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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 in 2014! You can learn & laugh with Deanna & her friend Buffee (yes, that's her real name) during their cooking demos at the Washington State Fair this September and hear their The Old Hen podcast soon. Here's to starting from scratch. Thank you so much for supporting us!

French Onion Soup Recipe

Le French onion soup is a very easy soup to make but it is time consuming. The onions are cooked at a very low heat so they can caramelize to a dark brown, yet not burn while on their way to their culinary destiny – a destiny that will make many people réjouissant.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sherry wine
  • 5 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 5 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
  • 8 stalks fresh thyme, minced (plus additional for garnish if desired)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 loaf artisan French bread
  • 4-6 ounces Gruyere cheese, sliced thin

How to slice an onion…

Cut top off of onion.

Lay top of onion (which is now flat) upside down on cutting board). Cut onion in half down the middle of the root.

Peel off outer layer of onion skin and discard.

Lay onion with largest flat side down and begin slicing thinly starting at the top.

Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-low heat and then add onions.

Continue to cook onions over medium-low heat for 3-4 hours.

Onions will end up being dark brown and caramelized. Yeah, like that.

Stir in flour and cook for a few minutes while stirring.

Add sherry wine and continue to stir.

Immediately add chicken stock (or water) as well and stir.

Allow soup to heat up and then stir in the beef base. Stir and cook until it is melted into the soup. Salt & pepper soup to taste.

Note: Beef base and chicken broth (or water) can be replaced by the more traditional broth of beef consomme’ if preferred.

Add minced thyme.

Slice bread as thick or thin as you’d like and then place on a sheet pan to broil until golden.

Place soup in bowls and place a slice of bread on top.

Cover with as much lovely sliced or grated Gruyere as you like.

Place soup bowls on baking sheet and broil until cheese is melted fully. Garnish  with a stalk of thyme or minced thyme if you like and serve.

Le destiny of le onions. Le sigh.

Comment on this blog post by noon tomorrow (Sept. 12th) for a chance to win le Girl Scout cookies.

 

Roasted Chipotle Chicken With Cilantro Lime Rice Stuffing

Roasted chicken is the perfect dinner for fall. A perfectly browned bird covered in Mexican spices and rice loaded with fresh confetti touches is a nice change from the typical herbed chicken. A cozy and easy-to-make combination. So easy, in fact, you can cook it while taking a much-needed nap. Not that I would know this first hand or anything.

Preheat oven to 350F. Rinse chicken off well before using. Dry a bit by patting with a couple of paper towels. Prepare roasting pan by placing a rack inside. A shallow roasting pan works best so that the chicken can crisp up rather than be surrounded by pan which will create too much moisture for a crispy skin.

Prepare chipotle spice rub for chicken. Place these ingredients in a small bowl and stir together very well.

  • 1/2 teaspoon Chile de Arbol Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (for more heat, add more)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 teaspoon oregano molido
  • 2 teaspoons  Rio Grande Chili Blend
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Bring 1 3/4 cup of chicken broth to a boil. Add one cup of long grain white basmati rice. Stirring once & awhile, cook on low with a lid until rice has almost completely soaked up rice (about 10-15 minutes). Although rice will not be completely cooked yet, add salt and give it a stir. Try it for taste. It is best to add salt a little at a time until you reach the right amount than to put too much in and regret it afterward. When you feel good about the amount of salt used, place rice into chicken where it will finish cooking. Stuff it as tightly as possible. You can tie the chicken legs together with cooking twine to help it stay in better if you like.

Coat chicken with olive oil and then rub chipotle mix all over chicken and inside as well.

Typically chicken legs will be up when roasting, that is, unless you are not being mindful because you’re over-tired. Not that I would know.

Place chicken in oven. Turn on the Home & Garden TV. Try to force yourself to stay awake to watch an amazing room make-over; but, sadly, fall asleep. Miss approximately 3 more room make-overs. Wake up to family telling you that they think blog is done. Open your eyes when he confirms the temp of the chicken has reached 165 and declares it perfectly cooked. See? Nothing to it.

Bake chicken for about 2 hours and then check the temperature using a meat thermometer. The temp in the middle of the thigh should be at least 165 degrees. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to set for about 20 minutes so it will be at its juiciest when you enjoy it.

