July 31st, 2013

 

Friends!

I’d like to introduce you to Rikke, who discovered Jonathan and my Smarter Science of Slim Podcasts and embarked on her *SANE journey a year ago.  This is her story.

“Because most of what we achieve is done over long time and step by step or in this case – bite by bite – we tend to forget how far we have come. I realised I had reached a milepost (pun intended!) when Carrie asked me to write this.

 Here’s the result I’ve achieved living a *SANE lifestyle within the span of one year:

  •  lost 15 kilos (not that I’m counting but my GP is, and is also now reading Bailor and Taubes)
  • lost 4 clothing sizes (which is how I count)

  • asthma meds down to minimum, and no attacks during the last year

  • improved sleep

  • waking up pain-free and well rested every morning

  • no IBS symptoms for 7 months

  • glowing hair and skin

  • higher levels of self-respect and self-confidence

  • improved emotional resilience 

It’s a little scary to write something as personal as this but I hope my story can inspire and help someone else the same way others have helped and inspired me. Carrie is one of these people, and since you are reading this on her blog I think you also know how amazing and brave she is, and how important it is to be honest with, and support each other.

I was an average child and teenager, size medium, not overweight nor skinny. I do play different sports but I don’t think any of my friends would exactly describe me as an athlete. They would say ‘bookworm’ and ‘geek’ and be right (also I play darts which is probably not very athletic). I grew up in the Danish countryside in a family with a kitchen garden and a chicken run. We cooked our own food (including the chickens) so my brother and I learned the basics of cooking along with a respect for nature and love for whole foods. This stayed with me after I moved away from home but I also happily embraced all the other options that big city life offers. Then in my mid-twenties I had to have a large operation that led to hormonal changes which first caused in a mild depression and then, during the following years, a steady weight gain which made me feel more and more unhappy about my body. I tried to lose weight and managed a couple of times by eating low-fat, counting calories and exercising more. It was hard to sustain and the weight crept back on – and even more so after I had passed 30.  I felt even more unhappy about my body and grew more angry at myself for not having the willpower to do enough about it.

Fast forward to my birthday, early summer of 2012. After a couple of years with big life changes, both positive and negative, I was on holiday trying to recharge and shake a lung infection that just wouldn’t go away. It was actually so bad that I couldn’t even walk up three flights of stairs. Suffering from asthma I was afraid of irreparable damage to my lungs, and other issues bothered me as well – loss of strength, balance and flexibility (the little I had!), feeling exhausted all the time, and then there was the extra weight. I had a serious conversation with myself and decided to redefine ‘the good life’ in order to obtain long-term health and happiness. Big words, I know, but it *was* my birthday!

But how to do it? I knew it had to be something that would not leave me feeling deprived or punished because I don’t think that is a very positive way to live and I also knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for very long. I kept an open mind and started researching.  I came across the SSoS podcasts. In one weekend I listened to the 10-12 episodes that were available at the time. The science just made sense to me and I *loved* the fact that there was so much good food you could just east as much of as you wanted. Natural whole foods. No calorie-counting. So I thought “I can do that”, downloaded the quick-start guide, and cleared my cupboards of everything that was *inSANE.

I haven’t looked back since! I rediscovered my joy of cooking, and made sure that cooking and food became a top priority in my life. I started to live to eat instead of just eating to live.

Eating good food is now a daily pleasure, and cooking is often a social thing that I do for and with friends and family (while *casually* throwing in bits of nutritional science). I love planning my meals and shopping for high quality whole foods. The key is really in keeping an open mind, not being afraid of throwing everything up in the air, changing your habits and requiring new ones, tweaking recipes, and experimenting with tastes and combinations. Try stuff out and find what works for you. For me it’s global fusion, and this approach has opened so many new doors and inspired new ways of cooking old recipes that I very rarely think of the stuff I don’t eat anymore.  I even more rarely crave any of it. Spices and herbs make everything more interesting. If you’ve grown tired of one flavour, you just try another combination. Currently I’m crazy about lemongrass, which I try to incorporate into, well, almost anything. Try putting a stick of lemongrass in a bottle of water and leave it in the fridge overnight. Super refreshing in the morning. Sorry, I digress. But this is what I mean when I say I now live to eat. I think about this stuff all the time.

I think it is human nature to be drawn towards the ‘forbidden’, so I use a more positive approach and say to myself, “Yes, you can eat/drink this if you want, but will it help you towards your goal of long-term health?” This puts focus on what it really is I’m trying to do – living better – and along with the scientific knowledge I have spent a lot of time over the last year to obtain, every food/drink decision becomes much easier. I’m not perfect by any measure (and I really try to allow myself not to be) but I have found it happens very rarely these days that I crave anything inSANE.

