The Novel Bakers Present: The Circle of Kindness


The Circle of Kindness: An Irish Journey of the Heart is the third book in a series about the nurturing power of food and love, by Jana Kolpen & Mary Tiegreen, following Dancing with the Moon and The Secrets of Pistoulet.

The Circle of Kindness

The quirkiest and most delicious of this charming series, I found myself wanting to dine at The Inn Between, (open in between breakfast, lunch, and dinner), have tea with the Legendary Lady and play in her dish cabinet, and bake in the cozy kitchen of Merriweather Cottage!


“In the enchanted Irish countryside of ancient forests, singing bridges, and babbling brooks stands a thatch-roofed pink cottage overlooking the sea. In all of Ireland there’s no place finer to have a cup of tea and witness the wonders of life that are offered to us every day.

I set off for a picnic for my

Irish Journey of the Heart

with The Novel Bakers. . .


I picked a spot under the shelter of a

giant oak tree with an ancient face. . . 


Mother Nature did not cooperate since it was rainy.

I felt as woeful about the weather as my ancient-faced tree looked :) and moved my picnic indoors~


I packed my basket with a

specialty of The Inn Between. . .


The Pie of the Wandering Shepherd~ for those who have a wondering nature and need to be reminded of home~

Shepherd Pies in miniature size, made in a muffin pan. It seemed fitting that they were made from circles of biscuit dough :)


Mini Shepherd Pies~

recipe inspired by The Inn Between and

 courtesy of Aaron McCargo, Jr.

Total Time: 55 min

Prep 10 min

Cook 45 min

Yield: *12 mini pies

Level: Easy



(My changes noted by * at the end)

Cooking spray

*1 can biscuits  *(12) recommended: Grands

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1/2 onion, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup beef stock

*1 cup frozen mixed vegetables 

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 1/2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

*1 tablespoon granulated garlic powder

*2 tablespoons granulated onion powder

2 cups shredded Cheddar



Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Spray a 12-count muffin pan with cooking spray. Mold biscuits to the shape of each muffin cup. Par-bake biscuits for *6 to 8 minutes until light golden. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and brown. Stir in the onions, salt, pepper and garlic and allow to cook together for a couple of minutes.

Mix flour into the meat mixture and stir until a paste consistency is reached. Add beef stock to pan and stir in vegetables and herbs, the last few minutes, until combined.

Reheat mashed potatoes in a microwave for 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in granulated *garlic and onion powder.

*Spoon equal amounts (approximately 2 tablespoons) of warm potatoes on the bottoms of each par-baked biscuit. Then top with equal amounts of beef mixture (approximately 2 tablespoons). Finally top with equal amounts of Cheddar.

Return to oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is melted and browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before popping individual pies out with a knife.


*My changes: 

*I only found Grands in 8 count, so I bought 2 cans of biscuits, there was plenty of filling for 16 mini pies.

* I baked the biscuits 5 minutes, punched down the middle with the back of a spoon to create more a ‘well’ for the filling, and returned them to the oven for another 3-4 minutes.

*I used frozen peas & carrots.

*I omitted garlic & onion powder since potatoes were already seasoned.

*I put mashed potatoes on top of beef mixture instead of the bottom and then placed the cheese on top of the potatoes.

 Original recipe from Food Network, here.


Fitzpatrick and The Bored and Colorless Sisters enjoy an afternoon of delicious food, sparkling champagne, wonderful stories, and laughter. . .


And they toasted their good fortune

for having such a fine day.


Salad of Summer Flowers,

assembled from the most beautiful baby salad greens.


I topped the greens with a few nasturtium flowers, the last of the violas, raspberries, blueberries, and candied pecans.







“The smallest kindness can make a big difference. It begins with compassion and listening with your heart.”

– Mademoiselle J.


“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.”

The Circle of Kindness-001

Thank you for your visit!

