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Showing posts from 2010

The Tiger or the Tiger?

In the tale of the lady and the tiger, a man was asked to choose one of two doors. Behind one was a beautiful bride, behind the other was a ferocious man-eating tiger. But at least the man had options.

Cut to this story about baby boomer fears that Medicare won't be there for them:

Initially, 63 percent of boomers in the poll dismissed the idea of raising the eligibility age to keep Medicare afloat financially. But when the survey forced them to choose between raising the age or cutting benefits, 59 percent said raise the age and keep the benefits.However one feels about raising the eligibility age for Medicare, this is a misleading way of presenting the option. Suppose that I live to be 75 and that starting at 65 my Medicare benefit averages $500 per year for a total payout of $5000. If the eligibility age is raised to 70, the payout drops to $2500. That is a cut in benefits, which means that far from presenting a real choice, the poll in effect manipulates respondents into selecti…

The Beveridge Model

Want is only one of the five giants on the road of reconstruction and in some ways the easiest to attack. The others are Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, and Idleness. -Social Insurance and Allied Service, a.k.a. The Beveridge Report (1942)In 1940, Great Britain tottered on the edge of extinction. Its armies badly mauled by the Wermacht in France, its cities absorbing a ferocious shellacking from the Luftwaffe, and the United States still over a year from entering World War II, the British government in an act of supreme optimism began making plans for post-war life on the assumption that it would prevail over both Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan.

There was little doubt that the aftermath of two world wars and an economic depression would wrought profound changes on British life. The working- and middle-class men who had fought the wars would insist on taking charge, and the heretofore dominant patricians admitted that they had a point. Prime Minister Winston Churchill appointed noted…

holiday's are here!

I've managed to stay home today and miss all the crazy-ness that lurks out in the shops. I've been keeping pretty busy though wrapping presents, making last-minute presents, baking cakes, and finishing off the tree with some ginger bread stars all the while listening to this.
Wishing all my readers the merriest of holidays, the tastiest of feasts and of course sweet treats! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

How Much Money Do You Spend On Health Care?

The per capita annual income of the United States is $44,070. Of that, $6,174 goes to health care expenses, meaning that the average American spends 14.3% of his or her income on health care. This can come in many forms: co-pays, Medicare withholding, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, and tax subsidies for employer-based health insurance.

As a point of comparison, consider the averages of six of the Beveridge Model nations. (I've excluded Cuba, Hong Kong, and Norway: Cuba has a command economy and so is not comparable; Hong Kong is an outlier; and Norway's nationalized petroleum helps fund its social services.) As a group, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and Sweden have an average per capita income of $37,222. Of that, $3,031 goes to health care, meaning that the residents of these countries spend 8.1% of their incomes on health care (including the tax burden).

Six Bismarck Model nations (Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland) have an averag…

The Big Four

The nations of the world have coalesced around four approaches to delivering health care:
The Beveridge Model, wherein the government owns and operates health care. Cuba, England, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, and the four Scandinavian countries all provide health care via the this model, which is named for the British reformer who designed the parameters of Britain's welfare state. Beveridge Model systems are characterized by their commitment to public health and primary care, as well as efficiency. Also known as single payer, the Beveridge Model is the embodiment of socialized medicineThe Bismarck Model, wherein all residents of a country are required to have health insurance and insurance companies are required to sell it to them. France, Germany, and Switzerland and most countries of western Europe operate under this model (as does Japan), named for the German chancellor who designed it in the 19th Century. Insurance can be profit, non-profit, or both (depending on the country); ind…

One Man's Agenda 1, Honest Debate 0

In his column today, New York Times columnist David Brooks writes:
But it should be possible to strengthen the safety net while modernizing some of the Great Society structures. Paul Ryan, a Republican, and Alice Rivlin, a Democrat, have come up with a Medicare reform plan in which new enrollees would receive a fixed contribution from the government, growing a bit faster than inflation. They would apply that money against the cost of health insurance. This would make Medicare a defined contribution program and save hundreds of billions. If Obama said he was open to thinking about this sort of fundamental reform, he'd generate tremendous excitement on the right.Medicare inflation is a Titanic burden on the health care system and on the overall economy. It must be addressed, and one way to start is with an honest presentation and not an ingenuous sales job. Unfortunately, Mr Brooks' remarks are closer to the latter.

You may well believe that the Ryan plan is the best way to curb M…

At What Cost Is The Right to Know?

