No matter who you are or where you live, the chances are high that you have a high level of stress in your life. Most people do, and it’s been noticed as a rising problem in America (stress has reportedly caused $300 billion annually in damages in the US alone).
Among many solutions to managing stress is a relatively simple one; nonetheless, a solution that has got quite out of hand in the United States: what you eat. Yes, what you put in your body has more consequences than you may realize.
Summer break is upon us! It’s time to start evaluating the way we’re eating, and start making healthy and sustainable choices. This is more important than it may sound; the food we put into our bodies affects our health directly; our stress levels, our mental health, our energy, and our whole physical well-being.
It’s time to fuel your body properly for all your summer activities!
Often it is very time consuming to prepare entire healthy meals three times a day from scratch, while also making sure you’re getting all of the numerous nutrients your body needs to function at its peak.
I recently found a solution to this via a nutrition program that offers complete meal shakes, specifically balanced with all the nutrients your body needs in each one. Each complete meal shake ends up being under $3.
I take two of these each day, leaving myself with one regular food meal per day to prepare for myself, as well as healthy snacks in between. What I like about this program is that its not a diet; it’s simply a program that showers your body daily with pure nutrition, which naturally aids in the building of lean muscle, and weight loss.
If you could spend under $3 for each of your meals, with no prep and no shopping, while also losing 10-20 pounds in your very first month, would you do it?
Moving towards summer, there are those, like me, who may start doing more baking as school ends and schedules free up. Something you probably have baked the most (I have) are COOKIES. They come in many shapes and forms, but largely conform to the same principles; Butter with the sugar, then the dry ingredients, the extra crunch, then baking.
As something you may have done many times routinely, what are some ways you can change up the process and result in cookies with more flavor, and possibly a more desirable texture?
Tip #1: Brown the butter. You don’t have to brown all of it; Half the amount of butter you’ll use can go into a saucepan, while the other half simply stays softened. Melt the first half in your saucepan, and keep over heat until it acquires a stronger smell and browns a little. This will give your cookies a deeper richer flavor.
Tip #2: Add instant coffee grounds. Don’t put too much in. The coffee grounds, like the browned butter, play a similar role to salt and brown sugar, and deepen and bring out a fuller or different flavor. This may not work well in some cookies, but can work swell in different sorts of chocolate cookies as coffee compliments chocolate magnificently. Use your judgement before adding coffee grounds to your cookie batter willy-nilly. And if you decide to use it, mix it with your dry ingredients before adding.
Tip #3: Subtract an egg white. This one is an idea from America’s Test Kitchen. By leaving out an egg white (via egg separation), you are “bringing out the brown sugar” flavor. I use this method in my recipe “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies” and it works amazingly.
Tip #4: Increase oven temperature. This is another great idea from America’s Test Kitchen. By increasing your oven temperature, you are effectively browning the edges and allowing the middle to stay nice and soft. Don’t go crazy with this – keep your oven at around 375 F.
Tip #5: Add more vanilla. A bit of advice from my aunt, and I use it as a general rule of thumb for any sugary baking project. If you are using a recipe, it will almost every time benefit if you add around an extra teaspoon than what is called for. Vanilla acts like salt and brings out the full potential of flavor.