What we did when the microwave died

The Benefits of Living without a Microwave

by Alison Wood

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A couple years ago our microwave made a few scary sounds, gave off some light, and officially died. My husband played the coroner to ensure the microwave was officially dead. It was.

How was I going to live without a microwave? Those quick-heating machines were expensive in my part of the world, and our budget was tight. Purchasing a brand new microwave was not an option.

Immediately I began to think how I was going to heat up leftovers. With six kids in the house, the microwave was always running to "warm something up." Kids could easily pop in some leftover spaghetti and zap it for a minute to have an early dinner. Life with a microwave seemed so simple and quick. How would I have the ease and convenience of quick-cooking without a microwave?

Saving extra food from each meal and re-heating later is a great way to stretch your food budget and meals. I was tempted not to re-use my leftovers when I thought of the tedious task of re-heating the food on the stove. I realize it's embarrassingly sad.

Not having a microwave threw me for a loop since I grew up in a generation where everything was convenience, convenience, convenience. But, I soon found out some hidden truths of the benefits of living without a microwave. I also found out how easy it was to go on without my super-heating machine!

Want to know why I recommend selling your microwave and never buying one again? Ok, I'll share my yummy, money-saving experiences with you!

  • Eating healthier. Zapping a dish over and over and over again is simply not healthy. Microwaves are known to kill vitamins and minerals that are needed for our bodies to grow strong and healthy. I noticed a boost in our family's overall health when we switched to microwave-less cooking. No "heat and eat" and no stirring and zapping going on in our home anymore!
  • Better tasting food! Have you ever heated up mashed potatoes or lasagna in the microwave? It seems to take forever and certain parts of the food are still too cold to eat. So, what do you do? You zap it again and this time parts of the food are overcooked while the other half of your dish is finally warm. Re-heating food on the stove-top was much different. I always add a little bit of water and salt to put the original moisture and flavor back into the dish. It only takes a few minutes and I am able to serve a thoroughly heated dish to my family. I still scratch my head at times and wonder why I ever re-heated food in the microwave!
  • Yummier popcorn. It seems my generation thinks you can only buy popcorn in the boxes and toss it in your microwave. There is no other way to cook popcorn, right? Wrong. Cooking popcorn on the stove is so simple, quick, and super yummy. The flavor is definitely stronger and you can add your own flavors to suit your family's tastes. Here's a short tutorial on making popcorn on the stove:

    Purchase some popcorn kernels. Pour some cooking oil into a large pot, just enough to cover the bottom. Dump enough popcorn kernels into the pot so the bottom is covered in one layer of kernels. Now, place a lid on top and cook on medium-high heat. The popping will begin in just a few minutes. For fun, bring your kids in to watch the show! Keep the pot covered because kernels will be popping wildly! When the popping begins to slow, turn off burner and let the pan sit to continue popping. Let stand for a few minutes to avoid burns from steam. Add salt and your favorite flavors! Serve to some happy eaters.

    Not only does popping popcorn on the stove taste better, it is much cheaper. It only takes a small amount of popcorn kernels to make a large pot of popcorn. Try it and you can thank me later!
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  • Lower power usage. Though the difference is not astronomical, recent studies show that using a microwave for boiling water versus the stove top used approximately 25% more energy. I'll try anything to save on my power bill!
  • More counter space. I love to keep my house clutter-free. Living without a microwave frees up a lot of counter space that I can use for more important things like a coffee maker. Plus, I can showcase some cute canisters.

So, what's holding you back from cooking and re-heating your food on the stove or in the oven? Try living without your microwave for two weeks and see the taste, health and money-saving difference it makes in your family!

Alison Wood is a writer for several online parenting resources, a missionary in Southeast Asia, mom to six kiddos and blogs about parenting, pregnancy and frugal living at Pint-Sized Treasures. Visit Alison on Google+.

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