Oven Bacon and Eggs for Two

It’s April Fools Day.

I never really understood what that was all about, but it sure scared me when I was younger. The very thought of being ridiculed was enough to make me cry into my bottle of school-mandated, government-provided milk. I was already singled out for still having to drink the mandatory school milk every day – long after most in my class had been allowed to give it up – all by virtue of being born in the summer. Arriving in this world while school was out for the summer holidays made me younger than everyone else in my school year, and we younger ones still needed our milk every day, apparently. There were a few of us bundled off to the milk lady at break every morning, and we huddled round the crate, slurping furiously, with “Only babies drink milk” ringing in our ears as our classmates ran out to play instead. Maybe that’s why I was never a real fan of milk once I was in a position to decide for myself what I was and was not going to eat. I guess you could call it emotional non-eating.  What and when and how much we eat is often inexorably linked to our emotions – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Nothing like a spot of shame to make you not want to do something.

These days I celebrate my own ridiculousness, and heartily embrace external efforts to ridicule me.  I’ve found life is much less painful that way, and way more fun.  Plus it infuriates your would-be-tormentors.  Love that.

Oven Bacon and Eggs  |  Carrie Brown

I decided it would be fun to publish a breakfast-for-two on April 1st given that I have been single for more years than I care to count.  Ok, it’s 6.  And a bit.  And maybe even a bit more.  I’m not counting – it’s been a fabulous time.

It further amused me that when I created this I then ate the whole thing…on my own.  I do have a {very} healthy appetite.  It wasn’t hard to to just finish it all up – especially considering that it contains three of my favorite things in the food department: bacon, cream, and leeks.  “Leeks?!”, I hear you cry.  “For breakfast?”  Yes.  I am always looking for ways to sneak some extra non-starchy veggies into the mix, and this gave me the perfect opportunity.  Leeks and bacon go together terribly well, as you’ll know if you’ve cooked up this Bacon and Leek Bake.  Besides, if you’re going to add non-starchy green veggies to your breakfast, leeks are one of the least obvious ways to do it.

Oven Bacon and Eggs | Carrie Brown

This dish is super simple – it’s really more assembly than cooking.  Once assembled, you just pop it in the oven and wait for the magic to happen.  I love baked eggs.  There’s a couple of other baked egg recipes you can try – Turkey Tarragon and Smoked Salmon.  They don’t have the added veggies, but you can always add them on the side – a fresh, vibrant green salad, or a simple saute of your favorite things from the crisper drawer in your ‘fridge.  This recipe just bakes the veggies right on in.

So easy on Sunday morning.

Oven Bacon and Eggs for Two
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • Coconut oil spray
  • ½ TBSP coconut oil
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 5 oz. / 140g leeks, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 TBSP heavy (double) cream
  • Ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease an overproof dish with coconut oil spray.
  2. Saute the chopped bacon, leeks, and oregano in coconut oil until the leeks are just tender and the bacon lightly browned.
  3. Transfer the bacon and leeks into the greased ovenproof dish, and set the dish on a baking tray.
  4. Carefully crack the eggs over the bacon leek mixture.
  5. Spoon the cream over the eggs.
  6. Bake in the center of the oven at 350F for 20 minutes or until the eggs are just cooked.
  7. Sprinkle with ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Oven Bacon and Eggs | 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!

Marianne - Yum, yum! Will be making this for breakfast tomorrow! Thanks Carrie. And for your other recipes too, I have bought almond flour, freeze dried fruit, and all manner of ingredients in anticipation of trying all your cookies and cupcakes too. Sadly in the UK I can’t find spaghetti squash, but I can source pretty much everything else :)

Emma - What a completely brilliant idea! This could solve the whole ‘brekkie in relays due to fried egg frying pan bottleneck ‘ – which we had in our Exmoor holiday cottage this morning before going out to get blasted by fresh Devon air ;) Thanks for another great idea!

carrie - Emma – that made me laugh out loud! And brought back great memories of holiday cottages and Exmoor and fresh Devon air – although not necesaarily all together :-) Have a fantastic holiday!

carrie - Hi Marianne – ah, spaghetti squash. I am still in denial that it exists. If it wasn’t in my childhood, it’s not real!! ;-)

Caroline - I prepped the leeks and bacon yesterday, so it was easy for me to do the remainder of the recipe this morning before work. All I can say is yum. Thank you. I still have some cooked leeks and bacon leftover so guess what I’ll be having for breakfast tomorrow.

carrie - Ha, ha, Caroline – great work! I love this dish. I’d be having it for dinner tonight if I had leeks and bacon leftovers!! :-)

Orange Coconut Cupcakes

Goodness me.  Coconut, coconut, coconut.  It’s all I ever hear these days from Mr. Bailor.  He will wax lyrical about the health benefits of coconut at any given opportunity; and ones he’s not given, too.  He’ll go into raptures about their short-chain (or is it medium-chain??) thingamajigs at the drop of a hat.  I confess I don’t even care to remember the glorious whys and wherefores of coconut.  I just know that Bailor says coconut is where it’s at, and that’s good enough for me.

