Friday, July 30, 2010
Trial and Error...
Ok, I did a strength training workout on Exercise Tv two days ago that killed my butt. It's this guy that I blame! Just goes to show you what changing it up with do! So, today I had a little fun with a boot camp and then I did more upper body strength training...and lots of stretching of the gluteus maximus!  After our walk this morning, I got back and made French toast!
I told you I have been craving bread lately. Well, this little baking adventure started out with a loaf of gluten free banana bread. I did something a little different in that I used yeast and baking powder in the bread. I was looking for something with a crusty exterior and a chewy interior.
It was very sturdy and not too sweet.  It had a great texture, but I want a little more fluff. Perfect for a schmear of peanut butter, though!
Here is a picture of the backside...in honor of my sore backside!
This is definitely heading in the right direction, but I want to work on it more. I used a mixture of buckwheat, brown rice flour and white rice flour.  I liked the combination of yeast and baking powder, since they both help with the lift while the yeast adds a nice flavor. I knew it would not stay fresh for long though so we all decided French toast was the way to go with the left overs.
As a side note, this was the illustrator's plate and I have to say that I was super impressed with the banana to French toast ratio! He is seriously changing his ways! Don't worry, there will always be chicken wings in his life, but it makes me feel better that he is adding this kind of stuff in there too! The bread worked really well as French toast and was the perfect fuel for the water park adventures today.

We only have one more week until school is back on and the kids are freaked out about not getting to go anymore, but I assured them that we will go until they close it down. Oh, and I am pretty sure that the people at the water park read my rules since there have not been any white clothing mishaps since the original rules were listed. Thank you to all of you who have purchased bathing suites with liners...you have saved me from having to explain all kinds of things to my boys!

So, do you have a recipe that is a work in progress or do you just give up and move on when something isn't where you want it? I can't let things go with food. I want it to get to where I want it to be!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:45 PM   16 comments
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Changing Your Eating Style
I think it is pretty funny that people are not so so on the mushroom front...you are a hater or a lover! I love food preferences. It is fun to know why people love or hate something. I love oatmeal, but I know many people that hate it for the texture. I used to hate bananas as a kid, but as an adult, I love them. Jay, my 9 year old, is a mushroom and banana hater. He loves banana bread, but not the fruit at all. He is getting better about choices, so I am not going to complain.
The other night (you know, not last night, but the one before that one) was pasta bake night for the boys with the left over meat sauce, so I decided to go a different route since we have not restocked the canned tomatoes from our pantry raid. I have been craving sandwiches lately. It seems weird, soups and now sandwiches...don't worry, I haven't left my salads behind. I am just craving things to sink my teeth into. I opted for the easy toast option and made a waffle egg sandwich with good ol yellow mustard. My favorite! It has been so long!
I had it with a side of sauteed peppers, onions and broccoli (all in the name of cleaning out the freezer). This was a perfect dinner and it just made me feel good after eating it. This leads to my next topic of conversation...changing foods up.

So, the illustrator and I have been talking a lot lately about food. I have always focused on healthy choices and how foods work with us to make us better.  For my own personal reasons, I do not eat meat. My family does and I completely respect that choice. I cook meat, so I am sure some that goes against some code. However, I think we all need to do what works for us as individuals. I would love to say that we eat all organic, but quite frankly, we can't afford that. We do what we can for us to make the best out of our food choices. I prepare most things from scratch so that I can keep an eye on the fats, preservatives and overall nutrition of what we eat. Besides, it is a lot more cost effective for our family. That is not the case with everyone, but it is what works for us. The illustrator has recently taken a huge interest in eating more of the same things. Let me repeat...I do not judge or push my views of food on anyone. The illustrator has asked that I start preparing more vegetarian meals for our family to eat. This is shocking, but it is comforting since I don't feel so alone in my food journey anymore! He also emailed me the dirty dozen list today.  For those that don't know it...

