One armed cooking – more tips for the kitchen after shoulder surgery

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I’m back with another round of kitchen tips you may find useful if you’ve just had surgery on a shoulder or upper limb, have arthritis in your hands, wrists and elbows or weak arm muscles

I love food and cooking and always try to prepare a home cooked meal or snack whenever possible

With some careful planning prior to surgery a couple of years ago, I was able to prepare simple dishes even with one arm in a sling after a shoulder replacement

I’ve kept the tips and gadgets simple as I find that even though there are electrical appliances that can help you chop, mash and peel, they’re difficult to get apart and clean if you’re using one arm post surgery or have painful wrists and hands

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The first step to being independent in the kitchen is to invest in a few aids and devices that will help you open jars and cans, chop fruit and vegetables and make a cup of tea or coffee on your own

Above is a ring pull can opener, jar popper and a general device that opens a variety of items

Check out my other blog posts on kitchen tips and gadgets to see these devices in action (links below)

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The love affair continues with my Swedish Etac Fix Preparation Board which I still use on a daily basis

I feel it’s the most essential item to have in the kitchen if you have arthritis or have had upper limb surgery

Have a look at my blog post Floored by the Boards for more information on how to use the board and where you can purchase it

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Use utensils with a wide hand grip

Find the peeler that suits you best (I find the green vegetable peeler from Ikea really easy to use with as it has a wide grip)

If my hands are really painful, the red and white peeler that fits in the palm of my hand is the most comfortable to use

A grater with a wide hand grip is grate … oops sorry great to use for garlic, ginger and lemon rind

(you should be able to chop and grate most vegetables even with one arm if you have the chopping boards mentioned above)

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The above scoops are handy for scooping out vegetables, pasta and noodles from a pot

The whisk (used with a pumping motion) puts less stress on your wrists than a conventional whisk if you are making a dressing or an omelette

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I hope you’re not lifting heavy pots with scalding hot water to drain pasta or vegetables at the sink

Do what chefs do and scoop pasta out of the pasta water and pop it straight into your sauce

To empty water from a pot, wait until the water cools down then empty one cup at a time if you don’t have the strength to lift the pot

Fill up your pot or kettle the same way (I have a light weight plastic jug that I fill up at the sink then fill up a pot or kettle)

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If you love fresh parmesan on pasta as I do, grate some or buy it already grated and store it in the freezer so you can pop a spoonful on pasta any time

Before I had my shoulder surgery I had a friend help me grate parmesan into a tub so it was ready to go whenever I needed it

I also froze little tubs of gremolata (grated lemon rind and chopped parsley) to add to pasta dishes

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Invest in an electric can opener

It comes in handy if the the ring pull comes flying off a can you’re trying to open

I love this TouchGo can opener that I used it all the time after I had shoulder surgery

You can see it in action below in an Instagram post

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Decant oil or sauces into lightweight bottles that are easy to control with one hand or sore hands

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If you don’t have the energy or can’t chop or grind herbs, you can buy them already chopped for you in handy little tubes or jars

You can also purchase single serve herbs like coriander, garlic and ginger from the freezer section

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As far as serving up food goes, lightweight plates, bowls and mugs are the way to go

Consider using melamine, enamel or Japanese laquerware bowls and plates which do not break if you drop them or smash when washing up in the sink

I don’t have a dishwasher so it was very important that I had unbreakable bowls and plates after surgery

If you are having a flare or have just had surgery, consider having paper plates and cups on hand in the early stages of recovery so you don’t have to do any washing up

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If using paper plates concerns you, there are greener options available such as the Deeko BioPak range which uses sugarcane to manufacture plates and bowls so they’re tree and plastic free

I’ve spotted the Deeko range in my local IGA store and a new range called Modo in Coles

Click here for more information about BioPak and here for Modo

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Keep your freezer stocked with ready made meals that are easy to prepare if you’re having a flare or if you’ve just had surgery

If you’re making a stew or pasta sauce, make extra so you can freeze extra portions

Freeze a loaf of sliced bread so you can pull out a couple of pieces to toast at anytime and top with avocado or hummus as a light meal or snack (don’t forget to add chopped tomatoes)

Have some frozen vegetables handy for days when you can’t do any chopping at all

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A microwave is handy to warm up frozen meals and leftovers

I had never owned a microwave until I bought one just before I went in for a shoulder replacement a couple of years ago

I found it incredibly handy and used it to cook pasta, make fried rice, scrambled eggs, french toast and even mug cakes – all using one arm

I’ll have to do a post with some simple recipes you can prepare if one arm is in a sling

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A coffee pod machine enables you to make coffee easily if you have sore hands or can only use one arm

Look for unbreakable lightweight cups to serve your coffee in

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In Australia you can drop off Nespresso, Lor & Moccona aluminum coffee pods at recycling depots

Click here for information about recycling Nespresso pods and here for the TerraCycle  Lor/Moccona Capsules Recycling Programme

Lavazza aims to make their whole range compostable from September 2019

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If you take milk or plant milk with your tea and coffee, small containers are available which are easier to manage with sore hands or one arm (I have trouble picking up a litre of milk at the best of times)

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See my Instagram post below for a device given to me as a gift that makes hand washing cutlery easy if you are using one hand

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How do you carry a hot bowl with one arm?

Line a hard plastic plate with non slip grip liner so the bowl placed on top doesn’t slip around

It’s much easier to carry a bowl this way as your hand does not directly touch the hot bowl

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Eat fresh fruits and vegetables everyday especially if you are recovering from surgery

Purchase groceries online and have them delivered to your home

Buy fresh prepared meals from your local delicatessen if you don’t feel like cooking

If you live in Perth, most IGA stores prepare a variety of roast meats and vegetables and other meals daily at affordable prices (I usually get two meals from one serve)

I personally never use Uber Eats or other food delivery services as I prefer to support local restaurants by going to them, they can however be an option if you’re feeling hungry

 

As always I’d love to know what you think and if you have any tips you can pass on in the comments section below

Links

img_4041    Attack of the Orange Gadgets

IMG_1638     Floored by the Boards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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