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Easter Fun in the Kitchen

Easter Fun in the KitchenGrowing up, I have fond memories of coloring eggs every year for Easter. Mom boiled all the eggs. There were several bowls of colored water lining the counter, and we were ready to create beautiful eggs the Easter Bunny would add to our baskets.

That wasn’t all the fun we had in the kitchen, though. We also liked to make brightly colored Easter candy. White chocolate bark was melted, dyed with food coloring and poured into candy molds that my grandmother used to make lollipops and chocolates.

As the years went passed, the tradition was simplified, and now we like to make round cake bites drenched with melted chocolate then decorated with glazes and colored sprinkles. It’s a big colorful mess, but everyone has a great time. Plus, they are the perfect bite of sweetly delicious cake and candy.

It’s a fun tradition to start with your family. All you need is pound cake, a small round biscuit cutter, white bark candy coating, food coloring and sugar. The recipe is easy to follow, but you can get creative with other ingredients, shapes and decorations.

 

Easter Pound Cake Bites

Ingredients:
2 FRESH Bakery Pound Cakes (or 1 box pound cake mix, prepared)
1 pkg Brookshire’s White Bark Coating
powdered sugar glaze (1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 to 2 Tbs water)
Over The Top Decorating Sprinkles

Directions:
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slice the pound cake into 1-inch slices. Use a small round biscuit cutter to cut rounds from each slice of pound cake. Place on the cookie sheet. Melt the bark according to package directions. Divide the bark; dye different colors, if desired. Spoon 1 tablespoon of melted bark over each round. Smooth it over the top and down the sides of cake bites. Add more if necessary to coat all sides. Add glaze and sprinkles to the top of each cake bite.

Leave cake bites at room temperature for at least 20 minutes to allow coating to harden. Once set, use a sharp knife to cut away excess bark around the cake bites. Bites can be placed in mini-muffin wrappers for serving.

To color your bark: Melt the bark, and separate into 1/2-cup bowls. Add 2 drops of food coloring to each bowl.

To make a glaze: In a small bowl, measure out 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or lemon juice. Stir until liquid is a pourable consistency. Add 1 drop of food coloring.

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

 





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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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.





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
Popcorn
Animal Cookies
Condiments
Plus MORE!

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Posted in: Grocery, Kids, Organic




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.





Family Central: Dragons and Toddlers Love Tacos

Hey Freshies! I’m a mom of an almost three-year-old with a raging taco obsession. What else does my mini-me love? Dragons. We recently went to our local brick-and-mortar bookstore and found this hilarious book, “Dragons Love Tacos.”

It’s genius on a tortilla – a dragon-taco combination of fun and fantasy. I think there’s something synergistic about food and art (even a well written picture book is art). I love anything that encourages my little one to explore the world of food and the world of literature. Why not at the same time?

I used to be a from-scratch kitchen rock star, but as a working mom with two under three and one on the way, prioritizing is key. Oh, how this culinary snob has fallen! But I’ve fallen for good reason.

My goal? To maximize precious family time, focusing on quality food (on that I won’t compromise) that will encourage my toddler to interact and enjoy eating.

My plan? Cut kitchen corners and invite my toddler to participate.

I’ve decided to share my secrets, which I’ve previously hoarded like dragon treasure. For Dragon-lover Drew’s Favorite Tacos, this is all you need:

FRESH homemade tortillas

1 pkg shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb ground beef
2 pkgs taco seasoning

It takes about 15 minutes to prepare. My toddler likes to keep it simple. So, there you have it.

Now, let’s talk salsas! We love spicy salsa and mild salsa. We love chunky salsa and fruity salsa. If a chip can be dipped in it, my toddler will try it. We used to make ours from scratch (eg. roasting tomatillos, garlic and jalapenos and then throwing them in the blender with lime and cilantro).

But here’s another momma dragon secret: Now, we buy it. I can have the homemade, healthy and delicious salsa that I love, but I’ve delegated all of the work to the magical kitchen elves at Fresh who make it, well, fresh.

Any of these would be good toppings for the above tacos and more:

  • Cucumber salsa (My favorite! How is this so good?)
  • Mango salsa
  • (Crazy good) Pico de Gallo
  • Guacamole

Lay a selection out on the table and let your toddler explore. Don’t forget the chips and be sure to read this crazy little story together, sharing a good laugh over dinner. Because, after all, family comes first.

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Posted in: Family Central, Kids




Family Central: My Furry Family

My boys have me wrapped around their fingers or better yet…their paws. Rocky and Bullwinkle have been the true loves of my life for about six years now. They are my furry family.

