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DEAR HELOISE: Being 79 years old, I don't need much and don't really want "things" for special occasions. The very best gift anyone could give me is to invite me for a home-cooked meal. Nothing fancy, just dinner or lunch and someone to share it with me. Like so many people in my age bracket, breaking bread with a friend or family member means more to us than things. We love the interaction with others and the kindness of home cooking.

-- Billie-Jo H., Olympia, Wash.

DEAR HELOISE: Please reprint your recipe for cornbread dressing. We love it!

-- Luci G., Harrisonburg, Va.

DEAR READER: This is a longtime family favorite, and I included it in my book In the Kitchen With Heloise. It can be cooked separately in a well-greased casserole dish and served with not only turkey, but also ham, chicken and other entrees. You'll need:

• 1 cup broth (see note)

• 6-8 slices stale bread, torn into pieces

• 1 1/2 cups packed crumbled cornbread

• 1 stick butter or margarine

• 1/2 cup chopped celery

• 1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped onion

• 2 eggs, beaten

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon pepper

• 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

• 1 tablespoon dried sage, crumbled

(Note: Make the broth by cooking the giblets and neck of a turkey or chicken in water with seasonings, or use canned chicken broth or chicken bouillon.)

In a large bowl, pour the broth over the bread pieces and cornbread. Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the celery and onion until tender. Add them to the bread mixture, along with the eggs, salt, pepper and seasonings. Mix well.

DEAR HELOISE: I love avocados so much, I decided to grow my own avocado tree and harvest the fruit in my backyard. I got my tree started indoors, but once it reached 6 to 8 inches, I was told to trim it back to about 3 inches. If I hadn't, it would have developed into a skinny, weak plant. My tree has been planted in the backyard and is now 10 feet tall and very robust.

-- Lucy Y., Long Beach, Calif.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Heloise@Heloise.com

Food on 03/20/2019

Print Headline: Helpful Hints

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