Lemon Blueberry Pancakes with Lemon Syrup

After a fairly mild winter, our town got hit with snow and frigid temperatures last weekend. When it's freezing and snowy outside, nothing is better than staying in and warming the place up by cooking! One of my favorite things to cook when we are stuck indoors is breakfast for dinner. We don't get up early enough during the week to cook a big meal, instant oatmeal is the extent of my early morning breakfast. On the weekends we have a few breakfast and brunch spots we visit, so we rarely take the time to cook breakfast then either. But since we were stuck in for the day, we decided to fix some of our favorites - blueberry pancakes, hash browns, and sausage. 

I get bored cooking the same meals over and over, so I enjoy experimenting some with our favorite recipes and meals. This is particularly true when I start with a box mix, I love adding fresh ingredients to the mix and changing the flavor profile. As I did with blueberry muffin mix last winter, I decided to spruce up a blueberry pancake mix with lemon juice and lemon zest. I didn't want to overpower the pancake flavor with lemon, so I didn't add too much zest or juice. Instead, I decided to amp up the lemon flavor by pairing the pancakes with a lemon syrup. The pancakes had a light lemon flavor on their own, but when combined with the syrup the flavor was fresh and delicious! 

Easy Southern Instant Spiced Tea

Any tea fans out there? Even though I grew up in the South, where sweet tea is a way of life, I was never a big fan... I tried sweet and unsweet, hot and cold, tea was just not something that I enjoyed. After avoiding all types of tea for years, I recently found myself shopping with my in-laws at a popular tea store. I was pleasantly surprised to taste test a tea that I loved!

The tea I discovered was a Rooibos tea, it's a red tea from Africa that is naturally sweet with a slight nutty flavor. My favorite is the white chocolate peppermint or the caramel chai. Yum! I also have started trying some white teas including a berry and orange blossom. Now that I've acquired more of a taste for tea, I'm starting to experiment with more flavors and types of tea.

I recently ran across a recipe for a spiced citrus instant tea mix made from powdered drink mixes! Apparently it's a common Southern recipe, I found tons of versions of the recipe all over Pinterest. Each seemed to have a different ratio of ingredients, so I decided to experiment and test out my own version of the spiced tea.

This recipe is delicious, I love the mix of the orange and lemon citrus flavors blended in with tea and spices. The best part of the recipe is that it creates an instant tea mix that then you can use to create a quick cup of hot spiced tea whenever you want it! Plus how cute is the tea mix combined and stored in a mason jar? Definitely a Southern touch for the tea.

Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes

I don't know about you, but I wasn't a fan of Sloppy Joes when I was younger. I remember being a bit disappointed waiting in line at school and summer camp when I saw Sloppy Joes being scooped out. Let's face it, they weren't the most appetizing to look at. I also don't recall being a fan of the texture and taste. To be fair it was cafeteria food, I was a bit picky when I was younger. I was probably the only child who disliked french fries, hot dogs, and Kool-Aid.

While I'd still probably dislike the cafeteria version, my taste buds have changed over the years...though I wish I still disliked french fries! As I've begun to experiment and cook more for the blog, I've rediscovered all sorts of food I previously disliked. Sloppy Joes weren't something I even considered trying again after I said goodbye to my cafeteria days. I recently, though, saw a recipe from my all-time favorite food blogger, The Pioneer Woman, so I figured I'd have to give it a try.

I often joke about how many Pioneer Woman recipes I blog about (too many to count at this point), but I've never been disappointed by any of her recipes. If you read my Bourbon Maple Pork Chop post, you know I even got to meet her at a book signing! I figured if anyone could make Sloppy Joes delicious, it would be her.

I love this recipe, it's definitely an elevated version of the cafeteria special. Not only is it packed with flavor and a bit of a kick, but it also has a perfect texture balance with some crunch from the onions and peppers. These sandwiches are my new go to recipe for lunch. I'll make a big batch on Sunday and eat sandwiches off of it for days. 

I've made these Sloppy Joes multiple times and have started experimenting a bit more with the recipe. I tweaked a few things here and there and was pleased with the new sauce to meat ratio. I also decided to make the recipe a bit healthier by replacing ground beef with ground turkey! You can make the Sloppy Joes either way, but I really enjoyed the ground turkey version. I'm always looking for some leaner and healthier versions of my favorite foods!

Here's my (slightly) modified version of the Sloppy Joe recipe, you can find the original here.

Ground Turkey Sloppy Joe ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper
  • 1/4 whole large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1.2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground pepper flakes
  • Couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
Ground Turkey Sloppy Joe instructions:
  • Dice peppers and onions
  • Mince garlic
  • Brown ground turkey in a skillet over medium high heat
  • Drain most of the fat and discard
  • Add the peppers, onion, and garlic to the skillet
  • Cook 4-5 mins, or until vegetables begin to soften
  • Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, and water
  • Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste
  • Add tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, if desired
  • Simmer around 20 mins, adjust seasonings as needed
  • Serve on a toasted bun