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Cherry pit suggestion

Dear Heloise: Now that fresh cherry season is upon us, I thought your readers might want to know about this easy cherry-pitting trick.

I use a metal reusable drinking straw, insert it at the top of the stem-end of the cherry (stem already removed), and firmly push the straw down to the pit till it comes out the other side.

Hold over a bowl and clean the straw with pipe cleaner. Enjoy. — Lindsay Collins, via email

RECYLCLING BAGS

Dear Heloise: As a second grade teacher, my students are always bringing money to school in plastic zip-top bags. These bags just went in the trash, until I realized I can recycle them! Since the bags had previously held money, I didn’t want to reuse them for food products. Now, I take them to the teachers’ lounge and to my house, where they are repurposed to hold several days worth of the used, wet coffee filters and pods before going into the trash. One teacher sometimes gathers up the used coffee grinds for her compost pile! — Jane Farris, Holly Springs, Mississippi

TELEPHONE SCAM

Dear Heloise: After reading your item regarding a stock scam over the telephone, I thought I would share an example of how sophisticated these threats can be. Recently, I received a phone message from my boss asking me to call him at a number I did not recognize. I instead called his office to see what he wanted.

He answered, yet said he had not called me. The voice on the message was certainly his. I have known this man for over 30 years. This is an easy example of why phone solicitation should always be dismissed. — Tim Woodington, Glendora, California

TOOL KIT

Dear Heloise: The letter from Kay W. in your column made me chuckle. You see, when my daughter graduated from college, I gave her a nice toolkit to help her in her new apartment. I also put a $100 bill under the bottom tray. Over the next year or so, she would sometimes mention how handy her toolkit was.

When she came home for a visit, she needed to put on a new license plate, so she asked her brother to help. She got her toolbox from her car and gave it to her brother to use. He rummaged around a bit, and then pulled out that $100 bill! She was shocked, while the rest of the family just laughed. — Bob Grand, via email

VINEGAR TO THE RESCUE

Dear Heloise: I have a house from 1930 that I have lived in for over 20 years. The toilet has never been a problem until now. I just learned that it, too, can get clogged with calcium deposits — just like everything else. After replacing parts with no help, I put vinegar in the overflow and let it sit. Turning off the water first and also cleaning the jets is best. Who knew? I bet you did. — Candy Rivera, via email

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, 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.

PAPAYA SOUP

Dear Heloise: My three best friends are coming for lunch toward the end of July, and I’d like to surprise them with something unusual by starting off lunch with your papaya recipe for cold summer soup. I’m known for unusual recipes, which is why my friends get excited about having lunch at my place.

What I need is the complete recipe, because I’ve lost the one I had. Would you reprint that recipe for all of us who love to surprise our guests with a delicious and novel soup? — Marjorie P., Nashua, New Hampshire

Marjorie, I always felt this was a fun soup to serve before the main course in the warm summer months. Every time I taste it I’m reminded of Hawaii. You’ll need:

2 large papayas, peeled and cut into large cubes

3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt (non-fat won’t work)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup mild-flavored honey (clover honey works well)

1 cup sparkling water, divided

4 mint sprigs for garnish

Place the papaya, 1/2 cup of yogurt, lime juice and honey in a food processor, reserving some of the papaya for garnish. Process until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of the sparkling water and continue processing until blended. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Just before serving, add the remaining sparkling water and mix well. Garnish each serving with several papaya cubes, 1 tablespoon of yogurt and a mint sprig. Makes about 4 servings.

If you like recipes that make your guests wonder where you get your clever ideas for unusual recipes that taste great, then you need my pamphlet “Heloise’s Spectacular Soups.” Just go to www.Heloise.com, or send $5, along with a stamped (78 cents), self-addressed, long envelope to: Heloise/Soups, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. The pamphlet includes recipes for both hot and cold soups. — Heloise

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