Monday, September 28, 2009
Ginger Cookies
Ginger is a favorite spice around this house. Not only is it really tasty, it also helps with tummy troubles! I have used ginger supplements for many years now to settle my stomach from IBS. I love that it can be used in savory and sweets dishes too. I am a huge fan of things that have multiple uses in the kitchen! The illustrator has always been a fan of gingersnaps, so when I came across this recipe from David Lebovitz's site for nonfat gingersnaps, I new I had to try it! I am always curious when you can bake up a fat free cookie that still holds it's shape. I was a little skeptical, but I really wanted to try them. I have to say that I am quite intrigued by the consistancy of these cookies. They are not crispy as the word snap would imply. They are, however the most wonderful chewy texture! I give the use of candied ginger the credit for this texture. The flavor is really nice too! This is definitely going to be my new holiday cookie! Seriously, who couldn't use a fat free cookie around the holidays? I, personally, think you could cut back on some of the sugar too, so I am going to try that out next time. I will also cut out the black pepper because I think that made it a little too spicy for the kids. They liked them, but they made comments on how much spice they had. I made a couple of changes, so I will post those here. These also stay moist and chewy for days so they would be great as holiday gifts! Make sure you check out the original recipe since David gives you a couple of other variations.
Nonfat Gingersnaps
(adapted from David Lebovitz)
30 cookies

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ cup egg substitute (like egg beaters)
1/2 cup finely-chopped candied ginger

1/4 cup sugar mixed with a 1 TBSP of cinnamon for rolling the cookies

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, applesauce, and molasses for five minutes at medium speed, with the paddle attachment. Next, mix together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt (set aside). Scrape down the sides of the bowl of the sugar mixture then add the egg substitute. Beat until well combined. Then add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed until completely incorporated. Stir in the chopped candied ginger. Chill the batter in the freezer for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough into the sugar cinnamon mixture. Coat the dough well. Form the dough into balls. Place them on the cookie sheets. Leave some room for them to spread. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the cookies feel just barely set in the center. Remove from oven and cool on the pan.

82 calories per cookie

**Now I need to work on a gluten free option!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 12:56 PM   8 comments
Friday, September 25, 2009
Guinness Stew
Along with all of the other craziness we have in our house right now...we decided to add a little more! These are the new additions to our Luke and Leia (yes we let our children name them and we are all dorks)! This was hard for us, since we lost our Maggie in April of this year, but we were all feeling like it was time to help out the next generation. These cute little ones were adopted from a shelter that rescues animals from kill shelters. They are four months old and they are so sweet! We figured everyone else would get the little babies (because there were some cute ones there), but we wanted to adopt some that were a little less likely to be gotten. We knew we wanted either a momma and her baby or two from the same litter. Well, the momma was already adopted so we picked these little ones out (or they picked us with there sad little faces). I think they will be the perfect addition to our group!

Now food...
My husband is a huge fan of Guinness (he can't have it anymore, so this meal was a fond farewell). Well, when we saw this on Jamie at Home, he made it clear that we need to try this! It has been raining here for over a week now and this is the perfect recipe for welcoming in the fall season! I looked around and found a version of the recipe. I tweaked it a bit to suite our family's tastes. This was definite winner here! I even made my own vegetable version! This was also my first taste of quinoa and I am a huge fan! I love when you find a food that has so much nutritional value! Since I made it that night...I have eaten it on just about everything savory! My next adventures with is will be sweet!
Here is the recipe with my changes and a link to the site I got it from.

Jamie Oliver’s Guinness Pot Pie
(adapted from Dinner With Julie)

1 TBSP olive oil, for cooking
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 potatoes peeled and cubed
2.2 lbs. London Broil, cut into 3/4″ cubes
salt and pepper
a few springs of rosemary, leaves pulled off and chopped
2 Tbsp. flour
1 can or 1 1/2 bottles of Guinness
Your favorite pot pie topping

Mushrooms were called for, but I was asked not to use them...I used them in the vegetable version!

Preheat the oven to 375F. In a large oven-proof skillet, heat the oil and sautee the onions over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until they are translucent. Add the garlic, carrots and potatoes; cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the pan. Add the meat to the pan and brown, sprinkling with salt, pepper and rosemary. Return the vegetables to the pan and sprinkle with the flour; stir to coat. Pour the Guinness into the pot and bring to a simmer. If the pan you’re using won’t go into the oven, dump it into a baking dish. Add water (or beef stock) to just barely cover the meat if it is not covered.

Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 2 1/2 hours, stirring about halfway through. After 2 1/2 hours the meat should be very tender and the sauce thick, dark and robust; if it’s not cook it on the stovetop to reduce the sauce a bit. Remove from heat.

Place the pastry dough over the beef filling and tuck the pastry around the edges (it doesn’t have to look neat – go for rustic). Score the surface of the crust to let steam out as it cooks.

Return the pan to the oven for about 30 to 45 minutes. Cook until golden brown.

Here is my small vegetable version. I used the same method, but I did not add the crust...the quinoa was so good with this!!!

Vegetable Guinness Stew

1 cup diced onion (5 3/8 oz)
1 cup carrot,sliced (5 3/8 oz)
1 cup potato, cubed (6oz)
2 cups baby portabello mushrooms (8 oz)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
1 tsp flour
2/3 cup Guinness

3 cups stew = 139 calories/cup

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:00 AM   6 comments
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Corn Flour Sponge Cake
So, I decided to make my first leap into dairy free/gluten free baking! I always get a little nervous when I am working with something completely different. I decided to try out some masa harina (corn flour) today (get this from the Mexican section of the store, but make sure it says gluten free-it is way cheaper there). I have started to do a lot of reading on the subject of gluten free baking. I think the key to it, is finding the right mixes for your own preferences. I know we like cornbread around here, so I thought we would try out the corn flour first. I have to say that I am very happy with the outcome of this recipe. I would describe it as a cross between an angel food cake and soft lady fingers (the cookies). I think there is some room to play around with it, so I am excited that I have found a great "base" recipe for me to start from!
You start off by making a meringue. This recipe uses egg whites for the structure and leavening (with a little baking soda). The batter is very light and fluffy. This time, I baked it in a jumbo muffin pan for individual servings. It rises quite a bit during the baking process and then falls somewhat when it is done. I say that makes it a great recipe of a nice scoop of dairy free ice cream and some pureed fruits on top! As you will see, I used weight and volume on this recipe. I want to really be careful with the gluten free stuff so it stays as light as possible.
Corn Flour Sponge Cake

7 TBSP or 60 grams corn flour (masa harina)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, separated
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 100 grams granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 6 jumbo muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a bowl, mix together the corn flour, cream of tartar and the baking soda with a whisk.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until they start to foam. Start to add the sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue to mix the eggs and sugar until they turn into a thick meringue. Next add the egg yolks one at a time and then add the vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients very lightly. Make sure they are completely mixed in, but don't deflate the mixture.

Using a large ice cream scoop, carefully divide the batter in the muffin tin. Bake for 10 - 13 minutes. The muffins should be bouncy, but not hard when you feel them.

6 muffins = 127 calories each

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:04 AM   9 comments
Monday, September 21, 2009
Getting Over the Shock
So, I figured I would share the story on how we discovered the illustrator has celiac disease. You can find out tons of information here. A lot of people have asked us what the symptoms are and how he got to the point where he thought he needed to be tested. So, I am going to share the short version. The question is...where to start. It is always hard to go back and think about where it all started. This story may jump around a little, but it will explain how we got here...

About 9 years ago, the illustrator was having problems with what he thought was heartburn. He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). He was put on a prescription medication and told to lower his stress (easier said than done) and eat a list of recommended foods. He took the medicine and did what he was told to do. So, when things seemed to get better, the doctor recommended an over-the-counter medicine and things seemed fine for awhile. The past few years, he has been noticing some problems that include migranes (which he has had ever since I have known him, so over 16 years), joint pain (he is like an old man-he can tell me when the rain is coming), numbness in his ring and pinky fingers, extreme bloating, gas, abdomenal pain, neck pain (which I think is associated with the joint pain), extreme fatigue and and memory loss. These are all symptoms that come with age, so we really did not think much about it. The stomach problems started to get worse again so we started to really watch what foods may be triggering some of the problems. In the meantime, the illustrator's sister was diagnosed with celiac disease. We are not new to this disease because my grandmother was diagnosed a few years ago. So, I started to get worried. His chances of having celiac were just heightened by his sister's diagnosis. He wasn't suffering or in horrible pain, but we could both see that he was not feeling well and that we needed to find out why. So, after talking about it and watching things...I convinced him that is was time to get tested. It was better for him to know than to live in the dark and cause horrible problems for himself later on in life! We have enough health issues going on here that we have learned it is so much better to be proactive when it comes to our health. So, after a weekend of gluten overload, he went in to get his blood drawn. He was so positive during our week of the point that he was a little irritated with me that I was not so positive (I guess I just had a weird feeling about this one since I have had my food dreams crushed a couple of times now). My heart wanted them to say no, but things were adding up so much that my head was saying yes. We waited a week to get the results back and the inevitable was true. The illustrator has celiac disease.
(These are the Mi Del ginger snaps. They have dairy in them, so I can't eat them, but the illustrator liked them with his afternoon cup of coffee. We are taking baby steps into this because the cost of flours and ingredients are quite a bit more expensive than normal wheat flour baking ingredients.)

