Ane Mulligan's Best Country Hearty Shepherd's Pie


While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane Mulligan has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction. Ane firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. You can find Ane on her website and blog:

Ane's Latest Book Release: A Southern Season, Stories from a Front Porch Swing

A Magnolia Blooms in Winter by Ane Mulligan 

With Broadway stardom within her reach, Morgan James returns home in winter to help an old friend. Maybe it s just nostalgia, but when she sees him again, an old flame rekindles. When she s called back to NYC to take the lead in a new musical, will fame be worth losing the man she loves?

Four seasons. Four stories. Each one set in the enchanting world of the South. These are the kinds of stories your grandmother told you from a front porch swing. Buy the anthology HERE.

Ane Mulligan’s Best Country Hearty Shepherd's Pie

3-4 cross-cut beef shanks
1 small onion (or ½ large one), diced
olive oil
1 – 4 cloves of garlic (depends on tastes. Can one have too much garlic? Nay, say I.)
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
3 – 4 potatoes, cooked and mashed

Pre-cook the cross-cut beef shanks in a crockpot all day, covered in water with a Tblsp of Better Than Bullion brand Beef Base. 

About an hour before you plan to eat, remove the meat from the crockpot, break into small pieces. Set aside. Peel and cut potatoes into 2” pieces and boil. When ready, mash and set aside.

Brown the onion and garlic in some olive oil. When it's slightly caramelized (5 minutes or so) add the mushrooms and cook till brown. Add the mushrooms and peas, and cooked beef. Cook for 5 minutes.

Put the meat mixture in a baking dish, top with the mashed potatoes and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350°

This is an old family staple, a one-dish meal. It's also cheap. Serve it with bread rolls. It's the kind of thing you simply throw together. I guessed at the amounts. You can adjust them to your tastes. Serves 4-6 but can be expanded easily.

Oat Tea Crackers

Some call these cookies, some call them cakes, and some call them crackers. Whatever they are, they are wonderful with a cup of hot tea. Enjoy! 

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 sticks cold butter
3-4 tablespoons cold water
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1/2 cups rolled oats on a baking sheet and bake until lightly golden, 8-10 minutes. Cool then transfer to a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Add flour, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pulse again until combined. Add flakes of cold butter to the flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10-12 seconds. Add water as needed until dough comes together. 

Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, shape into a rectangle and cover with more plastic. Chill for 30-40 minutes. Transfer chilled dough to a sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle with remaining oats and roll into a 10-12-inch rectangle. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut into 32 (2 1/2" x 1 1/2") rectangles. Sprinkle with sea salt. Arrange bars an inch apart on two parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until golden, 26-30 minutes. Cool on a wire wrack. Makes 32 crackers.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Spice Pancakes


These are really good if you're looking for a change of pace for breakfast. You'll find this recipe in the back of my second book, Seeds of Summer - Chelsey's Spice Pancakes. Serve with Homemade Pancake Syrup.

2 cups flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup milk
1/4 canola oil
2 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup applesauce

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. Add milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix together with a wooden spoon. Fold in applesauce. Batter will be lumpy. Cook on a hot griddle. Cook until both sides are golden brown. Serve with butter and maple syrup. Makes 12-16 pancakes.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cheesy Grits Quiche


Here's a recipe I tried that uses grits for a crust. So yummy! 

6 slices thick bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup quick grits, uncooked
2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
6 eggs, divided
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat medium saucepan with milk and butter. Bring to a boil. Stir in grits and continue cooking on medium low for 5-7 minutes until grits have thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup cheese and 1 egg. Spread into a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes until set ad browned. Sprinkle remaining cheese over grits, spreading to edges. Let stand 15 minutes. 

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine half and half, cream, minced onion, chives, remaining eggs, and salt and pepper. Pour over grits. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until lightly browned and just set. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges and remove sides from pan. Serves 8-10.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole


Here's a recipe I experimented with until I got it just right. It's so nice to prepare the ingredients the night before, set it to cook, and wake to a warm breakfast. Enjoy!

