Stopping for awareness
NEW SPRINGFIELD -- Enesco Group's 53-foot Precious Moments Care-A-Van, traveling coast to coast to raise breast cancer awareness, will visit Hummel Gift Shop, 1656 E. Garfield Road, from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday to collect entries for the National Pink Ribbon Quilt effort. Cotton quilt squares will be assembled to create special Pink Ribbon quilts to be donated to the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations and other charitable organizations for their fund-raising efforts. Enesco hopes to collect 2,002 handcrafted 12-by-12 quilt squares, which can be dropped at Hummel Gift Shop or any of the 90 Care-A-Van stops or sent by Dec. 15, 2001, to PM Pink Ribbon Quilt Collection, 1 S. 450 Summit Ave., Suite 320, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. 60181. Enesco is also raising money for NABCO from the sale of a special Precious Moments figurine, "Life is Worth Fighting For." A portion of the $30 sale price is donated to NABCO.
The skinny on spuds
Terra Frites are an attempt to duplicate the Belgian street food that is probably more familiar to Americans in its miniature rendition: shoestring potatoes. Frites does sound more cosmopolitan, and Terra's version is larger (and less greasy) than those skinny little slivers of spuds. Four flavors are available: Chicago Tribune testers loved the spark generated by the malt vinegar, and savored the seasoned salt, nicely accented with pepper and garlic. The Americaine, infused with tomato, sweet onion and spices, didn't win many fans, and the aioli's acrid overtones alienated everyone. A 6-ounce bag costs $3 at supermarkets.
Pizza meets pasta
CT testers enjoyed Home Run Inn's newest creation -- a pizza-meets-lasagna pie called Pizzagna. They like the name, but didn't think it tastes like lasagna as much as it does a nicely layered pizza. This deep-dish frozen pie does have a fresh pasta crust, which makes it softer than a typical pizza, as well as a layer of ricotta with herbs and spices. It comes in 22-ounce cheese and 26-ounce sausage flavors and costs $7 at supermarkets.
Cookies as art
Toba Garrett shows the way to bite-size masterpieces in "Creative Cookies" (Sterling, $27.95). A guide to techniques and a lineup of 18 recipes (such as butter cookies, gingerbread cookies, fondant, royal icing) supply the foundation for the main event: gorgeously decorated cookies for holidays and special occasions. Though Garrett contends these aren't difficult, these edible works of art will certainly be time-consuming. The book is sold at some Barnes & amp; Noble bookstores and through www.amazon.com.