I’m happy to be joining The Novel Bakers~ 

a quiet life,

Rattlebridge Farm and

Once Upon a Plate

  28 comments for “The Novel Bakers Present: The Circle of Kindness

  1. June 28, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Probably one of the most magical posts I’ve seen this year.
    May the Kindness always shine in your bright Heart and Mind.
    Thank you for sharing,

  2. Mary from Virginia
    June 28, 2013 at 7:46 am

    You always put so much thought and creative energy into your posts. Amazing…
    My paternal Great Granny was from County Cork, Ireland, and my Granny was first generation in America. There is nothing like the Irish! They are magical themselves and great story tellers!
    Loved your post!

  3. Franki
    June 28, 2013 at 7:51 am

    I feel as if my heart has been touched by a most magical leprechaun this morning. Now…I MUST get that book series!! May you have a blessed (and magical) day! franki

  4. June 28, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Mary, you have piqued my interest in this series, and your mini shepherd pies look so delicious! Love the Irish toast that you included!

  5. paula
    June 28, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Lovely, just lovely. What a wonderful way to start the day, and to have that thought all day every day “Kindness”
    The mini shepherd pies look so yummy, I will have to try them for sure!
    Have a blessed day, filled with kindness!
    p.s love those lil books !!!!

  6. June 28, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Thank you, Mary. You have opened my eyes and my heart with your daily posts.

  7. June 28, 2013 at 9:04 am

    This brings back fond memories of our trip to Ireland, the only European country we’ve been to! Your mini shepherd’s pies are adorable, Mary, and the salad…I’m swooning. I look forward to reading this series. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us.

  8. June 28, 2013 at 9:36 am

    This has been such a magical week, anticipating these incredible posts from the Novel Bakers, each one as savory and delightful as the stories they tell~I can only begin to imagine the time and hard work you all have put in to this special collaboration and I will be back to revisit these posts time and again to enjoy the photos, words and details over and over. In the meantime you will find me camped out by my mailbox anxiously awaiting the arrival of The Secrets of Pistoulet! Thank you so much for sharing these amazing books Mary, and telling the tales through your artistic eye!

  9. Kathy from Vancouver, Wa
    June 28, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Just beautiful…fills my heart….thank you so much.

  10. June 28, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I still need to find these enchanting books, Mary. I love this post! I can bake a mean shepherd’s pie, but the minis look like fun! I think I like how you altered the recipe because the mashed potatoes should be the crust on top! :D

    The flowerific salad looks sooooo *pretty* as does everything else in this post!

    I’m showing this one to my eldest and see if she wants to make them over the 4th week @ the lake.

    Ricki Jill

  11. June 28, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Good morning, Mary! I am on vacation, and haven’t seen ANY e-mails since last Fri. and yours is the first I went to today. On purpose, as it is always a delight. The mini shepards pies are a great idea. And sound delicious. I am eating VERY welll here:):) Thanks for the beautiful post this morning. I’ll be back on Sunday so back to blogging next week. LOTS of pics to share:) XO, Pinky

  12. Peggy thal
    June 28, 2013 at 10:04 am

    What a lovely and sweet setting. Very inviting with the champagne and yummy meat pies. Enjoyed the proper toast that would make everyone smile. Such pretty table cloth, plates and silver too. Thanks for sharing.

  13. June 28, 2013 at 10:26 am

    we left sea dream at 4:30 am, i couldn’t wait to get home, do a fast system restore and try to get over here to visit you before i have to grocery shop in the freaking 106 degree temps, thru the entire week, you can only imagine i how excited i am to visit your cool green ireland!

    ok mini shepherd pie… BRILLIANT! they are so adorable and perfect picnic size! i should make them for scotts dinner tonight… or, do you ship prime?

    your salad is gorgeous, did you try their dressing, omg its extremely good, so thick you could eat with a knife and fork. i love your butterfly and bee shot, how adorable are your forks! your picnic is a thing of beauty laced with flowers and food, my favorite combos~

    here’s a toast to the novel bakers, you all are extremely talented and always enchant me with your creativity and willingness to share whole heartedly in the fun with beauty and grace~

  14. June 28, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Good morning, Mary. The Novel Bakers series has warmed my heart and delighted me. I left a comment on your last post that did not show up so please know I did enjoy it very much.

