Air Fryer Review and 3 Smart Point Air Fried Zucchini Recipe

I recently purchased the NuWave 3-qt. Digital Air Fryer to learn what all the air frying fuss was about.
air fryer reviewTo cut to the chase, I don’t know why it took me so long to buy one of these miracles. I love it. Here’s my complete air fryer review as well as a bonus recipe. For the bonus recipe, scroll down to the bottom of this article.

What is an Air Fryer?

An air fryer works by moving air around the entire unit while heating up the unit. There’s a grate in the basket where your food sits and is evenly cooked on all sides making it crispy on the outside. No oil is needed. However, some people choose to brush a little oil on their food to add crisp and flavor prior to air frying.

You can cook healthier versions of  french fries, as well as enjoy formally fried food like fried zucchini, jalapeno poppers, egg rolls, taquitos, and grilled cheese. I know this because I made all of these during the first few days of having my air fryer. Wings are on the list, but I haven’t purchased them yet.

Many air fryers do more than air fry. They also grill, roast, steam, and bake. Check your manual to find out if the model you prefer has these functions.

Air Fryer Features

air-fryer-reviewThe NuWave 3-qt. Digital Air Fryer has a 3-qt capacity basket, digital LED, pre-heat feature, digital LED controls and a safety feature that requires the basket to be in place before it operates. The temperature ranges from 100 to 390 degrees and can increase in 5-degree increments.
Digital LED controls ensure accuracy and consistent results.

You’ll find similar features with other air fryers. The most popular air fryer on Amazon is currently the GoWISE USA 4th Generation Electric Air Fryer.  This model has seven recipes pre-programmed for Chips, Meat, Chicken, Steak, Shrimp and Fish. It can also cook up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other popular models include. Philips HD9220/26 Airfryer  and Farberware Multi-functional air fryer. Each has their own unique features in addition to the standard features mentioned above.

Air Fryer Not-So-Great Points

The problem area for most of the air fryers is the lack of space or the lack of the second rack. You’ll have to purchase extra accessories if you want to bake or increase the amount of food you cook. I think a second rack should be standard in every box. Making air fried zucchini would take half the time if I had a second rack.

All in all, I highly recommend the air fryer. I wouldn’t wait to get it for a Christmas present if you don’t have to. That’s why I didn’t put it on my must have list for Christmas. It is a must have, but It’s perfect for yummy snacks now and through the entire season.

Which Air Fryer is the Best?

Size

That depends on your needs. If you have a large family, you’ll want to start with the brands that have the largest capacity. Like the Power Fryer XL which has a 5.3 qt capacity basket. For two people, the NuWave 3 qt capacity air fryer works just fine.

Price

Next, you’ll need to decide on price. Price was a huge factor for me. I wanted to try air frying out without a large commitment. I picked up my Nuwave air fryer up at Kohls with a 30% off coupon and $10 cash back. You can’t beat that deal. Well…actually you can. Use Ebates to get a $10 gift card if you’re new plus a cash back rebate as well. This is on top of any credit card rebates you have outside of that program.  If you use my referral link, I’ll get a small referral commission, which helps support my website. Thank you!

If you don’t have a Kohls or don’t like the hassle of their cash back programs, Amazon is the next best place to get a lower priced model. The GoWISE USA 4th Generation Electric Air Fryer is the most popular air fryer listed under $90.

Functionality

Finally, you’ll want on that has the functions you need. I’m a plain kind of gal. So I don’t need the functions. I just need the ability to control the temperature and cook time. I’m happy with my purchase. If I were to buy another one, I’d probably go larger.

Air Fried Zucchini Recipe

This air friend zucchini recipe serves 4 people at 3 SmartPoints per serving.

Ingredients

  • 2 Sliced zucchini or summer squash will work too
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Slice the zucchini about 1/8″ thick. You can slice it thinner or thicker per your preference. Too thin and you have a zucchini chip. Too thick and it will be too soft when you bite into it.
  2. Crack the egg into a bowl, beat it and save 1/2 of it. If you don’t reserve 1/2 of it, you’ll end up throwing it away. The egg is only used to coat the zucchini and help the bread crumbs to stick.air fried zucchini recipe
  3. Dip the zucchini into the egg mix and then coat each slice with the bread crumbs.
    Place slices into the air fryer. You can see that I’m using summer squash too. It works just as good as zucchini and that’s what I had on hand. nuewave air fryer zuchinni
  4. Cook in the air fryer at 360 degrees for 15 minutes. No turning is necessary unless you piled them on top of each other. Then you’ll need to shake them half way through the cooking process.air fry zucchini

Do you have an air fryer? What do you make it in it? I’d love to hear about your favorite recipes in the comments below.

