March 13, 2019 10:46:23 AM
This year's flu season has hit our family hard. Not with the flu, though ... most of us got our shot and have been blessedly flu-free.
However, it seems we have gotten almost everything else: flu-like viruses, stomach bugs, fever viruses, colds, bronchitis, strep throat, ear infections, mono and some strange virus that gave me fever followed by a full-body rash and a swollen face for several days. (Who knew that was even a possibility?)
I learned a few years ago that I should keep a sick box in my pantry, and that thing has gotten a workout this year. I highly recommend keeping one on hand.
Ours contains a box of FeverAll, a six-pack of Sprite in bottles, a bottle of Gatorade, a few cans of chicken noodle soup, a few of those freezer pops that are sold as liquid in a plastic tube, a bottle of brown Lysol disinfectant (which can be used in the laundry), and a dedicated puke bucket ... just in case.
I always keep a box of saltines in mine, and they always -- always -- go stale past the point of microwave resuscitation. (And that, my friends, is stale stale.) I'm trying pouches of applesauce from now on.
I have discovered this year that one way I can get a little food into a kid with a cold or sore throat is by making smoothies. Mine is a basic recipe that can easily be tweaked to add more fiber (try steel-cut oats or spinach); protein (found in powdered form nearly anywhere); or less sugar (try plain or low-sugar yogurt or use all berries, which have a lower glycemic index than bananas or other fruits).
This version is reliably sweet and creamy, though, which is an easy sell for my kids. And it uses up overripe bananas, which is an easy sell for me. I just chop them into rounds and freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet. When they're frozen, I toss them into a freezer-quality bag and we can have smoothies anytime.
You can do the same thing with strawberries if you bought a flat for a fundraiser and just now realized your family cannot possibly eat two quarts of berries a day before they all go bad (not that I have ever done such a thing).
Makes a blender full, enough for three large servings or 4 normal ones
1/2 cup milk or milk substitute
2/3 cup (or one single-serve carton) vanilla yogurt
Two bananas, sliced into rounds and frozen (about 1 cup)
8 ounces strawberries, sliced and frozen (about 1 cup)
Amelia Plair is a mom and high school teacher in Starkville. Email reaches her at email@example.com.