11 Tips For Reading Food Labels

It’s time to get serious for a moment or two, lovely SSoS’ers.

Let’s talk about labels.  Food labels, that is.  I love labels.  I’ve been an avid label reader since I can remember knowing what a label was, and that was way  before barcodes were even an inkling in some geeky dude’s cerebral cortex.

Labels make me happy.  They also make me sad; but definitely more happy than sad.  Happy because they tell me really important stuff.  Sad because I find out how much rubbish is in our foods these days.  Labels are brilliant for helping us navigate to a SANE and healthy life.  Labels are also sneaky, complicated, and misleading.

It is very easy to think that you are doing good and buying *SANE when in fact you aren’t – through no fault of your own.  Tomato paste doesn’t need sugar in it, right?  Right.  But most brands add it anyway.  This is why we need to read labels.  Don’t let sneaky manufacturers knock you off your path to *SANEity!

The Food You Eat


Here’s some things you can do to make sure you are as SANE as you want to be when buying food.  This is the process I use to determine which products to buy, and which brands of those products to buy.

1. Buy as many foods as possible that don’t come with labels.  If a label is not required it pretty much means it was once alive and growing and has remained as Mother Nature created it.

2. If it has a label – read it.  Especially ones that you don’t think you need to read, like meat.  You will be surprised, and often not in a good way.

3. Read the list of ingredients.  If there are any added sugars, starches and/or grains listed as an ingredient – don’t buy it.  See the list of names sugar masquerades as here.  We don’t want to buy anything with *added* sugars.  When you start reading labels you will be amazed at what manufacturers add sugar to.  You can usually find a couple of unsweetened or no-added-sugar versions if you look hard enough.  Once you have found the unsweetened or no-added-sugar versions, just stick to that brand.  You will only need to do this once for each product you are looking for.  For example – I now know which brand of tomato paste is SANE and I don’t need to read tomato paste labels ever again.

4. Having determined that there are no added sugars, starches and/or grains in the ingredients list, read the nutritional content.  Lots of foods have sugars in them naturally – this does not make them bad, but you do need to be careful.  Look at the grams per serving of sugar – if it’s in the double digits – don’t buy it.

5. The shorter the ingredients list, the better it usually is.

6. If it has a whole list of ingredients with ridiculously long names, ones you can’t pronounce and/or don’t know what they are, don’t buy it.

7. Compare different brands of similar products.  They are not all the same.  For example – the amount of protein per serving in non-fat Greek yogurt varies wildly between brands.  Once you have weeded out the products with added sugars, starches and/or grains, start comparing between the ones left.  Look for the brands with:

  • More grams per serving of protein
  • Fewer grams per serving of sugar
  • More grams per serving of fiber

8. If you want to know whether something is a good source of protein, take the grams per serving of protein listed and multiply it by 4.  If the result is greater than 50% of the calories per serving listed, it’s a good source of protein.  Again, not all non-fat Greek yogurt brands are the same!

9. Don’t get waylaid by the calories.  A calorie is not a calorie.  Calorie math is a myth.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, read The Calorie Myth.  Jonathan explains it so brilliantly.

10. Remember being SANE focuses on water, protein and fiber.

11. Do not get caught up in the minutiae of vitamin and mineral content.  Follow steps 1 – 9 above and just concentrate on eating as many SANE foods as possible.  Everything else will take care of itself.


Eat Less Crap





*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!

Ellen - Carrie, Thanks for the reminder!! Last week I made a smoothie with TJ’s plain coconut milk and noticed a difference – it just wasn’t as sweet – as the smoothie with Silk plain coconut milk. I read the labels and found that SILK contains 6g sugar. You’d think PLAIN means PLAIN :) I can’t believe I didn’t notice this until just now, and I’m irritated that we don’t have a Trader Joe’s here!!

Nancy - Dang about the Silk coconut milk. I’ve been buying it as a two-pack at Costco. Didn’t think to look at the label.

