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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Eat Your Vegetables!

We're Lutheran
Get two Lutheran's together
And each will have a cup of coffee
And you can't have coffee without a "nosh".

Our church is early
And after, we always have coffee and treats
(We have coffee before, too,
but we forego the treats until after church)

We take turns in bringing treats
And I try to sign up once each quarter

A week ago, it was once again my turn..

It's summer, there is a plethora of vegetables at the Farmer's Market
tomatoes, zucchini and butternut squash

It's always fun to think of different ways to use this fresh produce.
My solution was for Sunday treats!

I made a sign
I didn't want people to think that these were unhealthy muffins.
Oh, no

And we're a small church
And in summer, often a smaller church
But I did spent Saturday

making muffins
Seven dozen in all

And between communion and benediction,
Husband Jim and I were busy in the kitchen

 We put up our sign
Put the muffins on a tray
Got out the coffee fixings . . . 

The tomato, the zucchini and the butternut squash

And we refilled the trays over and over again
For although the crowd was small
The crowd was hungry
Most had more than one muffin
(But who was counting . . . certainly not me!)

I brought home a few
which I froze for breakfast for the following week.

It was a fun treat.
Lots of comments
And the kids, debating between a treat or a vegetable
chose the treat
And often came back for a second.

The muffins are all easy to make
and I've made them many times
(although the tomato one is really a tea bread -- I just baked it in muffin tins)

The chocolate ones were the first to go!

Just goes to show that at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning
Chocolate is always welcome!

The recipes:


14 ounces butternut squash, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 1/4 c. light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
handful of walnuts, chopped
1 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 c. olive oil

For the Frosted Top:
1 orange, zested
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 lemon, zested
1/2 c. sour cream
2 heaping tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1 t. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350. Line your muffin tins with paper cups. Whiz the squash in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the sugar and eggs. Add a pinch of salt, the flour, baking powder, walnuts, cinnamon and olive oil and whit together until well beaten. Fill the paper cups with the muffin mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove fro the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool. To make the frosting: Place most of the orange and lemon zest and lemon juice in a bowl. Add sour cream, powdered sugar and vanilla and mix well. When the muffins are cooked, spoon the topping onto the muffins.


2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 c. dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and pureed to make 1 cup
1/4 c. sliced unblanched almonds
Preheat oven to 350 and butter and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and mix. Combine the oil, sugars and eggs in a large bowl and beat with a mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the pureed tomato. Gradually add the flour mixture
blending well after each addition. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and sprinkle the top with almonds. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes, then remove bread and continue to cool on rack.


2 c. flour
1 c. cocoa, sifted
1 t. allspice
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. melted butter
3/4 c. oil
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 cups zucchini, grated

Preheat oven to 350. Line 20 muffin cups with muffin liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, allspice and cinnamon. Set aside. In medium bowl beat the sugar and melted butter. Add the oil and eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla and add buttermilk and dry ingredients alternately until well mixed. Stir in zucchini. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and muffin tops are springy to the touch, 20 to 24 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

What's Old is New Again!

In January 2013, the secretary was to the right of the fireplace,
the clock was to the left of the fireplace

To the left of the sofa was the Asian cabinet
To the right was the grandfather clock

And in January 2013, I changed it
Because I was tired of weaving my way behind the wing chair
to get to the secretary
It was nice, to sit at the desk and look out over the side garden
But too often, it was just a quick trip to get a stamp or the scissors or . . .

And so I moved things

The secretary was moved across the room to the left of the fireplace
The Asian cabinet was moved to the right of the fireplace
With a plant on top

And the grandfather clock was moved to the right of the door
To the left of the sofa

And this week, I moved it all again . . . 
Back to where it was long ago!

The secretary to the left of the sofa
The grandfather clock to the right of the sofa
Because like a year or so ago,
I got tired of squeezing past the wing chair
To get the scissors or tape or that stamp

The secretary started here
To the right of the front door
Years and years ago!
It's easy to get things in and out
And the blue and white in the secretary brighten up the space

And the grandfather clock
is to the right of the sofa
Behind the wing chair
Where I only have to squeeze
once a week when I wind the clock!
Not "hourly"!

 The Asian cabinet stayed where it was
The clivia likes it there
And a happy plant needs to stay a happy plant!

Will I move things again --

And even though there has been three moves, 
I must tell you that I am not really a furniture mover
I give great thought when I move anything
Thinking my move is for better use and function
Not just because I want a change!

