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Pumpkin Season is Upon Us

Pumpkin Season is Upon UsIt used to be that we’d buy a pumpkin for Halloween and have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. That would be the extent of our annual pumpkin tasting.

From the beginning of October until the end of November, it’s likely you’ll see pumpkin or pumpkin spice as an ingredient in almost everything, from cereal to pasta sauces and even beer. As you shop through the aisles, it’s incredible to see some of the pumpkin-inspired ideas purveyors have created.

FRESH is happy to jump on the pumpkin wagon because it kicks off our favorite season of eating with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner. There will be a large selection of pumpkins on the patio next to produce. FRESH has big ones, little ones, heirloom pumpkins, Cinderella pumpkins and a vast assortment of pumpkin centerpieces and floral arrangements crafted in our own floral department.
While shopping, you have to get a pumpkin spice latte, or try the pumpkin gelato.

In the bakery, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin loaf, pumpkin cheesecake and crème brûlée will be offered as delicious seasonal treats. Don’t forget the traditional pumpkin pie.

Also, check the calendar for information about the kids’ Halloween Costume Contest on October 28, along with other pumpkin-related events and specials.

Brown Sugar-Pumpkin Pound Cake with Pecan Glaze


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (plus more for greasing pan)
3 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting pan)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbs bourbon (optional)
2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
4 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 Tbs (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease Bundt pan with butter; sprinkle with flour. In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter, both sugars, vanilla and bourbon together at medium speed until fluffy. Blend in pumpkin. Add the eggs, one at a time. Set mixer speed to low; add flour mixture in 3 batches. Combine until just blended. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, add batter to prepared pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out fairly clean. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Invert cake onto rack; remove it from the pan.

Place all glaze ingredients in saucepan over low heat; stir until melted. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat. After cake has completely cooled, spoon glaze over the top of the cake.

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

Tasty Ways to Enjoy Green Tea

Many people drink green tea for the health benefits or as a relaxing hot beverage, but did you know you can cook with it? Until recently, I didn’t either. I was planning a Chinese food cooking class and trying to decide what to serve for dessert. I really couldn’t think of any desserts, other than fortune cookies, that represent Asian cuisine. I started to search and found several recipes for sweet treats that had green tea powder as an ingredient. I was skeptical about the flavor but was feeling adventurous.

I learned that for culinary purposes you couldn’t buy green tea bags or loose green tea and just add it to the recipe. Instead, you use a finely milled green tea powder called matcha. That’s when I discovered Matcha LOVE® Culinary Matcha in the tea aisle at FRESH. While Matcha LOVE® makes many types of green tea drinks, tea bags and powders, it is the Culinary Matcha that is milled finely enough to use in recipes.

What is matcha and how does it differ from other green tea? It is a powdered version of the whole green tea leaf and is native to Japan. From its ancient origins in Japanese teahouses, matcha is thought to enhance mood, help promote cardiovascular health and bone strength, and have anti-aging properties.

As an ingredient in recipes, the Culinary Matcha can be used in many ways. If you’re not a hot tea drinker, using green tea in recipes is a great way to enjoy its health benefits without the brew. I used the matcha powder to make a green tea ice cream. It was delightful. The creamy texture of the ice cream combined with subtle sweetness and the earthy flavor of the green tea was something everyone in my cooking class really enjoyed.

On the Matcha LOVE® website, they had several other recipes and ideas for using the Culinary Matcha in recipes.

Here are just a few suggestions:

Smoothies, Parfaits and Granola

Combine 1/2 teaspoon of matcha with 1/4 cup almond butter and 1 tablespoon honey. Spread on 2 pieces of toast to enjoy for breakfast.

Add 1/2 teaspoon to salad dressing, and use on a salad or for dipping vegetables.

Add 1/2 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of herb blend, and use as a rub on chicken breasts or pork chops.

Stir matcha into milk or yogurt for smoothies, parfaits or granola.


Green Tea Ice Cream

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
3 Tbs matcha green tea powder
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Begin by mixing 1/4 cup sugar with the matcha green tea powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the remainder of the granulated sugar with the egg yolks. Then, add the matcha powder/sugar mixture. Stir well to form a thick, green paste. Gently heat the milk and cream in a medium saucepan to a low simmer without letting it boil. Remove from heat. Mix a small amount of warm milk with the matcha mixture until it becomes a smooth paste.

