Equipment That Makes SANE Recipes Easier and Quicker

Many of you lovely readers who are making the move to a *SANE lifestyle are finding that you need to get busy in the kitchen a lot more than you used to, especially when it comes to baking.  If you want SANE baked goods you pretty much have to make them yourself from scratch.

For those of you who haven’t spent much time in the kitchen prior to embracing SANEity, you may be overwhelmed by all the gadgets available, and are not sure what you need to make your time in the kitchen most effective and get you the results you want.  Many of the items I list here are not essential by any means – they just make cooking and baking easier, quicker, and help you to get great results time after time.  Many of you have asked me what I use when I am in my kitchen, so here’s a rundown of the things I use most often.

Note: using these links to make your purchases *may* result in me receiving a small commission (with no additional cost to you), which will help enormously in being able to maintain this site and create new recipes for you.  The costs of running this site and developing recipes come entirely out of my own pocket.  The purpose of this site has never been – and never will be – to make money, however, I would hugely appreciate your support by using these links, if you feel so inclined.


High Powered Blender

A Vitamix or Blendtec will be your very best friend once you start using it to make your smoothies and soups.  These machines smash everything that goes in them into liquid.  Forget juicers - with one of these beasties you put whole fruit and veggies in and get juice out, with all the fiber still in it – you just can’t feel it.  Given that a SANE lifestyle requires fiber, one of these will help you enormously to make sure you’re getting all the fiber you can.  Jonathan and I both have a Vitamix.  I’ve heard that Blendtec are just as good.

Second jug for Vitamix / Blendtec - I find having a second blending container incredibly handy.  Or maybe I just don’t like washing up when I am on a roll in the kitchen.


I have a KitchenAid blender in addition to my Vitamix, for those times when I don’t want to pulverize everything into oblivion.  Some recipes just need texture, or don’t require the extra power.  I use this Kitchen Aid blender when I don’t want or need to use the Vitamix.  Grinding nuts is a great example – try this in a Vitamix and you’ll have awesome nut butter, but you won’t have any ground nuts.

Food processor

Not essential, but it does make things easier and quicker.  I use mine mainly for mixing doughs, but it is also super handy for slicing and all manner of other uses.  I love this Cuisinart Food Processor because it comes with three bowls that sit inside one another so you can do three different things before you have to wash up.  Love that.  It also has a large capacity, which I find very useful when making large batches.

Hand mixer

I use a hand mixer for quick things like whipping egg whites and mixing batters when I don’t need the power of a food processor, or don’t want to get too much stuff dirty.  I use this Cuisinart Hand Mixer because it has 9 speeds and a timer, so it is useful for lots of different recipes.


When I moved to the US I was completely dumbfounded that no one had an electric kettle.  Brits use kettles multiple times a day, and I cannot imagine living without one.  Boiling water is a breeze.  I have this Cuisinart Kettle and I love it because it has pre-set temperatures and other features that make it even more useful than a regular kettle.  For any Brits reading this, I can hear you all shrieking, “What??  No kettles??!!!”


My steamer is in constant use for steaming veggies instead of boiling them in a pan of water, as it keeps the nutrient content much higher.  We love that.

Hand-held blender

I have a multi-purpose hand-held blender that doubles up as a grinder / chopper as well as a blending stick for blending directly in a pan or bowl.  I have the Cuisinart Smart Stick that comes with a whisk and chopper attachments.  Super useful.


If you read some of my baking posts you’ll know I insist on weighing things, rather than using cups.  Cups are not consistent.  The only way you can hope to have baking success time after time is to be accurate when measuring ingredients.  A scale is your best friend.  I use this Oxo Digital Scale because it can weigh an awful lot of stuff, plus it has a pull out screen so you can put really large bowls on it and still read the display.  I reverse weigh a lot and this scale makes it so simple.  It also weighs in both ounces and grams, so you can switch between the two and not have to do any conversions in your head – keeping everyone happy all the time.  Hurrah!


A mandoline is a slicer that makes very short work of cutting, slicing, dicing and otherwise making all manner of veggies into uniform sizes and shapes.  When you’re eating a ton of veggies it’s more important that those veggies look super-appetizing and you have a lot of variety to keep it interesting.  There are many mandolines available – choose one that fits your budget, although usually, the higher the cost, the better the machine is.

