15 February 2014

Latest Artwork, "Justice", and a Tutorial of One Artist's Process

"Justice" by Mary Layton.
"Justice" by Mary Layton

Here is the final version of my latest finished artwork, "Justice", for the 78 Tarot Project, as it will appear in finalized-card form.

When I started, I kept iterative scans of my progress, since the artists organizing the project had asked that we do so as it was thought people might like to view our progress.  I'd thought maybe I'd do a tutorial blog about it when I finished, in case anyone was interested in how I work.  After posting one of my progress scans on my Facebook Page, one of the admins asked if I would be interested in doing a guest-blog on the 78 Tarot site about my process.  So, I said 'sure'!  The post went live last night, so if you are interested in how "Justice" came to be, clicky the linky, below, to have a look!  I show and describe the progression from the initial scribble-y thumbnail sketch, through digital colour tests, to the finished work.

04 February 2014

Low Carb Almond Shortbread

I've been experimenting again.

One thing that we low-carb folks tend to miss out on most are the sweets.  Well, OF COURSE - sweets are what got some of us into this situation in the first place (and some of us just can't tolerate carbs or high-glycemic foods, just because our metabolisms are under-performers).

I don't miss sweets mostly...but sometimes, you just want a biscuit (cookie), you know.  Luckily there are a lot of low-carb alternatives out there and there are plenty of shortbread recipes too. This is one I made up one evening, based on the traditional shortbread recipe in the Be-Ro booklet.


Obviously, no one can beat Walker's when it comes to shortbread, but if you are cutting carbs and still want a treat, this recipe should help. With less than 2 net carbs per 1" x 3" piece, you CAN have tea and biscuits!

Number of Servings: 16


    12 oz Almond Flour
    6 oz butter
    1/3 cup Splenda, or your favourite sweetener (more or less, to taste)


Using almond flour/meal produces a lovely, nutty flavour. These shortbreads will be softer than regular shortbread, and quite crumbly (as Carl Sagan might say: "Crumbly, but good"). I also like to add a few drops of vanilla essence.  In the batch pictured above, I also added 1/3 cup of dark-chocolate chips - and, it could do with more, actually!  I imagine you could add nuts or dried fruits as well, and have a really lovely treat.

Any almond flour/meal should work, but I've found Wellbee Super Fine Almond Flour to be most like regular flour, texturally.

If you're just doing the grain-free thing, you can use regular sugar* - this might alter the texture, so you may have to adjust the other ingredients to achieve the desired consistency.


Mix almond flour/meal and Splenda in bowl, rub in butter. Knead well. Normally, this would produce a smooth paste, but this recipe will be squidgier than using wheat flour. Pat dough out into a 1/2" thick rectangle (about 6" x 8") on a baking pan covered with parchment paper. Refrigerate dough for AT LEAST 30 minutes so dough will be easier to manage. After refrigerated, carefully cut dough into 16 1" x 3" "fingers", and place about an inch apart on parchment-covered baking sheet. Decorate with fork markings, if desired. Bake at 325F for 20 - 30 minutes (25 worked for me, but ovens vary) until pale and golden.

Serving Size: Makes 16 1" x 3" pieces

©Mary Layton
Nutritional Info (base recipe - no additions)
  • Servings Per Recipe: about 16
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 138.6
  • Total Fat: 14.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 23.9 mg
  • Sodium: 66.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 2.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Protein: 2.3 g 
 * A note about sugar vs Splenda - in my experience, Splenda is at least twice as sweet as regular sugar, so I use half as much Splenda as called for in recipes usually - so if you do this recipe with sugar instead of Splenda, you may wish to double the sugar amount.  This is why I don't even bother with sodas sweetened with Splenda - they taste overly sweet to me, so I rarely ever have soda at all, and when I do, I splash out for the regular stuff.

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