Sweater Weather

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Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your sweet birthday wishes and for indulging me, as you all always do. I have so much to say about five. I think I'm going to have more time to talk and I'm looking forward to that. I took Clover out for a little walk, and that's something I rarely if ever do anymore. Andy and Amelia do all of the dog walking; I save my steps for the things that no one but me can do. But it was so lovely to be outside, in the rain, alone with my little dog, who is such an excellent and polite walker, who walks to my left with slack in the leash, who stops to sniff but not so much that it's annoying. We had such a nice time together, and it felt like the first day of fall for me, somehow. This season starts the half of the year that makes me feel the most like myself. I'm a cloud-cover, cold-weather person. I like to huddle and hibernate. I like quiet and I like rain and I like television. I like dark skies and candles and yarn in my hands, and I like sofas. And flannel sheets and flannel nightgowns.

Today was Amelia's birthday celebration at preschool. They invite us parents to come to the school for our kid's celebration every year. We ate vegetable soup with the kids and then the teacher passed out the dried apples that I'd made, at Amelia's request, for snack. It's so sweet. One of the teachers plays the mandolin and they sing songs that all the kids know and we don't. We fold ourselves under ourselves and "sit" in the circle on the tiniest little benches and share pictures of Amelia at every age, and talk about special things that happened to her at each age. She wears a rainbow silk cape and a crown and walks around the "sun" (a lit candle), once for each year, while everyone sings and then says out loud a special wish for her. I'm going to miss these particular preschool rituals that make things so special. We'll have to continue them, though it's clear that part of what makes them so special is that they belong to this group, and to this enchanted time.

Last night I made my mom's chicken and dumplings, which is, in fact, chicken paprika with dumplings. This is the thing that I request most often from my mom when she asks me if I want her to make me something. I had tried to make it a couple of years ago but I did not do it right (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts) and it was a disaster. Yesterday I used skin-on, bone-in thighs, and it was brilliant. It is quite rich and decadent, so you don't need to eat much, but it's wonderful every once in a great while. I highly recommend this.


My Mom's Chicken Paprika

Chicken and sauce:

4 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, or any combination of bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces to make about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
1/2 c. (or more) sour cream

In large Dutch oven, saute onion gently in butter over medium heat. Add paprika and stir around, being careful not to burn paprika. Rinse chicken pieces and add, skin-side down, to pot. Turn after 4 or 5 minutes, and let "brown" on other side (though they won't really brown, since the pan will be pretty juicy; alternatively, to make it a bit less fatty, you could brown the chicken in a bit of oil then pour out most of rendered fat before adding the butter, onions, paprika, and chicken back in, and maybe add a bit of chicken stock to the pan — but the recipe above is how my mom does it). Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper over all, turn skin-side back down, then cover and turn heat down to low simmer for about 1 hour. Test chicken for doneness and remove pot from heat. Discard the skin, which should be falling off (and look really gross). There should be a fair amount of liquid (sauce) in the bottom of pot. Stir a bit of the sauce into the sour cream to temper it. Add sour cream mixture back into sauce. Depending on how much sauce you have, add more sour cream to taste. Reheat slowly if necessary and serve over dumplings, below.


5 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
Splash of water
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Beat eggs with whisk and add flour. Stir to just combine. Add a splash of cold water until consistency is like thick oatmeal. Don't worry if it is lumpy. Drop by half-teaspoons-ful into boiling water (they'll grow quite a bit). Work quickly. Dumplings will rise to the surface as they cook. Let them cook for about one minute more after they rise. Remove risen dumplings with a slotted spoon as they cook and place in colander to drain. To fry dumplings, melt butter in large skillet. Add breadcrumbs and toast for a bit. Add dumplings and toss to coat with butter and breadcrumbs. Fry (sauté) on low-medium heat until golden and crispy. Sprinkle a bit of salt to taste. Serve immediately with chicken and paprika sauce. Yum.

Let me know if you make this, or if you have any questions and I'll ask my mom!

P.S.: Sweater is finished and it's a hit! I'll put it on Ravelry as soon as I get a chance. It's called Carl's Cardigan and I used Woolfolk Far yarn in Pollen.


Oh my goodness.. I loved each and ever image you shared! I adored the one of Mimi as a happy blur while modeling her new sweater! I loved the one of your pup circled by the patchwork of leaves. And the ballet pose.. so cute! And the apple, spoon, leaf and acorn. *LOVE*! We're at the beach for 9 nights all cozy in our trailer.. just posted some images. It's stormy here! But I love it. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

I make these same dumplings--we called them coffee cup dumplings because we beat the dough with a fork in a coffee cup. I never fried them. I make them for soup. Especially homemade tomato basil soup.

My grandmother made these and she was from Austria-Hungary.

That sweater is darling as is your sweet Amelia! Thanks for sharing her with us. Five is my favorite age! I loved being five and loved when my kids were that age. Enjoy it!

