DEAR HELOISE: For fun family and friends times, we like to go picnicking. Here are some hints:
■ More than one cooler or basket is an absolute must: a cooler for the cold food and drinks, a basket for chips and snack foods, and a basket or tote for accessories (knives and forks, napkins, plates, blankets, games, etc.).
■ Only cold food goes in the cooler. Don’t expect the cooler to cool foods; refrigerate them the night before, and layer wrapped frozen meats with ice cubes in the cooler. Pack the cooler full to help keep it colder.
■ Don’t sear or preheat meats at home. Bacteria can grow rapidly on food that is not cooked thoroughly.
■ Grab those extra condiment packs that have accumulated from trips to quick-serve restaurant.
■ Hot foods, including vegetables, should be eaten within two hours of preparation.
■ Don’t forget to have fun. Leave the electronics turned off, and grab a football, deck of cards or board games. Time to make some memories.
— Tracey D. in Alabama
DEAR HELOISE: When I was adopting my dog at the shelter, my adoption counselor reminded me that I am saving two lives: I’m taking home my new family member, and I’m making space in the shelter so they can save another animal. My mantra is: #AdoptDontShop!
— Carrie R. in San Antonio
DEAR HELOISE: I want to keep some of your hints to reference later.
To hold your column until I’m ready to “laminate” (with tape) the front side, I lay the back side of the newspaper column against the sticky side of leakproof sealing wrap. Then I cover the front side of the article with the clear packaging tape.
Now I can cut it out and tape it to the fridge, microwave, a notebook or wherever I want, and it is protected.
— Jackie in California
DEAR HELOISE: There’s no need to slice yourself instead of your bagel. Lay the bagel flat, cut first downward so that you have two semi-circles. Then stand each half-bagel on its flat cut and slice downward again.
Four perfect quarter-bagels that still fit in the toaster. If you then insist on having circles again, just spackle the pieces together with a little extra cream cheese.
— Neil S., Falls Church, Va.