5 Amazing Christmas Gifts for Weight Watchers

Christmas is just around the corner, and it’s time to start planning perfect gifts for weight watchers in your life or for yourself. After all, a few days after Christmas and some of these gifts might be hard to find. gifts for weight watchersWhy? Because no one thinks of healthy gifts. Instead, they pass around divinity and fudge by handful during Thanksgiving and then pretty much every day until Christmas.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the weight watcher in your life, here are my top five favorites. I can’t live without them. Seriously.

Christmas Gifts for Weight Watchers

Tai Cheng by Beach Body

I just got this set last week, and I love it. It comes with five DVDs; four workout videos and one master scroll. The master scroll is a review of all of the moves and includes instructions on how to set up the grid. To set up the grid, you’ll use the painter’s tape that comes in the box. Measure your chest and make the center box that width using 48″ length pieces of painter’s tape. The program also comes with a food plan, calendar, guide, and foam roller. This is my fourth foam roller – you just can’t have too many.

The best price on Tai Cheng is $60 direct from Beach Body. Remember to use Ebates to get your free $10 gift card and 5% back on your purchase. When you sign up for Ebates, you get paid, and I’ll get a small commission. Thank you! Every little bit helps me pay to keep this site up and running.

Fit Bit

The Fitbit is the perfect gift for weight watchers in your life. At under $100, including the app, you can’t beat it. I track my steps with this and use it to log my daily food intake. It even syncs up with the Weight Watcher’s app. If you’re taking a break from Weight Watchers, you should still log your food. The Fitbit app is perfect for that!

Hydroflask

I got a Hydroflask for my birthday this year. I’ve used it every single day since then. It’s sitting right next to me as I write out this blog post. Yes, it’s not cheap. But it keeps my water super cold. The ice lasts all day long.

Clothes

I love Under Armor leggings and performance shorts. I usually stock up when they go on sale. But, I’m a plain gal. I have 7 of the exact same pair of performance shorts. I bet people at the gym wonder if I ever do laundry. Ha! Don’t forget to use Ebates to get your free $10 gift card and 4% back on your purchase from Under Armor and other similar clothing lines.

Planner or Journal

Journaling is one of the most healthy ways you can lose weight.  The act of reflection and meditation help you create focus and encourages you to keep up your healthy progress. By logging your food, water and exercise, you can ensure that you stay on the correct path. You can buy the Weight Watchers journal or consider making your own. Some of the best Christmas gifts for weight watchers will be the ones gifted from your heart.

How to Use a Pickle Pipe to Make Low Smart Point Kombucha

I’ve been on Weight Watchers for a while now. pickle pipe guide to homemade kombuchaRecently, I decided to switch things up and move to cleaner eating when possible. That means that all of my sugar-free, high-chemical substitutes are taking a back seat to cooking, drying and making Kombucha using a Pickle Pipe.

If you’ve read my other post on Kombucha, you know that it has zero to two Weight Watchers Smart Points per serving. When you make it yourself, it’s hard to say exactly how many Smart Points you’ll end up with per serving, but I would estimate it at the high end of two SmartPoints after the second fermentation, just in case. If you’re not doing a second fermentation, just estimate it at one Smart Point to be safe.

Why Can’t I Just Use the Recipe Builder for Kombucha?

I debated on whether or not to use the recipe builder for my Kombucha recipe because the sugar is mostly consumed by the culture rather than by you. In a perfect world, there would be zero grams of sugar after the fermentation process, but that’s probably not the case either. In all, you’ll need to “guess” at how many Smart Points are in your kombucha. But, since most of the stores carry kombucha, I just use a name brand that matches what I’ve put into mine.

Kombucha Recipe

You’ll need:

  • 1 – Scoby
  • Sugar (any type is fine)
  • Tea (I use Pssst. brand from Frys/Kroger)
  • Fruit or juice
  • 1 gallon jar
  • Pickle Pipe for wide mouth jars (Pickle Pipes are sooooo helpful)
  • Wide mouth mason jars
  • Glass storage containers (do not use these until you’ve completed the 2nd fermentation)
  • You can use beer bottles if you don’t want to use Pickle Pipes and mason jars. But you’ll need to burp your beer bottles once or twice a day.

Kombucha Supply List

If you purchase your supplies through my affiliate links, I will receive a small commission. This helps me pay to keep this site up and running. It doesn’t cost you anything more! Thank you for your support!

