Hello!  I am writing this on a Saturday.  It will be posted on a Sunday.  What day of the week is it now that you are reading it?  I have no clue.  And more to the point, it doesn’t matter in the slightest.  Food is not day-specific.  We love that.

Another thing we love is that Mr. Bailor and I – I swear – share a brain.  He has one side and I have the other, and then there’s some connecting bits between the two parts.  When I stop to think how insanely (Ha! ha!) we compliment each other on just about every level there is, it about blows my mind.  We’re even in sync when we don’t hang out for ages.  Like telepathy, or something.  Here’s an example – the other day he posted on Facebook asking folks how they liked their Tuna Salad; which was frankly bizarre, since just last weekend I had created this Mushroom Tuna Melt thing for you.  Coincidence?  Well, yes…but given that I have never made any kind of Tuna Salad before IN MY LIFE, it seems a little bit more than coincidental.  Sometimes I wonder if he has my house wired.

Tuna Melt is one of those strange American things that I never really understood until I had been stateside for a while.  We don’t have Tuna Melts in England.  Well maybe we do now (anyone??), but we certainly didn’t when I was living there.  Thinking about it, we’re really not huge tuna (pronounced “chew-na”) eaters in England; we’re way more into salmon.  Americans, on the other hand, just loooooooove their tuna (pronounced “too-na”).  They get all excited about the difference between the albacore and the chunk light; we Brits didn’t even know there was such a thing as albacore.  Alba what??  I remember the first time I saw the dizzying array of canned tuna choices in a US grocery store.  Heavens to Betsy!  I just want a can of tuna, people.

Another thing that was a mystery to me when I arrived on this side of the pond was Portobello mushrooms.  I don’t remember ever having heard of them in England.  Portobello is the name of the world’s largest antiques market, and it’s in London.  That’s all I know.  Once I got to the good ol’ USA, however, I started seeing the word “Portobello”  on menus and hearing people talk about it; to be honest I could never quite figure out what they were on about.  Then one day I saw some ginormous Portobello mushrooms at the grocery store, and I knew I had to introduce myself.

I decided, in a random moment of “Let’s do something different!”, to marry a Portobello mushroom with a tuna melt, which after some cruising around the internet I discovered is essentially a tuna salad with melted cheese sandwich.  Or something very close to that.

Mushroom Tuna Melt  |  www.carriebrown.com

I grilled (broiled) a huge old Portobello mushroom, melted some cheese on it, and then, when it came bubbling and sizzling out of the oven, heaped tuna salad on top.  It was fun, fast and fabulous.  It was also delicious.  I’ll be doing it again.

Jonathan will love this one: fish, Greek yogurt and tons of veggies – and really more assembly than cooking.  Hurrah!  He does love meals that don’t require more than assembly.  That’s JB’s perfect kinda dish.  Another thing that would make The Bailornator happy is that you can make a large batch of the tuna salad in advance and then just grill (broil) up your Portobello and cheese in 5 minutes when you get home for a super-fast, super-SANE supper.  I took the rest of the tuna salad as lunch the next day, along with a Romaine lettuce.  Lunch splendidness right there waiting in the ‘fridge as I headed out the door in the morning.  Love that.

I love how all the textures work in this – creamy dressing, silky melted cheese and crisp, crunchy veggies; all topping a sturdy, substantial super-‘shroom.  I ate mine out on the terrace in the dwindling Spring sunshine.  It was quite lovely.

I have now completely embraced both Tuna Salad and Portobello mushrooms.  Twelve years late, but I got there eventually.

Please don’t wait that long before you try this!

Mushroom Tuna Melt
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • Coconut oil spray
  • 2 large Portobello mushrooms
  • 3 oz / 85g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 large stick celery, finely sliced
  • ½ English cucumber, sliced and then quartered
  • 4 TBSP fat-free Greek yogurt
  • ½ TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp guar gum
  1. Spray a baking sheet with coconut oil, place Portobello mushrooms upside down on the sheet and grill (broil) for about 6 minutes until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix the tuna, celery, cucumber, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and salt together well.
  3. Sprinkle the guar gum over the tuna salad and quickly mix immediately to incorporate it into the salad thoroughly.
  4. Spread the grated cheese evenly over the mushrooms and place back under the heat to melt the cheese, about 2 minutes.
  5. When the cheese is completely melted, remove the baking sheet from the oven.
  6. Carefully transfer each mushroom onto a separate plate.
  7. Pile tuna salad onto each mushroom.
  8. Grind some black pepper over and serve.

Mushroom Tuna Melt | www.carriebrown.com




*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!
  • Susie - Sounds delish Carrie!!!
    Two questions; where did you find coconut oil spray and did you use a 12 ounce can of tuna?

    • carrie - Hi Susie! Coconut Oil is readily available in US grocery stores. Since Trader Joe’s have recently introduced their own brand, I am now using that. I used a small can of tuna, but you could certainly double it if you wanted to up the protein. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - Made today for lunch. We don’t eat much cheese, but being a holiday we splurged. Didn’t have guar gum so didn’t use as we make tuna salad frequently with yogurt for lunch…usually over a big bunch of greens.

    Loved the mushroom/cheese turna melt! Thank you.

