Blog of destiny

Spine is knackered- time for cake!


I’ve written before about health problems and fitness. Being motivated to get fit when your body is less functional than others can be a real barrier to people trying to get into shape for so many reasons. It’s not just the physical restrictions, but the mental and emotional ones which can hold you back. It certainly has for me from time to time. But for me recently, just getting up, dressed and to work has been a but of a challenge. I love my job so motivation is not the issue, it’s purely physical challenges holding me back. Or my back to be specific.
After another bout of back pain and no improvements, I pressed my Doctor once again for help. I have a new GP who is really great and responsive and she agreed to send me for an MRI scan on my lower back. Really I should have had this years ago. I’ve had back problems since I was a kid but have never actually had anyone look at my spine so see what’s really going on.
I’ve had physio multiple times which helped a bit or helped for a while then wham, my back would go again and I’m back to square one.
They referred me to a hospital a lone way away from my house and the appointment came through to attend on the morning of my 35th birthday. Excellent present right?! On the day, my boyfriend came along with me for the trek which included a huge road traffic jam and a train signal failure – you got to love a glorious commute right? 

The hospital was great though, apart from the mean lady who told me and my boyfriend off for playing music in the waiting room – as if we were 14 – when it had nothing to do with us and was the club classic ring tone of the elderly lady in the corner! Made us giggle a lot.
I’ve had an MRI scan before on my head which was not my favourite thing as it’s a pretty confined space and I’m rather claustrophobic. This would prove to be a feet first scan – much better than head first but having to stay completely still when you have a bad back isn’t the easiest thing. Also I couldn’t help noticing how much the tube I was being fed into looked like the stone pizza oven in the restaurant at work… into the flamesss oh god nooo… unsettling.
And then a wait for the results.
I was expecting to find a problem – actually I was hoping to find a problem to explain what on earth has been going on all this time.
I wasn’t quite prepared for how much was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware it could be so much worse. But I was very emotional when I finally sat down with the result sheet and worked through all the Dr speak on the page.
Turns out I have two slipped discs, one bulge and one nearly 50% poking out, a tear in one, dehydrated discs and the beginnings of osteoarthritis. 
Translation – its buggered. That’s what 8 years in a warehouse does for you.
It looks like it’s been like this for a long time. Over the years they have been sending me for treatment for muscle issues rather than discs which possibly explains why I’ve not made much of a recovery.
Next up for me is a wait for an appointment with another physiotherapist. Hopefully armed with this information they can help sort me out a bit, or at least offer advice on how to maintain and not degenerate too quickly.
The other alternative is surgery which until I am at a point where I can’t function properly I won’t be considering. I am not up for that sort of risk digging about around my spine. No thanks. That said I am glad I do have options for the future.
I consider myself very lucky. Despite my knobbly spice I am able for the most part to get on with my life and do the things I love. I have been making adjustments for so long it’s second nature and doesn’t feel like a drag. Well not too much of a drag. It’s a very good job I’m not a sportsperson. That would be a heck of a change and I have huge admiration for people who have had a physical condition which makes them have to battle for their passions.

Writing, cooking and gaming are not exactly high impact pursuits but actually for me sitting down for long periods or leaning forward are my danger zones. Hazardous as hell! Almost as dangerous as putting my socks on, brushing my teeth, and sneezing! Someone call the Xgames, I am living an extreme life here! International Slipped Disc Sneezing is a sport I could truly excel at.
And yet, through making changes to my routine and being mindful of these dangerous pursuits I am able to get up gently, brush my teeth, get dressed and survive a cold. 
Nothing has actually changed from this week to last, but I am now better informed, and have a better chance at staying healthier and maybe even more mobile for longer than before.
In the meantime, I’d say its time for a large piece if cake. 

April Challenge Day 1

And we’re off!  Here were my totals for the beginning of the month.

  • £5.50 Tesco voucher 
  • £20.82 Loose Cash

And that’s what I have to play with this April, plus my old cupboard stocks. There’s going to be a lot of weird mixed pasta and rice dinners coming up..

Things were off to a blooming good start as I found a huge load of yellow sticker treasure in Tesco.


City branch

  • 42p 4 focaccia rolls
  • 47p 6 organic vine tomatoes 
  • 14p box of cherry tomatoes 
  • 21p bag of celery 
  • 7p bag of radishes 
  • 29p stir fry mixed veg bag
  • 22p sweet crunchy lettuce 
  • 11p baby leaf salad

Home branch

  • 15p x 2 six gala apples
  • 10p x 2 big bag of potatoes 
  • 10p x 2 chow mein sauce
  • 85p light mayonnaise (no discount)

Total £3.48

This will keep me going for ages!!! Bloody brilliant!

