Thursday, June 30, 2011
Georgia Peach Pie Cookies and I Need Your Vote!
A while ago, I received an email asking if I would be interested in participating in a state cookie contest to show some fun patriotism. I jumped at the opportunity. I love playing in the kitchen especially when a challenge is placed on it! I was asked to represent Georgia since I'm a Georgia girl through and through. I knew right away what I wanted to work with...PEACHES! Georgia is the peach state! As you drive out of the airport, you are immediately welcomed to the "Peach State"!


I love peach season! I get so excited every year when the local peaches start popping up in the grocery stores. I love walking by that section of the store and smelling the sweet aroma of these beautiful jewels of Georgia. I knew they had to be the major part of my cookie. I'm a fruit girl, so I was happy to play with these beautiful fruits of summer!


My Georgia Peach Pie Cookies are a buttery vanilla shortbread base with a peachy center. They are crisp on the outside and filled with a gooey peach center with chunks of fresh peaches to highlight the Peach State! I went back and forth about whether or not to make these fit into my family's food allergies and in the end, I decided to hold true to me. I made them gluten and dairy free, but I'm giving you the old fashioned alternative too!




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 flour and cornstarch in this recipe.



Here's the part where I need your help. This is a contest, so I need your votes and your friends' votes! If you would please go to the BHG facebook page, like them and then vote for your favorite cookie on the state cookie contest page...which I hope is mine. I hate asking this, but without all of you, I wouldn't be here in the first place. Also, spread the word. It's a fun contest. People put a lot of work into focusing on showing pride for their home state! Check out your state cookies and see what you think (but vote for mine, please!).




Along with baking up an original creation highlighting my state, I was asked to review the BHG baking sheet available through Walmart. I love trying new baking equipment, so I was excited to try this one. I'm not gonna lie to you, I loved the pan. I normally bake cookies on parchment paper, but for the sake of reviewing the pan I used it naked! I was scared, but I went for it. The cookies baked up perfectly even as long as you don't put them too close to the edge. They didn't stick at all. I even baked some angel food cake cookies (recipe for that later!) and they came off the pan no problem! So, I love that I have a new cookie pan! Thanks BHG!

 

Disclaimer: I did receive this pan as part of the contest, but my review is honestly how I feel about the pan.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:00 AM   19 comments
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Blackberry Picking!
5AM, yesterday morning, I got up, put on some hiking boots, a pair of jeans and a hunting coat to go wrangle the briars of some blackberries! Many of my friends and relatives were a little freaked out by my decision to go at this time. I have discovered that when my father-in-law says he's going to do something at a certain time, if you want to participate, you need to be there at that time. The illustrator got up at 5AM Monday morning to help him cut up a tree. When in Rome...

I went to a cow pasture at the illustrator's uncles place. These are some views on our way there...


The storms were coming, but we thought since we were up we would see how many we could get...


It was crazy watching the sky go from a bright morning sky to a sheet of clouds...


It felt like the Wizard of Oz! It was beautiful and very creepy!


Luckily, I got to these right before the storm hit. I had to hold the berries to take a picture because the wind was blowing like crazy! We filled a couple of buckets about 1/3 full. Between the two of us there is enough to make a pie or so my father-in-law thought until I got my breakfast...


These won't last long with me around. I love fresh berries on my oats! We are going to go back for more since we found a good patch of them. There are also tons of little ones about to mature.

 A little about blackberries and your health...

Blackberries are rich in antioxidants that help repair cell damage. They also aid in the prevention of heart disease, cancer and stroke (all of which run in my family). Their leaves can be used for teas to treat diarrhea, as well as inflammation of the throat and mouth. Blackberries are rich in vitamin A and C too! Besides, they're darn tasty!

Do you like blackberries? The illustrator loves them, but hates the seeds. The seeds don't bother me though. I just love them! I see a cobbler in my future!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:00 AM   23 comments
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Crazy Day...Lazy Evening...
Yesterday was filled to the very end. The boys' cousins spent the night so there was lots of activity for most of the day. Fried chicken was made along with mashed potatoes and grilled squash and zucchini. Lunch was a feast!


Then I needed to get to work on my cookies. I will be sharing them with you in a couple of days. I'm trying to get them just right! I'm not being all mysterious either, trust me, I'm going to need all of your help when I finally post them! Here's a sneak peak...


