Monthly Archives: June 2013

Best Foods to Beat Stress

StressFoods

Stress is something everyone deals with at different levels, different times, brought on by different measures. The key to living through your body’s natural response to change is learning what steps you can take to make it more manageable. While stress can have some short-term positive effects, over time it can negatively impact one’s physical and emotional well-being.  Managing stress comes down to the decisions you make every day, even one as simple as deciding what to eat!

When I first mentioned the idea of this post to my boyfriend, he responded the way many people would, stating his idea of stress reducing foods is high sugar, high fat, comfort foods with an occasional beer here and there. While these foods may provide a quick fix, in the long run they actually increase stress. When your body is confronted with stressful situations, it responds by releasing the hormone cortisol. This hormone ultimately causes you to crave the very same foods that will actually increase its production.

Before I get down to the foods you should be eating to handle stress, I am going to briefly describe the foods you need to avoid and why. The first on this list is energy drinks and other caffeinated beverages. While energy drinks and sodas provide instant relief, the sugar crash that follows can be taxing on your body, increasing stress levels. Another caffeinated beverage, coffee, increases agitation and can cause dehydration further fueling stress symptoms. Next on the list are high sodium foods. The extra salt causes your body to retain more fluids putting extra stress on your heart and increasing blood pressure. The extra bloating and puffiness you experience can drain energy and in turn increase stress. Refined sugar is the next food to avoid when you are feeling stressed out. Refined sugars cause fluctuations in blood sugar leading to irritability and poor concentration. Finally, alcohol is one of the worst offenders when it comes to increased levels of stress. While one would think it improves mood and causes relaxation, studies show it actually “feeds” stress. It stimulates stress hormones and can prolong symptoms related to stress. Studies show that the pleasant feelings of alcohol diminish when the body is in a stressful state and even small amounts can increase spikes in cravings. Furthermore, alcohol is also dehydrating and can seriously impair sleep.

While you may be thinking there is no way to satisfy those stress-induced cravings, there is an answer! Below are the foods that can decrease the feelings of stress and help you continue on with everyday life without the harmful effects that stress can cause.

Complex Carbohydrates
A key factor in mitigating the effects of stress is the regulation of a hormone called serotonin, also know as the “feel-good” hormone. Complex carbohydrates encourage the production of serotonin and are slowly digested to give you a strong, steady stream that lasts throughout the day. Simple carbohydrates also produce serotonin but offer only a quick relief. While simple carbohydrates can help when dealing with stress, experts suggest choosing complex carbohydrates for a healthy, long-term solution. These foods include whole grain cereals, breads, pastas, and old-fashioned oatmeal.

Try our No Bake Oatmeal Almond Date Bars for that complex carb boost! And don’t worry, you don’t have to make them into Easter Bunny shapes 😉

Easter Almond Date Bars

Vitamin C
Studies show vitamin c slows the production of stress-produced hormones and strengthens immunity, further helping the body deal with excess stress. Nutritionists suggest oranges, cantaloupe, and even berries.

Our Vitamin Boost Juice is perfect for this!

Citrus Carrot Juice

Magnesium
The most suggested stress-relieving magnesium-rich food is spinach but can also include dried apricots, soybeans, green leafy vegetables, and even sushi with its magnesium rich seaweed and the outstanding benefits fish has. Magnesium deficiency leads to headaches and increased fatigue further fueling the production of stress hormones.

Try our Spinach Strawberry Salad for the perfect magnesium-filled lunch that is low in sodium and high in flavor!

Grilled Chicken Spinach Strawberry Ricotta Salad

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, offer a variety of benefits due to their Omega-3 health properties. These fatty acids prevent spikes in cortisol and offer increased benefits protecting against heart disease and mood disorders.

Try our Mango Avocado Ahi Lettuce Wraps for a healthy and delicious fill of Omega-3’s!

Avocado Ahi Lettuce Wraps

Pistachios, Walnuts, Almonds
While high in fat, nuts contain many nutrients to fight against stress and bolster the immune system. The healthy fats in nuts help lower cholesterol, decrease inflammation, and protect against negative stress effects. Almonds further contain Vitamins E and B that help build resilience to depression and other stress-induced problems.

Our Pistachio Crusted Tilapia is made in only 20 minutes with 7 simple ingredients for a great stress-fighting dinner!

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Avocados
Avocados contain high amounts of potassium that reduce high blood pressure making your body more prepared to deal with the symptoms stress brings on.

Whip up our Strawberry Peach Guacamole and use vegetables for dipping to keep snacking during the day healthy!

