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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 .

Beautiful Berries


Everything is more delicious when displayed in a unique dishy dish. Yay for fresh fruit in a martini glass. For Christmas, you can mix it up a little with red & green fruits… kiwi, raspberries, strawberries and honey dew make a perfect treat for a Christmas gathering. A little yogurt & granola for breakfast or frozen yogurt for dessert in the bottom is lovely too.


An Americana Christmas Tree


Dotter came so close to tasting victory in the tree trimming contest of 2007, she decided to go for the gold again in 2008. We put our thinking caps on and decided that since it was an election year, she would go Americana.

We mixed up the pip berries on this tree with reds, whites and blues with an old fashioned, darker tone to them.

Her tree topper star was made of styrofoam and decorated with rustic red & blue scrapbook papers as well as old hymnal book pages for the white stripes. We added pretty white tacks for the little stars. After all that, we tinted the whole thing with brown ink for an even older look.

The little stars at the bottom of this picture where painted wooden stars and in the middle of the picture, you can see the ones we decoupaged more strips of hymnal pages onto.

For the bottom of the tree, we always look all around our house or in our seasonal decoration boxes to find things that are complimentary to the theme. We knew right where to go for this tree – the Fourth of July box.

The mini wreathes? Yeah, those were napkin rings with a ribbon tied to them for hanging on the branches. Mini flags brushed with the brown ink, metal stars and photos of presidents past simply printed out from the internet and placed in classic frames all made this presidential theme the one to vote for.

The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits that favor that theory. – Thomas Jefferson

A woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know will not hurt me. – Abraham Lincoln

Couldn’t be any more beautiful! The tree is pretty neat too. Dotter took home a grand prize ribbon this year. I am terribly proud!

More Christmas trees


Vineyard Tree                 French Country Tree         Gingerbread Tree


A Christmas Tea           Americana Christmas


How to Make Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup Recipe


Canned soup is a nice way to welcome your family home from a long day but homemade turkey noodle soup is outta this world delicious. I still reminisce about my first memory of grandma’s turkey noodle soup and how much better it was than even chicken soup. The flavor of turkey is one hundred times better than chicken.


First, just save your turkey bones and you’re half way there. Place them into a large pot with about 6 quarts of water. Turn heat to high and wait for it to boil.

While waiting for broth to cook, place 1 1/2 cups of flour, 4 eggs, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 cup of milk into a bowl.

Mix ingredients until a sticky dough forms. I recommend a hand mixer or using a stand mixer. Do not mix too long.

Place about a cup of flour out on counter and place flour on dough & rolling pin.

Roll dough into a long strip. Before folding, make sure dough is well floured so it can be separated again when unfolding the noodles.

Fold flour downward in half a few times until it looks something like this.

Then cut into thin strips. Unroll and place in a pile, again with plenty of flour so they don’t stick together. Set aside & let rest for a few minutes.

Clean-up used to be my least favorite part of making homemade noodles but this handy dandy tool has completely changed that! If you or the cook you love does not have one of these, you must by one for Christmas.

After broth reaches the boiling point, remove all the bones and pieces. It is easy to leave tiny bones that drifted into the broth so try to get them all. Remove turkey from bones & place back into soup in bite size pieces.

Add a half of a chopped yellow onion, chopped celery and a couple chopped carrots to broth. Add seasonings like salt, pepper, a house seasoning, and maybe even some of your favorite chopped herbs like rosemary, thyme & sage. Bring broth to a boil again.

Add noodles a few at a time. The reason for the boiling temp and adding a few at a time is so they don’t clump together again when the fall into the pot. Give a gentle stir a couple of times while adding noodles.

After adding noodles, place lid on pot and allow to simmer on low for about another 45 minutes.

Mmmmm… cozy in a bowl.

You can make this with chicken or beef too.


How to Make Gravy Recipe

Making lump-free gravy easier that one might think. There are a few ways to make perfect gravy so the cool thing is that you can use the technique that you have the best luck with. I found a couple of videos that are very helpful for anyone who is nervous about making gravy.

Starting with a roux:

If you roast your turkey with an inch or two of water in the bottom of the pan like I do, you can save that broth and set aside for gravy. This video will show you how to make gravy using flour, turkey fat (or butter) & turkey broth.

Starting with a slurry:

This video shows you how to make gravy using a flour & water slurry. This guy is making it for something other than a turkey dinner but he does a great job of introducing how to make gravy this way.

