It’s November!

I used to lie on my bed as a child and ponder the world . . . I wished I had a very long crayon so I could draw on the ceiling, add eyes and a fluffy tail to the crack up there, and make it into a REAL rabbit. Now I wake up pondering and start making lists in my head! November is a huge list month, and I couldn’t get through a day without one. What with Thanksgiving and the looming Christmas season, I have LOTS of things to remember. 🤔 (And P.S. They don’t make MUSICA like they used to ~ love this clarinet!)

The moon woke me up last night . . . knocked on the window and came through the curtains and directly through my extremely thin eyelids (at least they seem that way to me, since I was little, one speck of light wakes me up!).

So up I got to write you ~ and here’s the moon-view from a downstairs window. The aptly named, “Frost” moon ~ I went outside to take pictures and got my first real feel of winter! Brrr! And tonight we turn our clocks back! It’s that time of year….Days get shorter, but mornings are longer!

We had a wonderful Halloween.🎃 Simple, old-fashioned and shared with the people we love.

Jack enjoyed watching Joe bring out the decorations . . . 👻

Joe loves it as much as I do . . . we always decorate the front hall . . .

Because that’s where the kids come . . . the door to the street is right behind me . . . We don’t want to scare them, we want to delight them. 🎃

And after the trick-or-treating is over, our friends pop by for a drink or cup of hot spiced cider and a fall dinner . . . so I have fun cooking and decorating . . .

Our street is wildness on Halloween, windy and leaf blowy. 🍂🎃🍂 We think we had over a thousand kids this year . . .

Too jostled out there to keep the camera focused!

I always escape to take pictures. . . we have friends who live out in the country who come to our house just to give candy to the children! We share the wealth! With so many kids, it takes a village! Where’s Jack? While the front door was open, he was upstairs in his bed (our bed), quiet and cozy and safe, but after everyone left, he joined the party! 😻

By 7:30 it was all over . . . we go in and get cozy in front of the fire and munch on the corns . . .  candy corn, popcorn and kettle corn.

Table is set, the candles are lit . . .

I layered while Joe sliced for Scalloped Potatoes with Sausages ~ we made three pans of these ~ it was dinner for 30, tummy warmingest, most creamy (but made with milk and no cheese), wonderful scalloped potatoes, my mom’s recipe, simply perfect, probably came from the way back machine, she’s made them for as long as I can remember. If you’d like to try them, they’re on page 97 of Vineyard Seasons. Everyone loved them.

We had a big salad to go with it . . . spinach, spiced pecans, red onion, chopped apples and my favorite holiday saladPomegranate seeds! Put them on your list! They’re better than croutons!

I also made this scary layered Pumpkin-Chocolate Trifle . . . well, like a trifle, but no alcohol, no preserves, no custard … it’s broken up chocolate cake, crushed Oreo cookies, whipped cream, and pumpkin mousse ~ it was DELICIOUS! I saw a photo of it on Twitter, thought it was so cute with the hershey’s syrup spider web (the plastic spider goes on top) ~ the perfect thing for a party, I went looking for the recipe ~ in case you want to try it next year . . . go HERE . . .

I also made my grandma’s Molasses Cookies . . . I think I put that recipe in our last WILLARD (there’s a link for it at the bottom of this page.) 🍂

And there they are, frosted and ready to go. I borrowed one of my new Home Cooking tea plates from the WINNER of our newest drawing and filled it with cookies for our guests.  Oh, yeah. Don’t worry, it’s all washed and clean and back with the others, waiting for Vanna to hand me the winning name. 😘 Shall we? You’ve been so patient and she’s right here . . . . . . already kicking off her trademark pink-satin slippers with polka-dot bows! There she goes, she’s UP, her French-manicured polished toes are curled over the edge of my art table (wearing a sleek gold lame body suit and a pink bathing cap with rubber flowers). With the unique and quirky but delightful Vanna around, you can   And now, her very deep, very graceful dive into the vat of almost 3,000 names! 🤗 Down she goes . . . Vanna’s a swirling-whirling dervish of a girl, scissor-kicking her way to the bottom, side-stroking round and round at top speed, circling the vat, not unlike a very large goldfish, mixing the names ~ my studio has teeny slips of paper with names flying around like confetti …. but I only need one! Out pops a long golden arm, one slip of paper in a hand with a thin jeweled ring on every finger . . . I take what she gives me. A big smile comes over my face . . . Vanna waves goodbye . . .

