Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Paper Plates

By Reena Nerbas

Fuzzy Blankets

Dear Reena,

How do I take the fuzz off of a 100% polyester blanket? It’s on both sides of the blanket. Thank-you, Norma

Dear Norma,

The easiest solution is to purchase a sweater shaver designed specifically for removing pilling or thread balls from fabrics such as polyester. Another option is to use a razor, a little riskier than the fabric razor.

Cake Boils Over

Dear Reena,

I read your column regularly and have received many helpful hints; I now need your help. I make chocolate cake with flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, (I usually put the soda with the cocoa as I find it gives it a more intense chocolate flavor), baking powder, salt, oil, eggs, buttermilk and coffee. The problem is it always boils over. I changed my baking soda and powder brands and it still boils over. Can you help me? I am tired of cleaning my oven and putting out fires.

Also, I would like to make bite brownies and have purchased pans but have no idea how long to bake them. I tried different baking times and even lowered the temperature from 350 to 300 to slow the cooking process. I like them baked but chewy. Any suggestions? Sherry

Hi Sherry,

I love baking brownies and finishing them off with icing and colored sprinkles! Your challenge is a fairly common one, buttermilk and baking soda will have your concoction foaming up so pick a big saucepan when making brownies, it’s kind of like combining vinegar and baking soda. Therefore changing brands won’t make a difference in your final recipe. Also, reduce your stove heat and cook at a lower temperature and use a double boiler if necessary.

When making bite size brownies it is important to keep in mind that because they are very small they will bake quickly therefore reduce the baking time to 10 minutes or less (depending on your oven) at 325 degrees. For extra chewy brownies add an extra egg and a combination of different types of chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate has the highest proportion of starches which makes a stiffer brownie. Semisweet chocolate produces a creamier texture. Put the two together, with a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to thicken out the texture and create a chewier brownie.

Removing Tub Decals

Dear Reena,

We have tub decals on the bottom of our tub. Do you have any suggestions as to how to remove them without scratching the enamel of the tub? Thanks! Sheila

Dear Sheila,

In order to remove decals from the bottom of your tub begin by prying a corner of the decal up and holding a blow dryer on the area. Switch the setting to hot and leave for about 3 mins. Peel the decal upward. Or pour boiling water onto one decal at a time, peel. If the decals do not budge spray the decal corner with WD-40. Leave for 15 mins. and scrape with a plastic putty knife.

Extra Uses for Paper Plates

Punch out two holes the diameter of your handheld beater attachment ends. Push the ends of your mixer attachments through the holes of a paper plate. Position the plate over your mixing bowl. When you turn the machine on, the contents won’t spray all over the counter. Submitted By: Margaret

I always serve tacos on thin paper plates. As people eat the taco they fold the paper plate around the taco, no more spillage. Submitted By: Candace

Painting is my hobby and to avoid paint dripping onto the floor from the paint can; I always set the can on top of a paper plates. No more mess. Submitted By: Bernie

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.

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