Sunday was a most spectacular day in my little corner of the world when Mr. McHenry wandered up the bed and perched on my chest, purring and squeaking “hello”, as is his want once he feels me stir in the mornings.

Through the window I could see a sparklingly clear, deep – almost cobalt – sky, the rooftops on the sunny side glistening in the sunshine, the heavy frost clinging stubbornly to the rooftops on the other.  From my supine position under a big, fat duvet and a fluffy white cat, it looked like summer.  While most of America has been in the grip of an arctic blast, we West coast dwellers have enjoyed an unseasonably dry, bright, and sunny winter, and I am not disappointed about that in the slightest.  It’s true I am sad for the Eastern seaboard and the big flat bit in the middle, but I admit I am enjoying seeing the wintry sun shining up here in February.

Due to a little scheduling snafu involving family in Spokane – and I suspect a little thing called The Super Bowl – one of my breakfast buddies asked to be rearranged to another date for our Big Breakfast Adventure.  I was a trifle disappointed since we had planned on eating my favorite breakfast of all time – Octopus Hash at Lola – but given that I’d still be able to get my octopus on next month, I quickly came up with a new escapade:  a trip to my Happy Place – Café Presse on Capitol Hill – where I have eaten so many times I have lost count.  It’s great food done right, and I suppose you could say I cheated a little, since I knew in advance exactly what I was going to order and exactly how *SANE it would be, so this was hardly an “adventure” in the true sense of the word; more of a homecoming.  I hope you don’t mind.

This whole town was in a complete dither this weekend.  The Seattle Seahawks made the championship and for the last two weeks it’s been fever-pitch around here.  I almost cried when I saw the pictures of the thousands of fans lining the streets to send them off to New York for the Super Bowl last weekend.  Seattle has been a city completely in love with their team, pulling together in a way it’s been awesome to experience.  I love the exuberance and all-in-ness that is the Seahawks 12th Man.  There was a 7000-person 12th Man “flag” created on the Microsoft playing field, the Space Needle was lit up in Seahawks colors, there was a sea of green-and-blue nails, cupcakes, and beer cans, and skittles at every turn.  It almost made me wish I understood football and had a TV.  Almost.  I cheered them on in my heart and that’s what matters.

I pulled on some clean and comfy jeans, found some soft, thick socks, and picked out a green sweater.  It wasn’t the right shade of green, but paired with blue denim it was as 12th Man as I could muster for the big game day.  Go HAWKS!!!

As I strolled through Café Presse’s door I spied my favorite spot at the counter in the window, as if it was waiting just for me.  I plonked myself down with a contented grin and exchanged “Isn’t it a beautiful day!” pleasantries with the lady two stools down, before she went back to her non-GMO shopping booklet and a large dish of baked eggs.  A woman after my own heart.

Soon enough, along came a pot of peppermint tea, and as luck would have it, I was unsuccessful in trying to inhale the piping hot liquid into my right lung, but it was a close call.  I sat with my face to the sun and thought about all the good things in life.

Cafe Presse  |  Carrie Brown

Shortly thereafter came *SANEity on two plates – no substitutions or alterations required!  At Café Presse, if you choose wisely, there’s SANEity right there on the menu, staring at you and cooing softly.  My only request was that they not bring the baguette with the baked eggs.  Sometimes if the devil is right there in front of you it can be hard to ignore.
Cafe Presse  |  Carrie Brown

Have you ever seen such a splendid looking plate of lettuce?  A fresh butter lettuce – oh how I love butter lettuce! – drizzled with hazelnut vinaigrette and a smattering of fresh hazelnuts.  For breakfast?  Yeah, baby!  It was magnificent in its simplicity and outstanding in the taste department.  I didn’t miss the piece of French bread in the slightest.  My taste buds were far more interested in the softness of the lettuce, tang of vinegar, and the crunch of the nuts.
Cafe Presse  |  Carrie Brown

Then there were the Baked Eggs – two generous pieces of ham, two eggs and a thin layer of Gruyère cheese.  I chowed down, filled up and washed it all down with two pots of peppermint tea and some water.  Satisfaction guaranteed.

Kevin, the impossibly polite, purple-haired young man serving me, offered the dessert menu, and even knowing from my pre-SANE days how fine their French desserts are, I was – dare I say it – too full for dessert.  JB – you are with me wherever I go!

