Girl Food

he experts tell us we shouldn’t diet, we should just eat healthy all the time, that’s what they say and I’m sure they’re right, but I don’t actually know anyone who does this. My girlfriends and I feel like the normal ones; we drink wine, have a hidden stash of chocolate, recently ate a fruitcake (it was little!), have pumpkin pie for breakfast, drown the stuffing in gravy, put marshmallows in the hot chocolate, dribble chocolate syrup in the coffee, fry left-over mashed potatoes in butter, and enjoy every minute of it. Then we pay.

f that’s you too, I have a gift to deliver to you that’s going to make pay-back a lot easier this year. It’s a brand-new-to-the-market TOTALLY HEALTHY food item I just found, and fell in love with (no, I don’t own this company or know these people…I’ve already told all my girlfriends, now it’s your turn–miracles are meant to be shared!)

t’s a PASTA made from tofu, and it tastes truly delicious! It feels, looks, acts, and tastes just like pasta. But it’s not, it’s tofu! So, it’s good for you, but there’s more, are you sitting down? It has 20 calories per serving (so you can have 6 servings if you want!). And only 3 grams of carb per serving! No fat, and it’s gluten free! Is your heart beating faster with the thought of it? And it’s good for you! You should eat it anyway! I was suspicious at first, but it’s everything it says it is. Plus, the package we bought yesterday says it will keep in my fridge until May (so I can fill the fridge with it!). It has it all!

ast night, for dinner, I had a big filling bowl of spaghetti; it was 80 calories! That’s about the same calories as in an apple! You use this new miracle food just like you would regular pasta; put
it in your Homemade Chicken Soup, have Linguini in Clam Sauce, make spaghetti, or use it in the recipe I’m going to give you below, with no guilt!

 hope you can find it in your market, it’s called Tofu Shirataki; comes in fettuccini, spaghetti, and angel hair; is made by House Foods … if you go to their web site, they will tell you where to find it:
It was with the other fresh pasta in my market, refrigerated, in a squishy pouch, because like all Tofu, it’s kept in a liquid. And so, there you go, kiss those calories good-bye, tell all your girlfriends!

ere’s my delicious recipe for Chicken and Vegetables that is perfect for winter eating, I even have it for breakfast on snowy mornings! You start with your own homemade CHICKEN STOCK, which is what makes this so good. Lovely to make in winter, the pot of long-cooking stock bubbles comfortingly on the stove for hours, warms up your kitchen and smells wonderful. You remove the fat from the top and you have pure health, the broth is filled with the goodness of onions and carrots and parsley. You can make delicious things with it (like the dishes suggested on the Chicken Stock recipe), or this cozy one-pan meal:

HICKEN AND VEGETABLES WITH the AMAZING NOODLES… this serves two, but it’s the kind of recipe you can add to, change, and create just the way you like it. Make it with chicken thighs as they are much more moist and delicious than breasts. Put a cup of homemade chicken stock (really, in this case, nothing substitutes for the real thing) in a frying pan along with a clove of minced garlic, and boil it down for a moment or two to thicken slightly. Add four skinless, boneless, rinsed, and dried chicken thighs; cover the pan and cook for about 2 min., turn the thighs over, add a couple of carrots cut into matchsticks, broccoli (or broccoli slaw), sauteed mushrooms,
or whatever vegetables you like (in fact that’s all up to you….you are after the gravy here; which is what makes it so delicious). Cover and cook until chicken is almost done and vegetables are tender — at the last moment you can add a quarter of a cup of minced ginger, and a handful of spinach leaves (or any other dark leafy greens) to the pan (you’ll get the hang of the timing after making this once or twice, it isn’t hard), cover for another moment until greens are wilted. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve as is, or feel free to pour it all over your new favorite NOODLES. It’s comfort food you can believe in…


65 Responses to Girl Food

  1. Karen P says:

    Oooohhhhh! Love the tofu noodle tip! I’m going to look for it the next time I’m at the store ’cause pasta is one of my favs! Thanks, Susan!

  2. Christl says:

    I have been making these noodles for a long time. I was so excited to see Susan likes them too! Once in a while when I get hungry after I’ve eaten dinner, I’ll make a batch of these noodles. I put two of the Laughing Cow wedges (the lower calorie ones are delicious too) in with the noodles in the pan. The cheese melts down and the meal is like a warm Fettucini with much fewer calories. Feels and tastes like comfort food when you want it, but no shame or guilt for the delicious indulgence! Enjoy!

  3. Susan says:

    Thanks loads! Gotta go shopping NOW!!

