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, December 30, 2010

2010 -- The Year In Review

2010 is almost a memory and we are looking forward to 2011 -- and on this last day of 2010, I want to share memorable moments at Linderhof this year.


We always stop at half past three for a pot of tea and a nosh -- in January, it was cinnamon toast -- a favorite as a child and a favorite as an adult!


An English cream team in front of a February fire -- real clotted cream and scones and a pot of Earl Grey -- a perfect way to spend an afternoon!


With a green teapot full of tea, an English tea set that's green and white, we celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a Chocolate Guinness Cake.

A full afternoon tea at Linderhof complete with sandwiches, scones and sweets. Served on the Spode Famille Rose.


We've had yellow bell luncheons, paperwhite luncheons and lavender teas . . . but what better way to celebrate May than with a violet tea -- handpainted violet tea plate and saucer and a lavender cupcake frosted with violet frosting!


Sometimes it's just a friend who comes over -- a cup of tea and a nosh -- what better cake for a nosh than chocolate!


I've healed well from surgery and nice of a friend to stop by for tea . . . and bring tea treats as well as a wonderful gift!!! Friends are special!


A tray is perfect to set the plate of orange sugar cookies, tea pot and teacup on to carry to the breakfast room for half past three tea.


Even with another surgery, I can still manage a simple tea tray when a friend comes to visit -- the nosh -- boughten shortbread!


I love making cookies as holiday gift for friends -- whether the holiday is Valentine's, Halloween or Christmas! And, of course, there is the benefit of a few left for my afternoon tea nosh!


Cass, from That Old House, managed to come to Linderhof for tea -- I served tea in the best parlor for Cass (and Cavalier Dion) are special friends. It was only a cyber tea, alas, but we both had fun!


The silver is gleaming all during December because any and all teas in that month are special!

We enjoy your visits to Linderhof. We enjoy having company whether it is a friend or neighbor that we can share a pot of tea with or 6 or 8 for dinner or the house filled with friends for a cocktail party.

Here's hoping that you and yours will have a Happy New Year and a bountiful 2011!!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas With The Lunch Bunch

Christmas with the Lunch Bunch is always special. A special lunch and the exchange of gifts. And it's a long and lingering luncheon as well -- as we pour ourselves just one more cup of coffee.

The blue and white bowl was "stolen" from the living room to use as a centerpiece -- filled with pine cones and fresh greens. Blue and white, I feel goes with everything! Their presents from me at their places -- some were a little big -- but like the motto "dessert first" -- we feel that at our Christmas luncheon it should be "presents first!"

It's Christmas and so I use the Royal Doulton Tartan but also Jim's grandmother's silver and sweet napkins from Lunch Buncher Sally -- they were a "get well" gift this summer after surgery (and so much better gift than a cake or a pie) and with their red and green embroidery seemed perfect for Christmas and for use with the Tartan. When I received them, I could hardly wait for Christmas in order to use them!

The menu -- as always at Linderhof.

Christmas Luncheon
December 21, 2010


Salad of Mixed Baby Greens

Tarragon Chicken
White and Wild Rice

Red Velvet Cake
Freshly Brewed Coffee

The tarragon chicken and white and wild rice. The sauce is perfect over the rice! And it's an easy recipe as well!

Nothing says Christmas like a red velvet cake on the Lennox Holiday plates! (Cake was the chosen dessert because I was also having company for dinner and a cake would feed all -- while a pie or tart would not!)

This cake is usually made for Husband Jim's birthday -- but I do think it's a festive Christmas cake. One year, for Daughter Sarah's December engagement party, we made two -- and baked them in a 9 x 13 pan -- one we colored red and the other we colored green -- we layered them and with the white frosting it was certainly a festive looking cake!

The chicken is easy -- it's an adaptation of Sarah's chicken -- boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a casserole. Mix one can cream of mushroom soup, one soup can of sour cream and one tablespoon of dried tarragon (or if it's summer, use twice as much of fresh). Pour mixture over chicken and bake in a 275 oven for 3 hours. The sauce is perfect over white and wild rice!

It's Thursday, which means that it's time for Tablescape Thursday and since it is still the holiday season, a holiday table is most fitting. Please join Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for other tablescapes this Thursday.

