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.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Cookbook Club, Vol. II

We had our second meeting of The Cookbook Book Club.    The hostess choses what we will cook from (one chef, one style, one cookbook, one food), we draw lots to see who brings what.    And we eat!

Last night the hostess chose Lidia Bastianich.     Not one cookbook, but any of her recipes.    We've all watched Lidia on PBS and we all feel fortunate that we have a Lidia's Restaurant in Kansas City (although most of us have not been).

The food in a nutshell was amazing!     Fresh ingredients, flavorful real Italian food.    And not a red sauce in any dish!     

We ate, we visited, we told why we selected the recipe that we did and whether or not we would make it again.     Everyone loved everything!      There wasn't a bad recipe in the bunch.     And there were some that I certainly would make again!

The Cookbook Club
Vol. 2 - Lidia's

Asparagi Gratinati al Parmigiano Reggiano -

Asparagus Gratin with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Involtini Di Pollo All Salmoriglio -

Breast of Chicken in a Light Lemon-Herb Sauce

Fettuccine with butter sage sauce

Fettuccine with Butter Sage Sauce
(sans sage and with mushrooms added)

Tortino di Ricotta e Zucca

Squash and Ricotta Tart

Insalata di Carote e Mele

Carrot and Apple Salad

 Focaccia d'Altamura

Onion-Tomato Focaccia

Zabaglione e Crumiri

Zabaglione with cornmeal cookies

We had a feast that's for sure.    And we're looking forward to Vol. 3 -- Irish!      I've drawn "Salad" which doesn't seem Irish at all (except it may be green!)     I've got some studying to do!      

It's a fun night, we've got some amazing cooks who are producing amazing food!

My dish -- was the chicken!    It was good.    The house smelled heavenly and I would make it again. It does remind me of one that Ina makes -- only her chicken is not pounded and rolled.    But some of the same flavors are in the olive oil and garlic sauce.     I make that often for I really like it.    This one I may save for company for it's a bit fussier than Ina's!

Oh, and the recipes.      They're all on  Lidia's website.     

It's Friday and I'm sharing our amazing Lidia night with Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Done With the Old . . . Starting the New

Many many years ago, I took up needlepoint as my handwork of choice.     I found a book in the library entitled Mary Martin's Needlepoint and fell in love.    Of course, most of her projects were designed by her and painted on canvas by her needlepoint shop.     But they were lovely and I loved the stitches.

At that time most Department Stores had a needlepoint section.    Most of those canvases were worked in the center (mostly flowers) and you filled in the background.    I bought one and taught myself.     

What I did learn was that background is boring.    Mindless stitching actually but sometimes that is good for I had a project to keep me busy as I commuted to and fro on the bus.

I am not a fast needlepointer (which is a good thing for my output is not great) and after a couple of those Department Store canvases, I found printed canvases!     Designs that I could work myself!
For years, I always had a needlepoint project and soon we had my lovely pillows on chairs.

I also found bargello and books which had patterns that you stitched on blank canvas (similar to counted cross stitch).      

And I sewed.

But then Sarah came along and life got busy with motherhood, career, and housewifely chores.   I put my needle and wool aside.     And there it stayed for a long time.

When we went to England that Spring to live, we arrived on board a ship.    I knew that there would be days and days at sea and one can only bring so many books so off to The Studio (my favorite KC needlepoint shop) I went and bought a canvas and yarn.

Needlepointing is like riding a bike!     Everything came back and I finished that canvas while still in England.     Of course, needlepoint is so English and so I found a needlepoint shop and bought another canvas (to see me for the rest of the stay and the trip home).

And I've had a piece of needlepoint every since!

I've just finished my last project --

A very colorful canvas -- Jacobean in design.    Not picked by me, but picked by Husband Jim as a Christmas gift (shameful to say, Christmas 2012).     

Now, I've not been working on it since Christmas 2012.    I had to finish another canvas and then I had ordered another (before I received my gift) and had started on that one.  What I start I finish, before I start on another.

  This time, I did have a rule -- to only have on canvas at a time.     When I am almost done, I order another!     That way, I don't have a drawer full of needlepoint kits!

