This idea lacks a
Dear Heloise: You are never too old to learn an easy way to peel
hard-boiled eggs. I boiled 10 eggs and put them in the refrigerator. A
few days ago, I wanted hard-boiled eggs, but I didn’t want cold eggs. I
put two eggs in the microwave for 20 seconds. I cracked the shell on the
large end and peeled. - W.D., via email
Your hint is a good reminder of how to reheat eggs, but here is what we
learned a couple of years ago after testing it at Heloise Central: The
eggs must already be OUT OF THE SHELL before microwaving. Additionally,
you must insert a toothpick in the egg to keep it from exploding while
heating. - Heloise
Dear Heloise: In your recipe for Mother’s Peking Roast, it says to use
vinegar. Is that white or apple-cider vinegar? - Louise, via email
You can use either! For those readers interested in the recipe, gather
First, to marinate:
3-5 pounds roast beef
Garlic and/or onion slivers
1/2 to 1 cup apple-cider or white vinegar
2 cups brewed, strong coffee
2 cups water
Salt and pepper
Using a sharp knife, cut slits all throughout the roast, and stick the
slivers of garlic, onion or both into those slits. Place the roast in a
bowl and pour the vinegar over it, making sure to get it into the slits.
Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for 24-48
To cook, remove the roast from the bowl and dump out the vinegar. Use a
heavy Dutch oven or similar pot to brown the roast on all sides in oil.
Once browned, pour the coffee over the meat and add the water. Cover and
cook slowly for about 6 hours on the stovetop. Check while cooking, as
you may need to add more water as the roast cooks. About 20-30 minutes
before serving, season well with salt and pepper. For more favorite
recipes, order my Heloise’s All-Time Favorite Recipes pamphlet online at
www.Heloise.com or by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70
cents) envelope to: Heloise/All-Time, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX
78279-5001. Use the leftover roast to make delicious hot or cold
sandwiches the next day! - Heloise
Dear Heloise: My way of making graham-cracker crumbs is to put graham
crackers between two pieces of wax paper and use a rolling pin to roll
over them until they are crumby. When finished, just pull up the wax
paper on either side and put the crumbs into a bowl. No mess! It is
cheaper than buying the already-crumbed graham crackers. I learned this
from my mom, who is now 87.
- Joanne Rasmussen, Huntington Beach, Calif.
A trashy neighborhood
March 17, 2015
Readers: Here is this week’s Sound Off, about trash bins being left out:
“We have a mandatory
homeowners association in my neighborhood. One of the rules is that
trash bins are not to be left out for extended periods of time or left
visible (like out by the garage). It really irks me when I see some of
the bins by the garage instead of inside the garage or fence. It is even
worse when I see trash or recycling bins left by the curb days after
pickup day. It doesn’t make our neighborhood look very nice.”
- A.H., via email
This can be
annoying, especially for those who follow the rules. The diplomatic way
is to bring up this subject at a homeowners meeting. Then the
association can contact the homeowner. - Heloise
Here are other uses for empty tissue boxes:
* Keep ribbon and
bows in one.
* Place one on
the dryer to put used dryer sheets and lint in.
* Use as storage for
all your plastic grocery bags.
* Put in a car
and use as a trash can.
* Let kids use for
their small toys.
Dear Heloise: We
moved into a new house, and the grout in the shower could use some
cleaning up. Do you have any hints to help it look nicer? - Isabelle
congratulations on your new home. I'll share the Heloise grout-cleaner
recipe so you (and other readers) can get the shower-stall grout clean.
For this recipe,
you will need 1/4 cup of borax, 1/2 cup of baking soda and warm water,
just enough to make a thick paste. Use an old toothbrush or something
similar, apply the paste to the grout and gently scrub with a soft
brush. Let sit for 20-30 minutes, then rinse. To help keep the grout
clean, be sure to leave the shower door or curtain open so there is no
moisture to affect the grout! Have cleaning problems in your new home?
Or want to know how to keep your home looking like new? Order my
pamphlet Heloise's Homemade Cleaning Solutions to learn all my hints! To
receive, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope
to: Heloise/Cleaners, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. To
order online, go to www.Heloise.com.
Have dirty cleaning rags? Wash them in the washing machine (by
themselves) to get them clean. - Heloise
Dear Heloise: I
read how one mom uses leftover hamburger buns for peanut butter and
jelly sandwiches. We apply butter and garlic or spices to them. Slice
them after toasting, then cut into strips. They complement spaghetti
dishes or other meals where garlic bread would be welcome. - Jay in
Dear Heloise: To
easily remove candle wax from candlesticks, stick them in the freezer
for an hour or so. When I take them out, the candle wax easily pops off
the candlesticks. - Becca in Tennessee
From Heloise: The great indoors?
