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Mack's Corner

This Week

The Finger

I got up One Monday morning just like normal and realized that my finger on my right hand looked like somebody had pumped it up in the middle of the night without telling me. It looked like it was going to explode. I went to the doctor and she said it was infected and gave me some antibiotics and said it would be fine in a few days. No scratch, no bites, no cuts, no hangnail, no reason … it just got infected … how does that happen?  Of course, I'm right-handed. I can't button my shirt, I can't open a ketchup packet, can't put on my gloves… the only thing that doesn't hurt is to be still, ice helped a little. I can't open a jar of pickles, can't get my wallet out, can't tie my shoes, can't un-clip my cell phone, and it's a sheer act of will to tuck in my shirttail. Every time I tuck, that finger rubbed against something. Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooouch .. one more tuck … oooooooooooooouch ….. one more …… If I wasn't married, not only would I have looked like a slob, but I would have starved to death. The only way I could find to open a bag of chips was to stomp on it. Try opening a bag of chips with one hand sometime. I guess I could have figured out how to get around all of the problems after a while, people with handicaps do it all the time. I'm always amazed at the way some kids with handicaps adapt, but it would be better to have had my finger back. I needed my finger.

So Friday morning 3:30am I'm in bed and my finger is calling me. "Get up, let's go to the emergency room …… get up!.....get up! ….get up! …" ..I could hear the Jaws music, with my finger throbbing to the beat …. "Get up! … get up! ……" …… OK, I'm going …  Went to the ER, the doctor comes in "Yep, seen that before, it's infected. You're taking the wrong antibiotic. I'll fix you right up"  He comes back and puts my finger to sleep, life is good, jaws is gone. He relieves some of the pressure, wraps it up, new meds  .. home by 5am …. Just in time for breakfast and a 4 hour nap.

God's like that: We think we don't really need him, that we can adapt and do OK on our own. But there's so many things we just can't do very well, and some things we can't do at all without him. I don't mean spiritual things, I mean everything. God made us so that he was part of each of us. He affects what we think, how we react, our emotions, our skills, our relationships, everything. If he's not there then he affects everything that way too. He's always calling us "Let me in, I can help …. Let me in"… what's you going to do?

So to get my shirttail tucked I was thinking about reverse or upside down suspenders. You could clip them on the bottom of your shirttail and then stand on the stretchy part while you pull your pants up. Then your shirttail is automatically tucked in. The only problem would be walking. With each step, your shirt would go down on the right and back up, then down on the left and back up. You would look like you had monkeys bunji jumping in your pants ….. maybe not?


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

Mediterranean Diet:

Normally Cajun food does not translate to Mediterranean, but it's really pretty easy. All you have to do it use olive oil instead of butter and use pureed low fat cottage cheese instead of cream. You can also use pureed low fat cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese..  this recipe is all prep work.. you don't have to do it perfectly, just chop it up the best you can, don't spend a lot of time… Cajun food is rustic, it's not supposed
to be pretty..

Crawfish Etouffee from the Bon Ton Café in New Orleans… Mediterranean Style:



4 slices bacon, finely chopped (freeze your bacon. It's easier to chop if it's frozen)

8 tbsp. unsalted butter (Mediterranean = 8 tbsp olive oil instead)

6 scallions, finely chopped (green onions)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (lay a clove of garlic down. Lay the side of your knife on top of it and whack the knife to smash the garlic clove. The peeling will come right off. Now chop it up… have fun

2 stalks celery, finely chopped (cut slices long ways holding the stalk together, then cut across… done

1 yellow onion, finely chopped (cut off top end. Then cut in half, top to bottom leaving root intact. Peel off outer layer. Lay onion down on flat side and cut slices from root to top, leaving root intact, uncut. Now cut across… do the same to the other half.. The root will hold it together for you while you cut.. nice huh?

1 large tomato, finely chopped (cut off top and bottom, then cut from top to bottom down the middle. Lay it down on the flat side and chop… (always try to create a flat side when you chop anything. It always makes it safer and easier to cut.)

1 green bell pepper, minced (cut in half top to bottom down the middle. Pull out the seed pod in the top on both sides. Lay the side of the pepper down SKIN SIDE DOWN. The skin side is the tough side. It's much easier to cut from the inside out to the skin side. Cut slices, the turn and cut across the slices.)

1 ½ tsp. finely chopped thyme (get the thyme sprig, pinch and slide your fingers from top to bottom down the sprig. The leaves will come right off.)

1 tsp. paprika

½ tsp. cayenne pepper (this may be too much?? Start with less if you want and add more after you taste it.)

2 bay leaves (optional . be sure you remove before you serve it… don't want anybody eating bay leaves.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup flour

2 ½ cups fish or chicken stock

2 lb. parcooked peeled crawfish tails or precooked shrimp

1/3 cup heavy cream butter (Mediterranean = 1/3 cup of pureed cottage

3 tbsp. Original Louisiana hot sauce, plus more for serving

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish (optional, this is just for looks)

Cooked white rice (see recipe below)

Heat bacon in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat until rendered, 3 minutes. (drain off all the bacon fat if you want).. Add butter (olive oil), scallions, garlic, celery, onions, tomatoes, and peppers; cook until soft, 7 minutes. Stir in thyme, paprika, cayenne, bay, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in flour; cook 2 minutes. (stir flour in well so you don't have lumps. This is the thickener.) Add stock and bring to a boil (you must boil for the flour to thicken the sauce); reduce heat to medium and cook until reduced by one-third, 12 minutes. Add crawfish; cook until hot. Stir in cream (purred cottage cheese), hot sauce, Worcestershire, and parsley; serve with rice and more hot sauce.

Basic Rice Recipe:

Cooked rice:
2 cups of rice in a 2 qt sauce pan. Jasmine rice is best (Asian markets- very cheap).. Enough water to cover by 1 inch (one knuckle) Bring to a boil, cover and put on the lowest heat you can get .. if you don't have a heat diffuser put a skillet on the burner and put the sauce pan in the skillet .. cook for 18 min or until rice is fluffy and tender .

Stir in 2 tbsp of butter and a little salt and pepper ... taste it, smell it .. great isn't it ..

There you go Cajun/Mediterranean with 2 simple changes. You could also trade out the crawfish/shrimp for any cooked fish like pan fried salmon or poached salmon. Also this dish totally changes if you simply leave out the bacon, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Maybe add curry powder instead.


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 9:45 AM