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, November 14, 2019

It's Not Pumpkin Spice -- It's Pumpkin!

I'm not a fan of "pumpkin spice"
unless it's spicing pumpkin!

After all a "pumpkin spice" latte is just coffee with
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
It has nothing to do with a pumpkin!

But I love pumpkin
And we have several favorite pumpkin recipes that
I make year after year

One of my favorites is a Cranberry Pumpkin Coffee cake
Found eons ago in a Victoria magazine cookbook
It has the flavors of November . . . 
pumpkin and cranberry!
It's a great breakfast bread for Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving weekend

Of course, there's pumpkin pie
Our first is usually for dessert on Halloween
preceded by our traditional chili
I use Mother's recipe which is as old as the hills for it doesn't
use evaporated milk!
Our first is Halloween and then we have it again on Thanksgiving
for Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving unless there is pumpkin pie for dessert!

I made pumpkin pancakes one morning for breakfast
Eaten with real butter and real maple syrup
and little link sausages
They were good and I used a half a recipe which meant that I had a cup of pumpkin left

So I made mini loaves of pumpkin bread
(another favorite of mine)
and, although the recipe is not mother's, it is an old one and is plain --
no nuts, no raisins
Just pumpkin and spices!

I love pumpkin bars and you'll find them on almost every dessert table in October and November.
I have a great recipe -- called "Killer Pumpkin Bars" and it was a winner
but this year I tried a different version -- with cranberries and a brown butter frosting
Oh, my, they were good.  
Now I'm not sure which recipe is the best!

I do love pumpkin and the traditional pumpkin dishes that appear
as dinner dessert or tea time treats during October and November.

Here are the recipes:


2 1/4 cups flour
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
Granulated sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter an 8 cup ring mold or other decorative mold. Dust the pan with flour, shaking out the excess.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, pumpkin-pie spice, baking soda and salt.

In the medium size bowl of an electric mixer, at medium speed, beat the eggs until they are foamy. Beat in the granulated sugar, pumpkin puree, and oil until well blended. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until a batter forms. (Do not overmix). Gently fold in the cranberries.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin metal spatula around the edge of the mold to loosen the cake and turn the cake out onto the rack to cool completely.

Sprnkle the cake with granulated sugar before serving.


1 unbaked pie shell
1 1/2 c. cooked or canned pumpkin
1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cloves
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 c. rich milk (I use half and half)
1/2 c. heavy cream

Mix all ingredients but the pie shell together.    Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell and bake in a 400 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until firm or until  a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.    Cool the pie well.


3 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 c. water
2 cups canned pumpkin (a whole can)
3 cups sugar

Sift dry ingredients together.    Mix pumpkin, walt, oil and eggs together.    Pour into dry mixture and mix well.   Pour into greased and floured bunt cake pan and small loaf pan or two medium loaf pans.    Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350.    Cool 30 minutes before removing from pan.    (Obviously, the smaller pans will take less time to bake.)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Relish Trays

Growing up
there were two things every bride got for a wedding gift

A deviled egg plate


A relish tray!

I DO have my Grandmother's deviled egg plate and I use it -- 
mostly for Easter dinner for that's when we have deviled eggs --
the colored Easter ones are always on the Easter dinner table.

But alas, I have neither my mother's nor my grandmother's 
relish tray.

Growing up, if we ate in the dining room, there was a relish tray on the table.
With celery, olives (usually green pimento stuffed ones)  and small sweet pickles.
As a child, it was one of my favorite dishes!!!

And every holiday dinner included the relish tray
But for holiday dinners it included both kinds of olives -- the big black ones and the green stuffed ones -- the celery too, was often stuffed with cream cheese

I think ahead and sometime during my first year of marriage,
at a flea market that we frequented every Sunday morning,
I found the relish tray of relish trays!

It's big -- think at least 12 inches and it has slots for all the ingredients of a relish tray -- 
with the picture of the ingredients embossed.
The pickles, the olives, the celery . . . and then there is a fish!
I'm not sure if the fish is for caviar or perhaps chunks of tuna
But it is there --
At my house it is another slot to put olives!

It's a depression era piece, I'm sure, but I don't know who made it.
It's not all that common a piece (not like the relish dish like my Mom's that I pictured above)
but I have seen it occasionally.

