Daily Archives: March 1, 2011

One Hand Meals

As all of you know, I fell skating just over a couple weeks ago. I’ve recovered nicely from the surgery, but my arm is still casted up. This leaves me with one working hand and unable to exercise.

Which in turn, has affected the way I eat.

First things first, I’m a sedentary person now. Thankfully, my hunger levels have started reflecting that. But I absolutely cannot eat the way I used to when I was working out at the gym every day. I’m upset enough about my arm as is,I don’t need to get upset about a weight gain on top of that.

Secondly, my body is trying to heal itself. Not only does it have skin and bone to repair, but the risk of infection after surgery is very high. Especially when my arm was open for so long. My body needs nutrients to do this, and my weird food cravings lately are a direct reflection of that.

Finally, I’m only working with one hand here. I lovelovelove to cook and bake. Being limited to the use of one hand in the kitchen is a big bummer.

I started slowly, frying eggs and making toast. Peeling an orange with one hand is a laborious process. Getting anything out of a pan when you can’t hold on to the handle with the other hand is harder than you’d expect. Thus, my first attempts ended up scrambled.

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I moved on to simple sandwiches. The Herb & Spice food market here in Ottawa carries these things called “tofu cutlets.” Sliced tofu smothered in a savoury gravy-like sauce. I’m obsessed.

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Then I got risky, attempting to stuff a fragile pita with just one hand. Slow and steady wins the race, and it came out great. My sister had to open the can of tuna for me.

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After a week of eating fried eggs on toast every day, I needed to change it up. French toast is actually very simple to make with one hand!

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I even got a little experimental, despite my boring palate as of late. I wanted to make iced coffee, but my sister had no ice cubes. Thus, the iced coffee float was born. With dark chocolate frozen yogurt.

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One-handed cooking has actually turned into something of a welcome challenge for me. My days are always empty, so trying out something in the kitchen gives me a project for the day.

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Like the above jambalaya made with delicious handmade sausages and local organic beef. My sister did all the chopping of the vegetables, I did the assembling and cooking.

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I tried to make dinner for my sister one night, using this recipe for Colcannon Mash and frozen fish sticks. I subbed the cream out for yogurt and used a mix of regular and purple cabbage. I had to use the knife like a machete to get through the potatoes, but I was proud of myself when done.

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The leftovers made for a great breakfast by cracking in a couple eggs, sprinkling with cayenne, and baking. By this point I’ve become an expert at one-handed egg cracking. Not to mention this was a great way to get veggies and nutrients in first thing.

But my most ambitious work yet has got to be Banana Bread.

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Yup! All with one hand! I used this recipe for the best banana bread ever. However I do not think it’s my best loaf. I used two large bananas and it could have used three. Not banana-y enough!

The food part of this story doesn’t end in the kitchen. I’ve been out to eat a few times in Ottawa too! Not only is making food a challenge now, but so is eating it. I can’t use a knife. So anything that requires being cut into pieces is out. Getting the last few bites of something in a bowl is impossible when you can’t hold on to the bowl. Even handheld items can be a challenge depending on their likelihood to fall apart and get messy.

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My sister and I made a pit stop at The Atomic Rooster on Bank Street after running some errands. I wanted something light, plain and nutritious, just like all my cravings as of late. I ended up with a mango chicken wrap. It was a close call. Had it been wrapped improperly, there was no supporting it together with my other hand. It could have ended in disaster.

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My sister of course had a major hankering for junk food. Our cravings never seem to match up. So she went for a burger with cheese and guac, with a side if poutine and beer. The poutine by the way, was really good.

I may be out of Toronto, but my love for brunch continues. I have a university friend here in Ottawa who I finally got to see over the weekend.

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Nicole and I often worked together on broadcast journalism assignments. A lot of running around town lugging camera equipment and trying to convince people to talk to us. Then hours upon hours nitpicking over our digital frames in the editing room. She was awesome to work with, and we’re closer now because of it :)

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We’d originally planned for Stoneface Dolly’s in Little Italy, but the wait was unreal. So we ended up at Il Primo across the street. I suspect not as good as our first choice. But I ordered the lemon ricotta pancakes that were on special and they were delicious. I’ve never added citrus to my sweet breakfast concoctions and it was a welcome flavour.

Nicole actually just returned from a trip to Toronto where she picked up this treat from a DIY cookie place called Sweet Flour on Bloor West. For a regular sugar cookie, it tasted anything but boring. I especially liked the thick frosting.

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I ate it one little piece after another and before I knew it, it was gone!

Surprisingly, I think I’ve lost a little weight since my accident. My hunger levels have drastically decreased since I stopped exercising. Now that I’m not eating out as much, my belly pouf has deflated.

However, I am still paying special attention to what I eat during this recovery process. For the sake of my self esteem and body’s ability to repair itself. Junk food actually doesn’t cure all. My cravings are now geared towards the plain and boring. So I am now, ahem, kindly asking for “get well” spinach salads only. I know you understand ;)

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