Whenever I take him *SANE treats to munch on during our podcast recording sessions he grills me on the ingredients list and the proportions of each one to the others.  Then he’ll say, “Can you replace the almond flour with coconut flour?”  Every. Single. Time.  It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I explain to him that you can’t just randomly switch out regular flour for any other kind of flour, and that this is especially true of coconut flour – he doesn’t hear me and he just never gives up.  If converting baked goods recipes to *SANE ones were as easy as switching out regular flour for any other non-grain “flour”, life would be a breeze.  I certainly wouldn’t be spending 3 days a week making a mess in my kitchen, ending up with multiple batches of this-and-that in various stages of development, striving for perfection in baked good *SANEity.  Coconut flour is an especially tricky beast to bake with.  Yet I realized that if I was ever going to get any peace from The Bailornator, I’d have to get him something coconut, and soon.

I think my road trip must have blown away the cobwebs and caused a surge of creativity, because no sooner was I back…VOILA!

Carrie Brown  |  Orange Coconut Cupcakes

Here you go, Bailor – just for you I created Orange Coconut Cupcakes.  If anyone on earth deserves a treat for all that they do – it’s you.  You deserve a *SANE cupcake.  Making it with coconut flour was the very least I could do.

A big shout-out to Diane who gave me the idea of vitamixing the oranges to oblivion and using as the liquid.  Fantasticness, Diane, fantasticness!!  THANK YOU!

And then, because cupcakes always have frosting, and because I wanted to make this as coconutty as humanly possible for you, I added a little topping.

Carrie Brown | Orange Coconut Cupcakes

Now, let’s talk about the topping for a moment, because this could get confusing, or frustrating, or just plain annoying for you.  I whipped coconut cream / milk.  I say cream / milk because our food manufacturers have a hard time getting a naming convention going when it comes to coconut products.  What I am talking about here is stuff that comes in a can and when you open it there is solid coconut and a watery liquid separated out.  I am not talking about thin, regular coconut milk that comes in a carton (or sometimes in a can).  Once you get what I am referring to, make sure you use a full fat version, since low-fat will not whip.  I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream, which, once I had drained the liquid off, whipped right up at room temperature.  However, I have read that many brands do better if they are put in the ‘fridge overnight to get really cold.  Given the variations in coconut cream / milk in your locale, you may have to experiment with the topping until you find a brand that works for you.  If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, I’d just go with that and call it good.

WARNING: These are seriously filling.  You all know by now my near-legendary appetite, and one of these is enough for me.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Orange Coconut Cupcakes
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Ingredients
  • Coconut oil spray
  • 3 oz / 85g sunflower seeds
  • 1 oz. / 28g chia seeds
  • 2 oz. / 55g coconut flour
  • 1 oz. 28g vanilla whey protein powder
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2½ oz. / 70g xylitol
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1½ oz. / 40g flaked or shredded coconut (depending on how lumpy you like it)
  • 2 oranges
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can / 13½ fl oz. thick coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp orange extract
  • ¼ tsp guar gum
  • Xylitol to taste
Instructions
  1. Spray 15 silicone muffin cups with coconut oil spray and place in muffin pan.
  2. Grind the sunflower and chia seeds in a coffee grinder until very fine. (If you use a Vitamix be very careful you do not end up with sunflower butter!)
  3. Tip ground seeds into a mixing bowl and add the coconut flour, whey powder, baking powder, salt, xylitol, xanthan gum, and coconut.
  4. Zest the oranges, add zest to the dry ingredients and mix very thoroughly, making sure the zest is evenly distributed.
  5. Peel the oranges and put the orange flesh in a blender and blend on high until it is completely liquified.
  6. Whisk the liquified oranges and eggs in a bowl and add to the dry ingredients, mixing quickly until completely combined.
  7. Carefully spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cups – they should be slightly under-filled.
  8. Place in center of oven at 300F for 35 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes until you can handle the silicone cups.
  10. Turn each cup top down in one hand, and using the other hand gently squeeze the sides of the cup all the way round until the sides release and the muffin pops out. Be gentle.
  11. Place each muffin on a cooling rack to cool.
  12. Tip the coconut cream into a sieve to remove the liquid portion.
  13. Put the solid portion of the coconut cream into a bowl.
  14. Add the orange extract, and sprinkle the guar gum evenly over the surface.
  15. Immediately whip the coconut cream on high with a hand mixer (or a stand mixer) until it is thick and holds its shape.
  16. Sweeten to taste and whip to incorporate.
  17. Place a spoonful of cream on top of each cupcake.
  18. Sprinkle with toasted flaked coconut.
  19. Once frosted, store them in the 'fridge. Or frost as you need them.

