Nothing says cozy like a quiet mountain cabin easily an hour from anything major with a large fireplace and a balcony with a view that goes on for miles out over the woods. Or a big pot of homemade chicken and dumplings. Lucky for me, that’s exactly how I got to spend Mountain Lake Hotel attending the first ever Mixed Con.

Mixed was hosted by the bubbly Paula of bell’alimento and super organized Susan of She’s Becoming Doughmestic. The stunning old stone hotel was tucked off of Route 700 in Virginia and was the beautiful location for Dirty Dancing back in the day. The property was gorgeous and the staff was very friendly and kind. Even my little lodge room, off of the main building, was super swanky. Didn’t exaggerate on that fireplace or view at all.

We were overwhelmed with swag from the amazing sponsors including Oxo (they also raised some cash for cancer with extra swag and giveaways), Kitchenaid (drool), Attune Foods (seriously good cereal), Hershey’s (candy EVERYWHERE. No lie), Dixie Crystals (these ladies were super sweet and their facebook campaign to help military families is amazing), Real Butter (buttah!), Dreamfields Pasta(omg, the mac and cheese PS. Way to go, Ali! ), Way Better Snacks (seriously, I snuck like three extra bags of this crack out.), Le Creuset (a foodies wet dream kitchen swag), Boos (don’t tell Handsome, but these wooden cutting boards are swanky) and tons of other great other companies.

We listened and learned from great speakers Bree (Baked Bree), Tami (Running with Tweezers), Chez Us, Heidi Larsen (Foodie Crush), and hands on workshops with Marian Poirier (The Sweetopia) for cookie decorating and cake decorating with Duff Goldman, and no, no one got high (that I saw). My cake was pretty redonculous though.


Chicken and Dumplings

from Ad Hoc at Home 

This recipe seems long and involved. I won’t lie – it is the first time you make it. After that, it’s a breeze. It will dirty a few pots and pans though, so I suggest you bribe your loved ones to give you a hand cleaning up with these awesome dumplings.


  • 8 tbs unsalted butter, plus 1 tbs
  • 1 cup carrot, thinly sliced, plus 2 large carrots
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup leeks, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 quarts chicken stock*
  • 1 teas honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed (don’t worry about the skin)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup chives, minced
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • Parsley

For the Dumplings:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teas salt
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 teas Dijon mushrooms
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbs plus 1 teas fresh chives, minced


Melt 1 tbs butter in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the 1 cup carrot, celery, onion, and leeks. Season the veggies with salt ad  cover with the lid. Reduce heat and cook stirring occasionally for 35 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and bring up to a simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the 1/2 cup water, butter, and 1 teas salt. When the butter has melted, add all of the flour all at once. Stir like crazy  with a wooden spoon until the flour mixture has tiny beads of fat forming and is pulling away from the sides. It will be glossy and smooth. Continue to cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

Place the dough in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the Dijon and remaining salt. Mix for 30 seconds on low. With  the mixer running, add the eggs one at at time until completely incorporated. Add the chives and mix for 30 seconds longer.

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Using two spoons or if you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty, shape the dough into small dumplings. Drop the dumplings into into the simmering pot a water in batches of 6 to not over crowd the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, until they rise to the surface. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon and dry on the prepared baking sheet. Set aside.

Cut the 2 remaining carrots into bite sized slices. Place them in a small saucepan with the honey, bay leaf, thyme, garlic, and a dash of salt. Add just enough cold water to cover. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Strain the pot and drain onto a paper towel.

In another small saucepan of medium heat add the 8 tbs of butter. When melted whisk in the flour. Whisk until combined and cook 3 to 4 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Back over at your soup pot, whisk in the roux a little at a time to prevent lumps. Add and whisk until soup thickly coats the back of a spoon. Simmer for 30 minutes longer, skimming the surface as needed. The soup will become very thick and creamy.

Add the dumplings to the pot. Season with vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls and spoon the honey carrots over top. Garnish with parsley.



