Author Archives: theselftaughtcook

Book Review: River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart


Publication Year: July 3, 2018



One young woman must stand up for freedom—and perhaps find her own in the process.













River to Redemption is, in my humble opinion, Ann Gabhart’s best novel.  Don’t get me wrong; I love the Shaker-themed novels, and I was terribly disappointed when her mystery series ended.  But this one makes the reader stop and think.  Slavery is such a complex issue in American history. You have to wonder how “good people” reconciled themselves to such an atrocity, but they obviously did.  I enjoyed watching the characters as they grappled with their feelings regarding the morality of slavery.  I think the characters are realistically written, and I like the fact that the character of Louis was based on a true story.

5 stars

Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole

Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole

1 box rigatoni

1 lb ground beef

1 lg pkg sliced pepperoni

3 C shredded mozzarella cheese

2 lg jars spaghetti sauce

1 onion, diced

1 C chopped mushrooms

1/2 C sliced green olives

Bring rigatoni to a boil for 3-4 minutes.  Brown ground beef; drain. Pour thin layer of sauce in bottom of slow cooker.  Stir remaining ingredients together in large bowl.  Add to slow cooker.  Cook on Low for 5 hours.

Music to Cook By . . . 

What I’m Reading . . . 


Until next time, Happy Cooking!  :)

The bright summer had passed away, and gorgeous autumn was flinging its rainbow-tints of beauty on hill and dale. ~Cornelia L. Tuthill, “Virginia Dare: Or, the Colony of Roanoke,” 1840

Slow Cooker Bean & Kale Soup

Well, Mother Nature fooled me again.  The calendar said it was Fall, and for a few days it felt like it.  I got all excited and started planning all the soups and stews I would be making.  No sooner than I started cooking then the temps shot back up to the 90s.  Oh, well, the soup was good anyway.  If your local supermarket has a bakery, I recommend serving this with fresh bread.  Yummy!


Slow Cooker Bean & Kale Soup

1 C uncooked quinoa

2 – 14.5 oz. cans petite diced tomatoes

1 can Great Northern beans

1 can Cannellini beans

1 onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 smoked sausage, chopped

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

1 tsp rosemary

1/2 tsp thyme

4 C chicken broth

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 bunch kale

Remove stems from kale and chop leaves; set aside.  Place all other ingredients in slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Stir in kale before serving.

Music to Cook By . . .


Until next time, Happy Cooking!  :)

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
― Lauren DeStefano, Wither

Book Review: These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart #TheseHealingHills



About the book . . . 

Francine Howard has her life all mapped out until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII’s end writes to tell her he’s in love with a woman in England. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.

Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

When Francine’s and Ben’s paths intersect, it’s immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds. . . and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.

About the author . . . 

Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she AnnHGabhartwanted to be a writer. She’s published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800′s, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960′s.  Visit Ann’s website


My Review . . . 

In a move away from her previous series, Ann Gabhart’s latest novel is set in 1940s Appalachia.  Blending historical fact with fiction, this book explores the story of the Frontier Nursing Service at the end of WWII.  Francine and Ben have both been affected by the War, and while Ben has returned home to the mountains to heal from his experiences, Francine has come to the mountains to make a fresh start.

You can always tell when an author is from Kentucky because the dialect rings true.  Many writers seem to think that Kentuckians sound like the Beverly Hillbillies.  Ann Gabhart captures the speech patterns and idioms of the area without causing her characters to become stereotypes.

A good book, a really good book, always has at least one sentence that causes you to stop and reread it; a sentence or phrase that stays in your head long after you have finished the book.  This book has such a sentence:  ”Even a beige kind of girl could wear red sometimes”.  I don’t know why that captured my attention so strongly, but it has stayed with me.

Anyone wanting clean, well-written historical fiction set in Kentucky will enjoy this novel.  You can be entertained and learn something at the same time.

5 stars

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Author and Revell/Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Electric Pressure Cooker Beef Tacos #Instantpot #Multicooker #MagicChef

Instant Pot Beef Tacos

2-3 lb. beef chuck roast

4 C 7-Up

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

4 Tbsp lime juice

1 C chopped cilantro

flour tortillas

Chopped cilantro

chopped onion

Salsa Verde

Sour Cream

Place roast in cooker.  Sear (or saute) five minutes on each side.  Add next seven ingredients to cooker. After checking to make sure valve is set to seal, lock lid and and set on Manual for 70 minutes.  When natural release is finished, remove lid and shred beef.  Serve on tortillas with cilantro, onion, salsa verde, and sour cream toppings.

Music to Cook By . . . 

What I’m Reading. . . 


Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.  - Albert Camus

Until next time, Happy Cooking!  :)