Beetroot Veggie Burger Recipe

As a family we are forever changing our diet to be a well balanced and healthy one. After receiveing my diagnosis I am now dairy, red meat, processed food and refine sugar free. I am not sure if this diet is helping me but I do feel stronger and healthier than before.

I am experimenting in the kitchen with lots of different vegetables and frut. One item of veg that i eat every day is beetroot. Beetroots have long been used for medicinal purposes. They are low in fat, full of vitamins and minerals and packed with powerful antioxidants. The plant pigment that gives beetroot its rich, purple-crimson colour is betacyanin; a powerful agent, thought to suppress the development of some types of cancer. Beetroot is rich in fibre, exerting favourable effects on bowel functions.

So when the other half suggested veggie burgers for dinner I thought i would experiment and try a new recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • Half a raw beetroot, grated
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 radishes, grated
  • 1 small cougette, cubed
  • 2 sweet potatoes boiled and mashed
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsp red kidney beans
  • 3 tbsp corn
  • tsp coriander
  • tsp turmeric
  • tsp cumin
  • Breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • Coconut flour
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  • Prepare the vegetables
  • Add all into a bowl and combine well
  • I found the mixture to be a little too wet so i added some coconut flour to thicken it up
  • Time to get your hands messy. Its a good time to get the children involved. Mould the mixture into balls in your hand and then flatten down to make a circular shape

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  • Cover the burger in some breadcrumbs
  • Place in a hot frying pan, use olive/coconut oil to cook with. Turn over once brown
  • They will begin to get a little crisp. Remove from heat
  • Ready to serve

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They may not look perfect shaped and they did begin to fall apart but they were tasty and went down a treat with the family. I think the sweet potato made the patties go a bit soggy, i didn’t mind it but you can swap the sweet potatoes with normal white potatoes.

The ideal meal on a summers evening, served up in wholegrain bun with sliced tomatoes and spinach. I also added some humus and butter bean butter onto the bread roll. Perfection.

 

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Our mystical short break to Lee Valley

We found a little haven within the suburbs of London, a new favourite place for the boys and I to visit.  Lee Valley Regional Park is a 10,000-acre, 26 miles long park, much of it green spaces, running through the northeast of Greater London, Essex and Hertfordshire. It is made up of a diverse mix of countryside areas, urban green spaces, heritage sites, country parks, nature reserves and lakes and riverside trails, as well as leading sports centres and camping sites.

We have visited Lee valley before but I never knew it was as beautiful as it is. We fell in love with the pure nature of it, the river lea runs through the whole length of the Valley. Starting at Stratford, heading north through Enfield, Waltham Abbey and up towards Stanstead Abbotts. There is a heavy emphasis of wildlife and natural habitats. We loved cycling along the river watching out for otters and birds.

The park has beautiful scenery and is so peaceful.

Not only does the regional park have rivers, lakes, green spaces and 2012  sporting venues but it is also home to a few camp sites.

We booked into the Lee Valley Campsite based in Ponders End. We wasn’t sure what to expect as you couldn’t get more urban than Enfield. As we arrived we looked around and listened. It was hard to believe that this little campsite was on the edge of the A10, North Circular and within a short distance of the M25. It was quiet. It was beautiful. The site has a shower and wc block, outdoor play area, and lots of pitches for caravans and tents. Next door is a cinema and an athletics centre. We had booked to stay in one of the campsites wooden cabins.

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How beautiful and mystical is the cabin? We felt like we had walked into a Lord of the Rings/ Harry Potter film set.

The cabin came equipped with a fridge, electric, a couple of chairs, table, beds, kettle and even some tea and coffee to refresh you after your journey. There is also wifi throughout the campsite.

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The shower and toilet blocks need a code to get in so only holiday makers can enter, it gives you that little piece of mind that if your children go off to the toilet and they will be safe inside from random passers by. The wood cabins are ideal for a family of 4, there is double bunk red and a small camp bed. They are situated under trees at the back of the campsite and just behind the trees is a golf course.

As soon as had arrived the boys were off exploring the site, playing in the park and running around on the grass, exploring the edge of the golf course (looking for pokemon) and just generally enjoying the little freedom that they get when on holiday. They loved going off to the tap to collect water and didn’t even grumble when asked to take the rubbish over to the bins. One thing that was missing was a little BBQ. As we travelled by bicycle, we had limited space to carry one. It would have been nice to sit on the veranda cooking up a few veggie burgers and some vegetable kebabs in the early evening, watching the children run around. The site is clean and the staff are very helpful.

