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‘No Tricks’ Vanilla Cupcakes : gluten free vegan, allergy friendly

Hello and Happy Halloween! Today I’m sharing an easy and delicious recipe without any artificial colouring, flavouring or preservatives or GMO’s ~ hence “No Tricks” Vanilla Cupcakes! This easy vanilla cupcakes recipe is also naturally gluten-free and vegan/ dairy, egg free and nut free – so basically allergy friendly SO that everyone can have a treat without any tricks!


It’s Halloween time and I could not be freaked out more! And not because of scary costumes and frightening Halloween decorations BUT the freaky stuff my kids will bring home from trick-or-treating! Isn’t it scary what’s found in candy nowadays? I cringe from the sugar! I cringe from GMO’s!I cringe from preservatives that are linked to health problems! I cringe from the artificial colouring which is linked to behavioural problems in children as well as cancer!  I cringe and cringe but that alone won’t provide a solution. 

Read more on the ill effects of additives in candy on this post : Trick or Trick! How to Survive and Still Enjoy Halloween.

Because Halloween is still fun! And fun we shall have!

So I like to make something that’s around when temptations reach high!

Make treats without the tricks!

1. make treats healthier
2. use all-natural ingredients
3. use unrefined sugar and less of it
4. keep allergies in mind
5. get the kids involved in the making – that’s 90% of the fun!




‘No Tricks’ Vanilla Cupcakes

gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, allergy friendly, low sugar/ refined sugar free

Ingredients :

1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup raw cane or coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup powdered stevia (or same as above)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
dark chocolate chips for the eyes (optional)

Natural Dairy-free Frosting (see recipe)

Directions :

Preheat oven to 375 and line a cupcake or muffin pan with 

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients : flour, baking powder, sugar, stevia and salt. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients : apple sauce, water, oil and vanilla extract. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. Let rest for 15 – 20 minutes. Mix a little more and pour into the muffin pan wells (preferable silicone as they come out perfectly) about 1/2 way up. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top. Remove from the oven and when ok to touch, carefully remove papers if using paper liners. Then place on a cooling rack to cool completely. 


As you wait for the cupcakes to cool, this is a great time to make the frosting from this recipe.

A great trick to piping the frosting is to put it into a ziplock bag and sealing it up – then it’s mess-free and easy (and cheap!) to use! Try it.

NOTE : Gluten-free baked goods are best the day of and should not be stored in the refrigerator. 


We had a blast making these Vanilla Cupcakes – the girls – little baby Mia including, giggled and had too much fun making these! The recipe was so easy that I only poured in the hot water for them – everything else got measured and mixed by my daughter and her friend who came over for a playdate. 

Fun, fun, fun! And just the best treat – no tricks!! :)

In fact, we even forgot about putting in the chocolate chips for the eyes so I actually edited them in (insert chocolate chip eyes rolling) but if you want to make little Halloween Ghost Cupcakes – then this step is super simple obviously!


Wishing you all a Happy Halloween!!!
Hope you get delicious treats – without the tricks!! :) xo


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Coconutties Bliss Balls : healthy quick & easy treat even a kid can make


I’m please to share an exciting collaboration for this recipe on Pure Ella with a very very special gal. Her name is Gabriella and she is just an amazing young lady with lots of talents, charm and wit up her sleeve. Please give a warm welcome to my sweet darling beautiful daughter Gabriella.

She may be just 8 but she completely stole the show with this amazing recipe that she whipped up the other day. Basically this is putting mom out of business. What can I say, she’s cute and she still gets what she wants. 

So my sweet little kiddo is always looking through our kitchen drawers and finding spices and ingredients that peek her interest. I then find interesting concoctions made up in jars in her room. I can’t say I’m completely pleased with this as she is wasting good ingredients on play. Of course, it’s never a good way to use up spices and ingredients on play – because it’s a great way to use up spices and ingredients especially on play! I applaud her every creation and encourage messy play whenever the mood strikes. I must be one crazy mom, right? (I know that’s what you’re thinking!) :)

But I feel that this is how we learn… from curiosity and fun. I want my daughter to get curious about whatever she likes and be brave to try new things. This isn’t just a guide for recipe making, but a guide for life too. Curiosity, fun and courage ~ the perfect recipe for bliss. Isn’t it?


