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




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

healthy banana bread muffins

healthy banana bread muffins
healthy banana bread muffins

I just discovered why I have been spending more time in the kitchen: I spend less time "maintaining" our house.  I've been getting back into more baking, more exciting dinners, and finding my rejuvenation in the kitchen again. is a very satisfying feeling.  And the kids feel it too.  They've pulled their aprons out of the pantry (now they are hung on a hook instead of in a pile!) more in the past few weeks than they have in the past 9 months.

And as always, there is the ever-present ripening clump of bananas on the counter.  I was craving a little banana treat and so this recipe was born.  Unlike many banana bread recipes, this banana bread muffin recipe isn't loaded with sweet bananas AND sweeteners.  It is mildly sweetened with bananas (two to be exact) and a touch of blackstrap molasses + stevia.  Just the right sweetness without kicking the kids' (and my) blood sugar up three notches. ;)

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And as always, let the kids help pour, stir, and top with coconut + pecans or walnuts.  These muffins come together in just minutes.


These are quite substantial and very moist on their own but we love a little dab of butter spread over the warm muffin.  Quite heavenly.

Nutrition Facts:

170 calories per muffin

9.5 net carbs per muffin

4.5 grams of protein per muffin

12 grams of fat per muffin


How do you use up ripe bananas??

Happy Monday friends.

the sleepy time gal

healthy frozen yogurt bark

Thanks to you interested Instagram followers, I am sharing this wonderful summer treat with you this morning.

This Healthy Frozen Yogurt Bark is very simple to make and can be enjoyed as a snack or fancy summer dessert.  I love the contrast of white with red and how healthy this bark truly is--seriously, if you ate 1/3 of the whole batch it's 26 grams of protein and less than 200 calories!  You can control the sugar/sweetness based on your preference.  The sweetness comes from honey, stevia, + the toppings you choose.  I used roughly 1 TBSP of honey in the recipe with some vanilla liquid stevia for a lightly sweetened yogurt base before adding the toppings.

You can customize the toppings for the bark before you pop it into the freezer too.  Use whatever fresh fruit, roasted nuts, or chopped chocolate you have on hand.

{I used a chocolate toffee bar for the chocolate topping as seen in the photo}

It is such a grand thing pulling that sheet of frozen yogurt bark out of the freezer.  All of my kids were amazed.

It's fun letting the kids help you break up the bark.  And because it's super healthy, they can break + eat as much as they want!

I like the bark best 1-2 minutes after it's come out of the freezer.  It isn't too cold and is just beginning to soften so eating it is quite refreshing.

Enjoy your summer and eat refreshing yummy food! ;)


celebration skillet cookie

Did you have a special Valentine's Day?  I really hope you did.

I love making special "celebration breakfasts" for my family.  Over the years it has naturally become a tradition and something the children anticipate on special days.  I am always so eager to start preparations and table settings that it is always the last thought on my mind when I go to sleep the night before.

I've had an idea for this particular Valentine's Day breakfast I've been excited about: a healthified skillet cookie with a bit of a surprise inside for the kids.  I had seen this over-the-top giant cookie and wanted to make something fun like to but much healthier.  I adapted a skillet cookie recipe that was primarily almond flour and unsweetened shredded coconut and knew the texture and chewiness would be perfect.  It was a great place to start...

Although I may be a low-sugar baker at home for my family, I knew those bright red and pink valentine M&Ms would totally make my girls' Valentine's Day morning.  So, I incorporated their little festive treat into the healthified skillet cookie: double win.  

That is important to me as a mother; to prepare and teach about healthy food for my kids while still letting them be kids during these special times.  It is a challenging but thrilling task.

This celebration skillet cookie turned out so good.  It was warm and chewy with crispy edges from the butter and oh so hearty as more of a meal than just a sugary dessert.  Bobby was amazed by the flavor.  And without the candy, each slice is just 3 carbs unlike 45 carbs per slice, oh say, of Chili's skillet cookie.

 A few tips for baking healthy:

  • a touch of molasses really adds to the depth and flavor of natural low glycemic/sugar free sweeteners--it creates a brown sugar flavor
  • the coconut in this recipe adds incredibly to the texture and chewiness without the cookie tasting like coconut
  • I love the combination of butter and coconut oil in my baking: they create a crispy, flavorful baked good when used together

 *This recipe is slightly adapted to All Day I Dream of Food's Low Carb Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie.

