Being sick is no fun.  Since moving to Washington I have gotten terribly sick every February, we’re talking bronchitis, pneumonia out of work for weeks sick.  After four years of this, I’ve said “ENOUGH!”.  This February I’ve worked hard to eat right, exercise, wash hands and stay away from sick people.  I’m now on the tail end of a cold but nothing like previous years.  The funny thing about when I get sick , is I start wanting foods that other people might consider strange.  My latest recipe is one of those creations that fits as a classy appetizer or a quick and easy snack to go alongside a ginger ale (or beer if you’re not sick!).When my sinuses are congested, I want spicy food to help clear them out and make it easier for me to breathe.  Just the slightest amount of spicy pepper turns the waterworks on for me.  When I built shelters in Sri Lanka, the family who cooked us food would bring a box of tissues out for me with every meal.  I loved the spicy food, but my nose would run continuously throughout the meal!  My eyes would water, and I’d go through tissue after tissue saying “This is so good!” through my tears.

One of my favorite sources of spicy is sriracha, the spicy paste that has led to culinary addictions all over the world.  Sriracha sauce is a combination of chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt.  My favorite brand is Huy Fong’s Sriracha, the one with the rooster on it.  One day I hope to create my own though!

Our cat Cappucino shares my love of sriracha.  I keep trying to remind him that he’s not a dog and can’t eat anything and everything.  But anytime I eat something with sriracha, he just waits for me to turn my back so he can start licking the sriracha up.  He suffers the same eye watering effects but loves it nonetheless.  sad-sick-kitty

Another thing Cappucino currently shares with me is that he has a cold as well.  The poor kitty started acting really sad yesterday.   Rather than following us around the house, he would curl up by heater vents and sleep so soundly he wouldn’t even notice us until we actually touched him.  When he started sneezing I realized that he must be sick.

Yesterday was an “us day” which means that Eric and I just spend the whole day together enjoying each other’s company and focusing on strengthening our relationship.  Being the nerds that we are, we spent part of that day watching episodes of Stargate Atlantis.  We grabbed Cappucino and swaddled him in blankets to cuddle with us for a couple hours.

Once we were ready to do some things around the house, he went and claimed a pile of laundry in the bathroom as his sick bed.  Our bathroom is the warmest room in the house and the laundry pile is right next to the heater vent.  As warm as he was, his normally moist nose got bone dry and I could tell the heater vent was drying him out, so we dug out our humidifier.


Eric set the humidifier up right next to our kitty and we let it do its thing.  He seemed pretty content to sleep in the warm and now humid room.    His nose was back to normal after a few hours.  Hopefully he’s on the mend like I am, if not we’ll take him to our vet.  We love our kitty!

Now back to the sriracha recipe.  I’ve seen smoked oysters a few times at the food bank when getting ingredients for the Healthy Cooking on a Tight Budget program.  I decided to buy some myself to play with.  They definitely have a very strong fishy taste to them.  With my love of foods from different culture, I’m a big fan of the taste.

Eric finds the taste a little overpowering on its own (and he loves raw or grilled oysters) but with lots of sriracha sauce and the cream cheese, he can eat a dozen!  I’ve noticed at parties that my Asian friends love these as much as I do, so maybe it’s something I picked up in Hawaii.

If you’re normally a fan of seafood but find the flavor of the smoked oysters too intense, I suggest upping the amount of sriracha on each bite.  Eric and I use about three times the amount you see in the photo.

Hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy.  If you’re fighting a bug too, you may want to try my lemon ginger tea or turkey ramen soup, they’re two of my favorite power remedies!



Smoked Oyster Sriracha Appetizer

serves 4-6


12 crackers (I used Ritz)
1/4 cup cream cheese
12 smoked oyster
sriracha to taste
2 green onions/scallions, finely chopped



Place crackers on a plate and spread each on with a little cream cheese.  Place one smoked oyster on each cracker and dot with sriracha.  Sprinkle chopped scallions over each cracker.

Approximate cost/serving:  At Sams Club I get 6 tins of oysters (about 20-25 in a tin) for $7.  It’s under 5 cents per oyster, pretty cheap!  The crackers I got when they were on sale, 5 boxes for $5, enough crackers to last a year!  That makes them less than a penny per cracker.  The whole appetizer cost $1 to make.  At three a person that’s just 33 cents a serving.

Vegetarian/Gluten Free:  If you eat seafood you’re fine but I didn’t categorize this as vegetarian, for gluten free serve on a gluten free cracker.

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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.