Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Happy Halloween!
Happy Halloween! I'm so excited that fall is here! I know most people hate the colder weather, but I really do enjoy this time of year. It just feels cozy and I love the holiday season!

Sunday was our PUMPKIN DAY! Here are a few pictures of our carving festivities!

We seem to have fallen into a tradition of chili and pumpkin muffins/cupcakes so that's exactly what happened...


His (we added a pound of ground beef and took out 2 cups of beans for this batch)



 The boys got to thinking about their carvings while I baked...




 Tony's process - I loved the drawing to start with

No horns...


 Jay loves carving the teeth. I love the mustache and big teeth!

Max was not a fan of his creation so he offered it up to me to bake. He wasn't too bummed since he's now ready for pumpkin pie!

Jay's and our friend Matt's illuminated!

It was a great day full of fun memories! I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:42 AM   14 comments
Monday, October 29, 2012
Cornbread Dressing Smothered In Gravy...YUM!
The cold weather showed up! We were still wearing shorts and flip flops last week. Let me tell you, when that cold air hit my legs this morning on the way to the gym at 5am to train a client, you better believe I was ready to get her moving! I love cool weather, but cold, I either have to curl up in a ball or MOVE my booty! Moving the booty was the obvious choice today...this girl was ready to workout!

So, with the cold weather comes the cold weather food. I always do a teaser Thanksgiving dish a little before the holiday which leaves us wanting just a little bit more. This dish definitely did just that! I was craving dressing with gravy and the boys love when I make a pan of dressing with roasted chicken in it. So it was a win win. I had an idea recently to add my chickpea oat flatbread to our cornbread dressing recipe instead of the corn chips. The corn chips were actually a gluten free addition that I made when Tony was diagnosed with celiac. The original recipe from his mother had torn up bread slices in it. Gluten free bread is expensive and well, I was trying to get creative with my thriftiness. I needed to try my idea before Thanksgiving anyway since we are having family in town and I wanted to make sure it worked out the way I wanted it to. It did!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Cornbread

1 cup brown rice flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup egg whites or egg substitute or 2 eggs
1 1/4 cup regular almond milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray or coat with butter.
Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Then add both mixtures together and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Cornbread Turkey Dressing

1 pan of cornbread cut into cubes (see above)
1 loaf chickpea oat flatbread
1 TBSP flax meal
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste (I used fresh ground)
1 cup diced onion, sauteed
3 cups hot chicken broth (I used Not Chick'n Broth)
1/2 cup egg whites, egg substitute or 2 eggs
2 - 3 cups roasted chicken or turkey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray.

Mix the cornbread thru onion together, but don't over mix because you want there to still be chunks in the mix. Now add the hot broth and stir. Next add the egg and turkey. Stir so that everything is well combined. Now pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes or until the dressing is firm and browned on top. Let sit for 5 minutes.

large batch with chicken

Not Chick'n Gravy

3 cups Not Chick'n Broth (cooled)
1/3 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill)

Mix the broth with the flour in a sauce pan and heat on medium heat until thickened.

smothered in gravy!

***Smaller Batch***
(serves 4-5)

3 cornbread muffins (I used this recipe minus the hot dogs)
1 loaf chickpea oat flatbread
1 TBSP flax meal
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup diced onion, sauteed
1/4 cup egg whites (or 1 egg)
1 cup hot broth

Follow directions above

small batch without chicken

This meal is definitely one that you make the components the day before and then put it together the day you want to eat it. It's rather easy to put together once the components are prepped and so worth the extra effort!

What's your favorite thing to eat at Thanksgiving? Are you already thinking about it? Mine favorites are definitely cornbread dressing and pumpkin pie! Obviously I'm thinking about it!

I'm sharing this on this week's Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Allergy-Free Wednesday

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 7:35 PM   14 comments
Friday, October 19, 2012
Friday Fodder
How in the heck did it end up being Friday??? Where has this week gone? Between Tony's schedule, the kids and my is crazy. Good crazy though, so no complaints. Except maybe a little extra sleep would be nice. I'm kind of adding to my lack of sleep too by racing last Saturday and then I signed up to volunteer at the Fast Pace 5k/10 for Prostate Cancer this Saturday. I want to learn more about race events, so I thought it would be a nice gesture to volunteer, learn a little and support an amazing cause! Besides, if all the runners can get up to run at 6:30am on a Saturday, I can surely go and show some support. Sleep is over-rated...