In tiny letters, I see the name of the winner … so here we go … I hope it’s you! The winner is …. N A N C Y   E L L I O T and her daughter A B B Y! Congratulations you two! This entire set of dishes now belongs to YOU! ❤️It’s the little things that mean the most. And the reason I smiled? Vanna didn’t give me one name, she gave me THREE . . . so I thought, maybe we should add on two more giveaways! . . . Because it’s November ~ and in honor of Winston Churchill who said,

Let’s “make a life” and give this now out-of-stock, impossible-to-get Santa Mug to the second name ~ which turns out to be a Girlfriend from the Netherlands 🇳🇱 ~ IRENE PIETERS! Yay! Sinterklaas! You’ll have him before December 5th!

And for our last name? A little gift package that includes my new 2018 wall calendar AND . . .

. . . the 10th Anniversary edition of Autumn from the Heart of the Home! 💋Both the book and the calendar will be signed and sent to . . . CONNIE HOWARD! And KAREN and JULIA too . . .  (because Connie’s household includes a Nana, a Daughter, and a Granddaughter ❤️) ~ perfect! Happy Fall Y’all! 🍂 I’ll write all three of our winners an email and let them know they won and get their addresses so we can send everything asap, 💞 all tied up with heartstrings!

And for the rest of us . . . still many lovely things, plenty of reasons to go on . . . and a little reminder …

Ahhhh, November . . . Mas MUSICA?

Let’s have a little bit of nature to sooth our ravaged souls . . . This is the dirt road in the woods we walk everyday, and to us, it’s a little bit of heaven. 🍁 It won’t be long now and all those leaves will be on the ground. Below is a photo of where we were this time last year . . . taking photos in a field next to the “car park” (that’s British for “parking lot”) for Hidcote Manor Garden in England, a stunning place if you are ever in the neighborhood!

And here’s Joe, happy out at the water at the end of our walk where it smells so good, and the colors are more subtle …

So you can see we have everything we need around here to be inspired . . .

The sun shines through the leaves and makes them glow . . .

It was freezing outside this morning at daybreak . . . I hurried!

I found this on the Internet . . . if you think we’re Fall-Crazy, this display is in Slindon, England . . . where they make an art of it! Isn’t it creative? They had others … so perfectly English!

And this is where I go to get my inspiration for home this time of year 🍂. . . because when I wrote this Autumn book, I put in every single detail I could think of about fall, so now, very conveniently, it’s all written down … my biggest list ever . . . and all in one place!  All I have to do when the season comes is pull it out and I’m reminded of how I decorate the guest rooms, what fun things I love to do in “sweater weather,” how to make autumn cocktails, all about cozy lighting and hygge collections, how to give a good party, and all my best recipes for everything.🍂 Very handy!

I’ve already been cooking up a storm . . .

YUM! Right? It makes your house warm and smell so good.  The meat is pure tenderness . . . What else is in it? Good flavorful things, it’s not your run of the mill stew ~ there are parsnips and sweet potatoes, orange zest and orange juice, nutmeg and raisins and cayenne too ~ a bottle of red wine makes a wonderful gravy, and the whole thing is served over wide egg noodles. Or by itself, with a slice of soft buttered bread. It’s on page 111 of my new 30th Anniversary edition of Heart of the Home, and it makes Joe very happy!

And I’ve already made this oldie but goodie ~ it’s that time of year . . . requested by Joe, from my Christmas book!

It’s Bread Pudding with apples and fresh cranberries and egg custard . . . and tons of cinnamon and nutmeg . . . filled with texture, both smooth and pudding-like, but crisp and crunchy on the edges, then served with the coup de gras  . . .

Yes, Love is the best ingredient of all, but also, this has the most delicious Whiskey Sauce to go with it.  The recipe’s on page 98 of my Christmas book, or you can click HERE and print it out.

Me neither, Julia. Just like you, I love to cook! Joe went to get the paper, stopped on the way home and surprised me with a bag of cider donuts . . . I put them in the microwave for about 25 seconds and heated up some left-over spiced cider . . . 

And then out to the yard we went . . .  we want the house to be festive next spring when everyone needs flowers and color so much . . . so out in the windy, sunny, chilly day we planted new parrot tulips to go with what’s already in the ground . . . 🌷Every year we add a few new ones . . . 

