Thursday, December 22, 2016


  This recipe comes from www.tastofhome.com .  Not just chocolate but peppermint too.  What two candies could you think of that would go better.  The taste of white chocolate and the breath freshening power of a peppermint candy cane.

White Chocolate Peppermint FudgeWhite Chocolate Peppermint Fudge Recipe

White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge Recipe

  " Make many batches of this minty fudge to give as Christmas gifts. It's not too sweet, so it appeals to lots of palates. "                                   

This recipe is:

  • 81 Servings
  • Prep: 10 min. Cook: 10 min. + chilling


    • 1-1/2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup butter, softened, divided
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 12 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
    • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
    • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
    • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract


    • Line a 9-in. square pan with foil. Grease the foil with 1-1/2 teaspoons butter; set aside.
    • In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, sour cream and remaining butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a rapid boil; cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 234° (soft-ball stage), about 5 minutes.
    • Remove from the heat; stir in white chocolate and marshmallow creme until melted. Fold in peppermint candy and extract. Pour into prepared pan. Chill until firm.
    • Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Gently peel off foil; cut fudge into 1-in. squares. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 pounds.

    Editor's Note: We recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.

    White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge Recipe

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        If you are looking to spend Christmas in Spain you may want to plan on spending a month there because Christmas in Spain is a very religious holiday which starts on the 8th of December and celebrations last until the 6th of January.  The  festivities for Christmas in Spain start on December 8th, which is also a national holiday in Spain, celebrating "Immaculada"...the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  In  Sevilla (Seville), one celebration is the "Dance of the Six" and in Caceres the young children of the town dress in jeweled clothing and holds a figure of the Virgin Mary as high in the air as they can run through the streets.
       In Spain, Christmas Eve is known as "Nochebuena", meaning the Good Night.  It is a huge candlelight celebration which consists of a magnificent feast and going to mass at midnight.  One of the most beautiful masses is the Mass of the Rooster, held at a mountain monastery at Montserrat, the boys choir is believed to be one of the best in Spain.  In Labastida, shepherds enter the church carrying lambs and female shepherdesses carry a representation of the Christ child.




       Celebrating Christmas Day in Spain is not the big gift giving holiday; it is really a day for celebrations, family gatherings and going to church.  Children may receive a small gift.  One tradition is to build bon fires called Hogueras, which are believed to protect against illness.
       December 28th is the day they celebrate El dia de Los Santos Inocentes, which is the feast of the holy innocents and is almost the same as April Fool's day here in America, where everyone goes around playing pranks or tricks on each other.  One big difference however is that one child from a village or town is elected to be mayor for the day and they get to tell people what to do, like sweep the streets or clean up the town.  If you don't do it, you have to contribute something to the celebration.  If you should happen to catch someone playing a trick make sure you call out "Inocente"!


         El dia de Reyes,  celebrated on January 6th, is actually the big Christmas celebration in Spain and the one that ends the holiday season.  It is the traditional visit of the Three Kings, Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar.  It too,  is a day of festivities and gathering and it's also the big gift giving day.  On the eve of Epiphany, January 5th, children will fill their shoes with grass, grain and carrots for the kings camels and put them on their doorstep, in the hope that the kings will leave gifts around their shoes.  Balthazar is believed to be the bringer of the gifts, so he is the children's favorite.
       Once you arrive for your Christmas in Spain celebration, there are several options for getting to various cities or towns, flying in Spain is cheap and a fast way to get from one major city to another.  Another method is by train, the system is very dependable and easy, but all lines lead to Madrid ( the capital of Spain), which means you may have to go out of your way to get to your destination,  and trains are not available in all cities.


        Buses are the most popular means of transportation and believe it or not, they are often faster than taking the train.  Since they are in high demand , the prices are affordable, comfortable and dependable.  Taking a ferry is also sometimes an option depending what area you are looking to visit.  Renting a car is also an option, however unless you are familiar with laws and have a valid license to drive in Spain.  It really is not a good option.  Driving in Spain could be hazardous and road conditions are poor so unless you know what you are doing and where you are going, public transportation is the best way to get around.
       Celebrating Christmas in Spain is a wonderful and extremely festive experience and it doesn't seem to matter where you go, having a great time will be unavoidable.




        Christmas parades can be seen in cities and towns nationwide.  The parades help usher in Christmas.
       Christmas parades can be small with just a few floats, and a couple of bands, or very large with a lot of floats, several bands, clowns, assorted groups, and cars carrying important people from the community.  But whether the Christmas parades are small or large in size doesn't matter, it's what is at the end of the parade that makes all the difference and that would be Santa Claus!  Seeing Santa Claus means the Christmas season is here!
       Christmas parades have been going strong for 90+ years.  When Christmas parades first started it was more of a way for people who lived in small towns to get together and socialize with each other while watching a very short parade.  The parades were something the communities looked forward to every year.
       One such Christmas parade in California started in 1928.  It was one of the smallest parades ever.  There was only one actress and Santa Claus with his live reindeer.  This Christmas parade was named "The Santa Claus Lane Parade", and it kept that name for many years.

