‘Tis the season for coughs and sniffles! In fact, almost everyone I know seems to be ill or just recovering. Some don’t even have the opportunity to fully recuperate from one cold virus for a single week without catching another shortly after.
While we want to steer clear of the germs ourselves, we still want to be able to comfort our sick friends and family members. After all, a gesture of kindness can go a long way toward lifting an infirmed spirit. That’s why I’ve decided to put together a cold season care package for a good friend of mine who is feeling particularly under the weather this week, and could use a little cheer.
The package is really quite simple. It contains items that are inexpensive or already lying around the house, but are useful for saving a sick friend or family member from an uncomfortable trip to the drug store. Contained in my cold season care package are the following:
1. Vitamin C: It is speculated that vitamin C can shorten the length, and lessen the severity, of a cold when taken at early onset.
2. Honey: It’s not only sweet, but a spoonful here and there can help sooth throat inflammation.
3. Tea: Green tea is especially useful because the leaves can boost the function of your immune system, but herbal teas are best at night when a non-caffeinated beverage is preferred. Make sure to inhale the steam deeply while sipping along to aid in the loosening of the nasal passages. I placed a various array of tea bags in a little thrifted mug.
4. Lip Balm: Use lip balm for comfort against any excessive chapping that may occur while suffering from a cold. Some lip balms even help alleviate the pain caused from pesky cold sores.
5. Cough drops: As the name implies, cough drops are very helpful in soothing a sore throat and calming excessive coughing.
6. Tissues: The all-purpose cleaner upper for your eyes, nose, and mouth. Very useful.
7. Tylenol: An over-the-counter fever reducer, and pain alleviator.
8. Soup: Hot soups, especially those with clear broths, are highly recommended for those who are suffering from a cold or flu. In particular, homemade chicken noodle soup has a reputation for fighting off infection, soothing your throat, and keeping you hydrated during a nasty fever. The chicken in the soup can help stabilize an inflicted immune system, and any added garlic may help reduce the duration of illness. The recipe I used in my particular cold season care package is as follows:
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole chicken (3 or 4 pounds)
4 quarts water
1 medium sized onion, diced
2-4 carrots, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
8 oz. whole wheat Rotini (or egg noodles)
Salt and pepper
Pour the water into a large soup pot and place over high heat. Cut your chicken into eight serving pieces, and then add them into the pot of water once it begins to boil. Once the water comes back up to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.
Pull the chicken pieces out of the simmering water (do not discard the water) and remove the skins. Pull the meat off the bones, shredding as you go. Set the chicken meat aside. Place the bones back into the soup pot and simmer, covered, for another 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the bones and discard. Skim any fat from the broth that may have formed on the top.
Add the onion, carrots, garlic, and thyme to the chicken broth, and one teaspoon of salt. Bring the broth to a boil and add the noodles, the chicken meat, and the parsley. Cook until the noodles are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
For an added touch, I used mint-colored MOL tags and labels in the style, Love. For my chicken noodle soup, I added a front & back label. The front label identifies the soup, while the back label gives instructions for how to heat it up, a description of its healing properties, and – most importantly – an instruction for immediate refrigeration. Because my soup is not processed in a canner, it doesn’t have a shelf life and must be consumed within 3-5 days. I was really happy to find that MOL offers a text label in the style I liked that could be used for such purposes.
I also attached little labels on my tissues saying “Get well soon, we miss you” for an added personal touch. I put all of the items into a basket lined with shredded basket paper, and covered it in cellophane, attached at the top with a MOL tag.
I’m off to deliver my package to my friend! I hope it helps her feel a little better. I have a feeling that I’ll be making a few more of these for various friends and family before the cold season is over.