Home Cooking – Spring

About My Recipes
(and scroll down for some good ones!)

hen I was trying to figure out how to write a cookbook all those years ago, I knew I wanted to decorate the pages with my watercolors and put in my favorite quotes — I knew I would handwrite it; I wanted it to be “real,” like the recipes in an old family recipe box. But that meant my recipes had to be the best in the world (I was reaching for the moon) — they had to be delicious and dependable, many times tried and true — because no one cares about a pretty cookbook if the recipes don’t work, right? A cookbook should be something a person depend on kind of like a dictionary. The dishes should be so good they might go all the way, to the highest of all accolades: “family favorite,” and therefore passed down to sons and daughters, sisters and best friends, creating generations of wonderful dinner parties, homey kitchens and successful cooks, providing a great big heart of the home for the whole world! That was what I wanted. Good cooking carries magic in it; a house, big or little, that smells good from cooking, is the place everyone wants to be.

asy, quick, elegant, and delicious” — I said it to myself over and over. I only ignored that phrase a couple of times and it was always with “quick” — because there are a couple of cakes in my books, some with three-layers, with delicious filling and amazing frosting, that had to be included no matter how long they took — my Orange Cake for example; people love it; always worth it for the bonus “kissing of the cook” that goes on after they taste it. Here is the recipe for that, and a few other favorites you’ll find in my books. They’re guaranteed to please, and make your kitchen the heart of your home.

Remember, Life is short, eat dessert first.
Carrot Cupcakes
Chock full of nuts and fruit, these delicious morsels don’t fall apart when you break into them and the frosting is homemade cream cheese; these cupcakes are good enough to give to your children, almost classified as a vegetable if you expand your mind a little bit and are a creative thinker.


Chocolate Mousse Pie

p. 124 Heart of the Home

The crust is a combination of crushed chocolate wafer cookies, fresh coffee granules and butter. The mousse has bittersweet chocolate and creme de cacao in it.


Fruit Compote
p. 59 Heart of the Home
Hot baked fruit with walnuts, butter and brown sugar, to serve as side dish… not too sweet but if you pour over some cream, you could serve it for dessert.

Stuffed Eggs
p. 26 Vineyard Seasons
They are always a nice thing to serve and there are never any left over.


Three Appetizers
p. 11 Heart of the Home
Stuffed red potatoes, Artichoke Dip, and Bubbly Cheese Bites.


Hole Mole

p. 74 Girlfriends Forever Book
Looks, tastes and smells just like guacamole!

Butter Lettuce Salad

p. 46 Vineyard Seasons
Delicious served with Sole Meuniere.
p. 41 Vineyard Seasons
Fresh, tender, spring beats make this salad delicious.

Asparagus in Mustard Cream Sauce

As good as it sounds!
p. 77 Heart of the Home
For any special dinner, or with my Turkey Meatloaf.

p. 113 Vineyard Seasons
Your basic fabulous fish dish!


Shrimp & Salsa Verde
p.75 Girlfriends Forever Book
This Verde Sauce can also be used on grilled salmon, sliced tomatoes, or roasted chicken. Yummm!

p. 103 Girlfriend’s Forever
To make this faster, get all your veggies at the salad bar, already chopped. Wonderful meat loaf, good for sandwiches too.


p. 88 Heart of the Home Book
Makes a gorgeous presentation. Serve with my Beet Salad.
p. 94 Heart of the Home
This turns into a fun party when you add the Margaritas!
p. 92 Heart of the Home
Lightly floured boneless chicken breasts (or thighs), served with lemon-butter parsley sauce.

44 Responses to Home Cooking – Spring

  1. Shari Miller says:

    I have purchased your cookbook, Homecooking Recipes from the Heart. My daughter is getting married this summer and I have asked our family and my future son-in-law’s family to send me recipes to make a “family” cookbook. It is much easier for me to do these recipes by cutting and pasting on the computer. Is there a template I can use to make extra pages and then I plan to leave the “blanks” in for future recipes? Thanks for your reply.

    • sbranch says:

      Not a template, but you can copy the ones you have on a copier — we also sell a package of additional designed pages in our web store. Hope this is what you meant.

  2. Aggie says:

    Hi Susan – got my hands on some rhubarb – any baking suggestions?

