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.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Fairy Garden

I've always been enchanted with fairies and their gardens And way before it became popular, I created one at Linderhof

In 2008, I used an old wheelbarrow that Husband Jim had gotten someplace. 
For a few years it sat between the drives on the north side of the house and was planted with annuals It's most successful planting, however, was one of pansies one fall By spring it was absolutely beautiful and as I washed the dishes I could see the wheelbarrow of pansies -- it made winter bearable!
 I made the fairy house at Red Cedar -- it was a class -- cheaper than what you could buy a comparable house for but not cheap by any means. Fairy houses were rare and costly in 2008. I lined the paths with stone and did plantings.

 It was a successful garden! But in 2009, I decided to move it. So I put it in the garden by the side fence. I also made it flat rather than leaning. I have a few "things" in the garden now including a potting shed. And a big fairy watches over!

And before 2009 progressed much further, I moved the fairy house -- which isn't as hard as moving a real house. Also there are "things" in the garden -- an arbor, fairies, toadstools!

 In 2013, the garden is still by the side fence. There are some shrubs as well as pansies and do I spy a bee skep? And a bigger fairy? The sparseness of the 2013 garden was because it was shady and so I moved the garden back to it's original location -- I have a pond -- with a fish and somewhere there are fairies -- but you know they are shy creatures and will hide!

I moved the garden back to the original location --
it isn't "location, location, location" with gardening
but rather "sun, sun, sun"
And it was just too shady by the back fence for anything really to flourish in
the fairy garden.

It seems at home here!

I always enjoy Spring time when the pansies are blooming!

 Last year Wal Mart had some wee daffodils and I bought them for the fairy garden. They looked smashing among the pansies and other plantings!

 It's 2020 and there are a lot more things in the garden -- more fence, a mailbox (because fairies do get mail), another arbor and a bench in the fenced off garden, a rocker by the front door and a table, chair and wee tea set. The bench, rocker, table, chair and tea set were a 50th anniversary gift last year -- but I don't know from whom. It was wrapped but there was no card! It's a nice day today and the fairies have been busy this morning. They've tidied up their garden a bit. I think that they, too, like the rest of us are homebound. And like fairies always do, when humans are about, they turn to stone! 
(That's daughter Sarah's story and she and I stick to it!)

 My grands love the fairy garden And they have one of their own. 

A big pot rather than a wheelbarrow And they play in theirs -- burying the garden tools, wheelbarrow, fairies and even their fairy house! But they always dig it up again. 

It was Lucy's second birthday present --
Piper got her toy chest
So really, although Lucy shares nicely with Piper -- it's really Lucy's garden

And a few years later at a Piper/Lucy joint birthday party,
the theme was fairies --
guests enjoyed checking out the fairy garden
(and, of course, the fairies turned to stone upon spying humans!)

 It's the small magical part of the garden at Linderhof -- this fairy garden. And I must say that usually the fairies are much better garden keepers than I am!

I'm happy to say that a local shop, Redbud, carries Fairy garden supplies
So if you want to build one of your own . . . all it takes is wee plants and a little imagination!

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Flamingo Saga

What started out as one flamingo . . . 
four years ago, when on a shopping trip, Nana bought Lucy

a flamingo purse
(because she was a good little girl while her Mother shopped)
She's clutching her "prize" as we're leaving the store!

She still has the flamingo.
It's name went from "Mingo" to "Fleur"
Lucy names everything!!!

Fleur becasue it is a girl flamingo, silly!

Lucy decided that she needed a husband for Fleur . . . and some babies.
But in Minnesota, you don't run out and buy stuffed flamingos --
you don't run out and buy any kind of flamingos!

So she asked her Momma to call Nana
So Nana could make a husband and babies for Fleur
"because Nana can make anything"!


I certainly was challenged and how could I NOT live up to that comment --
"Nana can make anything"!

We convinced Lucy that only Mama Flamingos had purses
and that was one problem solved

I bought fleece  both pink and white
(because Lucy informed me that babies were white)

Before I could get Fleur's groom and babies made,
Lucy decided that they also needed wedding clothes!


I made a pattern for "Mingo"
(which is what Poppa Flamingo was to be named)
And cut it out and stitched it up!

I made the children more on the order of flamingo Christmas ornaments -- only white!
(and they were hand stitched!)

