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, July 31, 2011

Not Software But Hardware . . .

16 years ago we painted our 1980's oak cabinets. First they were white, then six years ago we decided to paint the bottom cabinets 30's green and the uppers beige. Sometime between then and now we changed the knobs to a brushed silver type knob. But . . . we still had the original bin pulls on the drawers that we put on the cabinet drawers 16 years ago.

We liked them -- thought they had the flavor of a 1920's kitchen but . . .

They were showing their age, they were not brushed metal and . . .

The bottom drawer pull was bent, could not be fastened back into the drawer wood so . . .

I decided that new pulls were needed. I bought some at Home Depot but they screwed in from the front and that was a problem with the old pulls so . . .

I bought another set from Lowes and they were too big -- I discovered that I needed a 3 inch center -- I could not just buy pulls and they would work so . . .

I found some at Restoration Hardware -- they were 3 inch center -- they were a great brushed nickel and they were on sale!!!

They came this week and so . . .

Saturday I put them on the drawers -- and I really like the style -- they have an old fashioned feel and they . . .

Look really good with the knobs on the cabinet doors.

It's a small change but I like my choice. I can now open the bottom drawer by using the pull rather than having to use the top of the drawer!!!!

It's Monday and it is a small metamorphosis but I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday. Join her to see all of the transformations this Monday!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reprise -- Let It Snow, Let It Snow

With temperatures constantly in triple digits for what seems like most of July, it's fun to go back and remember that the weather will not always remain in the triple digits!!!!

In fact, sometimes in winter, we long for warmer temperatures. I'm not certain that we long for 100 degrees, but . . .

That is one good thing, I guess, about living in a four season clime -- we get summer which is hot and humid and dry and we get winter which is cold and sometimes snowy and icy and then we get Spring and Fall -- the perfect seasons!

We're tired of summer and yearn for fall. Since we were gone for Spring, it seems to me as if we skipped Spring and went from Winter to Summer! And Summer at it's hottest!!!

This post, from February 2010, reminds me that the 100 plus degree temperatures won't last forever and just looking at these pictures makes me feel a bit cooler!

I'm joining Chari at Happy To Design for Sunday Favorites.

Enjoy the snow with an icy glass of tea -- you'll be cooler just looking at the garden full of "white stuff"!

We, on the prairie, feel fortunate that Monday's snow was measured by a few inches and not feet like our neighbors to the East. It was a wet snow and so it turned Linderhof into a winter wonderland for not only was snow on the ground but it turned the trees into white wonders.
The birds were busy at the feeders -- there are two male cardinals in the picture -- can you spot them? There are three more males that come visit plus their ladies often accompany them.
A summer table with a snow "tablecloth" and snow "chair pads". The branches hang low with the weight of the snow.
Although Oliver's breed was bred to herd cattle. And most cattle are kept outside, Oliver feels that having to go out into the cold snowy landscape is not what a dog should do!
And so he yearns to get back inside but, wait, is that the pesky cat . . . . his job, you see, is to make sure that the cat doesn't bother the garden birds!

It wasn't that pesky cat and so he quickly and happily came back inside. A dog, after all, needs to be where his Master and Mistress are. Not outside, all by himself!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Sunflower Tea

With temperatures of 105, it's been too hot to be out in the garden. We water and sometimes we weed in the morning when the temperature is hovering around 90 and it is "cooler" but we enjoy the garden from inside during this heat wave.

But we still enjoy tea and from the breakfast room, you can enjoy the garden without getting overheated.

And we enjoy having a friend (or sometimes two or three) for tea. In the afternoon, ambitious friend Sally who is painting her house and tending her garden, stops and retreats to the cool inside. Sometimes she makes her way to Linderhof in the afternoon and I put the kettle on.

For we ended up having a "Sunflower Tea"!

Sunflowers on the table and sunflowers on the plate!

My favorite sugar cookie recipe rolled and cut out with a sunflower cookie cutter and frosted brown and yellow with Royal icing. They make lovely sunflowers!

And in the blue and white Spode pitcher, sunflowers from the garden -- not the "seeded" variety but rather a plant called false sunflowers. Unlike most perennials they bloom most of the summer and their blossoms are often cut and brought inside for the breakfast room table.

The sunflower cookies were actually made for a very special lady, Bernideen, of Bernideen's Tea Time Blog -- for she and I were able to hook up last Saturday in Kansas City (she coming home from visiting her family in Columbia, Missouri) and I up in the city for my brother's birthday.

