Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Unclog that Slow Drain

By Reena Nerbas

Shrinking Pie Crusts

Dear Reena,

Can you tell me how to bake a single pie crust so that it doesn’t shrink down in the pie plate while baking? I make lemon pies, but my crusts disappear down the sides of the pan. Bernice

Dear Bernice,

Some people freeze pie crusts before putting them into the oven, but here is an easy alternative. Place your dough into the pie plate and trim away the excess. Line the pie dough with foil and fill the plate with dried beans or rice to weigh down the crust and keep it from shrinking. Bake 10 minutes, or until the crust is firm. Lift the crust to the counter, and gently remove foil, taking care not to tear the crust. Prick crust with a fork, brush with egg white and bake another 5 minutes, or until pale gold. Cool. Or put another pie plate the same size on top of the dough in your pie plate. Bake for a few minutes until the dough holds its shape and remove second plate.

Unclogging a Slow Drain

Dear Reena,

Can you please tell me the best natural solution for unclogging a slow kitchen drain? I’m in a condo, on the third of four floors and the drain often gurgles. Someone suggested using Liquid Plumber, but I would prefer something more natural. I would appreciate any suggestion you may have. Felix

Dear Felix,

In a jar combine 2 tbsp. cream of tartar, one quarter cup baking soda and 1 tsp. salt. Drop in the drain, chase with boiling water. Repeat as necessary. Or pour half cup salt down the drain, followed by boiling water or vinegar. Extra tip: Don’t toss flat cola into the garbage; instead pour it into drains to keep them fresh. If this is not effective, consider having the pipes under the sink taken apart and thoroughly cleaned.

Paraffin Wax on Suede

Dear Reena,

I do hope you can help me. I was treating my arthritic hands in a paraffin wax bath and accidently splashed some on one of my beige suede dining room chairs. I was able to scrape some of it off, but there is still a dark spot remaining. Do you have any solutions for removing the stain? Madison

Dear Madison,

You want to be careful when cleaning the area not to scorch it. Place a single layer of brown paper on the wax area and move a warm iron over the wax. Move the paper around to soak up the wax. Next, sprinkle baking soda onto the wax stain and brush the area with a damp stiff brush to restore the nap.

Simple, Smart Hints

  • I found a way to encourage my five-year-old to eat her peas. Start by softening a container of frozen yogurt or ice cream by placing it on the counter at room temperature for 15 mins. Stir in a few chocolate chips and a few handfuls of frozen peas. Re-freeze the yogurt and eat. Submitted By: Lawrence Barb
  • My facial skin seems much softer now that I use a banana mask once a week. Mash up a banana and spread it on your face. Leave for 10 mins. and rinse. Submitted By: Jamie

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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