Caramel Pecan Pie

Let’s talk about pie. There’s nothing better than homemade pie. In fact, I’ve never met one I didn’t like. The only obstacle in my love affair with pie is that I’m terrible at making pie. Like really, really bad. Pie-making for me usually turns into a full cardio workout with a lot of swearing; some burned gunk in the oven, a huge mess in the kitchen and a sad, sad looking pile of fruit at the end. But there IS one pie that I can pull off consistently: Caramel Pecan Pie! 

Thanksgiving Pecan PieThis pecan pie became part of our Thanksgiving celebration around the time my grandmother wasn’t well enough to make pie anymore. She was the expert pie-maker in the family, and she passed the torch to my mom. They make it look easy as…well, pie. Maybe with another decade of practice, I can achieve consistent results. Until then, I’ll stick to pecan pie. 
BattleOfthePiesGraphic copyWhen my buddies at Wayfair invited me to be a part of their Pie Bake Off*, I jumped at the chance. Not because I’m awesome at making pie; but because I love a good contest. And since I’ve only got one pie in my arsenal, deciding what to make didn’t require a lot of thought.  
Pie
I’m sharing the recipe with you here today, in case any of you are similarly pie-challenged. Plus, it’s delicious. My husband claims it’s the best pecan pie he’s ever had. And he’s extensively explored the wide world of pecan pie. For real, though, the pie holds together beautifully without being too gloppy; and it’s topped with beautiful caramel-glazed pecans.

Pecan Pie

Caramel Pecan Pie
Serves 8
Perfect, easy pecan pie; topped with crunchy caramel-glazed pecans.
Print
Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
For the crust
  1. Favorite homemade (or frozen) pie crust recipe
For the filling
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 1 C. Karo syrup
  3. 1/4 C. packed brown sugar
  4. 1/4 C. sugar
  5. 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (melted)
  6. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 tsp. salt
  8. 1 C. chopped pecans
For the topping
  1. 1/3 C. packed brown sugar
  2. 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  3. 3 Tbsp. honey
  4. 1 1/4 C. pecan halves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Prepare crust, according to your favorite recipe (or package directions)
  3. Roll crust to fit a 9" pie dish; with about 1" extra dough hanging over the sides.
  4. Gently ease the crust into the pie dish.
  5. Pierce with a fork in several places.
  6. Tuck the edges under, or make your favorite edge design
For the filling (combine in a large bowl)
  1. 4 eggs (slightly beaten), Karo syrup, brown & white sugars, melted butter, vanilla and salt.
  2. Mix to combine.
  3. Stir in chopped pecans.
  4. Pour into pie pan
  5. Bake for 40 minutes. (check crust intermittently to make sure it's not burning).
While the pie bakes, make the topping
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, honey and brown sugar. Stir constantly over med/low heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the pecans and stir to coat.
  2. After the pie has baked 40 min; remove from over and spread topping evenly on top. Cover the edges of crust with foil and return to oven 10-15 minutes; or until the topping is bubbly and warm.
  3. Cool completely; and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Christina Williams https://christinawilliamsblog.com/
PecanAnd there you have it. My one pie wonder. Happy baking! 
Caramel Pecan Pie

*This post is sponsored by Wayfair. Recipe and photos are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support my work. Visit my full disclosure policy here, for more information on how I work with brands. 

DIY Skull Crystal Balls

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know I’ve been cooking up some spooky fun with my Sprout by HP and its 3D scanning technology. A couple things before we get started: 1. This post is sponsored by HP.* They sent me the new 3D scanning platform so I could use it for this project. 2. I’m a complete newbie to 3D design. 3D scanning and printing seem so futuristic and overwhelming. But if I can do this, anybody can. And, 3. I’m late for everything, so I’m giving myself 10 bonus points for doing a Halloween project before the month of October. 😉Crystal BallsIf you need a refresher on the Sprout all in one desktop, you can check out my previous posts here and here. Or check out the Sprout Creator Gallery to see all the other fancy things people are doing with the Sprout. Sprout has also unleashed a host of new updates, including a Stop Motion app; and dual-screen Adobe Illustrator capabilities. I can’t wait to try them out! For this project, HP challenged me delve even further into Sprout’s capabilities. I think Bryce was initially more excited about 3D scanning than I was. And to show him how easily he could use the 3D platform for his work, I did a test-run with one of our creepy Halloween skulls. After the skull, I scanned in a bunch of fruit, but that skull was haunting me. So I ditched the fruit and turned this into a Halloween project.

