There's a war going on out there, and the enemy is using germ warfare.
Cold and flu season is upon us with a vengeance and I'm seriously wondering if Stephen King's version of the super-flu virus "Captain Tripps" that wiped out mankind in his apocalyptic novel "The Stand" has been let loose upon the world.
During this germ filled season, my family has engaged in several battles with some type of supped up cold or flu bug.
My son began his battle with cold and sinuses in late October while my daughter caught a cold shortly afterward and I've fought sinus problems since September. They have each missed a couple of days from school because of fever, but I was lucky that my flu shot helped me to not miss work.
After we experienced a brief period of good health, during the past week the sniffling, coughing and sneezing has begun again.
Even our cats have caught colds.
We keep plenty of tissues on hand, with several tissues stuffed inside coat and pants pockets for those unexpected sneezes and oozes that come after a brush with a common cold or the flu.
But when the aches and pains arrive, there is nothing like a warm bowl of chicken soup.
For centuries, mothers everywhere have been offering chicken soup to cold suffers. The warm aroma and feel of the chicken stock, the calming taste of the broth on your tummy and the down-home goodness makes the soup original comfort food.
It was recommended as a medicinal remedy by mothers and doctors way back in the 12th century, and there's evidence the ancient Greeks were quick to help themselves to chicken soup at the first sign of a cold.
When Crock-pots were invented, my grandmother immediately bought one and set about mastering how to use it.
Although she lost interest in it within six months because she preferred to actually spend the time cooking, she did master a terrific chicken soup recipe.
"It cooks while you catch up on your sleep," Grandma Iva used to say about keeping the prepared ingredients in the freezer.
Pan fry one package containing four to six boneless/skinless chicken breasts in olive oil until lightly brown using a sprinkle of cinnamon, garlic powder, salt and pepper to season it. Drain on paper towels and then chop into one-inch pieces placing them into the Crock-pot.
Peel and chop five large onions, five celery sticks, seven medium carrots, two tomatoes and one zucchini (but leave the peel on it) and place in an 8-quart crock-pot. You will need to chop two medium potatoes into pieces, but do not add to the soup until you turn the Crock-pot down to low.
Fill the pot with a can of chicken stock, three chicken bouillon cubes and add a heaping quarter teaspoon each of black and white pepper, onion and garlic powder and two tablespoons of salt to the Crock-pot.
Set the unit on high for two hours and then turn down to low for an additional fourČ--six hours. Remember, add the potatoes, and the longer the soup cooks, the better the taste. And the better for you!