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This week

20 Below

Several years ago it was really, really cold and I was in Autozone buying 100 cans of Fix-A-Flat so I would be ready for Christmas Eve services at Hope and I saw some "20 Below windshield wiper fluid". I was always leaving home at 5am with my windows frosted, so I thought this stuff would be great. I could get in my truck, turn on the wipers, squirt some "20 Below" on my windshield, frost would melt, drive off. So Christmas Eve came, all the services were over and I was getting ready to go turn off all of the generator lights we had placed in all of the dark spots and go home. I got in my truck and the windshield was all frosted over, just like I thought, but I've got my windshield wiper tank full of "20 Below" …. I'm ready… I'm so smart I can hardly stand it. I turned on my wipers, squirt some "20 Below" and a thick sheet of ice forms on my windshield. The more I squirt the thicker it gets. Maybe they should call it "20 above"... oh well! .. So off I go, defrost blowing full blast, side window down with my head sticking out like a dog. When you do stuff like that, people worry about you. I was very awake when I got home.

One of the things I like about doing Christmas Eve at Hope is that I almost always get home after midnight, Christmas morning. That way I get to see Christmas morning 2 times, one before I go to bed and again when I wake up. The funny thing, sorry I can't help it, is the first thing I do when I walk in the door is go look to see if Santa came.  Santa is all about hope.

Gods like that. He puts us in places where we're riding around with our head sticking out the window, with people pointing at us. It feels strange, but its part of the adventure.  Life is too short to worry about how it looks… God is all about hope.. Happy New Year..

Maybe I can get a hair dryer that runs off a car battery or one of those blow torch things. Why do they put defrost wires in the rear window but not in the front? Maybe I just need to learn to drive backwards till the front window clears????


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes:

I love chicken pot pie, and this first recipe is great, It is so simple: One pan, store bought cooked chicken, store bought stock, plain bread. All you do is chop up an onion, 2 carrots, and some mushrooms. The bottom is a vegetable pot pie, a little harder to make.

One thing I'm going to start doing it adding the Keto version of the recipe. Several people have told me they have problems finding normal recipies that are Keto friendly. Truth is almost any recipe is Keto friendly with a few changes.

One skillet Chicken pot pie

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 pound mushrooms, stemmed, caps thinly sliced (buy them already sliced)

2 carrots, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (Keto: use 3 tbsp of cream cheese + 1 cup of grated cheese instead)

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

2 tablespoons Madeira (optional, but adds lots of flavor)

2 cups whole milk (Keto: use Cream instead)

3 cups shredded chicken (from a rotisserie chicken)

1/2 cup frozen baby peas

Eight 1-inch-thick slices of bakery white country bread (about 1 pound), any kind of bread works. (Keto: use several handfuls of grated cheese instead)

Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425°.

In a large ovenproof nonstick skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.

Add the onion, mushrooms and carrots and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Stir in the paprika

Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minute. You want to get the flour mixed in well so that you don't have lumps.. The flour is what thickens the sauce. You also want to cook the flour so that your sauce does not taste starchy.. (Keto: Skip)
Add the stock and Madeira and cook, stirring, until blended. Add the milk(Keto: cream) and bring to a gentle boil. Boil for 1 minute .. Boiling makes the flour thicken the sauce. 

Stir in the chicken and peas and season with salt and pepper.

Taste! Taste! Taste! … re-season

Remove from the heat.

(Keto: stirr in the Cream Cheese + Grated Cheese)

Arrange the bread over the chicken mixture, trimming it to fit snugly in a single layer. (Keto: sprinkle the grated cheese over the top to cover)

Drizzle a little olive oil over the bread and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the bread is golden. (Keto: cheese is golden brown)

Serve right away.


