Gateway Gazette

Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Don’t throw chocolate away!

By: Reena Nerbas

Discoloured Chocolate Buds

Dear Reena,
I made a birthday cake for my daughter. I bought chocolate buds to decorate the top of the cake and when I opened the box, I was disappointed because the chocolate looks grey instead of brown. How can I make the chocolate look good? Are they safe to eat or should I throw them out? Bernadette

Dear Bernadette,
Throw out chocolate? No way! Fat bloom happens to chocolate when cocoa butter separates from the other ingredients. Sugar bloom on the other hand is also grey and has a gritty texture; this is caused by weather conditions such as humidity. Some think that bloom happens as chocolate ages but humidity is almost always the culprit.
Take the delicious chocolate buds and dip them in water. Let them dry on a tea towel and they will appear dark once again. Lastly, please remember this important life rule: If you are ever plagued with melted chocolate on your fingers, you are eating it way to slowly!

Crickets!

Dear Reena,
I live in a one bedroom house and the crickets outside of my window make me furious! They chirp all night and are so noisy that I can’t sleep. What can I do to attract the critters to an area away from my window? I have a plan to chop their legs off so that they stop rubbing them together, they’re driving me crazy! Timothy
Dear Timothy,
Firstly, it is a myth that the sound of crickets comes from their legs rubbing together, so you might as well forget about that plan. Secondly, it’s really only the male crickets that are robbing you of your sleep because female crickets are quiet little critters. Before you do anything, consider the benefits of crickets, the sound of crickets helps repel mice and rats and many people keep crickets as pets because the chirping helps them sleep. Crickets eat bread, cereal and vegetables. Crickets need to drink water and if their food is near water, they will often drown in the water trying to get to their food. There are commercial cricket repellents or you can make your own by sprinkling borax and cornmeal (or Cornflakes) underneath your windowsill. As temperatures drop, cricket sounds will slow down and so you will sleep once again.

Water stained elm table
Dear Reena,
I have a water stain on my elm dining room table. I’ve been told that mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip) will take out the stain. I’m reluctant to go forward with this remedy without the benefit of professional guidance, preferably from you. Therefore, I’m asking if you would recommend that I use mayonnaise, and, if so, how long would I leave the product on the stain before wiping it off? Thank You. Ruth,
Dear Ruth,
Smear the area with mayonnaise and wait for an hour. Wipe area and check if stain is gone. If the stain remains, cover spot with a tea towel and press with a hot iron to draw out excess moisture in wood. If neither solution is successful, then you’re best option is to refinish the table. Extra Tip: Some people had great success by rubbing the area with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
Best Tip of the Week
• I live in a small town with a well water system and often find that my glassware appears cloudy and dirty. To remove mild cloudiness (etching); Sprinkle a little Comet onto the glass and scrub the area. With a little elbow grease, your glassware looks as good as new! Submitted By: Trevor

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.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Need a Presenter on the topic: Effective Speaking or The Power of Words? Check out: Reena.ca

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