Dear Heloise: My husband's brother and sister-in-law are coming for a visit, and I'd like to "wow" them with some tasty dishes, especially since my husband has bragged so much about my cooking. What I need, however, is a salad that's a little novel to serve with a main dish of shrimp and rice. Got any ideas?

Etta N., Eugene, Ore.

Etta N.: I think my Hearts of Palm and Artichoke Salad would be a wonderful addition to your main dish:

1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, drained and sliced

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half

1 medium head radicchio, torn

1 bunch watercress, torn

¼ cup creamy buttermilk salad dressing

Pepper and salt

In a large bowl, gently toss together the hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, radicchio and watercress. Pour dressing over all, tossing gently to coat. Season with pepper and salt to taste. Cover and chill until serving time. Serves 4.

Dear Heloise: Now that I have my mom's old recipes, I find that I can't read parts of them due to stains, poor penmanship, etc. If I search the Internet, usually the recipe will come up. Still, it's so nice to save the original in my mother's or grandmother's own handwriting.

Susan G., Brea, Calif.

Dear Heloise: I work at a food pantry where we collect and distribute food in our community. With the holidays coming up, we need more canned goods for families who would otherwise go without a decent meal. In this land of plenty, there should be no hungry children, but the groups so often overlooked are the elderly and shut-ins. I would urge people to invite one or two extra people — a serviceman or -woman, or an elderly neighbor, for example — to share this Thanksgiving.

Christina C., Eau Claire, Wis.

Christina C.: How right you are! It's not fun to eat alone on the holidays.

Dear Heloise: I found a long pad of lined paper on which to make lists. It has a magnet on it and now hangs on the front of my refrigerator. When anyone in our family sees that we are running low on something, he or she simply adds it to the list of items on the pad that I need to get the next time I'm at a grocery store. This is why we never run out of milk, toilet paper, paper towels or coffee.

Janet T., Elmira, N.Y.

Dear Heloise: For Thanksgiving and Christmas, I like to use a long, beautiful tablecloth for the adult table. However, I set a children's table with a fancy paper tablecloth and paper plates with plastic cups. They can sit down to a nice dinner without having to worry that they might spill something on a tablecloth or break a plate. When they're done, I recycle the plastic cups and then take each corner of the paper tablecloth, form a sack with all the paper dishes inside and toss it out.

Debra S., Naples, Fla.

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