Friday, June 28, 2013

Foodie Friday: The Novel Bakers Present The Circle of Kindness

 Between the bluest ocean and over the green hills,
along the winding road that passes the murmuring sheep
and the skylark that sings in the giant oak tree,
through a small crooked gate
and down the narrow path lies a small pink cottage
overlooking the sea."

So begins The Circle of Kindness: An Irish Journey of the Heart, the heartfelt third book in a series by Jana Kolpen and Mary Tiegreen.

This trilogy chronicles the life-altering adventures
of Mademoiselle J. and focuses on the healing force
of food and friendship--and recipes are included.

In Circle of Kindness, we follow Mademoiselle J. to Ireland.
Along the way, the evocative, beautifully written story 
reveals the circular, unending nature of kindness.

"It was to this enchanted spot that Mademoiselle J. had
been invited to spend a time of quiet repose."



"She arrived on a beautiful afternoon
and was greeted at the crooked gate by a committee of fat hens
 and a sweet-faced cow with the kindest eyes in the world."



"The ancient forest opened onto a lush green meadow dotted
with cows that were a curious shade of blue.
Beyond this meadow was an elegant Irish country house set far back from the road."


Mademoiselle J. was in the company of wise cooks who understood the circularity of kindness.


"It's a wonderful thing, a circle...a very ancient symbol
with great power."

"The circle has no beginning and no end.
In our lives we may travel far from home,
 but we will someday come back to where we began."

We can put anything into a circle.
Happiness, anger, humor, envy, joy, kindness.
And it goes around and around.

"My grandmother always told us that a little bit of kindness
can change the world."

"There was a warmth and wonder
that filled the simple kitchen."

"The simple gift of time spent together
is a kindness so deep that it cannot be measured."

It's easy to get caught up in the quid pro quo of friendship and social exchange.
We dole out kindness a pinch at a time
when we should open our hearts and minds,
giving as freely as possible, and without expecting anything in return.

"Sharing the joy of living with those in need of wonder
is a kindness to be treasured."

The "Pie of the Wandering Shepherd"
is hearty and magical.


These Shepherd's "hand pies" were inspired by a fellow Novel Baker. I went wild over a quiet life's "Triple Berry Threat" pies
(see photo below or click HERE for the fruit-version recipe).




 A Toast:
"May you always have warm words
on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
A soft breeze when summer surrounds you,
A chorus of laughter to lighten the heart,
And the kind of smile of a true friend
to welcome you home."


"Green be the grass you walk on,
Blue be the skies above you,
Pure be the joys that surround you,
And true be the hearts that love you."

The book offers a "Kindness Journal."
"The smallest kindness can make a big difference.
It begins with compassion and listening with your heart.
These pages are a place to record your thoughts and acts of kindness. Watch the circle
expand as you share your love."
                             --Mademoiselle J.

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted."

The two companion posts are The Secrets of Pistoulet 
and The Legend of the Villa della Luna.

The Novel Bakers are a small group of friends
who are joined by a love of all things culinary.
Jain Moon, author of the gorgeous food blog, a quiet life,
founded our circle of kindness. Our first assignment
was to explore the books of authors Kolpen and Tiegreen. 
 (c) Jain Moon

I met Jain in early 2009, and I joined her cooking group
"The Darling Bakers,"
which set off wonderful, aromatic changes in my kitchen
and the way I look at the world around me.