The secretary in the living room
From 2010, upper right
where it all began
To 2011, when it moved to the right of the fireplace
To 2013 when it moved to the left of the fireplace
To the big picture
Where it is now --
Where it all began!

It's Monday and I'm sharing my living room changes with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Met Monday and Judith at A Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Tea Room Lunch

The Lunch Bunch
a group of three friends who come to Linderhof monthly for lunch
Except this year
Between doctors visits and procedures
And children and grandchildren
They've not all been to lunch at Linderhof since February!

But in August,
they came!

The table set in the dining room

With my beloved blue and white
Because a Christmas gift from dear friend Carolyn
of white linen placemats and the lovely blue patterned napkins
A menu, of course,
And a package of tea cookies to take home
A nosh to go with that afternoon's tea

A simple centerpiece of black eyed Susans
Low in a crystal rose bowl
Because although I love flowers whenever we dine at Linderhof,
the most important thing is to be able to talk to all the guests!

It's a simple table
There isn't a lot of "fluff"

Over the dining room table and into the living room

It was a tea room lunch
A ladies lunch
The recipes all from the Shady Gables cookbook

Shady Gables chicken salad in a Farmer's Market tomato
A slice of zucchini bread
And a fresh fruit salad

For dessert

Shady Gables famous Ambrosia Tart

Cool luscious goodness
decorated with a maraschino cherry and a rose geranium leaf

It's Thursday and I'm sharing my Tea Room Lunch with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday

Monday, August 18, 2014

Afternoon Tea in Versailles

Friday, friend Shirley Ann and I took a road trip
We had a destination

Alas, not this Versailles

but rather this

pronounced Ver-Sales
a town in Missouri about 2 hours from Linderhof

Our destination . . . 

photo courtesy Shady Gables website

a tea room in that little town

We were, after all, celebrating Shirley Ann's birthday

We were seated,
we placed our order for tea
and had our first cup poured

Mine was Earl Grey
Shirley Ann chose Southern Belle

We both those the mis-matched china and cutlery quaint

Our first course

A croissant with chicken salad and an individual quiche

Then Juli brought our curate

filled with real tea goodies

Scones --
Shady Gables Famous Scone
and a lavender white chocolate one
(served with strawberry jam and key lime curd)

Sandwiches and savories
Cucumber, of course; egg mayonnaise on toast, an apple chutney in celery and a pinwheel

Dessert was a quaint tea pot cookie, a cream puff and a brownie bite and a tea pot mint

And to cleanse our palate -- raspberry sorbet
served in wee cups
(which they had for sale in case you wanted to duplicate at home)

We drank our pot of tea
It was perfectly brewed and kept warm under a cozy.

After tea, we browsed the gift shop

I bought a Cookbook -- to add to my tea room cookbook collection
(and which had all the recipes for the wonderful food we had just eaten)


A set of those teapot cookie cutters
(I have a huge one but these sizes are more quaint)
for I wanted to make

These darling little tea pot cookies

 And tonight I did.
Right now they are "naked" but soon will get a colored glaze.
I've company coming for lunch tomorrow
And I thought three of these would be a good favor in a cello bag
A nosh for my guests tea that afternoon.

I'm joining Bernideen for Tea in the Garden . . . even though my tea wasn't!

And even though it's a week late, I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

We Celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week

National Afternoon Tea Week
Teas at Linderhof

Almost every day we have tea at Linderhof
Tea and a treat, usually
In summer, however, tea is often served in a glass with ice
Because it's hot
On the prairie of Kansas

But perhaps Mother Nature knew it was National Tea Week

For we had a blissfully "cool" week, this week
Which allowed us to brew pots of tea

Teas inside and out

In the garden and on the porch
Alone (with a book)
or shared with a friend
Even Husband Jim sometimes joins me.
And all served on my beloved blue and white transfer ware 

Afternoon Tea

A ritual whether it's National Tea Week or not!

But to properly end National Tea Week

A Tea Room Tea
at a Tea Room in Versailles, Missouri

And scones and sandwiches and sweets
And to start -- savories of chicken salad on croissant and a quiche

What else could you expect from someone who reveres
Afternoon Tea so much that she had to visit
Woburn Abbey
the home of the Duchess of Bedford
Who, after all, started the ritual of
Afternoon Tea!

It's Monday and I'm sharing my "National Tea Week" teas with Judith at Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Roadside Flowers

When garden flowers are sparse at Linderhof,
I turn to the roadside where wildflowers grow with wild abandon,
blooming no matter how hot or how dry it is.
Wildflowers are a tough little plant!

