this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


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Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes

I hereby present to you something interesting, simple and quite yummy. You can make it with two ingredients, but I made it with four and then went right ahead and made it into a meal. I was totally inspired by Joy of Oh Joy! who has a little cutie called Ruby, she has good taste has Ruby. I made a more grown-up and (very slightly, perhaps) less healthy option.

Here’s my brunch for one. You could always make it a light breakfast and share between two (if you must). I got four small pancakes out of the following quantities.

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes, served with bacon and rocket

Ingredients | One each of the following:

  • Ripe banana
  • Generous teaspoon peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, you decide)
  • Tablespoon Greek yoghurt
  • Medium egg
  • Rasher of bacon (optional)
  • Handful of rocket (optional)

1. Mash the banana into as fine a pulp as you can. If it is ripe enough, a fork is sufficient for this. Mix in the peanut butter and then the yoghurt making sure the mixture is as smooth as you can get it. At this point, the mixture will be quite thick.

2. Mix in the egg. A small whisk may make it easier at this point, but I found it easy enough to fold in the egg carefully using the fork. Make sure you incorporate all the ingredients well.

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade

3. If you are just planning on making the pancakes, then go right ahead and skip this step. Otherwise, fry the bacon in a preheated frying pan. I like to use a non-stick pan so that I don’t have to add extra oil. When the bacon is crisped and brown, remove and leave to rest on some kitchen paper to soak off any excess fat.

4. Turn the heat down and spoon the pancake mixture into the bacon fat (or preheated oil) before turning the heat back up. Fry the mixture until you see little bubbles appearing all over the mixture and a faint browning at the edges. This will cook more slowly than standard pancakes and if you try to turn them too quickly, they will collapse so be warned!

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade

5. Serve immediately. I sandwiched the bacon and some rocket between the pancakes. The flavours of the salty bacon and nutty rocket worked really well with the peanut buttery pancakes to make a very satisfying meal!

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade

I hope you give this a go. It’s simply a glorified fried egg so it’s really fun to make if you have the time, especially if you like bananas – the riper the better because the sweetness comes through perfectly 🙂 Do you have any favourite weekend treats in the kitchen? That idyllic weekend morning, when we all supposedly spend relaxing hours in the kitchen, making a fabulous breakfast or brunch…does that happen in your home? Well this was a real treat to make and to eat, and did not take much time either – my favourite bit 🙂

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade


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Frivolous Fridays: Get your groove on!

OK. If you have not thought of what to do this weekend, here’s a suggestion. How about making some music. This Incredibox webby app is great. You can’t beat box? Well, let me introduce to you some dudes that can:

Squeeze some lemons by this is lemonade on Incredibox

Screenshot of my dudes: click through to groove to my composition!

It’s really fun, I was hooked. And if you are really proud of yourself, you can pay €0.69 to download your masterpiece. Here’s mine.

Happy weekend! 🙂


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Tasty Toasties: Posh beans on toast

If you are French, or have a penchant for good French patisserie, you might want to look away now. If my telling you that my favourite place to buy croissant is Costco makes you feel all faint, this post is not for you. No, I have not found a local bakery I love yet (alright, Greggs excepted – sorry, I love sausage rolls) so if I find myself hanging out with my mum at Costco, I always come home with a lovely tray of their 12 huge croissants laid out on corrugated cardboard and wrapped in stretchy cellophane. I bag them up in 3’s or 4’s depending on my mood and put some in the freezer (if this shocks you, don’t blame me, I did warn you :P).

I’ll ramble on a little more, just in case one of you fainted before you managed to click away and have just come to. You won’t want to see the photo below. Although, if you are reading this on a large screen, I’m sorry, I hope you’ll forgive me this once.

I decided to start a little series and see how long it will run for. I’m calling it Tasty Toasties and it will nestle right in on my Tasty Tuesdays. I keep making grilled things on bread with whatever is in the fridge (usually there’s some cheese involved). I then take photos of them because I think I’m a bit obsessed. So I thought I’d share my obsession and start it with something fun.

