Dear Heloise:

One of your coffee recipes calls for cocoa powder. Is this the same as cocoa? I have gone to several stores and asked for this, and they do not have this product. Can you please advise me where to get it?

Shirley Sterling, Mojave, Calif.

Shirley, we took your question to a manufacturer, and here is what a representative had to say: Cocoa powder and cocoa are the same. This unsweetened powder, usually sold in a can, is found on the baking aisle of your favorite grocery store. So, give it a try. Speaking of cocoa powder, I like to put a pinch in the coffeepot before brewing. It's a nice change.

Dear Heloise:

Here is a way to use up some hot-dog rolls. If you have hamburger patties handy, reshape them and make them long enough to fit the hot-dog rolls. Grill the meat as usual and enjoy what my family now calls burger dogs.

Valerie Bardwell, Cranford, N.J.

Dear Heloise:

I have a great suggestion: I'm married to a chef who worked for 15 years in the restaurant business, and he taught me that to get rid of any strong odor on your hands, such as garlic, rub coffee grounds on them and rinse with water. It works every time!

Dawn McDonald, Valrico, Fla.

Something else that works is to pour a small amount of granulated sugar in the palm of your hand and then a little drop of dish detergent. Add water and rub hands together, then rinse. Voila -- no more smell!

Dear Heloise:

I lost the drain for my kitchen sink, so now I use a steel-wool pad. It works wonderfully to keep cabbage gratings and such from going down the drain. All I do is smack it against the garbage can and zoom, it's all clean, and I can use it over and over again.

Jean Lomax, Elkhart, Tex.

Dear Heloise:

I stumbled upon this when all of my measuring spoons were in the dishwasher: When measuring in bulk -- flour, sugar, etc. -- I use my gravy ladle. Because it's rounded, the dry item stays in the bowl of the ladle, and I don't spill when transferring to a measuring cup. To think I usually reserved the ladle for holidays!

Judi Curry, San Diego

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state when faxing or using e-mail. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

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