grain free

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! ;)


5 minute breakfast yogurt bowl (with cinnamon toasted coconut + butter roasted pecans)

I like to reserve our yogurt bowl breakfasts for the busiest mornings of the week.  And for good reason.

They require simple assembly + a little toasting of this and that over the stove.  By the time the last few stragglers have come downstairs, bowls and spoons are ready to grab and take to the table.

One of our standby yogurt bowl combinations includes simply toasted cinnamon coconut + roasted butter nuts.  I like to multitask by filling individual bowls with yogurt + berries while keeping an eye on the two pans at the stove.  I can have the entire yummy breakfast ready in minutes.  And talk about amazing flavors!  Warm buttered pecans + cinnamon coconut that are fresh out of the pan with sweet raspberries over yogurt is amazing.

I combine any leftover buttered nuts or toasted coconut in a sealed container and keep it on the counter for a later snack.  You can add dried fruit for an easy trail mix or add milk and turn it into granola.  You can also throw in any type of seeds with the chopped nuts to roast in the butter--talk about protein and nutrients!

We love making this stuff.

Enjoy trying out a new morning recipe!


parmesan garlic cream cheese spread + orange marmalade cream cheese spread

This may be our fourth week without a working dishwasher but new things are happening in the kitchen!  My ongoing mission as 1) mother and 2) healthy-food-generator is to come up with new exciting ways to serve up eggs for my kids.

Yesterday morning we made popovers for breakfast!  And since I have two kids that are tentative about eggy-consistency "baked goods" I knew I'de have to have something pretty awesome to slather over them.

So chef Annabelle and I tried to recreate some of the cream cheese spreads we sampled this week from our local farmers market.  The chef for the day refused using ANY herbs in the spreads so we came up with two spread everyone would enjoy.  They take just a few minutes to throw together and are an incredible, flavorful addition to eggs, toast, or even crackers.

Here are our two simple homemade flavored cream cheese spread recipes:

Parmesan + garlic cream cheese spread

8 oz softened cream cheese

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/2- 1 tsp minced garlic

Mix well and serve.  Chill first for more intense blending of flavors.

Low sugar orange marmalade cream cheese spread

8 oz. softened cream cheese

1/4 cup low sugar orange marmalade jam (this Smucker's Low Sugar Jam is what we used)

Mix well and serve.

 {We adapted this great coconut flour popover recipe a little. It's a great recipe.}

Give 'em a try and let me know what you think!  What flavors would you make?  I'd like to make a garden vegetable cream cheese to add to scrambled eggs or for savory crepes.

Happy weekend friends!


flourless chocolate peanut butter cookies

Good morning!

This new cookie recipe is one we've enjoyed making together and dunking together--into a glass of cold milk.  These healthy flourless chocolate peanut butter cookies are sweet enough, rich, and protein-packed.  They are an awesome alternative to a traditional sugary-sweet, high glycemic kids' afternoon snack while being quite satisfying and filling.

And you can control the sweetness/carb count, too, if that matters to you.  (See details in the recipe below.)  This recipe is great to double to enjoy over a few days, to pack in lunches, and then freeze the rest of the batch for a rainy day.

What is your family's favorite cookie combination?  We're pretty much chocolate + peanut butter-makes-everything-better kind of a family. :)


greco-italian salad

Here's an incredible new salad for you to try for lunch:  my Greco/Italian salad.  If you've never tried a balsamic glaze (we use [amazon_link id="B005UMR80I" target="_blank" ]Blaze[/amazon_link]) in your cooking, you will be amazed how it enhances entrees, sides, and today, salads.

The combination of flavors in this salad is amazing: a bit tangy from the dressing and balsamic glaze with more intense flavors from the kalamata olives, marinated tomatoes, red onion and goat cheese.   The crunchy toasted walnuts add the perfect bite while the chicken strips and pepperoni bulk up the salad for a very satisfying, protein-rich meal.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  It is hard to believe we are more than halfway through February!  And a few weeks away from the end of daylight savings.

Happy Friday friends!


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. ;)


bunless crispy turkey club

I love it when my daily menu reads, "lettuce wrapped sandwiches" for lunch.  It means I can create any style sandwich I want: Italian, Greek, BLT, turkey club, tuna salad, leftovers-turned-into-a sandwich, etc., based on what produce + deli meats/cheeses I have on hand.

Sometimes we have some low carb tortillas on hand for this turkey club but honestly, I prefer the bunless, lettuce wrapped version of this incredibly flavorful sandwich.   Why?  Because the crispy lettuce adds something amazing to the experience of crunching into the variety of flavors.  You skip the bland tortilla flavor/overload of bread in your mouth and head straight for all of the turkey-club goodness.

And yes, these are portable...

Sometimes I eat the turkey club without the lettuce top (as seen above) but if it is really full of yummy goodness I like to add the two-lettuce-leaves top.  Then I can slice it and there is a top and bottom to help me make the club find its way into my mouth.

And you can make these clubs and store in a sandwich bag (I stack them on top of each other and make sure the sandwich bag stays upright if possible) or with a toothpick through each club half stored in tupperware.  Either way, I love bringing this club as lunch when I'm out and about.  It's like I just spend $8 on a cafe-style club without paying for mostly bread.


Do you have some new sandwich variations for me to try??  I'd love new ideas.

Have a delicious weekend.