Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My 1976 Indian Costume

Me in 1976
My 1976 Indian Costume

Actually, this wasn't really my costume.  I grew up in small town Canada and was so blessed to have my cousins living beside us.  It was like having 2 older brothers & 1 older sister.  One of the perks of having close relatives living next door was "hand-me-downs".  This costume was originally worn my my cousin, then by me and followed a few years later by my darling baby sister. 

Little did we know then that we actually have in us some Indian blood.  A few years ago I found out that we (my cousins, my sister & myself) are related to Chief Pontiac - he was our 5th great grandfather.  I have since learned about "The Three Fires" - this was a "networking" of 3 different tribes: The Odawa (Ottawa), Ojibwa (Chippewa) and Potawatomi.  These 3 tribes shared similar language and customs and would therefore marry each other.  Chief Pontiac was from the Ottawa tribe and he married "Woman Canoe Paddler" from the Ojibwa tribe (actually he had many wives in his life but she is the wife that I am related to).  I could go on and on but I don't want to bore you - family history is usually only interesting to those in that family.

Chief Pontiac - Picture from "Yahoo Images"
 I know that many people are offended by "Halloween" - so no offense intended to anyone - but I wish all of you a safe and enjoyable Halloween!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Think Good Thoughts

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you."  Philippians 4:8

What we put into our minds is just as important (if not more important) than what we put into our physical bodies.  Have you ever heard the modern "new age" saying that you must heal your "body, MIND and soul"? - well that isn't a new age concept - it has been twisted and distorted by the "new age movement" but this is Biblical.  In the Scripture above we learn how important our thoughts are and what God desires us to think about.

The following is nutrition for our mind:

TRUE - factual, correct & exact
"The truth will set you free" and also with your mind - if you focus on the truth - your mind will be free and won't be bogged down with the stress and worry of lies.

NOBLE - honorable, principled, moral, decent & self-sacrificing
My high school mascot was the "Nobles" - a knight riding on a horse.  What a positive example for high school students - moral & self-sacrificing - a perfect goal for anyone of any age.

RIGHT - well, healthy, fit
This can also be the same meaning as true but these "good" words are also a meaning of the word "right."  In our society we concentrate so much on our physical appearance & well-being - keeping our weight & cholesterol down that we forget about the fitness of our mind. 

PURE - clean, uncontaminated, unpolluted, unadulterated
Purity is a characteristic that is made fun of in our modern world.  It is also so difficult to keep since we have polluted & contaminated visual stimuli coming at us everyday on TV, the Internet and in ads.  Keeping our mind clean will benefit ourselves and those around us.

LOVELY - beautiful, pretty, divine
My favorite word in this description of lovely is "divine" - to me that means Godly.  Thinking about what God has done for us, is doing for us and the plans that He has for us (past, present & future).

ADMIRABLE - commendable, venerable, worthy
When I think of the word "admirable" I think of the best of the best.  It's something that is respectable and "worth" your time and mental effort.

EXCELLENT - outstanding, brilliant, exceptional, first-rate
PRAISEWORTHY - exemplary, creditable
To me, both "excellent" and "praiseworthy" are basically the same thing.  If I cannot praise God while thinking about a topic then I probably shouldn't be thinking about that topic.

And then we are to put all of these attributes into action and make them good works.
Good, Godly thoughts become Good works of God!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cinnamon Spiced Home Canned Pears

Cinnamon Spiced Home-Canned Pears

This is my spicy twist on the traditional home canned pears.  They can be used in baking or just eaten out of the jar - perfect for a cold winter snack - the spices will warm you! 

To make plain canned pears - simply omit the spices.
This recipe makes 3 to 4 quarts of pears (depending on how tightly you pack the pears)

12 to 14 cups pears (peeled, cut in half & cored) (as seen above I soak the cut pears in water with lemon juice to prevent browning until your syrup has boiled).
10 cups water (filtered preferably)
2 to 3 cups sugar
juice from 1 lemon (2 if you are soaking the cut pears in water before you pack them into your jars - as seen above)
cinnamon (1 stick per jar)
ginger (1 dime size per jar)
whole cloves (3 per jar)
whole peppercorns (about 7 per jar)
cardamom (1 per jar)

Prepare the pears as listed above and count out the spices and place aside until later.  In a large stock pot pour the water, sugar & lemon juice & stir until sugar is dissolved.  Place the pot (syrup) on medium heat and bring to boil.  While you are waiting for the syrup to boil - Gather your canning jars, lids and rings (you will need 3 or 4 quarts). (see Canning Basics - Jar Sizes). Also, gather all other canning supplies: (see Other Canning Supplies).  Start the water boiling for Jar sterilization: (see Sterilizing Jars & Lids) - once it has boiled begin sterilizing your jars.