The Dirty Dozen

Celery
Peaches
Strawberries
Apples
Domestic blueberries
Nectarines
Sweet bell peppers
Spinach, kale and collard greens
Cherries
Potatoes
Imported grapes
Lettuce

The Clean 15

Onions
Avocados
Sweet corn
Pineapples
Mango
Sweet peas
Asparagus
Kiwi fruit
Cabbage
Eggplant
Cantaloupe
Watermelon
Grapefruit
Sweet potatoes
Sweet onions

I do know it, but am guilty of purchasing my favorites knowing they aren't clean. After really talking about it, I realize that the amount of fresh produce I eat means that I eat a lot of chemicals. For some people this may not be enough to think about. I am going to start making a change at this point. I need to be more mindful of everything and try to eat more seasonally too in order to save money on this list. I was really surprised when the illustrator told me again that he was concerned since I eat a lot of the stuff from the dirty list (apples and lettuce) on a daily basis. So, after this round of pesticides is done, I am moving forward to go the organic route, at least on the things I eat on a daily basis.

Do you eat organic all the time? If not, do you try when you can or do you figure if you are eating healthy it doesn't really matter.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 4:45 PM   24 comments
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Mushroom Hater or Lover?
I am keeping it simple tonight, but I was just in heaven with this salad and thought I would share my joy!
It was so simple since Mr. George Foreman (the other man in my life) grilled me up some portobello mushrooms to feast on with carrots, tomato, romaine, spicy brown mustard and a roll that I threw together. The roll was dense, chewy and full of whole grain goodness! My favorite kind of bread!
The mushrooms were juicy and delicious!  I loved the spicy mustard as the dressing! Is it weird I like the burn that shoots up through your nose when you eat spicy mustard...never mind...I think I just answered my own question.

So, mushroom hater or lover? I think you know what I am!

Have a great night!  We are watching more My So Called Life tonight!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 7:09 PM   22 comments
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Back On Track...
I am trying to get back on track. I missed my workout yesterday, so I was anxious to get to it this morning! I hate missing a workout. It felt weird to come back on a Monday too. The day was halfway over when we started doing things we needed to get done. I decided to start today with some cardio boxing and weights before we went on our morning walk. We both must have been pretty exhausted because we did not talk much and we cut a few minutes off our normal time. The illustrator is swamped with work and I needed to get to the store for a few things. We decided to wait and do our big pantry restock trip when the boys are back in school (less than 2 weeks). So, today was just a few things to get us through. Although, with the way the boys ate today...I will be back at the store in a few days!

When we got home yesterday, it was lunch time. We knew we would only be gone for a couple of days so we left a few things in the fridge for when we returned. There is nothing worse than coming home to nothing to eat in the house. We decided that lunch would be easy...
for me it was a salad with mung bean sprouts, romaine, Spicy Falafel Chips and hot sauce!
(Roasted pork pasta with garlic bread)

While putting lunch together we talked about dinner and what our options were.  We did this last time so I thought I would share this time.  To the left over oven roasted pork shoulder (about 3 cups shredded), we added a jar of pasta sauce, a large can of whole tomatoes, 4 cloves of garlic (chopped) and a large onion (sliced).  We baked it at 350 degrees for about 3 hours. Have you ever baked your pasta sauce? That is how we made it growing up and I swear it is incredible. It makes the sauce so rich. This is what the boys had.
Note to self, when making pasta for the boys, make sure the illustrator has pasta! Oops! Luckily we had some Udi's pizza crusts to make a pizza with or it would have been a really frustrating food night!
These worked perfectly!  The crust is essentially a flatbread, so it makes a great thin crust pizza!
Me, I had another quinoa bake topped with Daiya. This time I used a new product that I recieved...Smoked Chipotle Hummus from Flamous Brands.
Loved the spicy flavor it added to the mixture! It is very thick and full of flavor. I really like that is it shelf stable! It is always nice to have things like this on hand in the pantry for a little added flavor to dishes!
You know me though, I added more heat! My mother-in-law thinks I am going to burn out my belly, but it is so good!

