Thursday, July 28, 2011
Times Are A Changing...

Life is definitely changing around here and I'm not just talking about Jay cutting his hair off. Yesterday was a great day for him. He is actually looking forward to today. Can you believe it...looking forward to school?!

My emotions are all over the place with him right now. He is getting so big! I went to hug him and realized that his shoulders almost meet mine! I hug him everyday, but all of a sudden, two days ago, I hugged him and he was up there with me...there was no bending down to get my arms around his body! His shoe size went up 2 sizes since Christmas! I never have a hard time with my birthdays, but realizing that I'm about to have a teenager is hitting me hard. He's my little man and he's getting all grown up on me!

To ease my mind today...I'm in the kitchen making lentil burgers. I'm thinking drink treat is in order too for the evening!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 2:38 PM   19 comments
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
What I Ate Wednesday...
Before I get going, I have to say today has already started off with a bang! I got up at 5am to get my 8th grader to school. Seriously, I have an 8th grader! How did that happen? Anyway, I am so excited for him. This is a big year for him in a new school, but I know he will do great.

Peas and Crayons

Now, due to lack of internet, I did not make it to the party last week, but this week...I absolutely wanted to attend!

 Sometimes, starting the day with a simple bowl of oatmeal with almond milk and diced apples is the only way to go. 

 Lunch was a massive pinto bean burrito! I pressure cooked the beans...

 loaded the whole thing with banana peppers (I love that they look like flowers when you slice them), lettuce, tomato and tons of hot sauce!

Snacks was a huge bowl of cantaloup fresh from my father-in-law's garden!
Perfectly refreshing summer treat!

Dinner was another socca pizza loaded with veggies! Yeah, it looks just like Saturday's and was just as amazing!

 I loved every last bite!

 My night time treat was a frosty Kahlua and Silk Pure Almond Milk (unsweetened)!

All mixed up, this baby tastes like a grown up milk shake! Perfect ending to the day!

Do you remember 8th grade? I actually do. I remember it was the year they split another middle school off of ours and one of my best friends ended up going to the other school. It's kind of odd, but I remember a specific smell from that time too. I know it had to have been something in bloom in Georgia because I can still smell it there. It's so strange how and when you remember things. I hope these are good memories for Jay!

Oh and today is the last day to vote on the cookies! Thank you to all that took the time to vote!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:00 AM   18 comments
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Georgia Peach Pie Cookies and Thank you...

Before I say anything else here, I wanted to start with saying "THANK YOU" to all of you who have voted and/or shared the voting information for the Better Homes and Gardens State Cookie Contest. I can't even begin to express how much I appreciate your support. I have seen people vote religiously even when I couldn't get online to vote. Thank you so much. As embarrassed as I am to ask this, with all that being said, voting ends on July 27th at 5:00 PM EST, so this is my plea for more votes. I would greatly appreciate any votes I can get for my Georgia Peach Pie Cookies in the next couple of days.

If I win, then one of you will get a chance to win the amazing Better Homes and Gardens baking set too!

Thank you, again for your support!

These buttery vanilla shortbread cookies with a peach pie center really are a perfect celebration of my home state of Georgia!

Georgia Peach Pie Cookies
(Makes 13 cookies)

1/2 cup chopped fresh peaches (about 3 1/2 oz), very small pieces
4 TBSP peach preserves
1/4 cup coconut flour**
1/4 cup cornstarch**
1/2 cup white rice flour**
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup Soy Free Earth Balance (or butter)
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2 TBSP Almond Milk (only if needed to bring the dough together)

3 tsp raw sugar, reserved for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together the chopped peaches and preserves. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, cornstarch, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles course crumbs. Next add the egg and vanilla to the flour butter mixture. Stir until the dough comes together. Add a tablespoon of milk at a time only if needed to bring the dough together.  Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop the mixture onto BH&G baking sheet (or parchment lined baking sheet). Press the dough in the center to flatten while leaving a lip on the edge to hold in the filling. Once the dough is ready, evenly distribute the filling into the dough rounds (about 3 tsp each). Sprinkle each cookie with the remaining raw sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are browned on the edges. Remove from the cookie sheet and allow to cool.