Sprout 3D ScanningHere’s a look at the scanning process. Sprout guides you through the whole thing step-by-step. First you plug in the 3D platform, and let it calibrate; then it tells you where to put your object. Hint: glue dots work wonders to keep your object in place. And use a blob of play-doh as a wedge to scan tricky surfaces.

Sprout 3D ScanNext, Sprout scans your object in eight different segments. As each segment scans, you see it pop up on the screen. After the whole cycle is through, you simply reposition the object on the stage so Sprout can scan the missing surfaces. You can scan through as many cycles as you need to make sure the whole surface is scanned. When you’re done, Sprout magically merges all the scans into one complete 3D object. 

Sprout 3D EditorThen, you can open your object in the 3D editor. Here you can play with the size, orientation, and outside surface of the object. I’m not going to lie…I actually had a great time flinging the skull around just to watch it spin. Also, sorry about my creepy witch fingers. I’m double-jointed. But this is a Halloween post…so it’s perfectly festive.

3D ManipulationYou can resize things without losing quality or detail. 

Sprout 3DOr make it smaller. After you’re done pretending to hold a tiny skull in your fingers, get back to work. From here, you can choose to send your object to a 3D printer; or save it as a 2D image. I turned my skull into a series of 2D images showing different surfaces of the skull. 
SkullsThen I printed them on transparency; and made these creepy crystal balls. This project is inspired by these amazing crystal ball candlesticks by Flamingo Toes. She’s got a great in-depth tutorial, so hop over there for more details. 

Halloween SkullsI followed Bev’s instructions for the crystal ball part; and instead of using candlesticks, I spray painted a bunch of treat cups, turned them upside-down, poked a hole through the bottom, and hot glued the ornament into the hole. 
DIY Skull DecorationsI used the largest clear ornaments I could find this time of year (4″). How fun would it be to do a mini-size?! For the base, you could use small paper cups, or even toilet paper tubes cut in half. I discovered it’s best to leave the bottom of the cup white, otherwise, the skulls are hard to see. We’ve had these on the table for a few days, and I still get creeped out when I catch a glimpse of a floating skull as I walk into the kitchen. 
Skull Crystal BallsHere’s one final shot of Mr. Skull and his ghostly mini-me. In the 3D design software, I took the outer surface off…so what I printed is just the “structure” of the scan. Like a skeleton of a skeleton. I thought it looked creepier this way. But you can also edit your objects to look like wood or metal which is super cool.
DIY Halloween Crystal BallI’m always on the lookout for awesome, yet inexpensive Halloween decorations; and this fits the bill perfectly! Since they’re visible from both sides, these would make fantastic centerpieces for a spooky Halloween dinner. Or make a tiny version as a place card! You could also put a battery-operated tea light in the opening in the ornament to give it a glowing effect.

Oh, and I made a printable of the skulls for you. Download it, print them out on transparencies, and then follow Bev’s instructions for making the crystal balls. Happy Haunting!

*This post is sponsored by HP. Photos and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support my work! (If you want more information on how I work with brands and sponsors, read my fancy pants disclose here.)

Mother’s Day Round-Up

It wouldn’t be a holiday around here without a free printable card, right? After I put the glitter away, I started playing around with watercolors and hand-lettering, so I thought this would be a good chance to combine them, with a dash of humor. AwesomeIf your mom could use a little giggle this Mother’s Day, I’ve got you covered with this free printable Mother’s Day card. And for your one-stop Mother’s Day inspiration, I’ve gathered up a bunch of my favorite DIY ideas from around the web. 