    Early years when it was Santa Claus Lane Parade


       The Santa Claus Lane Parade was and is a located in Hollywood, California.  The parade went down Hollywood Boulevard.  This street was decided on because the city wanted to attract families and shoppers to this area during the holiday season.  That idea worked out very well and is still the route for the Christmas parade today, which is 81 years later.
       During the 1930's, 40's, and 50's, the Santa Claus Lane Parade really grew.  There started to be a number of Hollywood movie stars that were part of the Christmas parade and helped support it.  Some of the early stars to be in the parade were Bette Davis, Gene Autry, Mary Pickford, and Angie Dickinson, just to name a few.
       By the 1960's and into the late 70's, the Christmas parade was getting quite large.  There were more and more movie stars and athletes riding in the parade.  There were more floats, bands and clowns than ever before.  There was even a variety of animals that graced the parade route.


    Larry King and Newest wife

       In the late 1970's, it was decided that there needed to be increased excitement surrounding the parade and the glamour of Hollywood needed to be brought to everyone.  This was done in three ways.  First, the name of the parade was changed from the Santa Claus Lane Parade to "The Hollywood Christmas Parade".  The second this to happen was the broadcasting of the parade on station KTLA, so that people could watch it from home.  The third thing was the parade route was lengthened to include Sunset Boulevard.  These were all great decisions as they are still working today.
       Today, "The Hollywood Christmas Parade" is star studded.  There are more movie stars, athletes, and entertainers then ever before.  There are equestrians, lots of bands that come from all over, numerous floats and of course Santa Claus, to finish up the parade and start the Christmas season.

    Santa and friend


       The Hollywood Christmas Parade, even though it's fun to watch and is very magical and glamorous, it still has educated the public about Hollywood and the interaction Hollywood has with the people of the United States.
       Here is something to remember.  Gene Autry wrote the famous song that was named after the Santa Claus Lane Parade.  So, every time you hear the song "Here Comes Santa Claus", you will know it's about The Hollywood Christmas Parade and the children wating to see Santa Claus.



       Why is Rudolph's nose red???

        It's no wonder Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer is the most famous member of Santa's team...on top of being a skilled flyer, his nose, as his name suggests, glows bright red.  This unusual variation on the reindeer nasal prominence could have all kinds of benefits, the most important of which would involve guiding Santa's sleigh.
       According to folklore, if the weather's ever bad on Christmas Eve, Santa's cleared for flight by the FAA, for that matter...thanks to the brightness of Rudolph's nose.
       But how does Rudolph's nose actually work?  How could one reindeer create a light bright enough to lead a sleigh through darkness and inclement weather?  And how could a reindeer actually develop a red nose?
       Although no one may ever know for sure just how Rudolph got his unusual nose, I have what could be the most logical explanation for how the doe-eyed deer guides Santa's sleigh: science.

    Rudolph's Bioluminescence

      Rudolph could use something many organisms use on Earth in order to create natural light...a neat little scientific trick call bioluminescence.  Animals can make their own light by mixing certain chemical compounds together to produce a glow.  The reasons vary...fireflies, for instance, flash light at each other in order to attract mates, while some fish that live very deep in the ocean use light to locate prey.
       There would be three parts to his nasal beacon.  The first would be just like any other reindeer nose (so playmates technically shouldn't have shunned him from any reindeer games in the first place).  He would breathe oxygen through it, and it would be made up of two layers...the dermis, the thick, inner layer of skin that contains blood vessels and hair follicles, and the epidermis, the thin, outer layer that you can see and touch.  The other two parts, however, would set Rudolph apart from all the other reindeer.
       The second part is a thin, enclosed layer of a light-producing organ between the dermis and epidermis.  Inside this layer is luciferin, a light-producing substance, and luciferase, an enzyme that catalyzes the light-producing reaction.

       The third part is where the "red nosed reindeer" part comes in.  Most bioluminecent life forms, like fireflies, produce green light.  The outermost part of Rudolph's nose, however, would be a red phosphorescent layer...once the light-producing organs, providing enough reactions for long, intensely shiny bursts of light.
       But why is Rudolph the only reindeer with a nose that glows?


    Rudolph and Evolution

       So we know that Rudolph stands out a bit from other reindeer, but how could something like this have happened??...Could Santa be some kind of a mad scientist, tweaking reindeer DNA for his own benefit, or could Rudolph's nose be a biological accident?
       It's possible that Rudolph's bright honker could be a reindeer atavism, But what's an atavism???
       An atavism is a trait of distant ancestors that randomly pops up in modern-day organisms...a whale with legs or a human with a tail are two examples.  These traits may have served a purpose for the animal way back when, but for whatever reason the trait was "silenced" over time, every once in awhile making a rare triumphant return in modern times.  Could distant reindeer ancestors of Rudolph have needed to produce light in order to survive in the wild?  You'll find most reindeer in Scandinavia, and it does get pretty dark there during the winter...so could Rudolph's ancestors have needed a better way to get around at night?

       But that doesn't explain why only Rudolph has a bioluminescent nose.  When we look closer at Rudolph's childhood, however, it could be that his bright nose was a rapid evolutionary adaptation.  It's possible that the real reason Rudolph couldn't play in all those reindeer games was due to his poor eyesight...he developed the red nose in order to compensate, and it just happened to save Christmas when Santa really needed it.
       Although his playmates treated him like a misfit in the beginning, Rudolph actually proved himself to be the stronger specimen.  Determined to excel, he could have adapted out of necessity.  The question now is whether or not future generations of reindeer could also take on Rudolph's unique traits.