Homemade Almond Milk

June 8, 2015

What do they say about the silence and stealth of a cat around milk? Never mind. I was that cat at Carrefour every other day in my previous life, wanting and showing up to wrench the last almond milk off the fleeting non-dairy rack. Then the day arrived that revolutionized my grocery runs, the day I decided to make almond milk at home. It is so ridiculously easy, ‘clean’ as it gets, mess-free unless you are me and a whole lot cheaper than the store bought competitor. There are tons of recipes online that show you how to milk almonds, or just try mine to do the same thing.  


Raw whole almonds (preferably organic) - 1 cup // click here for US cup conversion table //

Water - 3 cups

High speed blender

cheese cloth or fine mesh bag

Mason jars or glass bottles to store


Cinnamon, vanilla bean or both for flavor

Honey, soaked dates or stevia for sweetening


Soak the raw whole almonds in a large bowl of water overnight (at least 12 hours) at room temperature, with a pinch of unrefined sea salt. Once the wait is over, you will see that your almonds have doubled in size and the water has turned cloudy.

//Click here to read about why and how to soak different nuts, Phytic acids and enzyme inhibitors//

Rinse the almonds until the water runs clear.

Add the almonds and water to your high speed blender.

Blend for 1-2 minutes (depending on your blender) on the highest speed setting, or until creamy.

Strain the milk through the cheese cloth into a large bowl (I used a pitcher and it wasn’t a genius idea with the mess I made. So, don’t do what I do, do what I say) and squeeze till you get the most milk out. 

Stir in your favorite flavor or sweetener, or both at this point.

Pour into bottles and refrigerate for use within the next three days.

The leftover almond pulp makes a great flour-less (gluten free) flour alternative. To make almond flour, spread out the pulp evenly on a sheet of parchment paper and bake at the lowest setting till it’s completely dehydrated. Then grind it till you achieve a flour-like consistency. Use this instead of wheat flour in your pancakes and bakes, or even as a garnish for your carb-free Zoodles .       

Naturally lactose free
Low glycemic index 
Heart healthy
Great for skin
High in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (1 cup of almonds has around 378 mg of calcium)
50 percent fewer calories than in cow’s milk

However, unlike almonds, the milk is not a substantial source of protein because it’s watered down. But unless you are an infant or completely relying on this for your protein needs, almond milk is a safe bet.

I’m not lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy or completely vegan. It’s the long term cons of lactose (like the ones researchers talk about here) and the taste of conventional dairy that is unsettling to me. In fair comparison of all the other plant-based milk alternatives that I have tried yet, like rice, oat, soy, flax, coconut, hazelnut - I like almond the best. It has a very crisp but non-overpowering nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness that makes it highly versatile for smoothies, breakfast bowls or bakes.

And if I were to let you in on a little secret, this is a man-pleaser, mine for sure.

Have you tried almond milk? 



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More is More - More Cafe, Oman

May 26, 2015

Hands up if you love More Cafe, Oman. I'm not a pancake traditionalist and I couldn't care less about 'em for the longest. Then, a little over a year ago I tried More's Pannenkoek on a Friday brunch at Royal Opera Galleria and went through a rite of passage. Since, whenever I was in the mood for some 'breakfast of champions' or whatever you wanna call it, I knew where to go, veraciously!  So, the specific Pannenkoek in question is a Dutch pancake loaded with green apples, cinnamon spirited and teemed with crème anglaise. Some of those times are positively logged on my Instagram. That hangout of theirs has since been packed away (and the Wave outlet is quite a stretch when I'm hungry) but a brand new one is underway, at a nonchalant distance from my attic. Come august, I'm walking there, pulling up a chair and waiting to be impressed, once again.

But this post is not about that. It's quintessentially about the ‘more’ that More Cafe at The Wave is now offering, their new palatable catering menu that I was introduced to recently at their catering event.  I, my husband and some great people from the living-for-a-share community gathered around a table eating, documenting and playing food. Major appreciation for More for organizing these very unconventional and thoughtful (personalized place cards, what?) shenanigans, where we learned about their new catering concoct, got to sample some fine finger food, whacked each other out at a blindfolded food tasting game, took the food pictionary darn seriously and put our largely non-existent coffee foaming skills to test with a little lot of help from their barista. It was such a reveling, learning and entertaining experience. I think how I felt was the equivalent of how my three year old feels when she dresses up in tulle and fairy wings with her favorite sparkly friend. We walked away with food babies, smiles and goodie bags.

