Something More to Read?

WILLARD started going out to everyone’s email boxes today; it takes two days for the whole list to go, and even though you might have just read yourself practically silly, you know there could be a surprise for you here, and of course, there is!   But perhaps we need a little mood music?  Here’s a song to dance you down the page; great soundtrack from the movie French Kiss . . .

This is a photo of my heart-shaped Lemon Pepper Tea Biscuits, just out of the oven, still warm, ready for someone to slather them with butter and Cranberry-Orange Marmalade.  They are one of the recipes featured in a new cookbook I’m very excited about — it’s from Where Women Cook Magazine, and it’s called CELEBRATE!

I am one of the twenty-eight women featured in this book; honored to be included with such luminaries of the food world as Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman), Angie Dudley (Bakerella) and Molly Wizenberg (Orangette).  One of the special things about this book, besides the obvious, is that each woman is pictured doing her thing in her own kitchen; there are tons of wonderful photographs, sixty recipes, and lots of tips for celebrating life, with cooking as the magical ingredient.  My chapter is called “Kitchen Table Tea.” The kind of everyday celebration we have in the kitchen with our girlfriends.   Each contributor chose a different theme to focus on.

(Do I like tea, really, or is it just the dishes?  That’s the question!)  Anyway, I have the first copy (still warm off the press) of CELEBRATIONS that was sent to me here on the island.  I’m going to sign it and send it to one of YOU as a Thanksgiving present!  Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post, and on Friday we’ll let the RNG (Random Number Generator) pull a name out of our hat and see in what corner of the world this book ends up.  But for all of you, my girlfriends, scroll to the bottom of this post, and I’ll give you the recipe for the Lemon Pepper Tea Biscuits. ♫ Do I love you, Oh yes I love you  . . . ♪

For me, the Thanksgiving countdown has begun . . . I started making my shopping list this morning . . .

Taking center stage is my grandma’s stuffing, which requires real bread that has to be air-dried for three days. Two days won’t do it. Don’t even think about putting it in the oven to dry.  Those are the rules.  So, I need to be ready.  My ironing board does double duty as drying rack for the bread, spread out on cookie sheets in the pantry.

Plus, right now is gravy-making time; I need it for dinner, but I also need it for leftovers, so I start early and make extra.  I learned to make gravy when I was very young, but still tweak it a little bit every year; a little of this a little of that; vermouth?  Red wine?  Plain this year? Joe always has his family’s 2¢ to add to the pot; sometimes requiring a restraining hand on his pouring arm.  Shall we have sage?  A teeny bit of cloves perhaps?  Perfect gravy is the mark of distinction in our family — no one can describe exactly what makes it perfect, but we sure know it when we taste it!

I’m already done making the butters:

One for each biscuit plate (the baking powder kind).  Yum.

I use leaves for place cards at Thanksgiving (as long as there isn’t snow on them!).  I made these from rhododendron leaves, which are the perfect size, especially if you have a “Marjorie” coming to dinner, because her whole name fits on one!  Plus they’re smooth and flat and don’t break too easily. I pick the leaves the day before and keep them in the fridge so they stay fresh, then write the names on as big as possible with a correction pen (after first practicing on a paper towel!).

OK, so would you like to go to the grocery store with us?  This was yesterday!

We’re almost there, I kept thinking the leaf would jump off, but apparently it really wanted to get to the supermarket parking lot, and wasn’t going to give up until we were there!

OK, that’s enough of that.  It’s been a red letter week for me, a feature in a new book, and another really nice article in the winter issue of Cape Cod Home Magazine.  ♥ You guys must be spreading the word, something crazy is going on; so much to be grateful for.  Plus, we have best friends coming from England next week!  And to top it off, I already figured out what I’m giving you for Christmas! And I’m excited because I think you’ll like it!

 So I am off to the City (that’s Domesticity City of course); I’m taking the day off to play with my house, nurk around in the guest room, organize the pantry, play ball with the new Kitty, hug Girl, kiss Joe, watch old movies, nap, and so on.  But before I go, I want to give you that recipe and remind you to leave a comment to enter the drawing for the book — tell us the strangest, most quirky, or favorite thing you ever had at Thanksgiving — for me it’s always the same, Rainbow Jell-O, not very strange, but definitely quirky, and also a favorite.  How about you?


If you want your biscuits to be heartshaped you will need a miniature muffin pan with hearts!  I have this cast-iron one and I love it. This easy quick recipe makes one dozen delectable biscuits.

  • 1-3oz pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 c. self-rising flour, sifted
  • 1/3 c. either chopped dried cranberries or currants
  • coarsely ground black pepper
  • sanding sugar (opt.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a deep, medium-sized bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and zest with mixer on med speed until smooth.  Scrape down bowl.  Stir in sour cream.  Gradually beat in flour until well blended.  Stir in cranberries or currants.  Put a heaping tsp. of dough into each cup of an ungreased miniature muffin pan, filling the space completely and leveling the surface of the dough. Grind pepper over the top.  Sprinkle with sanding sugar (if desired).  Bake for 15 min. or until light brown.  Pop out muffins into a basket lined with a tea towel; cover to keep warm. 

Guess what?  A foghorn is blowing, I can hear it sounding out up from the water.  Later gators.  ♥ have a wonderful day! xoxo

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1,719 Responses to Something More to Read?

  1. Laura Beck says:

    Can’t wait to read the new book, Susan! Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  2. Laura says:

    How exciting to be in the CELEBRATE cookbook! I have enjoyed copies of the Celebrate magazines ~ ones I bought because YOU were in them! Congratulations! Truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever had anything quirky on Thanksgiving ~ I think it would be fun to throw something out-of-the-ordinary in with the traditional mix…… now you’ve got me thinking……

  3. Stephanie T says:

    If I’m not the lucky winner, I’ll have to purchase this book myself. This is definitely a keeper to be handed down to generations. Thank you for posting to your blog so frequently–it’s so enjoyable and comforting to read. Love the photos and artwork that you include in your posts.

