Blood Orange Gin Fizz

I know it’s weird to share two blood orange drinks in one week, but this one is just completely necessary! To celebrate the return of House of Cards, I present to you the blood orange gin fizz. The perfect combination of sweet and tart. 

Blood Orange Gin Fizz

Today is a day I have been waiting for months to arrive. And I considered sharing a coffee recipe, since you’ll obviously need to be up all night long to celebrate with me. Folks, House of Cards has returned. President Frank Underwood has taken his seat in the Oval and is no doubt scheming and murdering and whatnot. I couldn’t be more excited, I really have been on pins and needles. Moments like this, ones you want to celebrate (no matter how small the occasion), need special drinks.

This blood orange gin fizz is a loose interpretation of House of Cards. It’s sweet on its face, but has a tart undertone, a bite. Now, no one would ever call Frank or Claire sweet, I’m sure. But if I had to picture a cocktail that exemplified the couple, this would be it. They are murderers, after all, right?

Happy House of Cards day, friends!

Blood Orange Gin Fizz

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces blood orange juice
  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 4 ounces blood orange soda (or seltzer water)

Instructions

  1. Combine blood orange juice, gin and simple syrup in a glass. Top with ice, then pour soda on top to fill.
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Nutella Pancakes

Pancakes are pancakes, if you ask me. Nutella pancakes, however, take the breakfast game to the next level. 

Nutella Pancakes 

At this point, you know how I feel about pancakes. I can take them or leave them, really. But if I’m going to take them, they have to be just right. Fluffy, slightly moist, most likely filled with something delicious. A dry and measly pancake just won’t do. A plain pancake also won’t cut it for me, sad to say. On a recent weekend, I was asked for pancakes. I wanted to say no, to make waffles instead. But sometimes, you just can’t say no. 

Nutella Pancakes

Since I had to make pancakes, I also had to jazz them up a bit, to add something special to them. Nutella was obviously the only choice. My mom used to slather Nutella on toast so I took that idea and ran with it. I opted for a classic buttermilk pancake, which always turns out perfectly. Then instead of studding it with chocolate chips or topping it with strawberries, I turned it into a pancake sandwich. Slap a generous serving of Nutella on the top side of one pancake and then place another face-down on it and you’ve got yourself a moist, chocolatey Nutella pancake. It’s a perfect way to amp up your breakfast game.

Nutella Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Nutella for spreading

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
  2. In a mother bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and melted butter.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour the liquid mixture in the center and stir to just combine.
  4. Melt a pat of butter over a medium-high heat griddle. Spoon 1/3 cup pancake batter onto the griddle in batches.
  5. Once the pancake batter begins to bubble, flip and cook until golden on the other side.
  6. Once all the pancakes are cooked, spread a bit of Nutella on each and sandwich together.
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Blood Orange Faux-Garita

Blood orange season is at its peak, so celebrate it with a virgin version of margaritas: the blood orange faux-garita!  

Blood Orange Faux-Garitas

Sunday night, I decided to make some blood orange margaritas both to celebrate J.K. Simmons’ amazing Oscar win and to rid the house of the last blood orange in the fruit basket. Plus I heard it was National Margarita Day so celebrating seemed apropos. I juiced and squeezed and stirred, therapeutically, until I had two perfect blood orange margaritas, perfect for sharing with a loved one.

Until that loved one made a declaration that I knew but really never processed: he doesn’t like the taste of alcohol. All those times I shoved gin fizzes and mojitos and boiler makers in his face, he was just being nice in drinking them. The cold hard facts are he just isn’t an alcohol drinker. No biggie, I frankly don’t drink much anymore either. But I do really enjoy sharing in a composed and thoughtful cocktail time and again.

Blood Orange Faux-Garitas

I then made it my personal mission to find as many virgin cocktails as I could. They’re called mocktails today and are super trendy. For people skipping out on alcohol, they can still indulge in smart, sassy drinks that have depth, dimension, flavor. First up on the list was a virgin blood orange margarita. A blood orange faux-garita, if you will. There are certain elements in a faux-garita that you need in order for it to taste authentic. Lime, of course, and a bit of sweetness from the simple syrup. Since I was skipping out on the tequila, I added in a generous serving of seltzer to give it a little sparkle.

