Dear Heloise: We keep COUPONS AND GIFT CARDS to various restaurants in an envelope in our car's glove compartment, just like one of your readers suggested. We used to pass by a place to eat and suddenly remember that we had a gift card for that restaurant at home! Now, those discounts are at our fingertips.—Nell P., Rock Hill, S.C.
Dear Heloise: Whenever I make baked potatoes, I usually bake additional potatoes, and the ones not eaten are saved for the next day to be made into twice-baked potatoes or hash browns at breakfast.—Lynette W., Grandview, Mo.
Dear Heloise: My slow cooker gets very hot underneath, so to protect my kitchen counters, I place the slow cooker on my pizza stone. I feel safe leaving the house, knowing that the pizza stone is protecting my counter from being scorched.—Nancy H., Albuquerque, N.M.
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Dear Heloise: The best way to keep cookies fresh when you put them in a cookie jar is to first place them in a plastic bag, then put the bag in the cookie jar. Most cookie jars today are pretty and decorative, but if they lack a seal around the lid, they aren't airtight.—Monica F., Lima, Ohio
HASH BROWN SECRETS
Dear Heloise: If there is one thing my husband dearly loves, it's golden hash brown potatoes. The secret to flawless hash browns is to remove as much water as possible from the potatoes. Use a paper towel, folded two or three times, and put the shredded potatoes on it. Then take another two paper towels and place over the potatoes, and gently press out as much water as you can. Fry them in butter for a crispy outer crust and a tender inside.—Maddie M., Lancaster, Pa.
BANANA BREAD BONUS
Dear Heloise: When making banana bread, I've found that roasting the bananas in the oven brings out the sugars, making the bread more flavorful. Set your oven to 350 degrees. Place the yellow bananas on an aluminum-foil-covered baking sheet and roast for about 18 to 20 minutes. The skins will turn black. Let cool to the touch before removing the outer peel and adding the soft inside to your banana bread recipe.—Debby S., Salem, Ore.
PAPER PLATE IDEA
Dear Heloise: I buy cheap paper plates at the discount store and use them whenever I need to microwave something. I've even found that when I microwave tomato sauce or bacon, or anything that is likely to splatter, I make a tent over the food using another paper plate folded in half. It keeps the splatters away from the sides of my microwave, which helps to keep it clean.—Sandra B., Lake Charles, La.
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