Displaying articles for: September 2010
October kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness month, started over 25 years ago to educate and empower women to take charge of their own breast health. And thanks to the generosity of our customers (you!) Safeway raised over $18 million dollars for breast cancer research in 2009, bringing the total to more than $78 million over the past eight years! Fundraising kicks off this week with three easy ways to support the cause –
1) $5 will be donated to support local and national breast cancer charities when you purchase $30 in participating products (look for the pink ribbon tag)
2) Purchase a reusable shopping bag for $1.99 and $1 of the purchase price will be donated to the cause
3) Donate at the check stand.
It’s amazing how small donations can really add up!
Spaghetti is one of my favorite dinners. A rich sauce that has cooked all day is beyond compare. What would spaghetti be without some hot garlic bread to go with it? So I did a little experimenting and came up with a very tasty variation of traditional garlic bread. First take a loaf of French or Sourdough bread and cut it in half lengthwise. Mix one softened cube of butter or margarine with some garlic powder to taste. Spread mixture onto the two halves of bread. Put about one ounce of grated Parmesan cheese on each half. Crumble one ounce of Blue cheese on top of each half. Slice six green onions including some of the “green” part. Now sprinkle the onions on each half. Pre heat your oven to 425° and then bake the halves on a cookie sheet for eight minutes. The next time you are thinking about garlic bread, make this gourmet garlic bread. I think you will love it.
If you love hummus, this is the sandwich for you. It’s so simple to make, and with delicious ingredients like fresh tomatoes, basil and cucumbers you can’t go wrong. This sandwich is especially great for moms on the go, now that school has started.
Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber Sandwiches (Makes 4)
6 tablespoons hummus
8 slices O Organics(TM) Seeds and Grains Bread
4 heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
24 thin slices English cucumber
1 tablespoon O Organics Balsamic Vinegar
4 slices red onion
8 large O Organics Basil leaves
4 slices O Organics Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Spread hummus evenly on one side of each slice of bread.
Combine tomatoes, cucumber, and vinegar in a small bowl; divide evenly among 4 bread slices
Top each with 1 onion slice, 2 basil leaves, 1 cheese slice, and 1 bread slice.
If you’re a mom (or dad!) to a baby or toddler this is news for you – our mom to mom ™ Diapers are new and improved. With input from moms and new advances in diaper technology, our mom to mom ™ Supreme diapers (purple packaging) now have better leakage control and will come in larger pack sizes. Plus, we’re no longer carrying our Everyday products (green packaging), so this will make shopping more streamlined and a lot easier. For toddlers, our mom to mom ™ Training pants now have easy open sides with better comfort and fit in the brief, which should make potty training a much more pleasing experience for everyone involved! Look for the improved products now on your store shelves, along with great prices.
My mom has high cholesterol and her doctor told her to eat more soluble fiber. Good advice–except my mom had no idea what soluble fiber is or which foods it’s found in! She’s not alone–sorting out the different types of fiber can be confusing. Here’s a quick run-down:
Soluble fiber may help promote normal blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Find it in oatmeal, barley, nuts and seeds, beans, and fruits and vegetables like Brussels sprouts and oranges.
Insoluble fiber promotes regularity by helping food move through the digestive system. Food sources include bran cereals, whole-wheat breads and pastas, and fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and apples.
Health authorities don’t give specifics on how much of each type of fiber to eat, so focus on eating a variety of fiber-containing foods to meet recommendations. Getting 25 grams of fiber per day is a good goal for many people.
To get your fill of fiber, eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables daily. Replace foods made with refined grains (such as white bread) with alternatives like whole-wheat bread and pasta, oats and brown rice. Choose bran or other high fiber cereals. Include beans and lentils in your meals regularly. Remember to gradually add these fiber-rich foods and to drink more fluids as you increase the amount of fiber you eat.
Do you get your daily fill of fiber?
