Friday, July 31, 2009
Roasted Pecan Butter
Luckily, my freezer is full of these beautifully shelled pecans. I have to say the days that my father-in-law drove my mother-in-law crazy with the sound of cracking pecans shells paid off for me! I have been going over and over in my mind about making roasted pecan butter (I know, I sound crazy, but that is what I do...and then I get around to doing it). So, the other evening, I got off my butt and finally did it! I have to say that the outcome is an incredibly decadent creamy nut butter! It is very rich and has a slight flavor of pecan pie. I am completely sold on making more of this and trying different nuts (cashew, almond, oh and seeds...sunflower seed) to make my own nut/seed butters. Have you looked at your peanut butter ingredients...in some brands, peanuts aren't even the first ingredient! I was a little concerned when I first put the warm pecans in the food processor. I probably should have let them cool a little, but I was a little impatient. I just started going with the flow...I was a little concerned when it looked as thought the oil separated from the nuts, so I decided to add a little almond milk to see if that would cream everything together. It worked and I love it. This stuff is so creamy that it could even be used as an icing!
I eat peanut butter almost everyday on my bowl of dessert oatmeal. This one was roasted pecan butter, bananas, Honeynut Cherios and chex (I have to have crunch on my dessert oats). Pure heaven!
I love peanut butter and apples...the pecan butter took it to an entirely different level!

Roasted Pecan Butter
(makes about 11 tablespoons almost 3/4 cup)

3 3/4 oz. (1 cup plus 2 TBSP) shelled pecans (pieces are cheaper, mine were a mix of whole and pieces)
2 TBSP agave nectar (I would think that honey or maple syrup would be good too)
3 TBSP almond milk (I would think any nondairy milk or cream would work)

In a non-stick skillet, toast the pecans on medium heat. Keep an eye on them and keep them moving so they don't burn. This took about 10 minutes for me. When the pecans are toasted to your liking, put them in the food processor. Grind them until they start to cream together. Next add the agave nectar and the almond milk. Process everything until smooth and creamy. Keep in the refrigerator.

79 calories/TBSP

Note: To use this as an icing or if you want it a little thinner, I would add one more tablespoon of milk.
Sadly, the illustrator made a peanut butter and banana quesadilla (great dairy free snack) for himself...he did not use the pecan butter! Oh well, he has no idea what he is missing!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:47 AM   8 comments
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Ginger Granola
Everyone knows my love of oats! I could eat them morning, noon and night! In fact, I like them creamy and I like them crunchy! I have a few problems with the crunchy oats (granola) at the store. Granola is too expensive, too high in fat and most of the brands at my store have dairy in them. Oh, and I also like big chunks, not the crumbs that you get from the store bought varieties. So, I did some looking around and decided to try out some tricks of my own for making granola clusters. I had this jar of Trader Joe's ginger preserves in the fridge that has been haunting me for a while now. So, I pulled it out and got to work on some ginger granola clusters! It made perfect chunks, but I wanted it a little crispier.
The flavor was very similar to the Trader Joe's Ginger Almond & Cashew Granola. Since I used Trader Joe's ginger preserves in the granola, that would stand to reason! I was really surprised that my kids and the neighbor's kid loved this so much. Before I knew it, the entire jar was empty! So, I guess that gives me the chance to play around with it some more! I love that I can make a healthy snack for the kids and it is so much cheaper (and healthier) to make at home! The options are endless...this is going to be fun!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 1:30 PM   5 comments
Monday, July 27, 2009
Pizza Therapy
I don't know why, but making pizza is so therapeutic for me! I know when I make it at home, it will take a little time (mostly for the preparation), but the end result is so worth it! On the positive side, homemade pizza really does not take that much time at all! I know there are places out there that make pizzas with soy cheese or without cheese, but I am never as satisfied with the pizza experience or I know the people behind the counter don't get that I have contamination issues. It is not as easy as just not ordering it when you are dealing with having a reaction from the food that you eat. So, today I pulled out The Sublime Restaurant Cookbook by Nanci Alexander to try out their pizza dough recipe. This book is full of different types of recipes from appetizers to desserts. It also has recipes that range from Asian to Southern to Italian. It is very easy to understand and the recipes are written well. In the entree section, the book even recommends other recipes in the book that will go well with it.
I went with what I had on hand for the pizzas. So, I made one cheese and one with grilled zucchini, sauteed peppers and baby basil leaves. The funny part about this meal is that it was thrown together with three pieces of cheese (dairy free for those of us who can't have the dairy - or none because you just don't need it), tomato paste, 1 fresh tomato, 2 cloves of garlic, a zucchini, a handful of frozen peppers (all that was left) and a few baby basil leaves. We really need to go to the grocery store, but we are seeing how far we can get with the odds and ends in the kitchen. The crust was really simple from The Sublime Restaurant Cookbook by Nanci Alexander and it comes together in 30 minutes total for the preparation! It bakes off so fast...you can have restaurant quality pizza at home in less time than it takes to order delivery! I was very impressed with the pizza dough recipe and can't wait to try more. I really want to try out the Seven Layer Pizza soon! Next on the list is the Baba Ganoush! I have a huge eggplant waiting to be experimented on! I will let you know how that one goes!
written for Go Dairy Free