I need to mention a few other changes which have helped me during this last year:

  • Getting the priorities straight – you simply can’t do everything, and you need to find a way to focus on the things that are most important to you. For me that has meant cutting away a lot of unnecessary stuff like watching tv and sitting purposeless in front of the pc. I’ve reorganised when I do things so that I don’t spend the best hours of the day doing stuff like laundry and cleaning. I go to bed early and get up early because 1 hour in the morning is as efficient as 2 or 3 in the evening. And I’ve learned that sometimes you have to say no to something you would like to do in order to get time to do something you would like to do even more.
  •  Sleep – this is now one of my top priorities and I now keep my bedtime consistent because I know how much it pays off! I’ve taken up yoga because it relaxes me, sorts my mind and makes me ready for bed. I’ll usually switch off my pc and smartphone about an hour before bedtime to tell my brain it should start winding down. If I’m really wired, I do this even earlier in the evening. I’m also a great fan of bathtubs!
  • Physical activity and body awareness – as I said I’m far from what you would call a natural athlete (quite far actually!) but I sit in an office in front of a pc for 8-10 hours per day so I really need to move my body whenever I can. I walk to and from work (about 10 kilometres/6 miles per day). I lift heavy stuff. I ran for a while just because I enjoyed it but my knee didn’t, so I’m switching to a different kind of exercise now. Something which I’ll enjoy. Just for the fun of it. Not because I have to!
  • Reducing stress levels – I try not to work too much, not to worry too much, not to be too much of a perfectionist and to allow myself downtime every day.
  • Setting myself up for success – I listen to SSoS or other relevant podcasts on my walks. This puts me in the right frame of mind. I also try to make it as easy as possible for myself to make the right choices by always having SANE food in the house, something that can be prepared quicker than the time it will take to call for take away. I make food plans for a week at a time and get groceries delivered so I don’t have to go to the grocery store hungry and get tempted into inSANE choices.
  • Remembering that the people who mind don’t matter, and the people who matter don’t mind.  In the beginning I didn’t really tell anyone about my project. I didn’t really need that, because I did it for me and I had enough support from the SSoS podcasts and felt empowered by the scientific knowledge. I reminded myself that the people that questioned my choices would not matter, and the people that did matter wouldn’t mind as long as they understood that I’m doing this in the healthy way (and after they’d seen how much I eat and listened to my scientific explanations they stopped worrying about the possibility of an eating disorder!). I find that at this point nobody really questions my choices because they can see that what I’m doing is clearly working and making me happier and slimmer. So instead they ask for advice.

I think this is probably what makes me most happy. Being able to help others down the path towards a healthier and better life. It is not really worth anything to feel great if people around you don’t.”

 

 

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!
  • Tom Levine - Carrie, thanks for sharing Rikke’s story with us. Rikke, you are so awesome! I find lots of parallels in your journey as I had in mine, for example, I complete relate to the “enough is enough!” moment, which ultimately, catalyst you to SSOS, and these amazing, transformative changes you’ve gone through. I love your use of the word ‘global fusion’, and find this perspective to enlighten rather than restrict our culinary exploration. But mostly, I appreciate the brave, candid, and honest share! It’s important that success stands up, speaks out, and takes a leadership role in moving all of us forward, as you have done. You are an awesome role-model. Congratulations! Sincerely, TomReplyCancel

  • Kathy Pearce - Thanks so much, Carrie, for sharing Rikke’s journey – and Congratulations also to Rikke! You are so inspirational and it’s quite brave of you to share such personal experiences. Rod and I have also been on this SANE journey for a few months now. I really connected with the choices you’ve made (bullets). Hearing from you really inspires and reinforces my own enthusiasm, my own determination, and my own dedication to continue on with this healthy transformation in our lives. It also helps me remember that I’m not perfect, and this journey won’t be perfect – and that’s OK. Compared to even a few months ago we are healthier, we are happier, and we have found an entirely new group of similar souls with which to connect – so thank you for sharing your story!! You are amazing!!!ReplyCancel

  • Rikke - Thank you Tom and Kathy for your kind words :-)ReplyCancel

  • Rikke - For those of you who want to read more, please visit my blog Department of Health & Happiness where I write about living better, share recipes and much more http://wend-hartung.blogspot.co.uk/ReplyCancel

  • Helen - Inspiring. Realising what really is important in life; taking care of yourself, being kind to yourself and investing in yourself. What on earth could ever be the alternative?! If we keep it simple we keep ourselves at optimum functioning, happy and healthy inside and out! I’m in!! :-)) Thank you for sharing your story.ReplyCancel

  • Rikke - Thank you Helen :-)ReplyCancel

  • Ready to enhance your life? | Department of Health & Happiness - […] a personal level I also continuously work on becoming a healthier and happier version of me. I have come far but it is still very much work in progress and what I’ve realised it that it is all about […]ReplyCancel

When I got back from two-and-a-half weeks of gallivanting around Texas and Georgia, I came home having eaten 100% *SANE the entire time.  High off my *SANE road-trip success, I wanted to make sure I continued down the right path once I got home, so the first thing I did the morning after I landed back in Seattle was race down to the kitchen and whip up a SANE green smoothie.  Trouble was, I didn’t have any of the ingredients for my previous green smoothie recipes, so I had to make a new one up.  I didn’t mind because I haven’t made you a new smoothie flavor for the longest time, so I figured you were up for one too.

This is it. Green Smoothie - Chocolate Raspberry | Carrie Brown

It tastes like a Chocolate Raspberry Shake.  Yes, yes it does.  Plus, unlike the majority of my green smoothies – IT’S NOT GREEN – despite being packed to the gills with fabulous, fresh spinach.  You might find this one a good way to get your children or spouse on-board with the whole smoothie thing since it looks nothing like anything vaguely healthy.

