Soft Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies

I've been loving having this moist, healthy chocolate chip blondie around when less healthy options are staring me in the face.

There are a couple things I love about this recipe:

1. The list of ingredients.  Chickpeas, peanut butter, a few healthy sweeteners, no flour, and your choice of chocolate chips.  That's it.

2. These blondies can be made up in one bowl (the food processor bowl) and thrown in the oven in literally minutes.

3. They are low carb, vegan, dairy-free + sugar-free (based on your choice of chips), and an awesome alternative to sugary blondies.  

4. They are soft, moist and gooey in the center!  

5.  These are awesome treats to make for your kids if you're trying to wean them from sugary treats, for after a workout, or bagged up for your purse to enjoy at a social outing when you want to control what you're eating.  (Check out the nutritional facts in the recipe below!)

(Recipe adapted from Ambitious Kitchen's blondies.)

Soft Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies

I'd love to hear what you think of this recipe.  I served these squares of blondies to the kids along side some whole milk plain yogurt for breakfast.


Don't be afraid to EAT the way you WANT to eat--it just means being prepared with healthy alternatives in your home and for when you're out and about and sugary-cravings or less nutritious options tempt you.   

Be HEALTHY for you.  Help your kids be healthy.  And LIVE BOLDLY.


Nicole Shiffler




christmas healing...



I'm feeling grateful for the little things in my life today.

December has been difficult for me.  What I thought were visual difficulties this fall (which is why I went in for glasses) have turned into constant eye/brain discord.  After bouts of vertigo, ongoing motion sickness, and what looks to be neuro ocular vestibular dysfunction, I have felt the exact opposite of peace and hope this Christmas season.

This morning, while Olive jumps on my lap to be petted and thoughts of the recent Nutcracker season are now only memories, I'm excited to just BE today.  I may get to bake gingerbread cookies with my kids or I may need to rest.  I may get to do some shopping or not.  I've seeing my days and moments in my days for what they are.

After letting go of my initial bitterness and trading it in for humility, I have been given exactly what I've craved: amazing strength in the moments when I need it most.  I'm reminded through singing around our piano of the Savior's birth why he came to earth and how I so need Him in my life now.  It really is the magic of Christmas, isn't it?   Not the tangible but the intangible.  The gift of the Redeemer's love, healing, forgiveness, grace, hope, and peace.  The promise that we can find healing, physically and emotionally, in this life.

I am feeling very much taken care of at the moment.  And that is all I wanted for myself this Christmas.


the sleepy time gal




{Caroline's adorable apple pie salt dough ornament}

This is by far the girls' and my favorite time of year because we love to make and create the entire month.  Nutcracker rehearsals become later and longer next week so this has been our week to kick off our creations.

Here's a little of what's brewing in our house this week...



{Huge batch of our favorite homemade granola (variety of nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, melted coconut oil, vanilla, salt, stevia, Vitafiber, and blackstrap molasses) for "cereal" with milk + cream, as a yogurt topping, and for trail mix with freeze dried berries}



{Salt dough (1 cup salt, 2 cups flour, 1 cup water) ornaments that we made, baked for an hour at 250 degrees, painted with watercolors, and glazed with Modge Podge}



{Making an old recipe with the addition of a new ingredient--raw ivory shea butter--for my family + gift giving}

Are you creating/making something for the holidays?  

Or maybe dreaming of something you're itching to get around to for Christmas?? I'd love to hear!

the sleepy time gal

{video} Q & A: what i eat


Q & A- What I eat I get asked quite a bit about my current eating plan.  It's similar to what I was doing a few years ago but has changed a bit.

In this video, I explain what a typical week of eating looks like based on my current activity level.

Here are some great links for more information:


More about a Keto/low carb diet and how to start:


Excellent Keto/low carb meal plan:

How to be vegetarian/vegan and follow a low carb/keto diet:

My popular low carb/paleo/primal Pinterest food recipe board:

How to lose weight following CarbNite Solutions (Keto diet all week, carb refuel one night):

If you lift, do strenuous exercise, and need more carb refuels, try Carb Backloading:

My health journey on my blog here:

Feel free to ask questions! I'd love to answer.


the sleepy time gal

6th annual bake off




{Our entry this year.  Recipe link below and definitely a gem of a recipe.}




Page 2 IMG_5452 Page 1{First year competitor, Maya, takes home the trophy with her decadent chocolate cake + chocolate buttercream frosting.  She was quite proud of her work.}

IMG_5407 We are always blessed with the most beautiful, clear, fall days when it's our Bake Off.

