Hi everybody, we hope you are all safe and well at this difficult time. Whilst this year has definitely not got off to a very good start, we need to stay strong and take some valuable from lessons from our current situation. Have you suddenly become grateful for things that you never really appreciated before? The public transport you take daily to work, the restaurants and cafes you often visit, the smiles of your loved ones and even dried Fusilli might all be things now that make that little lump in your throat ache. The pandemic we now face has certainly made made us think twice about what really matters to us here at Silver Mushroom.
With all the madness in the world we urge you to look after yourself and your loved ones, prioritise sleep, get plenty of Vitamin D, wash your hands a lot and drink your water. Whilst we are all concerned about our physical health, we need to remember what an important role mental health will play in our daily lives, more so now than ever before.
If we’re going to have to be locked in our homes we need to keep our moral up high, and what better way than with some feel good recipes that are scientifically proven to make you feel better. It’s no secret that there are many foods that have nutrients and minerals that contribute to the ‘feel good’ chemicals in our brain. We have come up with 13 recipes that incorporate the following ‘happy’ foods and not much else:
- Bananas – contain tryptophan, an essential brain chemical that regulates mood and B Vitamin Folate which can prevent depression
- Berries – contain chemicals that have the same effects as Valproic Acid (a mood-stabilizing drug) and Flavonoid Anthocyanidin which reduces inflammation and depression
- Quinoa – contains the flavonoid Quercetin which has anti-depressant properties
- Dark Chocolate (>70%) – contains Polyphenols an antioxidant that reduces stress amongst many other health benefits
- Salmon – contains omega-3 fatty acids that improve mood and fight depression (bonus- its great for your hair and good hair is enough to induce happiness in our books)
- Turmeric – contains the chemical Curcumin which is a chemical that instantly enhances mood and fights depression
- Green Tea – contains amino acid L-theanine that reduces stress, anxiety and blood pressure
- Apples – contain high levels of phytochemicals that help to regulate hormones and prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease
- Spinach – contains lots of lovely Folic Acid with alleviates depression and fatigue
- Mushrooms – packed full of Vitamin D which is proven to significantly reduce depression
- Coffee (in moderation) – stimulates the central nervous system and acts as an antidepressant by elevating serotonin and dopamine
- Beans – contain high levels of magnesium which helps to reduce fatigue
- Walnuts – contain high levels of antioxidants and alpha-linolenic acid which can improve brain function
1) Three Ingredient Banana Bread Bars
These bars are delicious, chewy dense and nutrient packed, they will also help to regulate your moods, prevent depression and reduce stress- how lovely!
- 100g Oats
- 6-7 Bananas
- 240g Peanut Butter
- 50g dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 180C and line an 8 inch baking pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all your ingredients and fold through half of your chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into the baking tray and press down evenly. Top with extra chocolate chips and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
- Remove from oven, cool slice and enjoy!
Store these bars in the fridge for freshness or keep in your freezer for up to 6 months.
2) Blueberry Crisp
Packed with berries this dessert is super satisfying and delicious with custard. On the plus side, it will also reduce inflammation and reduce depression.
- 950 grams berries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 lemon
- 55g butter softened
- 115g cup brown sugar
- 34g flour
- 75g oats
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 190C.
- Grate the rind of the lemon and squeeze the juice of half of the lemon.
- Toss blueberries, with sugar, lemon rind, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 3 tablespoons flour. Place in a large baking dish.
- With a fork, combine the butter, brown sugar, oats, flour, nuts if using and cinnamon until crumbled. Sprinkle over blueberries.
- Bake 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Cool slightly and serve warm.
3) Breakfast Quinoa
This recipe tastes like cinnamon toast, a delicious and super healthy way to start the day. It’s also filled with anti-depressant properties!
- Heaping 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 1 ½ teaspoons coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
- Tiny pinch of salt
- 1 cup pre-cooked quinoa* (either chilled or warm from cooking—both will work)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, more if desired
Toppings and optional accompaniments:
- 1 tablespoon chopped dried cherries or dried cranberries
- Hemp seeds, chia seeds or flax seeds (optional), for serving
- Milk or yogurt of choice (totally optional), for serving
- First, toast the walnuts before we add the remaining ingredients. To do so, warm the pecans in a small saucepan (use a larger saucepan if you are making multiple servings) over medium heat, shimmying the pan often, until the pecans smell fragrant and toasty, about 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add the coconut oil, cinnamon and salt to the pot. While stirring constantly, cook until the cinnamon is fragrant, about 15 seconds.
