Comfort Food for a Break from a Stressful Week

Food brings the greatest pleasure in life. A healthy diet includes food which is good for you and also makes you feel good. Consuming food which is associated with warm feelings and good thoughts improves the sense of well being of people. The chemical structure of the food you eat communicates with your body. It affects your mood, cognition and your physical body. The emotional healing powers of comfort food are beyond compare.

Here are some things that can help you learn more about it.

 What is comfort food?

Some foods are inherently comforting and calming. Sometimes it all comes down to relative temperature. For example, a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter evening can warm your heart right up. Similarly, a tall icy glass of lemonade on a sweltering summer morning has the same effect, but in a completely opposite way. Other foods provide comfort for sentimental or emotional reasons. It also makes sense that these foods hold a special meaning to you even after many years. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reaching for comfort foods when you’re feeling down in the dumps. But if you’re craving is for something sinful viz., high fat, calories and salt content, its best to save your cravings for later. On the other hand, you may be surprised to find that a large variety of comfort foods won’t set back your diet plan.

Comfort food with health benefits

  • Fried Rice with Quinoa

quinoa-fried-rice

Fried rice is the ultimate comfort food for many. Switching the rice with quinoa provides a more filling version of the dish. It’s much higher in protein content along with being a classic favourite for many.

  • Turkey

For many, turkey is a sign of togetherness and the holiday cheer. Thankfully, turkey’s also an excellent source of protein. It boosts the mood, even when there’s nothing to do with the holidays. Many high-protein foods have an amino acid called L-tryptophan. Turkey has particularly high doses of it. The amino acid encourages production of serotonin, which is also known as the body’s natural “happy drug”. It greatly helps in regulating the mood.

  • Cashews and other nuts

cashew-nut

Nuts are an extremely interesting comfort food, because of their natural saltiness and crunch. For many, there are also underlying happy memories associated with roasting cashews on a winter night or shelling and eating raw peanuts. Luckily for us, nuts are abundant with protein. They are truly filling, which also makes them a type of food that anyone can enjoy. Cashews are also an excellent source of zinc and can help people with possible zinc deficiencies.

Food for the sake of comfort

  • Salty fried food

Many tend to head straight for a fast food joint when they’re in need of comfort food. There’s a reason why the fast food formula always works. A lot of it comes down to consistency. Because all the food tastes the same all over the chains, it’s easier to relate to. There are many redeeming features of salty foods. But it’s best to save these comfort foods for when you really need them.

  • Chocolates

chocolate

Chocolate is a comfort food for most. Antioxidants present in dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure. It also assists in regulating mood. The creamy texture, taste and sweetness are the things that draw people to chocolate so much. If you’re among the group of people whose comfort food includes chocolates, don’t fret. But it’s best to try and limit the quantity of consumption and not to get too carried away.

Comfort food provides a sense of security and nostalgia for many. There’s a range of healthy comfort foods available which will keep you nourished while also taking you back in time. Even people with the strictest diets have a tendency to lapse sometimes. Although it’s okay to occasionally indulge in food for the heart and soul, remember not to overdo it.

Some Unexpected Health Benefits of Drinking Beer

beer

The ingredients used in making beer include water, hops, cereals and yeast. These provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to our bodies. Moderate consumption of beer promotes bone and heart health, reduces the risk of diabetes along with improving cognitive and psychological well being. Hence, beer has positive effects on bones, heart, the digestive system and skin and hair. These health benefits of moderate beer consumption may surprise you.

  • Contains many nutrients

Beer is 90% water, consisting of trace amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, soluble fibre, zinc, manganese, fluoride, silicon and selenium. Beer is also particularly rich in vitamin B.  The malt used in beer contains riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6 and B12 which provide essential health benefits. B-complex vitamins are known to help in metabolism and convert the food and drink we intake into fuel.

  • Helps make your bones stronger

Dietary silicon can be found in beer, which is extremely important for the growth and development of both bone and the connective tissue. Beer is known to contain ethanol which works in preventing bone loss. The dietary silicon content helps in the growth of new bone tissue as well!

  • Is good for your heart

Beer, when consumed in moderation, is good for the heart. Beer has an anti-clotting effect which helps keep the blood vessels healthy and clean. One beer a day can also help lower fibrinogen levels. The soluble fibre found in beer helps in lowering cholesterol levels. Beer increases arterial flexibility along with blood flow, which can cut down the risk of a stroke. It contains high levels of polyphenols, compounds which exhibit antioxidants and antiviral properties.