Okay Girlfriends, off I go! Thank you so much for all your WONDERFUL comments . . . you truly are the very BEST!!  And just in cases someone didn’t get their WILLARD, here’s a LINK to it. If you’d like to sign yourself or your friends or your mom up for the next one, go HERE.

And don’t forget Poppy Day 🌺, and the quiet moment of silent remembrance and gratitude for our Vets,  at 11 am, the 11th day, the 11th month . . . Pray, Love, Remember. Enjoy the little things of the season for yourself and the ones you love, slow down, don’t move too fast, ya got to make the moment last . . . 🌺 Don’t forget your list! Later tater, XOXO

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429 Responses to It’s November!

  1. Sandi says:

    Dear Susan, Question? Your recipe for scalloped potatoes and sausage says “breakfast sausage” but pictured here on the blog they look like 6″ Italian sausages. Hubby is drooling for me to make this…..HELP! Sandi on the Cape

  2. Deanne Yarbrough says:

    Reading your blog always makes me feel good! Would love an Old house made warm by an old stove just like yours!

  3. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Congratulations to all the winners! You must be so excited…! Thanks for your generosity dear sweet Sue, what fun prizes! Love the blog! Thank you so much! The maple trees here are trying to turn, ours always the last on the street…..patience is a virtue, I think….!

  4. ~Del Gato gordo y descarado~ says:

    Thank you for your blog, it/you/yours are so appreciated!

    PS) its not just your eyelids, seems like as we get older everything
    gets thinner and…longer!
    I never thought I would be a “42 long”

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha…well my eyelids have been like this for a very long time…as a scientific person, I thought about it, and decided thin-ness was the answer!

  5. Angie says:

    As I read the comments I am wishing there was ‘like’ button. I agree with so many of my fellow SB followers. However, the best yet? Sandy, “I wish I was your neighbor.” My sentiments exactly.

    • sbranch says:

      This morning I woke up with so much excitement in my heart, just thinking about going to England in the spring, and taking us all along, and looking at all the wonderful places we’re going. I just can’t wait to share it with all of you! Thank you so much Angie, it’s like we ARE neighbors!

  6. Thanks Susan,

    I appreciate all your yummy recipes and lovely inspiration. You brighten my days!

    ~ Kathleen

  7. Debbie Noyola says:

    I found an Autumn book at the thrift store for a couple bucks, unfortunately it smells like mildew. I set it on the mantel by our wood stove for a couple of days but that didn’t help. Now I have it in a ziploc bag with baking soda and I hope that works. What little I was able to read made me want to read more. Wish me luck on getting rid of the mildew smell.
    P.S. You’re pumpkin trifle dessert looked yummy.

    • sbranch says:

      You can always whip it out, put it on the copier, get the recipe, and slam it back in to the ziplock bag! 🤗

    • Laura Ann in Vermont says:

      I bought a set of used leatherette bound Agatha Christie books that all smelled like mildew. I let each book sit for about a week in a covered plastic container along with a small drinking glass containing a tablespoon of bleach. A short time after removing them, the books quit smelling of bleach and also no longer smelled of mildew. I have no idea if this is bad for the books, but at least I can now read them without getting a headache.

    • Judith says:

      You know those little packets of desiccant that come in everything from vitamins to cameras? They really take out mildew smells, but you need to collect a few of them, and put them all in a ziplock with the book.

  8. Martha says:

    Just purchased the 2018 wall calendar and pocket calendar. Going to buy the desk calendar today! If anyone doesn’t have your Autumn cookbook, it is a must to buy! Love the Spicy Pecan recipe. I make it every year and give a jar to neighbors. Everyone loves them! Your home is absolutely enchanting. Favorite picture is Jack with the spider! Once again, thanks for sharing and inviting us into your home.

  9. Mary Kathryn says:

    What a delightful post, full of joy and deliciousness! I adore that Julia Child quote 🙂 Thanks for all you do to help make the world a very happy place.

  10. Cindy Henkelmann says:

    Joyful moments reading your blogs, Susan! I see them popping up in my email and just “save” them for a special time to enjoy my morning coffee! You are truly gifted and am such an inspiration, all wrapped up in “heartstrings”!
    Sending you gratitude and hugs from Louisiana!

