Save the CDs, save the cash
DEAR SARA: Have you tried Disc Doctor or similar Compact Disc/DVD repair kits, or do you have a frugal way to repair a fairly scratched disc? — Denise, Colorado
DEAR DENISE: I have tried repair kits and have had success with them, if the scratches are minor. Avoid using toothpaste, alcohol and ammonia because they can cause worse damage. Instead of buying a repair kit, call your local video store or game store and see whether they do repairs. They often offer a repair service that costs less than $5.
DEAR SARA: I normally buy one big bag of shredded cheddar cheese each month. I would like to buy one to two more per month, but I don’t want it to spoil. Is it OK to freeze shredded cheese? — Missy, e-mail
DEAR MISSY: Yes, you can freeze cheese. The consistency might change a bit, but it will taste fine. Consider repackaging it into smaller amounts so you don’t waste any, and use it within six months. Thaw it in the refrigerator when you’re ready to use it.
DEAR SARA: I’m single and working really hard to get my grocery budget down. Consequently, I’m baking my cookies. When you freeze baked items, do you freeze them cooked or uncooked? I know it sounds like a silly question, but I’ve never been one to use the freezer much, and I can’t eat a whole batch of cookies before they go bad. I want to learn the best way to freeze stuff. — Kim, Michigan
DEAR KIM: Cookies can be frozen baked or unbaked. Use a scoop and place them on a baking sheet until frozen, then remove from the freezer and package them into plastic baggies or storage containers and refreeze. You can also make cookie-dough logs. To make dough logs, place the cookie dough onto wax paper or plastic wrap, roll the dough into a log, twist the ends and freeze the logs. You can place this in the freezer wrapped with just the wax paper or plastic wrap, or place the wrapped log in a plastic baggie, too. When you’re ready to bake, use a sharp knife and slice off as many cookies as you want.
If you’re freezing baked cookies, stack them in plastic storage containers with wax paper separating them. Be certain they are cooled completely prior to freezing. This will prevent the heat from impacting the other freezer foods and prevent the cookies from breaking.
DEAR SARA: Do you have any ideas to get my 5-year-old son to eat more high-fiber foods? He’s so picky. — Amy, e-mail
DEAR AMY: Try making food more fun in appearance, such as cutting foods into smaller pieces to make finger foods or cutting them into different shapes. Try offering oatmeal, granola topping on yogurt, whole-wheat bread for sandwiches, baked potatoes, peas added to macaroni and cheese, raw veggies with dip, fruit smoothies and apples cut crosswise to look like stars. Get creative and add vegetables to spaghetti sauce, rice dishes and mashed potatoes, or try making vegetable kabobs or high-fiber muffins.
Don’t give up. Keep offering high-fiber foods, and continue to be a good role model by eating them yourself. I’ve discovered my children are naturally curious when foods are introduced in new ways. They don’t eat kiwis every day, for example, so I always show my excitement that I “found” kiwis at the store and can’t wait to eat them. I encourage them to try new foods, and it’s OK if they don’t like them.