So although there was no post, I truly had tea with Bernideen last Saturday -- but, alas, it wasn't tea in the garden and actually it wasn't even tea -- it was coffee in Hardee's just off I-70 -- but it was Saturday and I was with Bernideen!

It's always fun to meet a fellow blogger and I must admit that the time spent with Bernideen passed all too quickly and it was time for her to head across Kansas to her home in Colorado.

Some of the cookies were taken to help celebrate my other's birthday and a few were left at Linderhof -- for the nosh for an afternoon tea or two.

Sally and I enjoyed being inside in the cool sipping tea and munching on the cookies. Like last Saturday, the time passed all too quickly and we each had dinner preparations to begin and with a promise of "next time at my house" Sally bid adieu.

It's Saturday and once more I'm celebrating with Bernideen -- for Tea in the Garden on Saturday. Please stop by and see the other tea parties this Saturday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tick Tock -- The Clocks of Linderhof

There are certain things that I think make a house a home -- a fire in winter, a garden in summer, comfy chairs, bookcases full of well loved books, and beloved treasures on tabletops and in cabinets.

And . . . the tick tock sound of a clock . . . and the chime of clocks as they count the hour, quarter hour or half hour.

At Linderhof, we love clocks -- especially clocks that tick off the seconds and chime the hour. Clocks that you have to wind weekly (or even daily). A ritual but a good ritual.

My most beloved clock . . .

Is the clock on the mantle in the Master Bedroom. It's not really a tick tock clock but it does have a second hand. It originally was electric and had the most melodious Westminster Chime and was a wedding gift to my parents.

It was on the living room mantle in the home where I grew up and you could hear the chime all the way upstairs. When I woke in the night, I'd wait and eventually the clock would chime. I knew, then, that all was right with the world and I could snuggle back down to sleep.

One Christmas my mother gifted it to me but before she did she had the electric movement replaced with a battery one.

It is my most beloved clock and at night, when I awake, I lay in the dark and listen and soon, the clock will chime and I know that all is right with the world and can snuggle back down to sleep.

It's chime can be heard downstairs and it's a nice reminder of my childhood and my parents and their wedding present clock that I treasure.

My newest clock is in the breakfast room . . .

An English clock bought, alas, not in England but on Ebay. (After we returned home from England) But it reminds me of the clocks at both Blue Row and Pitts Cottage. It counts the hour and chimes on the half. I'm not sure of it's age but I do like it's strike and whenever I hear it, it does remind me of our time in England earlier this year.

And in the dining room . . .

A tall case clock. I love the round shape of the case and it reminds me a little of the Swedish clocks I've seen in magazines. I love it's shape and the round face. It strikes only the hour.
And there is a story about this clock . . . later

And in the living room . . .

Is the Grandfather Clock which is one of my "always wanteds" and which I bought with a legacy my beloved Aunt Pearl left me. So, actually I feel that the clock is her legacy. It has three different chimes but I'm fondest of the Westminster and so that is what we usually set it on.
And often when it chimes, I think of my Aunt and what a wonderful Aunt she was.

Now for the rest of the story . . .

The rest of the story about the dining room clock.

For it isn't antique. It isn't even old. It came from The Bombay Company and it was on a deep discount -- we paid not quite $100 for it. But it looks old and it looks expensive.

And . . . it has a secret . . .

For it is a battery operated clock and inside it's case are shelves (which we added to) and it stores my candles and salt and peppers. It's a great little piece of storage and no on knows that my great case clock is really a useful storage unit!!!!

It's Friday and I'm joining Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday -- for I'm sharing The Clocks of Linderhof. Go visit Cindy and see what everyone is sharing this Friday!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Bleutiful Breakfast

Our daily breakfast are usually fairly simple -- cereal or yogurt or fruit and toast. But I do like to set a pretty table -- even if it is just the two of us!

A pretty table, especially for "everyday" always includes my beloved blue and white . . . and to add to the "blues" -- big bowls of fresh blueberries -- with real cream to pour over!

Nothing matches as I take whatever piece is handiest -- a Johnson Brothers Indies bowl and cup and saucer (for me) and a Spode Blue Italian mug (for Husband Jim), a Blue Willow teapot, a Wedgwood creamer and Spode Blue Room bread and butter plate.