And I was pleased with how they turned out.

As to the wedding clothes,
I had leftover sparkly pink tulle from Halloween costumes

It made a great veil!

And I made a black and white bow tie for Mingo that could be slipped on and off.
The children got no clothes -- they were children after all.

Once made, I packed them in a box and shipped them off to Minnesota
They arrived!

And Lucy was elated and still thinks "Nana can make anything"!!!!

I could not create a family for Lucy without doing something for Piper.    Her request was much simpler for she not only had a mama cat, she had kittens so all she asked for was a Daddy Cat.
Which I found at Wal Mart.
I made his bow tie and I made a veil for her momma cat.

She was as happy as Lucy over her animal family
and loves her big cat.

The girls had to create special beds in their room that night for their families
and before they could hop in their beds, they had to tuck their
families in.

I have come to the realization that I was born to be a Nana . . . 
It is a joy to please these little girls.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Cookbook Book Club -- Molly Yeh

Last night was Cookbook Club
At Linderhof
The Theme was Molly Yeah

Table is set and ready for company
Spode Blue Italian on rattan chargers
blue linen napkins
And my "normal" bouquet of flowers
which seemed cheery for a rainy February night

We had fun with Molly
She's young and vibrant and likes sprinkles!

And her food is good
Although we all agreed that she was a bit "putty"
And she did use unusual ingredients
Unusual ingredients that we couldn't find here so how did she find
them in the supermarket in her little town closet to her farm
on the Dakota/Minnesota border?

Since I was hostess, I provided the entree

Chicken Pot Hotdish
Hotdish, a Minnesota classic
cooked meat, frozen vegetables, a can of cream of soup and tater tots on top
But Molly takes it up a level -- with chicken, a white sauce, fresh vegetables
But still topped with the frozen tater tots
All put into a casserole and baked!

Michelle brought challah.
Michelle bakes bread so baking bread was not new to her
but braiding it was!
As a person who ate three pieces,
it was really good bread!

 Rita has starch and she chose the German potato salad.    It was really really good
and she says that she will make it again and others said that they would make it as well!

Angela brought grilled veggie salad with an avocado ranch dressing. Oh, my was this good -- I especially loved the dressing -- it would be good on anything!

Rhonda brought the other salad -- bagel salad.    With a lemony vinaigrette that was really good as well.    Besides being good at sprinkles, Molly is good at salad dressing!    This one had lettuces, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs (which some of us carefully picked around) plus homemade bagel croutons and cream cheese rolled in everything bagel seasoning.    I did notice when Rhonda went home, that although there was salad left, none of those cream cheese bites were!

Sara had vegetables and she was our over-achiever this time.    She brought two.   The roasted Brussel sprouts dish was very good and there was little left for her to take home!

Sara's other dish was creamed spinach with crispy cheese and she followed Molly's direction and used frozen spinach although she would have preferred fresh.    The crispy cheese definitely added to the dish!

Belynda had vegetable as well and brought the Brussels sprouts latkes which were really really good.    Several members had never had any kind of latkes.    We especially like the Dijon dipping sauce that accompanied the dish!

There's nothing like a Monster cookie and Donna chose that as her dessert.    She had wanted to make the lemon cake with cranberry glaze but upon coming home from work at 5:30 and noting that it was a 2 hour recipe, she decided to go with Plan B -- the cookies!     they were a perfect ending!   (and her grandchildren I'm sure enjoyed the leftovers!)

We never just have one dessert and since the member that was bringing the other dessert wasn't coming, I asked first one member if she would bring a dessert (she's always happiest when she gets to bring dessert - but she was too busy) and so I asked Donna who often brings two of whatever her category is but she was too busy as well, so I decided to go ahead and make something.
That lemon cake with cranberry glaze was enticing and I did have the 2 hours to do it, but decided that a cookie might be a better second dessert choice so I chose the salted chocolate rugalah.
With sprinkles!
They were very good and even our non-chocolate person ate one!

We did visit into the night and solved every problem in our town and the world!
We also noted that we are starting our sixth year of Cookbook Book Clubbing
and five of the original six members are still with us!

Next meeting is "smash burgers"!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

It's Not Pumpkin Spice -- It's Pumpkin!

