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. Lisa Zinza says:

    Many thanks for the recipe.. I needed glazed nuts for my salad today.. and knew JUST where to look.. you are always a winner!!!! ♥

  2. {oc cottage} says:

    i probably shouldn’t admit this…but i’m
    very glad to know that there are other
    cat enablers out there…like myself! ;}
    i have to spend 15 minutes minutes picking
    up cat toys before i can vacuum! and one
    of my cats {i only have 2…} is on my printer
    now. one day girl kitty will comfortably
    tolerate Jack…i went through the same
    thing a few years ago when i got my
    little guy. at first i had a lot of pictures
    of her hissing at him…then of her
    watching him…then of them finally eating
    next to each other…then i knew it was all
    good…and then he proceeded to stalk and
    attack her, every waking moment!{which, 3
    years later, he still does! ;}

    m ^..^

  3. Karen P says:

    Congrats, Meghan! With having a 2 year old, you deserve this special little treat from Susan!

    I LOVE how in almost every picture Jack is blurry! Ha! So cute! Love the Spicy Pecan recipe! Mmmm……must make them!

    Have a wonderful Sunday, Susan! xoxo…kp

  4. Martha Ellen says:

    Congrats to Meghan! Can’t wait to make those good looking pecans–Yum over a salad. I’m making two pecan pies for Thanksgiving dinner–will save some for your recipe. Your kitties are looking like they are “getting to know you”–How sweet they are–cute little bundles of fur. Girl Kitty is looking very patient! Thank you Susan for all you have shared with us. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!

  5. Judy says:

    Congratulations to Meghan! Susan your kitchen and dining room are wonderful so warm and homey looking. I am not a fan of the open concept floor plan that everyone seems to like now. I love the pictures of Jack and Girl Kitty and I am sure they will be friends soon. Thanks for the pecan recipe and I have four Trader Joes within close driving distance of where I live. It is one of my favorite stores, but every time I go there I spend more than I planned on, just can’t help myself!

  6. Jacquelyn Wirthlin says:

    Thank you for the wonderful pecan recipe! I am running to Trader Joe’s this morning for Gorgonzola cheese. I get spoiled during the winter in Las Vegas having that store only 5 miles away but come summer on Bainbridge Island,(WA), it is an hour drive once off the island with a big cooler and a list in hand. Their carrot cake cupcakes are our favorite … dense with lots of pineapple.

    Congratulations to Meghan. Know she will love it.

    Jack reminds me of my puppy, Gidget. Although not officially a puppy any longer at 22 months of age, her antics truly resemble Jack’s. Always a blur and running at top speed. I’m a cat person at heart but fell in love with Gidget after 25 years of “doglessness”.

    Your Thanksgiving table looks to be lovely. I am doing a similar thing trying out dishes, placemats, etc… a little nervous entertaining ” friends” we haven’t met before … lol. Thanks Susan for all of your hints, pictures and music.

  7. TJ says:

    Good morning Susan…and, Congratulations to Meghan!

    I’m listening to holiday music, smelling baked sweet potatoes, and making hotel reservations for travel to Charlotte for Thanksgiving…and maybe checking a blog or two.

    My granddaughter and I are making sweet potato tarts this morning for her Thanksgiving Feast at school tomorrow.

    I finished reading the Autumn book yesterday…it has been my reading material while waiting for granddaughter at rehearsals for The Nutcracker Ballet. Will have to get a copy of Where Women Cook CELEBRATE to add to my collection.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Susan Simon says:

    Those spiced nuts are the best…. I love them; I don’t make them too often as I would nibble on them all the time!

    Our next door neighbors had a kitten named Jack that they got when they got their chocolate lab puppy, Maggie, and we got Maggie’s sister, Charly. (long story why SHE is named Charly.) The three used to romp together in the back yard; when our dog was out on her long tether (no fences in our neighborhood), Jack knew just where to sit so Charly could not get near enough to play with him. He also used to come over and literally climb our screen door when he wanted Charly to come out and play… so cute! Enjoy your blurry kitten and watch how quickly Girl Kitty gets used to him…. they will become best friends.

    Off to get the ingredients for making your pumpkin cheesecake… have a wonderful time watching your kitties… and congratulations to Meghan on winning the cookbook; hope she gets in touch soon. If I don’t post again before Thanksgiving, Susan, I hope you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving, enjoying all the little moments that add up to great big wonderful memories!

  9. Joan says:

    I know you have said before – but I didn’t write it down – what kind of camera do you use – your pictures ALL turn out SOOOOOOO beautiful!

  10. Lisa G. says:

    The part of Heaven that Girl is going to, you want to go, too – I feel the same way about our dear Dolly. She’s so sweet (most of the time) that I can just picture her little white self sprouting wings up there and flying around delighting everyone in the place! I know just what you mean.

    Your cats will get used to each other, and I hope they’ll really like each other, too.

  11. Lisa Zinza says:

    … ps… I just made these spiced nuts up… mmmmm mmmmmmm mmmmmm♥

    thinking it would be really really yummy to use popped corn in place of the nuts .. the Cholula sauce is the kicker .. not tooo spicy …. jussssst right … thanks again!!

  12. Debbie Johnson says:

    Love the pix of the kitties!! The furry blurry Jack is so funny with Miss Kittie watching! The recipe looks Yummy-Yum-Yum and will try it.
    Question. . . for the Mexican hot sauce do you know if that is the same as Tapatio?
    Happy Sunday Susan!

  13. Lin says:

    The pecans look yummy – will have to give them a try! And however did we exist before Trader Joe’s?! Ours is about 45 minutes away, and we too, take a cooler with us when we visit!

  14. Janie Phillips says:

    What a sweet picture of Girl Kitty! Her life has definitely gotten more interesting with little Jack zipping about :). They’re making really good progress.

    Your pecans look delicious! They would make perfect little Christmas gifts. I think I’m going to need to make some. xoxo

  15. Holly says:

    Trader Joe’s is the best! While living in Seattle, I was 1.2 miles away from “my Trader Joe’s” and shopped there every week. Yes, I was spoiled. Never did I imagine shopping would include a hour drive here in the midwest. I love the flowers and little pots of herbs they sell.

    Jack’s “comedy show” is great! Thank you for posting about Jack! I’m not really sure what my two indoor kitties do at night, but every morning I have quite a few balls of yarn in places I didn’t leave them (all over the house). Sometimes there are long strings going from room to room! There are also gifts left for me on places where I typically work, like my looms, my sewing machine chair, or my place on the sofa.. The gifts are always small things like a cat toy, a seam ripper that was missing, a ball of pearl cotton. Abby, the oldest girl, has a fetish for pin cushions. She will carry a big pin cushion to another room, and proceed to pull every pin out and drop it onto the floor. This little trick makes me crazy! So, for her sake and mine, pin cushions are hidden at night now.
    Regardless of their night time covert activities, these two kitties bring so much joy and laughter into our home. We will always have kitties.

