Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!

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Finally nailed a cookie recipe!

I’ve been trying to find a recipe for cookies without sugar or carbs without much luck.  I tried a few recipes but they were god awful.  Experiments continued…

I tried a peanut butter cookie recipe without flour, butter or sugar… wasn’t horrible but they turned to dust if you just looked like you were going to pick one up.

I bought some coconut flour but made the mistake of assuming it was about an equal replacement for wheat flour.  NOPE!  It is massively absorbent and about a teaspoon of coconut flour replaces a cup of wheat flour.  I had to keep adding things to the dough… like two cups of milk, in order to get it to a consistency that could be worked.  The cookies were hard and dry… then softened up overnight.  It was like eating coconut dust.

Not wanting to waste the last two failed experiments I ground them up in the food processor to use as the “flour” in the next experiment – ground nuts/nut flours are very expensive!

I tried a sugar substitute called SteviaSugar – holy crap the after-taste is vile. I followed directions for amounts and even used less than suggested as I don’t need things super sweet.  I tried a couple of the cookies (chocolate coconuts drops) which weren’t horrible, but then… the after-taste kicked in and wouldn’t go away.  I brushed my teeth to get rid of it… and woke up in the morning with it still in my mouth.

So I continued to search for recipes that didn’t use sugar or sugar substitutes.  Found some but they weren’t carb free.  I don’t HAVE to be carb free, but need to keep it to a minimum.

I found a recipe that had oatmeal, almond flour and brown rice flour.  So decided to sort of follow it… actually, I changed it a lot.  I replaced banana with apple sauce, almond butter with peanut butter, added an egg, increased the oatmeal and removed the 1/4 c of maple syrup and several other unnecessary things…

I’m an experienced baker/cook so recipes are usually just to get an idea of proportions and ingredients and inspiration for different combinations.  But I’m not familiar with a lot of these new ingredients so need to see the combinations and ratios.

So, the results are in and this one was a SUCCESS!


They are Oatmeal Blueberry.  They are a bit … “rounded” as I didn’t flatten them.  I was expecting them to spread due to the butter, but they stayed the way they were dropped. (I’d already had a few when I took the photo.)


They hold together, the blueberries are a nice pop, and they are plenty sweet enough with the apple sauce and blueberries.  I can’t even taste the peanut butter.

Here’s my recipe if you want to try it.

No Sugar Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 F (my oven runs hot, so I turned it down to 335 F after I put them in.)

1/3 cup butter. softened

1/2 cup unsweetened smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (one snack sized container)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

(Optional: you can add maple syrup or honey if you want them sweeter – 1 tsp up to 1/4 cup depending on how sweet you want them.)

2 cups oatmeal

1/2 cup ground almonds

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup dried blueberries OR craisins, raisins, or whatever you want

Cream the butter and peanut butter together, blend in the apple sauce, egg, vanilla (and syrup if you are using it.)

Combine all the dry ingredients together and add to wet, blend until mixed well.  Add the blueberries and mix until combined.

Drop tablespoons of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets.  As they won’t spread, you can flatten with a fork or your hand if you want to.  Mine weren’t and baked fine.

Bake for 15-20 minutes – until browned on the bottom and no longer give when touched. If you flatten them, check at 12 minutes as they may bake faster than mine.

Makes 2.5 dozen.

Let cool completely before putting in a sealed container.

I’m really pleased with these – they taste like normal cookies!




Hello… it’s me.

As my first post of 2016 this will be upbeat.  May as well start as I would like it to continue!

For Christmas I bought myself a present.  I ordered an up-cycled sweater coat – custom made for me and it arrived last week. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!  It is warm enough to wear outside – so far I’ve worn it at -17C and it is comfortable.  I can also wear it inside all day at work without overheating!  Here is me wearing it…

DSC02299 (3)

I ordered it from Bramble Hollow Fine Arts – she does all sorts of art and crafts.  She has a couple of coats in her Esty shop and takes custom orders.

My Mr. Spock sculpture is in a show at the Centre for Creative Arts here in Grande Prairie – it is celebrating the Centre’s 20th Anniversary.  The artworks featured are connected to the Centre; I made Mr. Spock in a week long sculpting workshop at the Centre in 2004. Here he is on display…


He’s for sale.

I’ve had to change my eating habits for medical/health reasons which has the side-effect of losing weight.  Not a bad thing.  However… have you noticed the price of vegetables?!  $8 for a cauliflower?   Celery is still reasonable… and I’ve discovered it is good with peanut butter.  Luckily I am currently on a peanut butter “like phase” – most of my life it wasn’t on my list of favourite things, but lately I’ll eat it by the spoon.

I signed up again this year for Summer’s Gold which is a farm that operates a “Community Supported Agriculture” program.  You buy a share in advance which entitles you to weekly deliveries of whatever is ready from the first week of July until the end of September.  This is my fifth year participating.  Nothing like freshly harvested locally grown vegetables!  And considering the prices it works out way less than buying at the store.

I’m on the search for carb free/sugar free recipes for “snack” foods.  Some of them, that are labelled as sugar free are NOT.  Total waste of time searching and reading the ingredients.  If you need something to be sugar free you do NOT want it to replace sugar with honey or maple syrup.  And the descriptions of the cookies… Lies, all lies.

I made a peanut butter cookie recipe night before last… edible but not enjoyable.  I’ve got a couple more to try that include apple sauce as a sweetener.  Going to experiment – I can create my own recipes once I know what will work.   There’s one using puréed pumpkin that sounds like it might be good.  You never know, this may turn into a food blog!

I’ll use the not really good peanut butter cookies as a crust for a cheesecake or quiche.  Add a ton of butter because, well, butter makes it better!  Should work.

I cleared out my pantry and kitchen cupboards of the stuff I can no longer eat – was a lot of food.  In the process of doing that I am embarrassed to say I discovered rather a lot of items were either horribly stale and/or rancid.  Who knew spaghetti could go bad?  And… ahem, best before dates that were years past.  I had an unopened box of papadums that had a best before date of 2000.  I tossed a lot of items.  The rest a friend took off my hands.

My kitchen has never been more organized.  I even sorted out the spices – alphabetically of course.

I’ve also been culling “excess to requirements” items by selling or donating.  Things like stemware, small appliances (who needs three blenders?), gifts that were never used, collectibles, odd bits of china, etc.  Still a lot more to go through but I’m getting there.

We’ve had a very mild winter so far, thanks to El Nino, with regular hoar frosts which are so lovely.  This was out my living room window last week:


My year is booking well for face painting and make-up services.  I have confirmed bookings right through to December already.

So 2016 is going well.