Apparently, I’m in list making mode this week. Ah well, it could be worse :).
We aren’t a huge family, but we are a family that loves food. Good food. Preferably homemade food, most of the time. The thing is that we don’t generally have the time to cook it all. So, we rely on two kitchen tools to make it possible to be both well-fed and not lose our time.
1. Cuisinart Convection Bread Maker. I have had a bread machine of some stripe or another since shortly after I got married. P and I both prefer homemade bread, but nothing can induce me to ravage my wrists by kneading bread. I relied, for a long time, on the Publix Bakery for my bread (grocery store in the South, for those unfamiliar with it). Their prices, though, have been going up and up and up, and I was convinced that I should try a bread machine again. This was a present and it works like a dream. My bread bakes. The paddle is never baked into the bread, and overall I have a great experience with not a great deal of effort. We make a minimum of two loaves per week. It’s noisy, so it usually doesn’t get used except during quiet time (hah) or after the kids are in bed as we don’t mind the noise from it as much as Ben does. I use The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook for my recipes. The whole wheat recipes tend to be clunkers, but most of her white bread recipes are outstanding.
2. Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Slow Cooker. We had a different slow cooker until it blew up recently. We bought this one because we like the fact that we can use different sized crocks for different applications. We’ve made beef stew and a soup in this one, so far, and have been really pleased by the way things turn out. Exactly as they’re supposed to, which is kind of the point of a slow cooker. It doesn’t seem to cook hot or burn things, and that’s what I want in my slow cooker. The fact that we still have the one we received when we got married tells me that this one will be around for awhile. It is available in black and stainless, but we couldn’t find one and I wasn’t about to pay the shipping charges to get one here. We use a couple of different slow cooker cookbooks:
Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook. I really like Beth Hensperger. Her flavor profiles fit with the things that I prefer and the recipes generally work without much tinkering. We’re almost always happy with the food that we get as a result of using her recipes.
Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. I admit this one doesn’t get as much use these days. Being married to a man nicknamed “Captain Red Meat” limits the number of times that he’s willing to eat vegetarian fare. I try, though, and that counts for something.