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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Cream Tea

Whenever we go away, there are always plants that need watering.
Friend Priscilla usually does this chore for me
And winter watering is easier than spring and summer watering
for it's only the inside plants.

Priscilla came over last week
to get to know Doogie a bit better
for he sometimes can be standoffish
And we wanted them to be friend.

And whenver anyone comes over,
the tea kettle goes on

A cream tea in the breakfast room

Fall mums in an antique blue and white pitcher
A Spode tea pot
And a crochet tablecloth
And . . .
an ivy topiary

Not mine
But a gift for Priscilla

Tea and freshly baked scones
strawberry jam
and real Devonshire cream

We visited and munched and sipped

It was a lovely afternoon
Doogie even begged a treat form Priscilla
I think that they may be "best buds" now!
Dolly was her usual, "please pet me" self.

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday

Sunday, September 29, 2013

More Curtains

Buying one or two sets of curtains at a time
isn't a good way to do something
But it is the way I ended up putting new curtains in the two upstairs bedrooms.

The guest room . . .
the window seat . . . 

With just the blinds that I hate to clean

And now with curtains
and a new beige window seat cover

The same beige linen curtains that I put on the other window
(which actually, were bought for the  dressing room in the Master Bedroom)

And in the dressing room of the Master Bedroom

With the window with just the blind

And now

With a matching curtain

Which matches the rest of the curtains in the master bedroom
Plain, beige linen curtains

And at the Farmer's Market Saturday . . .

I found this lovely hand-died, hand made rug
I remember the little rugs that we always had next to the beds growing up
Your feet hit the warm rug before it hit the cold floor
(and you were supposed to put on slippers while your feet were on that warm rug so your bare feet
never trod on the cold floor!)

I love the colors --
Hazy purples like the light at the end of the day

Perfect, I think for that little sliver of space beside the bed.

It was a very busy weekend 
culminating in a pot luck after church this morning

Yesterday, I made my contributions --

Hallie's Corn Salad
(Easy and tasty and can be made with either fresh, frozen or canned corn)


what church potluck doesn't have a jello salad?

A cranberry pineapple raspberry one
with nuts!
One that my Aunt Pearl often took to her church potlucks.

It went well with the ham that was served at the potluck.


2 cups corn (canned, drained or frozen or fresh)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 small purple onion, chopped
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 t. dill (dried dill weed or fresh dill)

Drain canned corn, thaw frozen corn, blanch and cut from cob fresh corn, add cherry tomatoes and onion, dress with mayonnaise, sprinkle with dill and mix.


2 packages raspberry jello
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
2/3 c. chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Put jello in bowl.    Drain pineapple into measuring cup and add enough water to make 3 cups of liquid.    Put juice/water mixture in saucepan and bring to a boil.    Pour over jello and stir until dissolved.     Add cranberry sauce and stir until well mixed.   Refrigerate 1 1/2 hours.    Then add pineapple and nuts.    Stir to distribute and pour into serving dish.     Refrigerate until set.

It's Monday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Met Monday.

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's Pumpkin Time

Every year, I always say I'm going to decorate for fall at the first of September
"Summer" is over
(when school starts, summer is over)
but here on the prairie
it is warm, often too warm the first of September
who wants to look at pumpkins when it's hot!

And it really isn't fall
That doesn't happen until the 21st

And . . . 
you can't really find pumpkins that early in September

But we've had some cool weather
There were pumpkins at the Farmer's Market
And I brought home a trunkful
of little ones
for $1 or $1.50 each
To decorate Linderhof
inside and out!

A bigger pumpkin on the bench in front
My two concrete pumpkins and some autumn leaves on the walk

Pumpkin on the porch table
When the plant comes inside, I'll add another

The living room mantle
I prefer to add seasonal touches to the things already there
I like my things -- seasonal touches enhance them I feel.