**You can substitute 1 cup all purpose flour for the gluten free flour and cornstarch in this recipe.

Have you ever entered a competition that was based on public vote? I feel weird about asking for votes, but I really did enjoy developing this recipe. I guess really that's the important part.

I'm sharing these on Simply Sugar and Gluten Free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:00 AM   14 comments
Monday, July 25, 2011
Pizza Party!
This week is going to be a mad dash for everything. We have orientations today along with parent meetings at the school. Then Jay starts school this yeah, crazy week ahead. I felt like last week was the  start of the craziness, so unfortunately I was away from my computer for a huge portion of the week. Then, we spent a ton of time on the lake and just hanging out as a family for our last weekend of summer break. For those that have asked, Jay is going to a school early, but system he gets 2 week fall breaks, 2 week winter breaks and a 2 week spring break along with other days off throughout the year, so, they start a little earlier, but get tons of time. Anyway, all this to say, I'm sorry for not really being responsive to all of you, but I will be when we get over the hump of this week. To tell you how crazy the week was, I only worked out twice and that is not like me at all! I need my workouts back! Anyway, I'm rolling with the punches right now and just trying to get the kids ready for the school year ahead.

So, how do you celebrate after a day on the lake? With pizza, of course! I had a blast cooking up tons of different concoctions.

I used Bob's Red Mill Pizza Dough for a BBQ pork and onion pizza...

and a veggie loaded pizza for the illustrator that apparently did not get photographed OOPS.

I used socca for a tomato and onion pizza for Max (he is so my kid!)...

and a veggie loaded pizza for me!

Green peppers, banana peppers, fresh tomato, onion and zucchini all on top of an thick socca crust!

I wanted something "cheesy" to go on my pizza. I had no hummus or a humnut sauce, but since I had chickpea flour, I decided to give it a try mixed with nutritional yeast. OH was so good! The mixture was smooth, creamy and a little tangy. I put it on the pizza before I baked it. Perfect topper for my veggies!

In the mix, 1 TBSP chickpea flour, 1 tsp nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and enough water to make a pourable mixture...YUM!

One corner got a little toasty...I love the burnt ends! I am must like my grandmother...I love toast on the dark side!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:00 AM   17 comments
Friday, July 22, 2011
Days Off and Ice Cream Love...
It feels like forever since I've been here! The illustrator finished up a round of Burn Notice (he's doing the web comic and while I don't normally mention what he's doing, people seem to really love that show and I figured a few of you would actually know what he's working on). So, we decided we needed to take some time to work on getting things organized with our stuff that was not related to work. I had no internet, so that meant major focus time. We got a lot accomplished, so that was a positive, but we are exhausted. Oh well, sometimes days off aren't really days off, but that's ok. It feels good to get things accomplished!

I had a few questions on the peach cobbler post about soaking my flours. I have found that soaking my gluten free flours helps them soak up the liquid better and really softens them up so when they are baked, they are a lot less grainy. I don't always think to do it ahead of time since most of my baking is done spur of the moment, but when I know I'm making something later in the day, I will go ahead and soak it. Just don't add the leavening agent to it (baking powder) until you are ready to bake it or it will lose its lift.

On a different note, this month is National Ice Cream Month and I realized that I have not celebrated yet. I need to get on it this weekend and makes some tasty treats! I can't decide if I should go with some of my old favorites or come up with something new? I do have a few ideas that I want to try, but here are some of my favorites...

 Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Pizzelles sounds good too!

I'm thinking some vanilla soft serve with caramelized bananas would be perfect too!

I'm normally a vanilla girl since I like to add things to it to change up the flavors. The illustrator got some coffee ice cream the other day, so now I'm craving that too. What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Do you like to add things to yours or do you keep it simple?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:07 AM   13 comments
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Just Peachy!
This all started with a trip to the local vegetable stand...

There were so many peaches there and they smelled incredible! They were absolutely beautiful too...all fuzzy and cute. I couldn't resist them! I chose white peaches this time. I haven't had them in forever. The illustrator and I have been eating the peaches like crazy, but we knew exactly what special treat we wanted to make with these summer jewels!

