Friday, September 28, 2012
Friday Fodder
So, it's Friday! This week has been a mental drain on me. I am so glad to see it go! I haven't done a ton of anything important or worthy of discussion so now you just get fodder...

I have started some of the weirdest quirks now that I've started running regularly.

1. Any and all music that I hear immediately gets the beat tapped out with my hand to see if it would be a good running song. I catch myself at the grocery store tapping my hand to the crappy 80s tunes...

2. Running music is no joke! Tony and I have completely different opinions on what makes a great running playlist. I need something fast and inspirational. Lately, Florence and the Machine (Lungs) has seriously been rocking my socks off! Tony's music is all over the place for me. He likes to kick it old school with Baby Got Back and Hammer Time. That stuff makes me laugh and I have a hard time focusing on my run. Paige totally got me hooked on and I get lost on that site! I just keep putting music on my playlist like I'm running forever! Just call me Forrest Gump...

3. I got a PR time yesterday on my run and I swear I wore a grin ear to ear from it all day. Tony did the same on Tuesday. The funny thing is, he didn't hit that number yesterday and he was a little bummed by it. We both know you can't hit that high every time, but I never realized how much running would teach you about reaching little goals and acceptance of the days you don't. I know, I'm probably reaching, but I kind of feel that way. Probably goes with my mood this week...

4. Therapy. Um, seriously, after my funky mood on Monday, Tony asked if I wanted to go for a run on Tuesday morning. I had a client appointment in the morning, I had to run errands and I had to manage the desk at the gym on Tuesday evening. I really wanted that run. I ran 1 mile and it was glorious! That's all I had time for so I hit it hard! I think I have officially hit that point where I'm like a kid that needs to go run it off. It was only a mile, but I came away from it wanting more and feeling energized. Who am I???

5. Have I mentioned how much I love my running shoes? I swear they have a personality (they're fun, cute and peppy just in case you were wondering). I only run ever other day. I'm good with that. I love cross training and I don't want to get hurt, so Nervous Nelly over here changes things up daily. Well, I'm telling you, the night before I go to bed (on a day I haven't run), my Mizunos talk to me and let me know they are getting lonely! I always tell Kristin she wears magic shoes...these suckers are seriously magic! By the way, check out Kristin in Fitness Magazine's Fit Blogger feature! The woman is a machine and a true inspiration!

6. I signed up for my first official 5k in just two weeks! I'm excited and scared all at the same time. I'm doing this for fun, but I still want to do well. YIKES!

I have been playing in the kitchen a bit lately. I've had fun making other people's recipes along with some of my own that I need to share!

1. If you like bean burgers, you HAVE to make these from my friend Heather at Where's the Beach! The texture is perfect and the flavor combination is amazing! All 4 of us couldn't stop eating them! It's always burger season in this house!

2. Beans in sweets! Ssshhhhh, don't tell the boys there were beans in their cookies! They went crazy for these and they still don't know. I am on a strict don't ask don't tell policy here people. I did use a little more sugar than Christin called for and took out a bit of the stevia. My guys don't mind a little stevia, but they will call me out on it if the ratio is off. These and variations of these babies are definitely going to happen soon! YUM!

3. Tony and I ventured to the farmer's market in Tennessee this weekend! I bought these beauties looking all pretty waiting to be roasted up and in my belly (maybe some for the freezer too)...

and these...

I can only find F.R.O.G Jam at this one place and I got the fig jam on a whim...because it sounds delicious!

See the large tomato, yeah I bought 4 of those! The little one in front is the only size mine got out of my garden and no, I did not plant cherry tomatoes. I had a plan from the second I saw these fat garden tomatoes...

The boys had BLTs of course on gluten free flatbread...

I had egg, lettuce and tomato with mustard!

4. I made lemon drop cookies and I can't wait to share this recipe! Soft and doughy on the inside, firm and crispy on the outside...loaded with flavor! Monday, I promise! 

