Green Smoothie – Mint Chocolate

Merry Christmas Lovely People!

Anyone who has been living a *SANE lifestyle for a while now will know that a little inSANEity here and there does absolutely nothing to knock us off the path.  Regardless, the holiday season can strike fear into the hearts of even seasoned SSoS’ers.  Never fear, dear readers!  Enjoy the season!  Eat *SANE when you can, don’t worry when you can’t.  And when you get a quiet moment at home to whip up a smoothie, make it this one.  It tastes like Christmas – in all its mint and chocolatey glory – but is as healthy and SANE as healthy and SANE can be.

Even Jonathan was jealous when he caught me with one a week ago. 

Green Smoothie - Mint Chocolate

You could even make a whole bunch for your friends and family and forget to tell them it’s healthy. Once they taste it they’ll never believe you anyway.  And, because it’s a green smoothie THAT ISN’T GREEN they won’t even be alerted to the fact that it contains more kale than they have eaten in the last year. HA!!!

If you’ve gulped down any of my other smoothies you’ll know that you won’t be able to taste the slightest hint of kale.  YAY!!!  Because really, who wants to drink a smoothie that tastes of kale – at any time of the year, let alone slap bang in the middle of the holidays??

I found these Candy Cane Green Tea Herbal Tea Bags at Trader Joe’s – which is what inspired this recipe – but if you can’t get to a TJs then use regular mint or peppermint herbal tea bags instead.  If you’ve listened to our green tea podcast you’ll know that hiding green tea in smoothies is a great idea if you’re like me and can’t stand the stuff.  Whatever works!

Even better is that once the holidays are over and everyone else is hitting the gym and starving themselves, you’ll still be enjoying the taste of Christmas, and be getting slimmer and healthier faster by supping on this fabulous Mint Chocolate smoothie and doing your 10 minutes of eccentric exercise a week.

Now there’s a gift for you.


5.0 from 2 reviews
Green Smoothie - Mint Chocolate
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 1½ cups 12 fl oz. water
  • 1 mint herbal tea bag
  • ¼ cup / 2 fl oz. sugar-free chocolate syrup
  • 2 oz. / 55g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅔ cup / 2 oz. / 55g chocolate whey protein
  • 8 oz / 225g kale
  • 1 TBSP xylitol or equivalent sweetener
  • ⅛ tsp peppermint extract (please measure - this stuff is REALLY strong!)
  • ¼ tsp guar gum
  1. Steep the mint herbal tea bag in hot water for 10 minutes and squeeze tea bag well before discarding.
  2. Put mint tea and other ingredients into blender in the order listed, except the guar gum.
  3. Blend at high speed until completely smooth.
  4. Remove blender lid stopper and while blender is still running shake guar gum in.
  5. Blend for 10 seconds.
If you prefer a thinner smoothie, add another ½ cup water.

Green Smoothie - Mint Chocolate



*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!

Tracy - why use the guar gum? what’s it do?

carrie - Tracy – guar gum is a thickener and stabilizer. It turns your smoothie into a much smoother smoothie and also stops it seperating out, which most veggie smoothies do after varying amounts of time. It’s a texture thing. If you don’t care about texture, just leave it out. Hope that helps!

Urzay - Love all your recipes Carrie – what would be nice is if you add to them a list of how much Saneity in each serve and how many serves it makes, foe example:- this recipe makes x amount of serves and each serve has
X amount protein serves
X amount veg serves
What do you think?

carrie - Hi Urzay – will get back to you shortly!

Ellen - Carrie, I tried this today, and while the overall tase was amazing I got it entirely too sweet. So, I figure I misunderstood. When you say “sugar-free chocolate syrup” I presume you did not mean “unsweetened chocolate syrup” (if there is such an animal!) I used what I could locate here, which was Walden Farms. Then I also added the xylitol, which may have been the problem. since the Chocolate Whey Protein Powder is also sweetened, I think I just went way overboard! Next time I’ll omit the xylitol. also, since I didn’t have Kale and used spinach instead, this could have contributed – kale would probably have been more bitter and the extra sweetness may have been needed. Thanks so much for your great recipes! I will try not to improvise next time! :)

carrie - Hi Ellen – I meant the sugar-free syrups that they use in coffee shops – they are clear, flavored syrups. You can always make it without the xylitol and then add to taste if necessary. I am now worried about your whey powder – what is it sweetened with and how much is in there? ALso, I would recommend trying the recipes as written the first time, so you know the intended taste and then tweak subsequently if you want / need to. Hope that helps! So glad that you tried it!

Kara - Carrie,
I Finally made this today. (Life has finally settled down after all the Ballyhoo)

The taste was really good but I could still tell its was “green” by the texture. What kind of blender do you use? The smoothie looks much more liquified in your photos

carrie - Hi Kara – I use a Vitamix. It liquifies everything…the smoothies are smoother than a milkshake! Best investment I made since I went SANE.

