SRC: Cranberry Tart


Good morning and welcome to another edition of The Secret Recipe Club. For a little “behind the scenes” information, The Secret Recipe Club (SRC) is divided into four group. Each group posts on a different Monday of the month. I am in Group D and always post on the 4th Monday of the month. This means that those special months with five Mondays there’s a week without any fun reveal day! That is all about to change, beginning with today. On the 5th Monday of the month there will now be a themed reveal and it’s a “free for all,” which means that there aren’t any group restrictions. I’m looking forward to getting to know some of the other bloggers in the club.

With Thanksgiving behind us it’s time to set our eyes on the holidays and that’s why our themed reveal this month is Holiday Treats. My assignment this month comes from Group A, Anna over at BCMom’s Kitchen. Anna views recipes as “suggestions,” something I’d always had a problem doing. As I’ve been blogging and cooking I’ve become more accustomed to this line of thought and can comfortably change recipes to suit the ingredients in my pantry (and budget).

Given the theme for the month I immediately went to Anna’s “sweets” index and searched with the holiday frame of mind. I found myself being pulled to anything and everything cranberry! Apple Cranberry Crisp, Cranberry Tart, and although not a dessert, Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip.

We had this “tart” for our Thanksgiving dessert. My Thanksgiving menu this year was a little unconventional because we had a small group (just us and my in-laws). Instead of turkey we had pork roasts, cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, and green bean casserole. We had my Award Winning Chili on Saturday so we did get some turkey during the holiday weekend.

I chose the cranberry tart, but found it difficult to call this dessert a tart. I struggled with how to categorize it though. It’s not quite a tart because there isn’t a crust topped with a filling. It’s almost a pie with a crust going on top of the filling, but it’s not a crust, it’s a batter. It’s probably most like an upside down cake, but I didn’t photograph it upside down – I had to take the pictures Wednesday, before we ate it, while there was light. There was no way I’d risk turning the “tart” upside down in case it didn’t work that way. I’ve decided to call it a “pie cake.” Whatever you call it, it’s delicious – a perfect blend of sweet and tart with some texture.

I found this dessert best served warm alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cranberry Tart


  • 2 C fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 1/2 C chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 C sugar, divided use
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9″ pie pan.
  2. Place cranberries, pecans, and 1/2 C sugar in the pie pan.
  3. In a bowl mix the flour, remaining sugar, melted butter, eggs, and extract. Pour over the cranberries.
  4. Bake 40-45 minutes until the tart has risen slightly, is set, and lightly golden.

*This recipe is adapted from Anna at*

Cranberry Tart for #SRCHolidayTreats from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in the themed Secret Recipe Club this month click here:

Sprinkle Cookies

Today’s cookie recipe comes from my good friend Tara. Tara blogs over at Tara’s Multicultural Table. Tara and I used to live near each other and I would get to taste her food first hand. Now that we have both relocated I’m going to have to make her recipes myself if I want to taste the things that come out of her kitchen. I’m only slightly bitter about this.

When Tara posted these Sprinkle Cookies I pinned them immediately. I was very intrigued by the concept. I’d also never heard of (not that I’m an expert cookie recipes) a cookie recipe that uses cornstarch.

We absolutely loved these cookies! I donated them to a Christmas Cookie Drive earlier this month so I only got to eat one of them. These cookies reminded me of cookie dough – I suspect the cornstarch is to blame for the unique texture. With a variety of sprinkles on the market these could be done to fit any holiday or match any party decor. So bring on the sprinkles, and make some cookies!

Sprinkle Cookies


  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C sprinkles


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing until combined after each addition. Gently fold in the sprinkles.
  3. Gather cookie dough and roll into a log. Cut into 3 dozen cookies. Roll cookies into a ball and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and bake cookies for 8 minutes – until cooked yet not golden. Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for five minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

*This recipe is adapted from Tara at*

Sprinkle Cookies

Cranberry Coffee Cake

I end my series of Thanksgiving leftovers with the perfect holiday breakfast – coffee cake!

I use my go-to coffee cake recipe but add in the flavors of Thanksgiving. My filling is cranberry sauce and the topping features orange and fall spices.

This is my third time making this coffee cake base and I think it’s my best outcome yet! I highly recommend using sour cream over yogurt, and buy the full fat stuff. I think that’s the difference, that or the Kroger brand of sour cream is better than the Publix brand. (Sorry Publix, I still love you and miss shopping where “Shopping is a Pleasure.”)