Julienne Peeler

This handy little gadget makes short work of turning vegetables into “spaghetti”.  Especially good on zucchini (courgettes), cucumber, and carrots.  I use it with zucchini instead of baking a spaghetti squash.  Super simple, super fast, and won’t break the bank.

Measuring spoons

I have 4 sets of these measuring spoons, because when I am making stuff up for you I use them constantly, and rinsing them every 5 seconds is just annoying.  These are double-ended, which effectively doubles the number of spoons you have.  They are also magnetic so they stick together tidily and don’t get lost, and they have flat bottoms so they will sit on the counter without tipping over.  Who knew someone could get so excited about measuring spoons?


Microplanes are the bomb.  I have several different shapes and sizes and use them for all sorts of things.  So much better than a grater – faster, cleaner, way sharper.  Grating is no longer a chore with these puppies.  Yay!


I am a perfectionist, so I use sieves a lot.  A lot.  Strawberry pips in the sauce?  Sieve.  Hazelnut skins?  Sieve.  Cocoa powder?  Sieve.  Nut dust in the nuts you just chopped?  Sieve.  Ice cream custards?  Sieve.  Green tea got a few stray leaves?  Sieve.  I sieve everything in the name of texture perfection.  You don’t have to go as far as me, but I do recommend having at least one really good fine mesh sieve.  Plus a set of regular general purpose sieves.

Huge mixing bowl

For making large quantities of recipes like Strawberry Seed Porridge I use this huge, awesome bowl.

Melamine pouring bowls

I use these melamine pouring batter bowls more than just about anything else in my kitchen.  The handle design makes them stackable - saving tons of space, and the melamine means they do not transfer flavors and colors like plastic, but they are way lighter than glass.  I use them for mixing up just about everything, and find the handles super useful.  If you hadn’t realized – I LOVE these bowls.


For all those scrumptious SANE cookies and scones, you’ll need cutters, because cutters make food fun.  And pretty.  Anything that makes your SANE food more appealing is a good thing.  Cutters will help.  Get metal ones in whatever shapes and sizes make you happy.  Plastic cutters will stop your scones from rising so well.  Metal is best.

Pyrex storage

I am not a fan of plastic for storage.  At all.  I use these glass Pyrex lidded dishes for storing everything – in the ‘fridge, in the freezer, in the cupboard, and to transport breakfast and lunch to the office.  If plastic is capable of absorbing colors and flavors, then that means the plastic is not impermeable.  The thought that the chemicals in plastic are therefore capable of transferring back into my food is highly unpleasant to me.  In the Brown house, it’s gotta be glass.


For me, using kitchen equipment is like an extension of my body, so I may have forgotten things that are new to you.  I’ll add to this as I think of things that I think you may find helpful.  If there is something missing, please shout!

Happy, happy cooking!



*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!

Bob - One of The things I love about cooking is the variety of ways you can go about it.
The only utensil I have that vaguely resembles anything on this list is a beat up kenwood mixer!
I also swear by all things made from clay, but that’s not really surprising, ( and I have the arms to lift them all up !)
Despite all of this, I KNOW we both have just as much fun.
And I hope my food is as delicious as Carrie’s (i confess I STILL leave the strawberry pips in !!!!!! :-)

ellen - Carrie, GREAT list! Thanks! I would like to mention a tool that I LOVE – my julienne peeler. I can make “spaghetti” out of yellow squash and zucchini which is quicker than spaghetti squash. I can send you a link if you’re interested.

carrie - Oh, oh, oh Ellen! I totally forgot to include that one, and I use it all the time! Silly me. I will add – THANK YOU for the reminder!

Traci - Which models of vitamix do you and Jonathan each own? I want to get one and there are so many choices!

carrie - Traci – I own a 5200 and I use it A LOT!!! Works like a dream. Hope that helps!

Sandy Shepard - totally agree re electric kettle. I use mine a billion times a day – and as you surmised, didn’t know they existed until I lived in Britain. Oh, foolish us ;-) I would add one more thing to your list, a “spiral slicer.” It’s a BLAST to use, a stupidly easy “gadget,” and makes making “zucchini spaghetti” etc. a breeze. Also, I recently got an avocado “peeler” (??) at Goodwill for 5 cents and I am using it like a crazy person – it goes down an avo half with small “wires” that slice out perfect avo pieces? (Do you know what I’m talking about?) Finally, again, another “unitasker” but OMG life saver is a mango slicer. With one of these you’ll never look at mangos again and say “delish, but if they weren’t so dang hard to ~pit~”…Happy Holidaze!

