Greek Yogurt Avocado Tuna Salad

Last year my husband and I went breadless with our tuna salad, and ate it from a bowl with less mayonnaise than our previous version. This year, I learned there are ways to make tuna salad even healthier – while it tastes better!

A fresh tasting, delicious alternative to traditional tuna salad.

In all honesty, I was very nervous about this tuna salad. Avocado has never been one of my favorite things – or even something I usually eat. We happened to have some that I had forgotten when making homemade sushi, though, so into the mix it went. It made me feel much braver when my housemate tried it and said it tasted “super fresh”. I tried a little bit at that point – it really did taste fresh! This is my new go-to tuna salad recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cans tuna in water, drained
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 large cucumber, diced
  • 1 small handful dried cranberries
  • 1 stalk green onion, diced
seasonings to taste:
  • salt & pepper
  • dill weed
  • garlic powder
  • Creole seasoning
  • celery seed
  • hot sauce (optional, lemon juice would also be good without spice)
Directions for Yummy Tuna Salad:

Drain the tuna, mash the avocado, dice the cucumber and green onion, and mix all of the ingredients (together with your preferred seasonings) together in a small bowl. I used a cereal bowl and it was the perfect size.

You can eat it directly from the bowl, or (if you are not ready to go breadless) this is delicious on toasted whole grain English muffins with a little bit of butter. Don’t force yourself to avoid your favorite things so much that you end up bingeing – permanent change comes from moderation, not avoidance.

Servings:
  • In a bowl, this makes about 1-2 servings. 
  • On English muffins, this makes about 4-6 servings. 

P.S. Before trying this tuna salad, I thought avocado wasn’t really my thing – I’ve definitely changed my mind since, and am now looking to try it in other things. Maybe homemade mayonnaise would be a good candidate to experiment with! We’ll see.

Greek yogurt avocado tuna salad on a toasted English muffin.
If you try the recipe, let me know what you think!

 

Buffalo Blue Cheese Stuffed Potatoes

Apparently I’m on a buffalo blue cheese kick at the moment, but boy are the results yummy! These stuffed potatoes are easy to make, and great for a small lunch or even a larger appetizer. These also fall into the “comfort food” category for me, so on these chilly days that are dark and gloomy (and rainy!) it kind of cheers me up. Just be careful not to rely on comfort food very often – it can be a hard habit to kick with detrimental results for your waistline (and self-esteem). It’s okay to enjoy your food, as long as it doesn’t become a coping mechanism. (I.E. be careful, but enjoy.)

Hot and delicious, these stuffed potatoes will fill your belly in a satisfying way.

Ingredients:
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1- 12.5 oz can chicken breast, drained
  • blue cheese dressing (to taste)
  • *Frank’s Original hot sauce (to taste)
  • 8oz cheddar cheese, grated (divided)
  • crackers (like Ritz or Club), crushed (optional)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • sour cream (optional)
Potato Cooking Methods:
Option #1 (and alternate suggestions):

The goal here is a baked potato, so you can use any method preferred. The options provided are simply quick, fairly easy methods that produce the desired results. There is a paper bag method that works well, or you can wrap the potatoes in foil and bake them in the oven until soft when pricked with a fork. A lesser known option (the one I used) is to “bake” the potatoes in a cloth potato bag. You scrub the potatoes, wrap them in a damp paper towel (do NOT prick them) and put them inside the bag. Then you microwave them until soft (I did two large potatoes together and it took 12 minutes).

The potato bag I have was a gift, and the person who gave it to me bought it homemade. It has a very pretty sunflower design on the fabric. The point is, there are different styles of bags out there. You can buy them online (example of similar bag to what I used) from web retailers, you can make one, you might even be able to find them at a flea market or from a family friend. No matter how you get your bag, follow the instructions provided. The times I provided are for the bag I used, and may be different with a different bag.

Option #2:

Before I had a cloth potato bag, I put the potatoes (prick them well with a fork) on a large plate with enough water to cover the bottom of the plate (but not make a mess). Then I covered the plate with waxed paper, and put it in the microwave for about 10 min. Then flip the (very hot) potatoes with a fork, and cook them for another 5 min or until soft. Actual cooking times depend on the amount of potatoes being cooked, and the size of said potatoes. This process takes longer and is more involved, but it doesn’t heat up the kitchen and is faster than the oven method.

