Saturday, August 29, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein ( vegan)

Spaghetti squash chow mein

Do you love chow mein? I do, and I really loved this low carb recipe even more because instead of high carb noodles, it uses spaghetti squash!  

I was really intrigued when I saw this recipe on Pinterest using spaghetti squash. I'm always looking for new recipes to use my spaghetti squash! I ordinarily make an Italian type recipe with tomato sauce ,but this is the first time I'm using my spaghetti squash in a Chinese style recipe.

I have to tell you , it was one fabulous recipe! It could be eaten as a delicious side dish or over brown rice ( if you don't mind the carbs) to make it more filling as a meal. ( Of course you could add a protein of your choice as well) 

Without the rice, it is a relatively low calorie/low carb recipe with about 2 Points Plus per generous serving ( basically from the olive oil). And it's a powerhouse of antioxidants from all the veggies, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger. 

Don't overcook the vegetables as they taste good with a little crunch and the spaghetti squash is on the soft side. For an additional crunch try adding some 
slivered almonds!
Naturally gluten free and vegan- makes a great dish for company.

Author:  Judee Algazi/ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Adapted from the recipe on : Little Bits of Real Food
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes for the recipe; 35 minutes for the spaghetti squash

1 medium spaghetti squash, baked and scooped out ( set aside) 
2 teaspoons of olive oil or use olive oil spray generously
1 medium- large onion, sliced
3 stalks celery slice on a diagonal 
1/2 cup of chopped green scallion
3 cups of cabbage slaw mix in a bag or 
3 cups of chopped cabbage
1/2 cup of shredded carrots
optional: 1/4 cup of slivered almonds

Ingredients for Sauce: 
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1-2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger ( depending on if you like ginger alot)
1/8 cup of gluten free soy sauce ( or more to taste- it's very sodium high) 
1 Tablespoon of coconut sugar crystals ( or sweetener of your choice)
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper 

Make the sauce by combining all ingredients and set aside. Saute the onions and celery in a large skillet for about 2 minutes in the olive oil or oil spray. Add the scallions and coleslaw mix ( or cabbage and carrots) and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti squash, the sauce and the almonds at this point. Stir well and cook for 30 seconds. Remove and serve.

Spaghetti squash chow mein

 How to Cut and Bake a Spaghetti Squash: 

My notes: 
  • You can make the spaghetti squash the day before and store in the refrigerator and then the prep is much faster.
  • Trader Joe's sells frozen cubes of fresh minced garlic and fresh grated ginger in their freezer compartment. You can substitute 2 cubes of each if you don't have fresh in the house. ( I keep the frozen in the freezer at all times for a pinch- it comes in very hand) They also have basil and cilantro.
  • This recipe is delicious by itself or eat over quinoa or rice

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photo of womanFood 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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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Quick After School Blueberry Mug Muffin

Blueberry muffin and fresh blueberries

Need a quick but healthy snack for after school or just for a snack attack? 

 A fresh gluten free blueberry mug muffin can be made in the microwave in 3 minutes that is light, airy, and heavenly.

 It is so fast and easy anyone can make it ( even your kids) . You just need a mug and a spoon for mixing to create this amazing nutritious muffin with lots of warm melted blueberries oozing throughout a simple vanilla or cocoa based muffin.

Don't like to microwave? 
Ok I don't like to microwave either - but 3 minutes?? or just bake it in the oven in a single small Pyrex for 20 minutes, if you don't mind the wait.

The ingredients are healthy ( coconut flour, coconut sugar, almond milk, banana,  egg, vanilla and fresh blueberries) Vegans can use egg replacer.
** coconut flour is available in Trader Joe's or any health food store.

Since it's made with high fiber coconut flour, it is very filling,  satisfying and good for you. It's perfect for a healthy breakfast or an after school snack.

I made this in 3 minutes when I was having a snack attack

Yesterday, I had a snack attack! I needed/wanted something sweet. I wanted a snack BUT I had NOTHING in the house . As I started to rummage through the pantry, I noticed a bag of coconut flour.

It was then that I remembered that I once posted a recipe for a 3 minute cake in mug using coconut flour.I was ecstatic because I remembered how good the mug cake tasted and how fast it was to make ( 3 minutes)

I didn't even bother to look up the recipe. I just gathered whatever I had in the refrigerator and used it. It was a new concoction, but you know what? It came out better than good. It came out great.