I started this one on our trip to Italy in the fall of 2013.     And with needlepoint, I pick up and put down.     It went with me last year to all of Jim's doctor's appointments and kept me company while he had procedures done.     And then I'd put it down . . . and a month or so later, pick it up again.

But I've been working on it pretty steadily for the last few months.     And today -- just today, I stitched the last stitch.     Now to take it to Mary to be transformed into a pillow.

And my canvas in waiting?

Has been started on.    I ordered it from England (there is just something about English needlepoint)
It's a hare.    A companion to this . . .

The piece I bought the year we lived in England!

The hare may go quicker since it's similar to one I've done before.     I hope so.

For  I have another in the drawer.    A gift from a dear friend.  

Oh, and in the fall, I pause my pillow project to make a needlepoint ornament for the Grand girl -- a tradition!     Now I'll have two to make!    

Monday, February 23, 2015

When A Friend Gives You Lemons . . .

Make Lemon Cookies!!!

Nordstroms Lemon Ricotta Cookies to be exact!

A soft cookie frosted with a lemon buttercream icing

They're so good that I broke my own "two" rule and had three!

With the blue hyacinth glasses and the white hyacinths themselves,
and the "white cookies"
it's the Spode Blue Italian for tea time.
The tea pot, the cup and saucer and the sweet plate!

The cookies are really good -- as good as the ones they sell at Nordstroms!      So good, in fact, that they won't last the week!     For I've snuck another cookie yesterday evening!

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and dear friend Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea.    (Although I'm not sure I would share these cookies!)


2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1 T. kosher salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
16 oz. whole-milk Ricotta cheese (note - it’s sold in 15 oz. cartons so that’s what I used)
3 T. freshly grated lemon zest
1 T. lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter
3 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 c. lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon

At least 1 day before baking the cookies, make the dough.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl.  Beat the butter and sugar together in a  large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  One at a time, beat in the eggs.  With the mixer on low speed, in three additions beat in the ricotta, then the lemon zest and juice.  Gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.  Do not over mix the dough.  It will be very soft.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using an ice cream scoop, drop balls of dough onto the baking sheet.   Freeze, uncovered, until solid.   Once frozen, the cookies can be removed from the baking sheet to a freezer bag and stored up to 2 weeks in the freezer.
Remove the dough from the freezer and let them thaw for 30 minutes until cold – but not still frozen.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Bake for about 20-22 minutes. If the cookies look like they are baking unevenly, rotate pans half way through the cooking process.  Let the cookies cool on the plans for 5 minutes and transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.
To make the icing, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together in a  large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Add the lemon juice and continue mixing until the icing is smooth and about the consistency of cake frosting.

Frost the cookies, spreading it in an even, thick layer over 3/4 of the cookie and then sprinkle with lemon zest.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weekend Brunch

Saturday is Brunch Day at Linderhof.     For Sunday is  9 a.m. church which means that there is no time for a lazy breakfast     It's up, read the paper, breakfast and gone!

And it really isn't Brunch, for we never eat all that late.    I guess the term Brunch is really a misnomer.   It's really breakfast and only breakfast.     For on Saturdays we always have time for a sandwich or soup or a salad around noon!    But it is a bigger than everyday breakfast, thus, I think, the reason for the term "brunch".

Whether it's breakfast or brunch, it's eaten in the breakfast room.    With the Johnson Brothers Indies which we have designated the breakfast china!      That's why I bought most of it originally, was for use in the breakfast room.    I had a wee teapot, creamer and sugar and two cups, saucers and tea plates that I had brought home on a trip to England.     Almost eight years ago when we built our breakfast room, there were plates and bowls and cups and saucers at TJ Maxx and Home Goods.   I bought enough to have a set of six.    (Why, I'm not sure since the breakfast room only seats four!)

Jim prefers tomato or V-8 juice while I'm an orange juice girl.    My new little silver coffeepot is perfect for breakfast coffee and for Saturday's Brunch, a breakfast casserole is always a good choice.   While it bakes, I can catch up on the newspaper and crossword puzzle!

A new recipe that I found, halved and baked in a loaf pan for the two of us.    This "Egg McMuffin" in a casserole!    It's a good recipe and one that I will make again whenever we have guests!    It's as simple as most breakfast strata recipes but with the English muffins is a bit difference.