Tomato Salad Soup

Soup.  It’s part of “Getting Your Veggies In 101″.  Like smoothies, you can cram a ridiculous amount of vegetables into soups, and I thoroughly recommend it as a strategy for eating those 10 servings a day that our beloved Mr. Bailor reminds us about at any given opportunity.  Especially in the winter months.  I find salads easy-peasy to eat in the spring and summer, but as soon as the leaves turn - yeah, not so much.  Another brilliant thing about soups is their portability; oh and let’s not forget how easy it is to make an enormous batch all at once and eat it over several days, or freeze it in ready to serve portions.  Soups rock.

I don’t know about you, but I am already thinking about summer.  And salads.  Even though it’s mid-winter where I am.  This soup got started when I had all the typical ingredients for salad lurking in the ‘fridge, but the temperature here had just turned to not-salad-eating degrees.  I wondered what I could do with all the lettuce and cucumbers and tomatoes if I wasn’t going to eat them raw as salad.  So I decided I would see what happened if I threw all of them together into soup.  The same soup.  And, in an instant, Tomato Salad Soup was born.

Tomato Salad Soup

In the first iteration I even squirted in some mayonnaise.  I do not recommend this.  AT ALL.   Please do not do this at home.  It was not good.  AT ALL.  The second iteration, on the other hand, was a huge hit.

So next time you have a craving for salad in mid-winter but really want something warm - soup it up.  No one will ever guess just how much green summery stuff is hidden in there.

5.0 from 2 reviews

Tomato Salad Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb 11oz. / 760g English cucumbers, roughly chopped
  • 1½ lb / 670g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup / 8 fl oz. chicken or clear vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6 oz / 170g unsweetened tomato paste
  • 1 small avocado
  • 3 tsp dried basil
  • 3 TBSP white wine
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP 2% Greek yogurt (Do not use non-fat!)
  • 1 large head Romaine lettuce
  1. Put the cucumber, tomatoes, stock and salt into a large pan or stock pot and cook for 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  2. Working in batches, place the vegetables in a blender and blend until very smooth.
  3. Add the tomato paste, avocado flesh, basil, white wine, lemon juice and Greek yoghurt, and blend to mix.
  4. Separate the leaves of the lettuce and blend into the soup on high speed until completely smooth.
  5. Re-heat gently if necessary.

Tomato Salad Soup



*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!

mazie - Thank’s for this recipe I will be trying it out..I just love your soups thankyou

carrie - THANK YOU, Mazie!! I am definitely a soup girl :-)

Veronica - Carrie: How long is the freezer life of soups like this?

carrie - Veronica – I would use within one month, although mine never make it that long!

Stephanie - Sounds fantastic! Can’t wait to try it!

Sierra - Yum yum yum. This soup is sooo good and easy to make. Plus it used up the tomatoes I’ve had in the freezer from last years garden. This one is going into the family recipe binder. Thanks again Carrie!

carrie - Hurrah for salad soup, Sierra! Who knew lettuce could taste so good?! :-)

Sierra - Wow Carrie, I can’t believe you respond to all these comments…on every recipe! You ROCK. I don’t know how you find the time. P.S. I love your (and Bailors) podcast :)

carrie - I do my best, but don’t always manage to get to everything or everyone. Thanks for the podcast love!

Barbara in Tx - Hi Carrie!

I LOVE your soups! I’m working through every soup recipe in your book! I’ve never ever done that with another cookbook. Wait……yes I have, your ice cream cookbook! 8-) Okay so I’d like to ask a question….do you peel your cucumbers and zuchinni? You see….some of my soups aren’t coming out the beautiful colors that your pictures show and I think it may be my added vegetable peel?

Thanks! What’s the next cookbook going to be? I just can’t wait!

Vanilla Cranberry Shortbread

Here.  Have a gratuitous recipe post.  Because you deserve a cookie (or two).  Because Valentine’s Day is coming.  Because I love you.

