I thought I’d give you the recipe for the Quinoa Salad I took to TGIF  the other night.  It was so good ~ my girlfriends LOVE Asian food and there’s always lots of yummy Asian appetizers so I thought I’d make a salad to go with them. ♥MUSICA♥


Have you used quinoa? (It’s pronounced keen-wa.)  If not, you are in for a treat and a world of wonderful new healthy salads!

helpful tips . . . and some interesting things you might like to know. First off, quinoa is not a grain, it’s a seed, and considered gluten-free (for those with celiac disease you might like to read this).

diet quote

quinoa And it’s so good for you!  Those little seeds (related to spinach) are an excellent source of protein, it’s a great source of fiber, and it has 700% more iron than white rice.  Quinoa has an interesting texture which means it goes with almost any savory thing you serve; and there are many ways to flavor it.  If you can’t find it at your market, try the health food store, or try Bob’s Red Mill.

quinoa salad

This is the Quinoa Salad that’s on page 84 of Girlfriends Forever ~ it has roasted peanuts, ginger and lime.  With the use of different herbs, the salad could be Asian style, Mexican style, you could make it with fruit and cinnamon, with shrimp or fish, or almost anything you would like.


quinoa salad

For my recipe, you cook 2 c. of quinoa in 3 c. water for about 10 min. and pour it into a strainer.  In a large bowl you mix together all the rest of the ingredients: rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, fresh ginger . . .


. . . the zest and juice of two limes (don’t worry, I’ll put the recipe at the end) and soy sauce . . .

making quinoa salad

. . . minced green onions and chopped celery . . .


A little salt and pepper


quinoa salad

 Stir it all together with sliced water chestnuts and coarsely-chopped, dry roasted peanuts . . .

quinoa salad

. . . crunchy fresh snow peas and sweet currants . . .

quinoa salad

. . . and voila!  I put it in my candlewick bowl, because it’ll reflect light . . . and took it to Jaime’s house.  We ate ourselves silly, caught up, had a group hug and promised to love each other forever; it couldn’t have been nicer.



  • 2 c. quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • zest & juice of 2 juicy limes
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt.
  • 1 c. snow peas, trimmed and halved
  • 3/4 c. celery, chopped
  • 3/4 c. water chestnuts, halved
  • 5 green onions (w/ green part too) thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. currants
  • 1/3 dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • a few good grinds of black pepper to taste
  • If you’d like chopped herbs ~ mint, cilantro, and basil, together or separately work great with this salad.

Rinse 2c. quinoa under running water in a fine mesh sieve.  Bring 3c. water to boil in saucepan.  Add quinoa, bring it back to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 10 min.  Strain and set aside.  Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix together all other ingredients.  Add drained quinoa, herbs too if you like, stir well and serve. Good cold, hot, or room temp.  Enjoy, you arteests!


Here’s our new thing . . . these birds just came into the studio.  Are they cute or what?



They’re finely detailed metal, very thin, and all have bases you can put screws into so you can secure them to fence posts, window sills, ledges,  porch rails, where ever you’d like.  Kellee will be putting them up today (I think) . . .

new birds

Over the years, here and there, I’ve found a few narrow-based things for the tiny ledge over my fireplace, and I just found three more!

bird ornament

. . . and, in case you don’t have a ledge or a fence post, we have an ornament you can hang from your window lock, a cupboard knob, from a nail that something else is on (remove the something else, hang the bird, replace the something else, allowing the bird to hang below). Hope you like them!

And now, for Pat in particular, a promise to be kept:  Lowely’s delicious recipe for

I R I S H    S O D A     B R E A D

Serve this crusty bread hot from the oven, smothered in butter and jam.

  • 3 2/3 c. (450g) all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2/3 c. dried cranberries (or raisins, or currants)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 2/3 c. (400ml) buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425º (220ºC/gas mark 7). Lightly dust a baking sheet with flour. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.  Mix in sugar and dried cranberries.  In small bowl, beat egg with buttermilk.  Make a well in the flour and pour in all but 1/4 c. (50ml) of liquid.  Wash your hands and dry them. Grab the flour and liquid with outstretched fingers and keep doing that, moving your hand around the bowl in circles; add more buttermilk mixture if necessary, until it comes together.  Don’t knead; the dough should be soft, but not too wet or sticky.

Keeping the bread warm

Turn onto floured work surface and pat the dough into a round, about 2 1/2 inches (6cm) in height, and cut a deep cross in it, from one side of the loaf to the other.  Transfer to the baking sheet.  Bake for 10 min. at 425º, then reduce temp to 400ºF (200ºC/Gas mark 6) and bake for another 30 to 35 min, until the bread is golden, crusty, and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Cool on wire rack while you get the butter! Cut thick slices with a bread knife; wrap the bread in a dishtowel and serve it in a basket. 

It’s not very far from bread and water to tea and toast…

pink border


Have a wonderful day Girlfriends! XOXO

pink border 

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230 Responses to QUINOA SALAD

  1. Carolyn Stanley says:

    Oh, my, Susan. I’ve been out playing on your blog and relishing your additions of the links to Willards as well as the ability to quickly get to your past posts through the archives. Then , what to my wondering eye should appear but a brandie new post. I just made a new recipe this morning – lemony light cottage cheese pancakes from a recent Woman’s World, and now I have a new quinoa recipe to try. The salad looks wonderful.
    March 31 it is today, and when I got up a 7:30am there was a dusting of snow by the pond. Well, I must shamefacely admit, I went back to bed, and when I got up around 9:00am, there was at least 3 inches of soft, fluffy snow coating everything. I’m glad I got a few pictures out the window because now, it’s pretty much melted off the branches of the red bush, and while it’s really sloppy on the ground, I suspect it will be gone soon.
    Oh, and here is a good laugh for you. I made your protiferoles recipe last night, and even though I copied down two eggs, some how I had it on my brain that it was only the yolks. Well, needless to say I got crunchy little lumps of dough literally frying on the cookie sheet. I’ll give it another try today using whole eggs. Let that be a lesson to all of us about mindset. Sometimes we have an erroneous notion in our heads, and we are so set on that misinformation that we don’t see the truth.
    Love you.
    I am not a member of the Gladys Tabor society. Will you be available anywhere else when you visit Connecticut?

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t feel bad about the eggs, I do it all the time! 🙂 No plans for anywhere but Southbury at this time . . . but maybe, if they sell out, we can find another venue.

  2. Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

    Hi Susan! I have never tried quinoa…but after reading this blog and seeing this yummy looking recipe…I am going to try it!!!! I bet I am going to like it!!!! I also love the 3 little metal birds….I would love to see those on fence posts in a garden..They are beyond darling…..So, here in the PNW, March is going out like a lamb and tomorrow is April Fools Day (rabbit rabbit!) …… I can feel spring coming…daffodils are in full bloom and tulips are on their way…the cherry trees are blooming and the world is beautiful….we just need a little more sunshine and warmth and then will be heading out to the garden to dig in the dirt!!!! smells so good and creates such hope!!!! Hope you have a sunshine day and thanks for the great recipe!!!!! Sending love, from my island to yours and you!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Back to you Susan!

    • Carilyn Wolski says:

      Hello Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state! I was just curious if you ever visited the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Shop, on 118 Madrone Lane, Bainbridge Island, WA? I have only dreamed of that little yarn shop as I live so far away, in Dearborn, Michigan…..but I signed up for their delightful “paper issues” filled with news of their yarnshop, and a complimentary knitting pattern in every issue! I love it when it comes in the mail, and their website is all about knitting! (If you’re a knitter you’d love it!) Your island is on my “bucket list” to visit…someday…along with MV, too! Luck, lucky you to live on such a beautiful island!

      • Beth of Bainbridge Isl. says:

        Hi, Susans and Carilyn. I just found this site today. It made my day. How nice to see something positive. I also live on Bainbridge Island and love Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. I am getting ready to make a Fair Isle Sweater and have seen some nice colors of yarn there. It is a wonderful shop and the owners are really great people too. I hope you get to visit soon, Carilyn.

