By Cal Orey
Colds, Flu, and the stomach bug. Oh my! Each time I turn on the news or log on to the Internet I am overwhelmed of the statistics that it’s the season to be sick. But you don’t have to relinquish control and get ill. It’s the time to take care of yourself, be more mindful when outdoors, and indoors it’s the perfect time to make soup and tea (it is National Hot Tea Month) before a cold or flu spooks you and takes you down!
As a self-professed hypochondriac, after hearing all the doom and gloom virus reports for 2018, I thought a cold was paying me a visit. On the upside without snow to shovel or crackling fires to make, not to forget walking the dog on black ice, I decided to prepare. A store run for water, sore throat lozenges, orange juice, fresh vegetables, herbs, and tea were stocked and ready for me to be woman down.
During the three day holiday, I escaped to the bed. My refuge included clean flannel sheets with cozy comforters, two companion animals, put one log into the fireplace with the promise to burn 4 ½ hours), and the popular TV mini-series “Big Little Lies”—and tea. On day two, I was surprised. After chilling, making soup and drinking tea—no cold, no flu. I survived. So, here’s the recipe to prevent a cold that may be coming to visit you.
1 carton (32 ounces) organic low-sodium vegetable broth
¼ cup red or yellow onion
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
½ cup celery, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 large Roma tomatoes, chopped
½ cup carrots and cauliflower, chopped
1- 1½ cups cooked whole grain spaghetti
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese (garnish)
Pour broth into a large pot. Bring to a boil. In another pan boil until tender, onion, garlic, celery, basil, seasoning, carrots, cauliflower, and tomatoes. Drain and place in broth. Simmer for 15 minutes. In another pot boil pasta for several seven minutes until cooked. Add pasta and salt and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Top with cheese. Serve with slices of local artisan sourdough French whole grain bread and real butter. Serves 6.
This easy to make vegetable soup tastes much better than the stuff from a can. The scent of garlic and onion fills the kitchen and it feels like you’ve been cooking home-style soup all day. Pairing a bowl of hot soup with a slice of fresh, warm bread will warm you up and give you that warm and fuzzy feeling, too.
Not to forget, brew a pot of premium black or herbal tea. Use tea bags or leaves. Add fresh lemon and local honey—two more good-for-you foods to boost your immune system. Sipping tea before and after this meal adds good-for-you disease-fighting antioxidants. And this, my friends, will help you keep the cold and flu at bay. Is it worth the trouble to make up a batch of DIY soup and make a tea potion? You bet, especially if you want to be ready for the next storm.
— Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington and available at bookstores. The collection was featured in the Good Cook Book Club. Her website is www.calorey.com.