Friday, January 29, 2021

The Cafe is Closed but the Porch Light is On

 Missy Tippens

Well, today is our last day of new posts at the Cafe. But we hope you'll enjoy our archived blog to look back, remember, and find your favorite recipes that have been shared for the last decade.

Thank you to all past regular bloggers and guest bloggers, to all who interacted with us, and to all our readers. You've been such a blessing!

Please keep in touch at the main Seekerville blog (which is for writers and readers) and on social media.

Don't be a stranger!

With love from Missy, Ruthy, Mindy, Jan and Cate

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Fried Pies and Goodbyes....

 So this is one of our farm favorites that just wanted to get last day attention.... I first discovered Fried Pies in Deborah Smith's "Sweet Hush" and I thought... I must make those! Well I didn't have time for a lot of years, but then once I was doing daycare at home all day (and working nights/evenings and writing in the middle of the night until I finally convinced an editor to love me enough to pay me!!!) I started playing with them and honestly, if you don't mind making the fruit filling, you can use homemade pie crust or store bought to do these... and they're amazing!

I always use clean oil for these because I don't want a delicate pastry crust to take on an old taste from oil that's seen too much use. And I just bought a new big fryer ... I mean BIG FRYER for the farm because we're adding Fried Dough to the farm booths this summer/fall land I hope folks love it... and I hope we don't kill anyone.

Two important wishes, my friends! 

And maybe someday we'll add fry pies because folks would love, love, love them but there has to be someone else on hand to make them because I'm balancing a lot to keep up with our current baking schedule.... although Jon is the best kitchen trainee I've had in a long time. He's quick, effective and he doesn't get nervous.

Nervous people don't belong in my kitchen. They annoy me.


That's not nice.

Okay, let's just say that I like calm, joyous people in the kitchen. :) 

That sounds better, doesn't it???


Anyway, Jon is learning all the recipes and how to put things together and packaging. I think he's preparing in case I DIE.... so someone knows how to run the bake shop part of the farm in the fall, LOL! Well done, Jon!!!!

Anyway, you can sub in apple filling, blackberry filling, strawberry rhubarb, sour cherry, etc.... it's all about the ratio of tender fried crust to delicious filling, so don't make the crust too thin... and be generous with the glaze.



Nothing should taste this good and no one should eat these because I'm willing to bet they're about one jillion and two really bad calories for you.

Having said that:

They're amazing. And you can substitute any fruit filling for the cherry pie filling, just be sure to crimp the edges tightly with a fork.

Sweet cherry pie filling:

4 cups pitted frozen dark, sweet cherries (Or sour cherries and double the sugar)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup water
3 tablespoons butter

Heat frozen cherries and water in 4 quart saucepan on stove over medium heat. I cover them so they defrost and heat more quickly. Once cherries are thawed, mix sugar and flour together in one bowl and add to cherries. Stir, cooking over medium heat until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat. Stir in butter. Cool.

Dough:  Go HERE and follow the directions for my pie crust.
It is never a bad idea to have little kids help you with pie crust. It may take a little longer, but the memory may last forever. So that's worth it, right?  This is Mary Ruthy... How adorable is she????
 Cut it into thirds. Roll it out, 1/3 at a time on a floured surface.

I use a 5-6 inch bowl to cut the "rounds" but you can go smaller if you want. I like "hand" pies that are similar to the really bad-tasting ones they sell at the grocery store. It's like holding a folded piece of deliciousness-pie in your hand. How could that ever be wrong, right?

So roll out your piece of dough and cut as many circles that will fit:

Fill the circles about 1/3 full with pie filling. The recipe for my sweet cherry pie filling follows, and it's easy-peasy so DON'T BUY IT.... Those are mostly cornstarch sauce, I mean really, is it worth the ten minutes to buy the can?  I submit it is not!  ;)

Fold the top half of the mini-pie over and crimp edges with a fork. I crimp them twice because I'm paranoid.... Or thorough. Yeah. Let's go with the latter!

Now slip them into a deep fryer preheated to 375 degrees. My fryer has baskets and you can fry two of these babies in each basket but I usually do one at a time to avoid an all out pastry battle in the fryer. I have a chronic abhorrence to BIG MESSES IN THE FRYER!

Remove when golden brown, drain on paper towel, paint glaze on with pastry brush and let cool.

And here's how they look ready to serve for a luncheon or a party or a shower... and these babies freeze beautifully, they're sealed with glaze, so they stay fresh for days. What an awesome plus that is, right????

Finished product. When I have time I make a bunch of batches and freeze these babies. I double wrap them so they stay fresh, crisp and tender/flaky all at once.

So this is it.... we leave you with a treasure trove of delightful recipes and memories... and we'd all love for you to find us on Facebook or email us or chat with us in Seekerville...

And I love talking and answering questions, so please don't be a stranger to any of us. We are so blessed and glad to have had these years of you watching our careers bloom and blossom, our families grow, our ups and downs and kitchen fails. Oh how we love the Kitchen Fails! :)

God bless you... everyone of you... and we are so thankful that He blessed us with this time with you.

God is good!

And the blessing of life is a marvelous thing.