After a glorious *SANE breakfast I headed over to Alki Beach to delight in the beauty of Seattle on a sunny day.  I sat for a while and pondered all the things that I am so very grateful for.  I soaked in the warmth of the sun through the glass of the sunroof and silently thanked the world at large for everything that I have – a sure way to continue the good feelings generated by my scrumptious breakfast feast.

Feeling good is important.  Really important.  It will help you in all areas of your life, including your journey to *SANEity.

Whatever makes you feel good – do more of that.




*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!
  • Lynne - Right on! Do more of what makes you feel good. The best bit of advice I’ve heard so far this year, maybe ever. Carrie, thank you for EVERYTHING you share here. I am in love with your smoothie recipes (cashew pear is heavenly), your podcasts are fun and inspiring. I’ve been going SANE gradually for 6 months. Weight is the same (135) but TWO sizes smaller in pants. Unbelievable.ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - It was crazy around here during Super Bowl time, wasn’t it?! I loved every minute of it, the whole town was so hyped up. We even went to the parade and it was amazing! I guess that’s not really what your post is about, but still, it reminded me of that awesome time-I think some people are still living it! Anyway, love seeing where you go for breakfasts, gives me some ideas of places to try-and if your “dates” ever have to cancel again, look me up, I’d be happy to go with you! ;) Thanks for all your great recipes and posts!ReplyCancel

As I suspect most good – and by ‘good’ I mean mostly conscientious and consistent – bloggers do, I usually feel somewhat obligated to write some kind of New Year post.  As luck would have it, this year – or maybe I mean last year? – in the wee, wee hours of New Years Eve my head exploded into a scream-inducing headache of migrainous proportions which required a trip to the local ER and several shots of sleep-inducing liquids which turned out to be quite lovely in comparison.  The rest of New Years Eve went down in a stream of semi-consciousness that was only briefly interrupted by a bevy of fireworks and hip-hip-hooraying at midnight from my neighbors.  When I awoke from my drug-laden slumber at some point on New Years Day, and stumbled down the stairs, all thoughts of welcoming 2014 in via my blog had been eradicated in a haze of painkillers.

But really, you know, that’s not a bad thing, because this whole SANE lifestyle isn’t something that was designed to go on a list of resolutions that come out once a year and are forgotten about by February.  No sirree!  *SANEity is to be embraced as an all-singing, all dancing way of life, because who doesn’t want to just live better – all year round?

So aside from the fact that it is now almost the end of January and New Years Resolutions would be a little ridiculous at this point,  I decided instead to focus on just one word this year: EMBRACE.

Here’s a few things that would be great to embrace on your journey to *SANEity.  Some will be easy to embrace, others not so much; we’re creatures of habit and change can be hard – even when the results are good.  All change towards a SANEr life is all good.

  • EMBRACE the real truth about all those calorie myths we’ve been slaves to for the past few decades.  If you haven’t picked up a copy of Jonathan’s book, The Calorie Myth, yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.  In it he lays out why so much of what we’ve been told about dieting and exercise has led us down all the wrong paths to all the places we didn’t want to go.  This is your “why”.


  • EMBRACE eating smarter.  Grab the Eat Smarter! Smoothies and Sides, Eat Smarter! Soups, and Eat Smarter! Ice Creams SANE cookbooks crammed with scrumptious recipes.  These are your “how”.  Between them they cover a basic SANE day: smoothie for breakfast, soup for lunch, grilled protein and sides for dinner, ice cream for dessert – all the basics are covered to get you off on the right track.  Why do I *really* want you to buy my cookbooks?  The same reason as I wrote them: because they will help you reach your goals faster, easier, cheaper, and more deliciously.  Smarter food can be super-delicious and you won’t feel in the lest deprived.
  • EMBRACE more sleep.  Great sleep is critical to great health.  Hit the snooze instead of getting up to go run!  If you’re not getting 7 hours a night you’re robbing yourself of health.  Put sleep at the top of your to-do list every day!


  • EMBRACE eating healthy fats.  Healthy fats such as coconut, nuts, avocado, cocoa, eggs, fish, meat should be eaten in abundance to keep your brain and body functioning at it’s best.  Fat does not make us fat, and in fact, healthy fats make us healthier and leaner.  Embrace the good fats and eat your fill.
  • EMBRACE veggies.  Eating an abundance of non-starchy veggies really is one of the best things you can do for your health.  One of the few things that everyone in the health profession and every lifestyle can agree on.