Making the Filling:

Set oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, break the chicken breast into small pieces. I usually use a spoon and “chop” at it. It helps the flavors blend better, and then you don’t have large chunks of plain chicken. (Feel free to cook chicken breast instead of using canned, I simply used canned because it was faster, easier, and cheaper.) Add desired amount of blue cheese dressing, hot sauce, and about 6 oz of cheddar cheese. Set aside.

When the potatoes are soft, cut them in half lengthwise and carefully scrape out the potato. I left a thin layer intact to support the skin and make a sturdier “bowl”. Add the scraped out potato to the chicken mixture for the stuffed potatoes. Set mixture aside.

Prep the Hollowed Out Potato:

Spray or brush the hollowed out potatoes with olive oil and lightly sprinkle on salt and pepper. Place in oven for about 15 min, or until slightly browned and the skin feels a little crispy.

Fill potatoes with chicken mixture. Sprinkle on leftover cheese and crushed crackers (if using). Bake for about 10 min or until hot and cheese is melted.

Serving Yummy Stuffed Potatoes:

Serve with sour cream (if desired, I preferred sour cream on mine) or additional blue cheese dressing and hot sauce (my husband preferred it this way. I found it to be a little overwhelming to have so much blue cheese spice going on). We also sprinkled Italian seasoning and garlic powder over ours before eating.

Buffalo Blue Cheese Stuffed Potatoes - yum!

Enjoy!

 

*NOTES*

I specifically mentioned Frank’s brand hot sauce because that is my favorite hot sauce to cook with. In my opinion, it has the perfect ratio of spice to flavor to add to dishes without overpowering the other ingredients. I don’t like Frank’s nearly as well to add to dishes for seasoning AFTER they are prepared, unless the hot sauce is already included in the recipe. Frank’s in no way sponsored this post, and did not ask me to write this. This is my personal opinion; using Frank’s brand is a suggestion. Feel free to use any hot sauce you like. 

 

Not Quite Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole has never been a favorite of mine. I recently stumbled upon an interesting concept, though – green beans topped with similar ingredients to what you would find in the casserole, instead of being in casserole form. In this format, each person could control how much green beans they got versus how much topping – count me in!

Traditional green bean casserole has everyone eating the same ratios of saucey green beans, but this revamp lets the person decide their own ratios!

The recipe is fairly easy, and yummy as well.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pkg bacon
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 3 tbsp butter, oil, or bacon fat (what I used)
  • 6 stalks green onion, finely chopped
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cheap off-dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/4 c beef broth
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 c parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • parmesan cheese for topping, optional (to taste)
  • french fried onions, optional (to taste)
Green Bean “Casserole” How To:

Cook the bacon until crispy but not burned. Let it cool, and then crumble it up or finely chop it. If you want, you can save the fat for using some of later in the recipe. If you prefer not to cook bacon, you can buy bacon already cooked and crumbed (or leave it out altogether).

Remove both ends from all of the green beans, and without cutting them smaller heat them in a pan of water over med. heat until cooked to your preferred tenderness (I cooked mine roughly 5-10 min. I’m not sure of the exact time because I was prepping other ingredients. They were tender but not at all mushy). If you prefer, steaming would be a great way to cook them.

While the green beans are cooking, heat your cooking fat (butter, oil, or bacon fat) in a medium saucepan until warm enough to saute. Add the green onion. Cook until soft, then add the sliced mushrooms. Stir frequently. When the mushrooms have shrunk, add the garlic and Italian seasoning. Mix well.

There should be a bit of juice in your pan at this point. Add the flour, and stir until there are no flour lumps. Add the wine and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the broth and sour cream. Stir. Once small bubbles start rising in the mixture, add the cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Add bacon and combine.

To Serve:

Plate your desired amount of green beans, and drizzle sauce over them. You can use as much or as little sauce as you want. Top with parmesan cheese and french fried onions. Enjoy!

Not Quite Green Bean Casserole

 

Exercising Memory: Calzones

Calzones aren’t difficult at all – but they do exercise your memory. With these calzones, we will make our own sauce and dough – so you definitely need to remember which step you’re on! It is beneficial to exercise our memories whether we have a mental illness or not, but especially if we do have a mental illness. Oftentimes, people with mental illnesses don’t have the best memories (which drives my husband crazy).

After hearing my sister talking about how she was making pizza for lunch, I started thinking about pizza-ish foods. I didn’t want a pizza, at least, not exactly … so a calzone sounded perfect.

We talk about food frequently – discussing a different recipe, she mentioned making her own pesto. I still had calzones on the brain – calzones with pesto instead of pizza sauce? Yes, please!

