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, November 30, 2014

First Sunday in Advent

The first Sunday in Advent

We celebrate with the Advent Wreath
And the lighting of the first Advent Candle

. . . .

And loading the breakfast room stereo with Christmas music

With the smell of orange and clove from the pomanders in the kitchen
To the smell of the fresh greens of the Advent wreath
It's beginning to smell a little like Christmas at Linderhof.

The rest of the Christmas decorations come later
We are not in a hurry anymore to decorate 
Nor do we decorate from cellar to garret

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Turkey Day, Part Deux

The last few years we've been guests rather than hosts
for Thanksgiving.
At our daughter's in-laws

It was a win/win to be included for both families could be with their child
at Thanksgiving
and the kids only had to eat one Thanksgiving dinner!

But with the arrival of grand girl Lucy
the kids have decided to stay home
Too long a trip with a baby
for too short a time

However, last year and this we still had Thanksgiving dinner
at our daughter's in-laws!

This year it was at Aunt Jo's
A fantastic meal
ending as always with Pilgrim's Pie

The food was terrific
And the company even more so
And Jo even gave us leftovers to go!

But I still like to do a turkey breast
And have our own mini Thanksgiving

"Small Business Saturday" seems like the perfect time
Lunch out (at one of our small businesses)
Shopping done (at another of our small businesses)
Groceries bought (at our independently owned grocery store)
Husband Jim spent the day on a Christmas project
While in the 60 degree temperatures, I managed to rake the last of the leaves in the back garden.

Not a full feast, our mini Thanksgiving
But even for the two of us I like to set a nice table

The blue and white trasnferware turkey plates
The big blue bowl filled with pumpkins, gourds and acorn squash and bittersweet
Everyday German silver cutlery
And one of the glass turkeys filled with homemade cranberry sauce

Turkey breast, simple sage dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans
(It must be a German meal -- everything is brown but the beans!)

We have ample turkey for sandwiches tomorrow
And for turkey pot pie next week

Jim and I think it is nice that we can extend Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday

On Black Friday you won't find us at the malls,
or in fact in any store except for, perhaps, the market
Because I've run out of milk or eggs

Instead, you'll find me in the kitchen
On a ladder
Getting into the nether reaches of the upmost cabinets
Where for 11 months of the year
Our Christmas China is stored

No our Black Friday tradition is the getting out
And the washing up of the Christmas china

For we use it for almost all meals from the first Sunday in Advent
through Christmas night dinner.

I suppose, it really should be called "Advent" China!

It's mid 80's Royal Doulton china
The first 8 plates, cups and saucers
bought by us at the Royal Doulton seconds shop
in Stoke-on-Trent on a fall trip to England.

Hand carried by me on the plane back.

The cost?
$8 US
for all 24 pieces!

And from the time I got home I could kick myself
for at that price -- $1 per plate, cup and saucer
For not getting at least 12 or even 24!

But I didn't!

And so slowly, I added the other 4 plates, cups and saucers
At a price per piece that far exceed the cost of the entire original eight.

And the Royal Doulton was so pricey that when I decided that I really needed
dessert/ salad plates,
I chose Lenox Holiday
which I found at Marshall's/T J Maxx/Home Goods
after Christmas
for very little.

Because the holly pattern works well with the plaid,
They're both red and green!

At first eight, then four more
And finally, friend Shirley Ann (who was busy putting her set of Christmas china together)
said that she liked to have doubles of those dessert/salad plates

And so I was on the quest for 12 more!

But the set is complete --
For 12 with doubles of the salad/dessert
A wee English holly and ivy creamer and sugar
And a mug -- Husband Jim does not like morning coffee out of a cup and saucer!

The pattern has stood the test of time
For I still adore it as much as I did 26 years ago
(And sometimes I can be china finicky)

We like our traditions at Linderhof
And the Christmas china is made up of both memories and traditions!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing You and Yours

We, at Linderhof, wish you and yours
a very Blessed Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Frank's Giving Day

Do you celebrate 
Happy Frank's Giving Day?

As with legends like The Great Pumpkin and Santa Claus,
on the Fourth Thursday in November,

Happy Frank

comes visiting
and bearing gifts

But not for children,
But for pet dogs!

Happy Frank, you see, only rewards pet dogs
(not pet cats nor pet rabbits nor pet fish nor any other creature
that uprights fancy as a pet)

But it is only good dogs!

Dion said so!
(Dion is a Cavalier who allowed the uprights of That Old House to live with him)

And what Dion says, goes . . . 

