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I think being a minimalist who is trying to market products to earn money can be at a disadvantage, because people might think I can’t be both and be authentic. But I disagree. Here’s why, along with my shopping guide.
I am an authentic minimalist.
I try to buy only what I need. Even now, after downsizing several times from a 1600 square-foot house to progressively smaller RVs (now we’re at about 320 square feet), Ryan and I still feel like we have too much stuff and too much space. We often make it a practice to get rid of things (such as clothes) and not replace them because we already have enough. Even with all our downsizing, I know there is a lot more stuff that we don’t use or need. Our main issues have been finding the time and resources to get rid of the stuff responsibly. For example, if we can’t donate it, how can it be recycled so it isn’t just thrown away?
As for product recommendations for holiday shopping…
I personally don’t do holiday shopping. In my opinion, the period between November 1st and January 1st has become entirely too commercial and overly-consumptive. I don’t buy anything on Black Friday that comes from a retail location, ever, because I know that purchase can mean that someone may have missed having Thanksgiving with their loved ones because they had to work. So I have an understanding with friends and family that we do not give presents and while thoughtful gifts to us are appreciated, they are not necessary, expected or even preferred.
That being said, I do have ONE item that I think everyone should have. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a dorm room, an RV, a small house or a large one. And since it doesn’t come cheap, I’m going to tell you about it now because there will probably be a lot of sales coming up.
My product recommendation is for the Instant Pot.
I know, it might not sound very minimalist for me to recommend a kitchen appliance when you probably already have a million of them. But what I’m suggesting is that you sell, give away or donate some kitchen items and replace them with this. That way you have less stuff and more space. And if you’re able to sell some things, it will offset the cost of getting the Instant Pot.
As I mentioned this works as a pressure cooker and slow cooker. It also does a great job making rice. So if you have any of those items, they can all go away. If you like to preserve fruit, or make yogurt, you can do that with the Instant Pot as well. I’ve also used this to steam artichokes and cook corn on the cob, so if you have a big pot or a double boiler you use for those tasks you may be able to get rid of them too.
There is also a saute function, so I don’t have a large pot at all, just a small one if I want to make smaller servings of pasta or sauce. Using the Instant Pot has definitely saved us a ton of money. We can buy and cook rice in bulk, and buy dry beans for super cheap instead of the canned stuff. It is also way healthier. Canned beans might have salt in them, and a lot of the cans are lined with BPA, which is a carcinogen. We make salt-free, BPA-free beans for pennies on the dollar in the Instant Pot.
The best part is that you need zero cooking skills to use it.
If you follow the directions, you are highly likely to get food cooked perfectly. The Instant Pot comes with an instruction manual and also a recipe book. It lists just about every basic food item you can think of and tells you the ratio of food to liquid you need, how to set the cooking function, and how long to cook it for. So in many cases you can just dump liquid and food into the pot, press some buttons and you are done. There are also Facebook groups, Pinterest boards and online cookbooks where you can find tons more recipes, and I know of at least one YouTube channel that works almost exclusively with the Instant Pot to make recipes as well. This makes it a perfect appliance for anyone who wants to cook more but feels as if they do not have the time or skills.
I LOVE my Instant Pot. I use it about every other day, sometimes more often. We make rice and quinoa. Also beans (without having to soak them first). I boil potatoes in it for my vegan cheese recipe. I’ve also made vegan yogurt out of both soy and coconut milk. We’ve made curry and soups and all sorts of steamed veggies. One of my favorite things to do is throw a huge bag of frozen veggies (such as Brussels sprouts) in there and cook the whole thing at once. Then I have veggies for days to add to my meal, after about 30 seconds of prep time.
Honestly, I don’t have that many kitchen gadgets these days. But when we downsize again, I could probably get away with getting rid of all of my other appliances except for this one and still easily make my home-cooked meals three times per day.
I also love that I can use my Instant Pot instead of the stovetop. It generates less heat and uses less energy (and propane, which I need to run my stove).
We purchased our Instant Pot through Amazon last March. Even though I heard many good things about it from other RVers and vegans, I still did my research. The model we own is the Instant Pot IP-DUO60. It was (and still is) the #1 Best Seller on Amazon for electric pressure cookers. It rates 4.5 out of 5 stars based on over 12,000 reviews. If you know anything about Amazon, you know that is a HUGE amount of reviews for a product to have.
This product comes if 5, 6 or 8-quart sizes. There is also an IP-LUX50, which I believe is an older model and does not have the yogurt making function, but still has very good reviews and is more affordably priced. Since our purchase they made another model, the IP-Smart. This appliance is bluetooth-enabled! You can download a free app on your phone or tablet and use it to remotely program and monitor your cooking. It sounds pretty cool.
If you buy the Instant Pot (or anything else from Amazon) through my link, you are helping to support the time we spend creating posts, videos and recipes for this blog, and you can do it at no additional cost to you. For that we are very appreciative. I hope this review helped you learn something new that can save you time and money! We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with loved ones, good food and lots of fun. =)