        Also, I like Gladys Taber too. Just finished reading “My Own Cape Cod”.

        • Carilyn Wolski says:

          Hello Beth! You are really lucky to frequent that special little yarn shop! Good luck on your sweater!!! Just got their recent e-mail…..dreaming…..their yarns look so beautiful! Yes, the owner actually sent me a reply of kind words when I signed up for their newsletter! So nice.

  3. Bonnie Hisgen says:

    Oh Susan,

    I loved your book, A Fine Romance, so much I reread it twice. Now we’re planning a trip to England….all because of you!! We are making this a driving trip and will see many sights you have talked about. I have taken a love of Beatrix Potter and found 2 little figures in an antique store in Chandler,AZ. Of course I had to have both of them. I also found a darling planter with who else but Peter himself on it. My joy is at its zenith!!!
    By the way, I also found 2 lamb planters. One for me and one for a friend. It’s the thrill of the hunt and I am a good hunter!!!
    Thank you for taking time to be a girlfriend to so many of us.

    • sbranch says:

      The thrill of the hunt! I know just what you mean. Have a wonderful trip to England! When do you go?

  4. Julie Wagner says:

    I will make this salad this coming weekend as my DIL is gluten intolerant and loves quinoa. Thanks Susan. Can I say how much I love reading your blog. Your book a fine romance was wonderful and made me pine for my homeland! We are often in Ocean Park Maine, and often talk of visiting Cape Cod. Maybe we’ll make the trip to Martha’s vineyard this year. You paint a beautiful picture of it!

  5. Linda P says:

    love the new post… but you forgot to mention the new APRICOT JAM tea… Its so good!!!

  6. Pat Simon says:

    Susan – check out William & Sonoma website…..Peter Rabbit spatula set!! Thought of you immediately.

  7. h. says:

    Hi Susan,
    I may have missed it…but I didn’t see this important part of any quinoa
    recipe, especially important when buying it from bulk bins at the health
    food store: rince thoroughly to wash off bitter taste before the cooking.
    It can be a bit messy, but worth it.

  8. Pat Simon says:

    That should have been Williams Sonoma. Here is the link:

  9. Sandra Mailey says:

    What an absolute JOY to open your blog and find a new post!! I wasn’t expecting one so soon, but am so very excited to see it!!

    The recipes sound delicious! Yum! I have been meaning to try Quinoa and now the perfect recipe has popped up right in front of my eyes. Thanks!

    AND Soda Bread too! What a treat! Every time I make Soda Bread I wonder why I don’t do it more often. It is so delicious and so easy!

    Oh! One more thing to share. I saw a wonderful movie this weekend – The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was like stepping back in time – but into no time that REALLY ever existed. Such a “fun” hour and a half. Good movies are too rare these days.

    The sun is shining. The temperature is warmish. And there is a gentle breeze. It finally feels like a spring day here in Pennsylvania! I hope you are enjoying spring-like weather too – even though you are considerably further north than I.

    Thanks again for all the joy you share! XOXO!

    • judy young says:

      Talking of spring-like weather, we are getting storms, tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds in North Texas right now! Hope everyone in this area (and others) stay safe tonight!

  10. Heartsdesire says:

    Quinoa is great, I’ve used it a few times. Can also replace bulgar in tabouli. I’m going to try your recipe, it looks easy to make, and so yummy. Excellent soda bread recipe also. I like mine with currants, but the dried cranberries would also be good. Spring has arrived on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, but still a little chilly for me to venture out into the garden and start digging. Hopefully, in another couple of weeks the temps will start climbing and the wind will settle down. For now, it’s a cup of tea and quilting for me. Enjoy your day Susan, hope it’s sunny.

  11. Nettie says:

    Susan……..thanks so much for posting the recipes. The quinoa is so good and healthful and I will be making some for dinner. Love the darling little birds……..Spring is here (I think). We still have some snow around, but I was fortunate to see the returning sandhill cranes flying overhead last week…….the Branta Canadensis are returning and the bunnies are looking for places to nest………bird song waking us up in the mornings.

    Happy Spring…….Nettie

  12. Cynthia says:

    Love this recipe! Quinoa is a staple in our house, we are health food foodies here and I’ve had quiona so many ways, but this is a keeper for sure!! I love grinding the seeds into homemade flour too and making morning muffins!

  13. Jane F. says:

    Thank you, Susan, for two great recipes. I’ve never tried quinoa, and now I will. Sounds very delicious! “. . .not very far from bread and water to tea and toast. . .” I love it!

  14. Pat Salada says:

    Thank you, Susan, for the soda bread recipe….and thank you for remembering.
    Just this morning my husband mentioned that I hadn’t made bread for a while.
    How serendipitous! Your blog is such a joy and inspiration.

    Pat S.

  15. Vicki Panzarino says:

    Knew of quinoa but never had a recipe nor a way to pronouce it..thanks….will try yours…sounds yummy, and good for you also! What a delicious combination! I think Spring is finally entering NJ…..Crocuses abound and the dafs are coming along with the forsythia buds getting bigger….YEAH!

  16. Lilyjack says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just had to tell you that my first granddaughter was born last week and I am the chief cook and bottle washer. I have relied almost exclusively on your recipes via my Ipad (should have brought the cookbooks with me). These dishes are so filled with comfort and love and my new little family is thriving on them! After making the turkey meatloaf one night we had meatloaf sandwiches for lunch and my son-in-law said I should open a food truck and sell just those! (Grilled meatloaf stacked with mayo, shredded cheese, grilled panini style with lettuce red onion and dill pickle for garnish on thick wheat bread) The cream cheese potatoes have recycled into corn beef hash pancakes and will be the base for the beef stew coming up.
    And the lemon bars! Oh jeez!
    Thank you thank you thank you. I’m getting all the accolades but you get all the credit!
    Oh, p.s. Would it ever be possible to have a way to search for recipes on your site?
    Manette Anderson

  17. Jo says:

    Always love the Musica but today it didn’t work for me, anyone else have a problem?

    Salad sounds so good will need to gather some friends to share. Another great “Susan idea”, thanks.

    Will probably make the Irish soda bread asap because it will push away the chill and damp from the Spring rains that make everything here in Oregon green, including fingers and toes (not really).

    • Kathleen Noble says:

      The MUSICA didn’t work for me, either – tried it on different devices, too. It’s one of my favorite parts of the blog. But loved all the rest and look forward to trying the salad.

  18. Marysol says:

    I’m nodding in assent, to the candlewick bowl, to cute metal birds, to perfectly-manicured nails, to Irish soda bread and to the quinoa.

    The latter’s a delicious and healthy favorite (This, from someone who’s stuffing her cheek pouches with Gummi Sour Poppers, as we speak. But I’m not always this bad).

    Anyway, I’ll make your pretty quinoa salad this week, and chirp back.

    Happy Spring (finally)!

  19. Dawn (in Illinois) says:

    We love quinoa! I can’t wait to try your Quinoa Salad, Susan. Please thank Lowely for sharing her Irish Soda Bread recipe with all of us, too. I love trying new recipes for old favorites! So happy that you are having a friend come to visit. It will be a lovely little pause in the writing process. Enjoy a wonderful week of girlfriend fun !
    Warm hugs,

  20. LindaH (northern IN) says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for mentioning your quinoa recipe–I do have your book that its in, but don’t always remember which recipe is where. I am using quinoa more and more because its an easy to digest source of protein for vegetarians. I’ve made “quinoa bites” by adding an egg, some spinach, parmesan cheese and spices to the quinoa. You bake them in mini muffin tins. I like to dip them in a little ranch dressing. They freeze well and warm up quickly in the microwave.

    I’m raking the leaves off of my little bulb shoots that are finally coming up–can’t wait to see the daffodils open. Hopefully there will not be any more snow! Have a great week.

