Cooking & home decor: save time & money

save time & money

Happy Budget Saving Tuesday, everyone!  Welcome to a discussion on ideas about cooking and home decor and how to save time & money.

Tuesdays have been a place where we can hopefully find encouragement and enjoyment during these challenging financial times.

So, today, I have want to share something I have recently learned about cooking.


save time & money

Last Christmas, my daughter’s family gifted us a Bella Pro Series air fryer.

For a long time, the device has set on our kitchen counter while we were set in our ways.

Not sure if I wanted to use another device, and some how I thought it was only for foods traditionally fried in oil.

When the grandchildren came to stay for a week, suddenly I was more open to how an air fryer could save me time & money.

When they were here, I used it for all kinds of things…including coconut shrimp and spring rolls.

Now, I am a huge fan.  The air fryer will save money on electricity or gas and time with cooking faster…and it does not heat up the kitchen!

It is turning out to be perfect for the two of us and so Mr. B has liked my cooking and experimenting with it.

Also, this is a great gift for the busy moms in your family….they can get an evening meal together much easier and faster.

I am jealous they have this available to them…would have loved it.

save time & money

Yep…that is a baked potato! I never liked them in the microwave. Always preferred the oven, but cooking in the air fryer does save time & money.

You poke the holes…rub it with olive oil and Himalayan salt if you like….and cook at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

You can pause it and check to get it the way you like. 

The chicken breasts above were done this way:

  1.  I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Poked holes in them and marinated for 24 hours in Maple Grove Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette.
  2. Removed from the marinating bowl, and wiped excess vinaigrette from them.
  3. With a basting brush, I brushed them with cooking olive oil and sprinkled with Fiesta Fajita Seasoning.
  4. Placed in the air fryer and cooked at 400 for 25 minutes or until the thermometer read over 165.

Please note that I link the products so you can see what I use, but, honestly, you will save more money at your local grocery.

Now, I also realize I am promoting an additional device here, but honestly believe it is worth the price to save money, time, and keep us eating healthy at home.

The chicken is delicious and I am going to use an extra one today for chicken salad.

You can also boil eggs in an air fryer…again…it saves time & money.  

Here are other air fryer options:


save time & Money

I think one of the reasons I love to decorate my home for fall is because we do not see trees change colors until November.

I am always so ready for summer to loosen its grip so I decorate at the end of August.

September is fall for me and decorating just brings a joyful, cozy vibe to our house. 

save time & money

I carefully pack all of my autumn decorations away every year and they have a place in the garage.

That is one way to save money….to keep what you already have and use year after year. 

I hope and believe some of my precious holiday decorations will be passed down to family.

I know they decorate their spaces because they were raised in a home that displaced the decorations year after year.

Now, I also decorate for my grandchildren.

save time & money

If you live near a Hobby Lobby, it is a perfect place to save money and time on decorations.

As you can see, you save time because you do not have to look for them…they jump out at you and are located near the front of the store.

You save money through August 6….40% off of all Fall Decor!  And they have everything you might want that is seasonal!

I do not link to them for commissions, but I believe in the brand so much, I just had to share it!

Sometimes, I stop by Hobby Lobby just to wind down and leave the stress of the world…beautiful stores, friendly employees and calming music.

save time & money

Also, they have a 75% off sale going at this time on spring and summer items.  You will be surprised what you find there.

I saved on baking items last week when Leigh Ann and I stopped by.  Do not know why they were in the spring and summer…but they were.

With the sale, they are far less expensive than the traditional places to find fall home decor.

Well, that is it for saving time & money today.  Are there any other air fryer fans with tips to give out there?

Please share if you have them!  Welcome August…and welcome readers…you are the best….now go out and make sure that you….


By Pamela Lutrell

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save time & money



  1. I’m one who puts off bringing in a small appliance, but this one, especially since it’s on sale, is tempting. My question is, how does it clean up? I can’t stand grungy things and have always wondered about air fryers. So any tips you could share on that are appreciated. It’s challenging cooking for one and my freezer is perpetually full of leftovers! Yesterday I picked up some fall decor items at Joann Fabrics, seems things are always at least 40% off there. I have not decorated for fall in the past, and have another trip in mind for next week to Amish country to get a few more things. I was careful to select in my current color scheme and will start in September 1st! We do have the changing colors in September and it’s beautiful, and there is something about the feeling and fragrance in the air that is specifically “autumn”. We’ll start feeling that in September too. You have me looking forward to it this year!