The mantle in the dining room

An old wooden dough bowl
on a very old needlework runner
filled with pumpkins and sprigs of bittersweet

I also brought home some "pumpkiny" colored mums to plunk in an old transferware pitcher
in the breakfast room

And in the back garden

Pumpkins on the table under the pergola

Pumpkins line up on the top of the baker's rack on the patio

And a wee pumpkin is found hiding amongst the ferns
(and beside a cast iron hare)
in the faux bois planter on the baker's rack

With cool weather comes
more baking.

A favorite cookbook
that's I've had "forever"

Full of good recipes 
and one of my favorites . .  .

Pumpkin Cranberry Coffee Cake
which combines the flavors of the season
pumpkin and cranberries

It makes for a good coffee or tea nosh

And a wonderful breakfast on Thanksgiving Weekend


2 1/4 c. flour
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 large eggs
2 c. sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
granulated sugar, for garnish

Grease and flour an 8 cup mold (I use my tube pan).    Sift together the flour, spice, baking soda and salt.    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs until they are foamy.    Add the sugar and pumpkin and oil until well blended.     Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture.    Stir until mixed (do not over mix)   

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.    Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.    Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run spatula around the outside and turn out.   Garnish with granulated sugar.

It's Sunday and I'm joining The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sunday.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Relatives For Lunch

We love having company
whether it's family or friends

Niece Stacy
her daughter Kayleigh
her friend Vera
and her son
came to visit

A visit, of course, that included lunch!

Stacy calls me "Aunt" Martha
a term I adore
or sometimes
"Auntie M"
which is appropriate because we do, after all, live in Kansas

But it's "M" for Martha
Not "Em" (for Emma, Emily) as in the Wizard of Oz

And although it was a nice day, it seemed to be a dining room sort of day

Lace cloth
(and if you've seen them before -- they were the centerpiece last week when the Lunch Bunch came
Flowers, after all, can be used more than once!)
Blue and white transferware
(The Spode Blue Room)
Hotel silver
Damask napkins in silver rings

And birds often find their way to the table
Taken from a shelf in a bookcase or corner cabinet.

Lunch was easy --

a big green salad with Farmer's Market cherry tomatoes
Of all hues - green and a deep red and yellow
With basil vinegar and olive oil

A pasta casserole
(There were kids as guests after all,
and kids adore pasta)

All served family style!

And dessert . . . 

Berries with cannoli cream (and toasted almonds)
for the adults
(although the kids had some too)

And for the kids

Chocolate cake
(although the adults had some too)

If it looks familiar it is --
I did make two cakes for church --
But I snuck 6 pieces from one
(Who missed it?
I'm not sure anyone at church noticed because I piled the pieces
on a platter -- no one saw the pan with cake missing!)

The pasta was easy, leftovers make great lunches and it was a "crowd" pleasing favorite!


1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 T. milk
3/4 c. grated Romano
1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound ground beef
flour for dreding

1 pound ziti
1/4 c. olive oil
5 cups tomato sauce
3 c. whole milk ricotta
2 c. shredded mozzarella
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
6 T. butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, eggs, milk, 1/2 cup of Romano and the parlsey and mix well.   Season with salt and pepper.   Add beef and gently combine, being careful to overwork the meat.   Shape into bite size meatballs   Roll each meatball in flour to coat, shaking off excess.    In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil.     Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.    Drain   pasta in a colander and set aside.    

In a large skillet heat the oil and when almost smoking, add meatballs in batches and without moving or turning the meat, allow it to brown for about 3 minutes.    Turn meatballs and brown other side.    Continue to cook until all sides are golden brown.    Remove meatballs to a plate.   In a large bowl, combine the tomato sauce and ricotta and mix well.    Add the cooked ziti and meatballs and toss gently.    In a large greased baking dish, pour in pasta mixture.    Sprinkle the mozzarella, Parmesan and remaining Romano all over the top.    Dot with the butter.    Place baking dish on top of baking sheet, covered with aluminum foil to collect any drippings from the dish.    Bake until top is golden brown and bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes.

