Using kitchen tools in other ways

Dear Heloise: For years, I’ve been using various kitchen tools to help me in the kitchen and do jobs that they weren’t originally designed for. I thought I’d share some of these with you and your readers:

— I use a tea strainer filled with herbs and spices to flavor soups and stews. You just have to remove the strainer before serving. You can also fill a strainer with powdered sugar and use it to sprinkle powdered sugar over pastries such as cakes and muffins.

— I use an old potato masher to separate ground beef and sausage while it’s cooking.

— I use an egg slicer to cut small, firm tomatoes, eggs and strawberries.

— I use a milk frother to mix other small batches of things. I recently mixed whipping cream with my frother to add on top of a pudding that I made.

— I tenderize chicken and meat by wrapping it in cling wrap, then using my metal rolling pin to pound the meat.

— I’ve known a number of people who use a pastry slicer to blend or chop up eggs for an egg salad or to chop up potatoes to make hash browns.

— A friend of mine gave me this hint: Take a cast iron skillet, turn it upside down so that the flat bottom is right side up, and place it in the oven this way to cook a frozen pizza. — Dianna F., Erie, Pennsylvania


Dear Heloise: The other day, I needed to tighten a screw in our screen door and couldn’t find a screwdriver in the house. Finally, I used the tip of a pair of scissors, and it worked perfectly! — Lucille W., Belle Fourche, South Dakota

Lucille, I had the same problem one time, and I used a dime to tighten a screw. Readers have written about using the tip of a dinner knife, a vegetable peeler and a pair of tweezers. Thanks for the hint! — Heloise


Dear Heloise: My family loves pulled pork sandwiches, but needless to say, it’s a lot of work. Finally, one day, my daughter-in-law was here and told me to put my new stand mixer to use by having the beater shred the pork. I just take the standard beater, and after the pork is cooked, I place it inside of a large metal bowl. In only a few minutes, I had shredded pork!  What a clever idea! — Sharon P., Port Huron, Michigan


Dear Heloise: We recently were out on a picnic, and our dog got away from us and went running after a squirrel. We stayed until after dark looking for our beloved dog. Finally, we had to go home.

A day later, a man called to say that he’d found our dog. Our dog had been microchipped, which is what saved him from ending up at a shelter  or the city pound, or wandering off never to be found. Please urge all your readers to get their pets microchipped. And have them wear a tag that says they are microchipped. — Marilyn Y., Macon, Georgia


Dear Heloise: My husband and I gladly give to our church and local charities. We look at Charity Navigator to check on a multitude of mail from those needing our money.

How do we find enough to give? When it’s too rainy to golf, we use that money to give to others. I also do my nails myself once in a while so I can give that money to others. (Do I fix my own hair? Never. I do have to feel fairly good about myself.)

I love reading your column daily! — B.S., in California

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Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com.


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