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.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

National Coffee Day

The coffee of choice at Linderhof

And I'm surprised that we can find it in our little town on the prairie.
It's a good bold coffee and I like the hint of chicory!

Since today is National Coffee Day
A breakfast of coffee and cake seemed like a good idea

In the breakfast room.
Just coffee and cake

I may have lots of tea pots but I only have two china coffee pots
An Aynsley Pembroke one (the good china)
And this Johnson Brothers Indies one (the English transfer ware)

But then everyone knows my love affair with blue and white!
And Cass knows my love affair with Indies!

The coffee cake -- a raspberry cream cheese one that came from
Daughter Sarah.
It's a showstopper whenever she has a brunch
And I must admit that it is a very tasty coffee cake
(And who doesn't love raspberry?)

Of course, we didn't finish the whole thing for breakfast . . . 
But it's also tasty with tea in the afternoon
(But -- gosh -- you would have tea on National Coffee Day?)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I'm a Copycat!

Friend Francie 
had her garden club for their September meeting and lunch.
I was invited to present a program on cooking with herbs.

As you know, I adored her table linens
A wonderful fall table
With a touch of blue and white!

And her menu was perfect

Tomato pie, baby greens salad with berries and vinaigrette
And a pumpkin muffin 

We met for lunch in August and finalized plans for my
program -- what I would do, what I would bring
She told me her plans for lunch --
And such a good ladies lunch it was for this time of year

So in August, when The Lunch Bunch came
I served:

Tomato pie, a salad with strawberries and red onions with poppyseed dressing and a sweet tea glazed corn muffin

Month one -- I copied her menu!

The coveted table linens, I thought, may be a permanent covet
because they were no longer available --
couldn't even find them on eBay!

So I got creative
Ordered a huge tablecloth
And made my own!

They do look like autumn
But they're not full of pumpkins and maple leaves
So actually, they could be used all year long!

France's table had a blue and white planter filled with white orchids.   I chose to use the blue and white in my dinnerware -- my beloved blue and white transfer ware!
But I put them on rattan chargers like Francie did
And instead of orchids, I used a succulent filled pumpkin!
My candlesticks are old clear glass while Francie's were metal.
But it has the feel of Francie's delightful table setting!

Month Two -- I copied her table setting!

And the rest of the menu today?
For once again, The Lunch Bunch came to lunch

A salad dressed with The Olde Pink House 1771 Sherry Cream Dressing

Company Chicken Casserole similar to the classic Poppyseed Chicken
which is one of the traditional ladies luncheon dishes!

Served with white and wild rice and a croissant.
(Actually it should be either a homemade or Sister Shubert roll)

It is Autumn and desserts should reflect the season

A Cran Apple Cream Cheese Poundcake
which I took the liberty of frosting with an orange flavored buttercream and garnished with dried cranberries.

I do hope Francie isn't mad at me . . . for being such a copycat!
But both menu and table setting were perfect and I had to replicate!
I must admit that Francie's tomato pie was much better than mine and I am putting her recipe in my files -- it will be the one I serve now!

I was always told that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
And Francie hit the nail on the head --
Hopefully, I did as well -- but it took me two months to do it!

Thanks, Francie, for such wonderful inspiration!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Pumpkins Have Started to Arrive . . .

In the back garden,

A pumpkin replaces the sorry looking geraniums
on the table under the pergola.

And inside . . . 
A couple of years ago, when friend Martha Jane hosted a
meeting (either garden club or PEO)
she had the most marvelous centerpiece on her dessert table.

This is not Martha Jane's -- I didn't get a picture of hers
A succulent filled pumpkin
I brazenly asked where she got it
She kindly found the magazine where she got her idea,
made a color copy for me
And an idea was born

An idea whose time had come, I decided

On the breakfast room table at Linderhof . . . 

Full of succulents big and little

I've always loved greens with the oranges of fall

It makes a great centerpiece on the breakfast room table!

And it's easy to do . . . 

