Saturday, July 30, 2005

Good, better, best! - Yes, I am really behind...

I am extraordinarily lazy in some things. I hate doing small tasks - like emptying the dishwasher. It takes 5 stupid minutes, but I can be lazy as all get out when it comes time to do it. (That reminds me - I have to unload before I go to bed tonight). I just procrastinate way too much. The point is, I have a bunch of recipes to review, so for now I'll be lazy, and review three at once. It really is a cool convenience that they do happen to fall into the categories of good, better, and best (AKA awesome!).

First, the good. Herbed Zucchini Soup, from August/September Eating Well. This recipe was simple to put together, and did something different with zucchini (I usually steam for a side, or bake into bread, like everyone else does). On first taste, I didn't like this recipe that much. I used Cabot 50% cheddar, and it just didn't melt well. The result wasn't bad, it just wasn't set of the fireworks good. Lucky for me, I gave it a second chance, kept the rest, and ate it over the next three days. The grainyness of the cheese was still slightly there, but I really think the flavor in the soup developed over time (as soups & stews tend to do). I definitely think this will be a repeat, if I have cheese to use up.

The good was Citrus-Scented Snap Pea and Carrot Couscous, from WW Simply Delicious. This cookbook is very cool - it seems to go for different recipes (I am dying to try the balsamic mushrooms!). This salad came together quickly, had a gorgeous flavor and color, and reheated nicely the second day. Since I do love couscous, I could definitely see repeating this recipe if I had the orange juice on hand.

The best/awesome was Fettuccini and Tofu with Finger-Licking Peanut Sauce from CL 04/01. This is a recipe I had on my list-to-try (that's the true question to a cook - how long is your "to try" list? Could you ever write it down without getting hand cramps?) because of other peoples' favorable reviews. And boy, am I glad I listened to them! I split the recipe in half, and managed to accidentally add too much vinegar, and it still tasted wonderful! Definitely a repeat - and probably soon, since I have the fettuccini ready in the closet.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Herbed Zucchini Soup

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
3 cups vegetable broth, ready-to-serve
1 1/2 pounds zucchini -- cut in 1" pieces
1 teaspoon dried dill -- or tarragon
3 ounces cheddar cheese, lowfat -- shredded
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place broth, zucchini and tarragon (or dill) in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the zucchini is tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Puree in a blender, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and heat over medium-high, slowly stirring in cheese until it is incorporated. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot or chilled.

"EW August/September 2005"
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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 75 Calories; 2g Fat (27.5% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 4mg Cholesterol; 1019mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fat.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0

* Exported from MasterCook *

Citrus-Scented Snap Pea and Carrot Couscous

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 carrot -- peeled and sliced
1 cup sugar snap peas
3 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup couscous
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon lemon rind

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, then add the carrot and cook 1 minute. Add the snap peas and almonds; cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.

Return the saucepan to the heat and add the orange juice, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Add the couscous and remove from the heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then stir in the vegetables, raisins, basil, and lemon zest.

"Simply Delicious"

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 263 Calories; 6g Fat (21.1% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 45g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 281mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 Fruit; 1 Fat.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

* Exported from MasterCook *

Fettuccini and Tofu with Finger-Licking Peanut Sauce

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/2 cup vegetable broth, ready-to-serve
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons grated ginger root
2 teaspoons chile paste with garlic
4 garlic cloves -- minced
8 ounces fettucine
1 pound firm tofu -- drained and cubed
1 cup sliced green onions -- 2-inch slices
1 cup shredded carrot

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until smooth, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta in boiling water 8 minutes, omitting salt and fat. Add tofu, onions, and carrot; drain. Place pasta mixture in a large bowl. Add peanut butter mixture; toss gently.

"CL 04/01"

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 467 Calories; 14g Fat (27.1% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 64g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 816mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Monday, July 25, 2005

Cannellini Beans with Herbs and Prosciutto

I finally tried a recipe from one of the many chefs I watch on Food Network. Giada De Laurentiis is not my all time favorite (any good food geek loves Alton Brown), but she seems to really know her cooking. Unlike others on the network. *ahem*Sandra Lee*ahem*.

After seeing this recipe reviewed on the CLBB, I decided to try it. It's a good, simple recipe - doesn't set off fireworks, but it definitely works well as leftovers. A good way to use one of my favorite beans. Everything mixed together into a subtle flavor.

