Dear Heloise: I always pour EXCESS COOKING FAT into a glass jar rather than putting it down the sink, so it won’t clog drains. What I haven’t been able to figure out is how to dispose of the jar once it’s full. Do you have any hints? -- Barbara V. in Virginia
I do! Keep the jar in the freezer so the grease hardens, then simply place it in the trash on garbage day.
When you collect the fat and grease from cooking certain foods and place it into a glass jar with a lid, first make sure the grease is completely cooled before putting it into the jar and then into the freezer. -- Heloise
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Dear Heloise: I like cupcakes and muffins, but I hate the mess to clean up afterward. One evening, I was getting ready to mix up a package of muffin mix when I had to move a quart-size, plastic, zipper-top bag. A light bulb went off!
I put the mix into the bag, added the wet ingredients, slid it shut and mixed by squeezing and pressing the bag together. I then cut the corner off the bag and squeezed the mix into the muffin cups. I pitched the bag into the garbage and put the muffins into the oven. No mess, no cleanup and no dishes to do. -- Joanne F., via e-mail
Dear Heloise: This is my favorite hint for tasty, always-available desserts, and it involves recycling. Use a cleaned-out yogurt cup, put several scoops of ice cream or sherbet into it, add some crushed nuts and drizzle chocolate syrup over it. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and then a final cover of aluminum foil, and place in the freezer. I usually make four or so at a time. Kids and husbands love them, and they are always ready! -- Barbara in Florida
This is such a great hint! If anyone in your family has dietary restrictions, you can personalize the treats! Frozen fruit, graham-cracker crumbs and a little drizzle of honey can make for a healthier dessert, or even using frozen yogurt in place of ice cream. Be creative! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: When eating out, I occasionally like to get a small bag of chips with my lunch. I open the bag at the top and then pull the bag apart down the back seam. This gives the chips a larger surface to lie on without having to dump them out, and I can pick up a chip without shoving my hand in the bag. -- P.W., via e-mail
Dear Heloise: I got tired of frozen pizzas with white, limp-bottom crusts. My “thinking cap” was utilized, and I found a simple solution. I now put the baking-sheet pan into the oven while it heats. Then the frozen pizza goes on a hot pan, and the bottom crust bakes beautifully. -- Betty B. in Florida