Strawberry Guacamole Recipe

Sleep Inducing Foods
One of the most important ways you can deal with stress is to ensure your body continues to stay on a normal sleep pattern. If stress is contributing to a loss of sleep, try drinking a warm glass of milk, chamomile tea, or having a light carb rich snack before bed. The calcium in milk eases feelings of anxiety and reduces moods swings. A light snack, such as whole-wheat toast, releases the feel-good hormone serotonin, and chamomile tea is proven to have properties that aid and promote sleep.

Grass-fed Beef
Beef contains high levels of zinc, iron, and vitamins that can help reduce mood swings. When you can, go for grass-fed options to avoid the added hormones and antibiotics.

This list is meant to give you the most basic understanding of what your body needs to best defend against feelings of stress and further fight against the onset of anxiety and mood disorders. On top of this list, it is suggested to exercise regularly and eat small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar stable and cravings manageable. By following these steps, you can be confident in any stressful situation that you have the tools necessary to bounce back and keep your spirits high. Use the tools I have given you, listen to your body, and take on all that the world has to offer!

Celery Pear Healthy Green Juice

Celery Pear Healthy Green Juice

Our 5 Juicers in 5 Days Giveaway sponsored by HealthyJuicer.com is in full swing, so I felt it was only appropriate to share a new juice recipe this week! (This Contest Ended June 28, 2013)

Hallie Jordan Jacobs won our first juicer yesterday, but we still have FOUR more to give away, so click the link above and enter to win!

Celery Pear Mint Green Juice

This juice contains celery which is great for weight loss! Celery is reported to be a negative calorie food, which means it takes the body more calories to digest it than the food itself contains.*

The pears in this juice give it a nice sweetness, while also providing more than your daily supply of fiber!  One pear has 6 grams of fiber, this juice contains 6 pears, i.e. 36 grams of fiber from the pears alone! The suggested daily requirement of fiber is 25 to 30 grams.

Obviously I don’t even have to get you started on kale!  We all know that kale is the superfood sweeping the nation packing tons of Vitamins A, C and K with health benefits ranging from reducing the chances of developing cancer to bone health as well as aiding in blood clotting.

The mint in this juice gives it great flavor while also helping to soothe stomach issues, clear your skin and eliminate your body of toxins.

What are you waiting for?  It’s time to get healthy juicing!

Healthy Green Juice Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 6 pears (sliced and de-seeded)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 cups kale
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint

Juice all of the ingredients together.

Healthy Juicer Green Juice

Chill and serve.

Kale and Pear Healthy Green Juice

*Source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/33-tips-tricks-and-health-benefits-of-celery.html#ixzz2XFgSRvlD

Celery Pear Healthy Green Juice

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: app 12 oz juice

Celery Pear Healthy Green Juice

Ingredients

  • 6 pears (sliced and de-seeded)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 cups kale
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint

Instructions

  1. Juice all of the ingredients together.
  2. Chill and serve.
http://whitneybond.com/celery-pear-healthy-green-juice/

Shrimp Mango Arugula Salad

Shrimp Mango Arugula Salad

My most recent summer salad creation was inspired by my favorite dish at Queenstown, San Diego. If you live in the area and haven’t visited this fine establishment, you are seriously missing out!

The food is amazing, service is delightful and drinks are delicious!  To say that I’m a regular here would be an understatement 😉

Mango Papaya Arugula Salad

While I’ve grown fond of a number of dishes on their menu, this salad is my go to for weekend afternoons when I’m craving something light and refreshing, yet still filling.

I created my own version of the salad on Friday with a little extra shrimp I had lying around after creating a new recipe for my upcoming cookbook, Buffalo Style!

The result was a light and refreshing salad that was packed with flavor!

Shrimp Mango Arugula Salad Ingredients

Ingredients

  • Lemon Pepper Grilled Shrimp
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 8 shrimp (peeled & deveined)
  • Mango Arugula Salad
    • 2 cups arugula
    • 1/4 cup mango (diced)
    • 1/4 cup papaya (diced)
    • 1 avocado (diced)
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp fresh mint

Prepare the marinade for the shrimp by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and black pepper.

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Marinade

Next, add the shrimp to the marinade.

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Recipe

Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes then fire up the grill to medium heat.  Grill the shrimp for 3-4 minutes per side, then prepare the salad by adding the arugula, mango, papaya and avocado to a large bowl.

Arugula Mango Shrimp Salad Recipe

Next, squeeze the tbsp of lemon juice and olive oil over the salad.  Add the shrimp and toss well. Top with the fresh mint.

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Salad

Mango Papaya Shrimp Salad

♣ Vegetarian Option: Omit the shrimp to make this salad vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free.