I serve it as a light dinner. The recipe calls for serving mixed with greens, but I feel it loses focus that way. I just re-heat in the microwave & serve in a salad bowl by itself - yum.

The recipe is posted on the Food Network Site

Thursday, July 21, 2005

It's just not my taste - Red Curry with Sweet Red Peppers, Snow Peas, and Tofu - Honey Carrot Cake

Well, they can't all be successes. I think that as I cook more, I get a feeling for not only what works, but what works for me as well. I really thought the curry would work for me. I used to love hot food when I was younger, but for some reason, as I've gotten older, I prefer my food with less heat, so I can taste a deeper flavor. Unfortunately, the curry recipe was a little on the hot side for me. I wish it had worked - it had three of my favorite things - snow peas, red peppers, and tofu. This recipe was the first I tried from Real Vegetarian Thai. I did see other recipes in this cookbook that I am excited to try. Fortunately, there is a recipe in A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen that was somewhat similar in terms of ingredients, but the spices/herbs may be different, so I might give it a chance.

I also was going to try to become involved in my first SHF. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline. I still ended up making the cake, and although I ended up eating three large pieces in 2 days, I honestly think that it's not my style. A little too buttery for my taste. Whether that is because I just don't eat butter on a regular basis, I don't know. I still like sweets, but this one just didn't do it for me. It came together nicely, though, so if you want to try, it's at

Monday, July 18, 2005

Pasta with (Turkey) Sausage and Olives

I do love my pasta. Unfortunately, I have to find good recipes that can be well-divided so I won't end up with too many leftovers. This one wasn't it.

I did like how it ended up on first & second days - but it didn't freeze well. I love the rigatoni that I used as the pasta. For those looking for an extremely saucy pasta dish, definitely look elsewhere. This is less about an all-over saucy dish and more about chunkiness, with the olive, turkey, and tomatoes.

It definitely was easy to put together, but for my tastes, it wouldn't divide well.

The recipe can be found at

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Chocolate....- Moist Fudgey Brownies

I love to bake. Love, love, love to bake. I also love having a small waist, so I try to limit my baking. The problem with baking, though, is that the yield is so large. That and my tendency to eat more of the pan than I really should.

Enter Small Batch Baking. It's a cookbook that I looked at and didn't think I would get - mostly because the recipes I first saw seemed to call for specialized pans. But when someone on the CLBB reviewed this, I thought I might as well try it.

The results are mixed, in my mind. The recipe definitely was a fudgey brownie, and the fact that it only served 3 means that I ended up with only 2 servings in my freezer. The problem I had is that the brownie came out more puffed up then I expect in a brownie. Maybe it's all psychological, but I am used to a brownie that is flatter, which ends up with a square that is larger, and easier to consume in small bites. I like the flavor & convenience of this brownie - it'll just take time to get used to the looks.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Moist Fudgey Brownies

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter -- at room temperature
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate -- chopped (original calls for 3/4 ounce()
6 tablespoons sugar
1 egg white -- beaten well
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 2/3 tablespoons unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts -- optional

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 5x3-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom of the loaf pan with a strip of aluminum foil to fit down the length and up the short sides, with enough extra length to extend over the edges by about 1 1/2 inches. Lightly grease the foil, and set the pan aside.

Place the butter and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on medium power until the chocolate is soft and the butter is melted, about 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate is smooth. Add the sugar and whisk well. Then add the beaten egg and vanilla, and whisk until well blended. Add the flour and salt, and whisk well. Then fold in the pecans, if using. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared loaf pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 28 to 30 minutes; the top will appear dry and will be starting to shrink from the edges of the pan. Do not overbake.

Remove the loaf pan from the oven, place it on a wire rack, and let the brownies cool completely in the pan. Use the edges of the foil to lift the brownies out of the pan. Remove the foil and cut the brownies into bars.

"Small Batch Baking - posted on CLBB by Meganator -"

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 224 Calories; 13g Fat (47.7% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 12mg Cholesterol; 82mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Fat; 1 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Thursday, July 14, 2005

2,2,2 reviews in one! - Cranberry & Herb Turkey Burgers w/Blueberry Ketchup

So, I had a post written on these recipes - and I managed to lose it. Smoooooooooooooooth.

It was all about how I love flavor/ingredient combinations that are outside of the norm. Although when I think about it, it's not too far outside of the norm. I mean, I have Iron Chef on right now, and some of the combinations they put together make me flinch. My "unusual" tastes go towards things like raisins in couscous and pepper in cookies/cakes/brownies - the latter of which I never have had, but have a few recipes that I am dying to try. Something like the grapes in the chicken curry is something I like in theory, although my rendition did not totally appeal.