Speaking of label reading, I was very frustrated at Whole Foods yesterday when I was trying to find a protein bar for a quick snack before I consumed every single item in the bakery department. I couldn’t find a single bar that had less than 20g of carbs. Even the high protein bars were carb loaded. Heavy sigh.

carrie - Hi Ellen – labels are our friends! You really do have to be careful and not go by the packaging blurb…because you would think plain means plain!! Great job on making the switch now :-)

Sautéed Pea Soup

While I was on my jaunt down to the middle of California I grew a large quantity of freckles, ate an unconscionable quantity of beef jerky, hardboiled eggs and Romaine lettuce, drove 3494 miles in bare feet, became several shades blonder, spent hours lying upside-down on the streets of Solvang, washed my car!, shot 1053 images, discovered that imposing limitations makes you super creative, drove through an oil field, watched a poppy bud shed it’s casing, and only got stopped by the police once.  Same old, same old.

Now I’m back and I am just tickled pink to see that Spring has already moved in, even though March has just barely got off the starting blocks.  The days are getting longer, there’s teeny-weeny new shoots on my rose bush, tiny buds sprouting on my clematis, the daffys are pushing their way skyward, and yesterday I heard someone mowing.  Mowing, I tell you!!  In March!!  Spring has sprung around here for sure.  HURRAH!

This year is just clipping along at such a pace I can hardly keep up.  My road trip down south that seemed to take forever to get here is now receding rapidly into the fading memories of my mind.  The upcoming trip to New Orleans – for which I am completely unprepared – is hurtling towards me faster than a smoothie in a Vitamix.  And all I wanted to do was talk to you about peas.  I love peas.  I’ll often eat a pound of peas for dinner.  Just peas.  With a dollop of butter and a quick shake of lemon pepper.  Magical.  Not a very balanced meal I admit, but if you’re exhausted and have 2 seconds to eat, go with green veggies.

Pea soup, on the other hand, brings to my mind a couple of things:

1. Fog so thick you cannot see your hand in front of your face.  We call them “pea-soupers” in England, and they were a fairly regular occurence during my childhood.  Driving in pea-soupers was when I learnt that using your high beam lights is not always the best course of action.  When the fog is so thick that it just bounces any light right back at you, using your high beams cuts your visibility to even less.  I always marvelled at how my father drove through pea-soupers.  I swear I did most of my Drivers Ed in the back seat of the family car, watching him drive.

2. Thick, musty green, grainy sludge.

I want to reassure you that this Sautéed Pea Soup bears absolutely no resemblance to 2) above.  It would, however, be a great way to warm up after traversing through 1).  Having just been on a short rendezvous through Fog City – although there was not one single puff of fog the day I was there – it seemed only fitting to share this particular soup.  In fact, it was so clear in San Francisco last weekend I was able to get this shot of Alcatraz while standing on Fishermans Wharf.  I wonder if they served something akin to 2) above while it was being used as a prison?

Carrie Brown  |  Alcatraz

Enough of all this fog talk.  Let’s get back to the peas, people.

This SANE pea soup is something else entirely to the pea soup of my youth.  It is smooth, creamy, and bright.  Not to mention fast, easy and terribly tasty.

Carrie Brown  |  Sauteed Pea Soup

Peas are fabulously full of fiber.  Add to that the cucumbers and spinach and you have a whole bunch of green goodness going on in your bowl.

Make a big batch and freeze it in portions, ready to warm and serve in a hurry; but you don’t have to wait for fog to whip this up – it’s also delicious cold, and would make a delightful SANE supper on a hot summer evening.

GO, peas!


5.0 from 2 reviews
Sautéed Pea Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 lb / 450g frozen peas
  • 1½ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 lb 11 oz. / 760g English cucumbers, cut roughly into chunks
  • 1 cup / 8 fl oz. unsweetened thin coconut milk
  • 10 oz / 280g onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 oz / 28g butter
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 TBSP heavy cream
  • 1½ tsp dried basil
  • 1½ tsp dried mint
  • 2 oz. / 55g fresh spinach
  1. In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the coconut oil.
  2. Add the frozen peas and saute for 4 minutes on high heat.
  3. Add the salt, chopped cucumbers coconut milk and onion to the pan and simmer until cucumber and onions are tender, about 7 minutes.
  4. In batches, blend the vegetables in a blender. Transfer each batch to a large bowl or saucepan.
  5. To the last batch of vegetables in the blender, add the butter, heavy cream, basil, and mint.
  6. While blending remove the center of the blender lid and carefully shake in the xanthan gum and blend for 10 seconds.
  7. Turn the blender off and add the fresh spinach.
  8. Blend just until the spinach has completely disappeared.
  9. Stir into the rest of the soup and reheat if necessary before serving.