    • carrie - WOW, Susan – that was fast!!! I added guar gum as the yogurt tends to run with the warmth from the cooked mushroom, which wouldn’t happen with your usual greens, but if you found it went ok without then YAY! So glad you loved it!! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Susan - Carrie – I had everything already so it was easy peasy! Keep them coming.ReplyCancel

  • Sahara - We also tried this tonight (because it was fresh in my mind and I forgot to prep/marinate the chicken that was planned). So grateful for a quick and easy option. I also did not use the guar gum – because I didn’t have any and it worked just fine without it.
    DH loved it – didn’t even notice the lack of mayo; DD – liked it but found it a bit too tangy; I thought it was just right. I never thought I’d be okay w/o the mayo, but the vinegar and lemon juice added just the right amount of zing for me. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Sahara – different yogurts may work slightly different, so glad it worked out without the gum for you! So happy too, that you, DH, and DD all enjoyed it :-)ReplyCancel

  • Philippa - Well that sorts lunch for tomorrow.

    And to update you on England, we do have tuna melt (but it probably started in Starbucks), we now have Portobello mushrooms (at least M&S does) and canned tuna is beginning to get a bit more exotic – but I haven’t noticed albacore.ReplyCancel

  • Mushroom Pizza Bites » Carrie Brown | Living a SANE Life - […] fest.  It wasn’t intentional when I started out, but after I had so much fun with the Mushroom Tuna Melt, every time I saw a mushroom I wanted to stuff it with something. Those Portobellos with Tuna […]ReplyCancel

  • Louise - I love to get recipiesReplyCancel

  • Wren - Very good! Just a little too salty for my taste so next time I’ll make it without the salt and only 2 oz of cheese. Once I put all the ingredients in MyFitnessPal, it turned out quite high in fat with 3 oz of cheese. My tuna was from Wild Planet and it had some sea salt in it already so that was probably the reason for the extra saltiness. Other than that it’s definitely one to save and make again and again.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Wren – glad you loved it. We are not afraid of healthy fats. “Eat as much cheese as you need to stay happy” – J. Bailor :-)ReplyCancel

  • Janet - Tuna was too sour. I will leave out the vinegar next time. Otherwise it was good.ReplyCancel

Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes.

I think pancakes must be the most requested thing on my SANE recipe to-do list.  I experimented with pancakes over the holidays in December, but didn’t get anywhere close to successful.  I blame being British.  In England, pancakes are only eaten once a year – funnily enough on Pancake Day – and they are what an American would call a crêpe.  We don’t do the thick, spongy pancakes that are a rite of passage for any good American’s weekend brunch plate.  The closet thing we have to those would be Scotch pancakes, and no one makes those.  And on the rare occurrence that someone does make Scotch pancakes, they eat them with butter and jam spread on them, just like toast.  They are not smothered in melting butter and syrup.  Neither are they eaten for breakfast with bacon, eggs, and hash browns.  They’re eaten at tea time.

Anyway, my point was, I grew up eating crêpes once a year.  Until I took my first trip to Canada – many moons ago – I had never eaten an American pancake.  And let me tell you, when I did, I thought it was extremely peculiar.  I was sitting in the revolving restaurant on the top of the Calgary Tower.  That’s how memorable this whole pancake affair was.  I mean, who remembers exactly where they were when they ate their first pancake?  I do – because it was such an extraordinary experience.  They brought me a plate with pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns on it.  Plus a dish of butter and a jug of golden maple syrup.  I was clueless as to what I was supposed to do, and I was aghast that there were pancakes on the same plate as my bacon and eggs.  What were they thinking??  So I snuck a peek over at the next table and watched what they did.  I stared in horror as they poured lashings of sweet maple syrup over their pancakes and bacon.  What in the world???

I admit, I never really got over that first strange pancake experience.  There are a lot of new things I have become acquainted with since I moved stateside, and many of them I embrace wholeheartedly.  American pancakes are not one of them.  And while I am neither an American pancake lover nor an American pancake-making expert, I totally respect that they are a beloved breakfast staple in a lot of households.  So here you are: SANE Vanilla Blueberry Pancakes.  Hurrah! Vanilla Blueberry Pancakes | Carrie Brown

They are more fragile and less flexible than pancakes made from regular flour, but those fabulous blueberries – bursting with juices – keep them moist and delicious.  I am going to play with another idea to make them less fragile and more flexible, but I thought these would tide you over in the meantime.  Given that I am really not a fan of regular American pancakes, I was surprised – and a little bit giddy – that I really enjoyed eating these.

“But what about the syrup??!” I hear you cry.  That, dear readers, is a particularly good question.  I am still brainstorming that predicament.  This time I simply poured a little Torani’s Sugar-free Vanilla Syrup over the top.  It doesn’t have the deep, amber color, or the thick, glossiness of maple syrup, but it adds moistness and flavor that finished these babies off rather nicely.  You could also just slide some butter over the top and call it good.  Or eat them naked.  Just don’t use the maple!  Or honey.  Or agave. Vanilla Blueberry Pancakes | Carrie Brown

Now I must warn you – these SANE pancakes are super filling.  If you’re used to being able to eat an entire stack of regular pancakes, you might find yourself running out of steam at two, especially if you add some scrambled eggs and the odd piece of bacon to your plate.  I, for one, would not want to miss out on that piece of bacon.

And just a couple of cooking notes before you race off to fire up your griddle – the flip side of these SANE pancakes cooks much quicker than the first side, so don’t flip them and walk away thinking you have time.  Side two goes real fast.  As you can see, mine were a little on the dark side.  Just sayin’.

