antidepressant spicy pumpkin soup

This is my last pumpkin recipe this Autumn before we step into Christmas preparations. Pumpkin soup is one of my favorite meal for for cold Autumn and Winter months. Smooth, nutty, spicy and very warming and fulfilling. Especially if you base it on bone broth, it gives extra thickness and richness to this soup.

Of course you can prepare it 100% vegan using veggie broth and coconut milk.

If you’re not vegan but don’t have coconut milk on hand, double or single cream will work great as well. Most of the times I use butternut squash to make this soup, in my opinion it’s the best. Sweet, nutty taste and beautiful orange flesh that gives this intensive in colour delicious soup. Hokkaido squash will be also great for soups if you have it available in your local shop. Also very sweet, nutty in beautiful strong orange colour flesh.

A 100g serving of butternut squash contains about 11.69g of carbohydrates, 2g of fiber, 1g of protein, and is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It also contains moderate levels of magnesium and manganese. Butternut squash seeds have been refered for reducing social anxiety disorder and depression. According to researchers pumpkin seeds has a antidepressant compounds and have an antidepressant food score (AFS) of 47%. It’s linked to tryptophan (an essential amino acid) and 5-hydroxytryptophan (a tryptophan intermediate metabolite in the formation of the neurotransmitter serotonin), both being promoted as remedy for depression.

AFS is based on a nutrient profiling system devised to identify foods with the highest nutrient density of nutrients with clinical evidence to support their role in depressive disorders. Twelve Antidepressant Nutrients relate to the prevention and treatment of depressive disorders: Folate, iron, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and zinc. The highest scoring animal foods are: oysters and mussels, various seafoods, and organ meats. The highest scoring plant-based foods: leafy greens, lettuces, peppers, and cruciferous vegetables. If you’d like to see all the foods from AFS list click here, also I encourage you to read this interesting research about Antidepressant Nutrients.

As you can see this soup has plenty of benefits. It’s not only rich and warming, but also full of nutrients, healthy spices and if you add generous amount of pumpkin seeds, also works as antidepressant. What else would you expect from the soup? It’s also very easy and quick to prepare. You can use fresh squash, but also if you have a lot of pumpkin you can peel them, chop in smaller pieces and freeze. It will make the preparations even quicker – just grab some pumpkin pieces from the freezer and pop into the pot with hot broth.

antidepressant spicy pumpkin soup

INGREDIENTS (for about 1.5L of soup):

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 1.3-1.5kg)
  • about 1L homemade beef bone broth or veggie broth
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • natural rock salt to taste
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 陆 tsp chilli flakes (or more if you like it very hot)
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • slice of butter or a tbsp coconut oil
  • pumpkin seeds
  • some boiling water if the soup will be too thick

DIRECTIONS

First prepare butternut squash. Using a sharp knife or peeler, peel the skin. Cut squash in half and using a teaspoon scoop out the seeds. Then using a big knife chop your pumpkin in smaller pieces. Be careful with your fingers, squash is quite hard.

In about 2L pot, heat a slice of butter or a tablespoon of coconut oil. Finely chop brown onion and fry couple minutes until it get soften. Add chopped pumpkin, all spices, salt, garlic cloves and bone broth or veggie broth. Cover the pot with lid and boil until squash will be tender (for about 20 minutes, depending how big are your pumpkin pieces).

Using a blender blend the soup until smooth. Add coconut milk and if you feel like it’s too thick for you add little bit of boiling water. Season with salt to taste. Pour the soup into the bowls, sprinkle with additional chilli flakes and generous amount of pumpkin seeds. Serve hot.

Enjoy!