2 cups frozen hash browns
1 pound sausage, browned and drained
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
10 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 oz. green chilis, chopped
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Spray large crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Place hash browns onto the bottom. Layer on top half of the cooked sausage and half of the cheese. Repeat. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, green chilis, onion, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over top of sausage and cheese layers. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or until eggs are set. Serve with Homemade Salsa. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Lynne Basham Tagawa's Low Carb No Bake Extra Decadent Pumpkin Cheesecake

Lynne B. Tagawa is married and the mother of four sons. She attended the University of Hawaii where she met her husband and obtained a degree in secondary education. The Tagawas live in Texas where she teaches part-time.

She writes fiction, educational materials, and Christian devotionals; she is especially inspired by the lives of great men and women of faith. Learn more about Lynne HERE.

Lynne's Latest Book Release - The Shenandoah Road 
John Russell’s heart aches from the loss of his wife, but the Shenandoah Valley frontiersman needs to marry again for his daughter’s sake. At first he believes he has found the right young woman, despite their differences in background, but his faith falters when time reveals she isn’t quite what she seemed. Can he truly love her? And what about his own failings?

Unlike her disgraced sister, Abigail Williams obeys the Commandments. At least, she thinks herself a Christian until a buckskin-clad newcomer courts her. He treats her kindly but also introduces her to a sermon by the controversial preacher, George Whitefield. Her self-righteousness is shattered, and she wonders about their relationship. If she confesses her lack of faith, will John continue to love her? Buy the book HERE.

Lynne's Low Carb No Bake Extra Decadent Pumpkin Cheesecake

Great for diabetics and everyone on a restricted carb diet. Probably good for gluten free folks too.

1 stick butter 
1 3/4 cups almond flour (or 1 cup almond flour and 3/4 cup pulverized pecans)
1 teaspoon salt 
2-3 teaspoons sugar substitute (Truvia or Swerve)

1 rectangle cream cheese
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup sugar substitute (I use Truvia)
2 packages unflavored, unsweetened gelatin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt

Topping (optional):
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup sugar substitute
To make the crust, mix softened butter and dry ingredients, press in deep dish 9 “ pie plate, and toast at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes (until slightly golden brown). Let cool.

To make the filling, in a mixing bowl, stir softened cream cheese until there are no lumps. Add pumpkin, spices, sugar substitute, and salt. Add cream last. Set aside.

Boil water and add gelatin slowly to the hot water, stirring constantly. Slowly, stir this mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Once it’s thoroughly mixed, add to cooled piecrust. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least two hours.

To make the topping, in a small mixing bowl, beat until stiff peaks begin to form. When cheesecake mixture has fully “set,” spread this on top and return to fridge.

TIP: make sure cream cheese is very soft and well stirred before adding the other ingredients.

Kielbasa Kapusta


Here's a recipe I tried one night for a Polish Dinner I made for our family. Serve with Potato and Cheese Pierogi or Mashed Potatoes.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sweet yellow onions, chopped
2 pounds kielbasa, 3-inch slices
32 oz. sauerkraut, drained
14 oz. crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil. Add onions and kielbasa and cook until onions are translucent and kielbasa has browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add sauerkraut, crushed tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 12-15 minutes. Serves 4-6.

German Cabbage

Here's a tangy, delicious dish to serve your family, especially good with pork or corned beef. Enjoy!

3 slices bacon
1/2 head medium cabbage, shredded
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon celery seed
salt and pepper to taste

In large skillet, cook bacon. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Crumble into small pieces. Set aside. In remaining fat drippings, saute onion, and green pepper for 2-3 minutes. Add cabbage.

In small bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, and water, stirring well until sugar is dissolved. Pour over cabbage and stir ingredients. Sprinkle with celery seed, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender for about 20-25 minutes, stirring often. Before serving, sprinkle crumbled bacon over top. Serves 4.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Pumpkin Recipes

It's November and time to get out your pumpkin recipes.
Here are a few of our favorites to make for your family!

Red Cabbage with Apples


Here's a delicious recipe that my mother-in-law makes. It's the perfect accompaniment to any German fare. Enjoy! 

2 pounds red cabbage, coarsely shredded
2/3 cups red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons bacon fat
2 medium Jonathan apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 small bay leaf
2 whole cloves
1 cup water
3 tablespoons dry red wine
3 tablespoons red currant jelly (or grape jelly)
salt and pepper

Place cabbage in large bowl and sprinkle with vinegar, sugar, and salt. Set aside. In large saute pan, melt bacon fat and saute apples and onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage, bay leaf, cloves, and water. Stir thoroughly and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 90 minutes to 2 hours, keeping it moist with extra water if needed. When the cabbage is done, there should be no liquid left in the pan. Just before serving, remove bay leaf and cloves and stir in wine and jelly. Taste to season with salt and pepper. Serves 6-8. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.



