Recipe | 'Healthy' Blueberry Pancakes

The theme this weekend was me me me. I needed some me time, I needed to sleep in, I needed to shop until I dropped, I needed to have a long bath & buy myself a terribly expensive shampoo (Aveda - I hope it's as good as they say it is...) I needed to take myself on a cinema date to a silly cheesy movie and burry my head in a bucket of popcorn, oh and I needed pancakes. So far so good.

It is no secret that my favourite meal of the day is Breakfast. I put a lot of effort into making a nutritious breakfast every morning. Smoothies are my go-to in the summer & porridge topped with stewed fruits & yoghurt in the winter. I love having a simple egg, ideally poached or boiled with a buttery piece of toast, with a side of avocado.

Oh but pancakes! Pancakes are my favourite. They are my weekend guilty pleasure. The thing I look forward to most when I go to bed on a friday night. Those warm little bundles of joy! Would you look at 'em?!

If there's one recipe I experiment with on a weekly basis - it's pancakes. The variations are endless. Once you have a good base recipe, they are pretty hard to fail. I've always used the 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of self raising flour, 1 egg ratio from a Jamie Oliver recipe and it's always worked very well, but recently I've been trying to be healthier, so I made this one up. (I already shared a healthy version of pancakes over here - but these are the better version for sure!)

They are jam packed with antioxidants, healthy fats, protein, fibre for days, magnesium, potassium.. the list goes on. They are gluten free (if you want them to be) which will make you feel as light as a feather. If you have rice malt syrup on hand like I used in this recipe then these are also (almost*) sugar free, which if you ask me is a huge plus. It won't make your sugar levels spike through the roof then make you feel tired, groggy and hungry in a couple of hours.

*fructose is still present in small doses from the banana and blueberries.

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Ingredients (serves 2 or 1 if you're very hungry...) :

- 1 ripe banana

- 1 egg

- 2/3 cup of Almond milk

- 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour + 1/4 cup of psyllium husk (can be replaced with flax meal or ground almonds) or 1 cup of all purpose flour

- 2 tbsp of Chia seeds

- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Β 

- 1 tsp of vanilla extract

- 1 tsp of baking powder

- A pinch of salt

- a big handful of blueberries

- 1 tbsp of rice malt syrup (healthy alternative to sugar, taste like golden syrup without the nasty effects of fructose!)

- a tsp of coconut oil (for the pan)

- Maple syrup or rice malt syrup to serve.

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Notes :

> Puree the banana with the almond milk and the vanilla. Add your beaten egg to the mixture. Combine.

> In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients (Flour, Psyllium, Chia seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, salt)

> Pour the banana mixture in the dry ingredients bowl. Stir until all combined.

> Gently add in your blueberries.

> Heat a tsp of coconut oil in a frying pan. Pour a big tbsp of batter, shape it as you like. Let it be for a bit. Flip when bubble start appearing at the surface. Cook for about a minute on the other side. (Always check the first pancake to adjust sweetness/cooking time)

> I served mine with a dollop of greek yoghurt, some extra blueberries, a few strawberries, a sprinkle of almonds & a drizzle of rice malt syrup. I guess maple syrup would be nice too so would blackberries & raspberries, maybe some butter if you're feeling indulgent.. Go wild!

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{ You could make these vegan by taking out the egg. The banana is enough to hold everything together. The consistency is a bit more 'gooey' (I refuse to use the dreaded word that starts with an m and ends with an 'oist'... ;) I prefer it with the egg because it makes them fluffier, but give it a go! }

Visual Diary of Sophie's Hens Weekend in the Hunter Valley

/!\ Warning /!\

You are about to get hit by a million photos, finger injuries might occur from scrolling down.

2 weekends ago now, Sophie & us 5 bridesmaids took off on a little road trip to the Hunter Valley (wine country a couple of hours outside of Sydney!) We rented a little cottage, drank a lot of wine (duh) laughed until our belly ached, had a couple of hilarious misadventures, cuddled up by the fire with cheese (& and more wine)

It was the perfect girls weekend away. Now the 300 million(ish) photos...

