Friday, February 5, 2010

On a Lighter Note - Baklava!!!!

The yummiest Greek dessert ever! I've loved this dessert ever since I was a child, having it at Greek restaurants and always wanting to know how this delicious layered dessert is put together, and well, after buying the package of phyllo dough to make the equally delicious spanakopita, there was just enough dough left for such yumminess! Enjoy!

(what remains of said dessert - forgot to take beginning pictures)


1 box of phyllo dough (16 oz)
1 pound chopped nuts (I used walnuts and pecans)
1 cup butter (melted)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla (I used the tsp. of vanilla as well as a tsp of orange extract....for extra yumminess)
1/2 cup honey

- Heat oven to 350
- butter a 9x13 inch pan (i used glass and it worked just fine)
- chop the nuts and mix w/ the cinnamon (set aside)
- place 2 sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly
- sprinkle 2-3 Tbs of nut mix over the top
- place 2 more sheets of dough
- butter thoroughly
- add nut mixture
- Repeat this process until you are almost to the top
- last layer is 6-8 layers of dough, (buttered thoroughly between every 2)
- go ahead and cut into your pieces (whether you want triangles, squares, or rectangles...makes it easier for the sauce to soak in later on)
- place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes

Boil the sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla (and orange extract if you'd like) and honey, simmer for 20 minutes (I suggest making the sauce about half an hour into the dough baking)

Remove the baklava from the over and immediately pour the sauce over the top (it will bubble with deliciousness!) - It is ready to eat when you are!!!!

I hope you enjoy this dessert as much as I do.... :) :)

From One 'Insured' Person to Another

Where has the Health Care Reform Bill gone? Has it been forgotten about? Are the Democrats so scared of an unknown senator from Massachusetts that they've dropped the ball in fear of losing? Do they only have an attitude of 'let's only care about if it it wins'? That's a horrible way to lead a country. I would much rather see a group of people fight so diligently for something they truly cared about and lose rather than see a group of people so scared they might lose that they just give up and go hide in a corner. I want courage in my government. I want someone willing to fight for the American people's well-being in charge, not a bunch of people who chose to cower because of the possibility that their bill will not pass.

Health care reform is a much needed entity in this country. If everyone else who has insurance has the same issues with their insurance that I do, then we really need reform. I currently pay out the wazoo (yes, that is an exact monetary term...heh) for my insurance and can find nobody in my area who will take it. What kind of crap is that? Oh wait, there are a few places who will take it but are not currently taking new patients unless they are pregnant. What!? So basically to get my flu or pneumonia taken care of I have to be knocked up first? Crazy! In a way that's a very irresponsible thing to say to the Georgia public. Apparently, Georgia ranks pretty high in the amount of unwanted pregnancies and now you're telling people that the only way to get a doctor in the area is to be pregnant? Let's reward the irresponsible while we ignore the ones who work their rear-ends off, pay a ton for their insurance, and actually need medical assistance?

Someone suggested I go to the emergency room. Heck no! This was in no way an emergency and the way my insurance is set up, I'd be charged a $100.00 co-pay if I am not admitted because of said 'emergency'. One of the problems in this country is that people are 'forced' to go to the emergency room for non-emergencies. This is due in part to doctor's offices not accepting new patients. An Emergency Room is for an emergency. No wonder it takes hours and hours to be seen in one. There are so many people who go who have no need in being there.

Another issue I have with my insurance is the 'tobacco surcharge'. Don't get me wrong, I understand the logic behind such a charge (those who smoke will need more medical care, etc. than those who don't smoke and will thus cost the insurance company more), but in my case (I can't speak for others) I rarely visit the doctor (with the exception of this go-round of ickiness and even then didn't get to see anyone) and am very rarely sick. How do the insurance companies choose one 'vice' while ignoring all others? Why isn't there an alcohol surcharge (you know, charging more for insurance to those who drink heavily? have liver problems due to alcohol? etc.?) Why isn't there an 'Unhealthy Eating' surcharge? Don't tell me those who consume mass quantities of McDonald's several times a week don't have medical issues. Don't tell me those who eat unhealthily have no health problems. I mean, this is crazy.

Some have told me that it's because there is no good that comes out of cigarettes and all the other 'issues' I've discussed at least have one positive verses all the other negatives. I have to disagree. Nicotine is a drug, albeit a legal one. Ibuprofin, acetametophin, and all other pain killers are drugs as well and people do get hooked on them. But guess what, there's not a surcharge for those. What I'm trying to say is the effect that nicotine has on me is the same effect those medications have on people. They have aches and pains and they take away the pain. I have stress and the desire to pull out my hair, and well a cigarette produces enough serotonin to make me happy. I know this is a weak argument, but all I'm trying to say is that why punish one negative life-choice while not punishing all of the others? I can smoke a pack a day and will show up to work wide awake and ready to start the day. An alcoholic will drink however many six packs and then the next morning call their boss to tell them they won't be in that morning because they're feeling sick.....So you tell me, which of the two has a more negative outlook on someone's life?

Anyway, I truly believe that health care in this country needs to be reformed. I think that insurance companies should regulate the doctor's offices that 'accept' their insurance (especially seeing as I've learned that many lie about not taking an HMO when in fact they do because they've signed a contract with said insurance company and they just don't want to have to deal the paperwork involved or don't want to have to deal with waiting for the insurance company to pay them). I think that the medical field should not be about dollar signs but should be about fixing people. I think that if you make one person pay more for bad life choices then I think you should charge everyone else extra for their bad life choices.

So, I say Democrats, quit cowering in the corner because of some nobody from Massachusetts and push your bill as far as it will go. People will respect you more if you stick to your guns and fight one battle all the way through, whether you win or not, instead of giving up because you might not win. This country needs a strong backbone and if you can't even be strong for your own people on one issue then how do you think you appear to the rest of the world?