11 January 2014

Surviving the polar vortex . . . and the flu

Well, that was a spate of cold weather, there.

And just before it hit, I came down with the flu, even though I got my shot before Thanksgiving.

On the one hand, I was going to have to cancel a slew of meetings earlier this week since I was on doctor's orders to stay at home in what I like to call my home-office work-cave. But on the other hand, most of my commitments canceled anyway due to the weather or facilities reasons. By Thursday, I was out of "quarantine" and could hobble my way to an event planning meeting. Then I took the bus to Penns Landing to take a gander at the ice-clogged Delaware River and had a healthy walk home.

I was happy, while I was sick, to have a good store of food and nibbles on hand. I'd fallen ill on a Thursday evening and was incapacitated, shuffling back and forth from sofa to kitchen, for about 36 hours. A friend came around on Friday evening with some comfort-food saltine crackers, but otherwise I had plenty on hand to keep myself going. We spent the weekend watching "Mystery Science Theater 3000," and my friend shopped for eggs and fresh fruit. Then on Monday I was on my own again, having arranged for my daughter to stay at her dad's an extra few days. Crockpot to the rescue! I now have a new, no-brainer recipe for sick days and other emergencies.


  • One can spicy/chili/ranchero beans
  • One can creamed corn
  • 1 - 2 cups cubed winter squash
  • Water to cover


    Combine all ingredients in a small slow cooker and heat on LOW or HIGH until warmed through. Serve with bread or crackers. No, seriously, that's it. It's so simple, someone with an axillary temperature of 101 degrees F can do it!

    Let's be clear. I'm not usually of the "open a bunch of cans and dump them in the slow cooker" school of cooking. I think you lose vitamins and can add a ton of sodium to the diet that way. Rather, I put this recipe together to get some nice, hot calories and fiber into myself while I was sick as a dog with flu and unable to do the dishes for a few days.

    Cost: You can get cans of beans and corn for under $1.00 apiece. A small quantity of leftover winter quash, or white potatoes, or sweet potatoes, or cooked rice (watch the liquid content if you use rice) will add about $0.50 - $1.00. The total cost, including cooking electricity, should run $3.00 at the most, and provide 3 or 4 large portions.
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