When it comes to goodbyes and farewells, one that I've always loved and treasured is Derek Jeter's farewell to New York in a Gatorade commercial done to Frank Sinatra's "My Way"... this one hits home because I tend to be a "my way" kind of person. I've always been that way, and it's kind of charming in a bossy old lady New Yorker kind of way, right? :) 

Here's the link... it's not just about Jeter. Or Baseball. Or New York. It's about how time goes on and things change... but if we live that time to our fullest, doing our best, we can move forward without regret because the Good Lord's always got another chapter waiting... Until we get to The End and He calls us home. And that's not another chapter...

That's a whole other book, my friends.

One worth reading.

Award-winning, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is sorry to close the cafe doors but glad to have worked with so many wonderful ladies over the years... but especially with our current group of Jan, Mindy, Cate and Missy.... what started as a fun place to talk became a repository of great regional thoughts and recipes. Yay for all of us! Contact Ruthy at, follow her on Facebook for the moment unless it gets too crazy for her to handle in which case she'll pop up somewhere else... And you can always stop by her website


Until we meet again, may the Good Lord hold you in the palm of His hand...

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A Fond Farewell with a Traipse Down Memory Lane

 I felt like I should make some splendid recipe for my final post here at the Cafe, but when you've gone over a year with no oven (thanks, pandemic!), it's kind of hard to continue being creative.

But then I came up with another idea - I decided to share my favorite memories about each of my cohosts here at the cafe.

Mondays are Jan's days. I loved reading Jan's posts because I got a glimpse of a life that is so very different from my NYC life.

I'll probably never get to visit the Black Hills, but Jan showed us their glory in all seasons from

Come for a hike with me 

to The Best Christmas Tree Hunt Ever!

Thanks, Jan! I'm going to miss my forays into your neck of the woods!

Tuesdays mean Mindy is dishing up about ranch life. What I will remember most about Mindy's posts is that she's the one to blame for my snake cover.

I was writing a scene in Texas Witness Threat and I needed to distract my hero. I thought of Mindy and her rattlesnake posts and decided to use one. Ooops.

Mindy has shared so many wonderful posts with wonderful recipes like Texas Sheet Cake, but I love this one - Armadillos are NOT Cute. 


Someday, Mindy, we'll meet up at another RWA.

Wednesdays were mine so we'll pass right over them.

Moving on to Thursdays and hundreds of posts from our Yank, Ruthy in the cozy yellow farmhouse. But honestly, only one word comes to mind - PUMPKINS!

Except not really. When I think of my favorite Ruthy posts, they all center around the children. We watched these little ones grow from teeny babies to real people! 

Thanks for sharing the grandchildren, Ruthy. You've baked some amazing memories in that Yellow Farm House! Someday, if you ever make it back to NYC, coffee is on me.

And finally we had Fridays with Missy - The Belle.

When I think of Missy's posts a few things come to mind, but primarily: 


Food photography 

and food delivery services like Dinnerly.

And I'd never even heard of Chocolate Cobbler before Missy!

It's always sad to close the doors, but it will be great to have an archive of fabulous recipes that come with a bonus of sweet memories of time spend with friends.

One of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes sums it up quite nicely: Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. 

So very much has happened within the walls of this cafe, so we should all be sporting wide smiles!

And Fenway sends fond farewell wishes as well.

Love, Cate

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Mindy's Favorite Recipes

I can't believe this is my final post. When I first joined the café in 2012 I had yet to be published. Now, I'm about the celebrate the release of my eleventh book. My, how time does fly.

But while all good things must come to an end, some things live in perpetuity. Like my favorite recipes. Goodness knows I have a lot of them, so narrowing them down was tough. The good news is that while we won't be adding any more recipes to the Yankee-Belle Café, the ones that are here will remain so that you (and our children) can tap into them whenever you like.

So here we go with my top five favorite recipes.

Grape Salsa - 

I know it sounds weird, but this sweet and savory concoction is my most requested recipe. It's super simple and perfect for any gathering. You can find the recipe here

Coconut Cream Pie - 

My girls' grandmother was famous for her cream pies. And when microwave ovens became the norm, she simplified her recipe so you no longer had to stand at the stove, cooking and stirring forever. My kids love the Chocolate Cream version, but hubby usually wins out and get his favorite, Coconut Cream. You can find the recipe here.

Pumpkin Bread - 

I'm pretty sure I've shared this recipe every year because I make it every fall to give as gifts. At first it was for teachers and other school staff, but since we no longer have any kiddos in school, friends, neighbors and our adult children are now the recipients of this moist, delicious tradition. That recipe is right here

Macaroni and Cheese - 

Credit for this recipe goes to my oldest daughter, but it's definitely a family favorite. You can serve it straight off of the stove or add a cracker topping and bake it a while. Whichever way you choose to serve it, you won't be disappointed. Find the recipe here.

Last but certainly not least is Sour Cream Blueberry Bundt Cake

My mouth waters just looking at this. It's so moist and bursting with blueberry flavor. Mmm, mmm, mmm... I wish I had a slice right now. You can find the recipe here.

