Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Sickness Preparedness Kit

A friend on Facebook is sick and it made me think to share my thoughts with the rest of you.  I know that lately we've been fighting off some really strange little bugs and I'm on the verge of feeling like we should be in quarantine if it doesn't let up. 

That said, stressing and being upset won't help.  In fact, it will make matters worse.  The more we stress the sicker our bodies get.  Think about it in percentages.  If your body is close to 100% when you're nice and healthy then it maybe flutters closer to 60% when you're sick, depending on how sick you are at the time.  Let's say that stress takes off 15%.  When you're healthy and you stress you drop to only 85%, but when you're sick and you stress you drop to 45% -- which gives you a much longer road to recovery.  Don't forget, stress adds up, the more you stress the higher that percentage number gets and the longer that road to wellness becomes.  So ... main thing is .. don't stress.

Now of course, that is easier said than done.  And, of course, everyone has their own way of doing things that make them feel better.  My kids and I have our own way, my husband has his.  I'm going to share with you the things that work for me, and in general my household.

ONE - Go To Bed!!  Clean pillowcases, sheets, and blankets are the best.  If you have someone else who can help you out by prepping the bed with fresh linens, please let them do it.  If not, who cares, you're sick!  Just make sure you have a couple various blankets nearby, even perhaps a small fan, to help you navigate easily through the chills & hot flashes of being sick.  (PS - When you're feeling better, change your sheets and let your pillows sit out in the sun for a few hours.  This will kill germs and keep you nice and healthy!)

TWO - Beverage!!  My first thought here was to actually write 'tea' but different ailments call for different beverages.  Tea is always wonderful though because it can truly help heal you.  Got an upset tummy?  Try some ginger tea.  Fighting a migraine?  Peppermint tea to the rescue.  Don't know what tea you need, fear not, they come in sets labeled for various ailments.  Serve warm and with honey (a healer in itself). 
Now, as natural as I like to try and be, I'll admit that there are times when I'm sick and all I want is Dr. Pepper.  That is a personal preference.  I grew up with my mother giving me Ginger Ale when I was sick so I never cared much for the taste of it later on in life.  I don't drink Coke unless it has booze in it, it is just gross to me.  My soda of choice is Dr. Pepper.  When my body demands it, I'll give in.  After all, it is about comfort and .. see above .. no stress!

THREE - Combat Cabin Fever ~ Get "Junk Food" For Your Brain!! Ok, this sounds odd, I know.  Who the heck recommends junk food when you're sick, right??  ME, that's who!!  But, I am not recommending it in a food way.  No, I'm talking about something for your brain that allows you to actually rest but lets your brain think it is doing something.  Let me explain.
Movies are great here, but you have to be careful what type of movie you watch.  You don't want something that will tear you up and wrack your already unhinged body with emotions that will take a toll.  No, no, no.  Nor do you want a laugh out loud comedy that will give your ribs a workout - after all, depending on how sick you are squeezing your abdominal muscles like that might end up in a not so pleasant way.  Yuck, right?  There are those wonderful standby movies that don't require thought, that please you enough to watch but that you won't feel too horrible if you doze off through.  For me, depending on my mood, they are 'Godzilla' (extra points if it is a gray and rainy day out), 'xXx' - the Vin Diesel one not porn, 'Underworld', 'Van Helsing', 'Lake Placid', 'The Mummy' and so on.  Just some of my personal preferences, you'll know yours. 
Also, this is the time I will send my husband out to get me magazines.  I'm a chick, so I don't know how this applies to guys, but this is the time that I like to read my "junk food magazines."  Cosmo, Seventeen, umm.. Vogue?  Actually, I don't know the names of the magazines.  They're the ones with must have fashion tips, nail colors for the season, and the general rotating magazine list of "secrets exposed" (you know, "What guys REALLY mean by..." and blah blah blah).  Again, this isn't something I would ever bother with when in my usual life, but this isn't my usual life is it?  The silly promise of the perfect updo for Summer, nail polishes and lip balms that scream Spring, must have boots and purses for Fall ... BRING 'EM ON!!  If I was healthy I would would instantly know how ridiculous it all is.  Since I'm sick though these quick-fix, life is all better, problem solving tips are perfect.  My brain will numbly sift through them, happy for something to munch on, without having to strain itself at all. 
Really I suppose the main thing here is to trick your brain.  You want it to think it is doing something so that you don't get all ancy and stressed realizing that you're still sick, you're stuck in bed, all that vomiting hasn't caused you to lose any weight (or conversely it has caused you to lose too much), the house is dirty, the kids are misbehaving, and if you don't get well your husband is going to attempt to do laundry!!  EEEKK!!  Now you're stressing.  Shut that mind up and give it something to happily munch on while you get some rest!! Whew!

So .. those are my main rules for when you're sick.  If it is your kid who is sick I add on these extra ones:

ONE - Portable dvd player for their bed.  My mother will try to tell me to put them in my bed, but ewww ... they're sick, I don't want their sick germs in my bed!  Call me a bad mom if you want, but you're thinking it too.  Make their bed as comfy for them as possible and put a portable dvd player in there for them so they can relax in their bed.

