kids snacks

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

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. :)


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


breakfast sausage biscuits

My mother used to make sausage biscuits for special occasions.  She'd make the dough and crumble the sausage, roll them up, and freeze the sausage biscuit roll.  Then when she'd need them she would simply pull them out of the freeze, slice, and bake.

I loved her sausage biscuits.  We all did.  They were always warm, buttery, and the combination of dough to salty sausage was heavenly.

Although dear mom's recipe called for Bisquick I've come up with an awesome, healthier alternative for the biscuit dough.  You'll be amazed at how yummy these taste being gluten-free, grain-free, high protein, low carbohydrate, and of so cheesy...

This inventive, flavorful dough recipe is not my own.  It was a recipe from a blog, Up Late Anyway, I was intrigued by some time ago and tried as the dough for her stromboli.  Then as the base for her cheese danishes.  Then for many other recipes that called for standard gluten dough and the results, every time, were amazingly soft like dough and more flavorful than dough because of one of the base ingredients.  Mozzarella cheese.  Trust me.

Now let's make some breakfast sausage biscuits!

Make dough and roll out.  Crumble sausage and roll up.


Bake.  These are absolutely awesome.  And all of my family love them.  I like making these to bake up in the early morning before we head out for an all day outing.  And they work great for car trips.  I pass out napkins and everyone grabs a handful of sausage biscuits.  These biscuits fill you up much better then a grain biscuit does and in a more more satisfying and healthy way.



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.


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!