Sometimes, you have to get a little bit creative to ensure that everyone in the family is happy. Watching Monday Night football is an example and thus, the “Football Picnic” was born.
The girls have grown to love “Football Picnic” as we designed it so Max and I could watch Monday Night Football without a lot of interruptions. The girls know it’s a special treat to eat dinner in front of the TV and every once in a while we throw in a “special snack” as well, like nachos – chips, cheese, salsa with leftover taco meat and/or avocado if we have it.
The playoffs find us watching some afternoon games as well and I use those games as an excuse to make some of our favorite heavier appetizers – like chicken wing dip or baked brie & brown sugar - yum!
What are your favorite football family snacks?
Maybe it’s the candy bar calling your name from the vending machine at 3 p.m. each workday. Or the chips that nag you as you watch television in the evening. No matter your go-to item to munch, many of us feel a craving to eat a particular food now and then – or more often!
Food cravings are linked to emotions and desires. Whether you’re stressed, anxious or bored, people tend to reach food foods that contain fat, sugar or both. So how should you deal with a food craving when it strikes?
Give in–within reason. How many times have you tried to ignore a craving and instead, eaten around it? First you try to satisfy with grapes and then cheese, and then crackers–only to end up eating the brownie you wanted in the first place? Restricting foods makes cravings worse and you often end up eating the food you really wanted anyway, plus many more calories.
Portion it out. If you have a craving for a particular food, portion out a reasonable amount instead of dipping your hand nonstop into the potato chip bag or sticking your spoon straight into the ice cream container. Giving yourself a set amount will help you satisfy your craving without overdoing it.
What do you do when a food craving strikes?
Before the girls became involved in their activities we would hike nearly every Sunday, enjoying time as a family and being out in the fresh air. However, as life tends to do, schedules became jammed and pretty soon Sunday’s became the only day when there wasn’t a schedule or an alarm set and family hikes fell off the agenda. It felt decadent to sleep in (some of us are better at that than others), but we really missed the family time off the grid.
So, this year one of our family resolutions is to reinstate the Sunday hike. Rekindle our love for being outside and just enjoying our time together.
What are the goals you’ve set for your family this year?
Have you ever hosted a party and had too much beer or wine leftover? Or worse, had to run out during the festivities to get more? If you’d like some help with the planning check out our brand new Beverage Calculator on the Safeway holiday site!
Simply put in the duration of your party, types of beverage and guest count and the calculator provides a recommendation on the quantities to have on hand. Check it out!
My mom, sisters, and brother-in-law come into town every Christmas for an extended stay. The girls love having their aunts, uncle and Nana around for non-stop entertainment and with a houseful it truly feels like a holiday.
One of the traditions my mom started was getting a ham for our first dinner together so we could have leftovers to “pick on” throughout their visit. We all love this and the ham finds its way into many breakfasts and lunches. But my favorite leftover of leftovers is making split pea soup, in fact; I love the recipe right on the back of the Safeway Green Split Peas which was developed by cookbook author Marlene Sorosky Gray. Here it is:
Split Pea Soup
1 lb. green split peas
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 bay leaves
12 cups water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
What are some of your favorite holiday leftover recipes?
Instead of the classic holiday meals, this year I’ll be doing something a little different: lamb! I’m excited to make this delicious roasted rack of lamb from Safeway.com. It’s not only tasty, but easy to make and included rosemary (which I love). I’m bringing Lamb home for the holidays this year, instead of the traditional ham or turkey. Below is a delicious and fairly simple recipe sure to please everyone at your table. Happy Holidays to all and enjoy!
Roasted Rack of Lamb
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (7 bone) rack of Open Nature lamb, trimmed and frenched
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Allow internal temperature to be 5 to 10 degrees less than you like because the meat will continue to cook while it sits. Bloody rare: 115 to 125 degrees l Rare: 125 to 130 degrees l Medium rare: 130 to 140 degrees l Medium: 140 to 150 degrees
Love Pinterest? Then we have good news for you!