Gina Kolata writes in the New York Times that new tests have raised an ethical dilemma for physicians: Should they notify patients who do not have Alzheimer's that they are at risk for the disease?

Ms Kolata's article implies another dilemma as well: Should the tests be performed at all?  Should we be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on procedures and tests for a condition that has no cure, that can eventually be diagnosed without the tests, and when not everyone who receives them descends into Alzheimer's? Americans and their physicians have become addicted to the latest diagnostic technology, and yet our healthy quality of life is no better -- and in many cases worse -- than the citizens of other wealthy economies. Our costs, though, are staggering -- nearly double those of some of the same countries.

Moreover, whether by design or economic imperative, the United States has chosen to invest in secondary and tertiary care at the expense of primary care and public h…

Where It All Began

In 1929, Justin Kimball, then a vice president of the Baylor University medical extensions in Dallas, reflected on a pile on unpaid hospital bills, many of them from teachers. He proposed a prepaid plan wherein for $6 a year, Dallas teachers would receive up to 21 days of hospitalization. The idea proved popular, and soon 75% of Dallas teachers were enrolled. From this modest beginning, the American health insurance business took root.

Meanwhile, the ravages of the Great Depression influenced New Deal policy makers to urge President Franklin Roosevelt to propose a national policy of guaranteed health care. But Roosevelt's attention was preoccupied with other legislative priorities and with conducting World War II. Moreover, he shied away from battles with the American Medical Association and southern segregationists, who feared that a national plan would lead to integrated hospitals.

Harry Truman, Roosevelt's successor, felt a stronger commitment to guaranteed health care and ma…

winter warmth

There always something so wonderful about winter that makes us all want to slow cook, bake and venture into all things homemade while I'm sure keeping the house just that little bit warmer through the streak of bitter cold. Right now for me since I'm not so fortunate to have a warm roaring fireplace, which at the moment would be blaring non-stop, it's all about keeping cozy under a blanket and well pretty much not moving.
I love the warmth of a winter cabin feeling. How cool would it be to stay in a cabin over the holidays? I know I wouldn't mind.
Oh, and if you still looking for a few little homemade gift ideas go here, here and here.
1. Winter Cabin, 2. Grandpa's shirt, 3. Untitled, 4. Patterns are everywhere, 5. Fireplace, 6. Untitled, 7. Pumpkin Pancakes, 8. red fox in snow

homemade peppermint patties

Hey everyone! It's the time of year where family, snow covered lawns and chilly nights are abound, where we retreat to our warm houses for some much needed homemade treats and steaming spicy hot chocolate to keep the cold at bay. So I bring a sweet easy-to-do treat that you can send off with guests, use as stocking stuffers or set out on a tray and see them disappear. I don't know about you but when ever I see peppermint patties they instantly remind me of Christmas. I think it has to do with the fact that each year when we head over to my Grandma's house for Christmas dinner she puts these in our stocking where I find them somewhere squashed between the apple and orange.

400g icing sugar, plus more for dusting 1 tbsp of lemon juice 1 egg white 1/2 tsp peppermint extract 200g of chocolate (best you can find)
In a bowl beat the egg white with the lemon juice until it starts to foam, add the peppermint, sift in the icing sugar and combine. Once the mixture gets tough, br…

favorite eats... simple.

Just a couple of my favorite things. The simple act of nibbling on bits like this makes me happy, especially when you really don't feel like cooking or even heating up anything. Plus I'm so in love with this olive bread. Sooo good! All of this comes from my local bakery too!
What's your favorite food you like to nibble in times of lazy-ness??
PS. I haven't forgotten about the chocolate mini tartes recipe. I'm working on it!

flickr favorites

Who isn't constantly inspired by the amazing photographer's on flickr? I know I can't get enough so this week I bring you something not so foodie, but equally just as awesome. Here are a few of my newest flickr faves by other photographers I just couldn't help but share.
1. and there you were, 2. found within, 3. Untitled, 4. happy as a mouse, 5. Aberfeldy - Bredalbane bakery, 6. Running Dog, 7. Untitled, 8. cookies, 9. fun, 10. .

mini salted chocolate tartes

Here's just a little something I've made recently and wanted to share and well I did promise. So I will get on posting the recipe very soon since I'm in the midst of baking up something else. Probably chocolate. Just saying.
I hope you all are having a great weekend!!

happy halloween!

