As the Northern hemisphere prepares for the arrival of autumn, many of us feel the impact of the season in many ways. With it come environmental changes: leaves falling, shorter days, cooler weather and that melancholic undertone that even affects the sky. Let us battle "autumn blues" with good food and eating it with pleasure. Sounds like a win-win situation, right?
Together with decorating your home with elements that may help to stay positive and happy, like candles and aromatherapy gadgets, food can also be helpful for relaxing by keeping your senses busy in such ways that you will not have time to feel depressed at all. There is plenty of literature about depression-fighting foods or serotonin-boosting tips. Low serotonin, a chemical found in the brain that affects our happiness, may be one of the reasons, but not the only one. Eating for pleasure and doing it with happiness may be another way to avoid feeling down.
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Since apples are being harvested, I thought it would be appropriate to use this delicious, memory-making, yummy-pie filling fruit to boost our moods and to introduce the season. I happen to love fall: the smells, the colors, the visual earthiness of it. Thus, apples are just too good to pass. Here are two recipes you should plan on making as soon as possible at home. Share the happiness with some friends and when eating them, do not think of the calories. Food should never be eaten with guilt. It defeats the purpose of being grateful to have food in our lives. Spreading the calories among friends lets us have the best, with little pain. Please take pictures and share them with me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apple Nutella Crostata
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- cup granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- cup unsalted butter
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp powder cinnamon
- 2 Golden Delicious apples
- ½ cup Nutella
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon of water (for egg wash)
- 1 tbs granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons crushed hazelnuts, toasted
- Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until a dough forms.
- Make into a ball and cover in plastic.
- Refrigerate for a 20 minutes. When ready to use, simply flatten on a floured surface and make a circle.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel, halve, core, and cut the apples into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Combine them with lemon juice in large bowl; toss gently.
- Transfer the dough on parchment paper and place on a heavy large baking sheet or a cast iron pan.
- Spread the Nutella over the dough. Arrange the apple slices over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border.
- Fold the dough border over the filling to form the crostata, leaving the apples exposed in the center.
- Pinch the dough to seal any cracks. Brush the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake the crostata until the crust is golden and the apples are tender, but crisp, about 35-40 minutes.
- Let cool for 15 minutes. Slide a metal spatula under the crust to free the crostata from the pan. Sprinkle with the crushed hazelnuts and serve.
Miami Apple Salad
- ½ cup crushed pecans, roasted
- ½ cup non-fat yogurt
- 2 tbs light sour cream
- 2 tbs minced fresh mint
- 2 tbs minced fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ pumpkin spice
- ½ lime zest plus juice
- 2 Golden Delicious apples
- ¼ cup dried currants or cranberries
- 4 cups arugula leaves, washed, and dried
- Combine the yogurt, sour cream, mint, basil, honey and lime zest in a large bowl and season with pumpkin spice.
- Halve, core, and cut the apples into 3/4-inch pieces; do not peel. Add the apples and currants to the bowl, and sprinkle with the lime juice; then toss in with the dressing.
- When ready to serve, arrange arugula leaves on a large plate or small plates. Place the apple salad over the leaves, toss some crushed pecans over the apples.
"Eat For Your Body, Cook For Your Soul"
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