Hints From Heloise
Dear Heloise: I saw pink salt in the store the other day. What is it, and how is it used? – Lydia N., via email
The pink salt you are seeing in stores is Himalayan salt, which is found deep within the Himalayas. The beautiful pink color comes from the mineral content.
You can buy the salt in plates, slabs, cubes and fine or coarse grain. Use the fine- or coarsegrained salt like regular table salt for foods. The slabs and plates are available to serve sushi or other appetizers on. – Heloise
P.S.: If you just like the color (pink salt can be very pricey), you can make pink salt by adding a few drops of red food coloring to regular table salt. Put the salt in a bowl and keep stirring until it’s the color you want.
Dear Readers: Does your blood pressure rise when at the doctor’s office? Many people have “white-coat syndrome,” a higher blood-pressure reading when taken in a medical office. A lot of people are nervous when at the doctor’s!
Here is a hint: First, get to the doctor’s office early so you are not rushed and stressed. Take calming, measured breaths, and try to relax. When called to be tested, make sure you sit for at least five minutes before your pressure is taken. Have your blood pressure taken at least two to three times on the same arm. This should give a more accurate reading. If still having high readings, ask about at-home monitoring. – Heloise
RECYCLING USED OIL
Dear Readers: If you change your own car oil, what do you do with the old oil? Oil can end up in landfills, storm drains, sewers and other places that it should not go if you don’t recycle it correctly.
There are many collection centers for household hazardous waste. You can take the oil to gas stations or quick oil-change places, or repair shops will usually take it without charge. Collect the oil in a leakproof container (such as a plastic milk or juice jug).
Recycled oil can be taken to refineries, reprocessed and used for heat or to generate electricity. According to the American Petroleum Institute, just two gallons of recycled oil can be used to make enough electricity to run a typical household for nearly a 24-hour period! – Heloise
Dear Heloise: It is a hassle to pack perfume bottles when traveling. I save perfume samples from magazines and take those with me instead. They are flat, and do not leak or break. It also is a great way to try out new scents to see if I like them. – Katie in New Hampshire
Dear Readers: To keep as many vitamins in vegetables when cooking, try steaming or microwaving them rather than boiling them in water. Vegetables cooked on the stove at high temperatures can lose up to 30 percent of their vitamins! Whenever possible, eat your vegetables raw or lightly steamed. – Heloise
Dear Heloise: Since smoke detectors should be replaced every eight years or so, I found it helpful to put a piece of masking tape or a label on the bottom when installing new ones. I write “smoke detector installed” and the date. That way, I know when the entire detector should be replaced.
Also, every year I replace the smoke-detector batteries on or around Jan 1. Before I replace the batteries, I get all the replacement batteries together, and I put a label on each battery that says “new battery on January” and the year. That way, I know when the battery was replaced, AND, most importantly, I don’t mix up last year’s battery with the new year’s battery. – Lena H., via email
Very good safety hint for all of my readers. The battery for a smoke alarm should be replaced every year. Most battery-operated smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, according to experts. You can use these “old” batteries in a clock or other low-battery-use appliance.
All batteries need to be recycled. Recyclable as well as regular single use batteries should be taken to a household hazardouswaste facility. Call your garbage company or city office to find out if there is one in your area. You also can check online for information about recycling. – Heloise
Dear Heloise: I have too much plastic silverware, so I use it in the garden as plant markers. It may look strange and funny, but it’s a great help in the spring when you look for plants coming up. – A Reader, Aberdeen, S.D.
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.
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