high protein

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 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!


puffed rice trail mix bars

I've set a goal for us this spring; to take a significant hike each week on a different trail.  (Significant just means we push ourselves in duration based on the shortest-legged person in the group: Rowan.)

So far we've been doing pretty awesome with the goal.  It has made me let go preferring the kitchen cleaned up and other daily household-maintenance tasks done before we walk out the door.  No, we all eat, get dressed for hiking, make up a hiking bar, and head out the door.  It's actually liberating for me to just walk away from the mess/undoneness of the house some mornings and get into the fresh air.)

Making some protein-packed, fun energy bar (and keeping it low sugar) is really one of our favorite parts of hiking.  I mean, come on.  Nourishing, tasty food makes experiences in life exciting and memorable.

Since I bake gluten-free and low sugar for my kids, picking up a bag of puffed brown rice from time to time is really fun to experiment with.  Because it is just puffed brown rice (with no added sugar), one whole cup of it is 13 net carbs (translation=low sugar).  That's roughly the same about of sugar/carbs in 1 cup of greek yogurt.

These tasty, colorful bars are packed with nutrient dense ingredients including the perfect amount of protein, crunch, sweetness, and portability for hikes, outdoor adventures, and yes, a simple afternoon snack.

These bars have the following ingredients:

pumpkin seeds

sunflower seeds


dried cherries (or cranberries)


peanut butter

puffed rice

touch of honey


Let me know if you try these simple bars.  They sure hit the spot when you're out in the middle of no where and you're famished. ;)


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. :)


the ultimate peanut butter power bars

I've dedicated this week to a bit of a sugar detox for me after the holidays from the pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, and other treats I've indulged in this past week.  To be honest with you, I felt pretty miserable over the holidays from overeating and eating foods I seldom eat.  It feels good to get back to balance in my eating and discipline.  Once I get back into the swing of eating healthy, my body doesn't miss the junk.  I love how that works.

These Ultimate Peanut Butter Power Bars have become one of our most favorite recipes in our home.  I can't even begin to tell you how flavorful, hearty, satisfying, and satisfyingly-sweet (in a mildly sweetened way) they are.

These are primarily sweetened by the 1/2 chocolate chips.  You can go super dark for a less sweet bar or semi sweet for a bit of a treat packed with protein or for a post workout boost.

I'm telling you though, these are honestly better than any grain granola bar I've ever eaten.  The mix of salty and slightly sweet with the variety of nuts, seeds, and coconut (which becomes toasted in the baking process) come together for something unbelievable.

These are excellent as a substantial snack, on their own for breakfast, or packaged up as a gift for a gluten free friend.  

It's simple:

Mix all ingredients together.

Press into parchment-lined pan.  Bake.

The result is absolutely amazing.   Trust me folks.  Amazing. 

Feel free to use whatever nuts or seeds you have on hand as well.

I'd love to hear if your family loves these bars as much as we do.   Try 'em out.

And happy, healthy holiday eating this season folks.


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


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!  


no-bake chocolate cookie balls

I have two things to write about this rainy morning: how to snack and the reason behind these no-bake chocolate cookie balls.

First, snacking.  It is a fascinating thing once you’ve changed your diet like I have you really don’t “need” to snack like you did your whole life.  Your brain (or gliadin from wheat and wheat snacks) isn’t telling you to eat more every few hours.

I read this snippet this morning (when recipe researching) and loved it by The Nourished Caveman:

To snack or not to snack?!

One of the great benefits of a low carb, ketogenic diet is that you do not need to snack, even on low carb snacks!

While dietitians will talk themselves hoarse repeating that you have to eat 5 meals a day, snack every 3 hours etc etc, that concept only holds true when your body is burning Glucose for fuel.

When your metabolism runs on fats instead, the picture is quite different.

First of all that well-known feeling of hunger disappears. You  can easily skip a meal without even noticing, once you are keto-adapted. (Which means that your body has successfully made the switch from glucose to fat metabolism).  Your blood glucose levels become wonderfully stable, and you do not experience the “hangry” feeling anymore.

One small caveat here: As a woman, even the healthiest woman, you are still somewhat victim to the whims of your hormones! Of course that happens to different degrees, depending how healthy and stable your hormonal levels are.

Body VS mind

And there comes a time in a woman’s month, when the physical sensation of hunger and the need for a food treat become two complete different entities!

Heck, it can happen to anybody, pretty much anytime.

Sometimes you just feel like a snack, or a treat…

My sentiments exactly.

Which brings me to telling you about these No-Bake Chocolate Cookie Balls.  

I loved when my dear mother would make us a batch of no-bake cookies growing up.  (We giddily called them poo-burgers.)  You know the standard recipe: butter, cocoa, loads of oats and sugar mixed together over heat with peanut butter as the binder.  You’d then plop the mixture down on waxed paper and wait for them to cool and solidify a bit.

I loved eating these.  And when I became a mother, I’d made them from time to time for my young girls.  They were intensely sweet, I remember, and happily addicting back then.

Times (and nutrition) have changed and I’m really glad for that.  Recently on a quiet afternoon (quite rare indeed!) I opened up my mom’s no-bake chocolate cookie recipe and stared at it.  I knew there was a way to enjoy so much of the recipe without encouraging the grain/sugar addiction for me (a recovering addict) and my kids.

I’m pretty thrilled to share the newest “family” recipe for no-bake cookies.  And no worries, mother would approve.  (She’s gone grain-free/low carb-high fat and is feeling amazing.  Way to go mom!)

These bite size no-bake cookie balls are rich in chocolate, peanut butter goodness, and have an awesome bite since they are loaded with seeds, pecans + shredded coconut.  They are nothing like the empty calorie distant relative no-bake cookie.  These cookie bites brag of 2.7 grams of protein a piece and only 2.4 net carbs!  And for 128 calories a piece, you can guiltlessly enjoy a few for an afternoon pick-me-up.  But the best part, they won’t leave you with a sugar rush or cravings in an hour but will actually restore and nourish.  Isn’t that how we should be snacking anyway??


Nutrition per cookie ball:

128 calories

2.7 grams protein

2.4 net carbs

Compared to traditional no-bake chocolate cookie:

120 calories

2.4 grams protein

18 net carbs

Tell me what you think: Are you a big no-bake cookie fan as well?  What combination of seeds/nuts would you make?