Last night was a lot of fun. The illustrator, the boys and I went to the lake for an evening swim. I had an amazingly fresh and crisp cucumber salad with fresh salsa and an over easy egg! Definitely a good compliment to all the cookie tasting! I know I keep showing some version of vegetables with an over easy egg lately, but really the egg makes the perfect dressing and salads are the best summer time meal, in my opinion. Remember, with the seasonal food challenge, I gave them up for 6 months! I will eat them all day everyday now that I can. 


Then we headed here (also known as the back yard)...



This is my in-laws' place, I'm just lucky enough to be hanging out here for a while. 



It has rained so much that the water is over the dock... 


Consequently, the water is also a little chilly for my liking. I was in the water for a little bit, but seriously, I was freezing my booty off. After I got out, the illustrator started teaching the boys how to dive. That was some incredible entertainment! Seriously, who needs tv when you can watch that? Max picked it up really quickly. Jay is getting there. Max has no fear though and Jay is like me...always worried about the unknown. It was an amazing evening!

This morning, I'm off to pick blackberries with my father-in-law! I see a cobbler in my future!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:00 AM   18 comments
Monday, June 27, 2011
More Garden Eats!
Thank goodness, it's Monday! I know that seems weird, but I think I've finally kicked the funk out of my chest after two weeks of being sick. No, I decided not to go to the doctor, but there was a virus going around here and every one kept saying they had the same symptoms. So, I toughed it out. Not fun and I'm sure the illustrator wanted to smoother me with one of the many pillows that was under my head. I was literally sleeping sitting up and sleeping is actually a stretch...

We spent a lot of time with family this weekend. It still feels so weird not saying bye like we're leaving for months. We visited the illustrator's uncle and aunt on Sunday and took them some oven roasted chicken with carrots and potatoes. They had tons of people in and out of their house the past few weeks and since everyone has been gone for a few days now after the funeral, we wanted to go say "hi" and bring some dinner. It was such a nice afternoon visit. I'm really loving being close to family right now!

We have kept meals very low key here the past few days...

Wagon Wheels and Weenies for the boys! 

Potatoes straight from the garden!

Steamed Garden Salad with an Over Easy Egg for me!

Cabbage, zucchini, squash, potatoes, carrots and onions steamed up with a little garlic and onion powder!

Everything is so fresh and there's so much of it! This just makes me more excited to have my own garden!


I'm working on developing a special cookie recipe right  now, so snacks have been light and refreshing. Cantaloup with fresh orange zest completely hits the spot! The orange zest really highlights the cantaloup flavor. 

Now, I have to get back in the kitchen! The cookies won't make themselves. 

Do you have a garden? If so, what are you growing? I want a huge garden some day!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:56 AM   48 comments
Friday, June 24, 2011
Journal Entry...Reflections...
Yesterday was a rough day. The funeral mass was beautiful. I don't know how, but with rain in the forecast  all week, it somehow decided not to rain and the weather was amazing. Even with all the sadness, at the end of the day, it was great being with family remembering the good times all of the family members had with Tony's Uncle Don. He really was an incredible man that touch so many lives. We should all be so lucky to have people like that in our lives at some point.

This week has been very reflective for me. I've been thinking a lot about family. What it means to be close to family and how this can impact my life now. It was so strange and so comforting not having to say goodbye to Tony's parents or sister yesterday. It felt so nice just saying we'll see you a little later. The past few weeks have been really out of control for us in so many ways, but the illustrator and I really are changing our focus and working on enjoying things more. Life is really too short and getting all worked up over things that are out of your control doesn't help anything. We are starting a new journey in our lives and from now on making a point to find the good throughout the day is the goal!

I've also realized there are family members that I haven't seen enough of lately. I will make a change with that and I will make a point to see those people. Life really does get busy and it's so hard to travel with little kids, but our boys are older now and we need to take the time to make traveling an adventure to see those we miss!

Do you have a person in your life that has inspired you and been behind you all along the way? My Little Granny is that person to me. She has always encouraged me to be me and she loves me unconditionally. I talk to her at least once a week just to check in and see how things are going. She is the person that I got my cooking skills from. I have such fond memories of her making biscuits and cooking up feasts of chicken and dumplings (from scratch). We are frighteningly alike down to food allergies and intolerances! She lives far away, but I'm going to make a point to see her this year.



I love this shot where my boys are listening so intently to what Granny is saying! She is such an amazing woman, I love that my kids think so too!

