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Hints From Heloise: Tomato juice is simple to make at home

Dear Heloise: I love tomato juice, but I would really rather make my own so that I know what goes into it. Do I start with tomato paste?

— Hattie R., Yuba City, Calif.

Hattie R.: Just mix 3 parts water with 1 part tomato paste. If this proves to thick, then small quantities until you reach the desired consistency. Place the ingredients in a blender until smooth, adding any salt and pepper that suits your taste buds. You also might want to add vegetables other than tomatoes when you are blending.

Dear Heloise: Here in the South we love our afternoon iced tea, or just about any time of the year. Since I'm having a few female friends over for cards in a few weeks, I'd like to make iced tea that's a little different from what we normally have while playing cards. Any hints for me?

— Colleen P., Vicksburg, Miss.

Colleen P.: Yes, I do have a recipe for you. It’s my Mint Lemon Tea. It’s easy to make and tastes great! You’ll need:

3-5 tea bags (regular size)

1-2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Honey, brown sugar or sweetener, to taste

Add hot water to tea bags and the mint. Steep for 5 minutes, strain, then add the lemon and sweetener. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving over ice.

Now, how simple is that?! If you need other ideas for adding a little zip to your coffee or tea, you can get some great ideas from my pamphlet “Heloise’s Flavored Coffee and Teas.” To order a copy, just send $3, along with a stamped (75 cents), self-addressed long envelope to: Heloise/Coffee & Tea, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Take the ordinary out of coffee or tea with my recipes.

Dear Heloise: My knife block is looking rather shabby of late. How do I clean it and the knife slots, which I know must be dusty?

— Debbie A., Schuyler, Neb.

Debbie A.: To clean the slots you can use the crevice tool on your vacuum to get out dirt. Then use a mild soap and warm water to clean the wooden block (DO NOT submerge; just wipe off) with a soft cloth. If water runs down into the slots, that’s okay. You can dry off the wooden block with a hair dryer or allow to air-dry overnight.

Dear Heloise: My mother and I disagree on a subject ... grease. She claims it's okay to dump grease down the drain if you run very hot water down the sink afterward. I say it's not. I've always been told that you should never pour grease down your sink. Which of us is right?

— Kelly F., Duncan, Okla.

Kelly F.: Never pour grease down your sink drain. Hot water will not wash away the grease that is building up over time. Any plumber will tell you this is true. Pour grease into a can or some container and dump it in your trash after it hardens.

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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