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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Kansas Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras has moved north from Louisiana to Kansas

We've always celebrated Shrove Tuesday
by eating pancakes
But now we have a whole day of celebration!
And we Kansans know how to party!

We start the day with pancakes
Usually at home
But this year, we supported our local Kiwanis Club with their annual pancake feed,
held this year on Shrove Tuesday

And came back home to prepare a Mardi Gras lunch for some friends

Decorations are simple --
purple and yellow flowers
And mardi gras beads

My grandmother's china
And, of course, an individual menu at each place setting

We were gone yesterday and so I selected an easy luncheon
But one filled with New Orleans flavor

A low country black bean soup with a dab of sour cream and a sweet potato muffin

Dessert has always been bread pudding
(It's almost as much of a must as chili is on Halloween)
But instead of my traditional one,
I fixed Ina Garten's croissant bread pudding

Croissants and custard and it got rave reviews.
No bourbon sauce is needed!

We visited the afternoon away
and I just had enough time to do dishes and tidy the dining room 
For tonight is my third and last Mardi Gras party
It's a PEO fundraiser
And, of course, I'm bringing food

Muffaletta sliders!

I'll be there with my beads on -- ready to celebrate the night away
(or at least until 10 o'clock when the party will probably break up!)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Girl Scout Cookies for Tea

When I was in Grade School,
I joined the

Well, actually, I was young enough to be in the junior organization,


In front of my house in my bluebird uniform,
navy skirt, red vest and a blue hat with a bluebird on it

Then, when I was old enough, we were allowed to graduate to

Same leaders, same group of friends
Same blue skirt

But we also got a vest
and the beads that we earned were sewn onto the vest
I'm not sure what any of the beads were for
But perhaps my Campfire Girls Book would tell me

And when we were Campfire Girls, we got to sell

Russell Stover Candy
(probably $1 per box)
All the relatives bought a box and I went door to door and sold more
I was never the top salesperson for my group,
But my parents did buy a few boxes so we all got to enjoy the chocolates.

I'm not sure if there were brownie scouts/girl scouts in my school
But it seems that all of the girls belonged to the Blue Birds/Campfire Girls

We would also wear our uniforms to school on meeting days.
It was a badge of honor to belong to the organization
and every day you would see Blue Birds or Campfire girls on the playground

In our little town when Daughter Sarah was small there were not
any Bluebird/Campfire Girls but perhaps that's because they weren't 
"Bluebirds" anymore or Campfire "Girls" because it became co-ed 
by the time Sarah was eligible to join

However, in our little town, there were Scouts
And so, Sarah joined The Brownies

The scouting group for little girls
(although while Sarah was in Brownies, they also added The Daisies -- for even littler girls)

And then she graduated to a Junior Girl Scout

And Girl Scouts sell cookies

In those days, Moms sold them at work and the girls would take
cookies door to door to sell them.

Sarah sold her share but like her Mom she was not a 
Super Salesgirl

I do remember Mom always buying a box or two of 
Girl Scout cookies when I was a child

My favorite was the shortbread
And it was not the "original" Girl Scout cookie --
no, it was one of the three new ones added in the 50s
(Thin Mint being another)

Girl Scout Moms probably sell cookies through the workplace
But, alas, door to door sales have all but disappeared.
The table in front of Wal Mart taking it's place

Today, at Wal Mart, there was a troop of girls
And I bought boxes of my favorite

Tea this afternoon was Girl Scout shortbreads

The same flavor that they've always had!
And they really are a perfect tea cookie.
I hope they're back next time I go to Wal Mart
I could use another box or two or three!

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Pansy Record . . ./

It's not yet March
Actually, it is just barely the middle of February

We were in the city yesterday
And as we drove past a nursery there was a big sign

Spring Pansies

So on our way back, we stopped by

And I bought two flats
of mixed
I'm not a pansy purist
I love the riots of yellows and purple and lavender and white

The greenery from Christmas was taken out of the pots

And the pansies put in

The front pots
The chippy iron pots that flank the front stairs

And the back entrance
Which is quite a fancy entrance for a basement

Two concrete long pots that flank the stoop
I think that they've been there forever!

And I must admit that I have the prettiest basement door in all of Fort Scott!

And in the back garden

The big white planter
(That has a dove that oversees all that is planted there)
Alas, it did not have Christmas greenery
But it did have the remnants of summer begonias

And now it has pansies

I love these -- the purple ones with the yellow centers
They were special . . . and sold in six packs -- 
unlike the rest which are a mixed bag.

Enough pansies were left to plant the armillary
in the back garden!

We've had a warm winter
(And actually had I planted fall pansies, I think they would have bloomed most of the winter)
 although there was nothing in the garden,
the pansies seem to remind me that Spring is in the air . . . 

We shall enjoy these pansies until the weather turns really warm in June
and the plants get leggy.

