Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Strawberries

By Reena Nerbas

Greasy Stove

Dear Reena,

I like to cook my steaks on a skillet on the stove top. I use a splatter screen but the grease comes through and makes a terrible mess on the stove. I bet you have a solution. Thanks, Bells

Dear Bells,

While the splatter screen is the best solution for reducing grease spray while cooking steaks, here is an addition that will help reduce clean-up efforts. Sprinkle salt onto the grill before cooking, this hold grease in its place, and prevents mess.

Cleaning Food Off Inside of Microwave

Hi Reena

I have dried on margarine marks inside the walls of my microwave. I have tried bowling a cup of water, and a cup of vinegar in it for ten minutes and allowed it to sit a few minutes before opening the door and trying to wipe it down with paper towel and a sponge, but no residue comes off. Are the stains too old…or is there something else I can try? Please advise. Thanks, Shannon

Dear Shannon,

It sounds like the challenge is not with the vinegar and water combination, but with the sponge. Scrub the microwave with an abrasive, non-scratching, scrubby pad. Sponges and paper towels are too soft to get the job done.

Scuff Marks on Dinnerware

Hi Reena,

We recently purchased some used dinnerware in the Harlequin pattern. Some of the plates have scuff marks, we assume from just normal wear and tear. Do you know of any way to remove these marks and make the plates look newer? Thanks, Mike

Dear Mike,

Purchase a product called, Barkeepers Friend, this is a mildly abrasive cleaner. Make a paste of Bar Keepers Friend and water, and using a wet dishcloth, scrub the scratches. Rinse with water.

Keep Strawberries Fresh

Dear Reena,

How do you keep strawberries from spoiling? Please tell me what I need to do before this year’s picking season. Carissa

Dear Carissa,

Do not wash berries until ready to use. Using a large baking sheet, wet a tea towel and lay it on the sheet. Spread berries onto the baking sheet so they do not touch each other. Wet another tea towel and cover the berries before putting the pan inside the fridge. Berries will be beautiful, even after five days.

Extra Tip: You can take this one step further by soaking the strawberries in 50/50 vinegar and water before laying them onto the baking sheet, that way they are already clean and ready for eating throughout the week.

Solutions for Life’s Little Frustrations

Cold Sores: I used to get cold sores on a regular basis and nothing worked including the expensive over the counter medications as well as prescription drugs costing quite a bit of money. Anyhow, I accidentally found that using liquid soap, especially the commercial grade soap available in the workplace washroom, greatly reduced my frequency of cold sores. For example, as soon as I felt the “tingling” sensation of a cold sore about to appear, I would wash the area with liquid soap and warm water for less than a minute around 2 – 3 times a day. Just before bedtime, I would apply a dab of liquid soap onto the affected area and allow to dry overnight. Within a day or two, I found the cold sore would go away or be limited in scope.

Poison Ivy: One time I was pulling “weeds” in our large suburban backyard that turned out to be poison ivy. Before I broke out in a huge rash, I washed the area with liquid soap, gently toweled off the area with a paper towel, and after I was dry, I applied an over the counter overnight acne cream that prevented the spread of poison ivy, it made sense because overnight acne medication is designed to dry out the oils causing an acne outbreak. Regards, Victor

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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