The right tools for the perfect pie

Have you started planning your holiday menus? Thanksgiving is soon enough and right after, Christmas. Each has it’s own traditions and staple foods. Whether you’re going pumpkin, sweet potato or pecan, the right tools can make or break your pie.

pieweightPie weight: If you’re following a recipe that requires blind baking your pie crust (baking an empty crust), pie weights are a must. But the classic bead-like weights can be hard to remove after they come out of the oven. The small, piping hot weights pose a large threat of burning yourself. This innovative new design features one, large disk weight that is surrounded by heat-resistant silicone. The resulting piece weighs down your crust but is easy to remove after the oven; the silicone sides cover the crust but are also easy to grab with your hands without burning yourself. Cook’s Illustrated recently gave this weight 2 1/2 stars for function and 3 stars for easy use.

pieshieldPie shield: Fruit pies are a wonderful addition to holiday meals, but their juicy interior can drip on the oven floor when baking. The resulting mess can burn and stink up the house, plus it’s a real pain to clean off. You can easily shove a baking sheet under your pie when baking, but pie shields or pie drip catchers are even better. This round, non-stick coated plate slides under pie pans and catches overflowing juices without burning. This shield, spotlighted by Cook’s Illustrated as well, is great because it features a cut-out in the center; this opening allows the bottom the your pie crust to continue cooking, unlike a sheet pan that may prevent browning on the bottom.

Whisk: Before baking, you have to get the recipe just right. Not all whisks are created unequally, but fortunately the OXO 11 Inch Balloon Whisk is a great, affordable choice. Cook’s Illustrated also included this whisk in their list of “Top Equipment for baking Perfect Pies,” because it’s balanced, light weight design makes it super easy to whip up the perfect pie filling.

Find more awesome baking products and delicious recipes on our Pinterest.

RSVP International’s endurance colander voted best by America’s Test Kitchen

colanderAs we get closer to the holiday’s, the main concern isn’t decorations or tinsel — it’s food. And the best way to get the best holiday meal on the table for your family is stocking your cabinets with the right tools. We love when we can offer our customers awarded products. Most recently in this list is the Five Quart Pierced Endurance Colander from RSVP International.

This stainless steel, perforated colander recently came out on top in a rigorous testing of 16 kitchen colanders. America’s Test Kitchen recently tested these colanders and chose RSVP’s model based on performance, design and clean up. RSVP’s model won because it is dishwasher safe, has great ground clearance to keep draining contents from sitting in sink water, it features slim handles that are easy to grip AND the tiny perforations allow you to drain anything from angel hair to orzo without loosing pieces.

Check out the video:

This fall recipe is the perfect excuse to add this colander to your arsenal:

Pumpkin gnocchi

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 – 2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

  • Directions: Mix pumpkin puree with the egg yolk and add the salt. Once this is combined, start mixing in flour slowly until you have a soft dough. You want a high moisture dough, but you do not want it to be too sticky. Knead the dough for one minute and then separate it into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1/2 inch thick roll. Use a knife to cut rolls into 1/2 inch pieces. Once your pieces are cut, use a gnocchi board or a small fork to roll gnocchi. This gives the dumplings the ridges that hold on to yummy sauce.
  • To cook: Boil a large pot of water and add the dumplings in batches. Allow them to boil until they float then drain by scooping out and allowing to rest in a colander.
  • (adapted from

DIY ideas: Kids crafts organization and storage

Kids are fond of crafting. What’s great about them is that they enjoy every step along the way, rather than the end result. A lesson for parents, too. However, when kids get crafty, you soon find out you don’t know where to store all the finished projects. Here are a few storage and organization ideas for your kids’ crafts that you may fall in love with. Don’t miss out.

Wall storage


Photo courtesy

  • Go for bookshelves to store and display your kids’ masterpieces: Here go all pictures and drawings, postcards, magnets, carved or engraved wood pieces, etc etc etc. Additionally, you can place all other crafts that fit in.
  • Use hanging storage: For example, you can use gift wrap and craft storage hangers that have separate compartments and pouches, perfect for storing different sized projects.

As much as you want to, you can’t display all your children’s crafts, but it doesn’t mean you should get rid of them. Use these organization and storage ideas to keep everything in place. Get creative and who knows what you will come up with. It’s going to be fun for your kids, too.

Floor storage

  • Go with clean wood crates on wheels: Large and durable, crates make fantastic storage space. They come in different size and forms to fit your specific organizing needs. A couple of crates can hold not only your kids’ crafts, but also all necessary craft supplies.If you don’t want to buy a rolling crate, just glue or screw a few old boards down and add wheels. Want to know how to make one yourself? It can become your favorite vintage crate.
  • Opt for see-through plastic storage bins (with lids): Many smart parents use plastic storage bins to store their sons’ favorite Legos. However, you can store so much more in plastic storage bins. What’s great about them is that they are transparent and your kids can easily find their stuff without scattering all the contents across the floor. They also come in different sizes, so it’s easy to pick the one that meets your needs. A bin can hold wood craft match sticks, glitter, glue, buttons, mini clothespins, stretch magic, jewelry and other craft supplies as well as handmade crafts that will be easy to see. The best thing about plastic bins is that they can be placed on desks, shelves, on the floor and anywhere else in the room.
  • Use under-bed drawers/containers: Want those kids’ arts out of sight but still within easy reach? Use an old drawer or a bulky container that can fit in under your child’s bed. Feel free to decorate it to your small one’s liking. Place all crafts you can inside. The good thing is, since it’s going to be under your kid’s bed, it won’t mess around with the other stuff you store on shelves, desks or tables. Which means you’ll still have enough space to keep everything else organized.

Other storage ideas

  • Take advantage of desk space: If your children have a large desk, it can be converted into a storage area where they will put their recent crafts and – why not – their craft supplies. Considering that the desk is positioned near a wall, you can also use the wall space to hang some of their best craft projects. Use storage organizers, such as shelves, bins and baskets, drawers, containers, carts, holders, etc., to hold all items. You can find a variety of storage containers online and anywhere else in brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Use clean bags: This Hoopla project is another amazing idea to store your kids’ crafts but you will have to put some work into it. Make as many bags as necessary to hold and organize your children’s crafts and enjoy the beauty. They can be hung on a wall anywhere in the room.

As much as you want to, you can’t display all your children’s crafts, but it doesn’t mean you should get rid of them. Use these organization and storage ideas to keep everything in place. Get creative and who knows what you will come up with. It’s going to be fun for your kids, too.

Contributed thanks to Anna Aamone. Anna runs a small company called DeluxeCleaners SW5 and loves to write about parenting.