Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Potatoes, Hummus and Rooms...
Disjointed topic, but that's what we're covering today...

Well, Tony and I made the plunge, after almost 17 years of being married, we just purchased our second set of bedroom furniture. UGH, I want to throw up! Sometimes, being an adult really stinks. I know I could have found a better way to spend the money. I researched EVERYWHERE and we finally decided on the one we wanted that was in our price range (truth be told, I would have liked to have gone lower). I swear, nothing is ever really simple. We ended up having to get our mattress from another place so now that's 2 delivery charges. Score! Why make it one when you can get two. Luckily, the mattress was a little cheaper from the other place, so it was kind of an even swap...kind of. We will have the set on Saturday, so hopefully we will be back to a more normal sleep space. In the end it is worth it. Jay really deserved a great room of his own. I remember when my room changed over to being more me and put together when I was a kid. It kind of makes you feel more grown up. I'm glad to have him in a room he loves now and feels like him.

So, with all the running around yesterday, we kept our food super simple with omelets and hummus that I had made the other day. In my opinion, potatoes are an underrated food. I think being a good source of vitamin B6 (essential for making new cells), potassium (muscle contraction), vitamin C (protecting our body), magnesium (bones) and fiber (gut) makes these pretty top notch in my book. Also, when slathered with hummus and covered with nutritional yeast they are delicious!

I had the baked potato with a hummus filled omelet and those tiny sweet peppers from Costco. Side note, those suckers are addictive! As for the hummus, I didn't have any lemon juice so I tried something different. Apple cider vinegar! I put that stuff on any and everything now due to the health benefits. So, I figured I would sneak a little into the boys too! They loved it!

(makes 3 1/2 cups)

4 cups chickpeas
3 cloves of garlic
2 TBSP cumin
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 pinches turmeric
1 tsp salt

When did you change your room over to being more of a big kid room? I was in 7th grade, when we moved to Georgia. I had a very Asian theme going on from stuff my grandmother brought back from Japan when they lived there. I loved it along with the River Phoenix posters I had all over the back of my door. 

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:30 AM   72 comments
Monday, March 26, 2012
Chickpea Crepes!
I want thank you all for your support and your openness in my last post. I appreciate every word of encouragement and kindness. I am working through it and will respond to everyone personally. I hate to see others hurt. So, to all of you that are going through hard times, I hope you find peace with it soon. I think the biggest help for me has been talking it out. Last week was a crazy one for me, some things sparked the bad again so the dreams started up again. Tony and I did a lot of talking and it definitely helped. If you are suffering, please find someone that will talk with you about it. I know it seems lonely and hard to deal with, but being able to get things out of your head really does help you through it. I'm here too!

To add to the craziness of the week, we decided to rearrange a few things in the house which required painting Jay's room. He now has our furniture for his bedroom set and Tony and I are sleeping on twin beds on the floor in our room. UGH, not comfortable. We are now on the lookout for some new furniture. I'm a thrifty gal, so this means I've looked at more sites than I care to think about while listening to far too many episodes of Felicity than I care to divulge. I wish more tv shows felt like that show makes me feel. It's strangely relaxing.

Anyway, the room is coming along. We bought some new bedding from Target (of course), but we still need to get some pictures on the wall for him. He has some prints picked out, so that will be next. It is so weird that Jay has a grown up room with no legos in it anymore. It's also weird that his room looks like an adult room while mine looks like a college apartment. Have I mentioned how much I hate spending money?

What I do love is playing in the kitchen. I have been working with Tony on his diet lately. This has been a very interesting nutrition experiment. Yes, I normally feed him, but I think this has really helped him realize what he is eating and portion control. He eats healthy already, but understanding the details of what he's eating has been eye opening for him. 

Discussing how foods make him feel has been great as far as his diet goes. Protein definitely works better for him. I think his intestines are still damaged from celiac so we have gone back to more basics. It's also interesting to see what keeps him full for longer and what doesn't. We are completely opposite in so many ways with our diet. This has actually been a lot of fun working with him on this. 

I wanted to make something a little more fun for lunch on Sunday with our leftover pork roast. I had some time to play in the kitchen, so the adventure towards an Italian style sandwich was on it's way.

We all know about my deep addiction to socca and chickpea flour. This is where I wanted to start with my flatbread. I was looking for something that was kind of like a tortilla and I was considering a wrap of some sort. After talking with Jay about the options (I like talking about food with the boys so they help with ideas and feel a lot more involved) we came up with a toasted pork and pepper savory crepe with tomato sauce for dipping. Who doesn't love a sandwich you can dip?

I went with a lentil burger wrap from mine. These were perfectly soft for wrapping around the stuffing and got super crispy when toasted. You have to eat them right away after you toast them or they will get soft again, but perfect fresh from the pan!

Chickpea Crepes
(makes 6 1/2)

2 cups water
1 1/2 cup chickpea flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
6 TBSP egg whites (or whites from 2 eggs)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Combine the water and chickpea flour in a glass bowl, mix well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or over night. After the flour has soaked, add the egg, baking powder and salt, whisk until completely combined. Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium high. Spray pan with a little olive oil and pour 1/2 cup batter into the hot pan. Swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan. At this point you can make it as thick or thin as you like. When the crepe is slightly browned on the bottom, flip it over and brown the other side. When both sides are cooked, remove the crepe onto a plate and continue cooking the rest of the batter. You can stack them one on top of the other when they are done. Use as a wrap or fill them and toast them in a skillet.