I was so happy.. I had a delicious gluten free muffin healthy snack that I made in literally minutes. AAh.. relief!
By the way- it was grain free, gluten free, and 4 points plus on Weight Watchers and it was a a very good size- I actually could have eaten only half.

Who wants to make or needs an entire tray of blueberry muffins anyway? Make a fresh one each time you need it..

Try some other heavenly variations. 

  • Chopped apples, walnuts, and cinnamon 
  • Raspberries and blueberries mixed
  • 1 Tablespoon of cocoa and blueberries or any fruit
  • Chopped strawberries 
  • Chopped peaches 
  • Chocolate chips ( my favorite)
  • Blueberries and fresh lemon zest
  • pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice mix ( with chocolate chips) 

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes in microwave oven
Serves: 1 hungry snacker or two moderate snackers

This is what I used: ( and made it right in the mug)

1 egg, beaten ( or egg replacer)
1/2 banana, mashed ( mash it lightly with a fork before adding to the beaten egg in the mug)
1 Tablespoon of unflavored unsweetened almond milk ( or any milk)
1 heaping Tablespoon of coconut flour ( if you use a different flour, leave out the milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of cocoa ( optional)
10-12  blueberries, washed and dried well
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder ( aluminum free)

This is what I did:


I beat the egg in the mug, added the mashed banana, almond milk, vanilla, and stirred well. I then mixed together the baking powder and coconut flour and stirred it into the wet ingredients in the mug. I then added the blueberries and stirred lightly. That's it
I  placed the mug into the microwave for 3 minutes. ( OK- I don't usually like to microwave- but this was only 3 minutes and OMG it came out so so good!)

The batter puffed up in the mug, became very light and fluffy, and made a divine nutritious quick gluten free snack for one person. Actually it could be cut into two portions.

Please note: Microwave ovens may vary- if yours is very strong, it may only take 2 and 1/2 minutes!

blueberry muffin batter
Batter in the mug before microwaving

Microwaved blueberry muffin in a  mug
3 minutes in the microwave -done

dirty empty mug from baking

large grain free blueberry muffin
Perfect Fresh Heavenly Blueberry Muffin 
Made in the Microwave in 3 minutes 

Vegan Version
This  makes a very moist muffin. If you like a dryer muffin, leave out the almond milk.

 I've actually made this kind of recipe before without eggs. I substituted coconut oil instead. Of course the egg version is lighter, but you could try an egg replacer. Some people say a Tablespoon of chia seeds with a Tablespoon on water is equivalent to one egg ( check it online) or my friend Vicki buys egg replacer in the health for store in a box.

If you want to substitute the flour
  • Also: remember that when you use high fiber coconut flour it requires much more liquid for baking than regular or even gluten free flours. So, if you use a regular gluten free flour mix- you won't need as much liquid- perhaps omit the almond milk.
  • Also: You may have noticed that my batter is darker in the photo . It is because I added some cocoa to that batch-( I made a few of these with all different combinations) Why stop at one

 Update on the recipe-
I've been eating this muffin daily and have tweaked the recipe a little to make it quicker. I've simply been using 1 egg, vanilla , 1/2 mashed banana, and 1 large tablespoon coconut flour and lots of raspberries or blueberries. It comes out just as good but a little dryer, which I like better.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mexican Lentil Soup ( Vegan)

Mexican vegan lentil soup

This flavorful Mexican lentil soup contains fresh garlic, ground cumin, and chopped cilantro-all  tasty Mexican spices. With the addition of diced tomatoes, red and hot peppers, and fresh lemon juice, the lentils morph into a creamy soup that is both satisfying and delicioius.

Talk about clean eating- garlic, cumin, and cilantro are full of powerful antioxidants and the soup is full of health giving colorful vegetables and protein/fiber rich lentils.  Just real food that is good for you.

