When you’re stressed, you know that you’re feeling stressed; you don’t need a whole month dedicated to making you aware of it. But that’s exactly what April is: Stress Awareness Month.
Many of us are emotional eaters and take our stress out on food, whether that’s by tearing into chicken legs with our teeth, taking it out on the potato masher, imagining it’s Sandra from work, not a potato, underneath, or comfort-eating chocolate until we feel better.
Food can be a good stress reliever in other ways too; gently stirring a risotto for 20 minutes can be incredibly relaxing, while quickly making a bread dough and waiting for it to rise can add a little bit of much-needed magic to your day.
For some of us, all we need is a cup of tea to calm us down, and the flavours of a cuppa can be lovely and soothing in a meal too. In fact, several ingredients known for their calming abilities like lavender and chamomile are beautiful when added to recipes. And while a brew might be enough, we’re not going to say no to a slice of cake too.
The sweet and heady scent of lavender has been scientifically proven to induce a calming effect and can even help you to sleep better at night. You could simply leave a little by your bed to get that result, or you could eat it.
Now, wait; before you go shoving sprigs of lavender in your mouth and trying to chew through them *grimaces*, cast your mind back to those chicken legs we wanted to take our anger out on earlier.
With this recipe for lavender roast chicken from My Little Expat Kitchen, we’re giving you permission to take it all out on that chicken with your teeth or even your hands – whatever makes you feel better – but you’ll be soothed at the same time by that lovely addition of lavender.
The lavender brings a really unique taste to your chicken dinner, but served with your fave roast potatoes or creamy mash, it’s a whole new kind of comfort food that you’ll come back to again and again.
Earl Grey cupcakes
A classic builder’s brew might be enough to ease your stresses, but there’s something extra luxurious about a cup of Earl Grey. For starters, you’ll feel a bit more like you’ve got your life together if you’re using a proper cup and saucer, and Earl Grey is full of delicate flavours like bergamot that are known for their calming properties.
Sometimes though, only cake will do to make you feel better. With this in mind, incorporating the flavours of Earl Grey into a cupcake mix like Katie Cakes has will provide you with a beautiful treat to soothe your soul. Katie suggests topping these cute little cakes with lashings of buttercream and fondant icing decorations – we think smooth swirls of icing sound like the perfect stress reliever, tbh.
Chamomile cake with salted honey buttercream
If you’ve ever had a cup of chamomile tea before bed, you’ll know it’s basically like a sleeping potion. It’s so unbelievably calming and soothing and helps you sleep like a baby.
Baking can be incredibly relaxing in itself, but some of us can feel a little guilty stuffing our faces with several slices of cake, even if it does make us feel less stressed at the time. Fill your cake with calming ingredients like chamomile though, and there’s nothing to feel bad about at all. These four slices of cake are good for your soul, don’t people know?
Veggie Desserts’ chamomile cake is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s topped with a divine salted honey buttercream, which complements it perfectly. Some people believe that honey is another effective stress reliever, and if it doesn’t work, you’ve still got a beautifully sweet cake to sink your teeth it – sometimes, sugar is the answer.
Lavender and honey cheesecake
Taking all of your stress and anger out on a bag full of digestive biscuits as you bash it with a rolling pin is a much easier way to let your feelings out than going to the hassle of installing a punchbag in your living room. And, of course, you’ll have something nice to eat when you’re done, rather than simply a ruined ceiling and an ‘interesting’ new feature that you’ll have to explain to your landlord somehow…
Making a cheesecake base is an excellent stress reliever, and your dessert will be even more soothing for your mood if you flavour it with our old friends lavender and honey, as Del’s Cooking Twist has done. Top marks, Del.
For when only chocolate will do…
Sometimes, you can be so stressed that there’s really no point in trying with chamomile and lavender and general nutrition – only chocolate will fix it. But not just any old chocolate bar or little slice of brownie. No, instead you need as much chocolate-y indulgence as you can fit on one plate.
Well, we think The Chunky Chef has just about managed this, with her brownie bottom cookie dough cheesecake. We’ll give you a minute to take that in, because we’re fully aware that’s too many amazing words all in one go.
Ready now? So, it’s a chocolate brownie base, rather than a buttery biscuit base, which means no angry rolling pin biscuit-bashing, but it does mean brownies. These are topped with a cheesecake mixture, which is then topped with chocolate chip cookie dough. And then that’s topped with a melted chocolate drizzle. Too much? Never.
Frankly, if that doesn’t make you feel a little better, we really don’t know what will.