  11. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan (please forgive if this is a repeat…I think cyberspace swallowed the one I sent yesterday)…..last year you visited a wonderful artistic nuns’ community – they had a lovely home, filled with crafts, and art they created…you visited with friends….I ordered beeswax candles from them….could you remind us of who they are and their website? They bring light, peace and beauty to our world….and I’d like to support their work through this holiday season….thanks, Susan

    • sbranch says:

      Here you go Regina … a LINK to that post. Such an amazing day with those darling people . . . thank you for asking!

      • Carol from CT says:

        I couldn’t get it to open … so searched and found:

  12. Dionne Street says:

    Thank you for a wonderful post! I loved it all, but I have to say, I absolutely love those two pictures of Jack with that spider. The look on his face says it all! They are so cute!

    • sbranch says:

      Jack is something. Kitties are the BEST (dogs too for the doggie lovers ~ all pets!) but I’m a fur-ball lover especially. I’m on the sofa now, he’s right next to me, curled up with his furry self.

  13. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Congratulations to all of our winners!! Enjoy everything.

    Susan, I loved your photo recap of your Halloween!! Wow, close to 1000 Trick or Treaters. What total fun and delight!!

    I had forgotten about your bread pudding and with some fresh cranberries in my fridge, I am thinking I will make up this recipe this coming weekend for friends. Bread pudding is one of my favorite of all comfort foods too!

    I must also add that I am just loving my Autumn mug to the fullest. It is more beautiful than any photo can share!! My morning coffee is now in the cutest cup ever. Oh, how I love that squirrel on the side as well. We have lots of squirrels in our yard and this mug is just perfect for sitting outside and watching them devour the corn and sunflower seeds we scatter for them under the bird feeders in the early morning when it is actually cool outside.

    • sbranch says:

      SO happy to hear that Winnie. I know what you mean, I am IN LOVE with these cups, have still not stopped staring at them! Not just because they’re mine, but because the bone china is just so extra special wonderful. Thank you! Happy fall! xoxo

      • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

        its a perfect day for porch sitting and watching the squirrels out on the front lawn, they are so full of mischief. of course the cats enjoy watching them from the front and kitchen windows, pure kitty TV entertainment. 😀

  14. Marcie says:

    Watching Good Morning America this morning and they featured Prince William and I noticed he was wearing a poppy on his lapel. I smiled inside and thought of your blog.

  15. Sandie says:

    November is my favorite month as is Thanksgiving my favorite holiday. Th weather is turning colder and the house is warmer with wonderful smells of baking!

    • sbranch says:

      Just heard we’re supposed to get our first day in the 30s this week! We had a fire last night, it’s getting to be a lot like winter!

  16. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Yippie………CONGRATUALTIONS to all of the very lucky Girlfriends who Vanna picked their names to win your treasured give-a-ways!!!!!!! Where do you get all of your energy Susan to entertain on Halloween Eve, after all of the busyness of so many eager Trick-or-Treaters? I so loved this special post, soooooooooooooo many great ideas and inspirations for the season!!!!!!! Your Autumn book sits on the coffee table in my little living room and I find myself taking “mini rests” sometimes throughout the day to soak up bits of inspirations from your words and artwork!!! If you will ever truly know how much your talents bring constant smiles to warm our hearts through so many little ways Susan!!!!!!!! Well, too much on my list for today. With the cold, but sunny weather in Dearborn, Michigan, I am starting with trying to tidy up all of the flower beds and roses for the winter, then ending up baking and cooking for dinner tonight. Oh, and going to vote for a new mayor, councilmen, treasurer!!!! (Late start, as my daughter Marie was in town the past four days, and there was lots of fun shopping, baking, and visiting with her. Always lots of talking and sharing! I do miss her so.)Walking to the precinct, as the trees are peak color now in our neighborhood and in our Levagood Park. Hoping to collect a bag of acorns and pinecones on the way home for my Thanksgiving Day centerpiece! Enjoy today Susan! Take care. God Bless.

  17. Susie says:

    Love this post, Love November. The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings- my mantra, thanks R. L. Stevenson.

  18. Donna V. Miller says:

    ahhhh , How wonderful to be suprised. Was wishing for the November blog and there it was with wonderful comments and photos. Thank you for an uplift as usual. Blessings, Donna

  19. Diana Monroe says:

    Love the spider trifle❤️🕸

  20. Miss Virginia says:

    Hello Susan, thank you so much for the lovely blog. I always look forward to your sweet words and inspiration. Again, thank you and happy Autumn to you and all your delightful girlfriends.