Source of knowledge:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2468227620303136

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6147775/

2 weeks of quick keto breakfast recipes (based on my Instagram page)

Through the first stage of my keto diet I was having a soup for I would say 90% of my breakfasts, and during winter time it was a really great Idea, Especially on wet and windy Scottish mornings, it’s perfect idea to have something warming and energizing before you go to work or at work if you have a breakfast break. But when spring and summer came my body asked me for something lighter and more colourful. I have to say I’m not the biggest fan of omelettes, I’d rather like a simple fried or scrambled eggs with some kind of side salad. I fell in love with this set up – eggs and veggies – and for some people it might be boring, but I know that there’s a lot of people on keto diet who also likes this set. So I decided that I will gather some of my breakfast recipes in one post. If you are at the beginning of your ketogenic journey and you’re still a bit confused how to organize your meal plan ending up with bacon and eggs on your every breakfast, here I come with two weeks of keto breakfast recipes. They are not only quick, easy and simple to make, but also delicious. Colourful and appetizing will change your boring keto breakfast in a real feast.

How to make a quick breakfast? – organization is the key

I always keep my key ingredients on hand and in the same places, so in the morning with one eye still closed I can grab them quickly and prepare a meal. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a glass jars, preventing from spilling them all over the kitchen counter trying to open the foil packaging. Ingredients in the fridge always on the same shelf, in the same places, so I don’t need to dig in the fridge looking for them. Spices in my drawer always in the same order. I know it might sound stupid, but it makes everything much faster if all your stuff is always in the same place. And let’s be honest, if you’re working, every minute in the morning is precious.

How to make it even faster?

Dedicate one evening to prepare your veggies in advance. Grab couple of airtight containers or glass jars and dice or slice your veggies. It’s the best to keep each vegetable in separate container to keep them fresh. Tear some salad leaves, put to airtight container and when you need it just grab a handful and half of your salad is ready. This way you can have almost all the ingredients ready, just to toss them on the frying pan or pop into salad. You can keep your veggies this way 3-4 days in the fridge. You can also dice some ham or bacon and mushrooms. Because mushrooms have quite short term for consumption I almost always slice them, pack them in zip bags and keep in the freezer. If I want to use them in an omelette or scrambled eggs it literally takes 3 minutes on the frying pan to make them ready. The only veg I don’t prepare in advance is avocado, but takes like 30 seconds to prepare. Also I use beetroots which are not recommended on keto, at least not at the beginning. I use them because I really like their taste, but you can easily swap them with some bell peppers for example.

Tools.

Good quality, non stick frying pan tailored to your needs. Bigger if you make a breakfast for family, smaller if you make it just for yourself, so you won’t waste the time waiting for it to heat. Good frying pan will save you time and nerves. There’s nothing worse in the morning, than an omelette stuck into the pan, you need to scrape of it. And if we speak about scraping. If you get a good frying pan, stock up with a non-scratching wooden, bamboo or other spatula or a spoon, so you keep your pan in a good shape for a long time. If you have these two, the only left is your favourite plate, so you make your breakfast experience even more pleasant and you’re ready to go. Also airtight small or medium size glass or plastic containers will help you to keep all the ingredients fresh and prevent them from drying.

OK, now when you know how to organize your breakfast set up, it’s time for ingredients.

Shopping list:

Veggies


  • spinach leaves
  • sour pickled cucumbers
  • tomatoes/cherry tomatoes
  • fresh cucumber
  • avocado
  • beetroot
  • brown and red onions
  • iceberg salad
  • bell peppers
  • spring onions
  • mushrooms
  • capers

Dairy


  • smoked curd
  • mayonnaise
  • mozzarella
  • parmigiano regiano
  • clarified butter
  • cheddar cheese
  • halloumi
  • feta cheese

Meat and Eggs


  • eggs
  • chorizo
  • smoked salmon
  • smoked bacon

Spices and Seeds


  • horseradish sauce
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • olive oil
  • natural rock salt
  • coarse pepper
  • nigella seeds
  • lemon pepper
  • linseed flour
  • baking powder
  • apple cider vinegar
  • other spices you like

Shopping list in pdf format:

14 quick keto breakfast recipes

Most of them takes about maximum 10 minutes to make if you have all the ingredients prepared before (panini or grilled halloumi you can keep for the weekend). Of course, if you’re new to cooking, it might take you more time. But more you practice, better you become. After couple days, you will get more confident and with everyday it will be easier for you.