That same day I also concocted SANE Baked Creamed Spinach.  This meant that in the course of two days I downed 42 oz – that’s almost 4 lbs – of fresh spinach.  That’s a lot of spinach.  I am sure my liver is wondering what the heck happened.  In a good way.

If you haven’t given a SANE green smoothie a spin yet, I implore you to start.  There are few other ways to get this much greenery inside you without even knowing it.

GO, green smoothies!

 

5.0 from 5 reviews
Green Smoothie - Chocolate Raspberry
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 5 oz / 140g fresh spinach
  • 2 oz. / 55g vanilla whey protein powder
  • ½ oz. / 15g cocoa power, unsweetened
  • 2 TBSP xylitol (I use Xyla)
  • 6 oz. / 170g frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup / 8 fl oz. boiling water
  • ½ tsp guar gum
Instructions
  1. Place the spinach, whey powder, cocoa powder, xylitol, and raspberries in the blender in the order listed.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the raspberries in the blender.
  3. Blend on high speed until completely smooth.
  4. Tap the guar gum through the hole in the blender lid while the blender is still running and blend for 10 seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!
  • Andrea - Excellent! I do this exact smoothie but with strawberries. Love it!

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  • Liz - Hi Carrie,

    I’m such a fan of yours! I have been driving my family and friends nuts for years about eating food not “food” so imagine how happy I was to discover the SSoS! I love how real you are; it makes it easier for us regular people! Anyway, do you have any ideas of big smoothie cups to take on the go? I love the big veggie filled shakes but can’t fit them in any of my cups! My husband teases me for having 3 glasses of green goodness.
    Thanks for all that you do. LizReplyCancel

  • Tabitha - Oh can’t wait to try this. Had hubby try your strawberry smoothie with frozen bananas on saturday. Happy to report he loved it. So everyone but my youngest are on the smoothie train. Thank you so much Carrie, not only for serving up amazing dishes that I enjoy but my picky eaters as well. With a family of 7 (6 since we can’t count Miss Selah yet) that is a huge feat and makes my job a little easier. ;0)ReplyCancel

  • Serena Hunt, RDN CDN - Oh…this was divineeee!!! Next time I’ll add ice to make it cold, but the rich chocolatey-ness was just what I needed!ReplyCancel

  • Emily Dove - Is there a reason for the boiling water? What if I want it cold? Can I use ice and cold water? Will it turn out well?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hey Emily :-) It will still be cold, even with the boiling water…but yes, if you want more of a soft-serve you could use ice and cold water. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Claudia - This is really great! I was out of frozen raspberries, so I had to use strawberries. Yummy! Next time, I will throw a green tea bag in my boiling water for a couple minutes before I add it to the smoothie! Thanks!!ReplyCancel

  • Liz - I’ve been eating SANE for about a year and just tried my first smoothie. Just as you and Jonathon say on your podcasts I rejected the idea of drinking my vegetables. I am a convert with this one! It tastes great. I don’t have a vita mix and could not detect the spinach when I used my blender. I tried it next with kale and found it a little chuncky. I am such a beliver in the smooties, i purchasaed a Vitamix this weekend! Can’t wait to try some of the others. Thanks Carrie!

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    • carrie - GO, Liz!!! Welcome aboard the Smoothie Train to great health and lots of green veggies :-) CONGRATS on the Vitamix, you will love it!ReplyCancel

  • Fi - Hi Carrie. I have been trying some of your smoothies, but have a couple questions. 1) I find the taste of the whey powder with the spinach always makes me feel ill, even if I add the orange/cocoa/berries etc as suggested. Am I doing something wrong? And 2) JB says we need 30g plus protein at EVERY MEAL, but if I have a smoothie for breakfast, by my reckoning I come up a bit short. Is this an issue or if I get 20-25 g is that ok? (protein is my big struggle, being a veggie, I seem to get bored of the same few protein sources -eggs, Quorn, Greek yog…). Thanks for your help! XReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Fi – what whey powder are you using? You can always add a touch more whey if you want to your smoothies if you’re keen to make sure you maximize protein synthesis. Remember though that spinach has some protein and likely the other things in the smoothie.ReplyCancel

  • Keith - I bet a handful of fresh mint would be great in this smoothie.ReplyCancel

  • Dieanna - Mmmmm….looks and sounds good, gotta give this one a try! :)ReplyCancel

  • Jude - Seriously, Carrie, ONE serve? This is enormous, and I couldn’t even finish half of it! Maybe it’s because I’m an Aussie and we measure things differently, but I did use imperial measurements just to make sure.
    Wow. Full.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Jude – it’s true – I do have a rather large appetite :-) I usually take this to work and drink over the course of the morning, or have half for breakfast and half with lunch.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - Wow! This is awesome….I just made it and am enjoying it for a mid afternoon meal. Awesome! Thanks, Carrie!!

