Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Brutal honesty...I'm overwhelmed.

I feel over committed, under organized, I'm a mess, my house is a mess...ugh. Oddly, I'm happier than I've been in a long time. Truth be told, between work, studying, house work (don't laugh Tony, I'm trying), working out (that's all for me) and dealing with our little family, I'm in crazy town and still I'm loving it. I think this is all because I have a goal to receive my nutrition certification by the end of the year and get my butt back on track with my work with food. This makes it all worth while.

I want to be in the kitchen, but that seems to be rare these days. Tony is picking up the slack and dealing with dinner most nights, which is hard for him since his work load hasn't slacked off at all. I try to help him plan and get things ready, but still, I'm not the one in charge of the kitchen on most nights.

On the nights I am around, the light is so bad by the time we get to dinner. I really hate that. Oh well, I guess you roll with the times (literally). I have discovered a huge help for me is to roast a ton of vegetables at a time, so I have quick fixes to take with me when I need them!

Brussels Sprouts with Nutritional Yeast and an Over Easy Egg!

Oven Roasted Eggplant and Red Peppers covered in Tomato Sauce served with Toasted Socca

Roasted Red Potatoes, Red Peppers and Carrots

I love eggplant roasted like this. It's so easy and does not get mushy.

Oven Roasted Broccoli is also hi on my love list! The flavor definitely intensifies and I love the crunchy trees!

Here's the method to my madness. I literally throw everything on a couple my Better Homes and Gardens sheet pans and roast them until golden brown. Have I mentioned how much I love these pans...well I do and they are so inexpensive. Saves me time and money! 

Anyway, it's Wednesday! I have high hopes for today with hopefully some tree festivities this evening...and maybe even some sausage balls for my main squeeze! Have a great day!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:03 PM   24 comments
Monday, November 28, 2011
Perfect Thanksgiving Leads Us Into The Christmas Season!
Thank you all for the Thanksgiving wishes! We had an incredible weekend with family. It was, by far, one of my favorite Thanksgivings. We spent the weekend with Tony's family in Tennessee and even came home a day later than we planned (none of us wanted to leave).

Highlights of the meal were...

 We brined the turkey in apple juice and everyone seemed to love it. It was extremely moist and flavorful (from what I was told). 

Gluten free Cornbread Dressing! I already want more of this!

Cranberry sauce made with apples. I love this stuff...so tart and sweet!

 My sister-in-law made pecan pie, which you can never go wrong with.

 My crustless pumpkin pie made an appearance!

 The winner of the entire meal was a chocolate cake with a cream filling and fudge icing. My sister-in-law had to make two of these for the weekend. Imagine a huge ding dong...the cake not that...get your head out of the gutter!

 Coconut Cream Pie (this was not my pie, but here's my version gluten and dairy free)

We also had crescent rolls, fresh green beans (those were so good!), baked sweet potatoes and gluten free macaroni and cheese. The only truly bad part about not having Thanksgiving at home is that there are no leftovers to enjoy. I see cornbread dressing in my future this week. I'm not over it yet!

We ate at noon, so my leftovers for the evening were a huge salad smothered in nutritional yeast and a toasted cornbread dressing muffin. That is my favorite way to eat my leftovers. YUM! I like a little balance in my life...

While Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I'm really looking forward to the Christmas season. As a family (the boys, Tony and I), we decided that we are not doing a bunch of gifts, we are heading to New York for 4 days! It will be the first time for the boys and our first time during the Christmas season. We all can't wait! This is our first family getaway. Tony will work a little bit, but mostly it will be family time. I finally won my bid for a hotel in Times Square and I can't wait to see the boys' reaction. They are going to flip out!

So, let the cookie baking begin and the Christmas season is on!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:30 AM   15 comments
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have an incredible day filled with delicious food and fun family time. I am incredibly thankful for my guys and all that they bring to my life everyday. I am also thankful for all of you...my friends. Thank you for always being there for me. Happy Thanksgiving!


posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:30 AM   13 comments
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Time To Make The Donuts...
I have come to the realization that life is not perfect. I know, shocker. I have also come to the realization that sugar coating things...makes them so much better. I learn all lessons through the kitchen...is that weird? Weird or not...it's what I do.

