Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Homes Tours and Candlelight Tours

December is the month of Homes Tours
Houses decorated for Christmas
Open wide their doors
for tour goers
The recipient of the ticket sales is always a good cause.
There are literally close to hundred tours within an easy drive

But it is always good to stay close to home
On Friday night,
we enjoyed the Moonlight and Mistletoe Tour
here in our little town

At what we know as The Chenault Mansion
(the name chosen by the third owners of the Victorian home who opened it as a Bed and Breakfast)
however, it is now The Dancer Mansion
after the Dancer family who lives there now

Moonlight and Mistletoe

involves food

 And desserts
(And I spent most of the day Friday making the desserts for the party --
a labor of love for me
-- for sixteen years earlier, I came up with the idea of a special evening tour
attached to our Homes Tour -- it has been a success!    In early years, I made all the food for the event -- so I enjoyed just desserts!)

Saturday, Friend Shirley Ann and I headed south to Carthage
(a town in Southwest Missouri known for it's marble)
A town full of Victorian Houses
And tour six of them, we did . . .

We saw

trees decorated for Christmas

lovely woodwork all bling-ed up for the tour

And my favorite of all . . . this little glass room on one of the oldest houses in town
How perfect to winter over plants

I also fell in love with

These little six by six

Original oils 

of the tour homes
(And I got his card -- can't you see one of Linderhof?)

And in one bathroom

Was this little "feather" tree full of real shell ornaments

And dining rooms had tables set for a Christmas feast!

Our fort does a Candlelight Tour the first Friday and Saturday of December

And we go from the bling of Victoriana
to the simplicity of the prairie
with this centerpiece on the refreshment table in the Grand Hall
where tour goers stop for hot cider and peppernuts

And "nineteenth century" children teach twenty-first century children
an old fashioned game with hoops

And husband Jim joined Old Fuss and Feathers for one number

Sunday dawned rainy but the sky cleared by tour time
We were local this time . . . 
And as if we had our fill of Victorian homes,
our tour featured quite a different home

A 1929 Art Moderne "Florida" home complete with palm trees

We enjoyed the Art Moderne built in mail box

The gift wrapped refrigerator

And we finished with the three Victorians on the tour

 Woodwork and garlands in the Sample Home

Lots of stained glass in both tours

The Friday night home and the last Victorian we visited, were built by
Banker Brothers who came from Kentucky to the prairies of Kansas
to open a bank
And built a big home

Brothers can be competitive
And I think the Chenault Brothers were no exception:

The original dining room chandelier in
the Walter Chenault home
(the north house, the Sample House)
originally gas it had been modernized by electrifying the fixture

The original dining room light fixture in
 the Edgar Chenault Home
(the south house, the Dancer Mansion)
formerly gas -- now electric!

Which brother had the neatest fixture?
Obviously, Walter's had a bit more bling than his brother!

And I must admit that it is fun to compare the two houses!

After the tour, friends Shirley Ann and Freida came over
to refresh ourselves with a cup of tea and a nosh . . . 

On the breakfast porch
with a few of my unkempt garden
we enjoyed orange cranberry shortbread and cups of restorative tea!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Culinary Arts Class -- Lamb

Denise at Beaux Arts is bringing Culinary Arts back to Fort Scott
Tonight . . . it was Lamb!

Chef Brandon Ritter

demonstrated a favorite of ours . . . 

Shepherd's Pie

Barbara Ritter with the finished pie

Barbara also demonstrated how to make another great lamb dish

Guinness Lamb Stew

And the Shepherd's Pie
The best I've ever eaten!

Barbara and husband Bryan own Black Dog Farms
and raise sheep
Shetland Sheep
which they use both for wool and for meat

Son Brandon is a chef in Kansas City

It was an enjoyable evening
Great food
Great company
And good wine from Denise's vineyard, 
Vinedo Del Alamo

Next class with be in January
And I'll be the instructor!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

An Advent Lunch

There's that week between Thanksgiving and December
that should have a special name
but doesn't
Although it is Advent
it doesn't really feel yet like the Christmas season
And so, it's like we have one foot in Christmas and the other foot in November!

And that week is when the Lunch Bunch came in November!
You see, they come on the fourth Tuesday of the month
But that Tuesday fell in Thanksgiving week
And so instead of moving it forward
(for we were just coming back from Minnesota)
we moved it back
. . . into that week!

Outside, the pumpkins are gone and Christmas greens are in planters and boxes
Inside, the mantles have their array of greens as well
And we've gotten out the Christmas dishes
And the nativity set

But we're not into full blown Christmas decorated mode yet . . . 

The table was set in the dining room with the lace cloth and damask napkins
My mother's compote held oranges . . .
the ones that I didn't make into pomanders

The Christmas China because it's what we use for everyday from the First Sunday of Advent through Christmas.

