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.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Last Cookbook Book Club of 2018 -- It's Ina!

After September's Pioneer Woman, 
we decided to do Ina for October

Partly because . . . 

Her newest book came out on Tuesday before our Club Meeting on Thursday
(and several of us pre-ordered and so it arrived on Tuesday!)

The hostess was Barbara --
dear Barbara who lives in Sheldon
and every month travels to Fort Scott with her dish

So we got to travel to Sheldon with our dishes
What fun!

We started with appetizers

(who is our overachiever)
brought a combination of two of Ina's recipes --
Easy Cheese Board and Cheese and Bread Platter

We all agreed that it was picture perfect
And oh, so delicious!

She also brought Thyme Roasted Almonds and Rosemary Roasted Cashews
(I think many of us could have taken those dishes and just went to a corner and ate!)

Main Dish

Cider Roasted Pork Tenderloins
Not from a book but from her television show.     
 Barbara (for the hostess always provides the main course)
 cooked them to perfection . . . and as she said it was easy.

She also served them with a wonderful pineapple chutney
which --
a) I forgot to take a picture of
b) I forgot to get the recipe for
But it was delicious -- that bowl of chutney made it's way around the
table at least three times!

Rita's Dish

White Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin

In today's lo-carb world, this definitely would take the place of either mashed or baked potatoes
It was so good and I'm not sure Rita had any to take home!

Martha's Salad

Beets with Orange Vinaigrette

One of the things we try to do is NOT make anything we've made before and I've cooked a lot from the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks.

The few things I had not made, I could not find the ingredients in our little town.
I finally settled on this dish -- from her first cookbook
And I could not find the whole beets so I substituted slice ones
(what are you going to do)

And our cookbook club are beet lovers!
Every. Single. One.



Honey White Bread

Belynda is not a bread baker -- did she say this was the first bread she's every made?
Well, it was fabulous . . I think there were only crumbs left!
But it is the purpose of the cookbook club to have us stretch . . . 
And bringing bread certainly allowed Belynda to!



Beatty's Chocolate Cake

It is a great chocolate cake.    Rhonda chose to make it in a 9 x 13 rather than as a layer cake
which was good because
1).  we all only wanted little pieces
2).  It travels much better that way!

Even non chocolate person, Michelle ate some!


(became our second overachiever of the night!   She brought two desserts!)

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Oh, my were they good!
Definitely a dessert to consider for Thanksgiving!

Creme Brûlée
Michelle had never made it before
but you would never know it -- it was as good a creme brûlée as I've ever eaten!
Not having a little kitchen torch
(and not wanting to buy one)
Her husband came to the rescue with the blow torch from his tool room!
A torch is a torch!

Nothing like a trio of desserts to end the evening!

Ina has been a prolific cookbook author --
since she first started in 1998
a new book every other year --

 The first 10 --
Cook Like a Pro makes number eleven
And I have all of them
They are my most used cookbooks

We enjoyed cooking with Ina
Her recipes are definitely easy
But sometimes she uses ingredients that are not available
in little towns in the midwest
which limited our choice of recipes.

We cooked with her once before
(our first year)
and I'm sure we'll cook with her again!

It's always bittersweet to see our Cookbook Club year end
But we meet on the last Thursday of the month
and Thanksgiving and Christmas get in the way
So rather than try to reschedule, we just skip those months.

And in January it's always good to get together again!

Barbara was a wonderful hostess and we always enjoy traveling
there and she likes to host our last meeting!

In January we're turning things upside down and inside out!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Grits to Glory . . . Comes Alive!

A great read

Grits to Glory
A book about the history of Southern Food
Not a cookbook!

Written by:

Joe Johnston
(whose other claim to fame is being part of the marketing team
that came up with McDonald's Happy Meal!)

Yesterday, Joe was in Nevada
at the Bushwhacker Museum
And not only did I get to meet him and hear his talk
But I got to cook and serve some Southern food
to the 50 plus guests attending his "lecture"

But, of course, I didn't do it alone . . . 

