Monday, January 31, 2011
Old Favorites...
Where in the world has the time gone? Seriously, things are going too fast lately. After I finished up my work project from last week, I needed to get cracking on some book keeping stuff for the illustrator's business. I wish I could say that I have had great stuff coming out of the kitchen, but sadly, only a loaf of gluten free bread has been baked since last Friday. I am starting to get a little crazy from not cooking.  The boys aren't really feeling well, so we are going very easy with dinner. I have been asked to make grilled chicken with baked potatoes and green beans. So, super simple. I am not going to complain since we are all pretty exhausted and I think it is going to be a super early night.

The illustrator went to a convention this weekend in New Orleans and I made him some treats for the road. I had a crazy Thursday night baking up...

ConCookies (these gluten free oatmeal cookies are a life saver when it comes to a great filling snack)

Sausage Balls! I have never put my version of this recipe here, but if you want it, let me know. These are gluten free, but not dairy free. The illustrator is a slave to the almighty sausage ball!

Jay has requested that I make the Boston Cream Pie Waffles again and I have to agree with is definitely time to have them again!

I am craving my chickpea cauliflower salad on savory waffles! This is the perfect season for it too!

I am also craving some black bean dip and...

pupusas filed with Daiya and...

quinoa pizza bake.

I feel like sometimes I want to be really creative and come up with something completely new and sometimes I want some of my old favorites.  I think this week will be a week of some of my favorite oldies!

What are you craving this week?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:52 PM   21 comments
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Peanut Butter Honey Cereal Bars
First things first...thank you all for your kind words about the pie and finding a way to overcome fears. You have no idea how much it means to me to have your support. I am really working on allowing myself to be "me" this year. I guess, I am finally old enough to be allowed to do that. So, thank you all so much!

Yesterday flew by for me. The illustrator walked downstairs at 8:20am and was blown away by the mess I had already created in the kitchen. By this time, I had already worked out, made pancakes for one boy, made an over easy egg with toast for the other boy and put a recipe together in the crockpot for a client.

Yeah, it looked like a cartoon mess in the kitchen. No worries, I tackled the mess and created a great recipe for my client!

Since everything was crazy around here yesterday, I kept other things a little more simple. The boys wanted a treat after dinner so I threw together a little peanut butter and honey cereal bar.

The recipe was quick easy and who doesn't love the peanut butter honey combination? Well, except vegans, but I am sure you can use agave here too.

The boys have been on an ice cream kick lately.  I have no idea how anyone could eat anything that cold while it is so cold outside. Although, once I did one for them, I had to have one while I sat with my back almost in the fireplace.  I love melted peanut butter on vanilla "ice cream" and the honey gets all thick and good!

Peanut Butter Honey Cereal Bars

6 cups corn flake cereal (I used gluten free)
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cups natural peanut butter

Microwave the peanut butter and honey for 1 minute 30 seconds until it is melted and liquid. Add the cereal and stir to coat well. Place in an 8x8 square dish that has been sprayed with a little nonstick spray. Using wax or parchment paper, firmly press the cereal in the pan so it all comes together tightly. Refrigerate until set. 

***These set up in the fridge, but if you want a firmer bar, you should add 1 TBSP flax meal to the peanut butter mixture and bake them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Now, it's time to tackle Thursday!  It is going to be crazy, but for now, the sun is shining so I feel a little more excited about tackling my to do list! Does the weather effect you? I need sunshine occasionally. It seems like it has been so gray lately.  I hope you all have a great day!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:27 AM   34 comments
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
My Pie Fears...
As I wrote this post, I realized this was a really long winded way for me to say I need to start tackling my fears more often and go down the path less traveled for me. I tend to err on the side of caution, but I am starting to realize that I am the one that holds me back. I am working on this and hopefully this year I will see some positive changes due to some risk taking! I would apologize for the length on this, but I imagine you are here because you want to be. So, let's talk lemon meringue pie...