Sorry guys, no halloween baked goods to share although you can check out the creepy cupcakes I whipped out last year here. In the mean while I thought I'd wish you all a happy halloween!! Anybody dressing up tonight?

french onion soup

Hey guys, sorry I haven't posted much. So much for promising to post more. I'm gonna try harder. I really will! I already have another post lined up showcasing some very delicious salted chocolate honey mini tartes which are quite worthy.
Now, when you keep seeing something everywhere, it's more then likely you'll start to want it. Like this soup. I was seeing pictures of this thing for days, people were making it or either craving it at work and then Jamie Oliver was making it on one of his television programs. Jamie can be persuasive like that, making it look easy and well pretty damn delicious. So right there I told myself it was time to temp myself and crack out a pot of this stuff.
So I did just that. Ten minutes later I had all the ingredients then spent another fifteen crying those stinging tears that only chopping onions can bring. Fun times. Luckily an hour later I was finally sitting down with a hot cheesy bowl of french/english onion soup. I say french…

fall comfort

It seems as soon as fall hits I start baking. It's like the colder weather permits you to want all things of comfort and warmth. Hot spicy teas and milky coffees are just the start and then we want a little something sweet and homemade cookies are usually a good bet.

chocolate hazelnut cookies via, the great british picnic guide
75 g softened butter 125 g plain flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 50 g soft brown sugar 50 g caster sugar 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract 1 large egg 50 g chopped hazelnuts 100 g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350 d, cover 2 baking sheets in parchment. Combine the butter and sugars in a bowl and beat until light and fluffly. Add baking soda, vanilla and egg and blend for a few seconds then add the flour. Stir in the hazelnuts and chocolate. Place teaspoonfuls of the mixture on to the baking sheets, leaving enough room for them to spread. Bake cookies for 10-12 min or until golden. makes aprox. 10.
There's also nothing better then a hot bowl of porridg…

choc-covered maple sponge toffee

Is it me or have I become a chocoaholic lately?
choc-covered maple sponge toffee
2 cups white sugar 1/2 cup honey 1/3 cup maple syrup 120g butter 1 tbsp baking soda 400g dark chocolate, melted
Place the sugar, honey, maple syrup and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir with a metal spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Place a candy thermometer in the saucepan and simmer for 7-8 min or until mixture reaches 150c. Remove the thermometer and pan from the heat. Add the baking soda and mix until golden and foamy. Pour into a 20cm x 30cm lined baking tin. Set for 30min. Melt chocolate in a double broiler then spread over the toffee and let set for 1hour or until set. Remove from tin and break into pieces. recipe adapted from Donna Hay
A couple of days ago four fab food bloggers and I were featured on the Style At Home site with five fab fall recipes. Head on over and check it out!


Yes, this might just be another chocolate post and you might say I've had a craving... but that's usually the way chocolate goes. It creeps up on you like that and there's no turing back, no not ever... not usually. These self-saucing chocolate puddings have got to be one of the easiest things I've ever made and who doesn't love a good easy dessert quite like this? I know I've been wanting to make these chocolate pots of goodness for-ever. I'm glad I did.
Want to make these? I know you do. Here's the recipe.

eat me

brownie cake
1 cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 150g dark chocolate (70% or higher) 3/4 cup butter 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 3 large eggs 1 cup coconut 1/2 cup of pecans (or any nut)
Preheat oven to 350 d. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler of barely simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool a little. Add the sugar to the chocolate mixture, stir in the vanilla then the eggs, one at a time. Fold the dry ingredients into the mixture, then gently fold in the pecans and coconut. Put into a prepared 8in pan and bake for 30-40 min until slight firm.

CNE trip and the giveaway winner!

Hello everyone! I know, I know.... this blogpost should have been done last week, but alas, work has been a bit crazy and I'm just having the time now. I did get to visit the CNE one of those days and here's some pic's from that day's trip. I must say the sand sculptures that we saw were just AMAZING, there's just so many awesomely talented people out there!! I would have loved to get more photo's but the weather that day was pretty unpleasant. Oh, and don' t you all worry, I didn't forget about the giveaway winner!! Kim at Two Good Cookies, you won these three prints! Check out her pretty awesome food blog too!
Ps. I did forget about the brownie cake though so sad to say that will make it's debut next post with a few more bits of awesomeness. Hope you all have a great weekend!!

just a few...

Just a few photo's that I've taken recently I wanted to share and coming up next post? A brownie cake I know you'll all love.... it was so good I almost didn't want to share!

print giveaway!!

