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Comfort food for cold spells

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Why food comforts us

Now that autumn is falling upon us, the darker, cooler days can make us feel a little gloomy. It's the time of year that, despite our efforts to avoid packing on pounds, we gravitate toward hearty meals.

Mashed potato and meat loaf

Creature comforts

Home cookin' does keep us warm and warmth makes us think of friendliness, thus making all those winter blues disappear. We all have a different idea of what comfort food means, though usually it's recipes we enjoyed in our youth.

Why? Think about it. Most kids are served chicken noodle soup when sick. Thus, it's become synonymous with being cared for and has become a universal comfort food. It's food that just makes us feel good. Typically, feel-good food is rich, isn't too spicy, is served hot and "sticks to the ribs" — meaning it will fill you up and is satisfying. Because of this, it's usually high in calories, fat and carbs. What first comes to mind is pastas, pastries, breads, meatloaf, casseroles, potatoes (scalloped, mashed, cheesy, baked… ); the list goes on.

Whether we eat these hearty foods after an active day of sledding or a stressful day at work, we all know what it's like to eat emotionally. When we're stressed, angry, heartbroken, homesick or sad, the bottom line is that we miss our mommy. And mommy used to make all of our favorite foods when we were feeling down. It's all about nostalgia. A lot of times, we're taken back to a loving memory from our childhood when we eat these foods, and that's what is ultimately making us feel so warm and fuzzy.

While we don't advocate packing on the pounds during the winter months, there's no harm in seeking comfort in some good old-fashioned grub once in a while.

A few of our favorite classics

pumpkin pie latte

Warming drinks

Gone are hot summer days with iced drinks like margaritas and sangria. Now, spend chilly nights enjoying a spiked pumpkin pie latte, cinnamon plum cider or cranberry martini. Whip up one of these buzz-worthy drinks for what's sure to be a relaxing night at home.

macaroni and cheese

Rich main dishes

After a day outdoors in the crisp autumn air, feast on sweet potato and ham casserole, baked pumpkin mac-n-cheese or a cheesy calzone. Any one of these one-dish dinners will satisfy the entire family.

baked alaska

Delicous dessert

For dessert, nothing beats maple bacon crunch bars, chocolate pound cake or baked Alaska. What better way to end a bad day than with something sweet? Hey, you might even want to start with dessert first.

tell us!

What are your favorite comfort food classics?

What time of year do you seek comfort food the most?

More comfort food recipes

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5 Comfort foods that are good for you
After-school snacks for kids

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