At least our Corgi Oliver thinks so!

Both Dion and Oliver has crossed the rainbow bridge
But not before Oliver shared the story of Happy Frank

With Young Miss Dolly
Who shared it with Doogie!

In fact all this week, they've spent most their time outside . . . 

Watching for Happy Frank!

 I think that Happy Frank is not one person but many people.    The people that share the table at Thanksgiving.     The dropped food and the nibbles handed down to an eager canine are the gifts from those Happy Franks!

But to keep the legend alive,
I decided to make a treat for the pups

Homemade Dog Biscuits

Full of peanut butter and oatmeal and all things good for dogs!

A bowlful each shall be their "gift" from Happy Frank!

Doogie is a little skeptical about Happy Frank
He thought he might mull it over a bit!
Besides, it's cold outside at the gate!
And he of little fur can't take the cold like Miss Dolly!

This Thanksgiving . . . 
Remember everyone at the Family Table
. . . .
And under it!

Monday, November 24, 2014

An English Afternoon Tea in Kansas!

One of the joys of living in England
was Afternoon Tea
Garden centers, Pubs and of course, tea rooms
Most were simple teas
A biscuit (cookie) and a pot
a slice of cake and a pot
a cream tea with a scone or two, cream and jam and a pot

But occasionally, we would spring for
Afternoon Tea
The full compliment of
sandwiches, scones and sweets
and a pot or two of tea.

We usually had an Afternoon Tea once a week
And Daughter Sarah and I had the infamous
"Hotel Tea"
(Elegant and Expensive)
at the Waldorf

On this side of the "pond"
Afternoon Tea is High Tea
And includes soups and quiche and perhaps a hot dish
as well as sandwiches, scones (Americanized) and sweets

Last week, The Lunch Bunch
headed north
to downtown old town Overland Park
Afternoon Tea

 And they truly 

Two pots of tea -- one an Earl Grey and the other a Buckingham Palace blend

And the curate -- that three tiered stack of tea foods

Which Jill explained to us
What each and every delectable morsel was!

The sandwiches -- cucumber, chicken salad, a vegetable rolled sandwich and homemade sausage in a miniature sausage roll

The scone -- a real English scone (not as dry as the American version)
with real Devonshire cream and homemade strawberry jam
(It was the flavor of England!)

And the sweets -- a macaroon, a profiterole, a lemon bar, a buttery spritz type cookie dipped in chocolate and a chocolate caramel delight

We drank those two pots of tea and got a third!

We visited, nibbled, compared notes on which we liked best
(the rolled vegetable sandwich was definitely a favorite)

And, I, felt as if I had been transported back to England
Back to a little bakery somewhere in the Cotswolds
Having an Afternoon Tea

And you can tell you had a good time . . . 

Not a morsel left at our table
And four very satisfied customers!

I will be back.
It is by reservation only
so it's not a drop in and have tea place

Kudos to the Clock Tower Bakery for bringing a little bit of Britain to the
prairie of Kansas.

It is Tuesday and I'm sharing my English Afternoon Tea with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday  and Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea and Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A November Breakfast

It's been cold on the prairie
A little too cold in the breakfast room
(We've not "winterized" it yet)

And that cold morning found us breakfasting in the dining room
Where for the first 20 years, we breakfasted every day!

It's November
We use our turkey dishes a lot during November
(like we use our Christmas dishes during December)
Just two dinner plates and two salad plates
They suffice for the two of us

They're my beloved blue and white
Which means that the "everyday" blue and white goes with them
So I can still set a pretty table without buying more cups and saucers or a tea pot!

Turkeys on the plate
Turkeys on the table

Turkeys everywhere!

I bought this turkey the year after we were married
for decoration
A Woolworth purchase
(Napcoware from Japan)

I loved the colors
And the fact that he can hold flowers for the table.

Somewhere I have matching salt and peppers
But somehow they've been misplaced!

And he has a "mate" -- 
I have a pair
For I like things in pairs
One on each side of the centerpiece
Or one on each side of the mantle.
At the table, I have one facing each way
I want everyone at my table to see a "behind"
(Not just one side!)

Breakfast on this cold morning?
No porridge for us
But rather a frittata
A favorite breakfast
(For I can put it in the oven, drink my tea and do the crossword while it's cooking)

This one has cheese and peppers and onions and potato and a good shower of fresh parsley

My favorite biscuits to make are cream biscuits
(self rising flour and cream)
but lacking enough cream I decided to try
sour cream biscuits
(sour cream, butter and self rising flour)
Perfect with the frittata!

