Polly Answers Your Questions (#11)

Polly Answers Your Questions (#11)

Polly Answers your questions

How is your “No Buy Year” going?

Well, the first month was rough, because I love collecting new ideas, but if I can’t actualize any of them, I needed to curb what I look at. Already, I’m not a shopper who wanders aimlessly around stores. However, I am a book review reader and art material aficionado, and with this project, I’ve had to curb or redirect my tendencies in those areas. I’m putting books and art materials on wish lists, instead of buying them, and with a new system of how to direct and keep the ideas I interface with, the No-buy-year has gotten easier.

My caveats were: “gifts, food, gas, repairs, tickets and travel related expenses, book group books, workshop materials, replacing broken things, and clothes only if I find myself thinner or am invited to some special occasion requiring something I don’t already own.”  And yes, I’ve bought those things, but in my tracker, I’m tracking when I spend money on something that is not food (ie these caveats), and it turns out it is basically only twice a month. I’ve bought gas, gifts, book group books, and workshop materials. I’ve bought a formal long dress for a gala I’m going to, along with shoes to go with it. And I just replaced a broken clock, which we now (rather exasperatingly) know we look at lot more than we thought!

And I must confess, so far there have been a couple cheats. I made by husband buy me spray glue in January, and in February, he wouldn’t have normally bought me all those watercolors (photo below) for my birthday, but I wanted them for my birthday because I couldn’t buy them for myself. (That loophole won’t work for the rest of the year since Christmas is a long way off, but it got me through the first difficult bit.) The other thing that pushed the boundaries of the spirit of this effort is that I bought myself some face cream and we chalked it up as “groceries,” which is clearly arguable. I had none, so it wasn’t like I was buying up something else and not using up first what I had, which is the spirit of this effort, so I gave myself a pass on this.

But in general, I think this is very worth doing. It makes you much more conscious, which I think is a good thing.  The point is that I’m focusing on using what I already have–which is so much– and it feels like gratitude to have my default become to focus on using what I already own. By the end of the year, maybe things will be used up, and I’ll be more circumspect about what I buy to fill back in. I’m also getting back in the habit of using the library more, which is good.

Big ticket items are still happening this year over here: trips, getting a new driveway, and hopefully eventually replacing my eight year old computer, which has been a beloved workhorse for me. These things were grandfathered in at the New Year when I made my resolution.

Anyway, I’m glad I’m doing it, and I heartily recommend it. You may want to give it a try too, and we can tax the environment less together. It is so nice to curb a consumeristic mentality!

Tell us about how you use your air fryer. How is it different than a big toaster oven or a regular oven? What do you cook in it?

For my birthday in 2020 I got an air fryer (see that post here).

We got this one by Cuisinart at Costco and have been very happy with it.

We use it frequently as both a toaster oven and an air fryer, which legitimizes the space it takes on our counter. I have an old 1973 oven, which does not have a convection setting, so the air fryer is not redundant for us. Even if you have a large oven with that feature, heating up this air fryer for a short time in the summer doesn’t make the kitchen hot the way the oven does. Plus, is uses less electricity, for less time.

Tinker with your times and setting to get good toast out of it. It took us a while to find this sweet spot, but we used a vertical toaster previously, so were not used to it. But the air fryer is different than a toaster oven, because cooking veggies on the toaster setting does not create anything you want to eat. Contrariwise, toasting on the air fryer setting will dry your bread out until it is not edible.

I bought a small, misting, reusable spray bottle and put avocado oil in it. (Avoid buying those single use packaging heavy cans of aerosol spray oil, which are terrible for the environment!)  Our vegetables get lightly sprayed, tossed with salt pepper (and often garlic powder) and go in for ten minutes, or less, for perfection.

I can have company over, and have worked tirelessly on difficult elements of the dinner, when often what people comment to me about are the perfect vegetables that were done with very minimal effort in the air fryer.

Also with the air fryer, we can have very “fast food.” (Roasting veggies is wonderful but takes longer.) With the air fryer I can broil or grill fish with a sauce, cut up some fruit or a simple salad, and make air fryer veggies, and have a healthy dinner on the table in literally 10 minutes. A example of a 10 minute meal is shown below.

Air fryers are also brilliant for warming up or re-crisping left overs, either yours or restaurant food. The air fryer is much better for this than a microwave (which we do not own) which ruins, rather than enhancing texture.

Also, my Cauliflower Poppers are a favorite air fried recipe on this blog, shown above. They are grain free, vegan, and little textural flavor bombs we gobble up.

My husband makes these chicken fingers in our air fryer and loves them. (Our daughters too enjoy these when they come home.) Plus, he’s the one who keeps up with keeping the air fryer clean, for which I’m grateful.

I would stay away from a plastic air fryer; I would not want to be cooking toxic plastics into my food. Our air fryer is stainless steel.

Let me know what else you want to ask me for the next edition of “Polly Answers!”

watercolors I got for my birthday


Example of a 10 minute meal: air fried veggies, scallops, and fruit


Example of a 10 minute meal with air-fried asparagus
I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.

1 Comment

  1. Meg+Hanson 2 months ago

    The info on using your air fryer was enlightening. I can see how useful it would be. I actually use our microwave every day, but mostly to just reheat things. I agree that it ruins certain things. I got an instant pot for Christmas from my son, mainly because I wanted a better way to cook rice. We thought the Instant Pot was better since It can make rice in addition to other things. It does not seem to be an exact science. I had to wait until we got back from Arizona to try it, but since then (less than a week) I have successfully made rice, oatmeal and salmon.

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