  21. Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

    Yumm…Thank you for posting the recipes–your quinoa salad recipe which looks really tasty and also for Lowely’s Irish Soda Bread recipe (and thanks to her for sharing it!). Both look really good which means I’m on the mend from the stomach flu bug I came down with Friday night. Hurrah! I’m going to try the bread later this week. We’re on the southern edge of a major winter storm which is setting the northwestern part of the state up for blizzard conditions and maybe 20″ of snow! I’m almost sorry it isn’t us! 🙂 We’re getting rain today turning to snow tonight but have temperatures predicted in the 30-40’s all week so it won’t last long. This Thursday/Friday we may get 3-5″ of snow. I love these last snow storms–Winter’s last hurrah! I think your salad would be really good with grilled, broiled, or baked chicken breasts marinaded in teryaki sauce. Or how about adding leftover chicken in small cubes for a meal-in-a-bowl? Have you ever tried red quinoa? I haven’t but am curious if it has a different taste or not… 🙂

  22. Nellie says:

    We really enjoy quinoa here. I like having it left over and will add it to the skillet along with some leftover broccoli, onion (or whatever other veggies there are available) before I scramble my egg for breakfast! Just 1/2 cup total of veggies and quinoa will really stretch that egg! Very filling and satisfying breakfast. Irish Soda Bread is a favorite here. One daughter (who had a very non-traditional wedding/reception) had that bread sliced on bread boards with Irish Cheddar Cheese and sitting on the guest tables. Another daughter was the one who baked the bread.

    Loving all the cute little things you are adding to your shopping page.

    Sunshine here today, and the temps may even reach 70 degrees! Finally Mother Nature agrees with the date on the calendar!:-)

    Have a great last day of March! Tomorrow is that special day!

    xo Nellie

  23. Thanks for the whole grain recipe, Susan! For those who have never made quinoa, it also does well in a rice cooker. I cook mine with broth rather than water for extra flavor.

    Love the rustic birds. I think they would look good on the little ledge above the front door.

  24. Cindy Tuning says:

    So glad to have another recipe for quinoa especially with(hopefully)warm weather coming up. A few times I have forgotten to rinse it first ,which makes it very bitter, so now I have a note written on the storage jar…RINSE FIRST. I forget things! One thing I’m not going to forget is my copy of A Fine Romance while packing for our trip to England..we leave Sunday. I don’t mind telling you I’m as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs about it. I am terrified of flying but that’s how we’re getting there. I really can’t enjoy the anticipation of a trip and my favorite part of one is when I’m back home and thinking back on how wonderful it was. Something is definitely wrong with that. After a week with family in Kent, Essex and Bath we are going on a cruise through the Mediterranean . Have never been on a ship before but it is the dream trip that I always wanted to take,trying to forget the afraid part. But, with your book for inspiration I’m sure it’ll be just fine. My grandson Riley is coming with us which is his second trip to the UK which is really something since he’s not quite twelve. One of the few advantages of being raised by your grandmother I guess. Well, I think I’ve gone on too much. Thanks for the post and a new recipe for yummy quinoa and all the sunshine you provide.

    • judi says:

      Wow, Cindy, have a wonderful time:)

    • sbranch says:

      You leave Sunday, Cindy! I understand completely about flying. The only comfort I found was knowing how many thousands of flights are going every day and that it’s safer than in a car. Still. And it’s always like that with traveling for me too, I’m happiest when I’m safe back at home. But then I could NOT allow myself to go through life and miss all the beautiful places, the ones you are just about to see. I promise this will be worth it. Plus now you have to be brave for Riley. xoxo Have a wonderful time! Be sure to check in when you get home and tell us how happy you are that you went!

      • Cindy Tuning says:

        Thanks Susan. I remind myself that statistically it’s safe but logic goes out the window at 30,000 ft. Riley loves flying and when we are about to take off he always takes my hand and says to squeeze his hand and tries not to laugh. He’s such a little man.

        • sbranch says:

          I flew for years, and finally in my late 30’s, I said no more. I was lucky because I could work on the train or wherever I went, so I could stay longer too, which, since it took me 3 days to get from the island to my mom in California — wouldn’t have worked as well if I had a one-week vacation and had to be home.

          • Cindy Tuning says:

            I used to fly even alone sometimes and not think anything of it. Then,and I know it sounds crazy , I started having a recurring dream that I was on the plane going to Florida and had a premonition and had to decide whether I make a fool of myself and get off the plane or just take my chances. Since then I’m just afraid I’ll actually be faced with that choice. I know it’s crazy. All this over a dream. But I am so looking forward to this dream trip and I’ll be fine.

          • sbranch says:

            Just think of the end rewards. xoxo

  25. Susie says:

    Loving the birds and teapots Susan. The salad looks like corn or tapioca…I have never eaten it. Hope your weather is warmer…today was heaven here in Indiana. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  26. I love those little metal birds, Susan! Perfectly spring-y accents. Nice warm weather here in North Carolina today — a great day to think spring. Your lovely blog post today surely is a bright spot. Have a blessed day!

  27. lani nelson says:

    I am having the best time preparing for a luncheon for a dear friend. I did my grocery shopping early this morning. Therefore, I won’t be preparing your salad- but I will purchase the ingredients later this week for my hubby and myself. I need to practice first!!!! I’m playing house as I make the house sparkle and the table setting fun.
    Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration.

  28. I thank you for this delicious-sounding recipe! I am always looking for new quinoa recipes, and tonight, I am making one I found on Pinterest. Yes, actually MAKING something and not just pinning it! It’s quinoa veggie burgers, with a Thai twist to them, they have a slaw on the top. Gave me an excuse to buy buns, too- lol! Our daughter went vegetarian last year, and I have been making more dishes for all of us, sans meat. Good for us, anyway.
    Happy spring, I am off to the garden center, to add to my bloomin’ yard! 80 degrees of gorgeous here in Phoenix today!

  29. Tisa @ Seattle Retro says:

    The Candlewick bowl caught my eye right off the bat 🙂 I read “Girlfriends” so long ago, before we started using quinoa, so I’m going to grab my copy off the bookshelf (I actually have TWO copies side by side, one for me, one for an unsuspecting ‘girlfriend’ to be !) and give it a whirl. Seems like a nice refreshing salad for when things warm up around here… the Spring tulips are starting to bloom…and the sun is shining today, so SqueeGee the Yorkie (who is lying at my feet in a short patch of sunlight) got to go for his daily walkies already. A great way to wind up March! Thanks, as always, for sharing ♥

  30. Sarah says:

    I’ve made that quinoa recipe from your book many times. It is DE-LISH! And it makes a lot, too, so I can eat on it for several days. 🙂

    I’m looking to trying your friend’s bread recipe. Thanks!

  31. I’m always looking for new Quinoa recipes, thanks so much. And, thanks for the Irish Soda bread recipe, have one but always willing to try another. You’re a gem and I love your blog 🙂

  32. Jana Jopson says:

    I LOVE these little birds! I bought one last October at the Country Living Fair in Stone Mountain, GA. The woman selling them was lovely — perhaps the same vendor here? I bought the singing bird silhouette and placed it on top of a fence post that I see out my kitchen window. He sings all year round!

  33. Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

    Susan!!! your connection for “MUSICA” does not connect to the youtube music…can you recheck this please…I am dying to know, what song you picked this time! I love them all! susan from another island!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I fixed it! 🙂

      • Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

        I love Sam Cook…..Thank you….and another that I truly love…is Kenny Rankin…..fabulous! Do you too? I play a lot of his stuff while I paint…..Saw him at jazz Alley in Seattle not long before he died….so sad…but what a voice, musician and writer…. legendary.

  34. Exchange pine nuts for peanuts and that salad would be dang near perfect! Thanks also for Lowely’s soda bread recipe; it looks wonderful.

  35. Thank you for the recipe. Yummy.
    What a lovely day you had with your girlfriends. I agree, to have girlfriends love each other forever. Nothing like a good friend to be at your side.

    xx oo

  36. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Happy-last-day-of-March to you!!! Your Quinoa recipe sounds wonderful!!! I might just use sun flower seeds, instead of the peanuts, as my hubby is not fond of peanuts in salads…..or could I try tiny diced carrots for crunch, too. Thank you for the beautiful Springy background you painted of the window and white picket fence! It’s a delight to see it on my computer, as I do not own a white picket fence, I only dream of having one someday!!!!! Take care of yourself…..hope April Fool’s Day goes smoothly for you!!!!!

