Category Archives: Technology

Your Air Fryer Questions Answered

Last year I got a gift for Christmas that I didn’t ask for. A gift I didn’t know I wanted. A gift I couldn’t do without now. I’m talking about an air fryer. It’s changed how… and what I cook.

As I’ve become more familiar with air fryers I’ve shared my experiences with friends and family on my Facebook page… and on this blog’s Facebook page. Some have called me an air frying expert… but I prefer the term air frying enthusiast because I’m still learning.

I often get questions about air fryers and my experiences… so I thought I’d combine them all in one place as a resource for those that want to know more.

What is an air fryer? Isn’t it basically a small convection oven?

Air fryers are kitchen appliances designed to cook food by circulating hot air all around it. The food sits in a colander-like basket that allows grease to drip off and be collected in a pan below.

As the name implies, with air fryers, you to cook with hot air and considerably less oil than traditional fryers… yet you get similar crispy results. And, yes, air fryers are basically small countertop convection ovens.

What can you make in an air fryer?

Pretty much anything you can make in an oven you can make in an air fryer. Steaks, chops, chicken, fish, shrimp, baked potatoes, roasted veggies, garlic bread, tater tots, cheese sticks, chicken, eggs, banana bread… the possibilities really are only limited by your creativity and willingness to try new things.

What size should I get?

In my opinion, when it comes to air fryers, bigger is better. My current air fryer has a 5.8 quart capacity and works great when cooking for my family of 4. I’d want this size even if I was only cooking for myself because it expands the amount/kinds of food you can make.

What air fryer do you recommend?

I started out with a Power AirFryer XL. It’s the “As Seen On TV” one and I used it pretty much daily until it died after 10 months. It only had a 60-day warranty so I went searching for a well-rated air fryer with a longer warranty.

That led me to the Cosori brand. It checked all the boxes; large cooking capacity, 4.5 star Amazon rating, and a 1-year warranty that gets extended to two years if you register your air fryer within 10 days of purchase.

In the short time I’ve used the Cosori air fryer I have to say that I absolutely love it. There are lots of little reasons that make it better than the Power AirFryer brand.

Where should I keep my air fryer?

If you have room, I always suggest finding a permanent spot on your kitchen counter for your air fryer. When it’s in operation, you’ll need to make sure you leave space around it. My current model suggests 5 inches. It does have warm air that comes out the back so you would definitely not want it pushed up against a wall.

Having it out and on your counter will increase the chances of you using it more… and finding creative ways to use it.

Do you leave it plugged in all the time?

I don’t. There is an outlet on the wall behind where it sits. When not in use, the air fryer is pushed to the back of the counter. Having to pull it out to plug it in ensures I’m always making sure it has the space it needs to safely operate.

Does the outside get hot? Do I need to set it on a heat resistant mat or on the stovetop?

The outside of the air fryer does not get hot so there is no need to set it on anything other than your regular countertop. I would not recommend placing it on your stove. I’ve seen pictures and heard the horror stories of other air fryer enthusiasts that have used theirs on the stovetop… only to have a burner accidentally get turned on, melting the bottom of their air fryer.

Are they hard to clean?

Not at all. I typically set the air fryer basket in the sink to soak in some Dawn while we eat, then wipe it out and rinse it off when we’re done. I haven’t done it yet, but the basket on my Cosori air fryer is dishwasher safe.

I just got a new air fryer. What’s the first thing I should make in it?

I recommend everyone make tater tots first. They are inexpensive and will give you an idea of how air fryers work and how fast they can cook things. I’ve seen others make an expensive steak first only to be disappointed because they ended up overcooking it.

What are my favorite things to air fry?

This is a really long list (and I’m sure I’ll forget something) but here goes… chicken thighs, whole chickens, fries (both homemade and frozen), garlic bread, meatballs, O’Brien potatoes, egg sandwiches, cookies and candy bars wrapped in crescent roll dough, doughnuts, grilled cheese sandwiches, leftover pizza, hard-boiled eggs, steaks, pork chops, asparagus, and tater tots. I love tater tots!

I’ve seen recipes that say to spray your food with oil. Will Pam work?

I recommend using extra virgin olive oil with a pump-type sprayer. Some types of Pam, and similar sprays, contain aerosol and this can stick and build up on the cooking basket… making it harder to clean and potentially harming the non-stick coating.

How did you learn so much about air frying?

This is an easy one. I joined several air frying Facebook groups. They are filled with other air fryer enthusiasts that want to learn… and share what they’ve learned through their own experiences with others.

Got any tips for an air frying newbie?