  1. Pick a pumpkin -- the flatter Cinderella's work best I think
  2. Buy some sphagnum moss (unless, like me, you already have some)
  3. Wash and dry the outside of the pumpkin, cut off the stem
  4. Use spray adhesive to spray the top of the pumpkin
  5. Position moss on top of the adhesive.     About 1/2 inch or so is enough
  6. With dabs of glue on the bottom of cuttings of succulents, arrange on top of the moss
  7. Water the moss with a spray bottle about once a week
  8. If you use indoors, place on a plate . . . pumpkins have been known to ruin tabletops (whether they have succulents in them or not!
  9. Probably by the time you're ready to put out Christmas, the pumpkin may be rotting.    Just transfer the succulents to another pot where they should continue to grow!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

The First Day of Fall -- I Covet . . .

When I gave the program to the Pink Dogwood Garden Club last week,
it included lunch
And Friend Francie had the most gorgeous table

A touch of blue and white, elegant china, earthy rattan chargers, antique glassware 
And the most beautiful runner and napkins
They had the colors of fall
But weren't "False Fall" with leaves and such on them.
They will work as well in January as they do in September
But in September, they won't just be pretty, but they will remind one
that it truly is Fall.

So pretty and Friend Francie was kind enough to tell me that they were
April Cornell linens.

I came home, found April Cornell website, and alas,
they had tablecloths, dish towels in the pattern
But NO napkins or runners.

That was what I coveted --
It would make for a great table at Linderhof
this fall
And for The Lunch Bunch luncheon next week.

So I got creative . . . 
And ordered their biggest tablecloth.

I reasoned I could get a runner and 8 napkins out of the fabric
It was on sale and actually, it was very economical
Much more so than the regular price of similar linens at April Cornell

It came yesterday
And today I had the time

I measured, added extra for seam allowance
made a pattern out of the newspaper

And began to cut out a runner and napkins

The dining room table is always the perfect place to cut out patterns.
I've been cutting patterns on a dining room table "forever"!

All cutout and ready to sew . . . 

All done!
I need to press every thing
(and trim threads off of everything)

But they will be the perfect linens for my lunch next week!

Thank you, Francie, for telling me where they came from
Although I was thwarted by no longer being in stock,
I did find a solution
And it worked!!!!

And, Francie, I'm not trying to totally copy you
(last month Lunch Bunch's luncheon was the same menu as Francie used
for her garden luncheon -- she told me what she was having and I copied!  And now the linens!)
But isn't copying the sincerest form of flattery?

So I'm not copying but flattering
dear Friend Francie

The Luncheon is next Tuesday,
come back and see what a pretty table these linens set.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fall, Part Two

Fall, Part Two
is done!

It's the planting of mums in the upstairs window box

To add a bit of fall color to the front
The red begonias we keep for red is "fall-ish" and so we get "double duty"
from our summer annuals
(which justifies my putting pansies there in the Spring!)

All one color -- a gold color
for I think it's the best fall color for mums
light enough to be seen from the road
yet muted enough to be fall.

Oh, and you may see the jack o lanterns peeking out from under the bench!
They do that sometimes --
They should be turned around until the week before Halloween.
I wonder who put them that way?
Gremlins?   Fairies?

Now to keep the mums watered so that we can have their bloom as long as possible.

And soon after the calendar turns to October,
we shall have Fall, Part Four!

Part Three is Mother's Nature's contribution
the fallen leaves on sidewalks!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wolferman's Lives On

 The Original Dean and DeLuca of the prairie.

It all started in 1893, when Louis Wolferman mortgaged his home and raised $750 to purchase a bankrupt grocery store.

His son, Fred, joined his father in the fledgling business and a few years later, before he was 25, Fred took over the management of the grocery store while his father ran a farm which produced most of the fresh foods that the store sold.

Their slogan was Good Things to Eat and they sold foods of exceptional quality and even patented his own recipes.

Their flagship store was downtown
With groceries and bakery on the first floor
And upstairs was the Walnut Bakery Restaurant

And, of course, there was a store on the Country Club Plaza

By 1960 the company had grown to include eight locations and 500 workers. As the 1960s progressed, however, Wolferman's Stores entered into decline as the population moved to the suburbs and shopped in larger chain stores with cheaper mass-produced food.

In 1910, Fred revealed the brand's most famous and enduring food creation --
English muffins --
that were cooked over an open griddle in a tuna can!

The last store closed in 1984, yet the Wolferman's company remained competitive in the sale of high-quality bakery items, canned food, and alcoholic beverages. Today, through catalogs, the celebrated Wolferman's brand name survives on the still-famous English muffins, along with breads, pastries, preserves, and gift baskets sold by Harry & David Stores, a catalog and Internet mail order company based in Oregon.

