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, January 31, 2016

An Afternoon of Planning

Sunday afternoon was spent in the breakfast room

But first, I baked some banana muffins

For a big sack of bananas was just 90 cents at the store
And I needed six

to make this fruit salad
But there were still more than we would eat . . . 

And my newest cookbook
from a place that we've visited and loved

The Hays House
in Council Groves
Not all that far from our house on the prairie

And yes, that is right -- it started in 1857!

Had an easy recipe for banana muffins
And they were --
easy and good!
(I did, however, add chopped walnuts to the batter --
I love banana walnut muffins!)

Two found there way on a plate and into the breakfast room
along with a pot of tea

And a pile of cookbooks
For I've company coming to Linderhof in February
(which starts tomorrow!)
And I wanted new things to try!

The Thalias Tasting Tour Recipes date from the 80s and are from Nevada
They are much loved and much used
Savanah Collection  is from a trip daughter Sarah and I took to Savannah and is a wonderful book
(I'm eyeing an entree from that book for one of my luncheons)
Virginia Hospitality is a new old book (dating from the 80s) and was recommended by dear friend, Francie.     And it is as good as she says!

Sunday afternoon . . . 
a pot of tea, a couple of muffins and a whole pile of cookbooks
There isn't a better way to while away a Sunday!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A New Look in the Bedroom

The bedrooms have evolved . . . 

From duvets and a pile of pillows

To a matelasse coverlet with the duvet folded every morning at the bottom

And then Friday when I was in Pittsburg, 
which is a favorite hunting ground of Friend Sally and I
we went to a new store
And were we impressed!!!!

Sally came home with an wonderful burgundy velvet covered Eastlake rocker
and I came home with a Bates hobnail bedspread

The needlepoint pillow on the little loveseat is the first piece of needlepoint that I ever did!

Which I put on the Master bed

I've been thinking that I need to change out the matelasse
And was thinking to change it out with a Bates
(for eons ago, the spread that I used was a Bates
and it was a good look for the room)

I love the old fashioned look of the Bates

And I think it gives the room a more vintage look
Of the three views of the room in this post, this definitely is my favorite!

The spread has roses

As does thew wallpaper in the master bedroom

A couple of needlepoint pillows on the bed to add some color.

It's interesting to see that what's old is new again!
I love Bates spreads
They wear like iron
They wash really well
(and I like washable spreads)

Now  . . . . 
I'm thinking I need a second --
For the bed in the guest room!

Next time we're in Pittsburg, we'll definitely stop at Serendipity again.
It's a shop full of treasures and there is definitely something for everyone!
It's not a large shop but I really prefer that
Quality over quantity!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Only Used When It's Needed

I've been trying to simply things at Linderhof
Less things to clean!
So I can have more time to play!

The living room - before:

There's a table next to the right wing chair
With a lamp and "stuff" on top.
I moved that out
and now the south part of the living room looks like this:

The two wing chairs flanking the fireplace
Looking more like a pair
Than two singles
And I like that look!

The north part of the living room

Has the "comfy" chair
(the beige one that Doogie is on)
And another antique side chair that we've had "forever"

We can seat eight in the living room
(if three sit on the sofa)
without bringing in any extra chairs
And I like that

But when you have company
Whether it's company for dinner
or like last night, when The Cookbook Book Club came
there are drinks and nibbles
And we don't like to have our guests do a balancing act!

In one corner by the fireplace is this English curate (or muffin stand as they're sometimes called)
folded, it takes very little room!

And in the other corner, a little tilt top table
The top a perfect size for a cup and saucer, a glass of wine and perhaps an appetizer plate.

They stay in their corners, until we have company . . . 

Then the bigger one is beside the comfy chair
So a guest can set down their wine, their cocktail, their coffee

And the little one goes beside the wing chair
With it's three theirs, there's room for a cocktail, a wine glass and an appetizer plate!

They're easy to dust even back in the corner
They don't have "stuff" on top (to dust)
and I think the living room looks larger without the extra tables.

It solves a sometime problem
Without being an all time pain.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cookbook Book Club, Year Two, Volume One

After a break
(because of Thanksgiving and then Christmas)
The Cookbook Book Club met once again

And like last year, we started with appetizers
Not a tried and true but one that you'd never fixed before!

We had a great variety, enjoyed a hearty plate of nibbles
And with the Maui Wowie and wine,
we had a fun evening discussing food
The trials of living in a small town
There was not once sprig of fresh basil available!

The ladies certainly outdid themselves on their offerings:

Peppers Provencal
brought by Rita
From the Junior League of Tulsa Cookbook
Oil and Vinegar
So good as an appetizer, several of us agreed that it would be great mixed with a plate of pasta!

