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Helpful Hints

by Heloise | November 30, 2022 at 2:01 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: Years ago when I'd help my mother make pies, she always told me to take the bowl, the mixing blades to the blender or mixer, spoons and anything else I used to make pies, and place them all in the refrigerator overnight. I also would put the marble slab we used in there as well. When we got ready to bake, everything was chilled, and for reasons I can't explain, the crust was always as light as a feather. My mother said it was because we chilled everything beforehand.

-- Shannon M.,

Orem, Utah

DEAR HELOISE: Please repeat your potato soup recipe so I can make it now that the weather has gotten so cold. My husband and I love a bowl of very hot soup and a salad on these chilly evenings.

-- Karen T.,

Port Huron, Mich.

DEAR READER: I'd love to repeat it for you. One of things I like best about winter is hot soup, so here it is.

Heloise's Potato Soup

4 medium potatoes, cubed

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon shortening

1 cup water or chicken stock

2 cups milk

¼ teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

First, cook potatoes, onion, shortening and water in a large pot until potatoes are soft. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. This makes about 4 servings.

Here's an additional tasty tip: You can puree celery and onions in a blender and add the combination to most soups for extra flavor, without a whole lot of extra calories.

DEAR HELOISE: My family loves it when I make homemade pizza, and I enjoy knowing everything I use is fresh and wholesome. However, even when I use a non-stick spray on my pizza pan, I still get dough that sticks to the pan. What am I doing wrong?

-- Laura A.,

Bellevue, Wash.

DEAR READER: Try this -- after spraying the pan with the non-sticking spray, sprinkle a tablespoon of cornmeal on the pan before placing the dough on it.

DEAR HELOISE: I was in the middle of making a meatloaf when I found I was out of bread crumbs. Instead of driving to the grocery store, I reached for a box of oats, and the meatloaf turned out just fine.

-- Gloria C.,

Ocean Springs, Miss.

DEAR READER: You can also use instant mashed potatoes or crushed soda crackers in an emergency like that, and the results will still be very tasty.

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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