I'm not a fan of "pumpkin spice"
unless it's spicing pumpkin!

After all a "pumpkin spice" latte is just coffee with
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
It has nothing to do with a pumpkin!

But I love pumpkin
And we have several favorite pumpkin recipes that
I make year after year

One of my favorites is a Cranberry Pumpkin Coffee cake
Found eons ago in a Victoria magazine cookbook
It has the flavors of November . . . 
pumpkin and cranberry!
It's a great breakfast bread for Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving weekend

Of course, there's pumpkin pie
Our first is usually for dessert on Halloween
preceded by our traditional chili
I use Mother's recipe which is as old as the hills for it doesn't
use evaporated milk!
Our first is Halloween and then we have it again on Thanksgiving
for Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving unless there is pumpkin pie for dessert!

I made pumpkin pancakes one morning for breakfast
Eaten with real butter and real maple syrup
and little link sausages
They were good and I used a half a recipe which meant that I had a cup of pumpkin left

So I made mini loaves of pumpkin bread
(another favorite of mine)
and, although the recipe is not mother's, it is an old one and is plain --
no nuts, no raisins
Just pumpkin and spices!

I love pumpkin bars and you'll find them on almost every dessert table in October and November.
I have a great recipe -- called "Killer Pumpkin Bars" and it was a winner
but this year I tried a different version -- with cranberries and a brown butter frosting
Oh, my, they were good.  
Now I'm not sure which recipe is the best!

I do love pumpkin and the traditional pumpkin dishes that appear
as dinner dessert or tea time treats during October and November.

Here are the recipes:


2 1/4 cups flour
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
Granulated sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter an 8 cup ring mold or other decorative mold. Dust the pan with flour, shaking out the excess.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, pumpkin-pie spice, baking soda and salt.

In the medium size bowl of an electric mixer, at medium speed, beat the eggs until they are foamy. Beat in the granulated sugar, pumpkin puree, and oil until well blended. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until a batter forms. (Do not overmix). Gently fold in the cranberries.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin metal spatula around the edge of the mold to loosen the cake and turn the cake out onto the rack to cool completely.

Sprnkle the cake with granulated sugar before serving.


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.


3 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 c. water
2 cups canned pumpkin (a whole can)
3 cups sugar

Sift dry ingredients together.    Mix pumpkin, walt, oil and eggs together.    Pour into dry mixture and mix well.   Pour into greased and floured bunt cake pan and small loaf pan or two medium loaf pans.    Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350.    Cool 30 minutes before removing from pan.    (Obviously, the smaller pans will take less time to bake.)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Relish Trays

Growing up
there were two things every bride got for a wedding gift

A deviled egg plate


A relish tray!

I DO have my Grandmother's deviled egg plate and I use it -- 
mostly for Easter dinner for that's when we have deviled eggs --
the colored Easter ones are always on the Easter dinner table.

But alas, I have neither my mother's nor my grandmother's 
relish tray.

Growing up, if we ate in the dining room, there was a relish tray on the table.
With celery, olives (usually green pimento stuffed ones)  and small sweet pickles.
As a child, it was one of my favorite dishes!!!

And every holiday dinner included the relish tray
But for holiday dinners it included both kinds of olives -- the big black ones and the green stuffed ones -- the celery too, was often stuffed with cream cheese

I think ahead and sometime during my first year of marriage,
at a flea market that we frequented every Sunday morning,
I found the relish tray of relish trays!

It's big -- think at least 12 inches and it has slots for all the ingredients of a relish tray -- 
with the picture of the ingredients embossed.
The pickles, the olives, the celery . . . and then there is a fish!
I'm not sure if the fish is for caviar or perhaps chunks of tuna
But it is there --
At my house it is another slot to put olives!

It's a depression era piece, I'm sure, but I don't know who made it.
It's not all that common a piece (not like the relish dish like my Mom's that I pictured above)
but I have seen it occasionally.

I knew that one day that I would be hosting and this was a perfect dish!

And it's true, I became the host and so every Christmas, every Easter, every Thanksgiving,
I would get out my dish, fill it from the jars in the fridge, cut celery into sticks, plunk the pickle fork on top and set it on the holiday table.

I was at the Methodist Church Bazaar in the little town 20 miles from us
and there was this dish!

