The Perils of Dumplings

I live in the South. A short drive gets me to Graceland, a little longer drive gets me to the Gulf Coast, a little longer and I’m sipping margaritas in Key West. By virtue of that, I’m expected to know how to make certain dishes – among them are fried chicken, a pot of navy beans, cornbread and chicken and dumplings.


My chicken and dumplings is a dense stew of a whole chicken simmered about an hour, picked clean and two batches of MaMe’s biscuits cut into 1×2 inch diamonds. I learned the practice from my mother-in-law in the early 00’s. I knew how to cook. However, you know no wife can cook as good as her husband’s mother. So I tried off and on for 6 months until I finally got ‘the look’. The look on my husband’s face that says I got it just right.


Usually I can get them just right. The shredded chicken, the chunks of dumplings and the thick sauce holding it all together. Usually I get ‘yumms’ and ‘ahhhs’ of appreciation. This weekend, however, was a different story. I’m letting my boys, DangerBoy and Sheepro, into the kitchen and teaching them my tips and tricks in the kitchen. The chicken simmered and bubbled like it should and cooled perfectly. We worked on the biscuits together and cut them into their shapes. Dropping them in was no problem either. They went in the stock as smooth as you like. But for some reason, this time, they disintegrated like a sandcastle at high tide.


DangerBoy: “Mom, are these supposed to do this?”


Me: “A little, honey.” with my back to the stove. Then with sudden interest, “Why?”


DangerBoy: “Just look.”


I turn and the pot is about to boil over looking like boils of cotton. What a mess! No time even for pictures. I grab it and do my best to salvage it. It’s servable and tastes good. But the texture is not. Instead of ‘yumms’ and ‘ahhhs’ of appreciation it’s ‘hmms’. Now I get to figure out what I did wrong for next time.


How do you get your dumplings to stay whole? Let me know here.


Pinterest Pin Test March 2, 2013

So I know there are a couple of sites that do this already. (I follow on Pinterest.) But I know there’s no way they can test every pin everyone wants to see when they want to see it. So, in addition to the Recipe Reviews I’ll be doing from time to time, I’ll stick a Pintrest Pin Test in whenever I finally get around to trying any of the many pins I have on my Pinterest boards. You can follow me from this link.

The first one I’ll be reviewing is a frosting I used for Ninja Cat’s cupcakes I took to school for his birthday treat. What about Danger Boy’s you ask? He decided to go the healthier route and wanted a popcorn party for his classmates. It’s healthier, but less interesting from the blog standpoint (sideways winking face). Back to the frosting! The text from the pin reads as follows:

“All you do is mix one vanilla pudding packet with half of the milk called for on the package. Whisk until it begins to thicken. Then fold in one container of Cool Whip. A great frosting spread on cakes and piped onto cupcakes, a tasty filling in crepes or on waffles along with some fruit.”


(photo from Pinterest)

So that’s what I did. I used Aldi’s sugar free vanilla pudding with 1c. skim milk. After a couple of minutes it started to thicken then I folded in the equally nondescript Great Value Light Whipped Topping. It was still pretty loose once I got done and wasn’t so sure this was a good idea because I didn’t have a frosting backup. By then it was time to take them to school (I wasn’t taking the cupcakes until 2:30), so I put the bowl in the refrigerator in hopes the pudding would continue to set. When I got back 20 minutes later, sure enough, it set near perfectly. I was able to scoop it into my handy-dandy sandwich bag, snip off the corner and go to town on the luscious devil’s food cupcakes.

When I made it to the class and Ninja Cat and I handed out the cupcakes, they received with rave reviews. The frosting wasn’t nearly as sweet as the typical butter cream and I felt good knowing I wasn’t giving them quite as much sugar as I could have been.

What are some of your favorite Pinterest pins? What are some pins I just have to try? Let me know here!