Gradually, add the milk to the rest of the paste while keeping the mixture smooth, and then return it to the heat. Before the mixture boils, remove again from the heat. Strain the whole mixture through a fine sieve to remove any impurities. Leave the mixture to cool completely by insetting into a large bowl of ice. Cool to at least 55° F. Then, follow ice cream maker instructions to finish off with churning and then freezing for a few hours to solidify.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

Go to for more ideas.

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Posted in: Grocery

Shop Local, Shop Tasty

Local ProductsOver the past few years, East Texas has evolved into an up-and-coming part of the food industry. There have even been two Tyler-based food companies named to Oprah’s Favorite Things list: Janie’s Cakes and Greenberg Smoked Turkeys.

Both of these brands, along with many other local products, can be found at FRESH. Starting July 24, FRESH will put the spotlight on a growing inventory of East Texas foods.

An array of local items can be found throughout the store. The produce department may as well be its own farmers market with all of the fruits and vegetables that are grown in East Texas. There are tomatoes, zucchini, squash and cucumbers from Jacksonville. There are also blueberries, peaches and plums from Winona, strawberries from Athens and watermelon from Chandler.

In the beer and wine aisles, there’s True Vine Brewing, plus wine from Briar Creek, Kiepersol, Los Pinos and Pelle Legna. Shopping the aisles, some of my favorites include Stanley’s BBQ Sauce, Simply Sassy Salsa from Longview, East Texas Honey from Whitehouse, Popcorn Junction, Porch Culture Coffee and David Wade Worcestershire Powder.

On Saturday, July 29, be sure to drop by the store between 11AM and 4PM. FRESH has invited several local vendors to come by for demonstrations and tastings throughout the store. It’s a great opportunity to learn about some delicious East Texas products and support your local farmers and purveyors.

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Posted in: Grocery, Store Events

We All Scream for Goldenbrook Ice Cream

Goldenbrook Ice CreamYou loved it before, and now you’ll love it even more! Goldenbrook Ice Cream is new and improved, and it has been reformulated to be more delicious and indulgent. You may notice the different colored lids. Gold lids are premium flavors. Black lids are supreme flavors, and blue lids are sherbet.

Premium Flavors: Made from fresh, wholesome milk and a few simple ingredients for the perfect balance of flavors. Crafted in small batches to bring honest, indulgent flavor that you can feel good about. Flavors include homemade vanilla, chocolate, milk chocolate, strawberry, mint chocolate chip, no sugar added vanilla, and vanilla bean.

Supreme Flavors: Made from farm-fresh milk and only the finest ingredients, then hand-blended in small batches to create an ice cream so deliciously indulgent that one scoop isn’t enough. Flavors include butter pecan, chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies & cream, peanut butter bash, praline pecan, rocky road, and turtles & cream, plus more flavors on the way!

Sherbet: Our premium sherbet is naturally low in fat and made in small batches with fresh, wholesome milk and fruit juice. Each bite is a frosty and fruity delight that is sure to quench your cravings. Flavors include orange and rainbow.

It’s also good to know that no artificial growth hormones are used on the cows that provide the milk and cream. All of the ice cream is made locally in our Tyler creamery. So, go ahead and dig in because it really is that good!

Visit for a full list of flavors and more.

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Posted in: Frozen Foods, Grocery

Full Circle Goes Back to School

Full Circle Goes Back to SchoolAfter a long holiday break, getting back into the school routine can be a little tough. Cold and gray mornings sometimes mean a late start, but that’s no reason for an unhealthy breakfast.

For a quick and easy breakfast, I like to spread toast with Full Circle Almond Butter and the delicious Full Circle European Apricot Spread. Pair that with a glass of Full Circle Almond Milk, and my day is off to a great start.

The milk is rich and creamy with a delightful nutty flavor. It is free of lactose, dairy, gluten, peanuts, casein and eggs. Enriched with calcium, as well as vitamins A, D and E, it contains no saturated fat and is cholesterol-free. It’s a delicious alternative to traditional dairy milk and can be used as an ingredient in favorite recipes.