If you grew up with relatives shaking their Tupperware to make gravy, this slurry is what was in their shakers. If you have one of these, just put 1 cup of cold milk and 1/4 cup of flour into your shaker & shake then when you have your slurry, add it to the gravy over medium high heat. You can use pretty much any cold liquid to begin your slurry. If you don’t have a Tupperware shaker, you can use a mason jar. Just put lid on top & shake. Hot liquids will cause a messy explosion. Not. That. I. Would. Know. From. Experience.


These two methods are pretty much fool proof but here are a couple more tips:

  • Always sprinkle in the flour, don’t dump it in. This is one main cause of lumps.
  • Have your turkey juices on medium high for a rolling boil when pouring in a slurry. The heat is what will make it thicken.
  • If all else fails, don’t panic. You can always add a gravy bowl full of gravy to the blender & blend on low then work your way up to a medium blend to help blend in lumps.

Seasoning your gravy:

Once you have your gravy, just add salt, pepper & any other seasonings you enjoy like chicken Better than Bouillon, Johnny’s, Spike or Lawry’s house seasonings. You can also chop some herbs finely such as thyme, rosemary & sage.

Another nice touch if you have fancy eaters coming that you would like to impress, is to add a little bit of white wine to your gravy. Red wine tends to go well in beef gravy.

A Girl Scout is always prepared:

If this is your first time making gravy, I recommend keeping a few gravy mix packages on hand just in case. These prevent tears from perfectly talented new cooks.


7 Best Feel Good Snow Day Movies



How to Make Cranberry Sauce Recipe

One of the wonderful things about cranberry sauce is that you can make it ahead of time and save it in the fridge for your turkey dinner.

Your friends and family might miss the can shaped cranberry sauce but I’m pretty sure you will win them over with this easy recipe.

The first step is to pour 1 cup of juice or water. Any juice that compliments cranberries will work just fine – even orange juice.

Into juice, add 1 cup of sugar then stir. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, you can add a little extra sugar or even a little brown sugar.

Bring to a boil.

Add 12 ounces of cranberries. I love this part because it look just like the cranberry fields out by the ocean in our state. It make me want to put on my cute little red rain boots & hop into the pot.

Bring to a boil again.

Turn heat down to low and simmer for another 10 minutes.

I never feel more girlie than I do when I make something this beautiful. Oh Lordy.

If you prefer jellied cranberry sauce, just use a spoon to press cranberry sauce through a wire mesh strainer. For a breath-taking jelled mold, place sauce in a medium-small jello mold. Cover with saran-wrap and allow to refrigerate over night. Set in hot water the next day & use a utensil if necessary to gently remove from mold. Again, soooo pretty.


Snow Day

Snow day, A day for serious discussions…

Discussing how to handle the Zombie Apocalypse…
Discussing which classes to take next quarter…

How to Cook a Turkey and Stuffing Recipe



There are too many videos on You Tube of turkeys gone wrong to count. If you’re nervous about roasting turkey for the first time, I think you might appreciate how easy it really is to do. Let’s get started!

The reason I’m posting this today is because if your turkey is still in the freezer, you should probably move it into the refrigerator. It’s a good idea to put it on the bottom shelf and to put it on or in something to catch the juices.


To figure out how much time your turkey will need to defrost in the fridge, just figure on 5 hours per pound. So a 20 pound turkey will need 100 hours in the fridge. Divide the 100 hours by 24 hour days and you will need to defrost your turkey for about 4 days.

To figure out if you need to get up super early to put your turkey in the oven, check out this chart and set your alarm accordingly.

Once you have defrosted your turkey and figured out your roasting time, it’s time to prepare your turkey. To prepare your oven, remove extra racks and just keep one at the right height for your roasting pan. Doing this while oven is still cool will save you a lot of unnecessary troubles. Get your roasting pan ready, turn oven onto 325 degrees and remove packaging. If you don’t have a roasting pan, you can buy disposable ones in a regular grocery store but I recommend making the investment of a good roasting pan and a pretty platter. You will use them for more than just turkey over the years.


Okay, that is my least favorite part of the whole Thanksgiving dinner. Now you can do anything!


Most grocery stores and bakeries sell plain toasted bread around the holidays. For my 16 pound turkey I just used one bag (1 pound) of stuffing bread.

You can toast your own by laying bread on a baking sheet and baking it in the oven but just be sure not to choose a sweet type of bread.


Put bread into a large bowl. I prefer breaking mine into smaller pieces before I start making the stuffing.


Chop yellow onion.


Chop fresh flat leaf Italian parsley.


Chop fresh sage. Secret: If you love the flavor of Stove Top stuffing, this is probably the main reason why you do. Rosemary & thyme are great herbal additions too!


Finally, chop some celery.


Another awesome ingredient is water chestnuts. They add a nice crunch to the stuffing. One or two cans should do just fine. I like to chop mine a little bit first.