  4. Karen says:

    I love the transferware teacups…. I have the same ones! Congratulations on the cookbook. It looks amazing!
    We are pretty traditional around here for Thanksgiving. I look forward to the pumpkin pie every year.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thanks for your lovely blog!

  5. renee says:

    Hi Susan,

    I’m so excited. Today my husband surprised me with your new 2012 calendar. He knows what I like! I enjoy your fun Willards and this blog. Thanks for all you share and have a fabulous holiday with your new little black and white guy…

  6. Melanie says:

    Hi, Susan! My daughter and I read Willard together today, then shared a pot of tea while remembering our meeting with you in St. Paul this September. (So very special for us!) Heartfelt congrats to you for your feature in the book, Where Women Cook. And, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this give-away. What is it about Lime green Jell-O? My grandma made hers in a mold, and when it was turned out it had shredded green cabbage just under the surface. It was prominently featured on the table right alongside the Strawberry Jell-O with banana buttons throughout! I enjoyed sampling both … once they reached the “children’s table!” Abundant Thanksgiving Blessings to you!

  7. Susie Kunze says:

    Thank you for all of the Willard’s and the blog. They brighten my day. I love the feeling of stepping outside to look in at all of your blessings on Thanksgiving Day.

  8. Sharlene Piscitelli says:

    Love all your work! Of course they can’t have a book of recipes and other fun stuff without a yummy Susan Branch recipe! Happy Thanksgiving to you, Joe, Girl Kitty, and Jack!

  9. Priscilla says:

    The strangest Thanksgiving dinner I ever had occurred when I was a young girl. My grandfather was raising two geese that I fell in love with. I named them George and Georgia because my grandfather was born in Georgia in 1882. Whenever we went to Grandfather’s I would be so excited to see George and Georgia. Well that Thanksgiving there were TWO turkeys on our Thanksgiving table. You guessed it, George and Georgia! You can imagine how upset I was. This might account for why I was a vegetarian in the 1990’s.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, that would do it! 🙂

      • Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

        Say it isn’t so Priscilla! I want the Hollywood happy ending – you ate P&B for Thanksgiving and George and Georgia lived a long and happy life together!!

      • June says:

        Priscilla, I know exactly how you felt! I lived on a chicken farm as a child and one year I “adopted” a hen and named her Charlene. Then one day, Charlene was gone and we had roast chicken for dinner. It didn’t take me long to figure it out and I was inconsolable for days!

        • sbranch says:

          I would be too!

          • pat addison says:

            when i was little grandma and grandpa lived on a farm in minnesota, and they raised chickens and turkeys and rabbits for meat. we were allowed to feed the birds and the rabbits, but we could not name them. that was grandma’s rule, no naming the chickens, turkeys or rabbits and no playing with them. well we showed for Thanksgiving one year when i was about 8 years and of course mom had to be the one who named the turkey, she saw it and told us kids that was Tom turkey. well when grandma had that turkey on the table she had 6 grandkids who would not eat one bite of turkey, and she knew we loved turkey so she asked who the wiseguy was that named the turkey, and we told her who did it….boy was she mad at my mom for doing that. she just looked at my mom and said thats why we don’t name the birds or the rabbits and thats why we definitely don’t name the turkey. mom was very embarrassed, all the grandkids were crying and grandma was not exactly pleased with that Thanksgiving dinner.

  10. Caroline Ault says:

    I want to tell you, maybe again!, how much I love your blog! I loved your post a few days ago, November 3?, of your kitchen in the early morning. Especially, the star cut-out pumpkin on the table, your writings and picture are always cozy and homey. I would love your book!

  11. Rita Hawkins says:

    Susan, I just want to tell you that my friend and co-worker Andi and I love receiving your Willard page each month. I loved reading your blog for the very first time this month. On Thanksgiving everyone likes to make something from their ethnic origin. Mine is called pasteles. They are Puerto Rican tamales made from grated green bananas, a large plantain, one pound of malanga(root vegetable) and one pound of pumpkin. All this is mixed with achiote infused oil, evaporated milk and the juice drippings from the meat that we place in the middle of this batter. The meat is pork cut into cubes and cooked with sofrito, olives, capers, raisins and chick peas. The batter is scooped onto a partchment paper lined with plantain leaves and achiote oil (so the tamale does not stick). A large spoon full, then a well in made in the batter and filled with a tablespoon full or so of the meat mixture. Then with the back of the spoon you cover the meat with the batter. Then you bring up the paper and fold it down till you reach the batter and fold up the ends to make a packet. Then these packets are tied with butchers twine. We then boil these packets for 45 min. unwrap and eat the most wonderful ethnic dish of a lifetime. We only make these for Thanksgiving and Christmas due to all the work involved. Let me know if you want more details on this quirky Puerto Rican recipie.

  12. mary B. says:

    my 5 year old grandson was upset at the local bed and bath store where he and his mom were looking for turkey themed hand towels for the bathroom. everything was decorated for christmas and he put his little hands up over his head and hollered What about THANKGIVING!!! i know how he felt. this year our first daughter-in-law wants to cook the turkey. the tradition is passed on! hope all your thanksgivings are blessed with love and good food!!

  13. Gail says:

    I’ve been waiting for Willard all day at work…just before going to bed tonight I decided to check one more time from home and there it was. What a treat!!! Of course I will be reading it again tomorrow at work. Loved the description of Little Kitty’s Olympic gymnastics..hee!hee! You are so cute! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  14. Debbie says:

    Thank you Susan, for your blog and Willard. I LOVE reading them both. Congratulations on getting in the cookbook! You will never know how much it warms my heart to read things you have written and see the pictures you have drawn and/or painted. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas and whole holiday season! I know you will make it wonderful…you do so many extra little touches to make it just perfect! Thank you for sharing them with us through your blog. I love seeing the pictures of your house, table settings, kittys, etc. on the blog!

