Monday, October 5, 2015

Healthy Pumpkin Cake Pops ( grain free)

Looking for healthier dessert alternatives? Tis the season for pumpkin, and these adorable healthy pumpkin cake pops are easy to make, nutritious, and look like little pumpkin donut holes. Made from healthy real food ingredients, they bake up in just 20 minutes in the oven or in 5-8 minutes in the cake pop machine.

I found pumpkin decorated paper straws that we inserted into the pops as a stick. It worked great, but the majority of the pops we just popped in our mouths without a stick and were delighted with the simple but rich pumpkin treat!

These seasonal snacks are healthy for kids of all ages. They pack easily into a lunchbox, are perfect for after school, and especially fun for Halloween! They are nutritious as well as grain free, gluten free, and can be made vegan making them ideal for many types of allergies. The sweetness comes from a ripe banana and a 1/4 cup of coconut crystals ( per 20 pops).

They look cute and taste moist and delicious.  Add a few dark chocolate chips or unsweetened coconut for a tasty variation !

The recipe uses coconut flour and almond flour, both readily available in Trader Joe's and any health food store. I like grain free recipes and flourlessless recipes even better. My flourless Pumpkin muffins are a favorite.

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 8-10 minutes
Bake Time : 20 minutes
Makes : 20 cake pops


1/2  cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 large eggs (vegan?  substitute two chia egg replacer recipe )
1 medium ripe banana ( mashed)
3/4 cup of pumpkin puree ( or mashed cooked sweet potato)
2 tsp of melted coconut oil
1/4 cup of coconut crystals ( Trader Joe's or health food store)
1-2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice ( your preference)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Optional: 1/2 cup of chocolate chips ( dairy free)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Mix dry ingredients and then add wet ingredients.
Make into small balls ( 1-11/2 teaspoons) and place each ball into a well greased mini muffin tray ( makes about 20)
Bake for 20 minutes until done
or if you are using an electric cake pop machine, follow directions according to the machine.

I made them both ways and both ways were delicious, but I thought the one's that I made in the little cake machine were a little moister than the ones made in the oven.
What is it about pumpkin ??? As soon as the fall begins, I just have to have it!! I'm not even sure I love it- but it is like a fall addiction. I'll be searching for pumpkin recipes for the next few weeks.
  1. Make these pumpkin cake poppers for dessert to kick off the Halloween celebration! They are nutritious and very filling because coconut flour is packed with fiber! Fill up before the Halloween candy frenzy!
    Insert a stick or a straw for the kids or just eat them like donut holes!
    This is the inside of the cake pop machine
    These are the ones I made in the oven in a mini muffin tray. Just a tad drier- but still very good!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cinnamon Apple Butternut Soup ( slow cooker)

Dust off that slow cooker ( crock pot) and get ready to make a light, simple, and delicious sweet and cinnamon-y butternut squash soup. Nothing says fall like butternut squash! If you are not ready for soup yet, pin this recipe for later.  Or better yet, make it now and FREEZE it for that first surprise really cold wet damp day. You'll be prepared with a tasty and healthy warming homemade soup!

This soup has an incredible flavor that both children and adults will love! Cinnamon, coconut sugar, vanilla almond milk swilled into this rich butternut squash and apple base made in the slow cooker!! Need I say more???

My CSA farm supplied me some butternut squash after I had already loaded up at Trader Joe's making my stash four large squashes in total! I decided to cook and freeze butternut squash soup this week.

I made two butternut squash soups- one savory ( click here Butternut rosemary soup)  and one sweet- both are vegan and gluten free. Today I am sharing the recipe for the sweeter version which is really delicious.

You do have to peel the squash, but I promise you if you have the right tool, peeling the squash is easy. Using my new vegetable peeler that I ordered online,  I was able to peel a large squash in under a minute without any struggle. The skin seemed to glide right off and quickly. OXO Good Grips Y Peeler
I peeled my large squash in 45 seconds with this sharp
OXO Good Grips Y Peeler.
It's the fastest and best peeler I've ever used

Cut in half , scoop out the seeds and chop into pieces 
Butternut squash can be somewhat sweet, so I decided to sweeten up this soup even a little bit more with some apple, cinnamon, and a little *coconut sugar ( see below).  I used my slow cooker for ease and blended the finished product with my immersion blender when it was done producing a creamy delicious soup.  I added the spices at the end and optional coconut or vanilla unsweetened almond milk. ( I chose the vanilla unsweetened almond milk was acutally exceptional in the soup!!)