It appears as though most of you are a little afraid to tackle making pies too. I went to culinary school and have made way fancier things than pies, but for some reason, they still kind of scare me. There is the whole crispy, soggy, wet, firm, flavor equation that has to all work out or it is a failure.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I am not much of a pie eater, unless we are talking pumpkin, coconut cream, banana cream, pecan, chocolate pudding, broken glass...well, maybe I thought I wasn't, but I think I may be? Anyway, here's a food fact about me...I don't like sweet lemon anything any more. Sadly, I used to. I made the fatal mistake of taking my colonoscopy prep meds with lemonade. Word of advice, don't do that prep with things you love. Anyway, now the taste of anything sweet lemon flavored gags me. However, I did try this lemon pie filling and I thought it was really good. In fact, I loved the hint of lemon with the thick creamy custard. The lemon in this is not knock you over lemon, but just enough to compliment the custard filling. I know you are probably wondering why I even made a lemon pie at all, but the illustrator loves them and the boys like lemon too. It can't always be about me, right?

I bought the stuff a while ago to try a few new things out and so with some time on my hands, while the illustrator worked on Sunday, I decided to make a treat for the boys. 

My mother-in-law is the pie maker in our family. I believe this pie plate was given to me from her stash! I wish she would have been here to try this pie since she loves lemon. I will definitely make this the next time my in-laws come here.

I have been researching gluten free flours for a while now. Everything I learned from school or practice has gone out the window when it comes to gluten free. Luckily, today was a great day for pastry in my kitchen. I put into thought the ratio of proteins, fats, binders and liquids to make this crust up. 

There is a method to these things, but the ratios and quantities you chose definitely impact the end product as far as texture and flavor go. 

In my opinion, gluten free pastries need to be a softer dough in order to give you a more tender and less dense end product. I blindly went into this whole thing without knowing if the edges would stay crimped or if the whole thing would even taste good.

This was a pretty big gamble since we couldn't even taste the dough until the pie was completed. Another tricky part of pie making is patience...yeah, I have non of that.

I took my basic recipe for a custard filling, added some lemon juice and zest. This was an egg free filling too, so it was a lot lighter than a heavy egg custard. It is also a little paler in color too, but I am alright with that.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Lemon Custard
(makes one 9 inch pie)

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups almond milk
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all of this together in a pot over medium low heat. Stir until the mixture becomes thick. When it has thickened, add...

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 TBSP lemon zest
2 TBSP Smart Balance Light
1 dropper Vanilla NuNaturals stevia (or 1 TBSP more sugar in the beginning)

Stir over medium low heat until everything is combined and thickened. Pour into prepared pie crust.

I wanted to make a marshmallowy topping and after talking with the illustrator, I decided to give my seven minute icing a try.

My biggest fear with this whole thing was that their would be too much liquid and that the topping would slide off. I decided to take the water out of my recipe (which I changed on the original page) since the humidity is so high here and I don't think it is necessary.

This made a perfect marshmallow topping! I totally get why people Love their bacon...I LOVE seven minute icing!

I knew the boys would like it if I toasted it up, so I figured I would have a little fun with the whole thing. I don't make big desserts normally, so this was all or nothing.

I had my arm in the oven the whole time rotating this around under the broiler for even browning. I think I still have some arm hairs left...I think.

This was the first slice, which is never the prettiest. I called the illustrator down to cut the thing because I was still scared I was going to mess it up.

He refused. He was afraid too and said it was my creation, I could have the "honor". 

It sliced no problem...thank goodness!

This is the slice from yesterday. The pie is gone. The filling set up, the crust was still crisp and the meringue held together without sliding off! That, really, is all a girl could ask for! Now, I need a chocolate pudding pie!

Are you a risk taker or do you stay on the safe side? I think there is a happy medium you can achieve with this and I am just getting there. I have a huge fear of letting people down and failing at things, but over the past few months, I have realized that I don't need to worry as much about what other people think. I need to do things for me and be happy with myself. I have also learned that the people that matter, will stick by you no matter what and even pick you up when you fall. Again, I know this is a heavier subject than pie, but I think through food. 

