4 Essentials to Bounce Back During Flu Season

This year’s cold and flu season have really taken a huge toll on me. I’m finding myself very vulnerable to illness this winter, and maybe it’s got to do with having a newborn.  We are just healing back from a very tough bout with a nasty virus. I’ve got some excellent tips to help your immune system if you’re going through something similar. These five tips will help you and your family bounce back  to health during flu season.

Before I dive into the tips, I’d like to mention that when we get sick, I do everything in my power to avoid conventional medication. I am a strong advocate for aiding the natural immune system to heal from within. So before I  “treat” my sick child, I will cut off all sugars and processed foods so that the body can absorb all the amazing nutrients from the healing foods and supplements.

I have listed what I have found works for my family. It’s not about “does it work” because nothing is a magic pill. It is about finding the right ingredients with the right healing properties and giving it time so that our bodies can recover. Please do not make the mistake of thinking one herbal tincture will solve all flu symptoms overnight the way a course of antibiotics would.

You will see that  a lot of the things I use “aid the immune system”, or make it stronger. This just means that the immune system, the powerhouse that fights off antigens, becomes healthier and more fit to defend your body against viruses and bacteria.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am simply a mom who has done her research and has seen improvement from following a more gentle and natural approach to health. For a list of my sources, check out the bottom of this article. I am wishing you all the best in health!

Chicken Broth

It’s an age old recommendation for when we are sick for very good reason! Broth is full of great minerals and collagen, which help to boost the immune system. It helps with reducing inflammation in the body and improves digestion as well. Plus, it’s very easy to digest and it’s one thing my family will never say no to when they are not feeling well. Check out my super easy homemade chicken broth recipe to make your own asap.

Essential Oils

I plan to write more in detail about why my family loves essential oils. Let me just start off by saying, if you can condense the naturally occurring beneficial oils of a plant and use them to heal, what’s not to love? A great brand I trust for quality and find affordable is Plant Therapy.  I love using Plant Therapy’s Kid Safe line because I don’t have to worry about whether it is safe to use on my little kids or not. All the plants used in the kid safe ones are meant to be gentle and safe on children. The Kid Safe kit includes two great ones for the flu season (Sniffle Stopper and Germ Destroyer), both of which I use day and night to fight stuffy noses, chest congestion, and protection from germs.

Oils I like to diffuse during flu season are “germ fighter” blend from PT as well as eucalyptus, clove, frankincense, and lemon essential oils. These essential oils aid in fighting viruses, helping breathing and congestion, or have anti-bacterial properties to clean the air from lingering germs.

Herbal Tinctures and Teas

My top herbs and teas are usually made from everyday ingredients, believe it or not. Cloves, cinnamon, ginger, raw honey, fresh lemon, raw garlic, and turmeric are ingredients I always have in my kitchen for both cooking and conjuring up tinctures.

No matter what sickness we battle in our household, this healing spiced ginger and honey tea is always ready for us to sip throughout the day. I kid you not, it makes a world of a difference with even one cup.

I take a teaspoon of crushed raw garlic, turmeric, and raw honey for antibacterial benefits to avoid an illness turning into an stubborn infection.

We also love ready made organic tea and herbal blends to steep in hot water like this Throat Coat blend for coughs and sore throats. Another one I found extremely beneficial with the onset of any sickness is this Echinacea Plus seasonal tea which has echinacea, an herb to boost and improve immune function.

For my little one, I buy immune boosting drops, such as these Children’s Immunity Booster Drops. I love these blends because I can just give one dropper full (in some fresh orange juice) instead of individual herbs and ingredients. This tincture linked includes echinacea, grape root, yarrow root, and ginger root extracts, all wonderful for supporting the immune system.

Individual Supplements

I take these individual supplements on a regular basis but I do tend to increase the amount I take when I am not feeling too great. Vitamins D and C are both excellent in aiding the immune system so that when sickness does come calling, our bodies are better fitted to fight it off. Basically, it means shorter recovery time. We like to take Vitamin D through drops and Vitamin C through a powder that I mix in some water. Vitamin C is also found in high amounts in fresh fruits and veggies like broccoli, lemon, orange, strawberries, kale, and papayas.

I also tend to take a shot of apple cider vinegar with the onset of any sore throat or cold (1 tsp in 1/4 cup filtered water). Gargling with ACV is also amazing because it really soothes a sore throat (2-3 tsp in 1/2 cup warm water).

