A few months ago, I came to the realization that we should completely ditch our microwave. We only used it sparingly at that point anyway for silly things like late night nachos and warming up coffee. We could do without it, I thought. My husband was a little more reticent, but I was sure we could ditch it. After much hemming and hawing, we finally decided upon a 30 day trial. We'd move the microwave into the garage for 30 days. If we absolutely couldn't stand life without it, we'd move it back. If not, we'd be microwave free. From our experience, here are our five tips to avoid the dangers of microwaves and ditch yours for good.
1. Try to go a day without it. Prepare yourself for the challenge by going a day trying not to use your microwave while it's still in the kitchen. Write down every time you wanted to use your microwave and what your alternative heating methods were.
2. Get a toaster oven. I'd been without a toaster oven for years because I didn't really need it between the microwave and the smaller oven at the top of my regular oven. But without the microwave, I found myself really wanting a toaster oven. Luckily, my sister-in-law had just gotten married so she had an extra toaster oven so she gave us that one. Toaster ovens are one of those small appliances that a lot of people get and tire of it using up counter space. Or they love it so much, they upgrade to a superior model. So you can find inexpensive and energy efficient ovens at thrift stores or bargain centers. For most quick nuke situations, the microwave can be replaced by the toaster oven. Making those late night nachos and heating up leftovers are a breeze. And it goes beyond what your microwave did, too. It makes those nachos and leftovers tastier. You can even bake in some toaster ovens.
3. Use your stovetop. I use the stovetop all the time to cook food. But using it for warm-ups was foreign to me. Pour the soup in a small saucepan and heat it up. Or toss that leftover fried rice in a pan, add a little oil and heat that up. Heads up! Popcorn can be popped here on the stovetop, too! Yes, you can have kernels of corn all on their own without the nasty chemicals and microwave baggie. I buy organic popping corn from a baking supply store by the bucket.
4. Look into double ovens. I'm not saying to ditch your oven if you already have a great one. But if your oven is nearing the end and you're looking anyway, a double oven with something called an "everyday" oven on top is awesome. The top oven is significantly smaller and more efficient. It's great for heating up meals and baking casseroles, cookies and pizzas.
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5. Get a French press. Coffee was probably our biggest stumbling block. Once the coffee in the carafe was empty and we couldn't add a warm-up to the top of our cold coffee, we were at a loss. Sure, pouring the coffee into a pan and heating it up was possible. But for some reason it just seems ridiculous for one cold cup of coffee. So, we pulled out our kettle and our French press. And no, it's not the weird disposable kind. Whenever our coffee gets cold now, I brew half a cup extra hot in the French press and add it to the cold. And, when we're just having a couple cups of coffee, I brew each in the French press instead of the pot. It's kind of like having one of those fancy single-cup brewing stations without all the toxic plastic.
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