[more about our misadventures after all the scrolling I promise!]

You made it!

*You can have a little break now (if you wish)

We arrived Friday evening in time for dinner at Leaves & Fishes, but I'm getting ahead of myself!

We all met up at Sophie's house after work, hopped in the car with way too many bags for 2 days, stopped on the highway to buy unhealthy snacks, all of that time Soph obviously had the GPS going on her phone, we finally arrive at our little cottage on a property called Cottages on Lovedale, pull up at number 3, make our way in with all our luggage & start making ourselves comfortable on the sofas... up until we noticed a few things seemed a bit odd.

Most bedrooms had padlocks on them & the heating wasn't on as the owner said it would, and there was no code at the front door... scratching our heads and wondering how we would all sleep with just one bedroom open, one of us suddenly had the bright idea to double check the confirmation email to find out minutes later that WE WEREN'T IN THE RIGHT COTTAGE, wait for it.. we weren't even in the right property! We were staying at Lovedale Cottages instead NOT Cottages on Lovedale (or was it the other way around now..?!) The right property was actually 5 minutes down the road haha! We literally grabbed all of our bags as fast as we could & ran back into the car, laughing hysterically & quickly drove to the right cottage this time! 

I'm still laughing about it now.. 2 weeks later. Seriously! What were the chances that cottage number 3 was wide open, in a place that's almost called the same thing, just down the road from our actual cottage... Imagine if anyone had come in?! or worse if the GPS had taken us 2 hours away from the right place.... We laughed about it all night.

Anyway, our real cottage was so cosy (and this time had the heating on!) - it was also much better than the first one which was a relief!

All of Saturday was spent driving around a bunch of wineries, testing all the wines & eating our way around the valley. It was a lot of fun! That night we decided we had done enough driving around for the day and stayed in with cheese & meat boards by the fire. Best idea we had all weekend I believe!  

Ps: I saw wild kangaroos for the first time that weekend - FOR REAL - but.... they were too far away for pictures... *insert sad face* which was highly disappointing as they truly were the first wild kangaroos I have come across since I've been in Australia! So you'll just have to believe me and imagine a bunch of kangaroos munching on grass in between some vines.

Weekend Scenes | Brunch in Manly & Soph's Bridal Shower

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My weekends have been starting on a thursday night for the past couple of months. Which if you ask me should be the way to go all year round! Having an extra day really makes a HUGE difference..

I like to start my Friday mornings with a sleep in & a hearty brunch in good company. Last week I met up with Sophie at Pure Wholefoods in Manly. We were in desperate need to catch up!

I ordered a green juice, which I do pretty much anywhere I go these days, I've figured I'd rather drink my greens (minus celery because.. yuck)

Soph had the acai berry bowl topped with my favourite muesli in the entire galaxy (in all seriousness, I'm gonna have to import cases of the stuff when I go back to Europe...) I had the gluten free/sugar free/vegan/free of anything nasty pancakes which if you ask me was way too much to ask out of a pancake. You know when you eat out & you're a little disappointed because you could have done so much better at home? Yeah.

I quickly got over it when we strolled on the beach & sat down to enjoy a good ol' flat white in the sun (yes I drink coffee now, I think the subject deserves a whole entire post for itself.. you just wait!) We chatted travels, future Bali adventures, while watching the surfers do their surfer thing. Winter in Sydney is ridiculous.

R i d i c u l o u s 

I attempted to be healthy for about 5 seconds. I filled my fridge with veggies & fruits on thursday night to make sure I wouldn't go too wild over the weekend, which actually worked for a little while.. until I attended Sophie's bridal shower & ate all the cheese & brownies & pastries & sandwiches & .... (Also..too many Sophies! it's highly confusing, I know)

I was in charge of the cheese board (which is pretty much a given as soon as you let people know that you're half French) but this time I cheated a bit & gave it a Spanish twist with Manchego, olives & chorizo! I've discovered this little Spanish deli in the city - a gem, it's called Encasa Deli en casa you wanted to know ;) - can't wait to go back for tapas & wine.