So, we have now added another level to the food allergies in our home. I will still be focusing on dairy free food here, but I will now be expanding into soy allergies (me) and now wheat allergies (the illustrator). This should be fun because even though I have used gluten free things from time to time, now I have to make it completely clean from any wheat at all. So, I will show my failures and successes so we can all learn together. Food allergies are not easy to live with, but it is possible to enjoy food even if you have to start eliminating some of the ones you love. Besides, I don't want my best friend to have to live without!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 2:49 PM   2 comments
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Celiac Disease...
If life was not exciting enough...the illustrator was just diagnosed with celiac disease. I can assure you that there will be plenty of experimenting with wheat free foods now too. Good thing I find experimenting fun! Ugh, I am in total shock!!!
posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 8:38 PM   7 comments
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Quick Chocolate Sandwich Cookie
Sometimes you just need to get some quick treats out of the oven! You want the homemade feel without all of the homemade hassle. These come together in no time and they make a great treat for little ones after school! My go to cake mix is Duncan Hines. A lot of their flavors are dairy free. Make sure you read the label before you buy them to make sure though!

Cake Mix Cookies
1 box cake mix (I used Chocolate Cake from Duncan Hines)
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 (either lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray). Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes. Cool two minutes; remove from pans.

Your favorite dairy free store brand


posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 3:08 PM   3 comments
Friday, September 11, 2009
Pancakes Galore
Um I love thee! So, I have a favorite basic pancake recipe, but I always play around with them. I find them to be so much fun to make and there are so many ways to eat these fluffy little pillows! The flavor combinations are endless. My family seems to think the only way to eat pancakes is with maple syrup and bacon. I, on the other hand, can do with out the bacon and well...I like fruit toppings. For the guys, I tried out the basic pancake recipe from Vegan Brunch. This made a nice fluffy pancake.
For me...I decided to do something totally different this time. I made my pancakes completely out of oats! So, they could be gluten free!!! I was very surprised that even with oats, these little babies were still lite and fluffy with a little chew to them! I also thought I would try a quick little topping for them. I am a self proclaimed apple snob. I said it...I hate a mushy apple! They actually gag me. Well, I had a sad apple (I can't even remember what kind it just was not right) hanging out in the fridge. I bought a couple of apples that were not my usual Fujis because my store was out and I was feeling adventurous. I was dissapointed that they were not acceptable for my picky apple palate! I don't throw anything away, so these were destined to be the topping for my oatmeal pancake adventures!
Oatmeal Pancakes

1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup vanilla oat milk (I really liked friend got it for me at the co op and I will share about it later)
1/2 cup water
1 TBSP baking powder
1/4 cup egg substitute (I used egg beaters, but you could use a vegan substitute too)

Combine the oatmeal with oat milk and water; refrigerate for an hour (or overnight would work if you are a morning pancake eater). Next combine the rest of the ingredients with the oat mixture and cook on a nonstick griddle coated with cooking spray. You will notice they are ready to flip when they look cooked around the edges. Serve with syrup or fruit topping.

Microwave Apples

Peel and slice apples. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir. Cook for another minute or two depending on the firmness of the apple (mine were mealy so it only took 3 minutes). Add sugar, cinnamon or nutmeg (or all) and serve on top of those oatmeal pancakes!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 2:17 PM   6 comments
Monday, September 7, 2009
Anyone that knows me or reads this blog, knows that I have a kind of unnatural fondness of oats. While reading blogs a while back I came across this from La Belle Vegan which led me to this from Heather Eats Almond Butter. I was completely intrigued by the idea of making my own belly loving probiotics! I am always looking for things to help out my stomach problems since IBS is such a pain to deal with! So, when I saw this recipe to combine two of my favorite food loves...yogurt and oatmeal...I knew I had to try it out. So, I got some oat groats from the bulk bin and set my bowl out to soak over night (1 cup groats covered with a little extra water - about 1 1/4 cups). The worst part about this, is the waiting! The next day, I ground the the water and groats in my blender to make a thick oat concoction (I added 1/4 cup water to help it blend). I put it in one of my old hand-me-down pyrex bowls (I thought it was fitting since this feels like something that was made years ago), covered it with a paper towel, placed a wooden spoon over it to hold it down and waited...and waited. I added a little extra water (1/4 cup) to it after 24 hours since it was so thick and gave it a little stir. The original recipe that I got this from has a heater placed next to it for the 2 days. I just put it next to my toaster oven (which is next to my stove) and turned the toaster oven on every once in a while to raise the temperature around it.
After 48 hours, I gave it a stir and put it in a glass jar and placed in in the fridge. I did give it a little taste at that point. Well, it tastes like an unsweetened yogurt. I have played around with it and so far, my favorite way to eat it is a 50/50 ratio with my oatmeal. The oatgurt adds such a creamy thick texture to oatmeal. It is incredible! Heather references where she got the recipe from and there is quite a bit of information on that page about the health benefits of oatgurt so, I highly recommend taking a look at it. It also gives you different options for making this incredibly edible tummy satisfying concoction!

