Living Columns & Blogs

Hints from Heloise: Storing sweaters in sealed plastic is OK for one season

DEAR HELOISE: I have a question about the best way to store sweaters. I purchased some clear totes and thought of keeping them in those with some moth cakes. Would this be the best way to store them?

– Julie V., via email

DEAR JULIE: If your totes are plastic, then that’s not the best way to store your sweaters for the long term, but if it’s just a seasonal thing, then you probably are OK. And moth cakes really don’t kill moths; they are supposed to repel them. If the clothes are clean and in a well-sealed container, then there is no need for moth cakes – which smell pretty bad, by the way!

Before packing away the clothes, wash or dry-clean them, making sure there are no stains. You can roll them to prevent creases.

Sweaters need to be kept away from moisture, so don’t store the container in an attic or a basement, if possible. Find a closet, storage space underneath a bed or some other area in your home with the same temperature, etc., as your bedroom.

DEAR HELOISE: I often mail photos to some of my relatives. I have found a trick that helps the photos get to their destination unbent. I place the photos (I usually send only one or two at a time) in a card with a quick note. Then I take a piece of thin cardboard or card stock that I have saved, cut it to size and place it in the envelope as well. It gives the photos extra support.

Just be careful – depending on how much you put in each envelope, the postage may go up.

– Leslie In San Angelo, Texas

DEAR HELOISE: When I heat a small dish of food in the microwave, I used to put the item in the center of the microwave. When it was done, I had to take out a hot dish. I discovered a better way. I put the item to be cooked off to one side. When it is done, I slip a hot pad into the microwave on the opposite side and quickly place the dish on the hot pad.

– W.W. In Salem, Ore.

DEAR HELOISE: I have a small child, and spills on the floor are a common occurrence. To help save our carpet, I place a large blanket on the floor in the room we are in most. It easily can be picked up when we have company or if it needs to be washed.

– A Reader In San Antonio

DEAR READER: Very smart! Works with some pets, too.

DEAR HELOISE: Do you have a hint for how to quickly and efficiently clean blenders and food processors? I like using these appliances but don’t enjoy taking them apart for cleaning.

– Susan W. In Pennsylvania

DEAR SUSAN: I’m with you! A blender is easy to clean, but a food processor seems like too much work!

Susan, there is an easy hint for cleaning these appliances: After you are done using the blender or processor, rinse the pitcher or bowl with water. Fill half of the pitcher or bowl with warm water and add a drop of dishwashing liquid. Put the lid on securely and turn the appliance back on for 20-30 seconds. Also, it takes only a drop of detergent – don’t overdo it, thinking more is better. Rinse, dry and that’s it. The appliance will be ready for the next time you want to whip up a meal.

DEAR HELOISE: Help! Years ago, you printed a waffle recipe using club soda. When I opened the book where I kept the recipe all this time, it wasn’t there! Could you please print it again?

– Lucille S. In Texas

DEAR LUCILLE: Don’t worry, because you can enjoy these Heloise Club Waffles again! Gather the following ingredients:

2 cups biscuit mix, 1 egg, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 11/3 cups club soda. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients using a large spoon. Be sure not to overmix, and use the batter immediately so it does not have a chance to go flat.

Get out your waffle iron and start making delicious, fluffy waffles for everyone to enjoy, or freeze for later!

DEAR HELOISE: I love fresh fruit in my morning oatmeal, especially peaches. Though they may not always be in season, I found a way to have them all year long! I purchase the cups of diced peaches in 100 percent fruit juice and strain the juice from the cup. I then stir the peaches into the oatmeal when it has 30 seconds left in the microwave. So delicious!

– Jacki, via email

DEAR HELOISE: After collecting wine corks from a few bottles (real ones, not the plastic kind), just wedge them under the handles of pot lids, using two or more, depending on how many the handle will allow. The corks remain cool throughout cooking, and they create a stable grip by which to grasp your pot lids. No need for oven mitts, which can really crowd the space around the stove!

– Abbie In San Antonio

DEAR HELOISE: I have the perfect solution for removing melted cheese from plates, eating utensils and glass cookware: Rinse the item in hot water and remove the melted cheese with a wet, cloth-like paper towel. The cheese comes right off, sticks to the paper towel, and your dishes are ready for soap. No more cheese stuck to a scrubbing brush or nylon scrubber.

– Melissa H., Auburn

DEAR READERS: Here is a hint if someone calls you and says that he or she is with the Do Not Call Registry: Hang up immediately!

It seems that now scammers are pretending to be from the registry, calling homes and asking people to verify their personal information, or asking if they want to sign up for the registry. No one from the registry will call you! These folks are asking “to confirm” names, addresses and even Social Security numbers. Trust me, no one should be calling you to ask for this information. My hint: Hang up!

Once you have signed up with the registry, it permanently restricts calls from telemarketers, so you never need to renew your registration – it never expires. Call 888-382-1222 to sign up today!

P.S.: Another good hint is to never give your personal information over the phone, especially if you get a call you were not expecting asking for it.

DEAR HELOISE: Cleaning my kitchen, I noticed all the dust and grease that had collected on my faux greenery lining the tops of my kitchen cabinets as part of the decor. I tried dusting it with a dust cloth, but the grease made the dust adhere to the leaves and impossible to remove.

I was frustrated and ready to throw the foliage in the garbage when I decided, in a last attempt, to put all the pieces in the dishwasher.

I secured the pieces with clips to the racks and lost a few leaves in the process, but the greenery was cleaned and able to be displayed again.

– Gwen R., via email

DEAR HELOISE: We have several tall tube feeders, where the birds sit on perches to reach through metal holes to get at the seed. When we are going to be away for a few days, I use wine-bottle corks to plug all of the holes except one on the bottom, which usually makes the seed last until we get back home.

– A Reader in Ohio