Not only has Safeway launched a Pinterest page, but today we’re announcing our first-ever Pinterest sweepstakes!
Starting today through January 2nd, we’re giving away a $50 Safeway gift card once per day!
Entering is easy: simply visit our “Pin2Win” app on our Facebook page, pin your favorite recipe, enter your email address and that’s it! You can come back each day for another chance to win.
*All winners will be contacted via email. Rules and regulations apply.
Take a look at the Safeway Chef Assistant App, introduced last year to offer help for holiday dinners – recipes, meal planning, timers, and how-to videos for the Safeway 2 Hour Turkey recipe (my go to every year) and carving! This year it’s back with even more – great values, wine savings ideas, baking recipes & tools, and more.
But one of my favorite new features is a virtual cupcake decorator where you can frost, decorate, and share your creations! Some of you may remember the gingerbread man decorating game a few years back – Gabby loved that and she had fun sharing her virtual cookies with her Nana in Chicago. Now that the twins are older I know they’re going to love the cupcake decorator just as much – perfect way to entertain the girls while we’re waiting in line, or just decompress after a long day!
Want to add something different to the Thanksgiving lineup, a holiday party, or really any gathering? Try homemade baked brie. A festive warm treat on a cold fall day, this delicious recipe is surprisingly easy to make. Enjoy!
8-oz round Brie
Pre Made Pie Crust- homemade or store bought
Preserves of choice: fig, blackberry, raspberry, marmalade
Baking sheet- line with foil or baking paper
1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
2. Layer baking sheet with tin foil or baking paper
3. Let brie stand to room temp
4. Using the knife carefully remove top layer of white exterior from the brie
5. Sprinkle flour on a clean flat surface
6. Dust rolling pin with flour and roll out one sheet of the pie crust
7. Place ½ the pie crust on the baking sheet
8. Place brie in the center of the pie crust
9. Spread 1.5-2-oz of the preserves on the top of the brie
10. Fold the crust in over the top of the brie
11. Feeling creative? Cut out designs in the remaining dough to place on top
12. Bake for 20-25 minutes in center of oven until golden brown
13. Let stand for 10 minutes prior to serving
Thanksgiving may be all about turkey, but let’s not forget the seafood!
Clam chowder can be a hearty, healthy and sustainable meal for the holidays. Farm raised clams are a Responsible Choice product, rated a green ‘Best Choice’ by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.
Here are a few fun facts about clams: Clams are filter feeders which means they actually improve the water quality around them. They are also low in saturated fats and a good source of vitamin B12, making them a healthy option for you and the oceans. One of my favorite chowders is a great addition or substitute for a traditional holiday dinner – try it out!
Yields: 4 serving - you need:
• 5 lbs. of fresh clams
• 3 bay leaves
• ¼ tablespoon salt
• 1 tablespoon corn starch
• 1/8 lb. bacon (diced)
• 1 onion (diced)
• ½ teaspoon thyme
• 2 tablespoons butter
• ¼ teaspoon white pepper
• 2 cups peeled and diced russet potatoes
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 cup milk
• 1 bottle clam juice (also save liquid the clams are cooked in)
• 1 cup heavy cream
• Additional salt (to taste)
• Cayenne pepper
• Chopped parsley
1. If the clams are already shucked, you can go ahead and skip this step. Clean the outside of the clams and put them into a large soup pot filled with cold water. Add ¼ cup of salt and a tablespoon of cornstarch. Letting the clams sit for an hour in this solution will cause them to expel any sand. Rinse and then drain in a colander.
2. Clean the pot and then put the clams back in, adding a cup of water and 2 bay leaves.
3. Cover the pot and place on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Important: throw away any clams that do not open after being steamed for 15 minutes. After taking the clams out of the liquid, strain and save the leftover liquid to add to your chowder.
4. Remove the clams from their shells and dice them.
5. Clean the pot and place back on the stove – add bacon and cook until almost crisp.
6. Add onion, bay leaf, thyme, pepper, and butter. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and stir. When the onions become translucent, add milk, diced potatoes, and the clam liquid that you saved. Bring up to a boil and then simmer, stirring frequently. This should take about 10 minutes.
