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. Pom Pom says:

    Yummy! Thank you, Susan! I’m going to try this! Jack is so full of spunk. I love him. God bless you as you enjoy Christmas and THANK YOU for all of the hygge!

  2. Did you mean to say, “None of OUR children ever really liked Santa or the Easter Bunny.” I suppose being the oldest you felt they were your children! 😊 Now you have all of US! Merry Christmas to you, Joe, and Jack!

    • sbranch says:

      I do! My mom and I always call them “our” children! Love all my children so very much! xoxoxo Merry Christmas Cathy!

  3. Treese Hellstrom says:

    Merry Christmas to us one and all. And to all people in this great big world! God Bless us!

  4. Mary Hobart says:

    Wonderful blog Susan. They always make my day. Could the Christmas robin card have been from me? Merry Christmas to you and your Joe.

  5. Gabriele says:

    Thank-you for the short ribs recipe. I’d like to try them out soon. Sending regards from our little island in the Pacific Northwest, Vashon Island.

  6. Merry says:

    Merry Christmas Susan, Joe, Jack and Friends. You light up my life. When you get a moment please google ‘Killard School Choir’ and read about and view an amazing 10 year singer. Such a gift of love and hope that needs to shared.

  7. Debby says:

    This will be my first new recipe of the New Year. Thanks Susan. Hugs to Jackie-boy!🎄Debby

  8. Faith, Hope and Love–my favorite quote as well, dear Susan. So much love comes from you girlfriend! That short rib recipe is going to be on our menu very soon. It sure looks delicious! I’m going to be making a few of those swags and wreaths tomorrow like your Joe made. It’s so fun to go into the garden and pick all of the loveliness to join us inside for Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and Joe and sweet little Jack! xoxo ♥

    • sbranch says:

      I know, the first year we did it, I was surprised at how many things we had growing out there that worked. Doesn’t HAVE to be pine! Have fun Martha Ellen!

  9. Jody says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 2017 is going to be a great year!!!!!!

  10. Marigold says:

    I’m drooling just reading about the ribs so I can imagine how heavenly they must taste. I love the kitchen door greenery ~ Joe-Elf is quite talented. And one wondersjust how does Jack get all the way up on top of that cupboard. He must have Flubber in his paws.

    A very merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, Susan. Thank you for sharing your heart and your home with us!

  11. Suzanne Wigley says:

    Thank you for taking the time and such care in creating your lovely blog. It is always so uplifting to read, and I love the varied ways you illustrate it. Your book – the 30th anniversary edition of The Heart of the Home is the only thing I’ve asked for as my Christmas gift, and I will delight in it as much as I have the others you have written that I own. We share many things in common, a love of the simple things, the hand-made things, houses, quotations that I have collected and copied to my “quote” book for the last 25 years, really – too many similarities to list! I do want to mention one of my absolute favorite authors, in case you have not “met” her yet – Miss Read, (Dora Jesse Saint) the English author of more than 40 books, most of which take place in two tiny English villages – Fairacre and Thrush Green. Wonderful recurring characters, delightful, wry observations of life as a teacher in a Church of England school. I expect you know of her, but I would feel so sorry if you had never come across her work, as I am absolutely certain you would love them all so much. Merry Christmas, Susan. I look forward to whatever you plan to do next!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Suzanne, and for the recommendation too. I read many of the books, years ago, but I think I might be ready for a refresher, I do remember the charm, and the peace of them! xoxo

      • Beth T. says:

        Oh, do take Miss Read along for your train ride! I think you’ll be surprised (and delighted) how much sly humor sneaks in there, along with the sweetness and charm.

      • Holly says:

        You should also try The Mitford series by Jan Karon. It is about the life of a delightful episcopal priest and the funny (mostly) scrapes he gets into either the people of his little town. I have reread the series three times. Just live it. Merry Christmas!

  12. peg says:

    Miss you, Girlfriend! Merry, MERRY Christmas to you, Joe and the kitties! ♥

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh, Peg, so nice to hear from you. Everything almost back to normal around here, except there seems to be a tree in our living room! I’ll be out to CA in March . . . to see my mom. Maybe we’ll run into you, we’re going up to SLO for a couple of weeks! Merry Christmas! Love love love🎄 xoxoxo

  13. Sarah says:

    Oh, sounds delicious! I love seeing bits and pieces of your decorations and the stove shelf. I wish you would share some shots and close up photos of your tree and the ornaments you hang on it. Please!
    All warm and cozy here in TX, but it is sadly warming. Will be 70 for Christmas Day. I’d rather have the cold weather. 😉
    Merry Christmas to you and Joe. Enjoy your hygge home!
    Hugs from Austin ~ Sarah

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll do it Sarah! I’ve shown them in other blogs at other Christmastimes, but we found a few new ones in England!

  14. Ann Woleben says:

    I had the spirit of Christmas in our home yesterday – Christmas music in the background – my 8 year old and 4 year old nieces in the kitchen as we made Christmas cookies from “scratch” as my grandmother would say. We had a wonderful time decorating the cookies. Icing and sprinkles everywhere! The girls and I were covered with powdered sugar. Then cold glasses of milk as we sampled our rewards of the morning labor. It was a day I shall cherish and I hope they will always remember it, too. They were already planning what we should make next year. Thanks for the short rib recipe – a must try for 2017! Looking forward to the story about the votive. Merry Christmas!