  21. Rosemary Badders says:

    Hello Susan, Loved your blog today. I need to try all of those recipes! They will have to wait a little while because I’m leaving for Williamsburg, Va tomorrow. If you have never been there, you would love it, a little bit of England and America all at once. LOTS of old houses in the restored area. We are staying in one, so neat. We go every year, just love it. The Williamsburg Inn is so beautiful too. Stay there too, but anxious to stay in the house this time. Check out their website, lots to do. Thanks for the delicious recipes and congrats to everyone that won your beautiful prizes.

  22. , just thinking about going to England in the spring, and taking us all along, and looking at all the wonderful places we’re going.

    • sbranch says:

      I think about it all day every day now, it’s like a little dream cloud I live in while I work! xoxo

  23. Allyson says:

    Thanks for including the link to the willard, I didn’t get mine this time.

    • sbranch says:

      I know I always say this, but not sure if you’ve read it … check your spam folder, sometimes Willard takes a detour! xoxo

  24. Sandra says:

    Don’t forget to “buy” a poppy; it helps vets who received injury in the war. This post full of November goodness…cozy comfort…thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll be looking for them! I also have my ones from England ~ but it’s way better to buy one, as you say, it’s a huge help to our vets.

  25. Carol from CT says:

    Dear Sue,
    The next time Joe brings some Apple Cider Donuts home try this yummy trick: cut them up into big chunks, string the chunks on skewers, and hold the skewers over a fire in the fireplace or over an outdoor fire pit. The sugar melts and becomes caramelized. Betcha can’t eat just one! (I wonder if there are any CT girlfriends out there who pick up Apple Cider Donuts at Rogers Orchard in Southington? They have a recipe that includes apple chunks in the donut. Amazing!)
    I saw this on line and with the holidays ahead I thought I’d share:
    “Jane Austen ornament clutches her writer’s quill in one hand and a fabric manuscript in the other. Ornament handmade in England by a British charity that provides work at home for disadvantaged women.”
    Love, Carol from CT … tra la!

  26. Pam Butterick says:

    I love November! And you make me love it more! We have no idea yet where we will be spending Thanksgiving…but I will make it happen no matter where we are! After many, many years of cooking and loving it, it’s inspirational to read NEW ideas, laced with love.
    I can’t wait for you to cheer me up through January! 😱❄️🌬☃️🔥🌊😍

  27. Beth Ferraro says:

    I am so very thankful for you, Susan. That you are always there to brighten my day with reminders of home, food and all the “good” life has to offer. I know you have struggles from time to time just like we all do, but your blog helps keep me focused on the things that really matter and brings purpose to our lives.

  28. Caroline says:

    Last night by the fire we had your hearty dinner stew with buttered noodles. Instant and BIG success as family favorite. Delicious:) Thank you Susan!
    Does the info on twitter today mean you are going to write a book about your upcoming trip?!! In the greatest of hope, Caroline ~ who will still preorder 20!! copies of your meditation tapes, if you ever make them:)

    • sbranch says:

      I’m already planning writing a new book while we’re there ~ it’s a big part of what’s making it so exciting for me! I really do need to do that meditation tape. During meditation the other day tears were leaking out of my eyes, from the joy of it. It’s something I would LOVE to share. xoxo

    • Charissa says:

      Susan, YES , the meditation tape, I NEEEEED IT! and Caroline, I love that you said TAPE. That is what I say too even though we know it will be a cd 🙂 xoxo

  29. Valerie says:

    I have loved you for years and years. I have nearly all your books, some charming dishes, calendars, scrapbooking supplies and albums, etc. I have made notebooks of my favorite blogs, recipes, your lists of favorite movies and books, etc. I appreciate all you share. You often give me insights that have been very helpful. Thank you Susan. Blessings.

  30. Tawni Urrutia says:

    Good evening Sweet Susan!
    Thank you for such a glorious, inspirational post! I just love everything about November start to finish. I’ve never made the bread pudding but I think I’ll make it for Thanksgiving.
    We always have you at our Thanksgiving table. You bring the stuffing, corn pudding, onion pudding and most importantly, the ginger crisps. They have served as place cards in the shapes of leaves or acorns or turkeys for many festive years!
    I am so thankful for you and all of your magic.
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

    • sbranch says:

      THRILLED to my toes to hear that, Tawni… so sweet of you! Best part of cookbook writing, your recipes go to lots of family parties, makes me feel a part of them! I think Heart of the Home has been to more weddings than any of my other books!