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The River Lea was about 10 minute walk away. We decided to take a walk and look around.

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The boys helping out on the locks

The boys helping out on the locks

After an early evening walk we took to our camp beds and chatted away, enjoying each others company.

The next morning we was up and ready for a fun day by the river. With our back packs on, full of food and water we was ready to go off and explore the area. The boys were looking forward to cycling along the river.

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The river bank is wide enough for two bicycles to be alongside each other but when others passed by we had to go into single file. I told the younger boys to cycle as close as they can to the bushes so that they was not near the river. DSC_5210-opt

There were plenty of places along the river that you can sit down and enjoy the peace and nature around you. We found a cute little park near Enfield Lock where we sat down and had a snack.

We made our way through a country park towards Waltham Abbey. What a beautiful town. Here we explored the Abbey Gardens and the White Water Centre

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We had been out for a good few hours and was beginning to get a little tired so we headed back towards the campsite along the River Lea Navigation. But not before stopping for a little cool down by the river eating an ice cream

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We had booked for two nights. So another night under the stars in our little cabin. The boys were full of excitement and had so much fun sleeping in the cabin. It was hard to get them to sleep as they were full of energy, even after there long cycle ride that day.

The boys were up early ready for another day by the river. First though, they wanted to try out the athletics track. For just £3 children under 16 can enjoy the indoor and outdoor track all day long. My eldest was in his element. The boys love to run and being so close to this activity was amazing. They spent about an hour and a half running around the track and getting agood training session in before they were ready to get back onto their bikes and explore the regional park again.

This time we went a little further than the day before, heading past the white water centre, pass Cheshunt and onto the Lee Valley Farms. Even though it was a very active day it was ever so relaxing. With so much peaceful water around it was hard not to feel relaxed.

We cycled, we looked, we listened, we rested, we enjoyed the surroundings and each others company.

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We found a perfect place to sit and rest, whilst the children played. Just near to Cheshunt station is a little park called Pindar. A place where children can explore the natural play area. The boys enjoyed climbing the natural wooden areas and playing football in the wide open space. There is even a dog agility course nearby so our four little legged family members don’t miss out on the fun.

We had so much fun. I thought that it would be hard to cycle through the park alongside the river with the boys but it was perfect. I made sure that I run through the dangers of the river first and dropped some cycling rules too. The boys listened and behaved well.

We managed to cycle about 30 miles over a couple of days. We laughed, we rested, we enjoyed.

We even managed to find two geocaches and we would have found more if I had a back up charger for the phone. There are tons of geo caches hidden along the river and surrounding areas, mostly at the locks.

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Found at Ponders End Lock

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Found at Valley Farms

We have definitely found our little favourite place in London. We have even gone back for a day out after we came back. This time we went in the car and drove to Broxbourne to take to the water this time. We hired out a motor boat for the hour and steered our way along the river, the sun was shining , it was perfect.

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Without a doubt we would absolutley recomend a visit to the River Lee Regional Park but also beyond any doubt a stay in the camp site. We have made some magical memories as a family.

Raw Nutty Date Nutritional Bar Recipe

Looking for a guilt free snack? Well look no further.

These nutty date bars are nothing but full of goodness. They are guilt free, healthy and delicious. What makes them special is that they are made from raw ingredients. There are no artificial flavourings, preservatives, added sugars added into the bars. You get the sweetness from the dates and coconut and a little crunch from the almonds and flax seeds.
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Make them up in batches and store in the fridge ready to grab and go.

Ingredients

  • 20 dates, sliced and de-stoned (medjool dates)
  • 2 tbsp coconut water
  • 3 handful of blanched almonds
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp ground milled flax
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp organic oats
  • 3 tbsp oat bran

Method:

  • Place the dates and the coconut water together in a processor and mix together until you have a paste.
  • Add in the almonds and mix again, until the paste and almonds are ground together.
  • Place the mixture into a bowl
  • Add in all of the other ingredients and combine together (we added in the oat bran and coconut flour towards the end as it was too sticky)
  • You may need to use your hands to mix well
  • Place the mixture onto a sheet of cling film and model it into a square by pressing down with your fingers
  • Place a sheet of clingfilm ont op and press down. Use a rolling-pin to get it flat and as square as you can.