One of my Spode Blue Italian pitchers filled with garden flowers and fennel and to top our toast -- friend Tracy's "Little Spouse On The Prairie" Lemon Honey Jelly -- it is just the best and you can find it at our Tuesday evening Farmer's Market when Tracy has a booth. She makes the best cherry jelly as well and often has zucchini to sell.

It's Thursday and it's time for Tablescape Thursday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch -- see what other pretty tables there are this Thursday!

Since clocks are really furniture I'm joining Miss Mustard Seed for Furniture Feature Friday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How to Keep the Garden Alive

Temperatures on the prairie have been triple digits for most of July. Rain, too, has been almost non-existent. It is the way of the prairie during July and August -- lots of heat and little rain and we're used to it.

And even considering that, we do like to garden but I must admit that even prairie plants tend to wilt when the temperatures have been way too warm and there has been little moisture.

So my morning chore during most of July has been . . .

To water the garden -- the method I prefer is a sprinkler . . . it may not be the best but it is an old fashioned way of getting water to thirsty plants.

And during the heat wave that we've had the last week or so, we leave the hose and sprinkler in place for we know that we'll have to water tomorrow!!!!

We did get a bit of rain yesterday and we noticed that the lilacs and other plants that we don't normally water looked perkier this morning.

We also noticed that although the plants are not growing at the rapid rate that they did in spring they are surviving and once we get cooler temperatures, I'm sure that they will once again thrive.

We grow herbs and flowers in our garden but we do love fresh vegetables. Tuesday night is Farmer's Market and off I went with my wire basket . . . and came back with it full of good produce including . . .

tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini and green peppers, onions and garlic and the best peaches which are so juicy and smell like peaches!!!

We promptly turned the green peppers into . . .

stuffed green peppers. It's a meal for summer and it is the summer fare of our childhood. My recipe is my mother's adaptation of the stuffed peppers served at The Forum Cafeteria in Kansas City -- one of our Sunday After Church Dinner places. And I always thought that they had the best food -- especially the strawberry shortcake which cost 75 cents and I always whined until I was permitted to get it (with the understanding that I would eat all of my dinner before I could even take a bite of shortcake!)


Creole Sauce

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion
1/3 c. chopped green pepper
1/2 t. chili powder
1/8 t. salt
16 ounce can whole tomatoes
16 ounce can tomato puree
1 cup cooked rice
6 whole green peppers

Prepare Creole Sauce and allow to simmer while preparing stuffed peppers. Mix beef and onion, chopped green pepper. Add chili powder, salt, tomatoes and cooked rice and mix well.

Cut 6 whole green peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Spoon stuffing mixture into each pepper half. Place stuffed peppers in a single layer in large shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika and pour can of tomato puree over and around peppers.

Bake at 350 about 30 minutes until browned and meat and peppers are done. Spoon hot Creole Sauce over peppers and serve.


1 large onion
1 t. minced green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 t. chili powder
1 can tomatoes
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. sugar

Mince onion; combine onion, green pepper and garlic in a skillet to which you've added olive oil. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes and continue to simmer. If it thickens too much, add water. Serve over stuffed peppers.

It's Wednesday and time for Outdoor Wednesday -- please join Susan at A Southern Daydreamer to see what everyone's been doing outside this Wednesday!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beer for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner . . .

You can have your beer and eat it too!!!! And for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Without being suspected of having a problem and having to go to AA meetings!!!

It rained today -- a good rain and I could almost hear the plants saying "aaahhh"!!! So instead of going out and doing some weeding, I decided to stay indoors and bake. And with a spare bottle of beer in the fridge, some self-rising flour in the pantry, I immediately thought of beer bread!

But not in loaf form -- in muffin form. There are, after all, only two of us and in loaf form, we tend to eat the whole thing! At least I can freeze the muffins for later meals and even though we eat more than we should -- like at least one right out of the oven slathered in butter -- enough get put into the freezer for later meals.

It's such an easy recipe that you can see where the term "quick" bread came from. And they are so good. I added some herbs and garlic and the aroma wafting from the kitchen was heavenly!

It's still hot on the prairie. It did cool down during and right after the rain but then when the sun came out, it turned steamy . . .

Oliver still finds the best place in the house to be in front of the fan. Oliver is not a dumb dog -- and he does wear a fur coat in the summer. So a dog needs to stay cool!


