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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Turning One -- The Celebration!

It takes quite a celebration
When a person turns one!

First, there is the real birthday --
the day that you entered the world
Which, usually, for that first year isn't on a weekend
And so you celebrate

With the immediate family
(parents and both sets of grands)
And a cake --
And a candle . . .

And cards

But on the weekend . . . 
parents will pull out all stops

Sarah's table on her deck reminds me of a Pottery Barn ad

For a party for family and friends!

Bright colors and bouquets of garden hydrangeas
And party favors
for dinner will be served buffet style

Vegetables and dips, Lucy's Birthday Tomato Zucchini Pasta Salad, Smokestack Baked Beans (Sarah's version), and son-in-law Andy's fabulous smoked brisket
Pink lemonade for the little ones . . .
Adult beverages for the big ones!

Friends (big and small) filled the deck

And grand girl Lucy enjoyed being the center of attention!

Dessert . . .

Cookies, baked and decorated by her mother and both her grands

And, of course,

A cake
(for their has to be cake and ice cream at a birthday party!)

And just this once . . . 

A wee cake just for Lucy . . . 
Known as a "smash cake", because . . . 

Well, you smash it!

Not so all those years ago when Daughter Sarah turned one!

But what's a little cake and frosting on your face
When it is your birthday?
Because . . . 

It is fun being the center of attention!

And of course, the "gift"

The toy trunk
Which, hopefully, she'll pass on to her daughter
and tell her the stories of the dogs and cats painted on the chest
And stories of the Nana who painted it
All those years ago!

It's Thursday and I'm sharing Lucy's birthday party with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Maple and Bacon -- Together Again

Aren't they two of the food groups?

Together again in a wonderful breakfast muffin

Even though there is just the two of us
You need more than two muffins on a plate
(or perhaps in a tummy!)

In the breakfast room
With the Johnson Brothers Indies
(for it's the set that has a coffee pot)
And a bouquet of sunflowers
(for we are, after all, in Kansas)

A maple bacon muffin
A cup of coffee

Makes for a perfect breakfast


1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract (or 1/2 t. maple flavor)
2 2/3 c. flour
1 cup milk


6 slices bacon, cooked, cooled and snipped into squares
3 to 4 T. real maple syrup


1 c. powdered sugar
pinch of salt
about 1/4 c. maple syrup, enough to make a spreadable frosting

Preheat the oven to 425.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, vegetable oil and sugars till smooth.    Add eggs, beating to combine.

Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla or maple flavor.

Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

Scoop the batter into lightly greased or paper lined muffin pans.

Top with bacon and drizzle with syrup (about 1 t. per muffin), being sure to keep the bacon mounded in the center (it will distribute during baking).

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.    Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.    When they’re nearly cool, spread with the glaze.

To Make The Glaze:

Stir together the powdered sugar, salt and enough maple syrup to make a spreadable glaze.   Spread the glaze over the muffins.      Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

They Say It's Your Birthday . . . .

They Say It's Your Birthday . . . They Say It's Your Birthday . . . 

A year ago
we were in Minnesota
for a very special event . . . 

And today is Her Birthday
Grand Girl Lucy turns one!

A tradition started when
Daughter Sarah turned one . . . 

A hand painted toy trunk

Painted in the style of Holly Hobby
Popular when she was small
It's lived the test of time and Daughter Sarah took it to college with her
And on all of the moves after
And she still treasures it.

For Grand Girl Lucy
a joint gift from her parents and her grands
the chest a gift from her parents
the painting a gift from me

A new trunk
(for old trunks have lids that don't stay up and metal edges can hurt fingers)

Painted in the style of Tasha Tudor
of prairie girls at Daughter Sarah's request

Besides the girls and the gardens,
Sarah's cat on the left
Dog Doogie on the right

And on the side, our two corgis
Dolly on the left 
Our dear Ollie on the right

And Sarah's (and Lucy's) cat, Rome on this side

And the top is filled with flowers
and some surprises --
a robin, two chickadees, four leaf clovers, a squirrel and two butterflies
It will be fun for Lucy to find them

Lucy and her trunk
On her birthday

Monday, July 14, 2014

An Icy Tea

I still drink hot tea in the morning in the summer
But often afternoon tea is served over ice
The Brits would never understand
how their beloved elixir could be served
"over ice"!