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  • Put in to the freezer for a couple of hours
  • Take out of the freezer and remove from the clingfilm. Cut up into bar shapes.

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  • Wrap each bar individually in cling film and place back into the fridge ready to eat.

These bars are very versatile and once you have the date mixture you can pretty much add anything you want.

They are perfect for picnics, pack lunches and to add into your bag for some food on the go. They are full of fibre and protein.

 

The Pop of Colour Trail Mix Recipe

It’s National Trail Mix Day on the 31st August, yes, You heard correctly. There is a national holiday all about nuts, fruit and seeds.

The great thing about trail mixes are that you can pretty much add anything you want to together, knowing that they are full of goodness and it will be full of flavour. You will get the sweetness from the dried fruits and the crunchiness from the nuts and seeds.

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Nuts.com have teamed up with Brittany from Eating Bird Food to celebrate with a contest! I have been challenged to create a new trail mix or my own. I had to choose two items from a list and then add other items to the mix. We chose Goji berries and Cacao Nibs (click on Goji and Cacao to go through to the website)

The Pop of colour Trail mix Ingredients:

  • Almonds
  • Pecan Nuts
  • Pistachio
  • Freeze Dried Strawberries
  • Dried Mango
  • Goji Berries
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Coconut Slices
  • Cacao Nibs
  • 1tsp Chia Seeds
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • 1tsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Most of the ingredients above can be found at www.nuts.com

Trail Mixes are simple to make. We used 3tbsp of all of the ingredients, but its your choice on however much you want to make. Add all of the ingredients into a plastic zip lock bag, close it up and shake away. Rub the mix together through the bag, ensuring that all of the oil and cinnamon evenly coats the ingredients. Get the children involved in the mixing and choosing the ingredients.

Empty the contents from the bag onto a tray to dry out a little. Once ready, place the mix into smaller snack bags and store in the fridge or a cupboard ready to be grabbed as you leave the door.

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Trail mixes are ideal for snacks on the go, pack lunches, picnics, adding to your breakfast or topping onto a yoghurt.

Nutritional facts

  • Cacao nibs are high in Fibre, magnesium and potassium
  • Goji Berries are high in vitamin A. The blue-red colours found in goji berries are natural anti-oxidants which may help protect the body against oxidative damage. Contains Lycium barbarum polysaccharides which may benefit the immune function, and may reduce fatigue.
  • Almonds are a good source of fiber and protein. Naturally low in sugar.
  • Pistachio nuts are rich in vitamin B6 and E, they are good for your skin and immune system
  • Pecans are a good source vitamin B1, thiamin. Rich in protein and critical minerals for growth and metabolism.
  • Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Pumpkin Seeds are high in Zinc which is good for the immune system and omega 3 fats. They are rich in vitamin k, E and B. Full of Protein. Contains huge amounts of zinc, a mineral very important in preventing osteoporosis
  • Coconut oil contains fatty acids with powerful medicinal properties

This is our entry into the competition for a chance to be featured on the nuts.com blog, also to win a trail mix selection.

A Cancer Diagnosis

The house phone rang, I didn’t want to answer it, but I did . You see, I was expecting a call from the hospital. I had been waiting for my results from a biopsy that I had two weeks previously. I had also had a MRI and CT scan, within the two weeks.

I had found a lump and although my doctor had treated the lump as hemorrhoids, the lump hadn’t gone in fact I think it had actually grown.

I was a little worried and I had done the googling my symptoms, as you do, I wasn’t sure what I was thinking but as the words popped up onto my screen and I read over them, I knew. I knew deep down that I had cancer.

The big C word.

The word that scares the shit out of everyone.

The Nurse on the other end of the phone asked me to come in to the hospital the following day. She asked me if I was going to be accompanied by anyone. I took that as a negative. I didn’t sleep that night, too many things going over in my head.

The next day I went into work as normal and left at lunch time to get to the hospital. As I waited with my Mum, Sister and partner, I tried to clear my head, to be positive. We were all called into a room. Three chairs were laid out in a row facing one other chair. The doctor sat down with a file in his hand. He explained the biopsy procedure and then the words came out “The tumour is cancer”

No tears came.