This year we had new competitors, adorable entries, and family recipes entered into the competition.

The girls and I decided to use some of our apples from our recent trip to the orchard to incorporate into our recipe.  We were very impressed with these Gluten-Free Soft Batch Apple Cider Gingersnap Cookies.  Instead of putting applesauce in the dough (as it called for) we processed a huge honeycrisp apple from the orchard.  We were a little intimidated with the large amount of apple cider vinegar (1/2 cup since we doubled it) that the recipe called for but oh, did it make the cookies absolutely amazing!

One of my favorite parts of our Bake Off is watching the children hold their prized work and tell us about it: ingredients, the process, their favorite part, things they changed, their problem solving, innovative decorations, etc.  Once the tallies are in (which the oldest kids take care of) everyone is excitedly anticipating to hear the outcome.  Such good, happy competition!


If you want to host your own Bake Off here are all the details to start your own tradition!

Organize a Mommy/Child Bake Off


the sleepy time gal


the weekend...


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Our weekend can be summed up with lots of rain, indoor truck-crane play, chocolate cake, and watching General Conference.


Yep, it was chilly and rainy all day Saturday so we postponed Rowan's outdoor gathering and exchanged it for a morning at Chocolate World in Hershey, PA for their ever-exciting free ride (and chocolate!) + then to Costco for all the magic that can be found there. ;)

The truck crane.

I'm so happy with Rowan's [amazon_link id="B00006IJHY" target="_blank" ]crane[/amazon_link]. (Thank you FB friends that helped me out.)  Super impressed by the German company Bruder for their well built, real life trucks!  Rowan and his Daddy spent much of the weekend with a plastic cup (tied to a hook) scooping up lentils from one bowl and then "unloading" them in another bowl.

The cake.

I was pleased with this Decadent Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake; it was very moist and rich.  The great thing about making a construction site cake is that it's good if it looks messy.  Which was helpful in pouring my already thin frosting over the cake.  Because I added a little xanthan gum to the frosting it set nicely on the outside of the cake (so I could build on it) but was still moist once you cut into the cake.

I couldn't get myself to buy Oreos for dirt so poured a bit of the frosting on a few spots and topped them with whatever I had on hand: shredded coconut and my homemade dark chocolate chunks. (Chocolate chunks recipe on my Instagram feed @nshiffler.) And Rowan was very excited to see his trucks in action on his cake.


General Conference.

I've got to tell you--I needed this recharging, recentering of my soul this weekend.  I haven't felt so inspired to be better, be more patient with myself, and invest in what really matters this intensely for a while.  Our family spent many hours this weekend watching and listening to our church's annual worldwide conference from home and it truly was the highlight of the weekend.

If you need a real pick me up, here's an incredible talk about mothers from this weekend.


the sleepy time gal

this week in the kitchen...



{Beginning to eat on the back porch more which means actually pulling out a tablecloth.  Last night: salsa shredded chicken taco melts (totally random and made up but everyone devoured them.)}


For a pizza night recently we tried the All Day I Dream About Food blog's recipe of Deep Dish Sausage Pizza.  (It's one of my favorite food blogs in case you're wondering.)

It is an excellent gluten-free pizza crust recipe.  And it is a low carb crust (it calls for some almond flour, unsweetened unflavored whey protein, and a little coconut flour) with lots of flavor and a nice bite to the crust.

And it was my first time learning how to make a deep dish pizza: you put the meat and cheese down first before the sauce as to not make the crust soggy.  Brilliant!



Here's one more recipe to share (this one I created): this healthy chocolate + cream dessert sandwich.  

When Bobby was out of town recently and we were wanting a little something sweet one night I came up with this beauty: grilled gluten-free bread (or substitute your own bread--I actually used a low carb wrap for me) with a few dollops of cream cheese + dark chocolate melted inside.  Top with another slice of grilled bread.


It's low sugar and sweet enough when you use dark chocolate.  And it's nice and filling for adults + kids alike without being loaded with sugar.

