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Hummus feels like one of those things that, one day you’ve never even heard of, and then the next, you feel like you must eat it. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. FOREVER.

I looooooooove hummus. So, when we went mostly keto, I missed it tragically. I mean, like, I had to avoid my favorite Mediterranean restaurant altogether because I couldn’t stand watching all the other diners taunting me enjoying hummus with their kabobs and tzatziki.

Then we went to England to run the Thames. (I know I haven’t posted much about the trip here, but I did on Twitter and Instagram because I didn’t lug my computer across the pond.) After one of our veeeeeeeerrrrrrrry long days running, Tim and I hobbled across the river to eat at a highly recommended gastropub in Goring on Thames, The Miller of Mansfield.

Part of what made our Thames run an experience of a lifetime was the incredible food we had at the end of every day. None of our food choices were planned, but food is a universal language. Just ask someone where is their favorite place to eat, and you will be almost guaranteed to get some incredible recommendations (and a couple of secrets on how to get a table, which waiter to ask for, and what to order that is NOT on the menu).

In Goring on Thames, someone at our hotel told us about The Miller, which was close enough to walk (lurch, hobble, limp) to AND had great food. IN. Lucky for us, the Brits seem to like to eat a bit later than Tim and I, with our blue hair dining hours, so we were able to get a great table that no one kicked us out of when we proceeded to eat 5 courses (did I mention it had been a looooooooong day?).

We had so many outstanding dishes, but one I had to make THE MINUTE I got home was the Almond Hummus. When I ate it, I couldn’t believe it wasn’t regular hummus. Since going keto/paleo, I’ve made the standard cauliflower hummus, and while better than nothing, it didn’t leave me thinking WOWZA!

But this almond hummus did.IMG_4902

Problem was, I was so blown away by almost everything we had (and sooooooooo exhausted), that I didn’t even think to ask how it was made. When I got home, then, I had to reverse engineer it on my own. After a couple of misfires, I finally came up with a recipe that we think tastes exactly like traditional chickpea hummus. My first few attempts ended up either grainy or like tahini/garlic flavored almond butter. Uh, bleh. But eventually, success! My hummus dreams were realized (a sentence I never dreamt I would type).

Turns out, the secret is adding unsweetened almond milk. Makes sense, right? Because almonds don’t have the water content of chickpeas, I needed something to add more liquid so the hummus would end up smooth without turning into butter. Plain water just didn’t cut it. Almond milk has just enough ooomph without adding more fat (which you don’t need here because you already have olive oil, almonds, sesame oil, and tahini). The result is soft, creamy texture you get with your favorite schwarma.

Hopefully this will solve the hummus withdrawal problem you may be experiencing on keto/paleo. Unfortunately, I can’t do but anything about the unfortunate hummus garlic breath dilemma, but that is the price we pay for deliciousness. Garlic on!

*This is a very loose recipe because so much of hummus enjoyment depends on personal preference. I really never even knew I had a hummus preference until my friend, Rose, made hummus for me. Rose’s family used to own a Middle Eastern restaurant and is an expert in hummus. Her recipe resulted in an incredibly smooth and creamy texture. From then on, that is how I made my traditional hummus. When I was working on my Almond Hummus recipe, that was what I was going for. But you do you. Experiment.

Almond Hummus

1 cup blanched almonds (you don’t want the almond skins)

1-2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of tahini (add more if you like a stronger sesame flavor)

1 teaspoon of salt

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

Almond milk

chili paste or oil (optional) (I use 1 tablespoon of chili paste. If you are using an oil, the more of it you use, adjust your olive oil so that your hummus will not be oily.)

 

In a food processor, pulse the almonds and garlic until you have a crumb-like texture. Do NOT overprocess or you will end up with garlic almond butter.

Add in the tahini, salt, and lemon juice. Process until just combined.

With the processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. You hummus should still be thick and somewhat grainy. If you are adding the chili oil, add it here.

With the processor running, slowly add almond milk a tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency.

