I've not cooked anything super new this week, but some dessert is in our near future.
So, here are my time/recipe saving tips.
Make your own powdered sugar: Throw regular old white sugar in a blender and mix. I actually use my Magic Bullet for this and it's simple. (By the way, I tried this with brown sugar, and no dice, it's too moist).
Softening brown sugar: pop in the microwave for 15ish seconds, good as new!
Make your own buttermilk: add one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice for one cup of milk. Let it stand for 5ish minutes. Buttermilk!
Baking powder vs. Baking soda: if you're out of baking soda, you can make your own, using baking powder and cream of tarter. It's two parts cream of tarter to one part baking powder. You can also substitute baking soda for powder and cut the cream of tarter out of the recipe. If the recipe doesn't call for cream of tarter, it may effect your taste a bit.
Zesting and juicing a fruit: Get zest first! If you don't own a microplane (I don't), use a cheese grater - you only want the bright stuff, the rind is bitter, so leave that out. To juice, rub the whole fruit on a hard surface (this allows you to get more juice) with pressure for a few seconds, cut in half and squeeze cut side up over your dish.
General Bread Tips: You'll know your yeast is proofed when you get a foamy substance on top of the mixture. To help your dough rise, put the bowl/pan that it's rising in on your stove top. Turn on the burner for a few seconds, and shut it off. The residual heat will be just enough to help it rise, without killing your yeast. If you like your bread light, mid way through cooking, throw some foil on it.
Tips for moist cake: Cut 2ish minutes off of the recommended baking time, and insert your toothpick. When it has little bits of dough on it, but it's mostly clean, remove from the oven. It will continue to cook as it cools, and will be so moist and delicious!