    • sbranch says:

      I mix rhubarb with apples and do a crisp — if you have my Autumn Book, my apple crisp recipe is there, the rhubarb gives a nice tartness like the cranberries do. I don’t have a particular recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie, but that’s very traditional.

  3. shelly says:

    I am not seeing the link for the “Orange Cake” recipe. Sounds wonderful!

  4. Vickie Getty (Little Rock, AR) says:

    The kitty cat ears are priceless. That kitty knows good baking when she sees it!

  5. Helen says:

    Susan, your stuffed eggs are a family favorite……Will yet again appear on the extended family Easter buffet…….one of our girls once confessed to eating FIVE halves and paid for it with a bit of stomach ache…..they are that good!

  6. Barb Bussell says:

    I am SO eating your wonderful coleslaw by the bowlful, Susan (you talked about it a few entries ago). It is really so good. Refreshing, a little sweet and tangy, with the addition of the raisins and apples (which, blessedly, don’t get brown, due to the lime juice in the dressing). It was wonderful to chop it all up, season the dressing (I added a little garlic salt and pepper, and some parsley), mix it all together, and give it time to get acquainted till I got out my bowl, a few hours later. I’ll be making it every few days, since cabbage is such a bargain in March! Thanks again, Barbzie

  7. Jenny Halsey says:

    When my husband and I owned and operated a bed and breakfast with a restaurant, your cookbooks were my “go to” for tried, true and delicious recipes. Autumn was one of my favorites. Pumpkin Cheesecake with Praline Sauce…OMG!!!

  8. Diana from Ancaster says:

    Oh yummmmmm!
    I’ve been cooking my way through your cookbooks and enjoying every bite. Thanks so so much .

  9. Rae Ann R...back in Michigan...forever... says:

    Soooo glad you included a “daily nutrition guide” in this post…handyhandyhandy to have…Thanks!!!…it’s a gorgeous 14* day here in northern Michigan…hope you didn’t get wallopped by that snow storm yesterday…xoxo…

  10. I recently were presented two books that were part of the collection of a dear friend that moved a small apartment has been left alone, her husband passed away a year ago.
    She wanted to go to a family home and the love and was blessed with these two titles: Christmas from the heart of the home and The summer book.
    I hope to buy this new book that I think is just wonderful.
    I love your books.

    I love your books.

  11. Jennifer says:

    All these recipes look wonderful! This is the one cookbook I DON’T have.
    Where can I find it?

  12. When my oldest granddaughter became interested in cooking a few years ago, I gave her two of your books. I knew the beautiful artwork would draw her in as much as the recipes. She loved them.

    By the way, she is only now twelve years old and has gone to a French cooking day camp. So your books definitely got her on a good start. Needless to say, I have my own collection. :)

  13. Sara says:

    How did you know I needed you to poke a smiling message into my computer today and share your happy gene with me? I’ve been staring out at this white landscape for two months now, anxious for mud season for the first time in my life! And while my recuperation from rotator cup surgery a month ago had been going swimmingly, for the last few days, it’s not been. And then (drum roll, please!) Along came Susan, happy as can be, erased my frown and dropped a smile on me. :)

    First of all, I have a confession, at some point after I whimsically posted on twitter the pink lamb with the blue eyes, someone attributed it as my creation, which I did nothing to correct, because, well, someone needed to own that pathetic little pink lamb and I was more than happy to. (Whew, I feel better now.) I’m going to fess up on twitter too.

    In the time that I have come to know you, which has not been nearly long enough, I have tried–no, ‘tried’ is not the correct word. I have ‘added’ every recipe of yours that I have made to my recipe box. Everyone has been exceptional! So, you nailed it, Susan, in meeting your goal that your favorite recipes become your girfriends’ family favorites, handed down to our sons and daughters.

    As soon as I can get this shoulder whipped into shape, I’ll be celebrating with your Orange Cake, which I have been lusting over rather regularly. And, I need to hop on over to your shopping page and look at your recipe books for my daughters. I am a big believer that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, which is why I’m not content to leave all my favorite recipes online and not written down but tucked safely away into my recipe boxes.

    Thanks again, Susan, for lending me your smile and inspiring me to quit looking out the window and get in the kitchen!! I’m feeling like artichoke dip and pita.