(This is 50/50 oatgurt banana split topped with no sugar added strawberry preserves and homemade cashew butter...this was so freakin' good!)

I like the idea of using oat groats, since they are unprocessed and retain so much more of the good stuff! Here is a little bit I have learned about oats lately...they are high in potassium, have useful amounts of calcium and are also a fair source of protein. They are also moderately rich in B vitamins. All of these sound like a good deal to me!

PS...Alisa at One Frugal Foodie is giving away Vegan Brunch and Vegan Soul Kitchen...go enter!


posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:40 AM   7 comments
Friday, September 4, 2009
Microwave Potato Chips!
You know sometimes, when I come across something this simple and this delicious...I could kick myself for not coming up with it myself. The illustrator definitely was afraid of another chip adventure on my part after the kale incident, but he was pleasantly surprised by these! I have seen them in so many different places and they have consistently been given rave reviews. So, the other night when we were having baked potatoes with dinner, I decided to make these for the kids because the oldest one does not like baked potatoes...can you believe that? Anyway, so I made these and they were a huge hit! They are actually a healthy potato chip! I will be making these again soon and I can't wait to play around with different flavors! I also like to cut them a bit thicker...I think they would be so good with hummus!

Microwave Potato Chips

Russet Potato, thinly sliced
cooking spray
salt & pepper

Slice potatoes to your desired thickness (the thicker, the longer they take to cook). Place the potato slices in a bowl, spray lightly with cooking spray, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Place the slices out flat on a plate and leave a little space between them. Microwave them 2-3 minutes depending on how thick they are. Then flip and microwave 2-3 more minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn. You will notice they will start to brown and become crisp. Let them cool so they can crisp up completely.
This is a little experiment I tried with a pound cake...I have to work on it, but it will get there. The flavor was there, but the texture needed a bit more crumb to it! So, back in the kitchen for this one!


posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 1:50 PM   1 comments
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Beans and Salads...
(Salad with chickpeas, romain, tomatoes and home made rosemary focaccia--this one is like heaven in a bowl!)

Lately, things have been a little crazy around here. I have hit a slump with cooking this week. Sometimes, I just kinda lose my inspiration. I think when I go crazy for a couple of weeks with cooking nonstop, my brain does not want to decide what to cook any more. I am tired of follow directions too (I think I know where Max gets it from!) So, I have been pressure cooking huge pots of beans and eating the heck out of some fresh produce! I have been looking through a few raw books lately (I will share soon) for a little inspiration!
(Homemade blackeyed pea burgers (reused photo because it has been so dreary here lately) with sauteed kale. I have been eating black bean burgers too...but I ate them all before I got a picture of them!)

I have talked with quite a few people lately that have stated how concerned they are that I may not be getting enough protein since I can't have soy now. I will be honest that I was a little concerned too, so I plugged in my information on and filled in what I was eating. I was pleasantly surprised that I am getting more than my daily allowance from the almighty bean! A lot of people don't know that you get quite a bit of protein in grains, fruits and vegetables too! So, my bean kick lately is a great thing for me! Not only are they cheap and easy (with the pressure cooker), but they are super good for you too!
(Salad with romain, handful of cilantro (I love fresh herbs in my salad), scalloins and a lot of black beans!)

I will share my method of cooking the different beans in a pressure cooker soon too. I am finally getting down exactly how I like them. I have discovered that I like them a little saucier, but still a little firm. I like how the sauce works well for rice or like a dressing on a salad! Oh and don't worry...I know what you are thinking...your body builds up a resistance to the unpleasant side of beans!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:01 PM   3 comments

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