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Love chocolate?



Published: Wed, February 9, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Love chocolate?

And marshmallows? For breakfast? Then you just might be the perfect person to try out the new Chocolate Lucky Charms. Our sweet cereal lovers thought the combination of chocolatey crunch and sweet squishiness of marshmallow was fun and delightful. Not surprisingly, those who are into shredded wheat or granola pretty much turned up their noses. The cereal is available at nearly all grocery stores. If you don't find it at yours right now, wait a few minutes.

Oil with a difference

Enova, made from soy and canola oils, contains fewer fat molecules than other cooking oils. Which means, says manufacturer Archer Daniels Midland, that less fat is stored in the body -- or, as the label says, it's a fat that is "burned as energy, not stored as fuel." The calorie count -- 120 per tablespoon -- is the same. Chicago Tribune testers cooked with Enova and were pleased with the results; they found no difference when compared to foods cooked with regular vegetable oil. A 20-ounce bottle costs $5 to $6.

Get a grip

Though they won't eliminate spills amid the thrills, SoloGrips disposable plates and cups, designed with hand-grip areas and indentations to help people hold them, may reduce some of stains guests leave behind. Many colors and sizes are offered, with packages of 15 to 50 from $1.80 to $5 at most grocery stores.

Overdue for change

Two years after McDonald's' own deadline for reducing trans fats, the french fry has thus far snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The heavyweight among fast food chains had announced with fanfare that the amount of trans fats in its cooking oil would be cut almost in half by February 2003. Today, however, an order of fries remains as trans-laden as ever, leaving consumer advocates with a supersized disbelief. Despite the best intentions, McDonald's found that an oil change wasn't so easy.

One of the main problems was that the oil formulated in 2002 appeared to alter the taste of McDonald's fries. The popular fries are a company hallmark, with a taste and crispness on an almost sacred plane.

The news is better for chicken lovers. McNuggets and other chicken products are now fried in an oil that is about 15 percent lower in trans fat.

Chunky guacamole

Dig into a tasty pre-made guacamole dip. AvoClassic Guacamole is all natural and made with onions and spices. It's available in the refrigerator section for $3.99 for a 1-pound package that comes in two individual plastic bags.

What testers liked about it is the almost made-from-scratch taste, and chunks of avocado. If you'd like, add chopped tomatoes, more chopped onion or fresh chopped cilantro. Look for the brand at larger grocery stores.

Lessons from produce

Saxton Freymann, a New York illustrator who has found a niche making food look adorable in illustrations for children's books, has a new book, "Food for Thought" (Scholastic, 2005, $14.95).

In this latest work, oranges, peppers, mushrooms, bananas and other produce are assembled to help teach children shapes, colors, numbers, letters and opposites.

Kids will love the bright colors and grown-ups may never look at a pineapple the same way again.

Look for Freymann's latest in bookstores and among online retailers.




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