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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's cookbook plans. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

10 Movies Featuring Bed & Breakfasts

ground hog day

Bed & breakfast from the movie Groundhog Day

Nights at Rodanthe

Leap Year

Holiday Inn

Marley and Me

On Golden Pond

Bed & Breakfast

The Bounty Hunter

Just Married

Bed & Breakfast

Ground Hog Day



 

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe With Peanut Butter Frosting

What I am about to share with you is my top secret chocolate cake recipe. This is just between you and me, right?

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Chocolate Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting

Okay then, pre-heat oven to 350F.


Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup very hot water

Place dry ingredients into mixer. Place eggs, buttermilk, oil, sour cream and vanilla in a container and beat together well. Mix beaten wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Mix in hot water on low speed.  Scrape down edges of bowl to be sure to incorporate all ingredients into batter. Mix on medium speed for a couple minutes.

Scoop batter using an ice cream scoop or 1/3 measuring cup into cupcake liners placed in a muffin baking pan.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a fork poked in comes out clean.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely. Makes about 24 regular-size cupcakes.

While cake is cooling is the perfect time to make the icing. In this case, it’s peanut butter icing.

  • 1 – four ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • Sea salt to taste
  • A little water if needed

Place cream cheese, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and maple in a bowl. Whip together with a mixer until completely combined. Add a little water, if needed, for smoother frosting. Add salt to taste (at least 1/4 teaspoon, maybe more).

Yum. Simply yum.

 

 

How to Make Panoramic Sugar Easter Eggs

When I was still old enough to believe in the Easter Bunny, my mom was just getting into cake decorating as a hobby. One of the first things I remember her making was panoramic Easter eggs. She would make them and people would save them for years. I don’t see them around anymore which makes them unique once again. You know, like skinny jeans. Let’s make sugar art, shall we?

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They look more difficult to make than they really are.


For one medium egg, place 4 1/2 cups of sugar and 3 tablespoons of water into a large bowl.

Mix together well.

Fill egg by layers. Press down each time you put about 1/4 inch of sugar mix into the eggs so that it get packed in very well.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Wonka-Spring-Mixups-Candy-Scrambled-Easter-Egg-6-oz/19756479

This is the egg that I used. It’s in stores now for Easter and is about 5 inches tall. It works lovely because it is flat on two sides so you can easily make your egg window at the end or on the side. Yay!

Carefully turn sugar eggs over onto a baking sheet.  This makes me happier than it should.

Choose which side you would like to make your window and cover with a little piece of saran wrap so it will stay soft enough to carve after the egg is dry. Allow egg to set overnight.

Carefully remove the sugary guts with a spoon and carve out the window with a knife.

Do a window check to be sure that everything lines up well. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just close, because you’ll be decorating away the imperfections with frosting later.

Make royal icing to hold together and decorate the egg. I use Wilton’s recipe.

Keep icing covered with a slightly damp cloth so that it doesn’t harden while you work.

Of course, there are so many ways to decorate a sugar egg. People can get quite elegant. Mine is simple as you will see. I started by coloring a small amount of icing light blue to frost the inside top of the egg to create a sky, complete with little puffy, white clouds.

Next, I colored about 1/2 cup of coconut with a teeny tiny bit of green food coloring for the grass. I like to use a glove so I can use my fingers, be sanitary and still keep my hands food coloring free.

Who knew it was so easy to “go green”?

I also frosted the inside bottom part blue & added the grass. I placed a few gum drop “eggs” in the grass and made a baby chick out of these candies:

  • Chick – a yellow Hershey’s Easter egg chocolate
  • Beak – two orange Wilton Spring Confetti Sprinkles
  • Wings – two light yellow Wilton Jumbo Confetti
  • Eyes – two blue nerd candies (the tiniest I could find from the box)

They key for me is trying to use what I have on hand. This also tends to bring out creativity because I come up with ideas I didn’t think of before I looked at my candy stash.

Pipe some white icing all around the edge of the bottom egg and attach the top, carefully wiping of excess frosting. Go ahead, sneak a peek inside. You know you want to.

For the outside, use your choice of decorating tips to pretty up your egg. I used Wilton Heart Drops Sprinkles for the top and some little pastel pearly candies I happen to have on hand and cannot identify.

A good egg.

I guess you could say it’s a peep show. Not that I would say that. That would be naughty. Have fun creating these cuties with your family.

Happy Easter to you!

If you keep in a cool, dry place in a plastic bag, rumor has it that these can last for years… of course, that’s if you don’t decorate them with chocolate.

 

Easter Bunnies: The Perfect Decorated Sugar Cookie Recipe

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A long, long time ago there were two crazy girls who believed in dreams. The girls were determined, like their classmates, to take a senior trip from Seattle to Washington D.C. – unlike the classes before them who had all gone to Disneyland. So they washed cars and sold decorated cookies for four years to make their dream happen.

Deanna, the cake decorator’s daughter, hand decorated hundreds of cookies and Margaret provided the sugar cookie recipe and used her personality plus to make sure every cookie sold. That, and she had the idea of baking quarters into some of the cookies to support teenage gambling and choking hazards.

