Dear Heloise: In the midst of MAKING POTATO SOUP from scratch, I realized that I needed more potatoes. Remembering I had hash browns in the freezer, I grabbed the package. I was able to add enough frozen potatoes to complete my soup. It was so easy and tasty that I know this will be my favorite recipe in the future. -- Kay C. in Texas

Kay, you even could add frozen potatoes to canned soup that you are cooking for added flavor or to thicken. This is another example of why soup is a favorite meal for so many people. It is easy to experiment with when trying new flavors and ideas. I enjoy soup so much that I wrote a pamphlet, Heloise’s Spectacular Soups, which includes some of my favorite soup recipes as well as those of my staff. To receive a copy, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Soups, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. If you make soup and it is too watery, you can thicken it by adding a small amount of instant mashed potatoes, a little at a time, until the soup is the consistency you desire. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: We read your column in the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald every day and love the hints. Here’s one for convenience:

My grandkids love all kinds of berries. They must be washed, and I worry about messy berry stains. We were in a hurry to get to an appointment, so I grabbed two coffee travel mugs (with handles and sealable tops). We put the berries inside and rinsed by filling with water several times and pouring the water out. The kids thought that was so much fun!

They carried the mugs to the car, removed the lids and poured the berries, a few at a time, into their mouths. No berries on the floor, no mess and no purple fingers. -- S.G., via e-mail

Love the hint, and your newspaper, too! Say hello to my friends in Omaha! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: We are tomato lovers, and have always grown our own in Indiana. Now, in Florida and retired, we no longer have the abundance, so we treat every tomato with more respect.

To increase the yield on a tomato, don’t slice it to remove the stem portion. Instead, slice down through the stem so that the tomato is halved and the stem is on both halves. Now V-cut the stems out, and you will enjoy more tomato and have less waste. -- A Reader in Florida


Dear Heloise: I collect cookie jars and display them on top of my kitchen cabinets. When it comes to spring cleaning, I am shocked to see what is on top of my cabinets. To avoid the muck that accumulates from cooking, I line the top of the cabinets with newspaper. Now when I clean, all I do is throw away the old paper and add new paper. No more muck. -- R.M. in Ohio

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

, King Features Syndicate