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, March 31, 2014

A Pansy Tea

In March
we plant pansies
in planters both front

and back

And pansies are not just a "pretty face" in the garden
but they're brought inside

And placed in my pansy vase 
which is the centerpiece
for my pansy tea
For the tea there are real pansies as centerpieces

And real pansies on the shortbread cookies
Sugared and edible!

And pansies (or violets -- a cousin)
on the tea ware
They were my mothers
who adored violets
And windowsills in her house held some of the many African violet plants
that bloomed and bloomed for my Mother.
So many started from a single leaf
which she cajoled off of a friend's plant

 Pansies, live
Pansies, planted
Pansies, cookied

I had two friends for tea

And we sipped Earl Grey Tea
(which I believe goes better with pansies!)
and nibbled on our pansy shortbread.

It was a fun afternoon
But any afternoon that involves both friends and tea
is a fun afternoon!


1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 teaspoons meringue powder 
2 tablespoons water

Pesticide free Pansies or violas

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pick flowers, rinse and pat dry. Put on paper towel to finish air drying.

Put flour and sugar in a large bowl. Mix together. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter and vanilla until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling together.

 Gather up crumbs into a ball and kneed together until smooth.

 Roll out dough just scant of 1/4" thick. Cut with cookie cutter. I used a fluted  2 1/2"cookie cutter.
Put cookies 2" apart on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until the bottom and sides are just starting to slightly brown and center of top is firm.

Take out of oven and cool on baking sheet. 

Combine meringue powder and water in small bowl. When cookies are cooled brush egg white mixture on one cookie at a time and top with pansey. Use your fingers to press the pansy down in the middle and smooth out all petals so they are firmly stuck to the cookie. Put a thin layer of egg white mixture on top of the pansy and smooth. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Return to parchment lined baking sheet.

I found the recipe at Stone Gable and thought it was a great recipe for my pansy tea!

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

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Easter Egg Tree, Second Chapter

Twenty two years ago
we took a Lenten trip to Germany
We were enchanted  with Germany
(the country of my ancestors)

Rottenburg, one of the most picturesque town in Germany

But the thing that enchanted me the most
was the Easter Egg trees in the dining rooms of the bed and breakfasts we stayed at.
Humble branches brought inside
and hung with decorated hens eggs.

It was a tradition that I wanted to embrace
And so, off to Woolworth's we went
(for one of our innkeepers said that that was where theirs had come from)
And I bought a dozen eggs to bring home
For a souvenir and for a tradition

We've always brought branches in
(as the Germans did)
Always put them in either a blue and white ginger jar or a blue and white vase
And hung the eggs from them
And always in the dining room

The eggs, hand painted in Germany
(although they don't say that)

We've had a couple of casualties but we've continued to hang them from our tree

We were happy this weekend to do the Easter Egg Tree, Second Chapter

 As we dyed and decorated real hens eggs
(that we blew out with a needle and lots of deep breaths)

 And decorated with stickers and drawings (or both)
Daughter Sarah, Sarah's mother-in-law, Linda and me!
Grandgirl Lucy kept us company in her high chair
as we worked at the dining room table

One of the things I brought when I came for the visit
was some branches from our redbud tree

Sarah put the vase of branches in the living room
And hung our hand decorated eggs from it's branches.
For Grandgirl Lucy's first Easter

Some day, Lucy, will have Nana's eggs,
the eggs that Nana bought all those years ago in Germany
But until that time, she'll have her own memory eggs
to put on her Easter tree
for we dated them all
And each one of us signed one of them.

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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Men In The Kitchen

A lot of 
"Men In The Kitchen"

A fundraiser sponsored by the
Junior League Of Minneapolis

With a tray of cheeses to nibble on with drinks

Before the real sampling began!

And there were
"real men"
in the kitchen

Cooking up delectable gourmet bites

Not professional chefs by any means
but very talented amateurs!

Preparing miniature beef wellingtons

Or flaming some shrimp with bourbon . . . 

The chefs and their foods:

Beef Wellington Bites paired with a nice red

Son-in-law Andy and his smoked pork sliders and Gruyere grits
with brew from his hometown brewery

Champagne and lobster -- the lobster in a wonderful sweet potato soup

Pork belly and sweet potato puree paired with an IPA

Mac and cheese elevated to gourmet status with prosciutto

 Flaming shrimp served over creamy polenta pairs perfectly with a Chardonnay

Pork tenderloin and  delectable roasted root vegetables

The crowd enjoyed tasting and sampling . . .
and then they voted for their favorite chef

And after sampling, there was mini desserts

white chocolate chip and coconut cookies, chocolate mouse topped with a raspberry in phyllo cups

Caramel iced mini cupcakes

And brownie bites with raspberry, blueberry or chocolate covered espresso beans

And at the end of the evening . . . 
the winning chef was . . . 

Son-In-Law Andy
and his smoked pork sliders, homemade buns and Gruyere grits!

It was a fun evening,
A great event,
And we're proud to be related to the number one chef!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Coffee and Cake

We've given up tea treats for Lent
But we didn't give up sweets or desserts
Just teatime sweets!

On Wednesdays are church has evening services during Lent
The Youth of the church are providing dinner before church
I volunteered to bring a cake.

I had bananas in the larder
buttermilk in the fridge
pecans in the freezer
which made
a Buttermilk Banana Sheet Cake

The youth wouldn't miss one little piece
Which with a cup of coffee was my lunch!
The Johnsonville Indies is my blue and white coffeepot
There's something more civilized about pouring coffee from a china pot
rather from a glass carafe!

The cake is a good one

And the sheet cake is a perfect size!
I received compliments Sunday on the cake
And had requests for the recipe.