  2. That is awesome…Karen to have you looking forward to this year! I know I am! Though it might still be hot outside…I will bring out my fall inside at the end of August. The air fryer is easy to clean…the plate at the bottom comes out. On the chicken, I used the DAWN product called POWERWASH. I sprayed it and let it set for a little while and then took it off with the same scrub I use for the coated pans….it is blue. And the inside of the fryer does not need a cleaning…though I do wipe it off.
    Very easy to clean so far. I am becoming more and more a fan of cooking this way!

  3. Thank you Pam! It just looks like something I could use since I cook in such small quantities!

  4. I am a novice air fryer user as I just got one during the Prime Days sale in July. I’ve been collecting recipes when I see them, and have only used it once but had good results with my chicken nuggets. I bought an instant pot a few years ago also during the Prime Days and never took it out of the box for a few years. Now I use it often and plan to do the same with my air fryer. I do not keep either device on my kitchen counter, but store them on rolling plant carts in my pantry so they can be pushed and pulled in and out of that space. My Bill and I rarely eat out anymore especially during these years of COVID so being able to cook differently and save money has been interesting as well as resourceful.

  5. We love to eat out, but when I cook more about home I save money and calories. So I have really backed off eating out as much as we were. The air fryer has been great for feeding two. Thanks for sharing, Celia. I like the cart idea…may use that!

  6. I was quite surprised how much I can use my air fryer. It is so handy in the heat and does not heat up the kitchen. And to Karen, just a quick wipe with dish detergent and done. We tried grilled cheese and I love it done that way, and for one person, I can throw in a breaded chicken breast to have with a salad, and done. I had no idea you could do eggs or a baked potato but I keep trying new things so thanks for that.

  7. Thanks for sharing how you use it Diane! A friend just told me that their pork chops are amazing in it.

  8. I don’t have an air fryer, but I keep hearing about them. My issue is whether as a vegetarian, I would use it enough. Everyone always tells me how good frozen French fries are (we don’t eat those very much) and what wonderful meat you can make. I had no idea it boiled eggs. I would love to hear other people’s experiences with vegetables or vegetarian main dishes such beans or tofu.

  9. I have done broccoli and Brussels sprouts! So good…no breading just seasoned. I honestly haven’t cooked French fries yet.

  10. Our air fryer was a gift to us & we lovel it! Go to & try the air fryer chicken parm! It’s tasty & easy. Another favorite is Recipe Teachers chicken fajitas. Enjoy😊

  11. Between my air fryer and my Instapot, I rarely use my oven anymore. My favorite things to make in the air fryer are pork cops, hamburgers and salmon. Easier and quicker than firing up the backyard grill! It also does an amazing job of reheating leftovers, especially pizza. I love the colors of Fall and the crisp air. Unfortunately, my enjoyment is tempered by knowing what comes after…Ugg!

  12. Good morning, Pam. Hmm. I have often wondered about an air fryer as I usually pass on ‘gadgets’. Thanks for sharing. I would have to see if it fit in my Lazy Susan next to my Cusinart when I arrive home after babysitting this week. I don’t want a device other than a toaster and a coffee pot on my counters. Would you explore different brands if you had a choice or are you happy with this one? I read a review that it doesn’t come with much info. Also, how does cooking with it fit into WW? Many thanks! I love your blog! You give us such a variety of info and reminders. Happy to see the pneumonia article yesterday. I am babysitting for my 5 year old granddaughter this week since she picked up pneumonia two weeks ago. Frightening, but on the mend!

  13. To Linda’s question regarding vegetarians using the fryer: my good friend and I shopped for her air fryer a couple months ago as she is trying to eat 95% vegan, and she is loving the appliance. Her primary source of protein is tofu, which she was wanting to crisp up and make more meat-like in texture to add to stir-fries or tacos. The air fryer has worked perfectly and beyond her expectations. One thing to look for is the max temperature for the device. She went with the highest and has found that works well. Also, drain and squeeze as much moisture from your tofu by placing it between paper towels with a cookbook or other heavy object for ten minutes or so before cooking. I hope this helps.