To finish off the rice (while chicken sets) add a 1/2 a bunch of chopped fresh cilantro leaves, the juice of one lime and a bit of finely diced red onion and a small, diced tomato. If desired, perhaps some cumin and more salt if needed.

Spicy, crispy skin. Edible confetti. So satisfying and comforting one might even need another nap.

Trophy Cupcake Give-Away ends tonight September 8th at 8pm. Comment on this blackberry pie post to enter.

Girl Scout Cookie Give-Away ends on September 12th at noon. Comment on this Puyallup Fair post to win.

 

Puyallup Fair

It was a lovely day to have a first day of the fair. The only place you can buy an ice cream cone from the Washington Dairy Association right next to the stinky cow barns. The Puyallup Fair to be exact.

There’s so many things to see and do and eat. They always have amazing concerts – something for everyone.

And fudge. Lots and lots of fudge.

And, of course, all of the traditional fair food.

And some lovely surprises in the midst of the booths. I love you Umpqua. Don’t tell the others, but you’re my favorite.

The older I get, the more I’m drawn back to the rides. Something is terribly wrong with me.

There’s nothing quite like a wooden roller coaster.

I always pretend I’m at Disneyland when I ride the sky ride.

This seemed fitting… a sign pointing to the real dead bodies exhibit right under the craziest ride of all.

I mean, really. I die a little just watching them go up and down. If I wanted to feel this sick, I could just get pregnant all over again.

A little blast from the past. The Octopus. Or the Spider. Or that orange ride with lots of seats. Yeah, that. My friend and I got stuck in one of these once years ago in Seattle. Someone under the influence of weed was at the controls. I haven’t ridden one since.

This might be my favorite pic of the day. I noticed the moon up on the right after I got home. I mean, I planned it that way. Or not.

I learned a very valuable lesson at the fair today. Never sit under an informational sign. That is, unless you like people to point your way with confused squinting eyes while you try to eat the world’s largest elephant ear. All I wanted was some shade. And to stuff my face. And some shade.

I will be okay. I will be okay. I will be okay.

Okay. Happy Irish dancing helps. These sisters are fantastic. Their stage is near the gold gate and the fountain. I’d choose to sit and watch them if I were to look for a shady place all over again.

I had a little touching moment today too. I wandered into the Watkins booth.

I chatted with these two lovelies for a moment and they told me it’s their last year at the Puyallup Fair this year. I’ve walked past their booth for years but today I bought some baking supplies.

I recommend stopping by and wishing them well when you go to the fair this year. And buy a little bottle of extract. Or two.

After visiting the Watkins booth, I turned around and, glory be, there was the artist’s store. Yay! My fav! Pottery and wool and pottery…

and I found this disturbia.

The Home Arts area had a cooking demonstration. This is Terry. He sings barbershop and makes pies. He uses a fork for almost every step when making his peanut butter chocolate pie and I noticed he saves all his plastic containers from the store and reuses them again. He’s adorable.

I then lost sight of the ground and somehow made it to the exit while staring at the gorgeous quilts. If you make quilts, I am jealous of you. The end.

Finally. The pride and joy of the fair. The Fisher scone.

Hot out of the oven which probably explains the line of at least 100 people every year.

Who wouldn’t buy a scone from these sweet ladies?

More butter, please.

And the raspberry jam. Did I ever tell you about the time I dropped a scone on my toes while I was wearing sandals? Serious toe jam.

And for those who are looking for a giant fluorescent green hippo for your living room…

This picture was simply too cute to pass up.

Every part of me wanted to become a cow girl after walking by this jacket. or, you know, at least look like one.

After I met up with dotter and her friend again, we walked past this booth…

I’m guessing they take fun quite seriously. My favorite kind of people.

The girls decided they wanted some of that party. This is their before picture.

Again, oh my stars too cute not to share.

Party in progress.

Rowr.

And, finally, the Hobby Hall at the fair has displays that are entered by people who have extensive collections of everything from Holly Hobby to lint. Okay, I’m just kidding about the lint but it sounded kinda cool. And disgusting. And cool. Dotter was excited to find a Starbucks collector while I was thrilled to discover a collector of all things Girl Scouts – so very fitting for their 100th birthday this year.