Here's a peek at Jain's world.
(c) Jain Moon
(c) Jain Moon

 (c) Jain Moon

 (c) Jain Moon

(c) Jain Moon

 (c) Jain Moon

(c) Jain Moon
Jain's Triple Threat Berry Pies are little gems.
(c) Jain Moon
(c) Jain Moon

(c) Jain Moon
(c) Jain Moon

(c) Jain Moon
(c) Jain Moon
(c) Jain Moon

You can see Jain's breathtaking, beautiful views of Pistoulet 

Our beloved, amazing Novel Baker, Mary,
of Home Is Where the Boat Is, was the first to create a fantastical  post about  Villa della Luna. Her work inspires and lifts my heart.
(c) Home Is  Where the Boat Is
(c) Home Is Where the Boat Is

(c) Home is Where the Boat Is
(c) Home is Where the Boat Is
(c) Home is Where the Boat Is
(c) Home is Where the Boat Is
You can see Mary's astonishingly gorgeous views of Pistoulet 
and Dancing With the Moon (Villa della Luna)

Mari of Once Upon a Plate is a one
 of the original Darling Bakers,
and she brings her style, unparalleled photography, and
culinary genius to the table.
(c) Once Upon a Plate
(c) Once Upon a Plate
(c) Once Upon a Plate
(c) Once Upon a Plate

(c) Once Upon a Plate

 (c) Once Upon a Plate
Treat yourself to a tour of Pistoulet and  Villa della Luna 
with our talented Mari.

(Photographs used with permission.
Please do not pin from this blog. Thanks.)
I hope you enjoy our different views of Pistoulet,
Villa della Luna, and the Circle of Kindness. You are welcome
to visit the Novel Bakers' "Jana Kolpen Week" page at Pinterest.

 The trilogy was written and illustrated by Jana Kolpen,
and the books were designed by Mary Tiegreen.


The Novel Bakers will return on Monday, July 22nd,
kicking off  "Lavender Week."

Seven days of recipes and fun: July 22 - July 28.

Thanks to all of the great cooks who participate each week at Foodie Friday. It is always a treat to see what you've been cooking. You are cordially invited to add photographs of your recipes to the "Consuming Passions" group board at Pinterest, which can be found HERE.

It is a small, sociable group; Foodie Friday folks are always welcome to "pin" with us and chat about food. Just leave a comment on one of my recent"pins," so I'll be sure to see it, and I will send you an invitation. Or you can email me.
To participate in Foodie Friday, locate the blue Inlinkz icon and follow the directions. The red "x"
will allow you to delete your link if you made an error; the "x" is visible to you only.

For a complete guide to this linky party, click HERE. If you have still have questions, click HERE
for a detailed Foodie Friday tutorial.

** By adding your link to Foodie Friday, you are granting us permission to include a photo of your FF recipe (and a link to your blog post) in the "Picks of the Week" feature or on our Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest pages.

I would like to ask pretty please if Pinners will "pin" photos of the "Picks" and all FF contributions from the source blogs, not from Foodie Friday. The (c) copyright belongs to the photographers and all links should originate from their blogs. Thanks.
Thanks so much for visiting  today. I am always inspired by your recipes--and by you. Food blogging is more difficult than any kind because of the sheer work that goes on behind the scenes--planning, shopping, prep work, cooking, taking photographs, culling those photos, and cleaning.  I am amazed by your ideas and creativity.
Before you leave, please check out last week's most popular recipes at Foodie Friday.
Have a great, food-filled weekend.
Mlee and Bandwidth 


  1. Oh Michael - you're creativity knows no end! Honestly, where do you find the time?

  2. Oh my goodness what a cheerful, peaceful and lovely post. The photography, the wording I couldn't get enough! Thank you for sharing!

  3. I thought your post was so profound and thought provoking. I visit Mari's blog often too and thought her most recent post to be so very touching. Both of you have this unbelievable talent for making those viewing your blogs to really "Think". I appreciate both of you for that.

    Carolyn/A Southerner's Notebook

  4. I am enjoying Novel Bakers. Absolutely incredible inspiration!

  5. *GASP* & SWOON! Your BEAUTIFULLY embellished shepherd hand pies...and larger version too, entirely too pretty to eat! Once again I'm speechless~ your page flower embellishments, farm animals real and tabletop versions, rooster, cow creamer and sheep vase...your tables and dishes, I'm blown away! I have to scroll up and down to take it all in. You have shared this wonderful series in such a delightful & magical way. I have miles to go to be in the same circle as you, Jain, & Mari but it's been so fun to play along and novel baking from everyone's perspective! Thanks too for the undeserved high praise... I'm approaching lavender week with a wee bit of angst :)

  6. Your hand pies are beautiful Michael and I love the polka dot measuring cups:@)

  7. What a heartwarming and thought provoking post. We all crave the simple life. Your images are fantastic and so are those beautifully formed hand pies.