  37. Monique says:

    It looks great.. we love quinoa and all things Asian..Love the birdies..

    Here in our family room at the corners of the fireplace..on the ceramic under the mantle..since we moved here..I have little quotes from you..”Now In A cottage..etc.”..:)
    Finally in the 40’s here today with thaw!

  38. LynnMarie says:

    I can’t wait to try the salad, thanks for sharing!

  39. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Thanks so much! I had been intending to make the salad out of the Girlfriends book, but hadn’t gotten around to it! Now’s the time & soda bread too – thank you Lowely! Yum! And, I can serve the salad in my candlewick bowl (passed on from M-I-L!) too! So pretty! Happy here, snow in the Sierras & raining again here, whew, CA really needs it – a little mix up in the seasons, but we’ll take it! xo

  40. Susan Hammersley Simon (in Illinois) says:

    Hello, Susan and everyone… Spring has sprung for today in Chicagoland… great weather for Opening Day of the baseball season! Tomorrow, not so wonderful, but today was grand… opened the windows, aired out the house, put some laundry outside to dry… made me happy!

    Love the two recipes… the quinoa one is so healthy… and the soda bread sounds just fabulous. I know two items I want to make this week… thank you so much, Susan! One question, though… how much of the low sodium soy sauce should there be… it says 1 1/2 … tablespoons maybe?

    Having grilled salmon and a Greek salad for dinner… so better go get dinner going. I think I’ll put that quinoa on the menu for Thursday dinner, perhaps. 🙂 We have a cooking class tomorrow night for fish, taught by our favorite chef, should be a great class and a lot of fun.

    Have a great day tomorrow, everyone… watch out for those April Fool jokes!

  41. Anne says:

    Yum! Love quinoa! I like to eat it for breakfast – like oatmeal – so good. Thank you for the recipe – definitely making that one and soon! The April page of your wall calendar is sooo pretty! I love the pink, flowery border 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Do you put milk on it? Chopped apples and cinnamon? I turned my page over this morning, now I need to redecorate my kitchen to match it! 🙂

      • Anne says:

        Yes! I mix in maple syrup, almond milk, bananas and blueberries – sometimes raspberries and toasted almonds – oh, boy I’m making myself hungry:-) Apples and cinnamon sounds delish too! xxoo

  42. sondra fox says:

    A favorite restaurant of ours serves Quinoa, with this wonderful Balsalmic sauce over it, topped with chicken in the same sauce. They also serve spinach with the chicken dish. Just love it. I’ve been trying to find a sauce made from Balsalmic so that I could duplicate the dish for home dinners. Any ideas would be appreciated GF’s & Susan. Quinoa is so wonderful, in that it can be used in so many different ways. Thanks for the tip on rinsing it first.

    Went to Descansco Gardens today with two friends who love flowers the way I do. What a wonderful time we had looking at all the spring trees in bloom. We saw this beautiful flowering tree where Hummingbirds were swirling all around it. When we stopped to look at it, the hummers started buzzing past our heads. They didn’t want to share their tree, I guess. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      Was it a thick sauce or sort of a salad-dressing like sauce? You could try boiling down the balsamic vinegar to thicken it, mix it with olive oil and salt and pepper.

      • sondra fox says:

        Thanks Susan. It’s a thin sauce. I’ll try what you suggested. Might fit the bill. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Catie Cook says:

      Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge?

      • sondra fox says:

        Yes Catie, Descansco Gardens in La Canada, CA. We’ve visited there ever since we came to CA, in 1959. The place is just part of our family. So many memories there. When our 45 yr. old daughter was a child, she’d ride the miniature train, around the gardens. Now she’s a professional photographer & goes there frequently to take pictures & become inspired. At Christmas, they decorate the mansion. Several years ago, they opened the house & had miniature doll houses all around. One Christmas season the theme was Hawaiian, with a Christmas tree decorated in orchids. The dining room table is always decorated so nicely. They sometimes have someone playing the baby grand piano, as you saunter through the Chirstmas house. The kitchen in the house is so wonderful, with cookies passed out. A couple of years ago, designers decorated the house for a home tour. Even got to see the upstairs, which is normally not opened. When my mom-in-law (from PA) would come for a visit, the gardens were always a must see for her. Do you live near the gardens? Is that what caught your attention? (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • Catie Cook says:

          I lived in the Crescenta-Canada valley for twenty five years before moving to Pasadena! Spent MANY MANY hours at Descanso Gardens with my daughters when they were small (they are both in their 30’s now!). There used to be a shallow duck pond just as one passed through the “entrance”. It was their favorite spot. Unfortunately, it was removed several years ago. My Godmother, who lives in La Canada Flintridge, is still a volunteer there. She is 82 and works the “train” a few days each week. She loves it. I live in the Northwoods of Wisconsin now. I don’t miss the hot weather of So Cal but I do miss things like Descanso Gardens! Do you live nearby?

  43. Linda Pintarell says:

    The quinoa recipe sounds so luscious! Thank you for posting. Been looking for one as I bought some quinoa sometime ago and didn’t know exactly what to do with it.

    • sbranch says:

      Once you get the basic of cooking with it, anything goes. You could put tomatoes, olive oil, basil and bacon bits in it. Any delicious combination of cooked or shredded veggies too, all kinds of nuts. It’s like a flavor vehicle.

  44. Janet in Rochester says:

    Hello Sue, and thanks for popping these recipes onto the Blog. I once had a colleague who was half-Italian/half-Irish and she was the best baker! She could have easily won the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her brownies were almost as good as yours. And every St Patrick’s Day she bring in a half-dozen loaves of Irish soda bread, after getting up at the crack of dark to bake, and they’d arrive wrapped so well they were still warm enough to melt butter. But somehow I lost the recipe somehow. So I’m eager to try Lowely’s. The only dried fruit in the house this week are tart cherries, so I’m going to see how that works. Hope you’re still brimming with creativity as you write your new book. Do Girl and Jack get up with you each morning and settle in the studio while you write? ❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Tart cherries should be delicious! Oh yes, Girl is on a pillow I keep on top of a counter here, just about a foot and a half from me now. Jack, independent soul, he’s on a quilt on the back of the sofa just outside my door, so he doesn’t miss a move I make in case I start to go in the direction of rubber bands. I am brimming over with creativity. I designed two sets of refrigerator magnets this morning. Now? Back to lovely book! Have a wonderful day Janet!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Personally I CAN’T WAIT to hear a few niblets about the new book, but then you could do a book that has nothing in it but borders [your specialty in my opinion] and I’d line up to buy that too. PS – I hope we’ll be able to pre-order the new book as we could with AFR. Keep on writin’, Girlfriend! ❤️

        • sbranch says:

          I’m doing it Janet, on my way, can barely manage to do anything else these days. Words flying around my head, so much to tell.

      • sondra fox says:

        Susan, I love the description of your two cats in their positions around you. My new cat, Sheba, the Himalayan, even let me pat her for a long while yesterday. I was on top of the bed, on my stomach, she was underneath the bed, I put my arm down the side of the bed so I could reach her. I felt a furry creature there & patted her for about half an hour. I was so happy that she’d finally let me pat her. It’s been almost three weeks since she’s been with Jack & I. She seemed to enjoy the pats, moving her head around so I’d reach where she wanted attention. She even PURRED. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • sbranch says:

          You are getting to her Sondra!

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Sandy, congrats on your new little furrie! Himalayans are gorgeous! And just chiming in, Sue, to let you know that the dried tart cherries worked wonderfully in Lowely’s soda bread. Which [bonus!] was even easier to make than my old friend’s. Made a batch on a chilly, all-day-long-rainy day [last Friday] and what a treat to have it piping hot from the oven! :>)

  45. Kristi says:

    Thanks for the recipes. My husband and I love quinoa. In fact, he just bought a cookbook dedicated to quinoa! I’ll be trying your recipe this weekend for sure.