Cranberry Coffee Cake

Ingredients for topping:

  • 3/8 C flour
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/8 tsp ginger*
  • 1/8 tsp cloves*
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg*
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 C rolled oats

*If you have pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 tsp instead

Ingredients for cake:

  • 2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1 C cranberry sauce


  1. Make the topping: whisk together the flour, brown sugar, spices, zest, oats and salt. Using your fingers, break the butter into small pieces and combine with the topping. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8″ square cake pan with foil and grease.
  3. Make the cake: In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add in the vanilla.
  5. Incorporate a third of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once combined add 1/2 C of sour cream. Add another third of the dry ingredients. Once combined add the last 1/2 C of sour cream. Add in the final third of the dry ingredients.
  6. Assemble the cake: Place half of the cake batter in the prepared cake pan. Evenly distribute the cranberry sauce and top with remaining batter. Top the cake with the topping from step 1.
  7. Bake for 65 minutes, or until a knife comes out cleanly.
  8. Allow cake to cool for 5 minutes and remove the cake from the pan by the foil. Serve your cake with  a cup of coffee!

Cranberry Coffee Cake


Cinco de Mayo Recipe Round Up

With it still being my blog’s first year I’ve never been able to do a Recipe Round Up for a holiday before. But thanks to my Mexican Mondays I have plenty of suggestions for your Cinco de Mayo celebration!

Cinco de Mayo

Featured above:

  1. Mexican Stuffed Shells
  2. Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas
  3. Three Bean Nachos
  4. Baby Baked Beef Burritos
  5. Chorizo Carbonara
  6. Protein Packed Southwestern Salad
  7. Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
  8. Corn Pepper Salsa Chicken Quesadilla

Other favorites:

  1. Turkey Enchilada Meatloaf
  2. Chorizo Mac and Cheese
  3. Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Salad
  4. Spicy Taco Cheese Soup

And my most popular Mexican Monday recipe: Healthy Chicken Tacos

Healthy Tacos

Pecan Pie

I had planned on providing you with a healthy shrimp and avocado pesto recipe to start your new year off right. But unfortunately the avocados at the grocery store weren’t anywhere near ripe and they were completely out of basil. So that recipe will have to wait for another day.

Instead I’m going to switch gears entirely and give you a sweet, rich dessert. Stuart’s holiday favorite. Pecan pie. My mom makes this pie just for him – and it amuses me greatly that the woman married to a man with nut allergies provides the only nutty dish of the holidays.

Pecan Pie Steps

Pecan Pie


  • 1 C light corn syrup
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C chopped pecans
  • 1 pie crust


  1. Over medium heat combine corn syrup, butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt. Stir until the butter melts. DO NOT BRING TO A BOIL. Remove from heat.
  2. In a small bowl beat the eggs. While constantly stirring the syrup mixture, slowly add in the eggs. Stir until smooth. Add in the vanilla and chopped pecans.
  3. Pour pecan pie filling into a ready-to-bake, thawed pie crust. If desired, place 5 halved pecans in a small circle/star in the center of the pie.
  4. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees until the filling no longer jiggles.

*This recipe is adapted from*

Pecan Pie

Update December 2016: I’ve been dying to re-photograph this pecan pie and every Christmas I say I’m going to. It’s taken three years for that to happen, but hey! My parents remodeled their home in 2016 and all of the yellow tones of the kitchen were replaced by modern and timeless whites, greys, and deep cherry. Even with the new open concept I was surprised at how little natural light penetrated the bright space. I had to take mom’s pie out to the lanai to snap the new photo. It’s amazing what natural lighting can do to the beauty of a pie!

Classic Pecan Pie | Sew You Think You Can Cook |

CIC: Gingerbread Spice & Onion


This month Jutta challenged us with combining gingerbread spice and onion into one dish.

Gingerbread Spice & Onion

I found myself more stumped than I thought I’d be. I considered going in a sweet direction by caramelizing the onions and putting them in a muffin. But I wasn’t sure how the texture would work out. I considered making a warm and hearty soup or stew. And then I decided on a savory bread pudding and mixing in the spice with the custard. But I was really hesitant – I’ve never had bread pudding before and for some reason I fear I won’t like the texture. Maybe I’ll get over this someday and give it a try. So, bread pudding without the eggy custard is essentially a dressing (or stuffing). That would be a perfect fit with Thanksgiving fast approaching.