Vanilla Cranberry Shortbread


5.0 from 2 reviews

Vanilla Cranberry Shortbread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
  • 8 oz / 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz / 110g xylitol
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 15 oz / 420g almond flour / ground almonds
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 4 oz / 110g dried unsweetened cranberries, finely chopped
  1. Mix butter, xylitol, vanilla and salt together with a hand mixer until well creamed.
  2. Mix in almond flour, xanthan gum and chopped cranberries until a dough is formed.
  3. Turn dough onto surface, using dusting of almond flour to prevent sticking if necessary.
  4. Roll dough to ½ inch thick, and use a cutter to cut out shapes.
  5. Place on a greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 300F for around 20 minutes, just until they start to turn very pale brown.
  7. Remove from oven and leave on baking sheets until cool. Do not try to move them!
  8. Step away from the shortbread!
  9. Once cool, using a spatula, carefully transfer to a wire rack to get completely cold.
  10. I highly recommend leaving them overnight if you can possibly stand it. They firm up and have a better texture.
  11. Store in airtight container.
This shortbread dough can be made in advance, stored in the ‘fridge and baked as required. Allow the dough to come to room temperature before rolling, cutting and baking.

Vanilla Cranberry Shortbread
Vanilla Cranberry Shortbread



*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!

Claire Lucas - Thanks Carrie, can’t wait to make these :-)

allisol - Houston, we had a problem. Something went wrong with my batch. They will probably taste OK, but I just took them out of the oven and they look NOTHING like yours, and they didn’t act like you said they would either.

For one, I had to measure the butter using my digital scale (FUN!). Not sure if that was accurate but I was 1.5 oz too short so I had to add the rest from salted butter. Hope that didn’t mess things up. Then the almond flour was in a package of 16 oz, so I took out one ounce and put in the rest of the package. That shouldn’t be a problem, theoretically.

Disclosure: I put in crushed cocoa nubs instead of cranberries. Don’t like cranberries. Have difficulty following recipes to a T. Love to modify. :)

So, the “roll out the dough” part was laughable. It was more like a blob. There was no dough at all. I looked at the recipe to see what liquid I might have added in excess but really there was nothing so I’m thinking it was the butter. I had to put BLOBS of dough on the cookie sheet with a spoon. I tried to spread them out to be 1/2″ thick. In the end it didn’t matter, they flattened like a pancake.

They smell amazing, but I will follow instructions and wait until tomorrow to eat them. I’m a little worried about the xylitol. My sensitive digestive system does not like a lot of -ol sugars. When I was measuring it out it seemed like a lot. I might have to make them less SANE and do half xylitol and half sugar. What would the measurements be for that? We’ll see. Perhaps moderation is key. I’ll find out tomorrow. So will the rest of my household.

Let me know if you have any thoughts about my dough that was blobby. Thanks!

PS: My kids are begging me to eat them so something must be right!

carrie - Hmmm. Given that there is no liquid in them except vanilla extract, and I doubt you put a significant amount of that in more than the recipe stated, the only thing that makes sense (assuming that you weighed everything correctly) is that you live in AZ and it was warm. Very warm. And the butter about melted. In which case you would need to pop the “dough” in the ‘fridge to firm up before kneading it and rolling it out. Or, once you have done the creaming part, put it in the ‘fridge for a bit to firm up before you add the almond flour.

Also, I would not worry about the xylitol. It is not the same as other sugar alcohols you may have run into like sorbitol or mannitol. Plus, unless you eat the entire batch in one sitting, the amount in each cookie is small. I would not advise swapping out any for sugar – you will defeat half the purpose of making them SANE. When I first ate xylitol I had a “tiny” reaction for the first few days and then it totally went away. Now I can eat an entire batch of shortbread or whatever crammed with xylitol with no effect whatsoever.

Hope that helps!

Allisol - Oh yes. I think that was it. The butter was very very soft. I’ll put the next batch in the fridge. There will be another batch soon. I know you said to wait but I’ve had three so far and hubby and daughter both had one. We all looove them. Daughter is begging for more. She has 11 year old taste buds so she is used to full on toll house cookies. For her to like these is huge!! I see lots of experimenting in my future! And no xylitol problems, just like you said. Hugs to you for a great treat.

carrie - YAY!!! And PHEW!!!

Scott - Hi Carrie – Do you have any advice on where to find dried un-sweetened cranberries? Thanks!

Sue - Please help me with the sweetener.
I have the small packets of xylitol and the big bag of stevia in the raw.
4 oz of either doesn’t seem right. (Almost half of the big bag)
I’ve made both your biscuits and they were fabulous, but I think I sould finally learn the correct way to measure the sweetener.
Thank you for your help.

carrie - Sue – I just emailed you in order to help you with this.

