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 :) )