Hello Darlings! I hope you’re hungry . . . and just in case you’re all worn out from working waaaay too hard, listen to this 🎵 MUSICA  ~ I promise it will put you right back into your happy place.holly


I got the nicest mail today. Two letters, one from Mallary and the other was from Maeve. You don’t know either one of them, but the first time I heard from Mallary, she was 12 and she wrote to tell me how much she loved my Summer Book. The second christmas pietime she wrote, she was 21, and it was all about Girlfriends Forever, now, she’s 30, and she just finished Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams. Isn’t that amazing?  And I recognize her handwriting! I love hearing from these young ones who’ve grown up and still write me every once in a while. Maeve, who wrote me when she was 15 to tell me how much she liked A Fine Romance, is now 18! She still decorates the pages of her letters with her art, and wrote to tell me how excited she is to be going to England with her girlfriend next month. I think I’m almost as excited about her trip as she is! This is just one of the many reasons I love my job. I am so inspired by these letters. They are the perfect Christmas gifts for the heart, for my heart. 💖 And now I have a gift for you…holly


Here we are at the stove (big hint) … I’m always changing the decorations on the shelf, right now it’s decorated with old children’s blocks with JH on them on the left (for Joe), a Beatrix Potter person (The Tailor of Gloucester), my fiber-brush dog that seems never to leave the stove shelf, the good ship Queen Elizabeth wooden model given to us by our friend Carlton, a little toy stove in the back with YUM vintage scrabble letters on top (its kind of permanent too), and in front of it is a fiber-brush hedgehog I got in England; then my SB stamps, and my little house that comes out every Christmas, with lights and a cardinal in the upstairs window.get-attachment.aspximg_7748

Here’s a close-up of the little house. This is one of the most rickety things I own. The roof wants to come off, but I am TLC with it. I rescued it from antique show here on the Island. I wish I knew who constructed this little homemade thing.
small treatsimg_7725

So anyway, the reason we’re at the stove, is because we need to turn it on very low, because  the short ribs I ordered at our market finally came in and I made them for you! This recipe is such a keeper . . . Delicious enough for a dinner party, wonderful for an evening at home, total comfort food for a long dark winter, but also gluten free! And SO fast, maybe 15 min. to throw all the ingredients together, then, seven hours later, you make a salad and rice, and you have a masterpiece of homemade goodness on your hands.💗

But, while cooking, I wanted an old movie to keep me company ~ the 1944 version of Jane Eyre makes the most perfect background noise for what I had to do in the kitchen . . .magicwandimg_7667

img_7675This recipe for Spicy Short Ribs can be made in a crockpot or in the oven. Since I finally realized (after turning my cupboards inside out) I left my crockpot in California, I made the executive decision to use the oven. I’ve had it both ways, crockpot and oven, so whichever works best for you is fine.  If you use a crockpot, it should hold at least 6 quarts, and be set on low heat. In both cases, cooking time is 7-8 hours. I’ll put the recipe at the bottom … but in general . .  . You start with a half cup of beef broth in a medium bowl. I use this stuff in the jar (½ tsp. mixed with 1 ½ c. boiling water) because I think it tastes better, but you can use canned broth if you like.

To the beef broth, add ½ c. soy sauce . . . and then . . .


. . . ¼ c. firmly packed dark brown sugar, all broken up and sugary in the liquid. Doesn’t this sound delicious so far?



Then you peel 2 large garlic cloves . . .


. . . and put them through a garlic press into the liquid . . .

Now take an ordinary teaspoon and use the bowl end to scrape and peel a knob of fresh ginger . . .

Mmmmmm, mince and measure out one Tbsp.

comfortably eating all the birdseed

From corner of eye, notice quick movement outside kitchen window, look up, and see this! Grab camera and get picture!


Calm down and add the minced ginger to the liquid . . .
DecorationsI Dont Like Term


And then whisk in a teaspoon of dark sesame oil . . .


And add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes (this is optional, but no one I’ve ever made this for thought it was too spicy, it has a nice heat, but it’s up to you).


Whisk it all together . . .


Pour the mixture over five pounds of short ribs … with a wooden spoon, move them around to get a little sauce on all of them, cover tightly and cook 7-8 hours at 250 degrees in the oven, or on low on the crockpot.  When done, the meat will be falling off the bone, and almost melt in your mouth in a lovely little gravy. A half hour before it’s done,  mix well 2 Tbsp. cornstarch with ¼ c. water in a shaker jar and stir it into the sauce in the pan. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce to simmer for last half hour. Make white rice… squeeze juice of one lime over the rice. Serve the ribs sprinkled with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.  littlemagic


My shadow sits on the counter and watches over all, he’s my quality control officer.Decking-the-hallsimg_2741

Hardly any dishes!