  16. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Congrats to Meghan! I agree….if you have a two year old, you are indeed deserving of a surprise just for you! I never had children except for all the dear ones I taught in special ed for 35 years, but I’m in awe of all the moms out there and all they do to take care of children of all ages and run a home. You are unsung heros everyday.
    As for the kitty….we have a cat that comes in our doggy door to sleep on the guestroom/home office bed. I found out about her when our dear English Cocker, Nelly Bly, let me know we had some ‘wild’ animal visiting by scratching on the office door so I would open it. (She never really liked the doggy door so we keep the office door closed in case a REALLY wild animal ever came in at least they would be stuck in that room). This cat ‘belongs’ to a neighbor, I found out about six months in to me letting her sleep on the bed and leaving food and water for her in there when she came for bed and breakfast. Apparently, she liked our set-up and started coming here for longer and longer and the people down the street posted a ‘lost cat’ picture. We now share her.Happy Thanksgiving, Susan and Friends!

    • sbranch says:

      That is so right, Sarah, unsung heroes! Except, from their children, we hope! Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Holly says:

        I love this cat story! Back when I lived in Washington, our shop cat, Bella, was missing for weeks, and my kids were so sad. One garbage day I met our neighbor, and noticed they had cat food bags in the garbage — that they didn’t usually have. The neighbor mentioned they had a new cat, a cat that just moved in one day, but always wants to get out. Well, their new cat was our old cat, Bella. So, we shared her.

    • Nancy says:

      Your pictures make me want to hold the cats! 😉 The pecans look delish! We are having your pumpkin cheesecake and pecan pies…..Happy Thanksgiving!

  17. Janie Phillips says:

    Congratulations, Meghan! This looks like a real “girlfriends” cookbook!

  18. Gert says:

    Congrats to Meghan! And thank you for that wonderful recipe, they look amazing & oh so yummy! I made your cranberries today! So easy! Just in time for Thanksgiving ! smile..

    Oh..you have go to be having so much fun with your kitties & I am so envious! Lol If it weren’t for our puppy dog Rusty…he too still runs around the house & keeps us entertained.


    PS I will be sharing your cranberry recipe on my blog tonight (with a link back to you of course!)

  19. Kim says:

    I’m smiling big-time over those photos of Jack and Girl Kitty ~ So cute they are! In our household, we have seven indoor kitties (four of ’em are a mama and her three kits, ferals all, whom we’ve never been able to touch, but trapped and had them all spayed and neutered, and then brought them inside to our daughter’s old room. They’ve been cozied up and content (without petting!) for a year and a half now. We also have an outdoor man-kitty feral (who we also trapped and had spayed and neutered), who has been warming himself in the warming bed on our front porch, and dining on healthy kibble now for about 5 years. Add to that our “domesticated” critters, the three tame housecats and the three big ol’ lollapalooza dogs, and you get a picture … Yep, we’re empty nesters all right! (And I’m “a dog person”!)

    Your house is so lovely and charming, and so are you, Susan. Thanks, as always, for inviting us in, and sharing so many of your “trade secrets” with us. You’ve got to be one of the most generous, beloved women on the planet!

    Congratulations to Meghan! I can’t wait to get my own copy of the cookbook!


    • Kim says:

      Lordy, I’m on a roll today … We didn’t have our man-kitty “spayed and neutered”, but merely neutered! (Please note this, lest he read my posting and feel his already threatened manhood further de-escalated!)

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Kim, I think we are very much all kindred spirits around here!

  20. Terri says:

    Good morning, Susan and congratulations, Meghan!
    My kitties take turns sitting on the printer/fax while I’m on the computer. I smiled when I saw Jack had a cushion up there – I don’t know why I never thought to put one up here for them. I think they’ll be thanking you for that idea…
    Watching that video, I could almost smell those wonderful pecans! We have made a slightly different version before, but it requires first cooking them in a skillet with 1/2 c. water and a cup of sugar till the water boils off, then sprinkling them with salt & cayenne pepper and baking them in the oven. I think I like your version better – only one pan to clean (though I have to admit, I usually lined the baking sheet with heavy duty foil for the second part of the recipe). But still, your recipe sounds so much simpler and just as tasty (actually I’m betting, even tastier! I can’t wait to try it). Thanks for sharing that!
    Your table is looking beautiful, already. Just in case you’re not back here again, before the day – wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  21. Karen says:

    Those spiced pecans look amazing. I am lucky enough to have a Trader Joes a few minutes away….. and we always have Cholula on hand, so I will be making these soon!
    Congratulations to Meghan!

  22. Patty says:

    Ha – Ha, Jack has won her! I love the Bluuurrr he leaves.
    Meghan, Congratulations!
    Trader Joe’s Is one of my favorites too, We are fortunate to live within two miles of one. I find pecans at Cost Co though. Will be trying your recipe! Today is your Chicken and dumplings though, cause here we are having a rainy, overcast day.
    Love peeking into your home!
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    (I think the getting ready part is as fun as the celebration!)

  23. Kim says:

    PS – I’m wondering if the beautiful 2012 mug in your video was a gift, or if you might suggest where we might be able to find one?? I’ll confess to a bit of “coveting” on this Sabbath Day!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh! That’s an easy one, we have those in our web store! just go to the top of the blog where it says shopping. Isn’t it cute? I love dated things!

      • Kim says:

        Well for goodness sakes, I had actually gone to your web store but didn’t see it! (This is becoming a repeating sort of theme to my life anymore!) I’ll go again and look more closely, and will joyfully place my order! Thanks, Susan!

        • Kim says:

          Yet another PS – Oh my gosh!! (I hadn’t clicked on the mug photo, which opened up all the other mugs you’re offering.) What bee-yew-tea-full mugs you have, my dear! I thought of someone who needs each and every one! (Be still my beating heart, and don’t buy ’em all at once!)

