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, December 30, 2016

A Tale of Three Luncheons

It's been quite a week for company at Linderhof
I had guests for lunch Wednesday (which I've already told you about),
Thursday and Friday

It's kind of a swan song for Christmas decorations
For soon they're go in their boxes --
Scott City, too
We love our tree and like to share
Because we have a real tree, it doesn't go up too early
And then we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations
Therefore, the best time for us to entertain during the Christmas season
is after Christmas

The week between Christmas and New Year's!

Luncheon One on Wednesday
Friends - Kate, Jeffrey and Shaun joined me for lunch

Luncheon Two on Thursday
Maxine Zimmerman, her daughter and her grade school great-granddaughters had luncheon at Linderhof

Luncheon Three on Friday - dear Nevada friends joined me for luncheon
I used the same lace tablecloth for all three luncheons,
white damask napkins in silver rings
And Jim's grandmother's cutlery

Wednesday, the centerpiece was at the end of the table

Because there was just four
A red poinsettia, candles and the Santa and toys salt and pepper

Thursday and Friday
the centerpiece was in the middle of the table

White mums and Christmas greens in a Waterford bowl

The Christmas dishes were used for all three luncheons,
The Royal Dolton Tartan that we bought on a trip to England from the Royal Dolton factory

The luncheons were all three courses -
Salads, entree and dessert
And mostly each day was different


Wednesday, we had a Maple Roasted Carrot Salad

Thursday, a strawberry salad with poppyseed dressing

Friday, my favorite tossed salad with an oil and vinegar dressing

The entrees:

Wednesday - Ina Garten's Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic and white and wild rice

Thursday - Chicken Spaghetti and Garlic Cheese Biscuits

Friday - Ina Garten's Rotini with spinach and tomatoes in a creamy lemon sauce
I decided that I was tired of cinnamon and nutmeg flavors
and other flavors associated with Christmas, so I chose very
non-Christmasy desserts

Wednesday - Ina Garten's French Apple Tart
 One of my favorite desserts of Ina's
Very refreshing and not a cinnamon or nutmeg anywhere -
just pure apple flavor with a crisp crust
It was a fitting ending to Wednesday's luncheon
which was "all Ina"

Thursday - Fairy cupcakes with sugared cranberries and rosemary
 Since some of my guests were young, I decided to do a cupcake
for dessert for every kid loves cupcakes
But I "kicked them up a notch" by adding the sugared fruit and herb

Friday - Ina Garten's Apple Tart -- AGAIN!

I had some apples left and the tart is so good . . . my guests thought so too!

Entertaining during the Christmas season -
The tree and the dining room table

The table and the tree!

Our entertaining is done for the year,
We'll preparing for New Year's Eve
Which will be a quiet night for us
As it usually is
We're not NYE party people
preparing to have our own quiet celebration at home
Perhaps, because, of all the years that we worked and worked hard
at our wine and spirit shop on New Year's Eve

Thus, we enjoy just the two of us to ring in the New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Handmade is Best!

Handmade gifts are the best!
And I love making gifts
Of course, there are the "cookie" gifts for friends and neighbors

Sometimes just a plate of one kind of cookie
Sometimes I make several and it's a mixed plate

Little loaves, too, of bread are given as well.
Cranberry bread is one of my favorites this time of year

Wrapped first in Saran
And then wrapped in parchment paper
And tied with pretty ribbons

A tradition with the Grands are the ornaments
A tradition that I started with Daughter Sarah
Only most of Sarah's were dated Hallmark ornaments
While the Grands are handmade needlepoint ones

The ornament on the left is Sarah's (For the past 40 Christmases we've always given a "boughten" ornament -- this year I decided to make her a needlepoint one!
The Santa in the middle is Piper's
The Santa on the right is Lucy's
And the sleigh full of gifts at the top was given to Andy's parents

In November, I learned a new needlecraft

My first two projects -- scarves for the Grands
the one on the right is Piper's -- complete with fringe
the one on the left is Lucy's

I'm going to learn to knit headbands
And I can't wait to learn to make socks!!!!

The needlepoint ornaments are a tradition with the Grands
And these are the ones from 2015

A rocking horse and a sock

And Lucy's first!

Each ornament for the Grands has their name and the year.
The Santa's are "labeled" on the back

Lucy has one more but 2014 was a year that I was stitching at Midnight on Christmas Eve,
finishing up the ornament . . . it didn't get "put together" until later (and then mailed to Lucy)

I know what I'll do next year for Lucy and Piper
for I'm designing my own!

As someone once said "handmade is best"!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

'Tweener Luncheon

As I like when there is a whole week of November left 
after Thanksgiving,
I also like the week 'tween
Christmas and New Years

We're still decorated
But the hustle and bustle that is before Christmas
is gone, once December 25 has come

I like to have company for lunch during that week
It's much more relaxing than a lunch would be 
before Christmas

Today, three dear friends came for lunch
It's a tradition, started a few years ago
And we decided that this is our fifth year

Shaun, Jeffrey and Kate are great guests
And there is a lot of table talk as we eat lunch

Since it is still the Christmas season . . .