Peach cobbler, of course! I made two this time. A gluten free version (above)...

and a gluten full version (above). Since I used fresh peaches this time instead of canned or frozen, I made a little change so I thought I would share both versions...two for one!

Normally, I would load mine up with dairy free ice cream, but I didn't have any so I spooned a little almond milk on top to make it extra gooey and delicious!

Gluten Free Fresh Peach Cobbler
(serves 6)

1/2  cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 1/4 cups almond milk, reserve 1/4 cup
1 TBSP Smart Balance Light
1/3 cup raw sugar
15 drops NuNaturals vanilla stevia (or an extra TBSP of sugar + some vanilla)
1 TBSP baking powder
pinch of salt
2 medium peaches (or 12 oz.), peeled and sliced
1 tsp raw sugar
Soak the rice flours with the almond milk and place in the refrigerator.  (I did 4 ½ hours but I would imagine you could do this as long or as you like).  
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the Smart Balance in an 8 x 8 pan and place it in the oven to melt. 

Next add the sugar, stevia, baking powder and salt to the flour mixture.  Spray a little cooking spray in the pan on the sides to prevent sticking. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Slice peaches to the size you like.  Add the peaches to the top of the batter.  Pour the remaining almond milk on top of the batter and sprinkle with 1 tsp sugar.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.  Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite frozen vanilla treat.

Fresh Peach Cobbler
(serves 6)

1 TBSP Smart Balance Light
1 cup white wheat flour
2/3 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 TBSP baking powder
pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups almond milk, reserve 1/4 cup
5 drops NuNaturals vanilla stevia (or an extra TBSP of sugar + some vanilla)
2 medium peaches (or 12 oz.), peeled and sliced
1 tsp raw sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the Smart Balance in an 8 x 8 pan and place it in the oven to melt. 

In a bow, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Next pour the almond milk and stevia into the flour mixture and mix well. Spray a little cooking spray in the pan on the sides to prevent sticking. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Slice peaches to the size you like.  Add the peaches to the top of the batter.  Pour the remaining almond milk on top of the batter and sprinkle with 1 tsp sugar.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.  Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite frozen vanilla treat.

Question...what do you consider to be local foods? The illustrator asked the man at the farm stand if everything there was local. He said, "Yes, it's all from the South". When you see local, do you think within your state or your region? I guess I always thought state, but I can see how region could be considered local too.

I'm sharing this on Simply Sugar and Gluten Free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:00 AM   20 comments
Monday, July 18, 2011
Smoking Meats and Vegetables!
Is anyone else ready for this week? Not me. I had such a great weekend with the illustrator and the boys. Jay starts school in a week and a half and then Max starts a week and a half after that. The summer is going too fast! I guess we need to really focus on enjoying the next couple of weeks!

The illustrator and I smoked a lot of stuff yesterday...

butts and veggies to be specific!

We started off smoking a couple of Boston Butts and then I asked what he thought about making some BBQ sauce with all the cherry tomatoes we have here. He suggested smoking them and that was such a great idea! FYI, cherry tomatoes are not my favorite tomato, but roasting them and now smoking them are my favorite ways to eat them!

Smoking the vegetables was incredible. I've smoked beets and eggplant before, which I HIGHLY is incredible! The smoky flavor really came through the tomatoes and now I want to smoke more! The ideas are flowing for smoked vegetables.

After we smoked the cherry tomatoes, we did both yellow and red, with the garlic and onion, we blended them in the blender. I could have left it here and had it as a soup. It was so good!

We took it the next step and added more seasonings including some local honey. 

We reduced it down a bit, but left it chunky. I had it over an unpictured (due to lack of light and starvation) omelet. I'm thinking some BBQ lentil stuffed peppers are in order for dinner tight! 

Smoked Cherry Tomato BBQ Sauce
(makes 3 1/2 cups)

5 1/4 ounces onion or two small, peeled
12 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 lbs cherry tomatoes, scored with a cross on the bottom
salt and pepper, sprinkled on for smoking

Smoke this mixture for 2 hours. We used apple wood. Then puree in a blender. 

