Renovation & Design

Timing critical for perfect pasta salad

MIA / AP files

Toss pasta salad with dressing while it is still warm — the noodles will absorb the dressing, making it more flavourful.

Question: Whenever I make pasta salad, the noodles are either too soft or too hard. How can I ensure perfect pasta every time?


Answer: Since pasta is the star of your dish, you will want to cook it perfectly. Overcooked pasta becomes mushy, and undercooked noodles are tough and become chewy as they cool. Since you are not serving it with cooked sauce, the pasta needs just one extra minute of cooking time, this will ensure perfect pasta. Toss the salad with dressing while it is still warm — the noodles will absorb the dressing, making it more flavourful.


Question: I experience an annoying problem whenever I make a low-fat loaf. I spray the non-stick loaf pan with cooking spray, but I still have a difficult time cleaning the pans. Any suggestions?


Answer: I discovered this solution after years of struggling with the same challenge. I now cut a piece of parchment paper so it hangs over the edges of the loaf pan. Add your ingredients to the pan and bake. When baking time is complete, grasp the parchment paper and lift the loaf out of the pan. Pans stay beautiful much longer, and cleanup is so easy.


Question: At our work, someone put a paint roller in the fridge until we found it. How can we get rid of the smell please?


Answer: Begin by cleaning the fridge with a generous amount of baking soda and vinegar, or household ammonia. Rinse the fridge with water and dry well. Stuff the fridge with lots of crumpled-up newspaper. The ink in newspaper will absorb the remaining odour. Leave the newspaper for at least a few days. Remove the newspaper. Store a bowl of baking soda in the fridge.


Question: Recently, my husband decided to wash our oak banister. Although it cleaned up finger/hand soiling, etc., it seems to me the banister feels dry and somewhat rougher. Is there a better way to clean it? Or is there a type of furniture oil that would be good for it at this point?


Answer: Growing up, my mother oiled our wood furniture every few months. Her furniture stills looks brand new to this day. Taking proper care of wood can really extend the life of furniture. There are so many suitable products on the market today, and Danish oil is a great option for oak.


You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man...

● When making gingerbread, your home should not be humid, as the humidity will make the cookie crumbly.

● Let the dough chill for at least two hours before rolling it out.

● Do not overwork the dough, as this can lead to tough cookies.

● Mist cookie cutters lightly with cooking spray to prevent dough from sticking to them.

● Let cookies cool completely before decorating them.

● Make gingerbread dough ahead of time and freeze the dough for up to three months.

● Most cookies are baked at 350 F; however, gingerbread should bake at 325 F for a more even and better-shaped cookie.

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 at: Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website:



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