    Last year was the first Thanksgiving I made the Thanksgiving meal as we lost my mother in March. I was nervous because I knew it wouldn’t turn out as good as hers or my grandmother’s, who we lost just 4 years before. It turned out wonderful and the smells, sights and tastes of all the same dishes they always fixed helped us through the day. It was like they were there with us. I wish they were and miss them both so much, but at least I have their recipes!!

    God bless you and thank you again!

  15. Elaine Schwenker says:

    I just love reading the blog daily and the new Willard. You always bring a smile to my face….whether it is a note, picture, quote, recipe, china, tea, or an ironing board covered with bread! That’s the only thing an ironing board should be used for, right? You have so many wonderful things to share and what is life without sharing…..even though we have never met, sharing brings all of us together who have similar interests! Congrats on all of your life accomplishments! As for my Thanksgivings, nothing really stands out as unusual. I have good memories of fellowship and food!

  16. Terri says:

    I received my very first Willard today. I’m sad I’ve missed so many! I had to laugh (cry) when I read your description of where you live: “the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard, in Vineyard Haven, Dukes County, Eastern Massachusetts, North-American continent, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Universe, and the mind of God.” Although the exact location varied as we moved, that’s how I ended all of my childhood prayers, so God would know where I was in the universe. Thanks for reminding me!

  17. Susan says:

    Oh Susan, your blog is so wonderful. I just love it. Love Willard, too.

    Please put my name in the hat for the great new cookbook. Oh, how miraculous it would be if I won it! WOWSERS.

    The new kitty is too, TOO adorable.

    May your Thanksgiving be blessed. And Susan, I am thankful for YOU this Thanksgiving. You make the world SUCH a better place. Sincerely, Susan

  18. Sally says:

    Just read Willard. Thanks for all your wonderful and inspiring ideas and suggestions. Did I already say WONDERFUL? Congratulations on your recent accomplishments and recognition. The new cookbook looks great. Blessings to you and yours.

  19. Tiina says:

    The first Thanksgiving after my dad died we just didn’t feel like doing Thanksgiving. My brother and I were just 9 and 11 and my mom asked us what we wanted and we both told her tacos. She always made the best shredded beef tacos, with homemade shells, and salsa. I’ve had many thanksgivings since and I will never forget on the day everyone I know was eating turkey, we had the best tacos ever. It wasn’t so much what we ate, but that we were a family eating together and my mom honored the wish of her 2 kids. I wish you and your family a great Thanksgiving.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve noticed several girlfriends commented about losing someone near Thanksgiving; mentioning how they changed the menu that year, had tacos like you did, or macaroni and cheese, something different, and homey and comforting, but not the big dinner, which would probably make them miss their loved one even more. What a smart loving idea, I will remember this. Thank you Tiina!

  20. hmbalison says:

    Hi Susan,
    You are getting me in the Thanksgiving spirit. I baked my annual cranberry/orange bread today. I like to mail mini loaves to far-away family and friends to let them know I’m thinking of them. Maybe one year you will receive one, too, because after buying your calendar for 10+ years as a gift to myself and giving away oodles of your books as gifts, you feel like a friend.

    Would love the Celebrate book.

    Alison from Half Moon Bay, CA

  21. hmbalison says:

    OK, I forgot to tell you about my strangest Thanksgiving….One year my sister in law forgot to turn on the oven to cook the turkey and no one noticed until I arrived with my husband hours after it was supposed to be cooking. Then my poor sister-in-law burned the soup and my mother-in-law thought it would be a great idea to add coffee to the gravy…Needless to say, the only things really edible were the mashed potatoes and marinated salad that I brought. Oh, the pies were good that year too. We always serve cherry pie–and it reminds me of sweet my father-in-law gone now for three years.

  22. Marita says:

    Susan, mega CONGRATS on the new cookbook, featured article in the magazine and being a new mama to Miss Kitty (will there be a Matt Dillon for her to court at some point?). Your attn to detail is just fab – the leaf butter molds are over-the-moon! I need to do that! And your teapot – gasp! Love it. Mmm… Wishing you and yours a joy-filled, happy Thanksgiving from Iowa.

  23. I enjoyed reading about your preparations for Thanksgiving. I loved your molded butter (where did you get the mold?) and your bread slices drying out. How do you keep your kitties off of that ironing board? We don’t have any unusual food at Thanksgiving. We do always have our “French stuffing” which is the filling for traditional French Canadian meat pies, but at Thanksgiving we enjoy the filling as a side dish (replaces mashed potatoes for me). Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • sbranch says:

      I got the mold many years ago at a little kitchen shop in California. There’s a door on the pantry, that keeps the kitties off the ironing board! Happy Thanksgiving Karen!

  24. Polly says:

    Wonderful recipes – great pics and messages. Thanks a million. And if I’m not lucky enough to win, I’ll be buying that book for sure!

  25. Suzanne Petersen says:

    Having so much fun keeping up with your blog and reading Willard. Love hearing about Girl Kitty and Jack. Brings back fond memories of our tortie, Sasha.

    For my family, it is not Thanksgiving without cinnamon apples (made with red hot candies). They end up not tasting like red hots (or cinnamon), but they are delicious!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  26. Mary Clewley says:

    Dear Susan,
    I just received my Willard! I am always so inspired by all your sweet little drawings and everything so colorful and your inspirational way of writing. I especially loved how you shared your holiday traditions with us. I just did the same on my blog and a handful of ladies did guest posts and shared theirs too. How delighted they would be if you popped in to comment!
    Hugs to you,

  27. Gumbo Lily says:

    Love your Thanksgiving prep. The book — oh my! I’ve heard about it and would just love to toss my name in the hat for a copy.

    I like tea things more than I like tea, I think. I do like tea, but coffee is my favorite.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  28. M J Smith says:

    Oh I love foghorns! We always have Oyster Stuffing … so yummy!