Sauteed Pea 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!

Cowgirl Rae - OH! I’ll try this. But I will be subbing zucchini for the cucumber. Hubs Will. Not. Eat. Cucumber.

Did you blend with vitamix or kitchen blender?

We love pea soup (with dried peas), the thicker the better and I add several grated carrots, let it cook in the crock pot all day. Run it thru the osterizer. YUM

I’ve been experimenting with making coconut milk, Have you tried?

carrie - Hey Cowgirl, I Vitamixed it. I have not made coconut milk, and I cannot imagine every getting to it. Call me lazy, but the cartons from TJ’s work for me ;-)

Cowgirl Rae - T.J. is over an hour from me, I’ve decided i don’t want the thickeners anymore in the carton stuff. Canned is just too expensive +thickeners + possible BPA from the cans. Sigh.
I sold my beloved juicer and will be getting a Vitamix soon. woot!

carrie - WOOOHOO on the Vitamix, Cowgirl!!! Your life will be changed :-)

Cowgirl Rae - I hope so…. although it’s a tall order.

I LOVED the juicer I had. I made almost exclusively green vegetable juices, very little fruit. And it had the ability to turn frozen fruit into the most FANTASITC pure fruit sorbet…. But it now lives 2 houses down and I can borrow it if I want to.

Planning to order the vitamix mext month.

Danna - Hi Carrie! I love pea soup too and I love that you’ve added extra veggies to make it even healthier than it’s higher carb counterpart. But my question is: why do you use frozen peas instead of the dried, split peas? And I figured peas would be on the non SANE list because they are similar to corn where they are more a carb than a veggie. Just curious….. :)

carrie - Hi Danna – I have never used a dried pea in my life, but I always have peas in the freezer, so that was what I used. And Bailor says peas are good, so peas it is :-) I hope you weren’t expecting some highly technical or complicated answer here!! Having said that, when I get a chance I am going to get a more techy answer for you :-)

carrie - Ha ha, Cowgirl! Sounds like a perfect arrangement with your juicer!!

Patmick - Absolutely scrumptious!!! I made it this A.M. and drank two cups even though I was full from breakfast. It was just so yummy! Five stars! I will never make dried pea soup again. And such a pretty green oolala

carrie - Ha ha Patmick! That made me smile :-)

Denise - Hi Carrie! I have just recently found this site and have been loving all your recipes! I have one question: when a recipe like this calls for coconut milk, is it OK to substitute almond milk? I tried coconut milk a short time ago and for some strange reason my body said “YUCK!” to it so now I use almond milk.

Kasey - Carrie, I have read many of your recipes and plan to try them all! I do have a question though… Can I make any of your soups and freeze for later use? Like a night I don’t feel like cooking perhaps?

Beth - This was delicious! I omitted the mint and heavy cream(didn’t have it on hand) and subbed 1 T. coconut cream. Loved it!

carrie - Beth – so glad you loved it! One of my faves…and so quick and easy.

Get A Little Perspective

Hi, Gang!

I’m back.  In Seattle.  At least for a couple of weeks.

If you follow my ridiculousness on Facebook, you’ll be all too aware that I just got back from a road trip to California; and while I was on the road I bombarded you with a flood of status updates that included – but were not limited to – my run-ins with the boys in blue, multiple images of my feet, SANE eating adventures, random thoughts, my favorite shots of the day, and the oh-so-popular Housesitters Reports.  I am sure that your news feed is thrilled that it has been able to breathe again since I returned.  I should mention that Florence got the most fan mail despite the fact that she reportedly spent most of the time I was gone staring at the dishwasher or wondering what was happening.  Maybe she needs her own Facebook page.

You may not know this about me; thinking about it, you almost certainly don’t know this about me, and would never guess it from the podcasts or Facebook or my little blogette right here.  I’m an introvert.  Truth.  My road trips are critical to my very survival – they literally stop me from going crazy.  Driving solo for {very} long distances turns my world the right way up; and even though I am working on shooting assignments, my road trips are when I do all my major thinking, and I find my brain exploding with insights and ideas and realizations that it doesn’t usually get a chance to explore.