To answer this one… I enlisted help from my favorite air fryer group on Facebook. Here are some of their tips:

  • Times and temps in recipes are just guidelines. They are not absolutes! Be attentive to what you are cooking until you learn how your air fryer cooks.
  • Besides cooking great meals you will save money. Reheating leftovers taste as good as fresh. Leftover french fries and takeout leftovers that I used to throw away are now a great new meal.
  • Preheat your air fryer. This gets the basket hot and helps produce the crispy results you want.
  • Read the instruction manual that comes with your air fryer.
  • Tape your preset & shortcut sheets on inside cabinet door near your air fryer. At one glance you can scan settings for what you are cooking.
  • The presets are just recommendations. Get to know your air fryer and how it cooks.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure your food is cooked to the proper temperature.
  • Add a tablespoon or two of water to the bottom before cooking fatty foods like bacon. This will help prevent your air fryer from smoking.
  • Get some accessories for your air fryer, like pans, to expand the options of the things you can make.
  • Keep a cooking log with times and temperatures of food you make often.
  • Let breaded or floured meat sit in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to air frying. That allows the coating to look right after air frying.
  • Don’t be discouraged by one bad result. Keep trying!

Got any air fryer tips or questions of your own? Leave them in the comments.

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What I’m Into Right Now – July 2018

Wow! It’s hard to believe another month has gone by since I’ve checked in with a “favorites for the moment” list… but here we are. See what’s keeping my interest these days and then feel free to leave a comment with some of your own.

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Pokemon Go – Yes, this mobile game is still a thing and yes, I still play it. Gives me something fun to do during downtimes. While I never stopped playing over the past two years, others have but are now returning because of some recent in-game improvements. Some of these would include friends lists, field research, and community days.

Live Free Or Die – Another in a long list of survival shows that I enjoy. This one follows the lives of several different people who choose to live a less materialist lifestyle in different environments.

New Cody Jinks Music – Cody Jinks has shown up in my monthly lists before and now makes a return appearance. He has a new album, Lifers, coming out July 26, 2018, and there are three songs from it available to listen to now. I’ve been listening to them on repeat whenever I get the chance.

What are you into right now?

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Review: Ridge Wallet

My wife didn’t realize it at the time… but when the folks at Ridge Wallet sent me one of their Aluminum Gunmetal wallets to review she would end up loving it as much as I do.

You see, my previous wallet was a brown, bulky, leather one that was crammed with cards, receipts, and maybe a little cash. I rarely had it on me mainly because it was too uncomfortable to carry.

If I put it in my back pocket I’d end up sitting awkwardly on a lump situated to one side just like George Costanza in this classic scene from Seinfeld.

Put that bulky, brown wallet in my front jeans pocket and I could sit comfortably but then there’d still be the annoying bulk of an overstuffed wallet.

Most times I’d just keep my wallet in my work backpack… or if I was with my wife I’d ask her to put it in her purse.  She begrudgingly agreed to every time but I could always tell it annoyed her.

That’s initially what drew my attention to the Ridge Wallet.  It’s a minimalist, RFID-blocking wallet made from Aluminum, Titanium, or Carbon Fiber.

When I first got my Ridge Wallet I was impressed with the packaging and presentation of the product.  There was the wallet, of course, but they also included a special screwdriver should I ever want to switch it from having a cash strap to having a money clip.

At first, I was hoping they’d send me the money clip version, but after using it for awhile I really like how slim it is with the cash strap. It has little rubber nubs inside the strap to keep your bills securely in place.

The minimalist design of the Ridge Wallet has you carrying all your cards sandwiched between two RFID plates and bound together with high quality elastic.  

It took me a few days to get used to getting my cards out but now it’s become second nature.

You could carry up to 12 cards but after assessing what I really need I only have 7; my drivers license, debit, Target debit, HSA, Costco, pizza punch card, and health insurance cards.

It’s a lot less than what I had been carrying but it’s all I really need and it takes less space. A lot less space!  All combined it’s just a little bigger than a  package of Tic Tacs that fits comfortably in the front, left pocket of my jeans.

That’s why my wife loves my Ridge Wallet as much as I do.  She no longer has to be responsible for my stuff and she doesn’t have the added bulk in her purse.

It’s not just my wife that loves it. Everyone I’ve shown it to thinks it’s really cool… and I’ve been asked about it more than once by our local grocery store cashiers.

I’ve been using my Ridge Wallet for a few months now and it looks as good as the day I got it. No scratches or anything… but I am careful to keep it by itself in my pocket. I love it’s sleek, clean look and don’t want any keys or change to mess it up.

Whether you’re a guy looking for a minimalist wallet, a wife (like mine) fed up with lugging around your husband’s wallet, or a woman looking to free up space in your purse… the Ridge Wallet is perfect for you.

For the security minded, I should also mention that every Ridge Wallet has RFID-blocking technology.  Not sure what that is and why you should care, watch this video starting at the 9: 00-minute mark. It shows how it easy it is for hackers to access your card info.

Learn more and get your own on the Ridge Wallet website.

*** I was provided with a Ridge Wallet to facilitate this review.  All opinions are mine.

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