Finally, elderberry syrup is an excellent (and increasingly popular) natural supplement many people like to take to get better sooner. Elderberry is shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties as well as help the immune system.

 

I hope these tips and suggestions help you to improve your immune system and to get better faster next time a cold or virus hits. Again, if you are unsure about any of these suggestions please do your own research and definitely consult a physician if you’re pregnant or nursing!

For a List of Some Resources I have Used:

Bone Broth

Essential Oils

Elderberry

Vitamin C

PS. Thanks mom for letting me borrow your home decor and china for this photoshoot 🙂

 

Easy Homemade Chicken Broth

As much as I love winter weather (hello, snow…hello, bug-free world), I absolutely dislike the flu season it comes with. Last time I shared this amazing healing spiced ginger and honey tea that my family loves to sip throughout the cold months. In addition to that, I love having a huge batch of this easy homemade chicken broth either on the stove or in the fridge to quickly warm up. We drink this multiple times a day when sick, or just a few times a week just for some nourishment.

 

I can cook this broth for 6-12 hours, depending on how much time I have. This chicken broth is so simple, you literally just have to throw things together and simply let it cook for a decent amount of time. I like the minimum of six hours because that’s when the flavor really gets locked in. Plus, the nutrients and minerals only start to release after a few hours of cooking. This is an ideal broth to drink after a full day’s worth of simmering.

This easy homemade chicken broth requires very simple but wholesome ingredients: chicken bones, whole peppercorns, garlic, ginger, and some onion. I don’t like adding anything else since I feel it overpowers the delicious natural flavor of the chicken stock. All the ingredients have great properties to heal and nourish the body. My mom actually made double batches of this soup weekly after I had my second baby and I would constantly drink this broth to warm up and to have some energy.

Besides drinking this broth when I’m feeling down, I also love using this broth for the base of many soups: lentil, minestrone, harira, corn soup, and so on. Try it out and let me know how you like it!

Easy Homemade Chicken Broth

Easy Homemade Chicken Broth

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb chicken bones (ribs, drumstick, etc.)
  • 12 cups filtered water
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn
  • 1/4 cup peeled raw garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion, roughly diced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • Himalayan salt to taste (1 heaping tsp approx)

Instructions

  1. Wash the soup bones and place in a large pot with the water.
  2. Add the spices and remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover pot and bring to boil. Skim off the layer of foam.
  4. Cover again and let it simmer on low for 6-12 hours.
  5. Add water if it evaporates too quickly, and check salt before drinking. Enjoy on its own or use as base for other soup recipes.

Notes

Adding in a dash of turmeric in every serving makes it more beneficial.

http://allflouredup.com/easy-homemade-chicken-broth/

Healing Spiced Ginger and Honey Tea

Winter months call for some soothing tea in our household. We’re big fans of all sorts of teas for all times of the day or night. I personally love having teas with a touch of local raw honey which makes any tea taste even better. 

I’m not sure if it’s just me but it seems like the usual illnesses are making the rounds a little too often. Having two kids in the house (and one of them being a newborn) means taking lots of precautions because sicks kids = cranky kids. We like to take precaution, by upping our immune systems and drinking lots of this healing spiced ginger and honey tea. 

My husband takes credit for this tea. He loves making this and getting everyone in the family to drink. When my parents come over, he makes it for them as well. Even my dad, who would never swap his cup of desi chai for anything, even drinks this from time to time.

I think this “concoction” as we like to call it, comes first on our list of teas. We love to drink this at least once a week for some good immune boosting. When any of us feel a sore throat or a cold coming on, it becomes an everyday necessity. 

Ginger, clove, turmeric and cinnamon all give wonderful soothing and healing properties. Clove and cinnamon have long been used to help coughs. All the spices are also anti-inflammatory and contain lots of antioxidants. The ginger helps to alleviate throat pain. It’s also sweetened with local raw honey (antioxidant, antibacterial, and immune-boosting). 

If you read the recipe below, you’ll notice that there is no boiling involved. We prefer to make the tea this way to preserve all the good properties of the spices. Read on to see how to make it, and if you happen to try it out, leave a comment and share with your friends too! 

Healing Spiced Ginger and Honey Tea

Yield: 2

Healing Spiced Ginger and Honey Tea

Ingredients

  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 inch piece of raw ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp organic cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 tsp organic ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp organic turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp raw honey

Instructions

  1. Grate the ginger piece into a large 16 oz mug, or two 8 oz mugs.
  2. Add the cinnamon, clove, and turmeric powders.
  3. Heat up 2 cups of water until barely boiling. Do not let the water boil. If it does, wait for it to cool a couple of minutes.
  4. Pour the heated water into the cup(s). Allow to cool for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Stir in the honey. Enjoy while hot!