Girl Scout Cookie Give-Away

And then I remembered that I had asked the Girl Scouts, “Yo, would you guys let me give away some of your trippin’ cookies on my blog sometime.” And the Girl Scouts said, “Um, sure, but only if you stop talking all gangsta, yo.” Okay, maybe the gangsta part never happened but it did in my mind. To get your hands on some of this party, leave a comment telling us what you collect on this post. If you’re not a collector, just make somethin’ up, yo. And then make these. Yo. I can’t stop.

Three winners will get one box of Samoas and one box of Thin Mints. Winners will be chosen randomly on September 12th, 2012 at noon.

 

Homemade Blackberry Pie Recipe

If there’s one thing a girl needs to know how to bake, it’s a pie. The good news is that it’s easier than it looks. Not to mention, it’s practically free if you have berries growing nearby. Don’t worry, you don’t have to make it perfectly. There is something, well, perfect about an imperfect pie.

BLACKBERRY FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 9 cups fresh blackberries (rinsed & drained well)
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
Place all pie filling ingredients into a bowl and stir. Set aside.

PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 stick butter (or 1/2 cup), cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons very cold water (approximate)

Place all pie crust ingredients in food processor except for water. Pulse until butter is incorporated with flour & sugar. Preheat oven to 450F.

Continue to pulse and and slowly add water until mixture begins to form a dough. Yeah. Like that.

Without touching dough too much, form into two balls. Yeast dough loves to be played with but pie crust does not. A cold pie crust is a flaky pie crust. Keep things cool by not touching the crust too much.

Roll each dough ball out into a large circle – just a little bigger than your pie plate.

The easiest way I’ve found to transport the pie crust into the pie plate is to fold it in quarters.

And then place it into the pie plate and carefully unfold.

By now, your berries and sugar have worked as a team to provide you with a very juicy filling. For that reason, we must pre-bake our bottom pie crust to prevent a soggy pie.

Simply fold extra crust under and then pinch along the entire pie to for an edge. A little flour on the fingers helps the fingers not to stick to the pie crust as you do this.

For a little extra protection, I like to brush the bottom crust with a beaten egg on the inside.

Bake pie crust in preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Reduce heat to 375F.

Pour berry filling into bottom pie crust. Oh momma.

Place second pie crust over the pie. If you like, you can use a cookie cutter to cut out a small circle in the center and then place it over the pie. Otherwise, you can just place the crust over the pie and then cut some slits in the middle of the top crust instead.

This time I opted for slits. For the edge, just fold excess under and then pinch again all around the edge.

Brush top of pie with remaining egg and then sprinkle with large sugar crystals. Place in oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until top crust is golden brown and blackberry filling is bubbling. If the filling is bubbling, it means the cornstarch is doing it’s magic. Allow the pie to set for at least a half hour so the filling can set well. It will still be warm enough to enjoy with ice cream if you like.

Flaky berry-filled imperfection at it’s best. Perfect.

Speaking of perfect treats, how about a little give-away? I have one Trophy Cupcakes gift card for a dozen cupcakes from any of their Washington stores. I highly recommend the red velvet. And the vanilla. And the lemon. Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing this gift card is a $42 value. You can try one of each. Simply leave a comment about your favorite thing to do in Seattle in the fall. The winner will be randomly chosen using random.org this Saturday, September 8th at 8pm. 

It’s time to vote for your favorite food blog in the Northwest. I’m in competition with a beer blog. It’s the equivalent of competing with a football player on Dancing With the Stars. I trust you understand the seriousness of this matter. Thank you for your vote. xo
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Congratulations, Christine!
 

Pumpkin Pecan Cream Cheese Bread Pudding With Warm Caramel Sauce Recipe

Because you can never get enough pumpkin after Labor Day. Because guests are oooing and ahhhing over this bread pudding once again. Because I meant to blog this two years ago when I created it. And because I finally found my handwritten recipe, I’m sharing this pumpkiny, caramely, pecany, cream cheesy dessert with you.