My partner in crime, friend Shirley Ann

We said yes, eons ago and spent part of the summer coming up with a menu
after reading the book
Shirley Ann, however, is the Southern part of our duo
(although being raised in Missouri "Southern" food did make it's way to our table
often -- but I'm not the expert)


We got to hear Joe
he was an entertaining speaker
And there were door prizes
(like Lodge skillets and cookbooks)
Which, of course, I didn't win . . . I never do
But I'm used to that by now!

And after, we served a taste of the south to the attendees
of the program

A menu  -- of course -- we wanted our guests to know what we were serving

Shirley Ann and I divided up the duties
Each of us made two things
one sweet and one savory --
Mine were:

Pecan tassies
(Because pies were a big part of Southern cuisine and as everyone knows
if you go to an open house, a sip n see or a shower, pecan tassies always seem to be on the menu!)

 Ham biscuits
(because when you think of Southern food, the first thing you think of is biscuits --
the second is gravy!)
Mini biscuits filled with ham and spread with Aunt Ruie's mustard
(friend Sally's aunt's recipe)

The plate:

Shirley Ann made the smoked Gouda grits and the coconut cake.    Which complimented the tassies and the biscuits perfectly.      

It wasn't a buffet but rather a plate with tastes of all four items.
And we had a big crowd!

We also served Southern sweet tea and Cafe Du Monde coffee
(for drinks had to be southern as well!)

And we had a handout of the recipes.

Many of our guests who swore they did not like grits came back for seconds --
but it is a superb cheesy grits recipe and the smoked gouda takes it over the top!

We made a few extras and so put out a platter with tassies and biscuits on it and gave seconds on the cocoanut cake.

But the best part of the day . . . 

Was that Joe signed my very worn copy of Grits to Glory

Me with my book and Joe with.a plate of Southern food!

I think Joe enjoyed Nevada's hospitality
and the crowd was certainly warm and welcoming!

It was a fun day . . . but any day when I get to cook and share my cooking
is a fun day!

The Recipes:


2 cups self rising flour
1 1/2 c. cream

Mix together until a soft dough is formed.     Pat out onto a cutting board and cut with biscuit cutter.   Place on uncreased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven about 12 to 15 minutes.


 heat 3/4 stick butter, 3 cups of milk and a good pinch of salt in a saucepan.   When it comes just to the boil add 3/4 cup quick cooking grits.    Stir constantly until it thickens.    Add cheese (the original recipe calls for gruyere but we like Smoked Gouda)    The original recipe calls for 4 ounces, I just put in what I like . . . and a dash or two of Tabasco and 1/2 t. garlic powder.      Pour into a buttered casserole.  
Bake in a 350 oven for 15 to 30 minutes (until it's set)    If you want a brown crust you can run it under the broiler.     

NOTE:   You can use whatever cheese you like.


Ingredients:  1 White cake mix
                    1 can Coco Lopez
                    1 tube Cool Whip - Regular or creamy

 White cake mix (make as directed using only egg whites) then add 1 cup coconut and stir well.   Pour into 9 x 13 pan

Let cool  - Poke holes in cake. Pour 1 can Coco Lopez over top of cake

Put in refrigerator over night

When ready to serve mix l tube cool whip and 1 cup coconut (can add more to thicken) - mix well and put over top of cake.



1/2 c. butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 c. flour

1 large egg
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 T. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
dash salt
2/3 c. finely chopped pecans, divided

In small bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth; gradually beat in flour.    Refrigerate, covered 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 375.    Shape dough into 1 inch balls; press evenly onto bottoms and sides of greased mini muffin cups.

For filling:   In a small bowl, mix egg, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt until blended.   Stir in 1/3 c. pecans; spoon into pastries.    Sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until edges are golden and filling is puffed.    Cool in pans 2 minutes.   Remove to wire racks to cool.

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Columbus Day Rite

As night turns to day, 
on Columbus Day
the houseplants come inside for the winter

The reason?    
It's still warm outside and they can get used to the lower light before the
drying heat comes on.
Oh, there's been a few years that we've had to rush them inside before Columbus Day
as temperatures plummeted
But I must admit that is rare

I like the summer house --
it's bareness with very little greenery inside
(the violets and my Mother's beefsteak begonia)

But I also like the house come fall
When the plants come inside!

