hile you're reading this, Joe and I are on a speeding train, in our room with a view, looking out the WINDOW, watching the geese fly in formation, traveling past rivers and farms (can you hear a train whistle from your house? Might be us!), looking over the skeleton remains of cornfields, winding through cold, wind-swept city streets; cozy here with our slippers, books, my knitting, our teapot to keep us warm, heading west toward the setting sun, back to California to be with my family for Thanksgiving. Saying long goodbye to beautiful Martha's Vineyard, our dear house, until spring. We have friends who are staying in our house and keeping her warm this winter. Yes, you know, feeling happy/sad/happy.
eading back, excited to see my mom and dad; I still find it hard to believe that my Grandma won't be with us for Thanksgiving. She was there for my entire life up until a few short years ago. How is it possible that I can't go into the kitchen and walk into her arms and feel the bottomless hug she gave like no one else, the one I received every time I saw her for as long as I can remember? Especially during the holidays, I remember being pressed against her apron with the cozy smell of the dinner she was making; sage, cinnamon, and onion mixed with her own particular brand of unconditional love.
hen our family holds hands for Thanksgiving prayer, we think of times past, remember the funny things our grandma said, miss her, but have big gratitude for the joy she brought to our lives, for the foundation she set down for us to plant our feet on. I feel her presence all the time; I know I'm still her girl. She wants me to remind you to take time this season for the little things that make life sweet, to make MEMORIES that last a lifetime.
f you would like just a tiny little flavor of my Grandma, here's one of her favorite songs from the 1950's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MLtzKJQevI (see if you can guess who the little girl is!)
nd here's one of my favorite simple holiday recipes just for you; its my recipe, as promised, for CHRISTMAS JAM. So easy, based on Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce leftovers, so you might want to make extra. You start with the most beautiful jewel-like whole-berry Cranberry Sauce I've ever seen, and so amazingly easy. I have to add that last year, on the "morning after" I had this cranberry sauce with my CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE (for breakfast), and it was heaven.
3 c. fresh, washed, cranberries
OW. To make the Jam: With the leftover Cranberry Sauce, mix half and half with a good store-bought Orange Marmalade, half Marmalade and half Cranberry Sauce. See the rosy goodness? That's the secret of CHRISTMAS JAM. Here's what to do with it: Make toast with good sour dough bread, spread it with Irish butter, and lather on the jam. Bite it, close your eyes and go yuuuuuum. Feel yourself lightly melt. Try it on English Muffins, on lemon scones, or fresh baked biscuits with a roasted chicken dinner. It also makes a beautiful appetizer: spread toast rounds with Boursin cheese and top it with a dollop of Jam. Lovely to have little pots of this jam to serve with breakfast or tea when company is coming. You can make it, and use our CANNING KIT to gussie it up, for housewarming gifts this holiday season; homemade gifts of love are always the best.
peaking of love, a really different kind of love! A love I never thought I would have, the Love of FACEBOOK of all things! Some of my friends (and Joe) still look at me like I'm crazy, but those of you in the know, know I'm not! Can you believe how fun Facebook has turned out to be? Sharing recipes and photos, and especially, making silly little videos (something like twenty of them so far. Keep scrolling down and you'll find them all on the left hand side of our page). I pop them into an email and (with some help from Kellee of course), they show up a few minutes later on Facebook. Like a miracle! I love hearing what you think about this and that, seeing everyone connecting, hearing stories of family, friends, traditions, and getting your sense of humor, laughing out loud, (releasing a ton of healthy endorphins, thank you very much)! It's just wonderful; makes me love the computer!
nd I really want to thank you too, not only for all the sweet letters and encouragement, but also for the practical support you give our WEB SITE. Our store there is small; you could probably find the things we carry somewhere else and probably even for cheaper than we sell them, but you keep coming, and for that I thank you; Kellee thanks you, and Judy thanks you. We try to carry special things; are always thinking of what you might like, and we wrap and send them with love. It's been a tough time for so many of us, and for the smaller retailers, so many have had to go out of business. We keep hanging on, and do it, because of your caring, and because we know you would kill us if we tried to close. So again, thank you.
ee? So very much to be grateful for. And that's just the beginning!
e'll be sending out our big COOKIE JAR full of COOKIE RECIPES again this year, so look for it at the end of November and start planning your Cookie Exchange Parties.
e finally received our bolts of my new BABY LOVE FABRIC COLLECTION. We love to encourage you to buy from your local quilt stores, as these are usually small and struggling stores who need you too, but if you can't find it, or you live in the country with no fabric stores nearby, we do sell it on our web site.
n November 21st we start our newest FACEBOOK contest: We'd love for you to share your favorite memory of your Grandma (or other memorable relatives) with all our FOSB (Friends of Susan Branch) and you'll be automatically entered in our drawing, which will take place Monday, November 30th. The winner will receive a $50.00 gift certificate to our web store, plus our entire collection of six CALENDARS for 2010, in time for you to wrap and give as gifts, or keep for yourself.
ne more festive Thanksgiving recipe, my delicious POTATOES ANNA, gussied up (why do I keep saying gussied up all of a sudden? I sound like Minnie Pearl!) for the season; definitely a show-stopper, covered in potato leaves of all colors. Try it!
watched LOVE ACTUALLY last night for probably the hundredth time, wonderful movie! Here's a little clip... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z1lWgVJXOk If you haven't seen it, please, do not wait a moment longer, get up, get in the car, go get it. (You can copy and paste this link into an email, send it to your friends!)
ow, come close and let me give you a hug like my grandma gave me. Take a deep breath, because with this hug comes all my prayers for peace and contentment, safety and security, filling your heart to the brim, and overflowing onto the ones you love, filling their hearts too.
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