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 2:27 PM   2 comments
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Zucchini Madness
Ok, well not so much here, but for those of you who are lucky enough, this should be about the time that everyone is overloaded with fresh zucchini! I have been eating tons of produce lately because well (besides what I said yesterday) it is so freaking good! We went to the little farmers market here this past Saturday and I got a few things. The farmers market is really small and I was really going to just check things out. Surprisingly, I think it was a little over priced. Especially since it was all local. Oh well, I found a pretty good deal on zucchini, eggplant and corn, so I considered it to be a successful outing! So, I have been reading this blog (Sarah at LovIN My Tummy - who will no longer be blogging, but she deserved the credit) quite a bit lately. I think we think a lot alike when it comes to food and I like the look of what she eats (maybe because we eat the same things?). Anyway, she has been making these zucchini chips lately and I was intrigued. So, I thought I would give them a little try. I sacrificed one of the smaller zucchinis for the experiment because I thought that I was the only one that would eat them whether they were good or bad. Seriously, I don't through food away! Well, even though I don't think it is overly economical for me, due to my lack of gardening skills) to make them on a regular basis (unless there is a massive sale on zucchini) these things were so good! The illustrator, the little one and I kept going back for more! They were so good on my salad with hummus for lunch! They were nice and crispy...and a little sweet and salty! So, if you have an abundance of zucchini...get on it and try these out. You won't regret it!
Zucchini Chips

Fresh Zucchini
Salt
Pepper
Cooking Spray

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Slice the zucchini thin. Make sure you slice them very thin. I tried to use the slicer side of my grater, but I did not like how it was slicing. I ended up doing it by hand. Bake for about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on them in the last 10 minutes so the smaller ones won't burn. They should start to brown and look crispy. When they cool, they stiffen up.
Also, this is one from a while ago, but I highly recommend it...Zucchini Muffins!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 4:43 PM   3 comments
Monday, July 20, 2009
Hummus Varieties!
I mentioned in my previous post that I have been staying away from soy for a little while. Even though I don't eat a lot of tofu, I started to add up everything and I realized how much soy is in everything! I have nothing against soy (trust me, I love the stuff). I have been dealing with a rash that goes from mild to extremely uncomfortable for about a year now. I know that sounds gross, this is supposed to be about food! Trust me, it is not gross (I just thought I would let you know)...just irritating! I also started experiencing some changes with my stomach. Anybody that has ever gone through dealing with food allergies or intolerances knows that the first step is to eliminate. (I won't even go into how I feel about doctors now, but I know the routine, so I just started dealing with it on my own at this point) I watched what I was eating and how it effected me. When I discovered the strongest reaction after eating soy, I decided to step back and go on a soy free diet. When you make most things from scratch and the produce of the season is so good, this is not really a problem. I have been eating a lot of salads with a variety of homemade hummuses (I don't know if that is even the right word). You have to have protein, so I have gone the chickpea route!
I am pretty much throwing whatever I have on hand in my basic hummus recipe. I have to say that I am really enjoying playing around with it! This one is a roasted carrot and garlic hummus.
This one is one of my favorites...roasted red pepper!
This one is regular ol' plain jane...I can't deny that it is one of my favorites too!

I think there are millions of different flavors, types and techniques for hummus. From what I understand, chickpeas made into a spread is the basic idea of hummus. I love a lot of garlic and I don't use tahini or oil so the garlic really shines through.

I have to say that I am feeling so much better. It is kind of bitter sweet at this point. I don't want to not be able to have soy, but I guess you do what you have to do. I am going to start to reintroduce soy into my diet on Thursday and only in small amounts. We will see what happens!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:33 AM   4 comments
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Fettucine Primavera
Today has been long and kind of crazy. The illustrator is working on a hard deadline, so we got up at 6am (after going to bed around midnight and not sleeping well at all) to start the day. I would normally have gotten up and worked out while he started working, but he made my coffee as I was coming down the stairs. It was so sweet. I could not resist sitting with him while he started working. I am working on a lot of things for myself lately, so I just started organizing myself for the day.

