Monday, October 29, 2007
Halloween Treats!
I cook and bake all the time, but when I am asked to bring something to a party, I always freeze up. It is so weird that I have this reaction, but I think it's because there are so many possibilities. The illustrator and I had been throwing around different ideas that use pumpkin until I came across this perfect recipe from Yeah, That Vegan Shit. I have to tell you that these cookies are almost as fun to play with as they are good to eat! There were many severed body parts that were made that evening! I made a couple of adjustments (I used 1 egg, exchanged vanilla extract for the almond extract and used slivered almonds). They were perfect for the party and lots of fun to make!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:20 AM   3 comments
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Green Tomatoes
Wow, it seems like forever since I wrote anything here! I am going to try to be better about posting now that things have gotten a little calmer here (that statement was probably the kiss of death)! We visited the illustrator's parents last weekend and had a very relaxing time. We all needed the time with them to just hang out and not worry about anything. The two of them always take care of all of us and even as an adult...that feels nice! They live on the lake in a small town in Tennessee and it was just beautiful this time of year! While were out walking around, my father-in-law showed me a tomato plant that they have next to their house. Now, this would not be an interesting thing other than the fact that he did not plant it there and it is the biggest tomato plant any of us had ever seen! The base was a little over 2 inches thick and the plant had grown to around 4 feet wide! It has so many tomatoes growing on it that I had to ask for a couple of green ones! I have not had fried green tomatoes in so long and I really wanted to play with some of these beauties. Now, you know I have to make a healthy spin on them (and I really don't like the flavor of fried food). So, I experimented with baking them. The process was perfect. I used cornmeal this time, but next time I will use bread crumbs (maybe panko). They were really good, but I think they could have been better. I will definitely be playing with this one (at least when I can get my hands on more green tomatoes)!

Baked Green Tomatoes

1/3
cup cornmeal mix
2 medium green tomatoes, sliced (10 slices)
1/4 cup lactose free milk
salt and pepper to taste
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray sheet pan with cooking spray.

Combine corn meal mix with salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dip tomato slices in milk and then in cornmeal mixture. Spray the tomato slices with cooking spray.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Then, turn the slices over and lightly spray with cooking spray.

2 servings = 84 calories

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:13 PM   8 comments
Friday, October 19, 2007
Preparation...
I have to admit that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. How could you not love a holiday that is nothing but food and family. I know for most of us out there, the family part can be a little hard to swallow, but they are part of it and without them it just would not be the same(good or bad...it is what it is)! We are happily hosting Thanksgiving this year for some of our family, so I have started to really think about food for the event! I have been told by my sister-in-law that I am not aloud to cook with any weird stuff - and by weird, she means soy or tofu...I smell tofurky in the air! Ever since I started looking around at a lot of the vegan blogs, I have really learned a lot about baking and cooking without dairy. I am so thankful to all of the bloggers out there for posting such great recipes and photos so I can now bake again without worries. It has really been fun to try other people recipes and come out with such great results. I have to tell you that most of the people that benefit from all of this baking are my family and the guys at the studio. They have all loved my little adventures in baking!

So we were having the guys from the studio over the other night and I was in the mood for pumpkin something. I was not sure what to make, but it had to be quick to put together and something that I could try for the holidays. I am not much of a pie person (I only really like a cookie/graham crust) and the illustrator is really trying to keep the carbs down. So, on my search I came across this recipe for "Impossible Vegan Pumpkin Pie" from the fatfreevegan that I thought I would give a try. How easy is it to put everything in a blender and bake. I was sold! I am always a little nervous trying out a new recipe on people so my husband was nice enough to take the first bite. "This is all of the things I love about pumpkin pie", is the first thing out of his mouth! If that is not a slogan for this pie, I don't know what is. The smell was incredible...the flavor was unbelievable! I loved it. I loved it so much, I was excited that there was a couple of pieces left over for us to sneak later...they got eaten before everybody left! It was loved by all and I will definitely be making again very soon!

(this picture does not do it justice, but it was late at night and I thought you should see the consistency of this great pie!)

Impossible Vegan Pumpkin Pie
(adapted from fatfreevegan)

1 1/2 cups light plain soymilk
1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (I love this stuff)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBSP Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1/4 tsp. ginger powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch deep dish pie pan with cooking spray. (I do not have this, so I used a 10 inch tart pan) A deep dish is recommended because this pie will rise a lot during cooking but will fall back down as it cools.