BREAD PUDDING INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 large eggs
  • One 30 ounce can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (optional)
  • One 16 ounce loaf of French bread (doesn’t have to be exact)
Place all ingredients except French bread into a large bowl.

Stir together until everything is well combined and, well, you know, pumpkin pie-ish.

Tear bread into about 1 inch pieces and then add to pumpkin mixture.
Stir until bread is coated in pumpkin goodness.
Place pumpkiny goodness into a 9 x13 pan that has been coated with butter or sprayed with baking spray. Cover with saran wrap and place in fridge overnight or for at least few hours.
After the punkin’ puddin’ and bread have had a chance to get to know one another well, remove from fridge and get ready for the toppings. What is a dessert without toppin’s? First, preheat oven to 350F.
CREAM CHEESE FILLING INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 eight ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
Blend all cream cheese filling ingredients together well. You can plop small scoops on the top of the bread pudding or you can use a decorating bag and make pretty swirls like this.

Then brace yourself for it is streusel time. This can be made the night before and saved in the fridge as well.

FOR THE STREUSEL:

  • 1 stick cold butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup of uncooked oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pecans

Place streusel ingredients in a food processor and pulse until all ingredients incorporate into a crumbly streusel. Sprinkle all over the top of the bread pudding. Loverly.

Bake bread pudding for about an hour or until a knife poked into the middle comes out clean.

And at the risk of losing my sainthood, I introduce you to something that will surely have a permanent fixture upon Heaven’s glorious banqueting table. Warm caramel sauce. Amen.

FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter on medium-low heat, watching closely so it does not burn. After melting butter, add sugars. Whisk and let simmer on medium heat until it gets foamy. Let cook this way for about 4 minutes. Stir in cream, salt and vanilla. Set aside until ready to serve.

Allow bread pudding to set for at least a half an hour then serve topped with caramel sauce and then sprinkle a few chopped pecans on top.

I present thee with Pumpkin Pecan Caramel Cream Cheese Bread Pudding With Warm Caramel Sauce. You’re welcome. I’m sorry. You’re welcome.

 

Dawn’s Candy and Cake in Bothell, Washington

Every once and awhile you happen upon something you never needed to know but are oh so glad you found out. I am still grieving the closure of Paper Zone. I’ll never forget when I discovered this crazy, amazing paper supply store. I would never settle for generic, fake marble office paper again. Hallelujah. If you, too, love paper more than you should, you are probably grieving with me. I miss it so much it hurts. I’m pretty sure this is a separate blog post waiting to happen. In the meantime, we’ll get though this. Together.

Back to amazing. Dawn’s Candy and Cake is just that. For me, a cake decorator’s daughter, Dawn’s was like walking back in time – to the days when I used to take naps on bakery shelves and play with plastic cake decorating toys. I was five again. And it was lovely.

We all know that when it comes to people and to cakes, it’s the inside that counts. Hello flavors and fillings and fondants.

Vanilla. Butter. Peppermint. Yep. Yep. Yep.

It’s the little things.

Fun and fanciful muffin or cupcake & candy liners.

My favorites are the dark brown minis. Adorbs.

You need food colors? How about in pen form?

And in case that isn’t enough options, there’s more. Oh, sweet baby Jesus.

And my favorites – the boxes. Completely perfect for the holidays. Fill with treats and you will win friends and influence people. No. I’m not kidding.

I see pumpkin breads, banana breads. I see anything piled high with streusel and frosting, really.

You’re more of a cake pops person? Oh, okay. They have you covered too with a rainbow supply of candy melts. Go now and don’t look back. Well, okay, do look back if you’re handing me a streusely, frosted something. I will accept. It’s fall after all – the perfect time of year to accidentally discover Dawn’s and to happen upon some streusel. You’re welcome.

And, Dawn, I will be bringing my five year-old self next time so please clear a shelf for my nap and open a package of plastic ballerinas so I can have play time. We’ll call it cake decorator’s daughter therapy.

 

Pumpkin Spice Thumbprint Cookies With Cream Cheese Filling Recipe

Dotter & I put up the fallish decorations yesterday. It was glorious.

We do love pip berries far more than we probably should.

