Mack's Corner

This Week

That's him!!!

Several years ago, before the Sanctuary was built, I used to stand up on the roof of the church to direct the Coneheads (Parking lot guys) in parking cars. I could see the whole parking lot and tell them over the radio where the empty places were. One Sunday a young boy and his mom were walking into church. "That's him mom, I'm telling you that's him"... "No it's not"... "Yes it is, that's him I'm telling you, that's him." .. "No it's not, that is not God, it's just Mack up on the roof". 

I was staying at a hotel. I hate sleeping at hotels. Some people take their pillow from home or a blanket they like, but that doesn't help. It's still a strange bed in a strange room with a strange bathroom and people walking around outside that I don't know and worse of all, clean sheets every night. I hate clean sheets. I don't mind them being clean, I just don't like the way they feel. I think this is a psychological problem from when I was in high school. My mom always insisted that us kids change our own sheets and to be sure that happened she would strip the bed at night, usually on Friday or Saturday night while we were out. We would come home at midnight or later to find the bed stripped with just a stack of folded clean sheets for us to put on the bed in the dark. I think I'm scarred for life...  Anyway, this hotel had those beds that have that Swedish foam designed by NASA.  What a great bed, there is no way to be uncomfortable. I even tried to get uncomfortable, couldn't do it. It forms to your body no matter how you move, it was the coolest thing. I was on my back, on my left side, on my right side, every time I moved I would sink down to the perfect spot and stop. I stayed up half the night I never sleep well in hotels..

God's like that: A lot of people mistake him for other things. They say God is punishing me, or God allowed that to happen, or God bought me a new car. When most of the time we did it ourselves. The cool thing is that God is always ready for whatever we do, he never leaves, he never gives up, he never stops loving us, he always understands. You can't be in a position where God is not there. I'm not saying that you will be happy all the time, I'm saying he'll be there. He's got big plans for you. You get to be part of God's big adventure.

I hardly ever get mistaken for God anymore, it's too much responsibility.


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

Mediterranean Diet:  
(Keto: Sub cauliflower or turnips for potatoes)

Ok, so this is not very Low-Cal but it still fits the Mediterranean Diet. If you don't like heavy cream, you can use low-fat cottage cheese that has been run through a blender, or Plain Yogurt. Might even be better. This wintry dish is a cross between a shepherd's pie and potato gratin. It's got a layer of browned ground beef spiked with onions, sage, and spinach on the bottom, with a cheese and cream root vegetable topping that turns golden and crisp-edged in the oven. If you don't like rutabaga, you can use all potatoes, or a combination of white and sweet potatoes. This gratin reheats well, so feel free to make it ahead and reheat it uncovered in a 350-degree oven. A fresh green salad on the side would round things out nicely. (((Other options: Ketchup, tabasco, Serve with a fried/poached egg on top, Breakfast, Tomato sauce on top)))

Meat and Potato Skillet Gratin - This is from Melissa Clark in the New York Times (((Wednesday Dining Section)))


4 garlic cloves

1 cup heavy cream or yogurt or Cottage cheese run through a blender/food processor

2 thyme branches

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

1 Sage branch - Fresh sage

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed

1 pound ground lean beef

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed

Black pepper, as needed

1 cup thinly sliced onion

3 ounces baby spinach (3 packed cups)

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 pound rutabaga or sweet potato or more potatoes

1/2 pound russet potatoes

4 ounces Gruyère, grated (1 cup)


1. Crush and peel 2 garlic cloves. (((you should have a whole head of garlic. Put the root side on your cutting board and hold the flat side of your biggest knife on top of the head. Then carefully hit the flat side of the knife with your hand (((Hit it HARD, don't be shy, you won't hurt the garlic. Don't cut yourself))) to crush the garlic head. It should fall apart. Separate the cloves. Notice the cloves still have peeling on them. We are going to do the same thing with the cloves. Put one on your cutting board, put the flat side of your biggest knife on top of the clove, and then hit the top flat side of your knife with your hand, crushing the clove. You can now pull the peeling off with your hands.))) 

(((1st way))) 2. In a small pot over medium heat, combine cream, the crushed garlic, the thyme, and the sage branch tablespoon sage. Bring to a simmer; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 30 minutes. Strain and cool. (((This flavors the cream)))

(((2nd way))) 2. IF YOU ARE USING YOGURT OR COTTAGE CHEESE Skip this part (1st way) and do this instead: When you heat the oil in the next step put the oil in the skillet and add the 2 crushed&peeled garlic cloves and 2 whole thyme branches and whole sage branch. Cook till the garlic starts to brown and you can smell the garlic, sage, thyme. Remove the garlic and thyme and sage branches from the skillet and continue to step 3. This will flavor the oil instead of the cream.)))

3. While cream cools, heat oil in an ovenproof 10-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and brown well, crumbling with a fork as it cooks. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper; transfer meat to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining meat, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

4. Add onion to pan drippings (drizzle with oil if the pan seems dry). Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Peel and chop the remaining 2 garlic cloves; add to the pan with remaining sage. Return meat to skillet. Toss in spinach, a handful at a time, until wilted. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, Worcestershire, and pepper to taste.

5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel rutabaga (((with a potato peeler))) and cut in half (((this creates a flat side. Anytime you cut something that is round, cut it in half first to create a flat side that will lay flat on your cutting board and give you a stable way to cut it.))) Slice each half crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Peel potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (((You can cut the potato in half long ways to give you a flat side also))). Layer half the rutabaga and potato slices over the meat, alternating between rutabaga and potato, with slices overlapping one another. Season lightly with salt and pepper; top with half the cheese. Repeat with remaining vegetables and cheese. Spoon reduced cream/yogurt/cottage-cheese evenly over top.

6. Cover skillet tightly with foil and bake until vegetables are very tender 60 to 75 minutes. Uncover and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

YIELD 4 to 6 servings

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 set up 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 online this weekend. It's going to be great!!!


Posted by Mack Oates at 9:18 AM