As a working mom, I have very little time to do the things I need to do around the house (cook, clean, etc.). I absolutely love timers. These are timers on mechanical devices. I have three that I use regularly that make my life so much easier. These are the timers on my bread machine, crock pot and washing machine. I can set my timer for my bread machine to be complete, either cooked or dough ready to be popped in the oven when I walk in the door. The crock pot has a timer that will cook what is in it, automatically turn off, and then keep it warm after cooking. I can load the washer with clothes in the morning before I leave for work, set the timer and it will wash just before I get home so the clothes will not get that nasty mildew smell because they sit in the washer wet for too long. On a good day all three will be set to run!
If you have never tried a bread machine, they are fantastic. Don't buy one brand new. If you are interested in purchasing one, check out the thrift stores. It is a hobby that people often try once and give up on. It is also a popular gift that people don't try but end up donating. My first bread maker I bought at a department store. I have bought three since at thrifts stores for myself and family. The ones from the thrift stores were hardly used - one even had a note on it that it was used three times only. They all worked perfectly. They usually run from $5 to $15. Just make sure you plug it in and it heats up, and there is the metal or plastic scoop/blade in the pan that turns (it is detachable and often lost). You can usually download instructions.
Here is a couple of recipes for a good day of bread making and crock potting:
Decadent Sweet Milk Bread
This makes a soft sweet loaf of bread. It can be totally made in a bread machine, however, I just used the machine to make the dough.
1 cup of water
½ cup of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of butter
3 1/3 cups of bread flour
2 teaspoons of yeast
Put ingredients in bread machine and set for dough cycle. When complete, remove and separate into three sections. Roll each out like snakes and mesh ends together. Braid and press ends together. Place in baking dish and brush butter or egg white on top. Bake at 340 for 30-45 minutes, until top is golden brown.
One can of the sweetened condensed milk will make two loaves plus. The rest would be good in coffee. I made two loaves and froze one. The milk is thick stuff and hardly pours after being in the refrigerator.
Not only is it YUMMY - it's easy!
Turkey Breast or Turkey Legs
1 can of whole berry cranberry sauce
1 pkg of dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup of orange juice
salt and pepper to taste
Put turkey in crockpot, mix rest of ingredients and pour over turkey. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. I fill the crock to the top with meat and double the mix and we have leftovers to put in freezer. I also make gravy out of the sauce and put over mashed potatoes.