And for brunch, you need a fruit salad.   Fresh strawberries and blueberries and green grapes.   Topped with a lime tequila syrup.

The original English Muffin and Canadian Bacon Breakfast Casserole recipe.   I did half it for the two of us and baked it in a loaf pan.


Cooking spray
English muffins
1/2 pound Canadian bacon (or sliced ham if you must),cut into halves
8 eggs
2 egg whites
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded

Prepare 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.    In dish, alternately arrange muffin halves and meat, overlapping slightly.     Sprinkle with Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.    Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk, sour cream and pepper until combined.    Pour over muffin, Canadian bacon and cheese layers.     Cover entire dish tightly with plastic wrap.    Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight.    

Preheat oven to 350.    Bake casserole, uncovered, until puffed and set in center, approximately 60 to 80 minutes.    If casserole begins to brown before puffing up, cover loosely with foil to prevent burning.     Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Hyacinths For Spring!

For years and years, I've collected Hyacinth "glasses" (Victorian term) or Forcing Vases (modern term).      They're rare as hens teeth here.     If I find one every two years, I feel like I have hit a "mother lode" or a "treasure trove"!

But every once in a while, you'll find one.    Usually marked as a "vase" because the seller doesn't really know what they have!

When we lived in England that Spring, we found these:

In an antique shop.     How my mouth drooled.     But I had promised myself "nothing breakable" and so I passed all of these treasures up!     And reasonably priced as well!  


Some years, I buy more bulbs than other years.    (As I often do with the paperwhites).    With my attention span of a gnat, I forget from one year to the next how many I want or used the last year!

I usually favor one color as well.    But that's just me.    I love the purple ones and I think they are the most fragrant, but I like the white ones as well -- they are pure and stunning!     The pink is probably my least favorite, although in a couple of my "pinky" glasses, they do make for a pretty picture!

My favorite hyacinth year was this one.     When I used different colors of glasses but all purpose hyacinths!    In the kitchen window, with the sun streaming through the colored glass . . . and the fragrance of those hyacinths wafting through the house . . . 

At the time of that picture, that was ALL of my hyacinth glasses.    I've since found a couple more -- here and there!

This year, I have but a mere two . . . white ones . . .

And I chose my blue "glasses" to force them in.    One from the picture above and the other found last summer at an antique mall just outside of Wichita.     At first glance, they look alike (the hyacinth glasses) but the newest one is thicker glass and so looks like a deeper blue!

Every once in a while, I think I should have been a purist and just collected one color of glass.   Alas, if I had done that I'd only have about three by now!    Instead of the eight or so that I do have!

And I refuse to look on eBay for the glasses.    You can find them there easily!    And for not a lot of money.    But it's more fun, I think, to occasionally come across them at flea markets and antique malls!

This year, it's white flowers in blue vases.    They'll set a pretty table with my blue and white transfer ware!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Let The Good Times Roll . . . Part Deux

It's been a busy week.     Rarely, do Valentine's, President's Day and Mardi Gras align so evenly as it did this year.

A Valentine Luncheon last Friday and on Tuesday, a Mardi Gras one.     Not a tradition.   In fact, I've not celebrated Mardi Gras as much as I did this year!     But Mardi Gras fell on The Lunch Bunch Tuesday.  

So Let The Good Times Roll!

And because it was Mardi Gras, I invited my friend Shirley Ann to join the four of us.    She loves Mardi Gras!      Since Husband Jim was at loose ends (his coffee croney was at a doctors' appointment), I asked him to join us as well.     So it made six for lunch!

In the dining room, of course.     Lace tablecloth and my blue and white transferrer -- because we were having red beans and rice and it's really a bowled food!  

The blue and white transfer ware -- plate, a Spode Camilla bowl and a Spode Blue Italian bread plate with an English bread and butter knife.    Grandmother's German silver spoons, a white damask napkin in a silver napkin ring and a menu -- when The Lunch Bunch comes, there is always a menu!

And because of the entree, the bottle of peppers in vinegar gets a place on the table!

No flowers for Mardi Gras but instead a glass bowl, filled with Mardi Gras beads.     Adding color to the table and making it much more festive.