Carrie Brown | Orange Coconut Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

*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!

Sonia Dutton - Hi Carrie I’m a fellow Brit but still living in the homeland! Can these cupcakes be frozen? I love coconut too so I’m very excited about trying this recipe.

carrie - Hi Sonia! I have not tried freezing them (they never last that long!) but readers have successfully frozen my muffins, so I am going to say yes. Freeze them unfrosted though. Hope that helps! Let me know how much you love them!!!

Corinne - Hi Carrie, when you mean coconut flour, do you mean chopped coconut as I’ve never seen coconut flour to buy? The same goes for almond flour is that just ground almonds? And is dessicated coconut sweetened?

Donna - Hi Carrie, This will be my first time baking with one of your recipes, and I can’t wait to taste these. Before I start I have a question about measurements, when you say 2 oz. is in weight or would 1/4 cup be the same?

carrie - Hi Donna – you cnanot successfully swap out weights for cups in my recipes, since 2 oz of one dry ingredient will have a different volume to another dry ingredient. I do baking recipes in weights because it means you will get a successful and consistent result – something you can never guarantee when using cups. Liquids you can also measure in cups. Hope that helps!

carrie - Hi Corinne – coconut flour is very different to chopped coconut. A web search should help you locate some. Almond flour is ground almonds. Always buy unsweetened dessicated coconut. This may help you: http://www.marmaladeandmileposts.com/archives/23109 let me know if you need more help!!! THANKS for swinging by :-)

Tom L - Hi Carrie: Bought all the ingredients except for xylitol and guar gum (wasn’t available at my local store). The whole family is excited to watch me make these delish-looking SANE treats! I know you are a huge proponent in avoiding sucralose. That said, I happen to have it in my cupboards. so that issue aside, 2 questions if you would be so very gracious: First, is xylitol and sucralose interchangeable from a measures and weights perspective? in other words, would I use 2 1/2 ounces of splenda by weight for this recipe? Second question, so I found the xanthan gum, but could not find guar gum. Can I substitute with xanthan gum, or will I get a poor result? Thanks so much! Sincerely, Tom

carrie - Hi Tom! I wish I had an easy answer for you :-( I have never baked with sucralose so I cannot answer your question FOR SURE. However, research suggests that if you are talking about granular sucralose (ie a form that is made specifically for baking) then you can substitute 1:1 for sugar and therefore 1:1 with xylitol. If you are talking about Splenda then you cannot swap out 1:1 as Splenda is way sweeter than sugar. I would hesitate to use Splenda for baked goods as I don’t know how it interacts with the other ingredients and heat.

For the guar gum, in this instance you *should* be able to use xanthan gum in the coconut cream instead. They are generally interchangeable, but guar is preferred for cold applications and xanthan for hot. You can also leave out the gum altogether, but you may find the topping not as thick and not hold its shape as well.

Hope that helps!

Barbra - Hi Carrie – I made this last night to surprise my grandmother and she loved them! I didn’t have any oranges in the house but had lots of lemons. The lemon coconut combination was perfect :) thanks!

carrie - Lovin’ the whole lemon thing, Barbra!

Cindy - What kind of whey protein ? And are these gluten free

carrie - Cindy – it is vanilla whey protein powder. I use this brand http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GIURM2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000GIURM2&linkCode=as2&tag=foodifootn-20 If that is what you are asking. If you look directly under the heading of the post you will see what categories each recipe falls into. Hope that helps!

jillian - first visit to your site(must be connected to buying thecalorie myth and searches about that) anyway..everything looks yummy and will be trying …so here is question…xylitol and i are not friends. how would i sub coconut sugar? or occasional honey…one to one? thank you, jillian

carrie - Hi Jillian – WELCOME!! You can sub coconut sugar or honey but in doing so you will instantly make the recipe inSANE since our bodies recognize and treat it just as it would sugar. If you do choose to sub out coconut sugar you would sub out 1:1 with xylitol. Honey would require a re-working of the recipe since it is so wet. The few people who don’t do will with xylitol initially often find that the reaction goes away after continued use – have you tried that approach? You could also sub with erythritol, although that has only 60% to 70% as sweet as xylitol, so you will need to use more of it. Not having trialed erythritol I am not sure how the increased bulk would affect the recipes. Sugars and their substitutes are just tricky!