But it is a refreshing beverage
especially if one has been working
in the garden

If I'm alone, I'll get my current book
And a nosh, of course
lemon raisin cookies
A favorite

The book is usually a mystery
This is the first in a series set in Wales
by author, Elizabeth Duncan
I liked it
And am now on my third book
about Penny Brannigan, a manicurist in a small village
in Wales

Most of my books come from the library
But, alas, they had none of the others in these series
And so I turned to Amazon and my kindle!

A pleasant afternoon, this
inside in the air-conditioning
with a glass of icy tea,
a couple of great cookies
And a good book.

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and Bernideen for Tea in the Garden.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Glad . . .

I'm glad
for glads!
One of the vendors at our Farmers Market today gifted me with

this lovely bouquet

Looks pretty smashing, me thinks
on the table by the wing chair . . .
It picks up the flower colors in the needlepoint pillow.

Friday, July 11, 2014

National Blueberry Muffin Day

So what was for breakfast today

It's Blueberry Muffin Cake
and I found it at

Mary and I have been friends for a long time
And I think she's a spectacular cook
and always has some great recipes.

It's a great cake
Easy to put together . . . 
Two bowls, no mixer, one wooden spoon
And blueberries are in season, too

I did let it sit a while but it was still warm for breakfast
With a cup of coffee

Obviously, with just the two of us, there were leftovers.
The leftover, me thinks, will be great for a cup of tea this afternoon.

(From One Perfect Bite)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly; more for the pan
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

 Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. 

In a small bowl, whisk butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla. 

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in berries. Scrape the batter into prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Tap pan on counter once or twice to break any air bubbles.

Bake until golden-brown and a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes (if the top gets too brown, tent with aluminum foil).

 Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge of the cake and remove ring. Transfer cake to a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature, with confectioners’ sugar sifted over top, if you like. Yield: 8 servings.

It's Friday, National Blueberry Day, and I'm joining Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Real English Tea

Reading a new British mystery series (by Elizabeth Duncan) and also reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society have made me reminisce about our spring in England.      We ate often at our home, Blue Row, and one day we invited Mary who we met at a church charity tea to tea in the garden at Blue Row.      First published in May 2011.

It's been unusually cool and dry here in our part of England. But Thursday the sun came out and it warmed up a bit.

On Sunday, at the tea at the church at The Great Tews we met Mary, who lives in our village. "At the bottom of the hill and up a lane, I live in Hilltop" she said. She's a dear and so we found Hilltop and invited her to Blue Row for afternoon tea.

And with the warmer weather and a bit of sun, we decided to have tea in the garden!

Our table is rustic but the cloth is delicate and lacy -- a remembrance of England and one that's been used while I'm here!

Flowers, a proper tea pot and matching cups, saucers and tea plates set the table.

In the back garden which looks is behind Blue Row.

Flowers, of course, these doing double duty -- for our tea table and then for the dresser in Daughter Sarah and her Andy's room as a warming welcome when they arrive.

And the menu -- a proper Afternoon Tea

Cucumber sandwiches made the traditional British Way -- with butter, sliced cucumber, salt and pepper -- no mayonnaise and no cream cheese! Mary pronounced them "brilliant"!

And after sandwiches . . .

Scones with cream and jam. Real clotted cream. Would there be anything else here in England? It is truly addictive!!!

And for the sweets . . .

Lemon drizzle cake that reminds me of my lemon yogurt cake. Not made by me but made by Jane of Grange Farm up the way a bit. It was very good!

And for a treat . . .

Bakewell tarts that we bought in Stow that morning -- they are as tasty to eat as they are to look at!!!

The birds didn't seem to mind us being in their garden and we got to know Mary better. She's a lovely lady and it was fun to chat with her.

It's Thursday and I'm sharing my English tea in the garden of Blue Row with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.