Do You Have Health Insurance? Get Covered!

*Thank you UnitedHealthcare for sponsoring this post!*

Hospital - MagistraleOpen enrollment starts today, November 15, 2014 and lasts until February 15, 2015. Americans across the country can sign up for a health insurance plan and get covered for 2015.

Most of you are probably familiar with the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare by some. There are certain qualifying events that allow you to use a special enrollment period. The exchanges or the marketplace is a website that allows you to compare plans from a variety of providers much like Travelocity. The website will be either the government website or your state’s individual marketplace website.

In Massachusetts, the website is the Massachusetts Health Connector. Since the work I do is project based, I do not have one steady employer providing me with health insurance. There are many myths about who has health insurance and who doesn’t. Everyone has different work, health and family situations. In the past, obtaining health insurance was nearly impossible for some.

I’m very happy that there are now more options to find better and more affordable health insurance as an individual. I’ll be signing up for a plan during this enrollment period on the Mass. Health Connector and hopefully can keep my current plan or find a new health insurance plan that I like better. According to Gallup, most people are happy with their new plans.

Over seven in 10 Americans who bought new health insurance policies through the government exchanges earlier this year rate the quality of their healthcare and their healthcare coverage as “excellent” or “good.”

Figuring out all the terms can be rather daunting, so I’ll have to brush up on those again as I compare plans. Wish me luck as I go through the process. Hopefully some of you are able to sign up for a plan too!

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you in collaboration with UnitedHealthcare. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content for this blog and donate a portion to worthy organizations.

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Flickr Photo: Hospital – Magistrale by digital cat

National Chocolate Day: For the Love of a Chocolate Macaron

chocolate macaronWithout Twitter trending topics, I wouldn’t have known that today is National Chocolate Day. I haven’t celebrated properly yet, but decided that this holiday is worthy of a post.

Martha Stewart says to “gather the good things” and I would put a chocolate macaron in that list of good things to be gathered. Wouldn’t you?

Dark chocolate is my favorite kind of chocolate. It’s the healthy kind too. It’s even said to improve memory, according to this NOVA Next article.

Now, there’s new evidence to suggest that chocolate dramatically improves the memory skills that people lose with age. When healthy people between the ages of 50 and 69 drank a mixture high in cocoa flavanols for three months, they performed about 25% better on a memory test compared to a control group of participants.

Although it would take seven bars of chocolate a day to improve it by 25%. Only two bars left to eat today!! Just kidding. 😀

Also, I just happened to read an interesting dessert related article in The Atlantic about macarons. Apparently macarons are the new cupcake. But I’ve been writing about macarons for years. I love them so much! Not to be confused with macaroons, which I have no problem resisting.

So I found a beautiful picture combining the beauty and goodness of chocolate and macarons. What could be better than that?

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Flickr Photo Credit: Chocolate Chocolate Macaron at Starbucks by The Delicious Life.

Recipe: Single Serving Toffee Bits Cookies

single serving toffee bits cookies

One of my favorite things in life is dessert. I wish I didn’t have such a sweet tooth. But I do. And I indulged on my trip to Nantucket early this week.

For the past few days, I’ve tried to get back to much healthier eating. But I wanted a little bit of dessert today and cannot trust myself with baking a full recipe with a few dozen cookies. So it was time to bring back Desserts With Borders!

If you’re a new reader, my Desserts With Borders series is where I create recipes for single serving desserts. I take a regular recipe and shrink it down so that it’s a small portion and there are no leftovers. So it would be like if I went to a bakery and bought a few small cookies or one muffin.

It’s cheaper to bake at home. Not that any dessert is healthy, but when I create the recipe, I know all the ingredients in these desserts and I’m at least aware of what I’m eating and can adapt the recipe to fit my preferences. Plus, these recipes are fun to do and make me happy.

So, the last time that I made a single serving dessert was waaaay back in February. It was time! This cookie recipe took in total about 20 minutes to make. That’s not too long a time if you get a sudden craving for a few cookies. I loved these and hope you try them too. If you do, please let me know!

Single Serving Toffee Bits Cookies

Ingredients + Instructions

  • 3 T butter
  • 1 heaping T brown sugar
  • 1 heaping T sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • scant 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • scant 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • scant 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 T toffee bits

Set aside a small cookie sheet and use a small piece of parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I used a toaster oven and the little pan that came with it.

Combine ingredients in a small bowl until you have smooth dough. I used a tablespoon to make five small cookies. You could make two or three bigger cookies if you like or one mega cookie. I might try the mega cookie next time!

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Use a spatula to turn cookies over onto a plate. Eat and enjoy!

Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness

Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness bottle

My uncle, the photographer, had a family brunch this past weekend and I had my first apple cider of the season! He had an assortment of things to drink and was quite enamored with one in particular. He asked if any of us had tried it before. I had not. And by the icky green looks of it, I didn’t plan to either.

He was talking about Green Goodness by Bolthouse Farms and he kept going on and on about all the good ingredients in it and that it tasted really good. I read the label and it did seem to be full of lots of healthy things and a great way to get some additional servings of fruits. My aunt pointed out that there is a lot of sugar in it. So that’s something to be on the lookout for.

Since he has never steered me wrong when it comes to good food, I tried it. It is so good! It feels very refreshing and energizing. All of us who tried it loved it!

I bought a bottle when I went shopping this week and just had a half a glass. Yum! Have you tried Green Goodness juice?