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Hints From Heloise: Sisters-in-law feud over bananas

Dear Heloise: My sister-in-law and I are having a debate about ... bananas! She won't let her kids have any because she says they are low in nutrition. I say they are very healthy, and I let my kids eat them rather than candy. Can you settle this debate.

— Tara F., Montgomery, Ala.

Tara F.: Bananas are very good for you. They contain vitamin C, biotin, manganese, are high in potassium and can help replenish electrolytes. They are also cholesterol free. So, by all means, let your children have bananas and be sure to have one yourself.

Dear Heloise: I need something special to serve a guest who is coming in about a month. It's my mother-in-law, and she is very picky. Everything I usually serve for dinner has some flaw, according to her. She loves seafood. Got a hint for me?

— Susan J., Albany, N.Y.

Susan J.: I think she’ll love my Shrimp Dijon recipe, and here it is:

¼ cup butter or margarine

1½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup flour

1½ cups milk

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon pepper

1 6-ounce package cream cheese, softened

Melt butter or margarine in frying pan, add shrimp and onion, and saute for 3 minutes; do not brown. Sprinkle flour into the mixture while thinning the mixture with milk a little at a time to avoid clumping. Add mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until blended, warm through but DO NOT BOIL. Serve over rice.

If you like this recipe and want more delicious ideas, just send $3, along with a stamped (75 cents), self-address long envelope to: Heloise/Main Dishes, Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. You’ll be glad you have this handy pamphlet for so many reason, but most of all for its fresh ideas.

Dear Heloise: My husband and I own lakefront property, and it’s not unusual to have family visit with the kids. To make sure I have enough on hand, I make hamburger patties ahead of time and place a piece of wax paper between each patty. Then I stack four at a time and place them in a plastic bag to freeze them. I slice up onions and freeze them, too. We grill the patties and the onions at the same time. I bought plastic tablecloths at the dollar store and have them in my linen closet along with plastic plates and cutlery, which we wash and recycle. Being prepared saves time and allows me to visit with my guests.

— Carol S., Garrison, Minn.

Dear Heloise: I grew up in a house where we used vinegar on so many dishes. Fresh cooked spinach always tasted better with a cap full of vinegar sprinkled over it. When we ate navy bean soup we added a cap full of vinegar to our bowls to add a little "zip" to the flavor. To avoid a rubbery bottom to a flavored gelatin, add a cap full of vinegar to the hot water.

— Shelly, in Connecticut

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to

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