DEAR HELOISE: Whenever I prepare for my return trip home, I always wipe down the soles of my shoes with disposable anti-bacterial wipes before placing them in a plastic bag and packing them back in my suitcase. This prevents any dirt and germs from getting on my other items.

— Debbie in New Hampshire

Letter opener

DEAR HELOISE: No letter opener? Use a plastic knife from takeout food. It works!

— Faye in Ohio

Use those coupons

DEAR HELOISE: Tell the lady whose husband doesn’t like using coupons (he feels it makes them look poor or cheap) to use self-checkout. No one will know they use coupons. However, I agree that using coupons is nothing but smart. Some manufacturers may put out coupons instead of lowering prices and certainly expect customers to use them.

— Mary, via e-mail

Hints from Heloise sig

Payroll fraud

DEAR HELOISE: There is a new scam that is occurring with increasing frequency. The human resources department of a business receives an email from an employee requesting a change in their automatic deposit at work. The problem is that the employee did not send the request; a scammer did. The money is funneled to the scammer’s account at another bank. If your paycheck doesn’t show up in your bank account, call your HR department to find out why.

— Kathy F. in Pennsylvania

A hot one

DEAR HELOISE: When the directions say to “preheat” the oven at the beginning of a recipe has always bothered me. Most ovens take about five minutes max to get to the right temperature, while making the dough or batter takes much longer. It seems to be a waste of energy to have the oven on for so long.

For instance, when I bake cookies, I do not turn the oven on until the dough is ready to form into cookies on the pan. I offer this as an energy-saving measure.

— Ruth E., Terre Haute, Ind.

Ruth, we should all be looking for ways to save on energy. Thank you for this hint.

— Heloise

Double yolk

DEAR HELOISE: I have access to double-yolk eggs. How do I use them when a recipe calls for three eggs?

— A Reader, via e-mail

Count the double-yolk eggs as a single egg. The extra yolk will contain a little bit of additional fat but will make your recipe taste richer.

— Heloise

Send hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001 or email

Sunday, February 23, 2020