Well, we have acquired a new little friend at our house. She is completely feral and won't let us too close to her. She showed up on our back door with no tail and she was horribly malnourished. We put food (and water) out for her and she comes back every day at the same times (unless she decides to miss a meal in which Tony immediately freaks out!). We are trying to capture her to take her to the vet. We will keep her if she will have us, but she has to be an outside cat as we already have two inside cats and they both have a condition that we were told in the beginning from the vet would make things not so pleasant if we ever tried to introduce another animal into the house. For now, we will see how this goes. She is just so stinkin' cute! I want to pet her...someday kitty!

I warned you, I'm totally random these days. This weekend is going to be loaded with good stuff though and I can't wait! We are going apple picking for the first time ever and we are meeting up with some friends for lunch on Sunday as they pass through town. I hope you all have a great weekend!!!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 AM   16 comments
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Salty Sweet (a Metaphor for my Monday)
Truth be told, I kinda let things get to me yesterday. Nothing really bad happened, it was just one of those days that everything added up to a big fat bad day. I didn't really help the situation by added the craptastic events of the day up as they came. If I would have just let everything go, it would have been so much better. Anyway, it's done and it's a new day!

I definitely took to my favorite place yesterday...

the kitchen...

to make my most favorite gluten/dairy free pumpkin muffins...

some were fancied up for the boys...

At the end of the day, I sat outside with Max. He listened to music and I worked a little since I have clients today that I'm training. The weather was still AMAZING up into the evening! Max went inside to get a little dessert to enjoy with me on the patio...

this is what he came out with...

and yeah, this happened...bacon dipped in cream cheese icing. The boy is a culinary genius all on his own. We need need to work on the decorating skills on the muffin, but I think he's good to go on the flavor combinations. 

The weather was beyond beautiful yesterday, so I'm thankful for that! Fall has definitely settled in and I am more than ok with it. I love having the windows open and enjoying jeans and a sweatshirt or sweater and eating my beloved pumpkin. I hope this sticks around for a bit. So, today, I'm going to focus on the good. It's a new day and a new attitude!

Do you add up the crap and let it get to you or are you good at letting things go? I have really been good at letting the bad go over the past year, but for some reason (probably hormones if I'm being completely honest) I let things get to me yesterday. I am starting the week over now!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 AM   18 comments
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Pizza Bread and Yeasted Flatbread...
I feel bad showing recipes on here that have dairy in the pictures, but I want to share a recipe I made that I know will work with your favorite dairy free cheese. Tony and I have been spending a lot of time at the book store lately. We are taking advantage of a little low key time and enjoying some magazine/book reading while having some coffee and tea. I know this relaxed time won't last long, so I'm soaking it up right now. Also, we lost power for 4 hours yesterday so really is there anything better to do on a rainy day...I think not.

Anyway, I came across a recipe from a magazine (for the life of me, I can't remember what magazine) and when Tony saw it, he immediately wanted it. So, you know I had to make it...

I looked online to see if I could find that recipe and while I don't think this was the magazine, I adapted my gluten free version from this recipe. I doubled the recipe and added melted butter, garlic powder and onion powder to the layers. I imagine Chebe bread would work here too.

I took this as an opportunity to play with my flatbread again. I told you I'm addicted!!!

I had a loaded salad with fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden. Sadly that is about to end so I'm enjoying the last of my summer bounty while it lasts...

I wanted to try yeast in my flatbread. Not so much for the rise, but I wanted the flavor. I also wanted to use up some carbonated water I had opened (hint: carbonated water in baked goods helps give things a little extra lift). This was so good! I loved the yeasty flavor and super soft doughy insides! YUM!

Yeasted Chickpea Oat Flatbread

2/3 cup quick oats (or oat flour or ground whole oats)
2/3 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
pepper (to taste)
2/3 cup egg whites
2/3 cup carbonated water
3 TBSP apple cider vinegar (a must, it adds to the fluffiness)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 8x8 pan with olive oil. 

