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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 .

Ranch Red, White and Blue Potato Salad Recipe

Some of my favorite memories are from the Fourth of July. My parents would take us to the local parade and we’d grab the best seats on the street – in front of the doughnut shop. We’d stand in honor of the American flag as the troops opened the parade. And because our morning doughnut wasn’t enough sugar, we’d rush to catch the candy tossed into the street. We went to our favorite park with our cousins for picnicking and playing until sundown. Potato salad was always a must. We would end the day with fireworks and pretend to be asleep when we arrived home so mom & dad would carry us into bed after the best day ever. We were never more free than on Independence Day.

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Ranch Potato Salad

  • 3 pounds small red, white & blue potatoes*
  • 1 1/2 cups ranch salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup of cooked & crumbled bacon (or store-bought bacon bits)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bunches green onions, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Boil potatoes for about 20 minutes. To test doneness, poke fork into a potato. If fork slides out easily, potatoes are done cooking. Drain and then cool potatoes on a baking sheet. After cooled, cut potatoes into bite size pieces. Place cut potatoes into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Makes about 12 servings.

*If you cannot find small blue potatoes, you can use large ones & just cut them to a similar size as the others for the same cooking time. But, of course, any potato will do.

Additional note: Fat free or lite dressings or lite mayonnaise will give your salad a tangy flavor. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Happy Independence Day!

 

Welcome, first day of summer. Welcome.

 

Extra caramel. Be careful what you wish for.


 

Easy Fried Chicken Recipe and a Graduation

This week was dotter’s graduation.

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I am excited to see the professional’s shot of this one. Finding the kids we know in my copy is like playing Where’s Waldo.


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Besides the graduates tossing their caps in the air to celebrate, there were grad parties throughout the town. Parents went dizzy trying to attend them all and everyone rejoiced.

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Then it was time for our shindig. You know it’s going to be a serious party when this shiny girl comes out of the pantry.

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To keep myself from burning out on any one project, I bounced back and forth from decoration prep to food prep. This banner is easy to make. Just choose your color theme. It’s best to choose 3 main colors & stick with those. I cut a triangle with scrapbook paper folded in half in the size that I wanted with a paper cutter then I used that as my pattern for the rest of the triangles. I may or may not have used a few antique hymnal pages for this project as well. I caught up on all my favorite shows while I punched two holes in the top of each one and strung them with matching ribbon, placing a solid colored triangle in between each word. Kitty loved swatting at the ribbons. To finish the project, I used high quality red, glittery sticker letters.

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Pinwheels are easy to make too. They add a whimsical touch to the party decor. Two-sided cardstock works best.
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Just cut into 4 inch squares, cut each corner toward the middle of the paper using a paper cutter while leaving about a one inch space in the middle to keep the paper in one piece. Bring the right side of each cut piece toward the middle and use a pin to hold the pinwheel together. Mine were just for decor, so I used a hole punch with brads through the corners since it didn’t matter if they spun.

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To make the pinwheel handle, I used black straws and cut slits for the brads to continue all the through the back of the straw.  For a longer handle, I squished the end of one straw and pushed it into a second straw.

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Even the window boxes were adorned with pinwheel fun to help continue the decorations to the back deck.

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All of dotter’s favorites, like these gorgeous bruschetta appetizers, were served and quickly became the favorite of many. See the mini flags? Another easy way to put a smile on guests faces! Just fold matching paper in half, cut flag out & fold around toothpicks and secure with double sided tape. The cuteness is overwhelming.

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Simple chicken drumettes are always a hit.

Ingredients

  • 2 pound chicken legs
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups flour
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Preheat frying pan (or deep fryer) filled with canola or vegetable oil to about 350 degrees (medium heat). Do not use olive oil as chicken won’t turn out as crispy.

Dip chicken legs in buttermilk then dip in flour. Dip in buttermilk again and into flour again.

Place coated chicken legs into frying pan (or deep fryer). Cook for 25-30 minutes or until thickest part of meat reaches 165F in the middle.