Susan - Did I read this right? 8 oz of kale for this single serving? WOW that’s alot. I have a Vitamix too, so I know it can handle it. But just thought I’d check.

LOVE the recipes Carrie. Keep ‘em coming. You’re helping me to stay SANE!

carrie - Susan – YES! 8 oz – imagine getting almost all your veggies in before lunch! :-) Thanks for your kind words!!

Lynn - Hi Carrie, It is 2 hours since I tried this chocolate mint smoothie and I’m still having mega palpitations, heart racing, sweating, jittery etc. how much caffeine do you think is in all that cocoa? Am I just an English lightweight?

carrie - Oh my, Lynn. The amount of caffeine in coca is very small. I am not sure what your reactions were due to :-(

Cheryl - Hi Carrie, I made this smoothie last night but my peppermint tea must have been too warm because by the time I blended it smooth in the Vitamix, it was a very warm drink. No worries, I just poured it into a couple cups and refrigerated it overnight. It was a good excuse to have chocolate for breakfast! I did find it a bit thick so I thinned it out with a shot of espresso. Not sure how SANE that is but it made it taste like a peppermint mocha frappuccino!

I don’t how you made 8oz of kale taste like a treat! You are a genius!

carrie - Welcome aboard the Green Smoothie train, Cheryl!! Adding espresso is fine as long as there is no sugar :-)

Laura - This sounds wonderful but I feel like that sounds like alot of cocoa for one smoothie. Is that much cocoa still sane?

carrie - Hi Laura – pure cocoa powder is one of the SANEst things on earth!!!

Brenda - Hello Carrie…

I make these for my husband, nightly, sometimes in the afternoon too… one for breakfast the next day, and one to go with his lunch of leftover meat! He is completely in love with the mint ones!

What brand of cocoa powder are you using? Just trying to find the most economical one, since I’m going through 8 ounces in a couple days!


carrie - Brenda – I use Valrhona which I buy in bulk because it is cheaper that way, but it is still pretty expensive. I believe JB uses Hershey’s which he buys in bulk from Costco, so that may be a good option for you if you’re using such a lot all the time. Hope that helps!

Andreanne - Hello Carrie,

I’m currently reading the Calorie myth and decided to try my first SANE recipe. This smoothie is FABULOUS. I modified the recipe a bit with the ingredients that I had on hand: I skipped the chocolate syrup, substituted the kale for lettuce and added 1 tsp of chlorella and 6 drops stevia. I also used Lakanto instead of Xylitol which I cannot tolerate). Is Lakanto a SANE food? My only concern regading this smoothie is the quantity of Cacao. Shouldn’t individuals with adrenal fatigue be limiting their cacao intake? Thanks for your great web site. I’ll help me to stick to SANE food. :)


I love lasagna.  You love lasagna.  We especially love lasagna noodles.  We just don’t want to eat them anymore.  They make us feel bloated, they make us grow fat, and they just generally clog up the works.

So, because I love to make your journey to SANEity easier, and your mouths happy en route, here’s some SANE Lasagna for you.

You’ll feel normal!  You’ll feel healthy!  You won’t gain fat!  You’ll feel awesome!

And, your mouth will thank you forever.

4.8 from 4 reviews
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced lengthwise into twelve ½” slices
  • Ground pepper
  • 2 lb / 900g lean ground beef
  • 1 large jar tomato basil sauce (no sugar added) – Classico & Trader Joe’s brands have no sugar added
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 lb / 450g 2% cottage cheese
  • 12 oz / 335g shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup parmesan, finely grated
  1. Brush eggplant slices with melted coconut oil, sprinkle with pepper and place on baking sheets.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes at 400F, turning over after 10 minutes.
  3. Brown the beef, add tomato sauce and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
  4. While stirring rapidly, sprinkle xanthan gum over the sauce. Stir well until sauce has thickened.
  5. Spread ½ cup meat sauce on bottom of over proof lasagna dish.
  6. Place 6 slices of eggplant to cover bottom of dish.
  7. Spread ½ of the meat sauce over the eggplant.
  8. Spread ½ of the cottage cheese over the meat.
  9. Spread ½ of the mozzarella over the cottage cheese.
  10. Place 6 slices of eggplant to cover cheese layer.
  11. Spread remaining meat sauce over the eggplant.
  12. Spread remaining cottage cheese over the meat.
  13. Spread remaining mozzarella over the cottage cheese.
  14. Evenly sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.
  15. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes, until top is golden and bubbling.

SANE Lasagna



*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 - I have done something similar with zucchini and thick sliced large tomatoes.

Love lasagna. Husband and I were discussing having stroganoff in the future? Any consideration on that from you?

carrie - Stronganoff has joined the list, but I warn you…that list is *really* long now!

Mic - This lasagna is HEAVENLY! The whole family LOVESSSSSS it!

carrie - LOVE this, Mic! Thanks for swinging by :-)))

Nancy - I made this lasagna for dinner last night. It was the most soul satisfying, yummy, scrumptious meal. My husband had no clue there weren’t noodles in it until I told him.