  29. Nancy B says:

    I have a favorite Thanksgiving memory. When my youngest daughter was in junior high, we allowed her to fly to Texas to visit her older sister and brother who were away at college. My friend also had a daughter attending the same college, so we decided we would send Thanksgiving dinner with my daughter on the plane. We sent everything!! (even candles and candle holders) Froze what we could, and packed it in a styrofoam ice chest and then into a huge box. It went right along with her luggage and arrived just fine. I missed having my kids home for Thanksgiving, but felt good that they were enjoying some home cooking!

    I can hardly wait to try these tea biscuits…Happy Thanksgiving!

  30. Kori Dorn says:

    I’ve been following you for a few years now and I own several of your books. I love your recipes, art and especially your writings. You feel like I’m listening to a good friend. Thank you for sharing your creativity and joy of life! 🙂

  31. Carol Buchert says:

    I have enjoyed Willard tonight. Susan, I am thankful for your artistry and your sweet spirit. You remind us that we can enjoy special delights in our own little nests. You make all things so special!

  32. Wendy says:

    Oh how I would be delighted to receive the winning signed copy of that marvelous book! I love the magazines. Thanks for the recipe. I have that same mini heart shaped pan and will LOVE trying it! I am thankful for creative friends like you to bring even more beauty to my world!

  33. Barbara Whitebread says:

    We are SO blessed to have you share yourself with us Susan! Thank you sweet Sue for all you do! I cannot wait to order the new book “Where Women Create-Celebrate” and also the Cape Cod Magazine. I hope there are enough in stock. 🙂 My favorite tradition with Thanksgiving is my sweetie’s cornbread and oyster dressing. It is pure comfort food!! Hope you, Joe, and your kitties have a beautiful Thanksgiving Day!!!

  34. Laura says:

    First, I must say I love hearing about Jack’s adventures and his little mustaches! He reminds me of Agatha Christie’s detective Hercule Poirot. I remember, when I was young, my father cooked a turkey, that was so tender, it literally fell off the bones when it came out of the oven! My mother put a big red bow on it, and all my relatives took turns parading into the kitchen to laugh and take pictures of the collapsed turkey still in it’s pan. That was the best turkey ever!

  35. Lisa Nelson-Jones says:

    My strangest Thanksgiving dinner? Chinese. Any boy, did I NEVER do that again! Thanksgiving comes but once a year, and should be CeLeBraTeD!

  36. diana navarre says:

    I love the Celebrate cookbook – can’t wait to see it in person. Whether I win it or not I am buying one for me and one for a gift. Thank you for sharing things that I would probably not even know about otherwise! (like Lemon-Pepper Tea Biscuits! YuM!)
    Thanksgiving blessings to you all!!

  37. Marci Hiatt says:

    Reading your blog makes me so happy! It really lifts my spirits after a long, hard day. Thank you!

  38. Nubby Frauenzimmer says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for your special way of taking the “everyday stuff” and turning it into something special and beautiful.
    I too have been making my lists for Thanksgiving going for the last week. I have washed all my crystal pieces in vinegar & soap water. They are tucked away on the shelves of my hutch and counters. I love looking at them all shiney and bright.
    We will be having not only our family, but a family of four from New Jersey, whose two sons are in the Marine Corps stationed at Camp Pendleton. One of them is one of 3 young officers that live across the street from us so we wanted to include them in our family. All total we will be 15.
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family and friends!

  39. Becky Randle says:

    I don’t know how you do it all! What an inspiration you are, Susan, in so many ways! Reading your blog is truly a highlight of my days, an oasis of beauty, peacefulness and fun. Thanks.

    Our quirky Thanksgiving dish wasn’t really that odd, but such a lovely memory… the big ol’ heavy cinnamon rolls my mom would make for Thanksgiving breakfast, so that we’d stay full till the afternoon feast. : )

  40. Julie Cardenas says:

    ooooh great and powerful Random Number Generator ~ pick me pick me pick me!! Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  41. Jan says:

    The grandchildren asked for “fluffo”. Now I am dating myself with knowing what Fluffo was in the 50’s and 60’s ~ it was a kind of yellow shortening (like Crisco) used in baking. I giggled when I found out that my grandchildren’s version of “fluffo” was actually green gelatin and whipped topping beaten together until it gets airy, high and very fluffy! Love your writings ~ may you have a joyful Thanksgiving.

  42. Chris says:

    Hi Susan,
    Seems like the last time I commented it was to say that we don’t celebrate Halloween here in Australia and now I’m about to tell you that we don’t do Thanksgiving either! :). We do have lots of celebrations though just in case you think we’re a bunch of boring party-poopers……..just not the same ones as America. Our oldest daughter is married to a Canadian so as a little family they celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with any Canadians they can find. We tend to wait for Australia Day which is towards the end of January and of course Christmas is huge, albeit without the cold, snow and hot dinners! However I’d still love to be in the draw….it would be wonderful to have one of your gifts comeflying all the way down to the Southern Hemisphere. I’d even promise not to open the parcel until Christmas!
    Anyway, hope you and your precious Joe and your special friends have a wonderful Thanksgiving together.
    God bless

  43. Carla says:

    Hi Susan I bet Thanksgiving at your house is going to be beautiful ! How is Jack? Is he enjoying his new family and home?


    • sbranch says:

      I couldn’t find him last night, suddenly, PLINK, the piano keys. He tried to escape from me by running down the keyboard, plink, clink, clank . . . then aiming for the stairs through the balusters, but he got stuck halfway through and I was able to get him. He’s enjoying himself immensely!!!

  44. Bonnie Alexander says:

    Thanks, Susan, for all of your wonderful posts! I just love reading them, and we’ve added 2 new readers to it…two of my dearest friends are now Susan Branch groupies, also! 🙂 Anyway, my quirky dish at Thanksgiving is gravy out of a jar…now, granted, Williams Sonoma does a good job, but, really? I’d like to break out of the shell this Thanksgiving and make real homemade gravy like you described! Where can I find your recipe?