And so when her curiosity peaked to new heights and she wanted to make dessert all by herself, I let things go her own way. I was busy in the kitchen with other things, but I was around to supervise. Basically, she rolled up her sleeves and made her own healthy, quick and easy “Coconutties” Bliss Balls. A delicious treat made with coconut flakes and nuts that wowed us all.

These Bliss Balls are made with healthy ingredients that taste like a sweet decadent treat but have none of the bad stuff. We haven’t bought a store-bought dessert or a box of cookies from the grocery store in years. And we’ve always indulged in sweets. Picking up a few boxes of cookies was normal. Getting our daily sugar-fix was easy and was part of what we ate. 

Now things are different we’ve just learned to have a bit of self-control and that’s all. We eat homemade treats made with great ingredients and these desserts are not an everyday event. We eat desserts on the weekends usually or in some rare occasion we make up a reason to celebrate during the week but not very often at all. (Birthdays are a given reason to break all rules and indulge of course. But still, it’s in the good stuff.) Basically, we don’t sugar coat it – but we enjoy a little healthy sugar once a while. Sweets don’t have to feel guilty. This is our approach…. to “cut the sugar” not quit or avoid it altogether.


And the happiness, concentration and pride on that face…. I could watch her for hours and hours. She loves being creative and free in what she does. Making Bliss Balls provides all of that – it gives you the freedom to adjust the ingredients to your personal liking. And it’s hands-on fun!


So this is how to make healthy, quick and easy Bliss Balls :

Coconutties Bliss Balls

a healthy quick and easy treat even a kid can make

raw, no bake, no sugar added, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, vegan, paleo

Ingredients :

1 cup mixed nuts (we used walnuts, pecans and almonds)
1 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened, sulphite free) + extra 1/3 cup for coating (optional)
1 cup or about 10 Medjool dates, pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1-2 tablespoons warm water 

Directions :

Note : if making this with a child, please make sure they are supervised and assisted by an adult at all times around the food processor or when pitting the dates. Measuring ingredients is a really great way for kids to use fractions. My daughter loves it as it’s hands on and visual and that’s really how she learned about fractions – through measuring ingredients :)

Place nuts into a food processor and mix on high until small crumbs form. Add coconut flakes, pitted dates, vanilla extract, cinnamon and mix until well combined. Turn off mixer and take a teaspoonful of the mixture and press with your hands to check if it sticks. If it’s crumbly and falls apart in your hands than add 1 tablespoon of water and mix again. Check again until you achieve a consistency that sticks together when pressed but does not stick to your fingers.

Scoop a teaspoonful of the mixture and shape into balls. Spread extra coconut flakes on a large plate and roll each ball all over. 

And enjoy! It’s that simple, that quick and that easy! 

Pure Ella Coconutties Bliss Balls6

Of course the more help you can get the better…. :)


Our little Amelia is always excited to help in the kitchen. She loves to stir salads, press the on and off buttons on small appliances and mix her own cereals and other weird food combinations… Best part of course, is tasting the goodies that she works with.

I think that’s the best way to learn about the amazing world of food and providing a natural foundation for a great relationship with food. Just enjoying the process of making and eating is so simple yet so incredible. 

Oh, all this fun includes a bit of a mess. But it’s all in good fun. I’m very easy going with messes (I make more!) so it’s just part of the process of experimenting and learning (let’s leave it at that shall we :))


And here she is…. so proud and happy with her own masterpiece. I could not be more happy to see this girl create with so much passion and excitement…. especially these yummy treats.


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Carrot Cake Brownies with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting : healthy, gluten-free, grain-free and vegan


Hello my friends!

I think the Easter Holiday always brings in a little craving for something with carrots! Does it not? I guess we have to thank all the bunnies for this inspiration…. and I don’t mind at all, neither does my family ;)

This year I knew I had to make something with carrots for our Easter dessert table – but everyone wanted brownies in my family…. so a new idea was born that I could make everything with the flavour of a Carrot Cake but with the richness and moistness of Brownies! So this is the result of what I ended up making – Carrot Cake Brownies – the biggest highlight of our dinner! I had no idea they would be so popular with my family but everyone cleaned off the serving dish in no time. (No leftovers even! You know it’s good stuff when there’s not a crumb left in sight…. maybe it was the Easter bunny?? ;)


Carrot Cake Brownies : healthy, gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free

Ingredients :

1 1/2 cups organic sweet potato puree
1 1/2 cups medjool dates (about 15 dates)
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cups buckwheat flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup grated organic carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped fine
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions :

First clean and peel about 2 large sweet potatoes, dice them into chunks and boil until fully cooked. Strain and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking pan, about 8″x 8″ with parchment paper.