I remember holding onto my Mum’s hand and squeezing it. I just kept thinking what is going through my Mum’s head, how hard it must be for her to listen to a doctor telling her daughter that she has cancer.

Still, No tears came.

We asked questions, like how big the tumour is and what the next step was.

I was told that i would need 6 weeks of radiotherapy followed by a short burst of chemotherapy and then a bowel removal surgery. Having my bowel removed doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I just want the lump to be deceased from my body as soon as possible.

No tears came.

I felt numb. I remember feeling like it was happening to someone else, it wasn’t me he was talking to. I remember hearing my voice and thinking “Why am I answering”

We drove home in silence. We couldn’t talk much at home as the boys had just got in from school. They played in the garden whilst we tried to come to turns with what had just been thrown into our life.

I remember a sharp pain in my chest, not being able to breathe. It felt like I was having a outerbody experience, like I was watching this happen to someone else. My throat was dry but I still couldn’t cry.

The tears came the next day. I tried so hard not to let the boys see me upset.

I had two weeks to wait before treatment started, within those two weeks I had a colonoscopy and a CT scan on my glands in my groin. Each result came back negative, no more tumours.

The waiting was the worse. I cried. I sobbed. I didn’t sleep. I googled everything. I cried more. I was angry. I was fuming. I hated my body. I hated everyone around me living a normal healthy life. I couldn’t understand why my life had become a standstill and everyone else was getting on with theirs.

I was measured up for radiotherapy, received my tattoo for life, my little present from cancer. Three little dots were placed around my pelvis area, one on either hip and one above my pelvis. I was given a start date. My first session was to be half way through half term. At last i felt like something was happening, something to help me beat this.

I was told that I would not be able to have any more children as the treatment would bring on an early menopause. I was offered to store some of my eggs but how could I possibly have another child with this horrible disease hanging over my head.

I didn’t know what to expect from my radiotherapy sessions nor from the chemo tablets that i was to take. I just took every day as it came. I was told that I may become sick, tired, fatigued, suffer from blisters in the mouth, sore throat and that my skin would become sore.

I tried to carry on as normal. Shopping. School. Housework. Children.

The first week went by with no side effects. The radiotherapy sessions seemed to take forever. I had to drink 500ml of water 45 minutes prior to going in the machine. I’ve always thought that I had a strong bladder but I haven’t. I struggled every day to hold it in for so long. As a pelvis patient you are advised to drink 2-3 litres of water a day. I only drank mineral water of a ph level above 7.

The second week was pretty much the same, although I was becoming a little tired.

The third week, we had been booked onto competing in a mile race around St Pauls Cathedral, The City Mile. I wasn’t going to let the C stop me from running alongside my boys. It was a lovely day out and the sun was shining. The third week was also when some of the side effects came. I suffered from diarrhea and fatigue. My skin was becoming a little sore.

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The fourth week we had a weekend booked in Wales so that we could go up Mount Snowdon. I had booked it before the diagnosis and the boys were looking forward to hiking up the mountain. I managed to walk a quarter of the way and had to come back down as I was getting tired. The rest of the family carried on without me, I waited in the car for them to come back down. By now the skin was really sore and beginning to peel.

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I used to talk to the machine as It went around my pelvis zapping my body. The screen looked like it was a monster. I used to tell it not to miss anything.

The fifth week saw my skin that sore that I couldn’t sit down on my bottom, I had to sit with my legs to one side. I became very tired. I was a pretty awful mother as i couldn’t take care of my boys, I couldn’t get out of bed. It was too sore to stand and walk. I was given some cream to apply to the skin. I was told to expect it to get worse.

By the time my treatment had finished, the skin was cracking, bleeding and weeped. I couldn’t even pass urine without crying in pain. I lost weight and became weak.

I spent the week after my treatment finished in my bed, only getting up to go to the toilet.