Here is a neat recipe to make for St. Patrick's Day or Octoberfest, with a substitution of sausage for the usual hamburger. I like to serve this with Country Potato Soup.

1/2 head medium cabbage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound sausage, browned and drained

5 1/2 - 6 cups flour
2 packages dry yeast
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs

In large skillet, brown sausage. Shred the cabbage as you would for slaw. Add cabbage, onion, water, salt and pepper to cooked sausage; simmer until tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.

For dough, in large bowl combine 2 1/2 cups flour and yeast. Heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt just till butter starts to melt (115-120 degrees). Add to flour mixture. Add eggs and mix until combined. Stir in enough remaining flour to make stiff dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead till smooth and elastic for 5-7 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in greased bowl. Cover and let rise until double, for 1 hour.

Punch down and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each into 4" square. Spoon 1/3 - 1/2 cup meat mixture in center of each. Bring corners together and pinch edges tight. Place on greased cookie sheet, pinched side down. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. These may be wrapped in foil and frozen. Serves 12.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Deborah Raney's Family Favorite Apple Crisp

Deborah Raney’s thirty-plus books have garnered multiple industry awards, including the RITA, the Carol, the HOLT Medallion, National Readers’ Choice Award, and have three times been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, which shed light on the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease and inspired the highly acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title, continues to be a tool for Alzheimer’s families and caregivers. Deborah is on faculty for several national writers’ conferences, and serves on the executive board of the 2,600-member American Christian Fiction Writers organization. She and her husband, Ken Raney, traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deb’s novels—for life in the friendly city of Wichita. They have four children and seven precious grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at

Deborah's Latest Book Release - Reason to Breathe

Phylicia thought life was passing her by, but maybe this was love’s plan all along. . . 

At twenty-nine, Phylicia Chandler put her life on hold to care for her dying mother with her sisters, Joanna and Britt. Now Mom is gone and their father stuns them all by running off with a woman young enough to be their sister. Life is moving forward all around her, but Phylicia feels stuck—until her father’s protégé, Quinn Mitchell, presents the sisters with an intriguing business opportunity to purchase a trio of cottages just outside of Langhorne, Missouri. Joanna and Britt are convinced the three of them should launch a vacation rental venture, but Phylicia remains skeptical. 

To complicate matters, Quinn soon finds himself falling hard for Phylicia. But how can he pursue this beautiful, talented woman twelve years his junior when she’s still reeling over her father’s hasty engagement to a younger woman? Quinn is determined to give Phylicia her happily-ever-after. But first, he must help her come to terms with her discovery of long-held family secrets and persuade her that true love can transcend their differences. Purchase the book HERE.

Deborah's Family Favorite Apple Crisp

4 cups (about 3-4 medium) apples, peeled and sliced thin

Mix and pour over apples: 
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Crumble Topping: 
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter, diced 

Mix topping together with pastry blender or fork till crumbly.
Place apples in greased baking dish (either 6x10 or a 10-inch quiche pan). Sprinkle topping evenly over apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.

Spiced Speculaas


Here's a delicious cookie that is nearly identical to those windmill cookies you can buy in the store. Only better. Try them. One of my favorite cookies and perfect to serve with hot tea.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 teaspoons speculaas spice (to make your own, see below.)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg

In small bowl, combine flours and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla, spice, salt, and egg. Mix until well blended. Carefully stir in flour mixture. Divide dough in half and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 2 or more hours. 

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out one half of the dough at a time and roll 1/8" thick. Press each cookie using a springerle cookie mold, cutting out each cookie, one at a time. (To prevent dough from sticking to molds, brush mold with powdered sugar each time you press, and then press down hard enough to create a good impression.) Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets. Freeze for at least 30 minutes to help retain the design. 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake cookies for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on pans. Makes 2-3 dozen, depending on size of molds.

Speculaas Spice:
6 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground aniseed
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

In small bowl, combine all spices and mix well. Store in a cool, dry container. Makes almost 4 tablespoons.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.