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, December 10, 2017

O Christmas Tree . . .

Our 2017 Christmas Tree . . . 

A simple tree
Filled with memories of 48 years and more
Decorated with real metal tinsel

Each ornament is a memory

The old Shiny Brights
(a few from my mother and aunt)
Most found in flea markets
They used to be cheap!
For no one wanted them!
Alas, not any more

Needlepoint Ornaments
I never did do an ornament a year for our tree
They were hit and miss
Some (like this one) are older than others!

Hallmark Ornaments
This my first from 1976
I would stalk the Hallmark store and make my list
And then sit and have coffee and wait until it opened on December 26
so I could get an ornament (and paper and cards)
at half price!

Nevada Ornaments
This one commemorating Bushwhacker Days.   Made by W.F. Norman Sheetmetal
I have two.    They were, I believe, sold as fundraisers.

Silver Bells
Commemorating special years.    This one was given to us one of the years we were on our town's Christmas Homes Tour

Souvenir Ornaments
A cheap (and mostly unbreakable) souvenir to bring home when we travel.
Small, can be packed in the suitcase and one usually doesn't have to worry about them getting broken.

Bought on one of our two trips to Italy

Commemorating an event that I was in charge of in Topeka, Kansas

Wooden ornaments from our trip to Germany

The Grands Ornaments
Daughter Sarah makes sure that each year we get an ornament from her children.
This is from Lucy's first Christmas
An adorable handprint

Homemade Ornaments
Made by my mother and given as Christmas gifts.
I have two and treasure them now that she's gone

Childhood Ornaments
I have several from my childhood.   This one was made by me when I was a Campfire Girl.   I have a second one as well.    Simple and every time I look at it, I remember those fun times as a Bluebird/Campfire Girl

The tree, decorated, a fire in the fireplace and some Christmas cookies and coffee
after dinner.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Magical City of Scott 2017

For 11 months of the year our breakfast room looks like

The 1870s sideboard with blue and white transfer ware,
our table and chairs . . and plants

In December, it looks like this:

We call it the Magical City of Scott

But to get from the first picture to the last,
it takes a lot of work

First the "bones"

Then the bins "explode" all over the dining room

And Jim diligently works to put it all together

It takes up the whole breakfast room
This, Magical City of Scott

Like the Italian cities we've visited, Scott City is on a hillside . .  .

It has a Christmas tree seller

And it's own downtown with many merchants

A courthouse for it's the "county seat"

And a McDonald's!
(For many years ago Husband Jim was an Operations Supervisor of Four McDonalds in SE Kansas)

This year we added the Budweiser Clydesdales
(For a few years ago we were able to bring them to our town of Fort Scott)

We love the magic of the lights in the breakfast room
But we do it for one reason only . . . 

Well, maybe it's really two reasons

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Celebrating Birthdays

Today, we celebrated Joyce and Sally's Birthdays
With lunch

in Lamar, Missouri
(famous for being Harry Truman's birthplace)
At a place called Cap's Cabin
It's recently moved from a teeny cabin
(hence the name)
to a bigger space in downtown Lamar
It was full on a Tuesday lunch

Lamar is about 40 miles from home
Cap's Cabin is  famous for . .  .

Fish and chips
(the best I've had outside of England)
I favor the flounder
It's served with Midwestern coleslaw and hush puppies

After, we came back to Linderhof
to celebrate birthdays

In the dining room
With the Aynsley Pembroke
And the lace tablecloth
Coffee and cake
Birthday cake
Without candles!

The cake is an Italian Cassata cake
Simple and easy to make

 A make ahead cake
I like those

All set for when we come back from Lamar

Slices of Birthday Cassata 
with freshly brewed coffee
And presents (a dozen cranberry pecan rugalach) and cards!


2 c. Ricotta cheese
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. liqueur (sherry, brandy, Amaretto, I used Maraschino liqueur)
1/4 c. finely chopped candied cherries
1/4 c. mini semi sweet chocolate chips
1 pound cake (I used Sara Lee frozen)


1 c. mini semi sweet chocolate chips
1 t. instant coffee dissolved in 1/4 c. boiling water
6 T. unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, chilled
sliced almonds for garnish

Combine ricotta, sugar, liqueur and mix until silky.    Fold in candied cherries and 1/4 c. semi sweet chocolate chips.    Set aside.

Cut pound cake in half horizontally using sharp serrated knife.    Cut each half again horizontally.    Place pound cake on serving platter.    Spread 1/4 ricotta mixture evenly over cake.    Repeat procedure twice.    Top with remaining cake layer; press lightly to compact layers.    Cover with plastic wrap; chill at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile heat 1 c. chocolate chips and coffee in top of double boiler over hot, not boiling water.     Stir constantly until chocolate is melted.    Add butter pieces, one by one, stirring constantly, until all butter is added and melted.    Remove from heat; let cool to spreading consistency, about 2 hours.    Spread top and sides of cake with chocolate frosting.    I garnished the cake with sliced almonds on top.

Friday, November 24, 2017

New Sofa . . . and Chair

My husband is hard on sofas
I am envious whenever I hear of people who have their sofas for twenty years
Two is our average
And so in the almost 30 years at Linderhof
we've had a lot of sofas

And we've got another!

It's a paisley by Moussard
which we found was a very good brand
selling at Neiman Marcus and Horchows
So they're not cheap!
It's a color that goes well in our living room

And when we bought the sofa, we also bought . . . 

A chair!
It's a good brand, too, CR Laine,
so "exclusive" that all of the sellers on line say
"call for quote"

It replaces  . . . 

