Tips for Diet Management from PKU Families
Favorite Kitchen Gadgets
Great Sources for Kitchen Gadgets and Tools
You can find many of the items described below through the following sources:
- Pampered Chef:
www.pamperedchef.com (Here you can find a local Kitchen Consultant)
www.tupperware.com (Here you can find a local Consultant; the most popular products also are available on-line)
- National PKU News Shopping Village: (For any item purchased here, at least 5% will be donated to National PKU News):
To get to the Shopping Village, go to pkunews.org, and then click on the special button on the home page that says "Shop Brand Name Stores." Then go directly to either of the above sites, which are listed under Gourmet & Grocery).
Miscellaneous Kitchen Helpers
- Our favorite gadget is Pampered Chefís manual apple slicer for $10.00. It cuts ten perfect slices in seconds! The Pampered Chef also sells a great knife for slicing bread for $8.95.
- My son likes fruit tarts and for making them, we love our round 4-inch turnover/tart maker from Pampered Chef. It is just a simple round metal gadget with a wooden handle and zig-zag edges that help press the tart together. Kitchen stores also have these. It only costs around $5-$8.
- My favorite gadget is one that I didnít truly appreciate the value of when I first bought it. It is a "cutting board" purchased from a kitchen gadget type store. It is a thin plastic sheet, smooth on one side, just slightly pebbly on the other. It can be used for chopping things and then picked up and folded to funnel them into whatever container they need to be in. But its real value is for rolling out dough, low or high protein. It is far easier to work with than a pastry cloth and only requires a slight sprinkling of baking mix. I have purchased several of them for myself and my three adult children with PKU, in different sizes. They run anywhere from two for $3 to about $3 each.
- Our favorite gadget is the Toastmaster Basic Burner/Buffet Range. It boils water for all of our low protein cooking needs and costs only about $15 at any large department store of discount store. We love it because it allows us to provide a very varied diet for our son while on vacations.
- I really like the child cups with lids from Safety First (I got mine from Wal-Mart for about $3 for two in a package). These lids are truly "no-spill." My son loves his. The formula is thick enough that it doesnít leak through. I find thinner liquids like water and tea will drip out, but not the formula. I used this when Sam turned one year as a transition tool from one formula to the other and in taking him off the bottle. (When the new formula started, so did this new cup.) It is great! I recommend it to anyone with small children.
- A new gadget in our collection is a must have, ranking with our bread machine. It is a simple tortilla press that makes tortilla (and pierogy) preparation so quick and easy. Itís even fun enough that everyone wants to do it, so the cook gets off easy! The tortillas are picture- perfect and donít stick at all if the surface is occasionally dusted with wheat starch. We measure the dough balls on the scale, resulting in uniform and perfect tortillas. Found at www.Actar.com for $13.50.
- My favorite gadgets are both from Pampered Chef. The Ice Shaver is excellent for frozen desserts and fruity-type frozen dishes. It comes with 3 round tubs in which you can freeze Kool-Aid, juices, etc. Once frozen, drop this into the machine and turn the crank to shave. I try to keep a stock of frozen orange juice for when the kids get sick and donít feel like eating or drinking anything. They have never turned down a cup of frozen juice (also helps bring down fevers). The Ice Shaver sells for $20.50 (worth every penny!)
- The Cut and Seal from Pampered Chef is a favorite at our house. It looks a bit like a big biscuit cutter. It has a huge variety of uses. We have made stuffed or filled sandwiches, crepe-like sandwiches, filled pastries, turnover-type desserts, "hot pockets," etc. The ideas for using this gadget are endless. Take bread or pastry, fill in center with desired filling, press down the Cut and Seal to cut the "pie" into the circle shape. Press on the knob to then instantly crimp the edges sealed. Bake if desired, or it makes a neat little filled sandwich. The kids love this and it is something they can do themselves. It sells for just $8-$9.
- What I would find hard to live without is my electronic organizer The one I have now is a Sharp YO 210. It is my second electronic organizer and by far superior to my first one. I purchased it from a Damark catalog but have seen similar items in office supply stores such as Staples, etc. (the model I have is almost four years old; surely new and improved models must be available). It cost in the range of $50. My organizer has room for three phone directories. I use one for PKU. There I have entered all the foods we use most often and the phe information. I usually list the food on the first line, the usual serving size and its phe value on the second line, and the phe/gram of food on the third line. Sometimes creative abbreviations are needed. This organizer is about the size of a deck of cards and about a third as thick. I keep it on the microwave at home and refer to it instead of the Low Protein Food List most of the time. It fits in my purse when we are away, for quick reference at restaurants. It is one of the two things I do not think we could manage my 11 year-old daughterís diet without (the other being a gram scale).
- The machine that I use the most is my Popeil pasta machine (www.ronco.com). With it I make a variety of homemade pasta in a variety of flavors. Another favorite is a pizzelle maker (purchase for about $50 from Cooking.com or Amazon.comKitchen, or kitchen specialty shop, then use the Waffles recipe, p. 117 Low Protein Cookery for PKU, but making 50 thin, crisp pizzelles).
- From the Miles Kimball catalog (or from www.MilesKimball.com) I purchased a circular plastic zippered bag . Whenever I make a pizza or tortilla, I flour the bag and then put the dough in. Zip it shut and it makes an almost perfect circle of dough for whatever Iím baking. I paid $1.89 several years ago. NY
- When I first started making Mushroom Burgers (p. 234, Low Protein Cookery for PKU), I had a terrible time getting the rusk crushed fine enough and the mushrooms chopped just right. I went to Target and got the Mini Food Chopper by Chefmate and found a "friend for life." It only cost around $20 and it makes so many PKU recipes much easier.
