Dear Readers:

In a pinch, when you don't have time to go to the home-improvement store to get insulation for outdoor faucets, you can use foam drink holders. So don't throw those extra ones away during the year -- they'll come in handy when the first cold snap catches you off-guard.

Dear Heloise:

I read your hint about keeping an old cell phone after obtaining a newer model in case you lose the new phone. I had no idea about this and was going to turn the old one in. I checked with my provider, and indeed I could use the old phone as a backup, if necessary. Thank you, and I'll pass this information to my friends.

A Reader in Washington

Keeping a "just in case" cell phone will enable you to reactivate it, instead of having to purchase a new one in case of loss. As you did, check with your carrier to make sure this is an option -- especially if you change companies.

Dear Readers:

Football season is in full swing, and it's finally cool enough in my beloved South Texas to think about making a big pot of soup.

One of my favorites, Chicken Tortilla Soup (from Merry Clark, editorial director of Heloise Inc.), is easy to make, and you won't have to spend too much time in the kitchen.

Also, if you have leftover turkey, you can use it instead of chicken.

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

12 corn tortillas

1/2 cup olive oil

2 onions, chopped

1/2 cup tomato puree

4 quarts rich chicken stock

2 cups cooked chicken, diced

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

Dash of cayenne pepper and Parmesan cheese

Cut tortillas into strips and fry in oil until crisp (just like tortilla chips), remove them, then drain on paper towels.

Saute onion in olive oil and add the tomato puree and stock. Add chicken, cilantro and tortillas. Cook over medium heat for about an hour. Top each serving with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Serves 12.

Here's a healthy soup hint: Puree celery, onions and some water or chicken bouillon in a blender, then add to a pot of soup for extra flavor and nutrients without the extra calories.

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