  14. I didn’t want ours on the counter either. I just put it on a shelf in our garage. You know the saying , “less is more”. 😊

  15. Great posts, Pamela. And especially not just fall decor, but the vision board.
    I need to get the pneumonia vaccine and your post just the nudge I needed!
    Stay well! (You live in a beautiful place, been lucky to visit the city several times including a bowl game. Cheers!) Sometime this fall, looking forward to anymore links you have to some of your independent retailers for women’s shirts or any fun fashion!

  16. I don’t have an air fryer, but I am intrigued by them, especially since you talked about baked potatoes. I don’t like them from the microwave either, nor do I want to heat up the oven for one baked potato.
    I love decorating for fall & have started my count down. I usually start the day after Labor Day. I need to check on my scented candle supply. I also love Hobby Lobby for so many decorative items. Such a variety & reasonable prices.

  17. I did one potato for me the other day, Becky…45 minutes at 400 degrees…so easy. Today for lunch I had a salmon/crawfish patty and broccoli cooked together in the air fryer for 8 minutes. It was delicious.

  18. Cooking with it fits perfectly into my WW plan….in fact it helps me stay on plan. I eat more protein now that I am using the air fryer….I was getting tired of tuna!
    I am very happy with mine, but I do know there are smaller ones. This one came with all the information I needed, plus there are tons of recipes on line.

  19. Funny how our approach to seasons is rooted in where we live. Notwithstanding the drought in NE, I am loving summer and want to savor it for the next two months. I’m looking forward to more long walks on the beach, ripe summer fruits and veggies, and socializing outside with friends. I love years when we have an ‘Indian summer.’ I don’t even want to think about fall.

  20. So true, Maeve…It does have so much to do with where we live. It’s really hard this year…cannot wait for it to end!

  21. We are on our second air fryer. The first one was small and limited what we could cook. We used it almost exclusively for fries and appetizers. Things are cooked best if in a single layer and not piled on each other so cooking things like pork chops, hamburgers, fish, etc. was harder if you were cooking for more than one. Thus we bought one with a bigger cooking area. The new one also has more options and grills as well as fries. You can cook almost anything you can cook on a BBQ or in an oven in it. Unlike the Instant Pot that takes 20 minutes to get to pressure and then cooks quickly, the air fryer heats up quickly and then also cooks quickly. Ours has replaced the Instant Pot for the Spring and Summer in the kitchen but they will likely get switched again when the weather changes and soups and stews become the cold weather staples.

  22. I love my air fryer. Like you, I didn’t think I needed another appliance. We decided to buy one on sale as a gift for ourselves last Christmas. This has been wonderful in our hot summer. Most homes where I live do not have air conditioning. Using the BBQ is torture in the heat.

    For anyone considering a purchase, the basket-style fryer is easier to clean than the door style. We chose analog controls because of past experience with computer chip control appliances that burn out soon after the warranty expires. Sure enough, the computer chip model of our fryer was recalled for starting fires. The analog was not. “Fryer” really means convection countertop oven.

  23. I bought a combo air fryer/microwave/convection oven unit when my microwave went bad and I love it! The biggest surprise has been cooking steaks and pork chops in it. They are very nearly as good as cooking on the grill but much easier! My picky hubby, who hates being a “guinea pig” for new recipes, has had zero complaints about the airfried meats. Highly recommend it. It is mostly easy to clean, having stainless steel interior, but a little challenging around the heating elements at top. Absolutely worth it, tho. Thanks for tips, Pamela.

  24. I haven’t been a fan of my InstaPot (I cook primarily for 2 and when family/company is here, I tend to stick with my previous ways) but have used the air fryer A LOT! One thing I haven’t used it for is fish/seafood.
    Would you consider sharing your coconut shrimp (and/or any other fish/seafood) recipe(s) with us?

  25. Hi Cyndi…here is the coconut shrimp recipe I used from another site:
    I made salmon patties…I bought the patty at the grocery and it was done with Crawfish. I did brush the top with Olive Oil, sprinkle with my favorite seafood spice and cook at 400 for 8 minutes. I often pause the air fryer and check how thinks are looking since I am new to cooking this way.
    That is all the seafood I have done so far.

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