- Add the quinoa to the pot and stir to combine. Cook, while stirring constantly, just until the quinoa is warmed through, about a minute or so. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the maple syrup.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and top with dried fruit and a hefty sprinkle of hemp seeds, if using. Top with a light sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve promptly, with additional maple syrup and milk or yogurt on the side, if you’d like.
4) Dark Chocolate Chewy Brownies
Everybody loves brownies, so what better way to incorporate some stress reducing dark chocolate into your diet!
- 170 grams unsalted butter
- 27 grams vegetable oil
- 170 grams Dark Chocolate, chopped
- 225 grams granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, cold
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 57 grams dark cocoa powder
- 64 grams flour
- 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- Preheat oven to 170C. Line a metal 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl combine the chocolate, butter, and oil. Microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Add the sugar to the hot butter mixture and whisk vigorously until combined. Allow to cool until just barely warm.
- Add in eggs, yolk, and vanilla extract and whisk for about 1 minute, or until very well combined. This helps create that shiny crust on top.
- Use a rubber spatula to stir in the cocoa, flour, espresso powder, and salt until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure it’s all evenly combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake until a tester comes out with moist crumbs still attached, about 30 minutes.
- Let cool completely to room temperature. Enjoy!
5) Penne Alla Salmone
Arguably the best creamy pasta recipe there is, perfectly cooked pasta drenched in decadent creamy smoked salmon sauce. The best thing about this recipe? Thanks to the high salmon content it will turn that frown upside down whilst fighting off signs of depression and fatigue!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 400ml cups creme fraiche
- 125ml pasta water
- 200g cold smoked salmon
- 1 lemon zest only
- 2 tbsp capers
- 450g pasta
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp chives
- Set a large pot of water over medium heat and bring to a boil, add salt once boiled. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan, then add minced garlic and cook briefly over low heat for 10-20 seconds, then add creme fraiche, lemon zest and capers, heat through. Make sure the heat if set to low to keep the sauce smooth, otherwise creme fraiche might separate. Add the pasta water from the boiling pot and stir to combine.
- Add the smoked salmon cut into strips and cook for a couple of minutes until the salmon turns from bright orange to opaque.
- Drain the pasta, while reserving 1/2 cup of water. Add the pasta directly to the pan with the sauce and toss gently to combine. Add a splash of water if the sauce is too dry until desired consistency. Taste the pasta and add salt only if necessary. It will depend on the saltiness of your smoked salmon.
- Served sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped chives. Enjoy!
6) The Turmeric Latte
Delicious and creamy, the Turmeric Latte is golden and packed full of goodness- it can enhance your mood and even fight depression!
- 500ml Milk of choice
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp maple or agave syrup
- Pour the milk into a saucepan and cook over high heat until it’s hot, but don’t bring it to a boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir and try the milk, add more milk, turmeric, cinnamon or syrup if needed.
- Use a milk frother or a blender to get the best texture!
7) Green Tea Latte
It’s been said that Matcha Green tea has the health benefits of 15 cups of normal green tea, but we love both! If you do have some Matcha Green Tea powder to hand why not whip up one of these babies for reduced stress, anxiety and even blood pressure.
- 1 tsp matcha green tea powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp warm water
- 250ml cold milk or 300ml hot milk
- Spoon the matcha green tea powder and the sugar into a mug or cup.
- Add the warm water and mix with a spoon or with a whisk until it is a smooth dark green paste to ensure no lumps form.
- Warm the milk in a small saucepan and pour into the mug until nearly full. Use cold milk for an iced latte.
- Use a whisk to mix the paste and milk together until smooth and light green in colour.
8) Apple Crumble
The humble apple crumble, delicious, simple to make, requires minimal ingredients and regulates our hormone levels.
- 1.5 kg mixed apples
- 150g golden caster sugar
- 1 lemon
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 100 g plain flour
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Peel and core the apples, then quarter and chop into 3cm chunks.
- Place in a saucepan on a medium heat with 100g of sugar and a few fine gratings of lemon zest.
