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4 Ways to Reheat Your Food Without a Microwave

As more of us become aware of the importance of what goes into our mouths, we are trying to retain as much of the nutritional value of our food as possible and reduce the amount of toxicity we expose ourselves to. But, if you were a child or teenager of the ’90s you probably grew up reheating things in a microwave and find it a little hard to imagine a microwave-free kitchen.

Well, human beings were reheating food before the microwave, and we’ll be heating up food long after these things are no longer used (like polaroid cameras, charcoal clothes irons and rotary dial phones). So, in case, you’re at a loss for microwave alternatives, I have a few to recommend.


Stove Top (Imgur)
Stove Top (Imgur)

The first place most of our food gets prepared is on the stovetop, and this might be the best place to reheat some of it. For almost all dishes, I will start by adding a few tablespoons of water to the skillet or pot. This creates a layer of moisture between the food and the pan which prevents the food from sticking or burning while it reheats. Since many foods loose moisture while in the fridge, we need to add a bit of water to it anyway. So, don’t be afraid to water sauté your refridgerated dishes.


Bain-marie (Wikipedia)
Bain-marie (Wikipedia)

Double Boiler / Bain-Marie
If you don’t have a commercially-produced doubleboiler (2 pots designed to fit one inside the other), you can place your food into a heat-resistant glass bowl or metal bowl that fits snugly onto a sauce pan or pot. The lower saucepan or pot is set to boil (water inside it) and the heat from the boiling water provides a moist but effective temperature that reheats without burning.


Toaster Oven (LiveStrong)
Toaster Oven (LiveStrong)

Toaster Oven
My 2nd favourite way to reheat food is in the toaster oven. For baked goods, the oven ensures that you don’t get soggy food. But for other types of food, even dishes with sauces, I just wrap them in foil paper or place them in an oven-safe container (sealed with foil paper) and they’re ready to eat in 15 minutes, usually.


Bamboo Steamer (The Wooden Spoons)
Bamboo Steamer (The Wooden Spoons)

Whether you’re using a bamboo steamer or the metal steamers (that look similar to double boilers), it is a great way to gently heat food without bruising and drying them out. I have actually placed an entire plate of food inside a steamer to reheat the meal, but if you try this, please be careful to use a plate charger or another plate to rest it on while you eat as the one you place in the steamer will be VERY hot.


HLM Promo

Of course, another really efficient bonus method is the portable personal warming oven that I use for reheating my lunch while on the job: The Hot Logic Mini. It gets everything really hot while retaining flavours in 60-90 minutes and still uses up less energy than a microwave does in a couple minutes. I love my Hot Logic Mini and wrote about it here and here.


What methods are you planning to use instead of a microwave from now on? Please tell me in the comments below.

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Using My Lunchbag to Heat up Cold Food

So, in my previous post, I introduced a new gadget to you and gave you an overview of what it is and how it works. I bought the Hot Logic Personal Portable Oven because I take my lunch to work with me everyday, and I want to avoid using a microwave to heat up my meals. So, do you want to know what actually happened when the oven was delivered to my home and I started using it? Well, I could have never imagined how things would’ve unfolded.


Getting Ready
On Monday April 11, I ordered my Hot Logic Mini from a USA-based vendor on eBay. I paid US$44.95 or ¥5042 (the shipping, handling and customs fees included) and they shipped it to me in Japan using USPS. I knew I would need to get a new lunch container (to replace the bento I had used for the past two years) and I didn’t want to use anything plastic. So, I started hunting online and in-stores for an affordable Pyrex dish, and ended up buying two 800ml-sized heat-resistant glass dishes at the Daiso shop (for ¥300 each). I figured I would put the main dish and starchy side dish in one of the containers and keep my raw salad in the other one. (I’d just use the freezer packs and an insulated lunchbag to keep the fresh veggies cold.) So, once I bought the 2 glass dishes, all I was waiting on to start my new lunch-time routine was my new Hot Logic 😉




Getting Hot
On Friday April 22, the Hot Logic Mini was delivered to my home and I was so excited! But, since it was already Friday evening, I had to keep my composure over the weekend. On Monday morning, I packed one of the glass dishes with a mixture of freshly cooked and refridgerated food, and the other dish with a leftover green salad. Then when I got to work, I searched for the power cord and plugged it into the outlet at my desk. (Can you believe that up until that point, I had not even examined the design of bag nor checked where the power cord was?! LOL.) Anyway, when I actually found the ‘secret compartment’, I thought it was really neat that they designed the bag with a pocket in the back for storing the power cord while it isn’t being used. Very chic, don’t you think?!