Happy Pancake Weekend, everyone!

4.3 from 3 reviews
Vanilla Blueberry Pancakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Makes 7
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 2 oz. / 55g vanilla whey powder
  • 3 TBSP xylitol
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup / 4 fl oz. egg white OR 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup / 4 fl oz. Full Fat Greek yogurt
  • 4 oz / 110g fresh blueberries (or frozen, thawed and drained)
  • Torani's Sugar-free Vanilla Syrup (if you like syrup on your pancakes)
  1. Spray griddle with coconut oil and heat.
  2. Grind chia seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut in coffee grinder or high-speed blender until they are very fine (careful you don’t end up with sunflower butter!!)
  3. In a bowl put seed mix, almond flour, whey, xylitol, salt and baking powder and mix well.
  4. Add egg white (OR whole egg), vanilla extract, and yogurt and stir just until evenly mixed. Do not over mix.
  5. Using a ¼ cup as a measure, pour batter onto hot griddle.
  6. Sprinkle batter with fresh blueberries.
  7. After a minute, lift edge of pancake with a spatula to check color. When golden, flip the pancake to cook the other side.
  8. The flip side cooks faster than the first side.

Vanilla Blueberry Pancakes | 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!
  • Julie Rider - Carrie,
    These look great but once again I cannot have whey…do you think I can substitute 1 for 1 with egg white protein?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Julie – I worry that egg white powder will make these incredibly dry. Can you use casein powder?ReplyCancel

  • Sigi - LOL – I’m with you, Carrie. The whole idea of maple syrup and fluffy pancakes with savoury foods like bacon and eggs just Freaks. Me. Out. (Actually, I suspect that many, many other potential dining experiences in America may well freak me out too, but I really must visit some day to find out…)ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Yes, Sigi! Come visit!! I love it here – despite some strange foodie stuff going on :-)ReplyCancel

  • Rita - I’d love to make these for my kids, but they will not eat coconut. Any suggestions for a substitution?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Rita – you cannot taste the coconut at all. It is there for the health benefits only, not the flavor. You can sub out with more sunflower seeds but they won’t quite as SANE. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Keri - Carrie,
    (This is Keri from Downsizers) I have a simple coconut pancake recipe that my family enjoys.
    ¾ cup coconut flour
    12 eggs
    1 can (not carton) coconut milk (can’t be light or the pancakes are too runny)
    6 drops vanilla flavored stevia, optional
    1 tsp. baking soda
    Mix together, and cook like normal pancakes. They don’t flip as easily, so make them smaller.
    We serve them with roasted apples and bacon. (That’s a Dutch thing from my husband’s side of the family).ReplyCancel

  • Simone - Hi Carrie,
    I’m from the UK and have only recently discovered you and Jonathan. Loving the podcasts and have just got the SSOS book. Anyway my question is does it really have to be full-fat Greek yoghurt as I usually buy the fat-free? Also can I replace the chia seeds with flaxseed? ThanksReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Simone! Welcome! Thanks for the podcast love :-) Fat-free Greek yogurt is very unstable when heated, and also you need some fat in the pancakes to stop them being dry, hence using full-fat yogurt. I have not tried it with flax instead so cannot guarantee that it will work. Flax does not absorb and hold onto liquid like chia so I would be wary of the consistency, cookability and also finished product. If I ever get a minute I will try flax out!ReplyCancel

  • alison - made pancakes today didn’t have vanilla whey but used strawberry and no blueberries used frozen fruits of the forest.Great success my son loved them thanks Carrie for another great recipe.going to try tuna melt next yum!!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Nice subs, Alison! So glad they were a success and makes me super happy when kids love my recipes. Train them to enjoy the good stuff when they’re young and they will thank you forever!!!ReplyCancel

  • Julie - We love pancakes made with 1/4 cup ground flaxseed, 1tbsp ground almonds/almond meal, 1/2tsp baking powder and 2eggs. Mix well, pour into melted coconut oil in three dollops, add ~6 blueberries in each and cook until done. Top with greek yogurt and add bacon & veg to make truly SANE (or eat alone – very filling – for a slightly less SANE but not totally inSANE) start to the day.ReplyCancel

  • Rita - Carrie, I made these this morning and they were terrific. You were right, no one knew there was coconut in them! Also for those asking about using non-fat greek yogurt, I only had non-fat greek yogurt on hand, so used a whole egg instead of just an egg white and added a dash of heavy cream to add back the missing fat from the yogurt. They turned out amazing!


  • Jared - Not trying to be cheeky, I’m genuinely curious… why 4 Tbsp and not 1/4c?

    Is it simply an un-done conversion, or is it better to do 4 separate measurements of an item?

    Love these recipes, Carrie! Keep ’em coming.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Jared – it’s an un-done conversion. When I create recipes I start off with smaller amounts of some things and add as needed as the recipe progresses. Here I added 1+1+1+1 from my worksheet and wrote 4 tbsp instead of 1/4 cup :-) Bad Carrie!ReplyCancel

  • Jared - Thanks, Carrie! That totally makes sense.

    On a side note, my kiddos are munching these down as we speak. They love them! Lots of smiles and audible “yums”. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - The lemon curd would be nice on these. :oDReplyCancel

  • Jamie - Ok so I just tried this as my first experiment with making SANE recipes and I must say they were excellent! Very glad that I made two batches of the dry mix now!