- Pop the lid on and cook for 5 minutes, or until the apples have softened. Remove the heat and leave to cool a little.
- Meanwhile, cube the butter and place in a mixing bowl with the flour. Rub together with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs, then scrunch in the remaining sugar to add a little texture.
- Transfer the apples to a 25cm x 30cm baking dish and sprinkle over the crumble topping.
- Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Delicious served with vanilla custard.
9) Spinach Pasta Bake
Simple to make, delicious and packed with goodness, this pasta bake alleviates depression and fatigue.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 400g baby spinach roughly chopped
- 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
- 118ml sour cream
- 250ml mixed with 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 118ml grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 500 g pasta (fusilli, penne, ziti or rigatoni)
- 128g grated mozzarella
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Sauté onion and garlic in butter in a large frying pan or skillet until soft and translucent.
- Add spinach and allow to wilt. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the cream, sour cream and milk and cornstarch mixture into the pan and allow to simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the Parmesan and lemon juice then simmer for another 5 minutes. Season to taste.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then cook the pasta until almost al dente (approximately 10 minutes). The pasta will continue cooking in the oven.
- Drain the pasta (reserving 1 cup of water) and mix with the spinach sauce. Add a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water and mix well.
- Transfer the pasta to a baking dish and top with the mozzarella cheese.
10) Creamy Garlic Mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 450g cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 80ml heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Melt butter in a large skillet oven over medium heat. Add garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 5-6 minutes.
- Stir in heavy cream, thyme and oregano; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, about 5-6 minutes.
- Stir in Parmesan.
- Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
11) Mocha Frappuccino
If you’re a Starbucks addict, like the majority of our office you do not need to worry. This recipe is almost identical, get your daily dose of anti-depressants.
- 80ml shots espresso, chilled
- 80ml cup milk
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup ice cubes, large
- 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
- To serve: Whipped cream, Chocolate syrup
- In a blender, add 1 cup of ice cubes, and add the chilled espresso. Today I used Nespresso Roma capsules but strongly brewed coffee works as well. Just make sure your coffee is chilled.
- Add the milk, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup.
- Blend for about 30 seconds, or until smooth. Top with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.
12) Simple Bean Ribollita
The only thing better than soup with bread? Soup that not only has chunks of bread in it, but crunchy croutons on top as well. This delicious dish
- Preheat oven to 230C. Finely chop onion, carrots and celery and add to bowl.
- Smash and peel the garlic cloves and add to the veg bowl. Add in Kale leaves.
- Strain the juice from the tinned tomatoes into a bowl- do not throw out. Really squeeze out all the juice, put both the tomatoes and their juice to one side.
- Tear the crusty break into small pieces.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy casserole dish over a medium heat, add the onion, carrots, celery garlic and 2 tsp of salt and cook. Stirring occasionally until veggies are softened but not browned, 9-10 mins.
- Add the tomatoes (not their juices) to the casserole dish and continue to cook until they begin to look caramelised.
- Whilst tomatoes are cooking, drain and rinse the Cannellini beans then add to the pot along with the parmesan, tomato juices, red pepper flakes and 4 cups of water. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the Kale, stirring until wilted.
- Add around one-third of torn bread and cook for around 5 more minutes.
- Remove from heat. Place remaining torn bread chunks on top of stew. Drizzle generously with olive oil.
- Transfer pot to oven and bake stew until thick, bubbling, and bread is golden brown on top, 10–15 minutes.
- Ladle stew into bowls, drizzle each generously with olive oil, and grate lots of Parmesan over. Enjoy!
13) Candied Walnuts
Simple, delicious and proven to improve your brain function- you must try these candied walnuts!
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted walnut halves or pieces
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a medium non-stick skillet, add the butter and sugar and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- Add the walnuts, salt and cinnamon. Stir so the walnuts are coated in the sugar mixture.
- Continue to cook and stir frequently over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sugar is fully melted and coating the walnuts.
- Immediately remove the skillet from the heat to prevent the sugar from burning.
- Spread the candied walnuts onto the prepared pan in a single layer, making sure they are not in clumps.
- Cool for 10 minutes or until the candy hardens. Enjoy!
We hope these recipes come in handy to you, please stay safe and healthy at this worrying time. Please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns or queries, or even if you would just like to hear a friendly voice amid the madness!
The Silver Mushroom team x