The pansies, too, shall be used indoors to decorate fairy cakes and cakes and cookies.

I love the fact that 2017 is the earliest we've ever planted pansies!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017

Valentine's preparations started last Friday

when I baked and frosted and mailed
cookies for the Grands
It's a tradition -- holiday cookies from Nana

And today, I had friends over for my annual Valentine Luncheon

It was a special luncheon and so Grandmother's china, Jim's grandmother's cutlery, red tulips in a Waterford vase and damask cloth and napkins (the napkins in silver rings)

The menu:
(All recipes from House Specialties of Top of the Cellar Tea Room)

Parmesan Bites

Linderhof Cream of Tomato Soup
(the only recipe not from the book)

Sunflower chicken and Artichoke Heart Rice Salad

Chocolate Chess Pie with Grand Marnier flavored whipped cream and orange zest

After everyone is gone but before I've cleaned up.
It looks like a good time was had by all!

And tonight, for MY Valentine, 
I made a special dinner

A 2 inch thick ribeye (from The Butcher Block) 
and baked potato with all the trimmings . . .
The final two pieces of chocolate chess pie will be our dessert!

It was a great Valentine's
Full of food and friends

The Recipes:


1 large can Pillsbury biscuits
2 T. butter
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. Parmesan cheese
1 T. dried Parsley

Melt butter and mix with vegetable oil.    Mix cheese and parsley.     Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces, dip in butter/oil mixture and then roll in cheese /parsley mixture and place on baking sheet.     Continue until all biscuits have been coated in cheese /parsley mixture.    Bake according to directions on biscuit package.


8 boneless, skinless chicken breezed
1 cup sour cream*
1 t. celery salt
1 t. paprika
1/2 t. garlic salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 T. Worchestshire sauce
1/4 c. dry white wine
1 stack saltine crackers
4 T. butter

Mix sour cream and all seasonings well.    Add wine and mix again.    Add chicken breasts, place in covered bowl and refrigerate overnight.    Preheat oven to 325.    Melt butter and mix with cracker crumbs.    Roll chicken breasts (still covered with marinade) in cracker crumbs and placed in a greased casserole.    Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 40 minutes.    Remove foil and bake for 20 more minutes allowing cracker crumbs to crisp.

*Note:   I didn't have enough plain sour cream so used French onion dip.    I think next time I will only use the French onion dip.


1 box rice pilaf
1/2 c. chopped bell pepper
6 green onions, chopped, including tops
1 c. chopped green olives
7 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 t. curry powder

Cook rice according to instructions and cool.    Add bell pepper, onions, and olives.     Drain artichoke hearts, reserving juice.    Chop artichoke hearts and add to rice.    Mix mayonnaise, juice from artichoke hearts, and curry powder.    Add to rice and mix well.   Refrigerate at least 8 hours and serve cold.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cookbook Book Club - Paula Deen

Rita was hostess for March
Her choice:

Paula Deen

On the menu:

Rita's Chicken Georgia

Angela's Honey Balsamic Green Beans
(She was not happy with them but we all thought they were very good)

Martha's Italian Pasta Salad

Liz's Layered Jello Salad

Donna's Mayonnaise Muffins

A perfect plate of food
We are surprised at how each month The Cookbook Gods always smile on us!

Newest member Sara with her divinity (and some pink fudge that Hostess Rita had made) --
we thought it looked like a rabbit!

Some of the Recipes:


4 T. butter
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 T. minced shallots
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
4 ounces grated mozzarella cheese

Melt butter over medium heat.    Add mushrooms and shallots and sprinkle with salt and pepper.    Cook 10 minutes.    Add chicken and cook 10 minutes on each side, or until tender.   Transfer chicken to platter and sprinkle with grated cheese.    Top with mushroom mixture.    Cook and let stand 5 minutes or until cheese melts.


16 ounces green beans
1 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 t. honey
1 t. onion powder
salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium heat.    Add the beans and blanch them for 2 minutes.    Immediately remove the beans from the water and add them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.   Drain.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.    Add the garlic and green beans.    Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.    Uncover, then stir in the vinegar, honey, onion powder, and salt and pepper, to taste.    Cooked to desired degree of doneness, about 4 to 6 minutes.


1/2 t. salt, plus more for seasoning
1 pound bow tie pasta *
1 cup store-bought balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 T. sugar
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
4 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
2/3 c. pitted kalamata olives
1/2 diced green bell pepper
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan, for topping

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat.    Add the pasta and cook it according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinaigrette, mayonnaise and sugar.

Drain the pasta well, transfer to a large serving bowl, and let cool.    Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, green pepper, salt, to taste, and the black pepper.    Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.    Sprinkle with the cheese, toss lightly, and serve.

NOTE:    I used big shells because I happened to have them on hand.


2 c. self-rising flour
5 T. mayonnaise
1 c. milk

Stir well with spoon.    Grease muffin pans and fill 2/3 full.    Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.