Anyway, blueberry ketchup is something fun to do. I like regular ketchup, but it's not my favorite condiment. I will actually only eat it pretty much on the rare hot dog or hamburger. Not even on fries! And just for completeness' sake, I'm not big on mayonnaise, and prefer mustard on subs.

I quartered the batch of ketchup but still felt like I had plenty. I used it the first day on a turkey wrap. It's not an overwhelming flavor. That's the whole point though - a condiment should enhance, not overwhelm. So on that basis, the ketchup works.

The next day I mixed up the burgers. A warning - if you are looking for a standard hamburger replacement/mimic, this isn't it. It is an unusual flavored recipe. Someone else said in reviewing it that it reminded them of Thanksgiving, and I have to agree. But it's a good Thanksgiving flavor. It was so nice to work with the fresh herbs. I think they really enhanced the flavor. The meat was definitely moist. The blueberry ketchup worked well with it. And the hamburger bun was whole wheat, leftover from a month or so ago.

I'm not sure I'd repeat either recipe. Comparing this burger to the pinto bean vegetable burger I made with those buns, I prefer the pinto burger. And the ketchup is not a very universal condiment to me, although I have enough to freeze, and will try over salmon, as they suggested.

All three recipes are on Eating Well's website -
Cranberry & Herb Turkey Burgers
Blueberry Ketchup
Whole Wheat Burger Buns

Monday, July 11, 2005

Cate's Springtime Risotto Soup

It's funny - this recipe made me think of something from my childhood. Chicken and rice soup - condensed, by Campbells. Not the flavor, just eating rice in a soup. I haven't had that in a while.

I liked this recipe. It's a good way to use up asparagus, and not do the standard cream soup. It had nice color from the green asparagus and spinach. Unfortunately, as it sat, some of the color drained from the asparagus on leftovers. The rice also got a bit logged & lost some structure.

All was not negative by any measure. I do see myself repeating this. I split the recipe, and didn't measure the nutmeg and went free-hand (so nice to work with whole nutmeg & a microplane!). Next time I would up the amount I used.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Cate's Springtime Risotto Soup

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
3/4 cup arborio rice
3 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium defatted chicken broth
1 pound asparagus -- cut in 1" pieces
2 cups chopped spinach -- coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 ounces grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Add lemon rind; sauté 2 minutes. Add rice; sauté 3 minutes.

Stir in broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in asparagus, spinach, and nutmeg; cook, uncovered, 2 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Top each serving with cheese. Serve immediately.

"CL 05/05"

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 182 Calories; 5g Fat (22.6% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 6mg Cholesterol; 675mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Friday, July 08, 2005

Asparagus-Turkey Wraps with Roasted-Pepper Mayonnaise - Now that one's a mouthful.

Now that I've made tortillas, I like mixing up what goes in them. I also had been interesting in trying Spectrum Light Canola Mayo, because I was looking to be able to do some recipes that included mayo, but not deal with the light mayos that had ingredient lists that scared me. Unfortunately, I was too blonde to check the expiration date on the mayo before I bought it, and the date was only a couple days later than the day I bought it.

I did split this recipe in half, which unfortunately gave problems when working with the blender. There was not enough bell pepper to force it to do anything besides be flung to the sides. I did try including the mayo in the mix, but still not enough. I ended up with a lightly tinted mayo with large pieces of roasted pepper, which was not unappetizing, but it just wasn't what the recipe was meant to be.

I did like the addition of asparagus to the wrap. I just get stuck in the same rut, and I like how it took < 5 minutes to steam up something nice. The sprouts were interesting too, but I'm not sure what they add to the wrap - bulk maybe? The romaine leaves were lovely to work with, and it was easy to rough chop them to make a salad for the side. Of course, I got that idea from Rachael Ray.

All in all I didn't feel like there was enough mayo to give any real flavor to the wrap. Maybe I'm just used to the strong element that mustard gives to a wrap.

I think this recipe helped me in experimenting with different sandwich elements, but as for the entire recipe, it's not something I would repeat.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Asparagus-Turkey Wraps with Roasted-Pepper Mayonnaise

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
24 asparagus spears
1 red bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 recipe Whole-Wheat Flour Tortillas
4 romaine lettuce leaves
8 ounces turkey slices
2 cups alfalfa sprouts

Preheat broiler.