I will be back with food on Monday. I'm hoping to get in the kitchen at some point this weekend. I hope you all have an incredible weekend!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:12 AM   16 comments
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Summer Garden Vegetable Stew For The Soul...
As much as I hate sharing bad stuff here, you all really know how to make a girl feel better! Knowing that you all cared enough to say something nice for my husband and the passing of his uncle really means a lot to my family. Thank you all so much. Needless to say, this week is full of family gatherings and strolls down memory lane. I think remembering someone at there best is such a great way to show appreciation. Tony and I have talked about he and his uncle a lot the past few days. He is the man that actually taught Tony (the illustrator) how to oil paint and bought him his first set of oil paints. He will always hold a special place in our hearts.

I'm going to try to move forward this summer and really appreciate the little things. We have a lot going on along with a lot of change, but we are all together and moving in a direction that's good for our family. So, with that, the first little thing I am focusing on is...the garden...it's over flowing with squash and zucchini right now! Expect to see more recipes with these jewels of the garden. My father-in-law cracks me up. He likes to take me to the garden and show me what's growing, but I can't touch it. Luckily, I'm allowed to cook and eat the bounty!

Remember I said I made a vegetable stew on Sunday? Well, this is what I've been loving as far as leftovers go...


The great thing about cooking with fresh from the garden produce is that it makes a great tasting,  quick refreshing meal!


This stew came together in about 30 minutes and really the chopping took the longest. Chopping is definitely a form of therapy for me. This included zucchini, squash, onion, potatoes and carrots from the garden. The rest was stuff we had in the pantry. I wish I had some chickpeas or quinoa to add to it, but it was still tasty without. I smothered mine in nutritional yeast and it was perfect for a Sunday evening...

Summer Garden Vegetable Stew
(makes 16 cups)

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 24 oz jar pasta sauce (I used Classico Fire Roasted Tomato and Garlic)
3 lbs summer squash, diced (I used zucchini and yellow squash)
12 oz potatoes, diced
10 oz carrots, diced
7 oz onion, diced
4 cups water
1 tsp garlic powder

Put everything in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes and carrots are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

See! Easy! I don't normally go for the jarred seasonings in my soups, but the sauce really made it easy and tasty!


Confession...for the record, I ate the rest of the zucchini muffins before Tony got any (not that day, but as of today I finished them off). He asked me if I would make more. In my defense, he's been busy and well, I didn't want the muffins to be lonely. I guess I will suffer through making another batch...if I have to...

What's one of the little things you've been enjoying lately? 

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:30 AM   12 comments
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
A family loss...
I truly appreciate all your well wishes yesterday. While talking about sad things is hard, I feel like sharing is important. Tony's (for those that are new here, he's the illustrator, my best friend and my loving husband) family is mourning the loss of a great man. His uncle passed away early yesterday morning. We all have really important figures in our lives and Don was definitely one for Tony. He will forever live in our hearts and memories.

I feel fortunate that we are here with family right now. Do me a favor, please, hug your loved ones and let them know you love them...

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:30 AM   24 comments
Monday, June 20, 2011
You Take The Good, You Take The Bad...
This weekend was definitely about learning the facts of life...

I wanted to wake up and have some joyous post about a beautiful weekend filled with happiness and great things. I hate being negative in any way when I write, but it's not real if I don't share the bad along with the good. It goes something like this...

I lost all of Saturday being sick. I made the mistake of taking 2 Benadryl and about an hour and a half later, I passed out. Not so much sleeping, but I could not keep my eyes open. I NEVER take over the counter medication. I just don't like to, but my throat has been progressively getting worse and I just could not sleep. So, I took some Advil for the swelling in my glands and took the Benadryl for what I thought was allergy related. Then said passing out occurred. From that point on, I was worthless.

Then came Sunday...Father's Day. Well, the illustrator's uncle is worse than before and a phone call at about 6:50am led family members running in multiple directions to take care of things associated with his uncle. I stayed home with the boys, but my mind was on everyone else all day. I was still suffering, but managed to wash some laundry, bake some zucchini muffins and cook some vegetable stew. I am over not feeling well and I may have to give in and go to the doctor...did I mention that I hate going to the doctor? Well, I hate it. The crappy thing is that I'm pretty sure whatever this is started out viral. Now I don't know if it's still viral or if it's transformed...

It wasn't all bad though. In the end, the illustrator came home and we watched The Princess Bride together as a family while he worked (it's a bummer when you own your own business, you work regardless of time or what life throws your way). It's one of my all time favorite movies so it was a perfect ending to a not so perfect day! The other highlight of my weekend...gluten free zucchini muffins!


