Focus, Focus, Focus!

Of the many things that keep me busy, sharing discoveries on this blog is one that I enjoy.  On the other hand I spend countless hours photographing, formatting and composing what appears here.  In addition to this blog I maintain several websites including my eCommerce site, my art licensing site (okay, so I'm not terribly original with those website names), my store site along with FB, Linked in...  You get the picture.  Enough already!    Developing original content isn't so hard. My brain is always exploding with ideas, more that I can possibly accomplish.  As I wonder where my time goes and try to determine how to insert more hours in the day, I find that I still only get twenty-four.
 Fooey!  The alternative is to try and cram fewer tasks into those hours, which brings me to the title of this post.

When our youngest was in middle and high school we turned to homeschooling (One of the best decisions ever!).  She was an excellent student but easily distracted.  I cannot count the number times we repeated the word "focus", as in "focus on the task at hand".  I was reminded of that recently and decided that perhaps I need to focus.  How can I  spend my time most effectively?  What must stay; what can go?  Add to that, on what do I want to spend my time?  Well the answer, first and foremost, is designing.  Designing is my first love.  Whether painting or enhancing my work in Photoshop I truly enjoy what I do.  It is also my livelihood.  Designing stays.  I'll spare you the step-by-step details and suffice it to say that my blog really only entertains me.  I like cooking, creating, figuring out coding workarounds, etc, and like to share my discoveries with you.  The reality is that all of this does nothing for my time management, although it might help some others save a bit of trial and error.   My last post before this one was for making homemade sauerkraut (once again it turned out great btw, yum!).  That was a few months ago.  It's not that I haven't had an original thought since then. I have them all of the time.  Other things just take priority.  Before Christmas I had been considering making some changes to the blog, especially how often I post and what the focus of it should be.  Then I received a Christmas card from a family member who said such lovely and encouraging things about my writings (thanks Kendra!) and I began to have second thoughts.  So I did nothing.  Now I can't just leave the blog dangling forever so there are going to be some changes.  If you've read this far thanks for sticking with me while I ramble.

Posts of the arts & crafts, creative sort, like you would find under my "hands on" tab will be shared on my site.  I have been and will continue to post these inspirations and techniques on my home page, treating it like a blog, likewise for topics like art & design, technical savvy (art gadgets) and art-related tutorials.  If those topics are of interest to you please subscribe to my newsletter.  On the subscription page there is also an option to receive the RSS feed.

Brilliant ideas like my instant hamburger bun pan (okay, I'm proud of that one--and it's super popular) I may not be able to keep to myself but I make no promises.  The same goes for code workarounds.

This leaves "foodie finds" and "made from scratch" tabs.  We've discovered some quaint shops and
markets along with independent eateries in our travels and love putting them out there share a good word on their behalf.  These honest commentaries do get traffic and hopefully have given the purveyors a boost.  After all, word of mouth is the best advertising.  If I add any foodie finds in the future, they are likely to be few and far between.

"Made from scratch" features my original recipes or sometimes my adaptation of existing dishes.  These won't go away.  I refer to them frequently and know that others enjoy access to these as well.  New additions will be sporadic though as writing and sharing recipes cannot be a priority for me.  As I mentioned above, designing is my principal task and must be where I focus my attention.  Incidentally, I have a few tabletop collections on the horizon that feature my work, which brings me full circle.  What better vessel in which to serve one of my recipes than dinnerware bearing my art.  How fun and exciting is that?

Fermenting Cabbage aka Making Sauerkraut

I began my foray into fermenting cabbage four years ago.  The results were spectacular and we were immediately hooked on making our own sauerkraut.  Once you've tasted genuine homemade sauerkraut you will never want the store bought variety again.  With each batch we learn something new and this year has been no exception so I thought I'd share.

As summer winds down I put in a call to a local farmer to see when cabbage will be ready.  Our reserves are low so  I definitely want to make a full large crock of kraut this year.

Deciding how much cabbage to buy is a guess.  You can fit a remarkable number of heads in a crock as they compact during stomping. 

 I attribute our sauerkraut success to using a  fermentation crock.  I have two sizes, a 15 liter and a 10 liter.  (To use the crocks you will also need  stone weights to keep your cabbage submerged in the brine.  In addition to regular kitchen equipment, a wooden sauerkraut stomper is helpful.)  I opted for two crocks over a single, larger crock for a couple of reasons.  First, the crocks are pretty heavy empty and when full are difficult to move.  Second, I can make two different varieties of sauerkraut

Easy Lemon Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate

This recipe is based on one I came across online for easy coconut macaroons.  I found the simplicity of the ingredient list intriguing.  It required just three ingredients.  Two cups of unsweetened coconut, one can of sweetened condensed milk and one teaspoon of vanilla.  While the short list had its appeal, I knew these would be much too sweet for our tastes so I modified it for a more balanced profile.  To counteract the sweetness I added lemon in three forms beginning with the zest from a large lemon then adding the juice from half of that lemon.  Using the juice from the whole lemon would have added too much liquid but I still wanted a bit more lemoniness so I added two envelopes of True Lemon.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To make the cookies use a spoon to stir together the following ingredients in a bowl.
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