Bacon & cheddar omelette

  • eggs
  • diced bacon
  • grated cheddar
  • 1 tsp clarified butter for frying
  • natural rock salt
  • spinach leaves
  • diced beetroot
  • smoked curd cheese
  • pumpkin seeds
  • diced avocado
  • olive oil
  • splash of apple cider vinegar
  • coarse pepper

Grilled halloumi with stir fried peppers

  • 2 halloumi pieces toasted on a frying pan
  • bell peppers stripes quickly stir fried
  • 2 tsp clarified butter for frying peppers
  • copped spring onions
  • some oregano
  • coarse pepper

Eggs fried with mushrooms

  • eggs
  • sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tsp clarified butter for frying
  • spinach leaves
  • sliced cucumber
  • cherry tomatoes
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • drizzled with olive oil
  • sprinkled with nigella seeds

Parmigiano Regiano Omelette

  • eggs
  • 1 tsb clarified butter for frying
  • parmigiano regiano
  • coarse pepper
  • natural rock salt
  • iceberg lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sliced avocado
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sprinkled with nigella seeds
  • drizzled with olive oil

Keto Panini

For panini (combine together all the ingredients, form kind of a crumpet and place in the panini maker. Toast until it grows nicely and gets golden brown. Give it a minute to cool down, slice through and place filling) :

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • freshly ground linseed flour
  • 1 tsp clarified butter
  • some grated cheddar or mozzarella
  • natural rock salt
  • coarse pepper + herbs or spices you like

For filling:

  • spinach leaves
  • smoked curd cheese
  • sliced tomatoes
  • slices avocado
  • coarse pepper

Scrambled eggs with onions

  • eggs
  • large brown onion
  • natural rock salt
  • 1 tsp clarified butter for frying
  • spinach leaves
  • cherry tomatoes
  • diced avocado
  • fresh cucumber slices
  • pumpkin seeds
  • drizzled with olive oil
  • sprinkled with lemon pepper

Spinach & mozzarella fried eggs

  • 3 eggs
  • spinach leaves
  • mozzarella cheese
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sprinkled with coarse pepper
  • and natural rock salt
  • thinly slices avocado
  • thinly sliced beetroot
  • sprinkled with lemon pepper
  • drizzle with olive oil
  • 1 tsp clarified butter for frying

Green omelette

  • eggs
  • 1 tsp clarified butter for frying
  • diced smoked bacon
  • feta cheese
  • spinach leaves
  • sprinkled with natural rock salt
  • and coarse pepper

Chorizo salad

  • iceberg salad
  • diced chorizo
  • diced cheddar
  • capers
  • chopped spring onion
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sliced avocado
  • drizzled with chilli sauce
  • and olive oil

Smoked salmon scrambled eggs

  • eggs
  • smoked salmon
  • 1 tsp clarified butter for frying
  • chopped spring onions
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sliced cucumber
  • sliced avocado
  • drizzled with olive oil

Red onion fried eggs

  • eggs
  • diced red onion
  • natural rock salt
  • 1 tsp clarified butter
  • iceberg salad
  • diced beetroot
  • diced cucumber
  • avocado slices
  • smoked curd
  • sprinkled with nigella seeds
  • drizzled with olive oil

Egg salad with horseradish sauce

  • half runny boiled eggs (3-4 minutes)
  • spinach leaves
  • sour pickled cucumber
  • cherry tomatoes
  • smoked curd cheese
  • mayonnaise and horseradish combined
  • sprinkled with pumpkin seeds
  • and coarse pepper