At least once a year, I order a case.
There is no muffin like Wolferman's
And I refuse to eat any other . . . 

Toasted and slathered with butter
Which melts into all the nooks and crannies . . . 
It is just the best!

And Wolferman's was very generous with its recipes.
Often they were published in The Kansas City Star
when people wrote in and requested a recipe.

Mom often would buy cookies when we went to Wolferman's for our muffins.

My favorite were Hermits

Brown sugar and nuts and raisins.
A cookie jar cookie!
And mother would often buy a dozen or so whenever she shopped on the Plaza or downtown.

Saturday, I received a call from a new friend, Suzanne
She and I share a friendship with Cass of That Old House
Although Suzanne now lives in Kentucky, she was raised in the midwest
And we had a lot in common . . .
Swansons, Harzfeld's, Wolferman's, old Kansas City

She asked about Wolferman's receipts and I found that she had some that I didn't!
She graciously shared those two -- Four O Clocks and Rum Cream Pie

Sunday, I made Four O Clocks for my tea treat for the week

A small pecan filled cookie -- just perfect for tea!

Monday afternoons is always a special tea time
For I clean house on Mondays and it is so nice to sit and have a pot of tea
and a nosh
with the house smelling of polish and vinegar
and sparkling clean!

The Four O Clocks are perfect for afternoon tea

Thank you Suzanne
I'll make them often
And when I do, I'll think of you!

Wolferman's Four O Clocks

Wolferman's always sold these delicate tea cookies.   Sometimes they are formed into small balls or crescents.

1/2 pound sweet butter, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 cup pecans, finely ground
2 cups white flour
1/4 t. salt
Confectioner's sugar (to drop cookies in)

Preheat oven to 350
Mix butter, sugar and nuts.    Add flour.   Mix thoroughly.     Roll thinly between waxed paper.    Cut out into small rounds the size of 1/2 dollars.    Bake 3 to 5 minutes.    Drop in extra powdered sugar while still hot.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fall, Part One

It's almost Fall
Next week, actually, is the autumnal equinox
The time when night and day are of equal lengths
And that means that winter is on its way!

Fall touches at Linderhof usually are in three parts

These are the first fall touches around the house
The rest comes later --
in October --

A blue bowl on the breakfast room table full this year of pears
(a generous gift from a friend)
(Some years they're apples if we've been to an orchard)
And sunflowers . . . a transitional flower between summer and fall

The dining room table sports a bouquet of autumnal colored mums

The bittersweet and Chinese lanterns on the table at the bottom of the stairs.
The Chinese lanterns brought back last year from a trip to Wisconsin --
they graced the garden of the house we rented and the owner graciously said I could bring some home.
A reminder of a great vacation and a colorful touch of fall!

And around the armillary in the garden, mums in bud are planted
And the spikes white blooms of garlic chives herald autumn as well.
Soon the mums will add their rust colored blooms to the garden.

Pumpkins will be added in stages in October
And more mums in the upstairs front window box!
And a bittersweet wreath for the front door.

I so love fall and Linderhof embraces fall decor.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Auction Sterling

I always wanted sterling flatware.
Mom never had it although she had silver-plate for Sundays
and company
and stainless for everyday.

I had stainless for everyday and for good.
All I owned was stainless
And then Mom gave me her silver-plate.
She didn't entertain anymore
She didn't host family dinners
And I was thrilled to have family cutlery.

But I still yearned for sterling.

But it was beyond our means!
New, definitely, and rarely did you find it for sale in antique malls or flea markets
And if you did, it was as pricey as new retail.

In early 1990,
Husband Jim and I went to a farm auction.
I can't recall why
Whether it was the time we just went because we liked to
Or because there was something there we were interested in.

But we were there.

And there in a Russell Stover candy box was a lot of silver.
I looked and it was marked "sterling"
Yes, sterling!

In a Russell Stover candy box at a farm auction in the middle of no where!

A set with 8 place settings!

Knowing the price of sterling, I determined how much I could
spend -- thinking I could get it cheap -- it was a farm auction, after all, in the middle of no where and there didn't appear to be any dealers around.

$240 I thought would be as high as I could go --
$30 a place setting which was a real bargain!

And so I waited.
Patience is a virtue at an auction.