  15. chris consentino says:

    oh, what a wonderful visit!! and…one of hubby’s favorite “comfort-meals” is….yes….shortribs…..so, i’ll have to get some and cook this yummmmy recipe! mmm. meanwhile…waiting for our grandbabies to come and BE our gifts….they make our hearts to soar!! they have had a wonderful pre-Christmas season….to the White House to see the wonderful decorations….to the MerryTubaChristmas concert @ kennedy ctr….and, more…all precious benefits to living in DC. if you want to enjoy a real treat….google Merrytubachristmas @ kennedy ctr and play it for yourself. and….all the tuba-players had ONLY been together for 2 hours pre-concert…..what a beautiful “coming-together” of all ages, all colors, all types of people….playing their hearts out for everyone to enjoy. brought tears, for sure. just wonderful. well, a very, very, very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a very, very, very HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR to you, and Joe and ALL our very special girlfriends!!!! Peace and Love. oxxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I played it! My girlfriend Elizabeth lived in DC for years and I was always jealous because they have the most wonderful events, talks, museums, concerts, and workshops there, she got tickets to everything! Probably in some ways like London, being the Capital and all…it’s a cultural learning extravaganza around there.

  16. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Your pictures are always so charming and your home is so snuggly. Thank you for sharing. My husband makes ribs for us. Your recipe we will have to try. Have a very merry Christmas. I start baking tomorrow in preparation for children and grandchildren descending on my kitchen Christmas Eve. I cannot wait. Be merry. Love you! Peggy

  17. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Happy Christmas Susan and Joe and little Jack, furry little soul. I’ve been making shortbread cookies and peanut brittle. Next is Pickled Peaches and your Spiced Pecans. Oh, my, a veritable feast. We are all so lucky to enjoy such bounty. I’ll be making your ribs for sure. Wishing Christmas blessings to all the girlfriends. Hugs, Elaine

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve never had a pickled peach, but I could say those two words over and over again, pickled peaches, pickled peaches.😀

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Hi Susan, the pickled peaches are meant to be eaten now as opposed to sitting in your fruit celler for months. They are so easy and it makes your house smell like Christmas. Here’s the recipe. Drain a 20 oz tin of canned peaches and reserve the syrup. Combine the syrup, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar, a 3 inch long cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon of whole cloves and 1 teaspoon of all-spice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add peach halves and simmer for another 5 minutes. Set in fridge overnight. Growing up, my Uncle Art would make these peaches every Christmas. My cousin, Janet, carries on the tradition. Enjoy.

        • sbranch says:

          Yum! Then what? You eat them as a dessert? Plain, or with ice cream, or? Hot or cold? They look so good. Thank you!

          • Cabetca says:

            Elaine! I’m standing in my San Francisco Bay area kitchen perusing my well-worn recipe for spiced peaches. They’ve graced our Christmas table every year for more than half a century. My recipe is similar to yours except it calls for white sugar. This year, I’m going to try brown sugar, as your recipe states.

            Susan, to answer your question, the finished product is sweet-savory due to the vinegar, so they wouldn’t be very good as a dessert or with ice cream. 🙂 I serve them cold or room temperature alongside our Christmas ham.

            Merry Christmas to all!

          • Elaine in Toronto says:

            We ate them as an accompaniment to the turkey kind of like a chutney. You keep them in the fridge but they are served at room temperature. Never thought of them as a dessert but that might be good, too. Kind of a sweet and sour thing going on. Forgot to say to use peach halves not slices. Merry Christmas everyone.

          • sbranch says:

            Sounds wonderful, almost the way cranberry sauce works. Thank you Elaine!

        • Ohhh Elaine! I am making those! Happy Christmas!

        • Debbie Boerger says:

          We had the whole ones. As kids, we loved trying to keep them on the plate and not on the floor. Don’t know why our family always did the whole ones. But those, and the home made ambrosia were tradition. We gals are the Keepers of Tradition, aren’t we?

        • diana from ancaster says:

          oh wow…………..will be making these sooooooooon!
          thank you from a fellow Canadian !

      • Deb in Wales says:

        I’ve never heard of pickled peaches but am definitely giving these a try in the new year. They could replace ‘pickled pepper’ in the Peter Piper tongue twister!

  18. Christine says:

    Merry Christmas!
    “And so as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!” ~Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol~

  19. Jenny says:

    I think that is the first time I’ve ever heard you refer to Joe as your husband!

    Wishing you both lovely holidays! I always enjoy your blog and have your calendar up and ready for the New Year.


    • Melissa says:

      I noticed this comment too. I was hoping there was something I needed to send special congratulations on! Maybe just a warm term – hard to say boyfriend when he is really is so much more than that – he really is a husband.

  20. Christine Anderson says:

    Yum yum yum. Have a most wonderful Christmas!

  21. Lorrie says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan and Joe! The short ribs look scrumptious, and all your pretty decorations sparkle across the Internet. Today, I was in a consignment store picking up a china teapot lid to replace one broken by my mother years ago. The line up to the cash register goes right by a bookcase (good thinking!) and there it was, a First Edition copy of Vineyard Seasons. I didn’t think twice, snatched it from the shelf and brought it home. So lovely. A Christmas present for myself! Thank you!

  22. Gina from NY says:

    Hi Susan – love your holiday decorations! Is your tree still in the bay window? You didn’t mention it, but I remember you having it there in past years. I will definitely try those short ribs! Perfect meal on a cold winter night, accompanied by a nice glass of red wine, and in front of the fire of course!

    Wishing you and Joe a very Merry Christmas! 🎄☃️

  23. Ann says:

    Mele Kalikimaka to you and Joe. Love the 50’s photo of you kids. I had of few of those perms that you had in that photo! I think one of the Christmas things I miss from that time period was those snow balls sized lights that they don’t make anymore. The older I get the more I miss those childhood memories.
    Aloha, Ann

  24. Nina says:

    Can”t wait to make this! YUMMILICIOUS! I think I have asked for all of your cookbooks for Christmas. Don’t care if they are old or new. I made your dad’s favorite (the linguine with clam sauce) for my brother and it is now one of his favorites. But…I have a question about another recipe. Does your Christmas coffee cake call for baking soda or carbonated soda? It just says soda. If carbonated soda..what kind? Sorry to bother…but I am going to try to attempt this for day after Christmas. Im hosting a brunch. Can’t begin to tell you how much your friendship has meant to me this year Susan. I’m so grateful. Love, Nina

  25. Kelly Reid Machnov says:

    Susan, your last quote is my favorite…Corinthians…it was also my Mom’s favorite. Thank you for reminding me of that. Very sweet. I really hope you and Joe have a wonderful holiday. Loved your blog posting!!!