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  • Karen - Forgot to mention that I added a TB of cacao nibs and a TB of chia seeds for some extra crunch. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Jyl - What’s the difference between using xanthan gum and guar gum? Guar gum is not readily available where I live whereas xanthan gum is.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Jyl, They are typically not interchangeable as while they both thicken, xanthan gum does not act as an emulsifier whereas guar gum does. I strongly recommend getting some online. You use very little at a time so you won’t have to order it very often. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline - How is this Dairy free with Whey Protein in it?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Jacqueline, Whey protein isolates are generally not considered dairy and can be eaten by most people who have lactose intolerance simply because there isn’t enough lactose to trigger symptoms.ReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline - Thanks for getting back to me. I find that whey does not work for me. Is there other proteins that I could use (hemp, pea, etc)?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Jacqueline – I recommend using egg white powder instead of whey. You will likely need to add some sweetener too, and maybe some vanilla essence for flavor.ReplyCancel

  • Rose - Thanks to the miracle that is guar gum, I’ve taken to making my shakes a day or two in advance for the week. Tonight was my first round with this recipe, previously I’ve focused on the Orange Creamsicle and Chocolate Peppermint smoothies. WOW this recipe is my fav all though as Carrie notes, less green. I do add some Garden of Life Raw Meal Organic (1/2 scoop) and matcha tea powder (2 TB) into the mix to hopefully up the SANEity. But yeah, this recipe is as awesome as every other recipe C has posted here! My quality of life continues to improve with SSoS and Carrie’s recipes. I’ve never cooked with almond or coconut flour and had no SANE/low carb green smoothie recipes. My kitchen counter tops have transformed… and by that I mean they are now totally crowded looking like a Carrie Shrine — the Vitamix, her soup recipe book (have the ice cream recipe book, ice cream maker purchase forthcoming) and my food scale. Having all this laid out seems to make it easier for me to get going in the multiple smoothie/soup sessions. It bothers my OCD :-D but I organize everything on the counter tops as best I can and I’m more productive and healthier as a result!!!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Rose – I LOVE this! You have found a way that works for YOU and you are incorporating it into your life. Your ROCK!!! PS. I never imagined I’d ever have a shrine, even less one with a food scale in it!!!! :-DReplyCancel

  • Rose - What I love about this recipe is the leeway it gives me with spinach. I had far too much spinach on the verge of breaking bad when I realized said spinach could be redeemed with this recipe and perhaps a tad more xylitol and raspberries to compensate.

    A few minutes later all that potentially wasted veg now exists in a chocolaty-raspberry goodness. Not only nutritionally awesome but ensures I don’t throw out veg before it is too late.

    It is the little things in life… :-D

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  • Joanne - Is there any problem leaving out the sweetener if My taste buds are happy that way? How about ground flax seed to thicken instead of the guar gum?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Joanne – no problem leaving out the sweetener if you don’t need it. Flax seed will not replace guar gum well. Guar gum does not just thicken – it also emulsifies, which flax doesn’t do. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Gigi - Wow!! My first green smoothie ever and it was great! I had been dreading trying them because the thought of drinking 5 cups of spinach didn’t sound very good. But the choc and raspberry mask it well. Delicious! Can’t believe it’s healthy.

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  • Florentino - Getting guar gum here is a nightmare…is there any easy thing that would do well instead?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - HI Florentino – I am sad you are having trouble getting guar gum. Sadly I have not found anything that does what guar gum does, or does it so well. Can you order online maybe – Amazon has it at a very reasonable price.ReplyCancel

  • 2014 Healthy Meal Plan: WEEK 4 | Half Size Me - […] Green Smoothie-Chocolate Raspberry (from Marmalade & Mile Posts) […]ReplyCancel

  • Top 10 SANE Recipes 2013 » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane - […] Green Smoothie – Chocolate Raspberry […]ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - Hi Carrie,

    I know this sounds dumb, but why BOILING water in so many of the smoothies? This, in combination with my VitaMix-maximum-horsepower blender, make the smoothies come out warm…room temp at best…so the smoothie that looks like a delicious chocolate milkshake isn’t cold when you sip it….BLEH!

    I could just suck it up and drink my greens, but the fussy child in me wants a better solution…Pour over ice? Whip in crushed ice as a last step?

    Help!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Laurie feel free to use cold water and add ice (before the guar gum) if that works better for you getting them inside you!ReplyCancel

  • Pam - Carrie – this may sound dumb – but how much is 5 oz of spinach – I no longer own my old food scale (WW days) so can you tell me in terms of cups? I want to try this but wasn’t sure how much spinach 5 oz is… THANKS for all the fun you provide on the SSOS podcasts!ReplyCancel

  • 2014 Healthy Meal Plan: WEEK 34 | Half Size Me - […] Chocolate Raspberry Green Smoothie (from Marmalade and Mileposts) […]ReplyCancel

  • Ken - Can you use frozen spinach instead of fresh? Easier to keep ingredients on hand…ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Yes, Ken! Frozen is fine. Blending it s lot more difficult so you’ll definitely want to use that hot water. Freezing the spinach does make keeping it on had a lot easier.ReplyCancel

Gosh.  I had no idea I was going to get the reaction that I did when I innocently posted a casual shot of my pre-baked creamed spinach on Facebook last night.  Yikes.  I used to get that reaction in my pre-Bailor life when I posted cupcakes, but spinach??  Who knew.  Everyone wants creamed spinach it seems.