I’m guessing that an awful lot of people see the Smarter Science of Slim / SANE lifestyle as restrictive.  They see what they can’t have and feel like it must be a miserable life of denial, struggle, and suffering.  They think that in order for variety to be the spice of life – and for food not to get boring – they need to be able to eat every foodstuff there is available.  They wonder what on earth they are going to eat if they can’t eat flour and sugar.  There’s nothing left, right?  At least there’s nothing left that’s tasty or worth eating.  I’ve been mulling over this concept for a year now, and considering how to help people gain a new perspective on the whole your-life-is-not-over-because-you-don’t-eat-wheat-or-sugar thing.

One day, after shooting mainly landscapes in the wilds of central California for 3 days, I decided on a whim that I was going to limit myself to only shooting with my macro lens.  I declared it Macro Day – getting {really} up close and personal with my surroundings.

For a while I was stumped, wondering, ‘What am I going to shoot?”  Then almost immediately it struck me.  I was going to have to look at the world in an entirely new way.  I was no longer looking for compelling compositions that stretched across miles of land.  I had to look for things that I normally pass right on by without a second glance, and work out how to make them into a compelling image.  I would have to look at ordinary objects in a whole new way.  I would need to look for details that I never knew existed before.  And it was awesome. 

The exercise gave me whole new perspectives on life, the universe, and everything; and how often does do we let that happen??

Turns out I didn’t have to drive for hundreds of miles every day to get compelling images.  On Macro Day I didn’t get more than 3 miles from the condo; and yet I shot 3 times as many images as I had in the previous 3 days combined – those 3 days having involved driving over 1100 miles.

Then came the flowers.  Before I knew it I was lying upside down in the street – completely oblivious to the world rushing by me, and completely engrossed in my work.  And it was awesome.

Carrie Brown | Flowers



















Carrie Brown | Flowers



















Carrie Brown | Flowers



















Carrie Brown | Flowers



















Carrie Brown | Flowers



















I learned that limitations make you more creative, not less creative.  And that is a really, really, really great thing.  I saw things in a way that I had never looked at them before.  I saw detail and beauty that I had previously missed.

I thought about how this is exactly like converting to a SANE lifestyle.  How developing SANE recipes has made me far more creative, simply because I have less to work with; and yet I’ve had countless people tell me that my recipes taste better than the food they ate when they were eating “regular” food.  Eating SANE forces me to get creative in the kitchen.  And what initially seemed like a huge struggle, has turned out to be a mesmerizing journey in creativity.  It makes me constantly think, “How can I make something totally tasty with only these ingredients at my disposal?”  And when recipes – especially baked goods – don’t turn out the way I had hoped, the limitations compel me to figure out how to make them work, instead of giving up or turning to inSANE alternatives.

When we limit ourselves we see and find more possibilities, not less.

I’ve eaten more almonds in the last 6 months than in the rest of my life put together.  Who knew those rather boring-looking nuts could get whipped into so many fabulous concoctions?

And when you’re faced with upping the amount of veggies you consume drastically, you discover veggies you never knew existed.  You find ways of preparing veggies that you never imagined before.  You find ways to get veggies into every thing you eat, even though you may not even have liked veggies very much before.

And it is awesome.

If a doctor had told me 18 months ago that I had to switch to a gluten-free diet because of an allergy or other health issue, I would have thought my life was over.  I could not have imagined life without bread, or pasta or cupcakes.  And then remove sugar too??  NO WAY.  I would have been in complete despair.  Then I met Jonathan and read The Smarter Science of Slim and started focusing on eating  the healthiest and most nutritionally dense foods, and I found myself several months later eating a completely grain-free, sugar-free diet without even realizing it.  I hadn’t focused on what I couldn’t eat, I focused on discovering the unknown joys of all the things I could eat.  My life was changed as a result of the things I ate; and I hadn’t felt deprived, not once.

Similarly with my macro exercise.  I focused (ha ha!) on what I could shoot up close, not on what I couldn’t shoot.  My life was changed as a result of the things I saw; and I didn’t feel deprived, not once.  In fact, my day exploded with creativity and thinking; and most of my favorite images of the trip I shot on the day I imposed limitations and saw things from a different perspective.  And it was awesome.

Change your perspective and you change your whole world.


{Love the images and want to see more? Click on each image 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!

