A Bundt Pan for Every Baker

Can you smell the vanilla?

Can you smell the vanilla? (Unsplash/Nathalie Jolie/)

If you’re someone that likes to bake, skip the square plain old pan and try using a bundt pan. Make your cakes more fun or maybe even go beyond cakes and try your hand at a throwback Jello mold!

Our favorite feature? The handles. A super helpful detail when retrieving hot goods from the oven.

Our favorite feature? The handles. A super helpful detail when retrieving hot goods from the oven. (Wilton/)

Made of steel and a non-stick coating, this bundt pan from Wilton is a winner. It’s easy to use and a cinch to clean—making it a dynamite budget pick for new bakers that don’t bake all too often.

Made of cast-aluminum, you can feel the exceptional quality in the weight. Also available in two additional patterns.

Made of cast-aluminum, you can feel the exceptional quality in the weight. Also available in two additional patterns. (Nordic Ware/)

If you’re a baking pro, look no further than the Heritage bundt pan from Nordic Ware. The brand is known for top quality cookware products and this pan is another keeper. It’s beautifully constructed in a mesmerizing swirl pattern which would boost any cake into award-winning territory.

Oven, microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe—this is foolproof.

Oven, microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe—this is foolproof. (CHICHIC/)

If you’re still too terrified your cake will stick to a steel or aluminum pan, try this flexible silicone option. The pliability of this product makes it ideal for jello molds too.

The simple lines on this design means clean up is a breeze, either by hand or in the dishwasher.

The simple lines on this design means clean up is a breeze, either by hand or in the dishwasher. (Cuisinart/)

Now this is a classic. The tall, lean shape will immediately conjure up memories of the light and spongy dessert, known as the angel food cake. Made with heavy aluminized steel and rolled edges to prevent warping over time, this is a great pan to have in your collection. Though you can bake just about any cake in this tube pan, break yours in with a heavenly recipe.

A Baking Sheet Bakes Everything Better

Quite possibly the most versatile pan in your kitchen.

Quite possibly the most versatile pan in your kitchen. (Pixabay/Ponce Photography/)

Ever try roasting thinly sliced layers of eggplant with a drizzle of olive oil? Or maybe you just want to evenly toast perfect cubes of bread to make your own croutons. You’ll need a baking sheet to handle those types of cooking tasks. What’s more, when you’re done with the savory stuff, use a secondary baking sheet to whip up those chocolate chip cookies you’ll want after dinner. These baking sheets can do it all.

Time and time again, this option won’t let you down.

Time and time again, this option won’t let you down. (Nordic Ware/)

Nordic Ware products are known for their exceptional quality. Constructed of natural aluminum, the two-pack half sheet is an investment well worth money. You’ll find your food cooks evenly and the pans are so sturdy, the reinforced rim ensures they’ll never buckle and lose their shape under intense heat. These heavy-weight pans can handle any chore.

Available in several colors, this would also make a great gift.

Available in several colors, this would also make a great gift. (Rachael Ray/)

This three-piece set from Rachael Ray is a wonderful choice if you need sheet pans in varying sizes. The non-stick coating makes it a breeze to clean, even better, it’s also dishwasher safe, if you’re looking to save yourself from manual labor. But the real selling point on this set are the grippy handles, ideal for clumsy home cooks.

Go big or go home, right?

Go big or go home, right? (Wilton/)

So you have a large crowd to feed or maybe you don’t have a large crowd but you’d just rather prepare a big batch of food to have in advance. This massive sheet pan from Wilton will do the trick. Coming in at 21.5 x 15.5 x 1.61, you won’t have to deal with a two pan baking project because this one alone can handle it all. Pro tip: this pan is excellent for throwing a heaping tray of loaded nachos under the broiler.

Contains no artificial coatings.

Contains no artificial coatings. (Checkered Chef/)

Ideal for serious bakers, this set comes with two baking sheets and two individual cooling racks to keep your cookie bottoms from over-browning on a hot pan. Did you know that the pan/rack duo is also the secret to cooking the perfect bacon every time? Try it and see for yourself.

A non-stick workhorse.