Feb. 26, 2015
Dear Heloise: I am
hoping you can assist me with a question about my cat, Patches. She is
an INDOOR/OUTDOOR CAT, and we are moving to a new home to take care of
in-laws. I would prefer her to be strictly indoors, so that she would
always be safe. She is 13 years old.
Can I train her to
stay inside and become an indoor cat? My vet said to just do it, and
eventually she will quit crying when she learns I’m not going to let her
you give me any pointers on how to make this easier for both Patches and
-- Cheryl in San Antonio
“Meow” to Patches
and “Hi” to you! Moving for any pet (or human) can be upsetting and a
stressful change. As far as her “wanting” to be outside, of course she
wants to! She has been doing so, and now she can’t! You’re a loving and
responsible owner, knowing it could be dangerous for her outside. She
may not come back.
Do set up some
“distractions” for her: a scratching post and new toys. An elevated,
carpet-lined perch by a window will let Patches look outside and keep
watch about what is going on. I once saw a large motor home with a
pop-out “cat window.” The owners had attached a large wire cage, with
carpet on the bottom, to the window. The cat went through the window
“outside” to sit and watch the world go by, but was safe. You could try
something like that for Patches.
She may try to sneak
out when a door is open, so do be sure that everyone in the house keeps
an eye on her. Maybe distract her when you leave. She will fuss and make
noise, but you must stay the course.
generally are healthier and live longer, so she most likely will have
more happy years with you.
While on this
subject, please do be sure that your cat is microchipped. Anyone moving
with pets should get new tags and update contact information.
Karen in Bingham, Maine, sent a picture of her adorable mini schnauzer,
Maggie. Maggie has stretched herself out between the easy chair and the
ottoman. She really doesn’t look all that comfy! To see Maggie and our
other Pet Pals, visit www. Heloise.com.
Dear Heloise: My
wife and I eat breakfast or lunch out several times a week. We meet up
with friends, have a nice meal, and there’s no cooking or cleaning up.
Alice is the cook and I’m the bottle washer, so it’s “the kitchen is
closed” time off.
Here’s how we save a
bundle of money: Drink water rather than iced tea or coffee. A cup of
coffee can run $2.50, and iced tea the same. We each order a salad and
an appetizer sometimes, and not expensive entrees. It adds up.
- Dennis and Dixie, Washington, D.C.
Outwitting sticky pie crusts
Feb. 18, 2015
Dear Heloise: I often purchase the FROZEN PIE SHELLS to
bake pies, and I have difficulty removing slices from the pan after they
are baked; the pie crust is always stuck. Do you have any suggestions
for how to make this easy without breaking up the slices? -- Carole
Owings, Wildwood, Fla.
Carol, that's just a plain ... well ... pain! Here are some hints to
consider. Switch brands to see if a different one does not stick it may
be that simple. It may be the type of pie you are baking. If you
pre-bake the pie crust, poke holes in it, bake, then add the filling
However, if you are baking a pie with filling (pecan, pumpkin or my fave
... blue- or blackberry!), DO NOT poke the shell with a fork. Doing so
will let sticky liquid seep through and will cause the crust to stick.
Do let the pie (and crust) cool before cutting
Last resort? Remove the frozen crust, grease the pan, put the crust back
in and proceed. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Every year around the holidays, I buy a bottle of cocktail
sauce. I use only a small amount. It sits in the refrigerator for
several months, then I toss it out. Is there any other use for it? I
checked the label, and it only lists shrimp. Should I just buy more
shrimp? -- Dan in McDonald, Ohio
Dan, don't toss the sauce or buy more shrimp! This sauce is basically
spicy ketchup, so get adventurous! Put it on burgers, hot dogs and
fries. It works with crab, too
It makes a zingy dip when poured over cream cheese. I run a fork through
the slab of soft cream cheese to score it, then pour on the sauce. Set
out with crackers, and ta-da ... quick-and-easy eating. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I purchased a 12-cup coffeemaker. It s the same model as
my previous one. The paper coffee filters almost always collapse, and
grounds end up in the coffee. Any help would be appreciated.
-- Bonnie, via e-mail
have tasted coffee grounds in fresh-brewed coffee! Yes, the same filters
(do be sure they are the old filters) should work. However, I bought
some same brand, same size filters on the Internet, and they did this
too. You can wet the filter to make it stick - this should help. Or try
a permanent filter that you wash out. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I buy honey at a big-box store. After a while, it
crystallizes, and I would heat it in a pot of water to thin it out.
solved my problem by putting it into small jars. If it starts to
crystallize, I put it on the top rack of the dishwasher. When the cycle
is finished, the honey is back to the way it was before. It works
perfectly. Just be sure the lid is on tight. -- Shirley L. in Florida
Shirley, this is a HONEY of a HINT, and I love it! -- Heloise
on to those ideas
Feb. 11, 2015
Dear readers: In a recent column, Bev A. asked for hints about what to
do with all the plastic hangers she had. Here are just a handful of all
of the hints readers sent:
Dolores S. in Mansfield,
Ohio, wrote: "Please mention the laundromat. I worked at a laundry for
three years, and we could always use hangers. The owner had to buy boxes
of them, and donations would help with expenses. People wanted their
laundry hung up, but wouldn't bring their own hangers."