  46. Carol C says:

    Thanks for setting me straight on the pronunciation of Quinoa! I bought some at Trader Joe’s and haven’t used it yet. Should have looked in “Girlfriends”! That salad sounds delicious and it’s getting to be the salad time of year. Also, do you know the pattern name for the teapot with the blue leaf designs on it. I collect blue and white teapots and have never seen that pattern. Would love to find one!

    • sbranch says:

      I think it’s relatively new because it says “microwave and dishwasher safe.” On the bottom it says Made in England by Grindley, Vignoble . . . Creation Alpac France. Hope you can find one Carol, it does feel like old china.

  47. Eileen F says:

    I will have to try this recipe. It skipped my notice in the Girlfriends book, in which you included chicken. In this posting of the recipe, you neglected to include the tsp for the soy sauce. Someone will want to have that information when they get down to actually making the recipe.
    Thanks for all the wonderful and newsy posts. I love hearing about your day and the weather in your part of the world, so different from the Central Coast. Yea! We finally got some more rain.

  48. Lucia says:

    Hello Susan, thank you for the two delicious recipes! Will be trying them soon. The metal birds are adorable! I’m going to check the store tomorrow to place an order!
    Thank you for your post.
    Lucy in San Mateo, California

  49. judi says:

    Rabbit, Rabbit Susan and girlfriends!

    So happy you put more info and pictures:) on your blog of the salad. I looked it up in the GF book but had never heard of q. – now I just may try it:) You have the most interesting recipes – pancakes with 1/2 cup of flour and just last week I made Rachel’s lemon sugar cookies – I had to look 10 times at that recipe – NO EGGS??? Well, they were delicious!!:) Really lovely with tea in the afternoon.

    Have a fun day everyone – BE aware of the date:)))) judi

    • sbranch says:

      Rabbit Rabbit! I just turned over my calendar page, Happy April! I promise, with recipes, not to steer you wrong. 🙂

  50. Pam says:

    Thank you for the recipes Susan. I can’t believe it’s April already but thank goodness April Fool has now finished. I did manage to catch Dave with it this morning 🙂
    By the way, I just love those birdies, really sweet.

  51. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I am a recent convert to Quinoa and will have to try your delicious looking recipe. It is a grain that is so versatile, healthy, and readily available. The red quinoa is also very good and the two mixed together make a pretty salad combo. Currently, I have been enjoying a quinoa hot cereal mix in the mornings. With walnuts, dried cranberries and a dash of cinnamon, it is hearty, delicious, and perfect for cooler weather. Have you ever tried quinoa for breakfast?

    Love you new metal birds too! They are just adorable and perfect backyard friends! Hope you all are getting some more signs that Winter’s fury is about done!

  52. Wendy Louise says:

    Rabbit Rabbit everyone !
    So exciting to see the blue sky and Mr. Golden Sun shining after all the lovely, snow melting, rain. I am going outside this morning to peruse my gardens for little green heads poking through the wonderful smelling earth. I could smell spring this morning taking our little Tucker out for his morning walk. Susan, that salad is wonderful and I think it will be made here today. I was cooking all day yesterday, making meals for my expecting daughter in-law and son ( Sarah and Christopher). The due date is today and I think Sarah said she will try and make it after today, she doesn’t want her little girl thinking she was an April fools joke ! Everyone is so excited, I will then have two little girls for tea parties ! My other granddaughter is Ellie (Elise) and she is 9 months and has been to 3 tea parties at Grammy’s.
    Well off to look in the Garden and the off for the ingredients for that wonderful salad. I know they will love it, there is so much of it, it is perfect ! Thank-you soooooo much for your inspiration done with so much love ! OX

  53. Kristina says:

    The salad looks delicious! I envy your group of girlfriends. I don’t have many close friends near me and am always envious of close friends. Happy Spring!

    • sbranch says:

      When I first moved here, I lived a lot of years without close girlfriends — but of course, thank goodness for the phone! So I especially treasure these friendships, feel very lucky.

  54. jane says:

    Good Morning, Susan! Off to Trader Joe’s to fill in the holes to make your fabulous-sounding Quinoa Salad! I have read that recipe forever in the Girfriends book and now is the time to try it. I have a general question about watercolors and I have a feeling you’ve explained this to us before: I recently retired and am inching in on doing some painting. I have lots of supplies and paper and have taken a couple of classes. When you are painting your calligraphy, which brush(es) are you using? I’ve also done some calligraphy classes and love to write, but I just can’t imagine trying to paint as I’m forming the letters. Do you pencil in first, always, or do you feel you can paint your letters? Is the brush stiff? Oh, I thank you, as always, for all of the inspiration. I told my husband last night that you are my friend and have been in my life forever, since I received my very first Heart of the Home book on my 40th birthday — and I’m moving in on 65! You are a gift. xox

    • sbranch says:

      If the letters are watercolored, I’m using a tiny little number one brush. It’s not really stiff. Sometimes I pencil in the letters first, and sometimes I just paint them, depending on the style I’m doing. Thank you for having me in your life!

  55. Cyndi in NC says:

    I love Quinoa, have some in my fridge right now. There are many recipes on the web and Pinterest. Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free. So as I’m pre diabetic it’s a good thing. I have some recipes for stuffed peppers I want to try. It takes a while to get used to but I do like it. Your recipe looks yummy so I’ll have to try it too. Trying to eat better can be tricky, it has to taste good because if I get bored that’s when I fall off the good eating wagon! Let’s face it, the bad stuff really tastes good to me! *L* So I encourage you all out there to try it in different recipes till you gather some good ones. Load it up with veggies, even add it to scrambled eggs. Thanks for bringing it to the blog Susan. Hugs.

  56. chris consentino says:

    hope everyone is having a tons-of-fun april-fool’s-day. I’ve been frantically searching to see if there’s news from “sweet Sue”…I believe I’ve got her name right…she was supposed to have scans, etc on march 24, then dr apt yesterday..march 31 to review results. have been praying for her to have good results….watching to hopefully get news. ?????

  57. Catie Cook says:

    Rabbit! Rabbit! Your quinoa salad looks beautiful. And so do those two teapots at the end of the blog. They are gorgeous. Do you have a collection of tea pots?

    • sbranch says:

      A small collection, maybe I have ten. Or eight. Not sure.

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        You can never have too many teapots 🙂 Keep up the great writing … 315 pages … WOW!!! You are quite the organized person to be able to put all that together … let alone find it all! ♥

        • sbranch says:

          The cupboards seemed to have opened and everything is jumping out at me! Even little old books I’ve written and not published! And forgot about!

  58. Rhonda D. says:

    Turned over your calendar page today and bliss…pastel shades with a very spring, earthy feeling. Just looking at the word April makes it feel more like spring. I needed this after spending the last 17 hours with no power. Another winter blast the past couple of days…snow, freezing rain, wind that wouldn’t let up, and numerous power outages.

    Thank you for the info on quinoa and the salad recipe. I didn’t know a lot about quinoa and this is a big help for me trying to get my body healthy and back on track. Not to mention it looks delish.

    Had one of my Dr. appts. this morning. Nothing “glaring” to be concerned about. I get the test results in 6 weeks. He didn’t even take any biopsies, so that’s a good thing. Had an email from my girlfriend and Roy had a better night and day. He was up for a walkabout, was interactive with questions, and talking about summer projects. The prayers are working girlfriends…there’s been a good change in the last day. Thank you. I’ll post the address again if anyone wants to send along a card of encouragement (see last post):
    Mr. Roy Jones
    4 Anderson St.
    Fredericton, NB
    E3B 7E1

    • Rhonda D. says:


      The cards and prayers are working marvelously! There has been quite a dramatic change for the better in his health, and my girlfriend says it’s directly related to all the cards he’s receiving. He is “over the moon” with all these cards, reading every one and sending them back home with his wife so they don’t get misplaced or thrown out…treasuring everyone of them. He says the first thing he’s going to do when he gets out of the hospital is to sit down and read everyone of them again. Btw, his wife wants to know if he has a secret harem somewhere she doesn’t know about. The impact this is having on the health and life of this man (and his wife) is amazing, phenomenal really. Thank you…great job girlfriends!!

