Gateway Gazette

Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Grilling the Perfect Steak

By Reena Nerbas

Creating Smooth Curtain Rod

Dear Reena,

I own a wooden curtain rod on which the wooden curtain rings stick and “shudder” when pulling the curtains open and closed (I’ve actually pulled the curtains off the end rings with the yanking they require). How can I best get these non-compliant rings to move smoothly over the curtain rod? Is WD-40 an option or will it become sticky over time? Camea

Dear Camea,

Rub a bit of furniture polish on the rods so that curtains slide easily; candle or paraffin wax will have the same effect but are time consuming to apply. Although it seems unlikely that WD-40 will become gummy, it will smell, and you may not want that odor in your home.

Grilling the Perfect Steak

Dear Reena,

I want to “WOW” my company by grilling four perfect steaks. Any suggestions before they arrive? Thanks. Leighton

Dear Leighton,

Don’t open your front door until you read the following suggestions: In a large Ziploc bag, combine half teaspoon salt, one teaspoon pepper, two chopped garlic cloves, two tablespoons soy sauce, one tsp. Worcestershire and one tbsp. olive oil. Close bag and press the seasoning onto meat. Preheat the grill to the highest temperature. Lay each steak on the grill for one minute. Turn over and grill for another minute. Rotate 45 degrees and grill for half the remaining cooking time. Turn again. Ask guests how they would like their steaks grilled. Use your hand as a guide; compare the meat to your hand, feel the fleshy part of your palm below the thumb, if it feels the same the meat is rare. For medium, touch your ring finger. For well done, touch your pinky.

Cleaning Pot Lids

Dear Reena,

I have a number of pot lids (as many of us do) and they are “stained” with watermarks and general dirt. I bought stainless steel cleaner which doesn’t seem to work very well and it is messy to use and clean up. Some time ago, I noticed that one of my pot lids had a perfectly round clean spot on it presumably where something fell on it and when I cleaned it; it also took off the watermarks. I have tried experimenting with tomato sauce and baking soda and haven’t figured it out. Whatever it is, it has to be more effective than the store bought stuff. So if you know of something that will clean stainless steel pot lids, pass it on! Lorraine

Dear Lorraine,

Begin by adding citric acid to the dishwasher soap dispenser and running the lids through a cycle. Citric acid can be purchased at the pharmacy of most grocery stores. If you cannot find it on the shelf, ask the pharmacist to order it in. To brighten the lids, soak them in 5 or 6 denture tablets. Scrub with S.O.S pads to clean (Tip: Store once used S.O.S pads in a foil lined container to slow down rusting). Or mix 4 parts cream of tartar and 1 part hydrogen peroxide, scrub with an S.O.S pad. My favorite option: Place lids in the sink with a half box of baking soda and at least 2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide and enough water to cover lid. This formula also works well for cleaning stainless steel thermos interiors. Leave for 30 mins. and rinse well. If this doesn’t tackle the stain, the marks are likely permanent.

Homemade Fire Starters in Fireplace

Dear Reena,

Is there a problem using homemade fire starters made of sawdust and wax or dryer lint and wax in fireplaces? I am concerned about wax creating a coating in the chimney.  Thanks for your help, Maurice

Dear Maurice,

Dryer lint, cardboard egg cartons, pencil shavings, empty toilet paper rolls and sawdust are suitable fire starters used for interior wood burning fireplaces. Wax additions are better left for outdoor fireplaces because as you said, wax build-up in chimneys can become a problem over time. An alternative to homemade wax fire starters is to save old newspapers and layer one loosely over top of another. Following many layers, leave to dry for several months. Toss in the fire as a fire starter; be sure to use black and white ink paper only.

Fabulous Tips of the Week:

·        Here’s my new invention and someone just might need it. Recently I bought a nice pair of brown leather hiking boots. However, they had the ugliest mustard coloured laces (good quality though). I just couldn’t stand them any longer, so one day I dyed them a pretty brown using hair dye. They now match the leather quite well and I’m so contented when I wear them on hiking trips. Submitted by: Maria

·        In a pinch substitute egg white for glue. Stick light paper together with a little egg white when glue runs out. Submitted by: Glenda

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: reena.ca. Ask a question or share a tip at reena.ca

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