Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. ~ Katherine Mansfield

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Healthcare for all, and to all a good night.

Gabe and I were talking about healthcare yesterday, and I have to comment on how lucky we are to have it. It's expensive. Like, REALLY expensive. But we have coverage through Gabe's job and it's really good. As with all things in life, you get what you pay for and we have the Cadillac of insurance.

Thank goodness.

In the last 6 months, our insurance has saved us over $150,000. Gabe had open heart surgery in September, I gave birth to Aidan in November, and Jude had his third set of ear tubes put in as well as his adenoids removed at the end of last year. It was a trying time to say the least, but we didn't once have to worry for the quality of our care, or our ability to pay. We could choose the best doctors and facilities because they were all covered under our insurance. We didn't have to weigh the cost of Jude's tubes against the cost of our house payment. For just over $1000 (plus the cost of medications), everything was covered.

When I look at our invoices, I am shocked. For Gabe's hospital stay alone, Blue Cross paid out $16,525. That's huge. But what they saved in negotiated contracts with the hospital was nearly $84,000. That's right - if we did not have insurance we would have been stuck with an invoice for $100,307.42 from Swedish Medical Center. We would have lost everything, in a financial sense, in order to save Gabe's life. And we would have done it without question.

I can't imagine anyone going through what my family went through and opposing a universal healthcare program for America. I dream of a country where families like mine aren't "lucky" because they don't have to worry about the cost of healthcare, they're just grateful.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Let them eat pork!

Since the closest I have come to a gym since my last post is wearing yoga pants to vacuum, I thought that the least I could do was post a healthy dinner recipe. This is adapted from Elizabeth Yarnell's "Glorious One Pot Meals," a book that is used at least twice a week in our home. I can't recommend it enough.

This is a delicious and easy dinner. The sauce is so good that it makes me eat green beans, which I hate. The leftovers are amazing. When we buy the happy-pig humanely raised pork at Whole Foods or Denver Urban Homesteading it is a perfect meal.

Honey Mustard Pork Roast with Vegetable Quinoa (serves 6)

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Lightly coat the inside of an enameled 7-qt dutch oven with olive oil. Place 2 lbs of whole pork tenderloin in dutch oven and season with salt and pepper.

Mix 3/4 cup local honey, 9 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ground cloves. Poor over pork. Put on the lid and place in the oven for one hour.

After an hour, flip the roast and return to the oven for another hour.

After 2 hours, add 4 cups fresh or frozen cut green beans and 6 carrots sliced into coins. Add a little water if the sauce is starting to scorch. Return to the oven for one more hour.

As the third hour draws to a close, prepare 2 cups of quinoa according to package instructions. Remove roast from the oven and place pork on a cutting board to rest. Deglaze the dutch oven with a little bit of water to make a sauce of the vegetables and honey mixture.

Serve quinoa topped with sliced pork roast and the honeyed vegetables.

Domestic bliss

For some reason, I find it embarrassing that I love being home and having an adequate amount of time to devote to my kids, to my house, to learning how to sew. Yes, I am learning to sew. And since I am naturally detail-oriented (possibly to the point of crippling perfectionism), I am finding myself to be pretty good at it. Who'd a thunk?

The biggest thing that I love is having a tangible accomplishment at the end of the day. I can stand in front of the newly uncluttered pantry and just stare at it. I actually open it a few times during the day and it gives me a sense of peace. We bought a new bedding set and it has so transformed our bedroom that making the bed is actually a joy. Not an overstatement there - I love the beauty and order of it. And a well-cooked dinner, created by me while Aidan watches from his bouncy seat as his wacko mama sears meat and dances to The Tallest Man on Earth to make him laugh, feels like a tiny miracle.

More than anything, I love that I can end a day without tomorrow's never-ending To Do list hanging over my head. Sufficient for the day is its own worries. And if I don't accomplish anything other than playing with the boys, which is what happened yesterday, I can rest assured that my day was full since I spent it raising these two amazing children that I happened to have made from scratch.

I do not dismiss my former life...I just don't really miss it.