My 11 year old Christmas cactus
It's white
It does like that spot
Bought for the breakfast room table the year we built the breakfast room
It definitely has outgrown that tabletop!

I always think of this as Becky's Christmas cactus
Given to me by friend Becky
It has grown leaps and bounds
It was one of those tiny little things that grocery stores sell --
It's a real plant now!

I like the touch of green
It takes the house seem more alive!

An Easter cactus
Bought because every bed and breakfast had them when we took a Lenten trip to Germany one year
And I'd never seen one here!
It came from Sam's and although it bloomed when I bought it -- it didn't the following year!
Will it bloom next spring?

The big leaf Boston type fern
I'm not sure what it's called
But I've had it a while which is more than I can say about
any Boston I've bought
It's shaping into a pretty fern
Thanks to being on the porch all summer

For last year it was a bit lopsided
as Husband Jim put it on the baker's rack on the patio
And it grew out but the backside didn't!
There wasn't room!

And one of the reasons we have all the doors in the breakfast room
For the plants!
The Calamonda orange (bought in 2003), the Meyer Lemon (not old and this year we'll get a lemon or two -- I can't say that every year)
And the Christmas cactus that Jim got me for our anniversary last year
It was so thoughtful of him!

And it is a busy day for not only do I haul all of those pots in
But I also haul all the plant stands up
(for they summer in the basement)
And I haul all of the porch stands down!

Since most holidays are associated with food at Linderhof,
Columbus Day is no exception

It's meatballs and spaghetti!

And tonight . . . 

The first fire of fall!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Princess and The Mouse

 A rite of October are the Halloween costumes
From Lucy's second Halloween
when I made a Little Red Riding Costume
to Piper's first
when she was the White Rabbit to Lucy's Alice in Wonderland
it is a Labor of Love

And in September, I got "the call"
Piper, smiling saying
"I want to be Minnie Mouse"
Lucy, very serious
"I want a pink and purple Princess dress, with a pink and purple crown, a gold wand and pink and purple necklaces"

The Princess Story:

I figured that she had an idea in her mind of what her dress should look like
and I wanted to please her,
so I sent her photos of patterns

This one
Which was rejected

And this one
Which was rejected as well

And the final choice
Another rejection!

I decided I would make her a Princess dress
and if she didn't like it, well . . . those things happen!

My plan -- drawn on a paper towel

Material -- all pinks and purples and shimmer and glitter

The dining room table
Is the perfect cutting table for sewing projects

And the dress starts to take shape

It's a two piece, actually

The top layer -- all shimmer pink with gold trim worthy of a Princess
and a sparkly net skirt

To go over your basic Princess dress
of purple and pink

Satin and sparkles and glitter
What every Princess dress should be made of!

And a Princess isn't a Princess without a crown
But alas, no pink and purple crown but rather a gold one!

Gold paint, spray glue and glitter transform an ordinary silver crown into a glittery gold one

The wand gets the same treatment

And I really should learn to wear gloves when I have to hold the object being spray painted!

It's all done and was mailed this morning
It should get there Thursday
It's as "The Princess" requested -- a pink and purple Princess dress, a gold crown and gold wand and pink and purple necklaces (I threw in some gold ones too)
(The necklaces were stolen from my Mardi Gras beads stash)
I hope "The Princess" is pleased!

The Mouse Story:

Ah, the Mouse was much more simple
A simple dress of red cotton with white dots

(Using the same pattern that we made Lucy's Little Red Riding Hood From)

And it's done -- all but the handwork!

I put big white buttons on the front
(I noticed that often "Mice" have big buttons)
And because all I had for Piper was a dress, I got the Minnie Mouse container
for her candy.
The bow was pink and so I cut out a bow from leftover dress fabric and glued it to the pail.
There is more, shoes and white gloves and black tights and a long sleeve black shirt
and ears -- oh, yes ears with red bows with white polka dots
(I had made those earlier and they were in Minnesota)

I know the Mouse will be pleased!