One of the most frequent emails/DM’s I receive is: “Colby, how on earth do you survive in college, in a tiny room, without access to typical appliances or any time!?”
OK, that may not be exactly how urgently I’m usually asked, but the general idea. I am here to share with you my passion for one of the most important inventions of all time. Yes: it might even beat sliced bread (mostly because when that sliced bread goes stale, BOOM this invention fixes it). Drumroll please….
Yes, you can make oatmeal in it, you can heat up leftovers, you can heat your dorm with it…? (JK, please don’t try that, no matter how cold it gets in there) But there is SO MUCH MORE that that magic machine can do.
I am about to share with you some of the top hacks I’ve discovered using your microwave that basically make healthy living in college a breeze.
1. UNSTALE BREAD
I know how hard it is to find time to go grocery shopping between classes, clubs, etc., so I’m sure there was at least one time when that old loaf of bread sitting on your desk has gone stale. Well, don’t throw it away! Instead, wrap it in some wet paper towels and microwave it in a few 10-second bursts. #MONEYSAVED #PBJTIME
2. HEATING PADS
For all those muscle aches and pains that just always seem to happen on the worst days. Wet a small bathroom towel, fold it up, and microwave for a few minutes until whatever desired temperature is reached. Place your towel in a plastic bag to use, or press directly onto sore area.
3. STEAM VEGGIES
Sometimes, oily dining hall veggies just don’t cut it anymore. Place some fresh veggies (farmers markets are a great place to get quality veggies really cheap!) in a microwave safe bowl with a dash of water, salt, and pepper. Cover loosely with a lid, or saran wrap, and microwave for 2-3 minutes (time will vary depending on vegetable).
4. SWEET POTATOES IN A FLASH
Cooking a sweet potato takes: 1. An oven and 2. 30-45 minutes… But living in a dorm, who has either of those?! No one. To the rescue: you guessed it. Your microwave. Use a fork to poke a few holes in your sweet potato, wrap it in damp paper towel, and microwave for 3-5 minutes depending on the size. Bam. Cooked sweet potato. Stuff it, season it, or just eat it plain.
Oatmeal is a classic quick microwave breakfast, but did you ever think about making eggs for breakfast instead? Whisk eggs with a bit of milk and spices in a microwave safe mug. Microwave for 1.5-2 minutes, stirring halfway. For a mug omelet, add in some veggies and/or cheese before cooking!
Have a sweet tooth? Stir together 1-2 T coconut flour, 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 egg white, and about ¼ c almond milk in a microwave safe bowl (or mug) and microwave for about 1-2 minutes, or until fully cooked. It’s a piece of cake! (Literally.)
If you’re ever in need of an indulgent treat…(treat yo’self 🙂 ) I often buy premade cookie dough that I store in my fridge for just that occasion. Take out single servings as desired and microwave for about 45 sec-1 minute. The microwave will bake you a perfect little cookie.
8. HOT CHOCOLATE
This may be one of my favorites, especially in the wintertime. So simple. So necessary. Microwave milk or a milk substitute (almond milk is my preference) in a mug for about 2-3 minutes until it is warmed up completely. Remove and immediately drop in a square of dark chocolate. Stir until it melts, and VOILA!
9. MICROWAVE LATTE
This one is really just for fun. Make foamy milk for your coffee like a Starbucks barista using only your new favorite appliance. Pour your choice of milk (in whatever amount you would normally put into your coffee) into a mason jar or other lidded container, put lid on and shake for about 30 seconds, remove lid and microwave for 30 seconds. Hold back foam with your spoon while you pour the milk into your coffee. Then, spoon the remaining foam on top.
10. QUICK QUINOA
I always have either quinoa or rice prepped in my fridge for quick meal making. But unfortunately, these both take quite some time to cool on the stove top. Instead… microwave. In a microwave-safe bowl, add 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Cover with lid, or plate, and cook for about 6 minutes (for 1 cup quinoa), remove and stir. Microwave for 2 more minutes, remove and allow to sit covered to steam for about 5-10 more minutes.