Solutions and Substitutions for Jan. 22nd, 2010

Dear Reena,

How can I prevent rice from sticking to the pot while cooking and ending up with a ball of ‘glump’ (to use one of your words)? Therran

Hello Therran,

One way to prevent rice from sticking to the pot is to cook it in the microwave. For 1 cup of rice, add 2 cups of water. Season and cook in microwave on HIGH for 15-20 mins. No sticky mess. If you prefer to cook rice on the stove: Rinse the rice before you boil it (until the water becomes fairly clear). Add a little oil or butter to the pot (rice in a pot should not be overcooked). Or boil your rice in lots of water and when done, just strain it through a sieve. Perfect rice every time.

 

Dear Reena,

We are investigating the possibility of installing new flooring in our kitchen. We are deciding between ceramic and porcelain floors. What is the difference? Canree

Hi Canree,

Although people often use the terms ceramic and porcelain interchangeable (much like linoleum and vinyl) the composition of true ceramic is very different from that of porcelain. Ceramic is made mainly of clay mixed with various minerals and water. This composition is then processed with heat to create the solidified product. Since ceramic material is porous, the top surface is usually sealed with a glaze. The glazed surface is referred to as the design layer since it determines the tile’s finished color and texture.

Glazed ceramic tile is durable, and normally lasts longer than any non-tile material used for the same purpose. It is easy to clean, and will not absorb odors, nor support allergens or bacteria. When coated with a Grade III or higher glaze, ceramic tile is highly resistant to scratching and moisture. Another important feature is that it will not burn, emit toxic fumes or scorch.

In comparison the primary ingredient of true porcelain tile is finely-ground sand. Unlike ceramic, processing of the porcelain composition involves pressure and extremely high temperature. The end result is a very dense, glass-like material with a water absorption rate of less than 0.5%. Because of its density and composition of natural ingredients, porcelain tile has all the same excellent qualities of glazed ceramic.

Consumers purchasing porcelain tiles are often told that they will not need replace sections if chipped, based on a misperception that all porcelain tiles are the same color all the way through. This is sometimes true, but new design creations have led to the addition of a design layer. Like glazed ceramic, the top surface of some porcelain tile is glazed to produce a specific colored finish. A chip in such a surface would reveal the tile’s different body color and thus warrant replacement.

Porcelain is a denser, stronger material than ceramic. However, porcelain’s hardness makes it more challenging to install. When comparing price and durability, there is little difference between ceramic and porcelain tile. Expensive and inexpensive styles are available in both types, and under normal circumstances, there will be no noticeable difference in wear between the two.

Either way it doesn’t really matter which type of tile you select. Ceramic and porcelain are both exceptional floor and wall covering materials. The only problem you’ll have is deciding which size, color and texture you prefer.

 

Dear Reena,

I have mold on my stippled bathroom ceiling. Is there an easy way to remove this without damaging the stippling? Thanks for your help. 

Chris

Hi Chris,

Begin by ventilating the room where you are working. In order to zap that mold, you need to combine 50/50 water and bleach together in a spray bottle. Spray the bleach solution onto the affected area and leave it alone for 30 minutes. Use a cloth dipped in water to dab away the mold stain, this may require several applications. Repeat the process until you get rid of the mold completely. If the mold is stubborn; increase the bleach concentration. If that pesky mold just won’t budge, seal and then re-paint the affected area. In order to paint the area there are products available specifically designed to fix stipple, apply with a sponge to acquire a stippled effect. You can also use pre-mixed grout or multi purpose filler mixed with paint in order to reach your paint color. Note: Painting stipple makes it almost impossible to remove in the future.

 

 Feedback from fabulous readers with regards to a letter about the importance of carbon monoxide detectors in the home:

Hi Reena,

It is very important to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your house. When our two granddaughters left home to attend university, we bought them a detector- they probably thought it a bit over the top. When we visited them a few weeks later they had not plugged it in, so we did. Three or four weeks after that they called 911 because their detector was screaming. The furnace was inspected and found to be faulty they were told to have a new one installed immediately. They did and the rescue people said they were very lucky that they had a detector in their home. Gail

 Dear Reena,

I wanted to add a note to your response to Otto, regarding the gift of a carbon monoxide detector. You stated that purchasing one is a very smart choice. Having one if any system in your home uses fossil fuels is indeed the only smart choice. What you didn’t explain is, where CO gas comes from: “Carbon monoxide is present in low levels in the air. In the home, it is formed from incomplete combustion from any flame-fuelled (not electric) device, including ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, furnaces, fireplaces, grills, space heaters, vehicles, and water heaters. Furnaces and water heaters may be sources of carbon monoxide, but if they are vented properly the carbon monoxide will escape to the outside. Open flames, such as from ovens and ranges, are the most common source of carbon monoxide. Vehicles are the most common cause of carbon monoxide poisoning.” Source: www.chemistry.about.com

 If Otto has electric heat and appliances he would indeed be better served by installing an additional smoke detector, as he suggests.  Persons with a garage attached to their home may also want to consider the installation of a CO detector. Denise

 

Handy Tip of the Week:

To temporarily camouflage tiny nicks or chips in flooring; melt a matching crayon. Drip the wax onto the area. Use a plastic scraper or ruler to ‘level off’ the top so the wax is even with the floor.

Reena Nerbas is a professional speaker and the author of three national best sellers, “Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions”, “Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets” and “Household Solutions 3 with Green Alternatives”. Books and Household Solutions 1, 2 and 3 Cooking/Cleaning Gift Packs are available on-line or by calling: 204-320-2757.

 I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming!

Check out my web site! www.householdsolutions.org

For all of your home improvement needs please contact my friend Shell Busey at www.housesmartcentre.com

By: Reena Nerbas

Written by Canadian Home Trends

Canadian Home Trends

Canadian Home Trends magazine gives you a personal tour of the most stunning homes and condos across Canada. You’ll be inspired by a selection of accessible home décor products, trend reports, simple yet stylish DIY projects, and much more. In each issue, you are given the tools to recreate designer spaces you’ve always dreamt of having at home, in-depth renovation and design advice, colour palette and furniture pairings, and Canada’s best places to shop.

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