Monday, November 17, 2008

Peppery Relief from Cold Symptoms

Well, unfortunately I'm a bit under the weather with a nasty head cold. But I'm not letting it stop me, and, in fact, I'm getting some much-needed sinus congestion relief by spiking my food with peppery spices. A while back I posted a recipe for ginger tea, which is particularly soothing when one is suffering from a cold. Here are some more zesty ideas on how to get some relief:

*Nothing beats a mug or bowl of chicken soup when one's feeling sick, especially if the soup is homemade. No time to make chicken soup from scratch? Even if all you have is a can of plain chicken broth, you can still make it tastier and even better for relieving cold symptoms by splashing several squirts of hot sauce or dashes of a peppery spice blend, preferably one with little or no salt, like Louisiana Bayou Blend Seasoning. In addition to the pepper, I add the freshly sqeezed juice of half a lemon or lime, and a tablespoon or so of minced fresh garlic. Stir everything and heat until piping hot, stirring occasionally. Sip, and feel those clogged nasal passages open right up as the hot soup warms your aching body. MMmmmm good!

*Masala Chai, a peppery-spicy tea from India, is also very good for tackling congestion. You can find it in specialty or ethnic stores in tea bags, or you can get the Masala Chai spices and add a pinch or two to the boiling water for your regular black tea. Stir in some honey and milk to taste, and enjoy. If that sounds too exotic for you, try the ginger tea recipe, or some hot lemonade sweetened with honey to help soothe a sore throat.

*Collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens and even good ol' spinach are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and the oldtimers will tell you about the restorative power of "pot liquor", the green liquid that's left when you cook up a mess of greens. I like to add a vinegar pepper sauce to my greens, and Blues Carolina Pepper Sauce does the job quite nicely. And yes, I drink the leftover spicy pot liquor or mop it up with some cornbread if I'm lucky enough to have some.

Don't forget to drink plenty of water, get lots of rest and Vitamin C (preferrably as oranges or grapefruits rather than tablets), and soon you'll be back to health.

Zestfully yours,

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