Notes

Optional- strain to filter out the spices. Note- waiting for the tea to cool before adding honey preserves the raw beneficial properties of the honey.

http://allflouredup.com/healing-spiced-ginger-and-honey-tea/

 

 

Coconut Layered Cake for Eid 2017

Tomorrow is the joyous celebration of Eid, a day that marks the end of a month of fasting doing good. While we will continue to try our best throughout the year, for me, this time is bittersweet- saying farewell to the blessed month of Ramadan, while still being very excited for the Eid celebration. To mark this occasion, I made my family a beautiful coconut layered cake for Eid 2017.

Coconut flavors are a favorite for both my mom and me, and most people in our family generally like it. I chose to make the recipe from scratch and it turned out to be incredibly soft and luscious, especially with the addition of the coconut cream cheese frosting.

What makes this cake amazing is that it didn’t require a coconut extract. Instead, it got the flavors subtly from coconut oil, coconut flour, and full fat coconut milk. You can imagine how this cake turned out to be moist and melt in your mouth because of all those yummy ingredients.

The frosting is a simple half butter and half cream cheese combo which goes very well with the coconut flavors of the cake. My sister over at @rafikisweets helped me to decorate and assemble the cake. We chose to keep things simple and rustic with toasted coconut and piped rosettes using leftover frosting.

Everything for the details of this amazing coconut layered cake for Eid 2017 is shared below. I wish you all a very happy Eid. Thanks so much for all the amazing support you’ve given me in this food blogging journey of mine!

For the layered coconut cake- followed recipe exactly as is (I used gram measurement, but it provides cups/spoons measurements as well)- Serious Eats Coconut Cake. Instead of using 8-inch pans, I opted for three 9-inch pans.

I used only the cake recipe. For the frosting recipe, this is the AllRecipes one that I used for the frosting and filling in between each layer.

I bought the cake topper from Hafsa Creates on Etsy.

Flowers, background, etc. are all courtesy of my parents’ beautiful garden. <3

For more Eid friendly desserts, check out my Chai spiced cookies, mango delight trifle cups, and creamy raspberry coconut popsicles!

Layered Mango Delight Trifle Cups

Eid dessert #3 is here to present itself today! These layered mango delight trifle cups are so simple to make, you won’t believe it. Better yet, they taste so light and delicious that it’s a crowd pleasing dessert for sure. Be sure to check out last year’s mango panna cotta for more mango fun!

 

 

Light, fruity, creamy, and just the right balance of textures makes this trifle dessert absolutely perfect. It’s just right for summer time or lunch desserts, and I’m super excited to have this for our Eid get together.

 

 

I love the idea of individual serving cups because that way, each portion has a good amount of each component of the dessert. Soft pound cake, fruity mango jelly, freshly cut mango, and a creamy “mousse” make up this yummy dessert. I love taking advantage of mango season and this dessert showcases the sweet and flavorful mango just perfectly.

 

Although it sounds like there are a lot of parts to these layered mango delight trifle cups, they’re all very simple and easy to assemble. You can, of course, layer everything in one big trifle bowl- that’d make your job even easier! Read on for this easy to follow recipe.

Layered Mango Delight Trifle Cups

Category: dessert

Yield: 8-12

Layered Mango Delight Trifle Cups

A fun, easy, refreshing and light summer dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet mango jelly
  • 1 pound cake, store bought
  • 1 can mango pulp, 32 oz
  • 1 container whipped topping, 16 oz
  • 4-5 mangos, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 can condensed milk
  • mint for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prepare the mango jelly according to instructions and set aside; cool to room temperature.
  2. Cut the pound cake into small pieces and set aside.
  3. Prepare the mousse mixture: combine the whipped topping, 1/2 can condensed milk, half the fresh mangos, and half the mango can pulp. Stir gently and set aside.
  4. Layer the desserts: place pound cake at bottom of dish(les), drizzle the remaining mango pulp on top, then mango jelly, followed by the mousse mixture, and finally the freshly chopped mangos.
  5. Garnish with mint.

Notes

Mango jelly and mango pulp can be found in any Southeast Asian or Arab market. Pound cake and whipped topping found in freezer section. Dessert cups can be found in any dollar tree store.

http://allflouredup.com/layered-mango-delight-trifle-cups/