And you know what this means, don’t you? All things pumpkin. Please start your KitchenAids.

Preheat to 350F. Recipe makes about 42 cookies.

THUMBPRINT COOKIE INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened (or 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 & 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
Cream butter & sugar together. Add wet ingredients, mix again and then add dry ingredients.

After dough comes together, form into balls using a cookie scoop. Aren’t they simply adorbs?

Press your thumb into the middle of each cookie just far enough to make a divot for the filling.

CREAM CHEESE FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Blend all ingredients together and place into a decoration bag.

Squirt filling into the middle of each cookie. I’m not gonna lie. This is a fun job.

Bake for 15 minutes and repeat.

If you’d like to get really crazy, you can add a chocolate Hershey’s Kiss in the middle. I chose to be half crazy this time.

If half-crazy is wrong, I don’t want to be right…

The filling above is like a creamy shot of cheesecake but if you’d rather, you can bake the thumbprints with no filling and then add this filling about 5 minutes after they come out of the oven for it is lovely. And buttery.

OPTIONAL SUBSTITUTE CREAM CHEESE FILLING:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Slowly mix in powdered sugar & then vanilla. Place in a decorating bag & add to middle of cookies AFTER baking instead of the baked filling above.

I love you, Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints With Cream Cheese With Cream Cheese Filling – almost as much as I love pip berries.

 

Homemade Baked Potato Soup Recipe

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but it is time to pull out the pumpkin spice candles, stock up on molasses and start making homemade soup. Not just any homemade soup, however. We shall make a knock-your-socks-off-and-drop-your-backpack-in-the-middle-of-the-hallway-on-your-way-to-the-table-so-someone-else-will-trip-over-it soup. Please light your pumpkin candle and let the soup making commence.

A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting. – Abraham Maslow

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-5 quarts of water
  • 6 large russet potatoes, diced
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup flour (use superfine rice flour for gluten-free soup)
  • 5 cups leftover water from cooked potatoes
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups large bacon bits
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon beau monde
  • Salt (at least 3 teaspoons) to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
Please do not be frightened. All you need to do to balance your diet after this eating soup is eat salad without dressing at every meal for the next 3 years.

Rinse with water & scrub potatoes until clean.

A rough peel of the potatoes is best. You don’t have to remove all the skin but I recommend removing most. A little is kind of rustic. However you like it best will be great.

Dice into small, bite-size pieces. What size you choose to cut them into doesn’t matter as much as the cuts being very similar in size. The closer they are in size, the more evenly they will cook.

Using a large pot, boil potatoes in water until a fork stuck into one slides off easily. This should take about 15-20 minutes of boiling time.

It is best to get everything measured and ready to go with this soup since it is cream-based. Dice onions while potatoes are cooking and set aside.

Dice green onions and set aside.

When potatoes are done cooking, heat olive oil (or bacon grease instead if you happen to save yours) in a large pot and add yellow onions.

Cook yellow onions until translucent and somewhat golden.

This. This is the moment which will have you saying, “Boy, I’m glad I measured everything out ahead of time.”

Sprinkle flour over yellow onions and whisk while cooking for a few minutes.

After roux (flour, oil & onion base) is done cooking, add leftover potato water and heavy cream. Stir together until well combined. Eventually, this will thicken as it continues to cook.

Using a strainer spoon, add potatoes to soup pot. You can discard extra potato water.

Add sour cream and cheese. Watch carefully for them to swirl beautifully into soup. You know just for fun.

Add bacon bits and green onions and onion powder and beau monde. And stir some more. And then, just to declare your soup finished, stir in the butter.

My soup pot runneth over and it is not a mistake. It is a photo op. Amen.

This soup goes perfectly with Swedish rye bread or, you know, simply a spoon. For this is art.

 

Forty (Maybe) and Fabulous (For Sure)

You know those life-long friends you couldn’t get rid of even if you tried? Yeah, I love those ones. Here are a few of ours…

Taye is helping momma celebrate her birthday. He really didn’t care at all about the photo. He just wanted the cake. Who can blame him? Cake is good.

I decided upon Flo and Francis the flamingos to help us celebrate and created a little “lawn” for them to stand in with some wheat grass from the store.