I used a couple of spuds to make a mash and had that weirdly with the stir fry and a chow mein sauce. Yum. And lunch for tomorrow.

Tonight I have also used up some eggs and fermenting bananas I’ve left to fester in the back of the fridge-oops- and made 2 banana bread loaves. I’m going to freeze one for later in the month. 

All in all a very good start!

Grocery challenge April – not fooling around!


Well folks it’s April the 1st and as promised I am not going to be using my wages from this month to pay for any of my groceries. I’ve been feeding my loose change box and have my £5.50 tesco voucher to tide me over so fingers crossed! I will count up my coins later on and see what I am actually playing with. 

I haven’t cheated and filled my cupboard up to the top, there is some food there just as any normal month but not enough to get me through by any means!!

My rules are as follows.

  • No groceries including food, toiletries and household products are to be brought with any of my wages from my last pay cheque.
  • I will avoid using my wages at all through this month – my boyfriend is on side here and wants a frugal month himself.
  • What ever is left over in my account I will put towards my holiday this summer.
  • No cheating and using credit cards!
  • No cheating and letting my fella pay for everything! We split meals when he is around, nothing will change here but he had better look out for weird dinners while I am using things up! 
  • I will try to use up the random bits and bobs lurking in my cupboard I have been avoiding. Get yee gone!
  • I will be honest and confess if things go wrong, but I am not anticipating this as I do what I say.

My two caveats are as follows.

  • Medical purchases like prescriptions are excluded. I consider these bills anyway.
  • I have a birthday gift to purchase – this I am excluding from my mission as it’s not my mates fault I’m doing this!

And so here we go! Wish me luck folks!

Menemen recipe

As this was my first day off in ages my lovely fella Mus decided to make us a super yummy breakfast.

His family are Turkish and he has learned some great recipes from his mum. Today we are having Menemen. This is essentially tomatoes and eggs with a bit of veg in there too and I am really ready for this! 

Menemen can be a spicy dish, but we are going for a non spiced version today.

Ingredients

  • Red pepper x 1
  • Onion x 1
  • Cherry tomatoes x 10
  • Tin chopped Tomatoes x 1 can
  • Egg x 4
  • Olive oil spray x 5 squirts
  • Water x splash
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Deep frying pan or wide shallow saucepan 


Method

Chop up the onion and pepper into slim flakes then quater the cherry tomatoes and add these veg to the pan.


Add the olive oil sparay, a little salt and a splash of water to allow the veg to soften rather than crispy fry.

Next add the chopped tomatoes and put the lid on the pan.


When the mixture has cooked a little make 4 dimple holes in the sauce, and crack an egg into each one. 


Put the lid back on and cook till the eggs are done.


Season and serve.


We had some leek Börek (made by my fella’s mum thank you so much) and flat breads with this tasty dish.  YUMYUMYUM.

Thanks Mus!

Lucky food finds!

It’s been a great few days for food finds. After a long period of not much luck, and slipping off my diet for a couple of weeks it seems my luck has turned again.  Hurrah!

It started in my old favourite Tesco in the city which had a random entire roll cage of medium size eggs for 32p a box.  And the date is not for almost two weeks. Yay! I got two boxes for myself and one for my flatmate. Egg party at our house!

Next up was a random give away stand for Felix cat food I passed in Waterloo station. I was in a bit of a rush so didn’t have time to linger there but it was all in aid of an ad campaign which has been all over Facebook today.  See here. Great fun, I wish I had time to muck about. Two sachets of cat food however, for free? Yes please! Now, the fact I don’t actually own a cat may initially be cause for concern, but my flatmates folks do, so a free dinner for the furry felines Jones and Porkins it is. Meowzers!

And for the grand finale my fella and I popped into the big Tesco to grab some tinned tomatoes for a dish he is making us tomorrow- look out for the recipe coming up soon – when we happened upon the discount bin final reductions. 

  • 2 punnets of finest vine tomatoes – 15p each.
  • 2 bags of finest Ramiro pointed peppers – 15p each.
  • 1 bundle of broccoli – 4p
  • 4 avocado pack – 18p

WIN!!!