It is Thursday and I"m joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunday Treats

We're Lutheran
We're German
And you know what you get when you get three Lutherans or three Germans together?
and food!!!!

Every Sunday we have fellowship after church
which is
and treats.

Treats are provided by the members of the congregation.
And we take our turn.

Sunday was our turn . . . 

Pieces of Chocolate Sheet Cake

Two of them in fact
stacked on a tray

And slices of a butter pound cake
And a mound of strawberries

And mini doughnut muffins
(which is the best way to eat them -- the sugar/cinnamon ratio is better when the muffins are small)

Husband Jim with the array of treats just before church was dismissed

He bought red licorice for the kids as well as some pink peeps!

And when it was time for Sunday School to start . . .

There was little left!


2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. butter
1/3 c. cocoa
2 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 t. vanilla


1/4 c. butter
3 T. cocoa
3 T. milk
2 to 2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla

Grease and flour a 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly roll pan.    Set aside.   In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup butter, 1/3 c. cocoa and 1 cup water.    Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.   Remove from the heat.    Beat chocolate mixture into the dry mixture until thoroughly blended.    Add eggs, 1/2 c. buttermilk and 1 1/2 t. vanilla.    Beat for 1 minute.    Pour batter into the prepard pan.

Bake in a 350 oven about 22 to 25 minutes.

Pour warm chocolate crosting over the warm cake, spreading evenly.    Place cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly before cutting.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 c. butter, 3 T. cocoa and 3 T. milk.    Bring to a boil, stirring over medium heat.    Remove from heat; add 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1/2 t. vanilla.    Beat until smooth.   Add more powdered sugar or a little milk, if needed, for a spreadable frosting.   


12 T. butter at room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
3 c. flour
1/2 T. plus 1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. plus 1/3 c. milk
1/8 c. buttermilk

For dipping:

8 T. butter, melted
1 c. sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350.    Cream butter and sugar.    Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just mixed in.   Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.    Combine the milk and buttermilk.   Mix a quarter of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.    Then mix in a third of the milk mixture.    Continue mixing in the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry.   Mix until well combined and smooth, but don't overmix.    Grease and flour a standard size muffin tin (or use paper liners -- but you have to take them off before you dip them).   Scoop enough batter into each tin so that the top of the batter is even with the rim of the cup.    Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, 30 minutes.

To Finish:

Melt the butter for the dipping mixture.    Combine the sugar and cinnamon.    When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, remove them from the tin, dip them all over with the melted butter, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

More Curtains

 A few years ago -- our guest room was a bit
lots of pillows
lots of window treatments
well, just "lots"!!!

The guest room circa 2011

And we decided to simplify

Less pillows
Less fuss
Less window treatments
Layers of curtains being traded
for blinds

But I found that I was not a good "blind cleaner"
And I didn't like dirty blinds either!

And when I did clean them I was never satisfied with how clean they were!

And the fact that I loved the simple curtains at the windows in the homes we lived in in England

I ordered
They came
I installed

The same beige linen curtains I put in the master bedroom
Beige instead of a color to match the wallpaper because
beige goes with everything
There is still the same amount of light
It's just softer with the curtains down the side of the window.

I'm much better at tending to curtains than I am blinds!

It's Monday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Met Monday

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Survivors Come For Tea

As I breakfasted each morning, I'd look at the sideboard in the breakfast room
One shelf, it seemed, looked a little "wonky"

But I'd look again and it would seem okay.

Then Tuesday, as I was preparing lunch for my guests,
I heard an awful rack from the sunroom

A racket like a cat pulling a tablecloth (and dishes) off the table in an attempt to get
up on the table.
Except we have no cat.

I put down my knife
And went to investigate.

And found


And this

My Johnson Brothers Indies
lived on that shelf

And give way it did!

