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on March 29, 2013 10:50 AM

DEAR SARA: There is a spray that is used with shoe stretchers. Do you know what is in that formula? — Carol W., email

DEAR CAROL: You can use equal parts water and rubbing alcohol on the inside of the shoe where you want it stretched (using a cotton ball to apply it). Then use your shoe stretcher and a hair dryer to stretch the shoes. Repeat until you have the desired results.

DEAR SARA: I have saved two dozen Del Monte red grapefruit slices pint jars. I often give my jellies and pickles away, and I thought these jars would be great for that, but the labels just won’t come off. I have tried soaking, and they have been in the dishwasher several times, but I still cannot remove the labels. I called the company and a young man only suggested what I have already tried. Can you help me? — Donyta, email

DEAR DONYTA: Soak the jars in hot water. If there’s still some glue residue, use vinegar, nail polish remover, baby or vegetable oil and a plastic or green Scotch-Brite scrubbie to remove it. Label removal is easier if you score the label first.

You might have luck with Goo Gone, WD-40 or Pledge furniture polish, too. Run them through your dishwasher afterward.

DEAR SARA: I sometimes forget to marinate. Is there anything wrong with just pouring marinade onto the meat/poultry and cooking it? — Pauline, Ohio

DEAR PAULINE: Marinade is pretty strong because it’s concentrated, so using too much directly can result in a flavor that is overpowering. If you’re short on time, you can brush the marinade onto the meat/poultry toward the end of the cooking process.

The idea is to enhance the flavor of your meat, so soaking your meat in it overnight isn’t absolutely necessary.

DEAR SARA: We rarely drink hot chocolate, but happen to have tons of mix. What can I do with it besides make hot chocolate? — Dob, email

DEAR DOB: Give some to friends or family, or donate it.

You can make chocolate pudding or a chocolate shake, or add it to coffee, pancake batter or oatmeal. You can use it in baked goods such as cakes and muffins, too.

Here’s an easy microwave cake-in-a-mug recipe: howto.wired. com/wiki/Make_Cake_in_a_Mug.

DEAR SARA: I’m making a breakfast sausage casserole, but I grabbed the regular Jimmy Dean sausage instead of the sage flavor. I have some sage; how much do you think I should mix in with the sausage to flavor it? — S.S., California

DEAR S.S.: I wouldn’t add more than 1 tablespoon of sage per pound.

DEAR SARA: Can I freeze leftover cooked rice? — Jennifer C., North Carolina

DEAR JENNIFER: You can freeze cooked rice. Let it cool, then package it in freezer storage bags.

Flatten the bag (leaving rice in a layer about 3/4-inch thick) and squeeze out any air, or you can even roll the rice into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. To reheat, microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until fully reheated, or use a frying pan or small saucepan.

Add a bit of water if needed.

Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (, a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email

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