Monday, May 31, 2010
Cheesy Squash Casserole and Daiya...let's talk about it!
* Don't forget to enter the NuNaturals give away!  It ends tomorrow night!

We don't do the cookout thing for Memorial day here...it is sh*t on a shingle day.  I have to do a gluten free/dairy free version and I will share that tomorrow.  We will have to take the illustrator's word on how it is.  But I wanted to share a little cheesy stuff with you today!
So, to start off, I don't miss cheese.  I was never a cheese lover before I discovered my lactose intolerance...I know, I hear the shock!  However, when Daiya came out with a dairy free, soy free and gluten free cheese alternative...how could I not get it?  That being said, there are a few things where cheese is kind of the main ingredient that makes the dish.  To name a few...pizza, lasagna, casseroles.  Since I am good with my cheeseless pizza...I chose to go a different route with my new dairy free friend.  I liked Daiya on my grilled vegetable panini the other day, so I decided to make a cheesy squash casserole this time.
Not a plane jane one though...nope, I wanted to add a little spice to it.  My favorite spice as of late...turmeric.  I really just kind of went with some vegetables we had around that needed to be used up.  I think some of my favorite things come from the last things I need to get rid of before they turn to compost!  
This combination is yellow squash, carrots, onions, garlic, turmeric and Daiya.  

I wanted a tasty protein base to go with it, so I chose quinoa to make it a complete meal.  This made the perfect bed for my cheesy squash casserole!  

All mixed up, this was so creamy and the squash formed an incredible sauce that coated the quinoa.  So, what do I think about Daiya....well, I was kind of eh, about it with the panini.  Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but I wasn't blown away by it.  On the squash casserole...I LOVED it!  It is extremely creamy and melts really well!  That is impressive all by itself.  I don't think it has a ton of flavor, but I guess mozzarella cheese isn't loaded with flavor either.  That's what makes it a great addition to dishes where you are looking for creamy gooeyness, but don't want to mask the the flavors of your dish.  Honestly, the problem with most dairy free cheeses are the messed up flavors, so the mild flavor of Daiya is perfect in my book.  Daiya also has a cheddar version that I did not pick up, but now I want to try it!    

Cheesy Squash Casserole

3 cups sliced yellow squash
1 cup sliced onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup shaved carrot (with a vegetable peeler...I just felt like it)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a small casserole dish with nonstick spray (I used a bread pan).

Sautee the squash, onion, garlic, turmeric, salt and pepper in a nonstick pan coated with nonstick spray or a little coconut oil until beginning to soften.  You may need to add a little water to the pan to keep moisture in it.  Next add the carrot and cook until the vegetables are just cooked.  Place the vegetables in the prepared dish.  Sprinkle the Daiya evenly over the top.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the Daiya is melted and browned around the edges.  

What is your favorite cheesy dish?  Could you live without cheese?  I want to know who the cheese lovers are!


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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:54 AM   20 comments
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Gluten Free Pizzelles
I have to admit, I never had these before I met the illustrator.  I am noticing more and more when I write that my mother-in-law influences a lot of my cooking/baking.  I guess that's because I like suggestions from the illustrator since it is hard for me to focus on what to make all the time!
I was introduced to pizzelles years ago when my mother-in-law gave me my first pizzelle maker.  I can honestly say that we wore that machine out.  This one is a new one that my sister-in-law gave us as a gift (a year and a half ago) and it has never been used until now.  I am glad that I waited to use it so it has never had regular flour on it.  My procrastination paid off this time!  Since the illustrator was diagnosed with celiac, I don't use the same waffle iron for him that I use for the boys either.  We all eat mostly gluten free now...it is just easier and well, healthier.  Cross contamination is a huge NO NO in my house.  So, you can see why I was happy that this was completely clean!
Anyway, pizzelles...from what I have read, they are a small, round and flat cookie made with batter originating in Italy.  I would have to agree with that.  Think waffle cone, but smaller and flatter.  They are also super easy to make and a really tasty treat!  This machine came with a wooden shaper for small cones, but since I went for a thicker cookie, they did not bend.  I also made them gluten free, so that may be another reason why they were not stretchy.  Oh well, the cone would have been too small anyway.
I don't know why I don't make these more often.  They are so loved in this house.  They are perfect for making ice cream sandwiches or dipping in your ice cream (or coffee).
However, I think the favorite way to eat them is with chocolate spread and peanut butter!  These are not super sweet like a waffle cone would be.  I like to make them a little less sweet since we aren't a sweet devouring family and when you add sweet things to them, they are perfect!