Recipe Instructions:

Step 1: Brew Tea

I use the cheapest black tea I can find, but I use lots. I use about 6 of these pitcher sized tea bags. At about $1.20 per box, I get 6 gallons brewed. Total cost = $.25 per gallon!tea bags for kombucha

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Add Sugar

Add 1 cup of sugar to your warm tea and stir it until it’s dissolved. You can use organic sugar or coconut sugar. Some people use honey, but I haven’t tried it yet.

add sugar to kombucha

Step 3: Bring to Room Temperature

Make sure your tea isn’t too hot. You’ll kill your scoby if it’s too hot. I add ice to mine. add ice to your kombucha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4: Add the Scoby

Add your scoby and starter (the liquid in the bag) to the tea. Here’s what mine looks like. It’s healthy! No mold. My kids think these are nasty.

kombucha scoby up close

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5: Add a Cloth Cover

Add a cloth cover and leave it on your counter for seven or more days. If it’s hot where you live, your Kombucha might be done in less time. I live in Arizona and it takes seven days for mine to complete phase one. Don’t use a cheese cloth cover unless you use a lot of cheese cloth. There are too many gaps in cheese cloth. Gnats, fruit flies and other small bugs can be attracted to the vinegary smell of Kombucha. If they get into yours, you’ll have to throw everything away.

fermenting kombucha

Step 6: Completed Fermentation

Once your Kombucha is finished, taste it by inserting a staw under the culture and taking a sip. If it’s tangy enough, then you’re done with the first stage. You can call it a day and bottle it up if you like it that way. I don’t.

Take two cups off the top of your tea and set it aside for your next batch. This is called the “starter”. Next, remove your scoby. You should now have two. A momma, which is your original one and a baby scoby that has formed on top.

You can store your extra scoby in a scoby hotel. Cover it with starter tea.  I use a wide mouth mason jar or clean applesauce jar with a paper towel secured to the top. You’ll want to add sugar tea to your hotel every week or so to ensure your scoby has something to feed on. Scobys love sugar.

scoby hotel

Step 7: Second Fermentation

The second fermentation is optional, but I find that it makes the best Kombucha. Otherwise, you basically have sour, fizzy tea. To complete this stage, add a few pieces of fruit or 1/3 cup of fruit juice to your mason jar. Fill the jar with the fermented tea. Leave a litttle bit of headspace at the top.

Step 8: Make Kombucha With a Pickle Pipe

Add your Pickle Pipe to the top of the mason jar. The Pickle Pipe pipe will burp your jar for you. It’s a set it and almost forget it tool. You won’t need to worry about exploding bottles or Kombucha on your ceiling if you use them. Here’s a picture of my Pickle Pipe. You can see that one is ready to release some air.

pickle pipe kombucha

If you’re not using a Pickle Pipe, you’ll need to burp your beer bottles at least every day until you get the fizziness you like. I find that juice takes 2-3 days to complete the second phase. Fresh peaches only take one day. You’ll need to check your jars daily.

Step 9: Kombucha Bottling

Once you’ve completed the second phase you can bottle your finished Kombucha. I use cheaper glass bottles from Amazon. Just note that you can’t leave these bottles (or any bottle) outside of the refrigerator for any length of time. Otherwise, your Kombucha will continue to ferment and you’ll get a nice explosion of glass if you’re not careful. Once you place your Kombucha in the refrigerator, fermentation slows down to a crawl. You’ll be fine with these containers when placed in the refrigerator.

Once cooled, pop open a bottle and enjoy it’s wonderful flavor and great health benefits!

Wait! I Have Extra Scobys!

You may have noticed that you grew an extra scoby with your first batch and with every batch thereafter. What do you do with all of the extra scobys you have over time?

The first thing I recommend is that you set up two scoby hotels. That way if one scoby goes bad, you’ll have a back up. Then, feel free to give away all of your extra ones to your friends or compost them. If you search Pinterest, there are a ton of ideas for what to do with extra scobys. Some of them are a little gross. Yuck.

How much Does Kombucha Cost to Make?

I’ve grown to love Kombucha over the last few months. I hated Kombucha the first time I bought a bottle of it. It cost me almost $5 from Sprouts and it tasted like vinegar. Nasty. Then, my friend Nancy offered to teach me how to do it. Over a few months, I’ve made some improvements to help me with the process. This recipe is an adaption of her technique. The main difference is that I Use Pickle Pipes in my Kombucha, which saves me time and unnecessary bottle bursts.

For every batch I make, I get at least 6 – 7 good sized bottles. If I factor the cost of my fruit juice, each batch costs me $2.00, which means that each bottle costs 33 cents. That’s over 90% off store bought and I use expensive POM or organic mango juice in mine. If you’re using cheaper juice or stuff you have on hand, you can get this down to about a nickel. What a deal!

Obviously, you’ll need to factor in your startup costs, but you’ll make up all of that cost in the first batch. The Pickle Pipe is a little pricey, but they save so much hassle. You can also use a pickle pipe to make sauerkraut as well as other fermentation recipes. They are amazing!

Do you use Pickle Pipes in your kombucha? What’s your favorite thing to add during the second phase.