Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Garden Part II

Digging up a garden is hard work. We didn’t have much of a choice when one of our dogs decided to dig their way in and around our raised garden bed. They probably thought they were helping by tilling the soil, but little do they know that is done before the seeds are planted.

After filling the boxes back up with soil we re-planted the onion bulbs which to my surprise already smell like onions. We added red and green bell pepper seeds as well as one of the most popular in our home, spinach.

So far the onions are thriving and the spinach and peppers are beginning to show their green leaves. The lettuce is as fruitful as ever with small strawberry leaves pushing up next to them. The raspberry bush has sprouted many leaves and even has a small bloom.

Thanks to the rain we’ve had this weekend, hopefully within a month or so we’ll have delicious fruit and veggies!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend Finds

What a weekend! Six estate sales, finishing a 5K and a big ol’ rain storm. Glad we had the rain storm Sunday night to recover from the weekend.

The best pick of the weekend was a Silvertone Stereo and Record Player all in a walnut Mid Century buffet cabinet. We had no idea if it worked but at a steal of a price we couldn’t not take it. Once at home we gave it a light dusting and plugged it in. Don’t worry, Jeremy knows his way around electronics so he made sure there wasn’t any danger. The stereo and inside lights turned on immediately. We tuned in a station and played with the balance, bass and volume. The music sounded nice and crisp!

The big test was to see if the record player was still working. We placed a Johnny Cash record on the turntable and held our breath as we placed the needle down. We were all smiles when we heard the lyrics to Boy Named Sue come over the speakers. Jeremy will take his refinishing skills to the hutch and clean it up to be just as good as new. We haven’t found the actual date of production for the unit but hopefully with more digging we can find something.

We also found some smaller kitchen items for the shop. I can’t resist a collection of Pyrex custard cups! I found a set of 3 1960s Lucite serving platters with a diamond design. There are some similar already in the shop, but these ones are smaller. I found a great pair of clip on earrings that were made in West Germany. They are light blue and white and look like they are made from shells. Couldn’t leave those behind.

Ever tried a Cara Cara orange? We did Saturday at the farmer’s market and they are delicious! The outside looks like a regular orange but the inside is like a pink grapefruit. The vendor said that is exactly what they are, however nothing on the web suggests this is true. Insert shrug. They taste amazing which is really what matters.

As if I had forgotten, the cherry on top, the Mad Men season 5 premier!
Silvertone Hutch with Stereo and Record Player

Cara Cara Oranges

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Cleaning and Guava Shells

Spring has arrived! And with its arrival we took a short hiatus for some Spring cleaning. We have The Sunshine Grove office looking organized, lots to add to the shop and some great vintage finds that have sparked future blog posts. We are excited for what’s to come.

I thought I’d share a quick how to for guava shells and marmalade. Their peak season ends this month so hurry to your local farmer’s market or Latin food store for a delicious and flavor packed dessert.

At my parent’s house after ice cream, guava is the most common dessert. Sometimes it is served as a paste over a slice of cheese, as guava shells with cream cheese or just the fruit itself from the tree. This time of year my grandparent’s guava tree gives fruit by the bag that family and friends gladly take. My grandfather suggested I try to make guava shells and marmalade since we had some extra mason jars around the house. Having never made them before I sought some guidance from a great uncle who gave some tips on the marmalade and a god father who gave me the run down on making the guava shells.

After my grandfather dropped off a grocery bag full of pink guavas I went to work. The prep time is pretty long as you have to peel the guavas, slice them in half and then spoon out the inside pulp and seeds. Some of the guavas were overly ripe so we don’t have perfect shells, but ended up being tasty anyway. We also had white guavas from our neighbor and decided to make some shells from those and mixed the pulp in with the pink guavas.

I put 2 large pots to boil and pulled out a large wok for the pulp. Jeremy helped me stir up the pulp until it started to be runny and then we transferred a few large spoonfuls into the colander so we had a nice red paste that was seed free. We added a heaping cup of sugar to the paste and let it simmer. Once it thickened up we jarred it and let it cool.

Once the other 2 pots were boiling we added the pink and the white shells each to a pot and let them soften. Since the pink shells are much smaller those went soft pretty quickly. We drained the water (saving it) and then put them back in the pot with 3 cups of the saved boiling water and added 2 cups of sugar, simmering until the simple syrup thickened up. Once the white guavas were soft we did the same but used a bit less water and sugar since there were less in volume.

The big grocery bag of guavas didn’t make as much shells or marmalade as we thought but it’s just enough for us all to taste and enjoy after dinner!

Make your own guava shells and paste:

Spring in full bloom at the Grove

YUM! Ready to eat.