I mean it when I say it’s pure magic. The other morning I had about 5 minutes before school drop-off and the rush to the office to prep something for dinner, and had absolutely nothing in the fridge. I found some frozen sausage, a bag of dried beans, chopped 2 carrots and an onion, put in a garlic clove and some sprigs of thyme, a can of crushed tomatoes, covered it with water, pressed the button for 10 hours, and walked out of the house. I was completely prepared to order in Thai food—that’s how skeptical I was that it was going to work. I followed no recipe, I didn’t soak the beans overnight, and I didn’t know if the sausage was going to be too strong for it. But…it all worked out. The first sign it was going to be good was the smell when I walked in the house after work. I dished it up, and it didn’t need anything. Not even a glug of olive oil. My husband who is never shy with the criticism declared it “Amazing!” And it was good for lunch the next two days, and breakfast (put a poached egg on top) the day after that. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you should get one—it’s makes the kind of food you want to eat in these upcoming cold months. And did I mention that it’s $22?