Clean, organize your pantry

Dear Readers: When is the last time you cleaned and organized your pantry? Are there items that have expired? Did you even know some of those food items were in there after they got pushed to the back? Try organizing your pantry by using a color-coded system.

Green vegetables such as beans, peas, spinach and even pickles can be grouped together. Then gather red canned items, like tomatoes, sauces, salsas, ketchup and kidney beans.

Shades of yellow would include pineapple, pears, applesauce and corn products. White items would include mayonnaise jars, sauerkraut and potatoes.

Place all dry goods together. This can include pastas, rice and even baking items like sugar and flour.

Place the items you use the most front and center, where they are easily grabbed. Place bigger, stock-up items, like bottled waters, juices and cooking oils, on the floor of the pantry. And baskets can hold spice packets, dry gravies and sauces or mixes. Do what works for you, but with a little time and creativity, you can have a more organized pantry in no time! — Heloise

Disappearing milk

Dear Heloise: One day, while I was in the middle of cooking, I discovered I was one can short of evaporated milk. I asked my teen son to go to the corner store to purchase a can.

When he came back empty-handed, I asked him where the milk was. He replied, “They said they’d never heard of disappearing milk.” “What?” I asked him. “I said evaporated milk.” To which he replied, with the usual teenage “whatever” attitude: “Evaporate, disappear, they both mean the same thing. He should’ve known what I was talking about.” Apparently not! I got such a laugh out of it (he didn’t see the humor in it) that I didn’t mind that my recipe was ruined. — Nel A., Columbus, Ohio

(Heloise is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. Send money-or time-saving hint to P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or E-Mail: