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I was rethinking my diet and figured I would research foods that reduce stress. Looking through the list, I found one that I hadn't heard about before as being a soothing food: walnuts.
Walnuts have been with us for quite some time. While the first historical accounts of them date back to 2000 BC, archeologists have found fossils suggesting walnuts first appeared considerably earlier. In fact, they are known as the oldest tree-food. Walnuts were brought to the United States from England in the mid19th century, and are now cultivated in many countries around the world.
As for the health benefits and stress-reducing qualities of the nut: It contains alpha-linolenic acid, an Omega-3 fatty acid, plus other polyphenols that aid in the prevention of memory loss. And a study by the National Institutes of Health reported that the Omega-3 fatty acids present in walnuts help regulate the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
This recipe for Asparagus and Walnut Puffs comes to us from www.Walnuts.org and offers 11 grams of protein per serving. When you're finished, you can get all pans and bowls clean with Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Gel. The plant-derived formula makes short work of dirty dishes without the use of phosphates or chlorine.
Asparagus and Walnut Puffs
- 1 sheet puff pastry, 9 - 10 inches square and 1/4-inch thick, thawed if frozen
- 1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 3/4 cup finely chopped California walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 16 - 24 asparagus spears (2 or 3 per puff, depending on size)
- 2 tablespoon walnut oil
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
- Roll pastry into a 10 x 4-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into six (6) 5 x 2-inch rectangles. Place rectangles on prepared baking sheet and set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine ricotta, the Parmesan, the basil, the walnuts, the salt, and the pepper. Mix well.
- Leaving a 1/2-inch border on each side, spread 1/6 of the walnut mixture on each pastry. Place 2 - 3 asparagus spears on each dressed pastry rectangle (the thickness of the asparagus will determine how many spears are needed for each pastry.).
- Bake until pastry is puffed and golden and asparagus is soft, about 12 - 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
TIP: For variety use white asparagus or a combination of green and white.