dumplings, dumplin’!

Jerk chicken noodle soup with potatoes and dumplings!

Jerk chicken noodle soup with potatoes and dumplings!

January’s almost over, and I am just barely squeezing in my cooking lesson for the month!

Since it’s freezing cold out, and there’s left over jerk chicken in the fridge, I thought I’d make a tried and true day-after dish that’ll warm me right up. Jerk chicken noodle soup!

I make this soup with leftover jerk chicken (in small chunks), a chopped up potato, a pack of Mr. Noodle noodles, and a dash each of allspice, cloves, nutmeg and paprika. The jerk chicken is made with soy sauce, worcester sauce, Grace jerk sauce, pepper, onion and thyme – so it’s already loaded with flavor, so I opt out of fresh seasoning for the soup. This quick dinner is based on this Adorkable recipe, which is in turn based on Rachel Ray’s recipe of the same name.

Anyway, for this month, I have learned to cook dumplings for my soup! As it turns out, the dumpling recipe is pretty easy and delicious, and made by my mom.

Without further ado – here it is!

Momma’s Dumplings!


1/2 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

dash of salt

1 1/2 tbsp. butter

1/4 c. water (or less – based on dough consistency!)


Add dry ingredients (flour, flour, baking powder, dash of salt) to a bowl.

Add butter. Mush together – will be slightly crumbly, but not doughy.

Add half the amount of water and stir (I stirred in the centre, and it quickly came together as a dough). Add more water until dough is a soft (but dry) consistency.

Pinch off little chunks, roll into balls, and drop into soup when it’s almost done cooking but still at a boil. Cover to steam for about 3-5 minutes.

Ta-da! Done!


read it: gone, girl

I finished reading gone girl by Gillian Flynn this weekend, but didn’t have the heart to write a post about it until now. Let’s just say, I wasn’t a big fan of the ending. But, a book is more than it’s ending, so let’s take a look back. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here!

What it’s about?

Our protagonists are Amy and Nick. Amy, the girl who is gone, is a Manhattanite from a wealthy background, and Nick is her Missouri-an husband who is looking for her. They’re both white (described as such pretty clearly), and there are few characters who aren’t (the lawyer’s wife, and a police officer stick out in my mind). They both have very serious personality issues that become more apparent as the book goes on. They also take turns narrating the book in their own ways, from different points in time. For most of the book, I also thought they kind of deserved each other…

What I liked

This book held my interest, and not just because of the quick, twisty plot. When I first started reading it, I wasn’t a big fan of the writing. Then I realized, it wasn’t the writing I wasn’t a fan of – it was one of our protagonists (even though introduction of said character came with a reference to a John Cusack movie that I love – the sure thing!). The two narrators were written in very distinct voices, while not straying from the fact that they had key traits in common (both writers, led lives side by side for at least a few years). I found this really enjoyable – while not exactly character-driven, or character-focused, the narrative structure forced you to be confronted with the quirks of each protagonist’s personality in ways that very obviously drive the story. That is, while the book itself is not moving forward primarily based on character growth, their growth, as first person narrators, is integral to understanding the world they relate to us as readers, and how they relate it.

In fact, the structure of the book often turns on the fact that we are, actually, reading a book / being told a story. For example, Amy tells her part of the story through diary entries – we are not experiencing it “with her” in real time, we’re seeing her version of events as they’re laid out. About halfway into the book, you get the feeling that a lot more depends on how characters relay things (rather than simply what they relay) than would be true for a traditional contemporary novel.

And of course, I liked the plot. It was fun, exciting, mysterious and begging to be ‘figured out’. There were a couple days where I simply could not put it down.

What I didn’t like

The ending! The ending! Ahhh! I was not a fan. I hope they change it for the movie.


I think four / five stars for me. I can’t wait to see the movie, and see how it lives up to the book 🙂


writing isn’t what it seems…

Hello, everyone!

In keeping with my goals, I have been writing and reading quite a bit, usually during my commute to work, but also sometimes when I get home in the evenings.

I’m thinking of revising my original goal of – what was it? – 1500 words a week? A chapter a month? The reason I’m considering this (I promise, I’m not quitting!) is because writing is becoming, again (happily), less of a pour-water-in-the-glass practice, and more of a wash-the-windows practice. Instead of starting from the bottom, chapter by chapter, and reaching the top; it’s been more of a one-scene-here-and-there kind of process. Lots of fun, leads to much better writing. The only problem is, for the purpose of project me, it’s a bit hard to keep track of. Will I finish a solid chapter at the end of the month? unlikely. Will I have written about 6000 words? Maybeeeee. Especially if you consider I’ve been bouncing around between stories (slightly less happy about that…)

As for the reading, this month’s book is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. So far, I’m really enjoying it. I’ll admit, the writing at first was a bit unnerving for me, before I realized (duh) that those are her carefully crafted characters coming to life. This isn’t how she writes, per se, but how her characters do – how they think, how they express themselves. Interestingly, they’re both also writers.

I’ve also picked up (squeal!) House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski whose subsequent work, only revolutions, I could barely make a dent in. This one looks a bit more consumable, so I’m hoping it will be my February read 🙂

No updates on sewing or cooking yet, sadly! My few forays into the kitchen have all been tried and trues, so far. Well, I did make dumplings for the first time, but those hardly count!

Anyway… I’m off to dinner with friends. Let’s hope the next blog post is less awkward, more inspiring, and all around a better record of where we’re at. Thanks for sticking with me!



a new year, a new me!

Every new year, people (including myself) come up with ideas of what we think our life will look like in the span of the next twelve months. This year, I didn’t have that kind of imagination, but I knew I wanted it to be different.

Let me explain myself, in brief. I’m twenty six. I have a (contract) job in my field. I live at home with my parents and two siblings outside of outside of Toronto, Ontario. And I have a significant other who I’ve been with since I was bright-eyed and twenty-one. All in all, life is pretty good.

But at the end of 2013, I wasn’t feeling too inspired or happy when I thought of the future. I was (am) feeling drained, kind of hopeless, and stuck. Really, really stuck. And I don’t want to feel like this in a year.

I want to be happy.

And the way to get to happy, I figure, is to take baby steps. Take time to enjoy life, be creative, and indulge in what I love – writing, reading, sewing, knitting, cooking, eating, drawing weird little talentless doodles on my laptop. And, somewhere in between, figure out what exactly is going to happen when my contract is up…

Beyonce had her Year of 4, so this is mine.

Alexiel, take 27.

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