Dairy Free Alfredo Pasta? Is it true?!

IT IS! IT REALLY REALLY IS!

I bought some rice milk the other day. Since I’m the only person having it at home, there’s quite a lot left over and I didn’t want it to go to waste. I started looking for recipes I could make using the rice milk. I googled for pasta sauces with rice milk and happened to find this AMAZING recipe for dairy free alfredo sauce by Chocolate Covered Katie.

It tasted so similar to the white pasta sauce that I used to make before my gluten free/lactose free days! I have been craving white pasta for so darn long and honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to taste like this. Why? Because this sauce is made from…

CAULIFLOWERS!

Can you believe it?! Holy Jalapeno! Cauliflowers?! But it tastes so so so gooooood! It tasted creamy and cheesy and so awesome! I generally hate the smell of cauliflowers when they’re boiled but this one didn’t smell much like cauliflowers at all! I can’t believe it! Finally a dairy free alfredo sauce that can be made without mock cheese and nutritional yeast (both of which I can never find in the supermarkets)! I tweaked the recipe a bit to suit my tastes. This isn’t low FODMAP, mind.

Creamy, Dairy Free, Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Creamy, Dairy Free, Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • Cooked pasta
  • Half a medium-sized cauliflower, cut into smaller florets
  • 1/4 cup rice milk (or any other milk you like). You might need more milk though. Read directions below
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • A handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
  • A little freshly squeezed lemon juice. 1 tbsp should be enough
  • Olives, tomatoes, and any other veggies to top with

DIRECTIONS

  • Put the cauliflower in a pot and pour in some milk. The milk should be enough for boiling the cauliflower in so it’s cooked well. Put as much is needed to cook the cauliflower. I would say for half a cauliflower, 1/4 – 1/2 cup of milk should be enough.
  • Add 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then cover the pot and simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and tender.
  • Pour contents into a blender or use your hand mixer and make a puree out of this.
  • In a saucepan, add some olive oil. Throw in some oregano, coriander leaves, and coriander powder. You can also add parsley, basil, garlic powder, etc. Saute until fragrant.
  • Add the cauliflower sauce and mix everything up so it’s all evenly distributed.
  • Add the pasta and mix.
  • Add olives, tomatoes or any other veggies

I actually forgot to add the lemon juice before boiling. I added it later, before making a puree out of the cauliflower and milk. Prior to that, the pot smelled like cauliflowers and that smell really puts me off. I hate eating cauliflowers that smell too cauliflowery. But adding the lemon juice made the smell go away! I was googling how to get rid of the smell when cooking cauliflowers, and an interesting tip I read online was to add a bay leaf to the pot. I might just try that some other time! Sounds cool!

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!

Gluten Free, Vegan, Low FODMAP Potato Quinoa Patties

I am crazy about potato patties. I absolutely LOVE burgers and I miss them so much since going gluten free. I used to make potato patties in a burger bun with lettuce, tomatoes, some onion slivers, cheese and ketchup. They used to be amazing! Now I can just have the potato patties. I’ve thought of making a ‘greenwich’ out of them by enveloping the patty with large lettuce leaves. Never got around to trying it.

I realized that since going low FODMAP, my protein intake has been on the low side. I work out a few times a week as well. I am also vegetarian. All of this meant that I needed to up my protein levels. BUT HOW?

The answer is quinoa.   This is a fantastic way to increase protein intake. You won’t even taste the difference!

Potato Quinoa Patties

Potato Quinoa Patties with Indian ‘Khichdi’ style rice

Click on image: 12 packs for $38.05 on Amazon

Click on image: 12 packs for $38.05 on Amazon

INGREDIENTS

  • Boiled potatoes
  • Cooked quinoa
  • A handful of coriander leaves
  • Coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil (or any other oil you prefer)
  • Additional flavours or herbs you might like

DIRECTIONS

  • Simply mix all ingredients, except the oil, in a bowl using your hands. Make sure the potatoes get completely mashed while you’re mixing everything up.
  • Roll them into little balls
  • Pour some oil into a frying pan and let it heat up
  • Place the balls into the frying pan. This is a tip I learned from my grandmother. Without the chickpea flour or bread crumbs holding the potato patties together, they tend to break apart. Once the bottoms of these balls start browning, flatten them with a spatula and let it cook some more. When the bottom has browned and is as crispy as you like, flip the patty and cook the other side. (P.S. Patties made without chickpea flour or bread crumbs take longer to cook.)
  • When done cooking, place the patties on kitchen paper towels to absorb some of the excess oil

WHAT YOU CAN ‘CRUMB’ WITH You can use a few things to coat the patties with to hold it together. I used to use almond flour. Gets really nice and crispy but ever since hearing that it’s not ideal to heat up almonds or almond flour, I’ve stopped using it.

  • Bread crumbs (GF or regular)
  • Chickpea flour
  • Almond flour
  • Sorghum flour
  • A batter made out of ‘moong daal’ or yellow split lentils

I want to try sort of crumbing the patty with cooked quinoa instead of mixing it up. I wonder if that will create some sort of a crust. Has anyone ever tried this? Let me know if you have!

UPDATE: I’ve tried making the patties with some leftover quinoa pilaf. There was a fair amount left over and while mashing up the potato and quinoa together, some quinoa ended up on the outer sides. Formed a nice, crispy crust that minimized breaking!

WHAT TO SERVE WITH

  • You can have them plain
  • With tomato sauce, ketchup, pesto sauce, cheese, mayonnaise, etc.
  • With rice – I sometimes like to have it with plain Indian khichdi, or with ordinary rice that has been drizzled with lemon
  • With bread
  • In a lettuce wrap
  • Drizzle with a little lemon juice

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.