    Thank you Susan. Merry, Merry Christmas to you and yours…especially the four legged, furry Sous Chef in training helping you with the short ribs. Did he have a sample when it was done?

    All best wishes,


    • sbranch says:

      My sous chef is sitting here in the chair with me, cuddled next to my leg. Little Women is on the TV ~ it’s still dark and I have a cup of tea and all is right with the world. Thank you Kelly, wonderful to hear from you!

  26. Sara S. says:

    Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you, Joe, and Jack.

  27. Pamela says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe and Jack!
    I like the sweep of Joe’s wreath on the door – it has flair.
    That is an adorable photo of you with Santa and can your brothers be any cuter?!
    The funny acrobatic squirrel, Jack up high on the cabinet – he does not miss a trick, does he?, the Walt Disney quote is perfect for this season.
    Can’t wait to hear more about the sisters. I order their candles and find them special. . .the golden glow and soft beeswax scent makes them beautiful when lit. I’m so grateful you told us about the candles.
    I want this week to go nice and slow. . . my heart felt so calm and quiet for Winter Solstice yesterday. Thanks for your post of love and light.
    Have a magical holiday! *~*~*~*~*~*~*

  28. Becky Maxwell from Central Coast of CA. says:

    Thank you for the short rib recipe. I am always looking for recipes that I can use in the crock pot. I also like seeing your decorations for Christmas. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  29. Elizabeth says:

    Ah…the photos…can nearly smell the lovely food…thanks for sharing!! Looks so homey and cozy there!! The photo of you and brothers resembles some of me and mine as well…but I am older than you a bit…heh!

  30. BEV Martin says:

    And to all a good night. Well -let us all have a bunch…

  31. Best Christmas gift ever is to come on here and see a NEW post from you, and you brought “Food!” Yum! Love these glimpses into your cosy Christmas Home and your Quality Control expert is just darling. A very Merry Christmas to you both Susan and Joe! Lots of love and hugs and happiness winging its way across the ocean from Chester. From a big Island to a smaller one. xoxo

  32. Deb in Wales says:

    Good Morning Susan ~~~ we’re back to wildly wuthering here in the west of Wales, just in time for Christmas {again!} so hatches are battened, but it is much worse further north of us.

    The wind is rattling in the chimney but all is hygge and cosy with me {annoyed, very annoyed at Jeremy Paxman denouncing the concept of hygge on University Challenge last evening}

    Goodness, is that the original door? 167 years young. It is very well maintained and cared for then. Happy Birthday Susan’s Door! It looks very beautiful, all gussied up with Joe~elf’s handiwork.

    Earlier, I was bouncing around my own blog post with the same verse from Corinthians! Great minds and all that!

    Time I wasn’t online today. I’ve got the fixings for several Bara Brith macerating {that’s fruit soaking in cold tea overnight} in bowls in the kitchen and I need to get them in the oven so they’ll be cold and ready to wrap.

    Wishing you, Joe and Jack~kitty a Very Happy Christmas. Nadolig Llawen!

    ~~~Waving~~~from Across the Pond~~~Deb in wildly wuthering windy wet and wonderful west Wales xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Laughing out loud!! Had to look up Jeremy Paxman, but it didn’t help. I don’t recognize him. But from the little I read, he might be the kind that if you say toe-may-toe, he says toe-mah-toe! Not liking something just because everyone else does. You are wrapping up fruit soaked in cold tea? Is Bara Brith a fruitcake? “Wildly wuthering windy wet and wonderful west Wales” ~ do you remember the first time you wrote that to me? How many years has it been?

      • Deb in Wales says:

        ah, should have read that first! lol. See, it made perfect sense to me. The dried fruits are soaked in cold tea {I’ve used Guinness too!} overnight then baked into a sort of tea bread called Bara Brith.

        I wonder how many years too? It has adapted and changed, I did stop using it because I thought it a bit silly, but then so many people told me they missed seeing it I figured I was the one being silly!

  33. Pam says:

    A Very Merry Christmas to you and Joe and I hope 2017 is a great year.


  34. Barbara Weaver says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan! I have some short ribs in the freezer and your recipe is just the thing for the eve of Christmas Eve! Short ribs are one of my husband’s favorite meals. I can wrap presents (LOTS of presents for the grandkids) and do some baking while the crock pot does the work. It’s been a good year for reading your blog. Thank you for your thoughts, pictures, and art work. Best Wishes to you, Joe, and Jack!

  35. Barbara Weaver says:

    P.S. Nobody sings “Happiness” like Shirley!💕❤️💕

  36. Linda Metcalf says:

    Your home looks so warm and cozy! Really liking Joe’s door Holly. I love the aroma of real greens for Christmas. Wishing your sweet family a very Merry Christmas.

  37. Terry Goodman says:

    Yes indeed……the greatest of these is LOVE!
    Merry Christmas Susan and may your New Year be overflowing with blessings!
    Love, Terry

  38. Dee Fox says:

    Elf-whispering! That’s exactly what has the corners of my mouth twitching and my heart racing in a most happy way. Blessings of light and love to you and Joe, and all your family and friends. Happy Merry Christmas!

