Monthly Archive: August 2012

Aug 30

A Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden Update

It’s time for another garden update! I can’t explain how excited Eric and I are when a new veggie is ready to be picked. It’s pretty ridiculous how we carry on each time we pick something from the garden. Since our garden last year was hailed out…multiple times…we never have been able to relish in the harvesting excitement.

The second most exciting thing about having our own produce is using it in our everyday cooking! More on that to come later….think salsa and pesto. yummm!

So here is a garden update, including our first harvest of the year, in pictures!

A Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden UpdateA Time To Harvest: Vegetable Garden Update

Aug 29

Our Rustic Barnwood Shelf

For the longest time, Kelli has been on the prowl for the perfect piece to go above our bed.  She loves shabby chic/rustic style.  We were fortunate enough to come across an awesome barn door that we created for our headboard (more on that later).  So what better piece than a homemade, one-of-a-kind rustic barnwood shelf?!  It turned out to be the PERFECT piece!  Here’s how building the rustic barnwood shelf went down.

Our Rustic Barnwood Shelf

Just a quick background on the wood I used:  I would love to say that I pulled it out of a barn built in the 1870’s by some farmer that put his blood sweat and tears into it but…… instead the story is not quite as exciting.  My neighbor’s wood fence fell down and he was throwing it out.  Being the entrepreneur (some may also call me a frugal pack rat…or worse, a hoarder) that I offered to haul it off for him. To our backyard.
You will notice that in all the pieces that I’ve built, including the desk at the end of the Lamp Re-Do post, the wood has an amazing look!  I love turning nothing into something with a little hard work and ingenuity.

I also want to add that I am very interested in custom building and selling similar shelves. If you really like what you see and are interested in possibly owning your own, there’s more details on the bottom of the post.


I began the building of the rustic barnwood shelf by cutting my two long base pieces.  I made sure to select the straightest pieces that I could find that way I don’t get a lot of warping and bowing.

Our Rustic Barnwood Shelf

As always, foreman Barkley is looking over my shoulder to make sure that I’m not messing up.  He’s a very particular boss!

Our Rustic Barnwood Shelf

After getting the bases selected and cut to the correct length, I used what was left over from the wood and made the stabilizing triangles.  I think these are what really gives the shelf the “official” look and helps with integrity of the structure.  No one likes waking up to a the Letter Y falling on your head (you’ll see what I mean in later pictures) in the middle of the night.

Our Rustic Barnwood Shelf

Originally I was thinking about just using glue and the nail gun to connect the pieces.  After much thought, I came to the conclusion that screws would be the best option to make a strong shelf.

Our Rustic Barnwood Shelf

I’m getting close to being done with putting the pieces together.  Please notice my safety glasses. SAFETY FIRST!  To tell you the truth, I just think that I look cool in them and that’s pretty much the only reason I wear them.  Kelli is sure to let me know that they are NOT COOL, but what does she know? 😉

Our Rustic Barnwood Shelf

Here’s photo of the shelf once it was all put together.  I love the look of the wood!!  Even though its from a fence that fell down, I think that it has a very unique feel.  I didn’t take a picture of this step, but once I finished putting the pieces together, I always seal the wood with a neutral base paint and keeps the look of the wood but gets rid of the splinters.

Our Rustic Barnwood Shelf

As for hanging the shelf on the wall, the steps go as follows: Find the studs, level the holes you drill for the shelf, prep the wood by pre-drilling the holes, drill the screws in, and finally, stand back and enjoy the look of your new rustic barnwood shelf!!!

Our Rustic Barnwood ShelfOur Rustic Barnwood ShelfOur Rustic Barnwood ShelfOur Rustic Barnwood Shelf

Kelli did an amazing job on the accent pieces to put on the shelf!  You can read more about how she created each of those on the Bedroom reveal post.

Our Rustic Barnwood Shelf

The shelf has really completed the Country Living bedroom feel that we were in search for.  Its nice to step into our room and know that we have very unique pieces and even cooler to know that we built them!!  I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about our taste and our sweet rustic barnwood shelf!!

I mentioned at the beginning of the post that I’m thinking about building and selling custom made versions of the shelf.  If you are interested in possibly having your own please email us at  Let me now the dimensions (mostly just width) and if you have a particular design or look that you wanting.  These would make great Xmas gifts as well! 😉

Thanks so much for reading!  Until next time.  It’s all about the experience!

PS Don’t forget to like us on facebook and subscribe to Fireside Dreamers to get the latest update to your inbox.

Aug 27

Fireside Dreamers Site Night

When our “development” team for Fireside Dreamers gets together for a site night we try and mix the work and play.  For example: the site night prior to this particular site night we had our wing-off where Jay ran away with the win.  You can read more about his killer recipe on the wing-off post.

We decided that for this night’s event/menu would be shish kabobs but with a little twist. The challenge that was presented to each of the site nighters was to bring a vegetable or dish that was a little different or unique than our usual just meat on the grill menu.  I think we ended up with some tasty things to eat and had a great time making them.  Also, you will notice below that we have some adult beverages.  They really help get the creative juices flowing.  These are a must to come up with the master ideas that come out of the site night!

Fireside Dreamers Site Night

Kelli is putting the sirloin steak that had been marinating since lunch onto the skewers.  I don’t believe the marinade was anything special.  I think it was a basic A1 marinade that we got at the store…still pretty tasty thought!