Add salt, pepper and your favorite house seasoning (we used Johnny’s) on both sides of chicken. Serve hot or can be refrigerated and served cold.

Another way to cook chicken is to fry it until golden brown then place on a baking tray and allow to finish cooking in a pre-heated oven at 350F until chicken reaches 165F in thickest part.

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Beautiful World Bread is a must for every bless-ed occasion.

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I remember exactly when I got this recipe from a friend. I was stunned at how simple to make these meatballs are and there are never any left after any of our parties. Not even one.

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Salmon dip with crackers hidden in the midst of all the other treats.

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Every home we partied at had a “shrine” in honor of the graduate. Here is ours.

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We added advice cards and an album to place them into when each guest filled one out. Young children were included in the fun – oh how sweet their cards are.

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Mini corndogs with mustard and homemade ketchup, twice the fun and half the calories, kind of, if you limit yourself. If you can stop at one. But no one can.

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The to-go treats were hand-decorated sugar cookies.

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But, you know, flower cookies on a stick are only popular with everyone over the age of 2 and under the age of 120.

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Strawberry lemonade and cherry limeade in canning jars for all. The regular plastic lids for the jars (or wide-mouth lids) are so very handy! These cuties were seeing how long they could keep their hands in the ice. The recipe for both of these delicious drinks will be coming very soon for it is almost summer and these recipes will be necessary.

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Volleyball for the teenagers.

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And hobby farm for the kids.

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Talky talk for the grown-ups all around the house.

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A very red plate day for dotter.

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But wait, for there is the after party.

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It comes with giggles.

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And hot chocolate, only, you know, perhaps with a few melted high-quality chocolate bars melted inside… until 2am.

 

Balsamic Strawberry Salad Recipe

Every April in the Seattle area we try with all of our might to hope spring into existence but we all know in our hearts that the truest sign of spring is the strawberry booths on the side of the roads. I’ve been known to risk my well being with my sudden, cheery urge to pull over just so I can purchase a box of spring. The glorious ways to use strawberries in recipes are endless but in this salad, they remain the star of the show.

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Balsamic Strawberry Salad

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries
  • ½ cup strawberry jam
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small lime
  • Couple dashes of salt
  • 4-6 Stalks of flat leaf parsley
  • 4 Sprigs of mint (for garnish)

Rinse & drain strawberries to clean. Remove stems from berries and cut into quarters. In a separate bowl, passionately whisk together jam, balsamic vinegar and juice squeezed from half of the fresh lime. Stir dressing together well. Pour dressing over strawberries. Chop parsley leaves until very fine and add to salad. Stir together well. Add salt a little at a time to taste. The salt should simply help bring out the other flavors in the salad. I recommend draining most of the dressing off of salad before plating. Place salad in tall clear bowls or martini glasses to bring out its beautiful colors. Garnish each serving with a sprig of mint. Makes about 4 servings.

 

How to Make Vanilla Extract Recipe

At our inn we go through a lot of vanilla. We now make our own and you can too. Here are some very simple instructions that anyone can follow to make their own delicious vanilla extract for a small cost.

Every once and awhile someone asks me what one would do with a bottle of vanilla. About a teaspoon of vanilla is in almost every sweet-baked item you could ever make. What’s not to love?

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Cut vanilla Beans lengthwise into quarters and then in half the other direction.

Place 1 1/2 or 2 whole cut vanilla beans into a glass bottle. You can buy perfect little four-ounce bottles online or just use a canning jar that you might already have at home.

Ready for the second ingredient? bourbon. Yep, Just plain old bourbon. Fill almost to the top. You can also use a mild brandy instead of bourbon if you like.

Place lid & store in pantry or cupboard for at least 6-8 weeks, giving bottles a good shake about once a week.

When finished, decorate bottles with cute labels & ribbons (labels and ribbons optional). They make great gifts for friends who like to bake. It’s a good idea to include a recipe if you are giving to friends who have never used their ovens to make a cookie from scratch.