And so, while that cooks, I thought I’d show you a few of my decorations … I found this man-in-snow glass in an antique store and he always gets to be front and center.



. . . love the white and sparkly bits in the living room . . . although later we put lots of greens on the mantle to go with the shiny things.


Joe-elf has been busy making wreaths and cutting holly . . . he tied together backyard greens for the kitchen door. That door is on its 167th Christmas!quote about and old house


Loving our Christmas cards, some from YOU, now mixed in with family photos . . .childquoteHonestly, have we really changed that much since we were children? I still hear those elves whispering!😊 I know you do too.💖Make me a child againUs seeing Santa

That’s my brother Jim on the left, then me with the freckles, then Stephen in the leather jacket, and Chuckie in the jumpsuit. None of our children ever really liked Santa or the Easter Bunny. Once we got there, it was quite frightening to us really, but we knew we were children, and we knew it was our job to get our picture taken with this guy every year!

holly jolly ChristmasChristmasimg_7630

It’s starting to get dark, and so I lit the new candle in the votive given to us by our dear Mother Seraphima and the darling Sisters (a story I’m saving for very soon!) when we went to visit them last week . . . this was yesterday. TODAY our day is longer! Winter solstice is behind us and we have MORE LIGHT. (It’s almost spring! Kind of.)


Dinner’s almost ready, light the fire, honey . . .  make it hygge in there!



And here we go … I made rice, drizzled it with lime juice, put the sesame seeds on the beef, and added chopped green onions over all … My husband loved it. He had a forkful of beef, all dripping with gravy which he ran through the tender white rice, picking up some crunchy green onions along the way, and now he likes me better than ever. This is the kind of Christmas I like.way to a man's heartchristmasquote

decorating the hutchDecking the Hallslove nostalgicDecking the Halls

giftartAll my very best to you and yours, God bless us one and all! Thank you for another wonderful year of Girlfriendhood ~ It’s been amazing!  Don’t forget to slow down time a little bit, take a little for yourself these next few days, a cozy nap, lunch in your favorite place, a walk to look at the sky, a drive to admire the lights.  While you’re passing out the nurturing for your friends and family, for your house and your petty pets, don’t forget to give a little to you. 💞 I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.💗 1 Corinthians 13:13 💖 Lucky, lucky us. XOXOXOXOgiftsS P I C Y    S H O R T    R I B S

  • cooking½ c. beef broth
  • ½ c. soy sauce
  • ¼ c. brown sugar, packed
  • 2 lg. cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
  • 1 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (opt.)
  • 5-lbs. short ribs (w/bones) cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with ¼ c. water
  • 4 thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 c. white rice cooked in 4 c. salted water
  • 1 lime (juice for the rice)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees … or put your crockpot on low. You need a 6 qt. crockpot or dutch oven. Whisk together first seven ingredients. Put the ribs in the pot, pour liquid over and be sure to get sauce on every rib. Cover tightly and cook in slow oven or crockpot for 7-8 hours.  A half hour before it’s done, mix together the cornstarch and water in a shaker jar and pour into sauce, mixing as well as possible. Cover dutch oven and bring to boil on stove burner, then reduce to simmer, for ½ hour. Or cover crockpot and put on high for ½ hour.  Make fluffy white rice, and squeeze juice of one lime over the top. Serve beef with gravy and rice. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.♥️

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441 Responses to I HOPE YOU’RE HUNGRY . . .♥️

  1. Laurie Nico's mom says:

    A very merry, if somewhat belated, Christmas to you, Joe and Jack. Taking a little breather now that the urgency of prep work has passed. Still lots to enjoy! Our bunnies, Nico, Aja, Katy, Kukla and Gary would also like to send greetings. Don’t know what I would do without them. Or you for that matter! ☃️
    Laurie & Robin
    & the Fabulous Five

  2. Teri Cardot, San Diego says:

    Dear Susan, Do you know about the “Teapot Calendar” that is published in England? It is just beautiful, with a high tea arrangement for every month that displays a different tea set, many of which are housed in museums. My daughter has given me this calendar every year for the past 20+ years, and I have the whole collection.
    The ISBN is 978-0-7611-8818-6. Here are a couple of photos:
    /Users/cardot/Desktop/IMG_7187.jpg `

      • Teri Cardot, San Diego says:

        Susan, I forgot to mention that the teapot calendar has a STOVE TEAPOT! And it looks sooo much like yours, even though its a teapot! It is shown in one of the links above, or right here. (Wish I could move the photo in, but it won’t let me.)
        /Users/cardot/Desktop/Screen Shot 2016-12-27 at 10.25.44 AM.png

        • sbranch says:

          I love teapots, and you know I do, but I’m kind of set when it comes to calendars! 😂 Got sort of a tradition going on!