    My other half is really fussy when it comes to food but they were gobbled down before I could blink!

    Thanks for the great recipe!


    • carrie - Welcome to SANEity, Jamie! Congrats on your first SANE recipe success! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Luann - Carrie, Thanks for doing all the work and sharing with us! I’m so tired of my own boring meals and missing a lot of my old favorites. With your SANE ingredients, I can have the kinds of foods I thought I’d never be able to eat again. Keep them coming…..PLEASE! With gratitude, LuannReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Luann – I am so happy these recipes are helping you to stay SANE!!! You can do it!!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy - This is way hard for me to eat this way because I am very allergic to nuts. Any ideas for me? I also am allergic to chicken eggs, can eat duck eggs, but limit the quantity. Is really possible for me to eat the SANE way?ReplyCancel

  • Lemon Sauce » Carrie Brown | Living a SANE Life - […] unwhipped heavy (double) cream.  It would even make a wonderful alternative to syrup on your SANE Vanilla Blueberry Pancakes.  Try it over a bowl of fresh, ripe, sliced peaches.  Mmmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm.  When I {ever} […]ReplyCancel

  • Protein Pancakes | Sparked Living - […] – 1/3 cup coconut flour – 1 egg – 2 heaping tablespoons natural cocoa Not a chocolate fan?  Try this recipe for vanilla blueberry […]ReplyCancel

  • Marygrace - Hello Carrie!

    So excited to be eating SANEly for 2 weeks. Bought the book and enjoying many recipes. I ate RAW for 2 1/2 years about 8 years ago, and felt fantastic, however, I missed eating meat and warm foods. This lifestyle fits the bill for me and I am so excited I am telling everyone I know about it.

    I’m writing because I am frustrated while making your pancake recipes. What is the secret to get these great tasting cakes to flip without falling apart. The flavor is awesome, however, they are mush piles instead of lovely round pancakes.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!


    • carrie - Hi Marygrace – without more info it’s hard to diagnose. You are the first person who has mentioned that they don’t get nice round pancakes. I wish I could help but not sure what the problem is without more info on what you’re using and what you’re doing.ReplyCancel

  • Mika - i was wondering why these pancakes were on the saltier side (they seriously tasted like kettle corn popcorn with the sweetness and saltiness)—turns out I accidentally used BAKING SODA instead of baking powder (booo me). Lesson learned.


    • carrie - Ooops, Mika! But kettle corn popcorn isn’t so bad a taste is it?!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - I know why mine were a hot mess. I didn’t have blueberries so I thawed some frozen strawberries. Instead of adding them on top, I thought it would be easier to mix them in the batter, juice and all. When I went to flip, it was disastrous. I managed as best I could and asked my boys to try them anyway. They loved them! Thanks for this recipe and next time, I’ll follow your directions!!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - LOL, Megan. The most important thing is that your boys loved them! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Sofie - Hi Carrie! I’ve tried alot of your recipies with great results but I didn’t enjoy these :( They were way too sweet for me and my husband! Also, I had a super hard time to flip them! the consistensy of the batter in the pan was like really frail rubber, and I couldn’t flip them until they had been in the pan for about 3 mins and then they were all black, even though I had the stove set on very low! So they tasted like burnt sugar. :( I wont be doing them again, Ill just stick to your other recepies.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Sofie – I am sorry this didn’t work out for you. I am not sure what went wrong as there were trialed multiple times before I published by me and others with great success :-(ReplyCancel

  • Donna - Would it be possible for you to include the nutrition on your recipes? I am T1 diabetic and need to count those carbs. Made these pancakes this morning for the first time and found them quite good. They sure brown up compared to regular pancakes.ReplyCancel

When I was a nipper growing up in the Garden of England – aka the county of Kent (although technically I was never a nipper since I am a girl)  – I was regularly served up sardines on toast for supper, as I suspect a significant number of British kids were.  I’m not sure it’s as popular nowadays, but back then – YUM.  I loved when sardines on toast popped up on the menu.  Oftentimes the sardines were in tomato sauce.  I think I loved those times even more, which is a little odd because I am not really a tomato sauce kinda gal.  Except ketchup on my eggs, but that’s another tale.

Of course, these days I don’t eat the toast, but I do down sardines like they’re going out of fashion.  Except, in the US I don’t think sardines have ever been in fashion.  Whenever I mention sardines, noses wrinkle and a chorus of “Ewwws!” can be heard.  Sardines do not seem to have much of a following stateside.

It seemed perfectly natural to me that Mr. Bailor would at some point mention the outstanding virtues of a humble can of sardines on our podcast.  After all – they are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids.  Have you noticed how I always leave the geeky science stuff to Bailor?  I chimed in with enthusiastic stories of how a tin of sardines is perfect road-trip fodder, and how you can keep a couple stashed in the glove box of your car in case of emergency.  I joyfully explained how to fashion an eating implement out of the tin lid, if you were ever caught without a fork when you were about to down a tasty sardine snack.

