We are officially in flu season. I know this because we have officially been hit by a stomach bug and it will wreak havoc on our house by the time it’s made its rounds through the family. As a seasoned mom of 5, I have created an arsenal of must have items for this particular season.
Please take this advice with a grain of salt because I know there are many ways to prepare for this season. Every family runs their homes differently.
My flu season survival kit
I know this is a controversial issue but I believe it’s helped our family lessen the severity of this season especially for my husband who has a weak immune system. I’ve seen the difference over the years and it’s become necessary for our family.
Stock up on “sick food”
At the tail end of summer, I begin to stock our pantry with items we feed our kids during the flu season. We follow the recommendation of our pediatrician and feed our kids the BRAT diet while they are on the mend. If you’ve never heard of the BRAT diet, it is an acronym for the types of foods – bananas, rice, applesauce, toast.
Stock up on medications/at home treatments
I keep our medicine cabinet stocked with everything we need for a pain reliever/fever reducer. The reason I stock on medications is because I’ve done the 2am store run for a fever reducer and I hated doing it. So I always refresh my medicine cabinet to ensure nothing is expired when I needed it the most.
Stock up on disinfecting products
During this time of year, I always stock up on disinfecting products such as bleach wipes and disinfectant spray. I have learned over the years that this helps our family stay as healthy as we can when there is someone in the house that is already sick. You will find me spraying disinfectant spray all over the house when a kiddo is sick.
Stock up on “throw away” bedding
I am blessed to have a linen closet full of sheets and blankets from my childhood of all sizes. This allows me to throw away bedding that has become extremely soiled that I don’t want save. It also allows me to change bedding for kids who have soiled their favorite bedding. They also serve as extra padding for when kids end up laying next to the toilet for convenience.
Stock up ingredients for easy meals
When you are in the thick of sickness, cooking is not a priority. It is probably the last thing you will think of. I always have the basics for a typical Filipino household – patis, onions, garlic, ginger, vinegar, and soy sauce. I also have extra protein in my deep freezer to pull these meals together.
Our go to “sick meal” is a Filipino dish – Arroz Caldo. Arroz caldo is a hearty Filipino congee (rice porridge) made with chicken and rice and seasoned with onion, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce and topped with crunchy fried garlic1. This is our go to dish because it’s easy, inexpensive for a large family, and can keep in the fridge for a few days. I have included the recipe below if you would like to make it for your family.
Arroz caldo is a hearty Filipino congee made with chicken and rice and seasoned with onion, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce and topped with crunchy fried garlic.
This recipe was adapted from Serious Eats.
- 2/3 cup canola oil, divided
- 1/4 cup garlic, minced (about 12 medium cloves), divided
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 inches of ginger, peeled and cut into coins
- 1-2 tbsp fish sauce, to taste
- 1- 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 2 tsp chicken boullion
- 5 cups water
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add ginger , 2 tablespoons of garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add chicken and cook until browned all over. Stir in fish sauce and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add rice and stir until well coated.
Stir in chicken stock, running spoon along bottom of Dutch oven to release any browned bits. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is completely tender and stock has thickened, 20 minutes or until rice is cooked through.
Ladle arroz caldo into bowls. Top with scallions, fried garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice (to taste).
Fried garlic recipe
Place 1/2 cup of oil and two-thirds of the garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic turns light golden brown. Transfer garlic to fine mesh strainer and drain. Spread garlic out on a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
I hope these tips and recipe help you prepare for flu season. Also remember to wash your hands with soap as this is the easiest way to lessen the chance of those gross germs invading your household.
All my best to you during this season – “may the odds be ever in your favor.”