I’ve written about my dodgy history with spinach before.  Given my early hatred of the green stuff, that I even contemplated creating a SANE Creamed Spinach is bizarre miraculous.  The contemplation happened while I was Atlanta this last week.  I made my now-annual trip to Ruth’s Chris to eat lamb chops and a double serve of creamed spinach, and enjoyed it so much I decided I wanted to eat creamed spinach more often than once a year.  That decision required me to create a SANE version.  So I did.  Little did I know that lovely SSoS’ers the world over were also anxious for it. Baked Creamed Spinach  |  Carrie Brown

As soon as I got back to Seattle, and after a good nights sleep, I legged it down to the grocery store to buy a ridiculous amount of fresh, green spinach goodness.  Plus an onion.  Then I set to work.

As if 2lbs of spinach and a splash of coconut weren’t enough, I added some whipped egg whites to amp up the *SANEity, and conjured up a soufflé-style version that really rocked my world.  It is thick, creamy, and entirely delicious.  I don’t mean to brag, but I liked it even more than Ruth Chris’ regular version.  No, really.  More flavor and a thicker consistency.  We love that. Baked Creamed Spinach | Carrie Brown

Like my Green Smoothie recipes, you can cram a spectacular amount of veggies into your body with this recipe.  Great veggies.  Veggies that will make your body absurdly happy.  Veggies that will support your health and fat-loss goals like nothing else.

This stuff is even good cold the next day.  Or re-heated.  I know – in a very rare occurrence – I had leftovers.  Even I can’t eat 2lbs of spinach and 1lb of onions in one sitting.  Well, I expect I could’ve done had I not also had a fantastic grass-fed steak on my plate to polish off.

If you are not a spinach lover, I urge you to try this once and see if your taste buds can’t persuade you to change your mind.  Creamed Spinach is what did it for me.  I just wish I hadn’t waited so long.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Baked Creamed Spinach
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 - 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2lb / 900g fresh spinach
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1lb / 450g onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp konjac flour / glucomannan powder
  • 2 cups / 1 pint unsweetened thin coconut milk
  • ¼ cup / 2 fl oz heavy (double) cream (optional but delicious)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 egg whites
Instructions
  1. Place the spinach In a large lidded pan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until completely wilted.
  2. Drain spinach well and chop finely.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in the pan, add the chopped onions and cook until transparent.
  4. Place the konjac flour In a small bowl and quickly whisk in 1 cup of the coconut milk.
  5. Add the knojac milk mixture to the pan and stir into the onions until the mixture has thickened.
  6. Stir in the other cup of coconut milk, cream, sea salt and pepper, ground nutmeg, and chopped spinach, and stir well until completely mixed.
  7. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until the egg whites are ready to add.
  8. Whisk the egg whites on high until very stiff.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly and carefully fold in the stiff egg whites.
  10. Tip the spinach mixture into an ovenproof dish and place in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes until the top has just started to brown.

Baked Creamed Spinach | Carrie Brown

 

 

 

 

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!
  • Shelley - Your green smoothies do it for me!ReplyCancel

  • Stefanie - I don’t love spinach but sound interesting enough to try! Do you know if trader Joes sells konjac flour?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Stefanie – I am sure that TJs does NOT sell Konjac flour. I get mine online, but have seen it at Super Supplements. It is generally found in the vitamin departments. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Sheena - This recipe looks awesome. Would it work with frozen spinach that has been thawed out?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Sheena – I think it would, but I would thaw and drain it well before using. Enjoy!ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - I had all the ingredients on hand so I made this for dinner tonight! It’s absolutely delicious! I LOVE spinach but don’t normally like creamed spinach because it’s too rich but this was perfect with just a touch of cream. I do think I under-seasoned my spinach mixture and next time will add a little more salt. I also “gilded the lily” with a sprinkling of grated guyere on top before I popped it in the oven. I think this will be a weekly staple at my house. Thanks, Carrie!

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    • carrie - Mmmmm, Cheryl – cheese! :-) So glad you loved this – your body will thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - Is there a replacement for konjac powder?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Jill, Konjac flour is the replacement for cornstarch or regular flour. If you are not avoiding starches you can use either one of those, although you will need to use a larger amount. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Pamala - WOW…just finished your creamed spinach. It was great. I should confess…I modified the recipe due to not having all the ingredients required and yet it was still so good. Added argula with spinach, used flax meal in place of konjac flour and skipped the optional cream. Oh and I “baked” on cooktop in dutch oven. Thank you for the idea. Will definitely make again.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Pamala – so glad you loved it! I would encourage you to get some konjac flour in your pantry – it really is awesome. Thanks for taking time to write a note.ReplyCancel

  • T4B 014: Thermomix Lunch Menu and 'Pantry Basics'... Linseeds! - The 4 Blades - […] go with this, was a side of baked creamed spinach which we didn’t use the Thermie for. However, the recipe called for a stiff egg white which is so […]ReplyCancel

  • Green Smoothie – Chocolate Raspberry » Carrie Brown | Living a SANE Life - […] same day I also concocted SANE Baked Creamed Spinach.  This meant that in the course of two days I downed 42 oz – that’s almost 4 lbs […]ReplyCancel

  • Gigi - What is “thin coconut milk?” Is this the canned coconut milk in the supermarket? If not, where would I find it? thanks!