Tomato Sardine Salad  |  Carrie Brown

I guess it was bound to happen once the sardine podcast aired that there’d be some sardine Q & A coming down the pike.  So it was no surprise when the other week, Lorrie posted on the Marmalade HQ Facebook page asking for ways to eat sardines.  Lorrie is a faithful SSoS’er who, with her friend Dawn, run a Downsizers Group over in Oberlin, Ohio.  They meet every week to share success, tips, tricks, and recipes.  They also have a lot of fun.  I know this because they invited me to join them one evening and I Skyped into their get-together.  SO. MUCH. FUN!  Turns out Lorrie was taking sardines along to the next Downsizers meeting, and never having eaten them before, needed some sardine assistance.  Having been raised on the things it never occurred to me that Sardine Virgins may appreciate knowing what they might do with them, other than rip off the lid and eat them straight out of the tin.  It’s like I never remember to explain to people how to open doors, because like sardine-eating, it’s just something I assume we all know how to do.  You know what they say about assuming. Tomato Sardine Salad | Carrie Brown

When I am on road trips I eat sardines a lot.  They are just so portable.  In the evening when I get back from driving and shooting for 14 hours, I toss sardines, halved cherry tomatoes and quartered hard-boiled eggs on a plate, sprinkle with salt and call it dinner.  When I am at home I make a rather prettier  and greener version.  This is another one of those very simple “what Carrie Brown really eats at home” dishes.  It takes 5 minutes to throw together and makes you a perfectly balanced SANE meal.  When I get home too late and too tired for thought, this is one of my go-to’s.

If you’re new to sardines, try this salad first.  I really think you’ll like it.  And Jonathan and I will be so very happy to get some more of you on the sardine trail with us.

Tomato Sardine Salad
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 - 2
  • 2 small tins sardines
  • 8 oz. / 225g cherry tomatoes
  • 3 hardboiled eggs
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Fresh spinach
  • ½ English cucumber
  • Ground black pepper
  1. Drain the sardines, chop into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl.
  2. Halve the cherry tomatoes and add to the bowl.
  3. Cut the eggs into quarters lengthwise and then each quarter into 4 pieces.
  4. Add to the bowl with the tomatoes and sardines and mix gently.
  5. Salt to taste, mixing as little as possible to avoid the sardines and eggs becoming mushy.
  6. Spread fresh spinach on a serving platter on 2 plates.
  7. Slice the cucumber and then quarter each slice.
  8. Spread the cucumber pieces over the spinach.
  9. Spoon the sardine salad over the veggies.
  10. Grind black pepper over the top and serve.

Tomato Sardine Salad | 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!
  • Gordon - Hi Carrie. I’m so glad you (surprisingly) posted on sardines! I love to buy mine from Lidl here in the UK and they’re so cheap. I never thought of making a meal like you have,so quick,easy and cheap, you clever lady! I’m really gonna try this and I’m going hiking with some friends in a few weeks in Brecon Beacons just for two days and you’ve given me a good thought for the trip. Thanks. Oh, what do you think about hard boiled eggs still in their shelves keeping fresh for a few days out of the fridge?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Gordon – I have kept hard boiled eggs in their shells for a couple of days on a road trip with no issue, except they are harder to peel :-). Enjoy the Beacons!ReplyCancel

  • Janknitz - I like sardines but I really have to be in the mood for them. Your photos are definitely putting me in the mood! Looks yummy and a great meal for a hot summer day when you don’t want to cook!

    My one caveat about sardines is that they are smelly, so they are not a good lunch to bring to school or work. But in the privacy of your own home or car, they are great.ReplyCancel

  • Diana - Yum! Thank you! I think I may need to eat this very soon. And maybe even add BACON. I had sardines and egg and spinach just the other day, with red wine vinegar and mustard. But this sounds even better.

    And thanks for the shoutout to the Downsizers!

    Downsizer Di, loving SSOSReplyCancel

  • Lorrie - Thank you for another wonderful recipe. I feel honored that you shared my first sardine experience! I am so glad that I was brave enough to finally open the tin that sat in the cabinet for a few months. I wasn’t sure what I would find inside and only had visions of cartooned pictures of little fish looking at me! To someone who’s never had sardines, give them a try!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hurrah for sardines, Lorrie!!!ReplyCancel

      • Lorrie - Sharing this story and recipe once again with the new bunch of SANE Ladies here in Oberlin! Thank you for your recipe creations. <3ReplyCancel

  • Kiki_D - Great recipe , reminds me of my Friday Night Pizza

    A Wheat Belly Wrap topped with tomato and herb paste
    Mashed sardines
    Finely chopped herbs, spring onion, spinach etc,
    Dusted with grated Parmesan

    Then a few minutes in the ovenReplyCancel

Little did I know when I created – in utter desperation one cold, wet and wild November morning – a hot cereal to fill the gigantic void left by a bowl of porridge (oatmeal), that it would be turn out to be 1) the most popular recipe post of all time, and 2) become the starting point for a number of other recipes.

You lovely, lovely people just LOVE that Hot and Nutty Cereal.  I’ve had notes from all over the world about how it makes your porridge-less mornings delicious again – and that makes me feel all warm and goofy inside.  Not only that, but you’ve bombarded me with ideas on how to use that same mix in different ways.  You’re awesome!