Plains Cheese Ring
brought by Liz
A recipe that's been around since Jimmy Carter's day
and from her copy of The Congressional Club Cookbook

Carolina Pickled Shrimp
brought by new member Barbara
A great way to eat shrimp for the sauce complimented the shrimp perfectly!

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips
brought by Angela II
(we have two Angelas and both last names begin with M!)
from A Taste of Home
And every appetizer table needs a dessert!

Jalapeno Popper Dip
which I made
I can see this as a great Super Bowl food
It's a hot dip but was good cold when I nibbled on it again after everyone had left.
Found on Pinterest!

Roasted Garlic and Onion Jam and Blue Cheese Tartlets
brought by Angela
It was her Plan B
(because she couldn't find an ingredient at our grocery stores)
And we thought it a might tasty Plan B!

Honey Roasted Grape Tomato Crostini
brought by Donna
The tomatoes were so good, that I'd eat them by themselves!
But I adore crostini and this was a good one!

Artichoke and Bean Crostini
brought by Sarah
A Gaida recipe and as she said, Gaida never fails!
Alas, the basil is dried for there was no fresh basil in any of our three grocery stores!
But I loved the combination of artichoke and white beans.

Marinated Cheese
brought by Michelle
(who was sick and couldn't come!)
a great combination of cheddar and cream cheese with an herby marinade.
A recipe given to Michelle by Rhonda, a club member who had another engagement.
(Actually, this dish was the one I was going to make until Rhonda told me that Michelle was bringing it! -- and I will make it for it also was a pretty presentation!)

It was great to be back together again and it was so nice that we had a new member join us!

Next month it's Julia Child and our hostess is Angela.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

When You Can't Go to V's -- Bring V's to You!

In 1963, not far from our house, an Italian restaurant opened.
A small place -- a few tables
In a strip mall

We went, we fell in love

Spaghetti and meatballs,
we felt so cosmopolitan
And there was always a complimentary piece of rum cake for dessert

We watched V's grow into the store front next to them
And then another
And finally, they built their own free standing restaurant

Still on 40 Highway

And when we go to the city we often eat once again at V's
And often when I have lunch with my brother, David, we eat at V's
And they still give a piece of complimentary rum cake!

And then one day I was at our local Wal Mart
looking in the freezer section
(A section that I don't go to often unless I want ice cream or fruit or vegetables or puff pastry)

And there were containers of V's food
The V's!
The Sauce
The meatballs
The ravioli

Whenever I don't get to Kansas City often enough,
I can bring V's home

I prefer the spaghetti and meatballs
That is, after all, what we always ordered in the early days
And I still love V's spaghetti and meatballs

Only thing you need to provide is the spaghetti
And the Parmesan cheese
(Starting with a salad and a basket of bread to accompany the spaghetti and meatballs, of course!)

For us, the container of sauce and the package of meatballs is enough for two meals.
And when it's V's  spaghetti and meatballs
Who minds if you have it twice in one week

Tonight we were lucky . . . 

I had two pieces of rum cake in the freezer

Tonight was a complete V's experience!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Different Type of Needlepoint

I always have a needlepoint project going
And for a long time I was very disciplined
Only one canvas did I possess at a time . . .
When I was almost finished, I'd order another

And then I started hanging around with Linda!

She is not a good influence!

My current project

An Erhman Tapestry canvas

A garden sampler
Bought on eBay
(for it's a discontinued canvas)
I adore samplers
(and have several -- not of my stitching-- in the bedrooms at Linderhof)
And I broke Rule No 2 with this purchase
(And that is putting down a project before it was finished and picking up another)

But it's going along quickly

I then found Ehrman had a companion sampler

Kitchen Sampler

Which I ordered on Ebay
(and put it in my "hobby" drawer --
it's third in line to be worked on)

For as soon as I finish the first sampler

I need to continue to work on this canvas
A Christmas gift from a dear friend
And a canvas that I adore!

Needlepoint is such a worthwhile hobby for me
It "entertains" me for a long time
And so the price per hour is very low, indeed!

And I love working with the wools
Plus needlepoint lasts and lasts . . . 
I still have the first pillow I worked on in 1970
And I still have my first sampler that I did as a birthday gift for my husband in 1970
And they look as good as they did when they were first stitched.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Sun May Not Be Shining . . . But The Silver Is!

Probably the second week I was married
I decided that I wanted a silver punch bowl 
for my 25th Anniversary
And I never wavered!

In 1994, a month or so before the anniversary
we were "junking"
And came across and F. B. Rogers silver punch bowl, tray, ladle and 19 cups
for like $100

Husband Jim bought it instantly
It was almost our anniversary
It was what I wanted
(and had wanted for almost 25 years)

And we were hosting a party that evening
So we could put it to immediate use!