Jill - Wow, these cupcakes were yummy! I felt like I was cheating. Thanks for creating something that is SANE and feels like a treat!

Set Yourself Some Boundaries

I have a thing for fences.  It’s been that way for quite a while now.  And by ‘a while’ I really mean years.  I can’t quite put my finger on when it started, or even why, and I certainly have no idea which was my first fence image.  I imagine I could go back through all my images I’ve ever taken and find the first one that involved a fence, but really, I am certain that I didn’t take that first shot thinking, “I have a thing for fences and I am going to make shooting them a life-long project.”  Nope.  I’m pretty sure that’s not how it went down, at all.  I have a suspicion that one day I realized that I’d put a fence into a landscape image and thought it looked pretty cool.  So I started including fences in more and more images.  And then I began looking specifically for fences.  And before I even realized it myself, I had become a bona fide Fence Spotter.  Some people like to spot trains or birds.  Not me.  I like to spot fences.

When I went on road trips I posted fence shots on Facebook.  The first time I didn’t post one there was uproar!  And so began The Fence of the Day.  Every day of every road trip there’s a new fence shot; and I have a whole herd of avid fence followers.  Is that the correct collective noun for fence followers?   Something starting with ‘f’ seems a better choice, don’t you think?  Flock, family, flange, flight, flutter, float, fling, fry, flamboyance, fleet, or fall, maybe? Let’s go with fleet, although I rather fancy a flamboyance.  I now have a whole fleet of fence followers.

In images, fences make great anchors for the whole frame.  They can add foreground interest that sets off the rest of the image like nothing else.  They give scale.  They add depth.  They give perspective.  Some shots would be nothing without the definition that a fence can bring to the proceedings.  I love the lines and shapes that fences make.  They can lead your eye and your mind around the image, drawing you to the focal point – stopping you from straying, getting lost or being confused.  Yep, fences are pretty darn awesome to photograph.

Fences are really just a boundary – a border, a frontier, an edge, a limit, a periphery, a guideline, a rule if you will – they keep us away from danger, they make it clear where it’s safe to go and where it might not be safe to go; stop us from going places that might be destroyed if we went there.  They show us where it’s legal to go and not to go.  They protect us.  Fences give us structure, help maintain order, define otherwise undefined areas.  They even give us something to hang on to when the going gets tough or the path gets rocky.  Yep, fences are pretty darn awesome things to have in life.

While I’ve been fence-spotting all over the place the last several years it has occurred to me that fences are an essential and brilliant part of life.  In much the same way as rules and laws and other such boundaries are.  Rules are the fences in our minds – the virtual fences that keep us safe, and on the right track, and alive.  They make life easier, more pleasant, and interestingly – more fun, not less.

Imagine living in a rule-less society.  What a mess that would be!  Think about raising a child without boundaries.  They would be lost – not knowing right from wrong, good from bad, love from hate.  They would have no conscience.  They would get hurt.  Their lives would be hard.  They literally wouldn’t know how to live successfully; and the chances are they would end up in an awful lot of trouble.  It would not be good.

This was quite the revelation for a girl who has spent most of her life living on the edge, or trying to get as darn close to it as possible.  A rule-bender extraordinaire!  Always the one climbing up the fence – if not over it – to see how far she could lean over and survive, to see what it’s like on the other side, to see if it really was dangerous over there.  A life filled with the teachings of experience, rather than the teachings of others older and wiser.  How ironic that this girl would fall in love with fences one day.  Or how timely.  They say that that when the student is ready the teacher will appear.

While I was fence-spotting in California last month I thought specifically about the boundaries of *SANEity, and how they make it so easy to know what will heal our bodies and what will harm them.  How by staying within the boundaries set out by Jonathan we can achieve the vibrant health and the slim, toned bodies that we want – safely and effectively.

I thought about how most of us were lost until we erected those virtual *SANE fences in our minds.  We were wandering around not knowing what was right or wrong, what was healthy or unhealthy, trying every new thing that came along and never, ever even getting close to our goals.