1 tsp cumin
2 TBSP honey
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 cup ketchup (without high fructose corn syrup)

Add everything to the tomato mixture and allow to cook on low until reduced down to 3 1/2 cups. This took us about 3 hours. 

Dessert was fresh white peach cobbler! I made a gluten free version and a gluten full version. I did things a little differently since I used fresh peaches. I will share that variation tomorrow...

Is it sad that I only ate dinner to get to the dessert portion of the meal? It was pure summer heaven!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:30 AM   13 comments
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Thick and Fluffy Banana Pancakes!
GOOD MORNING! Yeah, I'm in a pretty good mood today! I had such a great day and night with my husband yesterday that it has completely gotten me up on the right side of the bed today. We went to the lake with my sister-in-law and all five kids yesterday for a little over an hour, which in this heat, was really long enough. Then we ran errands to the post office and UPS ( I know, I'm a hot date!)...then it was quiet time. The kids went over to my sister-in-laws house for the evening, so we had a quiet night and decided to go to the drive-in to see Horrible Bosses. I liked it. It's a dark comedy, which I love and really Jason Bateman has made such a great come back! I love everything he's doing lately. Also, the movies at the drive-in are super cheap. We could have stayed for The Hangover II, but a double feature on a "school night" is pretty hard when you have to wait till almost 9pm for the first showing. I really want to see it though. I'm getting so old...

Now, pancakes...

Banana pancakes to be more specific. Most of my ripe bananas have been going to banana soft serve lately, but there was one that I saved for something special. Pancakes are a favorite in our little family and we like them thick and fluffy! Unless it's a crepe, I don't want a thin flat pancake. I actually like mine a little more on the doughy side too. I don't buy mixes either anymore since really, it takes just as long to throw a few ingredients together as it does to make them from a box.

So, what's my secret to a thick pancake...less liquid! I have discovered the thicker the batter, the thicker the pancake. A little extra baking powder helps out with that too!

Trust me, I know there are a million and one ways to make pancakes, but I really believe it is more of a method than a recipe that gets you the pancakes you are looking for. 

Thick Banana Pancakes
(makes 6)

3/4 cup white wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
pinch of salt
1 medium banana, mashed
1/2 to 3/4 cup Pure Almond Milk, reserve the 1/4 cup to add as needed for thicker pancakes
5 drops NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia (or 1 tsp sugar)

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt together. In a separate bowl, combine the mashed banana, almond milk and stevia. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix just until combined. Pour batter onto a heated and greased skillet and cook until bubbles start to form, then flip and cook until heated through. 

Truth be told, I eat most of my pancakes with nothing on them...with my hands. Sometimes I like a little something special on them though. What's your favorite type of pancake and how do you eat them?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:47 AM   23 comments
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Fresh Vegetable Themed: What I Ate Wednesday!
How in the world did Wednesday get here already? Well, there's no use fighting, I figured I would join the party...

The What I Ate Wednesday Party! I know, I'm a little late. The illustrator says thats just the way I am, but I guess better late than never! So...

Peas and Crayons

 Banana pancakes (recipe coming soon) with chocolate chips and a little real maple syrup...perfection!

I had an incredible grilled portabello mushroom salad smothered in tomato sauce and nutritional yeast!

I decided to wrap up the last part of it in a whole wheat tortilla for on the go!

This Tazo Iced Chai Tea is incredible. The spice and heat from the chai spices is balanced well by the slight sweetness from stevia. It's a perfectly refreshing beverage for the hot summer days here!

More snack:
Apples, well I eat them every day. I know they're not in season, but I have to have one everyday. You apple a day...

Vegetable Pasta Primavera! 
(another super fast and easy recipe coming soon)

Sorry no picture for this one, but I had an incredible Kuhlua mixed with Silk Unsweetened Pure Almond Milk! This sucker tasted like a milkshake without the cold headache! Perfect ending to the day! Even if you can have dairy, try the almond milk. It's lower in calories and extremely creamy! 

I am seriously loving the fresh produce from my father-in-law's garden. I will try to get a picture of it soon and post it. You wouldn't believe how small the garden is compared to how much fresh produce is coming from it. I am in vegetable heaven!

Have you eaten anything special lately?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 8:16 AM   11 comments

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