  • EMBRACE exercising less.  You don’t need to spend hours getting in shape every week.  Exercising smarter allows you to get your body in shape with a fraction of the time.  Think of all the other fun things you can do with that time!
  • EMBRACE eating more.  You don’t need to eat less food to maintain a healthy weight.  Eat more of the right foods and you’ll be slim without ever being hungry.


  • EMBRACE drinking water.  If you don’t care for the taste of plain water (guilty!), drink herbal teas like peppermint, or add a splash of lemon or lime juice.  Whatever you need to do to drink more water, just do it!
  • EMBRACE green tea.  If you don’t care for the taste of green tea (guilty!), add 4 teabags of leaves to your morning smoothie and get the same benefit.


  • EMBRACE getting rid of your bathroom scale.  You body scale does not serve you well as a measure of progress, and may encourage you to fall off the wagon when the number doesn’t go down, even when the results are clearly showing in other ways.  Down with body scales!  If you need to measure something measure your waist, your chest and your neck every week or two.
  • EMBRACE non-scale victories.  Tightening the belt buckle, wearing smaller clothes, feeling energetic, glowing skin, reduction in aches and pains, no bloated feeling – just a handful of the signs that your body is getting healthier.  Look for the signs that your body is healing without caring about what it weighs!


  • EMBRACE success.  Be ready – mentally and emotionally – to enjoy the new you!
  • EMBRACE community.  Subscribe to this blog (in the left hand menu bar) to keep SANE content coming right to your door when you need support, or inspiration, tips and tricks, or a scrumptious new recipe to help you keep going in the right direction.  Connect on Facebook to get some SANEity in your newsfeed, and join the SANE and ECCENTRIC Facebook Community to get ideas, share stories, and celebrate success with other people sharing similar health goals to you.  Staying connected *REALLY* helps.  Make use of these fabulous free resources!


What will you EMBRACE this year that will make the most positive difference to your life?



*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!
  • Roxanne - Thank you, Carrie, for your inspiring words. I was feeling a little discouraged this morning, but your post reminded me to look at the positive health changes I have experienced: no more IBS, free of fibromyalgia pain, and a flat stomach. My family doesn’t agree with the changes I’ve made, but having support from the internet community helps me to stay the course.ReplyCancel

  • Allison - I love this! The first bullet point was my “ah ha” over the weekend. I’m now OFF sugar and carbs COMPLETELY (day 4) and at first I was like “wah wah wah, why me? Why do I have to deprive myself of good food?” and then I realized that it’s not that I now have to deprive myself of what everyone else gets, it’s that the role of food in my life up til this point has been wrong. Food isn’t supposed to create fireworks in your brain each and every bite. It’s supposed to sustain you, give you energy, give you life. But not give you a high every day, all day. So my new mantra is “It’s not that I now am deprived of food that makes me feel happy, it’s that food was never supposed to. We were wrong this whole time”. Not to say that we can’t have good food without sugar, but we all know it doesn’t always create the same reaction, especially at first. But your recipes are helping bridge the gap! Cheesy biscuits for president!ReplyCancel

  • Memy - Hi Carrie,
    Every morning I wake up and the first thing I do is stick in my ipod to listen to Paleo podcasts. This acts as a bit of “backbone starch” to get me over the “but I’ve always had oatmeal” hump. This morning’s podcast was a guy complaining about how his family doesn’t “get” his paleo lifestyle. I haven’t heard that much wingeing since I was a vegan! Then, with my home-made bullet proof coffee in hand, I sat down to check email’s and your lovely Embrace! was right on top of the stack. It was positive and funny (except for the ER trip, poor you!) and empowering. It was a wonderful reminder of all the aspects that make Paleo living a bright light in the vast dark world of nutrition. THIS is what I needed to put my day right again.
    Thank you. Hugs, MemyReplyCancel

  • Ellen - Once again, you hit the nail on the head! Thanks for the reminders. I read them tonight, just before going into “weekend mode”. I will make sure to hit the grocery store on the way home from work so that my weekend will be sane and healthy. I will do this for me!
    Keep that positive energy coming, girlfriend!ReplyCancel

Yes, yes, I know.  I expect for most of you 2013 is a rapidly fading memory already, but before it disappears entirely from view I wanted to share last years Top 10 most popular SANE recipes and Top 5 most popular non-recipe posts.  I think it will be a good place to start for all you lovely new readers who have joined in the last few weeks since Jonathan’s book burst onto the New York Times Bestsellers List.

