Dear Heloise: Do you have any suggestions or recipes for an overabundance of cooked oatmeal cereal? Our church group makes breakfast every other month (pancakes, eggs, biscuits and gravy, fruit and oatmeal), and there is usually a pot of oatmeal left over. I hate to see this thrown out but have no ideas on how to transition this into something else. Please help.
— Vickie D., Burke, Va.
Vickie D.: Yes, cooked oatmeal can be used in place of uncooked in most recipes for cookies, muffins, breads, etc. You’ll need to first mix the dry ingredients, then add the oatmeal with the eggs, oil or shortening. You might have to adjust the liquid ingredients to get the right consistency.
Dear Heloise: An older lady told me years ago to put salt in the water when washing greens. Try it and see how fast the dirt settles to the bottom.
— Juanita, via email
Juanita: Thank you for your suggestion. This is the method I use, and the salt not only seems to have a cleaning action, but it helps remove any “critters” that might be hiding among the leaves.
Dear Readers: For years we were told that plastic cutting boards are easier to clean and harbor less bacteria than wood cutting boards. Recent research has proven that both are safe to use if you follow a few safety precautions:
* Use two cutting boards: one for raw meat, poultry and fish; the second for vegetables, fruit and breads.
* Wash wooden and plastic cutting boards in hot, soapy water after use and dry thoroughly. Occasionally clean the surfaces of your cutting boards with a mixture of 1 gallon of water and 1 tablespoon of bleach. Then rinse and dry completely before storing them.
Dear Heloise: What is the difference between a food processor and a blender? How do you know which one to use?
— Carolyn K., Perryopolis, Penn.
Carolyn K.: Food processors have interchangeable blades with each blade designed to do different tasks. Blenders have blades that are fixed and may not be suited for some foods. For blending liquids, making purées or chopping smaller items, a blender is fine to use. Food processors have an opening at the top that allows you to add more items while the processor is working. A blender does not have an opening at the top. You’ll need to stop the blender to add items or other ingredients. A food processor is built to handle larger, solid items because their motors are far more powerful than the motors usually found in a blender. A blender needs a little liquid to grind properly, while a food processor does not. A blender is cheaper and less bulky than a food processor.
Dear Heloise: A friend of mine is getting married and she has a Bain-Marie on her wedding registry. What is this item?
— Rebecca in Vermont
Rebecca in Vermont: A Bain-Marie is a French cooking utensil that’s similar to a double boiler. It has one pot for heated water and another pot that sits in the heated water to keep its contents warm.