Jack and Girl Kitty Update, plus, We Have a Winner!

It’s Sunday!  I thought it might be fun to give you a Jack and Girl Kitty update.  Plus I had fun yesterday, stirring up a big batch of Spiced Pecans to sprinkle on our Thanksgiving salad — they turned out so good and are so easy to make, I know you will love to have the recipe.  And, as promised, we have a Contest Winner!

But first, look at these two!

This is the lay of the land as of yesterday.  Girl Kitty still hisses if Jack gets too close, but she’s gotten very curious about him and plants herself in the middle of his whirling dervishness and just watches him.

 Jack does his best to impress her, moving quickly, a fur blur, staying just out of swatting distance.  Just in case.

He would really like to play with her, but he plays with his ball so as not to seem too eager.  Not fooling anyone for a minute.  He LIKES her.  And I’m pretty sure she likes him too.

He waits at a respectful distance for Girl Kitty to meet him halfway.  Which she isn’t doing quite yet.  One reason I wanted a kitten was because I was afraid that Girl was bored and getting too lazy . . . she isn’t bored anymore.  Her morning naps are over!  She wants to see what Jack is doing.

Her sweetness shines through; she’s responding to hearing Joe’s footsteps upstairs.  The part of heaven she is going to, that’s the part I want to go to, too. 

Jack has staked out a perch on top of the warm fax machine.  This way when he wants to knock over a cup full of pens or dip his foot in watercolor water, he doesn’t have to go too far.  What I love about Jack is that he’s a true baby, getting into all kinds of mischief, tearing around the house, wearing himself out, and needs to “go down” for a nap every afternoon.  He doesn’t let out a peep when I put him in his bed in the Peter Rabbit room. And while he was having his nap, I did this.

Just in case I went too fast in that video, here is how to make Spiced Pecans in really slow motion. Salty, sweet, peppery, crisp, and crunchy with a little bite to them, they have it all — so quick to make; a jarful makes a wonderful gift if you’re looking for an easy and delicious gift to make for the holidays.

These pecans come from Trader Joes.  We all can’t be lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s near us, which is simply proof that it is, indeed, an unfair world.  Our closest one is in Hyannis, a boat ride over the high seas and then a forty-five minute car ride away; but totally worth it.  My sister used to drive four hours (down, and four hours back!) from Durango, Colorado, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to get her Trader Joe fix.  Besides many other wonderful things, they sell pecans in large and relatively inexpensive bags.  When we go to Hyannis, we take a cooler, and stock up on their organic chicken, and nuts which we keep in the freezer. I automatically just double the recipe for Spiced Pecans which I will give you at the end of this post.

So here we go, four cups of pecan halves go into a large bowl.

Then, a half cup of brown sugar,

. . . Stir it all up with melted butter, Mexican hot pepper sauce (Cholula), salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  And that’s it.

Pour the nuts onto a cookie sheet;

. . . spread them in a single layer,

And pop the pan in the oven for ten minutes, stirring once halfway through.

Pull them out and allow to cool completely.  The sugar sauce will dry onto the pecans.

They’re great to snack on, but also delicious scattered in salads, or chopped and sprinkled on desserts.  A perfect holiday-season accessory.  This jar is winging its way to my dad, where it would be a surprise except that the surprise is going to happen before he gets them, when he reads this, so Hi Dad!!! Happy Thanksgiving!  I’m sending you nuts!  (Blogging is so fun.)

And one of our wonderful girlfriends is about to get another surprise — because it’s time to announce the winner of our Where Women Cook book CELEBRATE!!!  OK, drum roll please.

Here we go, the envelope please (random number generator is handing over envelope, I’m ripping it open, there, sparkling in beautiful gold caligraphy is the name . . .) And the winner is, Meghan Strauss!   Let’s give it up for Meghan!

Anyone know Meghan?  If you see her, tell her she’s the winner.  I sent her an email, haven’t heard back yet — but she has a two-year-old, so she’s probably a little bit busy!

And thank you all for chiming in.  I always wish I had prizes for everyone!!  Your comments were just great, made me laugh (or cry) the whole time I was reading them!  Here’s a little consolation prize . . . Have a wonderful day!

S  P  I  C  E  D  ♣  P  E  C  A  N  S

  • Spray olive or canola oil
  • 2 c. pecan halves
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 c. melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. Mexican hot pepper sauce (Cholula)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly spray oil on a cookie sheet.  Mix all other ingredients and spread in pan in one layer.  Bake 10 min. until lightly toasted, stirring once during cooking time.  Cool completely before packing in air tight container.  If you double this recipe, you get a quart of nuts.

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237 Responses to Jack and Girl Kitty Update, plus, We Have a Winner!

  1. Veronica says:

    Congrats! Megan! Happy cooking!
    To Everyone
    Much happiness and love with family and friends.

