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The Old Hen B&B closed May 31, 2014. We recommend The Roaring River B&B 425.888.4834 and The Log Cabin B&B 425.533.8278 for your North Bend get-away. Please stay tuned for Deanna and her daughter (affectionately known as Dotter) Brittany's food truck plans as seen on New Day Northwest - The Old Hen on Tour coming soon! Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen . Thank you so much for supporting us!

Chilled Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Pasta Salad Recipe

This is one of my favorite summer pasta salads. How could one go wrong changing a BLT into a salad?

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Here are the ingredients for the BLT salad. Oh yeah, and some crispy, cold romaine lettuce.

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First, cut one pound of bacon into small pieces and place in frying pan on medium-high heat.

I recently discovered low sodium bacon. I think it is so much better than regular bacon. Okay, maybe I didn’t recently discover it. I just finally gave it a chance.

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While bacon is frying, place at least six quarts of water into a large pot to boil.

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Bacon is sizzling and nearly done!

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Back to the noodles… after the water has come to a rolling boil add two 16 ounce packages of noodles to the pot.

I’m embarrassed to admit this but when I was a young “cook”, I didn’t realize how important it is to add the noodles after the water was boiling.

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When bacon is finished cooking, allow it to cool by placing it on a plate covered in a couple of paper towels. This will soak up the excess bacon grease.

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Chop up one medium onion into small pieces.

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Noodle check! Yep, perfect.

Another thing that I have learned about cooking pasta is that it is a very good idea to follow the cooking time on the package. The noodles come out perfect when you set the timer.

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When pasta is al dente, drain and rinse with cold water until the noodles are completely cold.

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I love tossing cold pasta into a bowl!

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Add 1- 1/2 cups of mayonnaise, bacon and diced onions to pasta and stir.

The smell of bacon cooking always seems to bring the family to the kitchen! That’s funny, I could swear that I had more bacon than this a minute ago.

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Gently mix in about one pint of small tomatoes and salt & pepper to taste. When pasta salad is all mixed, place in fridge to chill.

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While the pasta salad is chilling, slice a crispy head of romaine lettuce and place on each dinner plate and top with your BLT salad.

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The perfect summer dinner!

 

Easy French Dips Recipe

Easy peezy French dips! What could be better? Well, mini French dips, of course.

What kind of beef should I buy? Chuck roast is great for slow cooking.

This is a recipe that you can place in the slowcooker in the morning and have ready to eat by 4pm (about 6 1/2 hours).

Place your choice of beef cut into a slowcooker.

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I love my Crockpot 6-Quart Oval Slow Cooker because it is large, pretty and cooks very well. I have tried the digital crockpots and I have found that they are temperamental and tend to cook to fast or too slow.

Next, take a jar of Johnny’s Au Jus Concentrate and pour the whole container of au jus over the roast.

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Then fill the au jus container with water and pour the water around the roast.

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The easy way to continue seasoning your roast is to shake some Johnny’s Seasoning Salt, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper over the top or you can go all out with some fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil and thyme. Garlic is always tasty too. After roast is seasoned, just place the lid on and turn the slowcooker on low. Be sure that your slowcooker is plugged in too… not that I would ever know what it like to forget to check that little detail! :)

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What’s that smell? Oh yes… that is the sweet smell of me being organized enough to have dinner already cooking!

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In between eight and ten ours later, you have roast beef and au jus for your mini dippers!

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After your roast is tender and can be torn apart easily with just a fork, you can begin buttering some mini French rolls and then place them into a frying pan on medium heat so that they become toasty.

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Ours were “Seattle International French Rolls” from Franz Bakery.

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Perfect!

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After breaking the roast into sandwich friendly pieces, place about three ounces on each mini French roll. Scoop up some of the awesome au jus into a cup or small bowl and serve with the mini dippers.

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Ready to enjoy! Oui? Take two, they’re small!

 

Homemade French Fries Recipe

My guests tonight are my son and his buddies. They have such a rough life… playing video games in front of the 60 inch flat screen to celebrate my son’s birthday.  Of course, they get perks that no one else gets, like requesting homemade french fries at the last minute. I’m such a pushover.

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Here’s how you can make fries. They are so easy, I actually feel guilty blogging this recipe! Start by washing about seven potatoes and then cutting them into strips like above.

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Pour a few cups of vegetable oil into a large pan. Turn on high until oil reaches 350 degrees & maintain but be sure that you don’t leave this pan unattended.

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Once oil comes to 350 degrees, place fries into the pan  carefully.

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Using tongs, gently toss fries so they are cooked on all sides. Do not cover with a lid. Fries will begin to brown.

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Drain fries when they are golden brown… easier blogged than done! :)

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Easy peezy seasoning! Just some kosher salt…

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… and Johnny’s Seasoning Salt.

