Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Prepping for Thanksgiving Dinner

By Reena Nerbas

Turkey Stuffing

Hello Reena,

Is there a simple way to prepare stuffing from scratch using dry bread slices?  Miranda

Dear Miranda,

Slice one loaf of dry bread pieces into cubes. In a pot sauté one chopped onion and four sticks chopped celery. Add one teaspoon poultry seasoning. Add bread and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in 1-cup chicken broth. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 mins. or heat in slow cooker on low for one hour.

Pie Crusts

Dear Reena,

Can you tell me how to bake a single pie crust so that it doesn’t shrink down in the pie plate while baking? I make lemon pies, but my crusts disappear down the sides of the pan. Robert

Dear Robert,

Some people freeze pie crusts before putting them into the oven, but here is an easy alternative. Place your dough into the pie plate and trim away the excess. Line the pie dough with foil and fill the plate with dried beans or rice to weigh down the crust and keep it from shrinking. Bake 10 minutes, or until the crust is firm.

Lift the crust to the counter, and gently remove foil, taking care not to tear the crust. Prick crust with a fork, brush with egg white and bake another 5 minutes, or until pale gold. Cool. Or put another pie plate the same size on top of the dough in your pie plate. Bake for a few minutes until the dough holds its shape and remove second plate.

Bleached Spot on Carpet

Dear Reena,

While we were away from home a hairball from our elderly cats spilled onto our brown jute rug. Our cat sitter rubbed the rug clean leaving two noticeable light spots on the rug. Can we treat these spots by brushing on some brown fabric dye? Can you recommend a way to darken these spots? Look forward to hearing from you, Diane

Dear Diane,

All carpet is dyed in the first place therefore it is definitely a technique that will work if done correctly, however it is risky business. Color matching is a great challenge and for best results consider hiring professional carpet dying services that will help you refurbish your carpet for less than half the cost of replacing the carpet.

If you are determined to fix the carpet yourself, the first step is to find out what kind of textile your carpet is (you said jute), and whether or not your carpet is stain resistant.

When purchasing carpet dye consider how much dye mixture is required to cover the carpet you are refurbishing. Coverage must also be sufficient to allow the dye to bond evenly with carpet fibers. Make sure you are buying a carpet dye with a colorfast guarantee. Dyed carpets should not fade when cleaned. Also find out the drying time and setting time. Clean the carpet before beginning and follow all directions listed on the color dye kit. Test carpet dye on a swatch of carpet (if you have one available) or on an inconspicuous area.

Extra Tip: If the stains are really small you can try coloring the bleached areas with a brown permanent marker.

Fall for These Smart Hints:

  • I love this time of year the smell, the colors, the raking… The problem is that as I get older my back feels strained with the chore of raking leaves. I went to the hardware store and purchased an ergonomic handle; I attached it to the rake, what a difference, worth every penny! Submitted By: Butch
  • I have a wood burning stove and clean out the box every fall. I then sprinkle the ashes from the box (not from the chimney) into the compost box. Submitted By: Amy


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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