    This recipe looks yummy, I want to try it.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - HI Gigi – thin coconut milk comes in a carton and is usually with the almond and other nut milks at the grocery store. It is think like cows milk but whiter. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - Hi Carrie. Your baked creamed spinach dish looks amazing. I can’t wait to make it. I remember years and years ago I use to buy Stouffer’s frozen spinach soufflé
    and couldn’t get enough of it. This looks like a healthy alternative. I was wondering if I could use something else other than konjac flour.
    Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Nancy – Konjac flour is by far the best substitute that I have found for cornstarch or wheat flour for thickening. I highly recommend that you get some for your pantry as you’ll be using it often :-) You could try using garbanzo bean flour but the taste and texture won’t be as goodReplyCancel

  • Helen - Hi Carrie could you use ground almond instead of konjac flour??ReplyCancel

I think it only right that I give you some context before I embark whole-heartedly on this post, because it’s about steak, and steak and I had a pretty rocky start to our relationship.

I grew up in England where no one has the slightest idea how to cook a steak.  Either that, or the cows in England are just much better at producing fantastic dairy produce than they are large slabs of delicious, juicy, tender meat.  Well, that’s how it was when I lived there – things may have changed in the steak department since I left over 12 years ago.  Once I’d absconded to this side of the pond, however, I quickly noticed that the cows here produced amazing chunks of meat, but terrible dairy products.  Maybe it’s just how cows are wired; you can have one or the other – great meat or great dairy – but not both.

I never ate steak in England.  Ever.  I think I must have done so once and the experience was so horrible I never repeated it.  Mysteriously, and shortly after I moved stateside, I decided – for reasons completely unknown to me – to order a steak at a team dinner in Kirkland.  I remember that first mouthful of meat as if it was yesterday.  It was incredible.  I never knew beef could taste like that.  I never knew steak could have the consistency of soft butter.  I never knew meat could melt in your mouth.  I never knew that a simple piece of cow could taste so divine.  I instantly became a steak lover.  Now I eat steak at any given opportunity.  Well, great steak that is – I’ve become pretty picky about my steaks.

So a few weeks back when those lovely folks over at Marx Foods in Seattle dropped me a note asking me if they could give me some of their New Zealand grass-fed steak to see what I thought of it, I was all, “Me! Me! Pick me!!”  They did.

Being given two fabulous grass-fed steaks forced me to figure out how to cook steak perfectly without a grill.  Hey, I’m a single girl.  I ain’t going to wheel that hulking great grill out of the garage, hook up the propane, and fire it up for 4 minutes just to cook one steak.  So I now know how to cook a perfect steak indoors without all that grilling drama.  You’re welcome.

The deal was I had to do a side-by-side comparison of Marx Food’s New Zealand Grass-fed Steak against a regular steak from my local grocery store.  I decided to compare it – not with a really regular steak – but with a steak that has a reputation around these parts as being the cat’s meow.  That meant all-natural meat raised with no hormones, and fed a 100% vegetarian diet.  But it still wasn’t grass-fed.  There’s a difference, lovely people, there really is.

To make it as fair as possible, I cooked the New York Strips in exactly the same way.  In fact, I cooked them alongside each other in the same pan at the same time.  I even bought the other steak to match as closely as possible in size and thickness, so any discrepancies were absolutely minimal.  You know me – I’m an all-or-nothing kinda gal.  This was going to be a proper test, or not at all.

Just looking at them raw you could see a difference – the grass-fed was brighter, redder, and softer.  Once cooked the grass-fed steak was springier to the touch, and juicier – it took a lot longer for the juices to start oozing out after they had finished cooking.  On eating, the grass-fed meat itself was more tender, and juicier; the opposing steak being tougher and drier.  Understand that the other steak was not at all dry – it was still very tender and juicy, just not as much as the grass-fed piece – and by a noticeable amount.  The grain-fed was steak was chewier, where the grass-fed steak yielded easily to my hungry gnashers.  The flavor was also different – the grass-fed having a deeper, more complex, almost gamey taste, while the grain-fed did not have the same depth of flavor at all; the grain-fed was definitely steak, but not one that made me want to eat another one immediately.  I could have eaten that grass-fed scrumptiousness all night long. Grass-fed v. grain-fed steak  |  Carrie Brown

{Grain-fed on left, grass-fed on right}

Apart from the differences in texture and flavor I found between these two steaks, there’s a whole bunch of other reasons that the Bailornator and I will always choose grass-fed over grain-fed beef whenever we can.  There’s a lot going on inside that cow that you can’t see or taste.  I could type for days about cows raised on hormone-laced corn and standing knee-deep in their own waste for months on end, but I am just going to stick to the health benefits of grass-fed.  I like focusing on the positive.

Grass-fed cows chomp on rich green grass packed with those fabulous Omega-3s all day long.  All that Omega-3 goodness gets passed right along to us when we eat it, providing an Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio of 3:1, which is significantly better than the 20:1 found in the average American diet.  This 3:1 ratio  has been shown to help prevent high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, triglycerides, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases

Grass-fed beef also contains 300-500 times more CLA than grain-fed beef.  CLA is the powerful polyunsaturated fat called Conjugated Linoleic Acid.  CLA has been proven to fight cancer in many studies, and is also sold as a fat burner.  The best forms of CLA are found in grass-fed beef, wild game, and lamb.