I used it as a starting point for my Cinnamon Raisin Muffins, which is also a Top 15 most popular recipe, and I have another couple of recipes I am working on.  This Creamy Lemon Coconut Cereal idea came when Lori, a delightful and wonderfully enthusiastic SSoS’er in California, posted that she had woken up craving my Hot and Nutty Cereal one day, but because it was a warm day she wanted something cold.  She stirred the Hot and Nutty Cereal mix into a cup of fat-free Greek Yogurt and voilà!  Lori’s favorite cereal – but cold.  Not to mention the added protein.  Needless to say, as soon as I heard that I ran off to try it.  Delicious! Creamy Lemon Coconut Cereal | www.carriebrown.comSince I am me, my brain promptly exploded, and lots of ideas for bright, sunny flavors started ricocheting around all over the place.  I am always thinking about coconut these days – I blame studio time with Bailor for that one – so I started there and went with my favorite citrus flavor to make a cold, creamy bowl of sunshiny cereal for you.

This cereal is one of my new favorites, and easy to whip up in bulk at the start of the week, spoon into lidded bowls and stack in the ‘fridge to grab on the way to the office each week-day morning.  It’s extremely filling, but with a light, refreshing taste.  Would also make a great summertime dessert.

Thanks, Lori, for getting me started on this one!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Creamy Lemon Coconut Cereal
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 2 TBSP sunflower seeds
  • 4 TBSP unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 oz. / 28g vanilla whey powder
  • 1 TBSP xylitol (or to taste)
  • ½ TBSP lemon zest (1/2 lemon)
  • ½ tsp lemon extract (essence)
  • 1 cup / 8 fl oz. fat-free Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup / 2 fl oz. unsweetened thin coconut milk
  1. Grind chia, sunflower seeds and coconut until very fine in a coffee grinder or high-speed blender (be careful you don't end up with sunflower butter!).
  2. In a bowl add ground seeds, vanilla whey powder, xylitol and mix well.
  3. Add the lemon zest, lemons essence, yogurt and coconut milk and stir thoroughly until completely mixed.
  4. Sprinkle extra lemon zest on top to serve.

Creamy Lemon Coconut Cereal  |  www.carriebrown.com

Measuring out and grinding all those seeds every day got old really fast, so here’s an instant mix that you can make in bulk and store in the ‘fridge ready to go when you want it.

  • 10 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups sunflower seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 10 oz. / 280g vanilla whey powder
  • 10 TBSP xylitol
  • 5 TBSP lemon zest (5 lemons)

In batches, place chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and coconut in a coffee grinder and grind until fine. (If you use a blender such as a Vitamix be careful you don’t end up with a paste!) Pour ground mix into a large bowl, add vanilla whey powder, xylitol, and lemon zest. Mix very well until completely blended. Store in an air-tight glass jar in the ‘fridge.

Then, when you stumble into the kitchen, bleary-eyed from your 7 hours of shut-eye, here’s the recipe for 1 serving of instant Creamy Lemon Coconut Cereal:

  • 1/2 cup instant cereal mix
  • 1/2 cup / 4 fl oz. fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened thin coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp lemon essence

Place cereal mix in a bowl, add yogurt, coconut milk, and lemon essence and stir very well.





*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 - This looks yummy! But, I need to checking the “translation” to Americanese – is ‘lemon essence’ the same as lemon juice? Or would it be lemon extract?
    ;) Thanks, Carrie!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Sorry Ellen – Lemon extract :-) I’ll update the recipe to bi-lingual!ReplyCancel

  • Janknitz - Tried it this morning. Yum! Reminded me of a lemon poppyseed muffin.ReplyCancel

  • danielle - HOLY YUMMMMMMMMMMM!!! This is awesome! I just order the SSOS book so I haven’t read it…I thought it was out of print, but just found it~ my question is….is this all you have for breakfast or do you have a green smoothie with it too? would you add protein to your smoothie?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Danielle – your commment made me smile!! It depends what the rest of my day is going to look like. If there’s veggies at lunch and dinner I’ll have this on it’s own. You could add a smoothie without the protein – I’d like to see you try and eat both if you kept the protein in!!! So glad you loved this recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Katie - Delicious! This is now my go to for breakfast! I made a double batch to have it for the week. It tends to thicken if you let it stay in the fridge for a few days, which I did because I wanted to have it for the week, I think because of the chia seeds, so I added a little bit of skim milk to thin it out because I like my cereal a little more runny. I also added some blueberries to it, delicious! YUM!! Thanks Carrie!


  • sandy - I ended up using my hot and nutty cereal mix (since I had made up a bunch) and then 2% greek yoghurt and 2 tbls. coconut milk then topped with tbls. sunflower seeds for extra crunch. I do not add any xylitol to my hot and nutty cereal and its plenty sweet.

    It was delicousReplyCancel

This isn’t a real post.  This is a “let’s get ready for a real post” post.  It’s a calm-before-the-storm post.  An “on-your-marks-get-set…” post.  Yes.  One of those.

You may have heard the rumors.  You may even have heard the screams of delight all the way from the Marmalade HQ kitchen.  There’s been an awful lot of dancing, and whooping, and cheering, and clapping going down at the Brown house this weekend.  The “kids” all hid behind the couch at one point, when I got more than a little loud and rambunctious.  Just what is all the excitement about?  I’ll give you a hint.  It’s ice cream.  ICE CREAM??  No, wait.  SANE ICE CREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, because it will take me a little while to get you a recipe posted, and because I am always thinking ahead, and because I am a planner, and because I love you, I wanted to make sure you were ready when the real post – the one with an ice cream recipe in it – hits your screen.  Because {great} ice cream takes planning and preparation.  You’ll thank me when the time comes.  I mean, who wants to have a recipe for SANE Ice Cream and then NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE IT??  Not you.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your adventures in SANE Ice Cream making easier and more successful. In the equipment department, the only thing you MUST have is a churner, so don’t panic thinking that you’re going to have to mortgage the house to make SANE ice cream.  You’re not.  Everything else just makes it easier, quicker, and you’ll get a better result.  This is what I use, because I know you’ll ask me anyway.