Posh Beans on Toast - this is lemonade

I’d had this tin of beans sitting in the cupboard since I don’t know how long. All I know is that the best before date was end of last month. So I figured I’d better consume it. Not all in one go mind, because we all know that little ditty… beans, beans, they’re good for your heart……… I didn’t fancy sliced bread, but there were a couple of croissants from a recent defrost. And the following often happens when I am let loose in the kitchen.

Whilst the beans were cooking, I stared at them for a minute. I sliced open the croissant and stuck it under a gentle grill. Then I went to the fridge. I spotted some chorizo slices and cheese, but decided against the cheese because I could feel my stomach bursting already at the thought. Looking at the beans bubbling away, and then the fiery red chorizo, I was thinking the food would be all in one colour tone. I remembered I had some mushrooms, went to rummage, but instead found some rocket – aaah perfect. Strong flavour to match the chorizo. So that’s how this was born. The chorizo slices went into the pan with the beans and then I threw in the rocket and stirred it in at the end. ‘Twas pretty tasty if you ask me. And so easy. My favourite way to brunch 😉

Posh Beans on Toast


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Jumping on the bandwagon of lurrrrve?

Love Hearts at Westfield E20 | this is lemonade

Love Hearts at Westfield E20

This week has seen two festivals celebrated a lot with the colour red. The Chinese Lunar New Year and yesterday’s Valentine’s Day. Without further ado, I’m going to share some photos of my red week. No overdosing on chocolate for me last night in the name of love, just as I haven’t done Lent properly before, I don’t really do Valentine’s either. But there’s no need to hate. It’s always good to be reminded of our need to show love – I served up a good meal, and to make it truly a special and meaningful occasion, I didn’t take photos! (I have to say though, I made proper nice roasted potatoes for the first time, and they were delish if I do say so myself – I’m having the leftovers tonight and I can’t wait, ha!)

Chinese New Year of the Snake | this is lemonade

Chinese New Year of the Snake – took me a while to realise the numbers are a snake!

Red Tape | this is lemonade

Red Tape – I used one to decorate one of my handmade mini sketchbooks

Fattet Moussaka at Le Comptoir Libanais | this is lemonade

Fattet Moussaka at Le Comptoir Libanais with aubergines and pomegranate seeds – very yum!

Red Bike Racks at Westfield E20 | this is lemonade

Red Bike Racks at Westfield E20 – I really liked these!

Strawberry FroYo in the making | this is lemonade

Strawberry FroYo in the making

OK so this last one is not red, but I could not help it. I’m a one trick pony, old dog, old tricks… whatever, but after Christmas, I bought myself a heart shaped cookie cutter, and look what I did with it 😛 (I did have to pour out the runnier, outer part of the egg white though, as the hole is smaller than the one I usually cut out with a glass.)

Sunny Fried Toasties Valentines Edition | this is lemonade

Sunny Fried Toasties Valentines Edition

I must say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. I avoid all the red aisles in the supermarket and gasp audibly at the hiked up prices of flowers and chocolates to my own embarrassment. But I’m thankful for the reminder to treasure those I love more and to show my appreciation of them. I thought this article was quite a meaningful one, despite romantic love being all well and good. From a glance at the comments though, a lot of people don’t agree. What do you think? Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day?


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Yeast Raised Pancakes

Yeast Raised Pancakes - thisislemonade.wordpress.com

I have wanted to share this recipe from sweetfineday with you for a LONG time. But I lost the photos that I took, somewhere on my hard drive. I found them just in time for Shrove Tuesday, how apt to share some lovely fluffy pancakes today. They are truly truly tasty, and it is totally worth following the recipe and letting the yeast work overnight. When you lift the cling from the mixing bowl in the morning, the yeasty aroma that hits you tells you the pancake will be delicious. Trust me. Delicious.

Yeast Raised Pancakes - thisislemonade.wordpress.com

The method is very easy. You simply whisk together the first four ingredients until the yeast has dissolved. Then incorporate the rest of the ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Leave in a fridge overnight for the yeast to work.

