I've basically to the point where Pinterest has become a part of my normal conversation with people. I'm guessing that this is similar to how people talk about their boyfriends. Except for me, I'm talking about a website full of perceived superfluous projects and goodies. "Oh guys, I spent hours last night with Pinterest, just laying in bed. I found the best pins of claw-footed bathtubs! Later, I'm going to look at pictures of alpacas!" I've never claimed to have a life.
To keep things light, since my life is not all dogs being set on fire and insurance companies screwing over sick people, I'm creating an ongoing series where I complete pinterest recipies and projects. One of the yummiest new recipes I've found on Pinterest is the vegan, gluten-free chocolate mousse with no added sugar. It is fantastic. (Original recipe found here.)
My friend, Nicholas, suggested that we do a movie night and a recipe. This one seemed easy enough. I don't like super complicated recipes that call for a dozen ingredients. I like simplicity. I like when you can taste each rich ingredient. And I don't like spending a ton of money when I'm making something. This fit the profile. I barely had to purchase any ingredients because most were already in my cabinet, and Nicholas and I loved it. I've since made it two more times for a few different people. I can't wait to make it for more people.
What you'll need:
1 cup of tightly packed dried and pitted dates
1 can of coconut milk*
1/3 cup of cocoa powder (optional)
a few drops of vanilla extract (optional)
a food processor (I use a Ninja)
*Note: this is not the coconut milk that you can drink as a dairy substitute, but the canned kind that is used in cooking baked goods and curries. For this recipe, the higher the fat content, the better!
This isn't absolutely necessary, but by putting the coconut milk in the refrigerator for a certain amount of time, it will separate. The more "fatty" white milk rises to the top of the can. This part is denser than the clear liquid that separates. The original recipe states to put the can in the refrigerator overnight, but a few hours is sufficient in my experience. However, the first time we made it, we did not separate the milk, and the mousse turned out just fine. It's not the end of the world. The dessert will still taste great regardless.
It's Time to Cook!:
Half the pitted figs and tightly pack them into a measuring cup. Dump that cup into the food processor, along with the separated coconut milk, and start processing. If the consistency is too thick, add a little of the leftover coconut juice, or the clear liquid leftover. It should have a thick but airy mousse quality, and the dates should be fully processed. There will be little bits of skin that you can strain out, but that is too painstaking for me and the consistency does not bother me one bit.
Now, taste it. This two ingredient masterpiece is delicious on its own. I actually like it best with just a few drops of added vanilla and no cocoa powder. However, if you want it chocolate-y, you have to add cocoa powder. Don't add the entire 1/3 cup of cocoa at once because that may be too much for you (it definitely is for me). Add and taste!
This recipe does not need to rest. You can enjoy it right away (another benefit I love). Also, if you have leftovers, you can store it in Tupperware and the taste and texture do not dramatically change (so I'm told--I always eat it all right away, oops).
Call to Action
Univera Insurance has informed their clients that they will no longer be covering the Mitochondrial Cocktail that is perscribed to patients with Mitochondrial Disease. I have Mitochondrial Disease and those who know me, know that it can make me devastatingly sick. It takes away my ability to live a normal life. I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield, but Univera's decision can impact my coverage. If one insurance company denies coverage, others will follow suit.
My letter is below. Please read it and if you feel the same way, take the time to write them a letter. They should be addressed to Linda Roesch, 18 Barone Circle, Cheektowaga, NY 14225 (she is a member of United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation gathering materials to send to Univera). The denial in coverage is set to begin May 1.
To Ms. Roesch and Univera Insurance Company:
The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) informed me that you would no longer be covering the Mito Cocktail for patients with Mitochondrial Disease. I have Mitochondrial Disease, specifically a variant of Pearsons Syndrome. Though I am covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Univera’s decision to no longer cover this medication sets precedence for other insurance companies to deny coverage. It puts this drug that has helped me so much to perform everyday tasks in jeopardy.
Though it may initially save Univera money to not cover this medication, patients like myself will not be able to afford it on their own. Their conditions will deteriorate and they will need more costly medications and hospitalizations to maintain a certain degree of livelihood. For many, depending on their type of Mitochondrial Disease, patients will not just experience fatigue, but their organ systems can fail. Mitochondrial Disease is a degenerative illness, so this medication allows people the ability to prolong that deterioration, lessening their symptoms and lengthening their lives.
When I have not been afforded the ability to take this medication, due to lapse in insurance, I have fallen into sickness that has worsened into a condition needing hospitalization. The fever, pain, nausea, and other extreme symptoms prevented me from working and living a healthy, normal life. Without this medication I may not be able to walk, or work a regular job. I will have extreme fatigue and may have to rely on the government for assistance. I will have to take pain medication around the clock. In pinching pennies, insurance companies will be responsible for more costly charges. Ultimately, not covering the Mitochondrial Cocktail will result in more frequent hospitalizations, and sicker patients requiring more costly medications and procedures to be covered by insurance companies.
Mitochondrial disease is not something that many people know about. I struggle with explaining my symptoms to people every day. It is invisible. However, it is a disease that takes people’s lives and by denying them the only medication that is believed by medical professionals to help them, health insurance companies are saving dollars at the cost of human lives.
Please reconsider your decision to stop coverage of the Mitochondrial Cocktail.
A Poem for Colleen and Danny
This past weekend was my lovely friend, Colleen's wedding. Colleen and I first met in college through mutual friends (and boyfriends!); we connected immediately. I am so happy she found love with such a wonderful man. Danny is such a sweet, caring man, and I know they adore each other.
The wedding reception itself was held at the Samary Plantation outside Nashville, Tennessee. There was so much wide open space with horses to feed and a barn decked out for food and dancing. There were so many beautiful touches that were so very Colleen and Danny. She crafted the cake topper herself and her very talented friends made the delicious desserts. Wooden splices, handmade beeswax candles, and mason jars with roses served as centerpieces over the vintage tablecloths. Guests sipped on mint julep and danced the night away. It was truly a wonderful night for everyone.
As one of my gifts for Colleen and Danny, along with the wood splices for the dessert display and smaller trunk cross sections for the centerpieces, I wrote them a poem. I've decided to post it, along with some pictures from the magical night (many of which were stolen from other guests--so, if you see this, thank you!).
An ethereal thread sewing two together
Hands link, lips touch; a flutter deep within
Thoughts drawn to the other; selflessly, lovingly
Taking root in her muscles Pulling him close
Joyful infection spreading through two
No longer one's own self; patient, kind
But a part of one another; a true home
Being is never so great As being is when two unite
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