Protein Packed Pancakes – GF, Dairy Free, Low FODMAP, Vegan

These pancakes are AMAZING!

Usually, in the middle of the night, I get hungry and start brainstorming for new recipe ideas. I google for recipes late into the night and try to mix some up to create one suitable for me. This recipe was inspired by these recipes here and here, which resulted in the BEST gluten free pancakes I have ever tried! I have tried making pancakes with:

  • Soaked quinoa seeds and banana. It wasn’t that great. Turned out to be rather dry.
  • Sorghum + white rice flour. It was gummy and musty. Probably because I didn’t add any starch but this was my most preferred combination of flours for pancakes.
  • Amaranth + white rice flour. It was gummy and musty. Again, probably because I didn’t add any starch.
  • White rice flour + almond flour. Very nice and toasty but burned rather quickly, and ever since I found out heating up almonds isn’t really all that great for health, I’ve quit baking with almond flour.

GF, Dairy Free, Vegan, Low FODMAP Protein Packed Pancakes with Raspberry Jam

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1 flax egg. See directions below
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oil (I use olive oil)
  • Water or (dairy free) milk. See directions below

DIRECTIONS

  • Make your flax egg so it can set while you’re preparing the pancakes. 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds and 2-3 tbsp of water. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to gel. I usually keep mine in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
  • Put the quinoa, white rice flour, baking soda, salt and sugar in a bowl and give it a stir.
  • Add the lemon juice and oil and pour in a little milk/water, maybe a 1/4 cup to begin with. I have stopped going by recipe directions for liquids. Somehow I end up adding too much and my batter ends up very liquidy. It’s almost as if I have no control over the glass that I use for adding liquids. Weird. Anyway, a great tip I read once was to add only half the suggested amount of liquid and keep adding little by little until you reach the desired consistency. So add a quarter cup, and using a hand mixer, blend everything together. You can also do this using a regular blender. If it’s still too dry, add some more liquid.
  • Once you reach the consistency of pancake batter (I usually add enough liquid until it is like cake batter – pourable but still thick), add your flax egg. Either blend it with the blender/hand mixer or mix it in with a spoon.
  • With the flame on, using a non-stick skillet or a greased skillet, do the water droplets test to make sure the pan is hot enough. Sprinkle some drops of water on to the pan and if they dance around before evaporating, your pan is hot enough.
  • Pour batter according to how big or small you want your pancakes. Mine always turn out to be miniscule. I don’t know why.
  • It is time to flip the pancake when you see bubbles forming on the surface of the batter and popping, leaving behind pock marks or holes. The sides will also look slightly dried out. If you’re not sure, take a little peek before completely flipping it over.
  • Flip the pancake and cook the other side. Again, if you’re unsure whether the other side is done, take a peek. It usually takes about 2-3 minutes though, but don’t take my word for it. Sometimes they cook faster, sometimes they take longer.
  • Serve with either jam, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, honey, fruit… the possibilities are endless!

Also, the good thing about using quinoa for this is that it turns out nice and toasty! The pancakes can be cooked for a little longer and then the outside becomes a little crispy! While I was cooking them, I was getting a whiff of something buttery and nutty – it kind of smelled like I was toasting buttered bread! These were the best pancakes I’ve had so far. I had my brother test them, just like I’ve made him test all my disastrous cooking experiments before. He said these pancakes were better than the other flour combinations. Hurray! Bonus: PROTEIN PACKED PANCAKES! OH YEAH!

Red Apple Lipstick just wowed me!

Is this what it feels like to have a voice as a customer?

If you read my previous post about the Red Apple Lipsticks I ordered, you’d see that I wasn’t quite happy with 3 out of 5 of the items. They turned out to be very different from what I was expecting. The colours looked very different on me and they didn’t quite look like the demo images online when I tried them on. That could be due to my skin tone and base lip colour. But RAL just completely amazed me when they refunded me for the items I wasn’t happy with. I really wasn’t expecting that at all!

RAL is very open about their money back guarantee – if you’re not happy with a purchase, you simply send it back in exchange for another item or you can get a full refund. I really wasn’t expecting much because I couldn’t send the item back. It would cost me a lot to ship the items to the US from Dubai. Honestly, I am just amazed that RAL refunded my purchases. I don’t know of any companies that do this! Maybe a credit note or a discount or something like that but not a full refund! They had even given me a free sample with my order which literally made me squeal with joy. It’s really so nice to get a little gift, right? They are so awesomely personalized in their approach with dealing with customers. They are actually very much in line with my ideas of how a business should be. I write about stuff like this on my other blog Let’s Get Down To Business. I’m thinking I should write a post on that blog and use RAL as a case example of how I think businesses ought to be.

Honestly, after I made the purchases and wasn’t too happy with some of the products, I was thinking it would be really unlikely that I would purchase make up online again since I wouldn’t be able to know for sure how it would look on me and I don’t want to end up spending money on something that I’m not going to love using. But after seeing how my rights as a consumer was protected, and how they stayed true to their promise of a money back guarantee despite the fact that I couldn’t send the products back, I don’t feel hesitant about purchasing from them again. Obviously, I’d never simply buy a product and say I don’t like it to take advantage of them. That would be wrong. But I know now that if I ever bought a product again and didn’t like it, RAL would help me out. It’s so nice to finally be heard as a customer, you know? After having so many doors shut on me (figuratively) when I ask companies about their gluten status, or ingredients, etc., being heard like this means so much more.

Thank you so much, Red Apple Lipstick!

Might I also add that today, for the first time in years, I woke up with smooth lips after having worn their Rallye Balm all night. I didn’t worry about dry lips the entire day! My lips just felt so good! When you purchase from them, be sure to try out the Rallye Balm if you haven’t already. It’s a miracle worker! I just cannot wait for their mascara to come out! Oh gosh, I’d be so thrilled if they release liquid eyeliners and foundations and blushes… wowza!

Review: Just got my Red Apple Lipstick orders!

I’ve been excited all day! I ordered 5 items from Red Apple Lipstick: 4 lipsticks and 1 lip balm which came up to a total of 247 AED ($67.10). It came in a cute little package and Red Apple Lipstick even threw in a lipstick sample of the ‘Secrets’ shade, along with a lip brush! That was so cool! Thanks for that, RAL 🙂 They also wrote a cute little note on my invoice which I thought was really sweet.

The sweet little note 🙂

Free Sample and Lipstick Pouch

Free Sample and Lipstick Pouch

Green wrapping paper!

Green wrapping paper!

RAL4

ral6

ral7

ral8

Red! 101, Coral Crush, Petal Pusher, Pinky Promise, Rallye Balm

Swatches: Red! 101, Coral Crush, Petal Pusher, Pinky Promise

Swatches: Red! 101, Coral Crush, Petal Pusher, Pinky Promise

The texture of all the lipsticks is really nice. They go on smooth and they’re very easy to apply. The ingredients are absolutely safe and allergy-friendly. Also, RAL has the best customer service, hands down. They are so quick with answering queries. Customer service at RAL is actually like communicating with a real live human being, if you know what I mean. It’s none of those standard replies that most industry people give you. You feel like you’re just talking to a friend, which is great.

I have no problems with the lipsticks except for the fact that some colours ended up looking rather different from what I was expecting based on the demo photos. For a clearer picture of what these colours actually look like, I will compare them to images from colour charts online. (Note: These are as close a match as I could possibly find. They are not necessarily a true representation. Click to see Chart1, Chart2 and Chart3.)

  • RALLYE LIP BALM: Goes on smooth, feels rather nice. I wore it under my lipstick today and it felt comfortable. I love how it’s actually shaped like lipstick for easy application. Although, for some weird reason, I don’t know why my lips started tingling after I tried it on :S That’s a bit odd. It went away quickly though. But I cannot tell you how glad I am that I finally have a gluten free lip balm! Hurray! Update: I wore the lip balm all through the night and today for the first time in ages I woke up with super smooth lips! They stayed so incredibly smooth all day long! I have very chapped lips almost all the time but not today! If you’re looking for a good lip balm, THIS is your answer!
  • PETAL PUSHER LIPSTICK: Lovely pink colour. Bright enough to be noticed. I wore this to the mall today and I noticed quite a few people were staring at my face. My friend also commented that the colour went really well on me. Happy with this one! It goes on so smoothly as well. Don’t need lip balm under this lipstick! I was however hoping for a colour more like “Deep Pink” below. The colour is buildable though, which is the greatest thing about RAL lipsticks so by applying more coats, I figure I can make it a deeper shade. Haven’t tried it yet. Either way, I’m quite happy with Petal Pusher.
Petal Pusher