  39. Chris Wells. Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    What a wonderful heartwarming and yummy post! The short ribs look amazing. I don’t think I have ever seen short ribs in the store here in Texas, but I will check it out. I am recovering from a nasty respiratory bug, but I am on the mend and only missed one day of work.
    After falling into the deep freeze our temps are headed back up…70 for Christmas Day! Jim has been buying bundles of wood like crazy, we may just turn the air conditioner back on and have a fire anyway!😀
    I am so glad you are home and I hope you and Joe have a very warm and cozy Christmas.
    Merry Christmas to all my SB girlfriends, I love you all!
    All the way from West Texas….MERRY CHRISTMAS

  40. Lynn Marie says:

    I have a recipe very similar to this and it is “to die for”. Mine does not call for the Sesame Oil or the lime rice so I am going to give it a go. I love the idea of having the oven on low all day to make the kitchen all warm and cozy during the winter—-just an added benefit in my book to a delicious dish. Merry Christmas Dear Susan Branch and thank you for the gift of your blog that you give to all us girlfriends all year long.
    P.S. I love that little chubby Chuckie sitting on Santa’s knee. I am sure he takes plenty of teasing over this picture.

    • sbranch says:

      Teasing is our middle name 😘 and Chuckie’s nickname was Butterball. He was so adorable and still is. Although not as buttery as he used to be.

  41. Jane says:

    Happy happy Christmas, dear Susan – Just found your post and I ate up every word and picture, and mentally I will be eating those short ribs soon. What a cozy dinner for friends in a big soup/pasta bowl. It’s Jane from the train and SLO – wishing you and your darling guy the merriest. I’ll bet you are loving being back on your beloved isle. And I am on mine, Whidbey Island off the coast of Washington, tucked into our new house with a metal roof and the rain is pounding down! It needs to end soon, tho, because my guy is headed out to pull up crab pots, hopefully for a Christmas eve feast. You must, must come here some day. I have a room for you and a book store to host! I just dug out a Days front he Heart of the Home journal and set it, front and center, on my desk to begin the year. This year is one of gratitude and I will be doing the listing of five daily little things that brought me joy and thankfulness. I used to do that long ago and it made me so aware of daily blessings. Blessings to you and your dear ones through the season and always. Cozy up, hygge! Love you!

  42. Martha says:

    This Hoosier loves you and all our Girlfriends so much, Susan! Sending Christmas blessings to you, with a heart full of gratitude for the way you spread good cheer.

  43. Beth from Iowa says:

    Thanks for the great crockpot recipe! Will be trying it soon. We would probably perish without our slow cooker – you may need to get a back up one so you have one at both homes!

    It’s snowing in Iowa – my husband and I are headed to Sioux City, IA for xmas I will whisper “merry christmas Willard” as we enter town.

    Merry Christmas to you, Joe and that super adorable Jack!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, little screech of “thank you” for saying hello to Sioux City for my grandfather. and me. xoxoxo Merry Christmas Beth!

  44. Betsy says:

    First of all that meal made me want to jump through the computer screen! I’m cooking New Years dinner for friends and I’m making my Mom’s Beer Stew. It was her specialty and it makes me feel close to her, I sure miss her. I always giggle when you show pictures of your family and you point out where you are in the photo. You are so easy to spot…….is it the eye twinkle!!! Merry Christmas to you and Joe. I sure enjoyed meeting you both this year. xoxoxoxoxo

  45. Mary Brehm says:

    Just sat down for my second cup of coffee and opened up to find a new post. How Nice. I just love seeing your kitchen and all it’s pretty things tucked here and there. I love seeing Your dishes in your sink and your washcloth draped over the side as well. A real working kitchen. Homey and Happy and buzzing with Holiday energy. You always remind me to enjoy the process and slow down. This is what it’s all about.
    Right now I have a Chocolate Cheesecake baking in the oven (smells heavenly…stomach growling) and My two daughters are upstairs in their old rooms, giggling and laughing and elfing away. It makes my heart happy to hear them up there. My one daughter, Sarah, who is home on break from the University of Michigan, even brought home her newly adopted Kitty. His name is Meatball! Complete with red Bow Tie! My Kitty, Cheddar Cheese or just “C” for short is not really happy about it. They haven’t met yet. We are keeping Meatball in Sarah’s room for now. “C” knows something is up…Poor guy. Hope to introduce them soon, but we are being careful…Don’t want any emergency visits to the vet right before Christmas ; ) Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack.
    Love, Mary <3

    • sbranch says:

      Peace and good will may not be the case in Kittyville. They may not notice that it’s Christmas! But I wish you all the luck, and best of everything for 2017, dear Mary!!! xoxox

  46. Jeannette Wynne says:

    Good morning Susan…It’s still dark in CA. I’m excited today because I get to deliver Christmas gifts to some of my favorite people…Including soon to be 101 year old Marge who bought our first home about 40 years ago. Then lunch with two special friends and a stop by the butcher to pick up the prime rib for Christmas dinner! These are some of the really fun parts of the shopping and preparations that go into our Christmas celebration! Thank you so much for the short-rib recipe. One of our very favorite foods and I believe I’ll make it for my next dinner & cards group. Once more, have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year filled with all the love your 💜💙’s can hold.

  47. Marty from NYC says:

    “Love and joy come to you”- and to all your girlfriends, Too.
    Give it, receive it, toss it around-it will all come back to you.

