New light, and chicken with scallion dumplings.


On Friday, Murdo and I officially became homeowners. We celebrated with gyros. After lunch, I quit my job.

My last day of work was on Monday. Since then, I've been getting up early, packing boxes, working out and watching episodes of "Parenthood" -- all before lunch each day. It's been years since I've had time during the week to myself. Time to sit down to breakfast, to play with the cats, to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon. To notice the way the light filters into the apartment at nine in the morning, and to stand still to enjoy it.

I start work at my new job the Monday after next, on Murdo's 30th birthday. We'll have moved into our new home by then. It's strange to think that the next time I go into an office for work, we'll be living somewhere else. I've been thinking about "the next time" a lot lately. Tonight, while I made dinner: "The next time I make this chicken dish, we'll be at our new house." As I fed the cats: "The next time we buy a bag of cat food, we'll be at our new house." As I packed boxes: "The next time I use my slow cooker, we'll be at our new house."

I've been thinking about saying goodbye. I'll miss the runs through our wooded neighborhood, the way our walkway smells of lush greenery right after a rainfall, the tree-lined path along the lake that transforms with each season. This little apartment is where we lived when I started my last job. It's our first home as a married couple. Tim died here. The kittens grew up here.

And I cooked many, many meals here -- some just once or twice, while others made the menu week after week. I'll bring those recipes to our new home, and learn a new rhythm in a new kitchen, and fill our new home with familiar smells, and discover new light filtering through the windows.

Chicken with Scallion Dumplings (slightly adapted from Canal House Cooking Vol. 3)

For the chicken:
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 large onion, chopped
5 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
handful parsley leaves, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken broth

For the scallion dumplings:
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup half-and-half or milk
3 to 4 scallions, chopped

Start with the chicken. Melt the butter in a heavy pot with a lid over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, parsley and garlic. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Place the chicken on top of the veggies and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, prepare the dumplings. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Stir the egg and half-and-half into the flour mixture. Add the scallions and combine, but don't over mix. The dumpling dough should be like very wet biscuit dough.

After the chicken has simmered for 30 minutes, drop 2-tablespoon mounds of dumpling dough on top of the chicken. You should have 8 dumplings. Cover and simmer until the dumplings are puffed and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.


  1. So happy for all the new in your life lately, friend, and looking forward to it with you.

    PS - your last day ended up being this Monday?

    PPS - can't wait to see you soon!

    1. Thank you! Yes, turns out there wasn't much for me to do, so they let me go on Monday instead of keeping me the whole two weeks. It worked out well, though, because I got more time to pack!

  2. Congratulations on your new house! I want some of that soup, please.

    1. Thank you so much! You should try this dish -- so easy and delicious.

  3. Your chicken with scallion dumplings look amazing! I will have to bookmark this recipe :) Good luck in your new home and new job!

    1. Thank you! Definitely make this -- it's a perfect weeknight meal.

  4. Where did you guys buy? What type of job is your new job?

    Congrats on all the happy life developments you too!

    1. We got a house in the southwest suburb of Bolingbrook, just south of Naperville. And I'm now a web editor for a great nonprofit organization! Thanks for the sweet comment, Whitney!

  5. This is one of my all-time favorites dinners - simple, yet so delicious (and rich in flavor). Congrats on all of the new beginnings!

  6. Congrats! So much awesomeness! xo

  7. Hi Jacqui, I clicked over to your blog from a food blog that has you on their list. I'm in awe of your photography skills...each and every photo is a "work of art"...also, your foods are really great, as well. Your chicken and dumplings look so comfy-cozy and delicious!

    There were 3 San Francisco photos in your previous post that I love so much. I visited San Francisco recently and just fell in love with the city. I hope you don't mind that I will pin those 3 photos on Pinterest; to get more traffic to your beautiful blog, which I will link back to you. I have no intention of using any of your photos for my personal use, and respect your privacy for your creative work! (if you don't approve of me featuring your work, then I will remove the 3 photos from Pinterest!
    Thanking you, in advance:D
    elisabeth, @foodandthrift

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I so appreciate your letting me know about pinning my photos on Pinterest -- I love that site but it's frustrating the way it's so easy to post people's work without permission or without proper credit. So thank you for being completely upfront about it! I wish more people respected others' work the way you do. :)

  8. happy happy happy for you, jacqui. New light, indeed, in so many different ways. Cheers.

  9. Congratulations on your new house, and yours and Murdo's new job! And bravo to the both of you for following and sticking to his dream of being a teacher! We need more teachers with that type of passion all over the world :)

    1. Thanks, ChichaJo! And yes, good teachers are so important. I'm so proud that he's making a difference in kids' lives every day.

  10. I know what you mean about the "next time" thing, and the "last time," too. We didn't even move to another building, or even to a different floor, but sometimes when I walk by our old apartment I feel such a twinge of... something. I caught Mia looking at a photo yesterday that was taken at our old red table in our old apartment, and I started telling her about what it was like there when I was newly pregnant with her, and I teared up. I can't even IMAGINE ever leaving this place... yet I know that someday, we probably will.

    Congratulations on all fronts - the house, the new job - and happy birthday to Murdo.

    p.s. Am I the only one who thinks, "She'll be coming 'round the mountain" when I hear "chicken and dumplings?" (You know that song, right?)


  11. Thank you, Jess! I love that you tell Mia stories from your photos. That's a big reason why we make pictures, isn't it? To remember, and to keep moments alive.


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