Oh, and my gift from the Lunch Bunch -- the sweetest little monkey (you can see him HERE) and a gift certificate to Life + Style which is our amazing cook shop here in our little town!
They always gift me with the most thoughtful gifts!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas in the Breakfast Room

The breakfast room was rather bleak this Christmas -- some red flowers on the breakfast room table and some non-blooming red amaryllis on the sideboard, but other than that the breakfast room felt as if it weren't part of Christmas! It was not festive at all!

But I remedied that today . . .

Now there are lighted miniature Christmas trees on the sideboard! Complete with miniature Christmas balls in red and gold and pink and green and blue.

They are the perfect size . . . .the light is nice and is reflected in the sideboard mirror . . .and they certainly give the breakfast room a Christmas feel!

And with the lights out, a warm Christmasy glow is in the breakfast room.

They are the perfect trees for the sideboard and I was fortunate to find them at a favorite store, J'Adore in Brookside. A stop there is always a must when I go to the city! They are in antique looking Christmas tree stands which is what makes them so special! And the ornaments are perfect miniatures of real Christmas balls including a patina of age!

They will light and decorate the breakfast room for the next few days and we'll look forward to their return next November!

It is Wednesday and there is nothing better than trees for Outdoor Wednesday. Please join Susan at A Southern Daydreamer to see what else is "outside" this Wednesday!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Very Silver Christmas!

It was a very silver Christmas at Linderhof-- napkin rings galore!!! The first Christmas ever, actually, that I was gifted with the silver rings -- four silver rings!!!

All different and all special!

From Daughter Sarah and a memento of our Savannah/Charleston trip -- bought at an antique shop in Charleston -- it's English, dating from 1912 and was made in Chester.

From Friend Jean -- a hostess gift when she came to my luncheon. It's my first "figural" and is so precious. Love the violin and there are even notes on the bottom part of the ring. It doesn't have a name or initials but it does say "Old Times". It's Victorian.

From Husband Jim -- alas, not for Christmas but for our anniversary that comes right before Christmas. It says "Gertrude" and I love the ruffly effect and the rope around the edges.

A Christmas present from me to me!!! Bought on friend Shirley Ann and my trip to the city to celebrate Christmas. It's Victorian and has the name "Hallie Whitley" engraved on it. I have a friend named Hallie (whose last name unfortunately is not Whitley) who sometimes dines at Linderhof. Hallie is not a common name and how fortunate to find a ring engraved with that name.

And from Mississippi friend, Gail, I was gifted with a book on American Victorian Figural Napkin Rings. As long as I've been collecting them, I've never had a book about them. I was thrilled. Now . . .

I yearn for the napkin rings pictured on this page of the book -- what great additions to my collection they would be!!!!

Gifts sometimes can be dangerous!!!!!

It's Tuesday, and since I have four napkin rings, I'm joining Tam at A Gypsy's Corner for Three or More Tuesday!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas From Linderhof To You

The wreath is on the door
And the snow is on the tree
God has laid His holy hands
On all that we can see.

Be quick to raise your voice
And praise what He has brought
Keep now His love in every choice
And Christmas in every thought.


We at Linderhof

wish you and yours


Very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Fig Cake

Wednesday, I treated my guests to this Holiday Fig Cake for luncheon dessert. It was a success.

A couple of weeks ago, dear Friend Maybelle stopped by with a gift for me . . .

This cookbook which she gets at Dillard's Department Store (and which is made especially for Dillard's). (Do you see the cookies on the cover . . . they were the first thing I made from this book -- and they are terrific, too!) Knowing my love of cookbooks and Christmas and Southern Living, it is a fitting gift from a thoughtful friend.

I was especially taken aback by this dessert . . .

The recipe sounded good (I love figs) and the cake was a true showstopper! It would be, I decided, the perfect dessert for the Wednesday luncheon.

And the cake I made Wednesday for the luncheon -- complete with rosemary wreath. The only thing I forgot was to tie a red ribbon around the cake knife!

(The Recipe)

1 3/4 cup fig preserves (almost 2 (11.5 ounce jars)
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup finely chopped prunes
2 T. chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
Honey-Cream Cheese Frosting
1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
Garnish: Fresh rosemary sprigs

Chop large pieces of fig preserves, if necessary; set aside.