This sofa
Which although nice looking in this picture
was not worth the $800 we paid for it
For it didn't even last a year
Before it broke down in the middle
(and you could reach behind the cushion and touch the floor)
And then the leather started coming off the seats
(Unfortunately, the company we bought it from is no longer in business)

And the chair . . . 

A consistent store find 1 1/2 years ago -- it had started to wear in the front 
where my legs rub against the cushion
Not bad but I was thinking that I would have to get it reupholstered next
year . . . but, now I don't!

The living room with the old sofa

And the living room with the new one

Actually, I think it looks better than the "old" one --
the lighter color just goes better in the room with the rest of our furniture and curtains.
The pattern, too, adds a little bit of texture

And as seen as you come down the stairs -- chair on the right
and sofa on the left

I won't say we were actually looking for a sofa and I definitely was not looking for a chair
But those things are always in the back of your mind --
 the fact that we would soon be needing a sofa

And Husband Jim enjoys thrifting and is always on the lookout . . . 
We were in the city last week --
I had a meeting while he shopped
He went to lunch with his friends
While I had lunch somewhere else with a friend
We got together after
And he was so excited --
he had found the sofa
at a Thrift Shop

I was a bit skeptical because often the bones of Thrift Shop sofas are good
but the upholstery doesn't always fit
But if it's cheap enough, one can always reupholster

We walked in and I was grateful it wasn't the red, blue and green plaid one that I first saw
Then he showed me 

this one.
I liked the color, the style is classic, I noticed the label said "Moussard"
And the price was certainly right.

Next to it was 

I've always liked this style and the price was certainly right
Much less than what it would cost to reupholster my current chair
It's brand was CR Laine

The store wouldn't hold them for us, even if we paid for them
We took a chance and next day Jim borrowed a truck and went to get them
Luckily they were still there

I haven't been this excited about furniture in a long time
They fit at Linderhof
As though we went to one expensive showroom and selected the pieces and upholstery

Are you curious as to what we paid for them?
Less than $50 for both pieces!

If the sofa doesn't last a year, the cost per year for the sofa is a lot less than the last one!
But I'm thinking the quality may be there
And this may be our "forever" sofa

And that's something I always wanted --
A "forever" sofa
Good enough to reupholster every 10 years or so!

We'll see . . . 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Frank's Giving Day

Doogie and Daisy

Are eagerly awaiting
the arrival of

Happy Frank

Let Doogie tell you the story . . . 

"When I was a young pup
and new to Linderhof
Dolly the corgi told me about

Happy Frank

on the fourth Thursday in November, said Dolly, Happy Frank comes and leaves treats and toys
for all good little dogs

I asked Dolly how she knew those things
How she knew more than me.
She told me the legend was told to her by Ollie.
And How did Ollie know, I asked.
Dion DiPoochy told him, she said.

So I believed that first year I was here --
I believed in 

Happy Frank

and how he brought treats to good little dogs.
Which I am, most of the time

When Daisy came to Linderhof,
I shared the legend of 

Happy Frank

And like good little dogs, Daisy and I are early to bed
so that

Happy Frank

can come tonight
and bring toys and treats to all of us good little dogs."

"Surely" said I, "Happy Frank won't think that tearing the stuffing
out of sock monkey is a BAD thing?"
"Will this mean that I won't get a treat and a toy?
Does he remember and write down things that you've done all year long?
Oops, I may be in trouble here!"

"And as Daisy and I  sleep tonight, visions of homemade cookies dance in our heads!
And I promise not to sneak any more cookies out of the basket -- but don't tell -- THEY don't know that I do that!"

Do You celebrate

Happy Frank's Giving Day?

And does Your dog get a treat and a toy


Happy Frank's Giving Day?

Doogie and Daisy are sure that tonight

Happy Frank

will leave them a treat and a toy . . . !

One of us will report back tomorrow!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Cooking Class . . . As A Student

One of my favorite cookies are
They're French, they're yummy, they're colorful

And they're expensive!

And they turned out although I didn't have all the nuances
for making these tasty French treats!
Because of being so colorful they were perfect for Easter

But I also found a source in the city for these wonderful goodies:

A charming little shop

 And I would buy a few if I were in the city and near the store

Then on Thursday . . . 
I was in Natasha's kitchen!

There to learn how to make macarons!
With friend Vonnie and four other students
Vonnie was the high bidder on a package that included this cooking class
And I was the lucky person that got to go with her!
I felt very fortunate to be included!

Vicki and Natasha were great teachers
And the recipe was in true bakery language
for it was in weight rather than amount!

We . . . 

Whipped egg whites

And heated syrup

And mixed the two together until it was the perfect macaron consistency.
We then piped them onto parchment paper  . . .
Ready for the oven after they "cured"

And while they rested and cured, we turned our hand at Italian buttercream
for the filling

We chose  four flavors:
Champagne, strawberry, pistacchio and almond

Finally, the "tops and bottoms" were done and out of the oven

We piped the filling and made the little sandwich cookies

I think they look quite professional!

 And we each got a box to take home!

And my box . . . 

Was brought out for tea Friday afternoon

Looking quite professional in Natasha's box

They were perfect for Friday afternoon tea
And for several more teas to come!

Will I make them again!
Definitely . . .
But not for me but rather when I have a tea party and I want a special treat for my guests
For they are a special cookie and not an everyday cookie jar cookie!

But I must admit that as long as my box lasts, macarons will be on my afternoon tea menu!