Heloise: Save a little here, a little there


When I'm assembling an item that arrives with some assembly required, such as a grill, furniture or toys, I use cupcake tins to organize and keep track of the small parts. This makes assembly much easier. - Barbara, Maryland


Clip extra coupons and leave them in an envelope in the break room of your office at work or at a doctor's or dentist's office. Everyone loves a bargain. - Laurie Ross, Orange, Calif.


Ever feel frustrated when the bag of tortilla chips gets down to the last few, and it seems like there's still a healthy portion of crumbs left over? I save them and sprinkle them on my salads. It's sort of like Mexican croutons. - Fred, Grand Rapids, Mich.


I hate having potatoes growing eyes before I can use very many of them. It seems like such a waste of money to have to throw them away, whether it is a 5-pound bag or a 10-pound one. What can I do to keep them from doing this? - Jean, via e-mail

The United States Potato Board says if potatoes start to sprout, just remove the sprouts and use the potatoes. Correct storage is the key to keeping potatoes from sprouting, and here is the scoop: Keep potatoes in a cool, dark place with plenty of ventilation. A temperature range of 45 F to 50 F is best. Potatoes that are stored at room temperature should be used within a week or so. So, it probably is best to buy only the amount of potatoes you will use in a week.

The refrigerator is not the place to store potatoes, either. The cold temperature will cause the starchy potatoes to turn to sugar. And one last note: Potatoes can turn green if they are stored in bright light. If cooking the potatoes, you can cut off the green part and use the rest of the potato. - Heloise


I keep a supply of coffee filters by the microwave and use them as cover sheets instead of paper towels. They're just the right size to go over most anything. - Tracie, via e-mail