Fences – real or virtual – are not there to chain us.  They are there to free us.  They free us by keeping us safe and getting us to where we want to go.  By making it clear to us the good from the bad, the right from the wrong.

So next time you are feeling fenced in by the rules of *SANEity, remember that the more you stay within their bounds the quicker you will get the health and fat-loss results that you want.  The more you stray from the boundaries, the longer it will take you to reach your goal, and the harder it will be for you.

How freeing is it to know the way, and not feel confused and lost all the time with regard to food and health?  How good does it feel to have boundaries that keep you on the right track without you having to second guess your path, instead of wandering along and wondering where you will end up?  How awesome is it to know – for sure – that every time you step over the boundary that you are in danger?  How much easier is it to make wise food choices when you know the rules and understand the consequences of stepping over them?  Isn’t it fantastic to have something to hold onto when the going gets tough and the path gets a little rocky?

 

It’s why we love fences around here.  Real and virtual.

 

{Love the images and want to see more? Click on each image to go to the gallery}

Or just click here.

 

 

 

*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!

Sharon - A pleasant and insightful read. Love the fotos of fences!

Ellen - I got out of the fence for a few weeks, but am now back in. It is a great feeling to be back in the “safe zone”!

carrie - You GO, Ellen!!!!

carrie - Thanks, Sharon!!!

Marilyn S - My favorite picture from my trip to Scotland (scenery-wise) in 2010 was a fence along a loch in Shilasdair… I could stare at it all day….

carrie - Love this, Marilyn!

Stacey - My brother have a dog that chases fences. He once found the dog 6 miles from home. The dog also chases other long straight things: roads, telephone lines, rows of wheat…

carrie - AH, I love a dog that loves fences, Stacey!

Times Two Tomato Soup

Ah, tomatoes!

Plump, ripe, juicy, red tomatoes.  Imagine yourself biting into one right now – the juice oozing down your chin, and the deeply delicious tomato flavor bursting onto your taste buds.

Are you salivating yet?

Times Two Tomato Soup | Carrie Brown

How about now?  Because this soup is chock full of tomato deliciousness.

It was a totally tomato weekend back when I threw this extravagantly rich tomato-fest together for you.  While I was reading labels on cans of tomato purée – with this soup in mind – I got inspired to make those Tomato Basil Biscuits you see in that picture.  That same weekend I also conjured up the very popular Tomato Salad Soup aka How To Eat Salad Greens Without Having To Eat Salad Greens.  I also learned which sun-dried tomatoes, which tomato paste, and which tomato purée brands are unsweetened.  Always good to know.  Now I’ll never have to read those labels again.  Yay!

Times Two Tomato Soup | Carrie Brown

I loved tomato soup when I was a kid; even though the tomato soup I grew up on came out of a packet.  Looking back I realize how odd that is, since my mother made almost everything from scratch.  Except soups, and a few other things like these crazy packet puddings called Angel Delight which I thought were completely magical.  I dread to think what was in them – you added milk and whisked it up and put it in bowls and 30 minutes later it was thick and fluffy like a mousse.  I loved Angel Delight, especially the butterscotch flavor.  I could barely wait for the 30 minutes to be up so I could eat it.  It used to set like cement in my stomach, but my mouth was so happy I didn’t care.  Yikes.

The packet soup I ate as a young ‘un was mixed with water and heated; yet somehow I enjoyed it.  It bears no resemblance to real tomato soup – you know – tomato soup with real, live tomatoes in it.  This recipe is like tomato soup on super-steroids in comparison.  In America it seems that eating Campbell’s Tomato Soup is a requirement for a happy life.  This recipe ain’t nothing like Campbell’s, either.  If you think that Campbell’s tastes “Mmm, mmm….good!”, just wait until you get your first spoonful of this down your gullet.

Then come back and talk to me about “Mmm, mmm….good!”

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Times Two Tomato Soup
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups / 1 pint chicken or clear vegetable stock
  • 7 oz. / 200g celery, roughly chopped
  • 6 oz. / 170g tomato purée / paste
  • 2 lb / 200g plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 tsp dried basil
  • 3 TBSP dry white wine
  • 6 TBSP 2% Greek yogurt
  • 3 oz / 85g spinach
  • 1 tsp guar gum
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place stock, celery, tomato paste, and tomatoes in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes until the tomatoes and celery are very soft.
  3. In batches, put the vegetables in a blender and blend until very smooth.
  4. Pour the soup into a bowl while you blend the remaining vegetables.
  5. To the last batch of vegetables in the blender, add the basil, wine, Greek yogurt, and spinach.
  6. Blend just until the spinach has disappeared.
  7. While blender is running, remove center piece of blender lid and shake in the guar gum.
  8. Stop blending immediately and transfer last batch of soup into the saucepan.
  9. Add rest of soup to the pan.
  10. Season to taste and reheat if necessary before serving.

