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Sunday, September 9, 2018

Solutions & Substitutions

Reena Nerbas 

Dear Reena, I was a guest at a friend’s home recently; and I was scandalized because she defrosted her raw and pre-cooked meats in the kitchen sink while she was gone to work for the day. I was afraid to eat it; as I understand any kind of raw and pre-cooked meat should be thawed in the fridge. Anonymous


Dear Anonymous, You are right; it is recommended that meat, poultry and fish are defrosted in the fridge or microwave, and not in the kitchen sink or counter. One exception is to submerge frozen packaged meat in cold ice water to defrost. As soon as the ice melts, the water should be replaced with fresh ice water. 
Dear Reena, Do you have any easy solutions for removing fingerprints from stainless-steel appliances? Thank-you, Virginia

Dear Virginia, Remove fingerprints on stainless steel appliances using a damp, soft cloth. Next using a soft cloth, wipe the appliances with a small amount of coconut oil. Remove excess and polish.

Dear Reena, I have an upright freezer. Being a senior, I can access all my frozen goods; however, bread gets dry, and frozen vegetables get freezer burnt etc. when I place food on the shelves of the door. What is the best type of food to place on the freezer door shelf? Thank-you for your help. Nancy 

Dear Nancy, Since many freezers today come with an auto defrost mechanism, the freezer temperature fluctuates drawing moisture from food. Begin by checking the seal of your freezer. A trick that I use is to open the door and position a piece of paper on the seal at the top of the door. Close the door and pull the paper, the paper should not easily slide out, if it does the seal may need replacing. Secondly, make sure that the freezer is cold enough. Freezer burn is caused by air becoming trapped between the food and your packaging. There are a few companies who have come up with freezer bags that have inner linings which form to food, and then excess air is squeezed out. Or if you’re cheap like me, save old cereal liners and store food such as bread inside of each bag or store food in a good quality freezer bag and suck out excess air with a straw.

While there are no set rules for how to store freezer foods, here are a few tips. Store meat products in the bottom section of the freezer, that way if the freezer breaks the juices from the meats won’t contaminate any other food. Use the door shelves to store items that are packaged and small enough to fit such as: juice, cookies and shredded cheese. Frozen veggies can be stacked and stored in the higher part of the freezer. Rotate and date items for maximum freshness. 

Dear Reena, About 10 days ago I purchased a bouquet of flowers from a market. The clerk wrapped them in heavy black poster-type paper. The stems were quite wet and seeped through the paper resulting in stains on my white denim jacket. As soon as I got home I washed it with plain water, and have also tried hair shampoo, and quite a few commercial stain removers, including one containing hydrogen peroxide; I air dried it outside in the sun. The stains faded quite a lot but are still visible as a faint charcoal color. I'm not sure what I should try next, any advice would be welcome! Thanks, Shirley 

Dear Shirley, Often running hot water through tough fabrics such as denim will cause organic stains to disappear. Unfortunately, sometimes trying several commercial products on a stain will set the stain. The good news is that you haven’t put the jacket in the dryer; and the stain has lightened. Make a paste of water and one of the following: Head and Shoulders Dandruff shampoo, glycerin, Sunlight detergent bar soap, washing soda or borax. Leave for a few hours and wash as usual being careful not to put the jacket into the dryer until you are sure that the stain is gone. Worst case scenario purchase Rit Dye Remover or white Rit dye use it according to the directions on the box; places such as Michaels carry this product. 

Dear Reena, Can you please give me some advice on how to prevent rabbits from entering and eating my garden? Bruce

Dear Bruce, Here are some solutions that worked for contributors in the past.

When it comes to the garden, here are some hints to try:

• If possible, construct a two-foot-high chicken wire fence. Bury the fence a few inches into the ground because rabbits are more likely to climb under the fence than hop over it.

• Surround the garden with milk jugs lined with sand. The idea is that the rabbits will chew on the jugs instead of your plants.

• Suspend aluminum pie plates around plants to keep rabbits away.

• Sprinkle one of the following around plants or shrubs; bags of human hair (from your local hair salon), blood meal, fox urine, bone meal or Irish Spring soap shavings.

• Add turkey manure in with soil.

• Homemade Rabbit Repellent: Into a spray bottle mix: 1 tbsp. baby shampoo and 1 tbsp. household ammonia and one-quart water. Spray plants every 3 days.

• Soak corn cobs in vinegar for five minutes and then place them throughout the garden or under shrubs. Re-soak the corn cobs after two weeks.

• When planting flower beds mix: thyme, spearmint, daffodils and/or eucalyptus in with flowers, they don't like the smell and often won't pass by to get to your yummy flowers.

• Some people had success with burying fabric softener sheets around plants.

• Around newly planted vegetables, bury a collar cut out of a milk carton or jug to protect each plant.

• Fill mason jars three quarter full of water; add a drop of dish soap to each jar. Line jars along garden 1-2 feet apart and place on top of foil pie plates. The water reflects the sun off the jar and the foil, and scares rabbits.

• Ultrasonic repeller, is a sound emitter that sends off a high-pitched noise that humans are unable to hear, but is uncomfortable for animals such; as dogs, cats, deer, rabbits, raccoons, opossums, armadillos, skunks, bats, rodents, squirrels and other creatures. Adjust the unit frequency so that the sound doesn’t hurt animals in the area. Note: Study the best unit for your yard, some units are not effective at all.

Hints for Storing Apples 

If you are planning to store apples for an extended period, wrap each unwashed apple individually with a piece of newspaper and store inside a box, in a cool dark place such as the basement, refrigerator or your pantry. The newspaper is intended to prevent apples from contacting one another thereby protecting each apple.

Bruised apples should not be stored for longer than a few days, either use them right away or make them into apple cider, apple pie filling or applesauce. If the apples are to be eaten within a few days, store them in the fridge away from carrots and potatoes.

Treat Yourself to Home-Baked Cookies: 

• Freeze your pre-shaped cookie dough. Virtually any drop cookie can be easily frozen in its dough state to bake at a later time. Simply line a jelly roll pan with plastic wrap (make sure that the pan fits flat in your freezer), scoop out your dough into balls with a cookie scoop and place each ball side by side on the jelly roll pan. Fit as many as you can tightly together. When the pan is full cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it flat in your freezer. When the cookie dough balls are completely frozen, lift up on the bottom layer of plastic wrap to release the balls individually and place them in a zippered plastic freezer bag. Return to freezer.

Add a little flour to your favorite cookie recipe for a puffy cookie.

Do not soften butter in the microwave if you are aiming for a puffy cookie. 

Store cookie batter in the fridge between batches. 

Do not overmix the dough.

Make sure that leavening agents such as baking soda, baking powder and cream of tartar have not reached their expiration date.

Use the proper utensils when measuring dry ingredients such as flour. 

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.

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