Ladyp1234 - Your photos are stunning Carrie. And I shall be mulling over your thoughts today, as I move towards having less flour and sugar in our family diet….

Molly R - Carrie,
First off, I want to thank you for sharing your beautiful photography! It is inspiring and uplifting to see so many gorgeous pictures during the work week, when all I can think about is how to get myself (and my students) to spring break successfully! Lol
Secondly, are far more importantly from a health aspect, I loved your thoughts on approaching SANE eating. I have read Jonathan’s book. I have been listening to the podcast, but I have been hesitating on making the dietary changes that I need to make, because I don’t want to give up my sugar!! I lost 40 pounds from March to August last year and then stopped because I had not learned in that time how to get creative with my cooking. Thus I have regained about 20 or so of those pounds back!! I plan on spending my Spring break getting myself off sugar and I hope eventually off of wheat so that I can at least test out the difference for myself! Thanks for your insight!

Romy - Wonderful pictures! Thank you for sharing.
Greetings from Switzerland

allisol - Wow those pictures are amazing. I was just thinking of you last night. I thought “With all that driving, shouldn’t she be sharing some epiphany with us at some point?” haha! We rely on you for epiphanies! But this is soooo true. The “restrictions” as they are, have forced me to be so much more adventurous with food and try things I have never had (leeks??? Who knew!?) and cook things I’ve never cooked. It’s freeing that the options are really limitless.

Oh, and we extroverts knew right away you were an introvert. No extrovert would be caught dead driving for 10 days by him/her self. We get bored driving to the grocery store alone.


Meghan - Hi Carrie,
These photos ARE GOREGEOUS…. I wanted to “repin” them… when I clicked on pinterest button at the bottom, only the orange flower at the bottom came up…. do you have a board with all of them on there?

Wendy - And you coming to this point is awesome.

carrie - Thanks, everyone, for all the photo love!! Molly R – awesome job on the 40 – now let’s get back to it :-) Allisol – you crack me up :-) Wendy – miss you! GO, LadyP!!

carrie - Molly R – hopefully you can use my recipes on this blog to help you with the creative cooking bit and keep on track. Is there something inSANE that you really miss that you would particularly like me to make a SANE version of?

Margaret H - Beautiful! The flowers are gorgeous but I do love that post with the barbed wire. Thanks for sharing these and your words of wisdom. They will definitely come to mind when I think I’m being deprived!

Ellen - Beautiful! Jonathan has a worthy competitor in the analogy contest!

Julie - Love love love this whole post! I enjoyed your writing, the story about your trip, and the photos are phenomenal. Inspiring on multiple levels.

Sylvia - Carrie, your photos are absolutely amazing! Isn’t nature wonderful?!! Thanks for all your inspiring posts. The motivation you give is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much on so many levels.

carrie - THANK YOU for your kind words, Sylvia!

carrie - THANK YOU, so much, Julie :-)

carrie - HA, Ellen! I don’t think I will ever reach analogy god status like Bailor, but happy that I made my point!

carrie - Margaret – I loved that post, too!!

Natalie - I really connected with this post–so amazing! I too am introverted and love love LOVE road trips, and I think I was living vicariously through you by reading this–traveling with multiple kids isn’t exactly relaxing so I don’t do much of it anymore!
I also admire how you linked two seemingly different pursuits because you had to change your perspective due to limited resources (macro lens v. “restricted” ingredients)–brilliant! Your photography is lovely! Keep up the good work on your podcast with Jonathan, I love your humor and relatability.

carrie - Thanks so much for your kind words, Natalie; and for all the podcast and photography love!!

Slim Is Simple

You can always rely on Jonathan Bailor to do something totally radical and cool.  Really this isn’t radical at all, although it’s definitely cool.  It’s simple.  And it’s the truth.  And we already know it, deep down inside.  We just forgot.  Or rather we allowed ourselves to be persuaded otherwise.  Luckily for all of us, we have Jonathan to remind us.  And to make it simple.

The first time Jonathan used the phrase “slim is simple” was while we were in the studio recording a podcast, and frankly, I wanted to slap him. If you’re like me and have spent any amount of time trying everything you’ve ever heard in the realms of getting slim, and yet been unable to lose weight, you would probably have wanted to slap him too. It immediately had me feeling like I must be the problem; like I was a failure.

