Instant Coffee. Coffee drinkers the world over cringe at those words and shudder at the thought of drinking it. Although I daresay Starbucks has revolutionized the genre with their line of instant coffee. Here’s some things you can use instant coffee for:
Add a tablespoon or so to tomato based stews and chilis to deepen their flavor
Combine one tablespoon instant coffee with one teaspoon each of paprika, oregano, garlic and cumin. Add two tablespoons oil and mix well. Use as a rub on meat before grilling
Add one or two tablespoons (to taste) to a pint of good-quality vanilla ice cream. Blend well (you may need to use a mixer) for delicious coffee ice cream
Make mine a mocha: add a tablespoon to brownies or other chocolate-based desserts
Mocha Dip Or Spread: Mix some finely ground instant coffee or a little bit of brewed coffee or espresso with one tablespoon of brown sugar into cream cheese
Start slow with adding coffee to your cooking as it’s flavor is intense.
It may work better to dissolve the coffee in a bit of hot water before adding so there are no undissolved grounds adding a grainy texture to your cooking.
I’ve had one of these in my cupboard for many years. I did not utilize it much. That has changed. I’ve found it pretty effective for the following: chopping nuts, grinding cooked meat (for sandwiches), and mincing garlic. The chopper has also worked well for cutting fresh herbs – a rather painful task with just a knife. I’ve used parsley and cilantro in recipes lately and the mini-chopper handled them quite well – small bunches at a time with trimmed stems.
For the past two months I’ve been working part time, 20 hours per week. It has taken almost all I had to do that. My husband, who works full time and sometimes full time plus, helped out as much as possible. I was seriously contemplating using paper plates and plastic cutlery to assist in cutting down on what needed to be done at home. Why I didn’t do it, I’m not sure. It’s not like I need to impress anyone–it’s just my husband and myself after all. So, my tip of the day is: if it’s going to help you out, just do it! Use paper plates, plastic cutlery, paper cups, etc. to help ease workloads. You might not need or want to do this all the time but it’s definitely something to consider when you’re in a flare.
To steam hand towels – moisten then place on a microwave safe dish. Heat on high 20-30 seconds. This is likely intended to offer to guests after eating a messy item such as lobster. However, I’ve used this for a different purpose – I have often created “moist heat” this way to relieve a little bit of my aches and pains. I combine it by layering it underneath another heat source such as my heating pad or Magic Bag.
To remove cooking odors – Combine 1 – 1 1/2 c. water with the juice and peel of one lemon in a 2 quart microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for five minutes. After the water finishes boiling, wipe interior of oven with a cloth.
To soften one cup of brown sugar, place in a microwave safe dish with a slice of bread. Cover with lid or plastic wrap. Nuke on high for 20 – 30 seconds.
To toast nuts, spread 1 1/2 cups on a microwave safe pie plate and nuke on high for 4 – 5 minutes.
This time of year, there are extra demands on everyone. The additional shopping and cooking can put a strain on the most energetic of persons. I find it really takes a toll on me, it’s difficult to pace, and I start to loathe this time of year.
Some of these tips might help all of us.
Use larger joints when possible (e.g. carry bag on arm instead of using the wrist to carry the weight.)
Shop online as much as possible and have items delivered.
Plan your day to run errands at less busy times of the day (to limit time standing in queues, to decrease time to complete tasks, to find more availability of benches / seats to rest in between if needed, and to find more availability of parking stalls closer to the door.)
Be realistic about your abilities; don’t have unrealistic or overwhelming expectations of yourself. [This one is extremely difficult for me to ascertain; as one friend said to me “in my mind, I can do anything.”]
Alternate light and heavier tasks.
Store items together that are used together (e.g. cleaning supplies in one area.)
Plan activities to avoid extra trips – i.e. assemble everything before starting
Carry heavy items close to your chest.
Snacks for Shopping
This snacks will fit into your purse or backpack or “man-purse”, keep well for two hours, and keep your energy up:
Cheese strings and whole wheat crackers
“Gorp” – combination of raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds, pretzels or small crackers (low sodium if possible) and dried fruit in a small ziploc bag
Baby carrots and hummous dip
Small container of yogurt – a plastic spoon should be available from the mall’s food court
Peanut butter and banana wrap – spread one T. peanut butter on a small wrap, place sliced bananas on top and roll up
On a “good day” when symptoms are stable, or your pain is less, you may want to consider big-batch cooking:
• When cooking, cook in larger batches and place leftovers in freezer containers in individual servings (or more depending on the number of people) for future meals. When your symptoms are flaring, having freezer meals to pop in the microwave or re-heat on the stove, will be appreciated.
Install a sprayer nozzle with a long hose at your kitchen sink that will reach to your stove. Place the empty pot on the stove and then fill it with water from the spray nozzle. Alternatively, have your plumber put in – where money and space permit – a faucet directly above your stove, in between your stove and range hood. You can place an empty pot under it and fill it directly without having to carry a heavy pot full of water from the sink to the stove.
Or, put the empty pot on the stove. Use a smaller item (such as a measuring cup) to fill it with water from your kitchen faucet.
To drain, slide it on a potholder (if convenient to your kitchen’s set-up) along the counter from the stove to the sink then empty by tipping into a colander that has been placed in the sink.