Here is their magical combination of sugar cookies and frosting art to help you celebrate this Easter. We no longer recommend baking quarters inside… no matter how much you clean them first.


Cream together:

  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 3/4 c. sugar

Add & beat together well:

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 T. milk
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. flour

Refrigerate dough for about 1 hour. Meet our family tradition – Mr. Dough Boy. He looks more evil than usual today.

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Roll out and use cookie cutters.

Create your favorite shapes.

Bake 6-8 minutes.

Allow bunnies to cool completely on a rack.

While bunnies cool, set aside a bowl of grated, sweetened coconut.

Mix together about 5 cups of powdered sugar with a few teaspoons of water at a time until it becomes a smooth, easy to spread (but not too runny) consistency. In a small bowl, mix about a cup of frosting with a very small amount of pink food coloring.

Pick out  & set aside the pink candies out of the Hershey’s candy-coated chocolate eggs and the light blue & light green m&m’s from the Easter colored plain m&m’s.

Ice one Easter Bunny with white frosting.

Place pink frosting into a decorating bag with a larger, circular tip (or just cut the end of the bag). Draw inside of ears in pink by starting at the top & letting up on the pressure as you work your way down to the bottom of the ears.

Add the pink nose and matching eyes (green or blue). Oh the cuteness is showing already.

Cover bunny gently with lots of coconut. Make sure not to fully cover the pink ears, nose and eyes. Also, carefully shake extra coconut off the bunny.

Super-cutie Easter Bunnies for your gathering. We can only hope they will multiply.

What happened to the girls who were dreamers? Well, the school’s only bus broke down the year before their senior trip so their class paid half of the cost of a new bus and they went to Disneyland the following year. They are very happy that no one ever choked on a quarter and they are still dreamers.

 

How to Make Cake Pop Topiary Trees

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Ingredients

  • 1 – 18.25 ounce cake mix (and ingredients needed to bake it as on box)
  • 1 – 16 ounce container pre-made frosting
  • 1 bag Wilton white melting candies
  • 1 bag green melting candies
  • Small decorative flower candies

If you are among the living (or are at least among the coffee addicts) you know that Starbucks has added cake pops to it’s menu. Dotter works there and brought me one home to try this week. Yummy goodness. Me thinks it’s time to introduce you to cake pops extraordinaire.

First, bake a 18.25 oz. cake mix (more details about making cake pops in the book at this at the end of this post).

Then grab one 16 oz. container of store bought frosting. It’s important to note that you can only use 3/4ths of the container though or your cake pops will crack after coated.

Place 3/4 of the container of frosting into all of the cooled, baked cake. Did I mention using only 3/4ths of the container of frosting?

Using your hands, form chocolaty goodness into 1 1/2 inch balls.

Place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Use one bag of Wilton green candy melts and add Wilton white candy melts until you reach the green color you like.

Yeah, like that.

Learning color combining was my very favorite part of of my early childhood lessons. I do love colors.

Remove cake balls from fridge once they’re chilled. Insert a 4 inch lollipop stick into each cake ball. Reform the top a little bit again as it might get a little bit flat from sitting on the pan.

Chocolaty goodness meet white… er… green… chocolate.

Again using what I had on hand, I sprinkled lightly with little green candy beads and used hearts as the flowers. Place the hearts on imperfectly as, you know, hearts never grow on trees perfectly.

Using shorty baby lead-free pots (or placing mini muffin liners in the pots to make them food-safe), push extra cake pop dough into flower pots tightly, making “dirt”.

Spoon a little bit of the melted, green chocolate over the top.

Place cake pop topiaries into pots immediately (before green chocolate dries).

Tie cute little ribbons right under the trees.

These are the things that make me jump up and down with joy.

So adorable for Easter Sunday. Perfect for a girly event like a bridal shower, baby shower, Mother’s Day, or a tea. Let’s all jump up and down with joy together, shall we?

Oh the other makes we could make. The ideas are endless, really. If you would like more cake pop ideas, you simply must get Bakerella’s new book that just came out last fall.

Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats


 

My Childhood: Pink Fingers and Plastic Toys Fantasyland

Many of you have heard our stories but you haven’t seen the pictures. Here are a couple of pictures of my mom, Dixie, doing her cake thing in the eighties before the days of Ace of Cakes. I spent far too many hours in the back of bakeries (The Monroe Bakery in Monroe, WA; Vienna Bakery in Arlington, WA; and Scandia Bakery & Lefse Factory in Stanwood, WA to be exact) playing with the plastic cake toys and stirring food coloring into frosting.

Hopefully this explains a lot.

 


The troll cake

 

The cow cake

Before the Ace of Cakes, there was Dixie… and her daughter

 

How to Make Homemade Easter Grass

If you are a scrapbooker like me who doesn’t like to waste your paper, you probably have scraps like this around.

Although pretty, these papers eventually go out of style if you let them sit around too long. Don’t ask how I know this. I just do.


I have found a resourceful fix that will put a smile on your face and help you clear out some of those paper scraps that are spilling out of your storage container. Just trim the brand names off the edges.

