Empowering others: sharing experiences, ideas; offering creative solutions to common challenges.

Write to me at b.able2@yahoo.com

Friday, September 17, 2010

How Do You Do... Washing Dishes?

Now that we've done all of this cooking, we have a ton of dishes to wash! Believe it or not, washing dishes is a task I actually enjoy. It's my therapy!!!! When I was younger, my sister and I had the responsibility of clearing the table and washing, drying and putting away the dishes nightly. I didn't seem to love it then; probably because there were so many dishes and because there was no choice involved.  I recall telling my parents on one occasion that I could not wash the dishes and shouldn't be required to do so because the water would rust my hook. My father was quick to explain to me the scientific properties of aluminum (it doesn't rust) and sent me back to the kitchen. At the time, it was worth a try!
When washing dishes, I hold the sponge in my terminal device.

With the Adept, I use the Sure-Lock and it maintains the grasp for me.

If no prosthesis, I use either a dishcloth  draped over my residual arm  or I push the sponge with my residual arm and hold the dish in my hand. Glasses are easy... my shorter arm fits right inside the glass to wash it out.

When washing pans, I hold the scrubber in my hand instead and stabilize the pan or pot with my prosthesis or residual arm.

Drying dishes is accomplished by holding the towel in my terminal device or draped on my arm if no prosthesis.

That was easy... we made short work of the dishes!

Monday, September 13, 2010

How Do You Do... Cooking 201?

My husband loves to eat and I love to cook for him. Since I was chopping, mixing ingredients and indulging in a stovetop creation, we thought it was a great time to seize the moment and add to the blog. So, thanks to my husband Mike and his camera, we have the next edition to How Do You Do... Cooking! I also want to take a moment to speak about learning to cook. Like everyone else from my generation, I took the obligatory Home Ec in 7th and 8th grades. Unfortunately, Mrs. P's rigid lessons did not unleash any culinary desires -or talents- in my heart. That being said, I had a wonderful Chemistry teacher in the 10th grade (Mr. B!) who ignited my interest in creating and encouraged my tendency to use my prosthesis in inventive ways.
-The hook does a wonderful job holding test tubes over a bunson burner. Tonight I am making a pasta primavera with shrimp. I admit it; I'm cleaning out the refrigerator but it really did turn out good!
Before we get started, let's take a peak at some of my favorite cooking tools (though we may not use all of them in today's edition):
my non-skid mat (purchased at HomeGoods)
white anti-microbial cutting boards (Ikea)
one-handed pizza roller (Pampered Chef; used to cut more than pizza)

one-handed pie crust roller (ditto)
double-blade scissors/spoon (a gift!)
Kitchen Aid grater with lid (HomeGoods)
egg yolk separator (Pampered Chef)
bamboo tongs (Pampered Chef)
food pick (Pampered Chef)
And the cooking begins!
I place the non-skid mat on the counter with my cutting board on top of it. This keeps the cutting board from sliding around while I'm trying to chop. Then I use my forearm to stabilize the onion to cut off the ends...
With the prosthesis:
or without:
Then I peel the onion:

and then chop it:
Without a prosthesis, this is how I do it...

I am using my residual limb to push down on the blade. -It does look a little dangerous, but I am very cautious (and at this point in my life) pretty quick.
Add it to the saute pan -with olive oil, of course (and garlic, spices...)

I love the handle on my cutting boards. It's just big enough to slide my residual arm in place to grab the board. Now it's time to chop the tomato. Tomatoes are typically softer and can be squishy. -It's definitely an advantage to use my Adept over the hook with this task!

and certainly more difficult (but possible!) without...

It's even easier with the food pick:

Chop, chop, chop!!!!

Another way to chop is the double-blade scissors device:

And add it  to the saute pan:

Now to make the pasta. First, fill the pot with water. It's much easier to keep the pot on the counter if possible, rather than filling it in the sink and lifting it up onto the counter. I place it on a cutting board so I can slide the full pot over to the sink and then onto the stove.

Same steps without a prosthesis: slide the full pot on the counter and place the pot on the stove.
The pasta is done... To move the hot pot to the sink I keep the cover on and gently move it onto the cuttingboard and slide it over to the sink.

Without a prosthesis, I wear an oven mitt on my residual limb:

My colander has expandable handles that stretch over the sink and I dump the hot pasta and water into it...
Dinner is almost ready, but I need to open a jar of seasoning to add to my concoction

and then peel the shrimp...

I use the tongs for serving and hold my plate in my prosthesis  -or place it alongside the serving dish...

Bon appetit!
We'll have alot of dishes to wash in the next edition...