Monday, January 15, 2018

An Orange Smoothie for Cold and Flu Season

Yes, it's here. Flu season.

It's that time of year when the sun hangs low in the southern sky and the cold temps make most of us want to stay inside.

Jan here, with some tips on how to avoid catching the flu...or to lessen its impact on your life.

1) Get your flu shot.

No, it isn't too late. And no, I haven't gotten mine yet. (And yes, I had the flu over Christmas!)

Ever since a younger, fitter, and healthier acquaintance died of complications from the flu a few years ago, I vowed I would get my flu shot every year. This year? I kept putting it off. Now that I'm finally healthy again, I'll be getting my flu shot this week.

I've heard (from reliable sources) that even if you catch the flu after getting a shot, your experience with the virus will be much less serious than if you hadn't gotten the shot. My hubby is the perfect example. He got his shot in the fall, but then came down with the flu in December...and he didn't even realize what he had until I came down with the same symptoms a week later, but more severe and longer lasting. He felt better after a few days. It took me nearly two weeks to feel like I could put two sentences together!

2) Wash your hands.

Your mom was right. Washing your hands is the best way to protect yourself from being infected with a virus like the flu.

3) Get enough rest.

Your immune system needs to be in tip-top shape, and sleep is number one in keeping it there.

4) Eat well to keep that immune system revved.

Orange juice anyone? How about a smoothie?

And here's where today's recipe comes in!

Just over a year ago, I shared a drink recipe that I love - my Winter Sunshine drink! Check out the recipe here: Jan's Winter Sunshine

I love this drink, but sometimes I want something a little...sweeter? creamier?...filling?

This smoothie answers all of those cravings. I'm going to give you two separate recipes. One for normal folks, and one for those with some restrictions on their diet (voluntary or otherwise.)

Orange Julius-Style Smoothie

This recipe is for those who have no dietary restrictions. It was a favorite with my children when they were younger!

1 6-oz can frozen orange juice
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
10-12 ice cubes

Blend the first four ingredients in a blender. Add the ice cubes 2 or 3 at a time until well blended. Drink right away, or freeze and eat as sherbet.

Easy-peasy, right?

Unless you want to avoid sugar and happen to be lactose-intolerant (a recent development...I blame age). Then, this smoothie is for you:

Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie

The original recipe for this is in the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook, but it calls for cottage cheese. The only dairy I can eat is yogurt, so I substituted a couple things, and came up with this delicious, protein-rich smoothie.

1 medium, or 2 small oranges, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
1/2 cup unsweetened plain Greek yogurt
3/4 teaspoon orange extract
3 teaspoons stevia/erithrytol blend (like Truvia)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Vitamin C powder
2 Tablespoons integral collagen, or 1 scoop whey protein powder
1 1/2 - 2 cups ice cubes

In a blender, blend the orange slices and almond milk until the orange is completely blended. Add the yogurt, orange extract, sweetener, salt, Vitamin C powder, and collagen (not the whey protein powder).

Blend until smooth.

Add the ice cubes, 2-3 at a time (or if you have a powerful blender like a Ninja or Vitamix, add them all at once) and blend until smooth.

If you use whey protein powder, add it now, and blend for an additional 10 seconds.

Pour it into a large glass (I use a 1 quart canning jar) and enjoy!

Last week, I shared pictures from a drive we took to Custer State Park on a cold, foggy/cloudy day. This week, we went up in the Hills on a gorgeous sunny day! Don't let the sunshine fool you, though. It was still cold!

First, we went to Custer State Park. The week before, we hadn't gone to see how Badger Clark's cabin survived the fire. We knew it hadn't burned, but what did the area look like?

Safe and sound. Whew!

Those big trees were scorched, though.

If you don't remember who Badger Clark was, I wrote about him in this post: Badger Clark

After leaving the southern end of the park, we drove up to Sylvan Lake. The Needles Highway begins (or ends) here.

This is what it looks like in the summer:

And here's what it looks like in January:

Only hikers and cross-country skiers use the highway in the winter!

And the lake was beautiful in the sunshine!

Then we went to visit the Boys on the Hill - our first visit of the year to Mt. Rushmore.

And the air was so clear, we could see the Badlands from Mt. Rushmore...just about 60 miles away.

