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Low carb eating travels well-a muffin recipe to love

Low carb muffin with sugar free frosting

Low carb muffin with sugar free frosting

When traveling, it’s easy to make the road your buffet. And let’s face it–eating good food is half the fun–as well it should be. It’s a once in a lifetime experience to enjoy soda bread in Ireland or mounds of pasta in Rome and delicious tacos in Cancun.

But then you eventually come home to the bathroom scale–and discover the damage. Unless you pace your eating and make wise choices.

As an experiment, I decided to cut carbs and ramp up my protein, veggies and healthy fats, (like olive oil and coconut oil). I’m doing this for an upcoming magazine article I’m writing. So this eating is very new to me.

While it’s true–eating fewer carbs goes in and out of style quicker than a teenager’s hunger cycles. As soon as you feed them–their want another helping.

But when you embrace a way of eating that works for your body, usually you know it right away. In my experiment that removed most carbs except for some fruit–including bananas–some beans– I found out baguettes and fettuccini act more like frenemies. I love them–they hate me–I hate them-they love me back.

I recently discovered that removing breads, grains and starchy vegetables improved my energy, focused my thinking and nudged my mood into joyful spaces. I’m not on the Paleo path, but close to it. I will borrow from it once I learn the ins and outs. I will soon interview Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind-Beyond the Paleo Diet.

When traveling-I find this way of eating is pretty easy. That’s because it’s not hard to find meat and cheese — or other sources of protein. Seems like you have lots of fruit and veggie options too. At breakfast, skip the Danish and opt for bacon and eggs. At lunch–try a grilled chicken salad. For dinner–how about a bunless burger or chicken breast with cole slaw. In a pinch-I will just order something gluten-free.

I would describe my eating as low carb–but not as radical as Atkins–not even South Beach. So I bring you one of my favorite morning breakfasts. Elise’s Fave Breakfast Muffin.

If you wanted to take this on the road with you–it’s entirely possible. Just eliminate the eggs and travel with the dry ingredients. Could even substitute dried eggs for the real thing and mix it when you arrive. I hope you enjoy.

Elise’s Fave Breakfast Muffin

1 T. oat flour (optional)
2 T. coconut flour
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1 T. flax meal
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t xantham gum (a must when cooking with coconut flour)
2 T of Splenda (or sub this for Stevia)
3 packets of Stevia + half dropper of liquid stevia (vanilla cream)
2 T. olive oil
3 eggs

*Makes 4-5 servings.

Basic recipe–Mix together and store in fridge so you can enjoy a piping hot muffin each morning with your coffee. Add berries or other fruit just before popping it into the microwave. See frosting option below.

Scoop out about a half cup or so, into a mug, ramekin or silicone cupcake liner. Pop it into the microwave for about 1 min or 1 min 10 sec (depending on your machine). Before microwaving it, I like to yum it up by tossing in a few blueberries and maybe a few drops of orange oil (extract). Cranberries with orange oil also yummy.

Sometimes I add cinnamon with a tablespoon of fresh cooked apple sauce. I change it up each day so I don’t tire of it.

Frosting Option-
Scoop out 1-2 T of cream softened cheese, add 1-2 packets of Splenda—and smear it on top for an extraordinary–and delightful breakfast.

Where to eat in Aspen/Snowmass you ask?

Who knew you could get a meal in Snowmass for just 8 bucks? Well, it’s true when you dine at Crazy 8’s, the bar located at Eight K Restaurant.

For a day on the slopes, don’t forget to hit the ski-in ski-out hot dog bar where you can ask for a bun-only version. But seriously, why bother with that? Just eat the dog, hit a few rails and trails and it’s all good. Ride over to Nest where hot dog dreams are made of.

But when your mouth is watering for something more sophisticated, like lobster and kale salad, Eight K has you covered with lots of savory choices.  Don’t forget to mark your calendar for a few important dates. For the wine connoisseur who likes to sip but not spit, sit down to enjoy elegantly arranged wine dinner events planned throughout the entire winter ski season. See Eight K Winter Wine Dinners schedule. $150 per person, includes wines.

All this can be yours when you check in at Viceroy Hotel and Resort, in Snowmass, Colorado.

The Source–Urban Market Shows Off New Digs

Want to try a new hip spot in Denver’s RiNo (River North Art District) urban locale? Grab some friends and experience this casual Source_StoreFrontenvironment where you can sample appetizers at Comida and Mondo Market.
Peruse the blooms at Beet and Yarrow Florist before you leave.

Mixing it upOr round up some friends for happy hour and see what mix-ol-o-gists are shakin’ up  behind the bar at CapRock Farm Bar. Be sure to try their CapRock line of white whisky.

If you’re not as adventurous with the cocktails, just do what I did–order a vodka tonic–straight up.

V&T

Want to add something new to your wine collection? Just check in at Proper Pour and they will help with your selections. I wonder if or when they do wine tastings. Might want to inquire on that one.

