A season for fitnessWith the Winter Games set to get under...

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January 16, 1994|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

A season for fitness

With the Winter Games set to get under way next month in Lillehammer, Norway, Olympic fever is just beginning to build -- even those hip characters the California Raisins have gotten involved. The California Raisin Board has signed on gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and produced an 18-minute fitness and nutrition video called "Hip to Be Fit." The video, aimed at children 6 to 12, encourages keeping fit through proper diet and exercise. Ms. Yamaguchi and the Raisins dance and sing the healthful messages.

For a copy of the video, send $2.95 check or money order, payable to "Hip to Be Fit," for postage and handling to Hip to Be Fit, 55 Union St., San Francisco, Calif., 94111. Home-baked cookies just can't be beat. Just look at the results of the latest Quaker Oatmeal Recipe Contest, in which nearly half the total entries were cookie recipes, and a cookie made by a woman from Richmond, Ky., took the $10,000 grand prize.

Quaker notes in the entries a tendency to "streamlining" as home bakers turned to such convenience items as biscuit mixes, frozen whipped topping, packaged pudding mix and frozen bread dough to reduce the amount of time spent on "scratch" baking.

Grand winner Paula McHargue, Quaker reports, bakes bar cookies, like the winning peanut butter and fudge recipe, because they're quicker to prepare.

` Here's her recipe:

Peanut butter 'n fudge filled bars

Makes 32 bars

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut butter, divided use

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

2 cups oats, quick or old-fashioned, uncooked

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 12-ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces

2/3 cup chopped peanuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-by-13-inch baking pan. In large mixer bowl, beat brown sugar, butter or margarine, and 1/4 cup peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, baking soda and salt, if using; add to sugar mixture and beat until well-mixed. Stir in oats; mix well. Reserve 1 cup of oat mixture; set aside. Spread remaining oat mixture evenly into pan. In small saucepan, combine milk, chocolate pieces and remaining 2 tablespoons peanut butter. Cook over low heat until chocolate is melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in peanuts. Spread mixture evenly over crust in pan. Drop remaining oat mixture by teaspoonfuls evenly over chocolate mixture. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into bars.

When it comes to cooking dinner, it's still women's work, according to the National Potato Board. A nationwide random survey of 500 women and reports from focus groups show that 85 percent of women are responsible for cooking. Even in families where both parents work, women still do the cooking 80 percent of the time, the survey found.

Tips from some of the potato board's Real Mom of the '90s Club range from "you're on your own" nights for teen-agers to meal co-ops among three families (so each has to cook only one night in three). Another mom suggests: "When deciding on dinner, never ask for suggestions and give no more than three options" and "One night a week order pizza. (I told my family it was a local ordinance.)"

The club, designed to honor busy moms, is free and includes a newsletter for sharing survival tips and quick and easy recipes. To join, send name and address to: Real Mom of the '90s Club, 55 Union St., San Francisco, Calif. 94111-1217.

A word to the food-wise: Eat more garlic and less margarine. A study at Penn State indicates that garlic inhibits the formation and spread of breast tumors in mice. If the finding holds up in humans, it could have major implications for diet and disease prevention. And a study by a Harvard Medical School doctor has found increased correlation between high consumption of margarine and heart disease. The study blames trans-fatty acids, formed when liquid oil is converted to solid form. It should be noted that there are many factors influencing the risk of heart disease; heredity and exercise are two of the most important.

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