{ The True Spirit of Christmas }

“If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that His Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve Him and keep His commandments”

Howard W. Hunter

Happy Thanksgiving!!

ThanksgivingWe here at Gracious Rain hope you have the happiest of Thanksgivings and that you eat so much turkey and cranberry sauce and potatoes and pie that you sleep for a week…well, no…then you’d miss all the cool sales tomorrow and that would be would be terribly counter-productive. Maybe, use moderation…

oh, forget it.

So, ok…go eat stuffing.

Dane Thanksgiving 08

My cute little son in Lithuania breaking dry bread for stuffing–8 hours ago–

because HE knows that some traditions must go on, even in a far away land.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip cookies–the EASY version:

1 Spice Cake Mix

1 Regular Can Pumpkin (not the spiced kind, just plain ol’ pumpkin)

1 bag chocolate chips

Mix. Drop on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 about 10 minutes, or until they start getting a bit golden on top.

These are pretty dense. If you want them more fluffy/cakelike, add the eggs the cake mix calls for.


Oh, and you know that extra pie crust dough that you cut off from around your pie, and then feel guilty throwing away? Here’s a great (quick! easy! resourceful!) way to make good use of it.

Break into bite sized pieces…

Brush with milk (or egg whites)…

Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon…

Place on cookie sheet…

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (or so. Keep an eye on it, since your altitude/oven/dough might be different than mine).


Voila! Some simple ways to make use of your leftovers, and yummy enough that you might just be able to keep little (and BIG) fingers out of the stuffing until dinner!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 Spice Cake Mix
  • 1 Can Pumpkin (not the spiced kind, just plain ol' pumpkin)
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  1. Mix.
  2. Drop on a cookie sheet.
  3. Bake at 350 about 10 minutes, or until they start getting a bit golden on top.
  4. These are pretty dense.
  5. If you want them more fluffy/cakelike, add the eggs the cake mix calls for.

Cranberry Sauce Re-visited

I ran out to pick up some frozen cranberries and found, to my dismay, that they don’t actually exist. Mr. Walmart and I did try to find them, but no luck in frozen foods. Then, while wandering around in the produce section, I serendipitously discovered the little red devils sitting innocently enough, right next to the packaged salads. I grabbed four bags, and ran. Well actually, I paid for them and then ran…home…in my car.

I did just what the recipe said and it was a pretty fun adventure. And now, I can honestly say that my sauce tastes better than theirs. The back of the cranberry bag said you can store them in the freezer just the way they are. So, I saved the other three bags for a great winter tonic that we’ll talk about soon.

The Elusive Sieve

The previous post mentions a sieve, so, while at the market, I went to the homey gadgets section and found a colander, a strainer, a sifter, a steamer…but nothing that said the word, “sieve.” So I chose a large mesh wire strainer and crossed my fingers. Turns out–sieve and strainer are about the same thing.

Cranberries have teeny, tiny seeds…about a billion of them, and so what you want is a wire strainer with small mesh. The new one was too big and let all the seeds through. So I re-poured the hot jelly through a smaller one–that I discovered in a drawer. Then, I found an old pointy, metal strainer of my mom’s that would have worked too. Yeah…I’m a noob.

So, now we have three. But don’t you worry. I’ll be totally prepared if another seed extraction project comes along…


I mean when

Happy Cranberries!