Shrimp Mango Arugula Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 1 (as meal) 2 (as side or appetizer)

Shrimp Mango Arugula Salad

Ingredients

    Lemon Pepper Grilled Shrimp
  • 1/4 cup Enzo Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 8 shrimp (peeled & deveined)
  • Mango Arugula Salad
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup mango (diced)
  • 1/4 cup papaya (diced)
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • 1 tbsp Enzo Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint

Instructions

  1. Prepare the marinade for the shrimp by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and black pepper.
  2. Next, add the shrimp to the marinade.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes then fire up the grill to medium heat.
  4. Grill the shrimp for 3-4 minutes per side, then prepare the salad by adding the arugula, mango, papaya and avocado to a large bowl.
  5. Next, squeeze the tbsp of lemon juice and olive oil over the salad.
  6. Add the shrimp and toss well.
  7. Top with the fresh mint.
http://whitneybond.com/shrimp-mango-arugula-salad/

Banana Date Protein Shake

Peanut Butter Date Protein Shake

Ever since I began incorporating Beaming Superfood Smoothie Blends and Proteins into my life I’ve been alternating juicing and smoothies every morning!

After trying a few different Protein Shake Recipes, I feel I’ve perfected the most delicious and protein packed shake possible!

Beaming Superfood Protein Smoothie

This shake packs over 50% of daily protein needs with 34 grams of protein! It is also vegan, making it perfect for those that need extra protein in their normal diets!

Banana Date Protein Shake Ingredients

Ingredients

Begin by adding the dates and banana to a blender, next add the remaining ingredients.

Banana Date Protein Shake Recipe

Blend 1-2 minutes or until all of the ingredients are smooth and creamy.

Banana Date Protein Shake

This protein shake is so delicious, you’ll think you’re drinking a milkshake, but luckily for you, this milkshake is vegan, gluten free and packed with essential protein, vitamins and potassium!

Banana Date Protein Shake

Don’t forget to order a bag of beaming’s soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free protein packed powder to make your own delicious (and vegan!) Banana Date Protein Shake at home!

Banana Date Protein Shake

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: One 16 oz Shake

Banana Date Protein Shake

Ingredients

  • 3 dates (chopped)
  • 1 banana (peeled & sliced)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 3 tbsp beaming Superfood Protein Blend
  • 2 tbsp Premium Gold Ground Flax Seed

Instructions

  1. Begin by adding the dates and banana to a blender.
  2. Next, add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Blend 1-2 minutes or until all of the ingredients are smooth and creamy.
http://whitneybond.com/banana-date-protein-shake/

Homemade Buffalo Cheese Ball

Buffalo Cheese Ball Recipe

If you haven’t been following our social media outlets, you may be wondering where all of the new recipes are! Don’t you worry, there will be plenty of new recipes coming next week.  Why the reason for the lack of new recipes the last two weeks?  It’s not because I’ve been slacking in the kitchen, actually quite the opposite!

I signed a contract two weeks ago for my first cookbook deal! Woo hoo!  The cookbook is called Buffalo Style: Ditch the Wings, Keep the Sauce and is available now for pre-sale!!! I decided to go with a cookbook based around recipes including buffalo sauce because I’ve been known as the “Buffalo Sauce Queen” ever since I started food blogging! I love recipes with buffalo sauce, and you all seem to also 😉  So, Buffalo Style it was!

Yesterday I asked on Facebook which recipe you’d like to see from our upcoming cookbook. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of the Cheese Ball!  You said it loud and clear and I listened, so here it is, the latest recipe from our upcoming cookbook Buffalo Style for your viewing, creating and devouring pleasure!

Buffalo Cheese Ball Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp blue cheese dressing
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp buffalo sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • ½ cup pecans (chopped)

Mix the first six ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.

Buffalo Cheese Ball Recipe

Form the mixture into a ball then chop the pecans in a food processor and spread the crumbs onto a sheet of plastic wrap.

Roll the cheese ball in the chopped pecans.

Buffalo Cheese Ball Recipe

Wrap the plastic wrap around the ball and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Serve with vegetables or crackers for dipping.

Homemade Buffalo Cheese Ball

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free, but always remember to check salad dressings & bottled sauces to make sure they’re gluten free!

Want more sneak peeks into the making of Buffalo Style? How would you like to select the next recipe from the cookbook to be released on Little Leopard Book?  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to catch all of the latest on the making of our first cookbook!

Homemade Buffalo Cheese Ball

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 6

Homemade Buffalo Cheese Ball

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp blue cheese dressing
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp buffalo sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • ½ cup pecans (chopped)

Instructions

  1. Mix the first six ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Form the mixture into a ball then chop the pecans in a food processor and spread the crumbs onto a sheet of plastic wrap.
  3. Roll the cheese ball in the chopped pecans.
  4. Wrap the plastic wrap around the ball and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Serve with vegetables or crackers for dipping.
http://whitneybond.com/homemade-buffalo-cheese-ball/

Top 10 Kitchen Essentials: Your Ultimate Buying Guide

Kitchen Essentials Infographic

While I’ve always been interested in cooking, there is no shortage of recent college graduates who have lived the past four years surviving on top ramen and making very good friends with the pizza delivery guy! There are also those people out there that may not be recent college graduates, but somehow missed that moment when they were supposed to delete the local Chinese restaurant number from their “favorites list” on the iPhone!