In the morning, add a smidgen of oil to a preheated frying pan. Spoon on the mix (I made mine American-style sized, and got about 15 out of these quantities). Flip once pancake has solidified enough to turn without splitting and is golden brown underneath. The time will vary depending on the type of frying pan you use.

I dare you not to eat these immediately.

Yeast Raised Pancakes - thisislemonade.wordpress.com

Because I love sweet with savoury, I ate mine with some prosciutto crudo, jarred cherries in syrup and cottage cheese. Yes, it was unplanned. I ate a couple of pancakes whilst cooking them (oops – but there were really splodgy ones, you wouldn’t have wanted to see them, honest!) then went and rummaged in the fridge for an excuse to eat many more. Looks like I turned breakfast into brunch. I have to say it again. These are truly delightful pancakes. Light, fluffy and with a delicious depth of flavour.

Yeast Raised Pancakes - thisislemonade.wordpress.com

So I’m not a very festive-y person. Having grown up with very limited resources, we did not do presents for birthdays, Christmas whatever as children. And we did not eat chocolate or junk food, well, very rarely anyway. Although a committed Christian, I have never really fasted – literally or symbolically (e.g. from the legendary chocolate – which I do eat now, sometimes often). In recent years though, I have been thinking about the tradition of Lent more and what it is all about. Do you do pancakes? 😉 Are you giving anything up for Lent? If you are, what does it mean to you?

Yeast Raised Pancakes - thisislemonade.wordpress.com


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Getting Into Gear

We are well into February, and thankfully, my rather shaky start to 2013 has stabilised somewhat for now, thanks to all your support and encouragement. (Really, I’m not just saying it – thank you.) End of January, I took my first tangible step to work towards my fourth goal as stated in the first post of the year: to give more thought and time to offline, tangible investments in my relationships. I bought this card which I just love and then I wrote and sent it off last week:

wiggletoes_card

Card from Pencil Diaries at Paperchase.

One thing that I have neglected in my personal relationships that I enjoyed so much in the past, was writing snail mail. Letting my loved ones know that I am thinking of them has not happened for too long, beyond sending a quick text, email or Facebook message. I had already been forming a plan in my mind, to write at least one card per month that is not a holiday or birthday card. It’s not even halfway as ambitious as Ziggy’s Illustrated Letters project, but I think it’s manageable for me.

I read Ginna’s February Goals post (haw haw, accidental pun) for her blog, My Pretty Pennies, on 1st February. What a great idea to link up and encourage each other to reach our goals! I’ve been a little slow to complete my post but I wanted to share the step-by-step goals I have set for February. All the goals I share are connected to my overall goals for 2013 to reduce the risk of overwhelming myself!

  • Write a card to someone for no particular reason, just to let them know I’m thinking of them
  • Complete a knitted surprise gift and send it by the end of the month
  • Fill a home made mini sketchbook by the end of the month
  • Clear my desk of things that are waiting to be filed away
  • Sort through old clothes that I have piled up as potential sewing material, deciding which to keep and which to donate

As I have explained, I don’t live life straightforwardly, so I won’t be too surprised if I get started on some side projects along the way. But now I’ve put this month’s goals out there, hopefully it will help me to focus and work towards getting them done! I’m excited to be able to cross the first one off already and to be almost through the second at this point. Hopefully, I will be able to cross everything off by the end of the month!

How about you? Have you tried regular goal setting? Does it work for you?


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New Year Firsts (ii): Threaded Thursdays

In a recent post, I shared my goals for 2013. In it, I told you that I wanted to get more creative with thread this year. I have known how to re-sew buttons onto my clothes for as long as I can remember, thanks to my resourceful mother. But I must say, the last time I did anything creative with thread was over ten years ago. In fact, it certainly feels like the last time I did anything truly creative was at least that long ago!

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been inspired by Martin’s Doodles. I’ve been following Martin almost since the beginning of my blogging journey, and if you have not yet popped over you really should. He makes my hometown look beautiful and interesting. Most of all, I love how he portrays people.