Gluten Free Pizzelles

1 egg
3 TBSP raw sugar
10 drops vanilla NuNaturals stevia
3 TBSP melted and cooled Smart Balance Light (with flax)
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill white rice flour
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill brown rice flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup almond milk

Mix it all together and then cook according you the directions for your machine.

We are going on a work trip to Charlotte next weekend and I think I am going to take these along for snacks.  Now that the illustrator needs hobo snacks (that is what he used to call all the snacks I take with me on trips), I have to come up with options for both of us to travel with.  I always bake stuff for that trip since we don't get a whole lot of time to eat during the day and we like to keep our spending to a minimum.  I am also giving these a try with a flax egg to make them vegan...just cause I can't leave anything alone.  Besides, everybody could use a little extra fiber in their lives, right Laura?

Have you ever had pizzelles?  If so, what is your favorite way to eat them?  I am thinking some seven minute icing would be a perfect spread too!

Don't forget to enter the NuNaturals giveaway!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 12:19 PM   14 comments
Friday, May 28, 2010
NuNaturals Stevia...A Give Away!

The nice folks at NuNaturals shared their great products with me and now they want to share them with you!  They will award four (4) readers one (1) box of NuNaturals NuStevia White Stevia Powder, 50 ct. packets, plus one (1) bottle of Vanilla Stevia Liquid, 2 oz. size.  This contest is limited to the domestic U.S. residents only.  At the end of the contest I will supply everyone with a discount code so you can order some to try out!  You won't be disappointed! 

I don't know about you, but I am always trying to find ways to cut sugar in our diets and the NuNatural Products have definitely given me a great tasting alternative!  You should definitely go and check out all of the great products they have to offer.


My favorite in baking has definitely been the vanilla!  The droppers make them so easy to measure out and the vanilla adds the perfect about of sweetness and vanilla flavor to my beverages and baked goods! My family loves the subtle sweetness in our cornbread muffins!

Perfect in our pumpkin spice lattes this past fall!

The individual packets are perfect for carrying to the local coffee shop!  I love the creamy flavor these packets give my coffee!

The illustrator and I have been brewing unsweetened iced tea so we can sweeten it as little or as much as we like.  He likes the plain while I like the vanilla!  That explains a lot about us, right?
I used the NuNaturals Baking Blend in my baked oatmeal.  This product measures cup for cup for sugar.  Easy to use and tastes great!

I loved using the vanilla NuNaturals Stevia in my gluten free angel food cake...
and seven minute icing!
I almost forgot to mention the gluten free peach cobbler!
Now, I will share my newest love...the NuNaturals Cocoa Bean Extract.
To be honest with you, I am not a chocolate person.  As you can see, most things I eat are fruit based.  So, this one was not easy for me to come up with a recipe for.  I made the Vanilla Coconut Sorbet and then I made a Chocolate Coconut Sorbet.  Oh my...this is so good!  So creamy and rich!  If you like chocolate...you will love this!

Chocolate Coconut Sorbet


2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 TBSP arrowroot powder
3/4 tsp  NuNaturals Stevia cocoa bean extract
1 TBSP vanilla

Mix 1/4 cup milk with the arrowroot powder and set aside.  Combine 2 3/4 cup milk in a sauce pan with the brown sugar and cocoa powder.  Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Turn it off and whisk in the arrowroot mixture.  This will thicken as it cools a little.  Then add the stevia and vanilla.  Place in the fridge until cold.  Freeze in an ice cream freezer according your machine's directions.  Remove the sorbet from the freezer about 15 minutes before you plan to scoop it.  It will be just as creamy as the day you made it!
I also made gluten free pizzelles to go along with our build your own ice cream sandwiches with some vanilla NuNaturals stevia!
If all of this does not convince you to get some of this stuff...I don't know what will!

