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Cut the fat out of ground beef

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Dear Reena,
I have a problem with a cloudy stain or film on the inside glass of my shower stall. I’ve tried Windex, vinegar and water, straight vinegar, a razor blade scraper, CLR, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and none have had any effect at all. It’s just on the lower part of the glass doors and other glass parts, so it’s quite noticeable. If I run my hand over it, I can’t detect a difference in texture from the cloudy part to the clear part of the glass. Do you have any ideas I can try? Arnie

Dear Arnie,
Unfortunately it sounds as though the etching on your shower stall is permanent. If purchasing a new stall is not an option at this time, here is a cover-up solution that will only cost you a few dollars. Hop over to your nearest craft store and buy glass frost/etching acid, painter’s tape and the stencil of your choice, such as wavy lines, flowers, birds or any other you prefer. Adhere the tape along the edges of the glass pane horizontally and vertically, overlapping them to make yourself a grid. Etch on the designs of your choice to cover up the noticeable etching. With a little hard work and patience, your shower stall will look fantastic. You can even check out some YouTube videos for help on etching designs onto glass.

Dear Reena,
I would like to know if you have any solutions to whiten up the plastic trim pieces on kitchen appliances. All of my appliances are completely white. However, over time the white plastic parts are turning yellowish. Thanks. Lori

Dear Lori,
Pour 500 mL 3% hydrogen peroxide into an ice cream bucket (a stronger concentration of hydrogen peroxide, about 10 to 15%, would be even more effective but test on an inconspicuous area first). Add one teaspoon of Oxy laundry booster. Sponge the solution onto the appliance and scrub. Rinse with dish soap and water. If the yellow remains, try a product called, Retr0bright (available online) which is a gel made for whitening plastics.

Dear Reena,
How can I reduce the fat in the ground beef I buy without buying the expensive lean and extra lean cuts? Dominic

Dear Dominic,
The answer is a snap! Cook your beef until crumbly and brown. Pour it into a strainer in the sink and rinse with hot water. Blot with paper towels or a clean cooking rag and move onto the next step of your recipe.
Say… Why are hamburgers called hamburgers when they do not contain any ham? Answer: Because Hamburg, Germany made the first hamburgers.

Great ideas from readers who care:
With regards to Val seeking advice on cleaning her laminate floors: I use a product called Squeaky Concentrate commercial floor cleaner. It not only cleans but also leaves a beautiful shine on our laminate flooring. Plus I have a Rubbermaid Reveal mop from Superstore which has a sprayer attached. Simply spray and mop. From Jan

Dear Reena,

Thought I’d pass on this knuckle-saving tip for gleaning those stand-up, multi-sided cheese graters. An adult-size toothbrush does the trick quite nicely. Simply soak the grater in hot dishwater for a few minutes, then go to work on it with the toothbrush, inside and out. The teeth on the grater won’t cut the toothbrush bristles, and if you use one the toothbrushes with the little nubby rubber thing on it, you can use the nubby thing to poke out any stubborn cheese bits. Works great! George

Fantastic Tips of the Week:
• You would not believe how often people come up to me at the end of one of my shows and share the following tip that they learned from their grandmother. When someone in your home is sick, cut an onion in half and put it on a plate beside their bed. The onion is said to draw out the bad germs in the room and actually turns black within a short period of time. If you can stand the smell of onions, why not give it a shot?
• When choosing healthy bread in the store, reach for whole grain, not whole wheat. Whole wheat flour is put through a refining process that removes some of the nutritional value of the end product, but whole grain flour does not go through that refining process and therefore carries more nutrition.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming! Missed a column? Can’t remember a solution? Need a speaker for an upcoming event? Interested in grocery coupons? Check out my brand new blog and website at You can contact me by email at

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