I have been force feeding him the past few days. When he is on work mode, he does not even stop to eat. I tend to do a little heavier lunch for him on these days too, with lighter snacks through out the day. This was a Fettuccine Primavera that I threw together for him from leftovers. I cooked lemon rosemary chicken for the gentlemen here last night along with some vegetables that easily transformed into a nice summer lunch. I go heavy on the vegetables for myself and he likes it a little heavier on the meat. I don't do the meat thing (and I am not eating soy right now(insert crying her)...more on that another time) so I had a huge salad that I will share tomorrow. Here is what I did for the illustrator...
Fettuccine Primavera

1 cup cooked fettuccine
1 cup cooked mixed vegetables (whatever you like-I used broccoli, cauliflower, carrot)
1 cup cooked chicken (or tofu would be sooooo good)
2 TBSP dairy free cream cheese
1/4 cup dairy free parmesan cheese
splash of dairy free unsweetened milk
salt and pepper to taste

Heat up the chicken and vegetables in a sautee pan. Add pasta, cream cheese alternative, parmesan cheese alternative, dairy free milk, salt and pepper. Heat everything until pasta is coated with cheeses and serve hot!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 8:06 PM   5 comments
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Dark Chocolate Nasoya Silken Creations and Treats!

I know I have written about the vanilla flavor before and how great I think it is! Now for the Dark Chocolate Silken Creation...this stuff is so good. It is thick, creamy and oh so chocolaty. I had two containers, so we ate some plain and I played with some. I know you are not supposed to play with your food, but I just can't resist! First I went with a version of my own pancakes and decided to make chocolate pancakes. These are so good! They are light, fluffy and very chocolaty. They come together really quickly, so they are an easy way to make a chocolate sweet treat or have for breakfast (or dinner in our case)! These are sweet on their own, so I just put a little powder sugar and cocoa powder on top. If you are looking for something a little more decadent, dairy free caramel or chocolate sauce would be good too. Oh and dairy free ice cream would be so good. Me, I just ate them warm like a cookie!
Dark Chocolate Pancakes

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 Dark Chocolate Nasoya Silken Creations

Lightly spoon both flours into measuring cup and level. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then add the Dark Chocolate Silken Creation to the dry mixture. Stir just until combined. Poor batter onto a hot nonstick griddle or skillet that has been coated with cooking spray. Flip pancakes when little bubbles star to form on top and the edges look cooked. These stay chocolaty and creamy on the inside! Be careful not to over cook them since they are dark to begin with and you don't want them to burn.
This is a chocolate cake that I based on the brownie recipe on the Nasoya website. They have a list of recipes using this product. This one was a cross between chocolate cake and chocolate bread. It had the texture of devil's food cake and the sweetness of chocolate bread. A fudge icing or diary free ice cream (or both) would go really well with this, as well!

Dark Chocolate Cake
(adapted from Nasoya Silken Creations Brownie recipe)

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 container Nasoya Dark Chocolate Silken Creations
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup light dairy free margarine, melted
1 t salt
2 T baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of an 13 X 9 pan with cooking spray. Mix together the flours, salt and baking powder. Place the light margarine and brown sugar in a microwavable bowl. Microwave the mixture until the margarine is melted. Stir well to combine. Let cool slightly. Add the Nasoya Dark Chocolate Silken Creations to the margarine mixture and stir well. Next add the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Review for Go Dairy Free

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:56 AM   6 comments
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Con Cookies and a Review
When I first started baking dairy free I had no idea where to start. I was really quite clueless about vegan products and how useful they would be in my baking now. I asked a fellow blogger about dairy free butter substitutes and she recommended Earth Balance.
I have been a loyal user of Earth Balance ever since. It is the perfect safe alternative for all of my dairy free baked goods that need butter for their structure. Back when I first started using it, I could only get the tub. This was a little difficult for measuring, but worth the trouble at the time. Now I can get the sticks and I love how easy it is to measure! It is especially useful in my oatmeal cookies! These are what I now refer to as Con Cookies. This is my go to recipe for a great hearty cookie that will get you through the times when there is no time to stop for food! I make these every year for the conventions we go to and they are a hit with everyone. I change up the dried fruits and nuts depending on what I have on hand. So, this is the latest version for Con Cookies...

Con Cookies
(adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food)

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups quick oats (not instant)
1 cups raisins (chopped in a food processor)
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Cream together the Earth Balance and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat just until combined. Next stir in the oats, raisins, sunflower seeds and coconut just until combined. Drop level 1/4-cup measures of dough onto baking sheets (I use my ice cream scoop) about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until they are golden brown and soft to the touch about 18 rotating the cookie sheets halfway through. Cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheets and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Review for Go Dairy Free

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:56 AM   7 comments

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