The almond butter has a similar rich flavor and is made with organic dry-roasted almonds. Each two-tablespoon serving has 190 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat and 5 grams of protein. Spread the top with the delicious apricot spread, and you have a flavorful breakfast that will keep you satisfied throughout the morning.

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Posted in: Grocery, Organic

S’mores Bring Smiles

S’mores Bring SmilesSpooky treats, lots of candy, tiny ghosts and pumpkins on every front porch. It must be Halloween and time to throw a party.

Chips, dip, cookies and brownies are your usual party foods, but why not combine all of them and make s’mores dip? It’s a great way to enjoy the melted, chocolatey goodness of a s’more without the campfire and skewers.

Whenever I serve this recipe, it disappears fast. So, having extra ingredients on hand to quickly whip up a new batch is always a good idea.

I like to use Brookshire’s and Full Circle products because I know I will save money without skimping on flavor.

Here’s my checklist:

  • Brookshire’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (or Milk Chocolate, if you prefer)
  • Brookshire’s Marshmallows
  • Full Circle Organic Honey Graham Crackers

All combined, I spend $6.07, and I have enough ingredients to double the recipe. What a simple way to entertain on a budget!

S’mores Dip

1 1/2 cups Brookshire’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
17 large marshmallows
graham crackers, for dipping

Preheat oven to 425° F. In an 8-inch cast-iron skillet, add the chocolate chips. Cut the large marshmallows in half, and arrange them over the top of the chocolate chips. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the marshmallows turn golden-brown. Serve immediately with graham crackers for scooping.

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

Note: FRESH has an assortment of Lodge cast-iron pans, available in several sizes, in the housewares department.

Cento Makes Perfect Marinara

Cento Makes Perfect MarinaraMany years ago, I decided to start making my own marinara. I didn’t really like the flavor of many sauces from a jar, and upon further investigation, I was concerned with all the added sugar and sodium that came along with the convenience of opening a jar.

I knew the best-tasting sauce started with the best tomatoes. As I looked at the various brands, I discovered many were full of sodium, and the true tomato flavor did not shine through.

Then, I discovered Cento Crushed Tomatoes. They use 100% vine-ripened tomatoes not from concentrate, and they are crushed and packed immediately to preserve flavor. The only ingredient listed on the can is vine-ripened tomatoes. Originally, my recipe called for two 28-ounce cans of Cento Crushed Tomatoes, but then I learned more about San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes and realized my marinara could be even better.

Distinct in flavor, Cento San Marzano tomatoes are grown in the Sarnese Nocerino area of Italy, renowned for its especially fruitful soil as a result of its proximity to the volcano Mount Vesuvius. They are handpicked, steam-peeled and packed with San Marzano puree in BPA-free cans. Every can of Cento San Marzano Tomatoes is labeled with a lot code, so Cento can track the exact farm where the tomatoes were picked and ensure each crop is up to their standards. (You can even go to the Cento website, enter the lot code and see on a map exactly where the tomatoes were grown.)

The combination of these two tomato products has helped me create the perfect recipe. It’s delicious every time, and friends and family rave about the flavor. It certainly makes from scratch worth the time and effort.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

1 (28 oz) can Cento San Marzano Tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can Cento Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tbs Brookshire’s Pure Olive Oil
1 medium sweet onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs Cento Tomato Paste
1/2 cup red wine
4 tsp dried oregano
4 tsp dried basil
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
8 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced

Over medium heat, add oil to a large saucepan. When oil is hot, add onion. Sauté until soft but not brown. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, and stir to coat completely. Let the tomato paste caramelize slightly. Pour in the wine. Let it simmer and reduce by half.

Add the San Marzano tomatoes, and break up the tomatoes with a spatula. Add the crushed tomatoes; stir to completely combine. Reduce heat to low. Add the oregano, dried basil, pepper and salt. Stir to combine, and let simmer for 20 minutes or much longer. Taste with a piece of bread; adjust seasoning, if necessary. If you make adjustments, simmer for another 10 minutes. When desired flavor is achieved, remove from heat and add chopped basil.