We actually didn't have any dark chocolate--either in chip form or bar form--so I just melted down some of our [amazon_link id="B005CUKWGU" target="_blank" ]Hershey's Unsweetened Baking Bars[/amazon_link], added a little milk to a pan, stevia + salt, mixed until warm, and we had our own dark chocolate sauce.


Happy cooking and baking in your home this weekend.  I hope you make some time to relax with your family and enjoy good food together.


Go out + live boldly!

the sleepy time gal


fudgy black bean protein brownies


My kids love black beans with sour cream for lunch every so often.  And I love baking healthy versions of sweet treats for our family.

When I tasted these fudgy black bean brownies out of the oven I was absolutely amazed that they were loaded with black beans and tasted like the fudgiest brownie I'd ever eaten!  My biggest critics--my kids--devoured them with a glass of milk one night having no clue that they were not the gluten-filled, super sweet, traditional flour brownie.  (That was our movie night "treat" recently when we watched Paddington for the first time--loved the movie!!!)


I like this recipe because you can tailor it to your dietary needs.  You can make it an awesome brownie with some traditional sweetener in it (which is still only 15 net carbs--not an extreme sugar rush like most brownies) or make it relatively sugar free, low carb (based on how you sweeten it).

It's an excellent recipe to play around with, too, by switching out chip flavors, using chocolate protein powder instead of the cocoa powder if you want more protein, etc.

Here's to chocolate + good health!


Here's another protein recipe you might like....

healthy frozen yogurt bark (1)
healthy frozen yogurt bark (1)

My frozen yogurt bark!

Happy and healthy eating to you and yours.

the sleepy time gal

right now...





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Right now we're...


  • enjoying giving extra attention to our Johanna with her special day around the corner
  • making new job charts for the girls to maintain the dishwasher + help regularly in the kitchen
  • remembering to use the slow cooker at least once a week--sometimes using it for a hot breakfast
  • baking the awesome ultimate keto buns weekly (the whole household loves these slathered in butter or with burgers or grilled chicken dinner sandwiches) and [amazon_link id="0984755195" target="_blank" ]Primal Cravings Cookbook[/amazon_link] Chocolate Coconut Scout Cookies--but sweetened with stevia + blackstrap molasses--yum!
  • slowly carving a new routine to our "homeschooling" day, like the official reinstitution of "reading time" on the couch in the afternoon--some sit as close as they can to me to see pictures, others make dolls on the floor and just listen
  • patiently waiting for inspiration for Plan B of potty training a boy (those darn pull-ups + underwear are so hard for him to pull down when he needs to!)
  • reading [amazon_link id="0399535667" target="_blank" ]The Gift of Dyslexia[/amazon_link], learning more about the "gift" and understanding so much about why my sweet girl has always creatively done everything different--in coping and understanding her world--from her sisters

Have a wonderful day, friends, and weekend.  I'm looking forward to a simple and special baptism weekend with family + friends.  And I'm hoping for a date night out before the shift in focus towards a family wedding.

Go out + live boldly!

the sleepy time gal

from (other people's) gardens








If I tried to do everything good and well all the time I'd burn out.  I know because I've tried it before.


When I try and do a few things really well and let other things fall a bit, I end up much happier.  This summer?  It was ignoring the summer garden.  It was planted, watered, and then, completely avoided.  There was way too much I was set and focused on in other parts of my life that didn't require getting out in the sticky, hot heat to weed.

And so, I didn't.  And the weeds came in droves.


We've reaped a handful of tomatoes and humungous beans (that we never ended up cooking) and I carried guilt for a few months about not weeding and thus, neglecting the garden.  But with time (and forcing my mind to only see what I had been focusing my time and energy on that delivered way more satisfaction) I no longer feel the guilt.


And the amazing part of the story is how blessed I was in the end--with generous neighbors who have given us tomatoes here, a few zucchini there, throughout the summer.  Seriously, when I'm chopping and having the time of my life cooking up their produce in my kitchen, I honestly think I grew it--and feel that giddy feeling from cooking what I grew (even if it happened down the street).

The best part of this time of summer is the beautiful, colorful shapes sitting on the counter, waiting and anticipating being turned into something more.  Will it be a favorite recipe? A new recipe? Something made up as it goes??

It's like a tray of colorful modeling clay--the process of creating is as significant as the result. 



the sleepy time gal