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 @ 6:30 AM   15 comments
Monday, March 19, 2012
Finding Happiness...
I said something to Tony yesterday that felt strange to say out loud as soon as the words came out of my mouth, but it felt so freeing to actually say it. On our way to Home Depot to pick up paint for Jay's room transformation (yep, he wants a big boy room, the legos are now gone...), I told Tony that I felt really happy right now. He asked me if it was just a right now feeling or an in general feeling. I had to think for a minute, but I responded it was an in general feeling of happiness about my life.

I don't know why, but recently I've really come to terms with things in my life that really haven't turned out how I wanted them to be. I don't know if it's age or what, but for some reason things have just finally clicked for me when it comes to thinking about where my life is going and where it's been. For so many years, I've tried to escape bad feelings and situations, I've tried to overcome them and in my true nature, I've even taken the blame for them so I can just move on. In reality, I have discovered that I have to own these feelings. They have completely made me who I am. My entire life I have wondered what people think about me and how I can make others happy. I am a people pleaser at heart and that will never change. However, now I realize that I have to please me somewhere in there too. Not to say that I don't care to make others happy now (I can't change me in that way, I always have to make people happy), but I don't focus on that in my relationships anymore.

I used to wonder why people come into our lives only to leave us or hurt us. I can't say I completely understand these passages of time, since they leave us with so much pain, but I do realize this is part of life. While some of it was me, some of it was them too. I'm ok with that. I know now that these relationships had to be this way.

My pain has been physical in the past too. I have been really low due to medical issues that were mentally and physically debilitating. These times have taught me how powerful your head can really be. It took and still takes everything I have to remind myself that I am stronger than I think I am and I can get past the bad. Life is not easy, but we have to believe we can overcome these hard times in order to enjoy the good times. Physically, I have achieved things that I was told were not possible for me. I'm smart about it, but I do love pushing myself a little harder everyday.

I have spent most of the last year with some pretty deep feelings of sadness. I have shared with some of you personally, but not spoken in detail here. I still don't want to share details, but after working with clients now and talking with friends, I've heard the struggles people have in dealing with their mental strength too. So, I thought I should share enough to help others know they have this strength too and that they are not alone.

In the past year, I have woken up in the middle of the night crying from my painfully vivid nightmares, I've started crying while driving home from taking the kids to school, I have cried while folding laundry and I've started crying after having has been that random. I'm lucky though, I have an incredible husband and two amazing boys as a support system. I won't lie, I tried to run away from a lot of it. I even tried to find something that wasn't there to make it seem like it didn't matter. I've taken some leaps and landed on my head, but I've also landed on my feet sometimes too. I've made some reconnections with people that meant so much to me in the past and I've developed some amazing friendships that I know will stand the test of time (and distance).

I was fortunate enough to spend an amazing weekend with some extraordinary friends of ours this weekend. They are the type of people that hold no judgement and just like you for you. I can't tell you how much I needed this. It was kind of the icing on the cake for me in my emotional roller coaster year. We enjoyed incredible food, tons of laughter (dominos and a heated game of Uno always help with this) and shared memories of our past adventures together.

We feasted on Beef Stew...

Roasted vegetables with steamed cabbage...

Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread (recipe to come)...

Chocolate Cake...

I know this seems out of the blue from me in some ways, but I wanted to share. So many people go through hard personal times. Especially the "what does it all mean" moments. No, I don't have the answer (for me or you), I really don't think we are meant to know what it all means. I think life is a journey. I think we are meant to learn from this journey and hopefully use what we learn to be better people to ourselves and others. I'm not going to waste my energy on trying to change things I can't anymore. I'm going to keep moving forward knowing that life's little lessons along the way are only going to make me stronger and help me learn how to work through the hard times.

It's Monday and I know that was deep for a Monday, but I appreciate all of you that take the time to come here day after day. Thank you for your support and your friendship! I hope you all have a great week!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:30 AM   24 comments
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Potato Skins and Teamwork!
Truth be told, my creativity in the kitchen department is a "little lack luster lately" (say that three times fast). Anyway, I've been good with it since I have a fridge full of fresh vegetables, however my meat and potatoes group has been looking for a little more. I also seem to have a ton of leftovers from odds and ends of meals in the fridge. So, enter a knew meal with leftovers and some teamwork!

The thought process started with needing to clean out some baked potatoes, bacon and spinach (Daiya or cheese) that were just hanging out...

I really made the potato skins to go along with something else, but I had no idea what else. After I baked off the potato skins, I thought it would have been a great idea to fill them with scrambled egg  and then bake them to make an easy fun finger food meal...

Then Tony came in and totally had the best idea! He threw an egg into a skillet and then put a potato skin on top and covered the pan. He cooked these just long enough to cook the whites and then flipped his genius out of the pan onto a plate. I sliced into it and this was complete perfection!