Combine the dry ingredients and then add the wet. Stir to combine. Pour the batter into prepared pan. Allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes in a warm draft free place. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. 

Everyone else is already jumping head first into fall. Are you still enjoying the summer bounty or have you moved on to fall? Trust me, I'm ready for fall, but I'm trying to stick to eating as seasonally as I can...I'm trying. I did break down and bought two cans of pumpkin the other day, but I'm trying to hold off just a little. The cooler weather is coming this week, so I may break down and bust open a can for some pumpkin muffins! These are really hard to resist though!!!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 AM   13 comments
Monday, September 17, 2012
Gluten Free Devil's Food Cake Mix Cookies!
Well, the events of last week left me a little on the overwhelmed side. Let's just say there was a roller coaster of emotions, but nothing a little time with my boys this weekend couldn't help. After all three of my guys were done alternating funky viruses (I'm waiting for them to hit me! knock on wood they will pass by me...), we decided that a little family time was in order. We didn't do anything in particular, but it was a nice weekend filled with walks and games...and a little bit of shopping for some school clothes to go with the changing season. All in all it was a great weekend...just what we all needed.

I also took some time to go through some pictures and recipes I've made lately so hopefully I can catch up on some sharing. You know what they say...sharing is caring (hopefully that doesn't go for the viruses that have been going around). Anyway, I made these exactly 1 month ago. I can't believe how behind I am! I figured it was time to share these tasty treats...

While I normally go for making things from scratch, I like the ease of semi-homemade eats too! We used to bake cake mix cookies back in our non-gluten free days. I hadn't tried a gluten free version yet. I had cream cheese frosting left over from Jay's birthday cupcakes, so I thought some soft cakey devil's food cookies would pair well with it. Indeed it did!

The guys went crazy over these! Soft, cakey, creamy, gooey...really what's not to like?

Devil's Food Cake Mix Cookies

1 chocolate cake mix (I used Betty Crocker's GF)
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Comine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. The dough will be too thick to use a mixer. Scoop the dough using a small cookie scoop onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire cooling wrack. Cool completely before filling. I filled mine with cream cheese frosting.

From scratch or semi homemade or both? I love coming up with new exciting recipes, but sometimes l like a little simplicity and help.

Have a great week!

I'm sharing these on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Allergy Free Wednesday this week!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 AM   41 comments
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Travel Planning and Microwave Cake Making...
Right now, I'm supposed to be doing my other job. You know the travel agent part of my job with Tony? You probably didn't know that I do that. Yeah, I'm also Tony's personal assistant/travel agent/book keeper on the other side of our business. I hate booking travel. I love it when I'm actually on the trip or at least when Tony is off and things run smoothly, but I am seriously a wreck when I have to deal with dates, times (we only have one car so I have to get him to and from the airport around school schedules and my client schedules), distances of hotels to the conventions, flights and hotels. UGH! I hate that part of my job!

What I do love to do...

is make microwave protein cakes...

and top them with peanut butter chia frosting...

and fresh figs (yes, I am rationing myself to a few everyday since Tony got these for me the other day).

and eat them!

Yeah, I could make these all day long! These are so good for you, you could probably eat them all day long too (I don't recommend that though)! The toppings options are endless too!

Ok, so I made a couple of changes the other day out of desperation. I was running low on almond milk and didn't realize this until I was elbow deep in my protein cake making. So, I subbed some unsweetened applesauce and some water for the almond milk in my original recipe...I actually liked this one BETTER! It's fluffier and more cakey. For all you doubters, these are not eggy at all! My favorite protein powders to use in this recipe are SunWarrior Blend, Plant Fusion and Life's Basics. They all work and they are all delicious!

Vanilla Protein Microwave Cake
(inspired by this post on Stuft Mama)

1 scoop vanilla protein powder, this was a serving of protein powder per their measurements
1 TBSP coconut flour
2 TBSP quick oats, oat flour or ground whole oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 packs stevia or equivalent
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce *(or water)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup egg whites

Mix everything together. Pour into a sprayed microwave safe soup size bowl. Microwave 6 minutes.

