Friday, July 31, 2015

Grain Free Breakfast Muffins

Remember when I made those fabulous  black bean brownies that everyone loved and no one knew they were made with black beans?  Well, this time I tried making muffins using chick peas! 

I know it sounds weird, but guess what? These grain free/gluten free breakfast muffins came out fabulous as well, and you will never know they were made with chick peas! 

Beans give baked goods lots of moisture and a substantial amount of protein. I don't know why, but you can't detect any bean taste in the baked goods.  Beans are a healthy choice for those who want or need to eliminate grains in their baking or for anyone who just wants to eat healthier !

Great For Breakfast

These luscious muffins are really fast and easy to make and versatile. You can try different nut butters ( peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower butter- they will all work)  and different flavor all- fruit jellies.  I used all fruit strawberry, but you could try all fruit blueberry, all fruit raspberry, all fruit grape, etc. These convenient muffins make a perfect breakfast grab and go that are high in protein and low in sugar! Make them in advance- they will keep for a few days or freeze them and pop them out as needed.  

Don't want the jelly? Leave it out !It will be a less sweet muffin- but will still nice and nutritious for breakfast with a cup of herbal tea or coffee. 

Great for Snacks or School lunch Boxes

These muffins are a perfect idea for a high protein snack or even added to the school lunchbox for kids. I made mini muffins so little ones could eat just one or as many as they like. I think the muffins taste best when they are small. 

When you pack them into a school lunches,  these muffins are similar to making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but in a muffin. They provide significant protein, healthy fat, substantial fiber, and other nutrients. They are kid tested by my grandkids and they love them!

If you are concerned about packing nut butter to school, substitute Sunbutter which is made from sunflower seeds, not nuts. 

SunButter is available in most health food stores or can be purchased online.
SunButter Natural Sunflower Seed Spread, 16-Ounce Plastic Jars (Pack of 6) 

Chick pea muffins are a great after school snack to have on hand or can be packed in baggies to bring along when traveling in a car, train, or airplane. 
Going to mall?  Pack some along for the kids for a nutritious snack. 

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 8 minutes 
Bake Time: 10-12  minutes oven time per 12 mini muffins
Preheat Oven: 400 degrees

Ingredients ; 
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained ( canned works)
1/2 cup of any nut butter or try Sun butter 
1 ripe banana, sliced
2  eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of organic coconut crystals or use raw honey
1/4 teaspoon baking powder ( aluminum free)
1/2 cup of all fruit jelly ( any flavor) 

Put the drained chick peas, nut butter, banana, eggs, vanilla, coconut crystals, baking powder into a powerful blender ( Vitamix or Bullet) . Blend well. Grease a mini muffin pan for 12 and fill with 3/4 batter. Spoon in a 1/2 teaspoon of the all fruit jelly into the middle. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

*coconut crystals - I buy mine at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods,  or any health food store; coconut sugar is low in carbohydrates and also low on the glycemic index. They work great for baking as a sugar substitute. 

buy at Trader Joe's, Whole Food, or any health food store
Wan't to add chocolate chips?  I get dairy free chocolate chips in Shoprite supermarket in NJ and Pa or order online !Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Gluten, Dairy, nut & Soy Free, Mini Chips, 10-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6) 

Another healthy gluten free/dairy free/ egg free snack:   

Creamy chocolate pudding made with creamy avocado. 
Whip it up in just 5 minutes in your blender!
chocolate pudding made with avocado
Best and healthiest chocolate pudding ever is DF GF Egg Free

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Food is my passion. I am gluten intolerant, busy. and strive for a healthy balanced lifestyle. It has taken me many years to come up with 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.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

GF Buttery Almond Shortbread Cookies

If you like the taste of almonds, you will adore these fast and easy shortbread cookies. There are only 5 healthy ingredients in this recipe, and the cookies bake rather quickly. You could whip up a batch on short notice from start to finish in just 25 minutes.

Years ago I took a trip to Scotland. I brought home only 2 souvenirs: a beautiful red and black plaid wool Scottish hat and a few tins of traditional delicious Scottish shortbread cookies.

My shortbread recipe is a little different than the authentic recipe because my recipe is grain free and gluten free, yet my allergy friendly buttery version still is reminiscent of the cookies I ate in Scotland!

Are you vegan? Shortbread contains no eggs, so it's easy to substitute oil for the butter to make this recipe vegan.

My grandkids ( ages 4 and 7) love to bake when they come to visit. I try to find recipes that will satisfy their palate as well as their short attention spans. The 4 year old expects to eat her cookies almost immediately, so 12- 15 minutes in the oven is perfect.

These delicious cookies will please not only the kids, but also the most discerning adults. They are a basic shortbread recipe with all the flavor and richness of butter and Scotland!

