Winter health tips and a cup of Lemongrass chai courtesy the husband....

It was my second winter in the US and our first one with the baby... It had been snowing bonkers since the night before ... and by the time I was ready to tuck in the little fellow  for his afternoon nap, I realized his nose was blocked... BLOCKED NOSE !! I panicked... how would my child breadth ???

Inexperienced as I was, I thought an extra layering of woolens would help. Then I tried increasing the temperature of the room and finally when nothing seemed to soothe my boy, I called his dad. Declaring it an emergency I SOS-ed him home. ...You know how hyper and worked-up new moms can get..... 

Looking back I feel the sane thing to do that day was probably to call the pediatrician... Oh wait... but I had done that... only she was on a holiday and that had escalated my anxieties.. 

I did not know of any other doctor in the locality to whom I could take my whining baby... Hence the fuss... In hindsight I feel that a doctor finder service like this one which helps locate doctors in a given vicinity, would have definitely come handy. Besides helping me the obvious way, a service like that would have probably saved us of the bitterness that followed between me and the husband for pulling him out of his meeting... only to attend to the baby's blocked nose.. 

Though to this day I maintain that I had not over-reacted and that I was just being a mother, over the years I have learnt how to take better care of myself and my family and how to react better when faced with crisis.... 
First a few obvious/ not-so-obvious pointers to new moms... 
  1. Like us, babies with blocked nose instinctively inhale and exhale through through their mouth. Sure a blocked nose feels uncomfortable and the baby is likely to cry non-stop but it isn't an emergency-situation... ( This is one thing that I had probably blanked out on that day :) )
  2. In case your baby has a blocked nose, chances are very little that he or she is cold. It is probably the humidity level in the room that needs a step up. For that a humidifier is probably your best bet. But if you do not have a humidifier, dampen a hand towel and cover a bowl of water with it such that the towel touches the surface of the water in the bowl. Leave this in a corner of the room. This arrangement helps humidify the room and is really helpful when the season gets dry.
  3. In winter one does not feel as thirsty but its important to stay hydrated... specially if the room heater is on. So a conscious intake of liquids is important. As for me... in winter I drink several cups of tea through out the day and consciously keep offering water, juices and smoothies (all at room temperature of course..) to my boy. 
  4. Dress your kids for the weather but not too much.. for sweating can also lead to cough and cold...
  5. When the sun is holidaying in the other hemisphere... don't forget your dose of vitamins.. They really lift your mood and help you stay happy and cheerful even on those gloomy days...  
Lastly in spite of all the precautions if you end up feeling under the weather.. give these age old herbal remedies a try... My mom testifies by them every time she hears someone cough... and I too find them effective...

According to my mother a combination of holy basil, ginger and honey works like a magic potion to cure cold and sore throat... but if holy basil is not available try a combination of lemon juice and honey diluted in lukewarm water. This helps too though I feel the former is more effective. 

If the cold gets worse, she suggests heating a few cloves of garlic in mustard oil and rubbing the hot oil on the feet and palms. This one is really comforting and is a genius trick to comfort your baby when he or she has a cold. 

Personally though I most end up making myself a cup of chai whenever I am feeling under the weather....
Depending on my mood its either a cup of masala chai 

... or a cup of lemongrass tea...

For lemongrass tea I actually have a measured recipe. My husband came up with it and we follow it all the time...

Lemongrass tea

Recipe by Nishi
Yield: 1 cup

  • ¾ cup water
  • 1-2 blades of lemongrass cut into small pieces
  • heaped 1 teaspoon sugar
  • heaped ½ teaspoon tea leaves
Cooking Directions
  1. Simmer 3/4th cup of water with one or two blades of lemongrass and a heaped teaspoon of sugar. When the water becomes a pale lemon yellow, switch off the heat , add a heaped half teaspoon of tea leaves into the water, cover it and let is soak for a minute or so. Then strain the tea into your cup... done.

While masala chai feels warm and cozy, the lemongrass tea is refreshing and also has added health benefits... So you see my cup a chai-s do more than keep me warm and cozy...  They keep me calm and healthy at least most of the time....

At other times maa's health tips and the list of all the doctors in the vicinity along with their contact details have my back covered ...


French Fridays : Chicken liver Gateau

Remember those French Fridays with Dorie ?? When we would prepare something awesome, something French every week and tell the tale of whether it fared well with the kids and the men... Well, sometimes I miss them.... I miss the excitement and effervescence that accompanied those Fridays... I miss the thrill of exploring new techniques, trying new flavors and the anxiety that accompanied on the Fridays when unusual dishes like that Pear Chestnut Soup or this Chicken Liver Cake was on the menu.  


Maa-er Narkel Diye Cholar Dal ( Split Bengal gram with Coconut )

Maa's cholar dal has been one of my favorite dishes for as long as I can remember. 
My husband joined the club soon after we got married.  

But no matter how hard I tried, it wasn't easy to replicate the taste of her dal  until she shared her special tips with me  last summer . Ever since I have been flaunting her recipe at every gathering I can and thought it would be the most appropriate dish to begin the New year with....


Apple and Beet Quick Bread # Healthy Snacking

Chocolates are delicious and so are chips and they are probably the tastiest way to pacify a rumbling tummy between two meals... That and zillion cups of tea was a regular snack-ritual for me until our son was born... As in other aspects of life, motherhood completely changed my perspective on snacking soon after our little one started table food... His stomach is so little, I thought, on top of that if I let him snack on non-essentials then how will that little tummy ever have space for all the veggies and fruits that he needs... Ever since I have tried to be mindful of what goes into his tummy and into ours in general.


Rikhi's Masala Meatball Curry

Rikhi is my sister-in-law and is probably one of the sweetest things that happened to my cousin Indrajoy. She is beautiful, loving and compassionate, the kind of person who instantly makes you her friend and promises to stand by through thick and thin.  In the family she is also known for her talent for dancing and passion for food. But it wasn't until last year that we got to taste her cooking...


Vegetable "Makhanwala" (made light)

It was almost after a decade that I cooked Vegetable "Makhanwala" the other day... and even before we started dinner I knew that this version was a keeper.....


Pea-n-Feta Cheese Puff

When trying a new recipe, you know you've hit the jackpot when the picky eater reaches for seconds and the husband asks if the next batch is going into the oven soon..  This does not happen too often chez moi... but sometimes it does.. and when it does.. I do my happy dance... then reach out for the laptop to share the excitement with you.

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