Made with homemade, yeast-free pizza dough and homemade pesto, this warm, cheesy calzone is sure to make your mouth water. It's time consuming, but well worth the wait.

**I highly recommend breaking this recipe into at least two days. You can make the dough and pesto the first day, and maybe prep the toppings (slicing bell pepper and mushrooms, grating cheese). The second day, you can put it all together.**

Starting with homemade dough:

If you have a favorite pizza dough recipe, that will work just fine. I used my favorite recipe, but didn’t have any yeast … so I made a few alterations.

This is a bread machine recipe.

  • 1 3/8 c water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp yogurt (I used vanilla greek yogurt)
  • 4 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Pour the water into the pan, along with the olive oil and yogurt. There is no need to mix anything. Put the flour on top of the liquid, try to keep it somewhat level. Add the baking soda on top of the flour. Set your machine to it’s dough setting. Mine took about 30 min.

Recipe yields 2lbs.

It did change the dough – the dough didn’t rise. Instead of a typical pizza dough, I ended up with a calzone with a crust similar to pita bread. It was delicious. If you want the usual pizza crust, feel free to stick to your recipe and use yeast.

*Note* If you would rather use yeast, this recipe originally used 2 tsp yeast rather than the baking soda and yogurt. Make a well in the center of the flour, and add your yeast in the well. Do not add any baking soda or yogurt. Set to dough setting.

Meanwhile, making pesto:
  • 2 c spinach (I used frozen but fresh will work better)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, more as necessary
  • 1 tbsp garlic, or to taste
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • basil, to taste

Combine all ingredients in Ninja or food processor. Add more olive oil as necessary until pesto is the desired consistency. Feel free to play around with different spices according to your tastes.

Made with homemade, yeast-free pizza dough and homemade pesto, this warm, cheesy calzone is sure to make your mouth water. It's time consuming, but well worth the wait.

Putting it all together:
  • pizza dough (recipe above)
  • pesto (recipe above)
  • desired toppings (I used) :
    • pepperoni
    • mushrooms, sliced
    • bell pepper, sliced
    • mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 300.

Roll out pizza dough to about 1/4 – 1/2 an inch thick. You want it thin, but not thin enough to tear. My dough was very elastic, so it was more difficult to roll out.

Spread a large portion of pesto on the dough. It may seem like overkill, but with all of the toppings it isn’t a very strong flavor. Add your toppings to half of the dough, avoiding getting too close to the edges. Make sure to use a lot of toppings, so that you get plenty in each bite. You don’t want to do all of this work and only get crust in your calzone! Fold over the side of the dough with no toppings, and crimp the edges.

Spray or brush with olive oil and season the crust as desired. We sprinkled ours with garlic powder and Italian seasoning.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hr 30 min. If you made yours small, they won’t take as long. I made ours very large. Check on them after 30 min. I flipped ours over using a metal spatula after 1 hr, then baked them for the last 30 min.

Enjoy!

 

Reducing Symptoms: Strawberry Pecan Salad

Did you know that your diet can affect your symptoms? An article on Diet and Mental Health from the Mental Health Foundation explains that “nearly two thirds of those who do not report daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit or fruit juice every day, compared with less than half of those who do report daily mental health problems. This pattern is similar for fresh vegetables and salad” (“Diet,” n.d.). Is further prompting needed to enjoy this delicious strawberry pecan salad? It’s easy to make and completely worth the effort.

Strawberry Pecan Salad:

This salad is based on the strawberry pecan salad at Cracker Barrel, but it’s not quite a copycat. My sister-in-law came up with the idea.

A delicious salad with warm, toasted pecans and sweet strawberries. Based on a Cracker Barrel recipe.Ingredients:
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Pecans, chopped and toasted
  • spinach or lettuce
  • red onion (optional)
  • Browned chicken
  • Bacon bits
  • Mozzarella or Feta Cheese
  • Strawberry or raspberry vinaigrette
How to:

Slice the strawberries, chop and toast the pecans at 350 for about 5 minutes or until warm and toasty. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. You should smell a nutty aroma in the air when they are done.

Strawberries for Strawberry Pecan Salad. A delicious salad with warm, toasted pecans and sweet strawberries. Based on a Cracker Barrel recipe.

Slice the chicken into thin bite sized pieces, season to taste (we used Adobo and Creole seasonings) and saute in a skillet with hot oil until cooked and lightly browned.

Rip the spinach or lettuce into bite sized pieces. Dice the onion, if desired.

