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updated: 11/2/2010 1:55 PM

Substitute garlic salt

Frugal Living

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By Sara Noel

Q. I have a garlic salt question. I found a recipe I'd like to try, and it calls for garlic salt. Ignorant question here, but can I use garlic powder plus salt as a substitute? Or is garlic salt something different? By the way, you don't want to know how long it took me to figure out what seasoned salt was.

Libby, Canada

A. Yes. You can substitute garlic powder plus salt. The ratio is 3:1 salt to garlic powder. Or you can substitute using half the amount of garlic powder. You can use fresh garlic, too. 1 clove is roughly 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder. You can find spice mixes/seasoning blends that contain garlic and no salt, such as Mrs. Dash.

Q. Can avocado be frozen?

Julia, New Mexico

A. Yes, you can freeze avocado. Slice it in half, remove the pit and either score the avocado (cross-hatch pattern) and turn the skin inside out so the avocado cubes either fall or are easily scooped out. Or slice the avocado and cut off the peel, or pull it apart with your hands. Mash it with a fork and add 1 teaspoon of lemon or lime juice. Add to a freezer storage container. Use within five months.

Q. My husband bought me a pizza stone. I was really happy until I made pizza and got melted cheese all over it. I put it in the sink to wash and my husband insisted that it shouldn't be washed. Well, how do I clean it?

Kelly H., Oregon

A. You can scrape the cheese off with a rubber or nylon spatula and bake off anything that is left. If there's excessive food stuck on or grease and you're concerned about it smoking in your oven, you can use a nylon scrubbie, hot water and baking soda to clean it. Stone is porous, so you don't want to use cleaning chemicals.

Your baking stone shouldn't look perfectly clean. It will look like food has spilled and baked on it.

Q. My son has ruined two t-shirts that he's only worn once. Both have grease stains from pizza. I've already tried putting laundry detergent directly on the stains, and I've dried them in the dryer. Is there any hope? These weren't cheap t-shirts.

Linda, e-mail

A. Try applying Dawn dish liquid or shampoo on the stains and wash as usual. I use either of these products on my son's shirts. Some have gone through the dryer and the stain still lifted. It might take two applications.

Q. I have a question about Swiffer refills. Do you know if you can "refill["] the original bottles with your own cleaner? I like the Swiffer and the smell of the cleaner, but they are so costly.

Tammy, Virginia

A. Yes, you can refill the bottle with your own cleaning solution. You can use pliers to remove the cap (but you risk breaking it). Cut a -inch hole and buy a removable stopper at your local hardware store, or boil some water and submerge the cap into the hot water for a few minutes and twist it off. You might need something to get a good grip on the cap. You can make your own Swiffer pads, too. They can be made from microfiber cloths, washcloths, crocheted or knitted cloths, an old t-shirt, flannel, a sock, cloth diapers, etc.

• Sara Noel owns Frugal Village (, a Web site that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. Send tips, comments or questions to Sara Noel, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016, or