Although the vanilla beans can sometimes be pricey, they are worth every penny because to refill extract, you can just add bourbon (or brandy or vodka) to the vanilla beans again whenever you start to run low. You don’t have to replace the beans for a long time. I rotate a couple of bottles so that I never run out. Happy girl.

 

Senior Prom Dinner For the Class of 2011

Every year, since dotter was a freshman, we have been hosting dinner parties for her and her friends. It started out as an idea on a whim and had become a four-year tradition.

Just before Prom, the seniors received special letters from the fifth graders in town. Here is Brittany’s letter. We couldn’t stop ooing and awing over how sweet it is.

(Original picture of note lost. We’re looking for it.)


Jaxen,

Thank you for your awesome letter. You will be so happy to know that Brittany followed all of your advice.

Love,

Brittany’s mom 🙂

Finally prom day arrived. Our decor theme this year was French Country. We lined the tables with ivory tablecloths and gold swirled curtains.

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To give it a garden look, we found a few green plants and placed them in some inexpensive vases.

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We happen to also have a birdcage that I got on clearance a long time ago and placed a trailing plant inside and hung it from our chandelier. Of course, we made sure it lined up so that it wouldn’t make it difficult to chat with friends across the table.

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A great way to collect the things you like is to buy out of season. Wait 2-3 weeks after any holiday and you’ll find treasures for 75%-90% off. These chargers were purchased after various holidays. Just keep an open mind and remember the colors will work for other themes and occasions.

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Part of the fun of planning a party is seeing how I can break the rules to create interest like using goldware and silverware, placing salads in punch glasses and creating a pattern with two different sets of chairs that somehow works.

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Everyone received packages of Tic Tacs (dotter’s favorite mints) labeled with the words “Minty Fresh” just for fun.

Candles always make everything more sparkly.

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This year’s menu.

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Steak and baked potatoes. We used flowering chives as a garnish.

Fancy schmancy makes everything taste even better.

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The culinary arts teacher at the high school heard that several of the students in her class were attending the dinner and decided to offer a dessert. So sweet – literally even. Wink wink. I made mini mud pies as well.

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And then the traditional staircase picture. Everyone looked dashing.

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Another picture before the limo arrived. What a memorable night.

 

Duckling Update

On April 8th we brought home our bouncing baby ducks. This is what they looked like.

This is a picture of our ducks taken today… just 41 days later.


 

30 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Graduated From High School

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An open note to Dotter and to all the girls of this year’s graduating class:

1. Never stick your wet hand in the freezer. For that matter, don’t stick any wet limbs in the freezer.


2. The easiest way to learn something is to watch others. If they make great choices, take note. If they make bad choices, take note. If they make good choices but get bad results, watch how they deal with it. If they make bad choices and get good results, watch how it all catches up with them sooner or later.

3. In all circumstances be humble. Even during those times when you know you are the only one who “gets it”.

4. When God talks to you:

  • He won’t mumble, waste your time or be confusing. Although he may have you wait on his answer for his loving reasons.
  • He won’t go against his own word, the Bible.
  • He won’t tempt you to take the easy route.
  • And he won’t let others vote on his plan for you; nor, will he broadcast his plan for you through someone else.

5. Eat real food. Eat a rainbow of colors for your health unless the rainbow comes in candy form. Stay away from the middle grocery aisles as much as possible.

6. When you have a family of your own, you don’t have to make the same mistakes you saw us make while you were growing up. You will make plenty of your own – and that is okay. Then, God will use our mistakes to remind us of how hard life is so that we can support you empathetically.

7. Pray for Mr. Right until and after you meet him. When you find Mr. Right, put him through the test to make sure he can handle it when you disagree or say no.

8. If you lose your children in the clothing department, don’t panic. They are probably just under the clothing racks.

9. It is perfectly okay, and normal even, to cry. Just don’t use tears to manipulate. Make sure the people you cry in front of are safe people and never cry during a business meeting.