Thank you for all the kinds words on my mom and sister! It really means so much to me! My sister is doing well and staying put in the hospital. My mom is on her way back home for more evaluations and in a few weeks she will have physical therapy. She is tough, so I have no doubt she will be as good as new! I am taking Madeline's advice and using the power of positivity this week! I will make this a great week!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:50 PM   17 comments
Monday, July 26, 2010
Where to begin?
We are finally home, after an interesting weekend.  While there was some down time with swimming in the lake and playing card games, there was also some stress.  My sister is doing fine.  She is still on bed rest in the hospital, but every day she holds the little man in her belly is another day he gets stronger.  The other strange twist on this weekend is that my mother, who was helping take care of my sister's 3 year old while she is in the hospital, fell while she was at a restaurant with my dad celebrating there wedding anniversary. Apparently there was water outside the bathroom door and she slipped and fell.  She has torn a muscle from her hip bone which actually broke a piece of the bone off with it.  Just typing that makes me hurt behind my knees.  So, both my mother and sister have been in the same hospital over the weekend...weird stuff.  All of this led to not so much sleep on Saturday night due to the text messages of distress starting at 3:50am and the concern of my mom needing surgery the next morning.  Luckily, she will not need surgery, but unfortunately, it will take a long time to heal and now my sister is short the help. I guess this is the good side of having a bigger family, we can all pitch in to help out. So, I may or may not be heading there at some point to help. At any rate, we are back to moving in the right direction. Now if everyone would just stay put, we will be in great shape.


Now, where to start with my stuff...
Friday night was such a great night!  I went to my first blogger meet up at Season 52! This was the perfect spot for a healthy blogger meet up!  Everything on the menu is less than 475 calories and caters to dietary restrictions. I had the seasonal market vegetable plate with almond tabbouleh, roasted peppers, carrots, asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes and golden beets. I had never had roasted golden beets, but lets just say I am going to get my hands on more soon! Absolutely amazing! I, sadly, did not take my camera with me for the occasion. Luckily Em, sent me a picture of the group! Thanks Em for coordinating such a great evening. It is so comforting to hang out with people who share a similar lifestyle as me. We automatically had so much to talk about!

From left to right we have Emily (who came in from Boston), Laura, Lee, Tyler, Me, Anna (reader), Em and Tina.
The boys tubing! My in-laws live right on this lake. I wish I could own a place like this!

We got up early on Saturday morning to head out to my in-laws house.  This was the last chance for the illustrator to see daylight for the next few months. We had not been there since last winter and we really wanted to go visit them before the summer was over. I did not take my camera to the lake so the only shot I got was on my phone of the boys tubing. The had a blast and I was so happy the weather cooperated! The illustrator and I took some time to float around the lake and enjoy the outdoors. It was very calm and relaxing until we got a visitor...a SNAKE! Anyone who knows me, knows that I am deathly afraid of snakes!  This scared me the heck out of both of us. I was out of the water in a flash and the illustrator got out so fast, he cut is toe and leg up on a rock. After looking around, I am pretty sure it was poisonous, that is my story and I am sticking to it. Since I did not work out the past three days, that moment was enough cardio for one of those days (probably all 3)! Holy crap, I still have the willies!
My first meal there was a salad! I know, shocker! My mother-in-law stocks me up on vegetables when I go visit her. This is my salad bowl when I go there. I LOVE retro bowls! My lunch upon arrival was fresh romaine lettuce, fresh Tennessee tomatoes, my stash of Spicy Falafel Chips and a boat load of hot sauce! Perfect start to the weekend! I pretty much ate the same thing with variations throughout the weekend. I also have a favorite oatmeal bowl, but again, did not take the camera out for the rest of the weekend. Sometimes you just have to step away from the camera. Besides, mine is pretty large and now I want a smaller point and shoot to carry with me just for fun stuff. Any suggestions for a good one?
Now we are home and it is time to get back into the groove of normal life. I am baking a batch of oatmeal cereal for the week. I am also ready to start playing with some summer produce. I hope to get to the local farmer's market tomorrow afternoon to get some goodies...you have to support the local farmers when you can! Hopefully the next couple of weeks will go by a little slower for the boys since it is almost time for school to start up again!

So, what did I miss over the weekend?  Any suggestions for point and shoot cameras?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:21 PM   28 comments
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Off We Go!
We are heading out to my in-laws for a little get away for a few days!!!  Hopefully some lake time and some games for a fun family weekend! I had a great dinner with other Atlanta Bloggers last night and I will share more when I return!

Have a great weekend!!!