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t worry Sara, I’ve had things I’ve said on Twitter get confused too. Lately I can barely follow the complicated reply system they have . . . conversations can become more like an extensive family tree, sometimes I just give up on keeping everyone and who said what straight. One think I know for sure, everyone we’re talking to regularly over there is a true blue person, so I don’t worry. And that lamb! SOMEBODY should take credit for it! So funny and cute. Thank YOU for posting it and getting it some credit where credit was due.

      OH, you will love the orange cake. I have a lot of favorites, my three-layer carrot cake is amazing if I do say so myself, the coconut cake with the lemon filling, but that orange cake is something quite magical. Glad to hear you’re getting better. . . I’m sure a little spring sunshine will be a big help!

  14. Michelle F. says:

    Your Christmas Coffee Cake has been a favorite for many years. I’ve taken to gatherings, made it on cold snowy days “just because,” and one year, baked them in pretty pie pans and gave them as Christmas gifts. Thank you for the lovely books, great recipes, and endless inspiration. Keep warm!

  15. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan…oh boy!! Got a notification on FB that you’d done a little thing about spring cooking, so I popped right over to investigate and naturally..was not disappointed!! I have all of your wonderful cookbooks ( plus most of the others) and have already begun hunting up our favorite spring recipes. Last week I made the all-time favorite Carrot Cake Cupcakes and I cannot tell you how much EVERYONE who tasted one just gushed with compliments. That truly is the best recipe for carrot cupcakes ever…and believe me…since they are my husbands most very favorite dessert, I have tried oodles of recipes….I know when he really really likes something when he takes a bite and says nothing…just enjoys the moment…. We have convinced ourselves that they are very healthy since they are full of fruits and vegetables… :-) We are off for a spring break trip to Florida….stopping at The Villages and then to St. Augustine for a bit of history….the second batch of cupcakes are packed!!! Love this recipe post……enjoying the moment…. xo love, cindy

  16. Linda P says:

    Forgot to ask on the blog comments….. I love your teas and am wondering about the SPRING tea… is it a lot of cinnamon taste or a little…. Thanks so much…..

  17. Linda P says:

    I had to send a quick note to tell you how much I love the SPRING TEA it arrived yesterday and I couldn’t wait to make a cup.. Is amazing!!! I love your special blends and look forward to more, maybe a SUMMER tea and AUTUMN tea then maybe a WINTER or CHRISTMAS tea….. Just saying LOL

    • sbranch says:

      That’s so nice to hear Linda. I just found another one I’m crazy about — it’s one we’re calling Apricot Jam ~ it’s loose black tea, with essence of Apricot flecked with marigold petals! Caffeine free! SO good, I think Kellee is putting it up today.

      • Linda P says:

        Just ordered the Apricot Jam tea. Can’t wait to get it. Thanks Susan, your teas are a wonderful addition to your shop, hope to see more!

        • sbranch says:

          I’m having the best time mixing them up! Any ideas of flavors you love?

          • Linda says:

            Oh my I can think of alot but I would love you to do a Chamomile Blend tea, I think the girlfriends would love it to..and did I mention your labels on the bag are the cutest they are like a little bonus. ( maybe a lamb on the Chamomile bag…lol). I have most of your teacups and teapots and its been so fun using them to have some of your teas….

          • sbranch says:

            Mmmmm, chamomile is such a good idea, let me think . . .

          • Linda says:

            Oh goodness, the Apricot Jam is fabulous also! Please keep them coming…..

          • sbranch says:

            I haven’t made it in a while, you just reminded me. I have to do that!

  18. Amelia Voltz says:

    Years ago I had your Christmas wrapping paper and I loved it! Do you have plans to design any in the future? Love, love your illustrations!!!!

  19. Sweet Sue says:

    Good Day Susan!

    Loved this blog on Home Cooking -Spring! Recently tried out some of the recipes for my husband and he just raved about the “Hole Mole” and the “Chicken Enchiladas” and my favorites were the “Beet Salad” and “Lemon Chicken”. I have not purchased any of your cookbooks before which ones do you suggest I start with? Have a simply scrumptious day! :-)

    • sbranch says:

      It’s hard to answer because I’ve always tried hard to make the recipes good (cute book is nice, but cute book with delicious recipes is better!) — the first two are my longest books, so there are actually more recipes in them. That’s Heart of the Home and Vineyard Seasons. But you’d love the Summer Book considering the season. Thanks Sweet Sue!

  20. Mai Lara says:

    I just love all your cookbooks and can’t wait until your next one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>