***Edited to add that water instead of the applesauce works really well too! The cake is lighter in texture and fluffier with all water.

Peanut Butter Chia Topping

2 TBSP peanut flour or peanut butter
1 tsp chia seeds
stevia to taste (depending on how sweet you like it)
1-3 TBSP water (add a tablespoon at a time so it's not too runny, but the chia will soak up the liquid)

Booking it or hate it? Protein them, never tried them or hate them?

Now, I'm off for a run and it's time to get this day going! Happy Wednesday my friends!

I'm sharing this on Allergy Free Wednesday.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:30 AM   19 comments
Monday, September 10, 2012
Rosemary Chickpea Oat Flatbread Obsession...

Well, hello there Monday! You snuck up on me! This is probably due to me working on all day on Saturday, but that's ok, I'm in a great mood and starting the week off on the right foot! Last week was a crazy one. I managed the desk at the gym for the second half of the week along with my usual personal training schedule...that makes from some craziness. I don't mind the craziness sometimes though. A good week of shaking things up can be fun and I got to see my gym peeps that I hadn't seen in forever since I'm normally just there for training now. It was great catching up with them!

Also, the guys at home have no troubles taking care of themselves...

Tony and Jay took to making dinner together! Oven roasted pork with carrots, onions and mashed potatoes was the feast that hit the menu! We are teaching Jay how to really cook these days. Sure, he's only 14 (I started cooking way before this by myself), but we figure now is a good time to help him learn his way around the kitchen. Besides, seriously, what woman doesn't like a man to cook with her? I always love being in the kitchen with Tony! Anyway, we are putting together a family cookbook with Jay. That way, when he does leave home (years from now), he has his own cookbook to take with him. Tony's mom did something like this for him and we still have the notecards with the recipes in our recipe booklet. They are great reference and great memories for us of things Tony cooked for me when we first met!

This is Jay's and Tony's recipe, obviously it's a good thing we shop at Costco...2 sticks of butter in this meal and 4 lbs of potatoes for the mashed potatoes! Don't worry, there were a lot of leftovers. Also, that temp is 160 degrees on the pork, not 100...just in case you needed clarification. 

Since I worked Saturday and the guys have been sick throughout the week ending with Tony being sick this weekend, we decided to take it easy Saturday night and Sunday. The boys all had leftovers for dinner and I decided to have some of my current obsession...

I can't get enough of this flatbread! I make it at least 5 days a week! We make sandwiches with it and I can't get enough of it with my soups..

We made a batch of Tony's vegetable soup topped Chinese chili sauce! Let's just say I'm guarding myself from this cold. 

I'm also still loving the last of my summer salads this week! My latest obsession with the chickpea oat flatbread is adding fresh rosemary. YUM! 

I wish I could say that was my idea, but really it was Max that suggested it. The boys is pure genius I tell you! The loaves are so easy to throw together, bake quickly and are loaded with protein and fiber! I can't get over how doughy they are on the inside and crispy they get on the outside. 

Rosemary Chickpea Oat Flatbread

1/3 cup quick oats (or oat flour or ground whole oats)
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
pepper (to taste)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/3 cup egg whites
1/3 cup water
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar (a must, it adds to the fluffiness)
1 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9x5 bread pan with olive oil. 

Combine the dry ingredients and then add the wet. Stir to combine. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. 

How about you, are you ready for the week? Do you like crazy weeks sometimes? I really do (making a little extra money doesn't hurt that either), I think it helps me really see that things are as crazy as they seem during my regular weeks. 

How old did you start cooking? Do you remember what you first made on your own? Mine was muffins! I remember the day like it was yesterday. 

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 9:25 AM   27 comments
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Overcoming My Fears...

