A smoothie made with cranberries, citrus juice and bananas, along with a simple broccoli/ginger/garlic stir-fry, are two nutritious ways to give yourself and your family a boost. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

I don’t know about all of you, but I seem to be struggling with my concentration lately. Writing this column help keeps me sane during my self-isolation here at the cove.

As I write this on March 19, I’m counting the days until my new refrigerator is delivered from Agren’s. My trusty 19-year-old Kenmore side-by-side conked out on me on St. Patrick’s Day, leaving me no choice but to head to town to finalize the purchase of a new appliance and blocks of ice. I’m also blessed to have both a college-size fridge and a freezer in my pantry, so don’t feel too sorry for me. We all have bigger concerns at the moment.

This week I’m offering a few easy recipes to keep our immune systems strong. As I share recipes in the coming weeks, I plan to keep it simple and use ingredients I have in the pantry as well as grocery items that are readily available.

That being said, cranberries are terrific immunity boosters and, when paired with citrus fruits, you can concoct a powerful vitamin C-packed weapon against the virus. If you’d like a more slushy drink, you can grab the berries right out of the freezer. Dried cranberries and even cranberry juice will also work. However, sweetened juices and other sugary drinks are best kept to a minimum if you have already developed a cough.

I have read that hot drinks are recommended if you are having flu or cold symptoms. The fortifying, detoxifying properties of rosemary tea can be made from the ingredients in your spice rack. Oregano and basil are also herbs with properties that bolster the immune system. Use the herbs you have on hand liberally and often.

Consider adding broccoli to your diet as you strive to bring more super powers to your immune system. Sprinkled with a healthy dose of ginger and garlic, this combination is loaded with vitamins B and C as well as iron and zinc. Eaten two to three times weekly, it will help you keep in tip-top condition. Enjoy this quick dish as a side to stir-fry chicken, beef, pork or tofu and serve it all up with rice or noodles for a complete meal in one bowl.

During these times, I encourage everyone to make their favorite rendition of chicken soup and put it in the freezer in case you become ill. The minute you feel symptoms come on, eat as much soup as you can. Use the herbs I have mentioned here and bring on the ginger and garlic. Drink lots of hot teas and hydrate well.

I want to take this opportunity to express my utmost gratitude to all the farmers, grocery store clerks, truckers and shop and restaurant owners who are keeping all the rest of us in kibble and other necessary supplies as we journey together through this challenging time.

I also invite you to share your simple, healthful recipes as well as any advice for food budgeting with me and I will publish as much as I have room for. I will give you the credit, but if you wish to remain anonymous, just let me know.

Be safe. Be well. Be strong.

Vitamin C Smoothie

1 3/4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
Juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 grapefruit
2 bananas
Maple syrup or honey, optional

Puree all ingredients in a blender. Yield 2 large or 4 small servings

Rosemary Tea

2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried peppermint
2 cups boiling water

Combine herbs and place in a teapot. Add hot water and infuse for 10 minutes. Strain and serve. Yield: 2 servings

Broccoli Stir-fry

4 tablespoons sesame oil
2-3 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 heads broccoli, broken into florets
4 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Gently heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and broccoli. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Yield: 4 servings

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