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Dairy-free, Gluten-free Chocolate Pumpkin Dessert Bars

OCTOBER! How the hell are ya?! I’ve missed you so! By this point, my husband is already wondering when I’m going to stop cooking with so much pumpkin. But after he tastes whatever I’m making, he quiets down and remembers how delicious pumpkin really is. I have no idea why I don’t cook with it more throughout the year, but I guess that’s what makes it so damn special.

Y’all know my kitchen is a no-baking zone when it comes to desserts so this is another easy frozen dessert that can be made pretty quickly with some no-fuss ingredients. Much of what I used I already had in my pantry or fridge. These little babies will satisfy your sweet tooth while offering a powerful nutrition punch.


These bars are very PCOS-friendly! Here are some reasons why:

  • Low in added sugar: no huge spikes in blood sugar and better insulin sensitivity
  • High in dietary fiber and healthy fats: aids in satiety and weight management and reducing cravings and estrogen dominance
  • Loaded with antioxidants and important vitamins/minerals from the pumpkin and cocoa powder
    • Vitamin C: aids in improving progesterone levels (for women with low progesterone) in the luteal phase to improve chances of pregnancy
    • Vitamin A: supports the immune system to help fight inflammation
    • Flavanoids: reduces inflammation in the body to improve egg quality
    • Magnesium: relieves PMS symptoms, improves mood and insulin resistance
  • Good source of tryptophan: may aid in improved sleep quality

A common misunderstanding with PCOS is that we have to completely eliminate desserts or sweets because of the sugar or refined carbohydrate intake, but remember the key is enjoying desserts that are lower in added sugar AND offer nutritional benefit. As you can see, this sweet treat offers so many nutritional benefits! Not to mention, it’s so yummy! I hope you guys enjoy!


Dairy-free, Gluten-free Chocolate Pumpkin Dessert Bars

Course Dessert
Keyword chocolate, healthy dessert, PCOS, PCOS friendly, pumpkin
Author Liz Bissell



  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 5 dates, sliced
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder


  • cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or for at least 2-4 hours
  • ½ can coconut milk
  • ¾ can coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¾ can 100% pumpkin puree
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1-2 pinches coarse sea salt


  • Handful of dark chocolate chips, chopped


  1. For the base, pulse the walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped.

  2. Add the cocoa powder and pulse until evenly combined. Next, add in the dates and pulse until dates are completely blended.

  3. Using a 9 by 9 freezer-friendly dish, spread the date mixture along the bottom of the pan and press firmly down covering the entire bottom of the pan. Freeze for at least 15 minutes.

  4. While the base is freezing, add the cashews, coconut milk, coconut cream, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Add additional salt as needed.

  5. Pour the filling over the frozen crust and sprinkle the chopped chocolate chips on top. Freeze for 2-3 hours.

  6. Remove from the freezer about 30 minutes prior to eating. Cut into squares and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Carrot Energy Bites

Tis’ the season for pumpkin spice errythang! And I must admit, I’m totally here for it. I am an avid fall lover. Although I will miss summer dearly, my heart belongs to those crisp autumn days sipping a hot cider snuggling by a crackling fire while watching Michigan State football. When I lived in Houston, Texas for a while, I could not handle the lack of season change (or mild season change I should say). I full on boycotted it by wearing hoodies and fall attire despite the 90+ degree days. This eventually stopped because for starters, I was sweating my ass off and also the leaves on the trees weren’t changing so it all just felt off.

Needless to say, I didn’t last long in Texas. As much as I want to fight it, I’m a northern girl through and through. My biological clock just seems to need the season changes. Now that I’m back in Michigan, I take FULL advantage of fall and everything that comes with it. Y’all know what this means…PUMPKIN. Noshindietitian-21

Pumpkin is just a kick-ass vegetable. Well really it’s a fruit, but acts more like a vegetable. Not only does it make all your fall recipes taste wonderful, but it also has some serious health benefits. It’s a beta-carotene rock star, which equates to high vitamin A in the body. It also provides a couple really great antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin. These special characteristics in addition to its vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and vitamin E content, help boost your immune system (which we could all use with flu season ahead), improve your eyesight, and help prevent risk of developing chronic diseases.