Potato skins are so easy and so perfect. Why do I not make these more often? They are now going into rotation for hors d'oeuvres night. Oh and now I want to do a brunch with egg baked into them. 

Do you ever make potato skins? I just scooped out the center of the potatoes, filled them and broiled them for about 7 minutes. Too easy!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:30 AM   16 comments
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Gluten and Dairy Free Vanilla Coconut Pound Cake!
Last week I shared a picture of a gluten free pound cake I made recently and stated that I would share the recipe soon. This is a recipe for Gluten and Dairy Free Vanilla Coconut Pound Cake I shared at Bob's Red Mill.

The texture of this cake is perfectly dense with a delicate crumb. There is a slight hint of coconut that adds to the richness of these little vanilla cakes and a thick glaze on top adds a little extra sweetness.

For the recipe click here.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:30 AM   16 comments
Monday, March 12, 2012
Sunday Brunch and a Smoothie...
This weekend was beautiful outside...I stayed in all weekend. Ironically, I was studying for my Personal Training final while sitting on my rear for hours. I have never felt more need to workout than after sitting all day studying this information. It felt good to get so much studying done though. I am almost done!

Another thing I got caught up on this weekend was sleep. Even though Tony and I both had so much work to do, we decided we would sleep in if we could. There was no rushing around, just taking every moment step by step. We also took the time to have an incredible brunch on Sunday morning with the boys...

I made gluten free biscuits (I'm working on some variations), eggs and bacon. We feasted!



I enjoyed an incredible bath during the afternoon and finally painted my nails (and studied more while they dried)! Look at me, I'm multi-tasking! I felt so girly and so smart...

Now this next thing is going to shock most of you...I made my first smoothie for me!

I've made them for Tony and the boys before, but I never made a smoothie for me as a treat/meal. I don't like to drink my calories and I never really found a protein powder I liked. I have found one I like now (thanks to Lindsay) and I wanted something cool and refreshing after a hot bath.

Vanilla blackberry smoothie with a little extra frozen blackberries on top. This is only the beginning for me friends! I loved it!

The protein powder I used is Life's Basics. I ordered the chocolate and the vanilla from Amazon. I will be honest, this powder has hemp in it so there is a slight grainy texture to it, but you can't tell with the berries mixed in. I love how thick this powder makes the liquids it's mixed in with due to the chia. I mixed the chocolate with almond milk and a little peanut flour the other tasted like a peanut butter chocolate pudding. YUM!

With 22 grams of protein, no artificial sweeteners, no soy, no gluten and no dairy, is was definitely a great choice for me. I also love that it has the essential fatty acids 3-6-9 in it. I'm pretty crazy about my protein sources these days and I'm loving having some quick easy and tasty options in the pantry.

Today is going to be busy. I've worked out and showered, now I have to get to the gym to meet with a client. I have more studying in store during the middle of the day and another client meeting tonight. Let's make this a great week. I think we could all use one!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:30 AM   10 comments
Friday, March 9, 2012
Tony's Burn Notice Commercial!
Remember when Tony went to LA in October to shoot a commercial for the Burn Notice online comic book he was drawing? Here it is!

Hyundai Veloster-Character Builder: DC Comics illustrator Tony Shasteen discusses the Burn Notice graphic novel "A New Day, Vol. 2".

Sorry for the link, but I can't get the video on here this morning. I blame lack of sleep due to being up way too late last night and Jay's bloody nose clean up too early in the morning. It's Friday though and it will be a good day fueled by A LOT of coffee!
posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 7:45 AM   10 comments
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Something Old, Something New...
Please excuse the disappearing act! Thank you all for the sweet comments about my hair. I really appreciate the positive feedback especially since it was a HUGE change for me. I can't believe it's almost time to get it cut again. I think I'm going shorter this time. I'm just gonna have fun with it for awhile. Enough about hair...

I have located the kitchen! To say the last two weeks have been crazy for me would be an understatement. Tuesday (yesterday) marked the first day that I am at my new schedule. I'm back to working for myself again and that feels so good! Not that I have complete control of my schedule since my clients run that, but at least I have more time for cooking and writing! I also LOVE working with people one on one. Now my verbal diarrhea about health and nutrition goes to people that want to know!

The kitchen has been producing some old favorites and some new treats! I will give more details on the new eats when I find a little more time to write, but for now I will just give you a peak!

Egg white omelets with sauteed spinach fresh salsa and nutritional yeast...

Fried rice over crisp romaine covered in Sriracha!

Vegetable shepherd's pie...

Meaty shepherd's pie...

Socca crackers!

Pan seared talapia with fresh sugar snap peas and smashed potatoes!

Over easy eggs with fresh sugar snap peas and smashed potatoes...

Gluten free pound cake! (recipe coming soon!)

Gluten free caramel gooey bars!

Apple cranberry chia jam...

By the way, people, I have found heaven at Costco! Seriously, my fridge is busting with fresh vegetables and I am in my happy place with it!

Anyone else buying bulk veggies? What do you buy when you do...and then what is your favorite way to use them? I think it's time I try spinach in a smoothie!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:30 AM   25 comments

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