Oh, I had roasted golden beets for the first time last night and fell in love!  Why did no one tell me they were that good?
posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 8:48 AM   13 comments
Friday, July 23, 2010
BBQ Mung Bean Salad

I hope everyone is having a great Friday so far. I definitely started it off right! We got our morning walk in before the air was completely unbearable. It is so hot here! I think we may actually be heading to the illustrator's parents house for the weekend! It will be the last chance we get for a while and since they live on the lake, it will be a nice refreshing get away for a day.
After the bigger lunch yesterday, I was craving something light for dinner. I bought peaches the other day on sale and since I had not enjoyed any summer peaches yet, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity.
I also had some mung bean sprouts that were ready to be enjoyed! Have you ever grown your own bean sprouts? They are so easy to do! We actually started our sprouting adventures last summer and became addicted to them. They are so great on summer salads and in veggie stir fries! Besides being tasty these suckers are really nutritious! Bean sprouts are pretty fascinating. Mung bean sprouts are high in vitamins A, B, C, and E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and amino acids. They are also a good source of protein and fiber. Another comforting thing, when you grow them at home, you don't have to worry about food born illnesses! Did I mention how much cheaper they are too?
I decided to add a little BBQ sauce to some bean sprouts for a raw BBQ salad with fresh Georgia peaches! Perfect summer salad!

Mung Bean Sprouts
1/4 cup dried mung beans

Soak beans 8 hours in a jar with purified water. Place a mesh on top of the jar (or a lid with holes poked in the top) and drain the water off the beans. Store in a place outside of direct sun light. Rinse and drain 3 times a day for 3 days or until they are the size you want. Then refrigerate and enjoy!

I have also grown lentil sprouts and I love them too!

Do you like sprouts?  Have you ever grown them before?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 12:19 PM   20 comments
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Lunch With Guests...
Where in the world did today go?  I got up, again, before the alarm went off.  This morning I had to get up anyway by 6am to put a pork shoulder in the oven since we were having company for lunch today.  So, the 5:50am internal alarm only got me up a few minutes early.  Sadly, there was no morning walk with the illustrator today. I am surprised how much I love that time. It's probably the company...I love our morning talks! I did my 30 minutes of boot camp and 30 minutes of muscle toning (mostly worked the booty and triceps today) after putting the food in the oven and the day was going!
This is going to shock you, but I made a double batch of waffles first thing for the boys. Everybody is enjoying the waffles lately. I figured while I was in the kitchen, I may as well make it a double so I could freeze some for easy breakfasts/snacks/sandwiches.
We had a great lunch today. I normally do salad for lunch, but today I had green beans and mashed potatoes. I figured I would just do my salad tonight. I didn't have any protein for me at lunch, which I was bummed about, but I will make up for it tonight. Maybe some hemp fudge topping for my oats...yum! Everybody seemed to thoroughly enjoy the oven roasted pork. This is so easy and it always seems to please people.  Ladies, if your men eat pork, make this for them...they will love you more for it! Besides, it makes perfect leftovers!
While I was in the kitchen waiting for our guests to arrive, I threw together some more bread since the boys asked for more.  This one had more wheat flour in it and I actually lost track of what I was doing so I am not sure what I did in the end. I hate being distracted (read not concentrating on one thing) when I am working on recipes.  I always lose track of what I am doing. It still turned out well even though I am not sure what I did. I do know that it was not loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other unrecognizable ingredients, so that is a bonus. I guess I will have to make it again and try to focus on what I am doing.

Then, when our company left, the boys asked for a treat. After being in the kitchen all morning cooking and then cleaning, I really wanted to do something simple. I decided to make my flourless peanut butter cookies. They are so simple and bake in no time.
I used to make these with a different sweetener, but this time I made them with dark brown sugar. Perfect ending to a perfect day!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients. Using a medium cookie scoop, drop cookie dough on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes on pan and then place on a cooling rack. Makes about 18 cookies depending on the size scoop you use.



I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with the illustrator today. I LOVE cooking with him. When people come over to eat, they always think it is all me, but we always cook together when we cook for guests. Do you like cooking with people or do you prefer to be alone in the kitchen?

I can't wait for FRIDAY!!!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 8:44 PM   16 comments
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Have I Mentioned How Much I Love Waffles?
Thank you to everyone for your thoughts for my sister. I spoke with her today and she is doing well.  At this point, she has at least another week in the hospital. My guess is longer, but every day is another day the baby gets stronger!