A non-stick workhorse. (Wilton/)

This slim two-piece set from Wilton is a great buy. Coming in at 9 x 13 x 0.75-inch high, it’s not quite as deep as some of the others which makes it a fan favorite for layer cakes.

Baking Soda: It Can Do It All

From mile-high cakes to a sparkling bathroom, baking soda is a workhorse in so many ways.

From mile-high cakes to a sparkling bathroom, baking soda is a workhorse in so many ways. (Unsplash/American Heritage Chocolate/)

Don’t wait until your fridge starts to stink or you finally get around to baking that cake you’ve been talking about for months—here are a few great baking soda options and reasons why you should stock up right now so you’ll have this handy do-it-all item whenever you need it.

Try scrubbing with hot water to eliminate grease in the kitchen.

Try scrubbing with hot water to eliminate grease in the kitchen. (Arm & Hammer/)

This tiny orange box from Arm & Hammer is a staple in kitchens everywhere. The traditional brand has been suppressing fridge odors, brightening laundry, and polishing appliances for more than 170 years.

Cookies, pancakes, and muffins have never been better.

Cookies, pancakes, and muffins have never been better. (Bob’s Red Mill/)

Baker’s will recognize Bob’s Red Mill packaging right away. Known for its super fine texture and bright white appearance, this baking soda is the one to have on hand if high-quality ingredients for your recipes are what you are after.

Try mixing it with a splash of water for DIY toothpaste.

Try mixing it with a splash of water for DIY toothpaste. (Pure/)

Eco-friendly packaging is your first clue that this product does not pull any punches with regards to its commitment to natural ingredients. It’s not only aluminum-free but also food and USP grade. Holistic lifestyles will want to keep this on hand for indigestion, heartburn, and other personal benefits.

Go Camping with these Two-Person Tents

Don't say goodnight until you have the right tent ready.

Don’t say goodnight until you have the right tent ready. (Pixabay/)

Solitary excursions can get you in touch with your inner zen and one-on-one with the Great Outdoors, but trekking out into the unknown, hitting the overnight festival, or just hiking out somewhere waterside with a friend can be just as satisfying. Here are the best great two-person tents to consider for your next two-party adventure.

Quick setup and excellent ventilation—just right for non-stuffy, two-person excursions.

Quick setup and excellent ventilation—just right for non-stuffy, two-person excursions. (Coleman/)

This tent is all about simple-setup in 10 minutes or less. The fiberglass frame is shock-corded poles, which slip together seamlessly and thread through designated loops on the tent in a snap. The mesh ground vents at the base of the tent push stuffy air upward and out through the large windows, so you don’t feel stuffy even in warm temperatures.

A versatile option with built-in sunblock.

A versatile option with built-in sunblock. (MOON LENCE/)

Staying cool, comfortable, and out of the sun makes for good sleep and a two-party camping trip that’s far more enjoyable. This tent is aptly outfitted with dual layers of polyester material, which makes it totally waterproof, windproof, and UV-proof. The roomy interior is just sizable enough for two and delivers breathability with large mesh panels at the top and a removable rainfly.

Lightweight and small enough to tote easily.

Lightweight and small enough to tote easily. (Wakeman Outdoors/)

If you’re trekking your way through the wilderness, a lightweight tent is everything. The Wakeman Outdoors tent weighs just at 2.75 pounds and folds down into a small carry bag but offers enough roominess for two adults to sleep comfortably. As an added bonus, this tent has an equipped waterproof rainfly and interior storage.

All-mesh walls and ceiling make this one great for stargazing.

All-mesh walls and ceiling make this one great for stargazing. (Clostnature/)

Tents feel much less crowded when you have an open view and a door on each side for access, and that’s what the Clostnature two-person tent provides. The full-mesh walls and top dome give an open view to the stars when the detachable rainfly is taken off. Install the rainfly for complete weather protection. You can actually leave the “door” of the rainfly stretched open and outward for a small awning over one of the entry doors.

Low-profile tent with plenty of room for long legs.