  2. cindy says:

    Is it possible to make the pecans without the spice? What changes should I make? Love, love your blog!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard of pecans made with butter cinnamon and sugar . . . you might try that. Do the same amount of butter, sugar and pecans. Add cinnamon if you like.

  3. Joan Lesmeister says:

    The Spiced Pecans are really, really good, yummy, & I’m a wimp when it comes to too spicy & peppery – but, these are not! You wouldn’t know there is that much hot sauce, so try it you other wimpy spicy people, you’ll love it! I had to put the lid on the container to keep us from eating the whole batch last night! Delicious! Thank you Dear Sue for the recipe! xo

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, so glad you like them!!

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Umm, today I took the lid off, we keep taste testing the Spicy Pecans….again, and again, and yes they are still delicious….and good thing I made a double batch!:-)

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Okay Joan, in our house we are spicy wimps but I’m taking your word for it and trying it! We have company coming for Thanksgiving dinner who we’ve been to a Thai restaurant with and they LOVE hot stuff, so if we “wimp out”, I know they will enjoy the pecans! Happy Thanksgiving to All! 🙂

  4. Enikö says:

    Always wanted this recipe (thanks!)…gotta pick up your autumn book! Hugs to kitties! Happy Thanksgiving to you & Joe!

  5. Barbara Tabb says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! I thought of YOU yesterday Susan Branch! I was working in the kitchen and had my little TV on….on the TV was the old version of Little Women. sooooooo wonderful 🙂 and the girls got a letter from their father (away in the war) and they were so excited to sit and cluster around their mother as she read it aloud….and I thought OMG it’s a Willard!!!

  6. Gumbo Lily says:

    Just had to tell you I made the nuts! I made pecans AND almonds! Oh. My. Goodness! These nuts are to die for. I can’t stop eating them. Good thing they weren’t cooled down before I had to go to Thanksgiving. More for us.

    Thank you for the recipe.

  7. Karen Scott says:

    Love your blog! And your recipes! Any time I need some inspiration, I pull one of your books off of the shelf. Feeling a little bad that you have to travel so far to Trader Joe’s. It’s a 5 minute walk for me 🙂 It is indeed a blessing 🙂


    • sbranch says:

      🙂 I’m happy I can at least get there a few times a year, some people have to go to different states to get to one!!! You are sooo lucky!

  8. Susan Eaton says:

    I love seeing your video and hearing your voice of you cooking those pecans in the oven. I also like that you were using your own book for the recipe. 🙂 It seemed so peaceful there and you have so much to be thankful for. I won’t forget many years (maybe 15?) you wrote me a postcard on your stationary of course and I still have it. I disovered you ever since I saw “Christmas Joy” book on my Mother-in-law’s coffee table and she didn’t know “who” you were and I have been a fan ever since. I made tablecloth and quilted pilllows with your fabric, homemade cards with your paper, made your recipes for food and desserts, etc.

  9. I thought it was just Boo Kitty that was spastic and full of energy … must be a kitten thing! Wish I had that much energy! LOL Boo and my 5 1/2 year old beagle, Annie are becoming best buds now, too … I’m sure it won’t be long before Girl Kitty starts playing around with Jack! 🙂

  10. Barbara Thomas says:

    I collect heart shaped stones and beach glass, too. I bet most of us do. My first one was given to me by my 2 year old son. He found it in our flowerbed and brought it in to me as a present. And we found many more at Avila Beach which I am sure you know is full of stones!

  11. Paula says:

    I just love your blog and Willards. I read your blog from yesterday about your guest bathroom — neat idea by the way — and noticed Scottie figurines on your sink. I have two Scotties — Kacey, my wheaten rescue girl, and Dugan, my black boy. Dugan and Kacey have been like your kitties. They’ve been together for 3 years, and he still looks at her sometimes like she is “so dumb”. They fight over who gets on their cushion — and BOTH of them can fit on there. It’s a race when they come in from outdoors as to who will get there first. Neither wants to share. She is the “blonde” cutie who gets noticed — and she LOVES men! He’s the dignified, elegant Scottish gentleman who won’t lower his standards — especially for her. Kacey has skin allergies, and must take meds to control it, I give the meds in little marshmallows, and of course “the man” must get his fair share of marshmallows too. Our Scotties have helped my daughter and I through some tough times. They are so funny. We lost my husband last year to Melanoma, and the dogs have been such a healing aid for us. Kacey LOVED my husband, and every time his twin brother comes to our house, she thinks he is my husband. It is so sweet to see her reaction to him. Anyway, I noticed your Scotties, and thought I would write about mine. Of course, I could NEVER have a cat in my house — they are “rodents” as far as Scotties are concerned — right up there with mice! Oh, and anything with a Scottie on it, in it, or otherwise — I MUST HAVE IT! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry about your husband! I love how you say that your Scotties have helped you through tough times. I know exactly what you mean, what a gift they are. I look up and say Thank you God sixteen times a day because of the miracle of little pets. Glad you wrote about them, I bet they are darling!

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