Now that we’re in “the real world”, it’s time to start cooking REAL food! Learning to cook, and I mean cooking that doesn’t involve placing a bowl in the microwave, can be both daunting and confusing. More than that, the last thing anyone wants to do is dish out hundreds of dollars on kitchen items that will barely get used! That’s why I’m here. This week, Little Leopard Book has compiled a list of our top kitchen essentials to make even the most novice cooking experiences run smoothly. While these items vary in price depending on how fancy and high-tech they are, by purchasing the most basic option of each item, everything on the list can be added to the kitchen for under $200! Combine our list of essentials with our delicious recipes and anyone can fall in love with cooking and all that homemade has to offer!

Cutting board: I don’t think I could survive in the kitchen without a cutting board. Not only does cutting directly on the counter create a mess, I would argue that it’s not even socially acceptable! My advice is to have a couple on hand, this is especially useful when cutting both veggies and raw meat. The two should definitely not mix! I recommend using a wood cutting board for veggies, herbs or bread and a plastic cutting board for preparing raw meats.

Chef’s knife: This item goes hand in hand with a cutting board. Life in the kitchen is much easier when struggling to saw through food is not an issue! A good knife cuts down on time, reduces the probability of slicing fingers, and makes it easier to chop food evenly, ultimately making the end result more appetizing.

Measuring Cups: While the experts may not rely on exact measuring, when learning and trying new recipes it is necessary to do so. With correct measurements, new recipes are much more likely to turn out delicious the first time around!

Measuring Spoons: Like measuring cups, these make sure a new dish turns out perfect on the first try. Use these to measure seasonings for that extra pop of flavor in recipes!

Colander: From my experience pasta is one of the easiest dishes to make, but only if there’s a colander around to help the process! Pasta dishes can be prepared a number of ways depending on the type of sauce used, the veggies or meat added, and the cheese inside or atop the dish. Experiment with different ingredients and flavors to find your favorite! My favorite is our Buffalo Chicken Cheesy Penne! A colander can also be used to rinse fruits and veggies quickly and easily.

Blender: Even though we’re growing out of our “college phase” in the kitchen, that doesn’t mean we have to ditch our friend, the blended margarita, after all, we’re never too old for margaritas!  And of course after those margaritas over the weekend, a blender is an awesome item to have on Monday morning for a delicious Lean and Green Superfood Smoothie to prepare for the week!

Garlic Press: I have my mom to thank for my obsession with the garlic press. While ready-to-go minced garlic in a jar can be purchased, I highly suggest taking the route of buying fresh garlic cloves and a garlic press. The flavor is much better with fresh garlic and a garlic press is simple to use. Many recipes give ingredients in the number of garlic cloves, which can be hard to measure with jarred garlic. Most importantly, this will save money!

Baking Stone: I may have lied at the beginning of this post, pizza is still allowed in “real life” but why not make your own? Baking stones are perfect for making pizzas and baked goods. They help in creating a more even temperature, prevent burning, and are non-stick. I love using mine to make Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies 😉

Zester: No matter how easy a dish is to make, a zester gives the impression of mad cooking skills! Use it with lemons, limes, and other garnishes for a pop of color and flavor. Easily grate fresh parmesan on top of pasta or pizza or use the zester with a little chocolate to amp up any dessert!

Cast Iron Skillet: A cast iron skillet is durable and will last forever! It can be used on the stove, grill, or in the oven. I love using mine for our Cast Iron Skillet Rustic Potatoes.

 

Gluten free Lemon Dessert Cups

Gluten Free Lemon Dessert Jars

Last week I picked up a box of delicious gluten free lemon wafer cookies with the idea that I could use them as a base for a new fresh and light summer dessert recipe!

Gluten Free Layered Lemon Dessert Recipe

I decided that I didn’t want to go with a pie or bar recipe (since I’ve been going kind of bar crazy lately!) and it was then that I remembered “Dirt Dessert”, one of my favorites as a kid!

There was a cool creamy layer, then a delicious chocolate Oreo layer, I decided I could make a similar version, but with a lemony twist!

Lemon Layered Dessert Jars

I was preparing this delicious dessert for a girlfriends birthday dinner, so I decided these individual mason jars would be an adorable way to present the light and refreshing treat!