As the weather turns cooler my mind goes to traditional comfort foods – chili, lasagna – yum! There is one classic though that I’ve never tried – Chicken Pot Pie, so I went in search of a straightforward recipe. I found one on Epicurious (Bon Appetite, October 2007) - Mini Chicken Pot Pies w/Bacon and Marjoram. Max and Gabby could not stay out of the kitchen while I was making this, and it did not disappoint! Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Preheat oven to 450F. Cook 5 applewood-smoked bacon slices in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, drain on paper towels, and chop. Add 1 ½ cup chopped onion to drippings in skillet; sauté until tender. Add 2 ½ cups whole baby carrots, 8oz trimmed & halved (crosswise) haricots verts, and 4 teaspoons fresh marjoram; stir 1 minute. Add 1 ¾ low sodium chicken broth & bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium/high and boil until vegetables are almost tender and some liquid is reduced (about 8 minutes). Stir in 2/3 cup crème fraîche (sour cream works too), 3 cups coarsely shredded (or chopped) cooked chicken and bacon. Bring to a simmer, season with pepper. Divide among four 2-cup soufflé dishes. For the crust thaw 1 sheet frozen puff pastry according to directions, unfold, and roll out to a 12-inch square. Cut into 4 equal squares and top filling in soufflé dishes with pastry; folding edges down onto rims of dish. Brush top of crusts (not edges) with 1 tablespoon crème fraîche. Cut small X in center of crusts; pierce all over with fork. Bake until crusts are golden brown and filling is heated through, about 22 minutes. I took their tip and made one large pot pie – simply put all the filling into a 9-inch diameter deep dish pie pan and set the 12 inch pastry square over the filling and fold edges down over the rim (bake time is the same).
Did you know that National Flower Week in the United States is always the 3rd week of September? This is one of those historical facts that I never knew. This year National Flower Week falls from September 21 through 25.
I work with flowers every day and I do forget to appreciate them. That old cliché “Stop and smell the roses” rings true even today. It may feel awkward to stop what we’re doing for just a minute to truly appreciate - flowers - but what a difference that minute will make! Maybe it’s the color or the scent, the texture, anything about a flower that will brighten the day and turn the stress away for just that minute. So this would be the week to really take the time to celebrate flowers and what they mean to you. And I’d like to hear from you - let me know what is your favorite flower and why!
For more information about National Flowers, check out this link:
There’s nothing like biting into a sweet, crunchy grape on a warm day. Grapes make for excellent snacks, or as added bursts of flavor in salads and chicken dishes. Always be ready to eat grapes when you buy them because they are only harvested when fully ripe. When choosing grapes, use color as your guide. Red grape should be a deep crimson, not a milky or pale red. As well as choosing the grapes by their color, make sure the stem is a green color: the greener the stem, the fresher the grapes. They should also be firmly attached to the stems. Keep grape bunches in the refrigerator, and they will stay fresh for a week to ten days. Washing and removing grapes from their stems is about all that is needed to prepare grapes before you’re ready to eat them. Grapes are excellent in cold salads, especially chicken, turkey, or tuna salads. They’re also perfect to add to your kid’s lunches for a sweet treat during school time.
You can learn more about grapes in this month’s Fresh Ideas Magazine in your local Safeway store.
Hard to believe we’ve been back into the school routine for a month already! Even more of an adjustment for Max and me as the twins started Kindergarten this Fall – 3 class rooms with 3 sets of activities and homework! The hardest thing for the girls has been the rigid early wake up call and having to move quickly in the morning. Over the summer we were a little looser getting them to “camp” since Max had more flexibility in his schedule. Given the nagging we’re doing on school mornings I realized it was time to crack down on something else we had also let slide - dressing for school the night before. We had started this when the girls were infants to make the mornings easier and had kept it up until this past summer when things weren’t so hectic. So, we started this again last week and it has made things so much smoother in the mornings. The girls miss their PJs but look forward to wearing them at the end of the week (and there’s a little less laundry too!).
What are your tricks for getting everyone out of the house fast?
When’s the last time your family ate dinner together?
If you’re like many families, sitting down to a meal together is easier said than done. But making time for regular family meals is important, offering benefits that go beyond family bonding. Research shows:
To help get your clan on the family meal plan, pick a regular time to eat together, even if it’s only one night a week to start. Or make breakfast or an evening snack your family meal, if dinnertime is too hectic. Keep menus simple, and be sure to include vegetables and fruits. Finally, ask the family to pitch in–even little ones can do things like set the table or wash produce.
How do you make time for family meals?
Did you know that 15% of households use a crock pot? And I’ll bet twice as many actually have one stored away in their house somewhere! My co-worker lent me her crock pot so I could give it a try and it had a 10 hour cook time setting which meant I could use it on a weekday – hurray! I made my chili recipe, omitting the meat to keep it really simple. It was so much easier just putting everything into the crock pot without having to tend to it. I added the cornbread topping as a “twist” – the girls and Max loved that! Here it is, let me know if you have any favorite slow cooker recipes!