Eat with veggies or keto crackers.

 

 

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I Don’t Eat Tweety Birds Anymore

by Carilyn on July 24, 2018

Paleo Chocolate Caramel Cake

Paleo Chocolate Caramel Cake

 

As a kid, I always coveted the store-bought birthday cakes with neon cartoon characters on them that all my friends had at their parties. My mom was more of a make-it-from-scratch kind of lady. Which I hated. Sort of. I mean, I loved homemade deserts AT HOME, where they belonged, away from the judgey eyeballs of my fellow preadolescent girlfriends. But out in public, I wanted to eat Fake Food like everyone else!

Birthday parties seemed to be the nadir of Fake Food: sheet cakes smeared with tasteless frosting made out of shortening and decorated with food coloring that would stain your lips and tongue for three days (I believe it is illegal now); neon orange cheese puffs (refer back to stained face parts and repeat); hot dogs and pizza. My mom was having none of that nonsense.

For my seventh birthday, she organized a “doll party” for me where everyone got to bring their favorite doll. Not only did my mom make homemade treats for all of my guests, she made matching homemade MINIATURE treats for all of their dolls! The thrill of that party has stayed with me all these years – even though there was no Fake Food. My mom was a birthday party rock star and no one complained about the lack of Jolly Ranchers or Ding Dongs.

But as I got older, I became less interested in creative themes, and just wanted a bright yellow Tweety Bird cake from Skaggs. I still loved all the goodies my mom made for us at home (apple cake, pineapple upside down cake, peach pie), but I was mature. I wore a bra, even if I didn’t need it. I wanted something hip and cool.

My mom, not being at her first rodeo (I was her fourth child) relented and ordered me the coveted Tweety Bird cake. I was crazy excited! Finally, I was going to have a “normal” birthday party with tons of store-bought stuff. I could hardly sleep, waiting for the day, MY day, filled with artificial coloring, flavors made from words that were something like “hexmeliodexmortiphitan”, and shapes that resembled toys rather than food. This birthday was going to be EPIC!

And it was. For about five seconds. After the initial mad grab for all the grub, I noticed that most of my friends just left the food on their plates – even my cherished Tweety Bird cake. Unlike at the other parties where my mom had served homemade fried chicken, tacos, or even mini tuna sandwiches with the crust cut off, and everyone cleaned their plates, at the Fake Food party, there was not a clean plate to be seen. And, everyone was CRAZY.

All that sugar and other junk just seemed to make my normally well-behaved friends insane. Everyone was running around like lunatics, some were even fighting, and I felt sick to my stomach. Yes, that party was memorable, but for the wrong reasons.

To her credit, my mom never said, “See. This is why I don’t serve that junk.” She just cleaned up the mess, throwing away about 75% of the food and cake, and gave me a glass of milk. I never asked for a Fake Food party again.

Today, since I have cut out grains, I’m having to be even MORE particular than my mother was back in my childhood. But it isn’t as hard as I thought. When you are lucky enough to be fed real food your whole life, it makes it much easier to listen to your body about what makes you feel good, and what makes you feel rotten. And with so many great grain-free cookbooks out there nowadays, it is easy to whip up something at home that not only tastes great, but makes you feel great.

Because homemade is always better than Fake Food, even if there is no Tweety Bird on top.

This recipe comes from the wonderful Sweet Laurel cookbook. Wow! I love this book and have been working my way through it like it’s my job. With so many desserts, I have been forced to share with people who don’t follow paleo/keto, but they have universally loved the desserts from this book. The ladies at Sweet Laurel give several variations in their cookbook, but I have included what I used, and some non-Paleo substitutions.

 

Paleo Chocolate Caramel Cake

from the Sweet Laurel Cookbook

 

This recipe calls for two 6-inch layers or one 8-inch layer. I only had one 6-inch pan, so I opted for the 8-inch and sliced the cake in half to make two layers (you need some frosting in the middle, right?). In the future, I will do it with 6-inch layers, but still cut each cake in half to have a four layer cake. Frosting, frosting, frosting.