This morning with nothing but a few blooms on the knock out roses,
Doogie and I headed out with basket and scissors

And came home with a big bunch of black eyed Susans

Separated, they provided bouquets

for the dining room table in a crystal vase

A crystal rose bowl filled with the "short" ones!

In one of my favorite blue and white old transfer ware pitchers on the breakfast room table.

And a bouquet in the living room
in an old Mason ironstone pitcher

Flowers make me smile
Spring, summer and fall provide free flowers
for the house
Some weeks more bouquets than other weeks
But there is always a bouquet on the dining room table and the breakfast room table

Come winter, some of the old export bowls will be filled with fruit
and used as a centerpiece
But market flowers, however, will fill at least once vase in the house.

I cannot live without live blooms on one of my tables!

And I'm a purists.   I mostly prefer just one kind of flower in a container
I'm not much of one for a mixed bouquet.
Perhaps, because of those "cheesy" mixed bouquets that you find
at discount retailers.

A bouquet full of one kind of flower
Makes a statement I feel
And so, mostly, at Linderhof,
bouquets are made from one flower.

I'm smiling this Saturday as the house is filled with cheer
with these perky wildflowers on so many tabletops!

Friday, August 15, 2014

It's Julia's Birthday!

Two years ago, I was celebrating Julia's Birthday (her 100th) with cake -- her cake.

Today,  I'm reprising my post from two years ago because I'm too busy to bake a cake -- I've been out and about celebrating my friend's Shirley Ann's birthday -- alas not her 100th . . . 

But in memory of Julia
my first culinary hero

Happy Birthday!

Today is Julia Child's 100th Birthday.     An icon in the foodie world, she took us away from jello salads and onion soup on roasts to beef bourguinon and vinaigrettes.     She was meticulous in her research when writing her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.    

Doesn't everyone have a copy of Mastering the Art?   

An Iconic Book

I have not one but two.    One that I bought myself because I thought everyone needed a Mastering the Art and one that I found at a Thrift Shop -- a first edition that I found at a Thrift Shop for a mere pittance.   

I cook with the first and I feel the second should be locked under glass!

As a high schooler, my mother and I would sit and watch Julia.

Who doesn't remember these wonderful episodes where we all learned the basics of French cooking!

Nothing fazed her and you never knew what she was going to do.    I must admit that my mother never did make anything that we saw.    But as a perpetual clipper of recipes and a lover of good food, she enjoyed what Julia was making.

As a new bride, I, too, enjoyed watching Julia.    That was when, I think, that I got that first copy of Mastering the Art.     I don't remember cooking anything from that book but it was comforting to have it as I faithfully watched Julia.

And for a while, Saturday mornings were not Saturday mornings without Cooking With Julia: The Master Chefs.

I remember this Julia the best -- and I loved her bantering with Jaques Pepin

I think this is the Julia I remember best -- the one from those shows . . . and she was the first "Queen of Butter"!     Paula Deen doesn't hold a candle to Julia and her butter!

One thing I regret -- not seeing "the kitchen" in the Smithsonian -- we were there but my knees were bothering me and I chose not to go.   I still regret it!

And Julia's kitchen -- which was featured in that show.    I adored it.    From the big stove to the wooden countertops to the "things" with a place for everything and everything in it's place.    A real cook's kitchen -- not a "show" kitchen.

Perhaps it was Julia's influence for I've always had a "working" kitchen rather than a show kitchen -- a kitchen where everyday items were within easy reach and a kitchen where those things always had a place and were always in their place.

And today is Julia's birthday -- she would have been 100.     She led a very interesting life and began her celebrity career later in life.    But it was a career that spanned decades and those early fans of hers who learned to cook French food watching the beloved Julia on their black and white television turned into a second and perhaps a third generation as she did more books and more television shows.    The later ones being filmed in that famous kitchen.

Birthday celebrations at Linderhof are a meal and then a cake.    Usually the honoree's choice of cake.   

Dinner first, dishes cleared and then on a pedestal, the cake with candles is brought in.

A birthday dessert!

Since it was a birthday celebration, china instead of the transfer ware -- my favorite gold and white cups which are so dainty and the silver coffee pot.     Noritake Marcassite dessert plates and Mrs. Boland's dessert forks.

Just one candle -- a tribute to Julia.

The recipe is in Mastering The Art of French Cooking.

The cake?    Julia's chocolate and almond cake (Reine de Saba).

And we had to light the candle even if we didn't sing happy birthday!

We did light the candle, although we did not sing Happy Birthday!     But we each had a large piece of the cake and pronounced it superb!  

Happy Birthday Julia!

You Changed the World!