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.

Friday, February 12, 2016

My Annual Valentine Luncheon

 When I started this life
(Full time mistress of Linderhof)
I decided to have a Valentine's Luncheon for friends
And every year I have

I love to come up with the table setting
(some more elaborate than others)
the favors
(mostly homemade)
the food
(I've served a lot of heart shaped layer cake for I have the cake pans!)

Valentine Luncheon 2016
for my Nevada friends!
(who not only had to drive over from Nevada but had to
go through the road construction that is right outside our door!
Brave souls, my friends!)

A Quaker Lace tablecloth
Grandmother's china and a damask napkin in a silver ring

Pink, red and white carnations
For pink, red and white was the theme this year

The favor -- a frosted Valentine heart sugar cookie with heart sprinkles --
a white one and a pink one!

For lunch:

Love Apple Soup
(last year's home canned tomatoes, pureed and cooked with salt and pepper and cream.   
Decorated with a cream heart)

Mrs. Sullivan's Hot Chicken Salad, White and Wild Rice and Heart Biscuits

Ina Garten's Chocolate Ganache Cake decorated with a sugared pansy from last year's garden
(the cake baked in a regular cake tin and cut with a cookie cutter in a heart shape, then the ganache is poured over and a sugared pansy is put on top)

Served with coffee in my favorite white and gold coffee cups.

And after everyone is gone but before cleanup begins!

The dishes are all taken to the kitchen where they're washed and dried.    As each stack of plates, cups and saucers are finished, I put them on the dining room table.

All clean and ready to be put away!
I must admit that as much as I like the anticipation of the house when everything is ready but the company hasn't arrived, I also get pleasure out of seeing the clean dishes piled on the dining room table all ready to put away!

Before the party . . . 
The anticipation!

After the Party --
The dining room is returned to normal!

The recipes:


These are the easiest biscuits.   Just cream and self rising flour.    You can add herbs if you wish or even cheese.    I cut them out with my littlest heart cookie cutter.   And served to each to my guests!

2 cups self rising flour
1 1/2 cups cream

Mix flour and cream together until it forms a soft dough.    Knead a few times.  And press out about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.     Then cut out with biscuit cuter (or if you want to be themed -- a heart shaped cookie cutter) and bake in a preheated 475 oven for about 10 minutes.


2 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups sliced celery (this is correct and important to the dish)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 t. lemon juice
1 cup crushed potato chips
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients  (but the chips) together and pour into a buttered 9 x 13 pan.   Top with crushed chips and bake  in a preheated 250 oven for about 25 minutes.


I use my whole home canned tomatoes.    I can them with thyme, onion and a bay leaf but without salt and pepper.   I use my stick blender to puree them in the canning jars and then pour them into a saucepan.    I add salt and pepper to taste and cook them until they're hot.     I add cream (enough to change them to that pretty pink color) and bring back to temperature.     Serve.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dinner for Five

We had a friend and her two young sons over for dinner tonight.
for her husband and parents are out of town
(but not together!)

The youngest had a ball game so it was an early dinner

When they got here, we played "Stump Alexa"
and they did!
Then the boys and Alexa told "silly" jokes!

We had a lot of laughs!!

Whenever we have company
it's always dinner in the dining room

The lace tablecloth,
Spode Blue Italian

A deconstructed Caesar salad to start

Spaghetti with real homemade Italian Ragu
(thank you Gina Stipo -- it is the best!)

Ice cream (not homemade) for dessert
with homemade strawberry sauce
or homemade chocolate sauce

And then they were gone . . . 
off to practice ball (or watch a ball practice)

The boys are such gentlemen for 9 and 11
And they were great dinner conversationalists.

And Sarah was such a sweetie . . . 
She brought me this beautiful orchid for a hostess gift!

It surely brightens the breakfast room
for it's the centerpiece of the breakfast room table!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday

In 1992, we took a Lenten trip to Germany
In each bed and breakfast we stayed in, there was a vase of branches
hung with colored and painted eggs
a blooming "Christmas" cactus

Our innkeepers were very helpful
calling it an Osterei 
and telling us that those Osterei could be bought at the local

Also, that was not a "Christmas" cactus but an Easter cactus
blooming in the Spring rather than late Fall

We stopped at the next Woolworth we came to
And I bought a dozen Osterei
real hens eggs handprinted
and costing all of 1 DM each
(which I think at the time was around 75 cents) 

From 1993 on, on Ash Wednesday,
I go to the yard and cut branches
and bring them in and put them in a vase

And hang those eggs from the branches

Always in the dining room
Perhaps because the ones in Germany were always in the dining room
(but then, again, they were bed and breakfasts so the dining room makes sense)

And even though they are 24 years old, we still have all twelve of them
(although one does have a hole!)

