Dear Readers: Ahh, romance is in the air - it’s VALENTINE’S DAY! Take time to celebrate with your beloved. A small gift of candy, jewelry or flowers is lovely, but how about a simple poem or letter telling of your true devotion to your valentine? - Heloise


Dear Readers: Kitchen knives in the dishwasher? That’s a big no-no. The sharp blade of a knife isn’t meant to be subjected to the heat and pressure of the dishwasher. 
Harsh detergents, rinse agents and other chemicals can dull the knife, be a precursor to mold, rust the knife and rot the handle.
With gloved hands, immediately after the meal, remove any large pieces of grease and food particles, then gently wash the knife using running water, a sponge and mild dishwashing detergent. 
Thoroughly and carefully DRY your knife with a towel. Air-drying can lead to swollen wood, mold and rust. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: No matter how much I scrub my slow-cooker ceramic pot, I find mold inside the next time I use it. I do notice some fine cracks in the glaze. Cleaning tips, or time to replace? - Brian in Alexandria, Va.
Brian, are you allowing the pot to dry completely before you put it away? The mold can develop from moisture left behind. If the mold develops regardless, it’s time to replace. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: In the winter (flu) season, I’ve found a way to eliminate the facial tissue pile buildup. I put an empty tissue box beside me. As I use a tissue, I put the used ones in it. No nasty tissues around! More sanitary. - Carole N., Canton, Ohio


Dear Heloise: Thanks for your daily dose of commonsense hints! One that could bear repeating: When cleaning the space over kitchen cabinets, I place newspaper to absorb grease and dust afterward! Amazing how much easier it will be next time! -  Pat R., Battle Ground, Wash.


Dear Heloise: Have you noticed that many people say the year “two thousand nineteen” instead of the traditional “twenty-nineteen”? I even hear politicians and TV news anchors saying it. 
It’s much simpler to say “twenty-nineteen” than “two thousand nineteen.” It even has one less syllable! We said “nineteen eighty-nine,” “nineteen ninety-nine,” etc.
Why do some want to add the longer “thousand” into the mix? When did this change? Let’s keep it simple, OK? - Bill, Dana Point, Calif.
Bill, interesting point! Readers, do you say “twenty-nineteen” or “two thousand nineteen”? -
- Heloise


Dear Readers: Do you make faces when you’re applying your makeup? Many women open their mouths when applying mascara, make a “fish face” when applying bronzer or smile really big to find the apples of the cheeks. Just a fun conversation! - Heloise


Dear Heloise: What can be used to eliminate a smell in the microwave after you warm something up? - A Reader in Finger Lakes, N.Y.
If your microwave needs some cleaning and freshening, put 2 tablespoons of either lemon juice or baking soda and 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Let the mixture boil in the microwave for about five minutes so that the steam condenses on the inside walls. Then wipe off the walls and the inside of the door. This should cut any lingering odors in your microwave. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I read in a magazine about making hamburgers with buffalo meat. Why buffalo meat? - Sandra Z., Waterbury, Conn.

Sandra, buffalo (sometimes called bison) meat is lower in fat than regular hamburger meat. It also has more vitamins, minerals and iron, and is said to be sweeter in taste. So, be adventurous and give buffalo hamburgers a try.
- Heloise

Bouillon is better?

Dear Heloise: The French usually use BOUILLON when a recipe calls for adding water. This is especially useful when making soups and stews. You can get bouillon in liquid or solid form (cubes), and either way it will improve the flavor of your recipe. - Rosemarie S., Ketchum, Idaho


Dear Heloise: Before I head to the grocery store, I go through my box where I store my coupons and get out the ones for products I plan to purchase. This saves time, instead of trying to find the ones I need at the checkout. Here are a few ideas where you can use coupons, besides the grocery store:
• Tuck a few coupons in a baby gift for things like diapers, baby food, etc.
• Take coupons to work and share with co-workers.
• Give some to a family or friend in need of help with their food budget.  
- Agnes R., Ashland, Mass.