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Sara Noel column March 27, 2013

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Sara Noel column March 27, 2013

Readers mix it up with recipe tips

Readers sometimes have trouble finding Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda for purchase. If you’re unable to find a nearby retailer through armandhammer.com, you can make washing soda at home. The first reader tip tells you how:

Homemade washing soda: Sprinkle baking soda onto a pan and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes to an hour. You’ll see a visible difference in color and texture. — Bridge, Indiana

Dye eggs: Use a muffin tin to dye Easter eggs. Just fill each cup with dye, pop in an egg and roll. It’s fast and easy to clean up. — Lori, Ohio


1/2 cup red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

1 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)

2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon powder

2 large cloves of garlic, crushed

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon parsley (fresh or dried)

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon dried basil or oregano

1 teaspoon sugar

Mix in a jar and shake well.

Cook’s note: I prefer to halve this, pour the whole thing over the entire salad, then toss it until every bite has dressing on it. Since even my 2-year-old twins like salad, it makes a great side dish for just about everything. — Emile, Missouri

Chocolate Corn Chip Crunch:

3 quarts popped popcorn

3 cups Corn Chex cereal

3 cups broken corn chips

1 11-ounce package butterscotch chips

3/4 pound dark chocolate candy coating

In a very large bowl, combine the popcorn, cereal and corn chips. Set aside. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butterscotch chips and candy coating; stir until smooth. Pour over the popcorn mixture and toss to coat. Spread into two greased 15-by-10-inch baking pans. When cool enough to handle, break into pieces. Makes about 5 quarts. — Q.M., Florida

Cream soup mix: I keep a bag of instant “cream soup” mix in my fridge all the time, and I use it for recipes that call for any type of cream soup:

2 cups powdered milk

3/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup instant chicken bouillon

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon thyme (optional)

1/2 teaspoon basil (optional)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine and store in an airtight container (I use a zipper bag).

To make stroganoff that tastes just like the Hamburger Helper kind, add 1/3 cup mix to browned hamburger and precooked egg noodles. Add 1/3 cup milk, 3/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons sour cream; mix thoroughly and bring to simmer. This tastes so much like the packaged stuff that my son didn’t know I was doing something different for months.

To use for soup, combine 1/3 cup mix and 1 1/2 cups water and bring to boil, stirring often. Add diced celery, sliced mushrooms, chopped broccoli or chopped chicken.

To use for recipes calling for a can of cream soup, use 1/3 cup mix and 1 1/4 cups water; boil for a few minutes, stirring often. — Elphie, email

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