Gateway Gazette

Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Cake Mixes and Frozen Blueberries

By Reena Nerbas

Stained Corning Ware

Dear Reena,

We have two Corning Ware casserole dishes that were bought used. They are stained and I am wondering if you have a suggestion as to how these stains might be removed. Thanks, Barb

Dear Barb.

In a large pot, combine 3 cups (750 mL) vinegar, 4 cups (1 L) water and 2 tbsp. (30 mL) citric acid; bring to a boil. Set one Corning Ware dish into the boiling mixture for 5 minutes (the water must cover the dish). If necessary, scrub wet Corning Ware with an S.O.S pad. Once dry, your dishes will look brand new. If black marks are scratched into the glass, the marks are permanent.

Kitchen Grease on Light Fixture

Dear Reena,

A metal kitchen light fixture is caked with years of cooking grease and dust. I tried Windex and WD-40 without any luck. What do you suggest? Debbie

Dear Debbie,

I am assuming that you are referring to the fixture alone (no electrical wires). As easy solution to clean fixtures, is to place them on the top rack of the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergents are formulated as grease cutters and amazing at cleaning grime. In the same way, the metal exhaust fan ceiling cover also benefits from dishwasher cleaning.

Key Broke Off in Lock

Dear Reena,

My daughter snuck out of the house and returned late at night. She pushed the key into the lock and when she turned the key, it broke inside the lock BUSTED!!! Now half of her key is jammed inside the lock. What can she use to remove the broken piece? Jimmy

Dear Jimmy,

Put a little Super Glue onto the broken key. Push that piece into the lock and hold for a few seconds so that both pieces attach together. Turn and pull.

Filling a Bucket in a Sink

Dear Reena,

I own a large plastic bucket that I fill with water to wash the car. The problem is I can’t fill the bucket under the tap because as soon as the bucket is full of water, I can’t pull it out of the sink without spilling water everywhere. Any suggestions?  Bev

Dear Bev,

Instead of placing the bucket inside the sink, position it on the edge of the counter. Hold a dust pan under the tap. The water flows into the dustpan and inside the bucket without having to place the bucket inside the sink.

Add Guess Work to Cake Mix:

Homemade baking tastes the best, but not everyone has time to bake from scratch. Here are a few tricks to help cake boxed cakes taste homemade.

  • Add one instant pudding mix to a boxed mix to moisten the cake and upgrade the flavor. Submitted By: Jessica
  • Substitute milk for water in cake mixes. Also, to give boxed cake mixes more homemade flavor, add one extra egg. Submitted By: Jordyn
  • Add one cup sour cream and one extra tsp. real vanilla to box cakes, this gives the cake a moist texture. Submitted By: Helena

Frozen Blueberry Tips:

  • When it comes to using frozen blueberries in a recipe, do not allow them to thaw first. Adding them while frozen will preserve the texture and prevent them from bleeding into the other ingredients and changing the color of your baking. Note: If the skin is not broken, a blueberry will not bleed color.
  • Before adding frozen blueberries to your pie crust, sprinkle the crust with 3 tbsp. cornstarch right before adding the berries. Doing this extra step absorbs liquid and prevents a soggy crust.

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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