    Thanks for hosting and have a great weekend.

  8. Gorgeous!!! I can't wait for lavender week!

  9. I really enjoyed your beautiful post, thank you!
    Miz Helen

  10. My heart is lifted by the Circle of Kindness and all the beauty you have captured here...however I am sad because this week has come to an end~I will go back and read all the Novel Bakers posts many times and linger over the photography, the recipes, and such simple and time honored truths. Thank you for this incredible journey,

  11. Amazing post, make me want to run out & buy all the books in this series.
    I had lost track of Jain awhile ago & am happy to see her gorgeous photos again...along with yours & Mary's, of course. What a talented group!

    Thanks for hosting FF again this week.

  12. Thanks so much for hosting the Foodie Friends party every week. I always look forward to your beautiful works and photographs. Also, thanks for introducing us to these books. I am adding them to my "must read" list. Have a great weekend!

  13. Beautiful post. Thanks so much for hosting and have a wonderful weekend!

  14. Such breathtaking views! You are so fortunate to be surrounded by such beauty!

  15. part one...

    here we go, this is gonna be good, just from your floral cover i know i am in for some magic! i love your wee pinks surrounding the cottage... and your ribbon circles. no detail escapes you, as the prolific writer that you are, words envelope you, and i love how you can mirror back that which resonates in you and then, the lucky readers, get to SEE what you feel... it doesn't get any better~

    your home was made for these series, ok you home could adapt to anything with all the abundance you have around you, but i can see ireland clearly today as i look at the pastoral animals, the pink barn, ok so its rust, a rusty pink, and then would you look at the adorable pristine white happy little sheep grazing away... i am cracking up since you pulled a lighthouse on us ;-) i would have never EVER EVER KNOWN!
    i swear each pic is just delightful, the type that soothes your soul and makes you smile deep down with ease; the cow creamer, the chicken, the lamb, the measuring cups and sentiments. this is just pure joy to experience this post... and it is an experience... of wonder and amazement... and perhaps jealously for lack of my own ducks!

    OMG, i truly gasped at your pies... the shame i feel to be in this group is overwhelming, why have i never thought of anything so cute... you made shepherds pie into the perfect portable pie men will swoon over... AND MEEEEEEEEEEEE TOOOOOOOOOOOOO! cutest thing i have EVER SEEN! and a beautiful shepherds tart? my brain is trying to grasp how you could take a meal i am not partial to and turn it into something i would clamor for... that is an artist at work...

  16. part 2

    ok, i needed to calm down, i told you i write my comments as i scroll down so you get the full frontal force of my admiration, but you are just to darn entertaining, i have to pace myself, like an excellent book, when i stand up and shake it off for a bit, to come back for more, sometimes the anticipation is so great i have to find my center before i tackle the next leg... this is when yoga comes in handy, shanti... oh and for the record, long drawn comments may be out of fashion, but i know you worked countless hours preparing all this funness for us, i can yammer back just as long as it took for you to create this wonderland, so you know you are appreciated for every single touch!

    this was without a doubt the most adorable presentation, from the cute dishes, are they part of the series too, i am very partial to purple green and white combos, to even hiring a duck wrangler in the wings of this marvelous production!

    heavy sigh to this fabulous week shared with all you wonderfully talented and creative novel bakers... i had so much fun preparing my posts, but i had so much MORE fun enjoying all of yours! i know how much time and energy it takes to share these and everyone one of you could have knocked me over with a feather with you multitudes of endless talents.