I've shared and discovered so many wonderful recipes on this blog these past nine years. And I know I'll be back every now and then to retrieve recipes my counterparts have shared over the years. The Yankee-Belle Café has so many great recipes from all across this great country. 

While I won't be posting here anymore, I won't be hard to find. I'll still be cranking out books and hanging out with many of these lovely ladies over at Seekerville. So come and visit us and let's keep the party going. We'll bring the food. ;)

Until we meet again... 

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Best of Jan's Best, part two

 As we ease into the last week here at the Cafe, I'm sharing a nostalgic post from the past.

The Cafe has been around for what - ten years? Eleven? And you have been with us through many changes during those years. The biggest change for most of us is that our nests have gone from full to empty - - to full again - -

We've celebrated births of grandchildren, weddings, new puppies, new houses, new books...and we've also suffered some losses. And you've been here with us through it all.

Today's post is a rerun from before my daughter got married and left the nest. As I read through the recipe, I got a serious craving for Carrie's Monkey Bread. This might mean a trip to the store...

Monkey Bread to the Max
by guest blogger, Carrie Drexler (now Carrie Orr!)

Hi Everyone!
Carrie and her youngest brother.
Isn't he every girl's dream?

It's Carrie again, filling in for my mom. 

 The problem with having two bakers in the house is that sometimes we want to use the same pan. This happened yesterday morning; I wanted to make this simple monkey bread recipe, and my mom was going to make a sour cream blueberry cake (I think she's still going to make it, check back next week). Both recipes used the bundt pan, but since mine meant getting gooey maple, brown sugar monkey bread for breakfast before church, I won out.

I would not consider myself a Pinterest addict, but there are some great recipes to be found through that site. This was a recipe that's been pinned on my Pinterest board since I joined the site a couple years ago and I've never found the time to buckle down and make it. It was super simple and looks amazing.

First, preheat the oven to 375, and grease your bundt pan.

Then gather up your ingredients!

1 ½ Cans Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
3 TBSP Butter (melted)
½ C. Pancake Syrup
1/3 C. Packed Brown Sugar
½ tsp. Cinnamon
¼ C. Pecans (Optional)

I forgot to clean up behind my ingredients. Don't worry, you can leave out the cat treats and Ritz crackers.

Mix together melted butter and syrup. In another bowl mix together brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts (if using, I left them out).

Pour half the syrup in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture over the top.

Layer your biscuits on top of that in a circle. The great part about this is that you can use fewer/more biscuits depending on the number of people (you'll just have to watch the bake time).

Pour the rest of the syrup over the top and sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar. It already looks delicious!

Bake at 375 for 25-30minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown on top.

Look at that gooey maple goodness. They were definitely delicious and super easy. This is a Sunday morning keeper for sure.

I celebrated my birthday at the beginning of the month and since then came across this picture from my second birthday. As you can see, a love for baked goods was instilled at a very early age.

Carrie's 2nd Birthday 

Thank you, Carrie, for sharing your recipe. And yes, it was delicious! And as promised, next week we'll have a Blueberry Sour Cream Cake recipe straight from southwest Michigan.

And what Monday would be complete without a gratuitous puppy picture?

Thatcher heard that puppy kindergarten starts this evening...does it look like he's ready for it?

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  

Back to 2021 - 

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Favorite Friday Reboot

Missy Tippens

I'm sorry to be posting late! The holiday and a root canal threw off my internal calendar! Back in the day, I used to do Favorite Friday posts. In those, I often shared some of my favorite things and newly discovered favorites. I thought I'd re-post one of those today. Enjoy!


Missy Tippens, here. And I have a new favorite salad to share. Let me say, first, that it takes a little longer to prepare than Ruthy's cabbage salad (which I've eaten twice this week already!). But I love my new favorite. And it's still pretty quick...

Missy's Wilted Spinach Salad

Ahead of time, boil some eggs to keep on hand for when you want this salad. Store in fridge.

Ingredients for 2 large meal size servings:
Baby spinach leaves (I buy pre-washed to make life easy)
Mushrooms (about half a container)
1 shallot
4 slices bacon
2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbs. Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbs. sugar
2 Boiled eggs
(Wheat thins are optional to snack on while cooking and got included in the photo by accident!! LOL)

Fry bacon on medium heat.

While bacon is cooking, chop the mushrooms and shallot.

Remove cooked bacon to absorbent paper towels and and SAVE THE DRIPPINGS (a nice way to say grease). (For Kav and other vegetarians, just skip the bacon and heat some olive oil in the pan.)

Add scallion to the skillet and cook until translucent. Add a pinch of Kosher salt (optional, but something I feel the need to add to any vegetables I'm cooking!)

Add the vinegars, whisking constantly.

Lower temp a little and add the sugar, whisking constantly. (Be careful of how hot it is. The second time I made this, the sugar hardened and I made a very strange candy!) :) Cook a couple of minutes until reduced.

Meanwhile put however much spinach you want into a serving bowl and add the mushrooms.

Pour hot dressing over the spinach and toss immediately to slightly wilt the greens.

Top with crumbled bacon and chopped eggs. Toss.

Serve and enjoy!