I have been asked if you can make the sorbet without an ice cream freezer.  I have no idea.  I don't want to recommend that to anyone without trying it first.  I have this one and I love it.  I got mine with two bowls, so I can keep a constant rotation of ice cream.

So here is the deal... leave a comment here telling me how you would use their products.  The contest ends June 1st at midnight eastern time.  One entry per person.  I will announce the 4 winners on Wednesday, June 2nd!  Good Luck!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 3:29 PM   45 comments
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Food, Fitness, Community and Dairy Free Coconut Vanilla Sorbet!
What is your relationship with food, fitness and community?  I know this seems like a silly question, but I was wondering how that fits into others' lives.  You see, for me, I have always done something physical.  I was not then, nor am I now, an athlete in any way.  I could not run to save my live.  Everybody knows the Phoebe run from Friends...well that is what I feel like when I run only carrying 50 pounds extra.  I think there is an art to running that I just don't have.  I am totally envious of those who can though!  I danced (mostly tap - yep the hat, the cane and feathers, some jazz and ballet only when I was really little) until I was in 10th grade.  From 8th grade on I have exercised by myself.  I don't know why, I just started doing it.  I remember the first workouts I did were Gilad's Body's In Motion, Jane Fonda and yes...Cher.  My workouts have changed a lot, but I still workout alone at home.  Now, I am an interval training/kickboxing kind of girl.  Funny that my workouts went from being prissy to being tough.  I don't mind working out alone since it is what I have always done.  I have found that I am better at it when I do it first thing in the morning.  I prefer the peace of everyone else still being asleep.

Today starts the first day of summer and things can get crazy around here.  I thought about sleeping in, but decided it was best for me to just get up and get going!  I have a friend that has a hard time finding a workout she likes.  So, I suggested she start with 15 minutes of any kind of cardio and 15 minutes of any kind of muscle toning a few days a week.  I think exercising is addicting and once you find something you like...you actually look forward to doing it!  I have also found that the blogging community is very encouraging when it comes to goals and ideas for different types of exercising!  Changing it up on a daily basis keeps it from getting boring!
We have also been talking about food.  I was the girl that thought fat free was the way to go for years!  I have learned a lot since then!  I am loving my healthy fats and finding new ways to incorporate them in EVERYTHING.   It is so easy to get bored with food and not know how to make it more interesting.  I am always looking at food and creating new recipes so sometimes it is hard for me to find a focus on what to make.  I am always asking the illustrator what he is in the mood for.  My friend and I went to the store the other day to shop for different foods.  I really enjoyed sharing my ideas on food and how to change things up a bit!  I introduced her to almond butter and quinoa...we now have another one on our side!
Sometimes, when things get boring, just seeing someone put a new spin on an old idea...inspires you!  Seriously, oats in a peanut butter jar is complete brilliance!  I think just putting food in pretty bowls or different containers makes it a little more fun!
The peanut butter swirl gets all melty and gooey from the hot oats!  I actually hide the "empty" jars in the fridge for occasions like this.  The boys celebrated the first day of summer break with waffles...I had the OIAJ (oats, flax, peanut butter, cinnamon and almond milk)!
I also like the blogging community because it gives me the ok to eat the way I like to eat!  Most people I know think I eat weird.  I can't help it...I like doing things differently!  My favorite meal is bean burgers on a salad.  Yesterday, I ate my last Lentil Quinoa Burger.  So sad, but since they are so easy to make...I need to get on it!
While most people eat french fries with there burgers...I love potato wedges on burger salads with mustard and ketchup, of course!  I just take my baked potato, cut it in half, add a little kosher salt/fresh ground pepper and toast it up in a nonstick skillet.
Oh and I can't forget dessert!  I blame Evan for my ice cream cravings lately!  I bought some So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage the other day and decided to make a Coconut Vanilla Sorbet.
Some dairy free chocolate chips make it an extra special treat!  This sorbet does not have a coconut flavor at all.  It is very vanilla and so creamy (low fat and low sugar).

