Dear Readers: Have you taken a good look at your KNIFE BLOCK lately? Does it look a little dusty and grimy? What about the slots? To clean them, use the crevice tool on the vacuum attachment. This should remove most dirt, dust and crumbs. Also, you can “wash” a wood block with mild soap and warm water, letting the water run down into the slots. Air-dry, or use your hair dryer to dry the slots.
This may not seem like a big deal, but do take a look down those slots, and I think you will be surprised! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I love cooking with the fresh-squeezed juices of lemons, limes and oranges, but it can be hard to keep the seeds out of the food. I cut these fruits in half and wrap them in a thin layer of cheesecloth with a rubber band. It’s easy to squeeze the juice out while keeping the seeds trapped in the cheesecloth.
Another hint: I get fancy when company is over and tie ribbons (instead of using rubber bands) to secure the cheesecloth. -- Judy T. in Pennsylvania
Dear Heloise: Even in the summer, when my kids are sick, they only want soup to eat. The soup is too hot to eat right off the stove, so I always add one or two ice cubes before serving it to them. This makes the soup ready to eat. -- Stephanie W., via e-mail
This hint is great any time of year to keep little ones (or even some bigger people) from burning themselves, and I have many more hints, along with soup recipes, available in my Heloise’s Spectacular Soups pamphlet. To order one, please send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Soup, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Take leftover soup, pour it into ice-cube trays, freeze and use these “ice cubes” at a later date to cool down soup without diluting the flavor. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Here is a baking/cooking hint that I recently discovered: When I take out a new stick of margarine or butter for my butter dish, I partially take off the wrapper. I then take a butter knife and make indents by each of the tablespoon markings on the wrapper before removing it completely. When I need a specific number of tablespoons, I just count off the markings to measure. -- Gerri S. in Florida
Dear Heloise: I sometimes use steel-wool pads and found I could extend their use by wrapping a used pad in waxed paper after each use. I reuse the same waxed paper each time. By doing this, I’m able to get several uses out of the pads before they start rusting. -- Marie G. in New Hampshire
You also can try this classic Heloise hint: Put the pad in a plastic bag and keep it in the freezer between uses. -- Heloise