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updated: 2/8/2011 6:48 PM

New use for vegetable peeler

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You can use a vegetable peeler for more than peeling vegetables. It's handy for shaving chocolate for baking or hot beverages or for hard cheeses. Use it to shave rather than peel vegetables such as asparagus to top pizza, or shaved carrots, zucchini or cucumbers for salad, too. The first reader tip shares one more way to use it.

Vegetable peeler: I used to get frustrated when I made toast and the butter was hard. Now I shave the hard butter with a vegetable peeler to use on my toast.

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Kathy H., New Hampshire

Label food: I have found it helpful to keep a roll of masking tape and a click-top marker in a drawer next to my fridge. Then, when I pack up leftovers for my husband's lunches, I can quickly label with content, date and any reheating instructions. It takes just a minute, and it makes grabbing lunch so much easier. It also makes cleaning out the fridge a snap. Same technique works for the pantry and freezer. Make it a habit and you will save money!

Bernadette, e-mail

Q. What do I do with the juice left in the maraschino cherry jars? I have 2 jars full of the stuff! And a bacon grease/brown sugar mixture left from a batch of cocktail weenies. I kind of hate to throw the stuff out, although I wouldn't have hesitated in the past. What would you do with either item? Oh, and I'm not asking for ideas for the combination of the two, but if you have some ideas, that would ROCK!

Paula, Kentucky

A. You can add the juice to hot cocoa or add it to lemon-lime soda pop, milk or lemonade. Or add it to baked goods such as brownies or quick breads/muffins, or mix into sugar cookie frosting.

As for the bacon grease, I'm not a fan of cooking with bacon grease, but you could fry ham in it or grease a pan and make cornbread or pancakes. If you don't mind the sweetness, you could use it to saute vegetables, such as asparagus, Brussel sprouts, green or pinto beans, maybe on corn on the cob or for hash.

Q. What are your best sore throat and cold remedies? I've had a stuffy noise, cough and sore throat for a week. I've gone through the DayQuil and NyQuil stash that I brought when I moved from the United States. In Denmark, there's not a whole lot of over-the-counter stuff available.

T.M., Denmark

A. I'm not a doctor, so my first suggestion is to see your physician to rule out anything serious.

To ease the discomfort from a mild sore throat, I've gargled warm saltwater; taken an over-the-counter pain reliever, a decongestant or throat lozenges; plugged in a vaporizer (Vicks has a vaporizer, and you can add their VapoSteam camphor cough suppressant to it); drank hot tea with lemon and honey; and alternated with plenty of water, frozen juice pops or fruit smoothies.

I've also used Chloraseptic after a hot shower.

• Sara Noel owns Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a website 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 sara@frugalvillage.com.

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