their flavor to so many recipes. Delicious as a sandwich spread or added to stuffing, I like to use the Crosse & Blackwell Ham Glaze to make cocktail meatballs.

It’s a great recipe for holiday parties, and it captures some of that familiar flavor that everyone knows from delicious glazed ham.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs soy sauce
1 jar Crosse & Blackwell Premium Ham Glaze
1 cup chili sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp freshly grated ginger (do not substitute dry ginger)

Heat oven to 400° F. Combine meat, onions, breadcrumbs, garlic and soy sauce in medium bowl. Mix thoroughly. Roll into 1 1/2-inch meatballs, and place in baking pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. While meatballs are baking, combine ham glaze, chili sauce, red pepper flakes and ginger. Heat until hot and bubbly. Remove meatballs from oven. Toss with sauce and serve hot.

Note: There are a few whole cloves in the jar of ham glaze. You may want to remove the cloves before serving, so your guests don’t bite down on them.

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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!

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.

A FRESH Take on Full Circle Soup

Creamy Tomato BisqueDuring the cold months of winter, I often want homemade soup but don’t have the ingredients or time to make a batch. That’s why I like to grab the Full Circle Organic soup boxes.

Available in three classic flavors – Chunky Tomato, Lentil and Chicken Noodle – these soups are made with organic vegetables and no preservatives or MSG. The vegetables used are fresh and plump, and in the Chicken Noodle, you will find juicy chunks of chicken and delicious egg noodles.

My favorite is the Chunky Tomato paired with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich. It is so good on a cold, rainy day, but other times, I like to turn the chunky tomato into a delicious, velvety bisque. It is the perfect first course for a dinner party, and no one will ever know that it wasn’t homemade.

Creamy Tomato Bisque

1 large fresh tomato, seeded and diced
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 (17.3 oz) box Full Circle Chunky Tomato Soup
3/4 cup half-and-half
fresh basil, for garnish
Full Circle Soup & Snack Oyster Crackers, for serving

In a saucepan, add the tomatoes and oil. Sauté over medium heat. Add the garlic powder, black pepper and broth. Pour in the box of soup and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the half-and-half. Use an immersion blender or electric blender to liquefy the soup until it is very smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Warm bisque again before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, and serve with Full Circle Soup & Snack Oyster Crackers.

Serves 4

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Find the FRESH Finds throughout the Store

FRESH FindsAs you walk through the aisles at FRESH, you might have noticed some items marked with a FRESH Finds tag. What does it mean? Why is this product a FRESH Find?

The FRESH Finds program was created to point out unique and exclusive products that we offer. You will see the tags in every department, and they can help you navigate the aisles and notice items you might have overlooked. After all, there is a lot to look at when you shop in the store.

The program is ongoing, and the items will change every month in order to share a wide variety of products with guests.

Products are chosen by FRESH partners – managers and leaders – who want to share their knowledge with shoppers and highlight products that are useful and delicious for that particular month.

Be sure to notice the FRESH Finds tags while you are shopping, and try some new products that you might enjoy. Who knows, you might find some new favorites!

Here are a few of the FRESH Finds for August. I noticed some new things on the list that I can’t wait to try and, of course, some favorites that always find their way into my basket.

Delice de Bourgogne – A classic, French triple crème brie with a smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich flavor. Originating from the Burgundy region of France, it is made by blending full-fat cow’s milk with crème fraîche. A must for any cheese platter.

Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa – This famous salsa dates back to 1940. George Renfro and his wife, Arthurine, co-founded George Renfro Food Company in the garage of their Fort Worth home. The rest was Renfro history, and today there is a full line of Renfro salsas, sauces, seasonings and peppers.

Stanley’s Famous BBQ Sauce – This sauce is a staple in my refrigerator. It’s as important as ketchup or mustard, and I can’t grill burgers without it. Stanley’s has been family-owned and operated in Tyler since 1958, and it was started by J.D. Stanley who ran the operation until 2000. Now owned by Nick and Jennifer Pencis, they have been proud to carry on its legacy and garner national attention for their restaurant, food and products. Now, you can take home Stanley’s BBQ Sauce to share with your family!

GURU Natural Energy Drink – Energy should not come at the expense of health. That’s why GURU is crafted with natural and organic ingredients. GURU’s authentic preparation of infused and brewed botanicals results in a 100-milligram dose of naturally-occurring caffeine in every can, making it strong and effective.

Natura Malbec – A favorite wine from Argentina, Natura Malbec is deep ruby-red in color with intense aromas of black plum and blackberries, elegantly combined with mild notes of white pepper. Medium-bodied on the palate with silky, ripe tannins and a long, broad finish. An elegant wine that is easy to drink.

