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DEAR HELOISE: My husband loves to cook and especially to bake. He love, love, loved your pumpkin bread recipe. We don't have a copy, so would you reprint it in your column? He says he wants to make several loafs and freeze them.

-- Cindy C., Howell, Mich.

DEAR READER: I love this recipe. It's so easy to make and tastes great.

Heloise's Pumpkin Bread

1 2/3 cups flour

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped pecans

2 eggs, slightly beaten

½ cup vegetable oil

1 cup canned pumpkin

Sift together all dry ingredients. Add nuts and mix well. Set aside. Combine eggs, oil and pumpkin and add to dry ingredients. Mix just enough to blend. Pour into 9-inch-by-5-inch-by-3-inch greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 75 minutes. Bread is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

DEAR HELOISE: I bought a tube of tomato paste thinking it would be so much more convenient than the can when you only need a little. It was great until I saw that the tube had exploded after several weeks in my refrigerator, making a mess. Now I'm reluctant to buy a tube again. What could have caused this to happen?

-- Diane, via email

DEAR READER: If the canner hasn't sufficiently sterilized the tomatoes, cans and equipment, or if you forgot to wash your hands and thoroughly clean your prep area, two things can happen:

  1. Fermenting causes CO2, which can build up pressure in the tube or can, causing it to explode.

  2. Botulinum bacteria can also cause CO2 to build up, but this is very serious. An exploding tube would be the least of your problems.

If you do not use up all of your tomato paste within a week, I suggest throwing it out to avoid any complication that might arise.

DEAR HELOISE: Your recent suggestion of adding shredded vegetables to meatloaf was a good idea. It reminded me of my late wife's practice of tossing frozen peas, carrots and corn into chili she made. It didn't change the taste, but gave us vegetables (and some color) in our one-dish meals.

-- J. Keith C., Omaha Neb.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email


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