“Down For The Count”

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It’s that time of year again: flu and cold season! Not one of my favorites, yet one I feel that can happen to us for a reason. And that reason is usually that we lost sight of taking care of ourselves.

And that’s when the Universe steps in and “whacks you with a two by four!”

I consider myself “whacked.” It started with aches and pains, then progressed into a burning in the back of my throat. By the time I went to sleep was nose was completely stuffed up and I became the ultimate “mouth breather” throughout the night. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep too well that night. And it’s safe to say without a doubt, “I’m sick.”

I know it could be worse; social media is awash with posts of the flu and colds and the duration of anywhere from a week to two or three. I can safely add my own experience to these posts as well. People are posting advice of cures and things to do to get through, and I can say that I’ve been trying them all.

For two days I’ve been drinking warm water with lemon, which helps to soothe the throat, and tons of green tea with honey and lemon to get rid of the cold. Chicken soup with tons of garlic has become a staple here. A jar of Vicks, an old home remedy from my grandmother, hot-toddysits on my nightstand, as well as a now half-full box of tissues. I’ve tried over-the-counter medicine at night, which seemed to help, but what helped more was a nice hot toddy: 8 oz. of herbal tea with 2 oz. of whiskey or rum, as well as a lemon slice for good measure. Sweeten with honey. I have to say, within minutes after drinking that I found myself drifting into an amazing, restful sleep, one that was much better than from the over-the-counter nighttime medicine.

I’ve been down for three days now, and it seems that the rest of my household felt the need to join me. We’re all sick with this nasty little cold. I always believe that “sharing is caring” and I guess they didn’t want me to feel left out!

I’ll be honest, I knew it was just a matter of time before I got sick with something. I lost sight of myself and wasn’t taking as good of care of myself as I was at taking care of everyone else. I was running around too much in rainy, cold weather; I wasn’t eating as well as I should; and I definitely wasn’t sleeping well at all. All those things mixed in with a few more are a recipe for the Universe stopping you in your tracks and making you pay attention to YOURSELF!

I knew that’s what happened, so I turned off my phone, put on my pajamas, and went to bed. I decided that as much as I wanted to be there for other’s that right now I needed to be there for me. I needed to sleep, rest, and place my efforts on getting better. Sure, the housework is piling up, but I know that my health, my body and soul, are much more important right now.

And as much as I don’t like being sick, I have to be grateful for the time that I am because it has forced me into resting and taking care of myself, something I wasn’t doing much of until I was forced to.

“Thank you, Universe, for this gift of making me remember that I’m important, too, and that if I’m not doing things for my Highest Good, I’ll be no good to anyone else. I’ve learned my lesson…you can take this cold and move along now!”

Wishing you love, light, and good health,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Soup Season”

I love to cook, at least most days I do. There’s something therapeutic for me about the whole process of preparing, chopping, dicing, seasoning and cooking. The end result comes from serving it to those you love and seeing the expression on their face. Food fills the body and warms the soul.

There’s summer cooking, filled with grilling and summer salads, yet my absolute favorite cooking is when the leaves begin to change colors and the air turns cool. It’s “fall cooking” and I love that first day of turning on the oven and heating up the house with the comfort foods of fall.

It’s also that time of year that I call “soup season.” There’s nothing better than cooking a pot of soup served with warm bread. I love making soup, and I believe that love comes from my grandmother. I can remember many days at her house watching her put her big

potato-corn-leek-chowder

Potato Leek Corn Chowder

cauldron on the stove and fill the counter with every vegetable under the sun! I loved those days of helping her make soup and I’m confident that she taught me everything I know about the process. I’ve been nicknamed the “soup-meister” of my family because no one else makes it like I do, which is just how my grandmother made it.

It took her hours to make soup, and when it was done she’d fill up a million containers of it to give to all of our families. No one was ever left hungry when my grandmother made soup! She made many different types, yet when someone was sick, she went to task of making her “beef barley vegetable” soup, which she said was “good for what ails you!” I’m happy to say that it took me years to get my recipe to taste like hers, and while it’s not exactly the same, it’s close enough.

I once asked her what the key ingredient was in her soup, to which she told me: “It’s the love. Always put love into whatever you make.” And I’ve remembered that ever since.

When my kids were little and I baked cookies they’d tell me how good they were and that they could taste all the love in them. To this day, they still say that.

And now my love says that too; with every cup of tea or bowl of soup he tells me he can taste the love, and isn’t that what cooking is about? It’s filling the bellies of your loved ones with good food, and warming their hearts with how much you love them.

It’s definitely “soup season” at the Jersey shore, especially at my house, where everyone is coming down with colds. My love wants my “chicken and rice” soup, and my daughter’s request is for my  “potato leek corn chowder.”As far as my two vegan boys, they want good ‘ol “vegetable soup.” So many soups, yet I always find the time.

I will always find the time to take care of the ones’ I love, and any request for my soups is welcome. Today I’ll be in the kitchen with my own cauldron, just like my grandmothers’, firmly planted on the stove for the day. And in between stirring and simmering, I’ll be writing and making their “sick beds” more comfortable for them.  By tonight they will have all “tasted” the love when they ate, and will be “feeling” the love as they lay their head down on clean sheets, warm blankets and fluffed up pillows.

And I’ll end the night with a warm cup of green tea and honey for everyone…including me!

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

beef-barley-vegetable-soup

Beef Barley Vegetable Soup with fresh baked French bread…as my grandmother said, “it’s good for what ails you!”