For me, 2013 was an interesting year: I changed day jobs twice and bosses thrice – not an approach I recommend although it certainly added some color, not to mention drama, to the proceedings; I travelled to California, Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia;  JB and I reached over 2 million listeners on our Smarter Science of Slim Show; Mr. McHenry joined the Brown house; JB and I shot a two-day creativeLive Smarter Science of Slim workshop, and I published my first 3 SANE cookbooks.  Phew.  I was also diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder, but decided early on that I wasn’t going to let any silly old chemical imbalance take me down.

All things considered, it was a most fantastic year and a wildly exciting year and a most exhausting year all at the same time.  Some of the very best bits of 2013 were brought about by you, and I thank you – hand on heart – for all your support and cheering and love and laughter that you add to my life.  There were a few times when you totally pulled me through, and at the risk of sounding a little sappy, I heart you.  2013 would not have been half the year it was without you in it.  Thank you.

It seems you lovely readers were all about breakfasts and snacks in 2013 – SANEity on the go was what you needed – if the Top 10 most popular recipe posts were anything to go by.

2012-10-21 Green Smoothie - Strawberry and Avocado-4981

Green Smoothie – Strawberry Milkshake

2012-11-3 Hot Seed Cereal-5088

Hot and Nutty Cereal

2012-11-4 Dark Chocolate Espresso Cookies-5100

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cookies

2013-5-25 Pork Chops-7470

How To Cook A Pork Chop

2013-6-16 Peanut Butter Ice Cream-7852

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

2013-7-20 Green Smoothie - Chocolate Raspberry-8185

Green Smoothie – Chocolate Raspberry

2012-10-28 Cheesy Scones (Biscuits)-5034

Cheesy Scones (Biscuits)

2013-2-10 Cranberry Almond Protein Bars-6003

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars

2013-5-27 Lemon Shortbread Cookies-7567

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

2012-12-9 Chocolate Yogurt Supreme-5563

Chocolate Yogurt Supreme


And then there were the most popular non-recipe posts of the year, which don’t have pretty pictures but do offer up oodles of tips and tricks on living a SANE life.


Top 10 SANE Recipes of 2012 – proof if any were needed that “Top 10″ posts are well-read and useful!

Smarter Science of Slim / The Calorie Myth ——>> Start Here! – a great page to get you started if you’re new to what SANE means and how to do it.

What are those strange ingredients and where do I get them? – ah those strange ingredients.  Soon you’ll be wondering how you ever cooked great food without them!

It Can Be One Hell Of A Struggle – a lot of you found this post resonated with your own or a loved one’s journey.  Living SANE doesn’t exempt us from trials along the way!

8 Tricks That Make Being SANE At Home Easy – half the battle is won if your home is on your side.


What was your favorite SANE recipe of 2013?  What tip helped you the most to stay SANE?




*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!
  • Ingrid - Hi Carrie, I stumbled upon your and Bailor’s Calorie Myth podcasts about two months ago, and from there I have been submersing myself in all of it — your recipes, the websites, older podcasts, blogs, and now the Calorie Myth book. I want to thank you for your energy, which is truly contagious. Also, you openness and authenticity, and human-ness. Truly admirable characteristics that you bring to this whole movement of uncovering the simple(ish!) truths about eating and exercising and life. Not to mention, your creativity. Such beautiful creations with wholesome, healthy food! I would love to ramble on and ask a ton of questions, but mostly I wanted to thank! Your energy is truly contagious. I am grateful. Best, IngridReplyCancel

    • carrie - Ingrid, thank you! You made my day – it is great to hear that my work resonates with people and even helps them. It’s why I do what I do :-)ReplyCancel

  • Erin - I can’t believe your leek and cauliflower soup is not in this top 10 list. So simple, yet so divine. I have shared that recipe maybe 10 times now. Never any leftovers. Thanks for creating so many yummy SANE foods. :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - I have read the Calorie Myth and listened to a couple of the podcasts. I love the Chocolate Yogurt Supreme!ReplyCancel