It's easy to make too. Lentils cook up somewhat quickly, so you can prep and cook this delicious soup in just under an hour. The hearty soup makes a lovely presentation whether you plan to serve it to your family or to company as a meal starter, and it freezes well too. So, if you are just two people, make a pot and freeze the rest for another night. ( It's always fun to have something you can just pull out of the freezer)

I decided to use my immersion blender to blend the soup lightly just before serving it. The light blending made all the difference, so don't skip that step! And make sure to add lot's of freshly chopped cilantro to each bowl. Personally , I do not like hot chili peppers BUT you might, so add it if you like! What a soup!! Enjoy

This soup would go great with my Homemade Mango Salsa or my Vegan Avocado Caprese Appetizer

Do you eat soup in the summer?
I do . In fact, I eat soup all year round any time of the day.
But if you don't , just pin the recipe for the fall when you might be ready for a nice bowl of delicious hot soup!

This naturally gluten free soup is also vegan and can be made into a full meal by adding  a 1/4 cup of cooked brown rice or 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa to each bowl ( Although it doesn't need it) .

bowl of vegan Mexican lentil soup
A piece of garlic dropped into the bowl and it's in all the photos!!!

bowl of soup vegan, Mexican, lentil

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time 45  minutes
Serves : 6-8 bowls

2 teaspoons olive oil or olive oil spray
1 medium red onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped fine
1 medium red pepper , diced
1 and 1/4  cups of brown or green lentils, uncooked
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes ( I used organic and no BPA cans) low salt if possible
5 cups water
5 cups vegetable broth
2-3 teaspoons of cumin ( or to your taste)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro plus 1/2 cup to use to garnish each bowl
Optional: hot pepper to taste

In a large wide soup pot, saute the onions and red peppers in the oil for two minutes ( stirring). Add the garlic and lentils and saute an additional minute or two . Next add the can of diced tomatoes, water, broth, and 2 teaspoons of the cumin. Bring to a boil,  turn down to a simmer, and cook until lentils begin to soften about 1/2 hour. Add the lemon juice and cilantro, stir and taste. If you love cumin, add the additional ground cumin. Continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes. Turn off soup. Using an immersion blender, place the stick into the soup pot and blend lightly. Serve and top with freshly chopped cilantro in each bowl.

My Notes: Top each bowl of soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream, some shredded cheddar cheese, or extra lemon juice ..or add some GF corn tortilla strips for a Mexican tortilla lentil soup. We  enjoyed our soup vegan and just added lots of fresh chopped cilantro and a touch of extra lemon juice.. This soup freezes well too. I blended it before freezing.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Scalloped Potatoes

large pyrex bowl with scalloped potatoes

This is the first time I've ever made scalloped potatoes, and they were easy and awesome.
I received some organic red potatoes from my CSA and wanted to make something special with them Scalloped potatoes make a beautiful presentation and are creamy and delicious. They were the perfect choice.

This recipe does require that you slice the potatoes very thin.
I was able to slice the potatoes very thin in just minutes using an inexpensive Mandolin Slicer ( kitchen gadget- about $ 15)  that I've had sitting in my closet and have been wanting to try.

slices of potatoes next to a mandolin slicer

 I wish I had started to use it a long time ago; It's the easiest tool I've ever used. I sliced 3 pounds of potatoes in perfect thin rounds in just minutes. I used these thin rounds to line a Pyrex pie pan to make the scalloped potatoes.

scalloped potatoes and shredded cheese

If you don't have one of these little slicers, I recommend it highly that you get one.
I bought this one:

Super Slicer Mandoline Slicer - All Purpose 5 in 1 Mandolin Slicer with Free Bonus Waffle Blade

You can easily and quickly slice just about any kind of vegetable into thin consistent slices with it . It is truly a great time saver. Honestly, I don't believe you can achieve the uniformity and thickness/thinness of slicing vegetables without one. It's worth the minimal investment especially if you want to make scalloped potatoes.

Scalloped potatoes make a great gluten free side dish any time of the year.

Author: Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time:  50 minutes
Temperature: 375 degrees

5 medium/large red potatoes, sliced thin
2 ounces of butter
1/4 cup of coconut flour ( or any GF flour)
2 cups of almond milk ( or 1 cup of almond milk and 1 cup heavy cream)
1 cup of chopped onions, sautéed
1 and 1/2 cups of shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sautee the onions until soft in a skillet and set aside.
Slice potatoes and line them in a pyrex pan with the slices and set aside. Make a roux of the butter and flour by slowly melting the butter and whisking in the flour. Then add the milk and sauteed onions and continue to whisk. Pour the milk and onion mixture over the potatoes. Cover with the Parmesan cheese and bake at 375 for 50 minutes.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Raspberry Thumbprint Butter Cookies ( Grain Free)

Another gluten free tasty little gem that is easy and can be whipped up rather quickly!
If you a new to gluten free baking, this is a good recipe to get you started.
There are no exotic flours or hard to find ingredients; the recipe just calls for ground almonds ( available at Trader Joe's as almond meal) .