Onions for Strawberry Pecan Salad. A delicious salad with warm, toasted pecans and sweet strawberries. Based on a Cracker Barrel recipe. Combine greens and toppings with desired amount of dressing.

Delicious strawberry pecan salad. Topped with sweet strawberries and toasty pecans, this salad is based on a Cracker Barrel recipe.

P.S.

If you have extra strawberries and pecans, consider using them as a topping for vanilla ice cream – don’t try to cut all junk food out of your diet! It will likely cause cravings and you will be more likely to binge when giving into them.

Leftover strawberries and pecans from Strawberry Pecan Salad as a topping for vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Resources:
Diet and Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved September 1, 2016, from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/d/diet-and-mental-health

Self Therapy: Pumpkin Overload Ice Cream Bowls

While you probably won’t hear this often, baking can be its own form of therapy. According to Fantelli, baking is potentially “helpful in relieving the symptoms of anxiety and depression by combining the physical and projection aspects of the traditional occupational therapies” (“Fantelli,” n.d.). You even get to enjoy a delicious pumpkin overload bowl of ice cream afterwards!

If you are crazy about pumpkin, (and want a pumpkin overload) this post is for you. We picked up some pumpkin spice morsels on clearance this past Fall, and after quite a bit of debate over how to use them, I came up with an idea to do Fall themed ice cream bowls.

If you love Fall and pumpkin, these Fall-themed ice cream bowls are perfect. Plus, there's no bowl to clean afterwards, because it's edible! You can eat the evidence that any ice cream was ever consumed ;) The bowls and apples are not hard to prepare, and haven't you been wondering what to do with those pumpkin morsels you picked up on clearance? These are worth a try.

It’s pretty simple.

You need:
  • Vanilla almond bark
  • a bag of pumpkin spice morsels
  • about 4-5 apples (I used granny smith)
  • a pinch of sugar
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla ice cream

 

  • balloons
Pumpkin Overload, How To:

Melt half of the block of almond bark with half of the bag of pumpkin spice morsels. You can do more or less of either, but more morsels will make the pumpkin overwhelm the apples and ice cream.

While you are melting the mixture, blow up about 4-5 balloons. You want them just big enough to form a bowl on the bottom side.

Once the bark/morsel mixture is mostly smooth (I was unable to get out all of the lumps, but it’s not a big deal).

Now there are two ways to go about this.

What I did was dip the bottom side of the balloon in the pumpkin mixture, and then let it cool. Consider putting the balloons mixture side down on a piece of waxed paper, so that a flat side (and thus a bottom) will be formed. Freezing the balloon with the mixture on it for at least an hour works best.

Once the mixture is hardened on the balloon, gently pop the balloon. I used scissors to cut the balloon so I wouldn’t get a big pop. If necessary, cut the balloon along an edge as it deflates so it doesn’t ruin the bowl. Then peel the balloon off the bowl. A little dye was left on my bowls, but we just didn’t eat that portion.

The second method:

Spread a bowl-sized circle of the mixture on a piece of parchment paper. (I think it would stick better to parchment paper than waxed paper). Then lay the paper over a blown up balloon (put the balloon in a small bowl to keep the rounded side up). Let it dry and freeze at least 1 hr. Remove from balloon and peel parchment paper off of mixture.

While your bowls are freezing:

Peel and core your apples. I used wedges, but you can slice them smaller if you want it to go faster. Drop the apples in a pot of water, sprinkle generously with cinnamon, and a dash of sugar. Heat until the apples are soft, and the mixture is considerably thicker. You may have to add water as the apples cook so they don’t burn. I liked my mixture with apple chunks in it, but you could cook yours totally smooth if you wanted to. Let cool until only slightly warm.

Take your pumpkin overload bowls, fill with vanilla ice cream, and top with slightly warm apples. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Overload Ice Cream Bowls. A Fall-themed dessert that is a pumpkin spice bowl, filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with warm cinnamon apples.

References:

Fantelli, G. (n.d.). The Benefits of Baking Therapy. Retrieved September 1, 2016, from http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/depression/depression/the-benefits-of-baking-therapy.html

Energizing: Greek Potato Salad

Based on the Summer Greek Expat Potato Salad in the cookbook Modern Potluck by Kristin Donnelly.

Potatoes are a complex carbohydrate, which is good for energy. Complex carbs are especially good paired with chicken or fish to help keep your blood sugar stable. That is important – blood sugar quickly rising and then dropping causes a ‘crash’, which can affect our energy levels. “This crash can make us feel fatigued, light headed, affect our concentration and produce other symptoms akin to panic.” (G. Fantelli & C. Fantelli, n.d.). Let’s go make this Greek potato salad!