  48. Gill Smith says:

    Thank you Susan for a very warm heartfelt blog, I do so look forward to reading them! Your home is looking very cosy and festive, bet you are so glad to be home now, with all your beautiful surroundings. There’s no place like home, indeed. We are spending Christmas with our darling twin granddaughters in Worcestershire , oh the joy of it all . Enjoy the festive season, and wishing you both a Merry Christmas and a healthy and contented New Year.
    Looking forward to hearing more of your trip around our wonderful island. much love Gill xx

  49. Marsha MacLean says:

    Thanks so much for ALL of this post. I remember watching Shirley Temple On television in the 50’s! My mother told me once that her movies only came on during the Christmas season because there would be ads for new toys and dolls… But she didn’t mind, because she was a big fan, as was I, of course! I think of those moments sometimes, when mom and I would watch her movies each week. I was one of five kids, and was the last one, the only girl, and came later in her life. I was cherished by my whole family as I came at a time of tragedy and was a necessary distraction… (Diapers to change and a baby to feed… )
    So thanks for the trip down memory lane and the look at your lovely home and delightful kitchen tableaux! My Tailor of Gloucester comes out when Christmas is put away, along with Peter Rabbit and Hunca Munca. I put them on a tiny table in the living room that has a collection of Beatrix Potter’s books between some wonderful cast iron Scotty dog bookends. Wonderful to hear about the letters from these young women who are such stalwart fans! There are many SB gifts under my Christmas tree and being sent out to friends. You are such a treasure! I love the reminders from Shirley Temple about millions in golden sunshine and silver moonshine. It’s just how I feel.
    It’s Christmas and a wonderful time to remember your choice of verses near the end of your post… The greatest IS love!
    Sending love to you and Joe and I all the girlfriends out there…

  50. Shannon(Pennsylvania) says:

    Merry Christmas! You are so right, we are lucky, lucky, and very blessed❤Hugs!

  51. Lee Rose says:

    If I hadn’t already bought a rib roast we’d be having short ribs for Christmas, but since I have, it’ll be short ribs for the New Year’s celebration! Sounds and looks amazing.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Susan.

  52. Debbie Boerger says:

    Oh, Susan, No words can relay how precious you are to all of us, although we keep trying. Now, if we could just devise an inoculation for all the truly nasty folks so full of hatred and fear. It would be made from just a wee bit of you!!! And it would be Free. No big Pharma involved. Oops, we Do have one, it is the Susan Branch Blog plus books and Twitter from all the years. Take one dose daily, or as needed, listening to Musica and Smiling. The antidote to the hate and fear will take hold, and you will be able to handle all that life throws your way with less grief and pain. : ) If I want to send you a card or a personal note, what is the mailing address? Hopefully, not your MV home, as you would be buried alive.

    Thank you so very much Dearest Angel,
    Debbie in Tampa, for now, waiting to return to Maine

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, no big pharma involved!😜 That’s right, direct to consumer, free and full-strength, no middleman to dilute joy to the world, me and Shirley Temple musica, straight to a computer near you. We have an island business address… I try to read things there (but don’t always succeed, sorry to say, that old demon time is a constant problem) … it’s Box 2463, Vineyard Haven, MA 03568 Thank you darling Debbie, I never saw myself as an “antidote” but I like the idea! xoxox

  53. Ridgely Hoyt-Whitaker says:

    This sounds wonderful and would be a perfect New Years Eve dinner. It’s a plan! I love your decorations and I adore your stove. Also, where did you get your tea kettle? It’s so hard to find decent shaped tea kettles these days. They are all those ugly modern metal things that could double for flying saucers or some other outer space contraption. I have a nice one now, but my dear hubbie left it on high one night making tea and then falling asleep. So I need to replace it and can’t find one with a good old fashioned shape! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  54. Kristina says:

    I’m going to make these for New Year’s Eve! My 15-year-old son would probably eat the whole pot if I’d let him…I think he has a hollow leg! I hope you know what a community you’ve created here, for all of us who love a little extra sparkle and shine, a little more “homeyness” in their lives. Thank you for that! Merry Christmas to you and Joe and to all the girlfriends who read here! God bless us all!

  55. Jane Franks says:

    Good (late!) Morning, Susan!! I caught a glimpse of this earlier; then dashed out to deliver Christmas presents! Now I’m back, and just read the whole thing. I was so excited to see the little Christmas card with the church and tiny houses! I know it’s not mine, (obviously someone else loved that card, too!), since I scribbled all over mine in green ink inside, and this one looks blue (and much more controlled!). It looks very sweet up there with the robin and you and Joe! I’m so glad you love it! I’ve always loved your little house on the stove, too. I never noticed the cardinal in the window before. It is indeed a treasure. And I so love Joe’s wreath on the back door — it does indeed, as someone else observed, have flair and style; and that it is on the INSIDE of the door! Very clever, welcoming yourself and your “kitchen guests” to your
    own home! Well, again, it has been an amazing year, and I’m so glad to have followed it through with you across America, and across the Pond and back. I wish you and Joe a fabulously wonderful Christmas and very Happy New Year! Who knows what we all will discover in 2017?? We’ll all stay tuned!! Love, Jane xoxo

  56. AngieTink says:

    Merry~Christmas Sweet~Elf~Sue… 🙂 I Am STARVING! I Must Make These Short~Ribs The Herbster LOVES Short~Ribs & Lots Of Spicy~Things 😉 This Will Be #Perfect! Thanks! 🙂 I Just Read Your Tweet! You Must #Twirl With Sweet~Delight In Your Magical~Fairy~Crown!!! 😉 Thank~You For #SHARING Your Magical~Year With All Of Us! You Always Put A #Smile On Me~Pumpkin~Face!!! 🙂 Elf~Herbster And Elf~Me #We Are Wishing You & Joe & Jack The Merriest~Christmas & A Truly Blessed 2017 xoxo Ho~Ho~Ho & A Poof! 🙂 & Yes… God~Bless~Us EVERYONE!!!