I finally got to spend a few minutes in the kitchen on Sunday and the goal was donuts!

I had my base from before to play with so I had a plan.

Most people don't know this about me, but I hate dirtying more than I have to and I hate piping things from a bag. Tony is the one with the steady hand when it comes to looking pretty so I leave the artwork to him. So, I give you ugly donuts...

What I discovered is that these ugly donuts have these amazing dents to catch all kinds of sugary goodness! 

Yep, sugar coated really does make things better!

Baked Cake Donuts
(makes 6 overflowing deliciously ugly donuts)

6 TBSP raw sugar
16 drops vanilla stevia (or 2 TBSP sugar)
1/4 cup dairy free butter or coconut oil
1 egg
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract (trust me on this)
6 TBSP brown rice flour
6 TBSP white rice flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/3 cup almond milk
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups powder sugar
almond milk or water as needed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large donut pan with cooking spray. 

Combine the sugar, stevia and butter in a mixing bowl and blend until mixed well. Next add the egg and vanilla to the sugar mixture and blend. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix. Pour the milk and vinegar into the batter and mix well. Evenly distribute the batter into prepared donut pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes and then glaze. 

Combine the powder sugar and milk or water and mix well. You want it to be thick. When donuts are slightly cooled, dip the donuts in and allow to set. 

***I have not done this, but I would imagine you could bake this into muffins (or mini muffin) and glaze. The vanilla really shines through here with the fragrance and the flavor! 

The glaze is not a must, but it was a treat for the boys. 

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

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 AM   19 comments
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I Almost Forgot...Thanksgiving!
I told Heather a few weeks ago that I feel like blogging is like having a cup of coffee and chatting it up with an old friend. I feel like I have no time for coffee with my friends right now! I don't feel like I need to explain that "life happens" when I can't post. I think you all get that. I'm pretty sure you all aren't sitting by the computer waiting to see what I have say for the day. I know I'm exciting and all, but I know I'm not that exciting. When it happens...it happens. I'm really focused on studying and I really want to reach my goal to complete my certification by the first of the year. Tony has almost convinced me to get my Personal Training Certification after that...almost. I'm loving the nutrition information and I've started working on my own fuel sources already. Unfortunately, they have been on the rushed side and not so pretty, but really tasty. Once I get things a little more settled, I will share more. My time in the kitchen has been limited, but I have been in there. 

Proof that I've been in the kitchen...I developed a recipe for gluten and dairy free French style rolls! That completely made my week! These will be on my list to make for Thanksgiving...

Also, did you guys know Thanksgiving is in 1 week??? I lost track of time completely! Seriously, I did not even think about it until we were invited to others' places for the holiday! Oops. I told you, I'm completely out of it! 

I am cooking a few things for the holiday. I have been holding out on making these things until the special day so I can enjoy them even more! These are the only things I care to eat during Thanksgiving...


Crustless Pumpkin (or Sweet Potato) Pie!

What are your must haves for Thanksgiving? Are you cooking or are you going somewhere?

posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:00 PM   20 comments
Monday, November 14, 2011
Random Weekend...
Talk about being all over the place, gah, I feel scattered. I'm trying to take a minute and focus. My stomach is finally better, but I have a hint of the throat stuff the boys are just now getting over. I'm thinking about starting a regiment of apple cider vinegar. The Pure2Raw Twins have been talking about the glories of this beverage and then a friend of mine mentioned it yesterday. I think it's time for a good cleanse!

Saturday was a work day. I didn't mind though, I got a lot of studying done! Tony made a crockpot vegetable soup much like this one and it was so good topped with chili paste! I love coming home to dinner already made for me!

Sunday we went on a little adventure! First, I had a hot date with my man at the gym! That was the first time I had a workout buddy and it was so much fun! Normally I workout solo, but I'll tell you, going with someone is so much more fun! After that, we got a rear ends home and cleaned up to go out! A college friend of mine and Tony's came into town so we met up for lunch. Tony has wanted to take the boys to Holeman & Finch for years and we finally got the chance to go! They were in heaven! For those of you that don't live in Atlanta or don't watch The Cooking Channel, this place is known for it's burger...

