Jazz up your meatloaf

Dear Heloise: My family loves my meatloaf, but I don’t always make it the same way. Many people use soda crackers or bread crumbs in their meatloaf, but I’ve tried a few other things such as:

— Crushed-up cheese crackers. They add a nice, creamy taste.

— Crushed-up corn chips. Again, there is a nice texture and taste to the meatloaf.

— Potato chips are OK as well, but there’s less texture.

— Organic oats are a healthy addition to a meatloaf.

— Crushed almonds (my husband’s idea) add a unique flavor.

I also add one raw egg, shredded carrots, finely chopped onions and sometimes a very finely chopped bell pepper. — Andrea L., Cedar Falls, Iowa


Dear Heloise: I hate to waste food, so I was wondering if it’s OK to reuse a marinade that I’ve already used before to marinate chicken? — Frances D., Horsham, Pennsylvania

Frances, no, don’t reuse a marinade. Raw meat and chicken all carry their own types of bacteria, which are usually killed during the cooking process. You could easily transfer bacteria to other meat if you reuse marinades. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: We have five cats, and we love them all. But one of our biggest problems is the litter box. There are two large pans, and I like to keep their litter as fresh as I can. I usually change it two to three times a week, but there always seems to be  an odor coming from the laundry room where I keep their litter pan. How can I get rid of the smell? — Sabrina P., Hamilton, Ohio

Sabrina, first, empty their potty pans and fill each pan with 3 cups of water and 1 cup of bleach. Let sit for about an hour.

Then empty and rinse out the pan. Let the pan air-dry outside in the sun. Next, sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda on the bottom. Add a layer of kitty litter, then another layer of baking soda, then one more layer of kitty litter.

You might want to lightly sprinkle a scented deodorant on top for potty pans, but this is optional. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: My son is 3 years old and thinks he’s Michelangelo. While I was doing some ironing this afternoon, he got out his crayons and drew a picture on the newly painted walls in his bedroom. How can I get the crayon marks off the wall without removing the paint? — Anne H., Fresno, California

Anne, once again, baking soda comes to the rescue! Try this: Sprinkle some baking soda on a damp sponge and gently rub the crayon marks in a circular motion to get rid of them. This should remove his artwork. — Heloise


Dear Readers: As our weather heats up and temperatures soar upward, please remember to have plenty of cold, clean water in a large, clean bowl for your outdoor pets. If they have a doghouse, place the bowl in a shaded area.

You also might want to purchase a child’s swimming pool and fill it with water so that your pets can cool off in the pool. Always protect your pets. — Heloise

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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. Letters won’t be answered personally.


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