Finally, not that we’re counting, but 4oz of grass-fed beef has 100 fewer calories than it’s grain-fed counterpart, and is also higher in B-vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  If you can, I thoroughly recommend buying grass-fed beef whenever you can.  Not only will your taste buds thank you, but so will your body.

And without further ado, here’s how to cook a perfect steak indoors without a grill.

Beef, it’s what’s for dinner!

 

4.0 from 1 reviews
Steak (without a grill)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Coconut oil
  • Steak
  • Sea salt and pepper to season
Instructions
  1. Remove steak from 'fridge 2 hours before cooking to bring to room temperature, keeping covered.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
  3. Season the steak on each side with sea salt and ground black pepper.
  4. Place coconut oil in a skillet (make sure it has an ovenproof handle) and heat on high until very hot.
  5. When the oil has started to steam, carefully lower steaks into pan and cook for 1 minute on each side.
  6. Place the skillet in the oven and close the door.
  7. Cook for 3 to 7 more minutes depending how you like your steak.
  8. Rare: 3 minutes
  9. Medium rare: 5 minutes
  10. Medium: 7 minutes
  11. Carefully remove pan from over using oven mitts - remember the handle is now 400F!!
  12. Let the steak rest for 2 minutes before serving.

Grass-fed v. grain-fed steak | Carrie Brown

PS. If it was not already clear in this post – Marx Foods provided me two steaks free of charge in order to conduct this comparison.  The other steak I purchased myself.  The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and not in any way biased towards Marx Foods.  I don’t lie in order to get free steak.

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!
  • Gary J Moss - Carrie, could you possibly use the same technique for steak as you do for a pork chop using your method — eliminating the coconut oil and placing the steak in a hot, dry pan?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - I don’t know, Gary. I took my lead from a chef, and it worked. I rarely eat steak at home so won’t have the opportunity to test it dry for a while.ReplyCancel

  • MargieAnne - Yay for NZ beef. We do it well most times.

    My Dad was a cattle and sheep farmer and we grew up on the best, often home killed. That meant we pretty much ate head to tail.

    I’ve never asked but I think it might be hard to find corn fed beef here.

    Of course the best beef comes from farms where they are not overloaded with chemicals, ie, organic but organic farmers are thin on the ground. Our beef and lamb meats are good but we have a long way to go to get most of our pork from happy pigs. Our dairy is superb if you can get away from low fat versions. It’s hard to find anyone selling raw milk …. very big No, NO here since TB was once a serious factor. Most dairy herds are still tested because there are wild animal, (possum), carriers. Chickens and eggs are a bit of a sad story. You have to search for truly free range and SuperMarket labels do not indicate just how free range the animals are. Finding a local source is best but not often possible.

    I’d love my next home to have space for a chickens as well as good soil for growing my own veggies. Most places we can grow something outside all year, especially silverbeet, (Swiss Chard).
    On the whole our food is good. It is easy to eat paleo and whole, real foods but it’s not cheap. We can eat for less in USA, except Hawaii, which seems crazy to us. It has a lot to do with being a small nation on the edge of the world, small population and high costs such as petrol, (gas). Do not fall over with shock when you read this. We now pay the equivalent of around $9.00 gal thanks to our crazy taxes.

    Farmer’s Markets usually tend to be on the boutique end with higher prices but lots of fun.

    Americans should be flocking to New Zealand to enjoy our beautiful country and pastured meat from animals living freely in our green paddocks, as nature intended.

    Thank-you for trying our beef steak and giving it a thumbs up.

    BlessingsReplyCancel

    • carrie - You’re welcome, MargieAnne! So good to have you here from NZ!!ReplyCancel

  • Gary J Moss - New Zealand lamb is available in some supermarkets here in New England, but I haver never seen New Zealand beef anywhere on the east coast.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - It doesn’t need to be from New Zealand, Gary, it just needs to be grass-fed. Also, I didn’t see why pork chops needed to be cooked differently to any other meat, but they do – if you want them to be super juicy that is. You learn something new every day! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Gary J Moss - Carrie, I don’t see why a beef steak would be very different from a pork chop in the pan, so I will simply try it sometime this week and let you know.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Hi Carrie, I enjoy reading your posts, find them interesting, but I’m still having problems cooking with coconut oil. I’ve tried several different brands, but still can clearly taste coconut and I’m only using around a tablespoon. Where am I going wrong??