Coconut oil, for greasing the pans (or ghee/butter if you are not Paleo)

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups very fine almond flower

1/4 cup 100% unsweetened cacao powder (or cocoa powder if not Paleo)

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (or sea/kosher salt if not Paleo)

2 large eggs

3/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

 

For the frosting:

4 ounces 100% cacao unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup coconut oil, solid

1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup (more to taste, if desired)

1/2 almond butter

1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk

Melt the chopped chocolate and coconut oil in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add maple syrup. Allow to cool.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to a stand mixer (or larger bowl if you are using a hand mixer), and add the almond butter until you have a thick frosting.

Add the coconut milk and mix until smooth. Taste for sweetness and thickness. Add more maple or coconut milk, if needed.

 

For the caramel:

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 or 2 pitted dates

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or sea/kosher salt)

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Chill it if you are not going to use it immediately. It will keep for about a month if refrigerated.

 

 

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The Meander Compulsion

July 19, 2018

Saturday, I ran the city – Westside to Eastside, mountains to plains. I needed 25 miles, and I needed to try out the new pack I bought to wear on my run along the Thames next month. For the first 10 miles, some of my favorite running friends joined me. We started midway up the […]

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Run Wild

July 13, 2018

Wow! Training in this heat has been a bear. Now that I’m (slightly) older, I’m a little more concerned about my skin. Since I sweat like a maniac, I hate wearing a lot of sunscreen. This leaves me with two options: lots of clothing, or the treadmill. Neither are the best option, but you do […]

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Eating My Fear (I know there are books for this, but I’d rather just tell y’all)

July 9, 2018

So I signed up for another race. Well, not so much of a race, as a God-I-hope-I-can-do-this-and-not-die sort of situation. I am taking up the T184 Challenge – a 184 mile run across England, self-supported (something I’ve never done before – remember, I like one mile loops), along the Thames. I’m talking myself to sleep […]

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Just Be Weird, Normalo

April 12, 2018

Turning 50 has definitely changed the way I view my running. Suddenly, all (okay, most) of my ambition is gone. I’m no longer (very) obsessed with winning races or setting records. Now, I seem to only care about getting miles done because…hell, I don’t even know. It’s really just a habit. Like brushing my teeth. […]

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Be Stupid! (Tim thinks I give BAD advice. Ha!)

January 22, 2018

With Keto listed as the WORST diet of 2017, my post the other day was timed just right, don’t you think? As ultrarunners, we seem to be always swimming upstream. Apparently, we take great pleasure in doing things that the rest of the world deems moronic, dangerous, and unsustainable. Yup, we are spitters-into-the-wind. I don’t […]

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I Don’t Know What To Do Without Donuts (Shhhh…Nobody Knew These Were Keto)

January 16, 2018

When I was a competitive swimmer, my pre-race meal was always the same: two Winchell’s cake doughnuts with sprinkles and a carton of milk. Every. Single. Swim meet. Yes, we were super on top of nutrition back in the 70s and 80s. I’m sure the sugar/fat bomb combo only lasted for a couple of hours […]

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No, I Didn’t Eat Six of These. You Can’t Prove Anything. (Keto Chocolate Almond Butter Mini Cheesecakes)

January 11, 2018

  Living without sugar (and wine) has been the toughest part of keto for me. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I LOVE sugar. If I were smarter, I would figure out how to search my site to see just how many high carb/sugar-filled/dessert recipes are on here. […]

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Of Course, We’re Going to Start With Bread (Keto Everything Bagels. Because Bagels are EVERYTHING.)

January 8, 2018

Keto Egg and Bacon Bagel Sandwich When most people first contemplate going keto, they usually wail some version of, “But I can’t live without bread!” While my lament was more something along the lines of, “But I can’t live without doughnuts! And pie! And cookies in the shape of hearts and decorated with sprinkles!,” I […]

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