Times Two Tomato Soup  |  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!

Fi the choccy beaver - Hi Carrie. Just wanted to share a cheats tomato soup I made on a hot summer night in England this week. As a single working mum, quick SANE food needs to be ultra easy sometimes, thus my chilled Tom soup!
1 tin chopped tomatoes in their juices, blended roughly with some vanilla whey powder (about 1 scoop?), dried basil to taste, plus optional silken tofu blended in for extra protein if required.
Yeah, sounds weird but it was like an almost-Heinz cream of tomato, without the need for cream or sugar!! Mmmmm….

Andrea M. - Absolutely fabulous tomato soup! I’ll never miss the butter or half-and-half from my regular recipe. I confess I did have to add one tablespoon of raw sugar to the whole batch, only because I like my tomato soup just a little bit sweet. Thanks for another great recipe, Carrie! :)

carrie - Hi Andrea – glad you are loving the soups! Can you replace the sugar with the same amount of xylitol to get the same sweet effect without the bad stuff?

Tony - Amazing! Every time I make a recipe from this site, I laugh with joy when I first taste it. And this soup was hilarious. Carrie, you’ve excelled yourself. Even with my old useless blender, my way too thick home made Greek yoghurt, and my total lack of ability in the kitchen (I’m getting there though), this soup was incredible. My wife will be home in an hour and I just know she’ll ask me how much I paid the chef.
Carrie, for providing amazing SANE recipes and making a complete incompetent look great in the kitchen, “go raibh míle maith agat” (thank you a thousand times).

carrie - Tony – your comment made me smile as wide as the ocean! THANK YOU!!!!

Tips And Tricks for Staying SANE On The Road

Since my little road trip adventure to California last month I’ve had a lot of requests for my tips and tricks to staying *SANE on the road.  The key to success for a *SANE road trip is to prepare.  Prepare, prepare, prepare.  Oh, and attention to detail.  I realize that #1 and #2 (below) may seem like a lot, and could feel overwhelming at first – especially if you are used to jumping in the car, taking off, and just getting what you need as you go.  Bear in mind that a little time getting prepared will hugely benefit you in terms of money, time and particularly health in the long run.  Once you’ve done your first road trip in this new way, it will not seem overwhelming the next time.  You’ll be ready.

1. Before you go.

Stock the car with enough SANE food and SANE beverages to keep everyone going until 2 hours after you reach your destination.  As I always road-trip alone, and need to be able to eat without assistance, my preferred snacks are beef jerky, hardboiled eggs, whole-leaf lettuces (I pull whole leaves off and munch), and cucumbers (I eat them like apples).  The beef jerky and hardboiled eggs keep my energy super-high and stave off drowsiness.  The lettuces and cucumbers give me all the non-starchy veggies I need, keep me full, and help to keep me hydrated; they also give me jaw ache from all the chewing, which is great because then I don’t want to eat for a while.  I am a driving machine on this  fuel!  I keep the perishable food in a small cooler that I pack and refrigerate over night.  Before I leave I add a couple of ice packs.  This keeps everything cool enough for a 12 – 15 hour drive, bearing in mind that most of it will be eaten by the time I arrive.

Snacks to consider:

  • Jerky – beef, turkey, salmon – whatever your favorites are.  Buy jerky with the highest protein and lowest sugar content you can find.  Be especially careful of “flavored” jerky such as teriyaki or barbecue, as they are often very high in added sugars.  Read the label and compare until you find the best brand in your area.  Once you’ve found the best brands, stick to them.
  • Sardines / canned tuna – these are so easy to eat on the road.  Peel back the lid and dig in with a fork!  No refrigeration required.
  • Hardboiled eggs – shell before you leave and pack in Ziploc bags.
  • Raw veggies cut into bite sized pieces – carrots, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, snap peas, lettuce leaves, small cauliflower and broccoli florets, etc.  Bring small containers of *SANE dips to keep your taste buds excited.
  • Nuts and seeds – mix your favorites into small Ziploc baggies.  Add a few dried fruits – cranberries, raisins, dried blueberries, etc to keep it interesting and add a touch of sweetness.
  • Hot “cereal” – if you have flasks of hot water with you, take small, lidded containers with this hot cereal mix in it and mix up with hot water at a rest stop.  It’s really nice to have something warm to eat on the road, especially if you’re traveling in winter.
  • Protein bars – make them, or stock up on these and these brands before you head out, if you don’t already keep a stash on hand at home.
  • *SANE muffins, biscuits, and cookies.  These are much more filling than their inSANE counterparts, so will really help to stave off “the munchies” on the road.  They will not make the driver drowsy like inSANE sugar-and-starch-filled snacks.
  • Yogurt – mix up some of this, or buy small pots of Greek non-fat yogurt.
  • Fresh berries (de-stalk and cut any strawberries), and citrus fruit segments packed in small Ziploc baggies.