Oh, yes, and a side of ranch dressing at no extra charge.  I’m sure that we could have some serious fun with these fries if we added some garlic too! Yummers!

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Happy teens. Happy birthday, son! — He is the one making a manners mis-steak.


 

Sips, Scones, Stars and S’mores For the Fourth

Every Fourth of July I see a picture of the flag cake with berries lined up perfectly and I cringe a little inside. Why? Two reasons… I used to awe at it but now I am a little tired of the same idea every year being on the magazine covers.  The other reason is  I feel guilty because I’ve never made it and that makes me feel just plain un-American. Am I alone on this one? How about some additional ideas for the free and brave to try besides the cute flag cake? I’ve put together some flagalicious ideas that you can enjoy with any meal that you are serving this Fourth of July! If you do nothing else, this one is so incredibly easy that you wow your family and guests without even trying. Simple Sippers Just pour some red juice (cranberry juice, cherry Kool-aid, whatever) into a clear glass and toss in some frozen blueberries or blackberries.  Don’t have red juice and blue berries? How about blue Kool-aid and red berries? A refreshing idea!

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Lemon, Blueberry and Cranberry Scones This idea takes a little more effort but can be made tonight and shared tomorrow. Remember our Citrus Blueberry Scones? Just substitute the orange juice & zest for the zest and juice of three lemons to the dough and then add some Craisins to the mix. For the frosting, use the zest and juice from a lemon instead of an orange as well. Yummers! A perfect treat to enjoy while you sit on the curb to watch that small town Independence Day parade!

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I love treats that look difficult to make but are actually easy breezy to create like this one! Stars with the Works I happened to have these stacking star cookie cutters from a Christmas kit. I chose three that would stack well.

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You can use any cookie cutter that you like if you don’t have star cutters. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and defrost a box of puff pastry for 40 minutes. After puff pastry is defrosted, lay it out onto the counter. Cut out an even amount stars of each size. IMG_1873

Place them on a cookie sheet coated with baking spray.

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It is recommended that you keep stars of the same size on the same baking sheet so that the smaller ones don’t burn while the larger ones take longer to bake. Bake the stars until they are puffed up and turn a light golden brown. Kids will love watching these “grow!” I must admit that I love watching them bake too! :) While your stars bake you can make the whipped cream! Cool your whisk and bowl in the fridge for about 1/2 hour. Keeping the heavy cream cool helps when making whipped cream.

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Pour one pint of heavy whipping cream into bowl. Whip… ease into higher speeds if you are using a hand mixer or a standing mixer so that it doesn’t splatter all over your kitchen. Been there. Done that. Delicious and sometimes funny but not fun to clean up! After you have stiff peaks, add one teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Stir a bit more and it’s ready! Don’t mix too long or you will be on your way to overly sweet homemade butter.

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Place some of your whipped cream into a decorating bag and cut about 1/2 inch off of the end for a tip.

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Place the largest star on a plate and cover with whipped cream.

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Add fresh raspberries and squirt a little more whipped cream in the middle so that you can stack the middle star on top.

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Than you guessed it! More whipped cream.

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Then blackberries (or blueberries if you prefer). Top with another small dollip of whipped cream and add the tiniest star on top

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Hmmm… it needs something. What to do?

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There we go! It just needed some “POW!” POWdered sugar, that is.

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Yeah, baby! Makes me want to sing the National Anthem! Join me, won’t you? I feel American once again. S’more Kits Last but not least, an idea to help add one final spark to your Fourth. If you will be finding yourself beside a firepit (hopefully not in the same location as the fireworks!) then your family and friends will enjoy eating s’mores out of their own personal little s’more kit. We have these for our guests every summer night at The Old Hen Bed & Breakfast and they love the mini-surprise of having their own prepared packet.

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I hope you enjoy these ideas or that they help spark some fun ideas of your own. Have a very, very happy and safe Fourth of July!

 

Heading Forth to the Fourth

I haven’t been out in the early morning for quite awhile with our new little business booming. Yeah!

So, while I mull over my ideas for our Fourth of July menu, I decided to go on a bike ride with the family.We had a great time and I couldn’t help but share the amazing scenery with you…
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Going over the Snoqualmie River.
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I spy…  The elk look far away but I was actually about 20 feet away from them. This is a typical day on Edgewick Road!
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Four new baby elk!
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This scenery takes my breath away… or maybe that was riding the bike up the hill?
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The creek on our road.
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Onward home!

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I had to take this picture because moss and ferns are so rare in Washington. Ha!

Ah… Old Hen sweet Old Hen!

I hope you find yourself on the curb beside an old-fashioned, small town Fourth of July parade this year.

Hugs from Washington state!

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© Deanna Morauski 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014