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Personal Finance

Freezing cinnamon roll dough, sloppy joe meat, zucchini and more

Dear Sara: I found a recipe for mixing cinnamon roll dough in the bread maker. Can I make a bunch of cinnamon rolls this way and freeze them? If so, do I freeze them before I bake them, or after? — F.S., Nebraska

Dear F.S.: You can freeze the dough or the baked rolls. I like to freeze the dough before the second rise. When I’m ready to make them, I thaw them in the fridge, bring them out to rise and then bake them. If you prefer freezing them already baked, you can freeze them frosted or unfrosted. If you freeze them unfrosted, simply bake them and frost them when they’re still warm.

Dear Sara: Can you please give me the name of a nonionic soap, and where I can purchase it? I need to use it to clean my parents’ bronze marker. — Marilyn H., North Carolina

Dear Marilyn: One example is Orvus soap by Procter and Gamble. You can typically find it at agricultural (farm, animal/tack and feed) stores.

Dear Sara: What can I do with leftover sloppy joe meat? — Julie, Florida

Dear Julie: I reheat it and eat it again the next day. If you’re not in the mood to eat it again so soon, freeze it. You can add the meat to chili or spaghetti sauce, use it in stuffed bell peppers or a casserole, serve it on a baked potato, mix it into macaroni and cheese or serve it over biscuits, too.

Dear Sara: I have a big package of corn tortillas. Can I cut them into wedges and deep-fry them to make my own tortilla chips? —Heather, New York

Dear Heather: You can, but I suggest spritzing them with oil and baking them in an oven at 400 degrees F for 6 to 10 minutes. You can freeze them until you’re ready to use them, too. Or make huevos rancheros, taquitos, fajitas or tacos, cut them into strips and add them to chicken soup or enjoy them with chili.

Dear Sara: I have a huge zucchini in my fridge. I want to make zucchini bread eventually (not today or tomorrow), but I think it would make a dozen or more. Can you freeze zucchini? Can you just grate it and freeze it in individual portions to use for baking later? I don’t want it to go to waste. I eat zucchini sauteed each week, but this would be enough to feed my fiancee and I for a month. — Marie, New York

Dear Marie: Yes, you can freeze grated zucchini. Be sure to cut and scoop out the seeds. Your life will be easier if you freeze it in the cup measurements needed for your bread recipe. You can add the grated zucchini to meat loaf, meatballs, spaghetti sauce, stews and soups or in omelets, too. Some people drain the thawed zucchini before using it in breads; I do not.

Dear Sara: How can I remove coffee stains from a stainless steel or glass carafe? — Tina, Ohio

Dear Tina: Fill the carafe with water and drop in two denture-cleaning tablets. Let it soak overnight and then wash as usual. You can add ice cubes, salt and lemon wedges and swirl it around and then rinse with water. Another option for the stainless steel carafe is to use baking soda. Add hot water and baking soda to the carafe/thermos, let it set overnight (with the lid off), then scrub with a bottle brush.

Dear Sara: I like to hear your latest thrift store finds. It gives me ideas of things I can look for. So what was your latest deal? — Kelli, Illinois

Dear Kelli: My kids speed skate and run cross country. Athletic clothing is costly. I look for leggings, fitted shorts and shirts. I found two pairs of Under Armour leggings for $1 each. In the sports stores they cost more than $40. Recently, I found hockey sticks in great condition for $0.50-0.99. My kids love to use them for roller hockey at the outdoor rink. I also found brand new CCM ice skates (the blades hadn’t even been sharpened yet) for $3, and an Adidas track jacket and pants for $1 each (retails for about $40 and $35 respectively). Our thrift store offers buy one, get one item half off if you have purchased a state park pass, too. My community forum ( has a section specifically for everyone to share their latest thrift store scores, too. You’re not alone; most frugal people love hearing about thrift store finds. I know I do.

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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