  4. Marian Malone says:

    I can’t wait to try this. I absolutely love pasta dishes but can’t eat much of any that I make because of the carbs (source of belly fat). I am always looking for healthy comfort foods. Thank you soooooo much.

  5. janet says:

    Hi Susan – I was having a gloomy – no energy day – thinking of decorating for Christmas, but missing my 5 married kids and their families – not motivated to write cards . . . . I found your blog from a fellow quilter’s blog and have spent the morning reading all of your wonderful recipes and “tasting” each of them in my imagination! All of a sudden I feel like singing 😀 I love your drawings and use of color, and your love of the warmth of home and beauty of nature and friendship! – thank you. – janet

    • sbranch says:

      What a nice thing for you to say! Thank you Janet! I’m glad you feel like singing!!

    • Janet says:

      Well, fellow Janet, I was kind of down, too, then I picked up Susan’s book, A Fine Romance, from the library & I became so fascinated by her stories, descriptions, drawings, photos … I just couldn’t put it down. I love all the things she loves, including my 5 cats. Then, I realized, I was no longer feeling all doom & gloom. The book is available at the book stores today! Pick one up. You will love it.

  6. I need to know how to get the print outs for the recipes plus recipe card I can print out as per instructions in the Nov-Dec Wisconsin Country Register.
    Love the gift basket ideas. Corina

  7. theresa says:

    Don’t it figure, I live in a state that doesn’t sell it anywhere!!!! Would really like to try it. : (

    • sbranch says:

      Wait til you or someone you know goes on vacation!!

    • sandi says:

      theresa, you may want to check on line…there are all kinds of websites who sell groceries. just google what you are looking for or google for online grocery shopping. i was looking for a certain rice noodle this way a few years ago. no one in my area carried them, not even the local asian market. so i found them online and they mailed them to me. good luck!

  8. I tried the noodles, the angel hair kind, and fully expected them to taste sort of… funny. You know, good for me, but not good in the taste department. I was shocked at how delicious they were and begged my local health food co-op to carry them. I put them in a miso soup with a handful of mushrooms, shredded veggies etc. SO good. Thanks for the tip!

    • sbranch says:

      Aren’t they just amazing? I’ve been waiting for them all my life! 🙂 Wait until you try the fettuccine noodles! Yes, as long as you do a good job rinsing the tofu water off them, you can barely tell the difference between them and regular pasta!

  9. Karen Booher says:

    My mom and I both love your books and I love everything on your site, all your ideas, recipes,pics, garden ideas and stickers for scrapbooking. Everything. I think its awsome. Karen

  10. Mary McCatherine says:

    So yummy!

  11. Edel Mulligan (Ireland) says:

    I have long been a fan of yours. I have a collection of your books and love to use them for the different seasons. Your warmth and generous spirit jumps from the pages you write.I too am married to a Joe and like your Joe there is an innate kindness in him also. The older I get the more I realise how it is the little things in life that give us so much pleasure. The first read of the crisp Sunday Papers ,the last chocolate in the box, a cup of tea in bed.Thank you for sharing with us all the little things in your life that make you happy.

  12. Julianna (New York) says:

    Just made the chicken dish with the tofu noodles and I love it! I do think that the grated fresh ginger gives it a lovely flavor. 🙂 Thank you Susan. It is indeed a red letter day when you speak to us through your blog.

  13. Daphne Hampshire says:

    I grin every time I see any of your art. Keep it up!

  14. Julie Brichetto-Thompson says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you for all of your wonderful books, blogs, artwork and cheerfulness! I have enjoyed all of them over the years:) My son(and only child) is getting married April 21 of this year.I am making the hors d’ouevres, but I cannot find the Pesto Torte Cheese spread in my recipe box. Yikes, of all times!!! I think I remember that you had this recipe in one of your publications wayyy back. Is there any way that you would share that with me? I’m going to keep looking but so far no luck.I’m starting to get stressed out over this and THAT I do not want to do! Thank you so very much if you can help me! Julie B.T.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s on page 23 of Heart of the Home! Do you have that?

      • Julie Brichetto-Thompson says:

        Well, I have Girlfriends Forever,The Summer Book, Christmas from T.H.O.T.H. and Vineyard Seasons along with your pretty Luminarias!! I know I had your recipe at one time. I think my sil gave it to me! So, I am off to town tomorrow and I will indeed pick up a copy of Heart of the Home at my favorte book store! Thanks so much for letting me know which book it is in! The thing is, I could probably make it without the recipe , but then I would miss out on another of your great cookbooks! Was this book one of your first ones published? I hope you are in bed, it’s 10:45 in California:) Thanks so much again Susan!! Hugs,Julie

  15. Janet says:

    Just wanted to write and I say that I tried the tofu noodles. They were delicious and I’m glad I remembered your advice about rinsing them well – I think it made a difference. Will be buying them again – thanks for the tip!