Makes 6 cups

Note: If you think the flavor is too acidic, you can add a pat of butter or 1 teaspoon of sugar. If adding sugar, let the sauce simmer for another 10 minutes and test again. Also, the longer the sauce simmers, the better the flavor. I like to double the recipe and let it simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

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

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Posted in: Grocery, Recipes

Celebrate Football and Wings with FRESH

Celebrate Football and Wings with FRESHAre you ready for some football? I am so excited to kickoff the season. It’s such a fun time of year with game-watching parties, school spirit and plenty of fun snacks.

Of course, everybody’s favorite is wings, and on September 10th and 11th, FRESH will be having a Wing Fest Weekend. We will have a new wing flavor that we will be creating in the Test Kitchen and many other traditional flavors that everyone enjoys.

When making wings at home, the flavor possibilities are endless. With so many seasonings and sauces, you could serve a smorgasbord of wing selections.

A new line of sauce that I enjoy for flavoring wings is from Ginger People. They have 6 flavors – Sweet Ginger Chili, Ginger Sesame, Spicy Ginger Teriyaki, Hot Ginger Jalapeño, Ginger Lime and Ginger Peanut. They are all great for basting or dipping, and they can be used in the oven, on the grill or straight from the jar.

When I make wings for a party, I like to get the packages of Smart Chicken party wings. Add them to a slow cooker or you can spread them out on a baking sheet. For the slow cooker, simply add some water, salt and pepper. In the oven, toss the wings in some oil, salt and pepper.

After they are cooked through, it is time for saucing. Place the wings, about 12 at a time, in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of Ginger People sauce – any flavor – and stir to coat. Spread the wings out on a greased, rimmed baking sheet. Place them under a broiler for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and caramelized. You can then put them back in the slow cooker to keep warm. What’s better during game time than a never-ending supply of delicious wings?

Be sure to come out to Wing Fest at FRESH for more great ideas. Check the calendar for additional details.

Asian Wings

2 lbs Smart Chicken Party Wings (about 24 pieces)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup Ginger People Cooking Sauce
ranch or bleu cheese dressing, for dipping

Place the wings in a slow cooker. Add the water, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the wings from the slow cooker, and place in a large bowl.  Pour in the sauce. Using a large spoon, stir to coat thoroughly. Spread the wings onto a greased baking sheet. Place under a broiler on high for 3 to 5 minutes to caramelize. Serve with ranch or bleu cheese dressing as a dipping sauce.

If making the wings for a party, you can use the slow cooker to keep the wings warm. After cooking and saucing, place the wings back in the slow cooker on warm or the lowest setting. Leave uncovered to serve. Stir occasionally.

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

Beat the Summer Heat with Girard’s Salad Dressing

Girard’s Salad DressingIf I know Texas, we will still have at least another month of high summer temperatures. That also means freshly grown produce will still be available, and we have more time to enjoy light summer meals and whole meal salads.

Browsing the salad dressing aisle, it’s apparent with all the great choices in brands and flavors that one would never get bored with salads. I like to use dressing for more than just salads, though. It’s great for marinating, tossing with vegetables before roasting and stirring into cooked rice.

That’s why I often grab a bottle of Girard’s Salad Dressing. The flavor is great with so many things, and it’s filled with wholesome ingredients. There are many varieties to choose from in light, gluten-free and regular flavors. Plus, you have to trust a brand that’s been around as long as Girard’s.

In 1939, Chef Pierre Girard created a sophisticated line of salad dressings in San Francisco. He started with the Original French Dressing and gradually added varieties. Since then, Girard’s dressings now come in a whole line of flavors as distinctive as its triangular bottles.

With a bottle of Girard’s dressing, you’ll have a delicious, light meal that is full of fresh flavor. I might be able to handle a few more weeks of Texas summer, after all!

Marinated Grilled Tuna Steaks with Couscous

4 tuna steaks, 1 1/2-inch thick
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cups couscous, cooked
3/4 cup Girard’s Champagne Salad Dressing, divided
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/3 cup almond slivers, toasted
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
5 oz fresh baby spinach

Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. Place tuna on a plate, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle tuna with oil. Grill fish for 3 minutes per side or to desired temperature. Slice into thin strips. To prepare couscous, combine 1/2 cup salad dressing, thyme, almonds, apricots and scallions in a bowl. Add spinach and gently toss. Arrange salad mixture on plates; top with grilled fish. Drizzle remaining salad dressing over the fish and serve.

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

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Posted in: Grocery, Recipes

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

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