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We have come to learn that an oven is not a necessity in life. How did we come to this conclusion? By having lived without one for the past 1.5 months. Some lessons you do not necessarily choose to learn, but when they happen you make the best of the situation.
In December our oven started going out. At first I thought I had set the temperature to the wrong level. Then I thought perhaps I had just forgotten to turn the oven on all together. Finally, I stood and literally watched the oven and the display. Yup, it was going out. Finally one day, it stopped.
I called the repair guy who came and replaced the ignitor. I had my doubts that this was the problem, as the glitches were not the same as when the ignitor went out a few years ago. I suggested that it was the control board (after looking up the problem online). The technician said he did not think so and that a control board would cost $$, where an ignitor would cost $. He replaced the part and the oven worked. Our wallet was $100 lighter and all was right with the world.
Till a month later.
After the first flash of the display, I called my husband into the kitchen and told him the oven was going out again. I repeated that it had to be the control board. This time he did the online research and came to the same conclusion.
We were then faced with a decision. Do we repair the oven, yet again? Do we replace the control board? Or do we replace the whole oven? There was no clear answer, so we slept on it.
Then we slept some more. And some more. Soon over a week had passed and we still had not made a decision.
Details with the house needed answering. Property Tax Appeal was due. The car got a flat tire. Another handle on the car door broke. (It has been quite a year so far.) Soon it had been over three weeks and I had not even begun looking for a new stove or coming to a decision as to repair it.
In reality, neither my husband or I had the feeling that repairing the stove was the right decision. If we had, then the call would have been made that day to the local appliance technician.
It has happened several times in our marriage, when a decision just does not feel right. Either the timing feels off or the choices do not seem right. In those times we choose to wait. This was one of them. I assured my husband that making meals without an oven would not be a hardship. Yes, it would limit our choices, but that it was very possible to make meals without one.
In the weeks that followed, most of our meals were made on the stove top. When the urge to have muffins for breakfast arose, I remembered our bread maker. A loaf of Cranberry Pecan Green Tomato Bread was made instead of muffins. Sweet Potatoes were cooked in the microwave. Ribs were cooked on the grill, as were cookies. (Did you know you could bake cookies on a grill?) I even sliced up a meatloaf from the freezer and cooked it in a skillet on the stove top.
Instead of complaining about the lack of an oven, I have viewed this as a new challenge to my planning skills. So far, we have only missed 2 things: fresh baked crouissants and pizza.
Yes, a pizza can be cooked on a grill, though Jack doubts my skills as I burned the last one I tried. In my defense, it was the first time the oven had gone out and the pizza I cooked had already been in the oven about 10 minutes, though I was not sure at exactly what temperature. Also, it is not like grills have windows you can watch through.
Our adventure is going to continue for almost another 2 months. After shopping for ovens, we decided to wait on one that we really wanted. Again, we were faced with a decision to buy an oven already in stock at the store, but it just did not feel right. Yes, it was a good deal. Yes, it was gas. Yes, it was there. No, it was not at all what we were looking for and it would have been settling. I am pretty sure that we would have regretted that decision for the next several years.
We ended up buying a stove that added about 5 years to my age when I pushed the “Buy Now” button online. Even though we saved several hundred dollars off the purchase price, and delivery of the new stove and removal of our current stove were free, it was still more than I had ever thought to pay for an oven.
I had to remind myself, and my husband had to repeat it, THIS is why we save. THIS is why we are frugal in other areas of our life. THIS is why we worked so hard to become and continue to live debt free.
We also chose not to pay another $100 to fix the ignitor on our current stove, knowing that it would just go out again. Our thinking is that this would have just been money down the drain. Now that I have found a few ways to circumvent the need to use the oven, the next several weeks do not look all that difficult in the menu planning area.
This week, not only am I working without an oven, but also without a husband. My husband will be gone all week on a work trip. For the menu, this means an easy week. As I told George and Jack, I am hoping to use up the bits of this and that we have around the house. I did do some grocery shopping yesterday, though most of it was meat I want to put into the freezer.
- Chocolate Chip Monkey Muffins (made into a loaf)
- Green Tomato Bread
- Cream of Wheat
- Eggs, toast, bacon, fruit
- Eat out
- Red Lentil Dal
- Tangy Black Bean Soup
- Sandwiches, shredded carrot salad
- Sandwiches, carrot sticks with dip
- Bree’s Lentil-Tomato Soup
- Eat Out
- Pitch-in/Potluck at church
- Chicken Enchiladas, rice
- Basic Crepes, fruit
- Falafel, rice, side salad
- Spaghetti and Meatballs