Then in the middle of an isle, at the bottom of a roll cage which I initially thought was new stock I spotted a yellow sticker poking out. Uncle Bens Sweet and Sour rice time lunch pots, loads of them at 50p each.  EPIC!  I swooped in and picked up 12.  That’s two and a half weeks of work lunches for 6 quid. I am so chuffed. They aren’t the best calorie wise at 330kcal but not too bad, and they really fill me up.

So, all in all a great week!

Tip – try tesco veg bins at half 10 at night, bargains to be had!

Cadburys Cream Scotch Eggs – Birthday Treat!

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It’s my birthday this week and I need a naughty treat!

Being from that land north of the border in the UK, I was brought up on delicious, hearty, if not ultimately the most healthy snacks.  I am from the wilds of the country side, not a shop for 7 miles of my house so you need fuel in your belly whilst out adventuring.

I know full well that this dish is neither healthy, nor thrifty but I have seen these floating about the internet for a couple of years and for my birthday blow out I have decided to give them a go!

Honestly they are so rich and sweet you only need a quarter of a whole one before you collapse so maybe they are good value after all??

I have used butter in the recipe but you could use flora.  I figured this is such a calorie disaster sod it, have butter!

Have a go guys! Its a lot of fun making these and they are ridiculously good!

 

Ingrideints

  • 6 Cadburys Cream Eggs
  • 300g Milk Chocolate
  • 170g Butter
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 120g Plain Flour
  • 50g Cocoa Powder
  • 2tsp Baking Powder
  • 120g Butter
  • 120g Icing Sugar
  • 10g Cocoa Powder
  • 9 inch cake tin

 

Method

Essentially what we are doing is first making a sponge, which we are going to cool, blitz up and then add ingredients to that to make a dough.  If you want to make this a gluten free or vegan treat (I have found a great vegan cream egg recipe here) simply make the appropriate chocolate sponge and set it aside to cool. It needs to be something that will bind well, so throwing in a banana to the mix wouldn’t go amiss.

Set your oven to 170 degrees C.

Combine your sugar and butter and mix till its light and smooth and lovely.

Add in the rest of the cake ingredients and mix till its smooth.

Pour into the cake tin and pop in the oven till its done.  You want a skewer to come out clean from the cake.  Check after 25 mins, took me about 35 mins.

Meanwhile take 100g of the chocolate and using the medium fine grater size grate it up into little curls and put in the fridge to get nice and hard.

Remove from the tin, and cool.  I broke mine up on a cooking rack to get this done quicker.

Next I put it into a bowl and viciously attacked with a stick blender till it was like crumbs.  This made a small mess so if you have a food processor use that.

Now add the rest of the butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder and mix it till its like a good solid dough.

Take your peeled Cream Eggs and wrap and good handful of the dough around them till they are sound and pleasing.

When they are all wrapped up in dough, put them on a plate and in the fridge to cool the butter and dough down so its harder.

Meanwhile melt the rest of the chocolate in a bowl and set aside.

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Once chilled take the dough balls and chocolate curls out of the fridge. Dip the balls into the melted chocolate and mush it around with your hands till they are covered, then roll in the chocolate curls till they are all covered.  This gets very messy, and you have to play around with the amount of chocolate to cover it with.  Don’t drop the whole ball int he melted chocolate, this gets too warm and it goes mushy and yuk.  dip the end in and spread it with your hand.

Put on a plate and into the fridge to cool.

Success!

 

Enjoy your mighty delicious Scotch egg with an appropriate drink!  When you have recovered, don’t blame me for the sugar coma. You have been warned!

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Ethiopian dinner!!!


After my success with Tikel Gomen I decided to have a go at a whole meal. 

GOOD DECISION.

I am very pleased to report that it was delicious!!!

I made a huge amount of food for my friends and seconds were had – for me thats a good indicator of success.

I made Misr Wat(red lentils), Tikel Gomen(potato and veg), Spinach side and an Injera(sour dough pancake).

It was all so easy to cook, extremely cheap to make and I can’t believe how yummy it was – I’ve eaten Ethiopian food many times before and I was convinced it would be super difficult to replicate. 

None of the ingredients in these dishes are hard to find – there is a spice called Berbere which I had to seek out in Waitrose, but you can use other spices in replacement. 

Misr Wat is such a comforting dish. It’s warm, not too spicy and like a cuddle to the tummy. This was particularly good and yey I have loads left over!

Injera is usually fermented overnight. It’s a sourdough with yeast and teff flour and is really tasty. The version I made was very quick and a good replacement. I was sceptical but really pleased with the result.