I never really thought I would be transformed in the “crazy” Chihuahua lady, but I think it suits me! Yes, the boys’ closet may rival my pantry on some days, and you might see me chauffeuring them in their puppy stroller on these sunny spring days. But it could be worse, right? Don’t answer that.

My little fur balls bring a lot good things in my life. You might be surprised at how many ways pets can improve your health. Pets are natural mood enhancers. Dog owners worldwide enjoy a longer lifespan on average, reduced blood pressure, improved cardiovascular fitness and far less stress.

Since they keep me healthy, I want to keep them healthy too, and we all know that a nutritious homemade meal is a great way to do that.

While our pets are an important part of the household, they also have unique nutritional needs. Check with your vet to see if a homemade meal is suited for your pet. Remember that the food you love may not be so good for your dog.

So, let me share a recipe for your Fido!

Turkey Muttloaf

1lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats
1 small carrot (finely grated)
1 small zucchini (finely grated)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Shape into loaf pan, but leave a little room around the edges. Bake at 350° F for about an hour or until fully cooked. Remove to plate and let cool before slicing. Then share with your furry family!

 

 

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Posted in: Family Central, Kids




Family Central: Egg-cellent Easter

Did you know that according to the American Egg Board, more than 100 million eggs were sold last year during the week of Easter alone?

It just wouldn’t seem like Easter without those beautiful, creative, and often exquisitely dyed eggs and delicious deviled eggs on your table. I have found a few tricks of the trade to make your Easter eggs look and taste egg-cellent!
Here are a few tips to keep your eggs fresh and tasty:
  • Eggs should be refrigerated as soon as possible after purchase.  Keep them away from strong-flavored foods in your refrigerator (like onions) so they do not absorb any of those flavors. Many people store their eggs on the door, but it is best to store them in the coldest part of your fridge.
  • For the best cooking quality and flavor, eggs should be used within a week of purchase.  If you hard-boil your eggs, they will last about 4 to 6 days in the fridge. Hard-boiling your eggs removes the natural coating from them, so they need to be eaten within this time frame.
  • To make hard-boiled eggs, place clean, uncracked eggs in a saucepan. Fill with water to just about an inch over the eggs. Bring water to a boil and let eggs cook between 13 to 17 minutes depending on your egg size.

Fun fact: How can you tell if an egg is hard-boiled or raw?  Give it a spin!  A raw egg will wobble and a hard-boiled egg will spin easily because it is cooked through inside.

Your eggs are now cooked and ready for fun. There are so many different ways to design and decorate your eggs. I like to dye my eggs with natural hues. I use items I have at home to experiment. Just use hot water and add a little vinegar and the magic happens!  Here are some hues that I have tried:

  • Blue-canned blueberries or red cabbage leaves
  • Gray- beet or red grape juice
  • Light Green- spinach leaves
  • Orange-yellow onion skins
  • Yellow-orange or lemon peel, celery seed, or carrot tops
I don’t know about you but just thinking about eggs makes me hungry!  There’s nothing I love more than egg salad.  It’s a light meal that I can enjoy and make many different ways.  One of my favorite recipes is Chunky Egg Salad.  I love to eat it over our FRESH made sourdough bread and a fresh tomato.

Chunky Egg Salad

Ingredients:
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
12 large eggs
1 stalk celery (with leaves), chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs chopped fresh dill
2 Tbs whole-grain mustard
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Directions:
In a small bowl, soak the onions in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, place the eggs and cover with cold water by one inch. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute. Cover the eggs, remove from the heat, and set aside for eight minutes. Drain the water from the pan and cool the eggs in the pan under cold, running water. Peel the eggs and cut into sixths.

In a large bowl, mix together the onion, celery, mayonnaise, dill, mustard, lemon juice, and salt.

 Add the eggs to the mayonnaise mixture and gently mix them together. Season with pepper to taste.

Use in sandwiches, with lettuce and tomatoes, or in a salad.

 

 

Enjoy!  And, Happy Easter!

 

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Posted in: Family Central, Kids




Family Central: 801 Grill

Are you looking for that great outdoor patio where your family can enjoy a delicious meal in the beautiful East Texas weather? Look no further! FRESH is your one-stop spot.

We are excited about the recent opening of our 801 Grill. 801 Grill is FRESH’s quick and casual hot spot for outdoor dining. It services the Back Patio, our expansive outdoor seating area. Come and enjoy some delicious food and be sure to linger on our Back Patio which plays host to special events, including live music – making it a favorite hangout for food-lovers, music-lovers and just about everyone else in and around Tyler.