It's Thursday and I'm sharing my November breakfast with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

Monday, November 17, 2014

"Can I See Your Curtains?"

Rhondi asked
For I was touting how wonderful
(and inexpensive)
the linen curtains were at IKEA

"Sure", I said, "I'm home all day and I'll put the kettle on".

She did look at the curtains first
Before we sat and had tea

For the curtains were the reason for her call!

In the dining room
So we could admire those curtains

A blue and white table, of course!
A crochet tablecloth
The Spode Camilla cups and saucers, creamer and sugar
And an odd Spode Blue Room teapot

The Biscuit Tin was empty
But I had some oatmeal raisin dough in the fridge
And baked them off for our tea treat

We sat, we sipped and visited

She was impressed with the curtains
But then so was I when I found them.
They come in pairs instead of panels
And at $50 per pair are quite reasonable
Wal Mart reasonable
With a quality that far excels Wal Mart.

It was nice to get to know Rhondi better
And there isn't a better way to get to know someone than over a pot of tea!

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage (who is also using blue and white transfer ware this week) for Tea Time Tuesday.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

First Snow

We had our first snow on the prairie today

Not much 
In fact our Minnesota daughter would call it a "dusting"
But to us it was a real snow!

Snow on the prairie is usually in January and February
We occasionally have December snows
but seldom do we have a White Christmas!

And a November snow is practically unheard of
Especially in the middle of November!

And I do love snow
(I'm a December baby after all)
As long as I'm inside
with a cup of tea and a fire!

The snow today had me looking at snows past at Linderhof

Some are more than others!
But I so enjoy the garden dressed in white in the winter!

It's Monday and I'm sharing my snow with Judith at Lavender Cottage for Mosiac Monday

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Pomanders

The "clove oranges" that I started last weekend
are done

Television watching evenings are great to sit
and stick holes in oranges and insert cloves!

Today, I made the "marinade"

1/4 cup each:
ground cloves
ground nutmeg
ground allspice
and orris root

Mixed all together in a bowl

And then sprinkled on the oranges
in my largest bowl

Layers of spice mixture and oranges

Kept on a kitchen counter
So I can turn them and coat them in the spice mixture
For two weeks to a month
When they'll turn from clove studded oranges sprinkled with spice
Into hard pomanders!

Once hard, I'll either put in net and tie with ribbon
or tie with ribbon
To give as gifts or hang in closets

Their smell is heavenly!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Is It A Cake or a Pumpkin? It's Both!

Friends came for tea yesterday
It's November
It's Fall

Tea in the dining room
With the Spode Camilla blue and white transfer ware
And a crochet cloth on the table
With lace and blue and white

The old dough bowl in the center of the table
filled with pumpkins and gourds and bittersweet and acorn squash

The tea treat is a pumpkin cream cheese bundt cake
It echoes the pumpkins in the centerpiece
Candy corn rims the plate

A two layer bundt cake with a cream cheese filling!

Perfect for afternoon tea with a cup of Harney's Hot Cinnamon Tea


This recipe is for ONE bundt cake

1 box yellow cake mix, sifted
1/2 t. baking soda
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 t. ginger
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1 cup sugar

For the Cream Cheese Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. vanilla


3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
5 to 6 tablespoons milk
red and yellow food color
Optional:   real pumpkin stem

Preheat oven to 350.    Grease a round 10 cup bundt pan and set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and sugar and whisk to mix well.    Mix in eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla.    In another bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and egg until creamy.     Mix in cinnamon and vanilla.

Pour half of cake batter into prepared bundt pan.    Next, spread on cream cheese mixture.    Top with remaining cake batter.     Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until inserted knife comes out mostly clean.

**To make full pumpkin, you wil need to make the above cake twice.   Do not double the recipe and split between two cake pans.   Make the cake two times.     When they’re down, flip one cake upside down, set second cake on top.

Make icing by mixing together powdered sugar and milk in a microwave safe bowl.    Stir in 1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring.   Add red food coloring 2 to 3 drops at a time until desired shade of orange is reached.     Warm icing in microwave (20 to 30 seconds) until pourable consistency is reached.     Pour icing over cake.     Allow to cool and set.    Top with optional pumpkin stem.    Slice and serve at room temperature.

NOTES:   I used my 5 cup bundt pans so I made the receipt only ONCE and did split it between the two pans.    My cake was definitely smaller (and served less) than if you use a regular bundt pan.      Also, it is very important that you make the icing thick and microwave.    A thinner icing that is pourable is more of a glaze than an icing.   And you want a nice thick coat of orange icing on your pumpkin!