Gluten Free Raspberry Lemon Dessert Jars

I topped them with fresh mint and raspberries for a little POC (pop of color)!  The result was an adorable, delicious, simple, light and refreshing gluten free dessert!

Gluten Free Lemon Dessert Cup Ingredients

Ingredients

Begin by adding the lemon wafers to a food processor.

Glutino Gluten Free Lemon Wafers

Blend into a fine crumb mixture.

Glutino Gluten Free Lemon Wafer Crumble

Next, whip together the cream cheese and cool whip.

Creamy Lemon Filling Recipe

Then add the zest and juice of two lemons.

Creamy Lemon Filling Recipe

Cream together then begin preparing the jars.

Place a large spoonful of the creamy filling in the bottom of a ½ pint jar, then add a layer of the lemon wafer crumbs.

Gluten Free Lemon Layered Dessert Cups

Add another layer of creamy filling, then top with another layer of lemon wafer crumbs.

Gluten Free Lemon Dessert Cups

Zest the third lemon on top of the jars and serve.

Fresh and Easy Gluten Free Lemon Dessert Cups

Add fresh fruit or mint if you prefer!

Gluten Free Layered Lemon Dessert Recipe

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten free.

Gluten free Lemon Dessert Cups

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 5 1/2 pint jars

Gluten free Lemon Dessert Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 (7.1 oz) box of glutino gluten free lemon wafers
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz cool whip
  • 3 lemons

Instructions

  1. Begin by adding the lemon wafers to a food processor.
  2. Blend into a fine crumb mixture.
  3. Next, whip together the cream cheese and cool whip.
  4. Then add the zest and juice of two lemons.
  5. Cream together then begin preparing the jars.
  6. Place a large spoonful of the creamy filling in the bottom of a jar, then add a layer of the lemon wafer crumbs.
  7. Add another layer of creamy filling, then top with another layer of lemon wafer crumbs.
  8. Zest the third lemon on top of the jars and serve.
  9. Add fresh fruit or mint if you prefer!
http://whitneybond.com/gluten-free-lemon-dessert-cups/

Note: This page contains affiliate links. I only link to products I use & love!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

A few years back I was part of a co-ed softball team… so I never actually held a bat or caught a ball, but I did cheer on the team and make fresh baked goods for every game!

And lets be real, having a cheering section and fresh baked goods is an essential part of an adult co-ed softball league so you might just say I held the more important role on the team 😉

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

These bars were the absolute favorite of everything I made for them!  They were requested on the regular by the team!

I hadn’t thought about them, much less made them, in years but after making my Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake Bars last week, they came into my mind and I knew I had to whip some up!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

This time around I used my delicious Gluten Free Premium Gold Flour to make these babies gluten-free!  They were just as scrumptious as I remembered with no gluten in site!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Bar Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Premium Gold Gluten Free Flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 oz chocolate chips (divided)

Begin by creaming together the butter and peanut butter.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Bar Recipe

Next add the eggs, vanilla and sugars.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Bar Recipe

Beat well then add the flour and salt.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Bar Recipe

Mix until combined well and creamy, then hand mix in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bar Recipe

Pour the batter into an 8 x 11 baking dish.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the additional chocolate chips.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Wait 5 minutes for the chocolate to melt, then spread it across the top of the bars.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Slice into squares and dig in!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

These bars and so simple to make and great for taking to summer cookouts and parties!  Make this gluten free version of the bars to make sure that everyone attending the party can enjoy the delicious treats 🙂

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten free.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12 bars

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Premium Gold Gluten Free Flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 oz chocolate chips (divided)

Instructions

  1. Begin by creaming together the butter and peanut butter.
  2. Next add the eggs, vanilla and sugars.
  3. Beat well then add the flour and salt.
  4. Mix until combined well and creamy, then hand mix in 1 cup of chocolate chips.
  5. Pour the batter into an 8 x 11 baking dish.
  6. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and top with the additional chocolate chips.
  8. Wait 5 minutes for the chocolate to melt, then spread it across the top of the bars.
  9. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  10. Slice into squares and dig in!
http://whitneybond.com/gluten-free-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-bars/

Note: This page contains affiliate links. I only link to products I use & love!

Paleo Infographic: Everything You Need To Know

FinalPaleoInfographic*

A few months ago, a friend of mine started dating a guy who swore by his Paleo lifestyle. Initially, we could not understand why anyone would choose to follow such a strict diet. Many questions arose even one as simple, and stupid, as “does he actually hunt and gather his food?” While this question may seem ridiculous, the hunter-gatherer methodology of our ancestors largely builds what the Paleo diet is all about. I have not tried the Paleo diet yet and do not in any way claim to be an expert. However, when I have attempted to look up what the Paleo diet consists of, I have found a bunch of different viewpoints, making it confusing and difficult for one to start their own Paleo venture. Between the above paleo infographic and the following post I’m going to simplify what Paleo is, why one should consider the diet, and how to get started. Consider this your go to guide for all the Paleo basics.

