Dear Readers: The old saying that CARROTS are good for your eyes is true! They won’t make your vision better, but they can play an important role in your eye health.

Carrots, like other orange-colored produce (sweet potatoes, cantaloupe), are rich in beta carotene.

If your family isn’t fond of vegetables, try sneaking some good nutrients and vitamins into something sweet, like Heloise’s Carrot Cake:

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup salad oil

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup grated carrots

2 eggs

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix sugar and oil. Slowly add sifted dry ingredients. Next, mix in carrots, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add nuts last, and blend. Bake in a round cake tin at 375 F for 35 to 40 minutes. After the cake is cool, slice it horizontally to make two layers. Put filling (canned frosting) between the cut sides, and frost the remainder of the cake. Enjoy! For more recipes and money-saving hints, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Use baking soda as a nonabrasive cleaner on that cake pan by dampening a sponge with water, sprinkling on baking soda and wiping it clean. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Will chocolate chips last longer if I store them in the freezer? -- Jean C., via e-mail

The answer is yes and no, according to the experts. Technically, you can freeze them, but this supposedly gives only an additional 30-day shelf life.

You also can keep them in the refrigerator, as I do. Wrap them securely in plastic wrap first, then put them into plastic bags to be sure no refrigerator odors seep into the bag. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I make soup stock from poultry, beef and ham bones. Here are some hints:

* Cook the stock in a slow cooker on low overnight. This makes clear stock.

* Remove oil and fat from the top using paper towels.

* Freeze in 1-quart plastic containers that previously have been lined with plastic bags.

-- Roman A. in Pennsylvania


Dear Heloise: Spices are very expensive, and I needed ground cloves for an applesauce cake. I had only whole cloves. I put them in my blender until they were a very fine powder. This was cheaper than buying them already in powdered form. -- Isabelle in Connecticut

Isabelle, I was not too sure about this hint, so I tested it in my office. It worked! Oh, and the office smelled great, too! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: In a previous column, Barb F. wrote that for her parents, who have everything, she makes meals, which is great.

We give gift cards to our parents so they can go out to eat. Friends can go along, and they have a wonderful time. -- Debbie in New York

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