  16. SueB says:

    Gosh I LOVE your blog!!! I love everything you do and I love shirataki noodles! I had to eat them when I was on Medifast for a couple of years. Kind of forgot about them then so so happy for the reminder! Gonna get some tomorrow!!! I like that they always feel el dente’!!! Never get too soft…

  17. Malena W. says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful things you do. I have been a grateful fan for years!
    You are a kindred spirit! I tried your Iowa Corn Bread recipe from this years calendar and all I can say is YUMMMMMMMMM! I made it to pair with chili and it was so wonderful. The unexpected flavors were wonderful. It is my new favorite cornbread. Now that the days are turning darker and changing, it will be a recipe I use throughout Fall and Winter to go with all kinds of stews and soups. Mmmmm.
    I recently started reading your blog and I LOVE IT!!! I absolutely love it.
    Thank you again for all that you do. Even though thank you is not enough, I hope you know that is heartfelt and you are truly a gift to the world.

  18. matty says:

    thanks for all the beautiful things you give to us, you have the warm kindle spirit, i enjoyed every words from yours travels,and your experiences. thanks again for everything. a big huge. matty.

  19. evangeline says:

    I am so happy to have found your blog 🙂 I have been a fan of your artwork for years…just never had access to computer till of late….a dear friend and co-worker “gave” me his computer and I am learning so so much!!!!!!!! I smile and have that warm and cozy “feeling” when I even hear your name said. I tell my family and friends to watch for anything–SUSAN BRANCH– It is the ‘togetherness’ you give to us your girlfriends….we are part of beauty and love and warmth. Thankyou for saying out loud and in such beautiful ways, what our hearts want to convey…….thank you thank you thank you… I wish you had time to blog each morning…I now feel like I’m talking to a heart friend each day I read……. I am on the hunt for any and everything Susan Branch I appreciate your work and most of all the ……the woman you are……..Evangeline

    • sbranch says:

      How sweet of you Evangeline! Welcome to the internet, you are going to LOVE it here! So much information and inspiration! Thank you so much, tell your co-worker I love her/him too.

  20. CATHERINE says:

    Dear Susan
    I’m planning a Mother’s Day Tea this year. It will also be my 23 wedding anniversary. I have almost all your cookbooks. Which one is the best for Tea? I did learn that “High Tea” is quite different in the USA versus the UK. I have a zillion pair of white gloves (from boarding school days) and I’m laughing as I type this, eating steak and kidney pie with a pair on!!!

  21. CATHERINE says:


  22. Diana says:

    I have enjoyed your website for years….love your recipes, your artwork, inspiring stories and most of all your celebrations with the people in your life! You make the most of every day and it is enjoyable to read about it! Looking forward to many more years of wonderful information:)

  23. Jo-Ellen Claphanson says:

    Hi Susan,
    I guess I did something wrong in sending a reply in that my e-mail address is several places in these blogs. Can you remove that please? I received my copy of your new book and love it. I also ordered your address book and sat for hours last night and transferred all the numbers and addresses from my old address book that I can’t bear to throw . I take a lot of teasing about its shabbiness. Anyway, I love your book, A Fine Romance. I just appreciate your love for a quiet, simple life, England and its gardens. I have two English grannies, that I never knew very well.
    Thanks, Jo-Ellen

    • sbranch says:

      Not sure where the email you would like to have removed actually is. But if I see it, I will remove it! Thank you Jo-Ellen! xo

  24. Diane Fair says:

    Can you post your recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup again. It’s one of the best I’ve tried, and I can’t find the recipe. Thanks so much!! (love your website & Facebook page)

    • sbranch says:

      Here you go Diane, thank you!
      Broccoli & Cheddar Soup: serves 4-6, double it if you wish to have leftovers
      2 cups of chopped cooked broccoli
      1/2 stick of butter
      1-2 large shallots, chopped well
      1 garlic clove (put through a press)
      1/4 tsp. nutmeg
      scant 1/2 tsp. salt
      ground pepper to taste
      1/3 c. flour
      4 cups chicken stock (homemade is best, but store-bought will work just fine)
      1 c. milk
      1 1/2 full cups grated cheddar cheese (I like Sharp Cheddar)

      Cook and chop broccoli and set aside. Melt butter in a large soup pot, add chopped shallot, cook over med-high heat until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a moment, then sprinkle in flour, stirring until well blended. Keep stirring and cooking for about 2 minutes (gets rid of floury taste). Slowly add your stock. Stir constantly, then bring ot a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until thick. Add the milk, then the broccoli, bring to a simmer, turn heat to low, and stir in cheese and keep stirring until melted. It’s ready to serve.