Petal Pusher

What it looked like

What it looked like (Chart1)

What I wished it looked like

What I wish it looked like (Chart1)

  • CORAL CRUSH LIPSTICK: When I opened up the lipstick, the colour looked far too dark. It looked almost brown. It looked so different from the demo images posted online. I never wear brown lipstick. I was starting to feel upset about it. I couldn’t try it on my lips since I had already applied the Petal Pusher shade, so I tried it on my hand. It looked like it had a hint of this dark rusty colour. It’s a rather natural lip colour – kind of like a deeper, tanner shade of the natural colour of my lips. Not too fond of this colour. I was looking for more of a peachy shade, like the online photos.
Coral Crush

Coral Crush

What it looked like

What it looked like (Chart2)

What I wished it looked like

What I wish it looked like (Chart3)

  • RED! 101: Wasn’t entirely pleased with this one. As soon as I opened it, the smell of vanilla hit me. I like vanilla scents but only when it’s very, very faint. If you’ve got a sensitive nose like mine, this vanilla scent could be a bit too overpowering. It’s like I open it and immediately hold my head back to avoid being hit by the scent. I don’t know how vanilla does this to me but when it’s too strong, my stomach feels really sick for the next few days. I checked the reviews before purchasing where it mentioned that the fragrance was very faint, but I guess it’s a bit too strong for me. I’m just hoping I don’t get sick. The colour of the lipstick wasn’t a “red” like I was expecting. It looked more like a deep cherry red – I don’t like cherry reds on my lips. Not so crazy about the colour.Update: it’s the next day and I am actually feeling ill. I’ve been feeling odd and stuffy since I woke up and my stomach feels uncomfortable – same symptoms I have when I have far too much vanilla. I usually add a few drops to my baked goods and those don’t affect me. Strong vanilla perfumes do and I think this lipstick’s vanilla scent was way too strong for me.
Red! 101

Red! 101

Taken from: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-C_N8WTKtrz4/ThkE7DzA8aI/AAAAAAAAANs/XXgHSrywDRs/s400/colour-chart.gif

What it looked like (Chart2)

What I wish it looked like

What I wish it looked like (Chart1)

What I wish it looked like

What I wish it looked like (Chart2)

  • I was looking for something like the one I’m wearing in this post. The one I’m wearing there is by Flormar and it’s a proper red colour – a brilliant red. It’s not overly bright and doesn’t look like dark pink, cherry or maroon after applying.
  • PINKY PROMISE LIPSTICK: This lipstick upset me when I tried it on. It looked so different as compared to the demo images online. This was the first lipstick I opened since it was the one I was most excited about. I was looking for a lovely nude lip colour. I have been searching high and low for a nude pink shade, and figured I could use a nude colour mixed with a little pink to get the perfect shade I want. That was the reason I selected this shade – to mix with Petal Pusher to get a nude pink colour. It was either this or French Skirt, but I opted for this one since it looked less frosty but this turned out to be far too frosty. Too much glitter for me. I really don’t like frosty lipstick at all. I have a lip balm like that and I rarely ever use it. I’m guessing I’m just going to be using this one under other colours to get a little shine perhaps. Can’t wear this on its own. Guess I was wrong.
Pinky Promise

Pinky Promise

What I wish it looked like

What I wish it looked like (Chart1)

RAL has this moneyback guarantee where if you’re not happy with a purchase, you can send it back within 90 days and get a full refund. I would actually do this but it would be quite expensive for me. I had to pay 43 AED (around $12) to get the items shipped to UAE from USA using Shop and Ship by Aramex. If I had to send the lipsticks back to the US, I would have to pay 77 AED + 43 AED for shipping them here again. That’s  120 AED! Really wish I could send back the ones I’m not so crazy about. The lipsticks were just fine. Very comfortable to wear and the best part is that they’re safe for me and all the others out there with food sensitivities. I was just not happy with some of the colours. I guess that’s one of the hard things about shopping online – sometimes the product ends up looking quite different when you’re holding it in your hands. I was only happy with 2 out of 5 of the products I ordered. Really wish I could get it exchanged or refunded but it would cost so much to do so.