I know it's kind of a lame transition, but seriously, these were a highlight. My father-in-law's garden is keeping me full of fresh veggies so far this season and I'm loving it!


With everyone gone, you all know my favorite form of yoga is baking. I had to get in my zen place and this was a great way to get there. Max helped me too, which always makes baking more fun!


Look at the muffin tops! I love big puffy muffin tops! These were such a great texture. No one would ever know these were gluten and dairy free. They are sweet, fluffy, moist and chewy...yum! My guess is that you could make them egg free too with a flax egg, but I don't have my flax with me right now, so I went with eggs.


Gluten Free Dairy Free Zucchini Muffins
(makes 9)

1 cup brown rice flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup Smart Balance Light, softened
1/2 cup egg whites
1/2 cup almond milk (I used Silk)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 dropper vanilla stevia (I used NuNaturals) (or 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar)
1 cup shredded zucchini

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Like muffin pan with liners or spray with oil.

In a large bowl, combine the flours through salt and mix well. Mix together the egg whites, almond milk and stevia. Add the liquid mixture and Smart Balance to the dry mixture and stir just until combined. Then add the zucchini until mixed in evenly. Divide the mixture into the prepared muffin tin and bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

It's a new day! I'm putting my positive foot forward and hoping for the best! Happy Monday to you all!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 8:50 AM   20 comments
Friday, June 17, 2011
New Love...Lentil Burgers...
Yesterday was, indeed, a good day. I have really been working on believing I have the power to make good days by focusing on the positive. Not that you have complete control, but focusing on the positive is a way better approach that complaining about the negative, right Heather? I mean really, I have an incredible little family, I'm surrounded by family now and we are living by the lake. Tony, Jay, Max and I all went swimming at the lake after lunch yesterday. We all got our daily dose of vitamin D and had some laughs. We are all healthy, so seriously, these are the things I need to focus on...

We went to dinner Wednesday night over to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law's house. They had another couple over with their kids too. It was a lot of fun. I am definitely going to enjoy doing things like this more often. They cooked out burgers and hot dogs, so I decided to throw together some bean burgers. Luckily, I had picked up some beans from the store the day before. We had some crazy storms come through that night, so with no light, I didn't get any pictures.


There were a few left over so I got some shots of the leftovers on a salad! Confession, I ate three that night. I've made lentil burgers before, but I used my favorite method without making things complicated and they are officially my new favorite! I was made fun of quite a bit for making bean burgers since people here love their meat, but when Max got one instead of a meat burger (which he hates ground beef), they let up and tried a taste of one...and liked it! I think some people have a hard time understanding that it's my choice not to eat meat, but I'm ok with them eating meat and enjoying it. I just prefer to fuel myself differently. Again, it's my choice. Anyway, these burgers really were my easiest recipe yet since they use lentils, which cook in no time!


I love the consistency too. They are not mushy at all. I love a good firm bean burger with a little texture to it.

Lentil Burgers
(makes 8)

1 cup lentils
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup salsa
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Place the lentils in 4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until done. Poor off excess water. Allow to slightly cool. Next add oats through pepper to the lentils and mix thoroughly. Place in the refrigerator and allow to cool completely. When ready to make, scoop out about 1/2 cup servings, form into a patty and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, flipping after 30 minutes.


This is the view that I ate this beast of a salad. Seriously, how could that be bad? 

Are you a positive thinker or do you dwell on the negative? I used to get really overwhelmed by the negative, but have really worked hard the past year to focus on the good in life. I can't change everything, but the things I do have control over are how I perceive things. Everything is relative and really it's the little things that count. I hope you all have an incredible weekend!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:44 AM   33 comments
Thursday, June 16, 2011
It's A New Day!
Thank you all for the well wishes yesterday. I think my body is trying to get better. It's sad though because I'm not working in the office with the illustrator right now so I can stay out of the fumes to see if that helps. I'm still not done sorting through clothes and putting them away. My goal is to finish that today. I had to go to the bank yesterday, which was loads of fun since they put a 2 day hold on the checks I deposited since our account with them has been inactive for so long (it was the illustrator's account when he was a kid and then our account when we first got married, but it's a local credit union so we just stopped using the checking account). Fun stuff, but really, there's nothing you can do about it, so I'm just going with it. Alright, enough of that stuff...best foot forward today!

What I'm loving lately...


STRAWBERRIES!


I found this empty jar of White Chocolate Wonderful in the "to be recycled" part of the counter before we left Georgia.