We have great menu items available for the entire family!  Purchase an 801 grill entrée of $4 or more, and get a choice of a hot dog or cheese quesadilla with chips.  The grill offers a great menu selection featuring our new 801 Burger. This is a juicy, 1/2-pound, fresh, ground beef char-grilled patty with crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes, charred red onions, dill pickle, provolone and sharp cheddar cheese on a FRESH made bun.   You can also delight your taste buds with fried cheese, smoked chicken thigh salad crostinis, the Frenchman salad, or one of our great tacos. The grill offers many great choices for you and your family to choose from, and the atmosphere is unlike any other.

801 Grill Hours

Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

We hope to see you soon for lunch with the family, dinner with friends, or an evening out with that special someone while you enjoy 801 Grill!

 

 

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Posted in: Family Central, Kids




Family Central: Italian Way of Life

At FRESH, we are in full swing Italian mode!  Today kicks off our Global Flavors Italy tour, and we couldn’t be more excited!  We have wine tastings lined up, guest chefs waiting to prepare their favorite Italian specialties and delicious Italian food ready for you to take home all over the store.

You can take your family on a tour of Italy and let FRESH do all the planning!  We have lots of delicious Italian items and entertainment your family will love!

So, what exactly is the Italian culture all about?

Italians love to relax, celebrate and socialize with family and friends every chance they get.  They always seem so warm and welcoming to their guests. Most of their celebration and relaxation occur around a table at their home or in a restaurant where they can enjoy the traditions of Italian cuisine. If there are two things that Italians enjoy most they are eating and talking.  As you walk the streets of Italy, you will find people in cafés and coffee shops engaged in conversations about a wide variety of topics. Soccer is one of the big topics of conversation you will hear as many Italians have a true love for this sport.

No matter what the size of the town, there is always one central meeting place of Italian culture—the piazza (square). This is the main focal point for celebrations, festivals and gatherings, and no matter how large or small a town’s piazza is, you will always find people gathered here walking, talking, strolling and chatting with one another.  However, you will find the piazza deserted for about two hours around lunchtime and two hours around dinnertime.  These are the times Italians are inside enjoying a meal.

If you are a real Italian, lunchtime consists of a two to three course meal and a one to two hour affair. During this time, banks and shops close, and you will find the streets to be deserted.  At around 2 o’clock people will start to emerge from their homes and go back to business until it is time for dinner.  Then, once again, they will have about a two-hour dinner and then head back to the piazza to walk off their dinner or head out to their evening engagements.

Italians have it figured out.  Family is of the upmost importance, and they have a true love for food. Here at FRESH we feel just like the Italians! All of our guests are our family, and we have a passion for good, fresh food all the time.

So step aboard with us for a delicious tour of Italy!

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Posted in: Family Central, Kids




Family Central: Italian Meal Night

Are you looking for ideas to bring your family together more often?  Maybe we should learn a thing or two from the Italians and their traditions of turning dinnertime into quality family time.  Let us talk about three easy ways to enjoy your time with your family more.

Go Grocery Shopping Together.  Plan your grocery lists with your kids and teach them about different foods and how they are used in your recipes.  Take your kids to the fresh vegetable and market section of your local grocery store and teach them what fresh vegetables look and smell like.  This will be a great opportunity to sneak in a great conversation about where these vegetables come from and how they are grown.  Pick a specific recipe for the week and have your kids pick up all the ingredients for that specific recipe.

Let your Kids Cook!  After you have shopped for all your groceries and your kids are excited about their dish, bring them right into the kitchen for the fun to begin!  Cooking is a life skill and is a great way to connect with your kids.  It is a way to bring food to life and a great conversation starter for kids that are often buried in the vast world of electronics.

Make your Kitchen a Family Hangout.  You have created the excitement of cooking already and you’re right on your way to having that fun family hangout right at home!  Your family will start to love being in the kitchen, and your quality time with them will start to multiply.  This all comes from the love of food and family!

What kid doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?  Try out this recipe with your kids to put a new spin on something that is so great!

Italian Style Macaroni & Cheese

Ingredients:
1 lb elbow macaroni
2 Tbs butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup fontina, shredded
1/4 cup provolone cheese, shredded
1 pkg sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450°F.

Boil 6 quarts of salted water and cook the pasta to almost al dente, about 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the garlic for 1 minute.

Stir in the flour.

Slowly stir in the cream until it begins to thicken.

Stir in the nutmeg and mozzarella.

Add the fontina, provolone and sun-dried tomatoes.

Mix the cheese mixture with the macaroni, season with salt and pepper and place in a large buttered casserole dish.

Mix together the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the macaroni and bake for 10 minutes until golden.

You can have the best of both worlds even if you are short on time. We have great Macaroni & Cheese in the Grab & Go section here at FRESH, alongside our Baked Ziti family casserole. You can also grab our FRESH baguettes and a wonderful salad, and you and your family are set for a wonderful dinner!





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