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, October 30, 2015

Trick or Treat

It all started years and years ago
When I chose to make a Halloween costume for
Daughter Sarah's second Halloween

A clown costume
Big enough that she wore it 3 or 4 years before we had another costume
She was a cute clown!

Last year, she asked me to make Grand girl Lucy's costume

And chose Little Red Riding Hood

This year, she asked once again for a costume for Lucy
Alice in Wonderland!

Last year's pattern refitted to make an Alice dress

And of course, Alice has a white apron
Which I had no pattern for --
But I was able to somehow make an apron!

She wanted Grand girl Piper to be 
"The White Rabbit"
and I said that I'd make her a costume
but Sarah said "no"

I don't always obey so . . . 

I took a pattern for a "dog" and made it into a rabbit

Alice's dress finished

And Piper's White Rabbit
(complete with clock -- for the rabbit is always late!)

All finished and pressed
ready to be folded and packed into a box and mailed.

They arrived
Sarah was surprised (and pleased) by Piper's costume
And since I had made the costumes
(not being able to have a fitting before I finsihed them)

Piper's fit's perfectly
(and she seems intrigued by her "watch")

And Lucy as Alice . . .

It fits as well.
Why, you might ask, does she have a black boot on her left foot?
(why, she fell down a rabbit hole, I answer, and broke her toe!)

The girls have worn the costumes twice already
Once to a trunk or treat in their town
And again to their day care Halloween party

But tomorrow night is the night
And I can't wait to see Alice and The White Rabbit
all ready for Trick or Treat!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Fall Tea

This summer
My alter ego,

Mrs. Simkins
gave a program at our county fair
on afternoon tea

We had quilt cookies, thimble cookies and spool cookies
(because quilts were the highlight of this year's fair)
And pots and pots of tea

Whenever I give a program,
I usually donate a luncheon
or a tea

And today, the lucky winner came for tea

A fall tea because it is, after all,
the end of October

Served in the dining room
with my beloved blue and white
The yellow mum centerpiece was a hostess gift from the lucky winner

An old embroidered tablecloth
The blue and white is my beloved Spode Camilla
edged in gold

All of the food is on the table
But we still eat by course

The silver curate
(from bottom to top)
Sandwiches, scones and sweets

The top plate holds some of the sweets
Cherry cookies, chocolate tarts and cinnamons

The middle plate holds the scones

While the bottom plate holds the sandwiches
Cucumber today

And a Spode Blue Italian sandwich tray held some cutout cookies
frosted to look the the leaves outside the window

And every tea needs a cake
Because it is fall, ours was gingerbread

One of my favorite courses are the scones
With cream and jam
Spread cream on the scone and top with jam
h e a v e n!

And gingerbread is always a good cake
(and since this was America, leftover cream was used to top the gingerbread!)

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween Week Tea

I always enjoy teas during Halloween Week
For I'm often in the kitchen
baking treats for the oldest Grand girl --
the youngest, after all, is still on mother's milk
Next year!

In the breakfast room, of course
With the Spode blue Italian
and a pottery jack o lantern
That I rescued from the basement
A souvenir from Silver Dollar City long ago

And the tea treat is cookies
Cutout cookies
Some frosted and some sugared

My favorite cut out cookie recipe
It makes just the best cookies!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Front Porch

When we moved to Linderhof, the front porch was covered 
indoor/outdoor green carpet
You know the kind . . . artificial turf
is another name for it!

We soon took it out

And a few years later, I painted the porch to look like big stones

But that was several years ago
And, it was "tired"

And worn, very worn!
(In fact, only in the far corner could you see the old "painted" stones!

And so, we moved all of the furniture to the drive
Cleaned the screens and washed the floor

And painted . . . 

A porch floor gray

And after the floor dried, all of the furniture was washed and wiped down
and then moved back inside
It's fall
and so there are no plants on the porch
They're all inside!

With the "haint" blue ceiling
and the grey floor
The porch looks, well, it looks like a porch!

I'm loving my new spiffed up porch!

It's Monday and I'm sharing my porch transformation with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Met Monday.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cookbook Book Club - Volume X - German

The October volume of the Cookbook Book Club
was held at

It's October . . . 
We're at Linderhof . . . 