Sierra - Has ANYONE been able to wait until the next day to eat these? Delish! And my toddler and hubby don’t even know they are SANE!!! Hooray 4 Carrie!!!!

carrie - Ha ha, Sierra! No one who taste-tested these had any idea they had no flour or grains. In fact I had people ARGUE with me as they ate them because they couldn’t believe it!!

carrie - Scott – huge apologies – that was an over-zealous typo on the cranberries. Cranberries I have not found unsweetened. All other dried fruit, yes. I’ve corrected it!!

Ladyp1234 - Delicious. Swapped cranberries for 85% cocoa chocolate, and now my 11 yr old takes them to school for snack instead of crisps. And I eat them with coffee in evening when I need some comfort food!

carrie - Ah, yes…coffee and shortbread. Fantastic! Especially when it’s SANE :-)

Lemon Shortbread Cookies » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane - […] as a tart crust for Lemon Mascarpone Tarts. Even though the base recipe I stole from the Vanilla Cranberry Shortbread that I gave you for Valentine’s Day, these taste like completely different cookies.  They […]

Jenny Farrell - Hi! I’ve introduced myself to this new healthier eating lifestyle this week. I am from Manchester UK and had stumbled upon a Podcast by accident. To cut a long story short, I have a sweet tooth, and being in a transition stage (only on day 3 so far) wanted something sweet to eat. I have made this recipe today and am really impressed with the taste and consistency. I will definitely be making more. I am still struggling to move my head out of the ‘how many calories?’ cloud and worry that these might make me fat! I have only eaten one though and I’m sure time will tell. Fingers crossed :)

carrie - GO, Jenny!! :-)

8 Tricks That Make Being SANE At Home Easy

It’s true!  Staying *SANE is the easiest thing I’ve ever tried when it comes to controlling what I eat – but even so - sometimes it’s still hard.  When I am caught unawares, when I race out the door without eating breakfast, or when my schedule unexpectedly blows up; when I’m in a hurry, when exhaustion strikes, or when the emotional blahs roll in, it can be harder to stay on track.  I’ve found that a little bit of planning can make all the difference in the world when your body is screaming for burgers and cupcakes.  Or a sandwich.  Or a huge bowl of spaghetti carbonara.  Or whatever your crush of the moment happens to be.  Mine is usually a loaf of Sunmaid Raisin Bread – goodness only knows why.  14 minutes after eating it my stomach feels like a lead balloon, and by the time 23 minutes has ticked by I am lying on the blue leather couch like a beached whale while I slide into a carbohydrate coma that lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours.  Awful.  Just awful.  I am getting *much* better at remembering the last “awful” before I cram that first slice in my mouth.

It’s also true I have discovered – during my last two run-ins with a loaf of raisin bread - that an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.  And here’s a third truth: prevention is only going to happen with a little bit of planning.

Here’s what I do to make sure that even when my plans come unravelled, I’m always prepared on the food front – and way less likely to add eating inSANEity to my list of things that went sideways.  See if adopting some of these strategies helps you in your quest to stay SANE whatever else is going on.


1. Clear out your cupboards, pantry, ‘fridge and freezer of *inSANE foods.  When it comes to meal times at home, it’s much easier to eat *SANE food if that’s all you have in the house.  If clearing it all out at once is too daunting, clear out one cupboard, or one pantry shelf a week.  Take it to the Food Bank if you cannot bear to toss it out.  Eating food that makes you unhealthy “just because you paid for it” does not serve you well.  If you have a few favorite inSANE things that you cannot bear to part with (yet), keep them until last.  Don’t panic – this does not have to be all or nothing…BUT…just know it will be much easier for you to stay SANE if you make a clean break.  If you want to take a slower route to SANEity, take baby steps.  Each step, however small, is a step in the right direction.

2. Fill your cupboards, pantry, ‘fridge and freezer with SANE foods.  I will shortly be posting a list of what’s in my pantry that I hope will help you focus when you are next at the grocery store.  Keeping these items on hand will make it super simple for you to whip up something SANE at meal times, or when the munchies strike.

3. Talking about the grocery store…when you’re doing the grocery shopping, stick to the perimeter of the store – that’s where almost all the SANE stuff is.  Avoid going down any of the aisles in the middle.  Depending on the store, the only things I dash into the middle for are herbal tea, nuts, herbs and spices, baking aids such as guar and xanthan gums, baking powder and baking soda, and frozen fruit.