We had a true New Orleans meal --

Cornbread (Southern style, no sugar) baked in a bacon greased cast iron skillet -- as grandmother would have done!     And red beans and rice with Andouille sausage!     Plenty of butter to melt into the hot cornbread.

Bread pudding with Bourbon sauce for dessert.    The spoons are special -- there are six and they date from before the turn of the last century.    All are marked with "Helen" -- my mother had a cousin Helen and so I am reminded of her whenever I use the spoons!

It was a fun luncheon.    Much conversation and talks of New Orleans where friend Sally grew up.    She told great stories of Mardi Gras when she was a small child.    I said that we were to pretend that we were in New Orleans, enjoying this great food while Mardi Gras raged outside.     Every once in a while, I would say "Oh, look, there goes a float"!

But the Good Times Were Still Rolling Along . . .

Our PEO Chapter hosted a Mardi Gras fundraiser.     Some of us brought food.    My contribution?

Muffuletta sliders!    Tasty little sandwiches that not only are great for Mardi Gras but they would be good, too, for Super Bowl Sunday, tailgating or a hearty appetizer buffet.

And as Lent follows Shrove Tuesday, the Easter Egg tree follows Mardi Gras

I put it up this morning.     On real forsythia branches that I bought.    (Ours are not nearly ready).    A dozen real hens eggs that we bought on a Lenten trip to Germany 23 years ago.      And used every year since.    I'm a purist -- I won't buy any more eggs to put on the tree.    It's the original dozen and only the original dozen!

The Recipes

Muffuletta Sliders

1 jar sliced green olives, drained
2 small cans chopped black olives, drained (not much juice but I drained them anyway)
2 packages Hawaiian rolls
1 packages sliced Swiss cheese (had 11 pieces in it)
1 package sliced Provolone cheese (had 12 pieces in it)
24 slices deli thin ham

Drain olives and mix together.     Cut Hawaiian rolls in half (they are all together so you have a top and a bottom).    Spread half of the olive mixture on each bottom.     Cut the swiss cheese into 4 pieces and put 2 pieces on each “roll” (you will have 2 of them with only one piece but so be it), then put the slice of Provolone on top of that.     Fold the deli ham so that it is 1/4 of the size it was and put on top of the cheese.    Put top of rolls on and then cut into individual rolls.     

Michelle’s Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

1/2 cup butter, softened
12 slices white sandwich bread, preferably day old
3 cups milk
3 large eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream, divided
3 T/ bourbon

Preheat oven to 350.    Butter a 1 1/2 quart shallow dish with 1 T. softened butter.    Toast bread and spread with remainder of butter
while still warm.   Cut butter toast into 3/4 inch pieces.     Put n bowl and pour milk over it.    Let stand 5 minutes.    Beat eggs in medium bowl.    Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; slowly beat into eggs.   Pour mixture over soaked toast and mix well.    Pour into prepared pan.    

Place dish in shallow roasting pan.    Pour hot water around pan until it reaches halfway up sides.    Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown.   Transfer to wire cooling rack    Let cool slightly before serving.

Combine sugar, butter and 1/2 cream in medium saucepan.   Bring to boil over medium high heat.    Reduce heat to medium, boil, stirring frequently about 10 minutes, or until mixture is light golden brown.   Remove from heat, slowly stir in remaining cream and bourbon.    Cook over medium heat, whisky constantly about 5 minutes or until smooth and slightly thickened.    Serve warm over bread pudding.


1 T. oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
8 cups water
1 pound dried red beans
2 bay leaves
1 T. Creole seasoning
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. dried sage
3 cups cooked white rice

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.    Cook and stir onion, garlic and bell pepper in oil until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. 

Combine water and red beans in a large pot, bring to a boil.    Stir onion mixture into the water.    Add celery to the water and return to a boil.    Stir in bay leaves, Creole seasoning, thyme and sage.    Reduce heat to low, place a cover on the pot and simmer until the beans are tender, about 5 hours.

Remove bay leaves and serve over white rice.

NOTE:   I soaked the beans overnight before I cooked them.

It is Thursday and I'm sharing Mardi Gras with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Let The Good Times Roll!