  31. Wendy Louise says:

    Dearest Susan, You are the artist of cozy and inspiration! Thank-you for all your loving ideas and thoughts to make the world truly a better place. Sending you lots of loving vibes through out your days and nights. The world is a better place because of all you do!!! Stay warm we just had a heavy, beautiful frost last night and we are just 2 hours north of you! Give Your J’s a hug and kiss for me! Wendy Louise OOOXXX

  32. Freda says:

    Good morning Susan I loved reading your blog this morning,I wish you had time to post one every week because we all look forward to every post. My sweet granddaughter got engaged this past weekend to a wonderful young man and I am hoping to find your autumn cookbook to give her at one of her upcoming bridal shower. I know her big guy will love the stew and noodle recipe. Thank you for all the prettiness you share with us.

  33. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Dearest Susan, A friend gave me a gift certificate to locally owned Chaucers Book Store in Santa Barbara – no you haven’t signed there yet….to thank me for introducing you to her and lending her your books. Of course I purchased your revised Heart of the Home even tho I have the original which was my introduction to you. Thought of giving her that copy but can’t part with it. Brought it home and read cover to cover… every word. Can’t wait to make Joe’s beef stew and everything else! Promised to share new book with her.

    The Macys who live on your Island are my D.C.’s parents. Small world.

    Also a very nice woman who’s name escapes me comes to Santa Barbara for the winter with her 2 cute little dogs and husband. Met her at our local yarn shop in front of the blazing fire and knit. Miss her & shop went out of business 🙁

    Love the blog – wish we could crawl into computer and be there personally enjoyed like a spider on the ceiling.

    Wall Calendar, Santa Mug, Hear of the Home purchases in last month…what a treat. When budget allows, Winter mug is next.

    Precious Grasshopper is meowing, purring and raising paw for attention so will closed Thanks again and again for the inspiration,, please and love you bring to each of our lives! You’re the best, Susan! Love ya!

  34. Nancy Elliott says:


    Santa delivered an early Christmas present to us yesterday thanks to your generosity! The dishes are ADORABLE-we still cannot believe we won!

    Thank you so much.


    Nancy and Abby Elliott

    • sbranch says:

      OH HOW FUN !! You got them! That was fast! I’ll let my expert packer (Joe) know! I hope you enjoy them. Thank you both so much for being here! xoxo

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

    Hello Susan and Girlfriends. its a cold, gray and wet and windy day here. perfect for curling up with a hot mug of cider or tea, but I have to finish the Turkey decorations. and I have to sweep out the barn and put down fresh straw and get fresh straw in the nest boxes. time for our annual barn party this weekend. we invite our neighbors to come and celebrate the Autumn harvest. loads of cooking to get done, and plenty of baking to do. we are grilling a turkey, a chicken and some hams on the BBQ and we are using your scalloped potato recipe for one of the side dishes. hopefully the barnyard brats will be nice to our guests. LOL last year our turkey< Nippers, plopped down by a neighbor's chair we told him to pat her on the head, boy did she purr and he could not get over how affectionate she was.. her pink face gave it away. she as a happy camper sitting there, especially since the kids were just fascinated with her and loved petting. I think she got an overdose of affection that day… hehehe!!! 😀 plus still have to scan the papers for our Thanksgiving feast and price the turkeys… we always have turkey, tradition, and Ed loves his turkey dinner, gets his turkey fix in a big way. our wild turkeys may show up for the party, they are welcome to come around as long as they behave. BRRRRR the wind have picked up and its downright chilly out there, good thing we have the woodstove. I just love this time of year, like I keep on saying … busy, busy, busy. Susan is it okay to play a bit with your scalloped potatoes recipe??? I mean just add something to potatoes like maybe some gruyere cheese and maybe some sage, along with sage sausage. do you put onions in it or not??? and we are definitely trying that Autumn trifle for the dessert table. I have a hunch that will be all gone first. and that bread pudding is on the menu. wish you could be here for the party. have a great day today, and Happy November everyone. Autumn hugs….. 😀

    • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

      Susa did you get to tape “the mortal storm” last night. I tried to get a message to you that I goofed up on the days, but I hope you got to tape it and can see it at your leisure. good movie with Jimmy Stewart, Robert Young, Frank Morgan, Robert Stack … a really good movie.