Smoked bacon omelette

  • eggs
  • diced smoked bacon
  • sliced brown onions
  • feta cheese
  • 1 tsp clarified butter for frying
  • diced avocado
  • natural rock salt
  • sprinkled with nigella seeds

Spinach & onion fried eggs

  • eggs
  • spinach leaves
  • brown onion
  • 1 tsp clarified butter for frying
  • sliced cucumber
  • coarse pepper
  • pumpkin seeds
  • olive oil
  • slice of keto bread

Enjoy!

keto bacon wrapped meatballs

Any bacon lovers out there? I know you’re there 馃槈

We all love it, smoky, crispy and somewhere between sweet and salty, when it melts in the mouth. I feel like bacon is always a star, anywhere you add it 馃檪 Remember to find a good quality one. I’ve noticed that the cheaper one from the supermarket, is much more salty and watery. The same with minced pork – the ones you buy in plastic packaging, has a lot of added water. So if you have this option, check your local butcher, or ask in the supermarket if they have freshly minced pork.

So we have delicious pork meatballs, served with fresh spinach salad, and colorful veggies. If you want to make your meatballs even more yummy, you can add some chopped cheddar cheese inside. I’ve added some mozzarella to my salad. We try to start incorporating some cheese to our diet. I really like the taste and consistency of mozzarella, my partner said that after six months it tastes like boiled egg white. Isn’t it funny how you taste changes when you stop eating certain foods for some time?

OK, stop stop talking let’s dive into the recipe.

 

 

keto bacon wrapped meatballs

INGREDIENTS for about 8 meatballs

  • 500 g minced pork
  • 8 slices of smoked bacon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • good pinch of salt
  • pinch of coarse pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  • optionally: finely chopped cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

Mix all the ingredients together, but be careful with coconut flour. Coconut flour absorbs the moisture very easily, so if you add too much meatballs will be dry and hard. Optionally you can add some finely chopped cheddar cheese to make them even more delicious.

Roll 8 balls in your hands, I’ve gave them more an egg shape. Wrap each one with bacon and place on a baking tray. Bake for about 30-40 minutes in 200掳C (180掳C with the fan) or until bacon will get desired golden brown color.

 

 

Waiting for the meatballs to bake lets make a salad.

INGREDIENTS

  • few handfuls of organic spinach
  • cherry tomatoes
  • fresh cucumber
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • half of avocado
  • some mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • about 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of coarse pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • pinch of garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp your favorite mustard
  • some nigella seed to sprinkle on top

DIRECTIONS

Lets start with dressing – mix mayo, mustard and olive oil with all the spices. To make it easier, you can put them all in a small jar, and shake it for a moment. Try how it tastes, add some more mustard, if you like it more spicy. Wash all the veggies, give a good rinse to spinach. Cut mozzarella in small cubes, eggs in halfs and slice cucumber and avocado (I always do it just before serving, so it won’t get dark). Place nice amount of spinach on plates, arrange the rest of the veggies, pour the dressing on top and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Salad is ready to serve.

mayo pork chop casserole #ketofriendly #lowcarb

One of the good things about keto, is that it forces you to be creative in the kitchen. Makes you look for various ways to prepare the same ingredients. Recipe for this meal comes from old recipe book that I found on my bookshelf. I’ve made some changes to fit the keto diet, and it came out very well.

Carrots maybe are not number one choice when you’re on keto, but the amount is so small, that’s not going to ruin the idea. Again if you cannot use dairy products skip the cheese (oh, I miss the cheese badly). Find good quality pork. We buy at our local butcher.

This casserole is easy to make, you can prepare all the ingredients earlier and later just throw everything to a baking dish and bake. It will also fill you up for hours, so it’s great when you have a busy day running errands.