10. Things you must have in your kitchen: a bench scraper, a great spatula, a KitchenAid mixer – if it has not been inherited then it should be in your favorite color and glass jars which are awesome in oh so many ways (who knew they could be so handy?).

11. Accumulated interest can work terribly against you when you have credit cards or incredibly for you when you put your money into a savings account. Save at least 15% of what you make and increase that by putting any pay raises into savings as well. Learn to live on less.

12. Learn something new everyday. Be delighted by this when you do. I learned how to cook noodles at 25, found out I didn’t know it all at 30, learned to drive safer and slower at 35 and learned how to make good gravy at 40.

13. Friendships are started and become meaningful one person at a time.

14. Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know until you find out what you didn’t know that you thought you did.

15. Never put noodles in the water before it reaches the boiling point and never cook them too long.

16. You will begin to think like those you spend time with. Surround yourself with those you want to grow up to be like and help the other people who are hurting.

17. No one in any position is any better than you are. You are equal in value to them. Don’t allow them to make you think otherwise.  Respect their position but never place yourself lower in value.

18. God won’t show you something new until you learn what he is showing you right now. Don’t avoid today’s lesson. It will be uncomfortable but you can do it.

19. Remember, a woman brings life into her home and her community. Your role is so very important. You can never be replaced.

20. Google does not have all the answers. Everything put into computers is generated by humans and they are, well, you know, human.

21. Bullies aren’t out to get you. They are out to fix something that is broken within themselves. Don’t let angry people get you down.

22. Take advantage of every sunshine-y day. Take walks, go on hikes, and play frisbee with people you love. Especially if you continue to live in Washington.

23. Even when you are done with school, keep reading.

24. Just when you are about to give up is probably when you will break-thru the hardest part of your journey. Learn and be patient during those times. It’s more about who we become in the process and less about where we end up.

25. Always choose like-minded roommates and always write a check or get a receipt for your rent or house payments. Don’t ask me how I know these things. I just do.

26. Always remember a salesman’s job is to sell you something. Again, don’t ask me how I know this.

27. Some people are deathly allergic to peanuts. If you make something with nut products, always place the same kind of nut it’s made with on the treat as a garnish. Never lie about a product containing nuts, caffeine, etc. It applies to many areas of life that someone’s well-being could depend on your honesty.

28. Integrity isn’t just about being honest with God and others as it begins with being honest with yourself.

29. Men have feelings too.

30.  From the time you were born until you were 18 months-old, you learned trust. From eighteen months to the age of three, you learned autonomy. From the ages of three to five you learned initiative. Between the ages of six and twelve, you learned industry. From ages twelve to eighteen, you have now learned who you really are. While we have given you a good life so far, we know there will be areas that will need healing. You are not alone for there are no perfect parents and therefore, no perfect upbringing. We are here for you if you feel broken in the areas of trust, autonomy, initiative, industry and for the times you might struggle with knowing who you are (see number 9).

You are beginning the journey now until the age of thirty-five to learn intimacy in your relationships. Your kids will think you are too old to be cool when you are about thirty-five, but this is when you will  learn how to better everyone’s life – not just your own – in a much deeper way. I know you will enjoy giving back and those you give of yourself to will be so lucky to have you in their lives. Finally, when you are even older you will gain integrity. You will have been real with yourself, God, and others and will have a true sense of the meaning of life. There is so much more ahead, so please drive safe.

Love,

Mom

My friends and I (front right) on our senior trip

 

 

A Visit with Imelda Dulcich Public Relations

I recently had the opportunity to meet one of my friends from Twitter in person. Turns out we don’t live too far away from one another. Meet Imelda. She is such a wonderful person.

Turns out, we have similar decorating styles and we share a silly streak. See the boots? She brought them just for kicks when she read about mine.


Yeah. That would be the outtake. See how cute & poised she still is? That’s because a witty comment made took me 5 seconds longer to catch than the average person. You can read about the rest of our visit here.

 

High heels

I suppose the only way high heels could be worse is if they were built into our feet.

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