Finally, the Russell Stover box came up for auction.
The bidding started ta $5
Were they crazy -- that was sterling in there
(although there was no complaint from me)
and I put my bid in
Someone was bidding against me,
just one other person
Otherwise I would have had it for that opening $5 bid!
It rose slowly, a couple of dollars at a time
until it reached $25

When I got my precious box
I realized that I may have been the only one to realize the treasure inside that candy box
For the knives were on top
The knives with blades marked "stainless"
(as most sterling is)

The person bidding against me was bidding on stainless cutlery
Not sterling!

Which is why he bowed out at $20

That story is why we go to auctions
It's a great story and one that every flea marketer envies!

It went from a Russell Stover box to a silverware chest!

Once home, I did my homework and found that it was made by Alvin
and that the pattern name was Romantique.
This the the "plain" pattern.    There is also a Romantique chased pattern
that has chasing along the sides of the pieces.
Made in 1933, it reminds me of the Art Deco of that era
Clean, simple, modern!

Now I had Mother's silver-plate, my everyday stainless and a set of sterling for company and holidays
I was happy!

But then we got Jim's grandmother's sterling
The Romantique, the "cheap"  Romantique was put away in the sideboard.
And sort of forgotten.

For I had my stainless for everyday, I had mother's silver-plate for family dinners and Jim's grandmother's sterling for company.
Alvin's Romantique was just sort of "extra"

I did get it out, sometimes, for my Valentine's luncheons.
"Romantique" after all goes with hearts and romance
and although it doesn't look like Valentine's, the name says Valentine's.

Reading, however, on Gardenweb, I found many people used their sterling
for everyday
and washed it in
the dishwasher
and it holds up really well

I decided that Romantique needs to come out of the sideboard
and become our
everyday cutlery

Yesterday, I had time to make the switch.
It looks happy, doesn't it
In the kitchen silverware drawer.
The odds and ends -- the coin silver serving spoons, the steak knives, and  the stainless egg spoons are there as well.

I think I made a good choice.
Take poor "step silver" Romantique
And making it an everyday star!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Of Butterflies and Beethoven's

It's called Long Lips Farm
Because of the goats that once roamed the acreage
The goats are gone
But the gardens remain

All 2 1/2 acres of them
And opened for tour by appointment

Led by "Butterfly Whisperer", Lenora Larson

She was enchanting as she led us on a tour through her magnificent garden
A certified butterfly habitat

And she's marked each plant with it's variety . . .and the variety of butterfly (or moth)
that dines on that food!

Her theory is . . . if you want butterflies in your garden
You have to feed the children!

The flowers in her garden are spectacular!

And each plant must:

If it's an annual, it should self-seed

Be a non-demanding, non-fussy plant

Be a food source for at least one type of caterpillar

And amongst her self-seeders and perennials, she also plants
1000 annuals each year

Because, she is a friend to . . . 
The Children!

A lady bug "baby"

A pipeline swallowtail "to be"

And even spiders are welcome in the garden.
This one was waiting for her mate
for a little "roll in the hay"!

It was a beautiful day
A great day to be in a garden
And Lenora is a knowledgeable gardener
(She is, after all a Master Gardener)
about both plants and butterflies and moths and their offspring.

We finished the tour with tea on her welcoming porch.

If you're ever invited to tour Long Lips Farm, do not hesitate --


The bonus about visiting Lenora and her garden is that it's not far from Paola.

And in Paola is my all-time favorite German restaurant

It's has new owners
And it's moved!

But the food is the same!
Good German Food!

You start with a big roll with raspberry butter.
The rolls taste like my Grandmother's and I rarely find rolls that do

And I ordered the traditional

Weiter Schnitzel with spaetzel and red cabbage.
It's German Food -- did you notice that if it weren't for the red cabbage that the food would all be beige?
German food is like that -- beige!

What sets Beethoven's apart from other German restaurants is their desserts.
Not typically German but good nonetheless.
In fact, probably the best dessert at any restaurant!

I chose the carrot cake
Four, yes four layers of a nut and raisin and carrot filled cake
frosted with yummy cream cheese frosting.
This picture doesn't show how BIG the dessert is
I ate the bottom layer and took the other three home.
Husband Jim and I enjoyed them for dinner that night!

It was a wonderful way to spend a late summer Saturday 
Long Lips Farm and Beethoven's!
All in or near Paola, Kansas