Meanwhile, peel and grate about 2 medium carrots and set aside. 

In a food processor, process the pitted dates until a smooth paste forms. If your food processor does better with a little liquid, process them with the maple syrup until completely incorporated and smooth. 

You can continue mixing in all the ingredients (except the last 4) in the food processor or you can move the date paste into a mixing bowl and continue mixing all the ingredients with a wooden spoon in the bowl. (I only processed the dates and then had my daughter combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl – this was so much fun!)

Combine all the ingredients and mix throughly. Scoop into the baking pan and even out the top with the back of the spoon.

Bake at 350F for about 45-50 minutes. Once baked, move onto a cooking rack and allow to fully cool  before topping with the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting. (great to bake it one day beforehand)

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting : dairy and egg free/ vegan and gluten-free

Ingredients :

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1/2 cup organic vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance Coconut Spread)
1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
1/3 cup powdered stevia
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions :

First, soak the raw cashews for at least two hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator if overnight. Rinse and strain them well before working with them.

In a food processor, process the raw cashews until fine crumbs form, about 5 minutes. Add in all the rest of the ingredients and continue mixing until a very smooth paste forms, another 5 more minutes. Be sure to turn off the machine and scrape down the sides to incorporate all the ingredients into the smooth paste.

Scoop the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting on the already cooled Carrot Cake Brownies. Serve and enjoy! 

This cake stays fresh for up to 3 days (if it lasts this long). Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.





Carrots are such a gem when you think about it! Ok, I know that carrots aren’t up there in the superfood category – but why not? They are loaded with so much goodness – Vitamin A and C and beta carotene – a real ‘beauty’ food too as all these nutrients are great for the skin! And there are the Sweet Potatoes – which are also loaded with beta carotene, are low glycemic and are very healthy.

Seriously, can these ingredients not get any better? I think not! The this really tastes amazing! You would have to try it to believe it ;) My family who are not on any special diets or restrictions enjoyed this cake so much! They could not believe these delicious Carrot Cake Brownies were so healthy, gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free and dairy-free!





I hope you enjoy these Carrot Cake Brownies very soon! It was so great to see non-vegan and non-gluten-free folks enjoy these so much! 
That’s what I love about vegan and gluten-free baking, everyone enjoys the goodies and they all feel good about what they eat! Everyone’s happy at the end ;)


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Healthy Rice Crispies Treats : all-natural, gluten-free and vegan


We have just made the cutest little desserts ~ fantastic for even a 4 year old to make!

Rice Krispies Quares are were pretty good! But knowing a little more about nutrition and what’s lurking in our products in grocery stores – I was not going to give this treat to my daughter! No-Way!!!

But I still think you can’t remove all sweets and desserts from your children ~ life would just not be fun! Right? 

The way to do it right is to treat them with healthier alternatives. All-natural, organic, naturally sweetened with no preservatives, added artificial flavours or colours. If you keep it ‘clean’ – it tastes great, it is healthier, and the kiddos are super happy!

So being totally inspired by Rice Krispies Squares, I thought it would be great to create healthier version of this famous treat! My and my little helper took the idea further and added a cute effect by shaping them into Spring shapes with the help of some spring-inspired cookie cutters. 



gluten free, dairy free, vegan, healthier recipe

Ingredients :
  • 3 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1 package (about 4 cups) of vegan, all-natural marshmallows (you can purchase in health food stores)
  • 6 cups Nature’s Path Crispy Rice organic cereal
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Directions : 

Prep all the cutest cookie cutters in the house by laying them on wax paper or cutting board. In a large saucepan, melt the coconut butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract and mix gently. Add Crispy Rice Cereal and stir until it’s all well coated.

They need to be shaped right away as they will harden very quickly. If you do involve children in this fun process (and please do), check that the batch of the marshmallow rice mix isn’t hot but warm enough to shape. Get the children to squeeze into the cookie cutter shapes. Leave for a few minutes to harden and remove cookie cutters.

