Eating to Live with a Badly Behaved Brain.

Mental Lentil

Mental Lentil

Eating to Live with a Badly Behaved Brain.

Recent Posts

Refined Sugar-Free Honey and Cinnamon Popcorn

Refined Sugar-Free Honey and Cinnamon Popcorn

I saw popcorn kernels in town this morning and decided to buy some for making an after school snack for the boys. I knew I wanted to make a refined-sugar free version, so did my own take on this recipe from Naturally Ella I actually […]

Kale and Feta Quiche with an Almond Crust

Kale and Feta Quiche with an Almond Crust

I have always been a bit of a bread fiend. Age sixteen I worked in a local bakery and it has always been a joke of my husbands that if you give me a plate with bread and something else I will find a way […]

Caramelised Onion Hummus

Caramelised Onion Hummus

This was my lunch today. We’ve often bought the Caramelised Onion Hummus from Aldi in the past, but it does contain refined sugar so I no longer eat it. I was out at a school function last night and my husband made hot dogs with caramelised onions for the boy’s tea. I know that many people do put sugar in their caramelised onions but we have found it is just not necessary. If you cook the onions slow enough and long enough they will caramelise in their own natural juices. There were some left-over onions so I used those to make my hummus, but I will give you instructions below to make it from scratch.  If you wish to you can make the caramelised onions the day before and keep in a sealed container overnight then make the hummus the next day. Alternatively, make LOTS of caramelised onions and keep the reminder in a sealed jar in the fridge. You can add them to wraps, sandwiches, Quiche, pizza, hot-dogs..oh and hummus!

Caramelised Onion Hummus (Serves 2)

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil

2 onions

Water as required

1 x 400g tin chick peas

juice of half a lemon

2 cloves garlic, chopped

half a teaspoon ground cumin

pinch of dried red chilli flakes

freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Method

Firstly make the caramelised onions. Literally chop the root off the onions, chop into quarters and then slice the quarters. Heat the oil to a medium heat in a frying pan with a lid. Put the onions in the pan and cover with the lid. Cook stirring occasionally, adding the water as required to stop the onions from drying out and catching. When you stir, scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan so as this improves the flavour. When the onions are a deep golden brown and any water used has been absorbed they are ready. Set to one side to cool.

Next, drain the chickpeas over the sink and put them into a medium sized bowl. Add the lemon juice, chopped garlic, cumin, chilli flakes and salt and pepper. Blitz until smooth with a hand blender.

Add half of the cooled caramelised onions to the chickpea mixture in the bowl. Blitz with the hand blender agin. Then either add the remaining caramellised onion to the bowl and stir in.

Serve on flatbread with feta cheese crumbled over the top and green salad leaves.

Image by Caroline Attwood via Unsplash

 

 

 

Out of the Brain Fog

Out of the Brain Fog

I was delighted to be asked to be asked by Rachel Kelly, the bestselling author of Black Rainbow and The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food to write a guest post for her blog. I wrote about how I came to make a connection between what […]

Thai Pork Meatballs

Thai Pork Meatballs

This is a tasty weekend dinner that all the family will enjoy. Pork is a good source of vitamins B12 and B6 which can help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system. Thai Pork Meatballs (Serves Four) Ingredients 500 g lean pork mince 1 tablespoon […]

Bounty-Inspired Overnight Oats

Bounty-Inspired Overnight Oats

I apologise for not blogging for a week. I have been writing but not for here. I promise I will tell you what I have been doing when I can but for now my mouth is firmly zipped. Though the time away has given me time to work on this recipe.

Last week I had started to make my usual breakfast of Overnight Oats when I realised I couldn’t find the cinnamon. I looked through the cupboard where I keep my herbs and spices and came up with zilch. I was tired and I was going to bed in five minutes, but I knew I needed a nutritious breakfast and the oats were already in the bowl. The packet of Cacao powder from Aldi caught my eye and then the desiccated coconut did…..childhood memories of Bounty Bars invaded my brain and I went into experimental mode. Over the next few days I experimented a bit more with the amounts and this yummy chocolate but healthy breakfast was born!

Bounty-Inspired Overnight Oats (Serves One)

Ingredients

Half a cup of rolled oats

1 quarter of a cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

1 sixth of a cup ground almonds

1 teaspoon cacao powder

Three quarter cup milk (I use semi-skimmed as I eat dairy but you could use a nut milk if you prefer) 1

1 teaspoon runny honey

Method

The night before you want to eat this put the oats, coconut, almonds and cacao into your cereal bowl or a Kilner jar. Stir all the dry ingredients together. Add the milk and the honey and stir well. Cover the bowl with aluminium foil or seal the lid on the jar. Leave it in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning the oats will be soft and breakfast will be ready for you to eat as soon as you awaken. If you make it in a jar you can take it with you to eat on the run.

