Saturday, December 26, 2015

Homemade Cough Syrup!

I've seen recipes for homemade cough syrup all over the internet lately and thought I'd add mine to the lot.

Here it is, in all its boozy glory:

Homemade Cough Syrup

1 half-gallon canning jar, washed and sanitized, or 2 wide-mouthed quart jars
1-2 white onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used one big onion)
2-4 lemons, unpeeled and thinly sliced (I used organic lemons and washed them well before slicing)
1 pint bottle peppermint schnapps
1 pint bottle blackberry brandy (or any flavor that appeals to you)
1 "honey bear" bottle of honey (or about 2 cups)

Slice the onions and lemons and add them in layers in your very clean jar. Pour in the honey, peppermint schnapps, and brandy. Stir to mix. (This will take a bit of doing because the honey is thick.) Now cover the jar with a tight fitting lid and set it in the refrigerator. You can use it immediately, but of course it will be better after it sits for a time. No need to take out the lemons and onions.

Keep in mind that this can sit in your refrigerator for months and months because the alcohol keeps mold from forming. (Although I'll still check things over carefully before I use it.) Every once in awhile, give the jar a swirl to move the contents around. I have no real idea if that is necessary, but it'll make me feel like I'm taking care of things!

When you need some cough syrup, take about 1 tablespoon for adults or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for children. Remember there is alcohol in it--lots of alcohol to my way of thinking, but then again, I'm not a drinker--so have a care in dosing. But it's also true that there isn't anything in this cough syrup mixture that is actual "medicine," so it seems like a relatively safe alternative to the store-bought kind.

I hope you don't get sick this winter, but if you do, and if you have an aggravating cough to contend with, this just might be your solution.

Blessings to you and yours,

P.S--I tasted this but so far haven't needed it to quiet a cough. I kind of hope I never need to find out how efficacious it is because that'll mean I'm sick! But it's in my fridge, just waiting to make me feel better. That's a good feeling!

Cold Remedy Tea--Soothing Relief for Chest Colds, Coughs, and Scratchy Throats

Winter is here, and with the cold, dreary days comes cold and flu season. This tea recipe helps to reduce the unpleasant symptoms of scratchy throats, congested chest colds, and coughs. And believe it or not, it tastes sort of like chi tea with a bit of a zing to it. Even better, you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen cupboards so there's no need to go to the store when you're not feeling your best.

Cold Remedy Tea

1 green tea bag (you can use black tea if that's all you have)
1/2 tsp. cloves (whole or ground)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. honey or to taste
juice of half a lemon, about 1/8 cup (or use bottled lemon juice--the real stuff with no added ingredients)

If you are using ground spices, put them in a very fine mesh loose tea steeper, or simply measure the spices into the bottom of your mug. (I use ground spices because that's what I have, and I simply dump them into my mug.) Add the tea bag and pour boiling water into your mug, leaving enough room to later add the honey and lemon. Do not add the honey or lemon at this time.

Steep the tea and spices for 3-5 minutes, covered. Strain the tea: I use a coffee filter that I rubber band around the edge of my mug and then slowly pour the tea into the well of the filter. Because of the ground spices, it filters slowly into the mug, so be careful! You can also use several layers of cheesecloth, but coffee filters work better. Next, I add the honey and lemon. I like lots of lemon juice and honey in my tea, so I adjust the amounts to taste.

Now. Even though I filter the tea, it's still not clear, but it doesn't bother me and isn't gritty (at least not much!). If you let the tea sit in your cup, the cloudy residue from the spices will settle toward the bottom. You can drink carefully to keep at least most of the cloudy residue in the bottom, but I actually like to swirl the liquid in my mug before taking a sip. (I'm working under the assumption that by ingesting at least some of the residue I'm getting greater benefit!)

Mug of tea. You can see that's it's not clear.

Next time you're feeling puny, give this soothing tea a try!

Blessings to you and your loved ones. Head out today and bless someone who needs it. In my opinion, that would be everyone!

Stay well,

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Will It Snow at Your House? Know Your Elevation!

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have had a wet and windy winter so far, and the season has just begun. As it happens, snow is falling in my area this morning, and local weather forecasters are saying that we are almost guaranteed to see some snow if we live above about 500 feet in elevation.

Here's my nod to "just in case." (Because the power usually goes off!)

So how do you know if you're destined for the white stuff, or if you will dodge the next snow storm? It's easy enough to find out because there are websites that will tell you just what the elevation is right where you live:


You can actually type in your street address along with the city/state/etc. where you reside and these nifty websites will spit out your elevation in feet or meters, depending on your preference.

Give it a try and see if you should batten down the hatches and prepare for blizzard conditions! And if you like to can food, these websites are handy for finding out if you need to increase your processing time in order to safely can your food. But no matter what, this information is just plain fun to know.