I've often seen the Badlands from Mt. Rushmore, but never as clear as it was that day! There is a lot of prairie and a lot of ranches between here and there!

So, how is your January going? Have you avoided the dreaded flu? Or were you smart and got your flu shot early?

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.

You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan


  1. I am happy to say that I got my flu shot back in early December. And I’m so glad I did. This flu season is a bad one, causing several deaths here in Texas. So I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. The Dreamcicle smoothie sounds yummy.

    Love the photos of the South Dakota landscape, too. Such a pretty area.

    1. In December, I was busy working on another deadline...I should have taken the hour and gotten my shot! I would have saved myself a lot of misery. :-(

      It's funny how we've both lived in the same places! Of the three (Michigan, Texas, and South Dakota), which is your favorite? (As if I have to ask!) I still love Michigan, but I love the wide open spaces here in South Dakota!

      Texas? I loved living there, except for the heat. And the scorpions. Other than that, we grew to love the landscape and the culture. And one of our children is a native Texan - we can claim that!

    2. Eeeekkk -- scorpians? Another reason to stay out of Texas. lol I'm such a wuss.

    3. Kav, stop being such a wimp. ;)

      Jan, I have a deep appreciation for both Michigan and South Dakota, but my heart belongs to Texas. Despite the heat (and the snakes and the scorpions...), Texas is home. It's a part of me. Like the bumper sticker says, I may not have been born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.

    4. I remember seeing those bumper stickers when we lived there! LOL!

    5. Those are great bumper stickers!!!!

      In NC, a popular bumper sticker is this one, aimed at the Yankee transplants... "We don't care HOW you did it in New York." :)

      We are a bossy sort.

  2. I don't like to talk flu because a body can jinx herself if she dares to brag about anything related. :-0 Up here the flu strain going around isn't one that is in the flu shot -- it's a surprise super duper alphabet number thing and they are calling it an epidemic in some places. I think I'll stock up on oranges and make some smoothies. One of the good things about being a forced recluse is not being exposed to germs as much. :-)

    1. Staying home is certainly healthy in the winter! I started a policy of using hand sanitizer before, during, and after teaching my Sunday School class this winter. Last year, it seemed like I caught a new bug every Sunday, it took hold by Tuesday, and I was better by Saturday...just in time to welcome a new bug on Sunday morning!

      The hand sanitizer thing seems to be working this year...and lots of hand washing whenever I'm near a sink. :-)

      And I love this orange smoothie so much! I'll have it for breakfast a couple times a week, but it makes a great snack, too.

    2. Jan, we must’ve had the flu about the same time. I got hit New Year’s Day. But thankfully I’d had the flu shot plus got Tamiflu that same day. I was glued to the couch for about 3 days except for one day where I drug out to go get my husband’s Tamiflu and some groceries. :)

      Loved those photos! I know photos never do justice to landscape photos. Would love to see it in person someday!

    3. That didn’t make sense above. I actually got the flu shot in October. :)

    4. Now I'll probably catch the flu this week and CHANGE EVERYTHING I SAID....

  3. I'm late to the party!!!

    I don't do flu shots... don't hate me. I think I've become a little (or more than a little) disenchanted with governmental promises and after reading Gina Kolata's "Flu" a dozen years ago (the investigation into the 1918 flu pandemic) I came to the conclusion that sometimes less is more... That's my stubborn, doubtful Libertarian side coming out. I think I've gotten flu three times over my life that I remember... Maybe when I was too young to remember, too...

    But as an adult, three times.

    That seems like a doable ratio vs. annual shots with questionable results.

    So yes, maybe it will lessen symptoms... but then when my kids had chicken pox before vaccines were available (I love those vaccines!!!) some got it much worse than others...

    So is it the shot or the individual make-up and immune system of the person?

    I don't know, but while I love and admire medical research, I slouch away from the flu shot.

    But not from SMOOTHIES!!!! :)

    Oh, that creamsicle smoothie looks marvelous, Jan!

    1. My mom gets REALLY sick from the flu shot so she does not get it either. Because I am afraid I will get sick like her I steer clear. After all I take after her in the health department more then I care to sometimes. So I just stay away from sickness as much as I can! If I could wrap my cube at work in a bubble with a door I would.