  24. Doreen Strain says:

    Hi Sue,
    Don’t you just wish you could be inside Girl Kitty’s mind to hear what she is saying to herself as she watches “Jack…the fur ball” run around like a clown? I can hear her now….”Oh yeah….I used to do that trick too so you can stop showing off!” and then “Listen here Jack…don’t be sticking your wet nose anywhere over that imaginary line I drew on the carpet or your gonna get a “bonk” right on the head from this here front paw of mine! But I can hear it now on a freezing cold day in late January….”Hey Jackie boy….come on over here and lay down by me real close like so I can stay warm! LOL! Your going to have so much fun watching them carry on! Thanks for the recipe and congratulations to Meghan! Enjoy your Sunday and have a peaceful, blessed Thanksgiving! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  25. Susan Craft says:

    What a great recipe! Every year I order a case of pecans from Georgia for holiday baking and gifts. I’ve made plain salted, toasted pecans for years but I’m certainly going to try your recipe. Every time I go to the freezer and get out a bag of these nuts it makes me nostalgic about my childhood in post WWII Georgia. Back then pecans were so plentiful that people gave them away. Almost everyone had a pecan tree in their back yard or knew someone who did. One of my earliest duties was helping my mother shell pecans.

    Toasted pecans bring back happy memories of relatives who are no longer with us. I love this recipe and can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the post and have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving everyone.

  26. Patricia says:

    Susan I just returned from the book store where I bought the last copy of Cape Cod Home magazine! I’m about to sit and read it but first I had to check your blog. If I end up with a little black and white kitty it will be Jack’s fault (and Girl Kitty too of course!) They are so precious. I loved the video that you made- first of all one of my favorite songs was in the background and then the lovely view of your dining room table! Love that tablecloth. And the pecans look yummy. Congrats to the winner of the cookbook! 🙂

    • Patricia says:

      Oops- PS I forgot to mention…you said your friend Rachel is arriving from England tomorrow…enjoy your visit!

      • sbranch says:

        We will thanks!

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Tell Rachel “HI” from me, too! 🙂 I love reading all the comments from people about their multiple cats and/or dogs. So many people wonder why we have the two schnauzers and ask, “Isn’t it more work?” Well, duh, yes it is–and it is more than double the work, for some strange reason. However, they are company for each other and it is so much fun to watch them interact with each other. And we got the second one for the same reason, Susan–we felt Fanny slept too much and was getting bored. So, when Betti gets into mischief or bugs Fanny trying to get her to play, we just laugh and say, “Oh Fanny, we got her for YOU, not US!” 🙂 And I swear Fanny rolls her eyes… 🙂

          • Trish K says:

            I agree that two dogs are less work than one. They keep each other so busy/active/entertained. I’m sure cats are the same. I don’t think animals are meant to be alone, we humans can be so boring when we read books, watch tv, or use the computer! At least that seems to be what they think. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

    • Amy D. says:

      I am so disappointed my local B & N doesn’t have Cape Cod Home and I missed ordering one from Susan. I wish they would include the pictures online.

  27. Deborah says:

    Congrats to Meghan, I am sure you will love this book, it must be a treasure! Good winter reading when the baby has naptime!

    So happy to see that the kitties are friends,….you are in for tons of fun! How nice of you Susan to treat us to a sweet and delicious recipe for the spiced pecans when you must be sooo very busy with turkey day rapidly approaching. thank you, it looks so yummy and a perfect gift idea.

  28. Ann says:

    Congratulations Meghan! Love the Jack and Girl Kitty stories. Can’t imagine life without pets. I make a slightly different version of the spiced pecans with the emphasis on the spices. Know your Dad will enjoy the gift and only wish I could still do the same for my Dad.

  29. Kim says:

    Congrets Meghan, you deserve it! And as many above here have already said I will gave try the pecan recipe next weekend, thank you for posting it Susan! I hope everybody’s having a wonderful Sunday!

  30. Cyndi Harp says:

    Girl Kitty has such a beautiful serene face. Jack on the other had has mischief written all over him. He’s lucky to have found you all. I was sure Girl Kitty would be “ok” with him and will probably warm up to him more each day. When no one is looking, or when she thinks no one is looking, she’ll will most likely play with Jack more and more. But she’ll have to maintain a tab bit of aloofness I’m sure. Can’t let the little guy think she’s too easy! I’d love to watch them, the pictures are super cute. Love the pecans also. I’ve been making these for a long time and they are so yummy. Have a good week all and congrats to Meghan! Enjoy the book.

  31. Debbie says:

    Thanks for the recipe! Those pecans will make a great hostess gift for Thanksgiving. My sister has the family for Thanksgiving and I have everyone for Christmas dinner. Happy Thanksgiving!

  32. Lee Ann G. says:

    A big shout out congratulations to Meghan!!! You lucky girl you!
    Oh my goodness Susan! I smelled those spiced pecans as soon as you opened your oven door! Y-U-M-M-I-E_E_E…..Eeeeeeee! Thank Y♥U for the recipe. I must put this recipe on my holiday to make list.

    ♥Lee Ann

  33. Marissa says:

    Thanks for sharing your recipe…I think I just might give this a try! (If I can find Mexican hot sauce in my rural area, that is!)

    Congrats to Meghan!!

  34. Anita Taylor says:

    I’ve made these from your cookbook! VERY good! Where do you get the cute red and white twine? It looks so cute on the red lidded jars! Thanks, Anita

    • sbranch says:

      I think I found it on wooden spools in the Sundance Catalog about 3 years ago. But don’t quote me. 🙂

  35. Liz says:

    I am soo making this recipe! Looks easy and delicious. Also I agree on the Trader Joes fix, just got mine yesterday. Only have to drive an hour and 15 min to get there, well worth the trip!

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t that amazing? When we were younger everyone only cared about what school district they lived in, now all anyone wants is to live within 5 miles of a Trader Joes!

  36. Dale Worness says:

    You should’ve named Jack “Dizzy” since that’s how I feel when I see his pictures! Girl Kitty looks so calm and serene like she was NEVER that crazy!
    Your dining-room and kitchen look like they come straight out of Country Living magazine. So cozy and inviting! But I think that re-lidded jar of Spiced Pecans would look very good in MY kitchen! I know, make my own! I really need to order those jars since red is one of my favorite colors.
    Looks like we’re not getting a Trader Joe’s here in FL 🙁 I went to one in IL at Christmas a few years ago and really loved it.
    Hope you heard from Meghan. She’ll really love that cookbook. What a great Thanksgiving gift! Have a great Turkey Day, everyone!

  37. Mary says:

    I don’t know if you will get this, all the way from China where I have been living for the past 6 years, but I so enjoy your blog and have to tell you! It is one of the few blog sites that we have access to here, and you help save my sanity when I am achingly missing the little things we used to do in the states. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I love experiencing it through you. Thank you!

  38. judi says:

    Love your kitties. Thank you for sharing all the fun, inspiring, smiley “stuff” with us. Just bought the Celebrate cookbook yesterday and that heart pan is on the way 🙂 Big hugs to you!

