Solutions & Substitutions Column – by Reena


Dear Reena,

I often see no-boil lasagna noodles on the shelf of my grocery store. What makes these noodles different than regular lasagna noodles? Which is better? Glenn

Dear Glenn,

No-boil lasagna noodles are precooked noodles that don’t require pre-boiling. However, instead of purchasing precooked pasta, I purchase regular lasagna noodles that are high in fiber. I do not boil the noodles, but I make sure that enough sauce covers the noodles so that they bake in the oven along with the lasagna dish. Do not add cheese to top layer, cover tightly with foil and bake in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one and a half to two hours. When noodles are tender, remove foil and cover with cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 mins. before serving.


Dear Reena,

How do you remove water stains from wood furniture? Thank you, Lynda

Dear Lynda,

The first and easiest solution is to apply mayonnaise or non-gel, non-bleach toothpaste to the wood. Leave for 30 minutes and wipe. If the stain remains, cover the mark with a white cloth. Using the steam setting on your fabric iron, wave the iron overtop of the cloth making sure that you do not set the iron on one area. With a little patience, the mark will disappear.


Feedback from Reader’s who Care:

Re: Feeding crows

Dear Reena,

I am appalled you passed on the tip from Michael about saving bacon grease for crows. 1. It is illegal to feed wildlife and if I am correct crows are wildlife. 2. Bread is BAD for birds. 3. Now I know who is responsible for the filth those crows bring to my birdbath and contaminate it, thus depriving the legitimate users of a decent bath or clean drink. Thanks, Rick


Re: Cleaning ovens with Windex or windshield wiper fluid

Dear Reena,

From everything I have read about windshield wiper fluid after seeing a warning about avoiding skin contact with it, I thought you should inform people that this shouldn’t be used to clean an oven, even if you wear gloves to do it. Spraying it is also a bad idea. Here is the label information on a bottle I have: “Do not swallow. May cause blindness if swallowed. DO NOT GET IN EYES. DO NOT BREATHE FUMES. Do not smoke. Keep out of reach of children. USE ONLY IN A WELL-VENTILATED AREA. KEEP AWAY FROM FLAMES, SUCH AS A PILOT LIGHT, AND ANY OBJECT THAT SPARKS, SUCH AS AN ELECTRIC MOTOR.” It might be a good idea to warn people who don’t read warnings on bottles! I enjoy your column and have used many of your tips. I even have a file of them saved on my computer. Thank you! Laurie


Re: Storing cheese

Dear Reena,

I enjoy your column and have found your tips very useful. A few weeks ago someone wrote you about the big blocks of cheese and how to keep them. My solution is to cut the cheese into usable portions, wrap well and freeze. Some varieties become crumbly after freezing but that works really well similar to grated cheese on homemade pizza or other places where grated cheese is used.


Another tip: For years we had a pile of discarded seed and husks under our birdfeeder in the lawn. The birds would do a fair job of cleaning it up but it was usually a mess. I cut a 5 foot by 5 foot piece of fiberglass window screen (sold by the meter at outdoor stores and hardware stores) and put it on the ground underneath the feeder.  The grass can breathe and the birds can clean up much better, the husks that they leave are minimal and can be easily lifted to be put into the compost. Julie