For more Paleo information and great Paleo recipes for the grill, check out our very own Whitney Bond on the San Diego 6 Morning News Show!

What is “Paleo”?

The Paleolithic (Paleo) diet craze, often called the caveman diet, began as early as the 1960’s shunning products of the agricultural revolution and the creation of the highly processed foods that exist today. The basic premises of the Paleo diet are simple, eat as if you were roaming the earth more than 10,000 years ago before junk food and heavy pasta meals existed.

What can I eat?

Foods allowed on the Paleo diet all mimic what would have existed in the Paleolithic period. This includes grass-fed meats, fish, seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, and healthful oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut). Any type of food that was produced as a result of the agricultural revolution technically cannot be included. This includes grains, legumes, potatoes, refined sugar, dairy, salt, processed foods, refined vegetable oils, and alcohol. If it could not be hunted or gathered by our cavemen ancestors, don’t eat it! Sound too difficult? The leading specialist of this natural diet, Dr. Loren Cordain, offers three “levels” of Paleo in his book The Paleo Diet. These levels enable dieters to slowly transition to full Paleo or stop at whichever point works for them.

Why would I want to be Paleo?

The claims of the Paleo diet all surround themselves with the idea that you’ll live a healthier, fitter life. Paleo research claims it is the only nutritional approach that works with our genetics and ultimately prevents, and can often remedy, the ills and diseases caused by modern day food production. Through their research, Paleo enthusiasts blame refined foods, trans fat, and sugars as the root of many degenerative diseases including obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, and infertility. In terms of weight loss, the Paleo diet is much more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle rather than shedding pounds, but by ditching processed foods, many do lose weight as a result. This diet plan does not cater to vegetarians, although it can be modified. It is naturally gluten-free, satisfying another degree of healthy eating.

Is Paleo really the healthiest way to eat?

Critics of the Paleo lifestyle emphasize that humans have evolved to be able to eat modern day food. The wild game that existed during the Paleolithic period is not the same as the meats available today, and the sustainability of Paleo is currently not as realistic as it needs to be. Critics claim nearly every fruit, vegetable, and animal is drastically different from those that our cavemen predecessors consumed. Furthermore, our cavemen ancestors ate the way they did out of necessity, not out of want. There is little research on the actual proven benefits of the Paleo diet. These reasons aren’t necessarily an end all for Paleo, the diet is all about how you feel on it and responding to what your body tells you.

Interested in exploring what it means to be Paleo? Check out our most popular Little Leopard Book Paleo recipes including our Chipotle Lime Chicken Fajita Skewers, Grilled Pineapple Tomatillo Guacamole, and Caribbean Mango Avocado Ahi Lettuce Wraps or visit our Paleo page to explore more options!

 

Metabolism Boosting Breakfast Smoothie

Metabolism Boosting Breakfast Smoothie

When the booking producer over at the San Diego 6 Morning News Show asked me to come on this week to talk about juicing and smoothies, I couldn’t wait to share some of the drinks I’ve been mixing up over in my kitchen every morning!

Healthy Breakfast Smoothie

While I’ll be juicing up some of my favorites like the Green Detox Juice and Antioxidant Immunity Juice, I also wanted to throw in a new drink made with my favorite smoothie booster, the beaming superfood blend!

This 100% natural, organic blend increases stamina, boosts energy, balances hormones and enhances mood. I don’t know about you all, but with long work hours and busy days, I could use all of the above!

Metabolism Boosting Smoothie Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 6 oz greek yogurt
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp beaming Superfood Smoothie Blend
  • 1 tbsp flax seed

Begin by adding the strawberries, blueberries and banana to a blender.

Metabolism Boosting Smoothie Recipe

Next add the greek yogurt, coconut water, honey, ginger, cinnamon, superfood smoothie blend and flaxseed.

Metabolism Boosting Superfood Smoothie Recipe

Blend well.

Blueberry Superfood Smoothie Recipe

Chill and serve.

Metabolism Boosting Smoothie

This smoothie not only helps speed up your metabolism, it also reduces nausea and aids in digestion.

Blueberry Superfood Smoothie

Don’t forget to tune in later this morning – June 6th – at 7:50 AM to San Diego Channel 6 Morning News where I’ll be whipping up this smoothie and more!