  39. Diana says:

    You are simply adorable. I love the kitty antics… and your wonderful recipe… and more so your home that is sooo homey.

    Thanks for sharing 😉

  40. carol pfeiffer says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Susan, can’t wait to try the spiced pecans. BTY do you also double the seasoning in the recipe? Enjoy your holiday and your friends from England.


  41. Ann Y. says:

    Congratulations to Meghan…what a great early holiday treat for her ! It is so sweet of you to do these give away surprises – always something to look forward to. Can’t wait to try the pecans ( have the Autumn book but never made them) and want to tell you I did make the cranberries for my dinner last night….they got all nice and bubbled up and I covered the dish with foil and set it on the back of the stove where it’s warm while I did the pork tenderloin. I was thinking of your post about glass because at the last minute I found this little dish that is all glass but looks like leaves ….put the cranberries in there and served with a little silver ladle. Perfect…and everyone loved them. So, you see, I was a winner, too…I got a great new recipe. Just in from a nice long walk, so now it’s time to light the candles, have supper in the dining room on old Blue Willow dishes, and get out my Autumn book to see what other great things I can “cook up” ! Have fun with your kitties this week as we race towards Thanksgiving !

    • sbranch says:

      We are all winners around here, aren’t we? “Race” is right; I love the anticipation and would like more of it!

  42. Jeanne Hedin says:

    Love the kitty pictures, love the spiced pecan recipe, love the blog! 🙂 And congrats to Meghan. 🙂

  43. Mary Ann says:

    Oh Susan this is perfect timing! We are inKansas City visiting for the holidays and just adding a few last nibbles and things to the menu…and TJs just opened here this summer so everything comes together! And I think I’ll make another double batch back home in Long Beach. A nice treat to tuck into grownups Christmas stockings I’m thinking, tucked way down in the toe as a last surprise.

  44. Congrats to Meghan!
    Your cats remind me of ours – we have three. One in particular likes to sit on the warm electronic equipment in the office. Our 2 males play and run all the time but our older female just looks at them!
    I have not made spiced pecans in a long time – thx for the recipe. Growing up, we had 2 large pecan trees. My friends and I would swing in the home-made swing my dad made and snack on pecans as we waited our turn!
    Have a blessed evening, Susan.

  45. Christine Anderson says:

    Congrats to Meghan!

    Love the pecan recipe! I must confess I get my pecans at Costco. Either Costco or Trader Joes are about 5 minutes! Costco gives me more nuts. I use Pecans in so many things I bake

    Thanks for the great blog. Always leaves me smiling 🙂

  46. Diane says:

    I laughed so hard at your *fake* blog with the birds on the trees because it is so over-the-top adorable and then when I just read this blog about your baby kitty, Jack, I had to laugh out loud again! He is absolutely adorable and beautiful and GK will never be lonely again! They are too cute in the pics and it brightened up my day, so thank you. I dont know you , but feel so happy for you in your corner(s) of the world whenever I read your blogs and see the pics. The pecans look so wonderful that I now want to try them out. I was practically drooling at the pics….I think I need to go and eat some lunch! I was greatly amused about how far you travel …and how far others will travel to get to Trader Joe’s! I used to think it was just me. We moved in WA to a place across the water from my old TJ’s and so I would have my husband drive me to the closest one on our side of the water…..which is over an hour away….just to get my TJ fix and stock up for six months. This summer I was amazed and blessed to find out that a brand new TJ was opening just 10 minutes away from us….so now I can go whenever I want….and it is heavenly! There is just no store like it anywhere, IMO. Have a very very Happy Thanksgiving Susan! There are just going to be the three of us since we live far from family, but we have lots of fun times planned, and my daughter and I always decorate with Pilgrim and Indian figurines and leaves and nice dishes to make it special. I love FAKE leaves and vines and pumpkins and even flowers….if they look real! Let’s all toast to being fake! haha. Have a great holiday!

  47. Betsy Brunette (and guess what....I am blonde!) says:

    You do realize, don’t you, that you have set up an explosion of spicy pecan treats being given as gifts this year? Thanks for sharing something so simple and yet so packed with punch.
    Glad your instinct about Jack was pretty much right on and that things are slowly moving in the direction of playful tranquility there at home. The laughs that you and your husband are experiencing must be innumerable.
    Trader Joe’s is a pretty great place to pick up a greeting card while gathering other goodies….and for the bargain price of $1!! I love the little dried chicken-wrapped rawhide bones for small dogs that they sell too…..our puggle with the underbite finds them to be about the only serious “chew” that she can handle. I would attach a photo of her if I could.
    Blessings to you and yours at Thanksgiving and throughout the year. So happy to “know” you.

  48. Kathleen Smith says:

    You’ll love this…I was visiting my 91 yr old mother in law this past week in the Bay area and she still loves to cook! We call her the kitchen magician. I brought up my copy of your Autumn book as she loves to peruse recipes plus I wanted her to see the darling layout of your book. So..I see her looking through your book and saying, “Oh Kath, I see so many good recipes!”. She asked if I would copy them…I told her to keep the book until we “meet” again…maybe in January! When I was reading about your spiced pecans, my heart dropped when I realized the recipe is in the book–which I don’t have right now! But, you saved me in giving out the recipe in your blog! Thank you, thank you. And the good news…we have several Trader Joe’s in my area–San Diego. Whew! Love, love the sweet pictures of Jack and Girl Kitty! Happy Thanksgiving!

  49. Marianne says:

    Made the spiced pecans a few days ago and my dear husband has eaten them all! So, you’re right, need to doub
    le the recipe! And I need to hide them for Thanksgiving!! Problem with that is, I’ll forget and find them next June!! Tee Hee!

  50. Diana Kos says:

    OMGosh! I have had your blog “sidelined” forever and just recently figured out how to get it in my daily reader. uhhh…can ya tell I’m a blond? My daughter lives about 1/2 mile from Trader Joe’s in Milwaukee, WI. I am down here helping her out with a new 10# 3oz baby boy…so I will be going there tomorrow sometime to stock up for Thanksgiving. I am so glad I “found” you-it is like finding a dear old friend…well, not OLD -you know what I mean! xo Diana

  51. Jane S. says:

    Girl Kitty has beautiful eyeliner!

    Thanks for the spiced nuts tutorial, and for sharing more pictures of your kitties. They’re so funny no matter what their age, aren’t they?