  • Helps improve digestion

This may come as a surprise to many, since consuming too much beer tends to leave you feeling bloated. But beer helps in making it easier to digest food. The bitter acids present in beer triggers gastric acids in the stomach, which is important for the digestion of food. It also helps restrain the growth of bad gut bacteria.

  • Promotes hair growth and clears skin

The vitamins present in beer are good for reducing acne while increasing the natural glow of the skin. Beer is also known to act as a simulator for hair growth. The malt and hops used in making beer are considered as exceptional ingredients for hair growth, making it more healthy, shiny and soft. The only drawback is the strong smell it emits.

  • Is rich in fibre content

Our body needs starches, sugar and fibres to function appropriately. Beer provides all three.  Though it might take a long while to digest fibre, it stimulates intestinal peristalsis

Remember that alcohol affects every person differently. Beer consumed moderately, can be included as a part of a healthy eating plan. When added in food, it imparts an appetizing flavour to it too.

3 Irresistible Fall Dessert Recipes to Try at Home

In our previous post, we shared some delectable fall appetizer recipes that complemented the freshness of autumn. For this post, we bring to you some irresistible recipes that complete the fall menu with their sensational flavours. Any guesses? It’s the yummy desserts!

With a wide assortment of special autumn fruits available for the picking, this is the perfect time to fall in love with some delicious desserts to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. Here are 3 easy fall dessert recipes you can try at home.

1) Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Loaded with the heavenly combination of apples and caramel, these cupcakes are sure to make your family and friends smile. To make these yummy cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Combine all purpose flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk properly. Add vanilla extract, egg whites, milk, sour cream, and butter to the mixture and mix until smooth. Add chopped apples and stir well. Fill 3/4th portion of the cupcake liners with the mixture and bake for about 15-20 minutes. After the cupcakes are perfectly baked, take them out and allow it to cool for 2-3 minutes.

To make the caramel buttercream, mix butter and shortening together to prepare a smooth mixture. Add powdered sugar and caramel sauce and mix well. Decorate the cupcakes with caramel buttercream icing and top it with caramel. The yummy cupcakes are ready!

2) Mini Banana Beignets

Mini Banana Beignets

Enjoy the beautiful fall evenings with these bite-sized banana beignets. This easy-to-cook dessert can be prepared in just 30 minutes. Rolled in cinnamon sugar, this quick and easy sweet dish is a treat to your senses. Firstly, heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat for deep frying. Whisk cake flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, salt and granulated sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk a large egg, mashed banana, milk and vegetable oil (2 tablespoons). Finally, combine the two mixtures until the combined mixture becomes moistened. Add the remaining cinnamon and granulated sugar in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Make round balls of the mixture and deep fry them in batches until golden brown (15 seconds per side). Drain the banana balls on a paper towel and roll them in the cinnamon-sugar for a sweet coating. Enjoy the crispy treat!

3) Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

This easy-to-bake, no frills bread pudding is everyone’s childhood favourite. First of, preheat the oven to 375° F and grease the baking dish with butter. Cut white bread slices into cubes and add ground cinnamon, melted butter and raisins. Mix all the ingredients well with the bread cubes and place the mixture in the baking dish. Whisk together beaten eggs, salt, vanilla extract and white sugar. Add milk to the mixture and stir well. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes, sprinkle a pinch of ground nutmeg over it and bake for about 25 minutes. Garnish the pudding with fresh cream and strawberry for the perfect taste. Share this delightful pudding with your loved ones and celebrate the season.

Say goodbye to the summer by adding these desserts to the fall menu. These sweet treats are quick, easy and mess-free. They are sure to impress everyone and make them crave for more. Happy cooking!

3 Fall Appetizer Recipes to Enjoy This Season

Fall is the season of fresh veggies, bright berries and succulent fruits. It’s the time to enjoy the fresh harvest to the fullest and make delicious cuisines out of them. Many people celebrate the taste of autumn by inviting their guests for parties and cooking fall special dishes for dinner.

If you’re planning to enjoy the seasonal flavours with your friends and family by throwing a party, then here are 3 fall appetizer recipes that are sure to tantalize your guests’ taste buds.

  • Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms

Have your guests appreciating your culinary skills by serving fresh mushrooms stuffed with juicy ground beef. To make this delicious cuisine, preheat your oven to 425°F. Remove mushroom stems and finely chop them. Combine minced onion and garlic with ground beef in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the beef becomes slightly brown, drain. Add chopped mushroom stems, bread crumbs, butter (1 tablespoon), salt and pepper. Cook the mixture while stirring at frequent intervals. After cooking for 5-6 minutes, remove the saucepan from heat and add heavy cream.

After the mixture is prepared, dip mushroom caps in melted butter and stuff with a generous amount of beef mixture. Place stuffed mushroom caps in a baking dish and sprinkle chilli powder. Put the baking dish in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

  • Pear Salad with Walnuts and Gorgonzola

Pear-walnut-gorgonzola-Salad

Pears taste the best in fall and what else could be more special than serving it with a unique combination of flavours that complement its taste. You’ll surely rock the party with the sweet and savoury pear salad with walnuts and gorgonzola.

Place lettuce leaves on a chilled plate and add cored and sliced pears. Top it with dried currants or raisins and walnut halves and crumble gorgonzola cheese evenly on the salad. Whisk fresh lemon juice, rice vinegar and light olive oil in a separate bowl and season it with fresh ground black pepper. Drizzle the whisked mixture on the salad and serve chilled. Perfect!

  • Double-Chile Queso Dip

Double-Chile Queso Dip

A fall party is incomplete without crunchy tortilla chips and cheesy dips. Whet your guests’ appetite with this delicious dip while they wait for the main course.

For this creamy dip, mix diced Campari or small vine-ripened tomato, cilantro, and shallots (all diced) in a bowl and set aside.

Put a saucepan over medium heat and melt unsalted butter. Add the remaining shallots, thinly sliced red jalapeno and serrano chile peppers, and salt. Cook the mixture for about 3 minutes or until the shallots become soft. Sprinkle some all-purpose flour to the pan and stir until it’s completely absorbed. Bring the mixture to simmer and whisk in milk while stirring frequently. When the mixture becomes thick, add grated pepper jack and American cheese to the pan and mix until it melts. When the mixture is prepared remove it from heat and add the remaining cilantro. Garnish the dip with the tomato mixture and serve with chips.

Try these delicious autumn appetizers this season to impress your guests. They are loaded with fall flavours that will leave your guests wanting for more. So, what are you waiting for? Make the most of this fresh season and include these appetizers to your party menu.

4 Tips and Tricks to Become an ‘Eggspert’

Eggs are our best friend when it comes to preparing a quick and easy breakfast. They are not only tasty but also nutritious as they are a good source of high-quality protein, vitamins, and essential amino acid leucine.

People enjoy eating eggs in several ways such as fried, scrambled, hard boiled, poached and as omelets. It may seem that cooking an egg is easy, but if you lack the technical know-how, then it can become a hard egg to crack for you (couldn’t resist).

If you want to become an ‘eggspert’, then follow these 4 tips and tricks of cooking eggs.

1) Add Crème Fraiche to Scrambled Eggs

Have you ever wondered how scrambled eggs cooked by chefs are so creamy? The secret ingredient is crème fraiche. When cooking scrambled eggs, add one tablespoon of butter to the pan over medium high heat. Adding butter gives a light and airy texture to the eggs. Whisk egg whites and yolks together and scramble for a minute. Now it’s time for the secret ingredient, crème fraiche. It contains fat that makes scrambled eggs soft and creamy. Cook for another 30-60 seconds. Done!

2) Boil Before Poaching

Poaching eggs are not everyone’s cup of tea. To master the technique of cooking poached eggs, you need to poke a small hole in the wide base of the egg to break the air pocket inside the shell and then put the egg in hot water. It will help in retaining the egg’s shape and keep it from breaking when you poach it.

3) White and Brown Eggs Are the Same

Many people think that brown eggs taste better and have higher levels of protein compared to white ones. But, the truth is, the only difference between them is the colour. There’s no difference in their taste or nutritional value. Brown eggs are laid by hens with brown or red feathers, while white eggs are laid by white hens. You can buy either. However, brown eggs can sometimes cost you more.

4) Undercook Your Eggs a Bit

The secret of a perfectly cooked scrambled egg is undercooking. Slightly undercook your scrambled eggs as they continue to cook even after they’re removed from the heat. Therefore, turn off the heat or put your pan aside before you think that the eggs are done. They’ll be perfectly cooked by the time you eat them.

 Follow these tips and tricks to become an ‘eggspert’. They are easy to learn and apply. Now you can enjoy your tasty breakfast by cooking eggs like a pro. Happy cooking!