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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

This article was published July 9, 2014 at 1:56 a.m.

DEAR READERS: Have you taken a good look at your knife block lately? Does it look a little dusty and grimy? What about the slots? To clean them, use the crevice tool on the vacuum attachment. This should remove most dirt, dust and crumbs. Also, you can "wash" a wood block with mild soap and warm water, letting the water run down into the slots. Air-dry, or use your hair dryer on the slots.

This may not seem like a big deal, but do take a look down those slots, and I think you will be surprised.

DEAR HELOISE: I love cooking with the fresh-squeezed juices of lemons, limes and oranges, but it can be hard to keep the seeds out of the food. I cut these fruits in half and wrap them in a thin layer of cheesecloth with a rubber band. It's easy to squeeze the juice out while keeping the seeds trapped in the cheesecloth.

Another hint: I get fancy when company is over and tie ribbons (instead of using rubber bands) to secure the cheesecloth.

-- Judy T. in Pennsylvania

DEAR HELOISE: Even in the summer, when my kids are sick, they only want soup to eat. The soup is too hot right off the stove, so I always add one or two ice cubes before serving. This makes the soup ready to eat.

-- Stephanie W., via email

DEAR READER: This hint is great any time of year to keep little ones (or even some bigger people) from burning themselves.

Take leftover soup, pour it into ice-cube trays, freeze and use these "ice cubes" at a later date to cool down soup without diluting the flavor.

DEAR HELOISE: When I take out a new stick of margarine or butter for my butter dish, I partially take off the wrapper. I then take a butter knife and make indents by each of the tablespoon markings on the wrapper before removing it completely. When I need a specific number of tablespoons, I just count off the markings to measure.

-- Gerri S. in Florida

DEAR HELOISE: I sometimes use steel-wool pads and found I could extend their use by wrapping a used pad in waxed paper after each use. I reuse the same waxed paper each time. By doing this, I'm able to get several uses out of the pads before they start rusting.

-- Marie G. in New Hampshire

DEAR READER: You also can try this classic Heloise hint: Put the pad in a plastic bag and keep it in the freezer between uses.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Food on 07/09/2014

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