I knew that one day that I would be hosting and this was a perfect dish!

And it's true, I became the host and so every Christmas, every Easter, every Thanksgiving,
I would get out my dish, fill it from the jars in the fridge, cut celery into sticks, plunk the pickle fork on top and set it on the holiday table.

I was at the Methodist Church Bazaar in the little town 20 miles from us
and there was this dish!

It's small -- about six inches square
But it has the same pictures embossed in it.
So I am sure it's made by the same company in the same time period

It was way more than $2 -- $12 actually, but I knew it had to come home with me.
I thought that I would revive the relish tray for our dinners.

Husband Jim is not big on olives (unless they are in a martini) but he does love pickles and celery

So Tuesday night, I filled the tray and put it on the dining room table.
We ate everything!

And everything is placed correctly, because there is a picture to tell me so.

Those don't look like little sweet pickles, you might comment,
And indeed, they are not -- Husband Jim likes pickles that are spicy or even
a whole raw Jalapeño pepper with his meal
So the pickle slot is filled with a hot pickled pepper.

I love my new relish tray.
It's home is in a kitchen cabinet, not the china cabinet like it's bigger sister.
For it's for everyday use -- not holiday only use.

I think we should revive the tradition of a relish tray with dinners.
It adds a layer of flavor to a meat and potato meal.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Waterford

Our 50th Anniversary is not just a "one day" celebration . . .
We're making it a month plus long celebration.

On our 25th Anniversary in 1994,
Husband Jim gifted me with

A silver punch bowl
Probably a month or so after our wedding, I stated that for our 
25th I wanted a silver punch bowl.
Of course, 25 years was eons away!!!!

But a silver punch bowl it was -- my present for our 25th
Alas, not engraved but just silver
Reed and Barton is the brand
And it has about 16 little silver punch cups to go with it.

I didn't have an "always wanted" for our 50th
In fact, I couldn't think of a thing I really did want.
I have my engagement ring and my wedding ring
(it is the "golden" anniversary after all)
And I didn't really want to replace them.

I don't need a gold necklace for I wear little jewelry

And then, we decided to get

 The hock glasses in my Waterford pattern
Eight of them!
Hock is the shape for German wine -- think Riesling
I have wanted them "forever" but they were just too expensive.

But, alas, prices have tanked on crystal -- even "Waterford" crystal
And so we got 8 at a very good price
They arrived this week!

 And I couldn't resist setting a table with the water, the hock and the wine!

The water glass was our first purchase.    Husband Jim picked out the pattern -- Kylemore
Much less popular than Lismore which is what everyone seemed to be buying in 1972.
He bought two -- for me for Christmas!

And every monthly payday after for the following six months, I would go down
to the store and buy another one.
They started out $10 each but by the time I had bought the 8th one,
they were up to $12 or $13.

We purchased a lot of the Waterford in the same manner, a piece a month.
Then we got lucky, and found some at flea markets for a good price,
and so those pieces came home.
When Jim had annual training overseas, we could order from the
military catalogue and ordered some from there.
It was, by that time, way more than $12 a stem!

It rose to all of $100 per stem for those water goblets that we basically paid $10 each for
And those hocks, why they were close to $200 which is why we never bought any.

But, sadly, crystal isn't worth what it once was, although at $10 per stem, I'm thinking we could get our money back on those first few purchases!

I love my Waterford and I do use it.

It's home on the top shelf of the curved glass china cabinet
Waters in the middle, hocks on each side, then wine, then sherry, port and the funny little 4 3/8 inch stemmed glass that I can't figure out what it's for.
(Bought I am sure at an antique mall a long time ago -- it's marked Waterford on the stem, so it's the real deal!)

Whenever I use the hocks, I'll remember our 50th Anniversary
And how, 40 or so years ago, husband Jim surprised me one Christmas
with two goblets.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Company for Lunch

Monday I had company for lunch
And it was nice to have a group for lunch once again

The lace cloth
(a estate sale find with several set in red wine stains that I got for "nothing" 
(because of those stains)
A little soak in Carbona and it's as good as new!
I love lace for it's such a perfect base for setting the table!