Lunch is Served
Finally, it was lunch time! All morning, I had resisted the temptation to unzip the bag to see what was happening to my food inside. So, I had no idea what my lunch would look like after sitting in the oven for 4 hours. Well, as I unzipped and lifted the lid of the bag, I was happy to see the steamy droplets that had formed on the lid of the glass dish and realised that I needed to be careful as I removed the container, since it was actually hot. (Not ‘melt-your-fingers’ hot, but more like ‘just-cooked’ hot.)


Taste Test
Oh… then when I finally dug in, the texture and flavour of the food was distinctly different from when I would reheat it in the microwave. Everything was thoroughly heated – no cold spots in the middle. With the microwave, I often had to stir and heat a few times to get everything properly heated. The next thing I noticed was that the portions of the food that were touching the glass, did not get dried out or crusty in any way. That would happen with microwave, especially with things like curry (which I had that day). The curry, rice, vegetable croquette and fried ripe plantain were all moist and flavourful, as if I had just finished cooking and served up the plate straight from the stove!


Compact Size 
The Hot Logic Mini is about the size of the lunch pans that we used to carry to Basic and Primary school, in Jamaica. But, I had got used to the micro-sized, super-compact Japanese bentos, so it took some time for me to figure out how to pack it into my tote (2nd bag). But, now, It’s all good. I think if I were to skimp on my veg intake and pack cooked veggies, it could all fit into one of the glass dishes. But, I am really trying to have a large salad alongside the rest of my lunch everyday.


A Brilliant Product
I get the impression that enough marketing and promotion hasn’t been done for this Vibrant Eating gadget, but I expect that many competitors will be coming up with their own versions in no time. Between people who are trying to make better food choices, people who are on strict/weight loss diets and the folks who are packing lunches as a financial management strategy, the Hot Logic Mini Personal Portable Oven is a great sell!


I’m in Love
After just one week of using the Hot Logic Mini Personal Portable Oven, I resolved to avoid microwave ovens like the biohazard they are. I love my new ‘cooking lunch bag’ and would happily encourage you, my friends and loved ones to make the switch.

By the way, it seems the vendor I bough from sold out soon after, I go the my Hot Logic. But, you can still get them from and other vendors on .

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Goodbye Microwave! Hello, Hot Logic Mini!

When you choose to eat more whole plant foods, you realise that you need to make, pack and carry most of your meals. But, as soon as your food leaves the kitchen, it begins to cool and then your choices become: eat it cold or zap it in the microwave. But, after you’ve made the effort to prepare a meal that is made up of plant foods in their natural states, free of chemical preservatives and artificial additives… do you really want to use a microwave? Well, you don’t need to stress about it anymore. Taking lunch to work is being revolutionised! A new kind of lunchbag – and personal oven – is allowing us to serve up hot meals from our office desks, cars, work sites, camping grounds and anywhere else we can access electrical outlets.


Goodbye Microwave!

Microwaves are not something I like. Years ago, I came across enough warnings about the health hazards of microwave ovens:

  • The plastic, foam and paper from the containers we often use in the microwave, melting at microscopic levels, and leaching into the food.
  • The microwaves (electromagnetic radiation) that leak out while the microwave oven is in use and can damage human cells.
  • The massive amounts of nutrients lost from foods and beverages heated in microwaves.
  • The way our food become carcinogenic when heated in microwaves.

Bye-bye So, when my family moved to Japan and began to furnish our new place, we made a conscious decision to not get a microwave. It took some time to adjust but, now it is only natural to cook and reheat food in a skillet on our stove top or in the toaster/convection oven. But, what about when I have to eat away from home? Most offices don’t have convection ovens, so if you bring your lunch to work, you either eat cold lunches or use the microwave. Sad to say, I had been heating up many a meal in the office microwave, even thought I refused to have one in my home. Obviously that is going to create some cognitive dissonance: I was really conflicted about the whole thing.


Hot Logic Promo Image

Hello Hot Logic Mini!