This morning at breakfast I gave him a fried egg with avocado. He looked at it and said, “Oh, I woke up in the night and thought about having lasagna for breakfast.”

I must be a slow poke cook though. It took me an hour and a half to prep and cook everything.

carrie - Just a fabulous comment to wake up to this morning, Nancy – THANK YOU! It will always take longer to amke when you are doing a new recipe. Once you have it down I am sure it will go a lot quicker! PS. Tell your husband I love eating SANE Lasagna for breakfast :-)

Courtney - This was my first lasagna attempt and it was delicious. My family even liked it although it didn’t have noodles. I didn’t think it was too difficult, either. Question, there are lots of choices of coconut oil. Is one ‘saner’ than another?

carrie - Courtney – the cheapest! ;-) All pure (nothing else than coconut) coconut oil is good. If you’re in the US Trader Joe’s is cheapest, so it’s what I use :-) SO glad that you loved it and found it easy to make!!

Char Gust - What is the purpose of the xanthan gum?

carrie - Hi Char – it is a thickener, since we don’t use starches like flour or cornstarch to do that.

Suzanne - Is there an alternative to using coconut oil such as olive oil. I want to cook the eggplant lasagne but I seem to be having trouble finding this.
Ps love the very berry rice pudding

carrie - Hi Suzanne – where are you located? We do not recommend oils other than coconut, olive or butter. We usually only use olive for cold uses (such as dressings) because heating it makes it less stable and changes the health benefits of the oil. I recommend using either butter or ghee until you can find coconut oil. Hope that helps! Thanks for the rice pudding love!

Suzanne - Thanks for your reply. I will check again as did send my husband to look for it. I will use butter or margarine? then until I find coconut oil. Thanks again

Suzanne - Ps located in Australia

carrie - NOOOOOOOOO margarine! I haven’t had any other Australians saying they cannot find coconut oil – maybe someone from Oz can chime in and help you locate?

evelyn - Carrie I made this again today and actually made it for company this time! Made a big salad to accompany it. Everyone was totally impressed. We don’t have xanthan gum here in Greece so I just let the meatsauce boil down a bit and thicken on its own. DELICIOUS and a total hit. By the way…
One question…At the beginning of your instructions you say spread 1/2 meat on bottom of lasgna dish then state to place eggplant on bottom and 1/2 of meatsauce on top. So the eggplant should actually go on the bottom? Or 1/3 meatsauce on bottom and other 2/3 on top? I usually just make it starting with the eggplant on the bottom thinking that first sentence was a typo error.
Thanks so so so much for contributing all of the great recipes!!!!

carrie - Hi Evelyn! SO glad you are loving this, and your guests too :-) The instructions say spread 1/2 a CUP on the bottom…THEN you put the eggplant. Then you divide the meat sauce in half. Make sense? The 1/2 cup is just to stop the eggplant from sticking to the dish and stop the possibility of it drying out. Hope that helps!

Evelyn - Yes!!! Sorry! It makes total sense! Feel so stupid now!!! :-)

Joanne - I have an all new respect for you since reading your blog and website Carrie Brown. this was the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted and soooo deliciously cheesy! You are a genius! Was made even better for me by the fact that my man added some yummy veg to the meat sauce that he prepared last night. Beet soup next as I’ve made some chicken stock and have some beetroot in the fridge! Jo from Aberdeen

carrie - Hurrah for SANE Lasagna!!! THANK YOU for your lovely words, Jo from Aberdeen!!!

Tanya - Hi…. we don’t get cottage cheese where I live… is there an alternative that could be used?

carrie - Tanya – ricotta would work – get low-fat or non-fat if you can.

Tanya - Thank you Carrie… will have a go tomorrow :-)

Sierra - I have made this twice. The first time I followed the recipe and it was pretty good. The second time we switched it up a bit and now its a keeper for our kitchen! The second time we left out the Xanthan gum (made a runnier lazagna but we didn’t really like the flavor of Xanthan) and we left out the cottage cheese. Instead I mixed together ricotta cheese and raw spinach (a half pound of it!). Soooo good and it added more veggies. Thank you Mrs. Brown. We love your ideas!!!!

carrie - Great switch up, Sierra! Love it! You can try using garbanzo bean flour instead of the xanthan as a thickener.