  • Top SANE Recipes 2014 » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane - […] Super fascinating to me this year is that the Top SANE Recipes of 2014 are almost identical to the Top SANE Recipes of 2013.  Now that may be because I wasn’t able to do a lot of recipe developing this year and […]ReplyCancel

When I started this blog a month shy of 4 years ago, little did I know what it would one day become; we can all thank Mr. Bailor for the switch from it being the #2 food blog in Seattle for restaurant reviews – known as The Big Breakfast Adventure – to recipes and tips for living a SANE lifestyle.  Much as I enjoyed creating my blog in it’s first iteration, it’s re-birth as a SANE recipe blog is my dream-come-true, my lifetime nirvana, my joy, and my passion.  I’m tremendously thankful every day that I get to share my life and recipes on here with you.

Hand on heart though, I have missed my weekend breakfasting adventures to discover new eateries – and since breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out I thought it would be fun to get back to my roots a little and do a SANE version of the Big Breakfast Adventure given that the original Big Breakfast Adventure was entirely inSANE.

Some of you have struggled with eating out and staying SANE, so let’s see how well I can do at eating out around town.  Join me as I scour Seattle for the SANEst breakfasts around.  If you live in or are visiting this fabulous city you can use this as a guide to great places to get awesome SANE breakfasts and brunches – and sometimes the places to avoid *cough, cough*.  If you don’t live here, I hope you will be inspired to start your own SANE Big Breakfast Adventure where you are, or you’ll get meal ideas to cook up at home, or at least feel inspired to keep on living a SANE life knowing that eating out needn’t be hard or have you falling off the wagon.

So let’s get this SANE Big Breakfast Adventure on the road!

It all started at 7:04 when I pulled up outside Alisen’s house and tooted my horn.  Clad in some fantastic purple checkered pants she stumbled from her house, hopped in beside me, and we were off down the freeway like Thelma and Louise, careering towards North Ballard in a quest to find out just how SANE a start we could get to our Sunday.  We elected to drive along the downtown waterfront instead of shooting up the freeway, got completely freaked out to discover that they have pedestrianized part of said waterfront, were relieved when the car-free-zone ended and we were able to get back on a road we knew, and headed over the 15th Avenue bridge gasping at the gorgeously sunshiny-but-misty views of Fisherman’s Wharf as we sped past.  Eager to be first in line for the 8 am opening of The Fat Hen, we weren’t stopping for anything – not even cheap gas at Safeway.  They couldn’t possibly raise the price in 2 hours; we figured we could fill up the car after we’d filled up ourselves.

We turned onto 70th and delighted in the vista of empty curbside parking before us.  I didn’t even have to parallel park to get us situated.  The benches outside The Fat Hen were gloriously empty, the lights were on, and it was just 8 minutes to the hour.  We perched on one of the stained wooden benches and buried our hands deep in our pockets against the morning chill.  A few minutes later the line started to form – usually a good sign of a great breakfast.  The door swung open and we toddled forward, chose the table by the window and settled in, thrilled to discover that the window seat not only gave us light but also the heater.  It’s the little things.  The Fat Hen  |  Carrie Brown

The peppermint tea was fast on it’s way to the table while we cooed over the simple whitewashed décor and cozy marble café tables.  A neighborhood gem in the ambiance department if ever there was one.

We eyed up the menu and quickly decided what was what.  Alisen went straight for one of the Egg Bakes while I plumped for the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict.  Oh, I know what you’re thinking, but just wait.  When the chirpy server waltzed over to our table I asked if I could have my Benedict without the muffin.  Without batting an eye she shot back, “How about some slices of avocado instead?”  “That would be perfect!”, I swooned.  “Oh, and salad instead of the potatoes, please.”

How SANE is this breakfast??!

The Fat Hen | Carrie Brown

And here is Alisen’s Egg Bake.  Another skillet of SANEity.

The Fat Hen  |  Carrie Brown

By the time we departed, the place was full and the line snaked out the door.  We left feeling like we’d stumbled upon one of Seattle’s best-kept breakfast secrets.

Replete and giddy from our Sunday brunch discovery, we meandered back to the car, headed south, stopped off for gas, and then drove to Golden Gardens where we sat in the car overlooking the Sound, with the heating on full-blast, and nattered like school girls on a sleep-over.

Golden Gardens  |  Carrie Brown

What an entirely fantastic start to a Sunday!

