HELOISE: Gently pat down coconut when measuring
Dear Heloise: How do you measure coconut? Tightly packed in the measuring cup, like brown sugar; or loosely measured, like flour and sugar? -- Patrick C., Colville, Wash.
Good question, Patrick! Grated or flaked coconut should be lightly added to a measuring cup, then gently patted down. Add more if needed, and level off the top.
Brown sugar is different. It should be packed firmly down into the cup, to remove any air bubbles. Don't overfill or crush the ingredients -- they should not be hard to remove from the measuring cup. When coating a pan while making a chocolate cake, flour can make the cake look, well, not so pretty. So, instead of flour, use cocoa! Give it a try. -- Heloise
P.S.: Any leftover coconut? Sprinkle some on fresh-cooked pancakes or waffles!
DON'T WEAR PERFUME
Dear Heloise: In response to your recent column about not overdoing your perfume, I have worked in hospital settings and would like to remind your readers that they should refrain from wearing perfume when visiting patients. Scents can be very upsetting (literally) to anyone who isn't feeling well.
Many medical facilities advise staff not to wear perfume. I can't tell you how often I get on an elevator or just walk down a hallway and am overwhelmed by the perfume smell of someone who had gone ahead of me. -- Virginia P., Baton Rouge, La.
HANDY PANTRY FUNNEL
Dear Heloise: Hello! Today it was time to empty two partial liquid laundry-detergent containers into one. I didn't have a funnel to fit the detergent bottle.
In the pantry, I spotted some little kids' cardboard cone-style party hats left over from a party. I cut the pointed end to fit snugly into the detergent bottle. No detergent burps or spills, and the used "funnel" went into the garbage. -- Mary, via email
HOMEMADE AIR FRESHENER
Dear Heloise: Here's an easy way to make a homemade air freshener: All you do is slice some lemons into a pot of water and let it come to a boil. Turn the heat off and let sit on the stove. The aroma will waft through your home, giving a wonderful citrus smell. -- M.G., via email