Q. While organizing the cupboard, I came across a bag of partially stale marshmallows that got pushed to the back. I only use them to make Rice Krispies treats. Would they still be OK to use? What other recipes/uses are there for stale marshmallows?
A. For starters, in the future, store your marshmallows in the freezer. Freeze them in an airtight container or a freezer storage bag. They thaw quickly and won't stick together or go stale. If they are already stuck together, add a little powdered sugar to the bag and shake until they fall apart.
You can add a bit of moisture to stale marshmallows by adding a piece of bread or two to the bag. Seal the bag and wait a couple of days.
I haven't tried using stale marshmallows when making Rice Krispies treats, but since they're only partially stale, I'm sure they'd be fine. You could still use them in hot cocoa, s'mores, in brownie mix or as an ice cream topping. I've heard some people use stale marshmallows for fish bait, too.
Q. Can I freeze ketchup?
Elaine, New York
A. Yes, you can freeze it. An ice-cube tray would work well (freeze it in the tray and then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag). Ketchup doesn't even need to be refrigerated, although it's recommended to maintain the texture and taste for a longer period of time.
Olive oil moisturizer: I use olive oil as a moisturizer right after I wash my face, and it makes my skin really soft. I recommend the "light" version, as the smell isn't as strong. If I put on a little too much, I let it soak in for five to 10 minutes, then blot the excess.
Candy canes in cake: Use a white cake mix. Just before it's finished baking, put broken pieces of candy canes in the cake, about every inch or so. The candy canes melt. I crush a few more to add to the cream cheese icing. Everyone in my family loves the results.
Elizabeth T., email
Peel hard-boiled eggs: I have been a residential chicken farmer for about 15 years, and for the longest time, peeling farm-fresh hard-boiled eggs was always so frustrating. Most of us have learned that you should start with cold water so the cold eggs from the fridge are less likely to crack; I had always done the same with my eggs. We would set a few dozen back and let them age about four weeks in the fridge, but even then, not all of the eggs would peel well. I had tried salt in the water, vinegar, and a bunch of other tricks, never with much success.
Then one day while I was venting to one of my egg customers, she said, "just boil the water first, then lower the eggs in." It just so happened my wife and I were making pickled eggs that week, so I boiled 24 day-old eggs using my customer's method, and every one of them peeled perfectly. After all my years of messing around, I was in awe. With farm-fresh eggs very few crack; the shells are typically thinner with store-bought eggs, so some will. But I use this technique every time I boil now, and I never have any trouble peeling my eggs.
Remove grease from walls: I've used a strong vinegar and water solution to remove grease, but recently I discovered Dawn Power Dissolver. It cleans everything! Just spray on, let it set for a minute and it comes right off. I use it to clean my range hood, where the dust and grease mixture is impossible to remove. It works like a charm. I use it to clean my stovetop, too.
Onion storage: I purchase onions in fairly large quantities, wrap each one individually in newspaper or paper towels so they do not touch each other, then place them in the refrigerator. They keep for months. You also cry less as you cut them because when they're cold, the vapors aren't nearly as strong.
Fruit flies in the kitchen. Combine 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar (white or balsamic) and a couple drops of liquid dish soap in an open jar or other container. Leave the mixture sitting out as long as needed.
• Sara Noel owns Frugal Village (frugalvillage.com), a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. Send tips, comments or questions to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106, or firstname.lastname@example.org.