Then one day, I got an email about “PlantPure Nation” a 2015 documentary which picks up where the documentary, “Fork Over Knives” left off. As I checked out the store on their website, I realised that they offered frozen prepackaged vegan meals for persons who wanted to transition to a whole, plant-based diet, but didn’t know where to start. But, what really impressed me was the portable ‘warming oven’ that they were encouraging customers to use for reheating their meals, instead of microwaves. An alternative to the microwave? A lunchbag I could take to work? Both solutions in one? I immediately added the Hot Logic Mini to my wishlist and about a week later, I ordered one from a vendor on eBay. Why wait for my birthday?!


So, What Is It?

So, what exactly is the Hot Logic Mini Personal Portable Oven? It is an insulated lunchbag with a heater tray inside. Any rigid container with a flat bottom and a sealed lid can be used in it. It doesn’t matter the material (plastic, glass, aluminium or paper) that the container is made from. Once it can withstand heat of 212°F, then you can use it in the Hot Logic Mini. The Personal Portable Oven uses a low, slow conduction heating technology to cook or reheat your food and keep it hot until you’re ready to eat. It’s max temperature is 212°F and once the food is thoroughly cooked or heated, then it holds it at 180°F until you unplug the device. It cooks fresh dishes made from scratch and reheats frozen or refrigerated meals. It takes about an hour to get cold/ refrigerated leftovers hot and does the job on only 45 watts of electricity. The average microwave cooks on 1,000 watts with the slower, less efficient models running on 700 watts!


HLM Promo

A Big Secret?!

I was literally in awe when I scoped out this portable food warmer. I kept wondering how come I had never heard of it or seen anyone raving about it. Like why?! Where are all the people on special diets or taking weight-loss challenges? Are they all nuking their prepped meals? Well, if people are using these cooking lunchbags and keeping them a secret, I’m not going to join then! I’m spreading the good news and hoping that you will make the Logical choice 😉

In the next post, I’ll share with you how I’m using my Logic to enjoy hot lunches at work.


Do you have a Hot Logic Mini? Do you think you’ll get one?

Tell me what you think.


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The Ultimate Formula For Lip-Smacking Green Smoothies

Green smoothie dumps and chugs are quite common. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. It is totally possible to have guaranteed delish every time you turn on your blender. Yet, horrid-tasting green smoothie attempts are more common than they should be. You blend up your ingredients, taste it and throw it straight into the sink, because you refuse to drink anything that tastes like pond water. Or you realise the recipe is a fail, but tell your taste buds to “Shut up!” and drink it all as fast as possible because you don’t plan to waste a red cent by dumping a jug full of liquefied fruit, veg and superfoods.


For a green smoothie fan, it might not be such a big deal – the yucky blend – because you often have a few recipes that you can fall back on for yumminess guaranteed. The pain comes for the sister who is drawn in by all the testimonials about easy-to-make, delicious, health-restoring, weight-managing, affordable blends. When she finds the bravery to through green leaves into a blender and opens it to a lawnmower fragrance and the smoothie tastes like sludge, she will often swear never to touch a green smoothie again!


The Answer
The big difference between a green smoothie dumper/chugger and a green smoothie connoisseur is a formula. A connoisseur will often start by following a recipe, but eventually they try so many variations that they spot a consistent formula and start using it to come up with their own recipes. A perfect example is the “60/40 Rule” that Victoria Boutenko came up with. She encourages green smoothie newbies to make their blends 60% fruit and only 40% leafy greens. This way, the sweetness and flavours of the ripe fruits will overpower the natural bitterness of dark-green leaves. These blends are usually fruity and only the colour might give away hints at the vegetables hiding in the smoothie.


The Jamaican Green Smoothie Formula
Well, I follow a formula like this too. For every 2 cups of dark-green leafy vegetables, I include 3 cups of fruit. Then to move the produce around the blender blades, I pour in 1-2 cups of liquid (usually pure water). So, it really is as easy as 1-2-3:
1 cup Liquid
2 cups Leaves
3 cups Fruit
It doesn’t matter if you use 1 fruit or 3, and it is okay to use 2 different leaves in the same blend. Those aren’t really the factors to focus on when blending up a delicious green smoothie. It is the portions that matter, not the particular ingredients.


So, the next time you look in the produce basket and realise that you’ve never combined the particular fruits and leaves that you happen to have on hand, just remember the 1-2-3 formula and you’ll be sure to drain your cup – every time.



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Juice vs Smoothie: Which is Better?

