Renovation & Design

SOLUTIONS: Thin coat of oil repels, removes water spots

QUESTION: We own a faucet made of glass. After every handwash, a few drops dry off at the bottom of the faucet surface where the water runs. Now it has lots of watermarks that I can't remove. Do you have any suggestion as to how to get this nice and clean again? Thank you. Gita, Winnipeg

ANSWER: Oil is the best water repellent. Wipe a thin coating of oil wherever the water spots tend to collect. Doing this repels and removes water stains. If the water spots are stubborn, scrub with oil and an abrasive pad.

QUESTION: When I make chicken in the oven, I like to shake it in eggs and then in a flour mixture. I find that the chicken always turns out soggy, never crisp, and it always sticks to the pan. What am I doing wrong? Bailey, Tyndall, Man.

ANSWER: Crispy chicken is often made by deep-frying the meat so the outside becomes crisp while leaving the inside soft and tasty. However, a healthy alternative is to bake chicken in the oven. While the chicken may not be as crispy, it will still taste great if you season it correctly. If you happen to have a cooling rack for cookies, place the rack on top of a foil-lined pan. Brush oil onto the rack. Raising the chicken off the rack enables heat to bake evenly without the meat sticking to the pan. If you don't have a cooling rack, crumple foil and lay it on the rack so it does not sit flat. Place chicken on the crumpled foil and bake. Or melt a half cup of butter in a pan before adding chicken.

Extra Tip: Make your own "Shake 'n' Bake" chicken by combining the following ingredients in a bag. One-quarter cup bread crumbs and one-quarter cup flour, one-quarter tsp. black pepper, one-quarter tsp. thyme and one tsp. salt and one tsp. paprika. Add three pounds of chicken parts to the bag; shake, shake, shake and bake. Bake at 450 degrees for 40 minutes or until juices run clear. Turn chicken once during baking time.

QUESTION : I've looked through many, many newspaper clippings from you that I've saved over the years. However, I cannot find a specific solution for the following: My Mom uses a hard-plastic raised toilet seat. While she is able to wipe the top of the seat frequently, it is the underneath that is getting stained. I would welcome any suggestions on how to best clean the underneath of the seat, along with an easy maintenance of the seat (my Mom is in her 80s). Thank you so much, Reena! Keep the columns coming. Carol, Winnipeg

ANSWER: If the toilet seat is extremely old and stained, it might be easier on your mother to purchase a new seat. But for regular cleaning, here are a few tricks to keep that seat looking and smelling fresh. Wipe the seat with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and baking soda. The eraser cleans the stains while baking soda adds abrasion to get rid of surface mess. Another option is to scrub with whitener toothpaste and an old toothbrush. Some people have also had great results by scrubbing the dry area with an art eraser before regular cleaning. Lastly, you can clean the seat with Shout (the pre-treatment product used to get rid of stains on fabric) and scrub with a scrubby pad.

Tips for gourmet french toast

-- Begin with slightly stale bread. If you know that you are making French toast for breakfast, let the bread sit uncovered on the counter overnight.

-- Use cream instead of milk when making French toast. Once you try it, you'll never go back.

-- Skip the margarine and reach for the butter instead. For a rich, flavorful treat, line the pan with butter before frying.

-- When cooking is complete, get ready to eat because they are best when hot. Top with jam or syrup and perhaps a shake of icing sugar.

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