Dear Heloise:

Will you please print the recipe for Sweetened Condensed Milk? Mine got lost in the shuffle, and I need it for those crumb-cake pies. Thank you so much.

S.E., Hobart, Ind.

Absolutely! Of all the recipes that are found in my Seasonings, Sauces and Substitutes pamphlet, sweetened condensed milk is the one most asked for. You'll need:

SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK

1 cup powdered milk

1/3 cup boiling water

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons butter

Mix together milk, water, sugar and butter in a blender. Start on LOW speed for a minute or two, then increase the speed and blend until smooth and there are no sugar granules.

This recipe is equal to about one can of sweetened condensed milk. The consistency and texture will not be exactly the same as store-bought, but it will work well in an emergency. Dear Readers:

Here's a quick quiz for you: Where's the best place to store butter? The refrigerator or the freezer? You might learn something new, so read on.

The answer? It's best to keep butter frozen until it's ready to use. It can be frozen in its original wrapper for several months. For longer storage, though, wrap the butter in foil or freezer-safe bags. The butter will keep for a good year. But the refrigerator is fine, too -- if the butter is unopened and still wrapped, it will last for up to four months.

Opened butter should be kept in a covered dish so that it doesn't pick up odors from other foods stored nearby. To quickly soften refrigerated or frozen butter, microwave on the lowest microwave setting for about a minute. To melt butter, put it in a microwave-safe dish, cover and heat on high for about a minute. Remember, these are estimates. Every microwave is different, so check the butter every 30 seconds to avoid overdoing it.

Dear Heloise:

I hate wasting paper towels! When I make fried foods, I no longer drain them on layer upon layer of paper towels. I cover several sheets of newspaper with one or two paper towels, then drain my fried item on top of the clean paper towel.

Diane Piasecki, Fair Oaks, Calif.

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 Heloise@Heloise.com. 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.

(c)2005, King Features Syndicate