 

mayo pork chop casserole

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 thin sliced pork chops
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2-3 onions
  • few slices of gouda cheese (skip for no diary version)
  • few tbsp of mayonaisse
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • generous amount of oregano
  • few small mushrooms of your choice
  • some olive oil to grease ten baking dish

DIRECTIONS

You can use meat mallet to gently pound the pork to the desired thickness, being careful to keep the thickness even. Cover the meat with some cling film or sandwich bag to avoid messy splatters. Personally I like thinner ones, I’m not a big fan of pork chops, but I feel like thinner tastes better.

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Grate the carrots, cut onions in thin rings.

Grease baking dish with some olive oil, and start layering. Half of the carrots first, than 4 pork chops, half of onions, half of gouda cheese (skip for #nodairy), spread it with generous amount of mayo and sprinkle with oregano. Then start again. If you use cheese for this recipe, put some on top. It will melt deliciously with a layer of mayo. Finish with mushrooms cut in halfs.

Bake around 40 minutes in 170潞C with the fan (without fan 200潞C), check first if the meat is nice and tender. After taking out from the oven, leave it to rest for 5 minutes. And enjoy!

tandoori chicken #keto #lowcarb

I’m not gonna lie, that it’s hard to get bored on our extreme keto diet. At least once a week we have a crisis, and we discuss how hard it’s getting and what we would love to eat. So after almost six months of keto, my appreciation for spices grows to the sky. I use plenty of herbs I’ve never used before, look for new seasonings I haven’t try, and go for the ones I’ve tried long time ago, and forgot about them. One of them is fantastic tandoori seasoning. I love it on crispy chicken skin. Smells and taste delicious.

I also like my everyday cooking to be simple and easy, more complicated and time consuming meals I leave for the weekends, or days when I have more time to enjoy it. And this chicken is one of my go to quick and easy recipes. Instead of drumsticks, you can also use chicken thighs, the best with skin if you’re on low carb high fat diet.

When we started keto, we’ve decided to buy better quality meat. If the meat is your main fuel it’s good to be from a good source. So we’ve found a good butcher and we try to buy all the meat there. You never can be sure about the quality, but at least you know it’s local and fresh. Meat from the supermarket needs a lot more time to be delivered to a customer, and has a longer shelf life, so we can suppose that it contains lot more preservatives.

If you eat dairy, mix natural yogurt with tandoori seasoning. Because we cannot use any dairy, I’ve used coconut yogurt. Try to find the ones with no added sugar and short list of ingredients. I try not to use coconut yogurt, because most of them, or at least the one I have found, contains also corn flour and potato starch, that are no go on our diet. But this particular recipe based it’s marinate on yogurt, so I decided to use the coconut version.

You can serve it with side salad of your choice. Because chicken is quite lean meat, remember to balance the fats with adding avocado, boiled egg, bacon or some extra olive oil to your salad. You can also sprinkle it with pumpkin or sunflower seeds, they are full of healthy fats.

tandoori chicken #keto #lowcarb

INGREDIENTS:

路 8 chicken drumsticks with skin
路 3-4 tbsp olive oil
路 120 ml coconut joghurt (kefir or buttermilk if you eat dairy)
路 1/2 tsp garlic granules
路 3 tsp tandoori seasoning
路 1/3 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

Mix coconut joghurt, olive oil, garlic granules, salt and tandoori seasoning in a big container with a lid (big enough to fit all the drumsticks). You can make some cuts on the chicken skin like I did, but it’s not necessary. Put them to your marinate, stir so all meat will be covered by marinate, and keep in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours. Give it some time, chicken will absorb all the flavour from spices. Don’t skip this part and you’ll get tender and aromatic meat.

Preheat the oven to 200潞C. Move your chicken to a baking dish, pouring on the leftovers of marinate. Bake until it’s tender and nicely brown. It takes me around 40 minutes with the fan on, but it depends of the oven, so keep an eye on your chicken. Sometimes I use grill option for last few minutes of baking if I want it to be extra crispy.

Enjoy the flavour and crispy skin, and don’t hesitate to lick the fingers 馃槈