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SMORGASBORD: Pop chic . . . Make-ahead picnic . . . Puffed sweets . . . A triple-double

Pop chic Loved lollipops as a kid? The big kid in you will enjoy See's Candies' take on the sweet. Their Gourmet Lollypops come in classic flavors (vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch) plus caffe latte and a summer-season root beer. Each weighs i...

Sees Gourmet Lollypops
Sees Gourmet Lollypops come in classic flavors (vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch) plus caffe latte and a summer-season root beer. Each weighs in at about 80 calories. (McClatchy Tribune)

Pop chic

Loved lollipops as a kid?

The big kid in you will enjoy See's Candies' take on the sweet. Their Gourmet Lollypops come in classic flavors (vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch) plus caffe latte and a summer-season root beer. Each weighs in at about 80 calories.

Prices start at $7.15 for a box of 12. For a store locator or to buy, go to sees.com.

Make-ahead picnic

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When it comes to planning a family picnic, don't buy expensive, prepacked picnic kits -- make your own, says Annie Bell, author of "The Camping Cookbook: 95 Inspirational Recipes -- From Hearty Brunches to Campfire Suppers."

The key to a successful picnic is planning ahead, Bell said. That means making a checklist that includes essential materials like silverware, lightweight plates and a fleece blanket. Insulated lunch bags are also great for keeping foods cool or warm.

"Get everything perhaps colder than you think you need it," Bell said.

For the feast, salads, sweets and finger foods, such as chicken wings and sausages, are quick and simple enough to prepare and store.

One of her favorite picnic recipes is a variation on pan-bagnat, a sandwich featuring roasted tomatoes and sourdough, but any dish combining tomatoes and bread is a winner, she said. Her version calls for sardines, but for kids, sub canned tuna on the lunchtime classic.

Puffed sweets

We've baked, mashed and french-fried sweet potatoes, so why not shred 'em?

That's what Alexia Foods did to create Sweet Potato Puffs. The shredded, seasoned-then-frozen nuggets get hot and crispy (and yummy) after 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

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A 20-ounce bag has a suggested retail price of $3.49. A store locator is at alexiafoods.com.

A triple-double

There's a new Oreo, and it's a doozy.

The new Triple Double Oreo takes the idea of Double Stuf Oreos (two chocolate cookies, with a double layer of white filling between them) and goes out the window with it: One chocolate cookie is topped with chocolate Oreo filling, then there's a second chocolate cookie, then a layer of regular white Oreo filling, then a third chocolate cookie!

The 13.1-ounce package of what will surely soon be called "original" Triple Double Oreos (18 cookies) sells for the same price as the 16.6-ounce packages of regular Oreos (42 cookies) and Double Stuf Oreos (36 cookies), so the new ones cost 27 percent more per ounce.

Alexia Foods Sweet Potato Puffs
Alexia Foods Sweet Potato Puffs, shredded, seasoned-then-frozen nuggets get hot and crispy (and yummy) after 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven. (McClatchy Tribune)

Related Topics: FOOD
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