Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: “Green” Clean Your Drains

By Reena Nerbas

Cleaning Drains

Dear Reena,

I want to know the best way to clean my drains. Thanks, Donna

Dear Donna,

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.

Chocolate Wedding Cupcakes

Dear Reena,

I would like to make chocolate decorations for cupcakes to serve at my daughter’s wedding. I am worried that the chocolate pieces may break after I shape them; how can I prevent this? Theresa

Dear Theresa,

Congratulations! What an exciting time for both you and your daughter. To make chocolate designs, use a pencil to draw outline shapes on a sheet of parchment paper or print them with the help of your computer. Popular shapes include: flowers, leaves, vines, hearts, initials, lattice type shapes, stick figures, etc. After you complete the designs, melt chocolate in a double boiler and then pour it into a piping bag or a sealable bag. Using a pair of scissors, cut a very tiny hole in the corner of the bag. Squeeze gently to release the chocolate. Trace your designs with the warm chocolate then let them harden at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Carefully peel the chocolate design off of the parchment paper. Once you become proficient at this technique, try laying the parchment over a rolling pin or other cylindrical shape to form a curved design, which adds another dimension to your decorations.

Sticky Pasta

Dear Reena,

I cooked a large amount of spaghetti in a pot and just before I served it, I noticed that it had turned into one big heap of pasta. What can I do to stop the noodles from clumping together? Megan

Dear Megan,

Always cook pasta in a large pot so that each noodle has room to move and groove. Once the noodles are cooked, pour hot water over them as you are straining them. This is very important because water washes away gluten and keeps your noodles loose as a goose. When you pour noodles into a serving boil, add a few drops of oil and mix, this is another helpful technique.

Egg Shell in the Mix

ear Reena,

Every time I crack an egg, little pieces of egg shell make their way inside of the bowl. Is it me? Is it the egg? Or is it my technique?

Thanks, Cindy

Dear Cindy,

Avoid cracking eggs on the counter edge or bowl rims and instead get cracking directly on the flat counter surface. You will find that as the egg cracks the shells will not sneak their way into your bowl.

Smelly Cauliflower

Dear Reena,

I am having trouble getting the smell of cauliflower out of my fridge. I have washed it with vinegar, and now have a dish of lemon juice and vinegar in the fridge; I also have 2 boxes of baking soda. Do you have any more suggestions for me to try? Would appreciate any help, as the odor is horrendous. Thanks, Lois

Dear Lois,

All you need is cake and coffee. Well maybe I better explain what I mean, we all know that cauliflower is a healthy veggie, personally I love it served hot with sautéed bread crumbs poured over top. This yummy winter tree delight contains a powerful phytonutrient called sulforaphane, which helps the body’s natural defense systems protect against disease. In the meantime the same sulfur compounds that are good for us give off an unpleasant smell, which is what you are now battling.

Use vanilla that you bake cake with to wipe down the fridge (the first step in freshening the fridge). Next, pour coffee grounds onto an open plate to absorb any lingering odors. The fridge should once again be a welcome part of your home. Other options are to leave a bowl of charcoal briquettes in the fridge or pan of kitty litter (you will still need to wipe the walls and shelves with vanilla).

Fabulous Tips of the Week:

• If you want family or guests to know that your home bathroom was recently cleaned, put a triangle fold on the end of the toilet paper, just like hotels.

• To remove hairspray caked on mirrors, use very hot water instead of window cleaner.

• Add lint brush to your list of cleaning supplies. As you travel throughout your home sweep the lint brush over any area with hair or pet fur.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Need a Corporate Presenter on the topic: Harness the Power of Words? Check out my website