When you use two-sided papers, be sure that all of the sides match in colors and style. Oops. these matched on the other side but on this side they are clash-y.

Be sure to use a strip-cut paper shredder so that you end up with nice, lengthy strips. (Crosscut shredders will only give you one-inch strips.)

After the paper is cut, crinkle it how you like and place in a gift basket, gift box or whatever your fancy.

Annnnd… homemade Easter grass.

Ooooo how cute is this?

Weeeeeeeee! There are no words.

Somebody stop me.

Those who have been reading since back know that I’m a hymn lover; thus, I am a hymnal lover. I use hymnals for crafting because they are so freakin’ beautiful. No worries, I have only re-purposed almost one hymnal so I am not on a mission to take out all of the beautiful old hymnals on planet earth. I am a hymnal-hugger. On that note… ba-dum ching!

Oh, the makes we could make! Girls, we shall have fun with newspapers, comic books, tissue paper and children’s books. Little paper bird’s nests formed with wire while placing chocolate candy eggs inside. Easter grass has never been more fun.

 

Oatmeal Cookies With Raspberry Filling Recipe

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Their love was mean to be. They met in a kitchen. Raspberry and oatmeal. People often mistook them for a famous couple found on grocery store shelves.

To make your own love story, preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Cream together 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), 1 cup of brown sugar & 1/4 cup of white sugar. Then add 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of honey, 3 cups of oatmeal, 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix well.

Using a cookie scoop, drop cookie dough onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Be sure to leave space in between for cookies to spread.

Lightly push finger into each cookie middle to make room for the raspberry jam. Only push about half way into the cookie at most. If you push down too far, you will have a hole where the jam would have been after cookies are baked.

Using a decorating bag, squeeze about 3/4 teaspoon into each middle.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Carefully slide parchment paper onto counter to allow cookies to cool.

Leaving them on cookie sheet might cause them to continue to cook too long & they’re too fragile while hot to remove with spatula.

This recipe makes 40 cookies. Some for you and some for a friend.

Sweet and chewy. Love at first bite.

 

How to Grow Bean Sprouts for Salads

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I’ll never forget the first time I tried bean sprouts on a salad. I rejoiced because I had found another healthy food that I loved. These beauties add crunch to a seemingly lifeless salad and even more exciting is that we can grow them in just a few days at home!

I searched for them for a long time before I finally happened upon these sprouts while on a grocery store. I began the happy dance in the middle of the store.


To begin, use a large canning jar, & place just about 1/4 cup of seeds into the jar along with a cup of warm water.

Fun fact: These bean sprouts are made from adzuki beans, lentils, mung beans and radish seeds.

It doesn’t take much to make bean sprouts. I happened to have some cheesecloth on hand so I used that for the top cover. You could use anything that is netting-like & food safe.

In hindsight, I would have doubled the cheesecloth since the netting stretches over time & the seeds can fall through when rinsing. Secure with a rubber band. Allow seeds to soak 6-8 hours (or overnight).

After soaking, drain water and rinse.

Drain water & allow to sit… er…  grow. Rinse and repeat three times a day, draining water very well. Leave seeds in a warm place (room temp) at all times.

Good little sprouts! I’ll be enjoying a crunchalicious salad soon.

Let happy dancing proceed.

This is both educational and entertaining to do with kids or for those of us who would like to feel like a kid again.

 

How to Make Homemade Ketchup Recipe

The ease of store-bought ketchup is fine for most days but for special occasions, it’s kind of nice to kick things up a notch. This zesty, gorgeous ketchup will impress your friends and make over-commercialized taste buds dance with organic joy.

First things first, place a medium pot of water on to boil then remove the stems from four large beefsteak tomatoes.


Cut an X into the bottom of each tomato. You will see the benefit of this soon.

When water reaches a boil, place tomatoes top down into water. Allow to simmer until tomatoes begin peeling at the cuts which should only take a minute or two.

Place them immediately into an icy bath of water.

Remove tomato peels.

Spiffy.

Cut tomatoes into wedges, discarding the core.

Next, remove seeds from wedges.

After removing my favorite parts of the tomato, place skinless, seedless wedges into the food processor.

Push the pulse button one push at a time until about the consistency of a chunky salsa. Don’t use low or high as this will make the tomatoes frothy.

Fill blender with the following:

  • Tomatoes (from above instructions)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 tablespoons of double concentrated tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • dash of saffron (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt & fine pepper to taste

Blend on low, raising speed as it begins to puree together. Optional step for quicker thickening, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch before blending.

Simmer and stir over medium low heat for about 20 minutes or until reduced to the thickness you would like it to be.

I could eat this with a spoon. Not that I would. But I could. If I wanted to.

After ketchup has cooled, place in a container. Bottles like this tall, handsome one can be found for a small price. They are handy to have on hand for leftover sauces, frostings and now your zesty, homemade ketchup!

Your zesty, homemade ketchup makes about 1 1/2-2 cups and might last a week or two in the fridge, so it’s a good idea to put a date on the bottle.

 
© Deanna Morauski 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016