Monday Musings

Sundays are usually my favorite day of the week. Nothing to do except bake, stitch and prep for the week. Sometimes however, I’m spoiled with a three day weekend.

In addition to being Columbus Day in the US, today is Canadian thanksgiving. While I don’t celebrate it with turkey and mashed potatoes, it’s a nice reminder to make time for friends and give thanks for the life I’ve built for myself in Virginia.

An extra day off is a great opportunity to take stock of my current needlepoint projects. Colin’s pineapple belt was finally finished and came back from the finisher in TWO WEEKS. I’ve never had something turn around so quickly. Needlepoint is a time consuming hobby and there aren’t usually any immediate rewards so getting the call that it was ready so quickly was such a pleasant surprise.

This week was also a turning point for No Name Chicken. I carved out big chunks of after-work time to make noticeable progress and it’s only made me want to keep going. Now if only I could pick my next stitch for the sideways feathers...

On my mind this week:

Do you follow The Kitchn? Their 20-day baking school is so inspiring. Every day they send out a new assignment and pastry to practice. If you’ve ever wanted a refresher on some pastry basics, or an excuse to whip out a batch of pate a choux, sign up to get the daily emails!

Macarons are known to be a challenging treat to make. I knew that and yet I was still disappointed when my first batch flopped. It didn’t even kind of flop, it was a full batch of cracked shells without feet. Not ideal. I’m not one who enjoys failing so I grabbed a copy of Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home, by Kathryn Gordon and Anne McBride, and got to reading. And practicing. True story I did a little victory dance when I mastered a batch of macarons last week.

Last year, I took a leap and invited myself to a friend of a friend’s book club. We met at a holiday party and somehow it came up that I was reading the same book that his book club was currently reading (Amy Poehler’s Yes Please). I don’t usually like going to new places by myself so showing up to that first book club was terrifying. But I did it, and I’m forever grateful that I did because it brought so many wonderful new people into my life. This month, we are going old school with some Agatha Christie. What books are you reading this month?

Recent posts on Sweet Sundays:

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches

I’ve never been a big sandwich person but when it comes to ice cream sandwiches, I’m always on board.


The principle is simple really. Pick a cookie that is soft but strong enough to act as the backbone of the sandwich. Pick a creamy ice cream with a complimentary flavor to the chosen cookies to be the body of the sandwich.

Last week’s pumpkin ice cream was such a hit, I thought I would pair the next batch with one of my favorite types of cookies: snickerdoodle.

Similar to sugar cookies, snickerdoodle cookies are very basic in makeup, which is probably part of the reason they’ve become so trendy of late. What isn’t there to love about a cookie built from ingredients found in every pantry and topped with a cinnamon and sugar mixture.

While there is some debate as to where they originated, one thing is certain: snickerdoodle flavored everything are here to stay!

Cookie Ingredient - adapted from Averie Cooks’ Snickerdoodle Cookie

  • ½ Cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ Cup (110g) granulated sugar plus about ¼ cup for topping
  • ½ Cup (65g) light brown sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ Cup (190g) flour
  • ½ Teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ Teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon

Cookie Recipe

  • Cream butter, brown sugar and ½ cup granulated sugar in a large bowl
  • Mix in egg and vanilla
  • Gently mix in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar until just combined
  • Form cookies out of 2 tablespoons of dough each and place on 2 baking sheets
  • Cover with plastic and refrigerate for an hour (up to overnight)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • In a small bowl, combine remaining sugar and cinnamon
  • Remove one tray from the fridge and roll dough balls in sugar cinnamon mixture
  • Bake for 12 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before transferring cookies to cooling rack
  • Remove second tray from oven and repeat process

To make the ice cream sandwiches

  • Allow cookies to cool completely before adding ice cream
  • Remove pumpkin ice cream from freezer to soften before using
  • Scoop ice cream onto one cookie and top with a second cookie
  • Enjoy immediately


The Best Pumpkin Pecan Muffins with a Browned Butter Glaze

Here I go again, rambling on about how yummy pumpkin is and how perfect everything about fall feels. Scarf weather, booties, pumpkin-flavored everything, what’s not to love?

I not-so-secretly loved the cold weather front Washington faced this weekend because it gave me a chance to try out my new blanket scarf! It's too small to be a blanket but too oversized to be a regular scarf so I'm still deciding how I actually feel about it. I guess it's a good thing I have many months of cold weather ahead of me to keep trying it out! 

Of course, the downside of the colder weather is that sports I loved keeping busy with during the summer are suddenly out of season. Have you ever tried playing golf in the snow? Tough to keep score.

These pumpkin muffins are the perfect mid-morning snack, especially when I’m fitting in as many rounds of fall golf as I can. They can easily be enjoyed without the browned butter glaze but it would be wrong to withhold such a delectable indulgence from yourself.


  • 3 Large eggs
  • 1 Cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ Cup pumpkin
  • 2 Cups (260g) flour
  • 2 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ Teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ Teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ Teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ Cup chopped pecans
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • ¾ Cup (80g) powdered sugar




  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Beat eggs, sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla extract
  • Mix in pumpkin
  • Whisk in flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cloves and allspice
  • Add in pecans (optional)
  • Bake for 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean
  • While the muffins are cooking, melt butter over medium heat
  • Once it is melted and turned amber, remove from heat and mix in powdered sugar
  • Once the muffins are out of the oven and have cooled a little, drizzle with the glaze

9 Spooky Halloween Treats

With the start of October and the first chill of the season last week, I went into full Halloween mode and pulled together a list of my favorite Halloween needlepoint canvases.

This week, I indulged in my sweeter tendencies and pulled together the yummiest and spookiest-looking Halloween treats.

After sifting through Pinterest and Food Gawker for a completely reasonable amount of my Sunday, I narrowed the list down to nine. My goal is to try all of them before Halloween rolls around. Fingers crossed that at least half of them wind up looking as good as they do below. I’ve had my fair share of Pinterest fails however so I’m staying realistic about the possibility of failure.

What are your favorite treats to make for Halloween?

Clockwise from the top right corner: