Monthly Archive: January 2013

Jan 30

January Days

January Days

We move into our new house tomorrow!! We are so, so, so excited and ready. This apartment was such a blessing, as it’s free to us and has been a lifesaver in so many ways. But I have to say, it’s also presented it’s challenges. It’s…small. Going from a comfortable-sized home with a huge backyard to a one bedroom apartment has been quite the adjustment. We had our routines, hobbies and go-to activities if we were bored. Now, we don’t have any of those things. The other part of the adjustment is that I haven’t started my job yet (although I did get word yesterday that my license has been approved, yahoo!!), so that leaves me in the one bedroom apartment with Barkley and not much to do with my time.

But with every negative comes a positive, I think. Eric and I have come up with new hobbies. We bought a puzzle last weekend. That’s right, we’re putting together a puzzle. All of our board games are in storage (with 99% of our other belongings), so that was immediately ruled out. Puzzles make for endless hours of fun. When I say endless, I mean it. We must’ve bought the most impossible puzzle ever…all of the pieces look the same!

I have also had lots of hours on my hands to read. Reading is something I’ve always enjoyed and make time to do every night before I go to bed. But having time during the day to read is quite the luxury. I have also taken the time to explore Clinton Lake with Barkley. This is, admittedly, something I wouldn’t have “found the time” to do ordinarily. But with all this extra time, we’ve had fun finding trails and waterfalls! Eric and I have also gone on a few walks around Clinton Lake (like tonight! The sunset was beautiful!) to get exercise.

All in all, January has presented it’s challenges but has also opened up new possibilities. I continually remind myself that this is part of our journey. We’re making memories every day!  We have been dreaming about our new house and all that goes with it for what seems like an eternity. So, this is a BIG week. We’re hoping it goes as seamlessly as the move-out did.

Jan 27

DIY Barnwood Command Center

This “Command Center” project was one of the biggest/coolest projects that I’ve worked on.  I will be the first to admit that neither Kelli nor I were the masterminds behind the planning. Instead, we were only the vehicle for making it happen.  I have to give all the kudos to my former Cabela’s Training Team for this crafty idea!!

DIY Barnwood Command Center

As you can see, their plans created quite the workplace organization command center, plus it helps add a little bit of character to the boring office environment. The command center consists of 4 total boards which are each 30”X42”.

Each board has its own purpose, including a metal backing only for general notes/to dos, corkboard for pinning things, chalkboard because everyone likes a chalkboard, and finally a calendar so nobody misses their dates.

Now that you’ve seen the final product, let’s see how it was all done.  Our hope is that this will provide inspiration to you or anyone in your office to use your imagination and creativity to make that boring workplace a little more enjoyable and fun.

DIY Barnwood Command Center

If you’ve noticed one thing about any of our posts using wood is that we discovered a great source of weathered-style barnwood.  Our first use for this barnwood was in our shelf post which you can check out here.  It’s a pretty neat example of turning something that was going to the dump into a lot of unique items.

Framing is simple as long as you aren’t looking for perfection.  Because I used barnwood, I’m actually looking for anything except perfection.   The thing that makes barnwood great is that the wood is supposed to have character. We want to see nail holes, divots, warping, etc…

DIY Barnwood Command CenterOnce I had figured out that I wanted to make frames out of the barnwood. I went and bought a frame maker (roughly $20) from Home Depot.  It helps in keeping the frame corners lining up correctly.  For this project, I also used 8 l brackets on the back of each frame because of the amount of weight that was going to be held.

DIY Barnwood Command CenterHere is the final look of the frame.  I think these are just the coolest looking things.  Now onto working on the back of the frame so I can put the center pieces in each one.

DIY Barnwood Command CenterDIY Barnwood Command Center

In the above pictures I am routering the inner part on the back of the frame.  I’m using something called a rabbit bit to make this happen.  I had to do a little bit of research to figure out the exact tool to make this happen.  I’m still not quite sure why it’s called a rabbit bit.

For each of the frames that I used a metal front I used construction glue to adhere it to a wood backing to help keep the metal flat.

DIY Barnwood Command Center

This was also my first run in with chalkboard paint.  I personally thought the chalkboard framed piece was the coolest out of all of them.  I mean, who doesn’t love a chalkboard? Sspecially framed in barnwood?!?!  Here’s how I made that happen.DIY Barnwood Command Center

I used Rustoleum’s Chalkboard paint in the making of the chalkboard.  It went on really easy and finished just like a chalkboard should look.

DIY Barnwood Command CenterDIY Barnwood Command CenterThe next board that I put together was the corkboard.  This one was probably the easiest out of the 4 boards.  I was able to get 1ft X 1ft pieces of corkboard and just use the same adhesive I used on the board to glue them on the piece of board.

DIY Barnwood Command Center

The final step was to combine the two pieces (the frame and the middle board.)  Here I also used the construction adhesive in the joint that I rabbit routered.  I know that’s not correct, but its fun to say. Say that one 5 times fast.

DIY Barnwood Command CenterYou will also noticed that I use tiny brackets on the back to help support in keeping the middle piece on the frame.

DIY Barnwood Command Center

After the glue dried for each one I was finally done.  Drum roll please……..I present the organization board/ Cabela’s Command Center.