    Blessings to you this Thanksgiving!
    Bonnie in Colorado Springs, CO

  45. Lori says:

    Every Thanksgiving we get together at our camp (unless we have a snowstorm). “Camp” is a two room log cabin built by my husband’s grandfather almost sixty years ago. It’s on a lake with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. It’s a no-electricity-outhouse camp…although we do have cold running water from a spring! My father-in-law always overloads the woodstove, so the windows are always steamed up and I end up outside, trying to cool off before we eat! After dinner, we go out and gather greens to make our Christmas wreaths with. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

    • Doreen Strain says:

      Lori, this sounds so nice. I can almost see myself enjoying the day with you. I must admit…I too would need to step outside to cool down. I love the heat from the woodstove but it can be so drying and intense when it gets really hot. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! From the sound of things…it’s going to be perfect! ~ Doreen ~

  46. Chrissy says:

    The cookbook looks like a goldmine. I love your attention to vintage. I find pre-loved items have more charm. My sister, who graciously hosts our Thanksgiving meal has tried, in past years, to change the menu, but we always return to the tried and true. We occasionally improve upon a dish, such as brining the bird, or making the taters with cream cheese or sour cream, but never again change the menu itself. My neice and I are “singing” grace this year, the Thankfulness Song from Madam Blueberry of Veggie Tales. We are hoping for a flash mob effect as it will be a surprise.

  47. Philippa says:

    I wonder if you were English (British) in a former life ;o)
    I see so many things in your blog which are completely familiar to me,and certainly “very British” . Nice.

  48. Wild Rose says:

    This looks like a wonderful book. I love cookery books that have lots of colour photos. As a fellow tea lover, I will definitely be looking out for a copy to see your contribution. Happy Thanksgiving!

  49. Cindy~ says:

    Hi Susan, you are keeping me company right now. I am awake and reading your blog while we still have electricity. (fingers crossed) The wind is blowing so hard that I fear the roof will blow right off of the house! Like you, I live on an island-Whidbey Island in Washington state and like you, I can hear the fog horns blow from the ferry dock when the fog rolls in. I love it! ..Oh, and like you, my guys name is Joe! 😀

    Now I would have to say that the quirkiest Thanksgiving dish I ever ate was my SIL’s teflon gravy. It was delicious but it had tiny ribbon like black things which I thought was a new kind of spice- they didn’t disolve in my mouth though. I kept eating it out of fear of being rude! A pretty funny scene indeed, just like that silly leaf!
    ♥ Cindy~

  50. Debbie says:

    Good Day, Susan! Always enjoy new recipes from you and love your books, calendars, artwork…just everything! I’m not sure it’s quirky but our traditional Thanksgiving dinners always included a beautiful Antipasto platter and a bowl of Tortellini in Chicken Broth soup. This was my Mom’s nod to her Italian heritage. Thank you for your blog and your Willard’s…they speak to my soul and play my heartstrings. xxoo

  51. Paulie says:

    Since this is so late …just got my Willard and it is WONDERFUL as can be….you always manage to outdo yourself it seems……..i hope you will find this note from me to let you know that the most impressive message left for me was the closing quotes … appropriate for me this year especially more than ever………thank you for giving me the reminder that will stay with me ……..for I will be spending the day with all of my wonderful memories this year & counting the blessings of all of the past years! ………..Happy Thanksgiving Susan !

  52. Carol says:

    Good morning Susan,
    Thanks for giving us an opportunity to receive this wonderful book from you as a gift! I have had so much fun sharing the sayings from your site, especially the one about girlfriends being good for each other’s health. It brought many smiles 🙂 and affirmations!

  53. Lydia says:

    Hi Susan! I love to come to your blog each morning. Your perspective helps me see beauty in everyday things. That is a gift, and I thank you for sharing it with us!

    Thanksgiving food….hmm…..I can’t think of any strange food, but I did always get tickled that my sweet Grandmother would make 4 or 5 different jello salads (“congealed” salads, as she called them) each Thanksgiving. She loved salads! There was a lime jello salad with cream cheese, nuts and pineapple. And an orange salad with orange jello, cream cheese, Cool Whip, mandarin oranges, and marshmallows. And cranberry salad with strawberry jello, nuts, pineapple, cranberries. And many more! Oh how I miss her! Thanksgiving was my favorite time because our whole family gathered in their little home. There was lots of laughter and noise, and it was the sweetest sound ever. Pure, delightful chaos. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes I think Thanksgiving food is too much brown, needs color — but your Grandmother definitely took care of that problem!

  54. Kelly J. says:

    That would have to be Fried Pumpkin served at a favorite little PA Dutch restaurant. Unbelievably tasty!

  55. Lynn McMahon says:

    Good Morning~
    I had to write after reading your new Willard. Your words and artwork were beautiful!
    It made me think of the Ray Conniff song/medley “Let it Snow/Count(ing)Your Blessings”.
    The words in the song are so true! I can wait for the “let it snow”part.
    ~Happy Thanksgiving & Blessings to all~

  56. Sharon says:

    Susan I had to write again to thank you for the Willard you sent out. I kept waiting for mine and it just showed up last night. It is wonderful as usual, but even more so with all the fabulous recipes, ideas, music and beautiful artwork you did for us, and I love the drawing of Jack on top of the Beatrix Potter books! And when you talked about standing outside the house and looking in on your friends and family on Thanksgiving, then walking inside smelling your Grandmas’ stuffing, I almost cried. I can relate so much to those feelings, especially around the holidays. I hope you, Joe, family and friends have a wonderful Thanksgiving and God bless you all. xxoo

  57. Natalie says:

    Wow, another give away… It’s so exciting.. I just got out my Susan Branch Christmas book… looking over recipes.. going over it page by page because each page is so special and fun!! Every year it’s like a new experience. Wishing you and yours a Very Happy Loving Thanksgiving…

  58. Terri J. says:

    We have had 24 hr. salad (kind of a sourish fruit salad) at Thanksgiving for forever. Half of us love it….half hate it…but it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it!