4. Make batches of snack foods to have on hand for when the munchies unexpectedly strike.  Here’s 10 great recipes that you can make in advance (and in quantity) to have ready to chow on at a moments notice.  Most of them feel very naughty.  All of them taste fantastic, totally fill you up and help you towards your health and fat-loss goals.  Yep.

5. Make some meals in advance and freeze them – for those days you unexpectedly get home late, or get home so tired you just don’t have the energy to get busy in the kitchen.  Instead of going through the drive-thru on your way home, sling a pre-made dish of *SANEity in the oven or microwave when you get home.  Soups are particularly brilliant for this.

6. Keep some “instant” protein in the ‘fridge or pantry.  My favorites are cooked chicken and turkey slices, smoked salmon or other smoked fish, cooked prawns, canned tuna and salmon, non-fat cottage cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs.  If you get home *really* late and don’t even have the time or energy to scramble an egg, these fill you up faster than anything else, and mean you don’t go to bed hungry, which can be disastrous.

7. Keep these QuestBars bars handy.  They are the SANEst protein bars available, and – BONUS! - they taste awesome.  Keep a stash in your desk drawer at the office, some at home, a handful in the car, and a couple in your purse / handbag / back-pack / briefcase.  Take them with you when you travel – they are a lifesaver at airports and on planes.  Most protein bars are not SANE, so be careful.  The only other one we recommend is the Pure Protein brand.

8. When you feel hungry – and you suspect it might be emotional hunger rather than physical hunger – drink a glass of water, or drink a cup of green or herbal tea first.  If you are still hungry after that, grab a SANE snack from #4 above or a protein bar from #7 above.


And then, if you still find yourself in a situation where inSANEity is inevitable, don’t panic!  Just do your best in the moment and get back to SANEity as soon as you can.  Beating yourself up won’t make anything better.  You’re awesome, and you can do this!

One Step Can Make All The Difference


*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!

Ladyp1234 - I was only just thinking how some more sharing of emergency snack ideas would be good, and in pops this. Fantastic! Thanks.

Liz - clearing out my larder and cupboards truly works!
the local soup kitchen LOVED all the Christmas chocs, biscuits and ‘processed’ tins.
The most used ingredient in my house now is avocados!

carrie - LOVE this, Liz!!! Great job :-)

carrie - Hurrah LadyP!

Carole - Oops. Never mind. I only clicked on the second link for Pure Protein Bars, now that I re-read it, I see that the first link is for QuestBars. Sorry.

carrie - No problem at all Carole!

DiWOS - Boiled eggs are great to have around, too. I also have sliced prosciutto — my mouth is watering right now thinking of wrapping that prosciutto around an egg for my snack… But first I am going to make a pear cashew smoothie. :-)

MVP - I have bought the Quest Cinnamon Roll, Coconut Cashew and Lemon bars and they taste soooo good! They are awesome when you’re on the go and need an extra boost. The whole family loves them!!

carrie - Oh I totally forgot the boiled eggs! I don’t know how, I eat masses of them :-) Enjoy that smoothie!!

reba - Do you eat all the time. I find myself hungery a lot durring the day. I can have a big salad and still be hungery. It strikes at about 9pm and will not go away. It seems like I eat everything in the book I can muster up that is sane but it just seems to not work..Any suggestions???

carrie - Reba – up your protein. I find protein totally stops my hunger, whereas veggies, not so much. Eat protein right before bed to stop the hunger and get you a good nights sleep. I regularly eat some protein right before i go to bed. Hope that helps!

Kari - When you post your list of what is in your cupboards and fridge pics would be good also because I am very visual! I would love if you taught a cooking class I could pay to come too! Maybe afterwards we could all exercise lol.

carrie - Great idea, Kari! Laughing about a cooking class followed by exercise!!

It Feels Strange

New Years Day dawned brilliantly bright and beautiful in the Pacific Northwest.  I’d been watching the weather for days, eagerly optimistic that the little sunshiny yellow icon would remain firmly in place on the 5 day forecast over at  I’d been feverishly writing recipe posts for days in the hopes that if the weather cooperated, I could run away for a much-needed day-trip around this gorgeous corner of America.  Mother Nature did not disappoint.