So easy, quick and fun….. oh and so delicious…. oh and healthier too than your original Rice Krispies Squares recipe!


This is a super sweet recipe to make for a playdate with other moms or for dad, aunts, cousins to make with the kiddos and to serve for Mom on Mother’s Day (hint hint)!

I love it when delicious snacks are made healthier
~ and don’t suffer on taste!

By simply swapping the butter for coconut oil, getting better quality marshmallows that are all natural and going with a simple pure and organic rice cereal…. we created super yummy + healthy snacks. The cute effect with the cookie cutters is just a bonus ~ they do taste better when they’re so cute ;)

Plus it made my daughter smile eat to eat from the moment she started pressing the mixture into the cookie cutters till when the last crumb was gone! She snacked in between, got all sticky and dirty! And it was just the best fun ever!! ;)

What are your favourite treat you like to do with kids?

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sweet seedlings with chocolate dirt : an earth day dessert



Hello earthlings! In celebration of Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, I have a cute treat for you all! These are Sweet Seedlings from the Earth we made as an Earth Day treat! Who said you can’t eat dirt!? Crazy delicious dirt that is! The treats were so fun to make with my own little earth-loving seedling herself. So if you do have little growing sprouts around, do include them in this earth-day inspired dessert. Here’s what to do:


SWEET SEEDLINGS FROM THE EARTH RECIPE : vegan, gluten-free, with nut-free option

Ingredients :
  • dark chocolate (we like 72% as it’s naturally dairy free and has less sugar)
  • a choice of textured snacks and baking ingredients : we used:
    hemp hearts (from
    coconut flakes (unsweetened)
    slivered almonds
    pretzel sticks (can be gluten-free)
  • fresh mint leaves for your seedlings


Great alternatives would be : sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, goji berries, all kinds of chopped nuts : walnuts, pine, hazelnut ~ you could go nuts here ;) (see a note below about school safe options)
One thing to remember is that you need a fine grind ingredient such as the hemp hearts and some larger pieced for texture.

Directions :

Rinse and gently dry off your mint leaves with paper towel and set aside. You can store your mint leaves in a cup with water in your refrigerator for longer freshness. (being careful that the leaves don’t touch the water, so you may need to remove some of the leaves)

Melt the chocolate (I place mine in a bowl over a pot with boiling water- it does the trick pretty well – we then use the same bowl to mix our ingredients (so we don’t waste any chocolate! ;) For mixing, invite some children if you have any around. I had one and she did a pretty good job including the taste testing (ps. I did replace the spoon once she licked it off (although it was clean to my eyes) ;)

Scoop a spoonful of your chocolatey dirt onto parchment paper and  shape into circles. Check below as to when the best time is to add your mint leaves as they will wilt if left for too long.


Adding Seedlings (Mint)

You will use the tops of your mint plants for the seedlings. Cut about 1.5-2″ down from the top (look for a natural leaf burst and cut so the shape looks even and resembles a seedling).

Serving in 30-60 minutes : Insert the stem of the mint plant (making sure it’s dry) into the centre of the chocolate earth, while still soft. Place into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set or longer – up to an hour. Serve immediately.

Serving next day : Use a toothpick to poke a hole through the chocolate earth and place in the refrigerator without the mint plants in them. You may want to re-poke them a few hours later so the still-soft chocolate won’t fill in the hole. Next day, just before serving, insert the mint leaf tops (stems dried off from the water).


School Safe Alternatives

Not all schools allow almonds, even though almonds are technically not considered nuts. An almond is the seed (pit) of a drupe, which is a fruit much like a peach. Nuts are hard-shelled fruit that have an indehiscent seed, meaning it doesn’t split open or separate at maturity to release seeds. To be safe, check with your school’s policy about almonds if you want to bring them to school. If you can’t use almonds, other options such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds, goji berries, sesame seeds etc. would also be great.


This doesn’t have to be a ‘cute’ snack for kids. Make a beautiful presentation for grown ups and they will sprout with excitement!


Hope you like this Earth-Day treat! Never thought you could be drooling over some dirt, did you now?

Have a beautiful Earth Week my friends!

“Be good to the earth and she will be good to you.”

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