Low-profile tent with plenty of room for long legs. (Coleman/)

Ultra-convenient, the Coleman Pop-Up tent literally pops up as soon as you pull it out of its included case. It really is that easy—unzip, POP, and climb in. You can handle setup—even if your camping partner’s MIA and you’re handling prep solo. The slightly oblong shape is cozy for two with a narrower width than length, but great for a cuddling couple when one has long legs. The integrated polyester rainfly is both water and fireproof, which is a nice addition if you sleep in the rain or near a crackling campfire.

Our Picks for Best Bike Mounts for Your Vehicle

Find a safe mount for your bike before taking it on your next adventure.

Find a safe mount for your bike before taking it on your next adventure. (IKURAM/)

Often easy to install, a variety of bike racks and carriers are designed to make the process of transporting bikes as straightforward as possible. Security, durability, and convenience all factor into this important decision. Here are our favorite bike mounts.

A mere three bolts are required for the assembly process, which takes less than five minutes.

A mere three bolts are required for the assembly process, which takes less than five minutes. (Allen Sports/)

Once the hitch rack is in place, it’ll accommodate a wide range of bicycles with varying frame sizes. This versatility largely stems from the rack’s fixed tie-downs, which can rotate to handle everything from small children’s models to bulky mountain bikes for adults. No matter which types of bikes you secure with this hitch rack, you’ll enjoy access to the liftgate via the tilt-away mast.

A powder paint finish provides plenty of protection against rust while also offering a dose of sleek style.

A powder paint finish provides plenty of protection against rust while also offering a dose of sleek style. (IKURAM/)

It’ll take some effort to damage this bike rack, but that’s by no means the only benefit it offers. Its convenient swing-down feature makes it easy to access the trunk once bikes are secured. What’s more, the rack can easily be folded when not in use to allow for compact storage.

The tie-down cradles are strategically placed on the carrying arm to accommodate many different types of bikes.

The tie-down cradles are strategically placed on the carrying arm to accommodate many different types of bikes. (Retrospec/)

An adapter is included to ensure that bikes remain secure throughout the entirety of each trip — no need to worry about wobbling. This bike rack stands out in that it includes a threaded bolt design rather than a lock. While some cyclists prefer using traditional locks, the bolt system should deter theft while delivering much-needed peace of mind if you need to leave your vehicle while bikes are attached.

An excellent option for heavier bikes, which often draw close to the limit for other carriers.

An excellent option for heavier bikes, which often draw close to the limit for other carriers. (Venzo/)

Each bike sits within a tire carrier, which distributes weight evenly while preventing the handlebar from swinging or the wheels from spinning. This, in turn, limits damage to your bikes, your vehicle, and the carrier itself. Durability is obviously a priority for Venzo, which uses extensive testing to ensure that the rack can handle up to an impressive 45 pounds per bike. Keep in mind, however, that while this rack easily accommodates mountain bikes, it’s not a perfect fit for fat tire models.

Sleek look keeps the attention on your vehicle's aesthetics.

Sleek look keeps the attention on your vehicle’s aesthetics. (Swagman/)

With the Swagman roof rack, mounting and securing your bike is easy. Hardware is included, and when needed, you can remove the rack without using complicated tools. An upright arm is provided to quickly connect to the down tube. From there, you can secure the wheels with tie-down straps. Once you hit the road, you’ll find that the bikes feel secure, even during long trips.

Our Favorite Bike Locks

Keep your bike safe with a lock that can stand up to any challenge.

Keep your bike safe with a lock that can stand up to any challenge. (Via Velo/)

Every 30 seconds, someone somewhere has their bike stolen. You can keep your bike from becoming a statistic with the right lock. Consider these bike locks for the top of the list.

A durable, all-weather model that’s easy to use and strong enough to keep your ride secure.

A durable, all-weather model that’s easy to use and strong enough to keep your ride secure. (Via Velo/)

Via Velo offers a 2-in-1, all-weather bike lock for seamless security. The u-lock provides a pull and drill resistant lock cylinder and thick woven steel cable construction. The lock is pick-resistant and comes with two keys designed to be difficult to copy. The cable consists of woven steel covered in PVC protective coating material to provide added protection. Included with the lock is a convenient mounting bracket for easy storage.

Features a key-safe program, hardened max performance steel shackle, and a pass-through crossbar design.