Adapted & Excepted from “Jamaican Green Smoothies: The Essential Guide To Transforming Your Life, One Cup At A Time, With The Leafy Greens & Fruits In Your Backyard” By Didan Ashanta


Most people are familiar with fruit juices, vegetable juices and green juices, but a juice is very different from a smoothie. To make juice, for example carrot juice, some persons may grate the carrot then use a sieve or muslin cloth to squeeze out the liquids. However, most persons just blend the carrot then strain away the pulp or trash, while other persons use a juice extractor to get the job done. In all three (3) cases, the fibrous matter from the fruit, vegetable or green leaves, is separated from the liquids and frequently dumped. But when making smoothies, the ingredients are not strained, sieved nor the fibre extracted in any way. Instead, the ingredients are all blended together until they make a smooth and creamy drink – no waste to discard and no time lost cleaning up.


What’s the Difference?

In her article, “To Juice or Blend?” Kristine Miles, author of “The Green Smoothie Bible” and writer at, explains the difference between a juice and a smoothie this way, “Juices do not contain fibre, so their nutrients are absorbed very quickly, high in the digestive tract… Smoothies are essentially juices with blended fibre – and it is the presence of fibre in smoothies that proponents of the drinks point to as their main virtue.” 4 She went on to further expand the point by showing how a commonly eaten fruit moves through the digestive system depending on the form in which it is consumed:

“Let’s look at an orange consumed three ways: juiced, blended, and eaten. Orange juice requires no chewing and little or no energy beyond the stomach, and all of the sugars, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are available immediately and absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. A blended orange requires no chewing and minimal energy in the stomach and intestines, since the fibre has already been broken down into very small and functional pieces. The same nutrients as in the juice are absorbed more slowly, and the sugars are released more slowly into the bloodstream because of the presence of soluble fibre. By comparison, eating an orange requires breaking down all of the constituents into smaller pieces, starting with chewing, then churning in the stomach, and further liquefying in the intestines so the fibre is small enough to do its job and the nutrients and sugars are small enough to be absorbed.”


Fibre: Is it a Big Deal?

Yanique Rodgers, a Jamaican Nutritionist and Food Product Research & Development Scientist, pointed out that an excellent way to understand the role of fibre in the diet (when comparing the juiced and blended oranges) is to consider that since our bodies use up less energy to digest the blended fruit, it further reduces the likelihood of post prandial apathy – popularly known as niggaritis. Although post prandial apathy is not usually a problem with plant based food (since we get dietary fibre from plant foods), it is a great way to understand the importance of fibre in our diet. You may read the rest of Kristine Miles’ article for more details on the benefits that one gains from both juices and smoothies. But, she isn’t the first or only person to discuss juicing versus blending. Dr. Wigmore wrote of juicing:

“Juices do not contain fiber. Separating the fiber and other elements from the juice results in a food that is not as balanced as Nature would have it. Nature provides us with complete foods in a perfectly complete package. ” (Wigmore, A. Rebuild Your Health: With High Energy Enzyme Nourishment, 1991.)

While Victoria Boutenko wrote:

“One of the main advantages of juice is that it requires next to no digestion and can be absorbed and assimilated immediately into the bloodstream, allowing the digestive system to rest. This important quality of juice allows it to be used by people who suffer from severe nutritional deficiencies or have highly irritable digestive system. People with these conditions often cannot tolerate any fiber at all, and juice may provide invaluable nourishment for them. Later, when their health will improve, these people can switch to drinking smoothies…
I agree with Dr. Doug Graham that juices are a fractured food, which is missing an essential component – fiber. When we consume enough fiber, we take a load off of our organism by improving our elimination. Toxins often build up in the colon and fiber cleans them out. When most toxins have been removed by fiber, then the body has a greater ability to absorb nutrients, thus improving digestion. Humans could not live on juices alone, whereas green smoothies are a complete food.”

Victoria also did some excellent research that you may find worth reading in the “Blending vs. Juicing” which is excerpted on the Green Smoothie Revolution website. So, hopefully you now have a clearer understanding of what a green juice and a green smoothie are, how they differ and who should extract juices versus who should blend smoothies.


For more green smoothie info and recipes, purchase a copy of Jamaican Green Smoothies, now available from major online book retailers like Amazon and in branches of Kingston Bookshop & Bryan’s Bookstores throughout Jamaica.