Coconut Vanilla Sorbet

3 cups So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage
1/3 cup sugar
2 TBSP arrowroot powder
3/4 tsp vanilla NuNaturals Stevia
1 TBSP vanilla

Mix 1/4 cup milk with the arrowroot powder and set aside.  Combine 2 3/4 cup milk in a sauce pan with the sugar.  Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Turn it off and whisk in the arrowroot mixture.  This will thicken as it cools a little.  Then add the stevia and vanilla.  Place in the fridge until cold.  Freeze in an ice cream freezer according your machine's directions.

Did you always exercise?  What motivates you?  Do your friends eat like you or do you do your own thing?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 12:17 PM   20 comments
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Gluten Free Dairy Free Grilled Veggie Sandwich with Daiya!
I kicked Wednesday in the butt this morning!  I woke up a few minutes late, but I was not going to let that get me down!  I decided to jump up and get going.  I did some heart pumping cardio and then I literally worked my butt off(well, maybe not literally, but you get the idea)!  I am definitely going to be feeling that tomorrow...if not later today!

Today is the boys' last day of school.  Seriously...I will have a 4th grader and a 7th grader.  I am too young for this.  Although, since we decided to have kids earlier...we will still be young enough to really do some traveling later on!  While I am not wishing the time to go any faster (it is already slipping by), I am looking forward to going places with the illustrator.  Don't ask me why I went into all of this...

So, I went to Whole Foods the other day and guess what I got?
Yep, I mean seriously, how could I not.  Everybody in the dairy free community is going on and on about Daiya!  This is a new product on the grocery shelves that is a dairy free melty cheese alternative!  It is free of everything I have to look out for!  It's always so funny to me, when I tell people foods are dairy free, soy free, gluten free...they always get this look on their face and say, "Then what is it made of?".  Well,  this is made of amazing goodness and brought down by angels and fairies!
The base of Daiya is tapioca/arrowroot.  Plant based = perfect for me.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this stuff!  Since the illustrator begrudgingly gave me two slices of his Nature's Own Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread (that he has been having a not so secret love affair with), I decided this was a perfect opportunity to enjoy a grilled veggie sandwich with melty goodness.
Well, hello melted cheesy goodness!  Daiya is so melty and gooey!  The mozzarella flavor is very mild and worked perfectly with the grilled zucchini, squash and red pepper flavors.  What a great sandwich!  I have not had a panini in quite a while, so this totally hit the spot.
I saw the Nature's Own Gluten Free Bread at my local Kroger last week.  If you can get your hands on it...get it!  Seriously, like the illustrator said, "From now on, we will call this "bread"".  It tastes just like regular bread and it toasts up perfectly!  I did go overboard with the veggies, there was another piece of bread on the bottom.  So I had eat mine with a fork and knife, but I hate eating with my hands, so I didn't mind!

So, traveling...where have you been or where do you want to go?  We went to France years ago and I am so ready to go back!  I absolutely loved it!  I also want to go to Greece!  The list can go on and on...I still want to go to places on the west coast that I have not been to yet!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 1:28 PM   21 comments
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I lied...
Ok, so I lied.  Let me explain though....
Do you get a vision in your head when someone mentions a certain food?  I do.  I am not a sweet and savory kind of person.  (Unless we are talking peanut butter and pretzels) So, I don't really care for mixing my sweet squashes with savory foods.  Anyway, this is not the point.  The point is, when I mention certain foods to the illustrator, he gets a thought in his head about the food.  So, this morning, when he asked what was in his oatmeal...I said sweet potato.  Well, it wasn't.  It was butternut squash.  I have been searching everywhere for pumpkin and have not found it anywhere.  So, I grabbed a butternut squash from the store the other day to have with my oats.  I usual mix unsweetened applesauce into my oats because I love the consistency it adds to them.  The illustrator loves sweet potato oats (more than pumpkin) so I figured this was a little white lie.
I discovered a while back that oven roasted butternut squash with oats...is a perfect combination!  The caramelized edges of the squash are so sweet and tasty!  I normally mash them up and stir them in, but this morning I went a different route.  This was so good!  
(Oven Roasted Butternut Squash with Cinnamon Flax Oatmeal (and a dribble of almond milk)

Not to mention good for you!  Hello vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, a little calcium and protein too...do I need to go on?  You really can't beat a food like this that is so low in calories/fat and so good for you.  The only thing it was missing...a scoop of vanilla ice cream I made the other day.  I blame HEAB for making me want my breakfast A la Mode!  Almond butter would have been amazing too, but sadly...I am out!

