Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Christmas Fruit Cake

By Reena Nerbas

Rice in Salt Shaker

Dear Reena,

I have often noticed that restaurants have grains of rice in salt shakers. Is this for good luck or a joke that someone plays on the waitress? Bethany

Dear Bethany,

While some people consider the following a myth, here is the reason why many people add rice grains to shakers. A few grains of rice added to salt shakers is a great way to prevent salt from clumping, because rice is said to absorb moisture.

Did you know? Many people believe that the cure for handheld devices that accidentally become wet, is to leave them in a bowl of rice for several hours to absorb moisture.

Christmas Fruit Cake

Dear Reena,

I would like to bake a Christmas Fruit Cake for the first time. The recipes I’ve looked up on-line are big recipes and expensive. Is it possible to make half a recipe? One asks for five eggs (how do I divide)? Shirley

Dear Shirley,

The easiest option; is to use 3 small eggs (instead of medium or large). The more technically accurate solution includes measuring. A large egg equals about 3 tbsp. of contents. If the recipe calls for both egg yolk and egg white; beat the egg, and use one and a half tbsp. for the Christmas Fruit Cake recipe.

Cleaning Black Ceramic Shower Tiles

Dear Reena,

Please advise me on how to clean the black ceramic shower tiles in my shower; we have very hard water. I have used many products to try to eliminate the mineral deposits and soap scum, but the tiles remain blotchy and stained looking after they have dried. Thank you. Barbara

Dear Barbara,

Whenever I want to freshen up old grout, I get a handy little piece of pumice stone. Pour some dish soap onto the pumice stone and wet it, then scrub the grout; looks wonderful. Next spray isopropyl alcohol onto the grout to prevent mildew from growing and discoloring the grout (keep away from small children). Another option is to make a paste of borax and water, scrub grout with an old toothbrush.

Doggie-do on a Shoe

Dear Reena,

Thanks to a lazy dog owner, I stepped in a pile of you-know-what and I didn’t notice until the following day. After cleaning the mess up, the smell is lingering. The sole is a rubberized material used on walking shoes. I have scrubbed with a variety of products, but I cannot get rid of the smell. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you. Leslie

Dear Leslie,

If possible, toss the shoes in the washing machine and wash with heavy-duty detergent and hot water. If the shoes are not washable, scrub the bottom sole with an old toothbrush, water and quite a bit of whitening toothpaste. Soak the bottom sole in 50/50 vinegar and water.

Readers Share Success Stories

  • Yesterday I got a brilliant idea… well, I thought it was brilliant. Both my husband and I are in our 70’s and it’s a bit difficult for us to get down on the floor. Yesterday we had to kneel down to read the serial number on our stove (to have it repaired). To get that number one has to pull out the drawer at the bottom of the stove. The sticker is right there, on the right. But to be able to read it, especially with bifocals, required some major efforts on our part. We did it, and after we were done, my brain clicked in – I have a cell phone with a camera, and it just requires one of us to bend over and click a photo. If it doesn’t work, erase and do another one or use a digital camera. Plus, if numbers had been difficult to read, we could have transferred the photo to our computer. I’m going to use this trick next time something rolls under the bed! Thanks again for what you do. Submitted By: Lilianna
  • Clean brown bathtub stains by combining hydrogen peroxide with Dawn dish soap. Leave for 30 minutes and scrub. Submitted by: Micah

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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