Dear Heloise: I use clear glass measuring cups. It is a bother to bend over to CHECK THE LEVEL OF LIQUIDS that I need to measure, especially if using a heavy bottle of vegetable oil or a half-gallon of milk. Also, I have a problem with measuring cups that have metric on one side and standard on the other side. I just turn the cup so the standard measurement is opposite of me. That way, I can easily tell when I get to the level I need as I look into the cup. It’s easy to adjust when you do a final eye check on the level.
Another hint: When I bake cake or brownies, I put the eggs, water and oil into the mixing bowl first and mix them well. Then I add the dry mix. It blends so much better this way. -- Patty S., Irvine, Calif.
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Dear Readers: Before placing a potato in the microwave, don’t forget to pierce it with a fork, as suggested by most recipes, to let the steam out and keep the potato from exploding! I pierce the potato with a knife or an ice pick several times to make sure that steam escapes and the potato has room to expand while cooking, and it turns out “dry” and flaky. -- Heloise
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Dear Heloise: My family loves the treats made with rice cereal and marshmallows. However, my oldest daughter decided to surprise us by making them herself, but she didn’t know to smooth them out to finish them. (I use a spatula coated with butter.) As I was explaining this, she saw the meat-tenderizing utensil drying in the drainer and suggested using the flat side coated with butter. It works well; you just need to be gentle and careful not to crush the cereal. -- Karen D., Cleveland
Dear Heloise: I have a nice, small crop of turnips in my garden. Sometimes I like to pull just one turnip to eat raw, but I also like the greens. In order to save the tops until I have enough for a “mess” (Heloise here: “Mess” refers to the portion size, or how much you are making), I cut just enough off the top of the root to hold the greens together, then place it in some water. The leaves stay fresh for days. -- Doug J., Denham Springs, La.
Dear Heloise: A quick hint to help keep homemade cookies soft: Place a piece of white bread on the plate underneath the cookies and cover as planned. It keeps the cookies soft. -- Danita in Gaithersburg, Md.
Love this old standby hint! Just be sure to “cover” so no moisture escapes. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: When I peel vegetables or anything messy like that, I put newspaper in the sink. When I’m finished, I can wrap it up and throw it away. This way, there’s no mess to clean up. -- Glenda L. in Louisiana
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