It's almost the end of the pre-Lenten season.    Ash Wednesday is this week!     We've had a "Mardi Gras" party at church on Sunday -- with some great Cajun appetizers and big bowls of chicken gumbo.        Tomorrow The Lunch Bunch plus one will lunch on red beans and rice and bread pudding.     I made some cookies for a take home favor.     A few extra, for myself, for tea.

The snow stopped mid morning but it was a "winter wonderland" as I took tea this afternoon.    My tea treat?

"Mardi Gras" cookies.     Cutout cookies frosted and sprinkled in Mardi Gras colors and shapes.

Green masks, gold crowns and purple fleur di lis!    

It's Tuesday and I'm sharing my Mardi Gras tea with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and with Bernideen for Friend Sharing Tea.

And tomorrow . . . . Let The Good Times Roll!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I've been on a doughnut kick lately.    Perhaps because the missing doughnut pan was found when I cleaned my cabinets this January.     The never used doughnut pan.    One of those "I must have this" moment, that came home and then went into a cabinet.     Never to surface again until January cleaning!

Pinterest can be a good thing and a bad thing and I forgot what I was looking for but some lemon poppyseed doughnuts popped up.    I visited the site, bookmarked them and with the new never used just found doughnut pan, I made the recipe.

They were great for what we call "pre-breakfast" -- that coffee time before breakfast.     We got to calling it "pre-breakfast" in Italy when we would have a pastry with coffee on our balcony.

They were great, too, for what the German's call Kaffeetrinken -- afternoon coffee.

Coffee and doughnuts in the breakfast room.     Part of "pre-breakfast" one morning.     

And the doughnuts themselves, they were easy to do, quick to bake and tasted amazingly good.    And they were as good the second or third day, when sealed tightly.    A plus for a household of only two!

I'm German and as everyone knows,  if three or more Germans get together, there has to be:

  1. Coffee
  2. Something to eat with the coffee
Many Germans are Lutherans and after service on Sunday, there are always treats and coffee.    We sign up for the treats and take our turn a time or two a year.

I chose this Sunday to take treats.

Saturday afternoon, I spent the day making six dozen doughnuts.    It sounds like a lot of doughnuts and it is!    But we are also a small church and six dozen doughnuts should be sufficient for coffee hour.

The pans of doughnuts ready for their foil cover.    I made the same recipe and glazed half of them with a chocolate glaze and the other half with a maple glaze and sprinkled those with bits of chopped cooked bacon.

Three trays, refilled many times as parishioners came through for their coffee and treat.     I must admit that the maple bacon ones went first.     And it was a first time for many of having bacon maple anything!

The doughnuts are really photogenic.   The pictures, however, had to be taken before the service ended -- the congregations flocked the kitchen for their coffee and treats!

And even though the kids like doughnuts as well, I made Rice Krispy treats for them.    Many adults took one of those as well.    Most muttering something about not having one of these in a long time!

We brought very few doughnuts home and we made sure that the older single people in the conjuration got doughnuts to take home.

We did have two left -- so we had Kaffeetrinken this afternoon in the breakfast room!

The recipe:


2 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 T. poppy seeds, plus more for sprinkling tops
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. vegetable oil
3/4 cup plus 2 T. granulated sugar
1 T. lemon zest
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 T. buttermilk
2 T. fresh lemon juice
softened butter, for buttering doughnut tins
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
3 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375.    Butter 3 6-hole doughnut tins with softened butter and dust lightly with flour (shaking out excess), set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppyseed for 30 seconds.    In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on low speed, blend together melted butter, canola oil, sugar and lemon zest for 1 minute.    Mix in eggs one at a time.   In liquid measuring cup used to measure buttermilk, whisk lemon juice with buttermilk  (It will curdle a little so you want to mix it in rather quickly).    Working in 3 separate batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, add 1/4 of the flour mixture alternating with 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture and mixing just until combined after each addition.

Pour mixture into piping bag and pipe mixture (or spoon) into prepared doughnut wells, filling within about 1/4 inch of the top rim.    Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 7 - 8 minutes.    Allow to cool slightly, then invert onto a wire rack to cool.    In a bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and 3 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice to make glaze.    Dip tops of doughnuts in glaze and return to wire rack, sprinkle tops with poppy seeds and allow glaze to set at room temperature.     Store in airtight container.