Metabolism Boosting Breakfast Smoothie

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: One 24 oz Smoothie

Metabolism Boosting Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 6 oz greek yogurt
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp beaming Superfood Smoothie Blend
  • 1 tbsp Premium Gold Ground Flax Seed

Instructions

  1. Begin by adding the strawberries, blueberries and banana to a blender.
  2. Next add the greek yogurt, coconut water, honey, ginger, cinnamon, superfood smoothie blend and flaxseed.
  3. Blend well.
  4. Chill and serve.
http://whitneybond.com/metabolism-boosting-breakfast-smoothie/

Lean and Green Superfood Smoothie

Banana Avocado Flax Seed Smoothie

This smoothie was inspired by my first trip to bBar Superfood Vitality Bar in Del Mar!

bBar Del Mar

I tried the Sexy Mayan and Lisa’s Daily Lean & Green and was immediately addicted to the lean-ness and green-ness of Lisa’s smoothie!

bBar Del Mar Smoothies

After meeting with bBar’s social media guru Dustin Towery, he sent me home with a bag of bBar’s Beaming Organic Superfood Protein Blend with Greens so that I could re-create their amazing smoothie in my kitchen!

Banana Avocado Green Smoothie

And that I did!

Green Superfood Smoothie Ingredients

Ingredients (makes two 16 oz smoothies)

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp beaming superfood protein
  • 1 tbsp flax seed
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Begin by adding the avocado and banana to a blender.  Next add the almond milk, coconut water and spinach, then add the protein and flax seed.

Green Flaxseed Superfood Smoothie Recipe

Top it off with the honey and cinnamon.

Green Superfood Smoothie Recipe

Blend well.

Green Superfood Smoothie Recipe

Chill then serve.

bBar Lean and Green Smoothie

This energy packed smoothie is loaded with vitamins, nutrients and protein!

Lean and Green Smoothie

Grab a bag of beaming’s soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free protein packed powder and make your own Lean Green Superfood Smoothie at home!

Lean and Green Superfood Smoothie

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Two 16 oz Smoothies

Lean and Green Superfood Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp beaming superfood protein
  • 1 tbsp Premium Gold Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Begin by adding the avocado and banana to a blender.
  2. Next add the almond milk, coconut water and spinach, then add the protein and flax seed.
  3. Top it off with the honey and cinnamon.
  4. Blend well, chill then serve.
http://whitneybond.com/lean-and-green-superfood-smoothie/

Introducing Erin, Coordinator of Leopard Mayhem

Erin4

Hey Little Leopard Book lovers. Erin here, the new intern around the Little Leopard Book offices. All summer long I’ll be coming at you with the latest health tips, recipe tricks, and all of the fun posts that I can think of! For my first post, we thought it was only fitting to introduce a little bit about myself. After all, I have a feeling we’re going to become very good friends. I grew up in Northern California in the East Bay town of San Ramon.

While I loved growing up in “the bay”, college seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out life in the most perfect city on Earth… you guessed it, San Diego! I just finished my 4th year at San Diego State University where I was a member of the Epsilon Sigma Chapter of Delta Gamma Fraternity. While a DG I held the positions of both social chair and president. I graduated from SDSU with a Bachelor’s degree in political science. While I loved my political science degree, I recently realized I wasn’t the perfect fit for a career in law or politics. That’s when I decided to switch it up! I will be attending the University of Southern California this fall to pursue my M.A. in journalism. For now I am spending the summer in San Diego and having as much fun as I can learning and playing at Little Leopard Book! I am so excited to get to know all of you following LLB and hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I enjoy writing them.

Erin5

Why I love Little Leopard Book:

Little Leopard Book truly is optional eating. Whether you’re a full time vegetarian, a lover of buffalo sauce, or conducting a trial run of the paleo diet, there is something for you. There are an extensive variety of recipes that are both easy and fun to make!

What is my favorite type of food?

My boyfriend jokes that my favorite food is avocado mainly because I put it on absolutely everything! While he may be right, I would say my favorite type of food is Italian. One day I hope to travel through Italy, or rather eat my way from city to city. They know what they are doing! I can’t wait to try the LLB Italian Crab Cakes!

crab cakes, italian style crab cakes, easy crab cakes, simple crab cake recipe

 What do I like to do during my free time?

When I’m not coordinating mayhem at LLB, I love to spend time with my family and friends. I like anything that involves being outdoors. I’ll try anything once, I love seeking out new experiences, and meeting new people. You can find me browsing farmers markets, shopping in Pacific Beach (and spending way too much), or running along Mission Bay. I also love finding cool new restaurants and trying all types of craft beer. San Diego is one of the top beer cities in the world, have to take advantage of it right?

IMG_1166

 What is my favorite LLB recipe?

As you have probably noticed, here at LLB we have a slight buffalo sauce obsession, including myself. The buffalo sauce recipes are definitely my favorite and I am making it my mission to try all of them, starting with the Buffalo Chicken Burger.

 Buffalo Chicken Burger Recipe

What is my favorite dish to make?