  3. Barb Lyons says:

    Ahhhhhhh, sigh. Lovely post dear Susan. Short ribs sound delicious. The pictures of your kitchen etc., relax me and make me breathe deeply, and the world slows down. Thank you for always seeing the homey, bright side of life.

  4. Margie Terry (your CA transplant friend now living in PA) says:

    Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! I miss my parents terribly at this time of year especially since my daughters (first generation Americans) and I continue with the tradition they began when I was a child. Christmas Eve was always cold cuts with White Rye bread, Gouda cheese, Edamer cheese, hot German Potato Salad and Dutch and German pastries – the European meal and the American meal was Christmas dinner – turkey and it’s trimmings along with Apple Pie and of course, egg nog! First chance I’ve had to catch up on emails and there’s your blog post and then I saw the picture of your stove’s temperature knob – Robertshaw aka Robertshaw Controls Company – the company I worked for for over 30+ years!! O’Keefe & Merritt or Gaffers & Sattler? Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      Yummy times 15. (Was going to write it out, but decided to spare you!) Both menus sound delicious! O’Keefe and Merritt all the way! Just like the one my mom had when we were growing up!

  5. Debbie Noyola says:

    Love is the greatest of them all Susan. It truly is & I am so thankful for my family & dear friends. My sisters used to live in Plymouth & I was so fortunate to visit them there before they both passed away. I miss them still. After my older sister passed I visited one more time & the younger of those 2 sisters took me to Martha’s Vineyard. I was enthralled & didn’t want to leave. I wish I had “known” you then. I would have definitely looked for your beautiful home. Anyway, wanted to mention that I love your beautiful stove. If I could, I would have all vintage appliances in butter yellow! Also, your cute little pig cutting board. You’ve had him for a while, haven’t you? So that’s all for now except to say that I find 13 extremely lucky. My first son was born on the 13th & the last 4 of my dad’s social was 1313. So very lucky indeed. I hope you had an amazing Christmas Susan. God bless.

    • sbranch says:

      Butter yellow appliances sound just wonderful! Yes, I’ve had that pig cutting board forever. And, my mom agrees with you, 13 is her lucky number too! Happy 2017 to you Debbie xoxoxo

  6. Terry says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan!

    Thank you for the recipe. I think I will make that for New Year’s Eve. Yum! I had short ribs over noodles on Christmas Eve at our local restaurant. It was served with tomatoe sauce and it was delicious. I am eager to try your recipe. I made lots of your fudge recipe this year. It always gets rave reviews. Thank you for that recipe too. I was going through an old recipe box of mine and I found all the recipes of yours that I had cut out of Country Living. What a treat it was to find them!

    2017 is an exciting one for my husband and I. One of our daughters is getting married in July, and another one of our daughters is moving to CA. So visiting CA is in our very near future. My husband is not big on flying, so I told him about your train trips. Thank you for sharing those stories.

    Happy New Year!

  7. Kay says:

    SUSAN, I made your short rib recipe last night for my family. My husband and son had 3rds ( don’t tell his dietician ) they literally melted in the pot- prob one of the best dishes I’ve ever made. Such a wonderful comfort food recipe and the smell throughout the house was divine. Hope you had a wonderful holiday – thank you for the hygge throughout the year- your blog makes me feel so cozy.

    • sbranch says:

      Hooray, SO happy to hear that! We feel the same way about that yummy thing! We’ve felt so grateful for so many things, it’s just put the frosting on the cake that was Christmas. Thank you Kay, (((((hygges)))))) to you and yours!