Emma - After spending the last few days in the company of your & Jonathan’s podcasts, pretty much back-to-back because I just wanted to hear more (I’ve laughed & laughed!), I’m about to make this lasagna as my first SANE meal ;) I’ve got the strawberry porridge in the fridge ready for tomorrow but I’m baulking (‘scuse the pun!) at the idea of veg for brekkie in general so I’m wondering if I can just bung some spinach in the beef towards the end, and if there are other veg I could hide in the meat sauce or cottage / ricotta cheese sauce? I’m also a bit confused about what ‘squash’ are from your perspective – for me there seems to be a difference between the mini round green squash & pale yellow long squash (watery, not too sweet) and the darker orange squash like pumpkin & butternut (seem sweeter & ‘starchy-er’)?! Maybe it’s a UK / South African thing but I looooove butternut but have been scared off it by the paleo / low carb crowd … Help?!

carrie - Hi Emma! Bung away with that spinach in the meat :-) Squash covers an entire spectrum of stuff. When I say yellow squash I mean a yellow courgette / zucchini. The others all go by different names, but come under the general umbrella of “squashes”. Everything in the US is complicated – it wouldn’t be fun otherwise ;-)

Emma - Thanks for the explanation on the yellow squash! For clarification, when you and Jonathan say ‘squash’ on your podcasts do you specifically mean courgette / marrow, or all squash, including butternut, pumpkin etc? Just trying to work out if my delight in butternut and pumpkin being SANE is actually misplaced, and they’re not?! Kitchen smells yummy already, this is going to be totally fab lasagna!

carrie - Emma – we mean all squash :-) Enjoy!

Emma - Yay! Squash is on! And this lasagna is amazing – I got 4 large handfuls of fresh spinach and two grated carrots in the meat, no hassle. My tip – if you add veggies, cook the meat sauce a bit longer so it doesn’t go watery in the oven. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Carrie ;)

carrie - Hurrah for lasagna, Emma!!

Dave Candage - Hi Carrie,

I just made your lasagna. I think I meddled it up. It was pretty soupy and more like cheeseburger pie. It tasted ok, but not very lasagna-y.
I’ll be trying other things as time goes on. I posted a couple of photos on Facebook about it.


carrie - Dave – sorry this didn’t work out for you. No sure what may have happened as I’ve only got rave reviews thus far. Maybe it was the brand of tomato sauce you used? Did you follow the recipe and ingredients as listed, or did you make any changes? When I made this is was super rich adn lasagna-y. I’d be interested to work out why you got such a different result. Thanks for sharing!

Nancy - Hey Carrie and Dave,

I had runnier lasagna the second time I made it (although still FANTASTIC!) I attributed it to the fact I make my own quickie tomato sauce (using a recipe from Cooks Illustrated.) I added a half teaspoon more of the xanthum gum when I made this recipe the third time and it turned out perfect.

carrie - Yay for extra xanthan, Nancy!!

Christine - Is eggplant considered a sane food? It is 80+% carbohydrate. Does the fiber content make it sane? Thanks!

carrie - Hi Christine – eggplant is good. We don’t worry about all carbs, we worry about starchy carbs and sweet carbs. Hope that helps!

Bill Howard - PHENOMINAL Carrie!! Cannot get enough of this!! Thank you!

carrie - THANKS, Bill!!

Suzie price - I made this last night – my husband said, “This tastes like real food!” Yea. It was yummy. I am soooooo melas to have found you and JB. My love and I had a few tense moments over some of the paleo recipes I was trying – he just didn’t like most of what I was making – ever since I stated doing your recipes, they ALL taste great, are easy to make, they ar eSANE and best of all NO tension at dinner. Yea carrie!! Thank you….

carrie - Suzie – your note made me SOOOOO happy!!!! Thank you for all the recipe love :-)

Mel - Can I use tinned tomatoes for the sauce instead of a jar? I am in England

carrie - Hi Mel – yes! Make sure that you used unsweetened tomatoes and drain the juice off first. Then mash up the tomatoes and you’ll be good to go. Hope that helps!

Helen - My first SANE recipe and turned out superbly. Even more delicious than ‘regular’ lasagne :) Can’t wait to try more now! Thanks Carrie!

carrie - Hurrah for Helen!!! So happy to have you join our merry litle gang!

Heather - I’m not a great fan of aubergine (eggplant) so I am going to use flattened out “leaves” of leek instead. As a leek lover this should appeal to you :) Off for an afternoon in the kitchen …. lasagne, muffins and cookies to start with.

And I am addicted to your cinnamon raisin rice pud. Always have some in the fridge for when my sweet tooth kicks in. Going to make your lemon curd now too

carrie - Leek “leaves” Heather – LOVE IT!!!!! What a brilliantly busy SANE cooking day you had!!

Sane/Paleo Lasagne - Run Mum - […] Well I came across this SANE / Paleo recipe from Carrie Brown over at Marmalade and Mileposts.  I found out about Carrie Brown from a podcast that I listen too called The Smarter Science of Slim.  Carrie is also a Chef.  So she turns everyday recipes into Saner / healthier alternatives. One of those recipes happens to have been good old Lasagne. You can find the recipe here. […]

Jerry - I see you using xanthan gum, in this recipe. I’m not sure why. When you make regular lasagna, gum is never used. I did make your recipe without the gum and it came out great. If you want a thicker sauce, add some tomato paste to the sauce. Maybe the use of the gum is a cultural nuance, as I see it in several of your recipes.

When I need a thickening agent, such as in a dressing made without oil, I use almond flour. Great site however, best I’ve ever seen, and I bought the book.