  36. Elizabeth Back Home in NY says:

    Just spent a few minutes catching up on the blog and Willard. After some very sad years-my mom passing in January 2015 and my abusive husband divorcing me (and stealing most of my possessions)-I moved from Montana home to upstate NY this summer, and life is good. I have the most wonderful man in my life, a new home, 6 kitties, and my health back. I’m loving being back in NY, especially in this season. Thank you for your writing, Susan-it kept me going through some very dark times. You’re a treasure. Elizabeth-who-used-to-live-in-Montana

    • sbranch says:

      This is such a positive wonderful message from you Elizabeth, I’m so happy! You did it, changed your life. So brave. And 6 kitties too! Who could ask for more! All happiness to you! xoxo

    • Charissa says:

      Luv to you, Elizabeth. I am so sorry about your mother. Losing a parent is so hard. And I am thrilled to hear that you are better off without that turkey. Many continued blessings xoxo

  37. Naomi says:

    I love how you celebrate Halloween! And next year I am definitely trying out starry pumpkins – they are beautiful! I had to comment after seeing the picture of the Slindon pumpkin festival. I live close to Slindon and visited it for the first time this year and it was wonderful. After admiring the displays and purchasing a few pumpkins we went to a pop-up cafe (“The Pumpkin Cafe”) in the nearby church and had a mug of delicious pumpkin soup for lunch. My husband and daughter were eager for me to make some pumpkin soup at home (we all enjoyed it at lunch so much). Alas, although my husband and I loved my version, my six-year-old daughter didn’t, and she was so disappointed after looking forward to it so much, she cried!

  38. Anon says:


    Jacob, a 9 y/o young man with neuroblastoma, wants you to help him celebrate Xmas early. He would love to get lots of Christmas cards to celebrate an early Christmas.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to flood him with cards from Susan Branch girlfriends the world over?

    You may send the Christmas cards to:

    Jacob Thompson
    c/o Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center
    22 Bramhall St.
    Portland, ME 04102.

    Read more here:

  39. Heather Ebb says:

    Such a coincidence…….I made your Hearty Dinner Stew only last weekend ( it’s supposedly spring here in Melbourne but it’s as cold as autumn at the moment!)
    Absolutely delicious !

  40. Judy in Ohio says:

    Congratulations to the W I N N E R S !!
    (I am sure that if I keep entering, one of these days I will
    be so lucky!)

    Thank you again, Susan, for such inspiration…and the reminders
    about fall…and Poppy Day. It truly is an amazing time of year…
    Just looking out the window is magical…EVERY window!
    But you in your special way make the experience even MORE amazing
    for all of us!!

    Not moving too fast today…and feeling ccccold…but groovy!! 🙂

    Have a great weekend!!!


  41. Monica says:

    Hello Susan,

    I love the new cup and dish designs. Certainly would also love to win them and give some away as Christmas presents!


  42. Karen says:

    I loved the Autumn Willard and your November 4 blog. My daughter and daughter-in-law are both 4th grade teachers, and I shared it with them. What a great way to teach children about Armistice Day. Your blogs make my heart happy! Thank you.

  43. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Yea, off to find my poppy!

    Wear red, white and blue. I’m wearing London BlueTopaz pendent over my
    heart too.

    Remember at 11.11.17 – 11:00 am – time for special prayers, remembering all who fought so bravely for our freedom……also for their loved ones and family who sacrificed so much for us.


  44. Juie Dickerson says:

    I hope I win! Thank-you for the chance!

  45. Joan Rosenberg says:

    I do hope I win, as I would love to share your goodies with friends!!! I love my Love mug. I bought it to take to our “retirement”house but can’t part with it!! Constant Comet as the days get chilly!! Thanks, Joan

  46. Mary Beckstrom says:

    I have bought so many of your recipe books and given them to friends, daughters, and daughter in laws. You are so amazing!

  47. Mary Beckstrom says:

    Thank you for your amazing gift of art, comfort and wonderful recipes!

  48. linda hartman says:

    Susan, I made your salad for a girlfriend dinner party I hosted yesterday evening. Those yummy pecans now are a new favorite and I definitely will make a couple batches to package for holiday hostess gifts. I used a simple dressing for the salad . . . honey, light oil, vinegar in equal portions with about 2 T. of pomegranate syrup. What would you suggest?
    Many thanks, Susan, for this and all of your seasonal posts.

    • sbranch says:

      Which one did you make? Not the one with the black grapes? SO happy you loved the pecans! Kind of addictive!

