DEAR HELOISE: I always buy my favorite candy at Halloween just in case I have to eat some myself.
I noticed that most of the candy is made with peanuts, and I thought of my granddaughter who is allergic to all nuts.
I make it a point to buy some candy that does not have nuts and put it in a different bowl. When trick-or-treaters come to the door, I first ask if anyone has an allergy to nuts. If I hear a "yes," then that goblin receives candy out of the special bowl.
B.G. In Colorado
DEAR B.G.: With so many people having peanut allergies, how thoughtful it is to consider those with allergies when purchasing Halloween treats. Just remember, even if a candy does not contain nuts, it may be made in a factory that processes nuts, which can be just as dangerous to eat. Be sure to read the package.
DEAR READERS: Few things are more satisfying than a crisp, fresh cucumber, but did you know that this refreshing fruit is actually a member of the gourd family? Here are just a few of the tasty uses for this unique squash:
Topping off a dish
With so many quick-and-easy uses, could anything be cooler than a cucumber?
DEAR HELOISE: I have bought and used many silicone pans. After several years, they may become stained, sticky or burned. To reuse a round or square pan, take a pair of sharp scissors and carefully cut around the bottom edge, leaving you with a silicone mat. Round ones can be used as trivets, or simply a mat to set things on that would otherwise scratch a wooden surface or table. The square pan bottoms can be cut into four squares for use as "mug rugs" (coasters).
And the fluted, round cake pans can be cut, starting at the center cone, into bands that last longer than rubber bands. Or, simply cut off the cone part and use as a funnel.
Sara In Decatur, Ind.
DEAR HELOISE: Drizzle a little honey on dry cereal. It really doesn't change the taste drastically. The honey adheres to the cereal, holds it together and is near impossible to shake off the spoon.
Add a couple of drops of vanilla to the bowl, and it also enhances the milk. I think moms might want to use this hint for their little ones, but others will love it, too!
K.P., Amarillo, Texas
DEAR HELOISE: If you are going to purée fresh tomatoes for sauce, juice or other preserving, put the tomatoes in the freezer for a couple of days. After they thaw, they will go through your blender much faster and easier.
G.R., via email