    • Terri J. says:

      Just a p.s.—–I sent up a cheer when I read Willard that there’s no turquoise….just have to have traditional colors too….isn’t that what Thanksgiving’s all about???

  59. Carol D. says:

    My favorite THINGS~ because they all have to accompany one another~ Mashed potatoes,yummy gravy, Pie~ Lemon meringue,pumpkin, Apple ( All things in order of importance!) Turkey, Cranberry sauce, home grown frozen corn,green beans with onion and bacon, squash, relish plate,fresh rolls, MMMMMMM…….. Are we there yet?

  60. Doreen Strain says:

    Hi Sue, I saw your maple leaf butter patties and had to comment. I just love it when I’m invited over to the home of a friend for dinner and I sit down at the table and see that it has been decorated to inhance my experience. All the little extras done to make it soooo much nicer. It gives me that warm cozy feeling on the inside. I can’t explain it. I love making my company feel welcomed and wanted. Going the extra steps makes them feel (I think) special! It’s so nice to know my friendship means enough to them that they are willing to go out of their way to make my experience at their home that much more enjoyable. Thanks for sharing. BTW…tried “Gramdma Gravy” out of your Autumn book several weeks ago and hubby took a forkfull of mashed potatoes with gravy and he closed his eyes and this sound like…..mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm came out of his being! I guess he like it! Hahaha! Love ya “Girlfriend” ! FOSB 4~Ever! ~Doreen ~ XO!

    • Doreen Strain says:

      Oh forgot…(happening more often to me since I hit 50 a couple of years ago..hahaha!) We make our stuffing the same way. I realized I said “Grandma Gravy” but it’s not…the recipe I used for the gravy was not “Grandma’s”. Boy my memory is slipping. “Grandma’s Stuffing” is the same as mine and I’m going to have to admit I only leave my bread out over night. I’m going to have to try the three day routine.

    • sbranch says:

      Love that Doreen!

  61. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Thank you for Willard’s visit! I had a cup of orange spice tea in my “Friendly Village” c/s, 1940’s wool blanket (heater decided to take a day of rest!), beautiful, colorful, fall view out my window & Willard! What more can one thankful lucky lady need? Speaking of thankful, thank you for the music to read by, such fun, and I’m thankful for you Susan and your beautiful artwork and delightful words! And, Jack’s athletic antics cracked me up and are imprinted on my brain! Your bloggin’ GF’s comments are delightful to read too! Thanks! xo

  62. Suzanne Larsen says:

    My fondest memories of Thanksgiving are the dishes cooked up by my mom and dad. My dad ran a restaurant for years and after we kids were grown, my mom went to help him and acted as the hostess. When I was in college, I also worked there, first as a waitress (I was terrible at it) and later in the kitchen where I felt “comfortable.” When I met the fella who would become my husband, he also liked to cook and fell right in step with my dad. He now makes a great prime rib just like my dad and makes a better dish of “cheesy potatoes” than I. “Mom Dutcher’s Cheesy Potatoes” are served at every special occasion our family has, and boy do I get in trouble if I don’t make them for Thanksgiving and Christmas (and every other occasion for that matter)!

    I recently shared this recipe with my gal-pal group and my friend told me the other day that her son will now come to her at special celebrations and say, “Mom, just make the potatoes, and you know which ones I mean.”

    I always thought my mom came up with this recipe, but 20 years ago when my best friend was in town, she invited my husband and I to dinner at her brother’s. I brought my potatoes and when I got there, she had made them too (and she sure didn’t have my recipe). Some things were different and in fact we had a good laugh about using the shredded hash browns, because she hadn’t thawed hers and her dish was really watery. I later discovered that there are many variations on this dish, and that my mom probably didn’t make up the recipe. But, one thing is for sure…this dish will always be known as “Mom Dutcher’s Cheesy Potatoes” at my house, and among my friends, it’s just “you’re making those potatoes…right???”

    Here’s the recipe and it couldn’t get any easier. This is the recipe for one batch, but it always gets doubled at our house!

    Mom Dutcher’s Cheesy Potatoes
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    1 package Ore Ida Shredded Hash Browns, thawed.
    1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup (regular, not reduced sodium or fat).
    1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup (regular, see above remark).
    12 ounces of sour cream (use more if the mixture seems dry).
    12 ounces of medium shredded cheddar cheese (use more if you can’t see the shreds throughout the mixture).
    1/2 Cup milk
    1/2 stick regular butter (or more to your taste)
    Mix everything together in a large bowl.
    Pour into a glass baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray (if you use a tin or metal pan, cut down on the cooking time).
    Press the mixture into the pan until it reaches all sides.
    Dot with butter.
    Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until the top is bubbly, brown and crisp (the crispiness is the best part).

    Note: The brand names are very important. A friend of mine made this using other brands, and believe me, it didn’t taste the same!
    Note: At 40 minutes check the potatoes to see how they are doing. Depending on your oven, you may need more time.
    Note: If I make a double batch, I have to cook the potatoes for 90 minutes or thereabouts.

    My mom has been gone since 1998…this is a wonderful way to remember and cherish her.

  63. Val Westberg says:

    Oh my stars, what a list of entries…oh well, I guess it only takes 1. Merci, for the chance to win such a wonderful prize!! And, you shouldn’t be surprised at all the LOVE you receive!! You are a blessing to each one of us through your books and now through this small world of the web. Yesterday alone, I got out my fall book for Ginger cookies, my Vineyard book for Mac and Cheese, and my Christmas book for spiced cider. You touch us all everyday and we are all the better for it!
    A blessed Thanksgiving to you, Joe and all your folks at home (2 & 4 legged!)

  64. Sharon Miller says:

    Good morning, Susan. Love Willard each time it comes to me. Look forward to the news. I grew up reading Gladys Taber and I’m glad you embrace her style. Thanks for the recipes, the beautiful artwork and the uplifting quotations. I have to admit, I’d love to win the book as well.