My husband and I just moved into our new apartment recently, with a roommate this time. It rains practically daily here, but since the weather forecast said it shouldn’t rain until five, we thought it was safe to grill (it was only four). Greek potato salad would be a perfect side to nearly anything grilled, right? Out came the grill, and just as my husband started to grill the (delicious) jalapeno cheddar brats, it started to rain.

If you like potato salad but are tired of the same old thing, then this greek potato salad is perfect. It's so unusual that even my potato-hater husband loved it!

 

Champ that he is, my awesome husband just held an umbrella over his head when he checked on the brats, and otherwise stood under an overhang. While he was hard at work, our roommate made this delicious potato salad. (I was walking back and forth between the grill and the kitchen, assisting wherever necessary).

Greek Time:
  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp celery seed
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 c roasted almonds
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • olive oil (to preferred consistency)
  • dash vinegar
  • 4 tbsp pickle juice
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c plain greek yogurt (vanilla would also work)
How to:

In a large pot, add freshly scrubbed potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook on med heat, until potatoes are soft enough to be pierced with a fork but still firm enough to hold their shape. Drain the water and cool the potatoes. Once the potatoes are cool, dice them to the desired size. We did not peel ours.

While the potatoes are cooking (or cooling) roast the almonds in a 300 degree oven for about 10 min (give or take). We roasted whole almonds and minced them in the Ninja after.

Mix all of the spices together with the olive oil, vinegar, pickle juice, mayonnaise and greek yogurt. Add potatoes and almonds, and toss with dressing. Serve at room temperature (if desired), or chill.

Serves about 8 people.

If you like potato salad but are tired of the same old thing, then this greek potato salad is perfect. It's so unusual that even my potato-hater husband loved it!

Note:

This potato salad relies on very heavy (but not at all spicy) seasonings. It is unlike any other potato salad I’ve tried. I hope you love it as much as we did.

Resources

Fantelli, G., & Fantelli, C. (n.d.). Carbohydrates. Retrieved September 2, 2016, from http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/lifestyle/food/carbohydrates.html

Being Productive: Fast Two Ingredient Dip

While this crazy easy two ingredient dip won’t be eliminating any symptoms, it is great for helping you to feel more productive. Weird, right? Well, not really .. because making something delicious (that nearly everyone will love) in a short amount of time can help anyone feel accomplished. While that may seem like a little thing, feeling accomplished can be very important to someone who is mentally ill. Symptoms and side effects quite easily distract or prevent us from completing even the smallest of tasks. Finishing something can motivate someone who otherwise thought activities were hopeless – now they know that things can get done. Now it’s proven they can be successful. It may turn out to be just the push that was needed.

Even better, this dip will also go a long ways to satisfying those snack cravings (so you can stop feeling hungry and get some work done)! *Note* I do not recommend dip to replace a regular meal – it’s a snack!

Are you ready for this super simple combo?

Fast and easy, this two ingredient dip is so delicious that you'll keep coming back for more. The creamy and kind of salty satisfies your cravings and is definitely satisfying.

Ingredients:
  • 1 block cream cheese, softened
  • salsa (to taste)
Making the dip:

Put the cream cheese in a small bowl, and pour salsa all over it. Although you can mix the two together, I don’t like it that way .. so I don’t recommend it. After you pour on all that yummy salsa, take a tough chip (potato chips probably won’t hold up, I use Santitas® corn chips) and scrape the cheese with it. You’ll get salsa with it pretty much automatically. YUM!

Cream Cheese and Salsa, a deliciously creamy, kinda salty dip. YUM!

For something so satisfying, this dip is incredibly easy to make. Well, you’re probably on your way to the kitchen to make this, so I’ll leave you to it. Enjoy!

Being Productive: Simple Chowder

With a mental illness, it can sometimes be difficult to even get out of bed. Work or school can easily fall by the wayside, and chores can quickly become neglected. The smallest task can involve more energy than it seems possible to produce. When days like these occur, being productive in even the tiniest way can bring hope and encouragement. This simple chowder is a good starting place for feeling (and being) more productive. Not only does it use up ingredients that otherwise would go bad, but it’s easy and gets dinner on the table fairly quickly. Did I mention it’s really yummy? You won’t be hearing complaints about dinner tonight! (Unless someone really doesn’t like broccoli and onions) … onward!