Whatever makes you feel good – do more of that.



*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!

Since the first winter chill hit the air you’ve been asking for SANE Hot Chocolate to warm you up, and lest you thought I had forgotten you, I can assure you I most certainly have not.  It’s just been a busy time in Bookland since the week before Thanksgiving, and the last couple of weeks I’ve been busily catching up on life and seemingly never-ending to-do lists.  I’ve been on a bit of a purge around Marmalade HQ.  I almost called Goodwill ahead of time to warn them to clear a space.  I do love a good purge.

So I finally stopped long enough to reach for a pot, along with some dark chocolate, and got busy making you hot cocoa while there’s still some winter left to warm up.  Mind you, once you taste this I think you might be drinking it all year long – or at least whenever you get a chocolate craving – because boy oh boy is this stuff rich and chocolaty.  Then, just as I was about to sit here and write about it, I loped outside with the recycling and didn’t come back in for an hour because I was sitting on the patio sunning myself.  In Seattle!  In January!!  JANUARY!!!  As I sat there in the lawn chair I shut my eyes and it felt exactly like summer, except I was wearing too many clothes, but to my face it was slap bang in the middle of July; without the lawn mowers of course, because while it might look like summer today, there sure ain’t any grass growing yet.  I am thrilled to report, however, that I have pansies, sage, chives, and irises all poking their little heads through the soil and that makes me so happy I can barely stand it.

It was quite the ordeal, dragging myself back inside to write on here, but now I’m settled in at my desk, peppermint tea at hand, I’m ready.  I’ve missed you.  I’ve missed writing in this space.  I’m excited to get back to my non-book-writing routine of 3 posts a week.  I’m excited to create stuff and share it with you.  And although it feels a little odd writing about Hot Chocolate when I have just come inside from an hour’s sunbathing, I think it’s a good place to start.  Something easy, something instant, something so totally decadently scrumptious that you’ll wonder why you waited so long to go SANE.

SANE Hot Chocolate  |  Carrie Brown

I should likely warn you that this is some seriously rich, thick, creamy chocolate goodness.  If you’ve ever been to Paris and had Chocolat Chaud – think that – and you’ll know what to expect.  If you’re used to the watery, faintly-chocolate-tasting liquid that comes out of mixing a powdered mix with hot water, then you’re in for a real surprise, or shock, depending on how you look at it.  This SANE Hot Chocolate is not for the faint of heart.  It is also not for those of you who like a huge ol’ mug full of warm beverage.  This recipe makes enough for 4, because a small cup of this at one sitting is enough chocolate for the most die-hard chocolate fanatic.  There should be a law surrounding the chocolate-y-ness of hot chocolate, and I’ll leave you to guess which ones I would ban as unsuitable for human consumption.

It’s true that there’s nothing inventive about Hot Chocolate, but sometimes just making the classics SANE is enough; no wheel-reinvention required.  If you want you can make this whole recipe and then heat up just enough for 1 cup at a time, keeping the rest in the ‘fridge.  I like doing that {much} better than fiddling with saucepans and fractions of cans of coconut milk every day.  You could even just have a cup of this instead of dessert.  If you think hard enough you can taste a slight coconutty twang in this Hot Chocolate, so if you’re a anti-coconut-flavor type person, then add 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon to your cup and stir until it is dissolved.

Now then, off you go to chocolate nirvana.  You can find the same chocolate that I used here.


5.0 from 2 reviews
SANE Hot Chocolate
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups / 1 pint water
  • 1 oz. / 30g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 can / 13 fl oz. thick coconut milk
  • 2 oz. / 55g 100% cocoa unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz. / 55g xylitol (or to taste)
  1. Place the water and cocoa powder in a pan over medium heat until it starts to steam.
  2. Whisk well until the cocoa is completely dissolved.
  3. Add the thick coconut milk and stir well.
  4. Heat until it starts to steam.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until completely melted and mixed through.
  6. Stir in the xylitol.
  7. Serve.