I have to tell you, I feel the need to explain myself before I yap on about my magical New Years Day, because if you are new to this particular virtual P-Patch, you’re expecting a recipe and your expectation will not be met.  Some of you come here just for recipes, but lately I’ve seen a confusing increase in curiosity from hordes of you wondering about, well, me.  My journey, my life, my thoughts; even my cats and my singleness.  How I got here, what I do when I’m not hanging with Bailor, what drives me, what I struggle with (apart from Jonathan’s dubious fashion sense), how I made it over from The Dark Side – physically, emotionally and mentally - and how I view the world.  And why I take pictures of my feet and have an endless fascination with fences.  The thought that I am interesting to anyone other than my cats is still rather odd to me, and so it feels strange writing about it all.  Some of you may well think it’s strange reading it.  It’s OK if you choose not to.  If you’re shouting at your screen, “Where’s the recipe??”, there’s a new one speeding towards you any day now.  Pretty soon I’ll be posting a recipe for Vanilla Cranberry Shortbread, and boy let me tell you those babies are worth the wait.

If you’ve been coming here for less than 4 months or so, you’d be forgiven for thinking that what I do in life is podcast with Jonathan, laugh a lot, and create yummy *SANE recipes to make your journey to health and fat-loss easier & tastier.  And you would be right.  I do do those things.  A lot.  Especially the creating yummy recipes part.  I do other things too though, that you may not know about.  I shoot stuff.  With a camera.  And I go on wild adventurous road-trips all over the place in order to shoot stuff I haven’t seen before.  In fact, this little blogette started as an image gallery, and then it morphed into a food blog.  Slowly over time though, the travel and photography and stories about life crept back in.  Because they are all part of who I am.  I have tried over the years to compartmentalize myself – show different parts to different people – until about 6 years ago when I stopped caring what people thought.  Then it all just became too hard to remember which part of me I was to who, and the line between virtual me and in-real-life me got so blurry I decided to just be me.  All of me.  All the time.  Finally I brought it all together here as well.

After Jonathan and I threw caution to the wind and – just for grins and giggles – started recording the podcasts, things got a little crazy over at the Marmalade HQ Kitchen.  I’ll have you know that neither of us had any clue that we’d spend every week since July 1 being rated hot on iTunes, regularly up there next to Ms. Michaels in the rankings.  Suddenly there were mobs of people clamoring for more and more SANE recipes.  I did my best to get a wide range of dishes up there for you as quickly as possible, while the other parts of me took a back seat.  Looking back, I’ve been writing recipe posts almost exclusively since the summer.  No posts on travel, life, or other stuff.  I even chose to cancel my last two road-trips in order to develop new recipes and get them to you.  Willingly.  Happily.  It was just the right thing to do.

La Connor, WA

But the truth is, I miss writing about all the other bits, and last week I thought I was going to fall to my knees and cry if I had to tap out ”tbsp” or “non-fat Greek yogurt” or “bake” ONE. MORE. TIME.  I miss jotting down my adventures, mentally reliving my images, recalling my miscellaneous antics, discoveries, and random Ah-ha! moments.  There’s been fantastically pretty frosts, fabulous fences, plus all kinds of stunning sunsets and sparkly sunrises that escaped any kind of pixelation while I grappled with xanthan gum and wrestled almond flour into something recognisable as a dough.  What we need here people is some balance.  Out of whack can work for a while, in an emergency, but really, I do so much better when things are in balance.

I admit I’ve also been mulling over all the other stuff that you need for your journey to SANEity - stuff that doesn’t involve an ingredients list or oven temperature.  You need inspiration, motivation, tips and tricks, and information on all the things that are new to you in a SANE lifestyle.  Stuff that I have not had time to tell you because I’ve been knee-deep in cookbooks and produce and the mental gymnastics of cups vs. ounces.

What this all means dear readers - since I have not found a way to conjure up more time in the day - is I’ll have to post recipes less often.  Not much less often, but a bit.  Because you all know that this journey to health and fat-loss is not just about eating more and exercising less, smarter.  If it were, we’d all be brimming with health and have the body-fat % of our dreams.  I can give you SANE recipes until the cows come home, but for most of you that simply won’t be enough.  Everything in our lives is interconnected - physically, mentally and emotionally.  To try and ignore that will land us all in hot water, or at least find us notching up another diet fail; and you don’t deserve that.

I have thought about this long and hard – and it seems only fair to warn you – things are going to get a little more touchy-feely around here.  For those of you who just want the great grub, we’ll smile and wave as you swing by to grab it.  The navigation bar on the left is your best friend for finding what you need in terms of recipes.  Enjoy!  For the rest of you who want it all, I am excited and humbled to be a part of your journey to SANEity – warts and all.  We got this.