Ice Cream Churner

There’s lots to choose from, ranging from super-duper, super-spendy commercial models, to buckets with rock salt round them.  I am only going to tell you which ones I have because these puppies are brilliant (I have two churners and 4 freezer bowls), and between them they have churned hundreds and hundreds gallons of ice cream perfectly.  And I don’t mean any old ice cream.  I mean “that was the best ice cream I’ve eaten in my life” ice cream.  So don’t think for one second that you have to go all big and fancy here.  You don’t.  This one is all you need.  It’s a Cuisinart ICE-20 Automatic 1 1/2 Quart Ice Cream Maker(If you use these links to purchase stuff it will help to offset the SANE Ice Cream Recipe Development Budget, which is not insignificant.  Then I won’t have to send Dougal out on a paper route for the summer.  You don’t pay any more, they just send me a few pennies for getting you there, and it all adds up.  THANK YOU!)

High Powered Blender OR Blender OR Food processor (if you have one of the three you’ll be good)

A Vitamix or Blendtec will be your very best friend for ice cream. Smooth, smooth, smooth. These machines smash everything that goes in them into liquid – except raspberry seeds – and believe me, I have tried to pulverize those suckers on numerous occasions. You will still need a sieve, even with a Vitamix. 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 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.

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. I find some ice cream recipes easier to get out of a food processor than a Vitamix.

Melamine pouring bowls

The next most important thing after my churners are my melamine pouring batter bowls. The melamine means they do not transfer flavors and colors like plastic, but they are way lighter than glass. They have handles and spouts, and they are the perfect solution for ice cream because you use them to store the ice cream custard in while it’s in the ‘fridge, and then you can pour it straight from there into the ice cream churner when it’s chilled.  This saves time, and more importantly, a lot of wasted ice cream custard because you are not transferring from one container to another.  Plus, they make pouring your custard into your churner super-easy and super-clean; which means less clean up.  I know you want less clean up.  I have lots of these bowls.  They even stack neatly when not in use.  I make them stackable in the ‘fridge by putting a dinner plate on the top of them.  When you make as much ice cream as I do, making them stackable in the ‘fridge is essential.  If you hadn’t realized – I LOVE these bowls.

Rubber Spatulas

You can never have too many of these lying around when you’re in the middle of ice cream production.  You specifically need spatulas that will not damage the inside of your ice cream maker freezer bowls when you’re removing the ice cream.


I am a perfectionist, so I use sieves a lot. A lot. Strawberry seeds in the sauce? Sieve. Hazelnut skins? Sieve. Cocoa powder? Sieve. Nut dust in the nuts you just chopped? Sieve. Ice cream custards? Sieve. I sieve everything in the name of texture perfection. And when it comes to ice cream, in my little world, texture perfection is mandatory.  I’ll forgive you for not having sieve-itis with most things, but not when it comes to ice cream.  You need a sieve (or two).  And you need those sieves to be really good fine mesh sieves.  These are not your regular flour-sifting sieves.  When I say fine, I mean *really* fine.  The kind of fine that will stop strawberry seeds in their tracks.  With regular ice cream I sieve every single custard.  You won’t need to do that with all of my SANE ice creams, but some of them you will.  I have 3 fine mesh sieves in different sizes.  Please buy at least one really good fine mesh sieve.  Thank you.

Pyrex storage

I am not a fan of plastic for storage. At all. I use these glass Pyrex lidded dishes for storing my ice cream in the freezer.  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 ice cream is highly unpleasant to me. In the Brown house, it’s gotta be glass.  Specifically, I use the 7-cup round ones for ice cream.


Those are the main things.  Of course there is always other miscellaneous equipment – detailed here – such as microplanes, measuring spoons, scale, measuring cups, etc.



I am only listing here things that might not be in your SANE arsenal of kitchen staples yet.

Full-fat Coconut Milk (canned)

Full-fat Coconut Milk that comes in a can is coconut meat made into a thick, creamy milk that solidifies in the ‘fridge. The brand I use is Thai Kitchen unsweetened (of course), and you can find it in most grocery stores in the US.  It is often located with the Asian and/or Indian foods.

Nut Milks (carton)

I use a combination of almond, coconut, and hemp milks in my recipes.  Always buy the plain unsweetened versions, or vanilla unsweetened if there is no plain.  These milks come in cartons and are thin like cows milk.

Guar Gum

Guar Gum is an emulsifier and thickener. It is readily available online. I use Bob’s Red Mill brand. In the US you can find it in most stores that carry Bob’s Red Mill products – PCC, Whole Foods, Safeway, IGA, etc. It is not cheap, but you use tiny amounts in recipes so it will last you a long, long time. Store in an air-tight jar.

