Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Trying Out Milks

Well, along with celiac disease, it appears as though the illustrator is also suffering from some lactose intolerance. This is not uncommon. So, we have been playing around with milk. It feels like my pantry and refrigerator have expanded with more and more products to accommodate everyone's needs! In order to keep our budget in check, we are working with what we both like. So far, the favorite is Almond Milk. The illustrator had his first bowl of non Cheerio Cheerios, also known as WholeO's by Nature's Path. He ate it with almond milk and a banana. I was so impressed...he liked it! The cereal tastes a lot like a plain rice cereal, but the addition of the almond milk really adds another level and banana is a great addition too! We both like the slightly sweet flavor and the viscosity is nice without being too thin or too thick. Almond Breeze is the brand that I like the most (at this point) and is my go to brand for almond milk.
A friend of mine went to a co-op and brought back a couple of goodies for me. One of them was this Living Harvest Hemp Milk (they have since changed their packaging). I love this stuff! It is so rich a smooth. I baked some cornbread muffins with the hemp milk. Wow, what a nice compliment to the corn flavor! So, I decided to do something that I have never done before, but I have seen my father-in-law do it many times my cornbread with milk on it (well, hemp milk). This was so good! I highly recommend the cornbread with milk combo...pure comfort food!
This Pacific Natural Foods Vanilla Oat Milk is one of the other treasures my friend brought back from the co-0p. This one is definitely a sweet milk! You know I love oatmeal, so really, there was no going wrong with this one. I decided to have another little oatmeal adventure and use the vanilla oat milk in some carrot cake oatmeal! So good! If you have never tried carrots in your are missing out! I would like to play with this idea more because it will be a great fall/winter breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner or dessert. I think you get the idea that I can eat oatmeal anytime!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:08 AM   6 comments
Friday, October 23, 2009
Becoming Vegan Book Review
To start off with, I will let everyone know that I am not vegan. I am a vegetarian, but honestly, the only things that keeps me from being vegan is that I eat eggs. I read this book because I feel that when you start to take things out of your diet, like meat and dairy, you should learn more about what the alternatives are and how to get those nutrients from other sources. Since I am a vegetarian, I found the beginning of the book Becoming Vegan The Complete Guide To Adopting A Healthy Plant-Based Diet by Brenda Davis, R.D and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D. very interesting. It starts out with the history of veganism. I am such a food history buff! I thoroughly enjoyed the details of how veganism began and evolved into what it is today. The next part of the book goes into nutrients and what the body needs. The book goes into so much detail about what our bodies need and how to get it from unexpected plant sources. Most people ask me on a regular basis if I get enough protein because I don't eat meat. I actually plugged my information for a normal day into the website the other day and it said that I get way more protein than necessary and the only "true" protein I ate that day was pinto beans! Since I have cut dairy out of my diet, I am more concerned about getting the calcium I need. Becoming Vegan The Complete Guide To Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet gives you all of the information you need for finding different food sources that will give you a calcium boost. The book even gives you menu options based on your calorie goals to stay healthy. There are a few quicky recipes within the text, but this is not a cookbook. This is a great resource for learning about different food sources that will give you the nutrients you need when you have to cut out different food groups!

Here are a few things I eat on a regular basis...
I love fresh fruit!
Our favorite...cinnamon bread! With vegan milk substitute and flax egg, this one is so good!
Black eyed pea burgers with sauteed garlic kale...yum!
Our favorite chili...I am making this tonight!
Oatmeal for breakfast and dessert! My own creation of oatmeal ice cream!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:44 AM   8 comments
Monday, October 19, 2009
Gluten Free Coconut Cupcakes
I am getting out of my fear of trying new flours. I have decided to just buy different flours when I see them and then find recipes to use them. Otherwise, I will always put it off. You know I can't waste anything, so if it is here...I will use it! I bought some rice flour at the International Farmers Market a couple of weeks ago. Just by chance, my sister came across a recipe for a rice flour cupcake. I made a few changes to the one she sent by lowering the fat, making them dairy free and adding the topping. I was so family loved these! Not only did I make them gluten free...they are dairy free, soy free and low fat! Sounds perfect to me! To make them dairy free, I used coconut oil. I have been reading a lot lately on the health benefits of coconut oil and thought it would be a great substitution for butter in this recipe. This was also one of those ingredients I bought to force myself to use it! I highly recommend going to the International Markets to get a lot of the "not so ordinary" items that you need. They are a lot less expensive at those types of places!
Coconut Rice Cupcakes
makes 12