If slim is simple, why wasn’t I slim? If slim is simple, why are there an ever-growing number of people across the globe who are at some level of overweight?  I’d cycled, I’d starved, I’d eaten less and exercised more. People all over the world have been doing the same.  For years.  And it had made no difference. So don’t you go telling me that slim is simple Mr. I’ve-Never-Been-On-The-Dark-Side Bailor!

But, at the same time, I knew exactly what he meant. Slim is SIMPLE, it’s just not necessarily EASY, especially with the constant barrage of false and misleading information that has been zooming around for the last 40 years.  So when we say “slim is simple”, we’re talking about the truth, the reality.  The truth that has become completely lost in the cacophony of programs, and diets, and manufactured foods, and equipment, and quick fixes that have bombarded us in the name of health and fitness while really devised to create big bucks for Big Food, Big Pharma, Big Fitness, and Big Medical.

We’ve been bamboozled into a state of low-grade sickness for so long that we think it’s normal.  We think it’s hard to be healthy.  We think it’s hard to lose weight.  We think it’s impossible to lose weight and keep it off.  We think being healthy and losing weight permanently takes a huge amount of work and effort; and we think it means a life of denial and struggle and suffering.  And who wants THAT??

We want to believe it’s easy and we fall for every next big thing declaring startling results and an easy way to be slim and healthy.  Even though we know, deep down, that we will be disappointed, yet again.

So I am here to share with you that actually, slim IS simple, because Jonathan has uncovered the reality, brushed off all the hype, and told us the truth.  And now he has put together this awesome video to kick start the health, food and fitness revolution that needs to happen.  Slim Is Simple is a not-for-profit group of researchers, doctors, professors, and donors whose mission is to make being healthy and fit simple again by transforming people’s understanding of how nutrition and food intake works through entertaining, practical, and proven scientific evidence.



Slim IS simple!

It does take a change in thinking.  It does take a little bit of work.  It does require some planning.  It does take time.  But it’s not hard.  And the results are permanent.

YOU can do this!


*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!

Tomato Basil Scones

Patience is a virtue.  Especially if you’re a recipe trying to get posted around here.

These poor scones have been waiting in the wings to get their 15 minutes of fame for so long I have wholly forgotten what I had on my mind when the idea of tomato scones suddenly gripped me.  I have a suspicion that it gripped me as I was reading labels in the tomato purée aisle at the grocery store.  I do love to read a good label.  If those pesky food manufacturers weren’t so sneaky so much of the time I would never get my label-reading fix; but only because I wouldn’t have to.  The good news is that once we’ve figured out what’s the good stuff from the pile of manufactured I-don’t-know-what, we’re in the home straight.  Next time we know exactly which brand to buy.  The downside to not having to check the contents of every can and jar is that had I not been loitering in the tomato purée aisle for all that time reading labels I may well have not been gripped by tomato scone fever; and that would have been an awful shame.  Having to loiter over labels does provide opportunities.

Tomato Basil Biscuits

I have ideas pop into my head in the strangest of places and at the oddest moments – which accounts for the 134 draft blog posts I have awaiting my attention.  It also explains why – once I have perfected a new recipe for you – I rarely make it again.  I’m on an unyielding quest to create new *SANE scrumptiousness to bewitch and captivate your taste buds – like an over-excited kitchen elf in a cocoa-stained white apron buzzing around with a whisk and a blender and more measuring spoons than should be allowed without a licence.  Jonathan may be the traditional studious, serious and sensible scientist, while I’m the mad, happy one – hopping from one exhilarating experiment to the next, ever curious to see how tasty I can make something that doesn’t have anything in it.

Carrie Brown | Tomato Basil Scones

These scones definitely have something in them.  Tomatoes.  Bunches of ‘em.  If you like tomatoes, these biscuits will knock your socks right off.  If tomatoes are not really your thing, I suggest you move right along to the next recipe.  These orangey-hued beauties pack an intense punch with their chunks of sun-dried tomatoes punctuated with little bursts of basil.  They are not for the faint-hearted.  These are not delicate, pretty little scones.  They’re chunky, rustic, manly scones, with almost more tomato than scone.

