Gadget Tree: The Pie Weight Disc


Here’s a great gift or stocking stuffer for the pie-maker on your list: The Pie Weight Disc. 

Pie Weight Disc from Williams-Sonoma

Pie Weight Disc from Williams-Sonoma

Some pies call for “blind baking” the crust before filling it with deliciousness. When you blind bake an unfilled piecrust, you need pie weights to make sure the crust keeps its beautiful pie shape and doesn’t rise and shrink while baking.

Ah, pie weights. What a pain. They can be stainless steel beads on a chain, loose ceramic beads or even rice and beans piled in the middle. Sounds like a hassle, doesn’t it?

Trust me…it really is.

The Pie Weight Disc from Williams-Sonoma takes care of that. The daisy-shaped gadget has silicone petals and a silicone handle and a perforated steel center to let moisture escape so you don’t wind up with a soggy crust. It fits a 9-to-11-inch pie pan.

Best part: It’s dishwasher safe.

So, that takes care of one gift on your list…right??? Get that shopping done early this year!


posted under Gadget Tree | 5 Comments »

Extra Helpings: Guava Paste


Nancy asks: Okay, you got me. You used guava paste in a recipe the other day and I had no idea what you were talking about. What is it and where do I find it?

Great question. Sometimes when we are so familiar with something, we lose sight of the fact that this just may be someone else’s first trip to the rodeo.

Probably because I’m Latina, I grew up eating guava, the round tropical fruit that is yellowish to deep red with sweet reddish or pinkish flesh. Guava has a deeply floral aroma and is heavenly sweet and flavorful.

Guava paste, on the other hand, is a purée of cooked guava (of course) sugar and (occasionally) pectin, which gives it a very thick texture. It is often so thick you have to slice it! It is wildly popular in Latin and South America, the Caribbean and Spain and is used with everything: as a spread, as a glaze for meat, as filling for tamales, as a topping for pancakes… you get the picture.

I like pairing guava paste with milder cheeses, like manchego, brie or feta. Of course, it also goes well with cream cheese and Mexican cheeses like cotija and queso fresco. Although its popularity is growing, you can usually find it at Mexican or Latin American grocery stores or in the ethnic section of the bigger supermarkets. Sometimes it is labeled guayaba.

Nancy’s question got me thinking… sometimes it’s easy to be intimidated by food and what you think you don’t know. Don’t be! Ask! After all… it’s only food!

Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


You know what makes me happy?


Yours. Mine. Everyone’s.

Whether the year was good, bad or meh… we’re still here. We survived 365 days of whatever life handed us… and that alone is worth celebrating.Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

We celebrated my mother’s 80th birthday recently with her favorite cake: White Cake with Lemon Filling and Buttercream Frosting. Okay, I’ll admit I used boxed cake mix and a jar of lemon fruit tart filling… but I made the Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (because of the first word… EASY).

Prepare the cake according to the package directions. I added 1-Tablespoon of vanilla to pump up the flavor just a bit. For the lemon filling, I used Clearbrook Farms Lemon Fruit Tart Filling

Also, if you want to learn how to prevent common cake disasters, or other things like how to make a four-layer cake, click here.

Wow. It just hit me. Eighty years. That’s a number I can’t fathom right now.

But I hope it comes for me some day, ‘cause like I said, birthdays make me happy.

I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: