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Pick the right potato for the dish you want

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Dear Reena,
I read some tips about potatoes on your website but I am a little confused. Which potatoes should I choose for individual dishes, red or brown? From, Jeremiah

Dear Jeremiah,
The russet potato is quite large in size and has a rough, brown peel. They are best used for potato dishes that are baked, fried or roasted because they hold their shape well. On the other hand, red potatoes are soft and easy to mash, making them ideal for potato soup, pan frying, mashed and boiled potatoes. Have you ever considered cooking purple potatoes? They are soft and fall apart when mashing but don’t carry as much flavour as red and russet.
Tip for fluffier boiled potatoes: After boiling potatoes, turn the stove off and drain the water in the pot. Cover the pot with a tea towel (keep towel away from the element). Close the pot with the lid. Leave for 10 minutes to absorb steam, the potatoes will become dry and fluffy.

Dear Reena,
Do you have any recipes for making my own hairspray? Thanks, Yolanda

Dear Yolanda,
Cut four fresh lemons into four pieces each. Using a double boiler, fill the pot half full with water and add lemons. Boil the mixture until the liquid is reduced by half. Cool, strain and pour into spray bottle and spray onto hair.

Dear Reena,
I have very sensitive skin and break out in a rash when I use commercial laundry detergent. Do you have a recipe that I can make for a top loading washing machine that will not be harmful to me? Love your column, Mary

Dear Mary,
Here is a wonderful recipe for homemade laundry detergent. Begin by grating a bar of Fels-Naptha or Ivory bar soap. Add three cups borax and three cups washing soda. Include one tbsp. per load in a top loading machine. Store in a plastic ice cream bucket.

Dear Reena,
I have two large dogs that shed. There is nothing wrong with them, it is part of their breed. Fur is everywhere and I am constantly vacuuming. I am wondering what you think of the robot vacuums on the market. I am interested in purchasing the Pet Series vacuum. Do you think that this will solve my problem? Herman

Dear Herman,
Robot vacuums are a good idea for homes with limited fur, hair, dust and debris. However, they are a chore to clean. It can take as long to properly clean the vacuum as it does to just vacuum the floor yourself. Add to that, the parts wear out and you will need to reorder them often, especially if you are vacuuming pet fur. In my opinion, central vacuums or good quality canister vacuums are still the most effective way to keep up with daily vacuum chores.

Dear Reena,
How can I get rid of aphids on my roses, this happens every year and this year I would like some new ideas so that I can be ready. Thanks, Evangeline

Dear Evangeline,
Into a spray bottle combine one of the following; either three parts water to one part dish soap or three parts water to one part apple cider vinegar. Spray the roses and, while wearing gloves, pick off all aphids from plant leaves. Extra Tip: Banana peels and coffee grounds buried in the soil also deter aphids.

Feedback from Fabulous Reader

Dear Reena,
I work as a mechanic and my hands are inevitably caked in grease. Since everybody at the shop drinks coffee we made a great discovery. We find that when you get grease on your hands, just scrub them with coffee grains. After a few minutes, your hands are clean and soft. Thanks for your hints, Garry

Get Organized!
•Mount a piece of galvanized steel to the wall of your bathroom using construction adhesive. Attach magnetic hooks and cups to the steel. Doing this helps organize; bandages, ponytail holders, dental floss, scissors, cotton balls and swabs, nail clippers, makeup brushes, jewelry, shavers etc.

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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