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rice cooker

Jenny, I borrowed my daughter's rice cooker for a weekend -- made a large
batch of rice and froze it in meal-sized portions.  I also cooked barley,
black beans, and green lentils (separately), all using the 2 parts water
to 1 part dry stuff ratio.  They all turned out well.  I found that the
black beans tended to boil up a bit - had put an old dishtowel over the
top which caught most of the mess.

Then I made a quick and easy meal: saute some onion and garlic, add fresh
herbs (thyme, oregano),ground black pepper, a can of diced tomatoes and
some of the cooked
barley and lentils.
Heat and serve - was a big hit even with the meateaters.   (you could also
add chopped celery, sweet red pepper, parsley:  I tend to cook by hand - a
handful of this, a handful of that :)  )
Barb b