Finally, toss all the fresh goodies into the stuffing bowl.


Add 2-3 cans of chicken broth (or just water) to stuffing then mix together.


Stuffing should be completely dampened and a little bit soft. It’s okay that the insides of the bread pieces are still crispy because they will get more juices when cooking inside of turkey.

If you choose to take it easy on yourself and use a pre-made boxed stuffing, it will probably have instructions for how liquid to add before placing stuffing into the turkey but if it does not, you can use the same rule above.


Now for the seasonings. Some basic seasonings you can use are a house spice like Johnny’s Lawry’s or Spike. Of course, you’ll want plenty of salt, pepper and maybe some Beau Monde (it gives a nice celery flavoring). The great thing about stuffing is that as long as it hasn’t come near the raw turkey, you can taste a little piece before putting it in the turkey to see if it has enough flavor. This will at least give you a good idea if you are close to perfection.


Yay! The stuffing is ready to stuff into the stuffee. First, rub salt all over the inside both ends of the the turkey.

Then push stuffing into the neck end of the turkey (the end where the skin flap was). I know, it’s yucky.


When done,  use the skin flap to help seal the stuffing on that end. Just pull it up…


All the way…

And hold in place while you flip the turkey over.

Then stuff the other end of the bird as full as you like. The top of this stuffing will get that yummy crispy topping on it. Mmmmm….


Rub butter or olive oil all over the bird and season with salt, pepper & seasonings that you enjoy. You can also lay herbs over the top of the turkey. Some people use a sweet sauce but we prefer a savory turkey. Pour about a cup of water in bottom of the roasting pan. Place the rack in the pan and then the turkey with legs upward.

Tom is ready to pop into the oven.

Keep your cutest oven mitts and turkey baster ready.

About every hour or two, check on the turkey and use the baster to suck up the juices and squirt them all over the bird. Your home is about to smell like family tradition. Savor it and remember it. These are the best times in life.

Once turkey is well browned, cover with roasting pan lid. This will prevent the to, the legs, and the wings from overcooking while the inside continues to roast.

Oh momma. Let Tom sit for about 30 minutes before cutting. Remove stuffing from under flap on bottom of bird and place it into a serving bowl. Carefully place turkey onto a pretty platter. A pan that comes with a rack is especially good thing for cooking things as large as a turkey.

If you like the look & plan on having a picture op, keep the stuffing that is at the top there until needed.

Electric knives are popular for cutting as they allow for thinner slices.

Decorate your turkey with parsley, shorty baby tomatoes or whatever you find pretty.

May you and yours have a very happy holiday season celebrating the blessings that you have been given.



Cup & Saucer

Oh pretty tea cup and saucer, thank you so much for being versatile today.


Pecan Pie With Creme de Cacao Caramel Sauce Recipe

To get started with this awesome pie, you will start with the caramel sauce first as it takes a long time. There are other ways to make caramel but since you’re in the kitchen anyhow preparing & baking this pie, this is a great time to try this recipe. It does not need a lot of babysitting like most caramel recipes.


To make the caramel topping, place one can of sweetened condensed milk into a double boiler. I just used a medium saucepan with a couple of inches of water in it & then put a smaller saucepan on top of it and added the sweetened condensed milk into the top saucepan. I have a double boiler but son, age 15, puts away my dishes. ‘Nuf said.

Cover and place on medium low heat. Just call me the queen of make-shift. For now you are done. Just keep a spoon handy to stir once & awhile. This will simmer for a total of about 1 1/2 hours.

Yeah, I know. Did I mention that the blade to my food processor is missing too?

For the pie, smear a little butter inside a 9 inch pie plate then line with crust. I used store-bought this time. 😀

Set aside.

Place these ingredients into a medium bowl:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Time to check on caramel & give it a stir! Yay! It’s browning nicely!

Back to the pie filling… stir ingredients.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the star of the show – pecans – to filling.

Pour pie filling into pie crust & bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Bake another 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

After pie is in oven, check on caramel & give it another stirsies for good measure.

After about 45 minutes, you will have your own lovely like this one. Notice the sugary filling that boiled up over the crust giving it a shiny glazed sheen. I added some more pecans after baking for that extra touch right after I took the pie out of the oven.

I finish up the caramel sauce with about 3 tablespoons of creme de cacao. Just stir it in when caramel is finished browning.

I went a little nuts over this pie. It became dinner. That’s what happens when foodie bloggers get so excited about what they’re blogging. They forget about lunch, finish their work at 5pm and eat dessert for dinner. I’m feeling pretty lucky after this pretty pie. Maybe I’ll find my double boiler and food processor blade.

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