Overall, my transaction with RAL was smooth and I had no issues. They even have monthly discounts if you join their VIP club (for free) which is absolutely fantastic. The lipsticks cost about $17.50 – $23.50 and honestly, their lipsticks are amazing. They really really are! The best thing is that I will finally have peace of mind and stop worrying about my lipstick making me sick. Now I know that I definitely will not get glutened by my lipstick anymore and that is such a relief! I am so glad that I finally have some gluten free lipstick! FINALLY!

If you plan to buy from them, don’t worry at all about the texture or quality of their lipsticks. It’s great, hands down. I’d only suggest that you choose your colours carefully and google for other reviews and photos so you know what the colours look like!

Update: RAL just refunded me for the items I wasn’t satisfied with! I wasn’t expecting this at all! Do I need to say again just how AWESOME this company is? Read my blog post about it here.

The Wait Is Killing Me!

OMG, THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS I AM WAITING FOR RIGHT NOW! IT’S DRIVING ME INSANE! I usually have endless patience (ask anyone – I can wait for you for hours if I don’t have anywhere to be). But this is like dangling meat, or actually, something else vegetarian that I can eat – like a fluffy baked potato, in front of me and expecting me not to go crazy. It’s RIGHT THERE!

  1. I am absolutely dying to bake these gluten free, dairy free, allergy friendly cookies. Everytime I want to bake them, my mom or grandmother aren’t there to help me. I’m only just starting to cook and bake so I need a little (read: a lot) of help.
  2. I have ordered lipsticks from Red Apple Lipstick and they have reached Dubai. They now need to be delivered to me.
  3. I bought a popsicle mould today from Ikea (they’re pink and yellow!). I obviously had to make popsicles as soon as I got home. Obviously. THEY ARE NOW IN THE FREEZER AND I AM WAITING FOR THEM TO FREEZE! IT HAS BEEN ALMOST THREE HOURS!

The popsicles are literally just killing me right now. I wish I had Jedi-like powers and could make my popsicle freeze. I am dying to try them out. I haven’t had a nice frozen treat in so long! I haven’t had ice cream or yogurt in so many months. This is so hard. I just hope they turn out good! I’ll be so sad if they suck.

Right now, all that stands between me and my popsicle is time. 

Quinoa Pilaf – Gluten Free, vegan, low FODMAP

I put up a pasta recipe before, suitable for those on the low FODMAP diet. I pretty much used the same recipe but used quinoa instead of pasta.

image

Quinoa Pilaf

Click on image: 12 packs for $38.05 on Amazon

Click on image: 12 packs for $38.05 on Amazon

INGREDIENTS

  • Cooked quinoa (Click here to read about preparing quinoa)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • A handful of coriander leaves
  • Spring onions (green part only if low FODMAP)
  • Tomatoes
  • Olives
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Other flavours you can use if you like are oregano, parsley, basil, cumin powder, fenugreek, garam masala, etc.

DIRECTIONS

  • In a saucepan, pour the olive oil and let it heat up
  • Add coriander powder, coriander leaves, and spring onions. Saute until fragrant
  • Add tomatoes. Stir it all and mix everything up so its distributed evenly. Do this for a few minutes until the tomatoes become soft.
  • Add some salt to taste
  • Toss in some quinoa and mix it all up so everything is nicely heated
  • Take the pan off heat and add olives
  • You can top it with broccoli, carrots, corn, green beans, etc.

ANOTHER IDEA

I just tried this and I’m eating it right now. It is phenomenal! Really really good! I used the leftover quinoa to make potato quinoa patties. Since there was a fair bit left over, the quinoa formed a sort of crust for the patties making them nice and crispy without breaking apart!