Nancy Meyer, via email, wrote: "We help settle refugees, and really need
hangers when we set up their apartments. Spread the word to check with
an agency in the area that settles refugees. They will gladly take
reader, via email, wrote: "Other great ideas for extra hangers are to
contact hospitals. The hangers seem to disappear from the patient rooms
when patients are discharged."
All good hints, and it's wonderful to find out about great ways to
recycle hangers. Here is another hint from me: See if nursing homes and
assisted-living facilities would be able to use extra hangers. -
Ready for exercise
Dear Heloise: Many people have made a New Year's resolution to exercise
or get more fit. I have a piece of advice that works for me. Have
workout clothes ready. If you have to search for the socks, the shoes,
the top and the pants, it won't take long to be discouraged.
have walked every day (2 miles) for 37 years, and I have my clothes
ready to jump into in the morning. Another hint: Get it done in the
morning, if you can. As the day progresses, you are less likely to feel
like doing it. - Corrinne B., Universal City, Texas
Dear Heloise: With the popularity of gift bags instead of wrapped
presents, a lot of tissue paper is needed. I never buy tissue paper
because I gathered all the paper from last year's gift bags and ironed
them. They are good as new, and I am able to use the paper several
times. - Kaye in Arkansas
Dear Heloise: Ever wonder what to do with all the chopsticks that come
with takeout Chinese food? Wonder no more. Chopsticks make great paint
stirrers if you have small cans of paint. Don't pull the chopsticks
apart, and they will work great to mix your paint. Heloise, thanks for
the helpful hints. I read your column every morning. - Marla S., Seal
Hi, Marla. Thanks for reading my column. I use the chopsticks for my
potted plants to aerate the soil.
- Hugs, Heloise
Dear Heloise: I created a folder I have saved to my desktop on my
computer, which I update every time I finish a book. Then, when I go
shopping for more books, I print a copy and take it with me to prevent
buying a book I have already enjoyed. - Conrad, via email
Carry those back
to the store?
Feb. 4, 2015
Dear Heloise: In the
Houston Chronicle, I read the hint from a reader in your column about
ways to use cardboard wine carriers from grocery stores. (Heloise here:
The reader uses them to store glassware.) My local stores are happy to
have both them and the nice wine bags returned. - Robin Rodriquez,
Robin, thank you for
writing. You and many readers suggested the same hint, to take them back
to the stores. However, you should call first, because there may be a
health-code issue about using these for another customer. However, if
the stores recycle them, it's a win-win all around! - Heloise
Dear Heloise: I read
your hints in The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. I just wanted to pass
on two hints that have helped our household.
We bought standing
coat hangers (Heloise here: Not a wire coat hanger that stands by
itself, but a "coat hanger," usually wood or metal, that stands upright
and is used to hang coats on. A fun play on words that sometimes does
get confusing!) and put them in the bedrooms. They are great for hanging
sweats, pajamas, robes, etc., rather than piling them on the bed or
Also, I have two hampers, one for whites/off-whites and one for colors.
This makes doing laundry a snap versus separating on laundry day. -
Melissa B., Harrisburg, Pa.
Hey, Melissa, I,
too, have a "coat hanger," but it's in my closet. I use it to hang my
sweaters. I first fold the sweater in half lengthwise, then drape it
over a clothes hanger like it's a shawl. The arm area goes around the
hook part, and the rest is hung over the hanger. No creases from being
folded and put in a drawer or on a shelf. - Heloise
P.S.: A Texas
"howdy" to my friends in Harrisburg! I met such friendly and nice people
when I was there at the home show talking about my Five-Point Plan for
Clutter Control. It's been a few years, but oh my, some of the tasty
treats to eat in that city? Perfect comfort food in the winter.
Dear Heloise: Our
newspaper is delivered in a clear plastic sleeve. I store my neck
scarves by folding them in half and rolling them to fit the bag. I can
find the scarf I am looking for, and when they are removed from the bag,
they are not wrinkled. Sunday papers are much larger, so those bags work
great for larger knit scarves. - Joyce A., Nipomo, Calif.
