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Monday, December 22, 2014, 8:24 p.m.
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Helpful Hints

This article was published July 23, 2014 at 2:29 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: My family has come up with a hint that may help others who never know if the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty.

When the dishwasher is emptied, we immediately fill the dishwasher soap container and close it. That way, anyone who has a question about whether the dishes are clean or dirty needs only to look to see if the container is closed or open. If it is open, the dishes are clean. If the container is closed, put your dirty dishes in.

-- Diana L. in California

DEAR READER: This is a good hint, especially if the dishwasher is used every day or two.

For other readers who don't use the dishwasher daily, please note: Powdered detergent (and some of the new "packets") can be affected by moisture.

P.S.: Here's another hint: Put a coffee cup (open end facing up) on the top rack. If there's water in there, the dishes are clean.

DEAR READERS: Many of you shared your hints about keeping parchment paper on pans. Here are two of them:

• "I spritz cooking spray on each corner of the cookie sheet to hold the parchment down. You don't need a lot. Just a dab."

-- Traci A. in Washington

• "Here's a trick I learned when working in our local grade-school cafeteria: Tear off the desired length of paper, crumple it up as if you were going to throw it away, then simply smooth it out on your cookie sheet with your hand. Spritz with a little water if it is still unruly."

-- Linda S., via email

DEAR HELOISE: I tend to be a messy cook, especially when baking. I now start my preparation by placing a large piece of waxed paper on the counter. When I measure flour, separate eggs, etc., if anything spills, it goes on the waxed paper. When I'm done, I just pick up the waxed paper and put it in the trash.

-- Rebecca S. in Colorado

DEAR HELOISE: To save time washing and rinsing dishes after I have cooked or baked, I fill the sink with warm, soapy water. When I'm done with a utensil or a dish, I slip it into the water. When I am finished cooking, all I do is rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. No more scrubbing!

-- Sandy, via email

DEAR READER: A good way to speed up cleanup. Just be sure there are no sharp knives to cause a mishap.

DEAR HELOISE: I use an orange peeler to score onions when making shish kebabs. It seems to work much better than a knife, as it doesn't score more than one layer at a time.

-- Carol Y. in Indiana

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

Heloise@Heloise.com

Food on 07/23/2014

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