  59. A beloved relative who isn’t eating gluten or dairy and is also vegetarian came to lunch last summer on the spur of the moment. I initially panicked and then calmed down and made a quinoa salad – chopped up some red onion, and avocados, added peas and corn, lemon juice, olive oil, something green from the garden, and something else I can’t remember (might have been marinated tofu – should have written it all down). Had some organic gluten-free corn chips to go with it. Hooray for quinoa! Bonus – it is a *great* Scrabble word. ;O)

  60. Susan,

    I saw that you had a new post, but I was waiting for the end of my working day here at my computer so that reading it would be my ‘treat’ for being a good girl.

    And a lovely treat it was. As always, you delight me with the snippets of life you share here. You must hear it a lot, but there is so much about you that reminds me of me. I love it that kindredness.

    What a neat saying about bread and water turning into tea and toast. Lovely.

    Sending you hugs… and to Jack and Girl Kitty too!


  61. Cathy says:

    I just received my first Stillmeadow book and cannot start to read it. Thanks for the recommendation. I read the German Garden and what an incredible read. I could not put the book down either.

    Last, I do love who grains. I have become a Vegetarian. I d have clicum product need it for the old bones.

    Excited, plants are themselves up through the group, snow has melted, 61 degrees. Yippee!!

  62. Elaine says:

    Oh Susan, I just this minute found about something that might interest you –
    Have a look!

  63. Janet in Rochester says:

    PS – I forgot to say how much I like how the webstore has been re-organized. More tabs on the side – very succinct! Like it!

  64. Linda Pennington says:

    Hi Susan, I have never tasted quinoa, but now am going to by way of that yummy looking salad. Also, I had this thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all come downstairs in the morning, into the kitchen to feed out darling cats and place their food on a placemat shaped and colored like Jack, with his head turned just so, that we could view his moo-stach!? I so love you knowing you are here bringing sunshine into our lives, no matter the season. Have a Happy!!!!! Linda

  65. Wendy says:

    Ooooh I will be trying the Quinoa Salad.
    And I love the birds! Always fun to read your blog and see what you’re up to.

  66. Judy in OR says:

    Thank you for the recipe for Quinoa Salad. That is definitely one I am going to try it looks delicious. Bob’s Red Mill is here in Oregon but I have never been to it as all the local stores carry the products. I hear though that it is quite the experience so I will have to go one of these days. Did you know that when Bob retired in 2010 he turned the whole company over to his employees? He really cared about his employees and felt it wouldn’t be right to sell even though he had offers.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard wonderful things about Bob, what a guy.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        No kidding? That’s beyond awesome. We need more American business owners to follow Bob’s example.. When The People – ALL the people – truly are in charge, EVERYONE wins. The people, the business and the Country.

  67. shirley burt says:

    Wonderful everything, as usual, which is a very good thing. Thank you. I must find out about the apricot tea and order some for me, and more lavender for Drinda. She loves it and said no wonder you took it with you. Now, what happened on April Fool’s day? I thought about you all day and thought about unsuspecting Joe.
    Sending you much love and bunny hugs,

    • sbranch says:

      Yes the lavender tea has become indispensable! Poor Joe. Lives with me! I put it on his hand towel. For a very sweet surprise. 🙂

      • shirley burt says:

        Joe is a lucky man. He could have someone that didn’t care enough to April Fool’s him. Wouldn’t that be the saddest thing? Keep up the good works LOL.
        Sorry to say, the scent of Lavender makes my asthma flare up, but Drinda adores it and I will keep her well stocked.
        Much love and bunny hugs,

  68. salve says:

    YAHOOOOOO! Susan, Thanks for the quinoa salad (I can taste it! Yum!) – been wanting to do one (I am not a cook!) but will try it! My friend Agnes and I got introduced to Senor Pollo, a Peruvian restaurant here on 13th/1st Ave, New York City, by a friend who is married to a Peruvian man; that was last year and we are now Regulars!!

  69. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Thank you for the salad recipe!!! I really like quinoa.

  70. Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

    Well, I might be getting my wish for “just one more snowstorm this year!” Weatherman is predicting 9-12″ of heavy wet snow for us tomorrrow night into Friday. I’m in Storm Mode! Think I’ll make the Irish Soda Bread and some kind of soup for supper. As this is probably the last snowfall of the year, I’m going to enjoy it! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Why, may I ask, dear Pat, would you wish for one more snowstorm??? Although we did the same, with our last one, enjoyed it. At least we think it was the last one!

      • Jack says:

        Maybe just one more” please” was the entire wish –you she’s from
        Minnesota after all !

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        Since you asked: I just love the last snowstorms of the spring–the big flakes that come down so slowly, so wet that they stick to everything and make the evergreens beautiful. The snowfall makes the world quiet and muted. It covers the dirty piles of snow that are left. And it is a last chance to feel that cozy nesting feeling, a good excuse to stay home and inside. And, of course, I know the beautiful new snow won’t be around for 5 or 6 months–not even 5 or 6 days at this time of the year since the temperatures always go up in the 40’s or 50’s the next day after the snowstorm which makes the spring snow melt quickly. In fact, the new snow we got Thurs. night into Friday (10″) was gone by Saturday afternoon. The sun is so high at this time of year that it melts quickly. Now the weatherman is predicting high-60’s next week and thunderstorms. That means tornado season is just behind that…and I’d take a snowstorm any day over a severe thunderstorm or tornado! 🙂 One year we got 13″ of snow on April 14th! Okay by me… 🙂 I also vividly remember the heat and humidity of last summer and the weatherman just said last night that extremely cold winters usually are followed by extremely hot summers. Ugh…so while I am looking forward to tulips, daffodils, etc., and being outside enjoying the sunshine, I know what is going to follow…:-)

        • sbranch says:

          High 60’s, that’s amazing. We have sunshine but the needle seems stuck right around 42. No complaints, but still too cold to leave the windows open. I’m with you, I’ll take the cold any day rather than 90 degrees and humidity!

          • Deborah T. Norling says:

            Pat..my Dad was raised in Minnesota and Iowa….he would absolutely agree with you !..he still says he loves a “good “storm !

  71. Kirsten in So. Cal. says:

    Thanks for the link for the apricot jam tea. My order is in!! Yummy!

  72. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    What a lovely salad! And the April calendar page is lovely as well! Not only is it pretty (no one paints a rose like you do!), but the words go right to the heart. Speaking of buying local – this week will be my first trip of the season to an organic farm about an hour from here in Philomath, Oregon, where they not only sell their produce and bakery goods – the best hearth bread in the world! – but have a charming restaurant on a patio/porch with heat lamps and a chiminea for making pizza. In the summer they slide the walls back to the open air, but right now I think we will be grateful for the heat lamps. Anyway, thank you for always promoting good stewardship of our beautiful Earth.

  73. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Hi Susan! My Kitty Love charm came today, and I love it! It looks so sweet on my Susan bracelet with the hedgerows, girlfriends, and Marthas Vineyard. I still think a tea charm should be on your “maybe” list 🙂 Hugs!

  74. Carol from Connecticut says:

    I love quinoa! For any girlfriends who have access to the Hartford, CT area there will be an author’s talk and book signing on May 5 at the Mark Twain Museum Center…”Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places that Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales”…by Marta McDowell (speaker) amazon.com/Beatrix-Potters-Gardening-Life-Childrens/dp/1604693630/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396573905&sr=8-1&keywords=Beatrix+Potter%27s+Gardening+Life.
    Here is the site with all the information: harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/worxcms_published/calendar_page840.shtml. NOTE THAT THE PROGRAM IS IN THE MARK TWAIN HOUSE/MUSEUM and not in the Harriet Beecher Stowe House/Museum. If you mix it all up, they’re right next door to eachother!
    Love, Carol tra la

  75. Sara says:

    I have never tried quinoa, Susan, but your recipe sounds so fresh and spring-like, and I love lime so I’m going to try it out. I love couscous, so I bet I’ll love it too.

