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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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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

1. ScheduleOnce

    ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

    ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

    ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

    Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

    Available on Web

    2. Calendly

      Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

      You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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      Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

      3. Assistant.to

        For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

        From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

        While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

        Available on Web

        4. Acuityscheduling

          Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

          It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

          Available on Web | iOS | Android

          5. Pick

            Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

            At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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            Available on Web

            6. X.ai

              For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

              This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

              Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

              Available on Web

              7. YouCanBook.me

                is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                Available on Web

                8. Doodle

                  Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                  It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                  You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                  While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                  Available on Web | iOS | Android

                  9. WhenAvailable

                    WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                    Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                    Available on Web

                    10. Rally

                      Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                      Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                      Available on Web

                      11. NeedtoMeet

                        Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                        NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                        While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                        Available on Web

                        Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                        In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                        To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                        Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                        A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                        Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                        If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                        Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                        With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                        The Bottom Line

                        Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                        Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                        Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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