Category Archives: RA Kitchen Tips

RA Kitchen Tips – an ongoing series of how to make cooking easier and safer for those with a chronic illness or mobility issues.

Time for a pain pill? The struggle is real.

Neck and shoulderUgh…I’m hurting

One of the areas where I frequently have pain, is right across my shoulders. It’s where I hold tension and is a good indicator of how stressful or zen my day is going.  Often, at the end of the day this area is screaming at me. Like right this very moment!

T 3’s?

There are times when I am in a lot of discomfort and honestly, I would just rather not have to take a dose of pain medication. This is often due to timing. If I take them too early in the afternoon, they may have worn off by the time I really need them when I’m standing making dinner.  If I wait too long, the pain may get on top of me and be harder to control. If I take too many doses a day, I may end up needing to ration my supply down the road. Then there’s just the simple fact that I don’t like to always be taking pain killers. I know I am not alone in having these sorts of thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I still need my pain meds but I do like to have some additional tools in my toolbox. And hey, lets be honest, it also allows me to more freely enjoy a glass or two of wine. Red wine, for the antioxidants – it’s good for you.

time for pills

         calendar                        no-wine

What I sometimes do instead

One of the things I love about using essential oils is that there are many times when, in the past I would have reached for a prescription or an over the counter medication, that I am now using my oils. And to be honest, they often work faster and better than anything in pill form. I especially like them when trying to target something specific. Like a pain in the neck or my excruciating knees.

Past Tense and Deep Blue – Essential Oil Blends from doTERRA




I’ve recently starting using Past Tense to target the painful area across my shoulder blades. It works so good and so fast!  It comes in a roller bottle that I can have with me anywhere and use at any time.  As an added benefit, this blend also provides soothing effects on both the mind and body so is a great one to have when in stressful situations.

For sore joints, Deep Blue is the bomb!! I use it, diluted with a bit of coconut oil to rub into my knees before I go out if I’m going to be on my feet a lot. Also, after an activity, if my legs are screaming at me, it works great to cut down on the intense hurt that can be an inflamed, angry RA joint. Having something that can provide me with relief and is also completely natural really appeals to me. If it appeals to you as well and you’d like to find out more or make a comment, here’s how to get in touch.

**Please note, all content and claims are my own and do not represent medical advice**



RA Kitchen Tips Draining Pasta

Today’s Tip is in response to a request from a reader asking for ways for a Mom with limitations in her hands to have an easier and safer way of lifting and draining pasta. Great question. Pasta can be the starting point for an endless variety of easy meals. Lifting, carrying and draining hot liquid can be extremely difficult for some and there can also be a safety concern.

Here are some ways to approach the task of draining pasta to limit the strain and heavy lifting:

• If using short pasta (penne, rotini, maccaroni) use a Spider (see below) or a Large Slotted spoon. Remove pasta directly from the water to the pan with the sauce or bowl or however you wish to use it.

• If using long pasta (spaghetti, linguini) remove pasta strands from water using tongs and put directly into sauce or bowl. I use lightweight spring loaded aluminum tongs as shown below.

  •  After using one of these removal methods leave the water in the pot on the stove.  You can then ask for someone to help at a later time or, wait until water has cooled down so you can more readily handle without an immediate sense of urgency or risk of burns.

• Lighten the load – if not wanting to use one of the removal methods above you can scoop out some of the water from the pot before lifting so it won’t be so heavy. Using a 2 cup plastic measuring cup and wearing oven mitts makes short work of this task. Once you have removed most of the water, take the now much lighter pot to the sink to drain.

• I do not recommend the metal inserts that can be lifted out of a pot to drain pasta. I find these still to be awkward to deal with and dangerous with the hot water and steam.

Spider Kitchen Utensil – a spider is one of my more frequently used kitchen tools. It is a light weight large shallow wire-mesh basket with a long handle, usually made of wood. The wire basket is woven in a loose pattern that resembles a spider’s web, hence the name. Unlike a strainer the design and open weave of a spider allows it to be used with one hand to lift items out of hot liquid or oil instantly and with little effort. It’s low shallow shape allows you to get right to the bottom of a deep pot and remove all of the pasta. I always use this method for scooping out pasta, or perogies etc.

kitchen spider


Kitchen Tongs – a must have. I have a few pair so that If one is in the dishwasher I’ve got another pair on the ready. I use this style of lightweight aluminum with the closed tips. Easily picks up anything and holds it in a firm grip. Ideal for lifting strands of pasta out of a pot.  I find this style preferable to a pasta fork as you can get a better grip and have more control.

kitchen tongs

More like this?  If you liked this tip, check back often for more RA Kitchen Tips, an ongoing series.  Read more about RA Kitchen Tips here –