    I have SO enjoyed following the lambing in the UK and am getting to know some fabulous women, who speak my language–farm! I have learned so much, especially since our family never raised sheep, only crops, steer, pigs and chickens!

    I had a note in my email that my order from Susan Branch has been shipped. (Doing cartwheels in my mind!) When I see that sweet little kitty charm, I just might break out into a Scottish reel!! Now, there’s a picture.

    We’re still waiting on spring, Susan, no sight of anything budding, not even crocus! They usually are in bloom by the first of March. But we did get rain today, and I could see a tinge of green on the pasture. Yay!!

    Do you think we Midwesterners are doing something wrong?


    • sbranch says:

      Whatever you’re doing, we’re doing too! Just a very slow start this year, but it’s on the way. I think.

  76. Tawni urrutia says:

    Good morning Susan!
    Lovely post, as always! I was wondering if you, or any of the Girl Friends out there might have a moist and delicious White Cake recipe? I’m making a Birthday cake for a friend this weekend…and that was her request!
    I hope you day is joyful!
    Tawni Urrutia, in Lodi, Ca

  77. Annette McD says:

    Liked your recipe for Irish Soda Bread, wish we could see the finished result, was it really under that kitchen cloth in the basket?

  78. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    Hello Susan and girlfriends! I have been making quinoa for over 20 years now. Stumbled upon a recipe in a paper while I was in a food co-op back when my kids were babies. I somehow lost the one recipe I had! 🙁 but I remember it had roasted almonds, mandarin oranges, thinly sliced green onions and some sort of vinagrette. I also have a recipe where you cook up a bit of onion, garlic and some minced red peppers, add to the cooked quinoa along with frozen peas (heated) and it’s a wonderful thing for lunch! Changing the subject, I thought it would interest you to know my little 2 year old grandson loves his Beatrix Potter silverware and calls him Pretty Rabbit (instead of Peter Rabbit) whenever he’s using his fork and spoon. 🙂 **Love the little metal wren 🙂 can’t wait to hear their sassy voices in the yard in the spring…that is, if the snow ever goes away! Lake is still frozen solid.

  79. Dawn (in Illinois) says:

    Hi Susan! I was just thinking about you… I can tell you’ve been very busy writing. It makes me smile whenever I think of you writing, remembering, reflecting, cherishing, and dreaming! It must be such fun to make new discoveries as you look back! We are enjoying a sunny weekend in Chicagoland. We went for a walk and peeked at all the gardens along the way. Seeing tiny green shoots makes me so happy after such a long winter! I’m making our Easter cards now with the cutest little lamb stamp and watercolors. So sweet!
    Sunny hugs!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s been wonderful, I’ve been writing like crazy, 315 pages now! And you are so right about the discoveries. I’ve been scanning photos to include too. I never realized how many photos, letters, and stories I had around me, in boxes, books, and files, all tucked away, waiting for this moment, plus my diaries ~ my studio looks like a stationery store blew up in here. Luckily Girl Kitty loves me no matter what (she’s sleeping right here next to me, oblivious to the chaos around her). Writing about my old house, we went yesterday and took the walk I used to go on everyday for the years I lived there. Memory lane!

      Happy spring in Chicago! Must be beautiful! We too are willing our little shoots to bloom. Have a wonderful day. xoxo

      • You must feel you are in “Ever Ever* Land”!

        *as in “happily Ever after” ♡

      • Dawn (in Illinois) says:

        Bliss!! Your story was just waiting to be told and sent out into the world. You will inspire so many women of all ages. What a gift it will be! Can’t wait to hold this treasure in my arms! ♡♡

        • sbranch says:

          Everyday it comes closer. Somedays I think it’s heaven, others I’m not so sure, we shall see 🙂

          • Rhonda D. says:

            There’s an awesome inspirational story to be told, and wea’ll can’t wait to have it in our hands. Dawn is right…a gift for us to treasure. Trust me Susan, it will be heaven, actually beyond heaven for some of us. We’ve been on this journey with you for a long time, so it will be like a diary for us too, reaching in deeper than you may realize, to be treasured forever. Sending the “Happy Writing Gene” your way!”

          • sbranch says:

            I’ve saved surprises for this book, things I’ve never written about before, that’s one reason I’m loving it. You are so encouraging Rhonda, thank you! I’m driven, but in the best possible way. xoxo

          • Dawn (in Illinois) says:

            Just thinking about all of the goodness in your new book is heavenly! It will be so wonderful to learn even more of your story ~ especially for all of us who have been along on your journey from the very start!
            Happiest Birthday wishes, dear Susan! ♡♡ It’s the perfect time to celebrate YOU! I’m sure it will be even more joyful this year, while you are in the midst of so many memories! Hope you and Joe are planning a special birthday celebration!! We love you!!

  80. Barb from Ohio says:

    Hi Susan, Happy Daffodil Sunday! I noticed that on your calender and it made me smile because today is my birthday and the daffodil is my favorite flower. I picked a few yesterday that were blooming, mini daffodils, and put them in a vase to enjoy. Spring seems to have finally come here for us, it’s sunny and in the upper 50’s. A good day for a walk and soaking up some much needed sun!
    I imagine you are so busy writing away on your book, so I don’t expect too frequent updates here, but do take time to get outside if it’s nice and enjoy the springtime. Have never made anything with Quinoa but I think they have it at our local health food store, and your recipe looks really good. Have a great day!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Barb!!! We have been walking all week now that it’s not snowing or raining! It’s gorgeous out there, so much sunlight, but still very cold. Hat, gloves, scarf, all of it. Have a wonderful day!

  81. Tammy M says:

    Well, well, well…..the day has FINALLY come! After all the planning and emailing you and packing and and filling my freezer with food for my men I leave behind….I am off!! Off on what I know will be an ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME, off to spend 20 glorious days with my beautiful daughter exploring a beautiful land! This very special adventure will live on in our memories and our scrapbooks all the years of our lives. And I want you to know Susan, it all began with “A Fine Romance” …and then….a little dream that grew into a big dream and it’s coming true today!! My fine romantic husband won’t be with me on THIS trip…but I want to thank him publicly here for ALWAYS MAKING MY DREAMS COME TRUE!! And, Susan, thank you for not only writing the book but also for all your encouragement and inspiration! I will be thinking of you while I am climbing over kissing gates in search of sheep, painting a mug at Emma Bridgewater’s, having tea at Cassandra’s, wandering through English gardens, and even spending some time with Beatrix Potter at Hill Top! I have my Royal Oak Membership in hand and at last I can say, Cherrio

  82. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Keep healthy, keep happy, and keep writing! Your new book will spring forth much happiness to others upon it’s completion! Such inspiration you are to so many!!!! Wishing you a great day!!!! (Saw a golden yellow crocus blooming in my neighbor’s flowerbed this past Saturday……Spring is coming….soon in Dearborn, Michigan…..maybe by Easter!)

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Carilyn, yes, we’re with you, crocus popping up all over! Thank you!

      • Jan says:

        Just wanted to say, Hello! Met you at the book signing. Happy Spring! Soon!?

        • Carilyn Wolski says:

          Hello Jan! Yes, a “Happy Michigan Springtime” to you too!!! Isn’t it wonderful to walk outside without sliding into those snowboots, hat,mitten,and scarves!!! My Daffodils are finally in their “happy place”, a few proudly bearing buds ready to bloom! (Please refresh my memory….I remember your name, but can’t picture your face…..were we sitting on the same side of the room at the book signing? Hair color? Town you were from? It still seems like a dream come true that our favorite author/artist chose our state to visit, truly a cherished gift!!!!) So nice to hear from you!!!!!