I don’t necessarily have a favorite dish I like to make, but I do have a favorite cooking holiday. My first attempt at cooking was three years ago when I decided I no longer wanted the family plethora of casseroles at Thanksgiving. I took on the holiday (besides pulling, who knows what, out of the uncooked turkey) by myself and decided to begin my own search for recipes. From that point forward, Thanksgiving in my household has been known as my thing. It is what first inspired me to try cooking and every year I continue the search for new flavors and healthy alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving eats.  I can’t wait to try Little Leopard Book’s Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast this year!

Cranberry Glazed Turkey, Turkey Breast, Cranberry Glaze, Thanksgiving Turkey, Christmas Turkey, Cranberry Turkey Breast Recipe

Feel free to tweet me with any of your other questions @ErinAshMacLeod!  Looking forward to hanging with you all this summer!

Mediterranean Crab and Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms

Mediterranean Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

This weekend I had the serious craving for fresh crab, but instead of making crab cakes, I decided to combine the crab with couscous and some of my favorite Mediterranean flavors, then stuff it into these large portobello mushrooms.

Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms

I then grilled the mushrooms for a fresh, healthy take on stuffed mushrooms!

Crab Couscous Stuffed Mushroom Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked couscous
  • 1/2 cup fresh lump crab meat
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp green onions (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms

Begin by combining the couscous, crab, parmesan, feta and garlic.

Crab and Couscous Mushroom Stuffing

Next, add the red peppers, green onions and combine well.

Mediterranean Crab and Couscous Stuffing

Clean out and de-stem the mushrooms, then brush each side with Enzo Garlic Olive Oil.

Garlic Olive Oil Brushed Portobellos

Stuff the mixture into the mushrooms.

Mediterranean Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Grill over medium heat for 15 minutes, then serve.

Mediterranean Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

These can be served as a light meal or as a deliciously filling appetizer!

Gluten Free Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

♣ Vegetarian Option: Substitute 1/2 cup shredded zucchini for the crab to make this recipe vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: Substitute brown rice couscous or quinoa to make this recipe gluten-free.

Mediterranean Crab and Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 Stuffed Mushrooms

Mediterranean Crab and Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked couscous
  • 1/2 cup fresh lump crab meat
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp green onions (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Enzo Garlic Olive Oil
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms

Instructions

  1. Begin by combining the couscous, crab, parmesan, feta and garlic.
  2. Next, add the red peppers, green onions and combine well.
  3. Clean out and de-stem the mushrooms, then brush each side with Enzo Garlic Olive Oil.
  4. Stuff the mixture into the mushrooms.
  5. Grill over medium heat for 15 minutes, then serve.
http://whitneybond.com/mediterranean-crab-and-couscous-stuffed-mushrooms/

Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Warm summer days deserve the perfect summer dessert, and that’s where these Frozen Cheesecake Bars come in! They’re super simple to make and a great cool treat to beat the heat!

Read the full post here!

Strawberry Peach Guacamole

Strawberry Peach Guacamole

This strawberry peach guacamole gives a sweet & fruity summer twist to the dip that everyone loves!

Strawberry Peach Guacamole Recipe

I made this dish last weekend for a Memorial Day BBQ and it was a hit with all of my friends! I served it along side it’s spicy counterpart, Buffalo Sauce Guacamole, which will appear in my cookbook, Buffalo Style, out this fall!

Strawberry Guacamole Recipe

The combination of juicy pieces of strawberry and peaches mixed with fresh basil and lemon juice make it difficult to put down the chips!

Strawberry Peach Guacamole Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 avocados
  • 1 tomato (chopped)
  • 1 cup strawberries (chopped)
  • 2 peaches (peeled & chopped)
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil (chopped)

Begin by mashing the avocados together in a medium bowl, then add the tomatoes, strawberries and peaches.

Strawberry Peach Guacamole Recipe

Mix all of the ingredients together then juice the lemon into the guacamole and add the fresh basil.

Strawberry Peach Guacamole

Serve with your favorite chips for delicious dipping pleasure!

Strawberry Peach Guacamole

You could also serve this fruity guacamole with apple crisps for a fun and healthy twist!

Strawberry Peach Guacamole

This dip is perfect for BBQ’s or your next Mexican fiesta!

♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.

♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free.

Strawberry Peach Guacamole

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 3 cups

Strawberry Peach Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 3 avocados
  • 1 tomato (chopped)
  • 1 cup strawberries (chopped)
  • 2 peaches (peeled & chopped)
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil (chopped)

Instructions

  1. Begin by mashing the avocados together in a medium bowl, then add the tomatoes, strawberries and peaches.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together then juice the lemon into the guacamole and add the fresh basil.
http://whitneybond.com/strawberry-peach-guacamole/