By now your jars should be sterilized and ready to be filled. Take the jars out of the boiling water (I use my jar remover and make sure that the water is drained out of each jar). Now you will "cold pack" (click to see the difference between Cold Pack & Hot Pack) the pears into each jar. When the jars are half way full - add the spices to each jar and then continue filling the jar with more pears. Ladle the syrup on top of the pears (into each jar) making sure not to go above the bottom of the threads on the jar. Continue filling until all of the jars have been filled. Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth making sure that any syrup residue is gone (any residue left on the rim can stop the jar from sealing). Place a sterilized lid on each jar and then tighten a ring on each jar. Place all jars in a "Water Bath Canner" and process (boil) the filled jars for 30 minutes (make sure that the water level in the Canner is 1 inch above the tallest jar)

After boiling for 30 minutes remove the jars and place them on the counter or table to cool (I always place them on a cloth because there have been a few times when a jar cracked and then the contents oozed out making a mess - the cloth will help if that happens). You will hear the wonderful popping sound of your jars sealing.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Basics - My Social Media Buttons

Thank you for stopping by my blog!  I thought that it was time to have a friendlier way of connecting through the many social networks that are out there today.

Please feel free to click on any of the "buttons" below:


Click to see or "follow" my Pinterest boards - I always follow back!

Click to "follow" me on twitter.  Please send me a sweet tweet so that I can follow you back.


Click to "add me to your circle" and I will add you to my circles.


Click to view my facebook page & "like."  Please add a comment on my board so that I can "like" your page back.

And - you can always email me:

Thank you again and I hope to see you in the digital social world!

(these buttons are also on my sidebar)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oktoberfest Kale & Potato Caserole

Oktoberfest Kale & Potato Casserole

This is one of the easiest dishes to make & it is so festive for the autumn season!

For this recipe I used my own Garden Fresh:
Carrots (click to see Thinning & Mulching)
Potatoes (click to see Planting & Harvesting)
Kale (click to see 4 varieties)

1 jar sauerkraut
2 large onions (peeled & chopped)
2 large carrots (peeled & chopped)
5 medium potatoes (peeled & largely chopped)
3 large Mennonite sausages (sliced into large chunks)
2 cups Kale (washed, deveined & chopped))
ground pepper to taste (No need to add salt there is enough salt in the kraut & sausages)

Prepare the ingredients as listed above.  Spread the prepared onions, carrots, potatoes & sausage pieces in a large sprayed/oiled casserole dish.  Then pour the jar of sauerkraut on top and mix a little (see picture above).  Now add the chopped Kale and stir a little to distribute the Kale throughout the other ingredients (See picture below).  Add ground pepper.  Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 45 minutes (or until the sausages, potatoes and carrots are thoroughly cooked) (If you desire a little crisp around the edges then cover the casserole dish for the first half hour and then you finish baking uncovered).



Monday, October 22, 2012

Frank's Flowers - The "Sunset" Rose

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Frank's Flowers - The Sunset Rose
Click here to learn how to Prune & Trim Roses
Today is my 17th wedding anniversary so I wanted to share with you another flower feature from my father's roses.
Today's Flower Feature is The Sunset Rose.
If you look at the colors in the sunset picture you will notice that this rose shares many of the same colors.  I included a picture below of the back side of this beautiful flower - you can see the bright yellow and that color glows through the middle inside of the flower also - therefore resembling a sunset.

Please ENJOY this digital bunch of "Sunset Roses" !

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Other Roses on this blog:

Linked to:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Old Fashioned Sunday Hymn Sing #2

I miss the old hymns that I remember from my childhood - there were no drums, no electric guitar and no mind numbing beat. It was just voices and maybe a piano or an organ. The choir led the congregation in singing - and the words of these hymns are poetic. I realize that there is a need for the modern "seeker oriented" worship music - but it is also necessary to have deeper songs (no offense intended to anyone who prefers the newer church songs).