1 cup rice flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP coconut oil
2 TBSP unsweetened applesauce
6 Tbsp natural cane sugar (got this at the International Farmers Market too)
1/2 cup egg substitute (I used egg beaters)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond milk (next time I am using coconut milk)

Preheat to 400.

Combine rice flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a mixing bowl beat coconut oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg substitute slowly. Mix vanilla extract, then add flour mixture alternately with milk until just blended. Divide batter in a cupcake pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool. Pour glaze over the top and sprinkle with coconut.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar mixed with enough water to make a thick glaze (about 1-2 TBSP)

Just to let you know before you start...the batter for this is very thin. Not like a cake batter at all. It bakes up nice and fluffy! This is a naked cupcake to test for tasting and texture. Then, it got the royal treatment!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:32 PM   8 comments
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Out of Focus
Things are crazy here right now and I can't seem to concentrate on anything in particular. I am trying to prioritize and right now it is not on me. All of my focus has been on the illustrator's diet and trying to educate myself as much as possible on the gluten free diet. There is so much information out there with warnings of things that may be contaminated with gluten. There are also hidden sources of gluten that you have to be aware of. I can't tell you how many times in the past week I have called a manufacturer while I was in the store to make sure the product is clean! Luckily, we are getting the hang of it and starting to learn our way around the grocery store. I will tell you that I have also learned that companies are starting to label things "gluten free". This is so helpful!!! I wish it was that easy to find things labeled "dairy free"! Maybe one day we will live in a world of great food labeling!
I have a friend that brought me some left over samples of Barney Butter. I have never tried it before now even thought I have seen other bloggers writing about how great it is. I started making my own nut butters and I really just have not seen it in the stores. The first thing I noticed on the said "gluten free". You would not believe how happy that made me. Now, I know what you are thinking, why wouldn't it be, but let me tell you...they sneak gluten into everything. So, I love to see those words on a label! My first taste of it was on a sweet potato. Oh my gosh, that was so good! Barney Butter is slightly sweet and melted into the baked sweet potato to make this super creamy luscious treat!
On to baking adventures...I have been learning a lot about gluten free flours lately. I am still timid when it comes to playing with them too much. I hate wasting money so, I am starting with things that are a little more basic. The first flour I played with is buckwheat. I was honestly blown away with the texture and flavor that buckwheat gave these muffins! The illustrator said that he could not even tell that they did not have wheat in them! That made me so happy because this is going to be my base recipe to work with in the future. These were fat free and stayed nice and fluffy for days!
The illustrator really liked them with a smear of peanut butter on them. Next time...Barney Butter!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 2:15 PM   6 comments
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
'Tis The Season For Caramel Popcorn!
So, my favorite time of year has arrived! I love the fall season! The weather, the smell of fresh air, the food...the list goes on and on! Since I am having to come up with some different sweet treats lately that are gluten free. I figured I would make some caramel popcorn! This stuff makes your house smell so good! I got this recipe from Cooking Light and the only thing I changed was to use Smart Balance Light. Because, as you know, I have to lower the fat of everything I touch. This is a great recipe. It tastes very similar to Cracker Jacks. Even thought the flavor is there...I am going to mess with it some more the next time I make it! I want to get the corn syrup out of it and make it even healthier! So, I will get back to you on that when I try it! Until then, here is what I did...

Caramel Popcorn
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/3 cup Smart Balance Light
1 tablespoon molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 cups popcorn (popped without salt or fat)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Coat a large jelly roll pan or roasting pan with cooking spray.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, Smart Balance Light, and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Place popcorn in a large bowl; pour sugar mixture over popcorn and stir to coat.

Spread popcorn mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven; stir to break up any large clumps. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 12:07 PM   4 comments

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