When life gives you lemons–or a broken oven….

So, it all started…

(isn’t that how all “oh, no!” stories start?)

This time, it was with a phone call…from my husband who’d just gotten home…asking what we were burning in the oven. Not a good question when I hadn’t been home for four hours. And worse? The oven was still so hot, it burned your hand if you touched the OUTSIDE of it!

And remember, I hadn’t been home for four hours. In fact, no one really had. At least not long enough to mess with baking. It’d been one of those crazy nights when each of my children needed to be somewhere else–usually across town–every 15 minutes. One of those evenings when I put an easy 100 miles–“in city”–on my poor van…just traveling back and forth between high schools… No, supper hadn’t even been thought of, let alone started…

So, either someone broke into my house just to broil a pizza, OR my time-bake oven turned itself on. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my time-bake. Coveted one for 19 years before we finally bought one. But, personally, I prefer when I choose the time for it to bake. (Anyone else thinking Arnold? from Terminator?)

No lights shown on the display, but heat and that appetizing burned smell permeated the house, proving what none of us wanted to believe. My husband turned on the exhaust fan, and an hour later, though it was better, it was still hard to touch the outside of the range.

We unplugged it.

Ok, now we didn’t have to worry about my house going up in flames, and the Sears guy said it was a matter of an electrical control gone bad, but I had another problem. I had 17 people coming to my house for dinner the next day, and while I could use the crock pot and the grill for most of it, I had to bake a cake! And, no, I couldn’t just go to the store and buy one. It was supposed to be a present. The kind of home-made goodies you wrapped up carefully in aluminum foil and put in a gift bag…

What to do, what to do??!!

Ahh, no worries. We have Google! No, as far as I know, Google hasn’t figured out a way to bake cakes by itself (my oven’s ahead of Google on that one,) but it can tell you how to microwave one!!

What I learned?
Take your favorite recipe and:

  • Decrease the least-rich liquid by 20-25%: (So if you have eggs, oil, and water, reduce the water…1 cup water becomes a little over 3/4 cup water)
  • Decrease the temperature: 425°F = 100% power; 350-375°F = 70% power
  • Decrease the bake time to 25%: If your oven recipe calls for 40-50 min, your microwave will only take 10-12 min!!! (As in any baking, go for the shorter time and add more as needed…)
  • Let it sit in the microwave for about 6 min after it “dings.” (It keeps cooking.)

I’ll admit–I wasn’t willing to waste time on baking it completely from scratch if it didn’t work, so I ran out and bought two boxes of Pillsbury Pumpkin bread mix, computed all the oven directions to microwave numbers, and watched anxiously through the window as it whirled around.

And it turned out fantastically! Yes, there were some differences. pumpkin bread from the microwaveThe outside was a bit damp rather than crusty, and the top had a bump in the center rather than the perfect curve that you hope for in the oven, but it tasted SO GOOD! In a fraction of the time!

Who knew!!

But what did I REALLY learn? Well, I have to say, I’d never have tried baking in the microwave if it hadn’t been for my broken oven. And I guess, if I have the time–and a range that only turns on when I want it to–I’d still choose the oven. But now, I have options! And fast ones at that.

So lesson learned:
The old adage is still true–When life gives you lemons–or in this case a broken oven–it doesn’t mean life’s gone sour. It’s just time to change the recipe up a little bit.
Or said another way, When God closes an oven door, He may just open that microwave window…

lemon poppyseed bread from the microwaveAnd about those lemons?
I don’t know about microwaved lemonade,
but I tried microwaving lemon poppyseed bread next.
My son couldn’t get enough of it!

“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20, ESV)

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3 thoughts on “When life gives you lemons–or a broken oven….”

  1. David

    Fantastic blog post ! I love it 🙂

  2. Heather L

    Super cute❤️ That lemon poppyseed looks amazing!

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