Patti Smith says: October 18, 2017 at 04:08 PM

Alicia, I just love your blog. I love your comments, your thoughts, your dreams, your darling Mimi, and your cute husband Andy. My husband's name is Andy, too. You take me to many happy places. Bless you and your family.

Her birthday celebrations sound very much like what we do in our Montessori school. I am sure she enjoyed sharing that special celebration with you all!

I'm in denial that its fall, but Oregon does look so lovely in Oct. The recipe looks delicious, but the question is, did Amelia eat it?? I think all the moms out there need to post with their recipes whether their children (with ages) ate it. Then we can, after all of our hard work to make it, say to our own children, "Well so-and-so's daughter ate it and liked it!!" Big smile from a mom of terribly picky eaters....

Oh, I love your descriptions of your best self in the fall/winter. I usually love some heat, but down here in SoCal it lingers so very long, esp. this year. Everything is so dry & crispy, and every year around this time your fall posts make me want to move to Oregon (which would make me in-laws quite happy). Anyway. Thanks.

Lovely sweater, beautiful photos & thank you for the recipe.

The meal looks so good! By "fry" do you mean submerge in hot oil? Or do you mean saute/cook on stove top in the butter and breadcrumbs? I'm just not a natural cook. Sigh. Thank you!

Anna K D'Angelo says: October 18, 2017 at 07:08 PM

I really love the colorway on that cardigan- pretty! <3

Fall in Oregon is truly the best. And it lasts for SO LONG - unlike the East Coast where it's fall for, like, 2 minutes, then it starts snowing! The snow is good, too, but ever since we moved to the PNW, fall is such a long, delicious trip/meal/movie/cup of coffee for me. We made it through another summer, Alicia. Fist bump.

Thank you for sharing another of your favorite recipes, I look forward to trying it. Amelia's preschool sounds delightful. It just seems like yesterday that my two children were in preschool and now they are all grown up. Time passes by so quickly!

Oh that's sounds like tasting really good, I'll keep the receipe in mind.. Love that cardigan, that color suits your Amelia so well! It's funny, we have the same birthday tradition at home, and we're actually doing it today with our youngest! I love that beautiful tradition.

Sweater Season . . . the best . . .
LOVE Amelia’s new hand knit . . . by momma . . .
I love this time of the year too, buttoning up warm days, getting ready for snuggle days!

Happy Birthday beautiful, delightful, happy spirit “fiver!”

I read every, single one of your posts . . .
They make me smile . . .
I appreciate your grace, joy, creative soul . . .
And your genuine authentic self . . .

I comment seldom but this post was exceptional . . .
You are golden . . .

I LOVE the sweater! I love the color and love the stitch pattern on the front.

I have loved your prose and photos for a long time. I read this post after writing a review for a cookbook called The Cottage Kitchen on my blog. The timing was perfect.

For it had me thinking how much I remember my mother through the food she made. My daughter is now grown and she makes "my food" from time to time for her family. Food is definitely a language of love and memories.

Laura Truffaut says: October 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Oh, that recipe of yours! My Hungarian grandmother's signature dish was her fabulous chicken paprika with dumplings. These were not fried but added to the pot for the last five minutes or so -- pure melting goodness. Unfortunately no one else in the family learned the recipe. Your post is giving me new hope that after 40 years, I may be able to recapture that heavenly taste!

I like, well love, ALL your likes. And I wish my dog consistently walked with an easy slack leash. How wonderful it is to have a five year old in the house. Five is great and earnest and clever and entertaining and loving and unsophisticated. My youngest granddaughter turned five in August and I had forgotten how wonderful it is to be around five xx

This recipe is almost exactly the same as my mother in laws but she always uses pork chops instead of chicken. She's from Chicago suburbs which I think your family's from? Anyway I'll have to try it with chicken next time 😋

I love how Amelia's room looks so cozy and inviting in the photo with the little lamp on. It makes me want to curl up with a good book. I could stay there forever! Definitely some Hygge going on there!!

Great photos. That yarn color is definitely Amelia's color - she looks wonderful in it.

Beautiful cardigan..really loving that color, a shade that goes so well with thistle (I'm remembering old school crayon names). Always a delight to see your photography and see such pretty handmade with love clothes & items. Happy 5th birthday to Amelia!

So much wonderfulness! Autumn leaves and walks in the rain and new hand knitted cardigan and perhaps best of all, that sweet birthday.

I so loved those birthdays when I was a Waldorf kindergarten teacher. So sweet—and so deep, as you come next into the biography of each dear child when it is their turn. I am so glad that you and Amelia are there t have that experience!!!!!

The sweater is so nice and I love that color! And it good that Mimi loves it also:) And I enjoyed this fall pictures, red leaves (and Clovie, of course!). Fall is my very favourite season, my soul really reborn each year in late September, I have so many new plans and new hopes. People usually have that in spring and I sort of do too, but it’s not the same as now. I think yellow and red trees just give me some kind of second breath. Although here all of the leaves are olready off, but the temperature is still not below 0, so it looks nice and still like golden autumn.

All is soooo sweet! Thank you for the recipe, can't wait to try it!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com