7. Add the heavy cream and the diced clams while the pot is simmering. Cook for several more minutes, taking care not to overcook. Taste, and add salt/pepper/cayenne as needed.
8. Serve with parsley topping and oyster crackers!
Explore new cheese varieties with some delicious German cheese! Champignon is a German cheese-maker that has been making cheese for 112 years in Bavaria. The cheese is made using 100 percent pure grass fed cow’s milk from grazing cattle in the Bavarian Alps. Safeway carries several varieties of the Champignon brand soft-ripened cheese, two of my favorites are Cambozola and Champignonare.
Cambozola is a must for any blue cheese lover. Triple crème brie combined with Gorgonzola makes for a rich and decadent treat. The smooth, creaminess of the brie is followed by the burst of blue cheese flavor on your palate.
Champignon mushroom brie is milder featuring double crème brie made with actual mushroom pieces in the cheese. Any traditional brie enthusiast will enjoy this upgraded version of brie.
Cambozola and Champignon are delicious on their own, in salads, used in fondue, on sandwiches or burgers and even pizza. A fun way to serve this cheese is to heat it up on the grill using a wooden plank, served warm with fig paste to accompany the Champignon and blackberry preserves to accompany the Cambozola.
Light wines such as Beaujolais, Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wines go beautifully with either cheese, as well as light ales.
Cambozola and Champignon are available in a wedge or the 5-oz mini brie.
In our house, the holidays technically start early October with the prep and festivities around Halloween, which is then immediately followed by the twins’ birthday, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, my birthday, all the Christmas fetes, along with an extended visit from my family. SOOOO much fun packed into two months. Oh, and work and school and all that stuff too!
This is when my type A personality goes into overdrive – lists, schedules and the sequencing of prep steps across multiple days/hours to ensure we can make it all happen. We've scaled back on some of it – store bought treats for school functions rather than homemade, potluck for parties so no one is spread too thin, and even cutting back on scheduling excursions when my family visits from Chicago so we can just hang out without having to be on the clock the entire visit. That’s probably been our best adjustment yet, everyone actually feels refreshed after a visit!
What are some of your tricks for managing the holidays?
There’s no doubt that Halloween is one of the best kid holidays ever. It’s a fun holiday for parents too, but dealing with the mountain of candy that your little trick-or-treaters collect isn’t so fun. If you’re overwhelmed about what to do with their sweet haul, consider these four options:
1. Set a daily limit. Allow your child to enjoy a few extra on Halloween night, but after that, institute a cap on the amount of candy–say, two mini candy bars each day for a week or so. Most kids tend to forget about their candy after the Halloween excitement wears off.
2. Buy it back. Some parents pay kids a set amount (such as 10 cents) per pound for trading in their candy or offer a toy or special outing in exchange.
3. Sort and toss. Help your goblins sort through the candy and choose the varieties they absolutely love. Set a limit for how much they can eat of that stash and then get rid of the rest. Donate candy for troops overseas. Or check if your dentist offers a candy buy-back program where kids receive money, coupons or other trinkets in exchange for candy.
4. Repurpose. Sort the candy into chocolate and non-chocolate piles. Freeze the chocolate candies and use them as treats throughout the year or add to baked goods (like M&Ms instead of chocolate chips to cookies). Keep hard candies and licorice for decorating holiday gingerbread houses.
How do you deal with Halloween candy overload?
There’s a chill in the air, the mornings are getting dark, the foliage is changing color and leaves are all over the ground…this can mean only one thing: fall is here! I suddenly have the urge to pull out my Crock Pot for some good Bacon & Chicken comfort food. Here’s a great recipe that’s easy, flexible and oh so delicious!
Total Time: 6 hours (cook), 15 minutes (prep)
• 5 slices Safeway Bacon
• 6 Eating Right or Safeway boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
• 10 oz. can condensed cream of chicken soup OR 10 oz. jar four cheese Alfredo sauce (or any flavor of condensed soup you want)
• 4 oz. jar sliced mushrooms, drained OR 1 onion, chopped
• 1/2 cup diced Swiss or Havarti cheese (or any kind of cheese!)