Review: GF Vegan Mrs Crimble’s Apple Flavour Rice Cakes

I went to the Spinney’s store today while I was at the mall with a friend and picked up a box of this gluten free, vegan snack: Mrs Crimble’s Apple Flavour Rice Cakes. Pretty tasty! It was nice to have something to snack on. I really miss the luxury of just hopping into the store and coming out with a packet of crisps or biscuits, maybe chocolate, and washing it down with a carton of flavoured milk. I want my childhood back!

Gluten Free, Vegan Mrs Crimble's Apple Flavour Rice Cakes

Gluten Free, Vegan Mrs Crimble’s Apple Flavour Rice Cakes

Anyway, have a look at the nutrition information.

9g per packet. Quite a fair bit of sugar, right? It actually was very sweet. Because of the cover image on the box, I assumed that each packet would have 2 rice cakes. When I opened up a packet, I was so surprised to find 5 in there! Holy Jalapeno! FIVE cakes?! WOW! Talk about value for money! The box cost 9.75 AED ($2.65) for 4 packets of 5 cakes each.

I found an offer on Amazon for Mrs Crimble’s Apple Flavour Rice Cakes. 6 packs for $21.60. That’s $3.60 per box. Cheapest I’ve seen online so far! Click on the image below to know more.

Click on image: Mrs Crimble's Apple Flavour Rice Cakes - $21.60 for 6 boxes

Click on image: Mrs Crimble’s Apple Flavour Rice Cakes – $21.60 for 6 boxes

There was another brand of rice cakes there called Kallo. I avoided that one though because on the label, it said that it was manufactured in a facility that also handles dairy products.

Mrs Crimble’s Rice Cakes were quite nice. Tastes so much like apples. It’s quite nice to pack with you on the go since they come in little packets. Drop one into your purse or keep some in the car and have a cake every now and then – travelling and working gets hard with gluten intolerance since snacks aren’t readily available when you’ve got the munchies. Long gone are the days of glorious Nature Valley and Alpen cereal bars! This is a good alternative for when you’re wandering on the city streets and there isn’t a gluten free restaurant in sight and your stomach starts making noises you didn’t think your body was capable of. I found it far too sweet though. By the time I reached the 3rd or 4th cake, I was starting to feel like I had just gulped down spoonfuls of sugar. It was like that sick feeling you get after eating too many chocolates. I would suggest eating it with something else to sort of lessen the sweet taste. I’m thinking of having it with a glass of almond milk, kind of like having cereal. Except I might have to mix it in my mouth. OR I could break it into smaller chunks and drop it in a bowl of almond milk. Yes, that makes so much more sense than mixing it in my mouth.

Gluten free, vegan, low FODMAP pasta

This is one of those recipes you turn to on your “off days.” You know, when you’ve just been glutened or something, and you’re trying to heal and want your digestive system to rest for a couple days so you eat plain and simple foods. Since I found out (the hard way) that too much tomato sauce/paste isn’t good on a low FODMAP diet, I’ve been looking high and low for a pasta recipe that would still have some flavour. For a long time, I was just eating pasta noodles topped with olives and lettuce because I was so afraid I would end up getting sick from eating a more complex meal. Yeah, that was awful. There was barely any taste and I was too afraid to even add any seasoning. Mind, this isn’t one of those extravagant, restaurant style pastas. It’s a simple home cooked meal with simple flavours. A bit bland for some perhaps, but a welcome change from eating only rice and potatoes on “off days.” I browsed recipe after recipe and finally ended up with the recipe below. I just wing it for the quantities. You can add how much ever you like!

GF, vegan, low FODMAP pasta with lettuce

GF, vegan, low FODMAP pasta with lettuce

INGREDIENTS

  • Pasta (I use Peacock’s Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti)
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Green onions sliced into small pieces (ONLY the green part if you’re on a low FODMAP diet)
  • A handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • Dried oregano according to preference
  • Olives
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Any other herbs or toppings you like!

