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, August 28, 2016

Church Food

I'm sure Lutherans are not the only denomination that eats!

We eat after church
(coffee and treats brought by different members)
We have potlucks
(Where the kind of jello salad is based on the liturgical salad -- red during Pentecost)
We have sweet treats for Women's Bible Study
And if we get together at night . . . 
We eat!

We're working on a Field Test version of Martin Luther's Small Catechism
We meet at 6 p.m.
So that we can all have dinner --
Each family is responsible for a meal
Last week was my turn --

For "Germans" in a Lutheran Church
what do you fix . . . 

Mexican Food
Of course!

Chicken Enchiladas

Sue's Layered Mexican Salad
(a favorite that works so well to make Mexican food a meal)

Margarita Pie

A creamy cool lime pie
A perfect dessert for Mexican food!

Sue's salad is easy and works so well with enchiladas, that King Ranch chicken casserole, "Mexican" lasagna.    It's easy, too, just opening cans and jars!


1 bag of lettuce (your choice but I like a romaine)
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
grated Cheddar
1 tomato, chopped
Tortilla chips, crushed
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1/2 cup Picante sauce

Layer lettuce, corn, beans in a bowl.    Top with grated cheddar and chunks of tomato.   Top with tortilla chips, crushed.     Mix picante and ranch dressing.     When ready to serve pour dressing mixture over the top.     Serve with tongs.
*Note -- It's not a keeper -- you need to eat it after you dress it.    It's not good leftover!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cookbook Book Club, August Edition

It's August
There are vacations and Little Balkans Days to plan and house remodeling to do . . . 
In other words, this month, our Cookbook Book Club was little
"but mighty"

And then, I lost the book that recorded who signed up for what and when
And I sent an email and no one came forward with in August, it's "me,me"
I decided to host but since I had already hosted, I felt that we should do something simple
It's summer
It's hot
A salad supper seemed like a good idea

The only rule was that it had to be a salad you had never made before
You could have eaten it, but never made it.

My selection:

A creamy sweet potato salad
From a St. Paul Lutheran Church Salad Luncheon
The only change I made was to use raw sweet potatoes that I roasted
And a red pepper instead of a green one

Rita brought a vegetable salad

It was light and refreshing and one that keeps "forever"

from a church cookbook
(of course, they always have the best recipes)

Donna brought an Edamame Salad

She'd eaten it from Dillon's deli and liked it so much that she asked for the
recipe.     "Not a recipe" she was told, because it came as a mix.    They were kind enough to get the box with the list of ingredients and give them to her so she could create her own salad.
And she did!    And it was delicious!

Mexican Layered Salad

Leftover from last night
Layers of lettuce (I used romaine), canned corn, black beans, cheese, tomatoes and crushed corn chips.   All topped with a dressing which was half picante sauce and half ranch dressing.

And there was dessert
And dessert was not a salad!

It was CAKE!

A cherry chocolate cake that was delicious!

We're on for next month.
Rhonda is hosting and the theme will be Cajun
She came bearing New Orleans cookbooks and Cajun spices!
It should be a grand evening in September . . . 

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wishbones and Me

Who has heard of Wishbone?

Not the one on the chicken or turkey
But the famous Kansas City restaurant

In an old house

And it has a great story:

After serving in the military during World War II, Phillip Sollomi returned home to Kansas City in 1945 and opened a family-style chicken and prime rib restaurant called The Wish-Bone at 45th and Main streets. It soon became a favorite of locals.
Located at 4455 Main Street
It was close to The Country Club Plaza

But it wasn't the chicken or prime rib that made the restaurant famous

It was the salad dressing!

In 1948, Sollomi asked his mother Lena for a spicy salad dressing recipe she brought from Sicily, a family favorite he thought the restaurant patrons would like. The dressing was an immediate hit, and customers were asking for bottles to take home. 

Demand was so high that Sollomi eventually began mixing the dressing in 50-gallon wooden barrels, bottling it and labeling it "The Kansas City Wish-Bone Famous Italian-Style Dressing."

The popularity of the dressing spread throughout the Midwest. It was getting too big for Sollomi to handle, so he sold the business to TJ Lipton in 1958.
A plant was built in Independence in 1961 to produce Wish-Bone salad dressing. By 1970, it became the number one Italian salad dressing in the United States, a position it hasn't relinquished since.

I would assume that this is an early ad of the Lipton Company

And for a long time, it was the only salad dressing that Wishbone made,
the Italian one!

Now, however, there are many different varieties of Wishbone dressing
It comes in many flavors!

