Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, the joy of home ownership and the occasional rant!


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Big changes afoot

After almost 18 years in Grande Prairie, Alberta I will be moving on.  I will be moving to Ontario to be close to family – having nearby family is important and I no longer have any around here.

My house went on the market on Monday and it has been shown everyday to very positive responses.  It is a pretty damn nice house!  You can click on the photo to see the listing if you want.

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I have been working steady to clear out the house – selling off furnishings and stuff, culling, shredding and recycling.  So far I’ve donated five full loads to different groups, and sold off my dining room and hutch, all twin beds, my bedroom suite (which I only just bought!) dressers, shelves, cedar chest and loads of smaller items.

I am working through the house a room at a time, getting all the furnishings out/sold and then making sure everything is clean and perfect in that space as I can leave it.

It is amazing the stuff you carry around.  I am only taking personal things – clothes, business tools, important treasures, so am being ruthless.  I had been hauling around a china lamb that had a “basket” – a baby room item.  I bought it at a rummage sale when I was 10 years old.  I really liked it.  I think I paid 10 cents for it.  However… ahem, why the heck have I packed that thing around for 46 years?  Hmmm?  It’s gone now – donated it.

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The furnishings are easy.  It is the little things that are harder.  All the souvenirs we bought on our travels, for example.  I’ve got a mahogany trunk, wooden dishes and containers, small statues, Northwest Haida bentwood box and plaques, small stools, mats, tiles… I’m going to have to pick the most important, to me, to keep.

I’ve also got all the art to deal with – paintings and larger work.  There are at least half a dozen larger ones I want to keep.  The rest… not sure what I can do.  I will try to sell, and maybe give to friends (only if they like them).  Last resort – donate.

The biggest headache is my office and studio.  I’ve got 20 years of accumulated make-up supplies and equipment, PLUS my records and paperwork.  I kept all my charts from shows (all in binders) and photos of my work.  I will be scanning everything I can and then getting rid of the paper.

The culling of the make-up supplies is going to be the biggest challenge.  I build props as well so have bins full of reuseable things that come in handy – used dryer sheets, odd-shaped plastics, bits of wire, fun foam, bamboo, dowels, etc.  So much stuff.  I’ve already recycled a couple of blue bags worth of plastic containers to empty a dresser.  Then there are all the prosthetic supplies.

And the costumes and accessories!  I have bin upon bin of hair accessories, a trunk full of costumes, a shelf of hats, and props lying around.

But… one thing at a time.  That’s the only way to handle it.

So… huge change, but I am ready to head off on a new adventure in a new place. Although… I am feeling a tad anxious about driving in the traffic of the Greater Toronto Area!

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LCHF Naan-Style Flatbread

When I switched to eating LCHF I struggled a bit with carbs as I missed them.  I experimented with recipes for “substitute” items made with nut and/or coconut flour but was supremely disappointed with the results.

However, time, as they say, heals all “wounds.” After 19 months of no carbs I have now discovered that my toleration level of these replacement items has improved drastically. Sure the textures are sometimes not quite right, but I haven’t had the real thing for long enough that my taste buds are accepting them. And mentally, I have adapted too – I’m not expecting an identical replacement item.

I’ve also learned what I need to do to recipes to make them suit my tastes and expectations. There is a definite learning curve to baking with nut, coconut and seed flours but once you’ve tried a few different recipes and processes you get the hang of it.

And one very important thing – keep your nuts, flours, seeds, etc. in the fridge! I went to use my psyllium husk powder to discover it was going rancid! The mason jars I keep them in work great in the fridge or the freezer.

I saw a recipe for LCHF Flatbread – the photos looked good (but we all know those can be staged!)  As I am home today (had eye injections, again, this morning) and it is hotter than heck outside (so not mowing or gardening!) I decided to give it a shot.

I messed around with the ingredients and have to say that I am pretty impressed with how it worked out.  Coconut flour isn’t my favourite as I find the flavour too strong, but in this recipe it works.

LCHF Naan-Style Flatbread

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Coconut Flour

2 Tbsp Psyllium Husk Powder

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Salt

Optional: Garlic powder, herbs, other flavours to suit you preference (in this batch I added a couple of shakes of garlic powder.)

1/3 Cup melted butter

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Cup BOILING water

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Directions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Add the melted butter and olive oil to the dry ingredients and mix until it starts sticking together – it should be starting to clump up at the very least or resemble nut butter texture at the most (I would add a bit more olive oil if it isn’t starting to bind up.)
  3. Had HALF (1/2 Cup) of the of the boiling water and mix until it forms a ball of dough. It will seem to be a good dough at this point and you may wonder if you need the rest of the water BUT YOU DO!  Remember, coconut flour is so freaking absorbent that it will end up too dry if you don’t!
  4. Add the rest of the BOILING water and mix, again, until a dough ball forms.  Work it a bit (you can use your hands if you want, but it isn’t necessary) to a smooth consistency.
  5. Divide into four portions – I just cut the ball in quarters with a knife.
  6. The dough is not sticky and you could just shape it with your hands, or you can roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper – which is what I did as I wanted them fairly thin.
  7. Dry fry in a large non-stick frying pan over med-high heat.  When placing in the pan, do it carefully so you don’t get creases or tears – the dough does hold together but using both hands and laying it down from the centre keeps it flat!
  8.  The top will start to look dry and that is the time to flip it over.  It takes around 2-3 minutes each.

I ate one warm with butter and it was really very good!  (It was my first one… which was crumpled up as I didn’t put it in the pan carefully enough.) The other three I will eat over the next day or so – I am looking forward to a wrap, and maybe a hot dip, or curry!

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The texture is spot on, the bread tears like a “normal” Naan-type flatbread, it holds spreads and dips well too.  The olive oil and the bit of garlic powder counter-acted the coconut flour flavour enough for me to not notice it.