I am waking up earlier than I want to lately. I wish that I could at least sleep until the alarm goes off. I lay there now so I don't wake the illustrator up when I get up. He needs his sleep! I think I am in that weird state of being over tired...mentally and physically. I am hoping to get to bed a little earlier tonight...I am thinking we will watch the last episode of the first disk of "My So Called Life" and then we will be off to bed. We watched this when it was on TV and it is weird how I remember how I felt at that age. Now I am watching it from a different perspective since I have kids that aren't far from that age. That is scary! I am still that girl though. I swear I got chills last night when Jordan Catalano said Angela's name for the first time. Does anyone know what I am talking about? 
Now, for my latest obsession...waffle sandwiches!  Seriously, I can't get enough of them.  I have to restrain myself from boring you guys to death with the number of waffles I have been making. They are perfect for a breakfast sandwich though!  Mine was a fried egg and Daiya melted between 2 waffle wedges.
Jay went monte cristo style this morning. His had ham in it and a little bit of powder sugar on top. This was all his doing. I was pretty impressed with his thought process. I've warned you...I am on a waffle craze. It really makes the perfect sandwich!

What is your latest obsession food or otherwise?

What are your favorite old tv shows? Mine are "My So Called Life", "Felicity", "Mad About You"...I am sure I could go on, but these are shows that I love to rewatch.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 8:38 PM   18 comments
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Sisters...
My morning started with the cat knocking the aloe plant in the master bathroom on the floor at 5:50am. Immediately after that, I got a text from my sister. So, this will explain my train of thought here...
(2006)
I have 3 of them. We are all different, but all the same. It is kind of weird, but true. We have a lot of the same endearing quirks, but use them in different ways. Three of us are married and our husbands just love this about us! Well, that is what we think anyway.
(2007)
I am the oldest and am 16 years older than the youngest. From left to right in the above picture is Mackenzie (the baby), me (the oldest), Tara (the oldest middle - who is pregnant here) and Whitney (the younger middle).
(2005)
I am having this moment today because I am really missing them. They all live in Virginia except for me.  All these emotions are sparked because Tara is in the hospital and I want to be with her. She is 25 weeks pregnant.  This would be the second time this has happened to her. Her first son was born at 30 weeks. I know I can't do anything for her, but I just want to be with her. She went into labor last night and they got things to stop. She is there until at least tomorrow, but they may keep her longer.
(2007)
Tara and I were just like my boys. We were really close growing up because we were close in age. We knew exactly how to get to the other one too. She is stubborn, hardheaded and sweet all at the same time. I remember this feeling like it was yesterday with her in the hospital...I just want to hug her. Whitney is the princess and always has been. She is prissy and has a heart of gold. Mackenzie is a one of a kind. She does her best to be the polar opposite of all of us. She does a pretty good job of it too. Kenzie wants you to think she doesn't care, but she really does. Me, well, they all think I am a goody two shoes. I'm not, but they have that vision of me. I was the oldest so I did my best to please everyone (I also was the first and the first gets away with nothing). I never really wanted to stand out in a crowd, so I just did the best I could to make people happy.
(2004)
Sorry for the mushy post, but I just needed to get it off my chest.  I have thought about Tara nonstop since last night.  I miss them all so much! Hopefully things will improve for her and she can bring home a healthy baby when he is born this time around.

As for me now...I need to go bake something!

Do you have siblings? Are you close in age? Do you live close to one another?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:17 PM   21 comments
Monday, July 19, 2010
Operation Clean Out!
Thank you for all of the nice comments yesterday! Honestly, I hated writing that I was kinda down. I mean seriously, who wants to read about Debbie Downer. Then again, this is where I write about what I am going through. So, I thought I would share. We all can't be happy all of the time! Today is better and I have high hopes for this week! At least I am putting my best foot forward...whatever that means!