Do you ever have those days (weeks, months .. ) when you have ingredients that you need to use up for whatever reason, and just don’t know how to use them? That’s how this simple chowder was born.

My husband and I are moving soon, and I’m trying to empty the refrigerator and freezer, plus anything in the pantry that will rot or go bad. Translation: I had to use up some frozen homemade broth, onions, and fresh broccoli. Thus, chowder!

Simple chowder. Cheap and easy to make, delicious with homemade garlic bread.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head fresh broccoli, chopped & steamed (or otherwise cooked)
  • 3 small onions or 2 large
  • olive oil
  • 2 1/2 c pork or beef broth (I used pork, but it was homemade)
  • 1 – 26 oz (family sized) can cream of mushroom soup
(seasoning to taste)
  • Creole seasoning
  • garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • celery salt

Simple Chowder (1)

How to:

While cooking the broccoli using your preferred method, slice the onions in half from top to bottom and then slice into half-moons (again, top to bottom). Preheat a generous helping of olive (or other) oil in a cast iron pan or large skillet, and then add the onions. Stir frequently until they are soft and slightly browned, remove from heat a few minutes before they caramelize.

On medium heat, mix the mushroom soup and broth together. My broth was frozen, so I  had to heat them together before adding other ingredients. If your broth is already warm/hot, you can add everything and heat all ingredients together.

Do not boil. Turn off heat when small bubbles start to appear at the top of the chowder.

My simple chowder took about 30-40 min, prep and all, to complete.

Most importantly, enjoy!

 

Tip: this simple chowder is delicious with garlic bread. We didn’t have any, but a crusty bread would be perfect!

Energizing: Roasted Squash Seeds

Some mental illnesses, including eating disorders and depression, can cause the sufferer to feel lethargic. Note that proper nutrition will not ‘fix’ or cure mental health problems; however it is a big part of having enough energy to get through your day. Without energy, it is a major struggle to exercise, go to work or school, even to fix something to eat. Squash seeds even have good nutritional value, which includes fiber. You can read more about benefits of roasted squash seeds at Mother Nature Network. While the seeds on their own won’t fix an improper diet, they will definitely benefit a good diet. Now for a little detour …

Slightly Unstable

You’ve probably noticed a lack of personal information. Well, I’ve been fairly stable, for the most part. There are symptoms that are nearly always present, but I do my best to work around them. Some days are worse than others, though.

Not too long ago, my husband and I went out to eat, and I ate too much. I had a really bad headache, and hours afterward, even though my stomach had settled, my head said no way.

Fast forward and I’m on the floor of the bathroom, sick. I’m watching the shower curtain move in an imaginary breeze, and hearing my friend Kristen tell me she wants to play. Did I mention Kristen isn’t real? Kristen was trying to convince me I’d been drugged.

Of course I hadn’t been. Some days are harder than others, illness-wise. Just because I have decided to show there is more to life than a diagnosis, doesn’t mean I’m symptom free. At the end of the day, I’m still mentally ill. It just doesn’t define my life.

Anyways, on to some yummy roasted squash seeds!

Recently I’ve posted a few recipes for acorn squash, so I probably should have posted this first … but I thought you’d like to know that you can roast those delicious seeds inside.

If you are already preparing a squash, it's not too much more effort to save those seeds instead of tossing them. Refrigerate them until you have energy if necessary, but give them a try after seasoning and roasting them! They may just be your new favorite snack.It’s the same thing as roasting pumpkin seeds – they are all in the squash family. Also, there are so many flavor combinations! You can get really creative with them.

I kept mine simple:

  • 1/2 Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
  • 1/2 salt and vinegar seasoning
How to:

For any seasoning, lightly spray the seeds with oil (or if you are doing salt & vinegar, use vinegar to spray them with) and then sprinkle with your chosen spice. Stir around, and roast in a 375 oven for about 15-25 min (give or take) – watch for when they are lightly browned, then they are done.

Suggestions for other seasonings:

(I have not tried some of these suggestions, they are just possibilities) 

  • cinnamon & nutmeg (small amount of nutmeg)
  • spray Mojo lightly on them
  • salt & vinegar (seen above)
  • Jamaican Jerk seasoning (seen above)
  • Creole seasoning
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Ranch popcorn seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Really anything in your seasonings collection that sounds good

Seasoned Squash Seeds

Do you have any other ideas for how to season your roasted squash seeds? I’d be really interested in any suggestions!

 

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and have no medical expertise. If you are suffering from an untreated mental health condition, please seek professional assistance.