cone snack

photo by starmama

Cones are a practical, edible and portable container to hold snacks for kids. You can pour snacks such as trail mix, goldfish or animal crackers, dried fruit, mini marshmallows, popcorn or pretzels into a waffle or sugar cone. Or. when you make Rice Krispies treats, mold individual portions into cones to prevent sticky fingers. Not only can kids eat the cone container, but it offers good portion control, too. The first tip shares two low-fat alternatives to ice cream served in a cone.

FUN TREAT: Instead of giving my daughter ice cream cones, I put yogurt or pudding in a cone. It's not as fattening and she loves it just the same. -- Leigh, e-mail

HOMEMADE CAT TOY: I take a pipe cleaner, coil it slightly and toss on the floor. My cat pounces on it, rolls with it, chases it and has a great time -- all for around a buck per carton, which can last a couple of years. If they disappear, use a yardstick to clean out from under the fridge. -- Susan H., e-mail

CAT TOY 2: Another homemade cat toy is using the plastic containers that kids' toys from the vending machines come in. You can put catnip or a small object in them and watch your cats go crazy. -- Amy, Canada

INDIVIDUAL PORTIONS: I bought 12 (I think they are 2-cup) container bowls (glass) with lids from ABC distributing online for $19. I have been using them to put leftovers in. They make great single servings. I did a type of spaghetti, and the kids ate it like crazy. I even made a cake, cut the squares, then added Jell-O, pudding and whip cream in each single. They were great to just grab and go. They are glass, so be careful, but they are much easier to clean out than plastic containers. I do chicken-noodle soup, stew, etc. I put on the lid and stack in the refrigerator. Makes everything kid friendly. It has also turned out to help me a lot with my diet. I just pull out the one thing. When reasonably sized portions are ready to go, it's easier to stay on track and easier with kids! -- Louise, Georgia

SALAD SEASONING: With pasta-salad season on its way, I thought you'd like to have some of this on hand to jazz up your salads.

Salad Seasoning

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds and celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and coarse ground pepper
dash cayenne

Mix all ingredients together. This recipe makes one batch, and you can double, triple etc., and then put it into sealed containers and store in the refrigerator.

To use:
1 pound cooked pasta
8 ounces Italian dressing
4 tablespoons salad seasoning mix
assorted veggies

Mix all and refrigerate until serving. -- Darlene B., New York


1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup mild dish-washing soap
2 to 3 drops food coloring

Mix cornstarch and liquid soap in bowl. Pour equal amounts into ice cube tray. Pour drops of food coloring into each section and mix until blended. Paint away while in the tub! -- Angie, North Carolina

HIGH CHAIR CLEAN UP: Cut a place mat the same shape as a tray on your child's high chair. After they are through eating, just pull up the place mat and wipe off food in the trash. An old vinyl tablecloth works for under the high chair, too. Simple cleanup. -- Ellise, South Carolina