  8. Christine Morgan says:

    Hi Susan
    I finally caught up on the blog posts. As usual enjoyed with my cup of tea. I have a short rib recipe that I have made for years very similar to yours. My sons always request it for their birthdays! I have a question—-Do you think that you will have the sold out charms available any time in the near future? I have looked on ebay hoping to find them but have not. I would like to have the full set. If you know of a source please let me know. I love them. My daughter gave me a pandora bracelet for Christmas and the charms would be perfect on the bracelet. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      I guess you’ve already seen the ones we have now? Some are new, and we’ve reordered more of others. The manufacturer for our charms has a minimum-buy in the hundreds (we can’t just get 25 or something like that), so we sort of wait until the requests are in … They’re expensive and the Studio finds them difficult to keep as inventory (we are taxed on anything we don’t sell by the end of the year). Let [email protected]/~susanbs3/susanbranch/ know which ones you’d like to have . . . they are keeping a list. And we’ll see how it goes! Happy New Year to you too, Christine!

  9. Hello Susan, Loved your posts and viewing all your pretties! Traditions are wonderful we are so fortunate have and cherish them. Thank you for the short rib recipe…I plan to make them New Years.

    Precious antique house with the lights on the front…I have one similar that I treasure too. After reading your blog…I had lights like yours and place them on my house ….you have lots of clever touches!

    Best Wishes to you both in new year of 2017!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s just how I did it, saw that little string of lights and thought, oh, how perfect for my little Christmas House! Happy New Year Carolyn!

  10. Debbie Johnson says:

    Today I finally get to sit and read your letter. Love. I hope you and Joe had a very Merry Christmas full of Love and Joy.
    I have two questions…
    Do you remove the meat when you make the gravy for the short ribs?
    When a recipe simply calls for brown sugar do you use dark or light?
    This one always stumps me and I just know you would know how best to handle it!
    Thank you for all the Joy you give me through your blog and books.
    Happy New Year and I love you sweet Sue!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Debbie! I always use dark brown sugar unless the recipe says differently. And no, it isn’t necessary to remove the meat, just stir it around a little bit. Happy New Year, and I love you right back! xoxo

  11. Debbie Boerger says:

    For your train trip. Have you read Gerald Durrand, an English author that I had somehow missed. I began the first of his Corfu Trilogy last night. Family and Other Animals, Gerald Durrand. I am in love with his writing. Laughed so much, I had to leave the bed…even though Tom is deaf as a post. Very, very English wit. And there are some worthy quotes for your notebooks. Don’t know how I could have missed his books, as I read so much natural history. Now I’m looking for the “actual” books, not just the ebooks.
    Having best friend and her daughter over for New Year’s Day dinner of your short ribs. I’ll have to throw in a ham hock and make some collard greens for luck. I know they will love it.
    Tom and I consumed the last of the potent egg nog last night. Still some other goodies to last us until New Year’s Eve. The best goodies for me are the Adventures of Susan, Joe, Jack and friends….all the Girlfriends. Happy New Year to Us!!
    Much Love to All of you,
    Debbie, yearning for Maine

  12. shanna says:

    Loved the post, as I love all of your posts. I’m making the sesame beef as I write this. Smells wonderful. Happy New Year to you and Joe!

  13. Judy Hudson says:

    Finally found some time to read your latest blog and of course I loved it. Yes I do still hear the elves whispering..and must admit part of me still believes in Santa. Love your kitchen stove. Have a very happy and blessed new year. Judy

  14. Angie says:

    I am going to give this recipe a whirl for the New Year. And yes the tune made my night. Adorable!

  15. Cindy D. from Charleston, SC says:

    Hi Susan! I can’t wait to try the recipe. Thank you. Wishing you a very happy new year and looking forward new adventures! Oh, and Santa brought me your Christmas charm!

  16. Julia Walker says:

    Dear Susan, This was a “Susan Branch” Christmas here in Cincy. I gave my daughter-in-law the new edition of your cookbook, and my daughter gave me your calendar(also gave her your small 2 year calendar book)! Thank you for your beautiful works~Happy New Year! Julia

  17. Evie Tong says:

    OMGoodness Susan …. spicy ribs recipe sounds Asian-Hawaiian … will try it for our New Year’s Eve dinner!! With Aloha-ha … Evie in San Diego
    Wishing you a Happy Healthy 2017 with many fine moments❤️

  18. Cheryl says:

    Oh my goodness Susan, you are so totally awesome! I can’t even stand it! I have been looking for the quote you put from Francis Thompson “…it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear…” for years, years I tell you I have been looking for this quote. I used it on a poster for a special event and it got put away by the event planners and ultimately lost. I love this whole quote so much. And here is the amazing part, all the quotes you have this day, plus all the rest of this day’s blog have helped me sort out a predicament that has been weighing on my mind for weeks and now I have made a decision, so much for the better. It all makes my life more dear and happy. Thank you so very, very much! : ) And by-the-way, just about one-week ago I made my mom’s short ribs (hadn’t made them in at least a couple of years), she loved them so, very different from your recipe; but she would have so loved yours, yes, she would have loved them a lot. Going grocery shopping today, gonna make your ribs next. Sounds so yummy. : ) Happy New Year, so happy. : )

    • sbranch says:

      Well, you did it Cheryl, congratulations. Quotes have always helped me in the same way, words of wisdom. I call books of quotes “distilled genius” — everything that’s ever needed to be said, has been said, by someone who knows what they are talking about. I’m so happy you found it here! Blessings on you and yours for the New Year!