  52. Betty Williams says:

    Well, I see I wasn’t the winner, but I’ll survive. I already ordered it and received your extra speedy delivery just the other day. I’m so glad I ordered it for my daughter-in-law. She is a blogger also and likes yours as well. We all watch Pioneer Woman here and it was good to see her in the book, along with your tea party recipes; they look so yummy. I have made several of the aprons you gave the pattern for some time back, in fact I’m giving one to the other DIL for her birthday which happens to be the day after Thanksgiving. She and my son live in Oregon and will come here to Idaho for Thanksgiving.
    Stay warm.

  53. Glenda says:


    Girl Kitty and Jack are adorable and I know you “four” are having lots of fun. The spiced pecans are definitely going on my to give list for Christmas presents. I like that they look fairly simple to do, too. When you mentioned Trader Joe’s I laughed. TJ’s are favorites among my family, including my grandchildren. When my beloved and I took the grandchildren, then 11 and 13 to the Grand Canyon, we also stopped at the TJ’s in Santa Fe. I got so excited. My grandaughter said, “Gramma, I think you like TJ’s more than the Grand Canyon”. I thought about that a lot. 🙂 She came home (Utah) and tried to get 5,000 signatures to get one to come to Utah, but it didn’t work out, too many state rules. We stop at TJ’s whenever we can. It is funny to me, that my grandchildren have their favorite foods from there now too. 🙂 I am thinking the next time I go, I just might have to take a cooler too to store up on those pecans…..:) Great idea!

  54. andrea says:

    There was rumor of TJ’s coming to Big D, but I think it fell through. We did get an Aldi in our area, which I read is related to TJ’s somehow, maybe the poorer cousin, lol! But we like it and would loooove to get a TJ’s anywhere in the Dallas area, we’d drive there!

    Thanks for the recipe Susan, I’m going to make some tomorrow to set out for Thankgiving Day.

    Love the GirlKitty watching Jack and isn’t he doing a wonderful job of keeping her on her toes, lol! Every picture a blur! Someday he’ll be fat and a bit lazier…enjoy those kitten days 😉

    Happy Thanksgiving sweet Susan, thanks for your wonderful blog and all you do for us!


  55. Nellie says:

    First, congratulations to Meghan! How lucky for her!

    Next, I am SO excited! A Trader Joe’s is coming to our city! Hopefully by this time next year I will have had the experience of shopping in one.

    Then, thank you for the pecan tutorial. The UMW at our church sells pecans as a mission fundraiser, but I usually order pieces. I will need to buy halves this year!

    The best for last.:-) Jack and Girl Kitty are just absolutely the cutest! What fun they are to watch. I predict Girl Kitty will “come around,” but on her own schedule.:-)

    We had one of our daughters and a friend for lunch today. She will have to work on Thanksgiving Day, so our week of celebrating has begun. Another arrives on Tuesday, and the other on Wednesday with her husband and our grandchildren. Then, Thursday my sister, her husband, my niece, and her husband arrive for the day. Cooking will be my main activity this week.

    There has been some running around making beds here, too. Are you finished with that part of your preparations for guests from “across the pond?” Enjoy! xoxo

  56. Gumbo Lily says:

    I have this recipe in my Autumn book. I am definitely going to make these and take them to the Thanksgiving Day dinner this week. We always have to have a little nosh ahead of the Big Meal.

    Those cats are funny together!


  57. Charlene Hisayasu says:

    Congratulations to Meghan! Meghan…enjoy your little one PLUS Susan’s special treat!
    Though I have been faithfully reading your blog (and Willard!), I have not taken the time to read/comment with all the fun girlfriends for a while. I knew I had to comment when I watched your video clip! I felt so at home, even padding around in slippers from your delightful dining room to your cozy, inviting kitchen! 🙂
    I want to send you a sincere Thanksgiving Blessing, Susan. You have re-opened the world of cheery homemaking for me. I love the inspiration it gives me to make a cozy environment for my family and friends. Since I’ve been reading your blog earlier this year, I have opened up our home to more hosting/entertaining…and what a joy it has been! 🙂 Also, I have been inspired to make even the everyday meal, a special event! 🙂 My husband loves it! Thank you for this most positive influence, Susan! A joyous Thanksgiving to you, Joe and your extended family…charlene
    p/s I am allergic to kitties but am enjoying the antics of Jack & Girl Kitty!

  58. Linda Bloom says:

    I’m a fairly new follower, love your blog! I just adore the cat photos, blurry Jack and the very expressive ears of the “lady of the house.” You can just tell what she is thinking! Love, Linda

  59. Ellen Beeton says:

    Oh my, I know what you mean about Trader Joes. When we lived in Springfield, MO, we had to go to St. Louis for our Trader Joes fix. It was about 300 miles. Now that I live in Peoria, AZ, I have my very own Trader Joes about 3 miles down the rode. Do I feel blessed! By the way, the look on Girl Kitty’s face is priceless. She is somewhat intrigued, yet just a little bothered by the whole thing. Jack is as cute as he can be.

  60. Carilyn Wolski says:

    I’m so happy for Meghan, what a lucky lady!!! I loved your video of Girl Kitty and Jack…..they seem to be slowly becoming true siblings! Time makes everything right! Glad you are on schedule for Turkey Day….I’m already running behind…..Have a happy Monday and enjoy your company!

  61. Rachel says:

    Happy Thankgiving Susan 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful time with your guests 🙂 In turn, *I* shall be making your cranberry sauce (yummy) this week!

  62. Sharma J says:

    I love Girl Kitty and Jack. Thank you for sharing them with us. They are so fun – love the ‘blur’ pictures of Jack! My daughter’s cat, Stüka, looks a lot like Girl Kitty. She and I both love seeing and hearing about them.
    I enjoy reading your blog, it lifts my spirits! I’ve got my mother and sisters reading it, too. You bring such charm and cheer into my home! Thank you!
    Oh, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

  63. Catherine says:

    My brother loves spiced pecans. This helps me out with his Christmas gift. Thank you. By the way, I lived in Durango for 26 years. Just moved back to Santa Fe, NM 4 years ago. I now take care of my mother. I do miss my life in Durango.

    • sbranch says:

      Sweet little town . . . BEAUTIFUL country! The drive from Santa Fe, up through Taos and around to Durango that way (the long way) — so gorgeous!!!