It's actually a special thing that's normally only served on weekdays at 10pm (I think there are only 24 made at that time) and on Sundays at brunch. They make everything from scratch (including the bread, ketchup and pickles) and when you eat them, apparently it's a moment. If I ate meat, I'm sure it would be heavenly. The other reason Tony has wanted to take the boys was to show them his design work. He did the identity design work for Holemen & Finch and his work is everywhere.

branded in the furniture...

stamped on the table coverings (I LOVE the bread company's logo!)...

Drinks are a must at Holeman & Finch! It doesn't get any better than this! 

This was a special treat created for Tony...

There food is incredibly fresh and full of flavor!

Bacon caramel popcorn is what my boys call a perfect dessert!

It was a great visit at such an incredible location! 

Have you ever tried drinking apple cider vinegar? I'm not so much afraid of it, but I don't have the organic stuff and I feel a little weird about drinking the stuff from the store. 

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:30 AM   24 comments
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Bugs, Tests and Eggs...
So the little varmints infected me...with the stomach portion of their funk! I guess it was bound to happen. I was up all night with lower GI stuff going on. Not pretty. Not only did I not sleep, Tony didn't sleep and I woke up (I'm using that term loosely) feeling like I'd been squeezed out like a sponge. That brings back horrible memories of the time before I went off dairy. Needless to say, I did not have much in the way of energy this morning so my "workout" (again, using that word loosely), was ballet strength. I needed to move my body since I had to get to work today and I was going to have to get the boys to school too. So, up and atem'!

I've been seriously focused on nutrition lately since I've started studying. I'm loving it and I've found a good process for me to learn, so things are coming along. Learning about cells and all of the organs was a bit straining on the brain, but now that I know the information, it takes all I have not to use technical words when I talk to Tony about it. He starts to get that glazed over look when I start talking about the liver...although I do the same thing when he starts talking about fonts. Anyway, I took a quiz today and while I was bummed I missed two (I kind of beat myself up over this), I still got an A, so if nothing else, now I know the ones I got wrong. It's all part of learning.

I've also buckled down on our diets as of late too. Today is not a prime example for me since the bug and all, but I guess not too bad. My boys don't like to eat breakfast and that really irritates me. I'm VERY pro breakfast. We have a rule, you have to eat something that will fuel you until snack or lunch. I went over a list of things I would have available for them so they could have a little something good.

This is what Max asked for...yeah he's 10 going on 80. He had an egg, tomatoes and avocado (note, he does not get the avocado love from me - yuck). This was a killer breakfast for him and now we are keeping boiled eggs on hand for quick meals and snacks.

For lunch today, I needed something easy on the stomach with some good stuff in it. I opted for an omelet (if you put a lid on it when it cooks it will puff up) with a hand full of spinach (I need the iron), some tomatoes and nutritional yeast.

I will spare you a picture of my super sexy bowl of Corn Chex topped with bananas, strawberries and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. While not that exciting, it totally hit the spot. I'm hoping the bug worked it's way out so tomorrow can be filled with more tasty eats!

I gotta ask, what do you eat for breakfast? Any quick healthy ideas?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 7:21 PM   22 comments
Monday, November 7, 2011
Insanity and Almost Doughnuts...
I decided that since my life seems like insanity, I would get up this morning and do some Insanity. That was one way to kick Monday in the butt! The past couple of weeks have been a constant rotation of illnesses around here. Max got sick a week and a half ago and while he's gotten better, he still has a nasty cough. Then Jay got sick last Wednesday with a fever of 104 degrees. He had the fever for two days and then when the fever dropped, he got a horrible sore throat. So, this leads us to the doctors office first thing on Saturday morning! Fun stuff. Luckily for him (complete sarcasm here), it's a virus and well, there is nothing they can do for that. Also, luckily for him (again, read sarcasm), he got a couple of vaccinations while he was there. Again, good times! Now Jay has the cough...