  19. jeanie says:

    So loving your sweet assistant and all the beautiful Christmas decorations! They make my heart sing!

    Wishing you a glorious new year and if you reap even a bit of the joy you have brought me this year, it will be a good year indeed!

  20. salve stamatelaky says:

    Susan, I don’t cook, but this recipe sounds ‘dowable’ by me, except I believe it’s too much for two old people like me and hubby. Hubby likes meat, I like veggies! Perhaps I try 2-3 pounds, and ‘wing’ it with the spices (scary). If I ever cook it, you’ll hear from me! My fingers are crossed!

    • sbranch says:

      Good luck! Yes, just halve the recipe if you want. We have the same thing in this house. Joe for meat, me for salad, but of course, we compromise, and I eat some of his meat and he eats some of my salad!

  21. Donna gamble says:

    Dear Susan,
    Loved the votive and candle. Can’t wait to hear about Mother Seraphima and the Sisters.
    Enjoy all your books,art work and calendars! Happy New Year.

  22. Good Morning Susan! Thanks for taking me to my happy place this morning. One of my FAV movies is Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm! Also loved Haley Mills’ Pollyanna! Both can bring me into a good mood if I feel tired!
    Thanks also for the delicious recipe. Short Ribs is one of my all time favorites and I cannot wait to try this recipe.
    Here’s wishing you and Joe a very Happy New Year! Thanks so much for all you did for all of us this past year.

  23. Linda Michael in Pennsylvania says:

    Sorry I’m late to respond to this wonderful blog. I’ve been busy reading The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. I think in your last blog you mentioned this book by Bill Bryson in a response to a girlfriend’s comment, so I borrowed the book from my local library. Omg, I’m crying laughing at everything from the “toity” jar, to Mr. Milton’s swan dive, to white Lincoln Logs, I could go on and on! Thank you for mentioning this book – I am loving it! I also borrowed The Road to Little Dribbling. Happy New Year to you and Joe!💜💜

  24. ann w in cold, frosty UK says:

    Do you think the Spicy Beef Ribs recipe would work using pork? ( I love cows too much to eat them – I also love pigs but they don’t look you in the eye in quite the same way as a cow does.) I will try the recipe as soon as we all recover from the tummy bugs/winter colds/chicken pox. It has been a case of “if one grandchild doesn’t infect you, another surely will – fun times. Your Christmassy home looks so inviting, how I wish I lived nearby. Thank you for another lovely Blog.

    • sbranch says:

      I have a girlfriend who was a kindergarten teacher but had to give it up because she got every cold, flu, and fever that walked through the door! I would think pork would work, I just haven’t tried it. So you can be the pathfinder! Let me know!

  25. Gina Mahoney says:

    Hi Susan. I was very fortunate and made it to Martha’s Vineyard for my very first time in September! We stayed at an inn in Vineyard Haven that was adorable and went to see all the lighthouses on the Island and Chappy. Our Christmas tradition is giving ornaments to each other that reflect something important that happened to us during the year, so I bought an ornament in Martha’s Vineyard of the Aquinnan Light House for my husband. I was laughing as I opened my ornament from him to find that it was an ornament of the same lighthouse! He got it for me because it was the first lighthouse I ever went all the way up to the top in! I also got some of your books from A Bunch of Grapes, such a nice book store. Thanks for all you do! Have a very Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      Aren’t you two cute, on the same page for sure! Happy New Year to you both, I’m so happy you enjoyed the Island! xoxo

  26. Susan, your short rib recipe looks wonderful. My husband and I are vegans, but I’m going to try following the recipe but using seitan instead of meat.

    On another subject, have you seen Mapp & Lucia? Our PBS just showed the newer version consisting of three episodes which I recorded. They are outstanding, but I love even more the 1985 version (10 episodes) with Prunella Scales, who unfortunately now has Altzheimer’s. You would absolutely adore both these versions. The darling Cotswolds and Suffolk cottages are beautiful, as are the 1930’s clothes!