Dear Heloise: I
still love to use bar soap. I keep it from dissolving in the soap dish
by using a flat-sided nailbrush with the brush bristle side up. I set
the soap on top, and it stays dry. The added benefit is that there is
always a little soap on the bristles when I clean my nails. - Amy
Griffiths, Ravenna, Ohio
the bite on 'Energy Vampires'
Jan. 28, 2015
Dear Readers: How
many electronic devices do you think are in your home? How many of them
are you NOT using, but they might still be pulling power? Take a little
stroll around your place and count. I just walked through our kitchen,
den and rec room and counted 10. That's in just three rooms. Apparently,
the average household has 25 electronic devices that use electricity.
All of these can be
adding to your energy bill. Even if you aren't using them, if they are
plugged in, they can potentially use energy. If it has an LCD or LED
display, meaning the numbers light up, it's pulling power! Here are
hints to make these "energy vampires" less powerful:
* Unplug devices you
are not using or you don't use daily. For example: an old stereo or TV
in a guest room.
* Use sleep modes on
electronics that have them. The device will "sleep" or power down, and
will use less electricity.
* Use power strips
to control multiple appliances with one off/on switch. Think kitchen:
coffee maker and toaster oven or toaster.
* When shopping for
new electronics, look for the ENERGY STAR designation. These are the
most efficient and use less energy, so you are saving money while you
Dear Heloise: We
live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, we have rain, and we do not
wear shoes in the house. For guests, I keep a basket of cute little
pairs of ankle socks (tied with a bow) available in the entry. Our
guests pick out a pair, and the socks are theirs to keep. The silly sock
prints create a fun conversation, as everyone wants to see what the
others are wearing. - Mary A., Vancouver, Wash.
Dear Heloise: In
our neighborhood, people often leave perfectly good items by the street
to be picked up by the trash collector or others who may want them.
A couple of days
ago, I noticed a small pink tricycle that was just right for my
great-granddaughter. It was there the next day. I noticed several other
toys in the driveway that appeared to be for the same age group.
Possibly a 2-year-old had left her tricycle near the street. I suggest
parents teach their toddlers that they could lose their toys if left
near the street. - Doug J., Denham Springs, La.
Another use I might suggest to conserve water is to store the gallons of
water collected after cleaning the refrigerator filter. Put the water
into clean gallon milk jugs and use it in a room humidifier.
- Bruce M., San Angelo, Texas
Dear Heloise: I use
some over-the-counter medicines. Most have childproof caps with arrows
you line up in advance to help in low light such as early morning or
bedtime. I use a permanent marker on the arrows so it's easy to get the
bottles open regardless of light or glasses. - Steve J. in Alabama
The men speak out
Jan. 21, 2015
Dear Heloise: When I
get an advertisement from lawyers, doctors or businesses on magnets, I
don't throw them away -- I use them. I take a picture of a family member
or pet that's about the same size. I paste it over the advertisement,
then put it on my refrigerator. My family loves my collection, and I
even send them to friends. - Earl Harmon, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
P.S.: I love your
hints in the magazine (Good Housekeeping magazine - Heloise) and
newspaper columns. The other day, I was at a home-improvement store to
pick up supplies for a hint I read in your column. The salesman asked
what I was making. He said, "What a great idea - did you think of it?" I
couldn't lie and said I read it in your column. He said, "Wow ... I
thought all those helpful hints were about making cupcakes." I think he
is a follower now.
Regarding placing a tarp over your car to easily remove snow: It may
work on some cars, but it likely will destroy the luster on most. Snow
is heavy, and on top of a tarp it can scratch your car. The more often
you do this, the more scratches will accumulate.
To those wives whose
husbands think they are too manly to read your articles: I'm a
55-year-old man who fishes, works on cars, operates heavy equipment and
fixes almost anything. I not only learn something occasionally, but I
enjoy reading your column. Thanks. - Dave in Dayton, Ohio
Dear Earl and Dave:
Thank you both for writing and reminding folks that this column is not
just about baking, sewing and housework. It's about life, and how to fix
things, prevent and solve problems and take care of yourself.
It's amazing to
me that there are still new hints to learn! Here are some Heloise do's
Don't put your
cellphone in a microwave to dry it - yes, people have done this!
Don't use ammonia
for a pet-urine stain - it smells like urine! It will attract the animal
back to that spot.
Don't put fine
crystal wineglasses in the dishwasher. It can scratch (etch) them.
Do recycle and
reuse. Yes, newspapers are still good for the bottom of a bird cage,
garbage can and to clean windows.
I'm still here
testing, calling experts and researching hints for you. I'm the gal you
Thank you for continuing to read Hints From Heloise, and I hope I'll be
here for you for a long time.
- Hugs, Heloise
Dear Heloise: I
take a lot of vitamins that come packed with cotton. I save the cotton
to use with nail-polish remover. - Debbi in Florida