Features a key-safe program, hardened max performance steel shackle, and a pass-through crossbar design. (Kryptonite/)

This Kryptonite lock with cable offers a bolt cutter resistance steel shackle and three stainless steel keys, including one with a LED key fob. The hardened double deadbolts engage the shackle ends for added protection. The higher security disc-style cylinder is both pick and drill proof. This bike lock also comes with a flex frame, U-bracket that can fit multiple locations for easy storage.

Strengthened with high-quality steel and a double looped ends steel cable with a PVC covering.

Strengthened with high-quality steel and a double looped ends steel cable with a PVC covering. (UBULLOX/)

Ublullox provides a hammer resistance, anti-prying bike lock made with high tenacity steel for resistance. Along with the steel cable, this lock can resist up to 12 tons of hydraulic shear. The lock cylinder, made from a C-grade copper blade, further increases the security of the lock. Ubullox provides three keys, also pure copper, that are difficult to duplicate.

For those that prefer the old-school cable bike lock, try this smart five-digit resettable model.

For those that prefer the old-school cable bike lock, try this smart five-digit resettable model. (NDakter/)

NDakter offers a self-coiling and mounting bracket to go with its multi purpose cable lock. The lock comes in seven colors and allows for an almost infinite number of lock combinations. You can choose a five-digit combination one day and then change your mind the next. The braided cable comes with a scratch-proof PVC coating making this cable lock safe for just about any use.

Best Artificial Plants for Indoors

Enjoying beautiful plants doesn't have to be a major hassle. Try the artificial ones instead.

Enjoying beautiful plants doesn’t have to be a major hassle. Try the artificial ones instead. (Winlyn/)

While many people love the look and feel that houseplants provide, not everyone has the time (or the green thumb) that’s necessary to nurture live plants. Fortunately, these gorgeous artificial plants offer an alternative that’s virtually impossible to tell from the real thing. Here are some of our favorite artificial plants to bring the outdoors in.

Bring the garden inside with the lush leaves of this life-like tree.

Bring the garden inside with the lush leaves of this life-like tree. (Nearly Natural/)

Need a statement piece? Look no farther than this gorgeous faux ficus. Standing almost six feet tall, this tree’s branches are packed with more than 1,000 leaves for a dramatic, life-like look. Perfect for an entryway or a picture window, this ficus creates a calm forest vibe wherever you place it – no pruning or watering required.

The real deal is a challenge for even experienced gardeners. Meet the next best thing.

The real deal is a challenge for even experienced gardeners. Meet the next best thing. (BESAMENATURE/)

Fiddle leaf figs are lovely and never fade from popularity, but they’re also notoriously hard to keep alive. This faux fig offers the best of both worlds: That photo-friendly, sculptural style without all the hassle. You’ll appreciate the realistic coloration on the lux foliage, and wired branches make for easy adjustments. It’s the perfect choice for that boho or farmhouse style you love.

Welcome those sunny beach vibes with this tropical tree.

Welcome those sunny beach vibes with this tropical tree. (Nearly Natural/)

Turn any room into a beach hideaway with a life-like palm tree. Standing all at more than six feet in height, this palm sports multiple trunks and lush silk foliage. This tree brings an effortless tropical style into any room in your home or office, thanks to its relaxed look and sunny vibe. Best of all, the smallest breeze sets its leaves shimmering.

Hanging faux ivy makes the most of your vertical space.

Hanging faux ivy makes the most of your vertical space. (AGEOMET/)

There’s a reason why hanging plants feature in so many Instagram feeds – these trailing vines lend a lush, tropical look to any room. Whether you hang them in cute macrame holders, trail them along a bookshelf, or let them spill along a windowsill, ivy vines instantly green your habitat. This set of three vines features thickly packed leaves on wired stems, so you can easily shape the vines however you like.

Cute plants in stylish pots make for gorgeous groupings.

Cute plants in stylish pots make for gorgeous groupings. (Winlyn/)

This set of three plants adds instant style to your home. Housed in modern paper maché pots, you’ll love the look of rosemary, eucalyptus and boxwood when displayed in a grouping or on their own. The plants’ varying foliage colors adds to the full, realistic look. They’re perfect for a mantle, shelf, corner table, or anywhere that needs a fresh burst of green.