  57. Christie Levin says:

    “The joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you.” Well, it’s no wonder that you are always seeing hearts everywhere you go♡! And no wonder I always feel so encouraged when reading your heart of the home posts. And so very tickled (as my grandma used to say) to see the card (sent just stuffed with hearts) on your shelf. By the way, the photo of you and Joe is SO darling! Now I’m off to go shopping for the ingredients for your short ribs recipe. Once it is simmering in the crockpot, I will start wrapping Christmas gifts while sipping eggnog and listening to the heavenly voices of the Worcester College choir singing Christmas carols! And one more by-the-way, I also love the Bible verses you’ve quoted recently, and thought of one that resonates here in this place where you have lovingly shared so much of yourself… “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. “Colossians 3:14.
    Happy Christmas, dear Susan xoxoxo

  58. Ruth E. Rupp says:

    Just had to take time to thank you once again for sharing your wonderful talents and writings with all of us. I absolutely loved reading your books. Just wish I could have known you when you renovated your first little house on Martha’s Vineyard. I would have loved helping you. So glad you are safe at home from all your travels this year and ready to have a wonderful holiday. Much love and Christmas Blessings to you, Joe, and that darling, elegant Jack (hope he gets catnip for Christmas!), Ruthie

  59. toni baumgard says:

    As always, love your blog. Made 50 hand made Christmas Cards and donated them to our Senior center to sell in their Christmas Sale. Got in the Christmas Spirit early. Love everything Christmas. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours. toni b

  60. Karen says:

    Thank-you for the most beautiful of all blog post! I love your decorations, your recipe, and esp your cat. Thanks again!


  61. Patricia Edde says:

    A blessed Christmas to you, Joe and Jack. It is lightly snowing here in Decorah, Iowa and I am staying in today with Sam, my furry son, some good books, the fireplace and some orchestral Christmas music. I wanted to share 2 things that have brought my heart peace recently. First I have become hooked on the Hercule Poirot series (starring David Suchet) playing on Netflix. The glimpses of the gorgeous English countryside and cottages soothes my soul. I hope my next go-round on earth will be back in the 30’s in a small town either in the U.S. or England. I’m afraid that the distant future holds no charm for me. For those who may think I have lost my mind, great thinkers, including Steven Hawkings and W.B. Yeats to name but 2, believe that there exists a time continuum where the past, present and future co-exist simultaneously. Secondly, I had the great pleasure to attend our yearly Burning Bright concert last week and one of the performances was of the Mary Chapin Carpenter lullaby “Dreamland”. What made it so poignant was that it was sung by a male choir. Lullabies are usually associated with mothers so to imagine a father singing his child to sleep touched my heart. I hope that all of us have moments that bring us peace and joy this holiday season and that stay with us through the New Year. May God bless each and every one of us.

  62. Eileen Ammendolea says:

    I love short ribs. I can’t wait to try this recipe! I wish you, Joe, and all of your family and friends a Christmas filled with serenity and love.

  63. Barb Murphy says:

    Thank you for the recipe. It looks delicious. This time of year is the perfect time for meals like this. Christmas blessings to you and Joe and dear Jack from Iowa.

  64. Susan says:

    Oh my, I have that pig! My hubby made him in shop class 55ish years ago. How funny!

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe!

  65. Ann Y. says:

    Dear Susan…what a wonderful post! I enjoyed it with a cup of tea and some Christmas cookies that were left on our doorstep yesterday by new neighbors who just moved in. Have not even met them yet, but one day on my way out to work I spied them getting in their car and called out how much I liked their holiday lights. I guess they thought that deserved cookies and they are almost as sweet as your post. You just hit the nail on the head with your descriptions of food, and decorations, and loving life. My cuppa is my reward for my first day off for school break…cleaned the house, made a big pan of ziti and meatballs, a birthday cake for my wonderful husband’s birthday tomorrow, set the table, all dressed, and waiting for our dear friends of over 40 years to arrive on their way from Kentucky to visit family near by. They will help us sing and celebrate and blow out the candles and it will be wonderful. Truly – “faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us, once more!” So, hoping the same kind of holiday for you and Joe…so very grateful for your reminders of all that is good in our world. We are so blessed…we can’t even imagine how much. Merry Christmas !

  66. Susan says:

    A very Happy Christmas to you and yours. I see your red poppies in the photos. I keep mine too, also have the blue dot mug and several of your little treasures, which I also collect. I’ve always loved tiny things so it is fun to discover that you love them as well. I bought your first book in the company of my best friend, Susan, many years ago. We share the very same maiden name and have been friends for 40 years. It is she who gave me the last two volumes of your memoir so the adventures continue. I think we will have to visit MV one day. Thank you for sharing your joy.

  67. Karen Baron says:

    Merry Christmas! Thank you for another great recipe! My so. Complains he is tired of the same old dishes! You always manage to break up the monotony of my same go to recipes and infuse your creative genius into my kitchen! My crockpot is ready to try this! The last recipe I have from you that is part of my repertoire is the Lemon linguine because it is perfect to use the 🍋 🍋🍋s in the backyard! I can’t wait to add this one!! Love and hugs I mean hugged!

  68. Lynn says:

    ~ Merry Christmas and God bless us Every One!~

  69. Karen Lotito says:

    Merry Christmas, dear Susan! May you and Joe, your family, friends and can’t forget those fur babies! – have a wonderful holiday season! Last night we had watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. My favorite part is when Linus recites from the Book of Luke. And “A Christmas Carol”! My very favorite Christmas story! I just finished a batch of raisin my passes cookies and have been watching the birds at the feeders. It’s quiet and we’re relaxing and thecdogs and cats are napping. And Sinai will leave you those beautiful words from Tiny Tim, “God bless us, every one”!