The theme is


In the parlor before dinner
and German beers and Rieslings

Angela's German Egg Salad and Pumpernickle

Liz's bratwurst, dill pickles and mustard

Dinner was served buffet style in the breakfast room
The hostess always provides the meat

And instead of doing an old favorite German entree
I went outside my comfort zone and prepared sauerbraten
First time ever
From an old German cookbook?
No, from Betty Crocker
(I had looked at that recipe since I was a preteen!
Took me all these years to try it!)

And to go with . . .

Rhonda's RotKohl
(red cabbage, sweet and sour with apples --
was very tasty)

Michelle's potatoes
(Every German meal has to have potatoes!)

And salad!
First time ever that two people brought the same dish
Not the same "sort of" dish
but the very same dish!
Even though they were the same, they were different
And both were good!
I'll not tell you which is Sarah's and which is Donna's
But, hey -- "great minds"!

We had a good laugh about that!

And the plate of German food
If you notice, except for the red cabbage, it's all brown and beige!
German's don't go for a lot of color!
But they do go for hearty stick to your ribs meals!

And dessert was Rita's
(Cheese Cake)

She brought some apples to go alongside
It's a delicious cheesecake
much lighter than most
And to celebrate a wonderful evening,
I broke out a bottle of St. James Winery's Late Harvest Syval
(Not German Ice Wine, but close -- at a fraction of the price!)

We're taking a break in November
(Cookbook Club Night falls on Thanksgiving)
and we'll celebrate the holidays with a restaurant meal in the city.

It's been a fun year
A fun group of ladies
And an amazing lot of good food!

We'll see what Cookbook Book Club II, Vol. I brings in 2016!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


When I was a gradeschooler and a pre-teen, I adored dogs
I was going to raise dogs for a living
(ah, the dreams of youth)
And I did have one real dog
But not a kennel full.
Heck, I didn't even have a kennel!

So my "kennel" consisted of ceramic dogs
Bought at T G and Y and Kresges
whenever I had any spare change
or could wheedle the purchase of a new dog for my "kennel"
from my maiden aunt or my grandmother.

Of course, when I grew up and moved away,
the dogs didn't go with me
I had packed them away long long ago

And when my mother passed away and we were cleaning
out her estate, I found them

Of course, they came home with me!

Where to put them?
In the guest room, on the shelf above the window seat
(you can barely see them)
In front of some of my childhood classics

As a child, I was so proud of my dogs
that I even took pictures!

My "kennel" on my dresser in my pre teen bedroom!

Now, I decided to "rescue" the dogs!
That high shelf was no place for my precious dogs
And so I moved them

To the sunroom
In the bookcase which I had brought up from the basement
that my parents started housekeeping with

The dividers on the upper shelf makes each pup look like it's in a kennel
and awaiting attention!

I was eclectic in my selection of breeds
There are a lot of cockers
(I adored Gladys Taber and she raised cockers)
and German Shepherds and Collies were other favorites
But there are poodles and boxers and dalmatians and a beautiful Scottie
and Chihuahuas!

And the picture of the dogs on my childhood dresser
is framed and is on a shelf in the bookcase!
I love pairing reality with history!

But we believe in real rescues, too
Our latest . . . 

The pup that was dropped in our back garden,
found the doggie door, came into the house, saw the sofa,
jumped up and was HOME!

At that time we were a one dog family and liked it that way
But Dolly took to this little guy and so much to husband's saying "we've got to find a home for this dog", he stayed.    You see, he found his home and his sofa!
Husband Jim's heart melted and he and Doogie are buddies.

And we found that two dogs really are better than one!

And we found that two dogs really are better than one!

When we lost Dolly this Spring,
we searched on line
And found this girl
After a meet and greet with Doogie, we decided that she needed to come home to Linderhof

Definitely a rescue, she was transported from Louisiana (a kill shelter) to a Kansas no-kill shelter.
She'd been there 10 months
It was time that this girl got a home!

In fact, of all of our dogs, only two have not been rescues
And we got them from breeders
Because we wanted that breed

But we always have a soft spot for rescues
And I'm on the board of Lee's Paws and Claws
our local no-kill shelter

And who can not love

Two rescues snoozing the afternoon away on a comfy sofa
With their own blanket?