    On still another subject, the beautiful tune Jerusalem is found in the United Methodist Hymnal, page 729, and also in the Presbyterian Trinity Hymnal (PCA), page 81. I’m a staff pianist and I play these lovely tunes as often as possible at my church job.

    I love your blogs. Today I forwarded the most recent one to a friend who lives in a gorgeous 500-year old thatch in Wiltshire. I explained that your blog epitomizes what I love about England. I’ve been there 12 times; not nearly enough times yet!

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful that you are a church pianist, Linda. That must be so wonderful! What a gift! I’ll look for your PBS suggestions, thank you! xoxo

  27. Rhonda D. says:

    Such a wonderful, Christmassy blog Susan….and I’m also late responding to it. But you’ve been in my mind for a week now. Hope you had a good old fashioned Christmas, Susan Branch/MV style. That would sound like a good one to me. We spent Christmas in Halifax, Nova Scotia with my daughter, her husband, and my grandchildren. It was amazing. We went on an hour long sleigh ride in downtown Halifax on the 23rd. My son-in-law’s family are very musical, so we sang Christmas carols the whole way. Everyone stopped to wave, and smile, and take pictures. It was awesome to be such a blessing to others. Then home for a pot luck and more singing and music. I gave my 4 year old granddaughter a play guitar for Christmas, well what a hoot! She sang “Little Donkey” just fine. Then to Herman’s Island on the ocean for Christmas dinner and more music and singing and Scattagories. Oh my, the memories. I’m making your Spicy Short Ribs for New Year’s Eve. It looks delish and I’m excited. Happy New Year to you and Joe. Wishing you every good thing for 2017. Looking forward to a new year filled with all the lovely things you so lovingly send our way. Blessings and love to all the girlfriends. xo
    P.S. I gave my 4 year old granddaughter a little pink journal for Christmas. I want to start teaching her to record her memories early in life. I’m having so much fun with her – baking, doing festive crafts, and all the things that you’ve shown us that are so important. I don’t want either one of us to forget these awesome memories. I’m quite amazed at how interested my daughter is in me doing this.

    • sbranch says:

      When I was a child, I thought a diary had magic in it. And in a way, it did! Happy cooking today Rhonda! Love what you are doing for your granddaughter, these are gifts that last a lifetime. xoxo

      • Rhonda D. says:

        I always thought a diary was a very special thing when I was younger. I thought it had magic in it too. Glad to be opening the doors to pass that on to my granddaughter. Your Spicy Short Ribs turned out fantastic. They got rave reviews from my guests tonight. Perfect for New Year’s Eve.

  28. Caroline says:

    Home bursting at the seams with spur of the moment visit from Texas cousins:) I am smiling ear to ear:)
    I wonder if you ever received our family Christmas card? Cute family:) Summer pictures in garden and on our dock, Cutest dog who was staying right next to me because of thunder 🙂 And our ever-present connection to you!….. Your Gladys Tabor quote inside…”But in this season, it is well to reassert that the hope of mankind rests in faith. Nothing much happens unless you believe in it, and believing there is hope for the world is a way to move toward it.”
    Thank you Susan for all your inspirations! Have a wonderful day! Caroline

    • sbranch says:

      I did get it Caroline! My favorite quote! And darling family!

      • Caroline says:

        So happy you got it! That is very fun! I sent it off on a wing and prayer just addressed to you in Vineyard Haven:) and it reached you!! Because you are beloved on your very small island:)

  29. Donna Kazmercyk says:


  30. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Susan — thank you for sharing the short rib recipe. Sounds like something I should make for New Year’s Day!
    Just want to thank you for the new Full Moon bookmark. I print it out every year, laminate it, and put it on my desk at work. This way I always know when the full moon is coming and can plan to make sure I see it! In warmer weather,
    we have a place here called Sunrise Mountain, where we can drive up the one-way road and watch the sun set over Pennsylvania, and drive to the overlook and wait for the full moon to pop up over the horizon. (It’s also a great place to watch the sunrise during certain times of the year — Easter morning services are held there every year!)

    I would love to watch the moon come up over Martha’s Vineyard one day….we’ve enjoyed the full moon over Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, MA (Cape Ann).
    Best wishes to you and Joe for a happy and healthy New Year.
    JoAnne — in white NW New Jersey.

