Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Croissants, Buns and Bread

By Reena Nerbas

Prepping Shells for Stain

Dear Reena,

I would like to know how to clean a shell and how to apply stain on it? Can you please share your ideas with me? Thank-you, Jamal

Dear Jamal,

Place the shell into room temperature 50/50 bleach/water inside of a pot (or use plain water). Boil the shell for 5 mins. Stain as you would any surface or wipe the shell with baby oil to give it a nice shine.

Cleaning Inside of Sandals

Dear Reena,

Can you tell me how I can clean the inside sole of my sandals? They have a suede like finish that is starting to look very dirty from dust and foot perspiration. Thanks, Jim

Dear Jim,

Sprinkle the suede fabric with baking soda and then brush the nap back and forth with a damp nail brush. If the suede is a synthetic fabric, you will be able to scrub them with plain old soapy (dish soap) water, and an old toothbrush. Rinse and let dry.

Removing Photos from Sticky Album Pages

Dear Reena,

The old-style photo albums have a sticky substance on them to hold the photos in place. Do you know any ways to remove the pictures without damaging them? Fran

Dear Fran,

In order to safely remove photos from the glue pages, you will need a long piece of dental floss. Holding both ends of the floss, saw the floss back and forth under the photo to gently remove it from the album. Or freeze the entire album so that the glue releases itself from the photo, gently pull up photos. Or hold a hair dryer (on the hot setting) around the border of each photo, within seconds you will be able to lift pictures.

Hardened, Undissolved Dishwasher Capsules

Dear Reena,

I have quite a few white Cascade dishwasher capsules that have become so hard that the lid inside the dishwasher will not close. Any remedy for this? Fran

Dear Fran,

I can tell you that I toss dishwasher capsules into the dishwasher basin without ever placing them inside the detergent compartment. If you choose this option, you will not need to worry about closing the lid.

Dough these excellent tips of the week:

  • I purchase large boxes of croissants at the grocery store. Within a few days they are rock hard; I used to toss them in the garbage. I have discovered that if I sprinkle each croissant with a small amount of water, and microwave them for a few seconds they become soft and taste fresh. Submitted by: Maureen
  • I attempted to make homemade buns for years, but the dough would not rise properly. I finally realized that my yeast was dead and once I bought new yeast and stored it in the fridge my recipes worked. Submitted by: Len

Reena’s Note: If water temperature is either too hot or too cool, this will also affect dough rising outcomes.

  • It has come to my attention that after making bread dough I am supposed to smear the dough with oil. I thought that bakers do this so that the dough does not stick to the bowl. I have now learnt that the oil prevents the dough from becoming hard and crusty on the outside while it is rising. I now realize that this is a very important step. Submitted by: Morgan
  • After removing fresh buns from the oven, let them cool completely on a wire rack. Doing this prevents the bread from becoming wet and soggy on the bottom. After the buns cool, put them inside of a plastic bag. Submitted by: Amethyst

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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