I mainly took photos on Sophie's camera which explains the lack of any worthy photographs, I'm sure Soph will post about it soon. It was such a great afternoon! This beauty is getting married in 3 tiny little weeks... SHE'S GOING TO BE A WIFE IN 3 WEEKS! 3 WEEKS. Mind blowing. Oh and I've been in Australia for 6 months. Someone pinch me (I mean hit me in the face)

A Life Update (I'm alive) & Photos that should be together

Today I sat down at my computer for what felt like forever. Two days ago I was chatting to my mum & my sister on Skype (the god send), within minutes they started complaining about how I NEVER post on the blog, mum pointed out that my last post dated back from the 24th of JUNE. Shock. Horror.

I just couldn't believe it... this whole time just disappeared in a flash. I blinked & found myself in mid-july. The blog looks like it's been abandoned for a decade, closer to an overgrown garden than a blog. The more I think about it now, the more I am starting to feel this powerful itch to write & share more photographs with you.

The past few months have been a real tornado of events, between leaving a job, feeling quite panicked about it all, looking for a new one, finding myself an Aussie boyfriend, finding a new job, starting the new job... (see how I slipped that in there..;)

That whole time my blog felt like it was a million miles away from me. I felt quite disconnected to it because I was busy living life & there was very little time left for anything else (who has time for blogging with a full time job & dinner dates to attend.. huh?)

So anyway back to that Skype session with mum & Lizzie... it was a bit of a wake up call, I suddenly felt the urge to write, and dark thoughts crept into my mind... what if I forget everything that happened in the past few months? What if Instagram dies & all that's left are faded memories of various cups of coffee & cute cats I met in the neighbourhood.. because I try to go by the rule that if I didn't blog about it, it didn't actually happen ya know?

So here I am, sitting in bed with a big bowl of fresh strawberries & Coyo (my newest addiction) reconnecting with this blog of mine. I've suddenly realised that maybe along the way I started putting too much pressure on myself to make this place something that wasn't me anymore.

I needed to remember why I started this place to begin with.. a place where I celebrate my everyday life, where I log all those precious memories in, where I keep my loved ones updated about my current adventures while living so far away from home, a place I can go back to in a few years time & remember. 

Remember how beautiful the light was when I had breakfast that particular morning, remember the beautiful cities I visited, the food I ate, all the avocado on toast I gobbled up, the people I met, the things I liked & admired on June the 2nd or January the 18th... (mostly the food I ate) It's not about making things look perfect, or saying the right things all the time, it's about being real to who I am & what I love to do. That's what I needed to remember today. If people like to read along the way then I call it the cherry on the cake!

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PS: Sometimes I flick though my camera roll on my phone & random images are drawn together like they belong to the same family or something. I don't have the heart to leave them all alone, so I group them back together & this is what happens!

1. One beautiful pelican I met on a second trip to the zoo | 2. Leaf shadows & worn out converse | 3. My favourite girl at the zoo | 4. The king | 5. Vineyards for days in the Hunter Valley for Sophie's hens weekend | 6. My beautiful (farting) angel Filou who had to be put down a couple of weeks ago | 7. Cat friends | 8. Picnic thief at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Weekend Scenes

A wonderful weekend outside of Sydney full of adventures, whale watching, sunsets, picnics, cheese(sssss), farm visits, baking & being lazy bums because that's what weekends are made for, am I right or am I right? It has given me the itch to plan more travelling. I have been here for 5 months already & I feel like I have seen so little! Any place you would recommend in Sydney? Elsewhere in Australia that I MUST see?! (I know there are millions, and I won't be able to do it all, but I'll be back for SURE..!) Make me lists.. you know how much I love them!