Confession, I let fear hold me back. I have a feeling I'm not alone in this. Don't get me wrong, I do believe in myself and my abilities (in some areas), but I have always given in to my fears. Sadly, this has held me back in the past. This last year has taught me a lot about who I am and how strong I am. Some day I will share more about the details of how I've physically gotten where I am today. I haven't been dealt the best hand as far as health goes. It's not the worst hand either, so I am thankful for that. These are things we have to learn to deal with. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right? I gave up on myself in the past because I thought I was a lesser person for this hand I was dealt. I stayed in my safe zone and told myself that was where I needed to stay.

I don't know why, but this past year, I dipped my toe into the unknown and stepped out of that safe zone. Well, there may have been a little pushing from Tony to get me there, but it was a much needed push that helped me see the possibilities. In the past year I have completed my Specialist in Fitness Nutrition Certification, gotten my Personal Training Certification, built a business for this and started running! This year has empowered me mentally and physically!

The food, nutrition and exercising are not new to me. They have always been a part of my life. The certifications give me the credibility to put my knowledge to work and that feels great. Coaching people and helping them achieve their health and fitness goals makes me happy. I love sharing these personal journeys with others and finding what works for them to help them achieve these goals.

The running...well, that is new to me. I talked about my taking on this new journey to running back in June. Honestly, I started running for work. Not to make money for my runs, but so I could help coach others to achieve there goals in running. I have always hated running. I have taken some form of dance since I was a toddler and then moved on to aerobics when I couldn't take dance any longer due to school activities. I think some people are born runners and others, like me, were made to do other forms of exercise. I LOVE cardio interval training and I LOVE strength training of any kind. At any time of day, if you ask me if I want to workout, I will gladly go with you. However, in the past, if this meant running, I would have laughed. You see running isn't in me. Most people think that running should be or is easy since it's one of the most basic natural forms of exercise. I mean, really, all you need are shoes and some time, right? Um, not for me. For me, this was more of a mental struggle. I felt heavy, distracted and even bored. Then it dawned on me...running is a mental exercise. It's all about you getting along with your body and your thoughts. My brain wanders regularly. This is why I'm not great at reading most of the time or going to sleep for the most part. When the silence sets in, my brain starts to churn with worry, ideas (mostly cooking), the kids, the laundry, taxes, work...not the peaceful place it should be.

So, I started on this journey to learn how to run technically in order to teach my clients. I realized pretty quickly that this meant I was learning how to let go of things. The light bulb totally went off about 4 weeks ago. I realized that if I let go of everything, with proper knowledge of form and with the right shoes (Thank you Mizuno and Stuft Mama for my amazing shoes and including me in the Mezamashii Project! My feet and legs love you!) I could actually be a runner! No, I don't run for miles or time. No, I don't run to be in the cool club of runners (although I have found an incredible virtual support group that I can't deny feels amazing to run with! Heather, Jess, Jolene, Dory, Kristina, Amber, Melissa and Lindsay = pure inspiration). I run for me. This is my time to let go and actually be free of everything! Even though this is my peaceful time, ironically, I don't like to run alone. I know, weird. Tony is my running buddy. The man was actually born to run. His legs are little running machines! It's not fair, but I can out jazzercise him any day (that's what he thinks cardio other than running hat and all). You should see his version of what I do...totally cracks me up. I pray I don't actually look like that, but I probably do. Now I need my group aerobics certification...a girl can dream!

Ok, I know this is going long, but I guess after having so much time to think lately, I've got a lot to type! So, for the first time in my life I actually feel like a runner! My legs crave the movement and my heart craves the endorphins from the run! I know what most of you are thinking...either "great another runner going on her crazy run talks" or "yay, now it's time for marathon training". Well, no, I'm not doing either. I am a reformed running hater for sure, but there are no marathons in my future. Now, maybe some 5k events, if I work up the courage, but I'm happy with where I'm at right now. I love my runs and I can finally set out to run and feel good doing it. That's all I ever wanted from it.

Ok, give it to you let your fears hold you back? Ever taken a chance and come out better for it?

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 AM   18 comments

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