Now, let's talk about operation clean out! I have a secret first...ssshhh, don't tell my kids, but summer is over in 3 weeks. So, that means it is time to clean out the old and bring in some new. Well, in the kitchen anyway, not the kids. We started the summer off with a huge "staples" grocery trip and we really need to keep the rotation going. It is always good to have "staples", but we have a tendency to get some stuff and have it sit in the freezer or pantry for too long. You know that freezer burned bag of funk in the back of the freezer that you can't see for the ice cream cartons sitting in the front...yep, I ate it!
All I can say is that this can lead to some strange and delicious discoveries! I found some cranberries and rhubarb in the freezer. The rhubarb had been opened before, so it really needed to go! Trust me, it needed to go. I, of course, will not just throw things away. I made this mixture that was like sour patch kids gone wild!
I mixed some rhubarb and cranberries together, microwaved them, added a little Crofter's Asia and a few drops of vanilla NuNaturals stevia. I tasted it thinking it would be a tart little fruit salad (Max stole the last apple which would have been perfect in here-healthy eating kids can put a damper on your last bit of fresh food in the house)back to the mixture...um, it was crazy tart. Then I decided to put some unsweetened cooked oats on top...perfect. This would be my version of a "yogurt"snack without the yogurt. The oats definitely cut the tart, added creaminess and it was a delicious snack on a rainy day! If you like sweet/tart things...I highly recommend doing this! It's like grown up candy! Also, the cranberries and rhubarb are loaded with good stuff for you!
The next part of operation clean out was frozen vegetables. The boys had pasta bake the other night and the bake idea sounded good to me. I chose to go a different route though. I made a quinoa vegetable bake with Daiya on top! This was a couple of cups of frozen (defrosted) broccoli, a cup of canned diced tomatoes, 1 cup cooked quinoa on top of the vegetable mixture with 1/4 cup Daiya broiled on top!  YUM! By the way, in case you haven't tried it, Daiya freezes incredibly well! I used it frozen on this and it even browned up on top!
I was definitely happy with cleaning out the last of the coconut vanilla sorbet for dessert!  Now I can make more!  I needed to get rid of the cantaloupe too.  Sadly, the cantaloupe have not been that great this summer.  However topped with this...definitely helps out the lack luster produce!

So, do you like sweet/tart foods?  I used to eat the heck out of Sour Patch Kids...until they burned my mouth.  I don't even want to think about the chemicals they put on that stuff!

Do you do a seasonal clean out of food? We are doing one now because we have things we noticed have been hanging around too long...i.e. the cans of bean and bacon soup the illustrator got before he was diagnosed with celiac!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:22 PM   22 comments
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Feel Good Meal...
I am not going to lie to you, I have been really stressed out lately. I am working through it, but my brain needs a serious vacation. I am not a stress eater either. I am kind of the polar opposite. So, when this happens, I actually turn to baking wholesome foods. I know, just add that to my list of strange things. I decided to make a loaf of bread since the younger boys were out. I am always on the search for making the perfect loaf even though I know this is difficult from a home kitchen, but I am trying.
I don’t know if it is the smartest thing to try something new when you are stressed, but I did it anyway. I am a glutton for punishment. Luckily, the bread turned out better than I thought it would! I ended up mixing some of my bread recipes together since I was running low on yeast, or at least I thought I was. I knew I had bought some a few weeks ago and when I went to make the gigantic caramel cinnamon roll, I could only find one pack. That was irritating...   
Wouldn't you know, after I put everything together I found the other packs of yeast. Yep, that is how things are going lately! Although, on the bright side, look at the crumb on this bread! It has a nice crusty outside and a chewy inside. I sliced a piece this morning for toast and the texture is the same as yesterday! I am so surprised it is not all crumbly. Now I want to play with it. You know I can't leave anything alone!
As you can tell from this shot...this is not gluten free. You can actually see the gluten strands. Since I didn't have much yeast, I decided to use some beer that has been hanging around for a while. Now that the illustrator can't have Guinness anymore, I thought it would give the bread a great flavor and help with the rise. I hate baking what he can't have and I tried to put this together quickly so he would not see the beer, but he could smell it. That man knows his beer (poor thing). Even though he can't drink it, he did not want me to use it in bread. He said to save it for when people (Matt or Wayne) come over. I think it is just a tease to have it here anyway. Besides, it makes a great bread!
We wanted comfort food last night, so I made Split Pea Soup (in the pressure cooker) since we have been craving it from a few weeks ago!  I cooked it on the stove last time, but with everything going on here yesterday, I ran out of time to make it slow. Have I mentioned how much I love my pressure cooker?! This little cup was Jay's (11) who swore he would not like it. He was licking the cup by the end!
In the pressure cooker, it cooked the peas down a lot and the carrots still stayed chunky, but very soft. We agreed that it was the perfect consistency! I know, it's summer and we ate soup, but the illustrator keeps the house pretty chilly and it was extremely overcast here, so it was the perfect comfort meal.