Obviously the illustrator doesn't understand the wonderful things that an "almost" empty jar of peanut butter can do for your morning oats. I stashed it and brought it with me. I didn't even get any of this peanut butter. It was a give away from BlogHer Food and the boys devoured it in no time. They obviously loved it. In my opinion, it had a very subtle hint of white chocolate. It was really good, but I'm a huge fan of peanut butter so really it wasn't going to be wrong. It made a perfect vessel for my strawberry oats.


I love layers in food. It's such a treat with two layers meet up! The gooey peanut butter in the curves of the jar are definitely a treat!

I'm making this a good day. I know it's up to me!

What are you loving lately? Food or otherwise?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:06 AM   24 comments
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
All Over The Place...
I feel like I'm finally getting caught up on some things, but I'm still all over the place with others. We have internet, which is a huge part of what the illustrator and I do, so it is a lifeline for work.

I have to admit, I'm not feeling great right now. I think the fumes from the paint are getting to me. My glands are HUGE and my throat has hurt since Monday. I'm not sure if that's from the paint (let's just say it was not low VOC paint - sorry environment, it was given to us and what can I say, I'm kind of cheap, however I won't make that mistake again) or exhaustion from moving and lack of sleep or a combination of both? Oh well, I'm going to load up on good stuff today. There will be lots of water along with fruits and veggies today! Not that it's different from any other day, but it's the thought that counts.

I feel like I'm reliving all of this piece by piece...Saturday was a bear, to say the least. It took us so much longer to get out of Atlanta than we had hoped. Then we got on the road where there was tons of traffic and some rain. The cats hated the drive. They were crying most of the way, so that was fun. Luke pooped in the carrier and guess who the lucky girl was in that car? Yep, this girl. Luckily, when we got to Tennessee, we had a lot of help unloading the trailer. It was amazing how fast the guys unloaded the trailer. I was so thankful for that since it took us all day to get the thing loaded with just two of us. That's a major perk to moving close to family!

I am way off my routine, but I know I will get there. I did finally get in a workout. Honestly, even though it doesn't sound like me, it was smart for me to take Friday through Monday off. I'm a schedule girl, but with moving on Friday and Saturday, then painting all day on Sunday, my body was screaming for a rest day. Then I decided to tackle Julian Michaels' Shred yesterday. Dang that woman worked me. I LOVED it! I did level 1 and 2...I was screaming for mercy at the end. It felt so good! I loved the circuits and how she uses multiple muscle groups at once so your heart rate really gets up there. Now I want to get more fun workouts! Thank you all for the suggestions the other day. I will definitely look into getting more of them. I'm really liking changing things up. It uses different muscles and keeps things interesting!

My eats have been completely random. I haven't cooked since last Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm starting to get a little crazy with the lack of being in the kitchen. I'm going to try to fix that little scenario today. I have been enjoying some amazing food from my father-in-laws garden though. 


There is nothing better than fresh lettuce, tomato, cucumber, squash, potatoes and onions from a home garden!


I packed the last of my baked cauliflower falafel to bring with me to go on my salads. I like toasting them up to make them nice and crispy! Sadly, they are all gone now. Another thing I need to fix!


I needed cantaloup so badly the other day and had no problem eating it straight from nature's bowl. This was amazingly sweet, juicy and delicious! Perfect for hydration and fuel, if you ask me.

So, today has begun. I need to get my booty moving if I'm ever going to finish the tasks I need to. 

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 8:16 AM   14 comments
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Email Surprises...
We officially have internet! Yay! I feel like it's a lifeline for the illustrator and I. Finally opening up my email made me so happy. Seriously, all of the anniversary comments completely made my day. Thank you all so much for your sweet comments. We ended up working all day on our anniversary and then we were invited to dinner with some friends. It was a nice way to end our anniversary even if we were so tired we couldn't see straight. 

Another email surprise was finding out my Cornbread Pudding recipe was chosen as the winner for the June Foodzie Blogger Tasting Panel. I loved how this turned out so I was really happy to see that Foodzie liked it too! I've never actually won anything from a recipe I created and even though I develop recipes for a living, it's something extra special when you're chosen as a winner. Thank you Foodzie for picking my recipe!


Speaking of Foodzie, have you checked them out? I love what they stand for. From the Foodzie website, "We are an online marketplace where you can discover and buy food directly from small passionate food producers and growers". How can you not be behind that? I've tested a few products from them now and I've loved all of it. They do a tasting box monthly  where you can get so many great products that you might not know are out there. I love trying new things our now and it really gets the creative juices flowing. If you have a chance and you're looking for some fun new food products, definitely check this out. 