I will still, occasionally, buy the Italian one
A taste of youth -- Wishbone on your salad!

Alas, the restaurant is long gone

In it's place is this
The "Plaza" Marriott
(They serve food too -- like the Wishbone restaurant)

But one thing is constant:

There still is a Wishbone Italian dressing
Still using the same recipe of Phillip Solum's mother

Today it generates $190 million in annual sales and is produced at a plant that employs 190 people working three shifts.

I am a purist, however, and the only Wishbone that I buy is the Italian one.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Sofa

It served us well -- this sofa
Bought in 2005

It lasted for 11 years . . . 
far longer than any other sofa we've had
And it's "coat" (the upholstery) held up really well
since it was leather

But it was saggy
And the right side was held up by three books

But the upholstery was so good
We were hesitant to get rid of it

We liked the color and the style

The color went perfectly with our other furniture

But alas, saggy bones was getting to me
And on a stop to Moore's Furniture in Frontenac,
we found

The "New Guy"
A bit darker than the old one -- more brown than rust
It's narrower, too

But I think it looks good in the living room

LOTS of changes over the last year in the living room
One . . . at . . . a . . . time!

First the rug
Then the coffee table
Then the "comfortable" chair
And now the sofa
I really can't think of another thing that we need to change!

I like it -- 
The new sofa as well as the new look of the living room
Different but not all that different
Which suits me fine!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Piper Turns One!

It's hard to imagine
But it has been a year
since our youngest Grand,
was born

And we celebrated!
But the best part of the celebration . . .
It was at Linderhof!

We decided to do a garden party
(Daughter Sarah lives in Minnesota where August temperatures are in the 70s to low 80s --
we forgot that the party would be in KANSAS where August temperatures are often 100 plus heat index!)

But the gods smiled . . . 
It was almost Minnesota weather
(or perhaps an Minnesota August heat wave weather)
Temps in the low 80s
and with relative low humidity
And a breeze!

 So everyone would know what we were celebrating!

All of the invited guests came . . .
which meant that we had both a full house and a full garden!

And for birthday parties, we offer typical Linderhof hospitality
first dinner . . . 

Sarah and I have figured out if you feed outside,
it's still better to serve food inside
Our traditional celebratory meal
(summer or winter)
Linderhof brisket, Smokestack baked beans and my grandmother's coleslaw
This year we added fresh vegetables and dip and a bowl of mixed fruit
(we had several dieting guests and wanted to make sure everyone had something to eat)

After dinner, it was time for cake . . . 

Piper's personal cake

A wee little "smash" cake
tradition now for first birthdays
Piper did not smash quite as much as her sister
(or her mother for that matter, although Sarah's was a piece not a whole cake --
smash cakes being a new tradition)

And, of course, everyone came to the garden
for pictures, 
to sing Happy Birthday
(including Doogie who raised his voice in song)
And watch Piper as she
"smashed" her cake!

A big cake for the adults
Served, of course, with vanilla ice cream

And cookies, for those who didn't want cake
or for those who wanted cake and cookies
Big Sister Lucy helped decorate Piper's cookies
(she put the yellow centers on the flower cookies and the sprinkles on the Number Ones)

Children are fascinated by ponds and fish
(we're trying to find out if they're counting or trying to catch)

And the garden was a perfect place
. . . for the children to play
And for adults to visit

Tradition from all those years ago
When Jim and I gifted Daughter Sarah
with her toy trunk
An old trunk that I painted and antiqued, wall papered on the inside
And then painted Holly Hobbie girls on the front

At Daughter Sarah's request

was painted with Sandpipers
(Front and sides)
and a map of the part of Lake Minnetonka where they live on the top.

Tradition is also a picture of the birthday girl
In her trunk!

It was a grand party
It was fun to celebrate such a special occasion with family and friends
And it will be a day I always remember . . . 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

An August Lunch

Every year, I donate a luncheon to the "other" PEO chapter in town
for their fundraiser auction.
"You and two friends are invited to join me for lunch"

Today, was the day that Marcy and her two friends joined me

Such a grand occasion called for the lace tablecloth

Real flowers
(but really, when did you ever see me using faux?)

 And the "good"china
Noritake Marcsite
I think everyone needs at least one set of white/cream china with a gold band
So classy!

Of course, I always do a  menu

The first course was my favorite blue and bleu salad
blueberries, bleu cheese and pecans
over romaine dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette
(homemade, of course!)

The entree was called "Apricot Chicken"
I've seen it forever and never made it --
it's always in church cookbooks from the late 70s and 80s
usually right before or right after the chicken dish we call "Sarah's Chicken"

It's an old recipe you can tell because it calls for a whole chicken
That was back in the day when your choice of chicken was whole or cut up
Rarely, did you find packages of special pieces!

