Kathy and Ray McNair have been a part of the community for years and both see service as a way to build a future for everyone.
Kathy and Ray McNair have been a part of the community for years and both see service as a way to build a future for everyone.
ay McNair recently retired from his position as Senior Life Program Director at Neshoba General, after serving the organization in several capacities over the past 23 years. The Senior Life program is specially designed to assist persons 55 years of age or older who benefit from this community resource dedicated to assisting patients and families in understanding the common problems associated with psychiatric illnesses in the elderly. The service also helps families learn ways to become a positive support system for their loved one. 

What’s the greatest reward from a long career serving patients?

“I guess it was seeing the patients improve,” says Ray. Over the course of his career which began as a dairy farmer, but made an abrupt change as the industry changed, Ray’s program benefited many individuals and families. 

“We were a 10-bed psychiatric unit and over the course of a year, we’d probably have 150 patients we would treat.” Seeing positive outcomes and improvement in patients was the continuing reward as Ray wore many hats during his career. The experiences with patients led him to appreciate different perspectives, and allowed him to provide service regardless of how a patient might interpret his role. 

Ray says he’ll now begin giving some attention to personal projects he’s put off during that time. This includes building some culinary skills and helping his wife Kathy with her acquisitions for the Born Again Bargains store at 324 Main Street in Philadelphia. This will take a good eye for potential restoration project pieces and a little more travel.

Ray and Kathy McNair have been a part of the Neshoba County community for quite some time. They met through their common field of social work, and it would appear that service-oriented hearts don’t stop at retirement. Both Ray and Kathy see community service as a way to build a better future for all, and their efforts will continue as McNair transitions into retirement.

Kathy McNair manages and operates the Born Again Bargains store, but she sees herself as more of a steward. The store has been in operation since 2006. Donated items are resold and stay in the county with the exception of unsellable items that are then sent to third-world countries. With Ray’s availability opening up, there’s a good chance the couple will get to attend more auctions and bring a wider variety of pieces and items that help members of the community. 

As for cooking, Ray had six sisters growing up and his mother drew a line on the men of the family working in the kitchen. “And that was great for us,” says Ray, who preferred to work the farm along with his brother and father.  

Presently, Ray is quick to distinguish that he likes to “cook to live, I do some basic cooking, but Kathy cooks for great taste!” While basic cooking boils down to hearty breakfasts for Ray,  Kathy’s cooking for great taste was developed and honed for a catering business she once ran. Quick little secrets like using balsamic vinegar in a strawberry glaze, indicate that she knows how to enhance flavors. “I really like everything she cooks,” says Ray, “I’m not hard to please.” 

Retirement may change the McNairs perspectives as it brings new opportunities and challenges, but it appears they will eat well.





KATHY’S CREAM OF?CHICKEN SOUP

1-6 Servings

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup unsalted butter

1 medium Spanish onion, chopped

2 stalks celery (With leaves)

3 medium carrots, chopped

1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon flour

7 Cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned

3 Sprigs parsley

3 Sprigs fresh thyme

1 Bay Leaf

2 1/2 Cups cooked, diced chicken

1/2 Cup heavy cream

2 Teaspoons dry Sherry *

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Melt butter in a large Soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, covered, strring occasionally, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes more.

Pour in the broth and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and Bay Leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the soup.

Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the chicken and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Remove and discard the herb bundle. Whisk in the Hea cream, Sherry, and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Sprinkle top of each serving with the  parsley and serve immediately.



KATHY'S BROWNIE RECIPE

Yield: 20 large brownies

Ingredients:

1 pound unsalted butter

1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate

6 extra-large eggs

3 tablespoons instant coffee granules

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in 2 medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet. ;

Bake for 5 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.



KATHY'S GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE (from scratch)

Serves: 6

Ingredients

3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced

1/2: cup finely chopped yellow onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

12 ounces fresh button or cremini mushrooms, chopped

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup half-and-half

1 cup chicken broth

cup shredded white cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. Trans! fer the LT to a bowl.

Melt the butter in the same skillet and whisk in the flour: Once Sorbied, continue whisking for another 2 minutes until the mixture has slightly deepened in color. Add the half-and-half and chicken broth while constantly whisking to prevent lumps. Once Cole thickened, add the cheese and whisk until melted and combined.

Next add the mushroom/bacon mixture along with the salt and pepper. Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the green beans. Stir to combine.

Pour the bean mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish and sprinkle the French fried onions all ove the top. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Notes:

Preparing in Advance: Everything can be done in advance except for adding the crispy otherwise they'll get soggy. Add those just before baking. Also, let the casserole sit for minutes after removing it from the fridge before baking.



KATHY'S MEATLOAF

Ingredients Nutrition

Servings 4-5

1 lbs ground beef (ground shoulder roast is good)

1 slice bread (broken or chopped finely)

1 egg

1 small vidalia onions or 1 small type sweet onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon table salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoons ketchup

½ - ? cup whole milk or ½ - ? cup half-and-half

Sauce

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 -4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed firm (to taste)

½ cup ketchup

*** “The addition of 1 or 2 teaspoons of Kitchen Bouquet® makes the recipe very good

Directions

Meatloaf: Combine meat loaf ingredients and place into a loaf baking dish.

Smooth out top.

Sauce: Combine sauce ingredients and pour on top and sides of meatloaf.

Bake at 350°F about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until done.

ENJOY!

**Special notes**Recipe should be" plump" from the addition of the milk or Half and Half. It should NOT be runny. A second batch of sauce served hot is good to serve with the dish



KATHY'S KEY LIME POUND CAKE

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

3 cups sugar

6 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lime zest

1/4 cup fresh key lime juice



Key Lime Glaze

1 cup powered sugar

2 tablespoons fresh key lime juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with milk beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch (12-cup) tube pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack.

Prepare Key Lime Glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, fresh key lime juice, and vanilla until smooth. Immediately brush over top and sides of cake. cool completely (about 1 hour).