You know I must be serious about this low-carb lifestyle if I chose to bake a pie. My only previous attempts have been instant pudding pies with store-bought graham cracker crusts. Finding a low-carb, sugar alternative pie with an ingredient list I could actually obtain was no small challenge. For this version I cobbled together two recipes, one for the pressed almond crust, one for the streusel topping. Links to the recipes below.
Besides being my first-ever homemade baked pie crust, this dessert has another layer of significance. My brother was a type-I diabetic who couldn’t eat cake. Every year for his birthday, my mom would buy him a sugar-free pie (baking does not run in my family). His favorites were cherry and apple. I made this low-sugar apple pie in honor of his birthday, which we celebrated with with him in our thoughts last weekend. Pressed almond crust recipe from Wholesome yum. All ingredients were found at Wal-Mart except for the Challenge Butter from our local grocery store and the egg from my cage-free egg supplier. This was incredibly easy to put together and the Swerve confectioner’s sugar replacement can be omitted for a savory version. The crust had a distinctly nutty and filling taste. Plus, only 5 ingredients guys, that’s a recipe I can manage. *Note that rolling pin above is a photo prop, I searched a rolled crust recipe and couldn’t find half the required ingredients, but I know I’ll continue to use these recipe basics in the future.The filling could have gone two ways, fresh granny smith apples, or canned sugar-free filling. I went the easy route and I do regret it, the crust and streusel topping were yummy but the canned filling texture was a bit of a let down. The streusel recipe had organic coconut sugar and was adapted from a gluten free recipe on Living Healthy with Chocolate.
The result was a rich, nutty pie with a slightly dense texture. Next time, I’ll use the fresh apples, but I’m pleased with how it turned out. After eating a piece, my nephew gave me the thumbs up and commented, I love your pie Aunt Jay:)And when one has an adorable mini apple pie made of wax, one must show it off too, it’s a blogging rule. The Bathing Garden’s apple collection delivered again with Cardamom Apple Pie: Spicy cardamom blends with hot baked apple pie. I can smell every element from the sugary crystals to the much overlooked warm cardamom spice, which I prefer to cinnamon. Crunchy crust and soft, sweet apples round it out. The slices are about an ounce each, two is recommended for full throw. A lil’ slice of heaven.
Part II of the prompt is a DIY craft. If it’s crafty, it’s gotta be easy and inexpensive to get me on board. On a good day, I would identify myself as an entry level crafter.
During our monthly get-togethers, my niece, sister and I try to complete a craft project; last month’s was my choice: Birch Tree Yarn art, tutorial found here.Supplies:
- any size canvas*, we used 9 x 12
- various paints, acrylics are great for blending colors
- cotton balls and q-tips for mixing
- clothes pins
*The most expensive part of this craft is the canvas. I have seen it done with sheets of white paper for an inexpensive swap, however, the paper can become crinkly if over-saturated with paint.We prepped the boards by wrapping the string around the length of the canvas. 10-14 times around works well. I tied the string in the back to secure it, looser is better in order to get the yarn off without hassle. Tape would probably work, as long as the string doesn’t slide when dabbing the paint.
Place one cotton ball in the clothespin and dip into your paint color of choice, blending colors with white or black achieves a spectrum of hues. Next, dab the cotton ball on top of the string, careful not to brush back and forth so as not to move the yarn. Repeat until complete.After removing the yarn, finish off the trees with a few slashes from a thin-tipped black marker to achieve the bark. These are fun and easy to do, especially the color mixing.
We ended up with a seasonal trio of birch forests in Spring, Winter and Autumn. Not bad for our first attempt at painting on canvas, I found it unexpectedly relaxing too. After taking mine home, I decided my color palate and forest were too sharply defined. Dabbing more paint on the bottom softened the landscape and gave the appearance of ‘trees’ set farther in the background.
Fall Branches DecorMy fall candlescape was lacking life and looking a little sad this year. Sticking a bouquet of fake blooms in a tall lantern didn’t do much to improve it, which motivated me to create a vase filler from natural elements instead.Loosely inspired by wall basket decoration I’d see on Martha Stewart’s show, I gathered pinecones, acorns and branches of various thickness for a foraged decor look. I pulled the flower heads off of the stems and tried ‘antiquing’ them. Swirling the blossoms in a mix of ochre paint toned down their brightness.
Next, I fired up the glue gun and got to sticking. *It was helpful to mark the spot where the lip of the vessel would hit the branches for placement. A slightly messy, but easy centerpiece came together in minutes. I couldn’t resist setting my fuzzy owl inside the display. Little Hedwig perched snuggly between branches without needing glue. This almost organic vase/lantern filler makes me smile every time I pass by. Btw, the lighting in my living room is atrocious, sorry about the grainy photos.
I’m excited to see what the domestic goddesses who make-up the other two-thirds of Fall Fun Friday bloggers have in store, check out:
Julie @ The Redolent Mermaid
Sandra @ Finger Candy
On a personal note, this week has been…stressful. I’m taking a mental break for a bit, but will catch up soon with more goodies to share.