Snap off the tough ends of asparagus. Steam asparagus, covered, 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place bell pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil for 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes; peel. Place the bell pepper, honey, juice, salt, and ground red pepper in a blender; process until smooth. Combine bell pepper mixture and mayonnaise in a small bowl.

Warm the tortillas according to the package directions. Spread 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise mixture evenly over each tortilla. Layer each tortilla with 1 romaine leaf, 2 turkey slices, 1/2 cup sprouts, and 6 asparagus spears; roll up. Serve with remaining mayonnaise mixture.

"CL 05/01"

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 288 Calories; 10g Fat (28.7% calories from fat); 20g Protein; 34g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 29mg Cholesterol; 1091mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Lime-Peach Vinaigrette

Ya gotta love the single-subject cookbook. Just don't ask me how many muffin/quick bread cookbooks I have. Hey - we all have our weaknesses. Bread-y foodstuffs are mine.

Anyway, back to single-subject cookbooks. The cookbook I got this recipe from is interesting, but a little deceptive. Not all the recipes are for peaches. Which is good, I guess. You don't want to be too exclusive.

Okay - actual recipe review. Salad dressings seem to be simple to put together - just blend, right? Well, my last dressing didn't turn out right for me. This Lime-Peach Vinaigrette, though, blended beautifully. The color is very pretty as well. The flavor is subtle, and to get it you have to put more on than I am used to. It's definitely not too sweet, and not too heavy. It's good. Not excellent, but good.

I have enough left that I may use some of it in a wrap. I'm also considering using it as a part of the Summer Chicken Stir-Fry that I've tried before. I also will probably use it on some form of salad with fruit in it - maybe the classic combo of blueberries and walnuts. Or maybe even over a salad with greens & tuna. I feel like the flavors of the vinaigrette is so flexible that it can work with everything. It may be that it needs to find the right combo to really shine.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Lime-Peach Vinaigrette

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 24 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/2 cup lime juice
1 cup sliced peaches
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves

Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Refrigerate for up to one month.

"Peaches and Other Juicy Fruits"

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 48 Calories; 5g Fat (81.9% calories from fat); trace Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 8mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

They can't all be successes - Nonfat Berry Muffins

It's always painful to have a recipe just not turn out. After the success of the Blueberry Cinnamon-Burst Muffins, I thought I'd finally use up the bananas that I had frozen.

I know others have said that they've had success with freezing bananas, but I don't think I've been able to make a successful recipe that uses them. I just don't know what I am doing wrong.

This recipe wasn't painfully bad. I know - not the most enthusiastic endorsement. Maybe I'm just not used to totally nonfat recipes anymore. The flavor was not extraordinary, and the texture was like the raspberry muffins I made before - too moist.

Well, they can't all be gems.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Why didn't I try this before? - Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

Tortillas are one of those products that for some reason always seemed a little shrouded in mystery to me. Not so much the usage of - I love getting them whenever possible, although the disadvantage is I pretty much dislike everything else about Mexican food. It's the making of that always intimidated me. Goodness knows why - I make bread, which would appear to be harder. There's just something about tortillas...Anyway, after many times where I put it on my list and took it off, I finally decided to just buckle down and make them. And I ask - why did I wait?

These were so easy to put together. The pride factor on this recipe is high, just because of that slight amount of mystique. They are slightly floury, so next time I make them it will be with a little less flour, I believe. And oh yes - you better believe there will be a next time. Whether it will be with this recipe, I'm not sure - I do have another one from Mark Bittman that I may check out.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Whole-Wheat Flour Tortillas

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup warm water -- to 3/4 cup

Combine whole-wheat flour, unbleached flour, and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle in oil and blend thoroughly with a fork. Gradually add 1/2 cup water, stirring to moisten evenly. If the dough is too dry to gather into a ball, add more water. Turn out onto a floured surface; knead briefly. The dough should be soft and easy to knead.

Divide the dough into 8 even pieces. Flatten each one between lightly floured palms into a 3-inch disk. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll out each tortilla into a 7- to 8-inch rough circle. Keep tortillas covered with a damp towel as you work. (You can stack them with parchment or wax paper between each layer.)

Heat an 8-inch or larger skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat until hot. Cook each tortilla until it is speckled with brown spots and puffed, about 45 seconds on each side.

"Eating Well, Spring 2003"
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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 146 Calories; 5g Fat (32.3% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 22g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 134mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Fat.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0