Too early for drinks? Then hang out with the folks roasting beans at Boxcar Coffee. Ask about their 1930’s German roaster. With its eclectic mix of shops, it’s fun to walk around this former steel works building and experience its transformation.

Located at 3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver.

Novelty Trumps Size at Legendary Baby Bar –Spokane, Washington

Sometimes big surprises show up in small packages.  When I stumbled onto this cool little lounge in Spokane, Washington called the Baby Bar, I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  When I first heard about the place, my imagination ran wild. I wondered if I’d find toddlers sitting at the bar requesting apple juice fizzies with little cherries floating on top. Or perhaps the owner, Patty Tully, would serve my Cabernet in a Sippy cup—then offer me a bib since I have a history of spilling wine.  Neither happened, but I still enjoyed sipping Cab from the stemless wine glass while Tully kept me company with her undeniable sense of humor.  For those who prefer regular wine glasses, just ask, Wine Glassthey have that too.  You know you’ve got the right place when you see the unmistakable artistic rendition of the man who resembles Jesus—whether it’s him or not–I have no idea.  But it’s just one more quirky little find at the Baby Bar.

While I’m no fan of bucket lists, (they’ve become too cliché) if I had to recommend a novel spot to enjoy drinks , I’d say, hit the Baby Bar. But leave the kids and the pacifers at home. Tully has you more than covered with her big smile and warm hospitality.

Address:  827 W. First Ave. | Spokane, WA, 99201

Super scallops with stunning lake views

Diver Sea Scallops Entre

Diver Sea Scallops Entre

Want a melt in your mouth meal? I found just that when I recently ate a decadent meal at Beverly’s, at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, in  Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, just 30 miles from Spokane, Washington.Layered in flavor and carefully prepared, the Diver Sea Scallops entre sent my taste buds into overdrive. With earthy notes, the pan seared scallops swim in a white wine and lemony drizzle that delivers a burst of satisfying flavor.  I more than enjoyed my pleasantly plump scallops that left me feeling like the well fed traveler. And the side offered just as much excitement. Polenta–with its savory, unexpected hints of Rosemary, bacon and mushrooms transported me to Thanksgiving Day.

Eric Cook, Sommelier, pours wine for all.

Eric Cook, Sommelier

Paired with a white wine, this dish lends itself to a near perfect meal. Not sure which wine to select? Just ask the sommelier for a few suggestions. And don’t forget to ask for a window seat. That way you can enjoy a pleasant meal with views of Lake Coeur d’Alene–where the soft clouds and rolling hills blend into the lake to create stunning views.

Vacations don’t grow on trees

Palm TreeVacations don’t come cheap. Unless you camp on public land and eat beans and franks from dawn til dusk. Most people actually have to save for their dream vacations and weekend getaways. Even the people who pay their bills on time.

By the time you pay for a few nights at a hotel, a few meals and some entertainment, $500 (or more) flies from your wallet or stings your credit card like little bees on the loose. Planning a week-long getaway? That’s great. Now you’ve got to fund a small fortune.  But that’s ok, it’s not that hard if you have the right thinking in place.

Since vacations don’t grow on trees, that means it’s time to think about a savings plan. First, consider good ol’ financial advice sure to bring you closer to your goal. Pay yourself first. It doesn’t take much money to set aside before you have a lump sum of cash. It could be $25 per paycheck or $250, either way, if you save consistently each month, soon your vacation fund will fatten up.

Odd jobs could push you into the final stretch. Recently I took on a few dreadful projects that left me feeling drained and unappreciated. The pay was nothing to brag about, but the savings I accumulated from these small projects beefed up my bank account faster than I imagined. Instead of complaining about the work you like or want, remember it could double as a small treat you give to yourself.

Savor what it feels like to say “NO.” Each time you’re tempted to buy a chai latte a la cart or a beef jerky from the gas station convenience store, remember that you’re saving for something that tastes even better–a vacation.

I hope these small tips help someone who feels like their vacation is slightly out of reach or completely abysmal. With a little discipline and a lot of determination, soon you’ll be holding a passport in one hand and luggage in the other.

Let me know if you’ve managed to save for your future getaway.

A little sand and sea

Pristine Beaches in Riviera Maya

Enjoy the powdery sand all along the Riviera Maya Coast.

When you life gets too serious and you can’t keep stop daydreaming about sinking your toes into the cool, powdery beach sand–that can mean only one thing. It’s time to book a flight and find a hotel with a teasing ocean view. But don’t wait until life gets too overwhelming.  Instead, make travel plans with ample time to anticipate the excitement as your trip countdown begins. If you’re like me, you don’t take such advice. Instead, you fly by the seat of your pants and let the wind blow your wings into the next town, villa or deserted beach hut with vacancies.

Foot massage feels oh so good–on the beach makes it even better.

Secluded beach huts along Riviera Maya provide privacy + relaxation.