I'm excited to try the celebration skillet cookie with our regular bittersweet chocolate chunks + walnuts.  The sky is the limit though!  Choose your favorite toppings, mix in and sprinkle on top.  This will be fun with not only a little valentine candy and halloween candy, but with festive red and green Christmas candy as well.

(The kids were happy to have their own little pouch of remaining candy for Valentine's Day.)  

After all of the berries and quiche were eaten, tummies full from the filling skillet cookie, I went ahead for another piece...  It was a great Valentine's Day. ;)


snow ice cream

{Recipe Exchange Friday is part of a series on The Sleepy Time Gal.  Share your own recipe below!}

Ok.  Snow ice cream is so awesome. 

I discovered the recipe online this week.  So we invited the girls' two neighbor friends over at 3:30pm sharp this week to make the ice cream as soon as they got home from school and right before my girls' ballet class.  With just a few ingredients (all were on hand) it whipped up super fast and it tastes so good!

The recipe we followed was Gimme Some Oven's recipe for snow ice cream.  You can check it out here.  I made a few modifications which delivers a more rich, sugar-free alternative.

Here's our creamy version of snow ice cream!


{Can you tell which kids aren't mine in this photo?  The ones that are sweetly still looking at the camera for me??  Thanks girls.  I guess that's what I get for being a photographer mom.}

So there's our successful recipe and now it's your turn:  What is a new recipe you and your family are loving right now?  Share a link below!

Happy weekend friends!  Go out and make some snow ice cream together--it'll be the highlight of your weekend. ;)

Other posts:

Recipe Exchange Friday: Zucchini Parmesan Pizza Crust


creamy orangesicle frozen yogurt

{Wanna see Chef Johanna creating this recipe with me?  Check out yesterday's post.}

I've loved exploring making our own frozen yogurt.  It is nothing like the stuff you buy at the chains that are popping up left and right around town.  What I love about this frozen yogurt is the combination of the yogurt base.  I've learned that the best combination of creamy frozen yogurt is a mixture of plain whole milk yogurt, greek yogurt, and a little cottage cheese.

I know it may sound odd, but cottage cheese does amazing things when blended.  I always put some in my protein shakes because it thickens the shake while adding a deep creamy/tanginess.  Trust me in this one.

This recipe is great to make and keep in the freezer or make and just eat chilled.  The orange juice + zest compliment the creaminess of the yogurts so well.  And a sprinkle of coconut on top to mix-in just adds to the tropical flavors.

Seriously, you should try making your own frozen yogurts.  If you have a processor  (I bet a bender would work as well) you can whip up healthy, super-protein packed breakfasts, snacks, or dessert for your family in minutes.  (Just remember to give yourself enough time to let the yogurt freeze partially to process.)

*If you don't have the 3 varieties of dairy for the yogurt base, just use what you have on hand.  It will still make a great frozen yogurt whether you use all plain, greek, or even cottage cheese to reach the 3 cups the recipe calls for.


Here's another frozen yogurt favorite:

5 Minute Peach Frozen Yogurt


flourless peanut butter + chocolate zucchini brownie tart

One of my favorite recipes I would make as a young wife and mother when I knew guests would be stopping over was Barefoot Contessa's Brownie Tart.  It was simple to make, quite indulgent, and looked so pretty in my white ceramic fluted dish.

That love for chocolate is still strong in these older bones of mine.  But so is my conscious effort to bake things with more sustenance and nutrition than the super sugary/sweet treats I once baked and filed under the category of "good housewife/good mother".  Not necessary I now know.

And if baking for your kids and enjoying a healthy + exciting snack for yourself is your goal, this Flourless Peanut Butter + Chocolate Zucchini Brownie Tart is your ticket to a happy and healthy family treat.

Come check it out.  You'll be amazed by the ingredients...

As you know, my goal with baking is to incorporate good, nutritious ingredients that will build our bodies instead of tear them down.  I think you can still eat fun things--sweet things--but do it balancing out the whole ingredient list so you feel well, filled, and nourished.

