Shannon Fennell's Blog

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


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Another Summer winding down

Today was my last day at my summer job at the college. I was asked to stay on so will now be a “Work/Study Student” which is a work program for full-time students at the college. Your work schedule is flexible to fit your course timetable, up to 12 hours per week and is only during regular business hours so no evenings or weekends. I am really happy to have been asked to stay on, and for being approved to do so.

Fall orientation is on Tuesday and classes start on Wednesday. I am so excited to be getting back to class! I’ve always loved school.

This semester I will be taking classes in Drawing, 2D Design, Painting, Photography, and a couple of others that cover resources for art and design in different ways.

I’m going to be spending a bit of time over the weekend seeking out my supplies from where I stashed them at the end of last semester! There are things all over my suite in different places. One of the professors posted projects online so I can see the supply and equipment list for her class so I know what I have to find for that course at least. Hopefully more will be posted before the first classes happen.

I was expecting the weather here in the southern Ontario to be super unpleasant for me – I used to hate heat and humidity. However, ahem, post-menopause I am always cold. Freezing cold. While everyone was complaining about the heat and humidity all summer, I was wearing long-underwear, a heavy sweater and then going outside at lunch to try to warm up before going back to my desk. It never worked.

After work I get into my car – with its all black leather interior – and just sit there with the engine off and the windows up. Waiting for my fingers and toes to thaw out. It feels wonderful to sit on a nice hot seat and feel the warmth start to seep into me.

The house has air conditioning and I had to shut and cover all the vents into my suite. I swear it is sub-zero down here. I have a duvet and a fleece blanket on my bed – I did have three fleece blankets at one point. I’m hoping once the heat is on for winter I’ll be more comfortable.

The plants in the yard are doing well. My sister and family only bought the house last year so a lot of the garden plantings were unknown. So we were watching and figuring out what various things were, and then planting more things. I also had scattered all the hollyhock seeds I’d brought with me last fall and have to say they are thriving here.

The existing hydrangea is a gorgeous rich pink. I haven’t previously seen one this colour – blue and purples and very light pinks, but not this bright. And the Rose of Sharon hibiscus – the neighbours on a couple of sides have a purple version. The daisy we planted this year. And the darker Mallow we planted, the lighter one is coming up so there must have been some here previously.

My sister’s goal is a self-generating perennial garden that appeals to butterflies and bees. I think we are well on the way. There are numerous other things: herbs, a rose, lavender, a white peony, black-eyed susans, sweet-william in a deep red, butterfly bush, milkweed, snapdragons, bleeding he rts, lilies, iris and several others. Next year the hollyhock will bloom so there should be quite a show.

One house down from us has a giant hibiscus… the flowers are over a foot across. I tried to discreetly get a shot of it without walking into the yard. The bloom is a bit droopy here – it was in full open position the evening before but I took too long to decide to get my camera out.

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We’ve been harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, beans and zucchini. Also lots of herbs. My sister planted about 12 different kinds of basil all in one huge pot. There is dill, sage, lemon balm, cilantro, thyme, chives, rosemary and parsley too. I love fresh thyme and rosemary!

I did some face painting over the summer for events and birthday parties. I am now starting to get inquiries for Halloween. As Halloween is on a Wednesday this year I expect that the weekends before and after will be quite busy with parties. The last time it was mid-week I was booked solid for three weekends back in Grande Prairie.

I also worked with Theatre on the Ridge in Port Perry – rebuilding a dragon into a Lake Monster and wig work for some shows. I’m hoping to get more involved in the local theatre scene over the fall and winter. There are local groups all around with lots of productions of various sizes.

Fall will be here before we know it! Unfortunately the pumpkins plants failed – well, actually it was the squirrels, they ate the baby pumpkins. So we’ll have to buy some again this year.

I am thinking about taking a trip next summer. Just need to find out final costs and decide if I can swing it. There are still so many places to see and I’m not getting any younger, so want to get to as many as I can, while I can.

Hope you all had an enjoyable summer!

 

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Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

It has been quite some time since I posted a recipe! This morning I made some muffins.

I’ve been thinking about coming up with a recipe that would satisfy my craving for cinnamon buns and be quick and easy. I’m all about the quick and easy.

I used to make muffins all the time for my mom – bran, wheat germ, six fruit muffins – which were awesome, and made cornmeal muffins to go with dinner, etc. Very easy to do. But since I changed how I ate, I hadn’t made any.

For about two months I’ve been thinking (dreaming?) about cinnamon buns. I don’t have the patience to make a dough that would roll out of the ingredients that I could use. So muffins seemed to be a way to do it.

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I already ate one!

I got up this morning and wrote down my ingredients – trying to guesstimate ratios using cassava flour. It tends to be more absorbent than regular flour so a little more liquid is needed.

I have been making great pancakes with cassava flour! It is not super low carb, HOWEVER at 28g per 1/4 cup the carbs are diluted it in a recipe. And if you have ONE serving of whatever you have made it will be much lower than that. I don’t eat it everyday. Once every week or two, as a treat – and only a small portion. I do get a higher blood sugar reading but I am still in range as a T2 diabetic.

This is the flour I have – I get it at a local health food store where I get my heavy cream. Like I mentioned above, I do not eat this regularly as it does contain more carbs than I normally eat, but as an occasional treat I figure it is okay, for me.

 

Shannon’s Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

LCHF, Keto, Paleo friendly. Diabetic in moderation.

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Makes six regular sized muffins.

Preheat oven to 325F. Baking time: 20-25 minutes

Prepare a muffin tin – use paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.  I used liners as I wasn’t sure if this would stick to the pan or not.

Ingredients:

Dry:

1 cup of cassava flour

2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

Wet:

1/2 cup of melted butter

3 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup of heavy cream (may need extra to thin batter if it thickens too much)

Cinnamon swirl:

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of vanilla

*6 dissolved saccharine tablets (use about a teaspoon of boiling water to dissolve them) *feel free to substitute your preferred sweeteners.

3 tablespoons of butter

Directions:

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them well.
  2. Melt the butter in measuring cup, add the eggs and cream and beat together.
  3. Add the wet to the dry and mix just enough that it is consistently mixed (no dry ingredients left). Lumpy is okay. If the batter gets stiff, add more cream. Batter should fall off the spoon in loose clumps, not pour!
  4. In another bowl or measuring cup add a small amount of boiling water and the saccharine tablets, stir until they are completely dissolved (crushing them first makes it quick.) Add the vanilla and the cinnamon, and mix until no dry cinnamon is left – it is okay to add a little more hot water. Add the butter and blend until combined smoothly.  This should be slightly runny/drippy as you want it to run when you add it to the muffins.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin/cups. Add about a tablespoon, then drizzle the cinnamon over that, then add another tablespoon of batter on top, and more cinnamon drizzle. Use the spoon, or a knife, or a stick, to swirl the batter and cinnamon together and even out the batter. (* another way would be to add the cinnamon mix into the batter, swirl gently then scoop into the muffin tin – your choice of method!)
  6. Place in the centre rack of the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. Check them for doneness (firm and dry looking, toothpick comes out clean, etc.) May need a little longer depending on your oven and how wet the mix was.
  7. Remove from oven. Let them cool for a few minutes then remove the muffins from the baking pan and place on a rack to cool.

Eat warm with butter! Store in an airtight container once completely cool. If you don’t manage to eat them all in a couple days, they can be frozen.

DSC06917And… they definitely hit the spot! Really yummy and cinnamon-y – the saccharine just took the edge off without being super sweet.