  70. Sherill Anderson says:

    Merry Christmas Susan! I am always delighted to receive another of your posts. And I make “wallpaper” for my laptop from some of your pictures. Best wishes for the New Year! Sherill Anderson

  71. Susan W says:

    Jack on top of the cupboard~~~the best part of the post!! Merry Christmas, Susan and Joe.

  72. Heartsdesire says:

    What a wonderful recipe, Sue. I think it will be our New Years Eve special. We’ve a new golden yellow cat, her name is MiMi and I think she will be supervising the cooking. Love your optimism about spring. Yes! It will be here soon. Can’t wait. We’ve had snow, of all things, here on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Not something we really get a lot of, not like you. Your stove vignettes are so sweet, my initials JH (Judith Hogan) and Joe’s are the same.
    I really want to thank you for a most enjoyable blog year. Every time I open a post from you, it makes my day.
    Wishing you and Joe, a Merry Merry Christmas and everything wonderful for the new year.

  73. Kathy says:

    Thank you for all your delightful posts!!! Love seeing your precious home & all the yummy recipes! Have a very Merry Christmas!!! Eric Tingstad & Nancy Rumbel have beautiful Christmas (and other) music. I went to school with her from elementary school on… enjoy!

  74. Peg Shelton says:

    I just took a minute to read some email and there you were! Love surprises in my inbox. My grandkids and their mom are coming this afternoon. I have dough rising for cinnamon roll and Danish Pasty (a family recipe I’ve been eating for probably 50+ years!) Funny how stuff will be coming out of the oven about the time they’re due to arrive! 😉 Oh, BTW, I’m also watching Charlie Brown Christmas. Talk about multi tasking! I’ll also have Apple Dip for them. Cream cheese (at room temp) drizzled with Salted Caramel Ice Cream topping and chocolate fudge topping, sprinkled with chopped walnut. Serve with sliced apples, Honey Crisp and Granny Smiths. Yummy! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the coming years!

  75. Sharon in San Marcos, CA says:

    You are a special gift in our lives. Thank you for the happiness, wisdom and goodness that you share with us all year long. Not to mention your delicious recipes like this one today – Yummo!
    Wishing you, Joe, Jack and all of your loved ones a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year 2017!

  76. Heidi says:

    You have the same yellow mixing bowl that I have – I love it! Bought one for my daughter and soon to be daughter in law and then had to get one for myself. Cheerful, vintage fun for the kitchen. 🙂

  77. Rae Ann R. says:

    Merry Merry Christmas to you and your dear sweet Joe! Thank you for taking the time during this busy season to write a blog that gives us girlfriends time to take a break from all the festive busy~ness and read your inspiring words. Here in northern Michigan after two weeks of near blizzards every day, today our snow is melting and we can see green grass😳 Hopefully we will have some gently falling snow❄ So our Christmas will be white…our first daughter is arriving soon after an eight hour drive…thankfully a safe one…from Oxford OH…another nine will arrive Monday after a family Christmas tomorrow night…the halls are decked, the is trimmed, the refrigerator is stocked, the house smells like Christmas…Ready or not~here comes Christmas!🎄Have a blessed holiday and may the New Year be the best one yet for everyone…Christmas hugs!

  78. Helen says:

    Merry Christmas to the Branch – Hall family! Joe, Sue, and Jack :).
    Rainy and cozy here in California…….contented and grateful……thanks for your “Christmas” post! Always a delight to see an update from special you <3

  79. Sharon Hermens says:

    What a wonderful blog today. Your short ribs look divine. I’m roasting a pork butt tomorrow for Christmas day dinner. My recipe is almost identical except I also add pineapple juice. Melts in your mouth. I love your little collection’s. I have a cabinet with ‘a few of my favorite things ‘. I’ll post it on your FB page. Hope your Christmas is Merry and Bright. Hugs to you and Joe and kitty.

  80. Erin Gosma says:

    I just spent two days ” Susan Branching” with my granddaughter….cooking, sewing, reading Beatrix Potter, and gazing at the Christmas lights in the house. She made 8 pillows for all her younger cousins on her very own sewing machine, after choosing a special fabric for each one. At eight years old she is well on her way to becoming the matriarch of her generation.
    Many Merry Christmases to come. Thank you for helping us ll to keep these traditions alive!

    • sbranch says:

      Eight years old, how wonderful she already is! I’m sure with a little help from her Grandma. Such a gift! xoxo

  81. Shanna says:

    Thank you so much for spending this year with us, dear Susan. Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack. xoxo

  82. Ruth Thomas says:

    Merry Christmas to the best of the Girlfriends and her lovely Joe. Thank you for all you do to inspire us in this crazy world. Love and hygges❤️❤️❤️

  83. Margaret Harke says:

    Off to the meat market for some short ribs!
    This recipe is almost identical to my mothers for Chinese
    Spareribs. My husband calls it my “secret sauce” It is not as spicy since my mother was from the midwest and I don’t think she ever used any spice or seasoning stronger than galic salt or powder!

  84. Libby Klos says:

    Merry Christmas Susan (and Joe). We had a stove very similar to yours when I was growing up in the 1960’s. Except ours didn’t have the shelf above it. I remember many a winter evening having pancakes and sausage patties cooked on the griddle in the middle when we would have breakfast for dinner. And “roasting” marshmallows over the burners. We kids always made sure to clean up the mess before the parents got home. LOL

  85. Mary Ann in Missouri says:

    Ooooh, thank you for this post. I love all your posts, but I have really been missing the that share a recipe and have pictures of your home; especially the kitchen. It just makes me feel cozy. I’m relaxing in my chair with one of my cats curled up with me, and dreaming of making your short rib recipe. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  86. Karen Holly says:

    Thank you for the recipe, Susan. It looks very delicious. Merry Christmas to you, Joe, and Jack!