The Spread

Mini Beef Burger

Chicken Tikka Wrap

                                                                 Mini carrot cake

Fresh seasonal fruits platter

And then, the games began..........

The boys in purple eye masks face off. They were blindfolded and told to guess the ingredients of a mini Shrimp and Dill sandwich. Shrimps, according to my husband (on the right) are also called 'big crabby things' on a hot day. So much for relying completely on olfactory nerves and taste buds. We all took turns and it was a whole lot of fun. 

Watching the barista whip out things like leaf, flower and even a bear, effortlessly. Those faces meant 'this is not easy and we take back all those times we thought it was'.   

Here we were breathing down the barista's neck, for the last time before we attempted our own works of art.

And here, I was trying to recreate a leaf. Trying.

From left to right : Ayshe (lifeoutsidethem25), Me, Alexandra Barbu (Assistant Manager/ Event Organizer), Susan (heyfatsu), Heather (theduncanadventures), Maurizio, Freddie (muscatmutterings), Max (the very supportive husband), Dahlia (aishelaqtta) and Medina (UB-Cool).

Appetizing gourmet sandwiches, wraps, mini quiches, sweet and savory pastries, skewers, dipping sauces, crudités, salads, mini cakes, sugar-free desserts and so much more is on their sweeping scrumptious catering menu which you can find here. This is just in time for our sweltering Middle Eastern summah when you won’t brave the heat to eat, have uninvited (or invited) company over, a little soiree with your friends or simply because you like to have substantial food choices on your on lazy day inventory.

What do you think...... Is it is up your alley? Try it at home or swing by over the weekend or both.

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Outfit of the day - Mommy and Baby

May 22, 2015

Can you believe this is happening? The last time I posted an Ootd was in 2013 and that suffered a sudden death when I carelessly purged it while editing the glitches with my previous freebie template. Basically, don't half a** anything.

This time around I'm being more diligent. But I gotta say this frivolous looking activity involving a camera and clothes is a lot of work, especially when you add a strong willed little human to the equation. I wish the temperatures I live in had bragging rights and I were spoilt for choices when it came to places I could mundanely walk (not drive) to, just to pick up some fresh flowers. And while I did that, my mystery man would snap my wind swept face and billowed shirt endlessly. But that ain't happening here. This is me in my air conditioned habitat posing for a camera mounted on a tripod. And my little sidekick, who very kindly took some time off from caring for her babies when I asked.

A couple of weeks ago, she and I went on a field trip to Zara and both found something that was cha-ching-worthy and complimented our picks. We like doing the matchy-matchy thing a lot, mostly with colors.  Every time I buy something for her, a narrow portion of my consciousness is already racing through my closet to find a matching piece.

It looks like our summer is going to be ever so slightly bohemian. So, we picked up this jumpsuit for her that has a free range handmade feel (it's really not) and beautiful colors in the eclectic Moroccan print setting. I personally find jumpsuits super adorable meets functional. C’mon, look at this one that looks like a dress but works like shorts through cartwheels and somersaults keeping the modesty intact. The only time you might feel otherwise is when you are out and your kid's gotta go to the bathroom. So, yeah!

And I found this super wide, floaty, swingy contraption. Though I have a fall color palette - dark and warm - this deep shade of orange has always felt disingenuous to me, but not anymore. Out of nowhere, I'm blown away by the certain je ne sais quoi  it does for my skin. This is 'the' top if you are a member of the shrinking assets club like me, because the mix of fabrics adds a bit of volume and the deep neckline adds a lot of interest. And I like that.

on Me:
Top - Zara Trafaluc - http://www.zara.com/om/en/woman/tops
Wide leg pants -  Zara - last season
Bag - LV Tivoli GM - http://us.louisvuitton.com/eng-us/products
Coin Necklace - Forever 21

Make up forever HD foundation in 153
Naked palette - 'half baked' all over the lid and 'creep' in the crease
Mac powerpoint eye pencil - Engraved
Essence eyebrow designer - 02 Brown

Mac lipstick - Morange
Mac lip pencil - Ablaze
on Her :
Jumpsuit - Zara -  http://www.zara.com/om/en/kids/girl-3-14-years/dresses/jumpsuits/printed-jumpsuit-with-border
Sandals - Birkenstock 
And a ton of sass :)

Hope you enjoyed our quick and easy (tchu kidding?) Ootd. Thank you for coming here. I did a lousy job at ducking the remote, did you see it?

