I didn't have the problem others did with the beans getting done but I did a quick soak method - boiling them to soften, then I mixed everything the night before and put the crock from my crockpot in the fridge overnight. The next morning I put it on low for about 8 hours and then added the dumplings turning to high for the last hour. The beans were cooked through and had a good flavor but the flavor was very weak and watery. The dumplings weren't terrible but they weren't good either. They tasted strongly of the lime zest and I couldn't taste the jalepenos at all. I followed everything as written except I doubled the beans (I wanted it to be more like bean soup plus I have a large family to feed). When I did this, I increased all the other ingredients by half in addition to what was called for in the recipe. Everything was still very bland. I gave this 2 stars because it has potential. I plan to make this again but next time with the following changes:
Add either bacon/turkey bacon/ham or vegetable boullion to give more depth of flavor
Use 2lb of beans
Triple the spices called for (except the chili powder as we don't like heartburn :)
Increase the liquids by half plus what was originally called for
Make the jalepeno cornbread from another recipe separately in the oven and serve it as a side dish
The beans had such a wonderful smell I think if they just had more spice they would have been very good. I recommend tripling the spice only if you increase the amount of beans and water as I did. Otherwise I recommend doubling it.