In my post, Bread Making for the Not So Knead-y, I discussed using your bread machine to cut down on the work involved in baking homemade bread. In our house, a loaf of fresh bread lasts only about 2 days, tops. Rather than going to the work of measuring out ingredients every time I need to bake, I fill a week’s worth of quart size freezer bags with all of the dry ingredients, except yeast. I fill the baggies in the opposite order as listed on the recipe, so that when I dump them in the bread machine pan, they will be in the correct order. I write the necessary wet ingredients, time, and temperature for baking on the white label portion. I store these in the freezer, and when I need to bake a loaf of bread, I just put the water and honey in the bread machine pan, dump in a baggie of dry ingredients, add the yeast, and push start. Voila! It takes only a few minutes, and there is no mess to clean up.
When I’m filling the bread baggies, I also take the time to fill baggies with cornbread ingredients, since I already have the flour and salt out. We enjoy cornbread with soups, chili, and with butter and syrup for breakfast. My scratch cornbread is sweet and cake-like–it puts those Jiffy mixes to shame! Sadly, the devastating floods in our area have driven corn prices to a record high of $7 a bushel, so cornmeal will no longer be the inexpensive staple it once was.
This system is much faster and more efficient than measuring out the ingredients each time I bake. I get everything out once, put it away once, and clean up once, but the return on my effort is much greater. This time saving method can work in other situations as well. For example, if I’m making a cake, I may whip up a batch of cookies too. If I’m making a casserole, I may make two and freeze one for a later meal. I do all of my errands in one afternoon, instead of making several trips, and I even bathe both of my children at the same time. I’ve already run the bath water, and I can wash two little faces as quickly as one.
Speaking of children…mine are stir-crazy because the rain and my sore ankle have kept us inside all week. Unfortunately, today looks like more of the same:
Yesterday, the sun actually made an appearance for about an hour in the late afternoon, so I shooed them outside. I was fed up with their bickering and complaining! After only about 15 minutes, they were back, with a whole laundry list of reasons why they wanted to come in. They were too hot, they wanted snacks, there was a bug on the swingset, Arthur was on TV….