> Joy of substituting
If you like to experiment with unusual recipes and food ideas, you may find that you need a copy of "The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment & Techniques," a new 619-page softcover book compiled by David Joachim, published by Robert Rose, selling for $19.95.
It's packed with useful information. "A Snapshot of Asian Noodles," for instance, suggests substituting linguine for udon. There are pan-size equivalents and more than two pages of substitutions for butter alone.
> Veggie tips
If your kids eat vegetables, you are lucky. But there are things you can do even if they don't.
Family Fun magazine offers these suggestions to make eating vegetables more fun:
Let them pick. When kids choose their own veggies at the supermarket, they are more likely to at least try them.
Let them be weird. If your kids prefer their peas frozen, why fight it? Lots of people like icy peas. Likewise, your kids may eat raw the same veggies that they can't stand boiled or baked.
Use a silly utensil. Every so often, set a variety of utensils on the table and let everyone pick one or two to eat their veggies with. Some to try: spatula, ice-cream scoop, bamboo drink umbrella, nutcrackers, tongs.
> Art alert
Is your child an Aspiring Artist or a Doodle Diva? Pillsbury is sponsoring a contest just for them. It's sponsored by the Toaster Strudel division.
Spurred on by the fact that a lot of people like to doodle with icing on their breakfast pastries, the company is asking kids from ages 8 to 12 to visit www.strudeldoodle.com to create and submit their unique work to win the "Doodle Dream Day" grand prize.
It's a trip to New York City with the opportunity to meet Brett Helquist, the illustrator of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket. Helquist will share doodling tips and tools with the winner. "I think that doodling is a great way to be creative and let your mind wander freely," he says. The grand-prize winner wins $5,000 as well.
Kids visiting the Web site can also create practice doodles and submit them for posting in an online gallery, which will also feature celebrity doodles.
The contest runs through Oct. 31; only one entry per person may be submitted, and the parent or guardian will receive an e-mail to approve the entry. The child will also be asked to answer two questions to describe their doodle and tell why they enjoy doodling.
"In general, my children refused to eat anything that hadn't danced on TV."
The late humorist Erma Bombeck