  65. Janice Kay Pipes says:

    Have to share a kitty story.. I wake up and she is layed out next to my ribs . The alram on my phone goes off and she jumps up and snozzed it.. Silly kitty I just love her. Congrats on your week!

  66. charlotte says:

    I dont have a blog but i do have every book u have ever done! My first two are so old and used that the pages are yellow now – gotta love yellow. I really need the new celebrate book for my collection – gonna have to get a copy of Cape Cod Home also hmmm wonder if I can find that in KY?

  67. Carly says:

    Love your blog and the pictures of you wonderful MVY, they bring back many happy memories. Can’t wait to get Celebrate.

  68. Crystal Burns from Cannon Falls, Minnesota says:

    Hi there Sue and Happy Thanks-giving from little old me here in Cannon Falls MN, the small town made famous by President Obamas visit this past summer.I love making Wild rice stuffing with chopped raw almonds, country sausage and fresh mushrooms. It is from The Canadian living cookbook and the only recipe my family will let me make. Also I like to put 1 tsp. of orange rind in my cranberry sauce. I got the idea from the Ferndale market here in Cannon Falls. A nice tradition we have is to go around the table after we say grace and each say the things we are thankful for this year.We do this every year.It makes for a close time of sharing with family and friends. I highly recommend it. Thats all for now. Thanks for your lovely inspiring ideas to help us all celebrate the holidays. It is so easy to get stressed out by all we want to do and thus forget to really enjoy this special time of year. You remind us to ENJOY ourselves and those we are blessed to be surrounded by. Thanks !

  69. Kim S says:

    I think the weirdest thing I ever had for Thanksgiving was a Turducken when we lived in Texas. It was part Turkey , part chicken and part duck, but like everything in Tx it was yummy… Love your blog and read it daily for a visit with friends!

  70. Linda Napier says:

    Hi Susan, Congrats on the cookbook and those tea biscuits look so good. I enjoy your blog so much. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

  71. Jayne says:

    I love being a voyeur in your life. Here’s the funniest Thanksgiving incident. In college, my roommate and I were fixing dinner and I had put the mashed potatoes in one bowl, but decided it needed to go in another bowl, so handed the new bowl to my roommate to hold while I shook the potatoes into it. I gave it a big shake, the potatoes hit the new bowl so hard, my roommate lost her grip on it, they hit the floor and bounced clear up to the ceiling and back to the bowl on the floor. We stood there for a stunned minute and then realized we both had mashed potatoes in our hair and even in our eyelashes. It still makes me laugh hysterically after 30 years.

  72. Laura says:

    Yeah! A drawing for a book! This is the best sort of drawing. Please put my name in the hat. Thanks!

  73. Lovely! I hope I win the book! It will go beautifully with my collection of your books and other recipe books! I love to use your recipes! PS… If I win could you throw in a tea set like the one in the picture? 🙂 Just kidding! But it is absolutely beautiful!
    I love tea… AND I love the dishes!
    So elegant and adds such a lovely touch to the home!

  74. Karen says:

    I love your blog! You’re doing such a great job keeping this up; thank you.

  75. Robin Crittenden says:

    I just love your blog and Willard emails but especially since Jack is now living with you. He is just precious. I’m a cat fanatic and have 7 furry children that I love. More outside neighborhood cats that think my food is better than theirs.

    I love the Women who Cook and can’t wait to see that book.

    Robin C. in Virginia

  76. Dorinda Turner says:

    Oh I would love that Cook Book! I always love getting a new cook book…I open it up and start tagging the pages with receipes that sound good and that I want to try. 🙂

  77. Cheryl says:

    Oh, what a happy surprise! I love the Where Women Cook magazine! Now a book, with my favorite cookbook author in it, and on the cover no less! Loved the videos with the leaf. I felt as if I were riding along with all of you, so sweet.

  78. jeanne murray says:

    What a delight Willard – thank you! Your transfer wear tea set is quite charming; might I inquire whicgh company makes the pieces? I am curious about you stuffing recipe .. will you be sharing it on your blog? Perhaps it is in one of your cookbooks …

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving.

    J. Murray

    • sbranch says:

      I put this set together, so it’s mix and match: the teapot is Vernon Kilns Mayflower, the creamer is a yard sale find that has nothing written on the bottom, the cups and saucers are Copeland Spode, and the little bowl is part of a 19th century children’s tea set; on the bottom, it either says “Coat” or “Goat” and under it, in a scroll it says “J. & R.G.”

      My Grandma’s stuffing is in both the Autumn Book and in my Christmas Book.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  79. Pat says:

    Just got your new calendar. My daughter and I have been getting them for yrs. I have all your books too . We both love them. So of course Id love to win this one to add to my collection. Love to see all the ways you make a holiday wonderful.

  80. Diane Donaldson says:

    Looking forward to reading Willard and looking forward to reading the new cook book!

  81. Leslie-Anne says:

    The strangest thing I’ve had at Thanksgiving were maple leaves mailed to me (not to eat, of course). My husband is Mexican and we were living near CanCun, but I was missing the change of seasons so my relatives mailed me some leaves. It was so funny and thoughtful and it was the beginning of always joining our traditions. Twenty-three years later we’re still doing just that!

  82. Marva Weir says:

    I love your idea of using leaves for your placecards at the table. Such a festive and inexpensive idea. I might have to steal that idea. I also look forward to seeing you in the new book. It looks like it will be a good one!

  83. Laurie says:

    I think it’s the dishes for me! Love everything you do…hope I win the book!

  84. Marsha Robins says:

    I absolutely love cookbooks — am a great collector of them. I think the oddest Thanksgiving I’ve ever had was the one after my Mom passed away. It was just my two brothers, my sister-in-law, and me that year — small crowd for us. My sister-in-law wasn’t feeling well, I had been terribly busy at work, my oldest brother always gets away with not bringing anything, and my second brother had just retired from his job at age 55 (yes, I am jealous). He called me and asked me to fix a salad. I usually fix a green salad, as that would go with a normal Thanksgiving meal. However, I ended up doing a fruit salad because it was easier. When I got to my brother’s house, he had fixed chili and my sister-in-law had fixed corn muffins. Fruit salad doesn’t go very well with chili, and chili is an odd Thanksgiving meal. However, it was a very cold Thanksgiving day in Alabama that year, and the chili ended up being perfect. We realized that it was a difficult year for all of us, and that the most important thing was that we got together as a family on Thanksgiving and gave thanks for all our blessings.