Jerel - This tasted okay, but I think I either sliced the eggplant too thin or overcooked it or put too much oil (way more than 2 T) or all three! I don’t love the flavor of coconut oil everywhere so I used olive oil, but the eggplant turned out like mush. When the lasagna came out, my wife described it as “slimy”. If you end up with about 12 slices of eggplant, stretching 2 T of oil across 24 surfaces seems like there’s barely a few flecks of oil on each piece. I feel I utterly failed at this recipe. It was very disappointing after all the work to build it! I’m sad!

carrie - Jerel – so sad to hear this did not turn out well for you – especially since it’s a reader favorite. Try using avocado oil instead of coconut if your coconut oil gives you flavor – it is better than olive oil and is tasteless. It’s a long time since I made it but I think you may have sliced the eggplant too thin – I don’t remember there being that many slices. Be very careful when you measure the xanthan gum because too much can give a slightly slimy feel.

Shannon - Carrie, I was wondering if you could use a zucchini or squash instead of the eggplant? I’ve only had eggplant a couple times and I haven’t been a huge fan, but I’m willing to try it again :)

carrie - Shannon – yes absolutely you can use zucchini or squash instead, although it tends to be a lot “wetter” than eggplant.

Wren - How many ounces in the large jar of tomato paste? If you don’t gave tomato basil paste, can you use regular tomato paste and add the basil? I’ve got fresh basil in the garden.

carrie - Yes, Wren – You can use regular tomato and add basil.

Triple Threat Almond Cookies

I am about to do something radical.  I am going to post this recipe without saying anything first; because I am as sure as I can be that you have eyes for only one thing: the recipe.  Except it would be remiss of me not to mention how thankful I am that – after a wildly frustrating weekend making innumerable batches of these glorious, crackle-topped wonders – I finally got it right.  The people that blind taste-tested these little dollops of almond joy raved.  Then they clamoured for more – and for the recipe – for 3 days straight.

If you were wondering how you were going to survive the holidays without heading into cookie *inSANEity – NOW YOU DON’T HAVE TO.  What with these and the Dark Chocolate Espresso Cookies, you’re set.

Triple Threat Almond Cookies

These dreamy almond cookies are slightly dense, moist, and chewy in the middle.  They’re almondy enough to knock your socks off.  At one point I thought the cookie dough was possessed.  By the time I was on the 7th batch, I swear those cookies were trying to kill me.  In the end though, *SANEity prevailed.  HURRAH!!

Happy Holidays!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Triple Threat Almond Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 32
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oz / 55g butter
  • ½ cup / 4 fl oz. almond butter
  • 10 oz / 280g xylitol
  • 4 tsp sugar-free vanilla syrup
  • 6 tsp almond extract
  • 10 oz / 280g almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 oz / 55g toasted chopped almonds
  1. In a bowl, using a hand mixer, whisk together the eggs, butter, almond butter, xylitol, syrup and almond extract until it is light and fluffy - about 3 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl mix the almond flour, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum and chopped almonds together well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and gently stir until completely mixed but do not over mix.
  4. Wrap in plastic film and put in 'fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  5. Remove from the 'fridge and working quickly, roll into small balls (I used 1 oz per ball).
  6. Place balls on baking sheet and then press down with your fingers until they are ½" thick / 2" across.
  7. Brush with beaten egg to glaze.
  8. Place in center of oven at 350F.
  9. Bake for 12 mins or until lightly colored.



*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!

Sandie - Thanks for your wonderful post and recipes. I plan on making the almond cookies but want to double check the amount listed for xylitol. Are you sure it’s 10 oz? This would be an enormous amount of sweetner

Could it be 10 drops instead?

StNding by and thank you again for all your help and insight.


carrie - Hi Sandie – xylitol is not available in liquid form like Stevia. It is exactly like sugar in volume and taste. In cookies you need the bulk and other sugar-like properties of xylitol, not just it’s ability to sweeten. If you made these cookies with regular sugar, you would use around the smae amount. Actually, my taste-testers said they could stand being a little sweeter – but then none of them has gone SANE, so they still have their super-sweet teeth! Hope that helps.

Evelyn - Carrie, I LOVE the podcasts you and Jonathon do. Thanks sooooo much!! And thanks for the recipes. Unfortunately, I live in Greece and can’t find a lot of the ingredients. For example, there is no almond butter or almond flour to be found. Can I use flax seed flour and peanut butter instead?? Also there is no xylitol, vanilla syrup or xanthan gum. On second thought, I’ll just stick to some healthy fruit!! Less preservatives, more healthy food. Thanks for helping us out!!!

carrie - Hi Evelyn – thanks for the podcast love. Sorry you are having trouble sourcing a few of the “odd” ingredients that help us be SANE. Almond flour is also known as ground almonds. You can even make it yourself by grinding blanched (skins removed) almonds very finely in a coffee grinder or similar device. You can also make your own almond butter by putting almonds in your food processor and processing them until they become butter. I have no experience yet with flax seed flour, although it is on my (never-ending) list of things to do!! Yes you can use peanut butter instead. There must be sugar substitutes in Greece that you can use instead of xylitol – ideally you want a non-caloric sweetener that has the same bulk as sugar. I am not familiar with what is available to you, but I am sure the interenet will be your friend here. You can replace the sugar syrup with extra xylitol (or equivalent) and leave out that xanthan gum. The texture will not be as stable without the gum, but it will taste just the same. Hope some or all of this helps!! Please share what you find out about the ingredients if you find them. THANK YOU for your support!!

