Dear Heloise: My gripe is the SHORT CORDS used on coffee makers and toasters. I have one sideboard with one electrical outlet. The cords all are short, so they don’t reach the outlet unless I put one appliance on top of the other (of course I can’t do that). It would be nice if appliances had retractable cords, as with a vacuum cleaner.

I read your column daily in the (Waterville, Maine) Morning Sentinel. Keep up the good work. -- Jan in Waterville, Maine

You are right -- they should be long enough to safely reach an outlet and have room for other appliances on the counter. -- Heloise

FAST FACTS

Dear readers: Other uses for wire dry-cleaning hangers:

* Roasting marshmallows.

* Unclogging drains.

* Getting hard-to-reach items.

* As plant stakes.

* Use to restring a drawstring.

-- Heloise

HELOISE’S SALT SUBSTITUTE

Dear Heloise: Do you have a recipe for a salt substitute? Could you please print it? -- Sasha in St. Louis

Yes, I do have a recipe for this healthy alternative. It is great for those who need to watch their salt intake. You need:

5 teaspoons onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon thyme

1 / 2 teaspoon white pepper

1 / 2 teaspoon celery seed

Mix all ingredients and place in an airtight, labeled container. Store in a cool, dry place away from the oven. For other seasoning recipes, along with sauces, order my pamphlet Heloise’s Seasonings, Sauces and Substitutes. Send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/SSS, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5001. Looking for a simple marinade? Try Italian dressing. -- Heloise

NOTEBOOK DIALOGUE

Dear Heloise: I have two adolescent children. They sometimes have a hard time talking to me or their father about certain subjects, because they are embarrassed or afraid. I bought a couple of inexpensive notebooks and explained that if they had something they needed to talk to me about but couldn’t do it in person, to write me a note in the notebook. I would write my answer back. It has helped open a line of communication with my kids and has helped keep me alert to what is going on in their lives. -- A Reader in Colorado

REUSE

Dear Heloise: My grocery store sells meat-and-cheese trays in plastic containers in the shape of Texas (our state). I thought the container was so cute, I saved it. It comes with a lid, so it can be used when taking food to friends and for many other things. My favorite thing is to use it as a gelatin mold. Everyone gets a kick out of the Texas shape! -- A Reader in Texas

Yea-hey from a fellow Texan! -- Heloise

SUGAR SCRUB

Dear Heloise: Mix table sugar with your everyday moisturizer for an inexpensive facial scrub. This scrub is effective and won’t harm your drain. -- B.T. in Indiana

Or your face, either! I use sugar with olive oil and gently do a “refresh” scrub. Cheap, too! -- Heloise

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate