Dear Heloise: Years and years ago, my dad found a recipe in your mom’s column for CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP. He made a huge pot of soup and in the morning filled his thermos with it to take hunting with him. I remember how delicious that soup was, and I would love that recipe if you can share it with me. -- Lisa D., Elmira, N.Y.
Lisa, I would love to share the recipe for Heloise’s Generic Cream Soup, especially with cooler weather on the way! Add to this base whatever main ingredient you want: mushrooms, broccoli or potatoes, to name a few. Collect the following ingredients:
1 cup nonfat dried milk powder
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container until ready to use. For a soup base, add 2 cups of cold water to mixture and heat, over medium heat, in large saucepan. Stir constantly until the soup thickens. Then add your main ingredient for a soup that makes 4 to 6 cups. For even more soup recipes, order the Heloise’s Spectacular Soups pamphlet by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Soups, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Need to thicken your soup? Add instant mashed potatoes, little by little, until the soup is of the thickness you desire. -- Heloise
Dear Readers: Avocados are a delicious fruit that can be enjoyed year-round. Here are some hints about them:
You cannot tell, simply by the color of an avocado, if it is ripe. When selecting, give the fruit a slight squeeze. The fruit should feel firm, but give slightly when pressed.
To peel an avocado, hold it firmly in the palm of your hand while taking a knife to slice it lengthwise up to the seed. Twist the cut avocado halves while pulling them apart. Remove the seed and then scoop out the meat with a spoon.
When you find avocados on sale, buy extra, because they can be frozen for up to six months. Once the fruit is peeled, puree it with a tablespoon of lemon juice for every couple of avocados you are freezing. Store the pureed fruit in an airtight, freezer-safe container or bag. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Often I have items that I cannot put down the garbage disposal. I keep an empty, plastic cottage-cheese container on the counter with a lid. I use it for any small food items that need to go into the wastebasket. This saves steps and prevents insects. -- Joan D., Mansfield, Ohio
Dear Heloise: Here is a hint that I discovered after making a cake: I was cleaning the electric mixer before putting it away, and I noticed that dry cake mix had gotten into the holes where the beaters are placed. So, I used damp cotton swabs to clean the crevices. -- Tina D., via e-mail
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