Put the first five ingredients in the blender, and blend well. Add the pumpkin, and puree. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides a couple of times to make sure everything is thoroughly blended. Pour into a pie pan and bake for about 60 minutes (mine was done at 45 minutes) . The top and edges should be brown, but the edges should not be over-done. (Since this is a custardy pie, using the standard toothpick or knife test does not work; it will remain somewhat moist in the center, but it shouldn't be uncooked.)

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter. For best results, refrigerate until chilled before eating.

With my changes it was only 131 calories per slice (8 pieces in the pie)

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 7:40 PM   14 comments
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Busy, Busy, Busy
I have to apologize for the lack of posting lately. Things have really gotten busy lately with kids, school, work...I think I am going to kinda change the way I post new things. I would love to be able to post something everyday (and it was so much easier to do that during the summer), but that is just not realistic. So, I will continue to cook and take pictures, but I will have to post a little less often. It is so sad, but life gets busy!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:28 AM   2 comments
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Meeting The Demands
Things are always busy around here. I know life is pretty much that way for everybody, but sometimes you just have to meet the demands. I work from home and still can't seem to find the time to do the things I want to do on a regular basis. Baking is my therapy, but sometimes I just don't have the time to get in the kitchen for a huge production (the measuring, mixing, cleaning), but I still want that wonderful smell in the house and the happy tummies running around! This is a total cheater recipe, but these cookies are really good and it only takes one bowl and a small measuring cup. You can't beat that! All you need is a cake mix, some oil and eggs (maybe some mix ins) and you are set! Max demanded that his dad bring back some of the lemon cookies from the studio. I had no idea that he would love the lemon ones like he did. We make tons of variations of these, so feel free to throw in what you like! Oh, and share your ideas!

Cake Mix Cookies
1 box cake mix (I used Duncan Hines - some of them are dairy free so watch what you get)
1/2 cup oil or melted dairy free margarine
1 egg

Combine all ingredients until thoroughly moistened. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets (I always spray mine). Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes. Cool two minutes; remove from pans.

By they way, these are lemon with powdered sugar...yum!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:07 AM   3 comments
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Happiness!
I am very happy to say that I got my (the illustrator's) camera back today. So, I will be back with some new and exciting things tomorrow(well, exciting to me anyway)! Yeah! I am so happy!

Now I know...don't leave the camera on the drawer for the keyboard...that will forever be sketched in my brain!

See you tomorrow...

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:56 PM   1 comments
Monday, October 8, 2007
Learning Curve...
I started this blog to document my adventures in lactose free baking. I have always been more of a baker than a cook. When I discovered that I am lactose intolerant, I stopped baking for myself and started only baking for others. I continued to use the same products that I always used and just stopped eating the fruits of my labor! I can't even remember how I first stumbled across food blogs. Somehow I ended up on vegan blogs. After looking around, I realized that while I am not vegan, I could really benefit by using vegan products and techniques so that I could enjoy my own baked goods! (Not to mention they are much healthier products) I have learned even more now that there is a bit of a learning curve involved in vegan to non-vegan baking. I say this because when you start to change things around you start to play around with the science involved in the baking process. Cookies are especially tricky no matter how you bake. Most people think that baking cookies would be one of the easiest things to do in the kitchen...how wrong. Cookies are tricky because you are looking for a specific texture and flavor depending on the kind of cookie you are baking! I came across a recipe from Have Cake Will Travel for Chocolate Chai Snickerdoodles. We love all of those flavors in this house, so I figured this would be the perfect cookie! Well, it was and so much more! Celine had veganized a non-vegan recipe that I have now changed a little to suit our house. At first, I thought I had really messed it up. The only changes that I made from her recipe were to use whole eggs and pumpkin pie spice instead of the separate spices. Well, the mixture was not very firm at all. In fact I had to put it in the freezer in order to get it to firm up enough to roll in the sugar mixture. I asked Celine if this was the consistency that she had and she said no. So, I continued on with the recipe, not knowing if it would work. Let me tell you, it worked perfectly (even with the change in consistency of the dough)! I sent some to the studio with the illustrator and they were fighting over them by the end of it! So, I was told not to mess with the recipe again...it was perfect!

Chocolate Chai Snickerdoodles
(adapted from Have Cake Will Travel)

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/8 t ground black pepper
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup softened vegan margarine
2 eggs
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 T AP flour [do not spoon it, scoop it!]
1 1/8 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. (I did not do this, but I would recommend it!)

Mix sugar and spices in small bowl. Remove 1/4 cup. Add cocoa to small bowl with sugar/spice and stir to blend.

Beat butter until fluffy. Add cocoa mix and beat until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, then flour and baking powder until combined.

Place dough in the freezer for about an hour.

