This is something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I found the cooking section in the old craftster site, but always gave up half ways writing it out. So, this time, I’m going to change tactics, and let this be open for discussion (which after thinking about it, that would be very prudent).
First off, each person’s situation is going to be different, so I can’t possibly give help to everyone. Which is why, I hope, other sufferers will tell what they do in order to make living easier.
- Support (This is something I don’t really have, so everything passed this I’m on my own). If you live with other family members have them help out as much as their willing. If even the smallest of things are cleaned, that goes a long long way.
- Cleanliness is impossible. Don’t fret over trying to relive your glory days. They are gone. The best thing to do is keep the most important things/areas cleaned.
- You never know if your body is going to allow you to stay upright for long, so prepare your meals well in advance. Most likely you have a regime that you follow for cooking, so prepare what you can far far in advance.
Right now I have about 3lbs of cubed fried chicken in the freezer, along with several batches of noodles, and frozen vegetables. So the only things I have to do is combine the ingredients, and peel the potatoes and voila, I have a meal set.
In the fridge, are butter, milk, and two blocks of aged Asiago and mozzarella ready for making alfredo sauces which I can use the cubed chicken with, as well.
As much as I like having fresh veggies, I do have dried, and canned veggies for when the pains are too great. Garlic powder, dried onions, onion powder, dried parsley are some of the nonfresh things I always keep on hand.
- Baking bread, making noodles, learn to use a machine. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts here. If you’re like me and hate using machines, just let it go. It took me years to finally give up, and believe me, a machine kneaded bread is still far far better than store bought. Also, learn to make no-knead breads. There’s actually quite a few breads you can make that don’t need kneading, and if you learn enough of them, you can still make the breads you like by using different kinds of pans to keep them close to form.
- Hamburger helpers can be made from scratch, and are much better than boxed. Plus, they’re not that hard. (Mental note to self; Start an easy recipe post and put up some of my easy recipes that help to save time and strength).
- Always have some processed foods on hand for bad days.
Helpful Solutions / Utensils
- Move to wooded utensils, glass dishes, and metal mixing bowls. Wooden utensils help with cleaning by keeping pans from being overly scratched up and food sticking to them. Glass is easy as pie to clean, even cheese comes off easily enough. Metal mixing bowls are light…Like, really really light compared to glass bowls.
- Wash wooden utensils and cutting boards first. If you’re like me and have to wash dishes by hand, make sure these get washed first, as there’s no telling if you’ll be able to stay standing long enough to finish them. If you can’t get to them, don’t fret. You can boil the utensils in a pan on the stove, and if you have at least two cutting boards, you have four surfaces to work with. So you can alternate sides and boards to keep things as clean as possible. Plus, if you have fairly thick wooden utensils, you can sand them down a bit.
- Clean slowly. If you’re passing by the kitchen, clean what you can. Even if it’s only two dishes, that’s still two dishes less. Every little bit helps, and you definitely don’t want to leave a sink full of dishes for too long.
- Be prepared to replace dishes. You have a favorite plate/cup? Use it as rarely as possible, because you are going to break it or damage it in some weird way that you can’t explain.
- Have a chair and a stool in the kitchen. Stool so you can sit a bit when it’s ok, and a chair for when the pain is too great.
- Get a claw/grabber that’s just a hair longer than your reach. This makes picking things you drop a lot easier. The reason for it being too long is so you can stay in one place while grabbing many things. And instead of taking the things directly from the claw, use it to place them on higher surfaces or directly in the trashcan. This will save a lot in effort and energy.
- Kitchen shears. (For me, I tore up my left arm in 2002 and even opening the simplest of bags hurts like mad. So scissors are a very useful tool).
- Crock pot / Slow cooker with stoneware insert. The stoneware, even though heavier, is still much easier to clean and manage even if forgotten for lengthy periods of time.
- Griddle. Can cook far more at a time (less standing) and are usually no worse than cleaning a large pan.
- Bread machine or noodle machine. A bread machine would be useful for both making bread and noodles. A noodle machine is too small for bread making, but still, homemade noodles/breads are still far far far far tastier, heh.
- Ice cream buckets for flours, sugar, etc. The plastic ice cream buckets are extremely nice in that they have handles, large openings, and since they’ve started making square ones are really easy for organization. Plus, one can use those plastic mesh thingies (don’t know the word for them) to make fancy coverings so they look prettier and go with your kitchen decor.
- Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes are just fine with most the skins on. So you can save time and energy by cutting off only the eyes and bad spots. Plus the skins are soft enough for soups, stews, and mashed potatoes. (Note: I have used small purple potatoes and those are fine, too. However, I’ve never used them any larger than about 2 inches, so I don’t know what they’re skins are like).
- When freezing cubed vegetables and meats, be sure to shake the bag or bowl about every hour to keep them from sticking together. As per Magpie’s tip, use a baking sheet to put the cubed/chopped stuff on in the freezer to keep them from sticking together, and if your freezer is not as cleaned as you’d like, just cover it with parchment paper or paper towels to keep the odors from contaminating the food.
- Spinach : I just learned this recently. Frozen fresh spinach shatters like glass. That makes it sooooo muuuuch easier than cutting it.