Thumbprint cookies are a basic butter ( or coconut oil)  cookie that are fun to make and especially fun to make with kids. These delightful gluten free cookies are made quickly, bake quickly, and look beautiful. What kid ( of any age) doesn't love pressing his/her thumb into cookie dough and filling it with a teaspoon of rich fruit jam.

If you are craving a cookie, these won't disappoint you. The recipe makes a small batch ( about 9) , so you won't overeat them either.

Ground almonds are a naturally gluten free flour that is perfect for baking cookies and cakes, is easy to work with , and tastes great. I've made lots of different recipes using almond meal.

Vegan? In addition to being grain free and gluten free,  this recipe can also be made vegan by substituting coconut oil for the butter.

Author: Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes at

2 cups of ground almonds/meal ( I got mine at Trader Joe's
6 Tablespoons of softened organic butter ( vegans- substitute coconut oil)
4-5 Tablespoons of coconut sugar ( I bought mine at Trade Joes')
1  teaspoon of organic vanilla extract
1/2 cup of raspberry all fruit natural jam or jelly

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond meal and coconut sugar. Add the butter and vanilla extract and cream into the dry mixture using a large spoon. When mixture is well creamed, take enough to make a small ball and place on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Repeat until the dough is finished ( makes about 10 cookies) . Press your thumb into each cookie and help it out to make a well. Fill it well with a half teaspoon of jelly and bake at 350 degrees fro 12 minutes until bottoms are just slightly brown.  Check frequently after 10 minutes so they don't over bake. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before lifting them. ( they will crumble)

Before baking

After baking 
My notes

This is a crumbly cookie dough ; however, the dough will respond to the warmth of your hand and become  workable. If you absolutely find the dough too dry, add a teaspoon of almond milk and try again. I choose to use raspberry filling but of course any flavor filling would be fine.

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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.

Author: Judee Algazi
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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna ( GF)

Are you a lasagna lover? This zucchini lasagna is made with sliced zucchini strips instead of pasta noodles and is absolutely so delicious you will not even miss the noodles.

Quick, Easy, Healthy

But what you'll love most about it is how quick and easy you can prepare it.  You can assemble it the night before and cook it when you get home from work.

It's always a challenge to find healthy recipes for your family that fit into your busy working schedule. This is an easy recipe which cuts down on carbs but not flavor.  Truthfully, this recipe was very fast and easy to make and helped me use up some of the abundance of zucchini that I have right now. How much zucchini do you have ??

Loaded with Zucchini ?

I received 8 medium-large organic green and yellow zucchini from my CSA farm. It was truly a challenge to eat them all before they went bad. So, I made a variety of zucchini dishes this week. Each recipe was different from the others, and each was really delicious!
 Zucchini is low calorie, low carb, and very diverse as you can see.

We enjoyed the following recipes this week: 

However despite my zucchini frenzy, I still had 2 nice size zucchini left. 

So, I took out my mandolin slicer ( love it)  and quickly sliced up the remainder of my zucchini into thin strips. I didn't even pre cook the strips. I just lined them uncooked in a pyrex pie plate, layered in some ricotta cheese mixture, some more zucchini slices, some marinara sauce and some shredded cheese. Baked my lasagna for 55 minutes and enjoyed a meal for dinner!