If you don’t like your margaritas overly sweet, skip out or reduce the simple syrup. I wanted something to balance out the tart flavor of the blood orange. Make this one soon, before the season ends!

Blood Orange Faux-Garitas

Ingredients

  • juice of 4 blood oranges (about 4 ounces)
  • juice of 2 limes (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 6 to 8 ounces sparkling water

Instructions

  1. Mix blood orange juice, lime juice and simple syrup. Divide the mixture between two glasses.
  2. Fill the glasses with ice, then top with sparkling water.
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Snickerdoodle Blondies

Blondies, brownies and bars are irresistible in any form. Snickerdoodle blondies combine the best of cookies and blondies into an amazing treat. 

Snickerdoodle Blondies

I have really come to love when the Secret Recipe Club comes around. Though I’m a newer member, it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite blogging days. I think it’s because I collect recipes like some people collect china or monk-shaped sugar bowls (I collect those two, just saying). I have them jotted down on sheets of paper, on note cards, on scraps of napkin, sometimes on my hand. I hardly ever make half of them, storing most for another time that may never come. Who the heck really knows?

The Secret Recipe Club is fun because it introduces me to a ton of new people and shows me a ton of new recipes. More to collect, more to test, more to scarf once finished. This time around, I was assigned the beautiful I Am a Honey Bee. You’ll find a plethora of recipes over there, but really desserts are her bag. I immediately gravitated there and didn’t leave. I almost settled on these amazing Irish Coffee Blondies. But I wanted something the whole family could enjoy, so I went with Snickerdoodle Blondies instead.

Snickerdoodle Blondies

These bars were the perfect choice. Chewy but soft, sweet but spiced, warm and perfect. It was hard not to eat four at a time. They were a hit all around, to say the least. Great for parties, ideal for bake sales, necessary for eating while sitting and watching TV by yourself. So happy to have stumbled on these beauties over at Nicole’s blog.

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract, and beat until smooth.
  4. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
  5. Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool before cutting.
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Tomato Soup with Cheddar Beer Croutons

Tomato soup with cheddar beer croutons is a perfect play on that childhood classic: grilled cheese with tomato soup.

Tomato Soup with Cheddar Beer Croutons

Here’s the thing: everyone is cold. But sitting here talking about how frigid we are isn’t making anyone feel any warmer. I felt more miserable after listening to the weather report. So I’m trying not to think about it or talk about it much.  Instead, there’s soup.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese is a classic combination that makes most people think of childhood. I love it and always will. But it was in need of just a little revamping. A can of condensed soup would not suffice, I’m too grown up for that. This soup really ups the ante. It is creamy and smooth, perfect for slurping. Instead of grilled cheese, try cheddar beer croutons. I love making beer bread, it has such a rustic feel to it. Adding cheddar to it only improved the flavor. Plus the beer bread is nice and crisp, giving a great texture to the creamy soup. Perfecto!

Tomato Soup with Cheddar Beer Croutons

Ingredients

  • Soup:
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 yellow onion, diced finely
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 28 oz. diced tomatoes in juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Croutons:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • •2 tbsp. sugar
  • 21/4 cups grated white cheddar cheese
  • 12 oz. lager (or any beer of your choice; just avoid beers that are very dark)

Instructions

  1. For the croutons, begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, sugar and cheese. Stir well to combine. Stir in beer.
  2. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside until you are ready to begin the soup. Once ready to use, slice the bread into cubes. Place the cubes onto a foil-lined baking sheet and bake 15 minutes at 375 degrees until toasted and golden.
  3. For the soup, heat the butter over medium until melted. Add in garlic and onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in flour, coating the onions and garlic. Add in the chicken stock and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add in tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. In batches, pour the mixture in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot and heat through.
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