Our Favorite VR Headsets

Open the world of virtual reality with the right VR headset.

Open the world of virtual reality with the right VR headset. (Pixabay/)

While commercial VR headsets have been around since the 1990s, they were limited in features and not much virtual reality content was even available. But the technology has improved over time, and today you can buy high-tech VR headsets with quality displays, great sound and sensors that track your head motion. Here is a list of our favorite VR headsets.

Play hundreds of games with next-generation lenses and a sharper display.

Play hundreds of games with next-generation lenses and a sharper display. (Oculus/)

If you’re into VR gaming, this unit from Oculus is hard to beat. In addition to all the regular VR games on the market, play additional titles that are exclusive to the Oculus store. For this latest model, the headband has been improved to provide great sensitivity and the touch controls have been tweaked for extremely accurate play. Note: You will need a Facebook account to access all this headset’s features.

A comfortable option thanks to its lightweight design.

A comfortable option thanks to its lightweight design. (Pansonite/)

This Pansonite model is compatible with various iOS and Android devices, and wearable over glasses. It’s the latest version, which is more comfortable through the 5-ounce weight, soft leather padding and better ear fit. It gives you high quality 3D HD viewing with a 360-degree view and a reasonable price tag.

Rest easy with adjustable straps and a breathable foam face.

Rest easy with adjustable straps and a breathable foam face. (BNEXT/)

We like this BNEXT option because of its features for the eyes. It includes an eyesight protection system and FD and OD adjustments to help the eyes align correctly and to reduce distortion. This headset is also made to be comfortable on the head, thanks to adjustable straps and a foam face.

This option is affordable thanks to AAA grade corrugated paper construction.

This option is affordable thanks to AAA grade corrugated paper construction. (Google/)

This VR kit from Google was designed with flexibility in mind – it can work with smartphones up to 6 inches in length. Biconex lenses work with your smartphone screen to offer exceptional visuals. It’s also extremely affordable – a good choice for those just beginning to explore the VR world.

The expanded field of view is a huge plus with this model.

The expanded field of view is a huge plus with this model. (DESTEK/)

We love how the DESTEK V5 brings together some of the best features you’d want in a VR headset. It gives an expanded 110-degree field of view, anti-blue light eye protection, a comfortable head strap and removable facepad. It works with smartphones from 4.7 to 6.8 inches in size.

Why This Winter’s ‘Slow’ Home-Selling Season May Be Hotter Than Ever

winter home selling

BackyardProduction / Getty Images

Winter is traditionally real estate’s slow season. Between the cold weather and the holidays, the housing market typically plunges into a hibernation of sorts, with both buyers and sellers shelving any major real estate moves until spring.

This winter’s real estate market, however, is shaping up to be unlike any other before it—and, contrary to what some may have feared, is slated to be an excellent time to sell a home. In fact, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, predicts “it will be one of the best winter sales years ever.”

Why? Chalk it up to a perfect storm of low mortgage interest rates, sparse housing inventory, plus a pandemic that’s fundamentally changed how, when, and where buyers are shopping for homes.

So if you’ve assumed you should put your home-selling plans on hold until spring, read on for a surprising reality check on all the reasons this winter could be a great time to put your house on the market.

Pandemic lockdowns have created pent-up buyer demand

While spring is typically real estate’s busy season, the “silent spring” of 2020 saw the housing market grind to a near halt amid pandemic-mandated lockdowns. This, in turn, created pent-up demand to purchase property that is only now being unleashed.

“We currently see buyers sticking around in the housing market much later than we usually do this fall,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com®. “If that trend continues, we will see more buyers in the market this winter, too. So this winter is likely to be a good time to sell.”

“There are plenty of people in the pipeline ready to hit the market this late autumn and winter,” Yun agrees.

Many real estate agents have noticed this glut of eager buyers first-hand.

“Winter is usually a slower season, but this year we’re not seeing any sign of letting up,” says Matt van Winkle, a real estate broker and owner of Re/Max Northwest Realtors in Seattle. “The selling season was delayed because of COVID lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, so several months of usual busy sales periods were delayed.”