  83. Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, Minnesota says:

    Sunshine and blue skies–and all of the snow from last week is gone and the big piles of snow on edges of driveways, etc., are shrinking fast! Our hostas in pots that we have on the deck although winter over in the garage are up 3″, we noticed yesterday! Now we will start putting the pots out in the morning for sunshine and back in the garage at night. 🙂

  84. Jan says:

    Your Quinoa salad sounds good! Have never tried it but just may have to now. We are seeing a little green sticking through the brown grass here. Have buds on my lilac bushes, but daffodils and tulips will be a while yet I’m afraid. Have also been seeing robins – a sure sign of Spring. Glad to hear your book is coming along quickly. Must be exciting. I know we are all looking forward to it. Gave your Summer book and Spring tea to my daughter as part of her birthday gift. Love the dust bunny picture for the month of April on my mini calendar. Hope you’re having a good day – happy writing!!


  85. Hope says:

    Tried the quinoa recipe yesterday….had it warm and had it cold today. Lovely and zippy!
    You started me off on building my own flock of sheep! Have been collecting them ever since you were in England and had those wonderful photos of them. Got them all out for Easter!
    All the best on the writing!

  86. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    hello Susan how are you these days??? and hello girlfriends, so good to see you all sorry I haven’t been around much…peep season is in full swing and I have a full nursery of baby chicks, baby ducks, baby turkeys and baby geese. they are all outside right now in a pen we set up for them so they can go outside on warm days and enjoy the sunshine, its good for them and it allows me to air out the nursery and clean it out a bit and get in some fresh straw. I have a big question for you and sorry its really a big problem with me. my dear MIL puts her wooden spoons, wooden handled knives, cast iron skillets and her wooden cutting board into the dishwasher on a regular basis after she uses them. I cringe when I see her doing that, I was told never ever to put wooden spoon, wooden handled things or wooden cutting boards in the dishwasher ever. my dear grammy would have a hissy fit if she saw her put in her cast iron skillets into the dishwasher, she’d faint. her wooden things look horrible, the knives and wooden handled ladles and spoons are loose and wobbly, the cast iron is looking rusty, I mean most of this stuff is ruined for sure, but she insists its okay to do that and thinks I’m goofy for not letting her do that to my things at my home, I won’t let her load my dishwasher, not with my wooden things or cast iron skillets… nope, I just put them aside and hand wash them and dry them. I need a list of things not to be put in the dishwasher ever, and anything you can add will be a big help, so girlfriends chime in on this I need the help. is there any way to restore any of things she has already damaged??? just thought I would ask. thanks for the help. hugs….. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Oil. Restores things amazingly. On the wood, use mineral oil. You’ll love the instant gratification! If they’re really bad, you may have to do it more than once. The wood will soak it in and it’ll come back to its former wonderful self. Cast iron just needs to be re-seasoned … scrub it in hot water and soap, dry it well, smear it with vegetable oil, put it in 350 degree oven, upside down on a cookie sheet for one hour.

      • pat addison(cave junction,OR) says:

        thank you!!!! I do hoe we can save some of he wooden things, but I think the cast iron really needs help. I think a good sand blasting will get the rust off and then we can reason it.

  87. Deborah T. Norling says:

    Hello Susan…as I’m reading through today, I realize I missed Rhonda D.’s message about her friend Roy and sending cards to cheer him, but not sure what the situation is and there have been other times I want to check back on something someone has posted but I simply don’t have time to scroll through the various postings.. I may be missing it but..is there some sort of way to search your blogs with a word or phrase or even by girlfriends’ names ? you know..sort of how we can search our e-mail for past contacts. It reminds me I still wish I knew who won your Minton dessert set so I can ask her to PLEASE read the bottom of the cups and tell me what the name of the pattern is !!

    • sbranch says:

      Maybe she’ll read this and answer you Deborah … I hope so! As for your other question, I really don’t see the same thing on my blog that you do, so maybe others can answer that question about how to find things. Hope this helps!

      • Jack says:

        Here it is once again –each and every message is posted showing the
        DATE and TIME it was posted ! Therefor it becomes a simple function to make a note of any interesting messages that strike your fancy . Because time rolls on and this is a big clue in going back to find a specific posting

  88. mary spring says:

    …o.k….I am filled up with quinoa to my ears… and love it, really..(and glad to be told of how it can be used to “scrabble” with… also good news)…’read this quote and thought it was worth sharing.. ” April hath put a spirit of youth in everything”..by William Shakespeare… ‘so glad you are so in the zone with writing your newest book !!… happy birthday, dear girlfriend.. love, as always..p.s.. we are all anxiously ‘waiting to hear updates !!… “oh, Suuusaaann !!

  89. Audrey by the sea. says:

    Your candlewick bowl looks identical to the one that I have. It was my Mum’s and I have always loved it.
    The new metal birds have such lovely poses and are very unique. And best of all they are already aged. They will be great to have in the garden, on a fence or windowsill.
    I would like to say thank-you to your blog Daddy. A few posts back, I read a response that he had written to someone with the phrase…”Every day in every way, I keep getting better and better.” I am now using it and have quoted it to my daughter as well. It really does work at calming ones nerves and has been helpful other instances as well. So a big “THANK YOU” to BLOGDADDY!
    One more thing before I go. . .Susan Branch book writing and art equals happiness for so many.

  90. Nese says:

    hello and thank you for the quinoa recipe! I made a half batch and have been eating it for lunch this week. delicious! Perfect to pack up in my lunchbox and take to the garden while I am working. Weeding the raspberries and asparagus and planting peas, and greens and onions this week. It is so wonderful to spend the day outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine again.

  91. Hi Susan. Hope all is well. I know you’re busy with the new book but I was just concerned since it’s unlike you to go so long without a new post. Hope you and Joe are enjoying spring as much as my husband and I are. Take care.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been swallowed alive by this new book and can only say, “what a way to go.” My brain’s hooked to it by what feels like a one-inch tether and every time I try to break away, a memory, something new, something funny, something I just like yanks me back, and to my joy, I have to “add it before I forget” and once I do that, I’m off! But today I am wearing book blinders, not looking. I’m doing a new post this morning because I miss you as much as you miss me. xoxo

  92. Margot says:

    Yet another delicious recipe. I will be home in my own kitchen soon. It has been a tough two weeks here in WI.

  93. Joann says:

    Lovely recipe that I’m going to try—–I oftentimes use your recipes and change something here and there but this one’s just perfect for me. Being GF is not as fun as just eating lots of gluten-laden things, like cupcakes!!! But, all the flavors in this recipe make it fantastic!!!

    xoxo Thank you for reminding me of this one—it’s a great Spring-time treat!
    Joann in CO

  94. Jack says:

    Too bad you wern’t there for Ponce De Leon –you could have told him how– I see you
    reveling in recall , as you reconstruct days of yore , in writing your story …. Reliving each incident from your past , as you document it for the future ….available for reference in years to come and standing as a “you can do it ” statement for all !

  95. Mary Eva Ross says:

    Hi Susan. Just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday tomorrow – April 12 – did I write that down correctly? I hope you have a GREAT birthday weekend.

  96. Debra says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! I am a great fan of Gladys, and I always thought that it was so nice that my daughter’s birthday is the day after hers, but now I will always remember yours as well. Love your choice of magazines!

  97. Judith Mellenthien says:

    Susan, Happy Birthday to you! I so enjoy your blogs and the latest is one of the best ever. I am looking forward to your new book, Willard, and more blogs. Have a great time with your girlfriends and all the other adventures you have planned for the spring. Judy

  98. Jan says:

    A little bird has whispered that tomorrow is your birthday! I hope that it will be your best birthday so far, and that you will have a healthy and happy year! Thanks so much for sharing a little bit of your world with us all. Everything that you post brings joy.
    Blessings to you on your special day!

  99. maryann howell says:

    Hope that you have a very happy birthday! Thank you for all the beautiful things you make and share. Such an inspiration and such a joy!

  100. PeggyJean Spaide says:

    Happy Birthday!!

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