Beat eggs, sugar and oil at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in fig preserves, 1 cup chopped pecans, prunes and chopped rosemary.

Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 8 inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 for 42 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Run a knife around edge of the pans. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Spread Honey-Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Press pecan pieces onto sides of cake. Garnish with rosemary. Store cake in rerigerator.


1 1/2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 T. honey
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, and honey at medium speed with an electric mixer just until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed just until blended.

It's Friday which means that it's time to visit Michael at Designs by Gollum to see what we've been cooking for this Friday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Yuletide Luncheon

Linderhof is quiet this afternoon as the company have left. The tables are cleared, the dishes are stacked and waiting to be washed. And I'm enjoying a little "quiet time". For I had 3 for lunch yesterday, another couple for dinner last night and eight lady friends for lunch today.

It's been a busy couple of days at Linderhof!

But it's Christmas and we love to entertain and sometimes in the hustle and bustle of the season, free dates seem to stack up.

Eight friends joined me for lunch today. A simple lunch, served buffet style, thus instead of one big table in the dining room we sat half in the dining room and half in the breakfast room. Who sat where? They drew numbers so no one would feel like they were at the "Siberian Table".

I used similar linens and centerpieces for each table.
The dining room table with it's lace cloth -- an old one belonging to my mother. White damask napkins in silver rings and a centerpiece of red carnations with Christmas greens. The silver coffee service waiting for dessert.

The table in the breakfast room with it's lace cloth and bowl of red carnations and Christmas greenery.
With a surprise -- a little monkey a Christmas gift from the Lunch Bunch yesterday -- and I thought he looked so perfect on the table!

Each place was set with a Royal Doulton Tartan plate, a fork and knife, a damask napkin in a silver ring and a menu as well as a bag of French chocolate bark and white chocolate bark tied with red and green ribbon -- a favor for my guest to take home.

The buffet set up on the sideboard --

Leslie's Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Salad of Mixed Greens
Sister Shubert Rolls

And in the arch between the dining and living room --

The Williamsburg tilt-top table with dessert! Topped with a favorite small lace tea cloth, this table was perfect for holding the luncheon dessert which was a Holiday Fig Cake with honey cream cheese frosting decorated with pecans and fresh rosemary.

Carols are still playing softly and the tree is lit. It's Christmas at Linderhof and I've baking yet to do!

But I do so enjoy my company and we had a great time. With wishes of Merry Christmas they left with a flurry of hugs and a "see you after the holidays".

It's Thursday and time to share our Tablescapes -- so please join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch to see what other holiday tables there will be today!

Monday, December 20, 2010

T'was the day before the party . . .

Entertaining is a part of Linderhof . . . . and especially at Christmas! We have three parties this week -- back to back beginning with a luncheon tomorrow for The Lunch Bunch, followed by dinner for dear friend Shirley Ann and her husband Jack and then on Wednesday, eight friends are coming for another luncheon.

And when one entertains . . . . the silver must be shining for coffee or tea is not poured from the glass carafe at Linderhof -- no, it is decanted into the silver pot (the short one for tea -- the taller one for coffee -- and the one in the middle to keep water hot) and for company the silver must be shining!

The tea set on the dining room table. Tomorrow luncheon, I'll pour tea from the tea pot for we'll be having tea. Tomorrow dinner, the coffee pot gets pressed into service for we'll have coffee and dessert after dinner and the Dolly Hollyday Trolley Ride which we'll do. (It's an evening tour to look at the residential lights in our little town.) Wednesday lunch, the service will be placed on the tilt top table. It's a buffet luncheon and so everyone will help themselves to coffee and dessert from the tilt top while the sideboard will be set up as the luncheon buffet.

It's Tuesday and so I'm sharing my tabletop and tea set with . . .

Tabletop Tuessday with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life

Tea Time Tuesday with Terri at Artful Affirmations

Tea Cup Tuesday with Martha at Martha's Favorites

Tea Pot and Tea Things Tuesday with Pam at Breath of Fresh Air

Tea Time Tuesday with Katherine at Lady Katherine's Tea Parlor

Tuesday Tea for Two with Wanda Lee at The Plumed Pen

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Less Fussy

Sometimes change is in order and we felt that change was needed in the guest room. A bit "fussy" with layers of curtains, mini blinds, and stacks and stacks of pillows.

