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Aluminum Cookware

Dear Heloise: My aluminum cookware has become dull and dingy looking. How can I bring it back to life? — Sherrie W. in South Dakota

Sherrie, cream of tartar works fairly well; however, I would suggest a commercial cleaner made especially for aluminum. DO NOT use any cleaner that contains ammonia, because it will pit the aluminum. — Heloise

QUICK WIPE

Dear Readers: To avoid having to clean up those yucky, sticky drip rings left from the bottoms of condiment containers, such as ketchup and mustard, give them a quick wipe before returning them to your refrigerator shelf. It saves you from having to clean your refrigerator shelves as often. — Heloise

MOCK PECAN PIE

Dear Readers: If you’re looking for a unique pie recipe for the upcoming holiday season, try my Mock Pecan Pie recipe. It’s easy to make and will be a welcome addition to your dessert menu. To make it you’ll need:

1 cup cooked, unseasoned pinto beans (use canned or start from dried beans)

1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar

4 ounces butter or margarine

4 eggs, well beaten

2 tablespoons molasses or dark corn syrup

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Whipped cream or non-dairy topping (for serving)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Drain and mash the beans thoroughly. In a medium bowl, cream the sugar and butter. Add the eggs, molasses, vanilla and salt. Mix in the beans. Pour into the pie shell and sprinkle the chopped nuts on top. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until firm or a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve with the whipped cream. — Heloise

A COUPLE OF

QUESTIONS

Dear Heloise: For your cookie recipe using a cake mix, eggs and oil, can you add goodies like raisins, chocolate chips and nuts? Also, if a recipe calls for milk, can you use non-fat milk? — Linda H., Fredericksburg, Vir.

Linda, yes, you can add whatever little treat you like into the cake-to-cookies recipe. I like to add little candied pieces to my cookies when I make them.

For your second question, you can use non-fat milk in many recipes, but you might want to add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to replace the fat found in whole milk. — Heloise

SOFT BUTTER

Dear Readers: When your refrigerated butter is hard, making it difficult to spread, shave off thin curls from the stick using a vegetable peeler. The curls will be soft enough to spread in no time. — Heloise

HAIRY CARROTS

Dear Heloise: I hate those hairy looking strings on carrots. What causes them? — Karen, via email

Karen, those little “hairs” as you call them are actually small roots looking for water. They are harmless, but if they bother you, use a vegetable brush and scrub them off. — Heloise

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