Dear Heloise: I love your ANGEL BISCUITS! Please, please reprint the recipe for me and everyone who loves good biscuits. — Anne M., Fairbanks, Alaska
Anne, this is a reader favorite, and one that was in my mother's (the original Heloise, 1919-1977) column, and it's just yummy! The name "Angel Biscuits" (I think) is because they are so light, they will just float off the plate! You'll love them!
Heloise's Angel Biscuits
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a baking sheet.
Let the yeast dissolve in the warm water, and set aside. Mix all the dry ingredients together as listed. Cut the shortening into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Gently stir in the buttermilk and yeast mixture. Thoroughly blend, but DON'T overmix. The dough can be refrigerated as is, or, if using right away, knead it lightly. (If refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature until it rises.)
Roll the dough out on a floured board or countertop. Use a biscuit cutter, or cut into "squares" for tasty square biscuits. Place them in the prepared pan, then set out, covered with a clean dish towel, so the dough can rise a little before baking. Bake them for 12-15 minutes.
Oh, here's a hint from me when serving these: Make up some flavored butter to serve along with them. Add some herbs to the butter, or, for a sweet taste, add cinnamon for a sinfully delicious butter! — Heloise
Dear Heloise: Before I cook dried beans, I add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda into the water used. By soaking dry beans in baking soda, the component that, well, can cause gas is reduced. — Ruth L., Salem, Ohio
WHERE TO STORE HERBS AND SPICES
Dear Heloise: It's convenient to store herbs and spices above the stove, but that's not the best place to keep them. The heat robs them of flavor in a short time. For fresher-tasting herbs and spices, keep them in a cool, dry place, as far from the heat and light as possible. — Tanya C., Altoona, Pa.
FREEZING LIFE OF FOOD
Dear Heloise: Recently, my husband bought a deep freezer so we could buy groceries in bulk. However, we're not sure how long meats and poultry can safely be frozen. Help? — Sandy T., via email
Sandy, here are some general guidelines:
Beef, roasts and steaks: six to 12 months
Beef, ground: three to four months
Chicken or turkey, whole: 12 months
Chicken parts: nine months
It's important to be sure that the item is well-wrapped and put in a freezer-safe bag to prevent freezer burn. — Heloise
A MICROWAVE HINT
Dear Readers: Microwaving in round or oval containers will help foods heat more evenly. Containers with corners receive more energy, often causing foods to dry out or overheat. — Heloise
A read on fonts
Dear Heloise: I write and read a lot of emails for work and for personal use. All that reading can STRAIN MY EYES.
Some research I read said that Arial, Courier and Verdana are good fonts for reading. I agree! And please use a larger font size (12-14) if it's appropriate. Senior readers may find the 14-point size easier to read. — Emily R., Syracuse, N.Y.
Emily, I'm with you on this one, and I don't need glasses to read. Some fonts are difficult to read, and the smaller the size, the harder it is to read it easily. — Heloise
Dear Readers: Maintaining healthy nails can be a challenge in the wintertime, but it's worth it to keep nails looking good and strong. Here are some hints for maintaining your manicure:
• Soaking nails is not really necessary. Yes, the cuticles are getting soft, but the nails are expanding and softening, too. Just clean them with mild soap, a nailbrush and warm water.
• If you are using nail polish, use some vinegar or rubbing alcohol to wipe off the nail and remove any oil or product.
• Don't severely cut your cuticles. Gently snip a "snag," and always push the cuticles back gently.
• Do roll a bottle of nail polish in your hands to mix it. You should hear the beads rattle.
Dear Heloise: You're one of the reasons I get daily delivery of the newspaper — I value your daily input. I'm 85 years young, and I never take a shower or bath without a phone close to me.
One never knows if a mishap might happen, especially if you live alone, like I do. — Felicia W., Newport Beach, Calif.
Dear Readers: The drawer underneath the stove - you may store pots and pans in there. Did you know it may have another purpose?
That drawer can be used, on many models of stoves and ovens, as a warming drawer. You can keep foods warm in there for a multiple-course meal when entertaining. Check your owners manual for more information. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: I make craft projects, and in doing so, I work with a lot of small beads and buttons, and organization became a problem. I came up with some hints to help.
Baby-food containers work miracles. They each hold one type of bead, and I glue a bead to the top of each lid so I'll know what I have.
Nut and bolt organizers also help; they have small compartments for different varieties of beads.
A fishing-tackle box is a third organizer option for my small doodads and trimmings. — April M., via email
Dear Heloise: When it comes to mascara, the "delivery system" — the wand — is more important than the mascara itself, I think. When I finish a favorite luxury mascara, I wash the brush and let it dry. Then I can use it to apply a drugstore brand — looks great! — Heather G., Columbus, Ohio