Author:  Judee Algazi of Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10- 15 minutes
Cook Time:  4 hours on high in the slow cooker


6 cups of butternut squash, chopped ( about a 3/4 of a large squash)
1 cup of carrot, sliced ( about 2 carrots)
2 ( any) apples, cored, peeled and quartered
8 cups of water
cinnamon to taste
coconut sugar to taste ( available at Trader Joe's or any health food store- lower glycemic)
optional: slightly warmed coconut or almond milk added to each bowl when serving.

Optional: Garnish: chopped apple tossed in cinnamon, coconut sugar,  and chopped pecans or toasted pumpkin seeds (Make your own pumpkin seed tutorial)  like I did.


Peel and chop the butternut squash. Use 6 cups for this recipe and place into the slow cooker. Add the apple, carrots and the water. Cover and slow cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6. When everything is soft, turn off the slow cooker, remove the lid and blend with an immersion blender or in your blender. Taste it and then add cinnamon ( about a Tablespoon is what I used) and coconut sugar to taste ( I used about 2 Tablespoons).
If you like a creamed soup, add a little warmed coconut or almond milk to your taste to each bowl or to the entire soup. I used vanilla unsweetened flavor of almond milk..and it was the Bomb!

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photo of woman
Food is my passion. I am gluten intolerant, busy. and strive for a healthy balanced lifestyle. It has taken me many years to develop and discover easy healthy recipes that meet gluten free, vegetarian and real food standards. On my blog I share my journey, my struggles, my discoveries, and my new recipes. I hope you find ideas, resources, and recipes that will be helpful to you. Come Back soon.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Leeks & Brussels Sprouts Soup ( in 12 minutes)

brussels sprouts soup

Do you hate or love brussels sprouts? For most people there is no in between. If you love them, then make this soup. If you haven't liked them in the past, I'm asking you to give them a chance. If they aren't overcooked, you might like them. They actually taste like little cabbages. 

I came across this simple, but healthy vegan gluten free Brussels sprouts soup recipe on a blog called Healthy Food Corner. In their post, they purported that brussels sprouts contain antioxidants to fight cancer. 
I happen to like Brussels sprouts ( I didn't always) , and I've been getting super excited about making fall soups since the weather has been getting cooler. 

I was intrigued with this quick tasty recipe and thought it might actually be nice for Thanksgiving when supermarkets and Trader Joe's carry fresh stalks of farm fresh brussels sprouts (of course feel free to use frozen- I did).

I used frozen but cooked them in the soup, not the bag

brussels sprouts on a stalk
Fresh brussel sprouts on a stalk - cut them in half
This soup is perfect for the busy cook who likes healthy recipes. It took only 5-7 minutes to prep and 10-12 minutes to cook, yet it tasted warm, delicious, and comforting. It's a nice nutritious fall soup to add to your repertoire. 

How to Like Brussels Sprouts
If you you hate don't care for brussels sprouts, the best way to try them is roasting them. They come out crispy and crunchy and are absolutely delicious. I have never met anyone who hasn't tried and enjoyed  My recipe for : Wendy's crunchy and crispy Vegetable balls .
If you do like brussels sprouts then you will love this soup ( but don't overcook it). They sprouts are not mushy, smelly, or overcooked.  I really enjoyed it!

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 5-7 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Adapted from: Healthy Food Corner


20 brussels sprouts ( I used frozen- Hanover petite Brussels Sprouts)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed or chopped
1 large leek- white part diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 and half large carrots, diced
3 cups of water
3 cups of hot vegetable broth
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Saute the garlic, leeks, and carrots in the olive oil for about 3 minutes carefully stirring to prevent burning. Add the small brussels sprouts ( if large cut in half) and the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce flame somewhat and cook for about 7 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and cook for an additional minute. Taste and season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
Last Monday I made a different  vegan and gluten free Fall Vegetable Soup using yet another fall unusual vegetable- kohlrabi- plus, onions, carrots, and fresh garlic ( If you have never used kohlrabi, let me introduce you. It's kohlrabi's growing season, and the simple vegetable tastes like a potato but is very low in carbs and makes a DELICIOUS soup ).
bowl of carrots, brussels sprouts and leeks
My Brussels Sprouts were from the frozen bag of petite sprouts- the black measuring cup holds my chopped leeks..

vegan brussels sprout soup

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