Monday, June 24, 2013

the circle of kindness ****.*

the novel bakers present; a week of enchanted fables of food, magic and love by jana koplen~

welcome to our last visit with mademoiselle j, this time she is off to ireland, the land of green, an irish journey of the heart. beyond the bluest oceans and over the green hills, along winding roads that pass murmuring sheep down the narrow path lies a small pink cottage overlooking the sea. with rosebushes heavy with pink blossoms and a thatched roof, it is this enchanted spot that mademoiselle j has been invited to spend a time of quiet repose.

in this idyllic spot, with fresh cream and eggs, shannon invites her to savor homemade recipes from the pink cottage...

it is here she begins to understand in the land of many greens that she would find generosity of spirit and compassion that turns the world.

along the way we meet many friends, including the legendary lady that once hosted huge parties that lasted for days on end. she opened a tall cabinet filled top to bottom with dishes, there must have been 200 plates and tea cups!

we stop by the makers of fine irish furniture

and the inn between

but best of all, we go on a picnic by the sea~

before them the most beautiful vista...

***as a quick aside, the salad was delicious, the raspberry dressing was thick and brilliant red, my husband LOVED it, he was scraping the bowl with his fingers to get all the dressing. i don't care for shepherds pie but its my husbands favorite, this recipe was a far cry from those i have made, it was chock full of goodies and i enjoyed making it, my husband loved having it all for himself.

i packed two precooked jars for him, to my surprise he said i don't want cold pie, umm we are driving 30 minutes or more up the coast? he snatched them and nuked them for who knows how long, grabbed a color approved dish towel, wrapped them up and stuck them in the picnic basket. it was a good hour at least before he was able to dine, they were as warm as if i had just pulled them from the oven, he ate BOTH JARS!

while he ate shepherds pie, i was sucking down the brownies... i don't like walnuts mentioned in their chocolate coffee cake, but i love chocolate and coffee and made little coffee brownie bites, with a baileys coffee ganache, topped with chocolate covered coffee beans. i copied mary and even double dipped them... oh they were totally addicting to me, so moist and chewy i was having a hard time thinking without smearing them in my mouth. i took some to a neighbor to curtail my addiction, she called to tell me she loved my chocolate bombs. the picnic was great fun, racing to beat the fog, but just like in ireland its more apt to be wet and moist then a sun filled day by the sea, how else are their hills so green! ***

this little book is about bringing kindness to the world, to fill your heart with friendship and add color into your life. as they gathered around the table of abundance, the circle of kindness was complete. remember there is always time for friendship~

i hope you enjoyed the week with us sharing these darling little books by jana koplen and mary tiegreen, they make thoughtful little gifts and its never to soon to start thinking of stocking stuffers~

join us next month when the novel bakers will present lavender week, we will surely have your mouth watering and nose tingling for the most wonderful versatile herb in the garden~



  1. Oh your WONDERFUL picnic by the sea...I'm soaking in all the details of your basket, foggy vista, chairs, lantern & pillows... love your Circle of Kindness sheep lids on my jarred pies! Your countryside photos and adorable sheep...*sigh*...love the boat in the foreground! Yes, you are lucky enough :)

    Your ability to bring a book to life with food & fun is inspiring. Thanks so much for allowing me to play along and join your circle, I'm miles behind you, MLW & Mari. I think I should bow out before lavender week so I don't embarrass myself.

  2. Jain, you have OUTDONE yourself.

    I loved every single thing about this ~ how creative you are, and your scenery fits right in with the Irish theme. (I could have sworn you took a trip there just to get the pictures.) Honestly.

    That salad is pure eye-candy ~ absolutely gorgeous, (brownies, too.. and everything.) That picnic spot ... and Scott with the Shepherd's pie(s), what a hoot!

    Supremely well done! Brava!!!

    Sorry I am so late to the party, my intentions were good and I had fun (except the computer glitch). Can't wait for Lavender!!

  3. I am speechless and wild with joy...am going back to look at each photo and will return with more comments. Swooning, fanning self, thrilled to my toes. Bravo!!!
    Be right back. xxoo

  4. This has been a magical week following along with each new post from the Novel Bakers. I've ordered a set of these charming books. Wish I'd ordered two of each as I do want to gift these to a friend who loves to bake.
    Thanks for introducing us to this author and this series.
    What an amazing spot for a picnic! ~ Sarah

  5. Finally--I'm back. And I was instantly transported to Ireland. You nailed the setting, adding a dreamy, mystical quality that I remember from the Ring of Kerry. That's what it felt like. A sweep of blue, mist, the distant ringing of bells as sheep turn down a path. Your picnic is the most beautiful, like something from a dream. I love how you placed the pink cottage near the sea, and your description of the story pulled me in and made me want to dive right back into the CIRCLE. Such a knack you have, my dear! The colorful salad, the rich raspberry vinaigrette, the crunch of farm bread, and Shepherd's Pie. The blue of the picnic cloth is part of the air and part of the sea. I guess you think I'm going on and on about it, but I'm infatuated with the setting you brought together. I'm so sad to leave Jana Kolpen week behind; but looking forward to lavender week. What fun that will be. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this circle of kindness and marvelous things. I can't remember when I've had so much fun. P.S. The Olive book finally arrived today, so it will be good to be back in France, so to speak.

  6. I forgot to say that the picnic is my all time favorite, and that's saying a lot! The chairs, the picnic basket, the strawberries. You have depicted CIRCLE with an artist's eye and hands, making the book spring to life. Thanks so much for introducing me to this trilogy!

  7. I can't remember when I have experienced anything quite like the beauty and artistry that the Novel Bakers have shown this past week in all of your incredible photos, words and interpretations~Thank you seems such a trivial gesture for the hard work and pleasure you have all shared. I am so looking forward to more! Your picnic is luscious and I loved your asides about the hubby and pie~ all the photos and settings are glorious!