Alas, the inside bulbs have bloomed their last
But the outside ones have started

I picked up these two glass daffodil vases from one of my favorite shops,
Webster House in Kansas City
And they both were 20% off and came with bulb!

Besides paperwhites in January and February,
I can see these vases holding boughs of long stem flowers --
hydrangea, pussy willow, crab apple

And the bigger one might be perfect
for a December amaryllis!

The cake recipe --


  • Pam
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas, about 3 large
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups  Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Your favorite cream cheese frosting or Betty Crocker in a can
HEAT oven to 350°F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.

COMBINE shortening and sugar in large bowl; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in bananas and vanilla.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in separate bowl; whisk or stir to blend. Blend about 1/3 of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture on medium low speed. Blend in about half of the buttermilk. Repeat with flour mixture and buttermilk, ending with remaining flour mixture. Stir in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.

BAKE 40 to 45 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Spread frosting over top of cake.

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

It's Spring!

It's Spring
The first full day of Spring!

And how do we know that it's Spring at Linderhof?
Not by the calendar

But by the daffy blooming in the garden!

A bouquet for the breakfast room table.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Pillow, A Pie, A Memory

I needlepoint
It's how I keep my fingers busy
when there is nothing else to do.

It's great to take traveling as well.
I'm not a fast needlepointed
I pick it up and put it down
So, sometimes, it takes me a while
to finish a canvas

This one I started in the Panama Canal

And stitched as we sailed the Atlantic to Italy
And stitched as we traveled around Northern Italy
And stitched as we flew back home.

And stitched as we flew back to Italy,
And stitched as we traveled around Southern Italy
And finally finished as we sailed the Atlantic back to America.

I took the pillow to Mary, who works her magic by turning a canvas into a pillow
She called yesterday to say it was ready

I think it looks terrific in the beige chair!

The pie . . .

Was really not a pie but a tart
Well, not a tart but a tarlet
Five little tartlets filled with my homemade Meyer lemon curd
Dessert for my Wednesday luncheon

It takes a lot of piecrust to make tartlets
So you have a lot of leftover scraps.

And I made some memories
I rolled out all the leftover pie crust,
cut it into strips with my crimper
spread it with butter
sprinkled it with sugar
and then a shower of cinnamon
And baked at 375 until bubbly and brown

The memory --
My mother always did that.
Every time she made a pie
It was for us -- my brother and I
And I loved the simple pie crust treat.
We never called it anything but "pie crust"
However, I think it should have a fancier name.
I've renamed it "cinnamon sugar fingers".

They made a nice afternoon nosh when friends came to call yesterday.

It's Friday and I'm joining Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Two Luncheons - One Centerpiece

This was my week of luncheons
One on Monday for St. Patrick's Day
and my Irish friends

And one on Monday
for the Lunch Bunch plus one!

The flowers in the market were sad
But not a big pot of violas
And I knew that it would work splendidly as a centerpiece

On the lace cloth
And on Monday a leprechaun left some gold covered chocolate coins

I always do an "Irish Farmhouse" luncheon on St. Patrick's Day
(the corned beef and cabbage is always for dinner)
My Spode transfer ware, a menu with a drawing of an Irish farmhouse

Irish linen napkins in silver rings
It's not an "American" St. Patrick's table
But rather one that one might find in a farmhouse in Ireland
if the mistress of the farmhouse had company for lunch!

Blue and white dishes, white damask linen napkins and a riot of yellow violas for the centerpiece

My Irish friends enjoyed my simple lunch
of creamy Irish potato and rosemary soup, Irish soda bread, and a salad of Kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.    Dessert was more American than Irish -- a creme de menthe cake which was green (from the creme de menthe) but had a chocolate and a whipped cream topping.
(It tasted like a Girl Scout thin mint cookie!)

And on Wednesday,
The Lunch Bunch plus one
The one being the daughter of one Lunch Buncher
She was in town and we switched days so she could come

The same tablecloth, napkins and centerpiece

But the Aynsley Pembroke china, a menu with yellow violas on it,
and some wee iron birds that were a Christmas gift from the Lunch Bunch one year

I adore birds, in dishes and on the table
And admired the Pembroke for a long long time
And having given my Wedgwood to Daughter Sarah when she married,
I could indulge in the Pembroke

It is amazing, isn't it
What a change of dish ware can do to change a table!
A whole new look!

And a whole new menu!
A tea room lunch -- we started with the silver basket full of miniature cheddar herb scones which had been dipped in butter, the entree was cream of white bean soup and a pasta salad -- sun dried tomatoes and arugula with bow tie pasta salad.     And dessert was a Meyer lemon curd tartlet -- my own lemon curd in a tartlet shell and decorated with a candied lemon slice and more of the yellow violas.

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

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thimble Tea

Saturday was National Quilt Day
and friend Nancy stopped by last week
with some of her quilts
for a "Show and Tell".

Of course, when anyone drops by Linderhof,
we always put the kettle on.

Nancy suggested that one of her quilts would make the

And she was right!

It's called a "Random Access" quilt
and the lovely blues picked up the blue in the transfer ware.

I had just made some Italian Easter Wreath Cookies
(from the King Arthur Flour Catalogue)
and they were the perfect nosh with afternoon tea.

A plate of cookies
A pot of tea
And a friend to share them with!

Life isn't any better than that!

Besides the Random Access quilt, Nancy also brought two others.
A Downton Abbey Dowager Quilt (pieced but not quilted) for she knew I was a Downton Abbey fan
And this, an original quilt

Based on the tiles she saw on a trip to Italy.
What a wonderful remembrance of a trip!

We visited, talked quilts and quilting, nibbled and sipped.
Soon the afternoon was gone and we bid goodbye!

It's Tuesday and I'm sharing my tea with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and with Marty at A Stroll Through Life for Inspire Me Tuesday.