- I love my ice cream machine by Krups (model #358). I got it at J.C. Penney (available through the National PKU News Shopping Village!). It is electric and you donít need ice and rock salt. I store my container in the freezer so itís always ready. Just pour the ingredients in and a few minutes later you have beautiful ice cream to go into the freezer. Another favorite tool: I use ice cube trays to measure out tomato sauce for pasta and soup for casseroles and freeze. Itís a time saver and perfectly measures 1 or 2 tablespoons depending on tray size.
- We have loved making Alexis (age 9) her low pro ice cream with Richís Coffee Rich in Cuisinartís ice cream maker (available from Amazon.comKitchen for $60). It works great and is done in about 7-8 minutes. She can add different flavorings such as strawberry, vanilla, coffee, etc. It has brought great pleasure and fun to ice cream making.
- My favorite gadget is still the "Snackmaster" (Toastmaster 289 Snackster Sandwich Maker for $18, from Amazon.comKitchen is one brand), which I wrote about for the Fall 1993 newsletter! The toasted, filled sandwiches/turnovers you can make are wonderful (use sautéed vegetables and herbs, pizza sauce and low protein cheese, jelly/jam combined with bananas, fruit pie fillings, etc.).
- Besides my bread machine , my next most favorite gadget is the bread slicing board I use to cut the bread. Itís one of those boards with the sides with the slits for the knife to go through to cut even slices. The one I have is a "Presto Bread Slicing Guide." I purchased it from a wholesale catalog store called Brand Names, for about $12. I have seen similar styles available through other mail-order catalogs. Between these two items, I have been able to give my daughter Kelly (now age 13) "normal-looking" sandwiches.
- One of my favorite gadgets is an insulated cookie sheet, which helps prevent burning low pro cookies and crackers. They are found in most discount stores and in housewares departments for about $10- $20. Also, I love my one-handed rolling pin , which is much easier to use than a big two-handed pin. You can even roll dough out directly on any cookie sheet or in a pan. This kind of rolling pin is found at kitchen stores and through The Pampered Chef for about $10-$15.
- One very simple tool I truly could not live without is a wire whisk. It canít be a plastic one, it must be the true wire whisk! I use it for making Steveís Peanut Butter, pancakes, and so many other recipes. Available at any kitchen or department store for just as few dollars.
- I wanted to share the best way I have found to cook the low pro Mushroom Burgers without them crumbling and falling apart. I recently purchased the George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine . Most of you have probably seen his late night "infomercial" or even seen the indoor grill at your local K-Mart or similar discount store. It works great for the Mushroom Burgers because it cooks both sides at the same time so there is no need to keep flipping them (which generally causes them to fall apart). They are sold in three different sizes. The price is just $25-$30 for the smallest.
- We use our Fry Daddy a lot for tortilla chips and French beignets. I also like to make crackers for Adam and use a pastry wheel with fluted edge , available for a few dollars from a kitchen store) to cut the edges of the crackers. It works great.
- The No Mess Dough Board is my miracle for rolling out low protein dough. I couldnít prevent anything from sticking before I purchased it: order from The New England Connection for $22 (tel: 508-888-2295).
- I purchased a Food Processor Attachment for my Cuisinart Blender. It fits perfectly on my Cuisinart 7-speed electronic blender. It holds three cups and just takes a minute to attach to the blender. It is so much easier than having to deal with a full size processor. It grates the low protein cheese beautifully and also chops vegetables up very nicely. Purchase through the National PKU News Shopping Village at Cooking.com (Under Small Appliances, then Bar Blenders, item #131508, $29.95).
Formula Mixing Helpers
- My favorite gadget is a Hidden Valley Salad Shaker. I bought it at the grocery store by the salad dressings. It is really neat. My 12 year-old son drinks 15 oz. of Maxamum formula each day. The Shaker holds exactly 15 oz. and you just shake until it is mixed.
- Our son, Adam (age 15), thinks his formula mixer is the best gadget. We have used it since I received one for Christmas 15 years ago, just days before Adam was born. I wondered then what in the world I would use it for. Well, we have used it every day for 15 years! Itís a long narrow, electric mini-pimer (hand-mixer ) by Braun for about $20. The mixing blade is at the bottom of the pimer and works great in a pitcher for mixing formula with no lumps.
- The Quick Shake container by Tupperware has been a great help to making our daughterís formula so it is always fresh. It holds up to 16 oz. of liquid and has a flip-top lid for drinking. When she was on Phenyl-Free we used the piece that fits under the lid for mixing, then stored the mixed formula in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to "smooth it out." But now she is on PhenylAde, which dissolves more easily, so we donít use the extra piece or the formula curdles. It is instantly smooth in texture just with shaking. We can now travel without a blender. She also takes the shaker to school with the right amount of formula powder, adds water at lunch and has that protein boost when she needs it mostówith no ice packs in her lunch or worrying about formula going badófor only $10.
- Last year we purchased a Quick Stir Pitcher from Pampered Chef. It has a lid with a handle that controls a manual mixer. It is really great! My son never blends his formula anymore. He mixes it right in the pitcher and each time before he pours a glass, he mixes again. For us, it works much better than a blender. It still settles, but no more shaking and stirring. Just a few turns of the handle and pour! It is also great for travelling. It cost $20 or less.
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Last update: 03/01
National PKU News: www.pkunews.org