TWO - Vomit buckets.  Sounds gross but cleaning up vomit that has been spewed from the top bunk down to the floor is grosser.  Little ones, try as they might, simply can't always make it to the bathroom in time.  Spare yourselves (and them!) the stress.  Line a bucket with a plastic bag and keep it bedside.

THREE - Fuss & Reassure.  This means fuss over them, because who doesn't want to be fussed over when they're sick?  We all do.  We all want to know that someone is out there doing everything they can to try and make us better.  Reassure them.  When we're sick we're sure that our doom is immanent.  Our bowels are going to surely come spilling out with the next heave and we'll never to get to do all those things we wanted to do.  Kids, obviously, feel the exact same way but they have less ability to reason that things will be ok.  So, cool & damp rag to the forehead, smooth their hair, rub their backs, and so on.  Reassure them that by tomorrow you're sure they'll be feeling back to normal.  This can be repeated daily until it actually happens, as long as you say it with full confidence. 

There you go, that is my sickness preparedness kit.  That and a good bowl of chicken noodle soup (homemade chicken stock and homemade soup gets extra points here!) will do you a world of good.  Until it does though, relax.  Take a deep breathe.  You will feel better before you know it. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Indian Jambo!

So, instead of posting this recipe where I really should on my Mama Taney's Kitchen blog, I'm posting it here.  I know, I'm slack.  Whaddya gonna do about it? 
Tonight for dinner I made a dish I've decided to, from here on out, call "Indian Jambo" ~ why .. um, well, because what we were calling it wasn't really accurate, and it isn't Gumbo, nor is it Jambalaya, and saying "Indian Jambalaya" is a total tongue twister but I really liked that kinda vibe, so .. Indian Jambo.

I haven't made this dish in well over six months, despite the numerous times it has appeared on the menu list.  It isn't that something is wrong with the dish, it probably isn't really even that hard to make, it just doesn't sync well with me.  Or I don't sync well with it.  Or something like that.  The main reason for this is that when I make this I'm making actually making two entrees at the same time, along with a big ole batch of rice.  And, folks, I seriously just don't have that kind of focusing capabilities.  Squirrel!
Ok, where was I?  Oh yea, focusing.  *oohhh .. shiny.*  See, not good at it.  But, I do make the dish because it is really damn yummy.  It is also vegetarian and probably really good in terms of Ayurvedic diet stuff, and it makes a friggin' ton of food so we're set up with meals forever (which freeze & reheat well), which means it is actually a really, really, ridiculously cheap meal.  I'd do the math on this but I did it once and I just don't like math enough to do it again.  But it was really cheap in the end. 

So, since it is so yummy I am going to share it with you now.  This dish was inspired by Amy's Organic frozen meal called Mattar Paneer.  A friend had brought some over and we shared it and ended stirring it all together and it was really yummy.  I wanted to try and make it myself, and searched out the recipes. 

Indian Jambo!!  All blended together and magically delicious!

What I immediately found out was that Amy's version isn't just Mattar Paneer.  It is Mattar Paneer, Chana Masala, and rice.  So, let's break it down.  You'll need your regular ole pot/saucepan, two large skillets, and a big ole bowl.  Plus containers for leftovers.

1) Rice - Make a massive amount of rice for this.  I use brown rice, but feel free to use white if it tickles your fancy.  What I've found is that though you add more rice the flavor doesn't fade away, making the rice a really awesome way to stretch this dish out to the max.  I used 8 cups of water & 4 cups dry rice, giving me 16 - 20 servings of rice!  This amount is the maximum that my regular pot/saucepan will hold, which is quite convenient.  Make it just like you would regular rice.

2) Chana Masala - Here's the link to the recipe I used: -- If you really want me to type it out harass me about it and maybe I will.  This dish can go in the smaller of the skillets (if you don't have two equally big ones - I know I don't), but it will need a lid.

3) Mattar Paneer - Again, here's the link to the recipe I used and if you want me to type it all out, well, see above: - This dish is definitely going to need the biggest skillet pan you've got.  In fact, because I didn't pay attention (see way above as to why I don't make this too often) I ended up having to leave out some of the water and then made a mess on the stove when trying to scoop it all out.

Same dish, just now the photo is taken with a FLASH!  Woo!!

Ok, make your rice, make the chana masala, and make the Mattar Paneer.  If you don't have a groovy Indian store near you, or even just an Indian store near you, you can substitute extra firm tofu for the Paneer.  Absolutely no worries on that one. 

After you've got all three dishes prepped and made, start adding them in equal proportions to your big bowl.  I use the biggest bowl we've got, the one normally reserved for chips & football games.  For me the best way to make sure I'm schlopping equal portions is to scoop 1, 2, 3 scoops of the Mattar Paneer then 1, 2, 3 scoops of the Chana Masala, then 1, 2, oh hell, 1/2 the rice or so.  Mix well with a spoon. 
This dish is so large that I actually can't fit it all in one bowl till after we've eaten.  But, hey, it's all good because .. well, it's all good!!


Like I said, the leftovers on this dish are a plus in my category because it means future dinners that are homemade but that I don't have to really take any effort to get to the table.  The white container above Justin will take for lunch tomorrow.  The other two are holding way more than they look in the photo.  The glass pyrex dish (under the white container) will easily feed the four of us for dinner. 

Try it out and see what you think.