I am now off to workout. I picked up Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I know a lot of you like this one, so I'm excited to give it a try. I hope you all have an incredible Tuesday!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 10:04 AM   23 comments
Monday, June 13, 2011
Getting Set Up and A Guest Post!
This weekend has been physically exhausting to say the least. We moved our office, painted the studio space and now we have finally set the office up. Steelcase furniture is beautiful, but dang is it a bear to move. So, while we are getting settled in today, my friend Kalinda from Wheat Free Meat Free has kindly written a post for you...


My husband is a fruit eater, while I am a veggie eater. As such, if I ever I ask for his input on what to make for dinner, he invariably tries to incorporate fruit into whatever I come up with.




Some people might think cooked fruit and beans make an odd combination, but once they try this, they'll change their minds. The apple adds a little sweetness, and the leeks and wine make the dish decadent.


Apples and Lima Beans
(serves 4)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced leek (1 small leek)
1 1/2 cups chopped fuji apple (1 medium-large apple)
~3 cups cooks lima beans (2 15-ounce cans)
1/3 cup red wine
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add leeks and apples. Saute for 5-7 minutes until softened.

Add the sage, parsley, a big pinch of salt and generous amount of black pepper. Add in the wine. The wine will bubble up. Give everything a good stir, then add in the beans.

Cook for another 5 minutes or so, until thoroughly heated through. Adjust seasoning if needed and serve.
(Serves 4)

To make this dish extra rich, drizzle with olive oil, or stir in a pat of butter before serving.


About the author: Kalinda blogs at Wheat-Free Meat-Free, where she shares treats like gluten-free red velvet cupcakes.

Are you a fruit or veggie eater? I'm definitely both!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 5:51 PM   326 comments
Friday, June 10, 2011
Sixteen Years Ago Today...
I remember it like it was yesterday...


Sixteen years ago today was my day! I married the man of my dreams and I felt like a princess!


Today we are taking the beginning steps on a new life adventure.


I am so thankful to have my partner in crime by my side everyday.

(last year's picture, I can't wait to take more this year at the lake)

Thank you for giving me this amazing family! 


This is my favorite family portrait. My boys are my best friends and I'm such a lucky girl to have them all in my life! 

Happy Anniversary Tony! Thank you for always being by my side! 

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 7:26 AM   38 comments
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Baked Cauliflower Falafel and I Need Workout Video Suggestions!
Thursday, how in the world did that happen? This week is flying by in some ways, but not in others. Does that make any sense? I miss my boys so badly! A week and a half is just too long without them! It's been a crazy week with work for the illustrator, packing for me and on top of that, Tony's uncle is sick and in the hospital, so it's crazy where we are heading to this weekend too (he lives in TN). We really just need to get there, but we have so much that has to be completed before hand. So, baby steps!

The illustrator thinks I'm crazy because I've been getting up to workout even though I've been packing, but I have to have my me workout time. I like the structure of my workout plans. We are working on getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night so we can start to feel more refreshed and to catch up from lack of sleep this past weekend. I was exhausted this morning, but got up and started a boot camp followed by some yoga and now I'm feeling ready to go, go, go! Oh, speaking of workouts, I need suggestions on favorite workout videos! Right now I'm streaming things on Netflix, but I need to get a collection of my own. So, please leave suggestions if you use videos of any kind!


As for my eats as of late, I'm on operation clean out the fridge/freezer. I made a massive amount of hummus for our trip and I only ate a little of it so I turned to making some baked falafel, well sort of. This version is based off the artichoke falafel I made before, but this one has cauliflower in it. I had a bag of frozen cauliflower and a bag of frozen chopped onion hanging out in the freezer, so why not put them to good use? These were super crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. I love the texture combination and they were a perfect topper for my salad!


Baked Cauliflower Falafel
(makes 24)

1 16 oz bag frozen cauliflower, defrosted
1 cup chopped onion
2 1/3 cups hummus
1 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Pulse the cauliflower and onion in a food processor until it's finely chopped. It will look like this...


In a large bowl, mix the flour through pepper until well blended. Next add the cauliflower mixture and  hummus to the flour mixture and stir until completely combined. Scoop 1/4 cup balls out onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

These are even better the next day! They also freeze like a charm.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:50 AM   23 comments

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