Jennifer - Hi Carrie. I am so thankful for you as our SANE baker and chef…I love cooking and appreciate that I can still do so using your recipes after going SANE.

Can you address the cost of xylitol in your cookie recipes (almond & choc espresso)?

I bought an 8oz jar of xylitol (Jarrow Xyli Pure) at my specialty grocery store, and it cost about $10. This makes baking cookies expensive, and one jar wasn’t even enough for the espresso cookie recipe in my recollection!

Do you buy this in bulk? And where? Should I go to my local store for pastry chefs — or online? Is there a particular brand of xylitol you like and keep on hand in bulk?

Thank you so much. Avoiding traditional desserts has been the hardest part of going SANE for me, and I am eager to start baking SANE cookies. Jennifer.

carrie - Hi Jennifer! This is where I buy xylitol. I buy the 55lb bag because I get through so much on recipe develpoment, but even then, it keeps forever in the garage so I’d likely buy that size even if I were normal ;-)

Look at is as an investment. Your health will improve, and lots of other costs will go down over time…not to mention how much better you will feel = priceless :-)

Catherine - Hi Carrie, thanks for posting this recipe. Is stevia ok to use instead of xylitol?

carrie - Hi Catherine – yes, as long as it’s the kind of Stevia that resembles ordinary sugar. You need the volume and other properties, not just the sweetness. The drops won’t work. Hope that helps!

Catherine - Thats perfect, thanks for replying Carrie :) I think I have that kind of stevia, its certainly not drops buts its quite a feathery and ‘dusty’ like kind of stevia. Will have a look in the box and hopefully it will do the job.

carrie - Catherine – I have never used Stevia, so I cannot vouch for it’s success. I hate the taste of it, which is why I use Xylitol :-) I hope it works out for you – let us know!

Jennifer - Thanks for the reply Carrie. That is helpful info! My husband is going to be very amused when a 55 lb bag of xylitol arrives in the mail. :)

carrie - Your mailman may not love you ;-) This is why I live with cats – they never comment on what shows up in the mail!

Ladyp1234 - Oh my goodness, the almond hit from these is the most wonderful thing. And my daughter and husband agreed. I had to stop my husband on his 4th cookie as we are all new to xylitol and I wasn’t sure if too much too soon would upset our tummies. I only had 8oz bag of xylitol so added a bit of stevia. I also didn’t have quite enough ground almons so had to grind a whole almonds in blender which left a few lumps which my other daughter didn’t like, soI’m sure she’ll be a fan if I have enough ground almonds next time. I didn’t squash my cookies down enough so they stayed quite thick, but still delicious. Thanks!

carrie - Hence the name, Lady P! These were a huge hit when I did the blind taste test, so thrilled you made them and love them too :-)

Cowgirl Rae - Hi Carrie, are you using the higher quality blanched almond flours like is recommended on the gluten free sites? OR are you using the more common almond meal/flours one can buy locally like Bob’s? I have read conflicting info about how they ‘work’ for various baked goods. I suppose a cookie would be different than a bread.

Have you experimented with coconut flour? I bought some and will try something soon. Many of the coconut flour recipes are on the paleo sites and are very heavy on the fats.

carrie - I get Almond Flour and Meal in bulk from Honeyville and keep it in the freezer. I get through a ton of it! I understand Honeyville Almond Flour is the bomb when it comes to baking with it. I have experimented with coconut flour and I will be doing more, but it is a weird and tricky beast. Watch this space!

Minna - Hi Carrie,I’ve been following your food blog and listening your podcasts for some time now. Thanks for great recipes! I definitely will try these cookies as soon as I have some time for baking. What could I substitute for the vanilla syrup and the almond extract as I don’t have these ingredients in my cupboard? If I just leave them out, will it not work?
Could you also pls explain what almond meal is? I’m in Britain and use ground almonds (either blanched or with skins on) but I’ve never come across almond meal.

carrie - Hi Minna – almond flour = blanched ground almonds, almond meal = ground alomnds with the skin on. These will work without the almond extract, but you won’t get the almond flavor punch. You cna leave out the syrup, but you will want to add a little more xylitol to keep the sweetness the same, but the consistency will be different. Let me know how they turn out with the changes! Hope that helps!