3 cups self rising flour
3 T. sugar
12 oz. beer -- I used a Sam Adams but even a Bud will work

Mix all ingredients together and pour into greased bread pan. (Or you can use muffin tins or mini bread tins (it will take 4 of them)) Bake in a preheated 350 oven -- for 45 minutes. Take out and spread butter over the top and bake for 15 more minutes. Note if you make muffins it takes about 15 minutes, then top with butter and bake 5 more minutes.

I put about a good two tablespoons of fresh rosemary into the batter as well and a good tablespoon of minced garlic.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Little Bit English . . . A Little Bit Country . . . A Little Bit "Greek"!

I did love both of our homes in England and did pick up some decorating ideas from them. But, after all, I've always loved English country decorating starting first with Laura Ashley and later soaking up that English country charm from the bed and breakfasts that we stayed in on previous trips to England.

And from this trip . . .

I fell in love with the oak candlestick lamps . . .

The ones on either side of the bed at the Pitts Cottage in Wiltshire and

The barley twist one in the dining room at Blue Row.

So I decided I needed some candlestick lamps and after a successful bid on ebay, two came home to Linderhof . . . from England no less. And so, after they were rewired and after a successful lampshade hunt, I put them

In the guest room -- on either side of the bed.

An oak barley twist candlestick probably Edwardian, with an ecru linen shade. Is the perfect lamp for the bedside table in the guest room.

And it's twin on the other side!

Much better, I think that the lamps I had before. . .

Which, although I liked them, I never felt that the blue worked in that room and the tulips clashed with the roses!

I've always liked English wooden lamps and I already had one . . .

Bought several years ago and perfect on the chest in the Master Bedroom.

It is Monday and my lamp change is my metamorphosis for this Monday. Please join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday and find out what wonderful transformations there are this Monday.

And the little bit Greek?

Even though it has been hot (like 104 and 105), it hasn't stopped the bounty in the garden and so Farmer's Market produce fills the refrigerator at Linderhof. One of our favorite summer dishes is . . .

Zucchini moussaka. It's a great dish if you like Greek food but don't like eggplant or if you have too many zucchini!!!!

It's often on the table at Linderhof and there is enough for dinner as well as a lunch the following day. With a salad full of vegetables, it's a healthy dinner as well!

It's from the original Williams-Sonoma cookbook, The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook and Guide to Kitchen Ware, one of my favorite cookbooks.

It's easy and tasty and a summer family favorite! Although the recipe in the cookbook calls for lamb -- lamb is not easily found on the prairie and so oftentimes we use ground beef. It's good either way!


4 to 5 medium zucchini
3 medium tomatoes
3 to 4 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 t. dried oregano
2 eggs
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. chicken stock or tomato juice

Cut zucchini lengthways into 1/4 inch thick slices. Arrange in a colander, overlapping as little as possible. Sprinkle well with salt and let drain for 1 hour. Rinse and blot dry with paper towels.

Cut core from tomatoes and make a small cross in the blossom end. Dip in boiling water for 5 seconds to loosen skin. Peel, cut in half crossways and gently squeeze out seeds. Chop tomatoes finely.

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 10 x 8 baking dish. Heat the olive oil in saute pan and saute the zucchini until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Do this in 2 batches if necessary, addming more oil if needed. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. In the same pan, saute onion and garlic until transparent, about 3 minutes. Add ground lamb and let it brown slightly, breaking it up with a fork. Pour off any accumulated fat. Season with salt and the oregano. Remove from heat and let cool a little. Break eggs into a bowl, beat lightly and stir into meat mixture. Set aside.

Put half the prepared zucchni, in one layer and overlapping if necessary, in the baking dish. Cover with meat mixture, then the tomatoes and place the remaining zucchini in a layer on top. Mix breadcrumbs with cheese and sprinkle over zucchini. Moisten with stock or tomato juice. Bake for 35 minutes on middle rack of oven until mixture is cooked through and top is brown.

NOTE: I often halve the recipe for the two of us and bake in one of my gratin dishes. I often use ground beef because I rarely can get ground lamb here and I have been known to used canned chopped tomatoes which I drain well (and save the juice to moisten the casserole with).

