Dear Heloise: Everyone at my house loves your CHINESE BEETS. Unfortunately, I lost the recipe, and I'm not sure what ingredients to use, or the amounts. Would you reprint this recipe? -- Stacy W., Portland, Maine
Stacy, I love this recipe, too, so here it is:
6 cups cooked sliced beets, or 3 (16 ounces each) cans sliced beets
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
24 whole cloves (but if you don't care for a strong taste, start with 12)
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons oil (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Salt to taste
Drain the beets. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the liquid. In a medium saucepan, place the beets and reserved liquid. Then add all the remaining ingredients. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat, or until the mixture thickens. Let cool before storing in the refrigerator. Serve as a side dish or in a salad. Want more tasty treats for your family? To get this and other recipes to delight your family and friends, send $5, along with a stamped (71 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise's All-Time Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at www.Heloise.com. This dish is very "tangy," but if you enjoy waking up your taste buds, you'll love my Chinese Beets. -- Heloise
DEBUG THE PANTRY
Dear Heloise: I found weevils in my rice and cereals! If a box has a pour spout or any closure that's not airtight, then go to a dollar store and buy a cheap set of containers with a twist-off top or a snap closure, and put food in them. Tiny bugs can get into nearly any container that's made of paper. -- Grace W., Chalmette, La.
GREEK YOGURT VERSUS HEAVY CREAM
Dear Heloise: In recipes that call for heavy cream, can I use Greek yogurt instead? -- Lois D., Buckhall, Va.
Lois, it's not uncommon for cooks to use Greek yogurt in place of heavy cream in recipes for cold soups or sauces. However, heavy cream usually contains about 36 percent fat, while Greek yogurt usually contains a much lower fat content, making it less ideal for baked goods, such as custards, cakes and any recipe that relies on fat content. -- Heloise
YOU CAN CLEAN MANY THINGS IN THE DISHWASHER
Dear Heloise: I've discovered that there are a number of things you can clean in your dishwasher besides dishes. Things such as makeup trays that are plastic, my husband's baseball caps (he has several!), my daughter's plastic teacup set and much more! -- Joan G., La Crosse, Ind.
Dear Heloise: I was at a grocery store that had grocery carts placed around the store with a sign stating: "Change your mind? Put the items here and we will restock them." Great idea! -- Kathy M., via email
STAY DRY IN SUMMER
Dear Readers: Summer's about to turn up the heat -- are you ready? Do you know how to STAY DRY AND ODOR-FREE? Let's look at antiperspirant and deodorant.
Our bodies have an ingenious way to regulate temperature. This is by perspiring. Antiperspirant aims to create a barrier and block sweat ducts from releasing sweat. This is a ground-floor approach: preventing the problem before it happens.
It's difficult for underarm sweat to evaporate; it can stick around and mingle with the bacteria on your skin, which creates odor. Antiperspirant can help by preventing, or at least reducing, the amount your body sweats.
Deodorant, well, deodorizes. Once you sweat, deodorant conceals the bad odor associated with perspiration. Perspiration itself doesn't smell foul, but when it mingles with the bacteria in your underarm area, look out!
Deodorant can help. Both antiperspirant and deodorant, unless labeled "fragrance-free," have a light scent to them.
Some companies make a product that is both an antiperspirant and a deodorant. It's important to read the labels and understand these products! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: My complaint is the placement of trash cans in public restrooms. After drying my hands, I use the paper towel to open the door, and then I use my foot to keep it open so that I don't have to touch the door handle.
If the trash can is not within reach when leaving, people tend to throw the towels on the floor. -- Lou M., via email
CLEANING THE DISPOSAL
Dear Heloise: I had a real mess on the walls inside my garbage disposal. So, I decided to buy a brand-new toilet brush in an effort to clean it up. I just added a little powdered cleanser and scrubbed it clean. I keep the brush handy under the sink. This works great! -- Mary, via email
Dear Heloise: Although I go to the grocery store once a week, I go less frequently to the mall, bookstore or large retail store. When I went, I often would forget to purchase something I'd been meaning to get for a while.
Now I keep an index card in my purse with a list of these nongrocery items so I won't forget to purchase them.
If you prefer, you can keep a list in the "Notes" section of your phone and add and delete items as needed. -- Joan U. in Houston
Dear Heloise: I have several pills that I need to take every day, and there are some that I take every other day.
Because they look alike, I take a small bowl and put in red food coloring. I dip a toothpick into the red food coloring and put a little dot of red on the pills that are not taken every day. -- Virgil P., Minot, N.D.