Place 2 diced zucchini, 1 diced red bell pepper, 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped cloves of garlic, 1 TBSP olive oil, 8oz frozen spinach, 5 cans diced tomatoes (I like petite diced, do not drain), 1 can drained black beans, 1 small can diced green chilies, 1 can tomato paste, and 4-6 TBSP dark chili powder into the crock pot, stir, cover and cook on low for 10 hours (this is if you’re going to be out of the house the entire day). Next combine 1 package corn muffin mix with ½ cup egg substitute and spoon batter over mixture in crock pot. Cover and cook another hour until corn bread is done. Top with 1 ½ cups Mexican blend or Cheddar cheese, cover and cook another 5 minutes until cheese melts. Serve with sour cream.
Did you know 49 million Americans are affected by hunger, including 17 million children? Hunger is a huge reality in our country, and as a leader in the grocery retail industry, Safeway is doing its part to decrease the number of people who struggle with it every day. As a result, hunger relief serves as one of the key areas that we support in fulfilling our commitment to give back to our communities.
Safeway is proud to stand as one of the largest contributors to local food banks and hunger relief programs in its operating areas. Over the past three years alone, the company has donated nearly $200 million worth of merchandise to fight hunger in our nation. However, alleviating this problem requires all of our combined efforts. Here’s what you can do to help provide hunger relief in your own community:
1. Donate food and grocery products to charitable agencies nearby.
2. Share your time with a local food bank or organize a food drive in your community.
3. Encourage friends and family members to join the fight against hunger.
Let me know if you already do any or all of these. I would love to know!
Did you know there are over 38,000 varieties of mushrooms? Of course not all of them are edible, but that’s a lot of mushrooms! Today is Mushroom Picking Day, so I’m going to give you some tips on selecting your favorite varieties. Select button mushrooms with short stems, and choose clean, fresh-looking, plump mushrooms, which are dry but not wrinkled. Make sure they exhibit appropriate white, tan or cream color, depending on the variety you're buying. When selecting specialty mushrooms, like the increasingly popular Portobello’s and shiitakes, try to select the firmest and meatiest ones you can find. Most specialty mushrooms will be dry to the touch, but should not be too fragile. Specialty mushrooms should have deep, woodsy aroma.
Mushrooms are great when sautéed in olive oil or butter, which is typically the best way to prepare them for any dish. You can find great mushroom recipes at http://www.safeway.com/IFL/Grocery/Recipes-and-Mea
Like many families, pizza and a movie on Friday nights has long been a tradition in our house. Lately, we’ve been trying something new: we make our own! It’s easy and fun for the whole family. I buy a pre-baked whole-wheat pizza shell (it’s available in original flavor, too) but you can also use refrigerated pizza crust dough in a pop-open tube, available in the dairy section. My son Tim helps me slice and dice to put together bowls of different topping options–tomato sauce, mozzarella and feta cheeses, baby spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, olives and cooked chicken sausages (a lower fat alternative to pork sausage). Then the fun begins as we each take a section of the pizza to create our own “masterpizzas.” Last week, Tim sprinkled his piece of the pie with mozzarella, tomato and sausage, I made a Greek-style veggie and feta cheese section and my husband Rob went all out, loading on a little of every topping. We rounded out the meal with a nutritious tossed salad of baby spinach, shredded carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers dressed with light vinaigrette. For dessert, we made “sundaes” of vanilla low-fat frozen yogurt and sliced strawberries and blueberries. Making our own pizza makes family movie night even more fun, so we’ve decided to make it our new tradition.
What’s your family’s favorite movie night meal?
Nothing reminds me more of summer & fall than Bruschetta! Ripe, juicy tomatoes with basil and some garlic – very refreshing on a warm day. Easy enough to make as well, although preparing the toast is a little messy. My desire to avoid rubbing the garlic clove on the bread slices led me to a more convenient serving option for one of our get-togethers recently. Rather than serving in individual portions I decide to convert into a dip by chopping the tomatoes more finely and using the pre-made garlic toasts (pita chips work well too). My recipe is adapted from the New Basics cookbook – simply mix together 1 ¾ lbs finely chopped heirloom tomatoes, 2 TBSP minced shallot, 2 TBSP minced garlic cloves, 1 cup chopped basil, 2 TBSP olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste. Serve with pita chips or pre-baked garlic toasts. I also served with our Safeway Select Grissini - pencil thin breadsticks which have become a regular for the dinners that we host – the kids love them and they add some dimension to the table. Enjoy!
Talk about preparing students for a brighter future for themselves as well as for the country. A partnership has been developed between the California Department of Education and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company that has resulted in the opening of New Energy Academies. The three-year programs seek to prepare students for job opportunities in the rapidly expanding energy sector as well as provide them with an academically rigorous learning experience that has a “real-world” application. Five schools have been chosen in California: Berkeley High School in Berkeley, Edison High School in Fresno, Foothill High School in Sacramento, Independence High School in Bakersfield and Venture Academy in Stockton. Hats off to these two organizations for getting the ball rolling with the youth on green energy! Please read more about these academies on the internet. http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr09/yr09rel139.asp
While your kids are at school, it’s important that they are eating the right foods to stay fueled throughout the day. Packing a good lunch is crucial for them! There are lots of creative ways to help get kids actually wanting to eat healthy foods! Adding little extras like peanut butter or nuts give fruits and vegetables a more fun taste, while still keeping things healthy. Remember, kids like food that’s FUN! Try making the all time favorite, Ants on a Log. You can't go wrong with their silly nature, and kids will still get vitamins and nutritious value. They're fun and easy to make, and the interaction will help them like what they are eating. Another simple snack is mini caramel apples. Using a melon scooper, scoop out pieces of apple, and let the kids dip them in caramel packets. The apple keeps things healthy while giving a little sugary treat with the caramel. If your kids really love apples, try making apple pinwheels. Peel and core an apple, then mix some peanut butter, honey and raisins and stuff the core with this delicious mixture. Try some of these treats in your kid's school lunches, and help make a difference in the way they eat. There's always a way to get kids to eat healthier!
If you enjoy seafood, then you may have questions about the fish and shellfish you buy, like how it is cultivated and harvested and how these activities impact our waterways. With ongoing media reports and a lot of desire to do what’s right for the planet, it’s often confusing and difficult to know HOW to make the right choices to support the right efforts.
We want to answer your questions and address these concerns, so the next time you’re in the seafood department pick up a copy of our “Always a Good Catch” brochure. It highlights what we’ve already done—like halting the sale of certain “Red List Species” like Blue Fin Tuna and all species of Shark—and our ongoing efforts to support seafood sustainability across all areas. From employee training and offering sustainable seafood choices, to assessing our vendor’s policies and practices regarding seafood, energy, water use, transportation and packaging, we’re doing our part to do what’s right for our oceans. What do you think of our Sustainable Seafood Policy? Let us know!
Where did summer go? I can’t believe that school is already starting! I usually pack lunch for my son Tim to take to school, and even though peanut butter and jelly is his mainstay, sometimes he likes to mix it up. Here are a few Tim-tested favorites – see if they make the grade with your kids!
Turkey roll-up: Wrap a slice (or two) of turkey around a light string cheese stick.
Toss It Together Salad: Combine lettuce, shredded carrots, grape tomatoes, cooked and cubed chicken breast and a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese. Send with low-fat ranch dressing in a separate container.
Souper Soup: To keep soup hot, swirl the thermos with boiling water, dump it out, then add hot soup. Tim loves the homemade chicken rice soup that I make but in a pinch, I heat up canned reduced-sodium soups (minestrone and tomato soup are favorites), and send it along with whole-grain crackers.
Build-Your-Own Lunch: A less expensive, do-it-yourself version of prepackaged lunch packs. Simply fill small containers with a variety of finger foods. One of Tim’s favorite lunches includes cracker sandwiches (whole-grain crackers, turkey or ham, and reduced-fat cheese cut into circles and sent in separate containers for him to “build” his sandwiches), along with grapes, baby carrots and dip, and mini-size cookies.
Do you have a favorite school lunch idea to share?
We are heading to the mountains for a long weekend of relaxing, outdoor activity this Labor Day. This has to be one of my favorite getaways as it’s a reasonable drive to get to a completely different environment. I think it’s the simplicity of our time when we’re up there that holds the appeal for me – no schedules, no time pressures; you just get up in the morning when you feel like it, and head out when you’re ready – lovely! What are your plans for the Labor Day weekend?