Renovation & Design

Foil is your friend when baking butter tarts

Question: Every time I bake butter tarts, I leave behind pastry when I go to remove them from the pan, after they are cool. I have even tried using Teflon pans with the same results. Can you tell me how I can serve whole tarts to my family? Allison

Answer: The absolute easiest solution is to line each muffin tin with foil. Once the tarts are cool, lift the foil up and the shape should stay intact. If you are worried about the tarts sticking to the foil, wipe each foil lined tin with a little margarine or butter before pressing the crust.

Question: I buy a lot of second-hand clothing. They often smell, even after being washed. They either smell like the previous owner’s perfume or they carry that familiar second-hand store scent. I washed the clothing using my regular detergent, what else can I do? Angela

Answer: Begin by soaking the smelly fabrics in a stainless-steel pot with one gallon water and one quarter cup of one of the following: borax, white vinegar, washing soda or club soda. Boil for five minutes. Next launder in hot water. If the clothes still smell, lay them on the grass on a rainy day, the combination of sunshine and rain will help take away the odours.

Question: What should I use to clean my garage doors? I have a pressure washer, but I don’t want to damage the paint. Garth

Answer: It is a great idea to clean your garage doors, twice a year. The safest technique for cleaning them is to scrub with dish soap and water. While many people opt to use a pressure washer, this comes with the risk of denting the metal or damaging the paint. Rinse with a regular garden hose, set on a gentle spray setting.

Question: I sometimes want to ripen bananas fast, so that I can use them for baking purposes. What can I do to speed up the process so that they are softer? Serenity

Answer: Using a knife or a fork, poke holes in the peel and lay the bananas on a baking sheet. Bake them in the oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. They should be brown before you remove them from the oven.

Why keep it to yourself?

Regarding weeds between bricks on a path. Thought I would send a suggestion to you: I find pouring boiling water on the weeds works great. No need for any sprays. — Helen

Knowing that I will no longer be given plastic grocery bags, I wanted to keep a few on hand, but didn’t know how to store them. I recently realized that the easiest storage unit is an empty tissue box, I stuff them in there, with the handle facing the opening and then pull them out, one at a time, as needed. — Celina

Instead of spraying glass doors with glass cleaner, I wipe them with a fabric softener sheet to clean them. They really shine! — Donella

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.

Have a great suggestion or tip? Please send an email. Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website:


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