Phew.  Now I’ve got that off my chest, where was I?  Ah, yes.  New Years Day.  Time flies so fast.  Here we are in the 4th week of January, wondering how on earth that even happened.

This was my first shot of 2013.  As I sat there on the side of the road watching the sun slowly climb away from the horizon, I thought about how, even through the mist, there was a beautiful day dawning.  I thought about the glorious sunshine that would – sooner or later – pierce it’s way through the fog and change how the world looks.

Let this be the year that you let your sun shine through.  Truly love and accept yourself for who you are.  Burn through the fog of everyone else’s opinions about you – they are simply opinions, and have no value other than the value you give them.  Change your view of you and your whole world will change.

See?  This is what happens when I get out of the kitchen and step away from the computer.  Magical.



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



*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!

cowgirl rae - Bravo!
Looking forward to more of “life balance with Carrie”.

carrie - Thanks, Cowgirl!!

Roslyn Woodle - Carrie,
So sorry to bother you with this. Have been following you and thoroughly enjoy your writing,recipes and delightful podcasts. You are so genuine and REAL! Began SSOS last spring. Just last evening I signed up for the SSOS premium, paid for it and have receipt in hand. Now simply unable to get access to the video or other so-called Premium Members benefits. Realize it’s not your website but is there a way to contact the SSOS folks via email instead of Facebook?
Thank you.

Jennifer H - Lovely reflection and photos. Thanks!

carrie - Thanks, Jennifer!!!

carrie - Roslyn – THANK YOU for your kind words. Hugely appreciated. Try here:

Claudia - Reading this tonight was exactly the inspiration I needed! Work home, health… It can become so overwhelming. I sometimes feel that I, too, present different versions of myself just as you spoke of. Wonderful words and beautiful photographs. Thank you for sharing!

carrie - Thank you, Claudia! Makes my heart happy to know it resonated with you.

Claire Lucas - Thanks Carrie, I’m looking forward to more of the touchy-feely stuff. Love it!!

Claire Lucas - Oh, and I can’t wait for the Vanilla Cranberry Shortbread either!!

carrie - Thanks, Claire!!

lorrie walter - You are so amazing your post here made me all mushy. some of your photo’s above are hanging in my living room, while your recipes cook in my kitchen.

thanks for sharing your heart and allowing the rest of us to gleen from your many travels and adventures

carrie - Aw, Lorrie Walter…thank you :-)

Liz - Hi Carrie
I have been listening to the podcasts from pretty early on, which led me to explore your photos.
I love your work- photos up lift my heart.
Your chemistry and banter with Bailor makes me smile and keeps me on the straight and narrow (well mostly!)Even my husband is SANE eating now (although he doesn’t know this most of the time!)
I am glad to hear you are keeping the work/life balance in check.
As a cancer survivor I know how important this is- thanks for the gentle reminder that I too need to keep this upper most in my mind to remain well.
Keep going girl, you (and Jonathon) inspire and support many people with your work, many more than you realise!

carrie - THANK YOU so much for your kind words, Liz. It really helps to know we’re on the right track.

Ellen - Bless you Carrie. What beautiful photos – they make me smile! You are such an interesting woman – looking forward to your insight into this sane journey in an insane world!
We’ve got this!

carrie - THANK YOU, Ellen! :-))

Pam - Hi Carrie~ I started listening only 1.5 weeks ago…my sister, Peggy, has been on me to listen for many, many months and I always put it off. Not sure why now…I can’t get enough! I do have a few questions though and was hoping you could shed some light…I feel guilty and am worried that if I don’t follow the SANE eating 100% that I will ultimately end up gaining wait with all of the nuts, oils, proteins…I have worked to lose 20 lbs, had just (the Friday b4 I started listening or knew about SANE)signed up for Weight Watchers and I am worried…like I can’t trust that eating this much and all the wonderful nuts, fruit, etc. how can this be…just worried! Please help me understand…just a bit! p.s. love your pod-casts, your’ve got it girl! Thanks…

carrie - Pam – WELCOME!!! We’re not about perfection, we’re about progress. The most important thing is eliminaitng sugars and starches. Eat protein, healthy fats, water, non-startchy veggies and low-sugar fruits in abundance – until you are full. Try it and see. It’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of fact! This is science. And THANK YOU for the podcast love. We’re so happy to be a part of your journey to SANEity!!!