DIY Barnwood Command Center DIY Barnwood Command Center DIY Barnwood Command Center

 

DIY Barnwood Command Center

 

DIY Barnwood Command Center

This was a fun, challenging, and quite rewarding project.  It was great to be able to partner with the awesome Cabela’s Training Team and put these together for the them.  They’re a very creative bunch of gals and they are greatly missed!  Since building these, Kelli and I have since relocated closer to home for us.  We now call the Topeka, KS/Lawrence, KS area home.  Oh, how I do miss the fun times I had with the Cabela’s crew and all of our friends in Sidney!!!!

Until the next project.  Enjoy and go build something!

ER

PS **minor plug alert** If you do live in the Kansas City/ Salina/ Wichita KS triangle and you would like one of these made especially for you, email us at firesidedreamers@gmail.com and we will see what we can do for you.

Jan 21

Extra Crispy Potatoes

Happy Monday!!

So, I have this thing about potatoes. I’m picky about them…imagine that.

I like to have EXTRA crispy potatoes. Like all of them. Not just every other one but the whole loot. I also get really annoyed at how long potatoes take to prepare. Hours, it seems. So this here recipe caught my eye and has really changed the way I make taters. BECAUSE it was easy, fast and they came out super crispy. Perfect!

This is a really versatile recipe in that you can eat these yummy taters with steaks (or a dinner side in general)…or as breakfast potatoes! Who doesn’t love a great breakfast potato?

 

First, I cut up a bunch of red potatoes. I popped them in the microwave for 10 minutes.
Then, I put the nuked potatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzled olive oil all over them. For this batch, I also put seasoning salt, pepper and green onions on top. Put them in a oven preheated at 450 for about 25 minutes.

Extra Crispy Potatoes Extra Crispy Potatoes For my second batch, I just used pepper and seasoning salt.Extra Crispy Potatoes Extra Crispy Potatoes

Original recipe here- I got the idea from serious eats but revised it to work for me!

Extra Crispy Potatoes
Red Potatoes
Olive Oil
Seasoning Salt and Pepper
Any other spices that you like!

1. Quarter the red potatoes.

2. Place on a plate and microwave potatoes for 10 minutes.

3. Place the potatoes on a cookie sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (and other spices). Toss the potatoes in the oil and spices.

4. Place in a 400 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes.

Jan 08

Fried Pickle’s Healthier Friend: Baked Pickles

Is your mouth watering yet?

Fried Pickles Healthier Friend: Baked PicklesWhy are they fried pickle’s healthier friend you ask? Because they’re not actually fried…they’re baked pickles!

I love fried pickles so much and will keep ordering them nearly every time I eat out, BUT when I’m at home and don’t want to pay to eat out, these are an amazing alternative. Now, I can’t take full credit for the awesom-ness that are these baked pickles. Ol’ Pinterest wins again! You never really know what you’re going to get with Pinterest recipes, so you gotta use your noggin when trying to recreate them. In this case, I just changed a few things and they were a definite winner. So, thank you Full Flavor Food, for this wonderful recipe!

I started out with a jar of kosher dill spears (rather than the chips they suggested in the recipe) because that’s what I had on hand. Then I filled one bowl with flour, the other with an egg/milk mixture and a final bowl with bread crumbs. I just went with plain bread crumbs rather than the panko and cheese mix from the recipe….again because that’s what I had, AND because I didn’t want cheese with my pickles. I have to draw the line somewhere. Fried Pickles Healthier Friend: Baked PicklesIt’s the typical 3 dip scenario you’re probably used to from the frying days. First goes flour, then egg/milk, and lastly the breadcrumbs.  Fried Pickles Healthier Friend: Baked PicklesPop those pickles into the oven on a greased baking sheet for 7-10 minutes at 425 degrees. Mine were in there a little over 10 minutes- maybe because they’re spears rather than chips. Either way, just keep checking until they’re at your desired crispness. Fried Pickles Healthier Friend: Baked Pickles And that’s it! The baked pickles are done! Add a little side of ranch, plop yourself in front of the TV and eat! I suppose to you share them….it’s up to you. Fried Pickles Healthier Friend: Baked Pickles

Original Baked Pickles Recipe here!

Ingredients:

One jar of kosher dill spears

3 Eggs

3 TBLs Milk

1 cup Flour (All Purpose)

1/2 cup Bread Crumbs

Directions –

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Take 3 small mixing bowls and put the flour in 1, the eggs and milk in the second(and beat them together), and combine the bread crumbs, panko crumbs, and the shredded cheese in the third bowl.
  3. Coat each pickle spear with flour, then the egg/milk mixture, and then the bread crumb mixture, and place on to a greased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake @ 425 degrees for 7 – 10 minutes or until desired “crispiness” is reached.

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Like this recipe?

For another healthy, yet delicious, recipe try my grilled eggplant caprese stacks. These are great for entertaining!
Fried Pickles Healthier Friend: Baked Pickles

My southwest chicken salad is also a healthy and yummy option!

Fried Pickles Healthier Friend: Baked Pickles

Or, if you’re not in the mood for a mexican-style salad, my california cobb salad is to die for!!

Fried Pickles Healthier Friend: Baked Pickles

 

 

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