Dear Readers: It’s winter, and what better way to warm up on a cold day than to have a HOT BOWL OF SOUP? If you’re too busy to make a big pot of homemade soup, I have a few hints for making canned soup more appetizing. Try these:

* Try adding grated cheese, chopped hard-boiled eggs or a few croutons to thick soups for extra flavor.

* To jazz up cream soups, add a dollop of sour cream, yogurt or chopped herbs.

* For clear soups, add dumplings, won tons, rice or noodles to give the soup a little more substance.

* For chili or bean soups, add slices of avocado or some grated cheese, and top with a little sour cream. If you’d like to try new soup recipes, I have several in my Heloise’s Spectacular Soups pamphlet. To receive one, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Soup, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. FYI: If your soup is too hot, toss in an ice cube, or better yet, some frozen veggies.

-- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I look forward to reading your column each morning in the San Angelo Standard-Times here in the great state of Texas.

Clean used pillows, towels and blankets are welcomed at your local animal shelter. There are so many animals that would welcome a soft pillow to rest on. This is a great way to help an animal and recycle at the same time. Check with your local shelters to find out if they would like your used pillows, etc. -- Nancy in San Angelo, Tex.


Dear Readers: Bill Steele of Manchester, N.H., sent a picture of his long-haired, tricolored cat, Muffy, sitting on a couch specially made for her by Bill’s son. Bill says Muffy is his best friend! To see Muffy and our other Pet Pals, visit and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My car ignition seemed to be jammed and unable to be turned on. A neighbor said it might cost several hundred dollars to replace.

Fortunately, my honest mechanic suggested that it might simply be because my key was worn out. Sure enough! When I tried the second key (that came with the car), it worked perfectly. It had never dawned on me that car keys could wear out! Stupid me! -- Elaine W., via e-mail


Dear Heloise: My hint is for grocery shoppers. I use an old shower-curtain ring and hook it on the side of the grocery cart. I hang my handbag on it. No more squished bread, crushed chips or bruised fruit, and no broken eggs.

Also, I used to be called the bag lady before they sold those fancy recycled or reusable bags; I had about 15 canvas bags that I made myself! -- Marie from Harrisburg, Pa.

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.

2012, King Features Syndicate