Shredded wheat: It’s not just for breakfast
Photo by MMcM
DEAR SARA: I bought shredded wheat, and my kids don’t like it. Any ideas for using it up in a different way? — Susie, via forums
DEAR SUSIE: Try crumbling it and adding it to yogurt, ice cream, oatmeal, cookies, breads, muffins and on salad. It would be good in apple crisp and meatloaf, too.
DEAR SARA: Do you still use paper checks, or is everything paid online with auto-pay, which is so popular now? How comfortable are you paying your bills and banking online? — Carol, via forums
DEAR CAROL: I write three paper checks each month because they can’t be paid automatically. Everything else is either paid online or deducted from my account automatically. I use Paypal (www.paypal.com) and Ing Direct (www.ingdirect.com), too. I’m entirely comfortable with this setup. I take some precautions. I keep my virus protection updated, always check for SSL padlock, change my passwords regularly, don’t send any of my personal information via e-mail and watch for scam e-mails. We receive alerts from our bank whenever there is any out-of-the-ordinary activity on our accounts. While it’s not 100 percent safe to pay bills online, theft from paying bills via postal mail can happen, too. Online paying and auto-deduct costs less and saves some trees.
How long does watermelon last if I don’t carve into it? We bought two for a party and don’t need them. — Heather, e-mail
DEAR HEATHER: Whole watermelon, when stored at room temperature, lasts about a week to 10 days.
DEAR SARA: How much shrimp should I buy for 12 adults? I am offering shrimp cocktail as one of the appetizers at my party. I’m serving other appetizers and desserts, too. — Michelle S., e-mail
DEAR MICHELLE: I would plan on buying 6 pounds of shrimp, or 1/2 pound per person, to be on the safe side. Some people will eat more and some less. At parties, shrimp is rarely left over. Consider serving it in two rounds versus setting it out all at once. This will give guests time to eat some of the other food you’re serving and give all your guests a chance to get some before they’re gone.
DEAR SARA: I have a baking recipe that calls for butter flavoring. Is that a powder or a liquid? I’ve never heard of it before other than as an ingredient in some microwave popcorn. — Marie, e-mail
DEAR MARIE: It’s a liquid that you’ll find in your baking aisle. It’s typically stocked next to the flavorings and extracts.
DEAR SARA: What is TVP? I’ve heard it’s economical, but I’m not sure what it is. I tried to find it in my grocery store and have asked friends and no one knows. — Pam, e-mail
DEAR PAM: TVP is short for textured vegetable protein. It’s made from soy. It’s packaged dry and needs to be rehydrated. It’s a good source of protein, low in fat and can be used as a meat substitute or to stretch your ground meats. Much like tofu, it absorbs the flavor of other foods you cook with it. You can use it in stews, chili, tacos and soups, to name a few. Look for “The TVP Cookbook: Using the Quick-Cooking Meat Substitute” by Dorothy Bates. It’s a good beginner’s cookbook for using TVP.