Image by Sebastien Gabriel via Unsplash.

 

Poppy Seed Flatbreads

Poppy Seed Flatbreads

A quick and easy flatbread recipe. Great for scooping up dips like Zingy Lemon and Coriander Hummus or as an accompaniment to soup. Poppy Seed Flatbreads – Makes 8 Flatbreads Ingredients 3 cups white self-raising flour 1 cup wholemeal strong bread flour plus a bit extra […]

Smug, Green, Fishcakes

Smug, Green, Fishcakes

If you are looking for fishcakes with hidden vegetables that you can feed to an unsuspecting small person this is recipe is not for you. If however you want to feel totally smug about eating something that is so packed with nutrients it possibly couldn’t […]

Comforting Drinks for Sugar-Free Self-Soothing

Comforting Drinks for Sugar-Free Self-Soothing

I attended a wonderful Understanding Psychological Distress course at my local Recovery College a few weeks ago. A good portion of the course was how to deal with periods of psychological crisis without self-harming or using behaviours that can become maladaptive like alcohol, drugs or overeating.

One of the things that came out of this was it is okay to comfort yourself when in crisis – there is no shame in needing to wrap yourself up in a blanket on the sofa or cuddle up in bed under a duvet. This was news to me who always felt guilty if I indulged myself like this. Somehow I always berated myself ad nauseum if I couldn’t just carry on with my day to day activities regardless. Sometimes I do – it’s a practice called “Opposite Action” to force yourself to do the opposite of what your brain is telling you to do. So if your anxiety is telling you to stay in the house alone and quiet, you make yourself go out to the shops instead. Often you will find you feel much better for doing the Opposite Action and quite pleased with yourself, and eventually that action becomes easier to do as your brain is effectively “retrained”. It’s not easy so don’t beat yourself up those times the brain wins – it’s only won the battle not the war. Sometimes, in the midst of crisis, the amygdala just seizes control and logic doesn’t work. If you are in crisis it is okay to self-soothe and concentrate on managing any unsafe impulses.

Another way to self-soothe is with comforting drinks. I sometimes binge eat when in crisis so I have some favourite drinks that I choose from depending on whether I want comfort, sweetness or chocolate! What’s more, none of them have added sugar, alcohol or caffeine so I am not taking in anything that is going to mess further with my already tipsy-turvy brain chemistry!

Here are my favourites:

Honey and Lemon (serves one)

I make this whenever anyone has a cold, but it is also quick and easy as a go to comforting drink when I need something to get me through the next few minutes.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon runny honey

half a lemon sliced

Method

Literally put the honey and lemon into a mug and pour over boiling water from the kettle. Stir really really well, then leave to cool slightly before drinking.

 

Cocoa (serves one)

This is what I go for when I am craving the comfort of chocolate, or indeed just craving chocolate!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

1 mug semi-skimmed milk

a little runny honey to taste (optional)

Method

Mix the cocoa in a (microwave-safe if required) mug with a tablespoon of the milk. Stir well to make a smooth paste.

Then either tip the rest of the milk into the mug and microwave on high until hot. Making sure it doesn’t boil over.

Or, if like me you don’t have a microwave, tip the milk into a saucepan and gently heat up, remembering to watch it so it doesn’t boil over! Add the hot milk to your cocoa in the mug and stir well.

 

Hot Spiced Apple (serves one)

When I was 16 I had a weekend job as a waitress in a local vegetarian cafe. This was one of the drinks on the menu. This not only tastes lovely and warming it also has the bonus of being one of your five a day – though if you have another juice or smoothie remember you can only count one portion of juice / smoothie towards your five-a-day count.

Ingredients

1 mug unsweetened apple juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

Method

To microwave, put all the ingredients in a microwave-safe mug and stir well. Pop into the microwave for 30 seconds on High until hot. Alternatively, tip all the ingredients into a small saucepan and heat up on the stove. Give it another stir before serving.

 

Hot Milk

Yes it’s an oldie but a goodie. I like mine unsweetened, or rather, I actively dislike it sweetened!

Ingredients

1 mug semi-skimmed milk

Method

I literally just warm a microwave-safe mug of semi-skimmed milk in the microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds, or tip the milk into a saucepan and heat on the stove for 3 minutes, being careful to watch it so it doesn’t boil over.

 

Herbal Tea

Herbal tea is great for self-soothing. My day to day favourites are berry and strawberry and mango, but flavours like lemon and ginger and also camomile are extra-comforting when you are in crisis.

 

Image by Hans Vivek via Unsplash

 

 

 

Zingy Lemon and Coriander Hummus

Zingy Lemon and Coriander Hummus

I have never been able to convince either my husband or my youngest son that chickpeas are a bone fide edible foodstuff. My eldest son, however, will devour a tub of hummus from the fridge with crackers, veggies, crisps – whatever lays to hand, before […]