I thought I would share some randomness with you all today...

1. I'm a control freak in the kitchen. I know, it's not shocking to most since cooking is a HUGE part of what I do. The bad part of that is that Tony loves to cook too and since his work schedule normally doesn't allow him much time in the kitchen, when he does have the down time, he likes to cook. Well, Monday, after our run, we ended up at the grocery store. We hadn't had lunch and he was craving black bean soup and a sandwich. I was craving eggs and a salad, I know, another shocker since I eat that just about every day. So, he picked up some low sodium black beans with a plan (thanks to Laura, I'm a salt nazi except for hot sauce...that's always allowed). He also wanted some pico, but Kroger was out, so we grabbed the stuff to make it at home. Well, that was my job...pico girl. He asked if I would eat the soup if he made it. I gave in and said yes...which shocked him! I did not want a sandwich though. I had to have some control! So, he asked if I would have an over easy egg on it. YES! Giving up my kitchen control was the best decision I've made in quite some time! Seriously, it was such an amazing lunch! Note to sell...let go of so much kitchen control!

2. I'm OBSESSED with fresh roasted pumpkin! Yeah, the power it has over me is real...tangible! I have been roasting my own pumpkin now for a few years and I finally allowed myself to cut the first one on Sunday.

I have eaten it everyday in some form...muffins, mixed with protein powder, on my oatmeal, rice pudding, all by it's self. I have no will power. For most, this would really not be an issue, but you see I ate so much one year that the palms of my hands and the bottoms of my feet were orange. I know...attractive. I really need to freeze some to go throughout the year...really, I need to.

MUFFINS! Same as above, but repeated cause I have no self control!

Pumpkin pancakes a la mode!
Dinner or decide. 

I think you get the point! OBSESSION!

3. Running...what next? That is the question I got the most from my last post. By the way, thank you for all of your amazingly kind words! Well, the answer is I'm happy with where I'm at right now. While I did love doing the race, I can't say I'm hooked on racing. If a charity pops up that I'm interested in donating to, then I will sign up. Otherwise, I'm just happy to be able to run and to have really fallen in love with it. It's not easy. Every run is different. Some are harder, some easier, some are hillier, some are flatter, some are outside and some are on the treadmill. I just enjoy running...

Above and beyond anything, I am so incredibly appreciative of all of the kind words and support from this community! 

Speaking of the running community, if anyone is in or near the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area and want to run for a cure that's near and dear to my heart (it's what I had), The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation is holding it's 3rd annual 5k run/walk this Sunday. Also, if your interested in donating, Michelle Rounds has a page for donations and Rosie O'Donnell will match whatever Michelle raises! Anyway, if I was there, I would run my butt off!

Ok, it's a busy one for me so no celebrating Friday until the evening. By celebrating, I mean going to sleep early to go to the race. What are you doing this weekend? I'm hoping to go for a run myself after the race and enjoy this fall weather while it lasts!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 AM   11 comments
Monday, October 15, 2012
My 1st Official 5k!

I ran my first official 5k (chipped and all) on Saturday with a great friend of mine. It was very comforting running with someone that knew what they were doing. She's been running for a long time now and has completed numerous half marathons, so the girl knows what she's doing when it comes to races. It was an incredible first time experience and here's how it went down for me...

I got up at 6:30am to shower (I had plenty of time and I needed to wake up) and get the troops up and ready to go. Jay and Max went with me since Tony was out of town this weekend for the New York Comic Con (thank goodness he's back!). The boys wanted to shower and get fixed up. They are officially teenagers and have to look presentable to go anywhere, while I am now at the age that I just don't care what I look like when I go out anymore as long as I don't stink (that's a personal rule).

Anyway, I did have a small cup of coffee (6:45am) and half a banana (8:00am). I took what everyone suggested from the other day and decided I could deal with a small cup of coffee and the 1/2 banana spread out over that time. The race was at 9:45am and I needed some fuel to get me going.

I got there in plenty of time which is exactly how I wanted it to be. I met my friend at 9:00am to hit the potty and head over to get our numbers. The weirdest part at this point was waiting for the race to start. I definitely got in some people watching. THAT was fun, but I really just wanted to take off! For me, it wasn't about running the fastest, but I was really just ready to RUN!