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Inglot AMC Mousse Foundation

May 17, 2015

So a few weeks ago I was searching for a new BB creme and jaywalked into Inglot on my grocery run *eye roll*. I inconspicuously sneaked into the make-up swatching female squad in there but this petite sales assistant came straight for me. Her face lit up with the warmest smile as she greeted me and offered to help. Mac, take notes! Don’t you love it when that happens at make-up counters, when somebody who is trying to tell, not pushing to sell, finds you.  She patiently gave me a run down of their face products, explained to me the jargon that they roll with for foundations according to type and corresponding packaging, and left me alone with my biz.

So the backstory is :

AMC Mousse Foundation - transparent round glass jar - foundation alternative - sheer coverage - velvetty matte finish - normal to oily skin

AMC Cream Foundation - transparent glass bottle with a very handy pump  - natural coverage - dewy finish - normal to dry/ mature skin

Cream Foundation - Sleek white tube - strong coverage - smooth finish - all skin types

Cream Powder Foundation -  black mirrored compact - strrrrrong coverage - cream to powder finish which is buildable - normal to dry skin

YSM Cream Foundation - not so sleek transparent tube - lightweight natural coverage - matte finish - normal to oily skin.

L - light, F - fair, M - medium and D - Dark for skin color  // W - Warm ,  C- cool  for undertones 

I was looking for something super light, airy and soft focus-y for summer with minimal coverage.
The skin I'm dealing with here is pretty normal but sensitive and prone to redness. I do not have enlarged pores or acne to combat.  But, I do have some flakiness when I fail to drink enough or do not exfoliate for too long. After much deliberation and swatching as you do at these places (it's all fun and games till you slop your white jeans with some long lasting, transfer resistant crap, gulp), I decided on the AMC Mousse Foundation in Medium Warm 700.

My skin color is medium deep, almost tan with yellow undertones. I matched my jaw to MW700 and this is the closest shade to my skin that they offer, probably a bit darker at the moment but that's totally fine by me over something too pink. And, I'm positively going a shade or two up come July. Cue, tropical vacation.

What I like

This is not a 'foundation', I give it that! It just about evens out your skin color like a good ol' tinted moisturizer, and smoothens like a primer. Coverage is sheer, very sheer. Good for me.

The air-whipped texture blends in effortlessly and wears comfortably all day, every day.

The finish is matte yet velvety

You do not need a brush. Works better with fingers or a damp beauty sponge and both of those take a little bit, a long way as compared to a dense product ingesting foundation brush. 

Looks great in pictures.

Vegan (this and most of the line is but not entirely), not tested on animals and Paraben-free  

Availability - unlike many other brands that never make it to Muscat or cost a limb to be shipped from elsewhere, this is can be acquired at a whim from Inglot's stand alone stores in Qurum City Center and Grand Mall, Muscat.

What I don't like

The shade selection is limited to seven and three in Muscat.

This is not the most reasonably priced tinted balm out there. 

This product does nothing for dry patches, if you have any - other than making them stand out like on a roll call.

The names and jargon that the brand is playing with in general are a bit too overwhelming, confusing and borderline gimmicky if I'm being totally real, especially if you are relatively new to it like me or you just wanna pick one thing and get going.  Fortunately, most of their products do not disappoint according to the interwebs. 

My impression 

Does what it says. It might not be a scalding hot romance yet, but I most likely will repurchase it once I run out.  

The cool gibberish that many cosmetic companies throw around as a marketing ploy to cash in on misplaced consumer perception is getting a little under my skin.  And that rant warrants a post just to itself. AMC Mousse has Paraben-free and cruelty free status, but that alone ain't ground breaking to me. It does contain at least three silicon based polymers that work for the conditioning/ anti-foaming properties of the product, and other chemical ingredients.  So, if you are prone to  eczema, dermatitis, skin allergies or flare ups, this might not be your safest pick.  To be fair, my skin has handled it quite well.

Like always, this product is working great for me but your mileage may or may not be different. There is nothing known to mankind other than a Nutella Jar that could make almost everybody happy and we women are a demanding bunch :)

Hope this was helpful and insightful if you are also looking into a 'no make-up' summer. I'm off to drink my water and you should too. But before you go, let me in on your thoughts. 

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