  One quick tip: if using wooden skewers do not forget to soak them in water prior to use.  If forgotten, plan on having crispy skewers that snap like twigs and leave a burnt smell on your kabob.

Fireside Dreamers Site Night

Tess rose to the challenge of acquiring and using some unique vegetables on our kabobs.  We had the obvious vegetables like onions, peppers, mushrooms, but we also had some very different veggies like avocados, cucumbers, and plantains!  The new veggies put a cool twist on a dish that we eat so often, even though I think the grill master(me) extremely overcooked the new veggies…oops!

Fireside Dreamers Site Night

Here’s what Barkley thinks of site night….  Now if it was “throw my soccer ball all night long” night he might be a little bit more excited.  Maybe next time bud.

Fireside Dreamers Site Night

Here’s what a site night really consist of:  85% of the time is us sitting around chattin’ it up and drinking some brewskis, 10% of the time everyone’s productive and building cool things, and the last 5% is looking at the other blogs that Kelli just found when she told us she was “working.” Staying up just isn’t in the cards for her.  If she tries to stay up too late she gets a little loopy.  That’s when kooky Kelli shows herself, its quite the site to see if you’ve never had the pleasure to observe it!!

Fireside Dreamers Site Night

For our kabobs we decided that it was just easier to separate  the veggies and the meat.  This makes it quite a bit easier to make sure that everything is cooked correctly and things don’t get to burnt or not quite done.  The picture is making me hungry just looking at it.

Fireside Dreamers Site Night

Here’s our grill full of food! Like usual, we cooked enough to feed an army.  That just means leftovers for the next couple days’ lunches.

One thing I forgot to mention that Jay has become the master at his jalapeno poppers.  It’s essentially jalapenos sliced in half with the seeds removed, cream cheese placed in the cavity where the seeds were, and then wrapped in my personal favorite, BACON!!!!  These are super simple to make and if you bring them to your next backyard party or tailgate I guarantee you will be the hit of the party!

I’m pretty sure Jay has started eating them with just about every meal that he makes.  I mean they are GOOD!!

Fireside Dreamers Site Night

The rest of the grilling was pretty simple.  Just leave the skewers on each side for 7-10 minutes depending on if it’s meat or vegetables.  Take them off and serve.  Be sure to eat the jalapeno poppers first as your appetizer!

In conclusion, up to the point of eating was the 85% of the site night.  We worked for the next 10%, which we got some ads up and began to set up an Etsy shop(much more to come later on that),  and finally concluded with Kelli finding it very interesting that you can make your laundry detergent.  I call it a success! Thanks for reading and stay classy San Diego.

Don’t forget that if you enjoyed reading this post or any other writings you should subscribe to Fireside Dreamers!  The only thing that happens from this is you will get that newest post straight to your email inbox.  Click here for instruction!

Aug 25

Grilled Eggplant Caprese Stacks

Grilled Eggplant Caprese StacksEric and I had veggies leftover from our vegetable box that we receive from the local greenhouse bi-weekly. We decided to get creative and try something new with the eggplant. After searching for grilling recipes, I gathered ideas and came up with my own that included three of my favorite ingredients: basil, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes…..otherwise known as a caprese salad. After looking online for related recipes to this, I found that several other people had the same idea! Grilled Eggplant Caprese StacksFirst, I infused some extra virgin olive oil with three cloves of garlic and let it sit for about an hour.

Then, I sliced the tomatoes and eggplant.

Grilled Eggplant Caprese StacksI brushed the eggplant with the infused olive oil, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and started layering on the tomatoes, cheese and chopped basil.

I topped them with toasted breadcrumbs.

Grilled Eggplant Caprese StacksGrilled Eggplant Caprese Stacks

As for the main course, we decided to be fancy on this fine Monday night. You gotta get your week started out on the right foot!

We wrapped the filet mignon with bacon and secured it with toothpicks.

Eric sprinkled on seasoned sea salt and pepper.

Grilled Eggplant Caprese StacksGrilled Eggplant Caprese StacksWe also had a zucchini that was ready to eat, so we sliced it up, wrapped it in foil and poured in olive oil and two cloves of garlic.

Grilled Eggplant Caprese StacksI wanted to top the steaks with some caramelized onions. Yum! My intent for this meal was to use as many of my garden vegetables as possible. It came together so nicely!Grilled Eggplant Caprese StacksWe put them all on the grill at the same time, with the eggplant stacks on an old pan and the zucchini on lower heat at the top of the grill. They were on the grill for total of about 10 minutes.Grilled Eggplant Caprese StacksThe finished product! Grilled Eggplant Caprese StacksThe veggies were just soft enough and the cheese was nice and melted.Grilled Eggplant Caprese StacksWhat a delicious, healthy and satisfying mealGrilled Eggplant Caprese StacksGrilled Eggplant Caprese StacksIf you have eggplant growing in the garden and aren’t sure how to prepare it, try this recipe!

Grilled Eggplant Caprese Stacks

One eggplant, sliced
One tomato, sliced
Olive Oil infused with three cloves garlic
Mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Brush eggplant with infused olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer eggplant,  tomatoes, and cheese. Sprinkle with basil. Place on grill pan and grill for approximately 10 minutes.

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