The gun went off and we weaved our way around people to get to a spot that was comfortable. My friend helped me with my nerves about the race by telling me in earlier conversations that it's not a race, just us going for a run chatting and enjoying the scenery. That is exactly what it was! The race route was through the city of Roswell (absolutely beautiful), then into a trail and ended at the football field. There were two nice size hills with a small one at the very end (in my mind, it was the end and that hill could have been a steep incline...I was done!). It was a beautiful run and we talked through the whole thing! Ironically, it was my fastest outside run so far (so a PR for me!) and a PR for my friend! She pulled a clever move at the end by sprinting to the end. I could not do that. I'm definitely not a long stride kind of gal. I did not want to fall on my face, which I have done before. The streets were lined with people because there was a parade right after we took off. People were so nice along the route yelling "great job" and "you're doing great". Seriously, that meant so much! Definitely mood boosters through the route!

The race felt amazing! I think I actually hit a breakthrough with this run. Normally, even with all the exercising I do, my legs really feel it when I run 5k. A huge thing I've learned through training, running is like no other exercise. It works so many things in so many's amazing! This time, my legs felt great! No heavy legs or sore muscles at all! I am so happy to hit my sweet spot!

One thing that I definitely learned is that my lungs have some work to do though. I definitely felt that run in my lungs more than anything. I did well keeping things under control, but at the end of the run (literally the end was around the corner and around a quarter of the football field), there was a grill going for the food festivities after the race. The grill was right through the trees and I took a deep breath or smoke right there and it hurt! I was fine, I just wish I hadn't taken a deep breath at that moment or that the grill was on the other side of the field. Not debilitating, just not what I wanted at the time. It actually burned for a little while after that too.

So, after the race was done, we walked back over to our crew that was watching the parade to do a little watching and then we headed our separate ways. I took my crew for take out at Chipotle as an appreciation for getting up and cheering me on. They love that place!

We chilled out and watch some tv while we refueled! I had a warm kale salad with an over easy egg, fresh banana peppers, tomatoes, apple cider vinegar and nutritional yeast. I just lightly steamed the kale in the microwave to soften it a bit. It was delicious!

Also, a toasted piece of flatbread (minus rosemary on this one) for dipping! Love the crunchy outside and doughy inside. I've started mixing it half chickpea flour and half quinoa good!

I have one more thing to mention. My clothes were perfect for the weather, but not really anything that I need to advertise. Tank top, pants, compression socks and oh my Mizunos (<--totally worth mentioning and are like magic Kristin!) I will tell you that I LOVE my bondiband though! I won this about a year and a half ago from Heather and I've not really had a use for it after chopping my hair off. My hair has grown out some and I didn't want to wear my hat, so I pulled this one out. My friend's husband said he liked that it was bright pink so he could spot us easily! Even bigger bonus! It did not slip at all and it was extremely comfortable. I'm not one to like things wrapped around my head, so it's a lot coming from me that I really found these comfortable! Thanks, again, Heather!

All in all, a great day! I'm so happy to have had the experience and I feel so fortunate to have found joy in running!

Do you know what I want to do today? RUN!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 AM   20 comments
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Fuel to get you going...
I am so out of it this week! I just realized it's Wednesday while my head thinks it's Tuesday, but I'm kind of worn out like it's Thursday! I told you...completely out of it!

The kids had Monday off of school for Columbus day so that's part of the mental confusion. Tony's in serious preparation for upcoming conventions, which means me focusing on getting him squared away with clothes and food for the trips. I had client appointments changed due to their crazy schedules and a little bit of mine too. Oh and I'm trying to get in my runs this week along with some smart cross training so I'm ready for my 5k this weekend! Hello crazy town!

I have been cooking a little lately, but I've not had much time to type up recipes! I'm sure things will settle down a bit soon, but this week is probably not the week for it.

So, I've been working on some fuel options for running lately. Due to a crazy schedule, I run at different times of the day (mostly morning, but a little later in the morning). My race is at 9:45am on Saturday and I'm trying to consider the best thing before hand. I have to drive about 40 minutes to the location so I need fuel to wake me up and get me going! I've played around with this a bit lately, but I'm curious to know what other runners do. I realize that 5k isn't a long distance, but I still think you need to fuel properly for it before and after. So, my contenders for that day are...

flatbread with egg whites and nutritional yeast

oatmeal with roasted butternut squash (or some sort of fruit maybe banana)

pancakes with peanut butter and jam

I know some of you have a ritual that works for you. Tell me, what do you eat before you run.

