Renovation & Design
Question: I like to make meatballs. Is there a particular ingredient that will help to hold the meatballs together after they’ve been frozen in Swedish meatball sauce, then reheated with the sauce in a pot?
Answer: Freeze the sauce apart from the meatballs. Add the sauce after the meat has thawed, the meat will hold together better when thawed. When pre-made meat dishes are sold in stores, the sauce is often packaged separately in little plastic bags, because adding too much moisture to meatballs will cause them to break apart. When forming meatballs in general, add an egg to bind the meat. Another trick is to soak torn, fresh bread slices in milk (cut the crust off), let them soak for 10 minutes. Take the soaked bread slices and squeeze out the excess milk. Add the bread slices to the meat mixture along with some fresh breadcrumbs to hold the mixture together, mix well. The mixture should be moist, but not soggy. Shape mixture into meatballs and chill in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes. Cook, bake or freeze as usual.
Question: Do you know of a cleaner that I can make myself and carry in my purse to clean the handle of grocery store shopping carts? — Marie
Answer: An easy solution is to carry baby wipes in your bag to clean cart handles. Or use the following formula for cleaning shopping cart handles or as hand cleaner.
Into an empty squeeze bottle combine: one cup aloe vera gel, one tablespoon rubbing alcohol and one-quarter teaspoon dish soap. Stir and squeeze onto a cloth and wipe the handle.
Question: Do you have any tips that prevent soda pop from going flat (especially two-litre bottles)? — Wayne
Answer: Keeping pop cold (but not frozen) and closed will prevent fizz loss, since the solubility of carbon dioxide is greater at lower temperatures. Squeezing the bottle until the soda almost reaches the opening before recapping is also an effective trick, since smaller gas volume reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the gas phase. In addition, you can purchase a cap that enables the user to re-pressurize the bottle. Turn it in place and then operate the little attached pump which is part of and affixed to the centre of the cap. These are available at many department stores.
Grow Your Own
Transform a dull meal by adding fresh herbs to the dish. Grow them indoors or outside in pots. They won’t take up much room and they won’t take over your garden.
â Start with high-quality potting soil. Try this combination: potting soil, used coffee grounds, organic compost and crushed egg shells.
â Popular herbs: rosemary (add to potato or chicken dishes, to give foods a Mediterranean flavour), basil (Italian dishes), chives (salads, egg dishes and potato casseroles), oregano (Greek or Mexican cuisine), thyme (French cuisine, vegetable and meat dishes), parsley (add to dishes containing garlic and fish), sage (liven up meat dishes) and mint (perfect for salads and homemade tea).
â Make your life a little simpler: grow fresh herbs from seedlings rather than seeds.
â Water herbs daily and spritz with water to keep plants happy.
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.