Chicken Stock

Adapted the lazy way from Ad Hoc at Home


  • 1 chicken carcass  (I happened to have a nice turkey carcass cleaned and ready for soup leftover from Thanksgiving)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 whole garlic heads
  • 1 bay leaf


Place the chicken carcass in a large stock pot and add the onion, carrots, leeks, garlic,  and bay leaf. Fill the pot 3/4 full with water. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook for 1 hour, skimming off anything that rises to the surface as needed. Remove from heat and let the pot cool for a few minutes. You will be handling this big heavy thing, we don’t need any serious burns.

Carefully strain the liquid into another container(s) and cool. Keep in fridge for up to three days  or freeze for 2 months.




  1. I’m so sad that I missed that conference! It sounds like it was amazing and I would have loved to meet you and some other blog friends:-)

  2. I want to sit on that gorgeous porch and eat this soup and chat with you! Wish I could have gone to mixed–looks like so much fun!

  3. I’d call this a Monday Stew because that is when my mother would make something similar.
    After the Roast Chicken on a Sunday, she would boil up the carcass to get stock plus all the remaining meat. The messy part is getting the meat out but there is plenty if you are patient. It usually produces enough meat for the stew though.
    Then use the chicken plus stock on Monday to make up a stew similar to the recipe though with potatoes added.
    British-style dumplings are often made with Suet so they would sit on the bubbling mix until fluffy.

  4. Great post, and gorgeous photos! I’m so glad you made it to Mixed, and thanks for that wonderful review! We’ll have to do it again next year!

  5. Lan | angry asian says:

    beautiful photographs!

    you know, it was really cold up in the mountains over the weekend, this soup would’ve been a lovely addition to our jampacked schedule!

  6. That place looks amazing. Sounds like you had a great time! I really wanted to go, but I’m kinda still nursing a baby… 🙂 Keeping my fingers crossed for next year!

    Chicken and dumplings reminds me of my childhood…we always had it at least once a week during the cold months. Beautiful photos, as always!

  7. Awesome very fun! Would love to have gone, thanks for the recap, and the super redonculous chicken &dumpling recipe 😉

  8. gorgeous pictures! so happy you were able to come 🙂

  9. It was great to meet you too. When I told my 11-year old Marvel obsessed son I’d met a woman who owned a comic books store, he said (and I quote) “I bet she was the coolest one there.” So if you ever get to Houston, swing by because you have total street cred at our house. 😉

  10. I wish I had a chance to talk with you more, but it was so nice to meet you at Mixed! It was a lot of fun. As for your Chicken and Dumplings. Holy yum. I wish I had a bowl today as I recoup from all the traveling yesterday!

  11. Really wish I could have been there. It was fun to live through you all, though. And I have been craving chicken & dumplings. I really love that you used dijon in the dumplings.

  12. Great recap! I think I need some sleep before I write mine up 🙂 Wonderful meeting you and thanks for the in person WP tutoring 🙂

  13. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    so beautiful! I would love to catch the next one. This is perfectly wonderful for a cool night (if it would ever return here again…)

  14. What a beautiful setting! This bowl of comfort conjures up just the loveliest ambiance.

  15. sounds like a perfect weekend – now I wish I was able to go!

  16. It was great to meet you! What a fun weekend. This sounds looks like just to thing for the chilly months ahead.

  17. Your dumplings look WONDERFUL and you are wonderful as well. Thank you for taking the time to talk and share some blog pointers with me. It was great to have met you!

  18. Kita it was so nice meeting you this weekend at Mixed! Your chicken and dumplings look super tasty!

  19. Chicken and Dumps (that’s the correct abbreviation. Look it up;) are the best! And the Older school, the better. Yours look fantastic. Of course!

    I so enjoyed meeting you in person finally and talking and laughing. And Dianne was so great and such a good sport! Fantastic weekend; hope we can repeat it at some point. Would love to hang out with you again!

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