I had a service for six
I bought the first two cups, saucers and tea plates
on an early trip to England
along with a wee teapot, sugar and creamer

The rest I bought when we added the breakfast room
It was bought as my "breakfast room" dishes
Six plates, six tea plates, six salad plates, six cups and six saucers

And I found
a coffeepot and a huge platter
(which were stored elsewhere)

The survivors:

one teacup
one tea plate
five salad plates
And all six dinner plates

The little hen next to it was a gift from dear friend Jean
It's a salt and pepper and we use it sometimes for breakfasts.

I was saddened
And heartbroken

But company was company
In just a few . . .
So I flew
Put the survivors in the kitchen
Swept up the bits and pieces
And we had lunch
They, none the wiser of the tragedy that occurred just moments before.

Today, I treated the survivors to tea:

In the breakfast room
The lone tea cup, on a tea plate instead of a saucer
And the cookies on a salad plate instead of a tea plate

But thankfully the wee teapot was stored elsewhere
For it's rare and hard to find.

I've not decided what to do
Whether I will replace everything that's broken
or whether I will just get another cup, two saucers and a tea plate
like I had originally.


The shelf in the sideboard is still empty.
If I repair it and put anything back on it, it shall be my silver breakfast things
They may be dentable but they are unbreakable.
And perhaps not so much!

that was a lot of heft for a little shelf, I suppose.

I am grateful that the blue and white breakfast set on the shelf below
Was on the shelf below --
It's harder and costlier to replace!

I shall treasure the remains of my Johnson Brothers Indies
especially the little tea cup
That I hand carried home from England
And survived the crash of 13!

(Oh, the nosh is ginger cookies -- currant gingerbread they're called and I do like the addition of the currants.    It's getting cooler -- ginger cookies are so good in the fall!)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

That's Italian!

The Lunch Bunch gathered once again at Linderhof

That's Italian

Alas, not the table

the only nod to Italy in the table setting is the little flag at the top of the menu

Yellow flowers in a crystal ice bucket

My beloved Spode blue and white, hotel silver, a coin silver dessert spoon, damask napkins and 
crochet tablecloth

But the menu,
Oh, the menu was Italian . . . 

Deconstructed Caesar Salad

Served family style

Pasta Ponza
a Gaida recipe

Also served family style
with hot "Italian" bread and tarragon butter


espresso and vanilla gelato
topped with whipped cream

That's Italian!


2 cups red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (I only had red ones so I used all red)
1/4 c. capers, rinsed and drained
1 T. olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
1/2 t. kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 t. pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 c. Italian style breadcrumbs
1 pound penne pasta (or other short tube shaped pasta)
1 1/4 c. Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 c. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 375.    Butt an 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish.    Set aside.   Place the tomatoes, capers, 1 T. olive oil, 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper in the prepared baking dish.    Toss to coat.    Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the tomato mixture.    Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden.    Cool for 5 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.    Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 to 10 minutes.    Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

Place the pasta in a large serving bowl.    Spoon the tomato mixture over the pasta.    Add the cheese and toss eel.   Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed.    Season with salt and pepper to taste.    Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.


I made my own dressing using real anchovies, garlic, olive oil, Dijon,  Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and olive oil.    (No egg!)   I cut my romaine in half, laid it on a platter, drizzled the dressing over all, sprinkled with a bit more olive oil, sprinkled with some more cheese and then topped with crushed croutons.    You could use boughten dressing if you desire.   I just think that it is a neat presentation!


A simpler dessert can't be found.    Put a big scoop of vanilla gelato (or vanilla ice cream if you can't find gelato but Hagan Daas does make one and I found mine at Wal Mart) into a heat proof glass.   Pour over it some freshly made (and hot) espresso.    Top with whipped cream (if you want to gild the lily) and serve.

It's Thursday and I"m joining Cuisine Kathleen for Let's Dish and Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.