You mix a cup of apricot jam, 1/2 package of onion soup mix, 1/4 bottle of Russian dressing (again, showing the age of the recipe -- I subbed Ott's) and 2 T. mayonnaise.    Mix together, pour over chicken and bake at 350 for 1 hour.


Especially when served with white and wild rice with more of the sauce drizzled over!

Dessert was classic and simple

A cherry pie
Made from local cherries from the freezer
And my own pie crust
A lattice crust because Mom always made cherry pie with a lattice crust.

A simple pie just cherries, sugar, butter, flour and a bit of almond flavoring.
So you can taste the cherries

But what pie doesn't taste better with a little ice cream?
(Not homemade)

And friend Marcy who bought the lunch as a fundraiser brought me a hostess gift

A wonderful heart with a great message

Which goes perfectly in my breakfast room
What a great way to start the day!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Cookbook Book Club, Volume Two - Seventh Edition

We all traveled to Arma tonight
For Arma Angela hosted dinner
Her theme:    Memory Food

The hostess always provides the entree and Angela chose

Round Steak
Which her Aunt Ollie always made in a cast iron skillet.
Angela and her Mom  have perfected Aunt Ollie's recipe although not in a cast iron skillet but an electric one
"And you buy the round steak at Ron's" Angela informed us "and have it run through the tenderizer TWICE!"
It was good.   It was comfort food.    And, to me, it tasted like "home" --
it tasted like what my mother made!

Mashed potatoes and gravy
Angela M. (original Angela) chose this dish for it is a family favorite!

Donna's Salad
Which I brought.    Chosen because Donna's not a long time relative but in the mid 70's when Salad
Suppers and Salad Luncheons were so popular,  and Donna brought this to an early one.   (Hence the name)  I loved the combination of broccoli and cauliflower (probably the first broccoli/cauliflower I ever had) and with green onions, sliced olives and a dressing made from Ott's dressing and mayonnaise, it was to me a "gourmet" dish.    Probably my first "gourmet" dish.    And I still make it occasionally!

Spinach, Avocado, Orange Salad
This was California Barbara's contribution and although it is not that old of a recipe, it is a favorite and she always brings an empty bowl home when she takes it anywhere.    I didn't get the "real" name of the salad but I shall always call it "Barbara's Salad"!    With the avocado and walnuts, it definitely has a California flair!

A pretty plate of food on Angela's Fiesta.

But women do not live by food alone . . . we like dessert!

Impossible Coconut Pie
A recipe from Donna's grandmother.    She made it for family holidays and the one pie turned out to eventually be TEN pies because everyone in the family wanted a piece of this dessert!
It's a good dessert and has a nice coconut flavor!

Gooey Butter Bars
From Donna's other grandmother who lived in Arizona.    She would make these and pack them for the trip home that Donna and her family made.    Donna said that by the time they left Grandma's city limits, the bars were gone!

 Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake
Edgar's contribution to night.   It's an old fashioned chocolate cake but a good chocolate cake.    Picnic cake!    It's like what my Mom or grandma would make for picnic desserts or if they took dessert for a bereavement.    It's a chocolate cake that can't be beat!

And what a nice plate of desserts.
And we all ate every bite!

Because we don't have any "connection" other than loving good food, conversation is usually lively and diverse.     Since we were down "south", we had some Mafia stories tonight.    But talk also turned to beloved Aunts and grandmothers. . . . and how fooled we could be at Christmas when Santa was to come!

We're looking forward to the next edition!

I'll share Edra's cake recipe.    If you're looking for a good 9 x 13 chocolate cake, this one is a winner:


Grease and flour 9 x 13 pan


3/4 c. oleo
2 cups sugar
**Cream these well.    Add 2 whole eggs and stir well.

Sift Together:

1 2/1 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 t. salt

Add these two mixtures together alternately with 1 cup sour milk** or buttermilk and 1 t. vanilla.    Place 1 rounded teaspoon baking soda in a large bowl and add 1 cup boiling coffee.    This will fizz.   Stir quickly with spoon and then pour into batter hot.    Mix thoroughly.    Batter will be thin.    Bake at 325 approximately 35 to 40 minutes.

**Sour milk:

To make sour milk.    1 cup of milk less 2 T and add 2 T. vinegar.    Stir well.


2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 cup oleo
1 t. vanilla

Mix until crumbly.    Add enough boiling black coffee to melt cocoa and make a good spread (about 2 T. coffee)