    • sbranch says:

      We actually jumped in the car to go see the moon last night. Freezing cold, but Joe had just come in and was wild about the moon, so I went with him to get a look. The teeniest sliver of moon was SO lit up, that you could see the rim of the dark part of the moon too. It was gorgeous. You are so welcome JoAnne! Happy New Year! xoxo

  31. Linda "Who Still Says Land" says:

    In reflection of the year almost over I am grateful for being contacted by friends, family and neighbors when they are at the cross roads of clearing a beloved family home in exhaustion as to where to turn next. With my list of those who will professionally assist in sorting /evaluating to local antique shops who purchase, I try to assist with this emotional task if asked as have been there as well. As we were about to take a cherry kringle over to a neighbor settling his childhood home, he declared all left items at this point was going into the dumpster, as after three months of sorting he and the five siblings were done, and would we please come over as he could not bear to see some items tossed. With each item an offer was made to hold until they could have more time to think it through, or an offer of cash to be donated to their church or other worthy place. But each was met with “with you this won’t be forgotten, please take it home”. Five pounds of sea glass collected by their family over 60 years of beach trips. Their grandmother’s 1913 treadle sewing machine. A wagon and bike from childhood of the 50’s. A seed display box from the 1930’s that held family photos. A wicker chair set from the 1920’s of their grandparents. The sea glass is being sorted by color to display in jars. A friend was contacted for a new machine belt for the treadle machine repair to take place over winter. I am not the owner, but instead the caretaker of family memories, as in my heart I hope someday each will make their way back home. As the christening dress lovingly packed with handwritten note cards as to who wore the dress. Found at a local flea market it took two years for us to find the owner of the 100 year old dress, but all worth it to see the tears of joy in the return of a family treasure. Thank you Susan for showing us through your art and writing the great honor of being caretakers of memories made and found.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back, Linda, I remember your beautiful heart-touching story and loved the reminder, especially for this time of year, the end of the year and the beginning of something new. 💞

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Linda, your “memories” piece is just wonderful. We truly are the caretakers of memories. Sadly, I fear many are focused upon New, Modern. These homes may be works of art, but they seem very cold to me. Even contemporary homes benifit from old family treasures. Eclectic is good, in my opinion. By the way, are you from Wisconsin, land of Kringles. My husband’s family is from Racine, and I usually receive one for Christmas. One small town in Washington state does them as well.
      Debbie in Tampa…for now

  32. Barbara (WA) says:

    Thank you for a warm, heart-lifting post and delicious looking recipe I will try very soon. Happy, Happy New Year to you, Joe and darling Jack! ❤

  33. Sally Geisel says:

    Off topic for a moment … if you haven’t heard them already, I think you will like Libera (sample here: youtube.com/watch?v=F3uflMbmQ2A).

    Hamish Macbeth was a very special BBC-Scotland comedy-mystery series that I think you would like too. (Even if you don’t love the first episode, watch on. They get better and better.)

    Very Happy New Year!

  34. Freda says:

    Dear Susan I just finished reading your last book that I received for Christmas. I couldn’t put it down, loved it. You had such good sense in the choices you made. Not everyone would have been able to do that . You are a very strong woman. Love your friends and Ellie from England and Carl wish I knew a Carl. I think I am going to have to go back and reread A Fine Romance. So glad you opened your heart to Joe and glad you are still friends with Cliff. He is a part of your youth. Well keep writing your blog for all us girlfriends and I hope you and Joe have a wonderful New Year . Thank you Susan for being who you are and sharing with us.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you dear Freda, for these sweet words! I’ll keep doing the blog, and wishing you a wonderful New Year! xoxo

  35. Pat R. says:

    Happy New Year! I can’t wait to make this short rib recipe. Never felt confident enough to make them before. But following your steps seems easy. Hope I can find short ribs at the store.

    • sbranch says:

      If you can’t, do what we did, ring the little bell in the meat department and ask the butcher to order them. We know they exist!! And you’ll love this recipe Pat!

  36. FayE in CA! says:

    Absolutely loved the beautifully photographed, visual recipe step-by-step…from beginning…to squirrel play…to clean up…to the welcome fire for dinner time. I will definitely try the recipe…IF there are any ribs left in the USA!! So many Girlfriends serving SB ribs for New Year’s Eve. There should be a time set for a Girlfriends’ universal toast over SB ribs! Maybe you should designate a Friends of SB Rib Day so we can bon-appetite-it together. 😊

    Just home from Christmas in MA. Really mild weather and hardly any snow on the ground. Nice to need a winter coat, but not be worried about frigid frost bite…which WAS the weather the week before we flew in! My area in CA got 2 inches of rain while I was gone. Sorry I missed a rainy day in CA, but happy our plants enjoyed the wet gift.