I'm joining Yvonne at Stone Gable for Menu Monday for if you like zucchini or if you like moussaka -- this dish is terrific!!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Trader Joe's

I'm not a "I love to shop at Trader Joe's" sort of girl. I've been to them about three times in different cities but I was very impressed with their selection of products as well as their prices and a little confused as to the small size of their stores. But since they don't have rows and rows and shelves and shelves of the same product (as do most grocery stores) they don't need to be "Superstores"!

To me, they are like an "Upscale Aldi's" and they (both Aldi's and Trader Joes) are both owned by the same people which is why I find many similarities between the two stores.

And last Friday, two of Trader Joe's opened in Kansas City. It made the news -- both print and television -- and there were lines waiting to get in. I purposely stayed away!!!

But today, friend Shirley Ann and I went to the city. I mentioned Trader Joe's (she's never been) and we decided that if we got near one of the two stores that we would stop but that we would not seek them out -- me being fearful that the crowds were still there.

And we managed to drive by the Missouri store and my fears were confirmed -- the crowds were still there!

We did stop and made a quick tour of the store picking up a few items. I'd like to go back in a month or so when it's quieted down and take a bit more time to see what is available.

What I picked up . . .

A bag of these sweet potato chips . . .

Some pea sprouts -- had never before seen them in a store and there is a recipe that uses them -- hopefully, I can find that recipe tomorow!!!

A basil plant -- which reminds me of the one I bought in England. I planted my basil late this year and the weather has turned hot -- it hasn't grown in leaps and bounds as it usually has by this time in July -- sigh -- so this plant shall help supplement by garden pickings.

A bouquet of fresh lavender with supple stems. I plan on making little lavender woven baskets to use as favors at a luncheon next Thursday.

It was an interesting experience -- people with carts filled to the brim, all of the cashier stations opened and most people bringing their own carry bags. And so many people that it was hard to maneuver through the store . . . and once arriving at the checkouts, it was a long wait until it was your turn!

I'm sure some of the craziness will be gone once people have their initial "Trader Joe's Fix" -- and then the store will settle into whatever is normal for a Trader Joe's store. That's when I'll be back!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Summer Dinner Party

We love to have people over for dinner -- sometimes we plan way ahead and send proper invitations by mail while other time we decide on the spur of the moment to invite company for dinner.

It was the latter last Saturday for on Thursday, we decided that we'd like to have company for Saturday dinner and so phone calls were made. I prefer six (or four guests) because all the chairs match and we don't have to put any leaves in the table but . . . sometimes we decide to invite more than two other couples.

Saturday was one of those times. Eight were invited for dinner and so on Saturday morning, as Husband Jim went to the city to get our entree, I cleaned house. Upon his return, we put the leaves in the table and then we set the table. It is a joint effort -- I do china and silver while Husband Jim does glassware.

I always love the house when the table is set, the food prepared and the house has the quiet expectancy that it always does just before company arrives.

Often, when we put all the leaves in the table -- we'll angle it a bit so that it's easier to get around.

And since it was summer and since it was impromptu . . .

We decided on a simple setting -- the Spode Blue Room plates, my hotel cutlery, a blue napkin in one of my silver napkin rings, a classic red wine glass, one of my silver birds holding the place cards and, of course, a menu for the evening. Dessert fork and spoon above the plate European style.

And a simple centerpiece as well . . .

My new Spode Camilla vegetable tureen in the center flanked by my artichoke tulipieres into which I put yellow mums from the market. Because the mums looked the most like garden flowers (but because of the horrible heat, there aren't much in the way of garden flowers!) and two silver candlesticks which were the light of the evening.

The artichoke tulipiere holding the yellow mums. I use them more for other flowers than for tulips but I think they're the perfect flower holder for a dinner party because they're low -- a low arrangement is a must for a dinner party.

And the menu . . .

Baby lettuces tossed with vinaigrette and topped with panko coated and fried coat cheese rounds.

Moroccan style lamb shanks with potatoes and peas and Farmer's Market tomato provencal.
With a good crusty bread and rosemary butter.

And, of course, there must be dessert . . .

A blueberry tart. A new recipe from Martha Stewart -- it has blueberries cooked down to an almost jelly, fresh blueberries coated with the jelly and then on top of that fresh blueberries.
And pure blueberry flavor for only sugar and lemon juice and zest were added to the fruit.

It was the perfect summer dessert -- served on Blue Italian salad plates.

Everyone had a good time, the wine flowed (which always indicates a good dinner party) and we hated it when our guests bid us goodbye.

It's Thursday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.