Here's one for vegetable lovers (all of the vegetables are optional, just add more of something else. You can peel most everything with a standard potato peeler):

Vegetable Pot pie And Biscuits

1 pound parsnips, peeled , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (Keto: Broccoli instead)

1 pound brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise

1/2 pound pearl onions, peeled and halved (see Note below)

1 medium head of cauliflower (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch florets

1 large celery root (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces(Keto: Mushrooms instead)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

20 sage leaves, plus 1 teaspoon chopped sage

6 thyme sprigs, plus 1 teaspoon chopped thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 1/2 cups milk (Keto: Cream instead)

1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion

5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (Keto: 1/4 Cream cheese + 1 cup grated cheese instead)

1/2 cup heavy cream(Keto: skip)

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Store bought biscuits (Keto: grated cheese)

1 large egg, beaten (optional - just used to gloss the tops of the biscuits)

Preheat the oven to 425°.

In a large roasting pan, toss the parsnips, brussels sprouts, pearl onions, cauliflower and celery root with the olive oil. Add 6 of the sage leaves and 4 of the thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper. (keto: add all veg to this mix)

Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned in spots.  

Discard the sage leaves and thyme sprigs. And transfer to a large bowl.

Lower the oven temperature to 375°.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the milk with the chopped onion, parsley, 6 of the sage leaves and the remaining 2 thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Cover and let stand off the heat for 15 minutes. Strain the milk; rinse out the saucepan. (You are making onion flavored milk)

Melt the butter in the saucepan.

Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until golden, about 2 minutes. (You are making a Roux to thicken the sauce.. Don't let it burn!. ) (Keto: skip)

Add the strained milk to the saucepan, reduce the heat to low and whisk until very thick, about 10 minutes.  (This is a béchamel sauce.. or white gravy as we say in the south.  Onion flavored.) (Keto: we're not making béchamel sauce, we're just adding cream cheese, so just add the onion cream to the mixture)

Whisk in the chopped sage and thyme and the heavy cream and season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper.

(Keto: Add the cream cheese + Grated cheese)

Fold the sauce into the roasted vegetables. (That means pour it over the top and with a big spoon or spatula get under the vegetables and pull them over the top of the sauce. Do this several times until the sauce is pretty well mixed in.. The point here is to not break up the vegetables, but at the same time to cover them with sauce.

Spoon the vegetable mixture into eight large, 4-inch-wide ramekins and top with the unbaked Biscuits. (you could also put this in a baking dish or iron skillet … everything is cooked and hot already. All you are really cooking is the biscuits that are on top.) (Keto: top with grated cheese)

Brush the tops of the biscuits with the beaten egg and press the 8 remaining sage leaves onto the biscuits (optional - this is just for show). (Keto: skip)

Bake the potpies in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes until the biscuits are golden and risen and the filling is bubbling. (Keto: until Cheese is golden brown)

Let the potpies cool slightly, then serve.

MAKE AHEAD: The recipe can be prepared through the part where everything is mixed together (before you put it in the ramekins) …. and refrigerated overnight. Return the vegetables to room temperature before baking. Then Spoon vegetable mixture in to ramekins/baking dish/iron skillet…etc

NOTES To peel pearl onions, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Let cool, then peel off the skins.



How about saving a kid's life!!

When you give Platelets it's like giving St Jude $700 - $1000. If we don't give them, they have to buy them.

Giving Platelets is like giving blood, it just takes longer (1 1/2 hours) and you get all of your blood back (so you can do it every week if you want) . I know it's a long trip to go all the way down to St Jude, but you may be saving a kid's life . plus you get to watch a movie while you're there. Call Kim at 901.595.2024 and she'll setup an appointment and treat you like family. Just tell her you're from Hope.

Directions: From Poplar, turn north on Third Street, then right on Lauderdale/Jackson Ave (first right after you go under the expressway). Enter through the north guard gate (you'll see the Danny Thomas Pavilion. Gold top).

Tell the guard at the gate that you are here to donate blood. The guard will instruct you where to park. You will then enter the hospital by the red side door closest to the blood donor parking lot. The Blood Donor Center is in the southwest corner of the hospital on the ground floor.

Appointment times are generally available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Except on Tuesdays they start at 9:15am.

See you this weekend. Bring a friend. It's going to be great!!!


Posted by Mack Oates at 9:52 AM