  87. melvina says:


  88. Fabienne says:

    Happy Christmas to you and sweet Joe. I talked to you both at book signing in Montecito this year! Love your books and your posts. You inspire me to be more creative. Making pork tenderloins for Christmas Eve dinner. So easy and so yummy. Enjoy your peaceful slice of heaven. Healthy 2017 to you and all our FRiends.

  89. Tisa says:

    LOL, you’ll get a kick out of this NPR broadcast from Dec 11–all about HYGGE!! Made me think of you since you’d already told us about it….and told us how to make out homes more “hyggelig” (read the broadcast transcript, it’s great). Here’s to more of the cozy (not to expensive or pretentious, we’re cautioned)!

    • sbranch says:

      Interesting, they noticed all those Hygge books in the bookstores in England just as I did! There were LOTS of them!

  90. Thank you for the recipe! I am still going to make Apricot Dream someday. I love holly bushes, but I don’t see many in Wisconsin. They should grow here if they grow in New England. I plan to find out at my local nursery next Spring.

    Merry Christmas!!!

    My sister makes Bara Brith and it is a type of fruit bread/cake. I have the recipe.

  91. Dear Susan,

    Sheer pleasure to visit your blog again. What darling pictures and vignettes spread all over your house. Christmas cheer in every corner, and I’m soaking in the joy and love I feel here.

    Those short ribs look amazing. And adorable Jack sure keeps his steady eye on you (do you think he misses Girl Kitty, even though they weren’t best pals?). Hubby Rick laughed when I showed him the photo of Jack peeking from the top of the wardrobe. How does Jack get up there, we wonder, it looks a long ways up there.

    Only a couple sleeps now till the big day — I’m getting giddy inside.

    Will you be having stuffing? Stuffing in our family is not a side dish — it’s front and center ladled into big cavernous bowls set right next to the gravy boats.

    Wishing you and Joe and Jack a most blessed and beautiful Christmas.

    With love and heart hugs,
    Bren xox

    • sbranch says:

      We were lucky enough to be guests at the tables of our dearest friends this year, starting on the 23rd, three wonderful dinner parties. My girlfriends are beautiful cooks, their houses smelled wonderful, their trees were lit, everything so cozy. Two dinners were within walking distance of our house, and the other was a couple of miles away. The peace I feel in my heart today, the day after Christmas, is because of the magic of the season and the blessings of dearest friends and family. It was lovely, and last night, Christmas dinner, you would have approved because stuffing was front and center, along with slices of tender juicy turkey, and mashed potatoes all in a puddle of wonderful gravy, in the candlelight that sparkled off the cranberry sauce and the glasses of wine, and pooled on the faces of old friends. It was perfect. xoxo

  92. kathleen a goblirsch says:

    Merry Christmas from Chino Hills California.
    I appreciate all your Holiday blogs. Our family lost our Mom end of August and we are not meeting as a family in its entirety this year. A bit of gloom to go with our rain. So, as I read your blog post, my white big 22 pound rocco cat made it known he needed a brushing and my simba parked himself on my chair as soon as I got up. For me, that is a time to get outside and enjoy the air and streets newly wet with days of rain. To renew my christmas spirit, I must get out and find it.Your blogs Susan , remind me how blessed I am with all I do have. My niece and I are planning a wonderful 24th with tasty food and an invite to my brother and family. A new tradition. The 25th with the other brothers family as usual.

    As for our gatos, I know my Simba as a deep brown and white…. he would sure look sweet next to your jack. These cats are one of a kind and so special.

    Just as we are. I remain enamored of your home and all the delightful decorations.
    Happy Eats and treats this Holiday!

    • sbranch says:

      Love you Kathleen. xoxo

      • kathleen a goblirsch says:

        I am blessed to have your blogs to read. Calming and delightful. Add the comments to it and it is a time to reflect and plan. Live life in each moment’s choices. Toss in a cat nap when possible.!
        Much love to you!

  93. Suzanne ludwic says:

    Thank you, Susan! I really needed this today as I’ve been in a sad place since November. Thank you or reminding me that great happiness comes from simple pleasures at home. And your lovely art never fails to make me very happy just looking at it. The Shirley Temple music was perfect. I recalled how she cheered up a lot of people during dark days in our country. Passing joy and comfort to others is a beautiful gift and I’m grateful for artists who
    use their talents to lift people’s hearts and put smiles on their faces. ♥

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Suzanne, and I love how we all do it for each other. Deep breath and view of the sky will make things a little brighter.

  94. nettie says:

    Merry Christmas Susan……..as always so happy to hear from you especially at Christmas with so many sweet memories , pretty things and special people in our lives to enjoy the beautiful Christmas music, sparking lights and the love that abounds…………..

  95. Tracy Jones says:

    Dear Sue…
    I hope you and Joe have a wonderful and blessed Christmas. Thank you for making my life better.
    xo Tracy

  96. Laurie Walt says:

    Merry Christmas dear friend, please pat Jacks head for me😀 The ribs look so yummy. I will try them for New Years Eve. I’m making a boneless ribeye roast for the first time, wish me luck! Thank you for a great year of homey goodness! Love.

  97. Arlene Burger says:

    Merry Christmas!

  98. C.M. says:

    Dear Susan,
    “Wishing you, Joe…and Jack!… The Merriest Christmas & many blessings for the New Year!” Thank you for your uplifting blog & the joy you bring to all.


  99. Tricia Staley says:

    Dear Susan,

    Thank you, thank you for a wonderful post.
    As always, it’s like having a visit with a dear friend, which couldn’t have been more welcome today!

    The merriest Christmas ever to you and your Joe and, of course, Jack!

    Tricia in CT

  100. Carolyn says:

    Wishing you and Joe a merry Christmas and a great 2017, Susan!

Comments are closed.