Also, you could just make one and frost so it looks like a half pumpkin rather than a whole one.     It’s just a good pumpkin cake but the two bundt presentation with real pumpkin stem is just so clever!

I'm joining Kathleen at CuisineKathleen for her Bundt Cake challenge
Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday
Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday
Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Getting Ready For Christmas, Part Deux

Getting ready for Christmas at Linderhof this year
Is preparing food and drink for the holiday season
The fruitcake is here and aging
(made not by me but by monks in Ava, Missouri)
The Dundee cakes have been made
(by me -- not my the monks)
and are aging in the freezer

And so it's time to turn our thoughts to 
sips for the Holidays
The French have their Liqueur 44
The Swedes have 
"Beba's 40/40 Sherry"

Not sherry at all but Vodka, orange, coffee, sugar and a vanilla bean

All put together, put in a dark place
(and shaken once a day)
For 40 days and 40 nights.

Beba is the mother of a Swedish friend of ours
Who lived in our little town on the prairie
He shared the recipe for his mother's "Sherry"

It's easy to do and makes for a great Christmas Eve sip

Bebas 40/40 "Sherry"

750 bottle of vodka
40 sugar cubes
40 coffee beans
1 orange with 40 holes
1 vanilla bean

Put coffee beans in the orange holes.    Put vodka in a glass jar, add sugar, coffee bean studded orange and vanilla.    Let it stand for 40 days.    Shake the container from time to time so the sugar will melt. After 40 days, filter and bottle the brew.

Ours should be ready the week before Christmas
Which will make it the perfect for Christmas Eve
With the Monks fruitcake and whatever cookies might be in the larder
after the service of carols and candles.

I love November and these pre Christmas preparations.

Which includes cleaning house form top to bottom!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thank A Vet

Today is Veteran's Day
We honor those heroes who have served
in war or peace time.


My own personal hero
Husband Jim
Taken in Viet Nam
Where he served three tours

Very patriotic are we
And we always wear a red poppy on Veteran's Day

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Fire Stand and a Tour of the Master

There's something new in the Master Bedroom
See it?
It's between the fireplace and the chaise

The fire stand

It's one of those "always wanted"
And I have passed one by eons ago because "it wasn't for sale"
but then someone bought it -- sigh
And a few years ago in Dallas, I found another
And somehow had one of those
"do I really need this moments"
And so passed it by!

Thinking once home
What was I thinking?

And then in our little town
in my favorite shop,
The Iron Star
I found that little beauty!

It's simple
And looks English to me
It's painted
while the others have been handwork

Although they date from the 17th and 18th Century,
they were popular decorating items in the
Colonial Revival times of the 20s
So most of them date to the 20th century
Although you can occasionally find a Victorian one

And, of course, I wanted it
The price was right
But when Barbara pointed out the back . . . 

Christmas 1923
Ethel painted picture
Everett made frame and stand

I knew it was mine!

And once home

 We found more writing on it,
although I've not been able to decipher it as yet!

And because I was in the bedroom,
taking pictures of the new "fire stand"
I thought I'd share more pictures
It's been a while since we've been in the Master Bedroom

The dressing room alcove
Which is really a closet with drawers and a big window
But the Sheraton sofa table fits handily in the space
In front of the window
And serves as a perfect dressing table
A Christmas gift mirror on stand for primping
And an old fashioned Christmas cactus
keeps my silver and Waterford dressing table accoutrements company

The wallpaper is a pink floral
Pink floral wallpaper seems to follow us wherever we go
Husband Jim is destined to sleep in a room of pink flowers!

The bed is a four poster -- not old a 25 year old reproduction,
an English bamboo side table on my side because I'm the one who reads before I go to bed
An Empire chest for Husband's things with another mirror on stand on top

And the chandelier
We love how it's light is reflected in the mirror over the mantle!
It originally was in Daughter Sarah's dining room and I coveted it --when she was transferred,
I bought her a new light fixture and this one came home to Linderhof!

We have a small seating area in front of the fireplace

A chaise, a chair and a small French provincial loveseat,
anchored by a braided rug.
The new fire stand echoes the black and pinks of the needlepoint top of the footstool.

It's a comfy bedroom,
And I love the muted colors of the room.
It really isn't all that pink!

It is Monday and I'm sharing our bedroom and my new fire stand with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Met Monday

And on Tuesday I'm sharing our bedroom and my new fire stand with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life