Martin entered a sketchbook in the Sketchbook Project in 2012 and is currently sharing what he has done, page by page. I’ve been toying with the idea myself, since a friend mentioned it about three years ago, but seeing that the project is no longer touring in Europe, I’ve decided against trying it.

Then last week, I was inspired by Marc Johns’ post, I make my own sketchbooks. I love Marc’s quirky illustrations, but in this feature post, he shares about his handmade sketchbooks and why he has been making his own for the last six years:

A nice, brand new leatherbound (not cheap!) notebook is intimidating for me. I’d want every sketch to be lovely and perfect. I’d want only my best ideas to grace its pages. In a nutshell, the preciousness would be too restrictive, and put a damper on my creativity. It would put a filter on my ideas. Not good.

I suffer from the inability to put pen to clean, crisp, new paper. I totally got that! And then I remembered a conversation not so long ago with a colleague. We had both done some rudimentary bookbinding in primary school. Some sugar paper and needle and thread. And that’s how, after about half an hour’s work, I came to be in possession of two new mini mini notebooks, made from scrap paper and some heavier grade paper taken from random marketing booklets:

My New Notebooks

I get fed up with all the brochures and junkmail that come through the door. It’s like 90% of the stuff posted through my letterbox goes straight through to the recycling at the back. Now I at least have some of it sewn up waiting to get graffitied on before it ends up in the bin. All I have to do is to start scribbling in them! Easier said than done, because I actually think they’re really cute… haha. Well, watch this space 🙂


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New Year Firsts (i): Woolly Wednesdays

So blogging is a journey, and on a journey you might just take a straight path, but I’m not one of those people. My paths generally are all windy and crooked. They often loop back on themselves and sometimes they lead to a dead end. More often than not, I probably don’t know where the path is and go wandering off. So that’s me. Nuts and confused. Early last year when I tried give each day a theme to help schedule my blog posts, some of them inspired more than others. I’m not going to ditch any of the old ideas, because they are working for me, I’m just adding new ones. So here’s introducing Woolly Wednesdays!

If you have been reading my meanderings for a while, you may have noticed that I love the woolly stuff. And that I have been playing about with it a bit. I got a bit of shoulder trouble at the end of 2012, and although it seems not to have recovered 100%, I can’t stay away from the sheepies and am carefully knitting again trying not to get carried away for hours on end.

In my Wonder Wool post, I shared a hat that I was knitting for a friend. She lives in the land of the recent horrendous bush fires, hence it was not previously appropriate to send it to her. I mean, it was the height of summer during our freezing winter! I had wanted to enclose a surprise in the eventual package, and have made a decision to finish it in time to send it for her birthday next month. The surprise is a first for me and I’m really, really excited. I’m sticking with knitting and not moving onto crochet, because there are different steps I want to practice. Here’s a little peek of what I’ve done so far… what do you think I’m knitting?

What am I knitting?

And why not ask another question to get to know you better? Are you a focused, clear-headed traveller through life or more a hopeless, woolly wanderer? 😛

Getting to know you!

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Snickers More Nuts Limited Edition

I don’t really eat chocolate bars. I find them too sweet. I’m a dark chocolate girl, so generally speaking, the chocolate bar section in the supermarket doesn’t draw me in. But this week, I found myself vulnerable whilst grocery shopping.

I was hungry.

And the power aisle snickered at me, grabbing me with a limited edition chocolate bar. “£1 only” for a pack of four More Nuts or More Caramel? D’uh. If I wanted more caramel, I’d buy a Mars Bar and I never do that of my own free will. So something in the pit of my stomach made me raise my hand to the shelf and put a pack of the above in my shopping trolley.

It’s the end of the week. Time to let go a little, raise a glass of the bubbly stuff. I wanted to thank you all for your support and encouragement. The week has been more than manageable punctuated with some really thoughtful comments at the ends of my posts that have really lifted me.  And seeing as we’re friends now (I hope I’m not being presumptuous), I was wondering… are you nuts like me or more nice and sweet? 🙂