It's small -- about six inches square
But it has the same pictures embossed in it.
So I am sure it's made by the same company in the same time period

It was way more than $2 -- $12 actually, but I knew it had to come home with me.
I thought that I would revive the relish tray for our dinners.

Husband Jim is not big on olives (unless they are in a martini) but he does love pickles and celery

So Tuesday night, I filled the tray and put it on the dining room table.
We ate everything!

And everything is placed correctly, because there is a picture to tell me so.

Those don't look like little sweet pickles, you might comment,
And indeed, they are not -- Husband Jim likes pickles that are spicy or even
a whole raw Jalapeño pepper with his meal
So the pickle slot is filled with a hot pickled pepper.

I love my new relish tray.
It's home is in a kitchen cabinet, not the china cabinet like it's bigger sister.
For it's for everyday use -- not holiday only use.

I think we should revive the tradition of a relish tray with dinners.
It adds a layer of flavor to a meat and potato meal.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Waterford

Our 50th Anniversary is not just a "one day" celebration . . .
We're making it a month plus long celebration.

On our 25th Anniversary in 1994,
Husband Jim gifted me with

A silver punch bowl
Probably a month or so after our wedding, I stated that for our 
25th I wanted a silver punch bowl.
Of course, 25 years was eons away!!!!

But a silver punch bowl it was -- my present for our 25th
Alas, not engraved but just silver
Reed and Barton is the brand
And it has about 16 little silver punch cups to go with it.

I didn't have an "always wanted" for our 50th
In fact, I couldn't think of a thing I really did want.
I have my engagement ring and my wedding ring
(it is the "golden" anniversary after all)
And I didn't really want to replace them.

I don't need a gold necklace for I wear little jewelry

And then, we decided to get

 The hock glasses in my Waterford pattern
Eight of them!
Hock is the shape for German wine -- think Riesling
I have wanted them "forever" but they were just too expensive.

But, alas, prices have tanked on crystal -- even "Waterford" crystal
And so we got 8 at a very good price
They arrived this week!

 And I couldn't resist setting a table with the water, the hock and the wine!

The water glass was our first purchase.    Husband Jim picked out the pattern -- Kylemore
Much less popular than Lismore which is what everyone seemed to be buying in 1972.
He bought two -- for me for Christmas!

And every monthly payday after for the following six months, I would go down
to the store and buy another one.
They started out $10 each but by the time I had bought the 8th one,
they were up to $12 or $13.

We purchased a lot of the Waterford in the same manner, a piece a month.
Then we got lucky, and found some at flea markets for a good price,
and so those pieces came home.
When Jim had annual training overseas, we could order from the
military catalogue and ordered some from there.
It was, by that time, way more than $12 a stem!

It rose to all of $100 per stem for those water goblets that we basically paid $10 each for
And those hocks, why they were close to $200 which is why we never bought any.

But, sadly, crystal isn't worth what it once was, although at $10 per stem, I'm thinking we could get our money back on those first few purchases!

I love my Waterford and I do use it.

It's home on the top shelf of the curved glass china cabinet
Waters in the middle, hocks on each side, then wine, then sherry, port and the funny little 4 3/8 inch stemmed glass that I can't figure out what it's for.
(Bought I am sure at an antique mall a long time ago -- it's marked Waterford on the stem, so it's the real deal!)

Whenever I use the hocks, I'll remember our 50th Anniversary
And how, 40 or so years ago, husband Jim surprised me one Christmas
with two goblets.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Company for Lunch

Monday I had company for lunch
And it was nice to have a group for lunch once again

The lace cloth
(a estate sale find with several set in red wine stains that I got for "nothing" 
(because of those stains)
A little soak in Carbona and it's as good as new!
I love lace for it's such a perfect base for setting the table!

The Aynsley Pembroke
It seemed appropriate -- and it does set a pretty table
Anniversary roses still holding up in a Waterford bowl

My menu:

A salad of mixed green, blueberries and Rosemary pecans with First Watch Restaurant's Salad Marinade -- a poppy seed type dressing

Cottey College's Chicken Divan with white and wild rice and a corn Madeline
The Madeline shape is much nicer for a ladies luncheon methinks than a muffin!

Moist and Spicy Toffee Apple Cake

A perfect fall dessert!