I decided to have an "Old Fashion Sunday Hymn Sing" once a month on this blog.
I personally do NOT have a great singing voice - I used to play the guitar & piano but my voice is NOT an instrument. That's the great thing about this digital hymn sing you can warble along without being embarrassed or without offending anyone else.

The hymns that we will be studying are taken from an old hymnal from a Baptist church that is no longer in existence - "The North American Hymnal" published in 1956 by "THE ROGER WILLIAMS PRESS"

I will also try to find a version of the featured hymn on "YouTube" to share with you each month.
Today's feature song is "It Is Well With My Soul" by hymnist Horatio G. Spafford 1828-1888 and composed by Philip P. Bliss 1838-1876. The history of this song is very tragic - Mr. Spafford wrote this hymn after his only son died at the age of 4.  Also, just after losing his son the "Great Chicago Fire" occurred and financially ruined Mr. Spafford.  This isn't the end of his trials - it gets much worse - after the fire the "Spaffords" decided to go to Europe but Mr. Spafford was delayed & sent his wife & 4 daughters ahead of him - the ship sank!! - I'm seriously not making this up.  All 4 daughters died but his wife was saved.  Horatio Spafford wrote these lyrics after all of those horrendous events.
Please listen to the "YouTube" video below - the words in this video for the second verse are different from the version in my hymnal.  The chorus is supposed to be in a 2 part harmony - the part that is in all caps is supposed to be the male voices and the top line is supposed to be for the female voices.

Turn with me to number 408 in your hymnals and let's sing:

It Is Well With My Soul
by Horatio G. Spafford (1828-1888)
1.  When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll;  Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
2.  My sin - oh, the bliss of this glorious thought - My sin - not in part, but the whole, Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
3.  And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, "Even so" - it is well with my soul.
It is well................with my soul.................
                 IT IS WELL                     WITH MY SOUL,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Special thanks to "BigSmallVillage" for posting this hymn on "youTube" 

Other Hymns on this blog:

Linked to:

Friday, October 19, 2012

"Cherry Rose" Sunflower

The "Cherry Rose" Sunflower

This flower is similar to the "Royal Flush" variety from last year - however this beautiful sunflower is much more "cherry" colored.  This variety also has that inner glow as seen in the picture above - it almost looks as if a night light has been plugged into the wall.
ENJOY the following pictures!
All photos were taken by me (Angie Ouellette-Tower) and the sunflowers were all grown in my garden (2012 Sunflower seeds were from Pinetree Garden Seeds).

© (2012)

photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Sunflowers from 2012:

Sunflowers from 2011:

Linked to:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grandma Tower's Chocolate Bread Pudding

Grandma Tower's Chocolate Bread Pudding

I had never heard of Chocolate Bread Pudding before marrying into the "Tower" family.  This is my husband's grandmother's recipe that I suppose was passed down from her mom and so forth.  You should see the brittle piece of vintage paper that has her original recipe in her own hand writing - it says things like: "maybe 2 cups of bread" or "about 1/3 cup sugar" ....etc - she never measured her ingredients - she did everything by sight.  (actually - this is exactly how my grandmother did her baking also - just by sight).  Anyway, my mother-in-law has perfected this recipe over the years and added a little more vanilla and I have (of course) added more cocoa. 

It's very unique - totally different from milk chocolate pudding - it's maybe a little more like very moist brownies.  And it's a great way to use up stale bread.  Don't throw your old bread out to the birds - save it and make this unique dessert!

2 heaping cups of cubed stale bread (cut into cubes - see top small picture above)
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
dash of salt
4 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder (I like strong chocolate flavor)
1 1/2 cups milk

Prepare the bread as described above.  Place the bread cubes in a round Pyrex baking dish (spray or butter the dish first to prevent sticking).  In that baking dish add the egg, sugar, vanilla, salt & milk and stir a little and it should look like the second picture above.  Now add in the cocoa powder and stir a little more until it resembles the third picture above.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

  Allow to cool.  Top with fresh whipped cream.  ENJOY!!

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