Minna - Thanks Carrie. So it was that simple with almond meal/flour. :) I’ll see if I can find the extract and the syrup (would you know where to get these in Britain?) and if not I’ll try without and let you know how they turn out.

carrie - Minna – this may help you: Almond extract should be readily available at Tesco or Safeway or any other grocery store. For syrups there is a brand of sugar-free syrups on Amazon UK called Sweetbird – check those out! I would also ask in Tesco, Sainsburys etc, if they have syrups. You *might* be able to get them in Starbucks – the Starbucks in the US sell them. Hope that helps!

MVP - LOVE THESE! Hubby asked me to add white chocolate chunks which tastes awesome (though made them less SANE) but we’re well on the way to getting him more SANE! I like them how your recipe calls though and so does the little one, she doesn’t get to eat any other kinds of cookies so she gets really excited to eat these!

- Serena Marie, RD dot com - […] with the good, ole’ “first is the worst” rule, but think again! These Triple Threat Almond Cookies are actually totally sugar free. Made with xylitol & lots of healthy almonds/almond butter, I […]

Raye - I’ve made these a few times now- they are my favorite cookie (and that includes the bad sugar & flour options too). Thanks Carrie for all the hard work to create these beauties! I can totally do this forever thanks to you!

carrie - Raye – THANK YOU so much for your kind words! You make my heart happy.

Julie - Awesome! Just made these tonight. We have been on a sugar purge and were about to break down. These saved the day! Thank you!

Julie - I only used half the syrup and they turned out great. They took 15 minutes in my oven to show color and we’re quite chewy. Yum.

Jeanne - Carrie, how do these keep? Freezer or a sealed tin on the counter? I live alone and the thought of 32 cookies in the house is overwhelming. I might halve the batch.
Please advise.

carrie - Jeanne – they should freeze well, although I have never had any last long enough to make it to the freezer!

The Monday Memo # 9

This is going to be the shortest Monday Memo to date.  Here’s a helicopter view:

  • It rained a lot.  A LOT.  I mean, a LOT.  Aqua-planing while driving up and down hills kind of a lot.
  • I was asked if I would consider being the cover story for an Australian e-magazine.  Still pinching myself over that one.
  • I talked to my landscaper.  This may not seem too exciting, so you’ll have to trust me when I tell you – THIS IS HUGELY EXCITING!!!
  • I attended a Holiday Dinner with 15 other people at a fantastic restaurant in Seattle and my mouth was staggeringly happy for the whole 4½ hours.
  • I wore odd socks to the Doctor’s office, but not intentionally.  I also wondered why you have to get weighed when you go to have your ear examined.
  • I got two ear infections - in the same ear.  Because heaven forbid that I would do a half-a**ed job of getting an ear infection.
  • I talked to my mother for hours, mainly because my father went into hospital and doesn’t appear to know who my mother is anymore.  We’re all hoping it’s just a crazy infection that has made him temporarily very confused.
  • I made a ridiculous number of batches of Triple Threat Almond Cookies and Coconut Scones.  I spent half the weekend thinking my cookie dough was possessed and the other half thinking my cookies were trying to kill me.  I still think they may be the death of me.

Here’s stuff I made and ate and wrote about last week, in case you missed them:

Leek and Pear Soup

 Leek and Pear Soup – because leeks are awesome.

Smoked Salmon Baked Eggs

Smoked Salmon Baked Eggs – rich, decadent, special breakfast.  Or lunch, you choose.

Cheesy Pea Shoot Scramble

Cheesy Pea Shoot Scramble – A simple twist to scrambled eggs.  Get those greens in!


My favorite reader email of the week came all the way from Australia.  The mother of two adorable children snapped these as they happily chowed down on my Beet and Tarragon Soup.  That baby girl absolutely loved it, according to her mum.  She also adores scarfing down Strawberry Seed Porridge every day.  Way to go, Nancy!  Get ‘em started SANE young!








My favorite giggle of the week goes to my mother, who said to me, after giving me the ingredients and quantities for her inSANE Coconut Scone recipe, “Do you know the method for making scones?”  Out of the mouths of the elderly.


The Bailinator and I podcasted while he ate Creamy Peanut Butter Mousse.

EPISODE 24: The Myth of Quick Fixes

You can listen to all the podcast episodes right here, or if you have an iTunes account you can head here.

All iTunes, Facebook and Amazon love is very gratefully received!



Stuff I made and ate and will write about in the coming couple weeks. You mentioned that you like a preview to the movie. I aim to please.

