Dear Heloise: I just wanted to provide you with a quick tip that I have tried and love! I place about 2 inches’ worth of CAT-BOX FILLER at the bottom of the kitchen trash bin. This way, should the garbage leak, the filler will absorb the smell and the mess. -- Jennifer in New Jersey
An added hint to try: Add baking soda to the filler for extra odor protection. I always keep baking soda on hand because there are so many uses for it and it is so cheap! I even wrote my Heloise’s Baking Soda Hints and Recipes pamphlet because baking soda is a must-have staple in any home. To receive one, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Notice that your dishwasher smells a little funny? When not in use, sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom and leave until the next cycle washes it out, and use some as a hand scrub (with a little soap) after taking out the garbage. -- Heloise
YAM I AM
Dear Readers: Did you know that a sweet potato and a yam are not really the same food? Both are root vegetables, but yams are native to Africa and typically are available only in international markets.
There are many different types of sweet potatoes, but it is the ones with orange-colored flesh that are available in the United States.
The names “yam” and “sweet potato” are interchangeable. Therefore, the United States Department of Agriculture states that any product labeled a “yam” must also have a label that reads “sweet potato.” So, next time you are in the grocery store and see a label that reads “yam,” be assured that it is actually a sweet potato, since yams are not commercially grown in the United States. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: While making my creamy broccoli, potato and cheese soup, I used the flour/water mixture to thicken the broth. Of course, there were a few lumps. I grabbed my potato peeler (which was already out and ready for use) to quickly pull out the lumps. It worked perfectly! The lump stays on the end of the peeler, while the broth runs down and out of the area of the peeler where the blades are located and back into the soup. Don’t know why I’d never thought of this before! -- Judi M., Fremont, Neb.
Dear Heloise: I have started making a photocopy of the recipe I plan to cook for dinner. I carry the copy with me when I grocery-shop, which saves me the time and possible error of recopying onto a grocery list. It also saves the pages of my cookbooks from possible spills and splatters during the cooking process. I have found this method particularly helpful when cooking a wide variety of dishes during the holidays, as it keeps me more focused and my counter less cluttered. -- Sally W., via e-mail
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