Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Cookies in a Jar

By Reena Nerbas

Under-cooked Cheesecake

Dear Reena,

I baked a cheesecake for friends last weekend; I thought the cake was thoroughly baked because the sides were solid, and the middle jiggled a little. I iced the cake and placed it in the fridge. Hours later, I sliced the cake and was mortified when I saw the inside was liquid. What is the best way to check a homemade cheesecake for doneness? B.

Dear B.,

While the jiggle method is a popular indicator for whether a cheesecake is thoroughly baked, it isn’t foolproof. Consider purchasing a cooking thermometer; gently insert it into the cake. When the temperature reads 150-155 degrees, the cake is ready.

Iron Stain in Toilet

Dear Reena,

I want to share with you a handy tip to remove orange colored stain from the toilet bowl, due to iron in well water. Drop a couple of denture tablets in the bowl in the evening and by morning the bowl should be clean. Repeat if needed. Also, do you have a home remedy for cleaning an oven? Reynold

Dear Reynold,

For people who do not own a self-cleaning oven, the oven mess does not have to become a dreaded chore. The world’s easiest way to clean an oven is to sprinkle the bottom of the oven with baking soda. Pour white vinegar over the baking soda, let bubble and soak for 30 minutes. Wipe and rinse with water. In the meantime, put an old towel on the bottom of your bathtub, fill it with hot water and 1-cup of washing soda. Let oven racks soak overnight and, in the morning, (while wearing gloves) rinse the racks and wipe with vinegar. Clean as a whistle! Note: Do not leave water in the tub if small children live in the home.

Cookies in a Jar Recipe

Dear Reena,

Can you please provide me with a recipe for ‘Chocolate Chip Cookies’ in a jar? Alice

Dear Alice,

You will need a large 1-quart jar. Combine: 2-cups flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, half tsp. salt. Into the jar layer half-cup brown sugar, followed by half-cup white sugar and then another half-cup brown sugar, and then add 1-cup chocolate chips. The last layer is the flour mixture. Close the jar and attach a note with the instructions. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Empty cookie mix into a large mixing bowl. Add 2-eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla and one-cup margarine, or butter, stir to combine. Drop spoonful’s onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake 11-13 mins. Cool and enjoy!

Vacuuming Tips That Don’t Suck

  • The following is a list of areas that many people neglect to vacuum regularly: Inside drawers, blinds/curtains, ceiling fans, brooms, under furniture, mattresses and furniture cushions, accent cushions, computer keyboard, clocks and window sills.
  • Vacuuming in all directions helps lift carpet fibers and increases the amount of dirt and dust sucked up by vacuums.
  • Dust before you vacuum. This reduces the amount of dust that flows into the air, and lands on the floor.
  • Empty your vacuum canister regularly. Waiting until the canister is almost full reduces suction from the vacuum, resulting in a less effective clean.
  • Sprinkle the carpet with a light drizzle of baking soda to help absorb some of the day-to-day odors.

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at

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