This is for my grandmother - Don't get me wrong, things are not horrible, just a lot going on at once. So don't worry about me. Hopefully for the best though...keep your fingers crossed! I have to add that because Little Granny worries when she reads this! 
Also, I was not punishing the illustrator by making bread...he got a new loaf of Udi's Whole Grain Bread to try and he loved it! The texture on the outside is crusty with a chewy, light inside. He liked that it didn't "need" to be toasted either. That is a huge bonus with gluten free breads!
I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 12:11 PM   20 comments
Friday, July 16, 2010
Giant Caramel Cinnamon Roll and a happy mess!
Before we get to the good stuff...I would just like to say that my hamstrings are killing me this morning and yes, Heather, I blame you. I guess after reading about how Heather wanted to work on her hamstrings, I got it in my head that I needed to work on mine. Deadlifts get me every time! Well, let's just say that I am glad tomorrow is an off day for me!
I don't think I have mentioned it before, but we have been doing movie nights with the boys this summer. It is so strange when your kids change over from the 7:30 bedtime. Now we are all going to bed at the same time...which just so you know...11:00 is too late for me since I am the one that gets up early to workout. While they were all still in la la land this morning, they got the benefits of my early rising since they woke up to this. A giant caramel cinnamon roll!
Smothered in icing!
This was all sparked by gluten free cinnamon rolls that I got for the illustrator...
He told the boys that I could make them "way better" cinnamon rolls so the gluten free ones were his. I haven't tried making gluten free cinnamon rolls yet. That is definitely on my list though. So, I got to work on the gluten filled rolls. I didn't mind though, I like it when they ask me to make stuff because I get tired of trying to come up with things to make sometimes. It was getting late last night, so I took the easy road. I made my pizza dough cinnamon rolls. I still had some caramel sauce in the fridge too that I wanted to use for something. So, I had this crazy idea to fill the dough with that. Um, that was a mess! I know I could have just made sticky buns, but the boys wanted cinnamon rolls...there is a difference.
Although, in the end...not so much a mess! This is the bottom. These were soft, gooey and perfect for celebrating FRIDAY!
While I was rolling the dough up, all the caramel was moving out. So, I decided to roll the other side toward the caramel river that was overflowing. There was no way this was going to get cut into rolls! I ended up just making this giant caramel cinnamon roll. I put it together last night and placed it in the fridge overnight to proof. This morning, when I got up to work out, I put the roll in the cold oven and then turned it on to proof and bake. Thirty minutes later...a heavenly mess emerged from the oven!

I know everyone has a recipe for pizza dough, but this is my go to...

Quick Pizza Dough

1 1/2 cup white wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp quick rise (instant yeast)
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP oil or applesauce
1 cup warm water

Put flour through honey in your mixing bowl. Start mixing and add water slowly until the dough comes together.  Mix for 5 minutes.   

So, back to the movies...we have watched Alien, Predator, Finding Nemo, Lilo and Stitch, Ratatouille, Monsters Inc. and last night was Super Size Me. Ironically, that was the kids choice. Now, I don't agree with everything that is in that movie, but it was totally fascinating to watch the kids' reaction to the information. We don't eat out at fast food places often. However, there are occasions when that is the only option. We all know that Chick-fil-A was brought down from heaven. The part of that movie that gets me the most is when his body starts to crave it. I seriously believe that you can change your tastes. I think food is an addiction no matter what you eat. Ever since I started making hummus, you would think I was giving my family crack. After one batch is gone...they are jonesing for the next.

So...here are the questions..

1. What do you think of that movie? Agree or disagree?

2. I need some movie suggestions.  Things like Ferris Bueller, but not that one...I am out of ideas.  I don't think I can get them to watch Steel Magnolias, but it would be nice to watch a more of a chic flick than Alien!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 3:36 PM   34 comments

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