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 8:16 AM   16 comments
Friday, October 5, 2012
Friday Fodder - Enough of the Body Image Wars
You know, I want my Friday Fodder to be fun, but there is something that is just eating me up these days and I have to get it off my chest, then I can move on. I hate saying it, but it's the body image wars. No, I'm not talking about how I feel about me and how I look. For the first time in my life, I'm ok with me. Sure, I'm not perfect and I have limitations, but I'm ok with that. The body image wars I'm talking about are the ones that people are fighting with each other.

Are you tall enough?

Are you "skinny"(<---most despised word ever) enough?

Are you full figured enough?

Are you muscular enough?

Are you fast enough?

This topic has irritated me before and I wrote about it here, but lately I've seen it popping up on Facebook again and then the Jennifer Livingston video popped up yesterday. Well, I am tired of it. I happen to love social media (mostly blogging and Facebook...I still need help with twitter, but I'm trying), however, the best way to get me to hide you from my feed is to talk about what physique is considered sexier than another. It's passive aggressive judgement when you hide behind a computer and make comments like that against another person based on looks. We are not what we look like and just because you type words on a computer, doesn't make them any less hurtful than if you said them to someone's face! If you like something someone else says or posts on Facebook, you do know other people can see it, right?

I work in the health/fitness industry, so I get the opportunity to meet and work with amazingly inspirational people! The best things I've learned since working in this field are that compassion, understanding and positive words can help someone else see how amazing they really are. None of us are perfect. We have genetics to deal with. We have stress to deal with. We have free will to deal with. Let's be honest, most of us weren't dealt the perfect hand at birth. Nobody needs to feel like less of a person because they don't fit into a mold that somebody else has deemed perfect.

I have two growing boys that I worry about everyday when they leave the house for school. We breed what we are and I'm seriously scared of what some people are teaching their children. We, as adults, have a responsibility to each other and our children to teach understanding, compassion and love for others without judgement of our outward appearances.

On a positive note, I want to give a HUGE shout out to Team Sutera and Heather (and her sister) who are running the Chicago Marathon this weekend! I have watched you all train and I am in awe over the passion and perseverance you have demonstrated. I hope it's an incredible event for you all!

I hope everyone else enjoys a beautiful fall weekend!


posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 6:00 AM   15 comments
Monday, October 1, 2012
When life gives you lemons...

You make lemon cookies, of course (I know - lame, but how could I not start with that?)! Tony asked me to pick up lemons a while ago and for some reason (I think he was making lemon chicken for the boys), I picked up a bag of lemons (read - way too many for him to use up with one dish). This means I get to bake because I hate wasting food! I rarely bake cookies since I go more for muffins or sweet breads, but the boys wanted cookies this go around. So, cookies it is!

Max was very specific that I was not to play around with a recipe and he wanted something chewy on the inside, but crispy on the outside (yeah, he knows what he wants and isn't afraid to say it). So, I went with my gluten free cookie cake recipe. I figured a few changes here and there would make these perfect for lemon cookies...this one worked so well, I can't wait to play with the flavors! The texture was a huge winner. The cookies kept for 3 days in a sealed container on the counter and was perfect for lunch treats!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Lemon Drop Cookies
(makes 36 cookies)

1 cup Earth Balance (soy free)
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs (flax egg works too...2 TBSP mixed with 6 TBSP hot water)
1/2  cup almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2/3 cup white rice flour
2/3 cup chickpea flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
zest of one lemon
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup powder sugar

In large bowl, beat the Earth Balance and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, salt, baking soda and xanthan gum. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until well blended. Next add the zest and lemon juice. Refrigerate the cookie dough at least an hour, but over night works best. Scoop cookie dough with a small cookie scoop into the powder sugar; roll around to coat. Place the sugar coated dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

As you can see from the recipe, I didn't lighten these up at all since I was on strict orders for no funny business. I want to play with this base now, but I can assure you these are going on my holiday treat list for gifts. They hold up so well and I love the white on the outside of them!

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

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 7:37 PM   19 comments

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