A poinsettia as a centerpiece
But it is tall
Often when there is a foursome for lunch,
if the centerpiece is tall, I'll move the "centerpiece" to the end of the table.
so that we can see and visit

My Quaker Lace tablecloth, the Christmas dishes and Jim's grandmother's cutlery
The china is Royal Dolton Tartan 
Made during 1986 and 1987
It's a classic, I think
(and is a nod to Jim's Scottish heritage)

Luncheon today was an Ina's luncheon
From three of her cookbooks

Maple Roasted Carrot Salad
a yummy salad full of roasted carrots, dried cranberries, almonds and goat cheese.
The greens were supposed to be arugula but, alas, you can't find it here
so I subbed a Spring Greens Mix
Recipe from Cooking for Jeffrey

40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken served with white and wild rice
It's yummy and comfort food
Recipe from Barefoot in Paris

French Apple Tart
The flavor of apples with a bit of crust
I decided that after all the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors of the season
that a dessert that was pure flavor
would be a nice change of pace.

It's a favorite of ours and I've made it many times.
Recipe from Back to Basics

It was a fun afternoon.   No one felt the pressure to hurry for there was no last minute gift to buy, or cookies to make.    We talked of Christmas past and plans for New Year's.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Linderhof As Art

In early December, friend Shirley Ann and I
went south to Carthage, Missouri
for their semi-annual Homes Tour
Carthage is full of wonderful Victorian Homes
And their tour is usually full of wonderfully decorated
It, too, is often my birthday celebration with Shirley Ann
for it falls close to my birthday

This year we went, 
And we loved this columned home

It looks so pretty and elegant
And inside, we found . . . 

This wee little painting of the house,
I was smitten
and wondered where they had gotten it.
I must admit I am a sucker for "house art"

And then we toured this Victorian

And inside was another 

wee painting

And as we continued to tour, house after house had one of these wee paintings
And I got the card of Mr. Steven Binam
who painted all of those pictures for the homes tour.

And I commissioned him
to do a painting of Linerhof

I sent him pictures of Linderhof, and we discussed a few things
And then he sent me a picture of his finished work
I was as smitten with this picture of Linderhof
as I was with the pictures of Linderhof!

We made arrangements for me to pick it up
It was bought not for me but for a Christmas present for Husband Jim

Now it joins the other two pictures of Linderhof . . . 

The pen and ink done by Mr. Miller who was a graphic artist
in his working career.   He retired to Fort Scott and picked up extra money
doing calligraphy for wedding invitations and the like and the occasional pen and inks
of Fort Scott's historic homes

The water color done by Mike Morris who for a time had a gallery
in Fort Scott.    His health forced him to move and I treasure the memories of visiting him in his studio both before and after he did Linderhof in watercolor

And now this wee (6 x 6 inch) painting on canvas.   No frame for the outside edges are part of the picture.    And it 's too small for a wall but instead will rest on an easel on a tabletop!

And I didn't just have him do Linderhof,
I also had him do one of Daughter Sarah and her Andy's house

I sent him this

And got this!!!

I love Christmas presents that are a complete surprise
And neither of them suspected that they were getting a painting of their house.
And they love it!

Steve will do your house, too, if you contact him!

He is from the Carthage area but if you're not, you could contact him and
see if your painting could be mailed!***

***I get nothing from this recommendation.   I just think that Steve is talented and if you love your house as much as I love Linderhof, that you deserve a painting of it!     And Steve is your man!     The size is precious and the fact that they sit on an easel makes them special.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Jim, Doogie Doggie, Daisy Dawg and I

wish you and yours a very

Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Lunch Bunch Christmas Lunch

The Lunch Bunch comes once a month for lunch
It's always a fun day for me
For I get to try new recipes

But December is and always has been a special luncheon
For not only do we eat but we also exchange gifts

 The table in the dining room
I chose a more muted (and less red) color scheme
White lace tablecloth and white damask napkins

Color in the form of a perfect poinsettia
And the ribbons on the gifts . . .
my gifts to the Lunch Bunch

The Royal Dolton Tartan
(which we use for breakfast lunch and dinner (except when we have soup) from The First Sunday in Advent through Christmas

Always a menu
And always a little "gift" at each place
The gift this year is an assortment of the German Christmas cookies
They're perfect tea size cookies

It was a special lunch,
the first course was

Jordan Pond Lobster Stew
Served in the Royal Dolton Tartan coffee cups
(For a luncheon, I often serve soup in coffee cups -- it's a perfect luncheon size portion)

The entree

A lemon artichoke chicken with a chicken garlic rice

The dessert

Pear Clafoutis
(Harry and David pears -- Ina Garten's recipe)

After dessert, we opened our gifts
Had another cup of coffee
And told of our Christmas plans

And we look forward to Lunch Bunch Luncheons in 2017 --
which will be the seventeenth year that we have gotten together once a month for lunch --
mostly at Linderhof

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Magical City of Scott 2016

The Magical City of Scott

the miniature light village
that Husband Jim brings to life each December

We start with the bins that we store 11 months of the year

And the "bones" of Scott City
It's all done with mirrors,
well with mirrors and plywood and . . . 
toilet paper!

 And the houses go from bins
to the dining room table
All the better to see what you have!

 And then he works to put every building just so!

Until it is perfect . . . 
Then he adds the little people, cars, snow and trees

Every town needs a Tourist Information Center

And our only restaurant
A McDonald's
(Because eons ago, Husband Jim was the Operation Supervisor for the area McDonalds)

Of course, we have a residential area
with brick streets!

And like the city we live in, there are no cookie cutter houses!
This is one of my favorites
If it was a real house, I could live there!

Or here -- for I love old  center hall houses

And this is for my friend Shirley Ann
who loves plantation houses

The Grands enjoy Scott City and do children of friends
And we welcome visitors these December days

Not only do they get to enjoy our village
But we always have cookies and cocoa