NOTE:   I only have one doughnut pan, so I used the one pan three times, buttering and flouring each time.

That was the original recipe.    For the Sunday ones, I omitted all the lemon and poppyseed and added a teaspoon of nutmeg to the recipe.     I then mixed powdered sugar and maple syrup until it was the right consistency to glaze half the doughnuts (I don't have measurements, I just put some powdered sugar in a bowl and poured REAL maple syrup over it until I liked the consistency).    I then sprinkled them with chopped cooked real bacon.     For the chocolate ones, I mixed powdered sugar and cocoa with a little milk until I liked the consistency (a little thicker than the maple syrup glaze) and then added 1 teaspoon of white corn syrup.  

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Valentine's Day Luncheon

Every year since I gave up my other life, I've given a Valentine's Day Luncheon for friends.    Well, perhaps Valentine's Luncheon would be a better description because if the day fell on Saturday or Sunday, I had it the Friday before.

2015 is one of those Saturday Valentine's Day years, and today, Friday, I had guests for lunch --
to celebrate Valentine's Day -- a day early.

The luncheon, of course, was in the dining room.     My new lace tablecloth (a Christmas gift from friend Sally) was on the table.

Lace, to me, is always elegant.    And always my first choice for a Ladies' Luncheon!

It's a "pink" Valentine's Luncheon at Linderhof.     Pink tulips as the centerpiece.    The china is my Aynsley Pembroke which has a lot of pink in it!

A pink heart on the menu and two frosted pink cutout cookies as a favor to take home for tea this afternoon.

We started with a tossed green salad with poppyseed dressing.    And the main course was this delicious orange pecan chicken with white and wild rice.  

To me, a chicken breast and white and wild rice is Ladies Lunch food.    This is a yummy recipe and a favorite!

A Valentine's Day dessert needs to be spectacular.    But it doesn't need to be chocolate.    Or even red!

A "pink" layer cake circled with strawberries.    Actually, it's a strawberry cake and I used Jasper's recipe -- Jasper's the great KC Italian restaurant.     It was the perfect dessert for Valentine's.  

And, of course, one of my favorite photos when we entertain -- the table after everyone has gone!    It says that a party has been held here and that everyone had a good time!

And just because . . .

I had the camera in hand.    I moved one of the wing chairs -- to the other side of the room for I found a darling little candle stand that seemed to be perfect next to the wing chair.    And a chair needs a lamp and so I brought this one back downstairs.    It looks like the perfect spot for immersing oneself in a book!

I can't do a food post without the recipes:


1 6 oz. package Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice
Chicken broth as needed
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
olive oil, salt and pepper
1 T. butter
1/2 c. orange marmalade
1/4 c. frozen concentrated orange juice
1 t. cornstarch
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Cook the rice according to directions on the package, using chicken broth instead of water.    Preheat the oven to 350.    Place the chicken on a baking pan.    Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.    Bake for approximately 25 minutes.     In a saucepan, combine the 1 T. butter, marmalade and orange juice.    Bring to a boil.   Dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of water.    Slowly stir in enough of the cornstarch to thicken the butter/orange mixture.    Add the pecans.    Place the cooked rice in a 9 x 13 pan.    Arrange the baked chicken on top of the rice.    Pour the orange glaze over the chicken.    Return to the oven, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the glaze begins to brown.


1 box white cake mix
1 box strawberry jello
3/4 c. oil
4 eggs
1/2 c. water
8 oz. frozen strawberries

1 stick butter
approximately 1 pound powdered sugar
8 oz. frozen strawberries blitzed in a food processor or blender

Mix cake mix, jello, oil, eggs and water in a mixer bowl with paddle attachment.     Add strawberries and pour into 2 greased and floured 9 inch cake tins.     Bake at 350 until done.     Cool.

Mix butter and powdered sugar until well blended.     Add strawberries.    Frost cake.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Thank You Dinner

Our Christmas gift to Grand girl Lucy was my childhood rocking chair.    A rocking chair that was a wreck when I discovered it in my mother's basement when we settled her estate.    It was broken and missing pieces and when I brought it home I found someone who replicated the missing pieces and glued it all back together.

And then it sat.   In my basement.   Awaiting.      And finally, it came!    It being Lucy.    And this year, I reasoned, she was big enough to enjoy the chair!

