FOOD FOR THOUGHT, by Minister Hugh Bradford

 The spirit of the Lord will rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of power, the spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord. — Isaiah 11:2

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart.” –– Helen Keller

Wishing you  happiness, joy, peace and love.

Hasselback Potatoes, by Leslie J. Ansley

For Christmas dinner this year, I’m going with duck. I’ve never prepared duck at home before and I’m not even sure where to buy it. I just want to try something new, because every Thanksgiving I do turkey, and every Christmas I do ham. It’s time to switch things up, and I plan on making two different sauces for the duck – orange and cherry-chipotle. Not sure of all the side dishes just yet, I just know I want them to be bright, colorful, and with flavors that will complement, not overpower, the sauces.

One side dish will be Hasselback potatoes, because all you really need is a potato and a sharp knife. You don’t even have to peel them if you don’t want to. After slicing, top with butter, spices, cheeses or whatever, and roast in the oven. Once they’re done, top with sour cream and chives, bacon bits, salsa or just salt and pepper.

If you want, sub sweet potatoes for the white potatoes and top with a brown sugar and maple glaze.


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Stir together the butter, olive oil, chives and some salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Place a potato between the handles of 2 wooden spoons or 2 chopsticks. Slice the potato into thin slices, leaving 1/4 inch at the bottom unsliced; the spoon handles will prevent you from slicing the potato all the way through. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
  4.  Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and brush on the butter mixture, making sure to get in between all the slices. Bake until tender and crisp, 55 to 60 minutes.

New Uses for Old Sweaters, by Leslie J. Ansley

Leg warmers, had warmers, mittens, hats, pillows …  there are dozens of uses for your old sweaters, and you can turn them into gifts as well. Just a few ideas:

For this project you will need:

  • An old sweater with ribbing around then bottom
  • Matching thread
  • needle
  • scissors
  • A hat the same size as the person this new hat is for


  1. Take the hat and place it on top of the bottom of the sweater.  This is your “pattern”.  Cut around the hat.
  2.  Sew a seam along the outer edge.
  3.  Lay hat flat with seam going down the middle, then sew another seam across the top, to give it a rounded look.
  4. Trim any excess material above the seams you’ve sewn.
  5. Turn the hat right-side in, and it’s ready for wearing.

Sweater pillow how-to:

First, cut your sweater to the size of your pillow form (whether square or oblong) and allow an extra inch of material all around. Turn the knit material inside out and stitch it together with a sewing machine on 3 ½ sides.  Turn right side out and stuff opening with pillow form, then hand stitch the remaining opening closed.

To make a pair of sweater mittens you will need:

  • An old sweater
  • Paper
  • A pen or pencil
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing pins
  • A sewing machine (optional)


  1. Trace your hand on a piece of paper. Lay one of your hands (doesn’t matter which one) on a piece of paper with your fingers together, and your thumb out at the side – just like you’re wearing a pair of mittens. Then, trace around your hand.
  2. Create a patter for your sweater mittens. Add a half-inch all the way around your traced hand to allow for seams and an inch or more at the bottom of the mitten to create a cuff. Make any other necessary tweaks to your mitten design before finalizing your pattern. Note: If you have a pair of mittens that fit you especially well, you can use them as your pattern. Just trace around one of the mittens, and add in the allowances for seams and cuffs.
  3. Pin the mitten pattern to the sweater. Cut out your mitten pattern and pin it to the front of the sweater. For a nice, finished cuff, line up the bottom edge of your pattern with the bottom edge of the sweater.
  4. Cut out the first sweater mitten. Cut around the pattern to create the first mitten shape. This will give you two mitten-shaped pieces of fabric.
  5. Cut out the second sweater mitten. Flip the mitten pattern, and pin it to another section of the sweater. Then, cut around the pattern to create the second mitten.
  6. Flip the mittens and pin. Flip the mittens inside out, and pin together.
  7. Sew the mittens together. Stitch around the edge of both mittens, leaving a quarter-inch seam allowance. Then, flip them right-side out, and your mittens are ready to wear.
  8.  If you want, add buttons, bows or flowers made from felt pieces for extra flair.

“What I Love About the Holidays”

by Arvian Nelson Duval

Sister Arvian shares a song and thoughts about the holiday season.

What do YOU love about the holidays?

Send us your thoughts in written or video form and we’ll share it right here. Email your story to Leslie Ansley. Please include a photo if you have one. If you have a short video to share, upload it to Leslie’s Dropbox via this link.  Pleasant Holidays continues through Sunday, December 25.