  25. Linda Graves says:

    I so love this blog. So many nice recipes. So many things to bring back memories f days gone by. And I just have to try the tofu noodles, as I am a spaghetti addict. Many of your readers share some good tips as well. I am a new fan for sure!!!

    linda from Florida

  26. Connie Johnson says:

    Checked out your store looking for scrapbook paper. Could only locate scrapbook sets that had some 8-1/2 x 11 paper. Wish I could get them in the craft stores along with your stickers, stamps, etc. as I could many years ago. My scrapbook will be made using all Susan Branch products…but I wish I could get more of your beautiful paper without all of the extras in the scrapbook sets.

    Is there a source to obtain more of your beautiful papers?

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, I wish you could get them too. But I have not been able to find someone who is interested in licensing the artwork and producing them. I can’t figure out why, but I keep hoping someone will approach me. If you have a favorite sticker/scrapbooking company, you can always write them — they are much more interested in hearing the opinion of their good customers rather than me.

  27. Georgeann from Texas says:

    I looked here to see if I might find how you make your cucumber sandwiches. I have never had one and with summer on the way and lots of cukes expected I would
    love to try them. Can I find the recipe or directions here?

    • sbranch says:

      They are so easy. Just get a good dense white bread — I use Pepperidge Farm, stack the slices and cut off the crusts — which you can save to make breadcrumbs. Lay out the slices, spread all of them completely with the thinnest layer of mayo. Grind fresh pepper over one side of all the sandwiches. Overlap very thin slices of cucumber on top of the pepper. Press the other side of the bread on the cucumbers. And that’s it. The mayo protects the bread from the wetness of the cucumber — at least for a few hours. Don’t be tempted to salt the cucumbers, that will make them exude water.

  28. Georgeann from Texas says:

    Thank you! Can’t wait to try them. So glad you mentioned the no salt tip!

  29. Joyce Robinson says:

    I have your Corn Pudding recipe from the 2013 calendar. Just wondering if anyone else is having trouble with getting the center done. I use exactly what the recipe calls for, but the center seems a little too runny. I cook it longer than called for, trying to get the center done, but that doesn’t help enough. I’ve tried several things as I have made this numerous times. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks……..

  30. Shirley Graham says:

    Thanks so much for brightening my day & love your drawings. Pumpkin pie is my favorite for breakfast – my husband laughs but he just doesn’t know what a good thing he’s missing! Again, I loved your book & have your Summer cookbook out now because my daughter & I always love the drawings. (Also the recipes!) Have a lovely spring!

  31. Joanna says:

    Hi Susan
    I recently bought a Spiralizer and make noodles out of courgettes. They’re amazing, and save on carbs!!

    Love your books.. I’ve just bought some more of the out of print ones on Amazon. The Christmas one arrived yesterday, I was so excited and couldn’t work well after that, as kept wanting to look at it.

    I bought the Autumn book a few years ago and love it and today after walking my dog I picked up lots of beautiful leaves and I’m going to make a autumnal garland for my house!!

  32. Kathy says:

    So STRANGE I read this on your blog today – as I just saw the tofu noodles for the first time last night! I went to my local wonderful grocery to make a big salad and get some sushi to go with it and I was browsing around the produce section and there it was! As a low carbing Italian girl missing her pasta, I was intrigued but it looked a little scary! Now that I have the Susan Branch endorsement, I’m going to try it!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Jan Lane says:

    I haven’t seen the tofu noodles, but I try to watch carbs, and I love spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti pasta noodles. I have also tried riced cauliflower and that works quite well as a rice substitute. I think that eating healthy means something different to everyone. The added benefit of tasting delicious is a BONUS!

  34. Heartsdesire says:

    If you are following a low-carb diet, those noodles are great. I buy them at my local grocery store here in Victoria, BC. It’s not a specialty grocer, just a plain old grocery store. Sometimes, products that are recommended from sites in the US are not always available in Canada, so I was so happy to find the noodles close to home. If you can’t find them at your grocery store, ask the store manager and quite often they will bring them in for you.

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