They're simple little eggs
Painted with bunnies and flowers

Not complicated scenes but easy ones

And colorful with green and pinks and yellows

We have three of the flower ones -- a pink, a green and a yellow

It wouldn't be Lent without the Easter egg tree!

And we're purists.
We've resisted over the years buying additional eggs or ornaments for the tree.
We like the fact that not only is it a reminder of the Lenten season
But it is also a souvenir of a wonderful trip to Germany.
Which is why we remain purists about our Easter Egg Tree

Mardi Gras -- Part Three

"Let The Good Times Roll"

Our Second Annual Mardi Gras Fundraiser
for our PEO Chapter

We have Mardi Gras decorations
(thanks to Michelle and her Magic Box)

Where you can pull all sorts of exciting purple, green and gold decorations
out of!

And we have food
Made and brought by the Ways and Means Committee
(because this is a Fundraiser)

Jambalaya and Cornbread

Muffuletta Sliders

Easy and good and my contribution
(which is why two pictures)

Shrimp and Cocktail Sauce
(Because we're partying like we're in New Orleans after all!)

And artichoke and spinach dip

There has to be sweets:

 Petit Fours, Pralines and Bread Pudding
Only the petit fours got their "beauty shot"
(pralines and bread pudding were too brown!)

And the theme was:
"Let The Good Times Roll"

And we did!

For we had a great turnout for the event!
And raised a lot of money for scholarships.

But we could not have done it without:
Christa - who opened her home to all of us
And the members of The Ways and Means Committee
who provided all the beverages and food!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mardi Gras -- Part Two

Part Two of Mardi Gras on the Prairie
A luncheon for my "southern" friends
(Although I do have a native New Orlean and a native Alabaman and a native Louisianan, the others have "loose" ties to the South -- (like the "South side" of Chicago!)

A table for six
the Quaker Lace tablecloth

And because of the menu, the blue Camilla soup bowls and a package of take home Pralines

A simple centerpiece of a silver bowl full of purple and yellow flowers with greenery
And Mardi Gras beads down the center of the table

Hand colored menus

The dining room and living room -- all ready for company

And the Mardi Gras food?

Red beans and rice and Grandmother's cornbread
(and if you read grandmother you read bacon grease)

Bread pudding with a bourbon vanilla sauce 

And as much as I like the anticipation picture
of the dining room before anyone comes
I also like the "after" picture
Showing a Good Time was had by all!

I'm sharing my Mardi Gras table with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday

Monday, February 8, 2016

Blue and White for Tea

I've been a subscriber to Tea Time since it's inception.
It's a magazine that I truly look forward to 
and I have saved each and every issue

Imagine my surprise at this article in this month's issue

You know that I adore blue and white transfer ware
And was surprised to find a mix of Spode Blue Italian and Spode Blue Camilla

A Camilla plate for the sandwiches

And a Camilla covered dish to keep the scones warm
While a Blue Italian holds the flowers in the background

I'm not sure what this piece is but it appears that it is Blue Italian.
It's a compote but it is not flat . . . . a piece for me to hunt?

I think this is the bottom of the vegetable dish -- a Blue Italian one
While in the background are Camilla plates . . . and a much wanted but can't afford, Camilla tea pot!

Camilla cup and saucer and plate for tea treats

While at Linderhof . . .

Spode Camilla makes a nice tea for four
Tea plates, cups and saucers and cream and sugar . . . 
A Blue Italian sandwich plate holds cookies

The cake plate is Camilla and goes with the cups and saucers.    Alas, lacking a Camilla teapot, I make do with a silver one!

Camilla gain for tea.    A Spode Blue Room teapot fills in for a Camilla pot!

I love the blues of the Camilla -- softer than Blue Italian
This set has a gold rim which is quite rare! 

And a trio -- A Camilla tea plate, and cup and saucer

I think Camilla is perfect for tea!
It's nice to see that a national magazine feels that way too!