Triple Threat Almond Cookies

Triple Threat Almond Cookies

Sauteed Pea Soup

Sautéed Pea Soup
Chocolate Yogurt Supreme
Chocolate Yogurt Supreme
Leftover Turkey Casserole
Leftover Turkey Casserole
Very Berry Rice Pudding
Very Berry Rice Pudding
Oven Bacon and Eggs
Oven Bacon and Eggs
Two Time Tomato Soup
Two Time Tomato Soup
Green Smoothie - Pear Cashew Cream
Green Smoothie – Pear Cashew Cream
Tomato Basil Biscuits
Tomato Basil Biscuits
Broccoli and Red Pepper Quiche Cups
Broccoli and Red Pepper Quiche Cups
Turkey Tarragon Baked Eggs
Turkey Tarragon Baked Eggs
Chocolate Hazelnut Granola
Chocolate Hazelnut Granola
Seriously Green Soup
Seriously Green Soup
Green Smoothie Raspberry Almond
Green Smoothie – Raspberry Almond
Oeufs Plats (Baked Eggs)
Oeufs Plats (Grilled Eggs and Ham)
Tomato Salad Soup
Tomato Salad Soup


“None can escape the fact that we become, to a large degree, what we think. Think little, believe little, act little, and the results will be little. Think big, believe big, act big, and the results will be big.”   ― Anon.

Happy Monday!


*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!

Leek and Pear Soup

Well would you believe it.  I made it!

Just like the Cheesy Pea Shoot Scramble and the Smoked Salmon Baked Eggs, this Leek and Pear Soup has been waiting a really long time for it’s moment in the sun; except now it’s winter in Seattle – no sun up here for the next few months.  Regardless, it’s about time I posted this soup so those of you in the northern hemisphere can enjoy it hot while it’s cold, and those of you in the southern hemisphere can enjoy it cold while it’s hot.

The whole pear part of this recipe was an idea from Nancy, who takes extraordinary images of flowers.  Or maybe it was her husband’s idea?  I can’t quite remember.  It’s definitely Nancy who takes extraordinary images of flowers.

I’ll keep this short, because it’s been a bit of a week  – what with the two different ear infections I have in the same ear - because much like everything else, I couldn’t possibly be half-a**ed about an ear infection.  Still, a promise is a promise, and I promised you all – and the Leek and Pear Soup – that I would get this posted this week.  So here it is.

Leek and Pear Soup

Since we don’t do potatoes over here at Marmalade HQ, I was looking for something that would give the soup a similar body and creamy texture as our once-favorite humble spud.  After far too long in the produce department at QFC one Friday afternoon, I eventually concluded that turnips were the answer.

This soup may not be the most appetizing color, but if you can get passed the rather uninviting shade of I’m-not-really-sure-what-to-call-it, you’re in for a lovely sweet, leeky surprise.  Serve it up with those delicious Cheesy Biscuits and you won’t miss those potatoes for a second.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Leek and Pear Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 - 6
  • 2 lb / 900g leeks, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 cups / 1 pint chicken or clear vegetable stock
  • 12 oz. / 335g turnips, chopped
  • 2 cups / 1 pint unsweetened thin coconut milk
  • 3 pears, cored
  • 2 oz / 55g butter
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Sea salt to taste
  1. Please leeks, stock and turnips in a pan and simmer until turnips are tender.
  2. Working in batches, carefully transfer stock and vegetables to a blender.
  3. Add coconut milk, pears, butter, lemon juice and nutmeg and blend until completely smooth.
  4. Salt to taste.
  5. Reheat if necessary.




*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!

Suse - Carrie is there any reason cauliflower couldn’t be used instead of potatoes or turnips (yuk!) They are SANE aren’t they.

carrie - Suse – I was originally going to use cauliflower, but I wanted to introduce more different kinds of veggies into people diets, so you don’t end up eating the same group of things all the time. Turnips have different nutrients to cauliflower, plus you can’t taste the turnips. Go on, try it and see! ;-) (But use cauliflower if you just can’t bring yourself to buy a turnip)

Cowgirl Rae - LOL…. I know how you love leeks, you even politely ask them to get in the pot!

I ran this recipe by DH, he made a face…. I’ll try it for me anyway.
I need to buy leeks…. gasp! no they are not on my usual list.

carrie - YES, Rae!!! You NEED to buy leeks!!

Cowgirl Rae - OK I bought leeks, boy were they sandy. I had to slice them and seperate all the little rings and wash and spin them several times… Then I made a leek and butternut squash soup. Husband didn’t like it. I thought it was OK but probably wont do it again.
I guess I don’t ‘get’ them, Sort of oniony, but not. The texture was a non issue for a pureed soup. So I don’t know about that.
BUT, I had some left over soup, I boiled it and reduced it til very thick, added lots of fresh cracked pepper, poured that over hot left over spaghetti squash and covered it with a liberal topping of fresh Parmesan. Now that was GOOD!
So Ive tried leeks, but will need to be convinced of their benefit ;)

carrie - Well, Cowgirl, if you insist on mixing them with butternut squash, what do you expect?? ;-) LOVE the sauce idea!!!!

Julie - I’m excited to try this. I had no idea that turnips were allowed – I can stop avoiding them in the cafeteria at work now :)

carrie - Go, turnips!

Mel - Carrie, I have no turnips, but need to use some parsnips? Would this work x

carrie - Mel – pasnips are inSANE, much like potatoes. Cauliflower is best choice for turnip substitute here. Hope that helps!

yvone - I added lentils to the soup to make it a complete meal, worked out great