Everything at the table must match the theme when I host a party. I’m kind of fickle that way. Thank you for your cooperation, green dish. These Lil’ Smokies heated up in a slow cooker with barbecue sauce are an easy party trick and are always devoured very quickly.

Cucumber cups with a little smoked salmon mixed together with minced onions and some mayonnaise and salt & pepper are a perfect party food. For this party, we topped them with olives but, oh, the possibilities.

I’m pretty much not allowed to have a party without bringing out my Saucy Balsamic Burgers anymore. This time I was a bit of a rebel and added the zest & juice of one orange to the sauce. And it was okay because it was a girl party. At least that’s what I told myself.

What party is complete without M&Ms that are screaming out to be individuals? Welcome to the party pink, green and white. Welcome.

My favorite of this party was the pink lemonade floats. Just don’t tell Flo & Frances.

PINK LEMONADE FLOATS INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cans frozen pink lemonade
  • 2 – 2 liter bottles Fresca
  • 1 gallon lime sherbert
Combine pink lemonade with Fresca. For a super-fun party, add a little vodka to the lemonade. Or, you know, more than a little. Place a scoop of lime sherbert and pour lemonade over sherbert. Place glorious pink and  green striped paper straws into floats and smile. I mean, how can you not smile when you’re using a paper straw? Is there anything cuter?
Okay, maybe this.

NORTHWEST SUMMER SALAD

For this gorgeous salad, simply toss some fresh spring lettuce onto your prettiest platter. Top with fresh blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries. Cover with lemon dressing and then sugared pecans. Feta cheese also goes well with this salad but is ever so optional.

SALAD DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

  • Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Simply shake the salad dressing ingredients together in a container with a lid & drizzle on your gorgeous salad. This recipe makes about a cup of dressing so you will have leftovers for another day. Just save in the fridge.

SUGARED PECANS INGREDIENTS:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups pecans

Beat 2 egg whites with hand mixer until frothy. After egg whites are frothy add vanilla, sugar, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg. Mix well.

Stir in pecans.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread pecans onto baking sheet.

Bake pecans for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Sugar coating will harden as they cool.

Polka dots, oh how I love you.

Flo looking fabulous.

Cami was delighted that her mud pie ice cream birthday cake was handmade by Joey Fatone while he was here. She’ll definitely be even cooler at the water cooler this week.

Cami Dearest, Happy forty (maybe)…

… and fabulous (for sure)! We love you.

 

 

Code Blue, Coffee Orders and Chili

There has to be a country song about the turmoil of waiting for the oscillating fan to come your way. We’ve had some hot days here but, you know, no one feels sorry for us here in Seattle but more about that later…
Son has been helping dotter with some house sitting. Here’s a couple of his new buddies. They are so very sweet.
We met our dear friends (Ashlee, Drew, Cindy & Greg) in Leavenworth, Washington this week for a little day away. It was hotter than we could handle and gave me some empathy for our friends on the east coast – the empathy was dripping off me. I don’t know how you do it, guys.

After watching mom order coffee at a new-to-her Starbucks, I realized that it takes a village to get her order right. 
I spent a lot of time at the hospital. This ‘code blue” button still tempts me. My dad had a major surgery this week and is doing well but it has been a long, difficult month and everything in me wants to push this button and then ask everyone who comes running if we can just have a group hug. But, I won’t.
Taking phone messages on to go containers. It’s what I do. If I haven’t gotten back to you yet, please give me another call. I’ve been out of sorts lately.
On a lighter note, I was a judge for our local Festival at Mount Si Burstin’ With Blueberries contest. Yay for Joyce who made these adorable little cobblers that delivered in taste too. I pretty sure I saw another judge’s eyes roll back into their head while they took their first bite of this pure blueberry joy.
Finally, dotter invited me – okay, begged me – to do the festival’s chili cook off this year. With all that was happening in our lives, she brought me a moment of fun and the best part is that I do believe that she could now make this chili on her own.
For she is dotter and I am proud.
P.S. We won 2nd with the judges and 1st with the people. Yay for The Old Hen team and yay for cutie mother-dotter pictures!
 
© Deanna Morauski 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014