These pumpkin carrot balls are no exception. They are actually a vitamin A double whammy with the addition of the carrots. They are also vegan, dairy, and gluten-free. The ground flaxseed is the nutritional cherry on top by contributing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. Carrot balls.jpg

I personally love any type of energy bite (or ball). They are a great mid-afternoon pick-me-up, after dinner sweet treat, grab and go healthy snack, or just an anytime bite of deliciousness. These can also be frozen for later use. If you’re looking to boost the protein content, feel free to add your favorite protein powder, chia seeds, or more ground flaxseed. A vanilla protein powder would pair perfectly! I opted out this time around because my protein powder was vanilla coconut flavor and I wasn’t really feeling the coconut for this recipe. By all means, get creative and tailor to your flavor preferences! Enjoy! Carrot balls 2

Pumpkin Carrot Energy Bites

Course Snack
Author Liz Bissell


  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup 100% pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup Gluten-free old-fashioned oats (can also use ¼ cup flour of choice and regular old-fashioned oats if you prefer)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped


  1. Pour oats into a food processor or blender and pulse until a fine powder. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Add the carrots into the food processor and pulse until the carrots are finely minced. Add in the dates and half of the pumpkin puree. Blend into a paste.

  3. Add in the rest of the pumpkin puree, oat flour, maple syrup, flaxseed, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and cloves. Pulse until evenly combined.

  4. Place the chopped pecans into a medium bowl. Using a cookie scoop, form the dough into 1-2 inch balls and roll in the pecans to coat.

  5. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy as a snack or mini dessert!

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Everything Pumpkin: The Healthy Way

Fall is upon us and with that comes all the pumpkin cookies, cakes, pie, and cheesecake. But not all pumpkin recipes have to debunk your diet from excess calories. Pumpkin can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Some people may be wondering if pumpkin is even healthy at all?

Pumpkin has many health benefits to be happy about this fall. It’s packed with antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as beta-carotene, vitamin A, dietary fiber, and potassium. For 1 cup of 100% pure pumpkin, there is only ~80 calories, 7 grams of fiber, <1 gram of fat, and 2 grams of protein. These different nutrients help support the immune system, maintain clear eyesight, and help maintain a healthy weight. And don’t forget about the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are a great source healthy fats, protein, fiber, zinc, and magnesium. Here are some great healthy recipes using pumpkin for you to try this fall or any time of the year.

Check out the audio guide from my news segment on WZZM here.

Pumpkin Ricotta Mousse

Yield: 8 servings


  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 ¼ cup 100% pure pumpkin, pureed
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light or fat-free whipped topping


  1. Combine first 5 ingredients using a mixer or blender until smooth.
  2. Fold in the cool whip with a spatula until even consistency.
  3. Using small bowls or mason jars, spoon ¼ cup mousse into each and top with pecans, dark chocolate nibs, or pumpkin seeds for garnish.


Whole Wheat and Oat Pumpkin Pancakes

Prep time: 5 mins, Total time: 5 mins


  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice


  1. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, applesauce, buttermilk and pumpkin together until smooth. Add in vanilla, baking powder, salt, pumpkin spice, rolled oats and flour and whisk well.
  2. Pour about half a ladle onto a medium hot griddle and cook for 3 minutes, until the edges start to firm up. Flip the pancakes and finish cooking for 1-2 minutes on the other side.
  3. Serve hot with maple syrup, plain yogurt, or pecans.


Smoky Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus


  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more, to top
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, plus adobo sauce, to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more to top
  • Roasted, salted pumpkin seeds, to top


  1. Pulse the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and salt together in a food processor or blender until it forms a paste. Add in the chickpeas, olive oil, and chipotle chiles and pulse until smooth. Add in the pumpkin puree, cumin, and smoked paprika and pulse until well combined.
  2. Transfer the hummus to a bowl and swirl the top using the back of the spoon. Drizzle over a little additional olive oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and top with roasted pumpkin seeds. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.


Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Serves: 4


  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, about 32 ounces
  • 2 15 ounce cans pumpkin puree
  • 1¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk, or a 13.5 ounce can, reserving 1 tablespoon
  • 1 large red chili pepper, sliced
  • Cilantro for garnish if desired


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the curry paste for about one minute or until paste becomes fragrant. Add the broth and the pumpkin and stir.
  2. Cook for about 3 minutes or until soup starts to bubble. Add the coconut milk and cook until hot, about 3 minutes.
  3. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of the reserved coconut milk and sliced red chilis. Garnish with cilantro leaves if desired.