  64. Madeline says:

    I had to laugh at your needing to put Jack down for a nap. Our Toby was — and still is! — like that. I liken him to a toddler. He never grew up and became a serious cat, and he’s nearly two. Maybe Jack will be a feline Peter Pan. You’re in for it — and with a lot of laughs along the way. (Love Jack’s fax perch. Toby likes to sit on or straddle the router. Warm e-vibes?) Girl Kitty has such a beautiful face. You can tell she just knows things. Happy Thanksgiving : )

  65. Elaine Ohgi says:

    I love the pictues of Girl Kitty and Jack. They are just darling. ( I’m convinced that Girl Kitty and my kitty, Calista, are cousins. )

  66. andrea says:

    Oh Susan, I’m in BIG trouble!! I made these for putting out Thanksgiving Day and now I can’t stop eating them!! And it’s a double batch :-p
    Ruh-roh! They are delicious!
    Well, anyway, thank you for making the recipe from your book “come alive” for us on your blog, these are definitely going into the keeper files 🙂


  67. Rosie Snow says:

    I love your kitties and hope they will continue to get along, Susan. And we love Trader Joe’s, too. One of my friends calls it “the Disneyland of food”. Isn’t that great? Thanks for your blog–you put a lot of time and love into it and it shows!

  68. K. Ross says:

    I love the picture of kitty on the fax machine . . . if you glance at it quickly, it looks like he’s wearing your pretty hat! 🙂

  69. Mary S. says:

    I LOVE the updates on the kittie cats!!! They are always so funny! I think cats are the most fascinating creatures in the whole world!
    How in the WORLD do you find the time to read all these comments and comment back, besides all the other things you do?!?! I stand amazed!!!
    I am wondering what the pretty song is that I can hear in the background in your video!! Can’t quite catch the words. 🙂

  70. Kirsten Wichert says:

    Congrats to Meghan! The rest of us can order it on Susan’s site.

    Thanks for warming my heart with the pics of the kitties. I find them facinating. I love watching my cats, they have so much fun together. Reading your last 2 entries, almost made me forget what a horrible week end I had! My son went snow boarding at Big Bear Mtn. for the first time in his life, (he’s 28). He broke his arm after going way too fast and crashed through a gate then in to a snow blower. Broke his humorous bone(upper arm). They had to bring him down the mountain on a sled. The emergency care wouldn’t treat him except in cash which these boys had already spent on the hotel and lift tickets. This happened at 1:00 pm. He finally made it to our hospital at 9:30pm; where he was finally splinted.
    So he’s suffering greatly waiting all this time for the doctors to stop playing golf and return to work this Mon. morning. Hopefully he will be able to have his surgery today to put a metal rod in. The funny thing is that he is my caretaker (I’m disabled). So this is the blind leading the blind. To top it off I fell yesterday and broke a toe which would be no big deal if I only weren’t diabetic.
    Last week my daughter was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and her husband totalled their only car. So, today I’m loving Kitty pictures!!!!! I’m thanking God for this day and your blog. I love it.

    • sbranch says:

      Good Grief Kirsten. . . that’s just too much. If only one of those things happened it would be too many. I’m so sorry! Loving Kitties is sometimes the only thing we CAN do . . . !! I just stopped and sent you a prayer for happier days!

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      Hi Kirsten~
      I’m sending prayers your way. My sister is a thyroid cancer survivor (over 7+ years).
      Hers was completely removed. She takes meds and gets her levels checked regularly.
      Thank God she is still here with us.
      You seem like a positive person so keep the faith.

    • Karen P says:

      Oh, Kirsten! I’m sending prayers as well, honey! Blessings to you and your family.

  71. Audrianne in Holland Michigan along the shores of Lake Macatawa says:

    I can relate to the distance one is willing to go for a Trader Joe’s experience. I drive three hours to Ann Arbor MI for mine, but to concur – it’s totally worth it!

  72. Jody Thomas says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks so much for sharing the kitty antics. I know that Girl will become to love Jack, I can see it! Makes me a bit sad…I had to send my kitty Mona (a ripe old age of 20 years and 4 months) to kitty heaven this past Friday. She was almost blind from blood pressure issues, and was so skinny, even though she ate lots. It was VERY sad, but it was time. I held her and stroked her, and she didn’t feel a thing! I’m not sure right now for a kitty in my future yet. Seeing your two warms me, though! Congrats on the book winner and Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Jody

  73. Congrats Meghan!!! So happy to see the kitties in the same pic and believe me it will happen….I loved the ball between the two of them even though Girl was acting so bored…she is dying to play with the boy and in time that will happen. Thanks for the pecan recipe…now, I live in IN and there is a Jungle Jim’s in OH is that similiar to Trader Joe’s…I went once and it was like a field trip and there was every ethnic cuisine and octopus, snake meat, etc. very fun experience!!! I know how busy you are Susan, I always line my pans with parchment paper just to save having to always wash all the sticky off of them (of course I still wash them it just isn’t as hard)?? Will any hot sauce work in the pecan recipe?? I know my husband would adore these nuts, I tend to like the cinnamon/sugar ones…since I have started reading all of the comments and showing my husband the kitties update; when he sees me on here (every morning) he will say “What is Susan up to today”….I love that he is interested. Well, it is Thanksgiving week and so much work ahead of all of us, I said a prayer that I can stay well and have the energy to make sure it is special for everyone (because my daughter so loves this day)…and all the work can make me sometimes moan/groan and I don’t want to do that!!! I am so grateful that I found your website/blog from my good friend Frankie; now, I feel like I have been blessed with so many new friends!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Mexican hot sauce, but not Tabasco. More flavorful kind of hot sauce. Tell you husband I said Hello, and up to no good! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  74. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Congratulations Meghan! Dear Susan, the GK & Jack pics are such fun! Mmm, pecans are going on my shopping list today – I have some in the freezer but I’m thinking not nearly enough for a double patch of Spiced Pecans! Love being invited into your beautiful home to cook and play with the kitties! Thank you! Have a wonderful week with your houseguests! Blessings to you all! xoxo

  75. Carol Hesch says:

    OMgosh Susan–my almost 16 year old daughter brought home an adorable little 11 week old kitty yesterday! She named him Oliver–I didn’t plan on another cat–but they are just so fun! I have to introduce him to our older cat–Kipper–I am nervous, but your Girl Kitty and Jack seem to be doing OK. Cross your fingers!

    • sbranch says:

      Everyone told me to go really slow, which was hard, because I wanted them to romp off into happy kitty land immediately, but I did what I was told and kept Jack in a separate room and pet him and then pet Girl, for maybe 3 days, spreading each other’s scent around, before they even laid eyes on each other. And another week and a half before I let him out to run free — that was only about 3 days ago. I also took all that good advice and did not let him anywhere near her regular places . . . the older kitty has to come first. The baby won’t know it, but the older one will. Now I feel like an expert! 🙂 You are going to love it!!!!