This buyer demand likely won’t wane anytime soon.

“We will see an extended purchase season in 2020 and into 2021,” says Shelby McDaniels, channel director of corporate home lending at Chase.

Lockdowns are forcing many buyers to upsize their homes

COVID-19 has not only created pent-up demand, but many buyers are also in the market purely because they’re working/schooling from home and realizing their space is no longer big enough—particularly now that the temperature’s dropping so they can’t easily escape to their back patio to catch up on emails alone.

“With people spending so much time in their homes, including working from home and virtual schooling, there’s a great emphasis on being happy there,” says Matt Curtis, owner of Matt Curtis Real Estate, in Huntsville, AL. Lack of space is a complaint agents hear more often now.

And if people are allowed to continue working from home rather than commuting to an office, they might also realize that they can shop for homes farther outside cities—great news for home sellers who live in more remote areas.

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Watch: GDP’s Growth Surge: How Much Will Be Enough?

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Housing inventory is low

Although buyers are plentiful, the number of homes for sale is way lower than usual. According to realtor.com’s Monthly Housing Market Trends Report, in September, national housing inventory declined 39% over last year.

“Because the number of homes available is currently at a record low, even if we see some improvement, which I expect, there will still be relatively few homes for sale,” Hale says. “That will keep upward pressure on home prices and help ensure that homes continue to sell quickly.”

“Inventory is low, so the overall advantage is with the seller,” agrees Yun.

Tracy Jones, a real estate agent with Re/Max Platinum Realty in Sarasota, FL, says buyers have so few homes to choose from these days that they’re feeling forced to make quick decisions about whether to make an offer, or risk losing out on the chance. Nationally, homes spent an average of 54 days on the market in September, 12 fewer days than last year, according to the realtor.com trends report.

“The buyers I have worked with this year only had a handful of homes to look at,” Jones says. “They had no time to wait and talk about it, and they had to fight other buyers if they wanted to buy them.”

Sellers can get top dollar for their homes

It’s simple supply and demand: Low supply and high demand are bound to drive up home prices, so sellers stand to make a killing.

Across the country, median home listing prices jumped 11.1% in September compared with a year ago, to $350,000, according to realtor.com. Price per square foot increased by 13.9%.

“Sales prices and home values remain strong,” McDaniels says. And since there are so many offers on the table, “sellers can call the shots regarding terms of contract and repairs.”

The only challenge sellers face with such low inventory—if you can even call it a challenge—is dealing with too many offers at once, says Curtis.

“The challenge they face is navigating multiple offers and not accepting an offer too quickly to help ensure they get the most money for their home,” he says.

Mortgage interest rates are low

Although buyers will face stiff competition, it’s not all bad news for them. For one, despite high home prices, record-low interest rates mean they’ll save a ton of money.

Interest rates on a 30-year fixed-rate loan were 2.8% as of Oct. 22, according to Freddie Mac.

This “boosts buyer home purchasing power,” Hale says. “In fact, despite double-digit increases in home prices this year compared to last year, today’s home buyers are likely actually paying slightly less on their mortgage each month, thanks to much lower mortgage rates.”

The Federal Reserve has continued to lower interest rates this year to keep the economy going during the COVID-19 crisis, says McDaniels.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, economists and real estate professionals predicted mortgage interest rates would remain below 4% in 2020,” she says. “This means buyers that might have waited will consider entering the market this year.”

Any economic shift likely won’t be felt until spring

Although unemployment continues to rise due to COVID-19 layoffs, Hale says this could affect the real estate market, but the effects likely won’t be felt for a few months.

“A worsening unemployment rate would lead to a slowdown in the housing market and home sales, but I don’t expect that to happen immediately, more likely in the spring,” Hale says. This could create a slower start to the spring home-buying season.

Plus, if another round of stimulus money appears, this would fuel consumer spending.

“This would be a good thing for the housing market and the economy at large,” Hale says.

The post Why This Winter’s ‘Slow’ Home-Selling Season May Be Hotter Than Ever appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.