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Helpful Hints

Jun 29, 2023

DEAR READERS: Dealing with cupcake batter can be so messy, so here's my hint to make it a much easier process. Use a gravy ladle or an ice cream dipper to scoop up the exact amount for each cupcake. This way, the batter will not spill all over the tins.

DEAR READERS: To prevent your cats from digging into your precious houseplants, just spread a layer of marbles, plastic craft mesh or pine cones over the soil. Your cat will not want to walk on these items.

DEAR HELOISE: I had a couple of thoughts about paint cans. Rather than using a bread wrapper or a sheet of plastic to make a paint can easier to open, use Vaseline. When a paint can is fresh and new, use a cotton swab to smear some Vaseline on the edge of the lid and the top of the can. Paint won't stick to the greasy surfaces, and it'll be very easy to open the can. The same goes with a small glass jar -- put Vaseline on the edge of the jar and the inner edge of the lid.

This also works well on super glue containers. When they are new, use a cotton swab to smear Vaseline on the spout and inside the cap. Super glue won't stick, and the containers will last much longer. Keep them in the refrigerator, and they'll last even longer!

-- J.E., in California

DEAR READERS: To remove tomato stains from plastic containers, pour a small amount of baking soda onto a damp cloth and rub the stains until gone. Rinse well.

Baking soda is a wonderful go-to tool for cleaning and deodorizing around the house. My pamphlet "Heloise's Baking Soda Hints and Recipes" will tell you all about it.

DEAR HELOISE: I love to grow my own tomatoes, but when I want to puree my fresh tomatoes for sauces or juice, I put them in my freezer for a couple of days before thawing them out and placing them in my blender. They go through the blender with a greater speed and ease than the fresh ones right off the vine.

-- Maria G.,

China Grove, Texas

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

[email protected]

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