    PS every coconut oil I’ve bought is more coconut fat, it is in a tub and certainly doesn’t poor as you would expect an oil to. Is yours the same?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Sarah – I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. The two coconut oils I have used have been tasteless, so I *think* it’s just a case of you finding one that works for you. Coconut Oil is liquid when it’s warm, but more solid (white) when it’s cooler.ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - Just for the record, you can buy good steak everywhere in England now. I cook my steak in a hot griddle pan and just put salt and pepper on it. I usually use thin steaks because they are a lot more tender.ReplyCancel

  • Nick - I did this and it turned out pretty well, however, my whole kitchen gets quite smokey when I do this even with the fan on and a window open. (the pan is clean, the oven is clean). Is this normal? Anyway to reduce the smoke?
    ThanksReplyCancel

    • carrie - Nick, I would turn the heat down a touch and see if that helps. Mine did not smoke much this time. Are you using coconut oil or some other oil?ReplyCancel

  • Sigi - @Sarah – I’m with you; the taste/smell of unrefined coconut oil makes me gag, and ruins food as far as I’m concerned. But you can get organic refined coconut oil which is completely tasteless – just make sure it’s mechanically refined (expeller pressed) rather than chemically refined. I believe it still has the same good cooking qualities and MCTs.
    And yes, unless you live in a warm climate, coconut oil is very solid. It suddenly turns to liquid at around 24-25 deg C. I’ve been in shops where the CO on the bottom shelf is white and solid, and up on the higher shelves (i.e. in the warmer part of the room) is clear and liquid – hilarious.ReplyCancel

  • cowgirl rae - YAY! Carrie likes grass finished beef. There is a difference in flavor and quality and NUTRITION!
    Having produced my own beef, pork and chicken and eggs most of my adult life, it always amuses me when people object to the flavor of natural meats, calling it gamey or off….. well people that’s how it’s SUPPOSED to taste!

    Carrie are you using naturally fed free ranging farm raised chicken eggs?
    If not why?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - I have no good answer to your question, Cowgirl. I just buy whatever eggs are at TJs. MUST. TRY. HARDER. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - I’m US Midwestern girl, born & bred and I know my steaks. But I’ll second Kerry’s comment that you can buy great steaks in the UK. In fact, most UK beef is grass-fed (even from the supermarkets). There are also some fabulous, small organic producers selling very high quality meat.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - I am thrilled to know you can get good steaks in England now! I’ve been away too long :-)ReplyCancel

  • MooseGeorge - Carrie,

    I HIGHLY recommend getting a grill. It adds a lot to the flavor of the beef.

    But even if you don’t, here’s another beef tip. When you pull the beef off the fire, coat it in butter before letting it set the 2 minutes. Trust me. :)ReplyCancel

  • SierraSun - I cook my steak both on the Foreman grill and in a pan. When I cook it in a pan – I start by sauteing garlic in butter and then adding the steak, which has been salted and peppered. It’s yummy.

    I do have to agree, the grass-fed beef is better than any beef I’ve ever had before.

    ReplyCancel

  • Baked Creamed Spinach » Carrie Brown | Living a SANE Life - […] and 1lb of onions in one sitting.  Well, I expect I could’ve done had I not also had a fantastic grass-fed steak on my plate to polish […]ReplyCancel

  • Drew Thompson - Hi Carrie:

    In my opinion the best way to cook a steak without a grill is Sous Vide and then a quick minute on each side in a frying pan. This way the whole thickness of the steak is medium rare not just the bit in the middle:

    http://www.cutcookeat.com/foodblog/?p=261

    cheers
    DrewReplyCancel

Ah, cheese sauce.

If only you knew how many pints of cheese sauce I’ve made trying to find the perfect alternative to a regular inSANE one for you.  Luckily, cheese sauce is like crack to me, so my mouth has been very happy to participate in this endeavor.

I wrote about the happy day it all went down here, but I’ve had several requests to post the basic Cheese Sauce recipe.

Your wish is my command.

 

Cheese Sauce
Author: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 pint
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp. konjac flour / glucomannan powder
  • 2 cups / 1 pint milk (whatever mik you prefer - coconut (SANEst), almond, hemp, cows...)
  • 5 oz / 140g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1½ TBSP white wine vinegar (do not leave this out!)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Put the konjac flour in a small bowl.
  2. Using a small whisk, add 1 cup of milk to the bowl and immediately whisk quickly to disperse the flour thoroughly.
  3. Pour into a pan and cook over medium heat, stirring thoroughly and continuously until the sauce thickens.
  4. Add the other 1 cup of milk and stir well.
  5. Stir the cheese into the sauce, and continue stirring until completely melted.
  6. Add the white wine vinegar and stir well.
  7. Remove sauce from the heat and pour over whatever you fancy.

 

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!
  • Pat - Please post a picture when you can. I would like to see what yours looks like. Thanks…ReplyCancel

  • Pat - What list? Lol thanksReplyCancel

  • Sally - Carrie, is there a substitute for konjac flour? I have had unpleasant reaction to the konjac.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Sally – you could use garbanzo bean flour or guar gum, but you won’t get the same great result. It’s a bummer that you reacted to konjac because it’s so useful for so many things.ReplyCancel

  • Drew Thompson - Hi Carrie:

    The Modernist method is to use sodium citrate:

    http://modernistcuisine.com/recipes/melty-queso-dip/

    I have used it to make cauliflower cheese and it works a treat – so smooth.

    cheers
    drewReplyCancel

  • Debbie Huewe - Hi Carrie,Would arrowroot or ? work well? I am looking for something I have on hand. I’d have to order the konjac flour from Amazon.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Debbie – arrowroot is a starch like cornstarch, so would make your sauce inSANE. Konjac is the absolute best SANE thickener I have found for sauces like this.ReplyCancel