The Aynsley Pembroke
It seemed appropriate -- and it does set a pretty table
Anniversary roses still holding up in a Waterford bowl

My menu:

A salad of mixed green, blueberries and Rosemary pecans with First Watch Restaurant's Salad Marinade -- a poppy seed type dressing

Cottey College's Chicken Divan with white and wild rice and a corn Madeline
The Madeline shape is much nicer for a ladies luncheon methinks than a muffin!

Moist and Spicy Toffee Apple Cake

A perfect fall dessert!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Last Cookbook Club of 2019 -- PIES!

Michelle and Belynda were our hostesses
(although Belynda (as fitting for an October meeting) was our "Ghost Hostess)
and the them was

The "Ghost Hostess" left a message for us

And a table well set

With name cards no less!
It was, after all, just a week before Halloween!

We were greeted with the sweet pies

Pies you ask, how can that be a theme?
Won't it all be chicken pot pie and apple pie?

No, we rose to the occasion . . . 

Our savory pies . . . 

Liz's quiche.   
One of the best I've had
Simple -- cheese, cream and milk, bacon
But oh, my was it good!

Donna's rustic Italian pie
Full of cheese and prosciutto

Angela's pear and feta pie
A galette -- it was full of wonderful fall flavor

Belynda's Chicken Pie
A Bobby Flay recipe, made by her Mom -- it was the prettiest pie there!

My Tourtoire -- a French Canadian pork pie usually served at Christmas
It's just pork and onion in a crust
I will make it again!

 Our plate of pie -- the savories
Michelle came through with a salad to go with
"We needed a salad she said" and it was delicious -- full of fall flavors
Notice that basically, there is a whole pie on that plate!

And then on to the sweet pies!

Michelle's lemon hand pies
Full of homemade lemon curd (which she'd never made before)
Oh, my were they good!

Michelle also made an apple pie -- "just because"

Michelle's pumpkin pecan pie -- for those at Thanksgiving who can't decide
between the two -- it's all in one!    It was delicious!

Donna made a Chess pie which she's never done before
Chess pies are always so good!

Sara made an apple butter pie -- very seasonal and very good

 Barbara made a honeyed pear pie that was as good to eat as it was to look at!
Full of fall pears and honey with pommegranetes sprinkled on top!

Marie Antoinette may have said "let them eat cake"
but last night at the cookbook club -- we ate pie!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Fifty Years Ago Today . . .

It wasn't exactly 50 years ago today . . . 
for it was November 26
not October 19
But we chose that day to celebrate because
a) we met in October and that blind date was what really changed our lives --
not the wedding
b) the weather is much nicer in October and we could also have guests in the garden
c) a party on Thanksgiving weekend is never a good idea
d) our daughter, son in law and grands could come for several days

And so we celebrated early . . . 

My only request --
A big "50" hanging from the front porch!

Daughter Sarah was full of surprises

Our only "wedding" picture
because we were married at the Courthouse in Kansas City
she had blown up to poster size!
It greeted our guests!

A slide show running constantly --
not only of the last 50 years but also some of our childhood pictures
And now I know why we never dated in high school--
we were both pretty nerdy looking!

As our wedding never included flowers . . . 

She filled the house!

Flowers galore
Creamy white roses and white hydrangeas!

 Food was served in the dining room

Punch, cake, nuts and mints in the breakfast room

Additional seating plus beer and a bar outside!

Granddaughter Lucy -- all ready for the party
Granddaughter Piper got shy!

I shed a tear or two when the cake arrived
We never had one of those either!
Friend Rob of Crooner's Cakery made the cake

A festive table for cake, punch, nuts and mints!

The reception was form 1 to 4
so it was light
"reception" food

Chicken salad and mini croissants

Rare roast beef and rolls with jalapeño mayonnaise

Marinated vegetables

Heart shaped sugar cookies frosted with white and sprinkled with gold

The silver punch bowl (my 25th Anniversary present) filled with
champagne punch

 A smaller punch bowl held Anniversary Punch
Grand Lucy presided over that punch bowl.
She loved pour punch!

It was a great day and we were happy to share it with friends and family.
Our cousins, my brother and his sister, our nieces and nephews all came
As well as many friends -- both old and new!

We were both awed with the friends who came to wish us well.
It was fun to sit together on the couch and open the cards that were left --

Pictures of us you might ask -- where are they?
Daughter Sarah arranged for a professional photographer to be there
to record the event --
we've not gotten those back yet!