DIY Mother's Day Gifts

Sources: 

  1. Origami & Confetti Card – Paper & Pin
  2. Criss Cross Coasters – Fall for DIY
  3. Mini Mother’s Day Garland – Homey Oh My
  4. Marbled Nail Polish Bowls – Hello, Wonderful
  5. Cookie Cards – Tell Love and Chocolate
  6. Fingerprint Charm Necklace – Honest to Nod (This is my final project in the Mother’s Day series I did with Land of Nod + Paper Source). Sorry for the shameless self-promotion. But I’m pretty excited about this necklace, because I made it with beads from my grandmother’s old jewelry…so it’ s got a special place in my heart. 

My friend Rebecca has also put together a great last-minute gift guide on her blog, so check it out if you need more ideas. 

Happy Mother’s Day! And have a great weekend.

Painted Ring Dishes

Ring Dishes. Trinket Trays. Whatever you call them, they’re awesome. Without them, I lose earrings constantly. But put a ring dish in my closet and I can totally manage. I came up with a bunch of different designs and ideas for DIY Mother’s Day ring dishes as part of my collaboration with Land of Nod and Paper Source. All of these projects can be completed quickly, and with just a few supplies. The kids can totally help; and giving mom and grandma a gift they’ll actually use is almost as fun as doing these projects.Jewelry DishesI picked up an assortment of small ceramic dishes at a variety of places. IKEA, World Market, Target are some of my favorites. If you’re in Utah, I love Tai Pan Trading for basic white dishes. I made the simple, gold-rimmed dish (above) by following the same steps as the glitter-embossed planters I shared yesterday. The only differences are that I used plain gold embossing powder rather than the glittered variety, and I didn’t use painter’s tape. I just tapped the ink pad on the rim of the plate, and then proceeded with embossing. See this tutorial for more in depth details. You can catch the tutorial for the cherry blossom dishes over on Honest to Nod today.
Mother's Day Ring DishesThe kids and I had so much fun with this project that we made a whole gaggle of trinket dishes. This is just a fraction of our creations. My three-year-old painted the square one at the top right. Then I turned my back and he added some glitter. I think he’s in the right family. My five-year-old painted the cute pink and red polka-dot dish. She dipped her fingers into the paint and polka-dotted away. I did the longer, more wispy painted dish; although, I like the kids artwork so much better. 

We used Martha Stewart’s craft paint. It’s really the best stuff out there. Just make sure the dishes are clean and dry, then paint away. The best part about using acrylic paint is that if you hate your painting, you can wash it off and start again. Once you’re happy with your creation, let the paint dry for a couple hours, then seal it with the Martha Stewart clear gloss decoupage. I’ve waxed poetic about it once before; so read this post if you want to know why it’s so great. Definitely, though, the longer you let it dry, the better. DIY Jewelry DishMy personal favorite: the glitter-dipped trinket tray. I mentioned yesterday that I’d be embossing everything in glitter. I wasn’t joking. You can catch the full tutorial over on Honest to Nod today. It’s very similar to the planters from yesterday, but it’s a little trickier to get into the corners.

Ring DishesThis marbled paper from Paper Source is so gorgeous in person. It’s got a great texture, and is a little translucent, so it works great on the dishes. The print is so refined and classy–very much unlike myself. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. Opposites attract and all. I’m a huge fan. This tutorial is also over on Honest to Nod today…so don’t miss it! 

The possibilities are endless. You could also grab a metallic sharpie and write a cute/funny/inspiring message on the dish, then seal it up with some decoupage. Or use some of your kids’ artwork instead of wrapping paper so grandma can look at those darling drawings every day, without having to find more space on her fridge. 

Thanks to Paper Source for supplying the materials for this project! This was part of the Mother’s Day collaboration between Land of Nod & Paper Source, so these supplies were given to me with the intention of sharing them at Honest to Nod; but some of the goods made their way onto my blog. Just thought you’d like to know how it all played out. Definitely hop over to Honest to Nod for some of the other easy Mother’s Day projects we’ve created lately.