*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!
  • NickM - Great to have you blogging again which is itself like a welcome mug of cocoa. Two questions:
    1) It seems almost impossible to get unsweetened cooking chocolate in the UK. Is this really more available in the US?
    2) Any reason not to use double-cream mixed with hot water rather than coconut milk, if you don’t want the coconut aroma?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Nick – thanks for the warm welcome back! Time flies when you’re writing books – I can’t believe how long I’ve been gone! 100% chocolate is readily available in every grocery store in the US. As for cream – that would be an awful lot of double cream! While we like double cream as a healthy fat, we LOVE coconut milk a lot more – it has a lot of MCTs in it which double cream doesn’t, for a start. I would suggest switching out say half the coconut for heavy cream and see if you can still taste any coconut. For me the chocolate is so dark that it masks the coconut taste almost entirely so half double cream should do the trick. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Amy G - I make something very similar, but I use unsweetened vanilla or plain almond milk rather than the coconut milk. It has a thinner, more liquidy consistency and a more neutral taste. I think I’ve just talked myself into some!! Thanks for taking up your blog again– I have missed it!ReplyCancel

  • Alvin - We were just saying that there was no hot chocolate recipe on here. Just in time! We’ll report back after the taste test.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hey Alvin – excited to hear what you think! Glad I squeaked this in just in time :-)ReplyCancel

  • Patty - May I ask why you use xylitol in your recipes? We have dogs that are always trying to lick dishes and I am worried about them getting into the xylitol. Can I substitute erythritol evenly?

  • NickM - Hi Patty. The nice thing about xylitol is that, spoon for spoon, it’s about as sweet as sugar. But I have found that yes, you can use erythritol instead. It is especially successful in hot drinks, because you don’t get its characteristic “cooling” effect with them! However, erythritol is only 60% to 70% as sweet as sugar, so you will need to use more of it. The good news is that it is even less able to be used by your body than xylitol is, and you basically just urinate most of it out! The bad news is it’s much more expensive than xylitol.

    Because most of erythritol thus never even reaches your guts, it doesn’t lead to some of the digestive issues that larger amounts of xylitol can cause some people. And, of course, it’s not poisonous to dogs.

    By the way, I thought you might find interesting to understand why xylitol is poisonous to dogs. A dog’s digestive system, unlike ours, is confused by it, and assumes it is sugar. So their pancreas pumps out lots of insulin to get rid of what it thinks is load of sugar. Unfortunately, it isn’t sugar, so any last drop of glucose that does happen to be in the blood is swept away by the over-secretion of insulin, and the dog goes into a low-blood-sugar coma. The fact that this doesn’t happen to us humans proves, paradoxically, that xylitol is healthy for us: it isn’t a sugar, and doesn’t need insulin, and our body isn’t fooled into treating it as such. Indeed, our body manufactures its own xylitol every day!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - THANKS, Nick!!!! You took the words right out of my typing :-) I use xylitol because I prefer the taste to erythritol.ReplyCancel

  • Alvin - It was a hit at the house!! The wife says it’s the best she’s ever had. The bottom of my cup had some coagulated chocolate which I didn’t care for, but the wife sopped it up with strawberries. Thanks again Carrie for all the hard work. We tried a couple times to make this ourselves and never quite got it right.


  • Patricia Hamer - can you please tell me what size is the can of coconut milk and does it need to be full fat?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Patricia – it’s the large approx. 14 fl oz. can. It is also called Coconut Cream by some brands. You can use a lite version if you like. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Marygrace - Best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. Made it yesterday when I saw the recipe. OMG!! Yum……thank you for this taste of the Gods..ReplyCancel

  • Erika - Thanks Carrie, this will really hit the spot on these cold NW nights! I’m not much of a chocoholic, but now I’m thinking about chocolate pudding. I’m going to check out your archives and see if you’ve created a SANE version yet or maybe I just add cocoa and sweetener to Greek yogurt? We shall see….ReplyCancel

  • Karen G - Wow, this is really chocolatey. It is a little too much for me so next cup I will add either a little more water or some coconut milk. My husband absolutely loves it.


    • carrie - Yes! Depending on what you’re used to this Hot Chocolate is a serious kick in the pants! Thrilled hubby loves it and your plans to dilute to taste.ReplyCancel

  • Brenda - Oh this will be so yummy after playing in the snow tomorrow… if it’s still around the Portland PNW area!!!ReplyCancel

  • Julie - Hi Carrie, would you use coconut cream from TJ’s or the light coconut milk in a can for this? (and can I use the light coconut milk if your answer is cream for a lighter/thinner version?)

    • carrie - I used the thick stuff, but yes you can use the light version if you want thinner and less rich.ReplyCancel