Saturday, March 28, 2015

Life without a Microwave

I can't remember exactly when my parents bought our first microwave. Probably sometime in the 1980's. Did you know that it was accidentally discovered in 1945. All I know is that boy was it convenient! I think it was many years before my husband and I had one in our home and our first one was a beast, I believe given to us by someone. It sat on a shelf in our garage because it was just too big for the kitchen...lol. I remember how excited I was when he bought me one to put over our stove. A few years later we sold that house and began building our new home. When it was time to get a microwave I had a few ideas of what I wanted. We headed to the appliance store to purchase our stove, dishwasher and microwave. I loved the one we purchased. It had a setting for melting and softening butter/cream cheese/chocolate. It had several other settings AND my favorite feature that sold me on it was it's rectangular glass tray that moved side to side instead of around in a circle. No more glass dishes banging the side of the microwave (my others never had the "stop turntable" feature). It lasted us 6 years and died about 6 months ago. At first we weren't quite sure what to do! We took it down, my father in law looked at it and we all deemed it wasn't worth fixing. We put it back in place because, after all, it functioned as our stove fan and overhead light and the spot where it was just looked terrible without it there. Thankfully it hasn't turned in to a storage space.

I say all that to say that 6 months later, we're still alive and we really don't think much about it anymore. We may someday get another one, or we may not. I know many people would probably say "WHAT! How in the world today can you NOT have a microwave?" I suppose to many, this would be the end of the world because they rely heavily on the microwave for all those frozen, prepackaged items that fill their freezers. We, however, do not rely on the microwave as our source of meals. It's main use was to thaw something, re-heat food, melt or soften chocolate or cream cheese, butter or coconut oil. It was never really used to "cook anything", except maybe frozen burritos that I had made or maybe the occasional hot pocket or frozen mini-pizza I gave in and bought for one of my kids. Over the years we have gotten away from things that were strictly "microwavable only" (frozen dinners, etc). 

This has taken some adjusting, and it really stinks when I realize an hour or so before dinner that I didn't take something out to thaw. But with some creativity and a little planning ahead, it has been doable. Plus with the jury still out on the safety of microwaves, we're not in a huge hurry to replace it.

So, how have we managed? Well, let me tell you:

*We don't buy foods that require a microwave to cook. 

*We use the stovetop to melt things such as butter, chocolate, coconut oil, etc..

*I make sure I plan ahead when it comes to thawing meats or other foods. If I forget or need something last minute. I turn my oven on 200, turn it off and then after a few minutes I place that item inside the oven to thaw. I'm sure someone would say that's not safe, but I cook it right away after it's thawed and we're still alive. 

*If we forget to soften butter because we wanted to make cookies, we do the same thing with the oven, placing it in a bowl or on a plate to soften.

*We have bought hot pockets and just took longer to cook them in the oven. 

*We use an air popper to make our popcorn so that wasn't an issue. 

*I've begun to rely on my Pampered Chef Round Covered Baker to re-heat foods. It does so fairly quickly while not drying out the food. OR if it's a larger amount, I cover with foil and reheat at a lower heat for longer. Some items re-heat well on the stovetop and we go that route.

*I think through what I'm making on what nights..for example, will hubby be home to eat this when it's done or will it keep on warm or reheat easily. If the answer is no, I may make something different. 


*Soups are an obvious great meal..they re-heat wonderfully!

It is tricky at times, it takes planning. The other thing it causes us to do is slow down a bit. Not be in a huge hurry. Am  I always successful? No. But it showed me we can live without some of the modern conveniences. Just as I've lived the last 2 years without a smart phone....and I'm still alive.

In our day and age we are quick to replace those things that make our lives easy. I get that. I would be really bummed if my kindle or computer when bad or my camera broke. I would do whatever it took to replace them, simply because they are a vital part of my everyday life and not necessarily something I can come up with "alternative" ways of using. Yes, I know I can survive without those things and I would if I had to, BUT to me, they're important. I encourage you to use things such as the microwave as an "extra", but not as something you rely on.  Always ask yourself, is there a way I can manage without it. What can I change that will allow me to live without this item.


I'd love to hear about things that you've gone without and how you have adapted. 


With Joy UNquenchable,

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