I can't believe that it was so long ago
That I was gifted with the punch bowl.

It is pretty
But there is a downside . . . 
For some reason the bowl and tray don't seem so difficult
It's those little punch cups
All 19 of them!

Those seem to be a pain!

I had the cups stored in the punch bowl
(you don't seem to see the tarnish quite so much)
And decided that today was THE day!

Very tarnished punch cups awaiting a good clean.

Years ago, I bought an aluminum plate and some "magic" crystals.
You put the plate in the bottom of something non-reactive (like enamel), add the magic crystals and hot water and your silver goes from black to silver!

A few years later, a church friend who happened to be a House Mother for a sorority at KU was telling me that they cleaned all of the silver in a sink lined with aluminum foil and instead of magic crystals they used Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
Everything ncluding their big silver punch bowl was cleaned that way
And you know sororities have lots of silver.

Once my "magic crystals" were gone, the aluminum plate disappeared
But then I tried the foil trick with the washing soda!


The Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
Available at almost any super market
(which means that if it is available at a super market in my little town, it should be available everywhere!

And then I became friends with Cass from That Old House Blog

Similar theory, different ingredients . . . 
Plain old baking soda

An aluminum steam table pan!
(which I always have a supply of in the basement!)

My life was changed forever!

So the pan and soda were brought up from the basement,
the water heated
And unlike Cass, I put the soda in the water and then put the silver in
Just make sure that the silver touches the aluminum

You can see here that some of the silver is losing it's tarnish
right before your eyes!

And after, all bright and shiny!

You rinse well and then dry . . 

And you have 19 perfectly shiny punch cups

To place around the silver punch bowl
(which was polished the old fashioned way -- with cloth and a polish!)

It and a silver serving piece reside on the bottom shelf of my old
walnut dining room server

The punch cups are quite shiny
And on this dreary day, the dining room is a sparkle!

There is a downside to polishing silver this way . . . 
It turns quicker for polishes usually have an anti-tarnishing agent in them
But no black fingers and it is kinder on the silver
For polishes do take off a wee layer of silver whenever you polish!

I use this method mostly for the punch cups and the napkin rings
And sometimes for the silver if (heaven forbid) I'm having company and
I forgot 
to polish the silver!

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage and Marty at A Stroll Thru Life

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dinner Party . . . The Next Day . . . Leftovers

Whenever you have a dinner party 
you want to have enough food
But then there are the "leftovers"

There are no leftover salads
I'm good at judging the quantity needed
And if I have just a tad left in the bowl, I just divide it amongst the plates before I serve.

And we had no leftover moussaka --
A couple of our guests had seconds.

The wee bit of leftover apple crisp
Was devoured by Husband Jim as a bedtime snack!

But I did have French bread left . . . 

Saturday morning's breakfast then was
French Toast
We never use butter on our French toast
We never use syrup on our French toast
We never use powdered sugar on our French toast
It's granulated sugar and only granulated sugar sprinkled over the top for us
Which is why I never order French toast out!

But French toast is really pain perdue
Which is "Lost Bread" in French
Fitting for the breakfast the morning after
And it used up all the bread that we didn't eat at the party!

The worst leftover, however, was the three egg whites
The remains of the three egg yolks called for in the Béchamel sauce recipe

Leftover egg whites can be a problem
I sometimes make meringues with them
(if there are enough)
Mostly, I throw them in with whole eggs for a morning scramble

As I was perusing a cookbook the morning after,
Natalie Dupree's New Southern Cooking
(a 50 center thrift store find -- I have one of hers and really like it so thought I would risk 50 cents on another and it did not disappoint)
There was a recipe for Butter Brickle Madeleines
which called for 3 egg whites -- only three egg whites -- no yolks!

I made them yesterday afternoon

They're frosted
And I've never frosted a madeleine
But they are good -- very good
And I love the egg white cake -- it's so light!

This will definitely be one of my "go to" recipes whenever I have three leftover egg whites!
They are that good!

2 cups flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 c. milk
1/2 c. butter at room temperature
2 t. vanilla
3 egg whites
Oil and flour the madeleine tins. Preheat oven to 350 Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Pour in the milk, add the shortening and vanilla and beat until just blended. Add the egg whites and beat another 3 minutes. Pour into the prepared madeleine pans and bake on the middle shelf for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one comes out clean. Cool on a rack and then remove from the tins. Place on a serving platter, ribbed side up.
1/2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
8 T milk, heated
3 t. vanilla
Heat the butter in a heavy saucepan until it is golden brown. Remove from the heat and add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat for 3 minutes with an electric mixer until cool, then spread on the madeleines.
NOTES: I got 34 madeleines from the recipe. I also made only HALF the frosting recipe and had enough to frost all of my madeleines. I think I would have had a lot left over had I made the whole batch.