The menu

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
Turkey Stew with Biscuits
Pumpkin Flan with Maple Caramel Sauce

(all Ina, all from three different cookbooks)

The roasted butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette.    Roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, pecans (she used walnuts but on the prairie it's pecans!) and big shards of Parmesan cheese over a bed of spinach (her recipe calls for arugula but alas, we can't find it here)

Turkey stew with biscuits

True comfort food and a good leftover Thanksgiving turkey food.
It was warm, it's homey
Alas, I couldn't find the bag of pearl onions in the freezer section that the recipe called for
so I bought raw pearl onions and peeled them myself.
I think the raw ones were a bit better but the 15 minutes or so to peel them was a pain!
I'd vote for the frozen variety any time!

Pumpkin flan with maple caramel sauce

After having a plethora of pumpkin pies in the last month or so,
this was such a refreshing dessert!
It was lighter than pumpkin pie and the orange zest added a dimension of flavor that pumpkin pie doesn't have.
The sauce was wonderful and I probably could have eaten all of it with a spoon!
It didn't need whipped cream, the traditional topping for pumpkin pie.

A great luncheon for that odd week between Thanksgiving and December
A meal of Thanksgiving flavors eaten off the Christmas china!

Sunday, November 27, 2016


It's Advent . . . 
Four Sundays and four weeks before Christmas.
Advent means "coming" in Latin.
And we await the coming of Jesus into the World.
It's our time to prepare for Christmas
And remember the real meaning of Christmas

Preparation begins with the Christmas china

For eleven months of the year it lives on the top shelf of this cabinet.
Totally unaccessible unless to get out the "big" ladder
But that's okay . . . for we don't use it.

Out comes the big ladder, down comes the china
And up goes the blue and white on the lower shelf
We forego using the Johnson Brothers Indies in December
because it lives on that top shelf!

And china that's been sitting in a cabinet for eleven months 
needs washing!
Because it's real china, it's real hand washing!

Blue and white Indies is on the top shelf --
Christmas china is on the lower shelf

We also get out the Advent wreath
One candle for each Sunday in Advent
Lit each Sunday just before dinner

Then we head outside!

A fresh wreath on the door!

And greens and red berries in pots and boxes
Some are purchased . . . 
Some are gathered in the woods

In the front urns

In the back boxes

And in the front window box

With greens in the urns and boxes and the big lighted wreath on the front porch
And candles in the windows, Linderhof looks quite festive for the season . . .

And this afternoon, I took time for a pot of tea

And two gingerbread muffins
freshly baked
(gingerbread muffins because we have new neighbors and I baked a batch
to welcome them to the neighborhood)

We also decorated the mantles with greens
No tree, no poinsettia . . . 
We decorate slowly
This week, we'll get the Nativity set out and the German pyramid
The tree will come the following week
A freshly cut tree
And Scott City will make it's appearance and take over the breakfast room!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Our Thanksgiving

Yesterday, was Thanksgiving and we spent the day
with our daughter's in-laws

Without daughter, her husband and the Grands

They were in Minneapolis with their own turkey!

Vicki set a lovely table --
her wedding china and heirloom silver

A traditional Thanksgiving feast --
Turkey and all the trimmings!
Everyone brought something to share
And at our table, the scalloped pineapple was the star dish!
(Made by Vicki)

After dinner, there was little room for dessert --

But there was plenty of dessert --
besides the three pies,

Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars, a lemon blackberry cheesecake, and a chocolate cake

Alas, whenever you are gone for Thanksgiving, there are no leftovers!

Our new tradition is to have a small Thanksgiving 

 Just the two of us
Either on the Friday or Saturday after

The Spode turkey plates, the turkey salt and peppers that I bought the first year we were married -- from the dime store in downtown Kansas City

And one of the two glass turkeys that I use for cranberry sauce.

Our menu was simple
It was, after all, just the two of us!
Roast turkey

And following Ina's lead, smashed sweet potatoes and spinach gratin
(except for dessert this was the menu from Barefoot Contessa Parties and one that Ina featured on her second show on Food Network.

Even though it is the two of us, we eat in the dining room
There are candles . . . and wine
The April Cornell "fall" table linens add to the Thanksgiving setting

Of course,
not made for today but rather leftover from yesterday

My mother's pumpkin pie with Ina's make ahead whipped cream

We now have leftover turkey
Which was the plan!
It wouldn't be November without a turkey sandwich
on white bread with mayonnaise and a big glass of milk!

And turkey pot pie . . . and turkey and noodles . . . and turkey soup!

Mother's pie recipe
It predates the one on the Libby can
(no evaporated milk!)
And it is just the best!


1 unbaked pie shell
1 1/2 c. cooked or canned pumpkin
1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cloves
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 c. rich milk (I use half and half)
1/2 c. heavy cream

Mix all ingredients but the pie shell together.    Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell and bake in a 400 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until firm or until  a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.    Cool the pie well.