This all led to a weird day of being completely off schedule with meals and that led me to the kitchen to play with my new toy. I broke down and got a Wilton doughnut pan! Everyone seems to be baking doughnuts lately and I have wanted one for years. Yeah, years. I haven't had a doughnut in 7 years (probably more than that since I wasn't a typical doughnut eater to begin with - unless we are talking about Saturday doughnuts that my dad used to get) and it's been 2 years since Tony had one.

So, I got to playing. I will say these were good, but they seemed more like little short cakes to me. While not a doughnut, delicious anyway. I know I over filled the cavities, but I was excited! I will be working on them and will report back when I have found the ones that knock my socks off!

As for Sunday and daylight savings time, yeah, I did not really get that extra hour. When you have an internal alarm clock (and two cats), neither of these things seem to understand the whole reset the clock thing. Oh well, it did give me an extra hour to get more work done around the house, which I was appreciative of. Some of my paper stacks were dealt with (which if you know me, the stacks can get out of control) and tons of laundry got done! Maybe no one will have to ask me for socks this week!

Then I enjoyed this with tasty beverage with Tony! Kahlua and unsweetened vanilla almond milk go together like peas and carrots! It was the perfect ending to the weekend. I know this week is going to be a bear, so I'm hoping to be on top of that!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 2:28 PM   20 comments
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Coconut Milk Nog and Cinnamon Bread Dippers!
I'm not gonna tell you that you have to get this...

but you HAVE to get this! The So Delicious Coconut Nog is amazing! Thank you So Delicious for making this amazingly rich, creamy, sweet and delicious treat for me to enjoy the holidays just a little bit more. The slight coconut flavor is there, but I think it adds something a little more special to the party.

Now, I'm not gonna tell you that you have to make this to go with the So Delicious Coconut Nog...

but you HAVE to make the cinnamon bread (regular or gluten free - this one is gluten free) to dunk it!

This was such a treat! Cinnamony, gooey, chewy and amazing dipped in the Nog!

Do you like egg nog? Jay goes crazy for the stuff...I swear he waits all year just to have it. I like enough to make me feel in the season and then that's about it. This really was a treat though!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 AM   27 comments
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Savory Cheesy Muffins Filled with Bacon, Roasted Red Peppers and Scallions!
Times are changing here...I feel like I say that all the time now! My boys did not want to dress up and go trick or treating. They, in fact, wanted to hand out candy this year. Seeing them grow up is really so special (and sometimes tiring - I'm looking at you Max), but I feel so fortunate to have such an amazing little family. You all know I love Max just as much as Jay...he just likes to test the waters as far as he can go...always fun and always an adventure. Let's just say I''m glad Tony and I are young parents...

Yesterday I felt incredible. I have kind of let my workouts get to the boring stage. I think lack of focus was a huge part of it. I decided to not let being exhausted keep me from getting my butt kicked. I put The 30 Day Shred in, did level 1 and 2 and loved every second of the torture that is Jillian Michaels! Gosh that was just what I needed to feel physically like me again! Today ways level 1 and 3...my favorites!

I also decided to get a little creative in the kitchen...

Sweet treats in the kitchen are my go to experiments. Let's be honest, I'm a baker at heart. None of us knew what we wanted for dinner, so I decided to do things a little differently.

Savory muffins it was! These are loaded with cheese (daiya for me), bacon (no bacon for me), roasted red peppers and scallions. They're crispy on the outside and full of gooey goodness on the inside! Served with an over easy egg made this a delicious treat for a quick dinner!

Savory Cheese Muffins
makes 5 jumbo

3/4 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)

3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup earth balance
2 eggs (or your choice of egg substitute)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used Silk)
1/3-1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon
1/2 roasted red pepper, chopped
1 scallion chopped
1 cup cheese (I used Daiya in mine)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray oil into muffin cups.

In a mixing bowl, blend the earth balance until fluffy. Combine the flours through garlic powder together in a bowl. Add the eggs to the earth balance and mix well. Next add the dry ingredients and mix well. Now, slowly pour the milk into the batter. Mix in the bacon, red pepper, scallions and cheese. Evenly distribute the batter into 5 jumbo cupcake cups and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool 5 minutes in pan and then remove.

Are you a baker or a cook? Are you in to savory or sweet muffins? I love them both!

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

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:30 AM   16 comments

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