Food for Thought, by Minister Hugh Bradford

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” — Matthew 1:21

Let’s pray and thank God for sending his son to save us.

Super Simple Peanut Brittle, by Leslie J. Ansley

pbPeanut brittle is one of those treats I’m convinced was invented by a dentist.  Candy apples, too — things you bite into with no guarantee your teeth will survive the experience.

The salty-sweet mix of caramel and peanuts makes this a hard-to-resist snack around the holidays. If you like to give cookies and other homemade treats, consider adding peanut brittle wrapped in cellophane or in small tins.

Try this basic recipe first, then experiment with variations — add mixed nuts, or cover it in a layer of chocolate after it’s cooked. Me, I prefer this original.
(See microwave version below this one.)



1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup peanuts
2 tablespoons butter, softened (only use real butter)
1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.
  3. Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. With 2 forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14×12 inches; cool. Snap candy into pieces.

Makes about 1 pound of candy.

MICROWAVE PEANUT BRITTLE (added 12/23/14 because my candy thermometer broke. Found this recipe online and it is g-r-e-a-t.)


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanuts
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Butter a cookie sheet. Combine sugar and corn syrup in a 2 quart glass bowl and microwave on high 4 minutes. Stir in peanuts and microwave on high 3 1/2 minutes more, then stir in the teaspoon of butter and teaspoon of vanilla and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.
  2. Stir in baking soda until light and foamy. Pour onto cookie sheet and spread thin, but don’t spread too much because the bubbles are what make it brittle. Cool completely and break into pieces and serve.

You may need to adjust the cooking times based on the speed of your microwave.

Light Up your Fireplace, by Donna Wright

A beautiful idea for any fireplace, working or nonworking, and an alternative to placing candles in your fireplace: Add greenery, lights and wood logs to your container.

If you don’t have a box, any large basket or bucket would look nice.  I love large bows, so of course I would have to tie one around the box so that it does not look so rustic.  However, if you already have a bow on your mantle, one on the box would probably be too much.  I love this idea!


Pleasant Memories

bridgetAS I REMINISCE ABOUT CHRISTMAS in the Islands and the close family bond that was so present, I realize how much I miss home.

Growing up in the Islands was like living among family of all races and creed. We knew that we were all different (Puerto Ricans, white, black, etc.), but we didn’t discriminate among each other; we exemplified love and brother- and sisterhood back then.  I never had any encounter with racism back in the Islands. Only after coming to North Carolina for college did I realize that discrimination and racism actually still existed in the United States.

Everyone in the Islands looked out for each other and it was understood that if an adult saw a child misbehaving,  they had the right to reprimand us and take us home to our parents to complete the punishment.  We believe it takes a village to raise a child and that is what the old-schooled adults abide by.

I loved the anticipation of the Christmas season and the festivities that followed.  It was customary for us to clean all day on Christmas Eve and then stay up all night decorating the house.  My mom would make us clean windows, walls, dust, redecorate and much more before Christmas Day.  Then when all that was done, we had to go to sleep – or at least pretend to be asleep – as she put up the Christmas tree and pulled out all the hidden gifts from all over the house.

My siblings (two sisters, one brother) and I would have one eye closed and the other opened to see what gifts were being put under the tree.  Then on Christmas morning we would get up early to open whatever gifts we were fortunate to receive.  Christmas Day was filled with food, fun and games all throughout the day, and we ate from sun up to sun down.  My family loves to cook, so we had food for days after Christmas.

If I had to change anything about our Christmas season it would be to put up our Christmas tree the week of Thanksgiving rather than Christmas Eve.  It makes Christmas much more enjoyable and fulfilling; it makes Christmas feel like it has been extended when it is celebrated much earlier than Christmas Eve.  I have adopted the custom of putting up the Christmas tree Thanksgiving week and my family and I love it. Actually, my mom has also adopted this custom because it removes the stress of Christmas Eve cleaning. – Bridget Hodge