In large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon and set aside in refrigerator.
In bacon drippings in skillet, cook chicken over medium heat 3-5 minutes or until light brown, turning once. Place in 4-6 quart slow cooker. Top with mushrooms. In skillet, heat soup and pour over mushrooms and chicken. Cover and cook on low setting for 4-5 hours, or until chicken registers 160 degrees F on a meat thermometer. Top chicken with cheese slices and sprinkle with bacon. Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Pumpkin is one of those holiday foods that just doesn’t get the nutrition accolades it deserves, nor the year-round usage that it should. One cup of pumpkin is not only a good source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium, but its bright orange color is a giveaway that it’s also rich in vitamin A and carotenoids. Vitamin A helps promote normal vision, helps regulate the immune system and helps keep body cells and tissues healthy.
Although you can use fresh pumpkin for cooking and baking, don’t dismiss its canned counterpart. Canned pumpkin is loaded with the same nutrients as fresh, so it’s a convenient option. Remember to choose 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, which has sugar added to it).
Help boost nutrition, lower fat or trim sodium in favorite foods like these by adding pumpkin:
Pasta Sauce: Stir 1 cup of pumpkin puree to one jar (26 oz.) of sauce during heating.
Mashed Potatoes: Add ½ cup of pumpkin puree to each cup of homemade or instant potatoes.
Chili: Stir ¼ cup of pumpkin puree into each cup of chili.
Boxed Mac & Cheese: Replace butter or margarine called for in directions with ½ cup pumpkin puree.
Brown Rice: Add ½ cup pumpkin puree to the cooking liquid for each cup of uncooked rice you add.
Pancakes and Waffles: Stir 2/3 cup of pumpkin puree into 3 cups of pancake batter.
Smoothies: Blend in a dollop of pumpkin puree in with yogurt and fruit.
Baked Goods: Replace 1/3 of the butter called for in baked goods recipes with pumpkin puree instead.
Do you have a tip for adding pumpkin to recipes?
Halloween is upon us!
Over the years October has started to feel somewhat like December in terms of all the prep & activities. Decorations go up early in the month, costumes need to be decided on then made/purchased/swapped, and there are events to schedule in around two jobs and the regular activities & homework – picking pumpkins, school parade, parties for kids and adults – whoosh! So much fun and it’s beginning to require some major coordination.
One of the things we do to keep it fun for all on Halloween night is make it a neighborhood event. Everyone gets together to trick or treat as a group which helps ensure everyone is safe and not out too late. We then all go to one house to sort & trade candy – much easier to end the evening if the girls’ friends are heading back as well – especially since the holiday falls on a school night! We also try and limit the sugar consumption with our “3 pieces on Halloween night” rule (nothing eaten until we get home and can inspect) and then the girls can fill a small sandwich bag with their favorites for later.
Max and I love to eat authentic ethnic foods, but with a picky eater (Maddy) it really isn’t an enjoyable experience to go out. To introduce some international foods and encourage a more open attitude to trying new things, we put a map of the world by the breakfast table. The girls will play “find a country," where the girls will choose a location and we'll talk about the kinds of food generally eaten there. Once we've talked about it and shown them some pictures, we take a trip to the store to pick out ingredients and make a special dish. Anything sweet is a sure thing, while more exotic spices are obviously a bit scary at first.
What are your tricks for getting your kids to try new foods?
With school back in session, it's no doubt that you are back to hectic schedule and preparation for the year. To start things off on the right foot, set the stage with some great florals. Whether it’s for your children’s' teachers, or even your own desk at work, here are a few tips to makeover your workspace with plants. Try picking out several small plants, both blooming and foliage, and place into a pot or basket. You can fill the top of the soil with moss or decorative stones and have an instant garden for your desk.
Plants can actually lift your sprits! They emit oxygen and remove formaldehyde and other toxins from the air.