    SO glad to go and extremely happy/excited to come back to our Christmas home. My husband and I are awaiting Christmas! Yep…we enjoyed the holiday with kids/grandchildren in MA and will be celebrating “our” Christmas eve/morning together on New Year’s Eve/Day. Special time…so glad we “saved” Christmas to extend our festivities. So excited for Santa to come. Surprisingly, Santa was not hard to book for New Year’s Eve. Thought he would be DONE – FRIED – OVER-IT, but the bearded love truly has a giving spirit all year long. Cheers to sharing the Christmas spirit whenever it bubbles-you-up! Good news is that Rudolph’s nose does NOT require batteries…so he is good to come!!

    Magic moments to you, Joe and Jack in 2017. I look forward to being “sprinkled with you” through your postings. You are a staple of joy, love and kindness. 💗💗💗

    PS: Grayson sends love to Jack and that adorable kitten, Stella!!

    • sbranch says:

      And Magic Moments right back to you FayE! LOL, on the “Friends of SB Rib Day and bon-appetiting together!” You are too cute! xoxo

  37. Gill says:

    I am looking forwards to turning the page to yet another year of your beautiful calendars! Thank you for sharing your days with us throughout each year. I am still so sad that I couldn’t make the Grand Picnic this last summer after all, but I loved seeing my motherland through your eyes!
    I wish you and Joe aand all the girlfriends a wonderful New Year to come.
    Gill in Norway

  38. Rosanne Murphy says:

    Susan, have you visited Lacock or Biddlestone? I’ve been watching the series Agatha Raisin on Acorn TV and it is filmed in those villages. Such charming cottages and countryside! The actress is Scottish, and the show is very fun. Today I will prepare food for the annual New Year’s Day girlfriend twine in the parlor, one of my favorite little gatherings of the year. We toast, munch, chat, laugh, sometimes cry a little, and shore each other up for another year – a year in which you and I will turn 70! Really?! Is this some kind of joke?! No? Ok then, I’ll go first, in February. One of my friends definitely knows how to please the Hostess because she brings a brand new SB calendar each year. “I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” (J.B. Priestley) Thank you for always helping us find that magic. Blessings in the new year!❤🍾☀

  39. Debbie Boerger says:

    Happy New Year, Susan and Joe,
    Short ribs for tomorrow!! Mimosas for watching the Rose Parade with Tom’s great omelet.
    For lots of big belly laughs…Try Gerry Durrell’s Corfu books. You may have read them. True stories of his wild and wacko family and their 5 years on Corfu in the 30’s. Laughed as hard as I did years ago upon reading my first PG Woodhouse books. Great English wit!
    We’ll stay hopeful for 2017, and look forward to more of the Antidote…the Susan Branch one. 😉
    Much love and thankfulness,
    Debbie in Tampa…for now

  40. Cindy Hockensmith says:

    I love your blog. It always makes my day more lovely. You are so cute, and my twin sister and I love you. God Bless you and Joe. Thanks for taking the time to be a part of our lives. Your books are the best.

    Love Cindy and Lindy

  41. Stacey says:

    Wow, this was such a facinating look into the modern day lives of these Nuns! It’s so incredibly cool and inspiring how creative and entrepreneurial these ladies are…who would have thought all of this was going on in the convent?!? Loved that they are Anglophiles too and seem to have quite an Emma Bridgewater collection too! Thank you for sharing your tour ❤

  42. Paulaj says:

    I always like it when you include old magazine covers in a post, Susan! The December 1935 “Good Housekeeping” cover is so darling. 🙂

    The spare ribs sound delicious; I am glad that your Husband liked them. 😉 I bet your husband is glad that he scored a Wife that loves discovering and preparing good recipes and food as much as he does! I have some short ribs from a half of an organic pig we purchased. I will try this recipe with them.

    Joe’s door decoration is glorious! It may be the best one hung there in all the 167 years of Christmases that door has seen!

    I loved your quote on love being the greatest!

    Thank you for yet another heart-warming, beautiful, and cheering Blog post.



  43. Amy Warren says:

    Making this short ribs recipe tonight for my lunch (& my husband’s dinner tomorrow)..can’t wait to see how it comes out. Thanks as always for sharing!

  44. Mamey says:

    What a WONDERFUL post! I am not a beef eater but this looks and sounds delish, I might have to try it. As always your blog is soooo COZY!!!

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