  76. Debbie P. says:

    Congratulations to Meghan! I’ve added that cookbook to my Christmas wish list as well as the beautiful “JOY” mug. I think I’ve been a good girl this past year….hopefully Santa will agree!
    How precious the pics and video of your kitties! Thanks for sharing, Susan!
    Enjoy your friends and family this week and have a very blessed, Happy Thanksgiving!
    xoxo Debbie
    PS…I’ve made spicy walnuts to top my salads for years. It’s time to change things up a bit and try it with pecans….the pictures are so appetizing!

  77. Glenda says:


    Not sure when to add this, so here goes. You introduced me and I presume others to Gladys Taber. There is a chapter in the book, Mrs Daffodil, on Thanksgiving. I have read it so many times and stlll enjoy her story and smile. I am actually sending copies of the chapter to some of my girlfriends to read after the holiday….I hope you have read it too!
    Happy Thanksgiving with many blessings.

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t read that one! I haven’t run into that book yet, but I will look for it! Thank you!

      • Glenda says:

        Please do. When I first read it, whether reading it in the morning or late at night, there were some “stories” that just made me laugh out loud. Speculation is that GT is Mrs Daffodil.

  78. zinnia patch says:

    Lucky Meghan! congratulations!!!!!!! and good morning susan! i enjoyed this post so much…each and every little drum roll and applause…you are just so creative with your blogging….love the pics. of the fur babies and that girl kitty, melt your heart! they are both so precious…. can’t wait to try the recipe…we always put nuts in our salads and it’s always fun to try something new… well, getting my day started and thanks again for all the fun! enjoy your day! and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe and fur babies… p.s. I have a Joe too. lol

  79. Marilyn says:

    Congratulations Meghan! What a great way to start off the holiday season, by winning a give-away. 🙂

    Sometimes I think we could be twins, Susan, because your posts always entertain and delight me. Today is my birthday, it’s not yours too, is it? 🙂

    As an animal lover, and advocate of adopting shelter pets, I’m really enjoying watching Jack and Girl Kitty form their relationship. No doubt Girl Kitty is enjoying the antics of her baby brother. There’s nothing like a youngster in the house to keep things lively!!

    I understand that Trader Joe’s is finally entering the Texas market. I can’t wait to shop there. Your recipe for Spiced Pecans looks wonderful. YUM!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  80. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Happy Monday Sweet♥Sue! Tis Thanksgiving Week! Yay! Congratz to Meghan Strauss! another Very Lucky Gal! ok…omgggggggggggggg Thanks for The Updates! Girl~Kitty & Baby Jack Kitty & Spiced Nuts…Oh My! ..Wishing You & Joe & Your Special Guests…The Happiest Most Yummiest Thanksgiving! I am Very Thankful for You & Your Magical Blog & for All Us Kindred~Spirits! May We All Eat Drink & Always Be Very Merry! A Blessed Thanksgiving To Us All! Amen! Gobble~Gobble! L♥ve & Warm Hugzzzz! & Lots of Pixie~Dust Everywhere! xoxo Poof! ♫♥ 🙂

  81. Sara says:

    Cute kitties!!!! Awwww!! I just love them!

    Yummy pecans! I can’t wait to make them 🙂 This recipe sounds super delicious! I started on my layered jello recipe from your Autumn book last night too. I am really excited to try it!

    Congrats to Meghan!

  82. Daricia says:

    yay, megan! i’m glad the mom of a two year old won, too! didn’t realize i was so lucky to have a trader joe’s so close, but i do love having one to buy nuts and coffee ice cream bars among other things. oh, vegetable dumplings…those are great, too. i have made your spiced pecans before…yummy! will be making them again soon. ~ daricia

  83. Andrea B says:

    Happy Monday Susan, just couldn’t resist a quick blog check, while I drink my coffee…brr it’s chilly this morning in North Dakota…I love seeing your sweet home, and got a kick out of noticing that your calender looks just like mine…with post it notes on it and a well loved look about it….Have a wonderful Thanksgiving…Andrea

  84. Lori says:

    Oh Susan, the cat pictures are so sweet! I am glad that Jack has his forever home with you, Joe and Girl Kitty. The spiced pecans looks really good and might be just the thing to top off our salad. (You can’t have ALL carbs – even on Thanksgiving!) Congrats to Meghan on winning. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and enjoys their blessings. (Don’t forget to watch Miracle on 34th St. It is the perfect way to take us from Thanksgiving into Christmas.)

  85. Rosanne says:

    Your spiced pecans have become a holiday tradition at our table. I love that they are easy to make yet seem special. Thanks for taking us on a stroll through your lovely dining room into the heart of your home, and sharing some kitty love. My dear old cat is my sweet companion every morning in front of the fire. Life is sweet.

  86. Elaine says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love these! I have been planning to make some up tomorrow. I can’t make them up too far in advance – no willpower against eating one…or a handful…
    I’m glad you are sharing them again…more girlfriends to share them around.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  87. Good Morning Susan! Jack is so cute and so much fun and it’s quite obvious that he is winning Girl Kitty over with all of his antics. Congrats to Meghan. And thank you so much for the Spiced Pecan recipe. I’m going to make it very soon. My husband is from Houston, so pecans are treasured in our cottage. If I don’t get a chance to stop by again this week, I want to wish you and yours a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

    Susan and Bentley

  88. Hi Susan, I am still keeping my eyes on your cats and still thinking about adopting a sibling for our Pixie. The pecan recipe sounds perfect to put out on a tray with the Vermont cheddar before Thanksgiving dinner and we are so blessed to have a Trader Joes and a Whole Foods within 5 miles of our house…doubly blessed! I am also feeling pretty lucky because I have all of your cookbooks and have used them…especially the Christmas book so many times now. We have used your Annie Hall cookies recipe every year since…well a really long time! It’s nice that I can actually tell you how much I appreciate your work…blogging is great! Happy Thanksgiving.
    ♥, Susan

    • sbranch says:

      It is great, isn’t it!!? Love it — Happy Thanksgiving Susan!

      • Laura says:

        Those are my girls favorite Christmas cookies and we make them every year, too! They are the best sugar cookies I have ever tasted…I like to roll them out and make fluted rounds with little hearts cut out of half, bake them and then put raspberry preserves in between two and then sprinkle with powdered sugar……so pretty and delicious!!!

  89. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    Those Pecans look so yummy. I am going to try that recipe. I have your book with the recipe in it and have thought about it but it looked too hot to me. I am going to do it now what I see how easy and yummy they look
    Jack and Girl Kitty are precious
    happy day Susan

  90. Susan in Maryland says:

    Ha! I was trying vaguely to remember which of your recipes called for Cholula hot sauce and now I know! I’m going to use this recipe SOON. I’ve been to Cholula, Mexico – a university town that also has an ancient pyramid topped with a more recent, but still very old, church. Very beautiful.