I remember being on somewhat of a tomato kick when I made them, gobbling them up alongside my Times Two Tomato Soup (coming soon!).  That was one crazy tomato-fest right there.  If you’re craving some juicy summer tomato goodness in the middle of winter, give these a try.  You’ll be deep in tomato heaven.


4.5 from 2 reviews
Tomato Basil Biscuits
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 9 oz / 250g almond flour / ground almonds (NOT almond meal)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 tsp dried basil
  • 2 oz / 55g butter
  • 2 oz / 55g sun-dried tomatoes, pre-soaked in hot water to soften, and then chopped
  • ⅓ cup / 3 fl oz. unsweetened thin coconut milk
  • Beaten egg to glaze
  1. Heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Put the almond flour, other dry ingredients, basil and butter in a food processor and pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also do this by hand if that's your thing.
  3. Turn into a bowl and mix in the sun-dried tomatoes until evenly distributed.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk.
  5. Mix by hand to form a dough.
  6. Knead the dough lightly until smooth.
  7. Divide dough into 8 x 2 oz pieces of dough.
  8. Roll each piece in your hands to make a ball, please on baking sheet and flatten gently to resemble a cookie.
  9. Brush tops with beaten egg.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Carefully use a serrated knife to cut open, especially if they are still warm, as they are quite fragile.

Carrie Brown | Tomato Basil Scones



*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!

Meredith - Anything “tomato basil” can’t be bad! Look delish. It’s official: I need to get xantham gum.

carrie - Yes, Meredith! Yes you do :-)

Rebecca - Yum!
Made a few little changes…
Didn’t have almond flour… so used whole almonds in the Thermomix for 10 seconds to grind them up.
Didn’t have butter… so quickly whipped up some cream in the Thermomix.
Didn’t have sundried tomatoes so made them with olives in lieu.
Thanks Carrie, you are an absolute star!

carrie - Awesome, Rebecca!!! Love this (hate olives though!) :-)

Lindsay - This sounds delicious, however I despise coconut in all its forms. What could be substituted for the coconut milk?

I really miss scones – my mum’s cheese scones from an old family recipe are TDF but I can’t eat wheat these days.

carrie - Lindsay – your wheat-free Cheese Scones are right here: http://www.marmaladeandmileposts.com/archives/21158 !! :-)

You cannot taste the coconut milk AT ALL. However, you can use whatever milk you fancy instead. We do not reccomend soy milk, and cows milk is not especially SANE with it’s sugar content. Hope that helps!

Lindsay - Thanks so much Carrie! I might give unsweetened almond milk a try.

Ahhh cheese scones (yes I’m from Britain) double thank you! our old Scottish family recipe includes a pinch of Colman’s mustard powder for added piquancy.

carrie - Thunbs up on the mustard!! Add away, Lindsay.

Britton... - Excellent, thank you!

Where do you acquire your xanthan gum? What is this stuff?


Hannah - Hi Carrie! These look so incredibly delicious (as do all your recipes!!). One question, Jonathan Bailor lists them as SANEr on the forum rather than SANE. Is that because of the sun dried tomatoes? Could you sub in fresh tomatoes or would like be a mess?

carrie - Hi Hannah! They ARE delicious! ;-) JB calls them SANEr because while they don’t have anything inSANE in them, they are not particularly hign in protein or fiber. Fresh tomatoes would not make them any SANEr, and you would have a big mess! They also would not have the knock-your-socks-off flavor, etiher. Hope that helps! The good news is, they are so filling you likely can’t eat many at one sitting :-)

Vivian - Hi Carrie, I’m planning on making these scones as a side dish for a dinner party tomorrow night. Think i can add some ground flax seed to the recipe or leave it as is?
Looking forward to it :-)

carrie - Hi Vivian! I wouldn’t try the switch before a dinner party since I can’t promise you it will work. You could *probably* switch out a couple of ounces of the almond flour with ground flax seed, but you will likely have to alter the liquid accordingly. I’d make them as is for tomorrow and fiddle with the recipe when you don’t have guests :-)

Vivian - Hi Carrie, these were a bit hit at my dinner party! I made them again tonight as i had a bit of an upset tummy all day and was really craving some BRAT type foods and these scones were perfect! This kids loved them too! And they usually dislike tomatoes!

Thanks heaps!

carrie - So happy you got the kids eating tomatoes, Vivian!! Great job :-)