** Remember if you are driving in the US and crossing state lines (such as California) you may not be allowed to transport certain foods.  Check before you leave.  You don’t want to have half your food confiscated at the border!

For drinks I take fresh water and several flasks of hot herbal or green tea.  A good flask stays hot for 24 hours.  I refill my drinking cup from the flask when I stop to use the bathroom.

Beverage tips:

  • If you like sparkling and/or flavored water, buy large / 2 litre bottles from the grocery store and refill drinking cups as you go.  This will save you a fortune on cans or individual bottles.  If you do choose to buy cans or individual bottles, make sure to buy enough for the trip from the grocery store before you go so you don’t need to buy them from gas stations where they are staggeringly expensive.
  • Take several large (and by large I mean gallon / 5 litre) containers of non-sparkling water, even if you don’t intend to drink it.  If you get stranded, the road you are traveling on is closed due to weather or an accident and you are stuck for hours, you run out of washer fluid, someone becomes ill, you mis-judged how many beverages were needed for the trip, or any number of other unexpected events, having a lot of water on hand will be a godsend.
  • Remember to drink regularly, even though you are essentially inactive during the drive.  It will also help curb any hunger that is really boredom.

2. Other things that will make eating SANE on the road easier and more fun.

  • Disposable cutlery, or reusable plastic cutlery if you are able to wash it en route / when you arrive.
  • Disposable plates, or reusable plastic plates if you are able to wash them en route / when you arrive.
  • A roll of paper towel or plenty of paper napkins.
  • Wet wipes.  Never leave home without lots of wet wipes.  Wet wipes are truly a road tripper’s very best friend – for more reasons than I can even think of.
  • Plenty of several sizes of Ziploc bags.  Use them for trash, storing dirty plastic cutlery, food scraps or leftovers, or any number of other messy things that would otherwise make travel icky.
  • Scissors.  So useful for so many things.
  • A small, sharp knife.  These are brilliant for road trips as they come with their own cover to protect them (and you) when not being used.
  • Flossers.  Especially if you are eating jerky, and especially if you are the driver – these flossers will save you hours of misery.
  • Travel-size bottles of mouthwash.  Is there anything worse than having a mouth like a sewer when you’re trapped in a car for hours on end with a bunch of other people?  Especially if one of them just downed a can of sardines or tuna.
  • Small coolers and ice packs will keep perishable food cold enough to remain fresh and appealing.
  • ALWAYS take a Ziploc bag of xylitol – or whatever sweetener you use – with you.  I never leave home without xylitol in my bag.  Ever.

3. Avoid being derailed en route.

Your biggest enemy to *SANEity on a road trip is…The Gas Station.  If you enter the building, the chances of you being derailed are enormous.  For many people road trips = fun times filled with a dizzying array of sugary and starchy snacks, candies, chips, and pop / soda that you might not normally consume.  This means that road trips are often tied to intense {good} emotions based on family vacations experienced during childhood, and can be very hard to break.  It does not help that 98% of food and beverages available at gas stations fall into the sugary and starchy snacks, candies, chips, and pop / soda categories.  If you are faced with them in the middle of a road trip, you may find yourself powerless to resist.

Here’s how to survive with your SANEity intact:

  1. Be very clear on the difference between a gas station and a rest stop, and do not get confused about what to do at each.
  2. Stop at rest stops to use the bathroom, refill drink cups, stretch your legs, eat SANE snacks that you prepared before you left home, refill washer fluid, paint your toenails (you wouldn’t believe the number of rest stops I have painted my toenails at), check your cell phone for messages / emails, swap drivers, take photos, and otherwise re-group for the next leg of your journey.
  3. ONLY stop at gas stations to get gas.  They have no other SANE purpose.  Use a credit or debit card to pay for gas at the pump.  Do not enter the building!
  4. If you were not paying attention to #2 above, and did not use the bathroom at the last rest stop, and you really, really need to use if at the gas station, leave your wallet locked in your car.
  5. If you were not paying attention to #4 above, and took your wallet into the gas station when you went to use the bathroom, do not stop walking until you get to the bathroom.  Once you leave the bathroom do not stop walking until you get back to your car.
  6. If you were not paying attention to #5 above, and stopped walking between your car and the gas station bathroom, pick up only non-food items or *SANE foods and beverages.
  7. If you were not paying attention to #6 above, and purchased *inSANE items at the gas station, dump them in the garbage on your way back to your car.

