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Hints from Heloise: Add club soda to batter for lighter, sweeter pancakes

Dear Heloise: I lost the recipe for Heloise's pancakes using tonic water or some carbonated drink. I went to your Web site, but I couldn't find it. I really miss this recipe! I moved, and now it is missing. Hope you can help. Thanks.

— Rose, via e-mail

Happy to help with this longtime favorite recipe. Basically, you can use any pancake recipe; just substitute club soda for the liquid. (You may be able to use tonic water, but the taste will be tart!)

Or, you can use any flavor soda pop. The carbonation gives pancakes and waffles a lighter texture, and the soda gives them a sweeter taste! I'm sure other readers will agree that these pancakes are the yummiest! This mixture doesn't store well, so make up only as much as you will use.

— Heloise

Dear Heloise: Here are a few of my favorite money-saving hints:

To stretch baked beans, brown about 1/2 pound ground beef and add to the beans.

If you need to stretch potato salad, add instant potatoes (which have been prepared).

If I am short on time, I will purchase potato salad and add more pickles and more boiled eggs.

— Mary Martha Walker, Orlando, Fla.

Dear Heloise: A while ago, you shared how to get rid of smells in the microwave, and recently, my daughter burned popcorn in our microwave, which still smells terrible. Can you tell me what the secret is to getting rid of foul odors in the microwave?

— Susan in Springfield, N.J.

This is one of the Heloise Top Ten Questions that comes in, so here's the update: Wipe down the inside of the microwave with a damp sponge sprinkled with baking soda. Then use another clean, damp sponge to remove the baking soda.

Mix 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of water in a 4-cup or larger microwave-safe bowl. Place in the microwave and heat on high until the water boils. Then let it sit for 10-15 minutes. The water will cool down, and then you can remove the bowl and wipe the walls with a sponge.

Practically every home and office has a microwave, but the truth is that keeping it stain-free is a constant chore. Of course, the best thing to do is clean a food spill ASAP!

Just add 2 to 3 tablespoons baking soda to 1 cup water in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the water boils. You must leave the microwave door closed for about 10-15 minutes, since the water is superheated and could scald!

The steam softens the gunk so you can wipe it away. If a tough stain like spaghetti doesn't budge, try rubbing it with a soft cloth, water and baking soda. The baking soda will help get rid of smells, too.

— Heloise

Dear Heloise: I am writing to remind people of the importance of keeping their can openers clean. The wheel of the opener can be a collector of all kinds of "gunk." We sometimes fail to realize that food from the can we are opening seeps out and collects on these wheels and can build up into a nasty mess. This is true not only of those openers mounted on the wall, but also of hand-held ones. A small toothbrush and liquid detergent will do the trick. It doesn't take very long and is a healthful thing to do.

— Ann H., Ocean City, Md.

This is a good reminder. It's very important to keep appliances clean, but also to keep them working properly.

— Heloise

Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax: 210-435-6473; e-mail:

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