My eldest son was my rock. He had grown into a gentleman within the last couple of months. Looking after his brothers. Cooking dinners. Cleaning. He didn’t argue he just did it. I ordered Gousto boxes for him to use. He followed the recipes and cooked up meals that you would pay good money for. He looked after me, making sure that I was comfortable, bringing me water to drink and food to eat. He sat on my bed and talked to me about his day at school or about his swimming. He is a true gent. He knows what is happening but he doesn’t talk to me about it. It’s hard for the children to understand what is happening, although I have tried to explain so that they will understand what is going to happen. But they see that Mummy is at home and don’t see the seriousness of it all. They know that I will be having an operation

I am now 1 month after my last chemo and radio session and I am much stronger. The skin has heeled, although I still feel sore inside. I’m trying to stay positive. I’ve changed my diet, juicing daily and cutting out red meat and dairy products. We were already cutting out sugar as a family before the diagnosis but now we check the sugar content on packaged food. I eat fresh vegetables and fruit and only drink water.

It’s hard staying positive when all I’m doing is waiting around. It feels like nothing is happening. Like I’ve been left to deal with it by myself. I have no idea if the cancer has gone. I have no idea if the tumour is shrinking, not until my next scan which is in 5 months time. I’m feeling strong, I am not ill, never was! I just have a pesky lump that wants my body but I WILL NOT allow it to take over.

#thisgirlwill

My Unconditional Love

When I found out I was pregnant with all three of my boys, I never had that instant feeling of love for them. It sounds wrong doesn’t it? It wasn’t until I felt that first little flutter in my tummy (that could have easily been passed for wind) that I wanted to protect them. As the boys grew and my tummy started to expand I began to feel and see their little feet and hands pushing against my skin, I knew then that the love I had for them was unconditional. I knew that no-one would come even close to the love I had for them. A parents love and need for their children is strong.

The first time I held my boys and looked into there eyes, I only felt love. I didn’t want to let them go, put them down or leave them with anyone. I wanted to cherish as much of them as possible. I was selfish in a way, as I didn’t want anyone else to be with them. They were mine, all mine. I breathed in their sweet sweaty smell of their skin, I stroked their cute little wrinkled face, I watched as they wrapped their tiny little fingers around mine, I felt their tiny heart beat against my skin and I held them tight. As tight as I could. Motherly love instantly kicking in. No time for tiredness just time for them.

Since giving birth to my first son some 13 years ago, I havent really left them with anyone. My life changed. I became a stay at home Mum and spent my days hugging and holding my boys. It’s not that I don’t trust anyone with them but I need to be near them, I need to be close to them. I am their protector, their guide through life. We do everything together, obviously they do their own things with friends but when they are at home we are always together.

My boys are certainly Mummy boys. Where ever I go they go too. I can’t even go to the toilet without them waiting outside of the door for me. It’s me who they confide in when having troubles at school or with friends. It’s me who they come to when they are upset. It’s me who they cry for when they are hurt. It’s me who kisses all their hurt away. It’s me who they sit and watch TV with and cuddle up to on the sofa. Dad is around but it has always been Mummy. My fault entirely for being over protective of them. But I wouldn’t change it. They are independent boys, they don’t need me for anything but I am always near by if and when they need me.

From the first moment I held my boys to now my love has not faltered. I have the same fluttery feeling, my heart aches and I get a lump in my throat.

As I have said before, my boys are my life. They are the reason why I fight every day. They are the reason why I am so strong. They are the reason why I have hope.

Recently with the bad news that I received, my heart ripped in two. I know it sounds weird but I felt it. My heart ached. It pained. It was hard to breathe. My throat was dry. My boys showed me that Love will conquer. Love is strong. My heart is nothing without them. The love I receive from them is full on, mighty and energetic.

We are a team.

My love may be unconditional for them but It certainly isn’t blinded by their behaviour. My boys are no saints. They fight, shout, scream, their lazy and messy. They can push me to the limit and I may shout at them but we all know that this is part of growing up, they know that I love them and I only want the best for them.

I love how my eldest has a strong passion for running and swimming. He is caring and thoughtful. He is very clever, being a member of mensa at the age of 11. His brain is like a sponge and when he talks its like he has swallowed a dictionary/thesaurus.

I love the middle ones sensitivity. He is very caring and loving. He loves his lego and has a creative imagination. He loves to spend time with family and be close to them. He is witty and charming.

I love the shear strength of the youngest. He is strong willed and very determined. I can see him being very clever when he is older but hopefully not get side tracked by peers. He is loving and bubbly. He is shy but also determined.

All three of them put their heart into everything and always want to achieve at their utmost.

All three are my unconditional love.