 4. Once you arrive.

Depending on the itinerary at your destination, these will help you keep on a SANE track:

  • Clean and re-pack your plastic plates and cutlery, or restock disposables ready for the next day’s adventures.
  • If you are staying in a hotel, refuse the key for the mini bar and bring your own bottled water and snacks into your room.  Not only will you save your SANEity, you’ll save a fortune.  The first thing I do when I arrive at a hotel is ask where the nearest grocery store is and go get large bottles of water and SANE snacks.  Hotel stays can completely wreak your health and your wallet if you let them!
  • If you did not or were not able to bring enough SANE foods for your entire trip, stop at a grocery store every morning to stock up on SANE supplies before you do anything else – 2 litre bottles of water, nuts, seeds, protein bars, cut veggies, berries and citrus fruits, hardboiled eggs, jerky, canned fish, individual Greek yogurt, deli meats, etc.
  • When you are in the grocery store, stay on the perimeter – always remember that the middle is where the inSANITY is.
  • If you have children with you, do not take them in the store with you unless there is no other adult to stay with them in the car.
  • Only stop at gas stations for gas.  Never go in the building.  See #3 above.
  • If you eat out, choose SANEly.  Swap out starches for salad or an extra serving of non-starchy veggies.  I have never had a restaurant refuse to do this, and at no extra charge.  Just ask.
  • Be too full for dessert.
  • If you are planing on mainly eating out, still keep sufficient SANE snacks in the car so that you avoid getting hungry between meals.  If something unexpected happens and you can’t get to your next meal on time, your SANE snacks will tide you over.  Breakdowns or otherwise getting stranded should not be the reason for going inSANE.
  • If you are going to amusement parks or similar attractions, pack protein bars, bags of nuts and seeds, jerky, and SANE muffins, biscuits, and cookies in a small backpack.  This will save you a small fortune, and keep everyone energized and healthy from dawn to dusk.  Take SANE beverages in drinking containers with straps that can be slung across your body so that you are not weighed down with stuff you have to carry. 

5. Give yourself a break.

If your road trip is a vacation and you want to relax on the SANEity a little bit…do.  It won’t kill you.

Here’s a few thing to think about if you choose to have an inSANE eating moment:

  • Once you start ingesting inSANE foods – especially sugar – it becomes easier and easier to keep doing it, and increasingly harder to stop.  I swear the manufacturers laden them with addictive substances that we find irresistible once even the smallest amount gets in our blood.
  • If you have an inSANE treat – my vacation treat is ice cream – don’t see it as being naughty or as having failed.  Feeling guilty will not help you, it will just make you feel bad; and feeling bad will likely just make you want to eat more inSANE stuff.  instead, see it as a treat – and enjoy it – just be clear that it is not helping you towards your health goals.
  • Taking one whole day out to enjoy inSANE foods is better than eating a little inSANELY every day.  See first bullet point in this section.
  • Once you have enjoyed your inSANE treat, get straight back to SANE foods at your next meal.
  • Do not beat yourself up if you are not perfect.  This is not about perfection, it’s about being better than we were yesterday.

 

6. Have a fantastic road trip!

 

 

 

 

*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!

Janknitz - We got a sodastream. The flavors they sell are hideous, but carbonated water with a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange is delightful. And yes, it can come along on a road trip.

Cowgirl Rae - Wonderful post!
My husband is a truck driver and living in a truck for a week or 2 is a challenge. He follows the guidelines you gave in addition he has a small chill cooler that plugs in the cigarette lighter and allowed him to have a cold place for yogurt and some cooked meats. There are ways to eat this way and be successful, it only takes a little planning and willingness to restrict yourself slightly to be successful.

carrie - Brilliant idea, Janknitz!!!

carrie - I shoulda been a trucker!!

Serena - I keep hearing that dried fruits are bad to eat because they have so much sugar. What do you say?

carrie - I say that dried fruits are high in sugar (because the water has all been removed), so they should be used occasionally and in small amounts – almost as a seasoning if you will. Hope that helps!