    thank you for such pretty introductions to us all... i will never forget when i discovered who you were... i had read all of your books, how many decades ago did you start, well i was back there from the beginning. someone mentioned you had the same little chocolate holiday mouse on your blog as i did on mine that day, i waltzed over and made a simple comment. sometime later i looked back at your profile... i almost fell off my chair. i am a large girl, very well planted, in other words when i saw your name and put the dots together i nearly died! i just left some stupid mouse comment to my favorite southern author? that mlw is accessible on a freaking blog and anyone can talk to her? i called my husband, emailed my fiends, i mean really, i was new to blogs and shocked i had found you over a mouse! your humor shined through from day one, kept me coming back, but i have to tell you i was nervous to ask this famous author to be a darling baker... get real, she wrote consuming passions?! its been a delight getting to know you and to watch your talents explode behind the camera too! you always crack me up, and you can bring me to my knees with your mouth watering photos...

    cheers to the novel bakers, aptly named by you too, its been a great week and i so look forward to lavender week!

  17. Thanks so much for hosting! Your pictures are so pretty. :-)

  18. Oh, I so love this post! I read and loved Mary's post this morning, too, and I was wondering if y'all would invite me along to play next time!

    Ricki Jill

  19. Just found your blog and added my link - Smoked Salmon with Dill Cream Cheese & Onions on an onion muffin. Thanks for the opportunity to link up! I'm off to read more!

  20. I guess I am losin' it...I keep trying to link up and I get the message "already linked" and yet I find no photo or entry.
    I love your beautiful post.

  21. Never was right there all the time...:))

  22. BREATHTAKING POST!!!! What tallent and eye for good food and beautiful design!!!!
    Thanks for hosting and reading... and writhing!!!

  23. I can honestly say that this is one of the most fantastic series...So filled with the utmost inspiration even to us "not so great" cooks....I truly was inspired by all of the posts of the Novel Bakers...such a perfect and great name...I thank you all so much for so much enjoyment...

  24. This is all stunning. Thank you for hosting and letting me be a part of it all.

  25. What a wonderful group of Novel Bakers you all are! Your words, photos and creativity are to be admired. Thank you for hosting and sharing with us.

  26. Okay, you can knock me over with a FEATHER now... (and that is no easy feat.)

    My heart melts when I look at your photos ML!! Every single one i--- postcard and photo book worthy.

    I don't even know where to begin, but I can tell you I LOVE your embellished pastry . . . oh my lord! Are you kidding me?? Easily waaay too pretty to eat.

    The flowers, arrangements, your creativity with food, your ducks, sheep, burro and beautiful vistas ~ they are all delights for the senses . . . but they wouldn't be as spectacular if you weren't able to capture them so well with your camera so we can all enjoy. Absolutely genius, multi-talented, wonderful YOU!

    I'm so thrilled that you share the beauty. Your work and artistry bring joy and happiness ~ such a priceless gift! Thank you for that.

    On my way back to drool over your incredible photos a few more times! Have a great weekend... And thank you again. xo

  27. Bravo! I don't want to stop scrolling up and down to stop and write a comment. Truly I feel as if I've taken a lovely trip to the Irish countryside. Swooning over the dance of flowers you've created on the charming illustrations of these books. I've ordered my own set. How did I miss these when they first were published? Thank you to the Novel Bakers for sharing your creative spirits with all of us. Looking forward to Lavender Week. '-)

  28. Thanks for the link-up.

    Your pastries are gorgeous.

  29. What an intriguing book! I love the little pies! Wow! Such beauty on the plate! Thank you for hosting!

  30. You did a wonderful job on your assignment!
    Thanks so much for hosting, ML.

  31. Beautiful pictures, delicious recipes. I´m really impressed. I enjoy passing by your blog.

    I´m your fan.


  32. This is so beautiful! Thank you for this incredible post on our little book. And the pies are beyond wonderful! Many thanks to you, Mary Tiegreen (Sorry I'm 3 years late, just found you!)