Some long-lasting and good choices of working plants are
Do you have flowers on your desk? If so, what are your flowers of choice?
Did you know there are around nine commonly recognized species of salmon? It’s hard to imagine, but with such great variety comes a wide range of options in terms of taste, texture, and price, all depending on the source location, harvesting practices, and species being sold. Because of this, salmon can be an incredibly versatile food.
When picking out salmon in the store, there are a few things to keep in mind. Most important is your preference for either farmed or wild-caught. If you’re looking for wild-caught salmon, any one of the seven species of Pacific salmon is an excellent choice, as these varieties tend to be wild-caught nearly 99% of the time. Atlantic salmon, on the other hand, is usually farmed.
The most common varieties of Pacific salmon are the Chinook, Sockeye and Soho. Each of these has a specific set of characteristics that make them perfect for different tastes and preparation styles. The Chinook, which is the largest variety, has a high fat content that results in a buttery flavor. Sockeye, which tends to be much smaller, is a very oily variety, which makes it ideal for grilling. The Coho is the leanest variety of salmon and as a result has a firm, delicate texture that has a mild and sweet taste.
The next time you are shopping at your local Safeway, be sure to stop by the Seafood department and check out the excellent selection of this tasty, healthy food.
Here are some tips for some of my favorite summer vegetables. Remember you can always ask someone in your local Safeway produce department for help choosing the best produce.
It’s that time of year again: here comes the morning school rush! If you’re like me, getting everyone out the door on time is a daily challenge. But during that rush, don’t neglect breakfast.
Consider that kids who eat breakfast tend to:
Breakfast is the perfect opportunity to get key nutrients such as fiber, calcium and protein, and to work in some whole grains and fruit. A nutritious breakfast can be quick, too. Even kids can make some of these morning meals themselves:
What speedy breakfasts are your favorites?
Have I mentioned how much I love our exclusive vase collections? Let me count the ways…
Whether you want to fill a vase up with fresh flowers, or design a themed seasonal centerpiece, these vases come in every size for all of your elegant entertaining needs.
The Artisan Bud Vases are my go to for mixing in layers of petite floral arrangements on your tables. A single bunch of cut flowers goes a long way in a collection of these vases, and really adds an interesting, stylist touch to your design.
For a more modern look, I love the Cube Collection vases. In two sizes, these vases help create low-profile centerpieces – perfect for arranging in a linear row down the length of your table for dinner parties.
The gorgeous Illusion Collection vases are high quality, hand-blown glass vases with a beautiful bubble in the base to create the illusion of light reflection. Filled with cut flowers, fresh fruit or a pillar candle, they are perfect on their own or combined in a trio of sizes for a more statement design.
A favorite party planning trick: take a modern approach to serving tasty treats, by placing cookies in a trio of Illusion Vases. This creates a fun, edible centerpiece for all to enjoy.
Find the debi lilly design™ collection in the floral department. Visit www.safeway.com/debililly for more inspiration.
Heirloom tomatoes have a taste that can be enjoyed fresh or as a recipe ingredient. Some favorite heirloom tomatoes are Black Crimson (from Russia’s Crimean Peninsula), Cherokee Purple (originally grown by the Cherokee Indian tribe in Tennessee), Brandywine (an Amish variety), and Marvel Stripe (aptly named for its radial, red striations).
Because heirlooms are so different from the other varieties of tomatoes, look for ones with maximum coloring that are plump, smooth skinned, and feel heavy for their size. If the tomatoes are somewhat soft and yield to touch, then they are fully ripe, and you can eat them immediately. Heirlooms should not be refrigerated unless they have already been prepared or completely ripened and would otherwise spoil if left at room temperature. To store, place tomatoes stem end up in a closed paper bag. You can add an ethylene-producing fruit like a banana or apple to help the ripening process along.
August 9th is Book Lovers Day, a great reminder to carve some time out of your summer day or evening and enjoy your favorite book. We all know that reading can be a relaxing way to wind down after a hectic day. Studies suggest it also makes you smarter, improves your memory and ability to spot patterns, and can even improve your health by improving your mood. So grab a book and get reading!