I procrastinated on making my dish for weeks, blaming allergies that turned into a head cold that turned into a cough. (Which also explains the lack of posts lately) Turns out procrastination isn’t all bad. I was then handed a beautiful, perfect solution to November’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge.

Red Onion Jam Grilled Cheese

Sunday morning after church I turned on Food Network and caught the end of Southern at Heart, Food Network’s newest star Damaris Phillips’ beautiful show. She was making an onion jam with ginger and coriander. Perfect! I substituted the spices for Gingerbread Spice and used red onion instead of Vidalia to add a beautiful holiday color. This jam is perfectly sweet and an excellent accompaniment to your holiday cheese platter. You could even add it to a grilled cheese sandwich or any sandwich for that matter!

Red Onion Jam


  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 C brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 tsp gingerbread spice


  1. Saute onions in butter with salt and lemon zest until onions are translucent. Stir in gingerbread spice. Add 1/8 C brown sugar and lemon juice. Cook 10 minutes until liquid has evaporated. Stirring occasionally.
  2. Add a little less than 1/4 C water to onions and cook another 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  3. Repeat step 2 three more times. (A total of 40 minutes)
  4. Stir in remaining 1/8 C brown sugar until melted.

Red Onion Jam

To see the other blogs that participated in this month’s challenge click the link below:

Sugar and Spiced Nuts

Have you ever been to a carnival or amusement park and had the purple paper cone filled with candied nuts? For my husband, it’s a not-to-be-missed treat.

We spent our first anniversary at Universal Studios, where I conquered my fear of rollercoasters. I have a slight obsession with Harry Potter and was so excited to step into Hogwarts and shop the streets of Hogsmeade. I highly recommend a trip… or two! (We went again the following year for my birthday I could go fly with Harry on The Forbidden Journey all day. Stuart’s favorite ride is still The Incredible Hulk.


Sorry, I got a little carried away there. Before we left the park on our last day, Stuart was determined to find these magical candied almonds. We finally found them in Seuss Landing.

This recipe for sugar and spiced nuts isn’t an exact replica, but they are delicious. Like Stuart said, “It’s like Christmas in my mouth!”


Sugar and Spiced Nuts


  • 1 C almonds
  • 1 C walnuts
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a bowl, combine sugar, salt, and spices.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together egg white, 1 tbsp water, and vanilla until it foams.
  3. Toss nuts in the egg white mixture. Strain nuts and toss in the sugar mixture. (I forgot to strain the nuts, they still turned out great, but instead of individual nuts they turned out more like balls of candied nuts.)
  4. Spread nuts on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Toss and roast another 15 minutes.

*This recipe is modified from Kristi at*


And here’s a bonus recipe idea – I reserved 1/8 C of the sugar and we sprinkled it over buttered bagels before putting them in the toaster oven.

Happy Halloween

I love decorating for the holidays, and Halloween is no exception. Pinterest has fueled my decorating passion and this year I spent a lot of time with my hand in the scissors.

Last year was my first Pinterest Halloween and I did a Mummy front door. It was a great hit so I did it again! The original creators of the Mummy Door used white streamers. Living in a very humid climate I opted to use white ribbon. Yes, it’s more expensive, but it’s reusable year-to-year! I used a solid white and had a little bit of see-thru white ribbon to put over the bottom layer in diagonals. I secured the ribbon with double sided tape on the threshold sides of the door. I gave the mummy a sunken-eye look by excluding whites – he’s all pupil! I also decided to leave ribbon hanging at the door knob to give it that unraveling texture.

Mummy Door

I put spider webs with spider rings in the windows next to the front door – making the Mummy creepier rather than cute!

I’ve always used orange Christmas lights in my windows but this year I added even more decoration to the window panes. Silhouettes! I purchased a Martha Stewart window cling for the upstairs window (it claims to be reusable) and cut my own figures for the porch window. I printed templates from the internet, cut them, traced them onto black poster board, and cut that. Double stick tape secured them to the glass.

Halloween Windows

Halloween Windows

For the spider web I followed this tutorial.

I also brought the Halloween decor outside with 4 black foam bats hanging from the porch eaves. I printed out a template, cut it, traced it onto the black foam, and cut that. I then used a hole punch at the top of each bat’s head. Fishing line gives the bats their flying through the air illusion.