I know the term "Adopt Don't Shop" is gaining in momentum
And we adhere to that philosophy.
In fact, "Pound Puppies" were the only ones we considered
when we looked for a friend for Doogie.

And dogs are not the only thing we rescue --
We rescue furniture
Almost all of our furniture is "used", "second hand"
It's what we've always done
Much cheaper and much better quality than new!

Our house is full of furnishings and dishes
that we've "rescued"!

Our rescue dogs live happily amongst our rescued furniture!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Betty and Me

When one gets to be a teen, spending Sundays at Grandma's isn't as much fun as it used to be!
In fact, it was like "not again"
For you see there wasn't cousins to play with --
it was just my brother and I -- just like it always was at home
And although I had a doting Grandma and Aunt,
it was like I wished I were anywhere but there!

But we went
Because we had no other choice
(and I must admit that the fried chicken or Sunday roast dinners were wonderful
complete with homemade rolls)

And to entertain myself,
I sat in my Uncle Clinton's recliner
and read my Grandma's cookbook

It had sort of stories and there was a section on meal planning with meals from famous people, 
It's circa 1956, Second Edition, First Printing
I'm sure my Aunt Pearl got it for Grandma
And as far as I know, it was Grandma's only cookbook!

And when I got married in 1969,
my mother gifted me with my very own Betty Crocker Cookbook
It was the "New" Picture Cookbook

And it was the book that I cooked from in early marriage

My book is a little the worse for wear
Having been used to a gas stove, we lived in a house with an electric one
I didn't realize that when you turned off the burner it was still "on" and "hot"
My cookbook has a lasting memory of that!

I have my grandmother's book now and I treasure it
Like mine, it has been well used
And like mine, it is precious to me
And like, mine, I still use it!
For there are some recipes in the old one that aren't in the new one
(as there are some recipes in the new one that aren't in the old one!)

The first meal I ever cooked
was from the pages of 
The Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook
Grandma's copy
The family took a trip to Colorado
leaving me and Grandma at home
Grandma consented to let me cook.
I even made a grocery list and we went to the grocery store
and brought back bags of provisions!

It's the Spaghetti and Meatballs
As you can see there are stains on the pages
Stains I made!
When I fixed that dish!

And I still make it every once in a while.
Sure it's easy to buy frozen meatballs and jarred sauce
But the "real deal" tastes so much better!

 And it looks so appetizing on a big platter

Meatballs I now bake in the oven instead of on top of the stove
Less spattering and more even "balls"

Served "family style" after a salad dressed with Wishbone Italian dressing
and some old fashioned "garlic bread" to go with!

It makes for a good fall supper
When the temperatures fall!

My other favorite
is also my Daughter Sarah's favorite


We've made this "forever"
Since early married days I think
And in early married days we could never find the ricotta
and always used cottage cheese

Now Ricotta can be found at Wal Mart!

This for years was Daughter Sarah's birthday dinner
And I still make it occasionally
It's a good company dish
And everyone seems to like it.

Betty calls for serving meatballs along side
We never do.  Preferring the lasagne alone.

I think perhaps Daughter Sarah took pity on me
and my fall apart Betty Crocker books
For I have the brand new reprint
of the original

The 1950 first edition
of Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook

It was groundbreaking at the time
For most cookbooks were just the printed recipe
This had pictures of "how to's", finished dishes, table settings

The one is pristine
For I still prefer to use my original or Grandma's!

I adore my three Betty Crocker books
And they have a special place on my cookbook shelf

And Betty Crocker has a special place in our lives
For Daughter Sarah works for her!

Well, sort of, I guess --
she works for General Mills
which is Betty's company!

One of the things I liked about the cookbooks
was a peek into the "test kitchens" at General Mills
And one was very modern, very 50s!

When Daughter Sarah first started working at the General Mills headquarters,
she got to visit those kitchens -- those test kitchens from the 50s
And she, too, thought they were cool!

But somewhere along the line, they decided they needed to be more updated
And so tore out the old and remodeled into efficient modern kitchens!

So our relationship with Betty goes back a long way
And often, for a new bride, if I'm invited to a shower, I gift a Betty Crocker Cookbook.
They're good basic books with lots of pictures.
Just the thing a new bride and perhaps novice cook needs!