Using a small cookie scoop, scoop a ball of dough and roll it in the sugar mixture, place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Let cool before transferring (make sure you do this)!

makes 39 cookies = 56 calories each

If you look at Celine's recipe, you will notice that I double the recipe and made smaller cookies.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:17 AM   6 comments
Friday, October 5, 2007
I Have Been Feeling Kinda Cheesy Lately...
I went for quite a while with out the beloved cheese. At first, I think you kinda just turn away and say you don't care, but after awhile you really want cheese. I am not talking about the funky stuff that won't melt or tastes kinda tangy (for lack of a better term). I am talking about something that will make you so giddy with happiness because there is a string of gooeyness from the food you just took a bite of to your mouth! Now that's what I'm talkin' about! I stumbled across this product when I was shopping at Whole Foods and thought I would share it with all of you! It is called Rice Shreds and it is amazing. It tastes like the real deal (or at least enough to make me forget about the real deal)! I have been eating this stuff like there is no tomorrow! In fact, I made another round of bagels and made my pizza bagel with it. I am in cheesy heaven...

I wanted to share a few changes I made to this round of bagels (using Celine's base recipe). I used warm water (105 degrees) instead of beer this time. I mixed the water and the yeast with 1 TBSP of Splenda Blend for Baking and let it sit for about 5 minutes (while I measured the rest of the ingredients). Then I mixed it all up like last time and got on my way. I will tell you that I did do the oven method for proofing it (because it was kind of chilly that day) and I got quite a rise out of it! I think I am going to try the slow rise (over night) in the fridge next just to see how it works. I would like to be able to do this when we have company over so I want to know if you can do it well and have fresh bagels in the morning!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 4:22 PM   6 comments
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Lactose Free Cream Soup
My friend, Mimi, asked me last week if you can make cream soups low fat. I personally have no problem with the texture when I use lower fat products, but I don't know that I have had much experience with cream soups. I am more of a broth based soup lover. I made this one last week when I was not feeling so well. I have to say, it hit the spot! I had never had corn chowder until I met my husband. I am not sure why we never made this when I was growing up (I will have to find out about that one). We have made quite a few changes to my mother-in-laws recipe over the years and I started to use this Cooking Light recipe as a reference for the changes a while back. It is actually very quick and very tasty! I like being able to change it up from time to time depending on what we are in the mood for. The illustrator's mom never put chicken in hers, but I think she used bacon and the grease...heck no for my corn chowder (by all means, do what you like). So, here is how I made it this time.

Potato Corn Chowder

2
tablespoons Smart Balance Light
1/2
cup chopped onion
2
tablespoons all-purpose flour
3
cups Lactaid fat free milk (I think soy milk or almond milk would be good)
2
cups cooked potatoes (diced small)
1 1/2
cups frozen corn kernels
1
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper


Melt the Smart Balance in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 5 minutes).

*Make sure you bring it to a boil so it will thicken.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 4:38 PM   3 comments
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
You Start Eating With Your Eyes People!
Just to make this clear, I am not fusing at you...I am just so confused about this product. I mean the first thing you learn in culinary school is, "You start eating with your eyes". I guess that means that you can fool some people by serving them something gorgeous that tastes just ok. Now, those of us out there that post what we cook on our blogs know how this works. We want you to "want" to come back and see what we are up to. Foodies are especially interested in the look of food. It is what brings us to the store (everyday...don't tell on me) in hopes to see something new and beautiful and fresh. So, this brings me to...what were they thinking? I mentioned before that my last trip to Whole Foods was all about exploring new foods and trying different things. We all know that in some cases you can't judge a book by it's cover. I mean, this looks perfectly harmless, right (from the outside)? Open this sucker up and holy cow! My youngest one said it looked like diarrhea and honestly, I could not disagree. So I ask you, why, when there are so many great yogurt products out there, would you not try to make this look or taste better? Now, if anyone else has tried this and I am wrong, let me know if mine was just bad. I just wanted to say that I just don't get it. I really enjoy so many rice products, this was not one of them. It is such a shame too, because it really could be good for you!

Now, one more thing...after tons of research this weekend, the illustrator and I have discovered that there are some over the counter products for allergies that don't have lactose. Some of them seem fairly new to me. It appears as thought the medications that are gel based and not powder based are safe. I started taking Alavert (the one that melts on your tongue) and it seems to be helping! I tried the mint one and I really don't mind it. It's kinda like a mint Tums. I don't know why my allergies are so bad this year, but if this works, then I will work with it for now! I pray for chillier days!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:57 PM   2 comments

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Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen
Home: Atlanta, GA, United States
About Me: Lactose Challenged
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