Thursday, May 13, 2010

Microwave ponderings

(part 2)

So the consensus seems pretty evenly split. I am a firm believer in the convenience factor of the microwave. We have been using one ever since we were first married. But heating leftovers and heating rice bags are pretty much the only thing we've used the microwave for. I've never really used it to defrost meat. I prefer my veggies cooked in a steamer. I also have a stand alone rice cooker for rice. We aren't big popcorn eaters since only half of us really like it. I don't use it for casseroles since I don't really cook a lot of casseroles. And I'm intrigued by one of these immersion heaters for coffee and tea. Ever used one?

I was thinking that I would go the summer microwave free and see how much we miss it. Yesterday was our first lunch time without it and I thought it went well. We heated up turkey burgers and couscous in the toaster oven. For those of you who use your toaster oven to heat leftovers, what settings do you use? Mine has a convection bake setting and a degree knob. I'm thinking a standard 350 would be fine. Most everything was warm after about 5 minutes. Also, I'm only using metal pans in there because I'm afraid of using the wrong kind of glass or ceramic plate. Do you know how to tell if your plates are oven safe? If they say, "oven safe" like most Pyrex pans does that include toaster ovens?

But after talking with the kids, there was some concern expressed over burns. We have already had two pretty bad burns happen because of the toaster oven. The kids enjoy making their own lunches and they admitted very candidly that they prefer the microwave and feel safer using it. They also expressed a preference for their regular pop-up toaster for making toast. We have gone through a lot of burned toast trying to figure out the timing on the toaster oven. So, now I'm thinking that a microwave would work better for them but I'm not still not sure if we need one.

I am pretty determined not to get another over the range microwave at this point. If we do make the decision to get one, I would probably purchase a small one and put it on the counter in place of the toaster oven. I just don't have the counter space for both appliances. I really like having the space above my oven more open. I'd show you a picture, but it's just bare wall behind there right now. If we tile it soon, I'll let you see it!

Oh, and you people who don't have a dishwasher... you must be made of sturdier stock than I! I stand in complete awe! : )


  1. I wouldn't be without my microwave *or* my dishwasher!

  2. Friends of ours have their microwave in a cabinet. Its off the counter freeing up that space, and bc its behind closed doors, you just see their beautiful cabinetry, not a bulky micro. If you have a cabinet that's not used a lot w electric nearby, you could hide one in there.

  3. Charlotte,

    We use our microwave for the exact reason you were speaking about: burns. My oldest is petrified of getting burned and so the microwave works better for heating up things. Our microwave came with a under the cabinet bracket. Its not as big but does not take up precious cabinet space in our galley kitchen.

  4. I'm not made of "sturdier stock," just chronically exhausted! ;) It's going to get worse before it gets better, but hopefully by the end of the summer we will finally have a dishwasher!!!! I am very excited!

    That immersion heater looks really neat!! Hum. . .

    I don't have a toaster oven, but when I did, I always used the small Pampered Chef stones for baking and reheating. I would also use glass pans and anything that said "oven safe" without any problems. (I never did put actual plates in the toaster oven though.

    Also, I too kept our old microwave inside a cupboard, since I have very little counter space. (My Dad, being an Electrician, was able to run a plug to the inside of the cupboard, which was convenient and nice!)

    Although there have been a few challenges, I don't regret taking a break from owning a microwave for this past year+, and I am curious to see what you end up deciding at the end of the summer!

  5. 3 years ago we where remodeling this house and husband asked if I wanted a dishwasher. I never had a diswasher when I was growing up, so I thought about it. I decided to do without the washer and instead added another set of drawers to my kitchen. I sure need storage space. I love washing the dishes by hand. Is a relaxing time for me. I look out my window and just start praying at the same time. Only take me about 10-15 minutes, for a family of five.

  6. I meant to chime in yesterday but I ran out of time.

    We had a microwave two years ago. Then gave it to my grandmother a few months after having it. We realized that the only the things we used it for were re-heating(which was easy), and veggies. The kids and both my husband and I preferred our veggies steamed. And reaheating we do in our toaster/convection oven and the regular oven. It just depends. Sometimes stovetop. We prefer popcorn made on the stovetop when we have it.

    I should say my husband and I had a long stint of no microwave until I thought it would be handy for popcorn. Then we got one and realized it took up too much space and we didn't like our veggies in it. Now we can have the bread machine and toaster oven and my stand mixer out on the counter all within easy reach.

    My mother-in-law suggested we save the Marie Callendar pie tins and use those for reheating.

    The summer without will definitely tell you whether or not you want one. :)

  7. If I could add a bit more to the ponderings... I also sterilize my washcloths and sponges for the sink in the microwave. 2 min at high power, and all the funk is gone. Plus, it lightly steams the inside of the microwave and then I wipe it with the newly nuked rag. I just realized that I do this every day. Saw it on Oprah.

  8. I haven't had a microwave in our 20+ years of marriage. All nine of us have survived, well fed and comfortable. We do have a dishwasher - unusable! When we bought this house 7 years ago, I was excited about the dishwasher, but it turns out our water pressure from our private well is too low to run many water appliances at the same time. So when someone ran the washing machine and the dishwasher (and took a shower) at the same time, the pump on the dishwasher burnt out. We haven't repaired it. My husband says (as did my father), we have (instert number of children) healthy and competent dishwashers. My kids roll their eyes when their cousins' complain about their "dishwashing chores" -loading and unloading the dishwasher.

  9. I would trade a microwave for the dishwasher :) I was ready to dip into the emergency fund to replace the dishwasher when it went on the fritz recently :) I use the same pans in the toaster oven as the regular oven (size permitting). Pyrex works great. Our toaster oven came with a little metal pan which works well for small jobs. I hate toaster oven toast too :)

  10. I'll put in my two cents even though I am a little late catching up.

    I am very guilty of using the microwave for the 5 min frozen veggie steam pouches to go with meals that I know my kids won't love because they will always eat plain steamed veggies and it only takes 5 mins with no prep and makes no new dirty dishes! Plus, reheating is helpful, and we make oatmeal in it a lot in the morning. And I am addicted to carnation instant breakfast heated up too.

    I lived without a dishwasher for two years in upstate NY where all the houses are 50 plus years old and didn't come with them. And I couldn't stand it. I left dishes in the sink all the time! Parties took two people and a an hour to do. Plus, I only had a single tiny sink which made it even more frustrating. Love dishwashers!!! I don't know how Rosario gets the dishes done so quickly. It takes me 15mins to rinse and load the dishwasher!

    I miss my toaster oven that is in storage in the states right now, but my kids aren't old enough even to try to use it yet. I used it to toast sandwiches a lot. I really want one of those Panini makers!

    And now I want an immersion heater too. Over here in Europe, they have water heaters that are just like the immersion heater but already inside a pot. Pour wtaer in, turn it on, pour heated water seconds later into your tea cup! I use it every day! But it is 220V and I have to leave it here. So I like the idea of replacing it with the travel immersion heater!

  11. I wish I had seen those immersion heaters last week before I traveled! I took an electric kettle with me so I could have hot tea in the early morning/late evenings. That would have been much easier to carry!

    We use metal pans in our toaster oven. It's in an awkward spot, so I don't use glass bc of the extra weight of those pans. I gave my oldest toaster tongs as a gift for his birthday last year to help him safely get things out of the toaster, as burns were a worry of his, too.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!