  85. Julie Kentera says:

    crossing my fingers–i really, really want to win!! 🙂

  86. Happy Thanksgiving, Susan!

    What a happy feeling tradition brings and yours are absolutely quintessential!

    No doubt whatever you touch turns magical! I doubt you’ll run out of fairy dust any time soon & I, for one, hope & pray that your legacy continues forever! ;>)

    One of our favorite family traditions began years ago after my husband and I had watched “Jeremiah Johnson” for the very first time. (We’re probably on #99 by now!). As my husband was explaining the gist of the movie to his father, Pop quietly smiled and remarked, “Did you know our family is part Indian?” Of course we were all intrigued with his confession and eagerly questioned him for more details, discovering that our European Side is Celtic Welsh/Irish, with inter marriage into the Delaware, Cherokee & Wyandot Tribes! What a heritage!

    It was no surprise then when buffalo came into our lives in 1987. We began raising the animals, not only for ancestral reasons, but for the nutritional value of the meat. America owes the recovery from the near-extinction of Bison(The Native Beef) to the private ranchers across this country, who took it upon themselves to raise the level of public awareness in such a way that preservation of these animals is protected, while helping also to recover the size of the herds.

    Twenty-five years later, our family continues to proudly place a Bison Roast along side our turkey on the table. Bison is truly the Original Thanksgiving Feast.

    Love from a thankful heart!

  87. Judy Mapston says:

    These look so yumee.. I think I will have to make them to bring to our cousins for Thanksgiving!! Thanks a bunch!!

  88. Aimee says:

    Pick me, Pick me, oh RNG!
    Strangest thing for T day? Well, not strange to some but to me it was odd to have Tofurkey one year instead of Turkey. Never again will that happen!

  89. Julie Turcotte says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your home and life on your blog–it gives me lots of decor and cooking inspiration! I just had to tell you how it cheers me up daily — whether I need cheering up or not! 🙂 Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!

  90. I would love this book!

    Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

  91. Susan Stollard says:

    From one Susan to another! And to think my mother wanted to name me Sally!
    Thanksgiving at our house has included for the last 38 married years a banana salad that Grandma always makes and no one eats! We don’t have the heart to tell Grandma that we don’t like it……everyone takes a spoonful so it looks like we’ve eaten it and she’s happy as a lark! Writing on the leaves with a correction pen–wish I’d thought of it sooner.

  92. Melanie says:

    Don’t have any strange or quirky foods at Thanksgiving. I’m all about the meal being 100% traditional! (Now Christmas, that’s another story….)
    Thanks. : )

  93. Susan Stollard says:

    Bunny, we used to raise buffalo too… all started with my father-in-law’s fascination of them. We actually had the first buffalo calves born in Moultrie county in over 100 years and welcomed local school groups, helping and hoping to further their history lessons. Buffalo are amazingly social animals (but never forget they are still wild animals!) We used to have buffalo roasts at most holidays, perhaps I should bring back that tradition…….hmmm!

    I learn sooooo much here!

  94. Glenda says:

    Susan, you are a gem! I love reading Willard and your blog as well. I have been a fan of yours for ages. My grandmother was an artist, and she introduced your work to me years ago. As I read your blog, it is like being with my grandmother in her warm, inviting home. Slip covers, cast iron pans, doll collection, vintage items. She taught me how to shop yard sales and thrift shops 35-40 years ago. Such wonderful memories!

    Anyway, my kids never really got into eating turkey at Thanksgiving. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, and I’m a very decent cook. One year I made fried chicken along with all of the other traditional Thanksgiving fixings, and they loved it! However, fried chicken is a lot of work when there is so much else going on. Last year, I cooked our turkey in my large pressure cooker/canner. It was amazing! Moist and tender, my DH and 4 young adult sons ate so much turkey, there were barely leftovers. I’m going with the pressure cooked turkey again this year.

    By the way, I enjoyed your link to the Osmonds with Andy Williams! Have you seen Donny and Marie perform in Las Vegas? It is such a great show. They are so talented, and parts of it are like a walk down memory lane.

    • sbranch says:

      No, never have seen them . . .but I adore that song. Like the way you got your family interested in turkey, like my mom always says, where there’s a will there’s a way! Happy Thanksgiving!

  95. I would adore this cookbook.

    Wishing you and yours a lovely Thanksgiving.

  96. Jewels says:

    You are a joy and a delight, Susan. Lovely to “spend time with you” through your beautiful blog.

    Thanks, for entering me in the drawing for the book. It looks wonderful!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  97. Barbara Thomas says:

    Thanksgiving is always a trial for me as I lost my Dad that day in 1994 Sometimes it is hard to move beyond what I lost rather than what I still have. Cooking our family recipes helps. I am always so stressed to make it all perfect and done at the same time! Turkeys are a challenge but so yummy! Love dragging out your recipe books for help and inspiration!

  98. Tasha Railton says:

    Those little heart biscuits are super cute! I am getting so excited for the holidays. It really helps for me to read your blog (to get in the holiday mindset). I just ate lunch, but after seeing those pictures of food on here I am ready for a snack. Too early for cute little biscuits 1 hour after lunch?
    Thanks for the every day inspiration that you bring to my life <3

  99. Marnie Clark says:

    I’m so happy for you ~~ being published in so many great publications.
    This cookbook would be a grand addition to my kitchen.

  100. KathyRS says:

    Thanks for the wonderful Williard… got so many great ideas that I had to make notes. Since my guy is in the nursing home this year – I might just have to shop for him… what do you think?

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