    I must order these books and share them with my friends and family. Such a treat to view your interpretations through photos and your talented and creative mind. I have been mesmerized and transfixed with the many layers of details that only you could think of.

    I am amazed that you still have violas blooming. My mother always grew nasturtiums and your pictures of them bring back fond memories.

    I have my grandchildren visiting this week so I don’t have much time. I will be back to reread and be enchanted all over again next week.

    Have a wonderful weekend. Bonnie

  15. Diane D
    June 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I loved it and your gorgeous photos which accompany it! Kind smiles to you!!!

  16. Amy
    June 28, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Just love your display of the mini shepherd’s pies on the Portmeirion china. Brings back so many wonderful memories of my time living in England. The food and flowers at the picnic make me happy. Thanks!!!

  17. June 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Words cannot describe how I feel about this series…I have been so inspired by the “Novel Bakers”…incredible, incredible posts of over the moon inspiration…This series is definitely one of my very favorite blog series…you and the other ladies have presented perfection…baking, cooking, and presentation at its best…Thank you Mary…I so very much enjoyed it…Have a wonderful weekend!!

  18. June 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Another magical post! Love the series and will have to get “The Circle of Kindness”! The mini Shepherd Pies sound delicious…I’ve made mini-muffins using leftover chicken & veggies using the “impossible quiche” batter.

  19. June 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Oh Mary! That salad, so gorgeous and those adorable mini-pies ~ what a brilliant, brilliant idea! You really made the book come to life with your vibrant photos. Gorgeous shots (as always!) You are so, so talented. I absolutely love your style, and I always go away from your blog with a smile on my face. Thank you for all that you share! Nicely done. Have a great weekend.

  20. June 28, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I love the mini shepherd’s pies and have already pinned them. That happens to be one of my husband’s favorite comfort foods. The thought of a mini version is just great!

    Your post, as always, was a treat to read.

  21. June 28, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Your pies look great Mary, I’ll bet they were very tasty! The salad is beautiful too, love all the flowers. Happy Weekend:@)

  22. June 28, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Mary, this is enchanting! I’m so taken with these books after a week with them through the creative work of the Novel Bakers. Magical posts from each of you. I’ve ordered a set of these books. Can’t wait for them to arrive. Your flower salad is beyond gorgeous, and the shot of the bee with the butterfly embossed forks makes made my heart skip a beat.
    Looking forward to Lavender week. Saw bundles of fresh lavender in the grocery today. ;-) Want me to send you some? ~ Sarah

  23. Rattlebridge Farm
    June 29, 2013 at 2:56 am

    The vibrant colors leaped off the page and wound their way into my senses. These are colors that have texture, taste, smell, and even a sound. (The sound of red would be a cardinal’s song, rising and falling, as your biscuits brown merrily in the oven.) I can just see you bustling around your kitchen, humming a Celtic tune, reaching for a pot holder. I love, love, love each photo. So crisp and clear, it looks as if I could reach through my laptop screen and grab a biscuit and a fork. And what a fresh, brilliant way to make Shepherd’s Pie. I didn’t want this post to end. (I know what you meant about the rain–it’s always dark and wet in the South, seems like!) Bandwidth is looking at your pictures now on the iPad, and he just asked if we could make your pies. Looking forward to our next excursion.

  24. FABBY
    June 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Too gorgeous for words, it’s like all the patriotic details all over your outdoors has grown in the’s awesome, I love each and every image!. Thank you for coming and for your sweet comment. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Fourth.

  25. July 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Beautiful post, Mary! I love every summery thing about it. The mini shepherds pies are adorable and the flower salad just gorgeous! I wish my nasturtiums would hurry up and bloom.

  26. June 22, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Fun post Mary, what a lovely book, so charming. I will have to make the Shepherds Pie for my friend from New Zealand. Though there, they use lamb. Grins and thanks, Sandi

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