This is the before --the drapes are really green but they've faded to a gold!!!

And the window seat -- filled with pillows -- so many that there isn't much room to sit and enjoy the window seat!

And today, the Sunday before Christmas -- was spent on a ladder, taking down all of the "holders" (for mini blinds, blinds, drapes, and roller shades) and then putting up the two inch Venetian blinds that we bought for the room.

And then I moved things and cleaned really really well! For Daughter Sarah and her Andy are coming home for Christmas!

The after . . . . less pillows on the bed, less curtains at the window . . . a cleaner look (and an easier to clean look!)

The light in the room is amazing with the four windows covered only in blinds which are open -- sunlight steams in so it is a "light and happy" room rather than a "dark and dreary" room.
The window seat is cleared of almost all of the pillows -- except for the one long one -- it's much easier to find a place to sit! (But, of course, who has time to sit?)

I am happy with the small changes -- putting the pillows away and taking down the heavy window coverings. I hope Daughter Sarah and her Andy will like the changes as well!

It's Monday and so it's time for Met Monday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. With Christmas activities taking up so much time, I was surprised that I had time for a metamorphosis this week. Let's see what else everyone has been up to!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Roasted Root Vegetables

In the hustle and bustle that becomes December, we look for easy things to fix for we are going a thousand miles an hour in many directions.

Roasted root vegetables are a perfect side dish in December. You toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper and put them in a 425 oven for about 25 minutes or until they're soft and caramelized.

Our favorite is a mix of carrot, sweet potato, parsnip and butternut squash. It's a big platter for two but leftovers are good warmed over and whirled in a food processor and added to chicken broth with a little cream, it makes a great lunchtime soup.

While they bake, you can finish wrapping those presents or addressing those Christmas cards or do one of the myriad of things that need to be done before Christmas.

It has been a busy week at Linderhof -- not necessarily with chores for it's often fun things that we're involved in.

But whether it's fun things or Christmas chores, easy meals are important mid December -- for our kitchen time is better spent making Christmas cookies and candy!

It's Pink Saturday so please visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see other Pink Saturday posts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sparkling Ginger Stars and Hot Cocoa

We enjoy the tree every evening. We love the glow from the tree and there is nothing better after dinner especially when the temperatures hover around 15 degrees, than a mug of cocoa and some Christmas cookies, in the living room in front of the tree with carols playing softly.

Oliver, of course, thinks that some of those cookies may be for him (and he may be right -- Husband Jim is a soft touch!)

What a wonderful way to spend a December evening than in front of a roaring fire with cookies and cocoa, carols and a Christmas tree!

The mugs were a gift from dear Friend Carolyn from Florida and their perfect for Christmas cocoa -- for there is enough room in the mug to have six marshmallows (and to me the best reason to drink cocoa!) I love the colors -- mine is the green one while Husband Jim has the red!

And the cookies are also on a Christmas plate from Carolyn -- it's a perfect plate for Christmas cookies or candy!

The cookies are called Sparkling Ginger Stars and they are superb ginger cookies. In fact, I may make this my ginger cookie recipe. The recipe called for them to be cut in star shapes but I think trees would look fantastic as well especially with a heavy dusting of sugar!

They came from this years Dillard's Ultimate Southern Living Christmas Cookbook which dear friend Maybelle gives me. There are some great recipes in it!!!


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 egg yolk
1 T. grated lemon rind
1 T. grated fresh ginger
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 T. whipping cream
3.25 jar coarse Betty Crocker sparkling sugar

Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until blended.

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add brown sugar, beating well. Beat in molasses, egg yolk, lemon rind, grated ginger and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture; beat until just blended.

Shape dough into a ball and divide in half. Flatten each ball into a round disk; wrap each in plastic wrap and chill 2 1/2 hours or until firm.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liner. Roll out dough, 1 section at a time to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into star shapes. Place 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.

Whisk together 1 egg and whipping cream; brush egg wash lightly over cookies. Sprnkle heavily with sparkling sugar.

Bake at 325 for 17 minutes or until cookies are puffed and slightly darker around edges. Cool 1 minutes on baking sheets; remove with parchment paper to wire racks to cool completely.

It's Thursday which means that it's Tablescape Thursday and even though mine is an Ottomanscape, I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.