Saturday, January 25, 2014

So this happened

So I am constantly on the hunt for Olivia shaped things. Because, well, I am obsessed. And also, when you have such shaped dog it feels like a huge accomplishment to find something that looks like her. So imagine my glee when I found this dog ornament over at Pretty sweet.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Why I Love Obamacare

When I took a new job in September my job and my pay improved but my benefits got worse. Not only that, but I was now the one hunting for health plans for my employees.

I always needed to find insurance through an employer or other group plan because most insurance covers deems my scoliosis (which will probably never need surgery) to be a pre-existing condition.. I've been outright denied coverage twice and told by another insurance company that they would cover me but exclude any coverage relating to my back and charge me an extra 40%. What the extra 40% was for I will never know. Further, pre-Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") I also got charged, on average, about 10% more than Truman...just because I have a vagina. Good times.

So when I moved to my new company Truman and I suddenly had $1200 deductibles (each) and I paid about $300 a month for his health insurance. Thanks to the ACA I changed my work's group plan and Truman is now enrolled as an individual (something we couldn't do before January 1st because I was worried his allergies would be deemed a pre-existing condition).  Me and my employees have $500 deductibles and our co-pays are half of what they were before and the company is saving more than $100 a month in premiums and we qualify for tax credits. Yes, I gave my employees better insurance and it's costing our company less each month. As forTruman, even though we don't qualify for any tax credits (we're luck to have really great jobs) we now pay about $250 a month for him and he has no deductible at all. $50 less each month for our family and way better coverage. Pretty exciting stuff.

There's no shortage of totally bogus claims roaming the internet about how Obamacare has ruined someone's life. Frankly, most those claims are totally fabricated. Ones like this one that has run through my facebook feed like wildfire, can't be verified or re-created at all. The facts provided just don't jive with how the health exchanges work. When President Obama said that you can keep your plan if you like it I don't think he realized how many people were on really terrible plans that really weren't insurance (they didn't cover hospital stays or had low coverage limits) and that those people didn't realize how useless those plans were (for a really wonderful overview of this problem you should check out this article about the junk insurance plans the ACA is protecting us from). As Mother Jones points out, what President Obama should have said was, "Those of you who obtain insurance on the individual market can keep your plans unless it's the sort of rip-off plan the ACA will forbid. Otherwise, you will be offered new option that actually give you decent coverage at a decent price."

I represent one family and one business that is incredibly thankful to the much needed updates to our health insurance if only if we could continue heading in the right direction.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Yummy Winter Food's winter in Colorado...which I think is freakin' freezing (but if you're from anywhere other than California or possibly Florida you would probably think it's quite lovely). Here are the tasty dinners we've made in the last few weeks that are keeping us warm. 

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup
We made this soup tonight and it was delicious. Original recipe can be found here

Here's what we used:
2 cloves of garlic 
2 table spoons of olive oil 
2 cans of condensed tomato soup (the smaller ones)
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (we used the ones in that come in oil)
2 cups of half and half 
2 cups of chicken broth 
1 tsp onion powder
couple sprinkles of rosemary 
1 tsp of oregano 
1 tsp of basil 
Sal and Pepper for taste 
1 9 ounce package of fresh sausage tortellini

What to do:
1. Saute garlic with the olive oil in a dutch oven (but really any large pot would do) medium heat until golden brown. Honestly, I totally burned the garlic the first time (that pot heats up quickly!) a little past golden is totally fine. 2. Add tomato soup, tomatoes, half and half, chicken broth and spices and bring to a simmer. 3. The original recipe said to drop the tortellini into the soup and cook according to the package directions. We had some folks with dietary restrictions so I cooked the tortellini separately (while continuing to simmer the soup) and added it to bowls individual (we also did a gluten free pasta). I was glad I let the soup simmer the whole time because it definitely thickened up in the last 5-10 minutes.

No Bean Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili 
A friend posted this Skinny Taste recipe on facebook and I thought it looked interesting. It turned out great and I love that it wasn't bad for us. The original recipe claims it's only 235 calories per serving. 

What you need:
1 package of turkey (a little over a pound)
1/2 a chopped onion 
3 cloves of crushed garlic 
10 oz can of Rotel with green chilies 
8 oz of tomato sauce 
3/4 cut water
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika 
1 bay leaf 
1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
cilantro for garnish

What to do:
1. Toss the cumin on the turkey and brown it in a large skillet. 
2. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. 
3. Add the can of Rotel tomatoes, sweet potato, tomato sauce, water, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and bay leaf.
4. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until potatoes are soft and cooked through, about 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup more water if needed. Remove bay leaf and serve.