I actually made two of lasagnas and put cooked broccoli raab in one of them .
I'm froze that one !
You could add any cooked veggies of your choice-
The prep for the recipe is a very fast and easy and it then bakes for about an hour

Author: Judee Algazi - Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10-12 minutes
Cook Time: 50-60 minutes ( depending on your oven)
Pre-heat : 350 degrees


1 medium/large zucchini, sliced thin ( I used a mandolin slicer)
2 cups of ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsely
1 egg, beaten
1/2 -3/4 cup of marinara sauce
1 cup of shredded cheese ( I used cheddar - could use mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ricotta cheese, egg, parsley and 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce in a medium bowl and set aside.
Spray a 9 inch pyrex pie plate with cooking spray and then line thin zucchini slices to cover the bottom of a 9 inch pyrex pie pan.
Spread  the zucchini with the ricotta cheese mixture.
Spread the ricotta cheese layer with another layer of zucchini slices.
Spread the remaining 1/4 cup of marinara sauce over the layer of zucchini and cover with the shredded cheese. Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for 50-60 minutes.

Make this layer twice
End with cheese topping; then bake

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Zero Carb Pancakes

Looking for a fast, delicious and healthy pancake that you can make in the morning before work? This is it. This fabulous zero carb recipe has just 2 ingredients that are mixed in the blender. These gluten free /grain free pancakes cook quickly and taste divine. Fresh hot high protein Pancakes for breakfast? Yes, please.

I'm not usually a pancake lover because I find pancakes heavy and way too filling, leaving me feeling stuffed and bloated. However, these gluten free zero carb pancakes are different. Since they have no grain (flour), they are light and satisfying without being too heavy.

If you don't add any toppings, these delicious pancakes really do have absolutely no carbs, and they are so fast and easy to make you could eat them everyday! They are high in protein and very low in sugar so they won't trigger sugar cravings. They are actually more like crepes and are a great basic pancake or wrap for anyone who eats low carb, gluten free or grain free.

The pancake batter is made in the blender in seconds, and it takes about 1 minute on each side  for each pancake to cook, so you can make them fresh each morning or freeze them ( put a layer of waxed paper between pancakes)  and take out what you need when you need it.

Of course you can add fresh berries like I did in the picture above, which adds a few carbs but also adds some healthy antioxidants and flavor. 

1/4 cup of Blueberries = 4.35 net carbs
Blueberries are extremely rich in antioxidants, are relatively low in sugar, and are low in calories.

These pancakes are so versatile you could eat them topped with all kinds of variations!

Toppings To keep them really low carb
  • Top them with softened butter mixed with a little vanilla extract and then dust the pancakes with cinnamon.
  • My husband suggested melting some cheese over them
  • Top them with fresh 2 minute blueberry sauce ( recipe below) ( adds 4 carbs) that can be made in advance. 
  • Whipped cream

I made a low carb blueberry sauce in two minutes
  I made a very simple, but delicious blueberry sauce by just using 1/4 cup of berries and heating them in a skillet in 1/4 cup of water until they burst ( about 2 minutes) and then mashed them with a fork. They made their own outstanding sauce- with a nice rich sweet blueberry taste. Fresh blueberry sauce is so much better than any syrup and it's blueberry season, so why not enjoy a few!

So so so so good! yet just made from sweet berries

Don't these look fabulous? Just 4 carbs- for 7 small pancakes and the sauce from 1/4 cup blueberries

Make a strawberry or raspberry sauce the same way
If you are not a fan of blueberries, you could slice up 2 or 3 strawberries. 
4 medium strawberries= 3.35 net carbs
Slice 4 medium strawberries and cook in 1/4 cup of water until soft. Smash and eat over your pancakes . 

I find that cutting down on carbs is a good way to keep my weight down. 

My pancakes a small because my skillet is small- this recipe should make 3 medium sized pancakes

Author:  Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 2 minutes 
Cook Time: 5 minutes ( to cook all the pancakes)

2 eggs
2 ounces of cream cheese ( about 1/4 of an 8 ounce cream cheese bar )
1 tsp. of vanilla or almond extract if desired ( will add some flavor)

Place all ingredients into the blender and blend well.
Pour batter into circles  onto a hot griddle or well greased skillet.
Cook for a minute on each side
Serve plain or with a topping!

Enjoy them for your breakfast or even a quick snack!

What kind of skillet do you use to make your pancakes? I've tried so many different kinds of skillets ,and the batter always sticks.-even when I grease it. Although I'm not a fan of coated pans- it seems to work the best. 

Please share in the comments if you have a healthier solution.. thanks 

If you don't care about low carbs, then I have another way you can make easy grain free pancakes that are also delicious.. Another 2 Ingredient pancake 

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Photo from Gluten Free A-Z BlogFood 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.

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