Freshie Faves: Super Food for Super Fanatics

SuperFoodSuperFanaticsIt’s the final countdown! Football season is wrapping up but not without the last big game. I can’t speak for all women, but the Big Game is something I look forward to. It’s a chance to plan a big gathering with loads of food, fun and refreshments, all along with watching the most popular sport in the country. Planning the perfect Big Game party could be stressful, but at FRESH, we make preparing convenient for you so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the final game! Specials will be offered over the weekend, and they go as follows:

Toss to order wings- A wing station will be available on Saturday and Sunday. Choose your sauce from Asian, Classic Buffalo or BBQ flavor. The price is $7 for 10 pieces.

Nachos- This will be available at the taco bar on Saturday and Sunday for $4.50.

Super Sub Sandwiches- Sandwiches will be available at the sandwich bar on Sunday only. The sandwiches will be on our house-made bread, and you can choose from ham, turkey, cheddar, provolone, lettuce, tomato and red onion, NO SUBSTITUTIONS. Prices are as follows: $5 for 6 inches, $9 for 12 inches, $24 for 3 feet and $42 for 6 feet.

Box O’ Tacos- These tacos will consist of flour tortillas, picadillo (seasoned ground beef), lettuce and cheese. No substitutions will be allowed for this order, and you can get 10 tacos for $15.

Along with awesome Big Game specials, FRESH will hold a Big Game contest, “Who’s Got Game.” The rules are simple. Stop by the Concierge Desk and drop off your prediction on who you think will win the big game, and if you pick the winning team, you are entered to win a drawing for a $100 FRESH gift card. The grand prize winner will be announced the day after the big game. See store for the official rules.

Whether you are planning a small get-together or a big bash, FRESH will provide you with your Big Game needs.

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Freshie Fave: Burrata Cheese

Burrata Cheese Understandably, you may have overlooked a hidden treasure in FRESH’s Cheese Department. I did too for a while, but I have seen the light or more accurately, I have tasted the rare Italian delicacy that is burrata (boor-rah-tah). Burrata is everything wonderful about mozzarella with a surprise inside.

Just like fresh mozzarella, milk curds are immersed into hot water and worked into a ball, but then a sort of magic happens. Extra mozzarella scraps are stuffed into the center of the ball of cheese and topped off with fresh cream! You can find this buttery delight right by FRESH’s house-made mozzarella.

Smooth on the outside and creamy on the inside, burrata is a rich, milky flavor that will wiggle its way into your heart, and here is a recipe to start this new love affair!

Burrata Fettuccine Tomato and Spinach

4 oz burrata cheese
8 oz uncooked fettuccine
2/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved (about 10 large)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (14.5 oz) can unsalted diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 tsp salt
3 oz fresh baby spinach (about 3 cups)
freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

2. While pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Arrange tomato halves, cut sides down, in pan. Cook 1 1/2 minutes or until seared. Stir tomatoes; cook 30 seconds. Remove tomatoes from pan; set aside.

3. Reduce heat to low. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add red pepper and garlic; cook 2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Place canned tomatoes in a mini chopper or food processor, and process until almost smooth. Add pureed tomatoes and salt to oil mixture; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove skillet from heat. Add spinach and cooked pasta; toss well until spinach wilts slightly. Arrange about 1 1/3 cups pasta mixture in each of 4 shallow bowls. Divide the seared grape tomato halves evenly among the servings. Dollop about 2 table­spoons burrata cheese over each serving, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Then, gobble up quickly!

Family Central: Bellagio Hot Cocoa

Bellagio Hot Cocoa

I just get giddy once it’s cold enough that I can cozy up to a cup of hot cocoa. I’m smiling just thinking about it. So, you can only imagine my happy dance when I came across Bellagio Gourmet Hot Cocoa in the Grocery aisles at FRESH.

Bellagio takes premium chocolate and Old World attention to make an unusually rich, satisfying cup of cocoa. This is no ordinary cup of cocoa. You can indulge with flavors like Chocolate Truffle, French Vanilla, Caramel Praline and White Chocolate, but I dare you to take these fantastic flavors to another level.

Here are some recipes for you to live your chocolate dreams out in, but remember, these cocoa mixes are very tasty just on their own, too!

 White Chocolate Alexander – 8 oz serving

3 Tbsp Bellagio White Chocolate Cocoa mix
5 fl oz hot whole milk or water
1 fl oz coffee liqueur (optional)
1/2 ground nutmeg
whipped cream topping
chocolate shavings

Dissolve cocoa mix in hot milk or water. Stir in coffee liqueur and ground nutmeg. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

View this recipe to print or add items to your Shopping List.

 Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate – 8 oz serving

3 Tbsp Bellagio Chocolate Truffle Cocoa mix
5 fl oz hot whole milk or water
1 tsp pumpkin spice seasoning
whipped cream topping

Dissolve cocoa mix in hot milk or water. Then, add pumpkin spice and mix well. Top with whipped cream topping and add a dash of pumpkin spice as a garnish.

View this recipe to print or add items to your Shopping List.

 Gingersnap White Mocha – 8 oz serving

3 Tbsp Bellagio White Chocolate Cocoa mix
5 fl oz hot whole milk or water
1 fl shot of espresso or dark roast coffee
1 gingersnap cookie, crushed
whipped topping

Dissolve cocoa mix in hot milk or water. Add coffee or espresso and mix well. Top with whipped cream topping. Crush gingersnap cookie on a small plate. Then, sprinkle cookie crumbles on top of cream topping as a garnish.

View this recipe to print or add items to your Shopping List.

Enjoy and repeat often!

Family Central: Pictures With Santa

Pictures with SantaIt’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmastime brings out the joyous spirit in everyone, and for me, the cheerful melody of holiday carols and the crisp, winter air truly get me in the holiday spirit. Many deal with the stresses of the holiday season, but the young ones have only one thing in mind: the arrival of Santa Clause.

Many often forget that FRESH is not just a food destination; it is also the destination for special events that are uncommon to most grocery stores. My job as the events coordinator is to notify you of the unique activities and occurrences we offer throughout the store, and with that being said, I have come to let you know that on December 7 and December 14, Santa Clause is coming to town and will be available for all to see.

Parents and kids of all ages are welcome to stop by the Catering Department from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for a chance to snap pictures with the jolly man and his little helpers. FRESH will provide you a copy with your very own FRESH picture frame, but feel free to bring your own photo-taking device for additional copies.

Whether you’re naughty or nice, FRESH will give you the opportunity to tell Santa what you had wished for this season. Remember, Christmastime is the time to spread love and cheer, so don’t forget the true meaning behind this time of the year.

Freshie Faves: The Seaweed Bath Co.

It’s hard to admit defeat, especially since I’ve done a glorious job of trash-talking up to the very moment of my downfall. To catch everyone up, my dear friend and fitness role model George Flores, FRESH’s Produce Manager, challenged me to get my butt in gear. More specifically, he dared me to race him in a one-mile run, and he beat me by 10 solid seconds. I would have cried right there on the spot, but I couldn’t catch my breath. I’ll get you one of these days, George!

Maybe I will be in tiptop shape by March for the FRESH 15? Visit the FRESH 15 website for more information.

Instead of weeping, I resigned to go home and soak my weary bones and calf muscles in a hot bath. It seemed like the most logical and delightful thing to do. I grabbed a packet of Lavender Scent Wildly Natural Seaweed Powder Bath by The Seaweed Bath Company from FRESH’s Health & Wellness Department. There are a few scents to choose from like Eucalyptus & Peppermint, Citrus and Unscented as well. These little packets should be added to your stocking stuffer round-up!

The Seaweed Bath Co. sustainably hand-harvests wild bladderwrack seaweed off the coasts of Maine and Nova Scotia. Bladderwrack seaweed also contains fucoidan, a potent natural anti-inflammatory, and potassium and iodine, which stimulate the thyroid and help to detoxify the body. The nutrients in bladderwrack seaweed also increase pH alkaline levels in the bloodstream while simultaneously reducing acidity levels in the body and the skin.

They combine bladderwrack with the highest quality ingredients from around the world. These ingredients are both known to be moisturizing and pH-balancing. In fact, many of the ingredients used in their seaweed-based products have been used for centuries by Asian, African and European cultures to improve the skin’s health and well-being. Soaking in a seaweed bathallows your body to easily absorb a large amount of valuable nutrients, amino acids and oils that nourish the skin.

The Seaweed Bath Co. is the brainchild of Adam Grossman, a long-time psoriasis sufferer (and fellow Texan!) who created his seaweed-based cosmetic products to take control of his own irritated skin without the use of prescribed medications or harsh chemicals. Seeking to improve the lives of other sufferers, Adam founded The Seaweed Bath Co. to share his remarkable all-natural products with the world.

For those Freshies that suffer from psoriasis or eczema, Seaweed Bath Co. products are created to help with itchy, flaky skin. For those whose mouths write checks that their legs can’t cash, Seaweed Bath Co. products provide a salt water soak that repairs the ego and might give you the confidence to try again!

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