But the chair was not perfect, it needed help although it was whole again.     And so, I asked my friend Shirley Ann if her husband Jack would refinish the chair for Lucy.    He's a woodworker by hobby and has built furniture for their home, built their kitchen cabinets, refinished and replicated their grand stairway.     My rocking chair, I reasoned, would be simple.

And so he did and when I picked it up, I had tears in my eyes -- it was perfect.    I looked like new!

And Lucy loves it!!!!     It is her chair!

Jack, of course, wouldn't accept payment for his work.    But there was a way that I could "pay" him!

Last week, he and Shirley Ann came for dinner.    A "Thank You Dinner" for all the hard work that he put into making my old chair perfect for Lucy!

It was just the four of us, but it was a nice meal and so the dining room is the proper place for a thank you meal!

When it's four of us at our oblong table, I always like to sit two by two.    Much better and much closer than one on each side.      My Christmas present lace tablecloth that I adore.    Candles in the silver candlesticks and the very last bowl of paperwhites as a centerpiece.

My grandmother's china, Noritake Marcisite.    Jim's grandmother's cutlery, Towle Louis XIV.   And a crystal knife rest to the right so that dirty knives don't dirty the table!    (Shirley Ann was with me when I bought them -- a souvenir of a visit with Daughter Sarah in Buffalo.    We found them in Ontario-on-the-lake -- one of our favorite Canadian towns.)

An elegant table for a thank you meal for Friend Jack.

Dinner?    We started with crab tassies in the living room, then had a tossed green salad -- steak house style and the entree -- a big (and thick) Kansas City strip steak (cooked restaurant style), twice baked potato and green beans.  

And for dessert -- Jack's favorite:

Pecan pie!

It was a fun evening.    We had good food and I sent the rest of the pie home with Jack and Shirley Ann -- a final thank you.

No Valentine's tables for Valentine's isn't until Saturday and I'm hosting my Valentine's Ladies Luncheon on Friday.    

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The pre - Martha Stewart Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart isn't the first lifestyle maven.    Oh, way before her (and way before television) there was Ida Bailey Allen.

Mrs. Bailey, seen in her kitchen around 1917, wrote cookbooks, wrote articles for magazines and newspapers and even had a radio show that she produced herself and sold the advertising for.    She was very successful at what she did, authored numerous cookbooks and was an authority on all things food!      

Today when a friend and I went to a flea market not far from here, for $1.80, I found this dear little book.

Ida Bailey Allen was no stranger to me for I have two other of her books and this is such a sweet little book and the price was definitely right.    It was all I could do to not abandon my friend in the flea market, find a comfy chair and devour this small book!

Once home, I did . . . .

Love this about "Early Breakfast", "Late Breakfast" and "Tray Breakfast"!      So which breakfast do you have at your home?     I fear that most of our breakfasts would qualify as the "Early" variety although I'm not sure I want to poach my eggs in Mazola oil!

And since in a week, I will be hosting three luncheons at Linderhof, this chapter held great interest to me.

As did this luncheon "tablescape" (although I'm sure Ida Bailey Allen  had never heard the word "Tablescape"!      I think it's a word invested since blogging began and certainly was not a word in the 20s!

And being the tea aficionado that I am, this chapter held interest for me.

And this chapter on Mazola oil, cornstarch, Karo syrup and Linit (whatever that is) may explain why the booklet seems to have been sponsored by the corn industry!

Ida Bailey Allen broadcasting her radio program back in the 30s.    She, the "Martha Stewart" of home keeping before the War!

I adore old cookbooks and living in a 1920s house, I adore cookbooks from the 20s.    It's interesting to see what foods were common and if they have table settings (as they often do) to see how tables were set in the 20s.

Old cookbooks have far less explanation than the cookbooks of today do.    Sometimes you're not even told to stir a recipe much less stir it with a 10 inch wooden spoon!    Housewives just knew!   And often oven temperatures were omitted as well.    Cakes bake at 350, pies at a higher temperature.   Or sometimes it was a "hot" or "moderate" oven and you just knew what that temperature was!

I was glad to add this book to my collection and I may pay heed to the luncheon chapter.   After all, I do live in a 1920s house!