Have you ever wondered how to heat food without a microwave?
I totally have! Microwaves are just so convenient. But there’s still so much controversy over whether or not they destroy nutrients. And the better quality models are pretty expensive. They also take up a good deal of my precious counter space. So last year, when our microwave bit the dust, we decided not to replace it right away.
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I just really wanted to see if we could live without it.
One thing that I’ve learned from our journey towards minimalism is that there’s so much we can comfortably live without. I don’t really think that microwaves are evil, and I knew I could get one tomorrow if I really wanted to. But I wanted to see how much our lives would change without one.
The verdict? Our lives did change. But living without a microwave has actually been far easier than I imagined.
Here’s how we live – and heat food – without a microwave these days:
We boil water in a tea kettle.
Can I be honest? This was my number one reason for keeping a microwave. I loved the convenience of being able to boil water for tea in just 90 seconds. It’s embarrassing to admit, though, how often I was reheating the same cup of water because I would forget it in the microwave. When our microwave died, I was forced to use my gorgeous thrifted Le Creuset tea kettle (similar to this one). I was surprised to find out how quickly I could boil water — AND the whistle on the tea kettle actually reminded me to pour myself a cup.
We store our leftovers differently.
I’ve always been a fan of these glass storage containers, but I really fell in love with them once we ditched our microwave. Oven safe glassware is awesome for reheating food. There are some precautions to take – this conversation has some helpful insight. But I’ve had good luck with taking leftovers directly out of the fridge and reheating in a 325* oven.
We air pop popcorn.
We make several large bowls of popcorn every week with an air popper similar to this one. I skip the butter and season my popcorn with coconut oil spray and sea salt. It’s so delicious! My husband prefers butter and actually uses the butter melting cup at the top of the machine. Of course, you can make popcorn on the stove as well, but I prefer the air popped version. I also love that when we’re not using the popper we can easily tuck it away out of sight.
We use our oven range – a lot.
We definitely use our stove more than before. But it hasn’t meant that I spend all day slaving over a hot range just to heat food without a microwave. I’ve found it only takes a few minutes more to steam veggies on the stove top. And we use this pan (another thrift store find) all the time to reheat leftovers – I just spray lightly with cooking spray and use low-to-medium heat for almost everything.
We make time for coffee.
I was the mom who reheated the same cup of coffee over and over until it was almost undrinkable. And while I need less coffee overall these days, living without a microwave has forced me to make time to enjoy it hot. I love sitting on my back porch and sipping on coffee for a few minutes before I start my day. Insulated mugs are also really helpful in allowing me to savor a hot cup!
We buy less convenience foods.
It’s been an awesome benefit I really wasn’t anticipating. I feel like we’ve always eaten pretty healthfully. But we’re skipping the microwave popcorn, and the jar of cheesy nacho dip, and the pricier steam-in-the bag veggies. I’m also far more likely to prep a quick salad or veggies and dip while food is cooking on the stove.
We’re more intentional.
Learning to heat food without a microwave has forced me to be more intentional. I move meat from the freezer to the fridge to thaw the night before. I’ve had to learn to time my sides so that they’re done at the same time as the main part of the meal. I’m using my slow cooker more on busy days. I keep ingredients on hand for healthy meals that can be made quickly on the stove top. Sometimes we just eat simpler meals.
It took me awhile to learn how to heat food without a microwave, but I did it.
I won’t lie – I’ve been tempted more than once to run out and buy one. But on a day to day basis, it really hasn’t changed our lives much at all. Other than a few crunch times when I’ve needed to thaw something, or just didn’t want to cook anyway, I really haven’t noticed much of a difference.
Would YOU live without a microwave? Is there anything that has made heating food without a microwave easier for you? Please share in the comments below!
Jamie writes about living intentionally and finding beauty and perspective in the adventures of everyday life. When she’s not writing, she’s living her own adventures – working full time at an ER registration desk, parenting two spicy girls, and collaborating with her husband on the remodel of a former one-room schoolhouse on their homestead in rural Wisconsin.