  91. Jan says:

    I can’t believe it! Yes, I know Meghan – she’s my daughter! I am so excited she won. I introduced her to your blog a short time ago. I just tried to call her but just got voice mail. She will be sooo excited! She is a wonderful Mommy, and wife ,and she loves to cook. Thank you ! Thank you! Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh good, I get to thank you myself — I read Meghan’s note before yours and she told us you’d tracked her down! Thank you — Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  92. Sarah Powell says:

    You could not have painted a better complementing couple; black-and-white-girl-kitty with a white-and-black-male-kitty brother. F A T E ? Definitely a Blessing.
    They are just 2 PURRRFECT!
    xoxoo Sarah

  93. Meghan S. says:

    Thank You so much! I’m so excited to receive my new book. What a wonderful surprise. 🙂 Sorry to keep you hanging. A special thanks to my MOM who called to let me know I had won. What would I do without you!?! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Wonderful Meghan! Thank your mom for me!! I’ll check my box for your email, sign and send the book off too you asap! From your original comment I know you have a two year old, so it wasn’t surprising you might not check blogs every 5 minutes! So happy to hear from you … Congratulations and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  94. Yum! Those spiced nuts look really good. Great gift idea!

    We are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s right here in town, so it’s a weekly stop for us.

    May I make a request? I would love to know what your Christmas music playlist looks like (and Joes, too)! I have started to post mine on my blog, mainly because I like so many of the oldies that people seem to have forgotten about. I love to know what other people are listening to!

    Finally, I have huge stacks of old magazines from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Starting to look through the November and December issues for fun and ideas and came across “Butternut Wisdom”. We love Gladys Taber! When I came across the columns, I remembered back to your post on her, so a nice connection. Thanks for reminding all of us about her!

    Take care and have fun cooking! I have a houseful to feed even without extra guests, although we are having some. I love to feed all those mouths, especially on holidays!


    • sbranch says:

      I still love what I wrote about in my Christmas Book . . . “the boys, Frank, Bing, Dean and Nat,” with a good dose of Gene Autry on the side 🙂

  95. Vickie Beireis says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Susan. I wanted to let you know how Thankful I am for you. Your blog, movies, Willards and art work have been bright spots in my day this fall. I was one of those budget cuts in education this year. My little part time job of being “extra help” disappeared and I miss the social part of working. Having your letters in my email box and your blog to click onto each week have been comforting and encouraging. So thank you very much for the cheerfulness you send out to all of us at the other end of the wire. May God bless and keep you and yours. PS (my grandma always had a PS to add to her letters) I love watching your little Jack with his ball. Thanks for sharing!

    • sbranch says:

      I love P.S’s — 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Vickie, I was laid off a year ago and I know just what you mean. I don’t miss my job actually, had started to hate it, but it is a re-adjustment not working and having my, as my husband calls it, “social networking via the Internet” has really been a blessing! Susan’s blog site is so positive and upbeat that it brings brightness to my days! 🙂

  96. pat addison says:

    hello Susan, oh how good to see girl kitty and jack together in the same room, they look so sweet and adorable and of course jack is a fur blur of activity and mischief. Tabitha is a bundle of energy in the mornings and i suspect all my cats turn into ninja kitties at night and get into tons of fun and mischief. i keep finding string and yarn all over the house and around my rocker. right now Tabitha, Tabby and Midnight are curled up in their basket for nappy time…they had a fun and busy morning. uh oh, looks like another trip to the store for pecans, just used all mine up for pies. congratulations to Meghan for winning the book, lucky girl. we’re having rain/snow right now and its cold out, so glad we have a woodstove..keeps the house so warm and comfy. have to get busy on the turkey day preps, seems we are hosting after all…wish folks would let us know a little sooner but we will make it through in splendid fashion. wishing everyo9ne here a Happy Thanksgiving and to you and Joe and Girl Kitty and Jack… a very Happy Thanksgiving. autumn blessings to everyone 🙂

  97. Jacquelyn Wirthlin says:

    Wanted you to know what a surprise it was to read through your 2012 “Heart of the Home” mini calendar and find on the February page one of my favorite books: “A Year In Provence”! I have read and reread all of Peter Mayle’s work and it’s great to know you are a fan too… Happy Thanksgiving Susan, Joe, Girl Kitty and Jack!

    • sbranch says:

      Because I know the woman who owns the bookstore here in town, when Peter came to the island, he came to my house for dinner!!! Such an interesting person. I loved A Year in Provence, and tell people who read it, GO SLOW, you will want it to last forever.

      • Jacquelyn Wirthlin says:

        Heavens that is surely true. A book to savor. I cannot imagine having him to dinner … lol…that is when my oven would have a “fit” and leave me trying to do something else. Thanks so much for the insight.

  98. Heidi Rose says:

    Congratulations, Meghan! And thank you, Susan for the pecan recipe – can’t wait to try it! I was just at T.J.’s today and forgot to buy the nuts. Nuts! Fortunately, it’s close by…what would I do without Trader Joe! I love your kitty pictures and the way you captured your “fur blur” in action. I’m a kitty mom too – what a blessing our furry kids are! Happy thanksgiving, Susan! 🙂

  99. MerrieSherrie says:

    Congratulations to Meghan!! What dear kitties you have, Sue, and what great fun they are! Just loving those videos of them!! Was in Trader Joe’s today…many things are soooo close by here in SoCal (inc. lots of people!)…and then I came home and read your dear blog about how far you and your sister travel to get to a TJ’s. I take toooo much for granted! Thank you for opening my eyes. I have more things to be grateful for this special time of the year! Sending a hug to you, kitties and Rachel, too! Love, Sherry xo

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sherry!! Same to you — Rachel is upstairs in dreamland right now. Had a wonderful dinner with her last night.

  100. Kathleen C. May says:

    Last week I had to have my cat Casey put down. She was 19 1/2 years old & we had been together for 19 of those years. I loved her enormously & although having her euthanized was for her benefit because I wouldn’t allow suffering into her long & happy life, the whole process felt as though my insides were being crushed.
    My son & I have selected a 5 mos. old little girl kitty from the shelter to adopt–I cannot stand not having a feline companion!! Those crazy kitten antics of your Jack remind me of this new kitten we’re hoping to take home. I’m glad to hear Girl Kitty is adapting (on her own schedule of course!). She is a beautiful cat indeed! I am happy to hear things are going well for you guys!! Your blog is something I always look forward to reading. Cheers!

    • sbranch says:

      So sorry about Casey! A terrible loss, but I know how you feel, my house would be empty without a kitty in it. So happy to hear you’re bringing home someone new.

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