Whey Protein Powder

Whey Protein is one of the best sources of protein, and it is extremely useful in increasing our protein intake. Beware – protein powders are a minefield. Most of them are not SANE and not particularly healthy. Luckily, Jonathan has done all the leg work for us here. We use Optimum Nutrition brand 100% Whey Gold Standard. It comes in a variety of flavors and sizes. I only use vanilla in my recipes. You can purchase this at Super Supplement stores, but it is usually cheaper online. I buy it in 10lb bags to further reduce the per pound cost.


Xylitol is a natural sweetener to replace sugar. It is readily available online. I use Xyla brand. I buy it in bulk because I get through so much of it in recipe development that it is a lot cheaper per pound that way. Make sure that you get xylitol that is made from birch bark and not corn. In stores I have seen Xyla in PCC. NOTE: Like chocolate, xylitol is harmful to dogs, so please be sure to keep any xylitol-containing goodies away from them!


Those are the main things.  Everything else is perishable or something that I think you will already have on hand, like vanilla extract.




Great ice cream is a process.  The {really} good news is that SANE ice creams are a lot less of a process than regular ice creams.  Woohoo!  The not-so-good news is that it is still a process.  There’s lots of waiting involved.  Once you’ve made the custard you get to wait.  Then you churn the ice cream and you get to wait again.  Then before you can make another batch you need to re-freeze the freezer bowls and you get to wait again.  So you are going to need patience.  There will be waiting.  If you choose to forego the waiting, you will end up with a not-so-great ice cream, or a dollop of soft-serve.  Then you’ll be sad.  I’ll be sad too.  Because I want your SANE ice cream to be the best ice cream you’ve ever eaten in your life.  I promise you it’s totally worth it.


Plan for AT LEAST 24 hours to go by from when you get the blender out to when you’ll have a scoop of fabulous SANE ice cream in your bowl.  Two days is even better planning.  I typically plan a week in advance, especially if I am making large quantities or a lot of different flavors at once.  Yes, I know the box the ice cream maker came in says you can have frozen treats in 20 minutes, and you can.  But don’t expect a fantastic scoop of ice cream in a bowl in 20 minutes.  They’re fibbin’.  My recipes are not recipes for soft-serve.  I’ll probably get to some of those at some point, but first the real stuff.


I am SO RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED for you to have SANE ice cream I can barely stand it!!!  If you’ve been around for a while and know how fastidious I am, when I tell you I am beside myself with excitement over how these came out, you know that means they’ll be SO worth the wait.

Get ready, ice cream lovers.  It’s nearly time.

PS. Please don’t get mad with me if it takes a little while to post the first recipe.  I am doing the best I can here.  The upside is that two days ago we had no SANE ice cream in sight – anywhere on the horizon.  Now we do.

I’m still screaming!!



*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!
  • Lorna Broad - Just want to thank you for your fantastic dedication to the ice cream cause… I am soooooo ready, let’s just say I have the ice cream freeser bowl already in the freezer cooling

    thanks again

    • carrie - Lorna – TOTALLY my pleasure!! Selfishly, I find ice cream making very therapeutic ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Gary Moss - Carrie, Optimum Nutrition whey is only available flavored. Is this going to be acceptable for all the different recipes that call for whey? If so, which flavor do you recommend, vanilla?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Gary – yes, vanilla. I am trying to keep the “new purchases” to a minimum for everyone. This is the same whey I use for smoothies and other recipes.ReplyCancel

  • Heidi - Costco is now carrying Optimum Nutrition Whey it does not say “Gold Standard” it says (Performance) do you know if this protein is considered Sane? I also looked at an ice cream maker at Costco today 2 qt for $50.00. I think after a little research I will purchase this machine when I go back to Costco. Can’t wait for SANE ice cream. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Sigi - Carrie, your enthusiasm is infectious! Bring on the recipe! BRING IT!!ReplyCancel

  • Gary Moss - I also just checked: The Vitamin Shoppe carries the five-pound containers in some stores (check yours if there is one near you) at the same prices as Amazon. http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/store/en/browse/sku_detail.jsp?id=OP-1018#.UZGW1ZUSmFUReplyCancel

    • carrie - Good to know, Gary! I buy the 10 lb bags, because with all the recipe development I get through it fast!ReplyCancel

  • Suzie Price - Hey Carrie, I ordered some of the things I didn’t have – based upon your list and your links. Yea. Eager to make ice cream! You are the best. Love your personality, thoughtfulness, care and genuine ways. Thank you Carrie. Bring on the ice cream!!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hurrah for ice cream, Suzie! THANK YOU for you kind words. I’m just me :-)ReplyCancel

  • Gary Moss - They don’t carry the 10-lb bags, in my store or online. fyiReplyCancel

  • Sharon - Hubbie says it’s time to buy a churner!!! YAY!!! ***HAPPY DANCE***ReplyCancel

  • Lorrie Heist - I’m making some of your wonderful ice cream as a treat for Thursday’s meeting to share with the Downsizers & HCFM ladies!! Yum! Can’t wait to try it.ReplyCancel

  • Dillon Dale - Dear Carrie,

    Is Stevia a possible substitute for Xylitol? I am allergic to the latter.

    Thanks for your cookbooks… can’t wait for the next one.


    • carrie - HI Dillon – I cannot give you a guarantee on stevia because I haven’t trialed it. If you can eat Erythritol I would suggest using that instead of xylitol. I would recommend using Swerve (erythritol + stevia) as you cannot swap out erythritol for xylitol 1:1 (xylitol is sweeter than erythritol). Hope that helps!ReplyCancel