By Kelsey Norden
A couple months ago, I listed a handful of great stress-relieving snacks, but what about meals or desserts? Not only are some foods great for combating stress, but preparing meals is too. Cooking is like meditation, it requires focus on one specific goal with clear instructions from a recipe. It’s a great way to get your mind off of your problems and simmer down for a while, and the results can be delicious.
To get started, get the recipe for your favorite dish, maybe even something with fresh, green vegetables in it, and concentrate. Read it over a few times and make a list of the food you need to buy. Get all the ingredients sorted out, find the right sized bowls, plates and containers, then fire up your stove.
After sifting through my family’s extensive cookbook collection, I finally fell upon the perfect stress-free dessert (that even doubles as a sweet breakfast) in a cookbook my grandmother sent to us from her church. It even features one of the best de-stressing foods: bananas. High potassium levels mean great results. Here’s the ingredients:
Creamy Banana Pudding
1 box vanilla wafers
3-5 bananas, sliced
1 (4 servings) size package instant vanilla pudding
1 (14 oz) can Eagle Brand milk (I went with fat-free)
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups Cool Whip
The best part about this recipe was that it doesn’t require a stove, microwave or an oven. You just need a fridge to chill the pudding and a mixer. The recipe makes enough to feed an entire household, or to save over the course of a few days. It’s very creamy, though that could be in part due to me accidentally using the entire eight ounce container of Cool Whip. The Eagle Brand milk is crucial, however, to it being extra creamy and delicious, so I insist you don’t substitute store brand condensed milk.
This pudding is easy to make and only requires about 15 to 20 minutes prep time, after which you can just chill it until after dinner. Banana pudding has always been a favorite of mine, and it was great to experience a fresh, stove-free way of preparing it. When I was done cooking and eating, I felt refreshed and ready to get back to my summer jobs.
If you want to go an even simpler route with cooking zen, a simple leafy green salad will do nicely, or even a sandwich. It’s the result of cooking that brings so much relief; the accomplishment of finishing something successfully. It’ll relax you, and you’ll feel ready to tackle any task.
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