It's time for a giveaway! Considering I've only done this once before I thought it was about time for another one. So here's the deal... I will be giving away these three 4x6 prints from my shop to one lucky winner any where in the world. Want to win this? I thought so. Leave a comment and tell me what you love best about summer. You have until Friday, September 3rd to enter. Good luck and I hope your all having a great weekend!
happy weekend everyone! enjoy it!

butter biscuits with a twist

Don't you just love food processor baking? I like it even better on my lazy days when I still want to bake but with not a lot of effort. You can just throw everything in, mix it up and it's pretty much good to go in the oven after a little forming. To tell you the truth, when I first saw this I thought it was more like a scone and that's what I was sort of expecting until I saw them come out of the oven.... these were more like cookies and extremely good cookies at that!
recipe via Jamie Oliver
Preheat oven to 190c/375f. In a food processor, blend 110g unsalted butter, 85g caster sugar, a splash of milk, 30g cornflour, 110g self-rising flour and 4 tbsp rolled oats. Shape mixture into 15 small balls and place on a baking tray, leaving enough space to spread. Bake for 12-15 mins, until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Melt 100g white chocolate over a double broiler and dip half of each biscuit, then place on a non-stick baking paper and sprinkle over pink peppercorns. Let cool.

DIY coconut curls

Let me start off with that I could not find dried shredded coconut that looked like this for the life of me and believe me I looked. I did find something quite similar under the name of... coconut chips? They didn't have the cool brown skin edge I've been looking for and well cost more then the price of about five coconuts. I figured then I just plain needed to make them myself. So I did some goggle research and foundthis videoon how to easily crack a coconut. It helped. Then came the time to shred or peel. I peeled. I was liking the way they looked already so I knew then that I needed to do some 'how do you dry coconut' research for these lovely's and found out there's not a whole lot of info on it. Weird? I thought so. After a bit more looking I was saved.
Here's the drying method: Preheat oven to 200 c. Lay out coconut curls evenly on a sheet pan with parchment paper. Bake for 60-90 min. Keep checking cause you don't want them to go brown but if t…

No baked goods... again.

Just bring you a few random photo's I've taken recently to satisfy the baking lull that's been going on on this blog lately. By golly I just haven't baked much in the last little bit. I miss it. I think an excuse of the never ending heat is to blame. I hope to post something super yummy very soon. So for now, I leave you with a few photo's and hope you are all having a super summer! (Don't you just love my new chalk board wall?)

best bits of summer (in pictures)

Ice cold drinks, sandy beach adventures, fresh market picks, glorious pink/orange sunsets, sitting in the grass getting lost in a book, picking wild flowers and cooling off with none other then an a much needed ice cream treat... there's nothing better.
have a fab weekend all!

red velvet cupcakes and Canada day!

Could this red and white dessert be any sweeter for Canada day? I think not.

outdoor treats and eats part two

Ever have those days when you feel like your getting no where? Well I feel like I've been having them too frequently lately and I don't like it. So I think it might be time for a change, maybe even a vacation or a small road trip to liven the spirits ...or maybe I could just do with an ice cream. I do like ice cream.
Okay, so enough with the little rant, I bring you part two of the outdoor treats and eats series. So wether your going on a weekend road trip, a picnic in the park or even to your next door neighbors bbq the one thing you will surly bring is food. Here's two delicious dishes that are sure to please.
Summer bean salad 1 can white navy beans (drained and rinsed) 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes 1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil or half a cup of baby basil leaves, you can leave those whole. 30g feta cheese 1 garlic clove finely chopped a good lug of olive oil juice of half a lemon salt and pepper to taste
Add all the ingredients to a medium size bowl and mix together. Le…

outdoor treats and eats part one

Striped frozen treats like this... well I can't help myself and if you've picked up the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living, then you've probably seen these. So if you're like me and love a refreshing icy treat that looks this good, then well... we're alike. I just knew that when I saw these little striped delights I had to make them soon... like tomorrow soon. They are kind of a lengthy process with the freezing of each layer and what not, but they are well worth it and the flavor combinations are almost limitless and I have to say, right now I think the pink lemonade part is my favorite. I loved it's sourness.

Ice pops via Martha Stewart Living I don't really need to give you a recipe for this since it's pretty much just juices, puree's, and yogurt and you can add what ever you like.
For the vanilla-yogurt mix 1 cup greek or regular plain yogurt. 2 tsp sugar 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract. Mix together.
For the raspberry puree' 1 pint raspber…