Dear Heloise: There's been some debate about whether or not it's safe to eat a potato skin, due to chemicals and pesticides. Is it safe, and are there any health benefits? -- Meredith W., Laramie, Wyo.

Meredith, first you'll need to wash those skins. A soft vegetable brush with water should do the trick for removing any pesticides.

To get all the nutrition a potato provides, you should eat the well-washed skins. Potato skins tend to be rich in iron, potassium and fiber, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. -- Heloise

STICKY EGGS

Dear Heloise: For plastic foam egg cartons, I put a little water in each egg "cell" just in case an egg may have gotten stuck to the carton. The water dissolves any dried or stuck egg whites and prevents the eggs from adhering to the carton. This trick has saved me many eggs! -- Geraldine W., Columbus, Ohio

HELOISE'S OLIVE-NUT DIP OR SANDWICH SPREAD

Dear Heloise: Please reprint your Olive-Nut Dip recipe. My family and friends absolutely love it, and it's so easy to make! -- Jessica D., Clearwater, Fla.

Jessica, this is one of my all-time favorites and seems to be popular with everyone who tries it. You'll need:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup real mayonnaise

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 cup sliced salad olives (with pimiento)

2 tablespoons juice from the olive jar

Dash of pepper (but no salt!)

Mix all the ingredients well and refrigerate for about one hour. You'll find this and several other delicious, easy-to-make recipes in my pamphlet All-Time Favorite Recipes. To get a copy, send $5, along with a stamped (71 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/All-Time Favorites, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at www.Heloise.com. Spread this dip on sliced French bread or, if you want to save calories, on a crisp lettuce leaf. Yummy! -- Heloise

ICE-CREAM SCOOP TRICK

Dear Heloise: Pouring batter into paper muffin liners was always a messy chore for me. Then I discovered that it's much easier if I use an ice-cream scoop to transfer the batter to the paper liners. It makes my muffins uniform in size and avoids a mess. -- Pat B., Altoona, Pa.

TRIVET HINT

Dear Heloise: I made a huge turkey with dressing for the holidays and suddenly realized I didn't have a trivet big enough to put this huge platter on. I have a beautiful wooden table and wanted to protect it, so I finally decided to use a muffin tin turned upside down. -- Carlotta N., Ponca City, Okla.

OUT OF POWDERED SUGAR?

Dear Heloise: I had a recipe that called for powdered sugar, but I didn't have any. I took granulated sugar and ran it through a coffee mill (grinder) twice and made my own powdered sugar! -- Rhonda C., Bozeman, Mont.

BACON HINT

Dear Heloise: To separate prepackaged bacon, start with the first slice on the back. -- Norma W., Reading, Pa.