Most cities and towns across the country have already sweated through many “dog days of summer,” well ahead of their traditional August appearance. Staying hydrated is critical to good health, but particularly so when it’s hot and humid outside.
Even mild dehydration can negatively affect your well-being. Two recent studies found that mild dehydration was associated with headaches, moodiness, greater fatigue and increased tension and anxiety. Imagine how you’d feel if you were more than mildly dehydrated! Click here for a simple way to gauge your hydration status and to learn more about your daily fluid needs. And help keep your cool with these hydration tips:
How do you keep your cool when temperatures rise?
An orchid is a unique plant. There are over 25,000 species that can grow almost everywhere, with the exception Antarctica. Orchids grow on trees, rocks, and underground, most orchids grow in tropical forests and mountain ranges. These are the plants that do best as houseplants.
Orchids are easy to care for and the blooms can last for weeks. Place the orchid near a window with indirect sunlight. Provide food and water to the orchid to promote healthy growth. Water the plant as the orchid mix dries. Do not over water. Orchids like it on the dry side.
Orchids make an awesome gift! I often pick out an orchid from one of our Safeway stores whenever I need a gift. I give orchids to the teachers at school, the nurse in my Doctor’s office and my husband’s secretary for Admin Day. But, I have to share who I buy for the most, ME! I love to treat myself to a stunning orchid to keep on my fireplace; it gives me weeks of pleasure.
So the next time you are shopping at your Safeway store take a stroll thru Floral and check out the orchids. I know you’ll love them too!
Summer isn’t complete without having a really delicious corn on the cob.
Before its time to make corn, make sure you’ve brought home the best husks you can. Corn is best stored in a cool environment, so your local supermarket should be displaying corn in refrigerator bins. Great quality corn should have full, evenly formed ears, with straight rows of bright kernels. The husks should be bright green with the silk ends free from decay. There are so many great ways to enjoy corn, especially in the summer. You can make corn on the cob the traditional way by boiling it, or one of my family’s favorite ways is to make grilled corn on the cob. Drizzle each piece in olive oil, add salt and pepper, and wrap in tin foil. They will take 40 minutes to an hour on the grill, but when they are finished they are mouthwatering! You won’t even need butter. Enjoy some delicious corn today!
Over a year’s time, cutting just 100 calories from your daily diet can really add up and help you drop some of those unwanted pounds. The best part? You don’t need to deprive yourself. Cutting 100 calories from your diet is simple and nearly effortless–more than anything, it’s a matter of getting into the calorie-trimming habit! We have lots of great tips to share here, along with these 10 favorites:
What calorie-cutting tricks do you use?
My family and I are lucky to live in beautiful Washington State, and have easy access to many short and spectacular family-friendly hikes. No matter where you live, getting out in the great outdoors is a fantastic way to spend time with your kids and get some exercise, too! Since all that moving can make you hungry, here are some options for packing a nutritious and portable picnic to enjoy on the mountaintop, on a hillside, in the field or woods, or wherever you like to romp:
Remember the mantra “Leave No Trace”: pack out what you pack in, garbage, peels and all, to keep our parks and trails clean! Where are some of your favorite places to walk or hike and picnic?
Who doesn’t love a sweet juicy melon on a hot summer day? I especially love watermelon, there’s just no better flavor than a really ripe, sweet melon with the juices running down your hands and face. Did you know more watermelons are sold during Independence Day weekend than any other day of the year? When you pick them out at the store, turn the melon over and look for a yellow underside with a healthy sheen to it. If you see that and it passes the “thump” test, it’s ready to go home. Don't refrigerate melons unless they become too ripe or have been cut. Whole watermelons can be stored at room temperature for two weeks. Cut watermelons should be loosely covered in plastic wrap before refrigerating. Watermelon is the only melon that tastes better the colder they are- which only makes it that more refreshing! Pick up a juicy watermelon at your local Safeway today!