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 12:08 PM   39 comments
Monday, January 24, 2011
Hiking and Baking!
Where did the weekend go? We knew the illustrator was going to have to work, but we made a plan to go hiking again this weekend. The plan was to stay close to home and go hiking around the lake. Then we got a call from our friends asking if we would like to go hiking on Saturday. So, it was a plan and there was no backing out since we included other people. They actually suggested where we talked about going, so it really was the perfect plan.

It was beautiful that day and a great outing. As big of a baby as I am about the cold, I love the cool fresh air. It feels rejuvenating.

The hike was close to 5 miles since we ventured over to the dam.

I tried to get a shot of the boys together...Max felt like standing next to each other would be too much.

I don't think Mr. Miyagi would be too impressed with either of these moves from the boys.

This was not an easy hike. I now realize that the boys have about a 3 mile limit to heavy hiking. There were quite a few steep inclines on this one. I loved it, but by the end I was pushing Jay up the hills!

Before we left, we put on a crockpot of beef stew (a recipe I am developing for a client).  I am so glad we did that since we were all starving when we got back.

I had some of the illustrators vegetable stew in the freezer that I had pulled out earlier in the day for me. It was perfect over steamed cabbage with some extra chili sauce on top!

I spent yesterday baking. Literally, I had baking on the brain until I had no choice but to just do it. 

I baked more gluten free bread changing a few things for the better!

Another loaf of gluten full bread changing more for the better!

Quality control...I had to taste both.

This may surprise most of you, but I am afraid to bake pies. Yes, I have baked pies before, but I am more of a cake person. Not to mention now I have to deal with the gluten free thing. Well, yesterday...I overcame the fear by making a gluten free dairy free lemon meringue pie.

I even toasted up the top of it! I was so stinkin' proud of myself. This one would make my mother-in-law so proud! I will share more on this adventure tomorrow...

Are you a cake or pie person? What is your favorite flavor of either? Now I am ready to bake more pies!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 2:55 PM   25 comments
Friday, January 21, 2011
Chocolate and Peanut Butter!
'Cause really, they are just BFFs! This is going to be a twofer!

Do you remember all those peanuts I roasted a couple of weeks ago?

Well, I wanted to play with them. I started out making chocolate peanut butter, but while making it and tasting it along the way, I decided to make it into little fudge bites. Seriously, I had no idea that this would end up tasting like chocolate peanut butter fudge!

I fancied them up right when I served them by rolling them in a little powdered sugar while the rest hung out in the fridge for quick snacks. Yes, powdered sugar is fancy!

The texture is so smooth, dense and creamy. Who knew you could make fudge without tons of cream and butter?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bites
(makes 33)

3 cups roasted shelled peanuts
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
30 drops NuNaturals vanilla stevia (cocoa would have been good too, but sadly I am out)
1/2 to 1 cup almond milk

Blend the peanuts, cocoa powder, brown sugar and stevia in a food processor until slightly mixed. Then add 1/2 cup of almond milk and blend. Add more almond milk until you reach the consistency you would like. You can either keep this as a spread or scoop it into individual bites. Refrigerate or freeze, both ways are a treat!

Now for the second part I promised...the pizzert! The only way I can describe this is that it is a cross between a cookie/pancake/dessert, also know as delicious! 

The whole thing came together in no time and I already had the oven cranked up from baking a loaf of bread. Besides, Max and I had a little fun with it! He wanted to do a peanut butter version with chocolate all over the top. I can't argue with his choice of flavors.

The batter really takes about 2 minutes from start to finish.

Sparkling water is my knew favorite ingredient in breads, waffles, pancakes...anything I want to add fluff to.

I made a couple of changes to Katie's recipe and she was nice enough to allow me to post my version, but I urge you to check out her original version with step-by-step instructions and more ideas on flavors!

Peanut Butter Pizzert
(makes 1 9 inch)

1/2 cup white wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 TBSP raw sugar
pinch of salt
3 TBSP natural peanut butter
3/4 cup sparkling water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients until mixed well. Pour batter into a 9 inch cake pan sprayed with your choice of cooking oil. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes (mine took 15).

For the topping, I used my chocolate peanut butter fudge, dairy free chocolate chips and drizzled melted peanut butter all over it! 

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 4:44 PM   34 comments

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