      • linda hartman says:

        spinach, pomegranate seeds, apple, red onion . . . so healthy and so pretty.

        • sbranch says:

          Oh yes, Almost any dressing works with this one … just as long as the flavors of the ingredients don’t get drowned in what ever you choose. All I did is sprinkle on a bit of tangerine balsamic vinegar with a little olive oil and then tossed it … but I’ve had it lightly dressed with blue cheese and that’s good too. All the stuff in my fridge to make it right now!

  49. Christy N. Coy says:

    Obviously……it’s Etsy…… did that!!!

  50. Sarah says:


    I think your house is just gorgeous, and your fall decorations are lovely. How do you keep it all so spotless? It must be magic!

    My mom and I are planning to try your Molasses cookie recipe this month, and we’re super excited.

    Thanks for sharing all your lovely photos, recipes, and tips! Love your blog!

  51. nanette from alabama says:

    BEGGING for a new, sweet, uplifting post! We desperately need something sweet with the tune of our news these days! (When the news is so awful, I immediately want to “neutralize it” with sweetness on your blog site!)

    I know I’m being very selfish……you deserve to have holidays, time to watch old movies and cook in your kitchen, too. I wish you a lovely holiday full of the magic and love that surrounds you!

    ( I am grateful for your archives and I will simply look at blog posts for past Novembers! They were all lovely! )

    • sbranch says:

      Well, Nanette, since you are from Alabama, and because I love your beautiful state so much, I will do just that, tomorrow. XOXO

  52. Linda Who Still Says "Land" says:

    Happy Holidays

    Happily browsing Susan’s cookbooks for a few Thanksgiving menu ideas. My question is perhaps some may be undergoing as well, and have a sugestion. How does one handle family/friends during the holidays who must have numerous drinks of alcohol during the day? A mimosa upon arrising for breakfast, a glass of vine during cooking and at least several more during Thanksgiving dinner and after. No one becomes obnoxious thank goodness but all are totally incapable of celebrating any holiday without the influence of alcohol. Due to having eleven family members and dear friends over the years die in car accidents due to “functional alcoholics” we have suffered great loss. No of our over 263 relatives drink alcohol. This is my husband’s family extending out from grandparents to children to grandchildern. Of this separate group of several hundred their first prioriy is the drink wheter traveling or home, no matter what the occasion but increasing so on holidays. It is our turn to host Thanksgiving dinner and it puts a damper on the day feeling more like we are running an open bar party than a family Thanksgiving. We have tried almost everything to having our own separate celebration to leaving earlier. Any suggestions would be appreciate. PS, we don’t purchase the alcohol, they either march in fully stocked to set up a bar or slip flasks in purses and jackets. We are told by our non-alcohol drinking friends how much fun our cook outs, dinners and holiday events are and well as my non drinking relatives. How can will get my husbands family to enjoy the day without the constant need for the effect of alcohol? Last year my college age nephew passed out in the kitchen after attempting to pour a fourth glass of wine. And in that same year my 90 year old mother in law passed out at the dinner table. When awake instead of sharing family stories they compare liquor stores and drink ingredients. It is difficult to even host or attend a birthday part as they all feel being under the influence makes the event better

    Why do I feel this way? For just a few:

    My three year playmate burnt to death in her family car as her mother was too involved with having a second glass of wine

    my elderly uncle and aunt on their way home from Thanksgiving were killed by a functional alcoholic drinking down a one way road without lights at high speed.
    His family got a top notch lawyer so he never served punishment

    My grade school friend was on a car trip with her parents and four siblings. A man was hurrying across town in pursuit of alcohol as he was afraid he would not have enough varieties for his family dinner. In that high speed pursuit he t-boned my friends family station wagon with such force her mother was decapitated. THe drive after all these years is still alive living a good life as the court systems ruling was “he did not know what he was doing, he was drunk”

    And now in November, as the accident happened then, my 30 year old brother in law was crushed in a truck rollover caused by a functional alcoholic. He left behind a two month old daughter.

    I am told they need the drink to relax, that it is part of a celebration, but all I can see is the lose this sort of behavior has caused.

    If you have this family problem please let me know how you cope without ruining the holiday for everyone.

    • sbranch says:

      I would excuse myself from the lineup and go to dear friend’s house for Thanksgiving. You’re probably stuck this year, it’s so close, but let it be your last!

  53. Mags says:

    I’m 63 and still want a crayon long enough to drawer on the ceiling.

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