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10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Microwave Could Do

10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Microwave Could Do

Microwaves are great for cooking food quickly, but there are quite a few other tricks you can pull off with this handy kitchen appliance. Ever want to deodorize a pair of socks? Done. Want your microwave to clean itself? No problem. In this article, we’ll cover some of the handiest tricks and tips you can pull off with your microwave.

1. Get Your Microwave to Clean Itself

Okay, your microwave can’t scrub itself down, but it can do half the job for you. Getting a helping hand from your microwave is a piece of cake.

Option 1 Slice a lemon in half, squeeze the juice into a half cup of water, then throw it in the microwave. Turn on high for 3 minutes, then wait 5 minutes more until you open the microwave. When you open the door, your microwave will smell like fresh lemon and any junk trapped on the inside of your microwave will come loose easily. Wipe your microwave clean with a paper towel in seconds, and you’re done!

Option 2 Kick your odor-killing power into gear with some baking soda. Instead of lemon water, microwave two tablespoons of baking soda in a cup of water. Follow the same procedure as above, and your microwave will smell fresh and be half clean by the time it’s done. A quick wipe down and you’re finished.

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Option 3 If you’re really in a crunch for time, forego the lemons and the baking soda. Simply soak a sponge with water and soap, microwave for a couple minutes, then wait a few minutes longer. Not only will many of the germs in the sponge be killed, it will have pre-steamed the microwave for you. Just a few short wipes and you’ll be done.

2. Pasteurize Potting Soil

If you’re a gardener, you’ve probably experienced the frustrations caused by fungi killing off your plants. The damping-off disease that kills your plants doesn’t have to be tackled with pesticides, though. To clear out the disease-ridden fungi from your soil, throw it in a paper bag, then toss it in the microwave. Experiment to find the right cooking time for your microwave, then use this method to kill off fungi before they kill off your plants.

3. How to Get a Quick Pair of Clean Socks

Have you ever found yourself without a pair of clean socks? Yes, it may sound unsanitary to put dirty clothes inside your microwave. But if it’s one thing microwaves are good at, it’s killing germs. To deodorize, disinfect, and clean a dirty pair of socks, simply dunk them in a bowl of soapy water and microwave on high for ten minutes. When they’re done, hang them up to try, and you’ve got a clean pair of socks!

4. Dry Herbs In Minutes

Want dry parsley, oregano, basil, or another herb? If they’re starting to wilt and grow old, don’t let them go to waste. Dry them and preserve them for later use. There’s no need to involve the oven or any other complicated drying procedures. Simply throw a cup of your fresh herbs on a paper towel and microwave for a few minutes. Crumble them, let them dry for a few more minutes, then store in a spice jar.

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5. Don’t Cry Over Split Onions

Onions are a great ingredient for countless dishes, but they’re no fun to cut. To make them  easier to cut and avoid crying when you slice them, break out your microwave. Cut the ends off, then microwave on high for around 30 seconds. After this, you can chop away all you want and you won’t shed a tear.

Onions aren’t the only vegetable that your microwave can help you cut, however. Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds to make it easier to remove the skin. The same goes for other vegetables, such as peaches and tomatoes – just add a bit more time for the larger vegetables.

6. Poached Eggs Made Easy

If you want to poach eggs, normally you’ve got to spend some time behind the cooktop. But if you’re a microwave-friendly person and don’t want to hassle with your stovetop, just microwave your way to some poached eggs. Use your electric kettle to boil water, pour it into a microwavable bowl, then add eggs and a dash of white vinegar. The vinegar will help keep the yokes from splitting apart.

Microwave at full power for half a minute, turn the eggs gently, then microwave for another 20 seconds. Pull the eggs out quickly so they don’t keep cooking, then you’re all set!

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7. Soak Beans, Lentils, or Legumes

Dried beans are cheap and tasty. The only problem is that they take hours to soak. If you want your beans fast, simply toss them in some water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda, and microwave on high for 10 minutes. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to use them in a recipe of your choice.

For lentils, simply cut the microwaving time from 10 minutes to 2 minutes, then use as directed.

8. Un-Stale Chips and Bread

Chips gone stale? Bread gone rubbery? No problem. To bring back the crunch to your chips, simply throw them on a paper towel and put them in the microwave. Turn on high for 10-15 seconds, then they’ll be crispy once more. To resurrect stale bread, wrap the slices in a damp kitchen towel or paper towel, then microwave on high for 10 seconds at a time. Keep going until the bread is good as new.

9. No-Bake Chocolate Cake

If you’ve got a sudden craving for moist, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, don’t wait to bake. A few ingredients and a microwave will get you fixed up in no time.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A quarter cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • A quarter teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • A dash of salt
  • A quarter cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Your favorite spread

Mix the dry ingredients together, followed by the milk and vegetable oil, then microwave on high for 60-90 seconds. That’s it!

10. Make Your Own Play-doh

Parents and kids can rejoice with this recipe. A few simple ingredients and a microwave is all it takes to whisk up some play-doh that will keep your kids entertained for hours.

  1. First, mix a cup of water, food coloring, and a tablespoon of vegetable oil together in a microwavable bowl.
  2. Whisk together with two teaspoons cream of tartar, a third a cup of salt, and a cup of flour.
  3. Cover the bowl with a paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. Mix again.
  5. Microwave again for 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat this 2 more times.
  7. If your mixture is still a little water, repeat once more.

If not, let it cool and have fun!

Featured photo credit: 10 things you didn’t know your microwave could do via google.com

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Published on September 25, 2020

10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

How to Choose a VPN

  • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
  • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
  • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
  • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
  • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

Why You Should Trust Us

Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

1. NordVPN

The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

Buy this VPN.

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2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

Buy this VPN.

3. Surf Shark

With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

Buy this VPN.

4. CyberGhost

Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

Buy this VPN.

5. IPVanish

IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

Buy this VPN.

6. Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

Buy this VPN.

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7. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

Buy this VPN.

8. TunnelBear

As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

Buy this VPN.

9. Norton

Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

Buy this VPN.

10. StrongVPN

The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

Buy this VPN.

Bottom Line

Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

Reference

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