This brownie tart is so moist from the zucchini, rich + creamy from the peanut butter, and just the right sweetness from the chocolate chips.  It is absolutely divine!  And after everyone of my girls had seconds, even my non-sweet tooth husband and son both had two slices.

Why I love this brownie tart and can eat it (and serve it to my kids) guilt-free as a snack:

  1. High in protein--double the amount of Contessa's tart slice: builds stronger bodies and is a million times more filling than a standard sugar-laded brownie
  2. Packed with zucchini
  3. Safe for many diets: gluten free, grain free, dairy free, paleo, primal, low carb friendly. (If you are peanut sensitive or Paleo, switch out peanut butter for almond butter.)
  4. Only 201 calories a slice compared to Barefoot Confessa's tart slice at 510 calories a slice!
  5. Only 11.3 net carbs per slice compared to Contessa's slice at 60 carbs a slice.
  6. It's filling and satiating like a granola bar but feels like a treat.



beach cookies

As tradition, we made a special beach cookie before we left for our trip to the Outer Banks.  It's something that both the girls and I look forward to because 1) we love coming up with some creative, unique cookie each year and 2) we seldom make decorated sugar cookies around here and the process is really quite fun.

The Cookie:

The first task: how to make a healthier sugar cookie.   I chose to use the very versatile sugar cookie recipe from the cookbook [amazon_link id="1936608367" target="_blank" ]Against All Grain[/amazon_link].  It creates a wonderfully flavorful sugar cookie that can definitely stand alone and stand up to a traditional flour sugar cookie.

Because of the almond flour called for in the recipe, these are nice and substantial cookie.  These protein-packed cookies are filling enough after one, maybe two, which I love.  And they are nicely sweetened with honey which adds to the layers of flavors.  Excellent base cookies for any special occasion. (I'm thinking of possibly making these in place of Rowan's second birthday cake since he doesn't care for cake or cupcakes... maybe he'll eat a cookie??)

The Icing:

The icing was experimental and, as experiments can go, I won't do it again the next time.  Being low on a variety of my sweeteners (ZSweet, coconut sugar, etc.) I tried making royal icing using Splenda.  It definitely allowed us to flood the cookies and acted like a decorating royal icing but it left an aftertaste.

The Decorating:

This year we knew exactly what our beach cookie would be after a few weeks of researching: this playful beach-themed cookie.  Johanna had requested and watched this video enough to have the whole process memorized when it came time to make them. And how proud I was of the girls for each of the cookies they decorated!  I especially loved their hearts drawn in the sand with a tooth pick.  I helped here and there but they truly owned these cookies.

And as tradition, we packed up our beach cookies and drove them the whole day to the beach and brought them out to share with the kids' cousins our first full day at the beach.

And there you have it: this year's beach cookie.  And now we can move very happily into fall...

Wanna see our favorite beach cookies?

seashells cookies

lighthouse cookies

Have a great weekend friends.


5-minute peach frozen yogurt

I know.

Still talking about peaches. 

We are kinda overflowing with them.  We are past the point of having any fresh peaches out on the counter.  Thankfully, frozen sliced peaches are a beauty to a number of recipes.  One being 5 minute peach frozen yogurt.  It literally takes 5 minutes to make which is my kind of healthy, natural snack/dessert to make.  And is absolutely beautiful with specks of red from the skin and its bright orange flesh.

It's simple: frozen peaches, plain greek yogurt, a splash of lemon juice, and drizzle of honey.

And blend.  It's that simple but truly a sweet (end of) summer treat.

I double the recipe so we can enjoy the flavors of summer well into the fall.  It serves up as a fancy dessert in glass punch cups or perfectly refreshing for an afternoon snack flopped on the couch with the kids and spoons in hand.

5 minute peach frozen yogurt

{Yep--that's the packed indoor freezer: peach popsicles, two tubs of frozen yogurt, an (upcoming recipe of) frozen peach bars, and lots of shredded frozen zucchini and zucchini soup.  Revealing your freezer is like revealing your kitchen miscellaneous drawer: it's a little uncomfortable.}

Make now or pin for later.  

Today's the anticipated packing day for our beach trip.  Tomorrow is the anticipated baking day. These are the fun days.

Have a peachy Thursday!