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Coat the pan with cooking spray.  Peel and cut your butternut squash (This one was small, so I quartered it).  Spray the squash with a little cooking spray and roast for about an hour.

*I also like to use a little coconut oil when I roast mine, but I was trying to get the kids to school on time and I had to put gas in the car...so I went for quick this morning.

By the way, I did fess up to the illustrator.  He is really good about trying new things, but I wanted to see his reaction.  He loved it!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 3:34 PM   10 comments
Monday, May 24, 2010
Fresh Salsa
Who's ready for summer???  Me, me me!  I am already busting at the seams to get my hands on summer produce!  The salad I made last night was made of almost all left overs.  It was seriously thrown together and it was the freshest most amazing flavors!  A lot of people make fun of me because I am such a salad eater, but while I do love my salads, I have to have a lot of flavors to change it up!
Yesterday was a long day for me, so when I got home, I was starving!  Here are the players in the game...fresh cilantro (left over from dinner Saturday night...we forgot to use it)!  I love fresh herbs on salad.  It really adds a great flavor layer!
Next up...cucumber...crispy, cool and refreshing.
Jerk spiced grilled zucchini and squash...spicy and delicious!  Falafel chips...so crunchy and flavorful!
Black beans add great protein and a creamy texture to this beast of a salad...oh and home made salsa!  Homemade salsa makes you wonder why you would even buy the stuff in a jar!  Fresh, spicy...absolutely delicious!

Fresh Salsa

5 roma tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1/4 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno with the seeds
1/4 tsp salt
hand full of fresh cilantro

Blend it in a food processor and enjoy!

This salad got me thinking.  While I have dietary restrictions, eating stuff like this makes me not think twice about what I "can't" have.  I am helping a friend out with an elimination diet for digestion issues she is having.  I know a lot of people that read my blog have done some sort of elimination in their diet whether it is for health, fitness or digestion problems.  What are some suggestions you have for someone that is just starting out with restricting their diet?  My philosophy is always focus on what you can have and not what you can't have.  It makes the options seem like so much more!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 1:36 PM   17 comments
Sunday, May 23, 2010
FRESH!
Where did this weekend go?  It has been busy, but a lot of fun!  I will explain everything tomorrow, but for now, I am eating this salad sent from heaven and then a movie, Cold Mountain, with my best friend (the illustrator)!
Romaine lettuce, fresh cucumber, jerk grilled zucchini and squash, black beans, homemade fresh salsa, Falafel Chips and fresh cilantro.  This is the best thing I ate all weekend!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 7:32 PM   8 comments
Friday, May 21, 2010
Who forgot the lettuce?
Too tired to function...
This is the table outside my back door.  Everything is green, but completely soaked!

I blame the weather.  I blame the activities that have been going on all week for the end of the school year festivities.  Let's just say I am ready for some good sunshine and maybe sleeping in tomorrow morning!  On top of the weather funk...there was no lettuce in my house today...of any kind!  Seriously, whose house is this?  Oh and no apples.  If you take my oatmeal away, I would think it was the end of the world.
After eating random leftover stuff from the fridge for lunch, we are heading to the grocery store!  Not that this was bad...cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, black beans and hot sauce...
The illustrator knew exactly what he was having... Nature's Own Gluten Free Bread, leftover roasted pulled pork and mashed potatoes.  We are definitely the polar opposite of Jack Sprat and his wife!
Ok...back from the store!  I am about to slash into all of this and things are going to be so much better in the world!
We are headed for a (hopefully sunny) full day at the park tomorrow.  Jay is doing a side walk chalk competition and then we are having dinner with the illustrator's cousin and his wife!  We are cooking up a feast together and chatting about food.  So, sunshine, food, family...I am totally looking forward to tomorrow!

Anybody have any fun plans this weekend?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 PM   9 comments

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