DIRECTIONS

  • Cook pasta according to directions on the packet
  • In a saucepan, pour some olive oil and let it heat up a bit
  • Add the coriander powder, coriander leaves, green onions and oregano. Saute until fragrant. You can also choose to add things like parsley, basil, celery, carrots, onions, etc.
  • Add tomatoes and stir it around a bit. Do this for a few minutes. I usually cook mine until it is a bit mushy but not like pulp or puree.
  • Add the pasta to the saucepan, mix it all up and cook for a few minutes so everything is nice and heated
  • Top with olives, broccoli, anything you like! I usually add black and green olives on top, and serve with a side of fresh lettuce

Quinoa

Quin-wha?

Quinoa

Quinoa

Glorious, wonderful quinoa! I had never heard of it. I never would have either, if gluten hadn’t decided to forsake me. I’m so glad I now know what quinoa is. And it is amazing.

Quinoa is a seed that behaves like a grain. It was the food of the Incan warriors, known for replenishing strength and building stamina. 1 cup of cooked quinoa has about 8g of protein, 3g of fat, and 5g of fibre. Wonderfood? I think so!

Also, since it swells up when it’s cooked, 1/4 cup of uncooked quinoa is equal to about a 1 whole cup when cooked!

I was at first terrified of having quinoa. Because I have lots of food sensitivities, I was worried it would make me ill. Quite a few people reported feeling sick after quinoa. I finally mustered up the courage to try it out. I felt fine. Hooray!

Then I tried eating soaked and uncooked quinoa by baking/frying it into tortillas and pancakes. I also kind of overdosed on it and had about 1-1.5 cups of soaked quinoa in less than 24 hours. Tummy no happy!

(To make things easier for reference, cooked quinoa is quinoa that has been rinsed, soaked and cooked. Soaked quinoa is uncooked yet, just soaked.)

So my advice to those of you who want to try quinoa is:

  • RINSE IT! There is no way I would ever eat it without rinsing and soaking it first. Quinoa is coated in saponins that appear soapy when rinsed. It can cause stomach aches. Most packaged quinoa comes pre-rinsed but you should always rinse it again to be on the safe side. Rinse it well for a couple of minutes in a mesh sieve and scrub with your fingers, moving the seeds around.
  • Soak it. I’m a little paranoid that I’ll get sick so I always like to take extra precautions. Some websites suggest soaking it for a few hours, but I soak it overnight in a bowl full of water and 1 tbsp lemon juice in it.
  • Then drain the water and rinse it thoroughly again till the water runs clear.
  • There are many ways to cook quinoa. I usually just cook it like rice. Put it in a pot of water, bring it to boil, cover the pot, and simmer until the water dries up. There are other ways of preparing quinoa but I haven’t tried them.
  • I would suggest not overdosing on it like I did. In my defense, I couldn’t help it – it’s so good! Like I mentioned above, a cup of quinoa contains about 5g of fiber. Also, I don’t know if this is crazy, but when I was cooking with only soaked quinoa (I added water and blended it to make a batter to cook with), the batter kind of reminded me of tahini which is made with sesame seeds. Too much of that upsets my tummy as well. I couldn’t help but wonder if too much soaked quinoa leads to an upset tummy. I remember I made tortillas out of them. After the second tortilla, I started feeling stomach cramps. I made quinoa pancakes the next morning and felt the cramps again. I felt ill for a few days after that, similar to how I react when I have too much tahini. Has that happened to any of you? Cooked quinoa suits just fine though. Maybe I just had too much. So yeah, I’d suggest start off with small servings and see how much your body can handle.

Mmm, delicious quinoa. Can’t wait to prepare it again in all it’s gluten free glory! It is also so versatile. You can have it like porridge, in pancakes, with potatoes, add it to your burger patties, BAKE CAKES with it, in smoothies, as a substitute for rice or pasta, as a dosa, as a tortilla… Sacre bleu, Quinoa, I think I love you.

P.S. Saw this AMAZING offer on Amazon for quinoa! Great if you’re like me and prefer to shop in bulk, especially quinoa which tends to be expensive. 12 packs for $38.05. That’s only $3.17 per pack! WOW! Click on the image below to purchase.

Click on image: 12 packs for $38.05 on Amazon