Author: Judee Algazi- Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 5-7 minutes
Bake Time: 12-15 minutes
Makes: 10 cookies

2 cups almond meal/flour ( Trader Joe's)
6 Tablespoons softened or melted organic butter ( or substitute olive oil)
4 Tablespoons coconut sugar ** see my notes below ( or any sugar of your choice)
3/4 teaspoon of organic almond extract
1/4 cup almond milk ( refrigerator case - supermarket)


In a large mixing bowl, mix together the almond flour and coconut sugar. Combine the butter, almond milk and the extract and then mix into the almond mixture using a large spoon. Mix until everything is combined and then drop by the tablespoon onto a greased parchment covered cookie sheet ( grease the parchment). Flattern cookies with a fork and bake for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven. Check frequently after 10 minutes. Remove from oven when the bottoms brown. Cook on a rack for 10 minutes.

My Notes: 
Coconut sugar is a lower glycemic sugar that is available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and most health food stores. It is lower in carbohydrates than traditional sugar and considered somewhat  healthier because it is coconut sap and has some nutrients. Personally, I would still use it in moderation.

Almond meal/flour- you can make your own by grinding almonds or it is available by the bag at Trader Joe's for a reasonable price or most health food stores.

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cauliflower Crusted Mini Pizzas

individual sized pizza round topped with a slice of tomato and cheese

Low carb individual sized gluten free mini pizza crusts are great to eat for a healthy lunch, dinner, or snacks. Once you get the hang of ricing cauliflower in your food processor ( very easy in 5 minutes) , this recipe is a cinch! Cauliflower is a low carb yet nutrient rich vegetable that you can substitute for grain in most recipes and it tastes great this way.

 I can make these mini pizza crusts without using any flour. That means I can eat not only a healthier crust but also eliminate the high carbohydrate content of regular dough .
That works for me!

The recipe makes 12 mini pizza crusts. I calculate that each crust is just 1 Point Plus on WW+ the topping. Yes,- I'm back counting points on Weight Watchers after a long time partying! I put on some weight, struggling with my clothes, and realize it's time for me to start counting those points again and eating more consciously.

I know that I need to start my day with a food plan. It's just that simple- otherwise the little kid in me can make some very poor choices.

 Cauliflower pizza crusts fit into a healthy diet plan. They can be topped any way you like them.
 They are gluten free and grain free.

These are some of the toppings I've used for my mini pizza crusts :

  • Marinara sauce, shredded cheese, mushrooms
  • Chopped summer tomato, red onion, chopped cucumber
  • Large slice of tomato covered in shredded cheese and a basil leaf
There is no limit to your creativity when it comes to toppings- top the crusts with whatever you like!

Author:      Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes + 5 minutes again
Equipment: Food Processor
Preheat Oven: 450 degrees
Makes : 12 mini pizza crusts


1 head of cauliflower chopped ( then riced in the food processor- see below)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
optional: add garlic powder is desired


Preheat oven to 450 degrees

How to rice your cauliflower : 
Place 1/2 of the cut up cauliflower in a food processor using the metal blade. Whiz a 2-3 times very quickly ( on off , on off, on off) until the cauliflower resembles rice. Remove from the processor and place in a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the other half of the cauliflower.

Cook Your Cauliflower: 
Place the riced cauliflower in a large skillet and cook on med high for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste cauliflower to see if it is cooked but not overcooked. Remove from heat and return to the mixing bowl. Add the eggs, shredded mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper and mix well with a spoon.

Bake Your Pizza Crusts: 
Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Spray well with cooking oil spray.
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out 12 scoops onto the cookie sheets .
Flatten each scoop with the palm of your hand to make a small round circle.
Place in oven (450 degrees) for 15 minutes until the pizza crusts begin to brown.

Remove from oven. Place toppings on Pizza crusts and put back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

Or ** Remove from oven, allow to cool, and save for later. Top and heat just before you would like to eat them.

snow white chopped cauliflower and food processor

mounds of cauliflower on parchment papper
Scoop 1/4 cup of the cauliflower and egg mixture into mounds onto cookie sheets

end result of 8 mini pizza crusts after baking
Flatten with palm of hand and bake for 15 minutes

My Notes: 
1. If you don't want to or can't use a food processor, you can grate the cauliflower with a hand grater. It will be more time consuming. 

2.  Prepare and bake the crusts in advance for the 15 minutes and then top them and bake again for 5-10 minutes before eating

3. My parchment paper is brown because I use an all natural parchment that has not been chlorinated.

4. These pizza crusts are not as crunchy as a non grain crust, but still really work well. Try my plantain pizza crust for a crispy crust

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Blog Author: Judee Algazi
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