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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 and food truck plans as seen on New Day Northwest. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

A Very Spirally Breakfast



Cinnamon Rolls Made with Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Going through this old family cookbook is an adventure. In flipping through, I came across a recipe that I remember well but hated. Yet, I was listed as the contributor of said recipe. Wha…?? I called my mom and we shared a giggle. Grandma had sent in a bunch of recipes and gave each of them a random owner just so our names would make the cookbook. I’m pretty sure none of us girls have ever made the recipes that were assigned to our names.


In the midst of the chuckles, I came across a recipe that I had heard about but never tried… rolls made with smashed tators so I gave it a try. If it’s great, I may put my name on it for the next family cookbook.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

I did make a few adjustments along the way. This is double batch and it filled a half sheet pan. First, set 4 eggs out so they can reach room temperature. Next, clean & peel 4 medium potatoes.

Cut into equal pieces and boil in a pot of water until a fork is inserted easily and slides out of a potato quickly. Drain.

In a large bowl, place 4 packages of yeast and one cup of sugar. Heat 1 cup of milk to 100 degrees (test with cooking thermometer) and add to yeast & sugar mix. If milk is too hot it will kill your yeast and if it’s too cold it will not activate your yeast. Stir and allow to rest for a while to begin the leavening process. Mixture will get a little bit foamy.

While waiting for foaminess, mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher. Allow to cool from hot to very warm.

Add mashed potatoes to yeast mixture & stir. Beat the eggs in separate bowl and then stir into yeast mixture. Add 4 teaspoons of salt and stir again.

Have you ever made baked goods that taste empty? That is what happens when there isn’t enough salt in the recipe. The good news is that you can usually add a little extra salt and enhance all the flavors within the recipe.

It was at this point I noticed there was no flour listed on this recipe. As you can see in the picture above, this did need flour. More giggles… thankfully my name wasn’t on this recipe.

According to my detailed and calculated view of the world, I tossed in flour until it felt right. It ended up being about 8 cups. I was able to stir it in with a fork and then use my hands for kneading in the last bit of needed flour. If using a mixer, begin using the dough hook attachment when dough begins to firm.

After the magic of flour took it’s course, the recipe called to let dough rise. I let it rise until it about doubled in size under a warm, damp towel.

While dough rises a second time, melt 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of cinnamon.

After dough has doubled, smear about 1 cup of flour onto counter. Place dough on flour and use the flour to make sticky dough manageable and roll out to about 12 inches by 36 inches, adding a little more flour if needed.

Now for the fun part! Slather melted butter all over the top of the dough.

Next, sprinkle cinnamon & sugars mixture over the butter. For good measure, I like to smear it together with the butter. Oh momma.

Starting from the bottom of the 12 inch side, begin rolling dough upward. Brush off excess flour as necessary as you go. When finished rolling, cut rolls about every 1 1/2 inches.

Place cinnamon rolls spirally side up upon a baking sheet that has been sprayed with baking spray.

Since I can never leave out my own personal touch, I came up with a little number that added something special to these rolls.

Cream Cheese Topping

Mix in blender:

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Pour over cinnamon rolls before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for about another 15 minutes or until done in the middle.

The cream cheese topping is not to be skipped. It is goodness gracious good & becomes a tiny bit crispy on the top. The cinnamon & sugar mixture melts in your mouth and where it drips down to the bottom of the pan, well, it gets perfectly chewy. Perfect for our B&B guests.

Finish off with basic powdered sugar icing.

Wait. What? Who?

Dear Grandma in Heaven,

I’ll be happy to place my name on this one. With butter. And a cup of coffee, please.

Love, Deanna


French Country Christmas Tree


I have been digging through my iPhoto archives to find the trees of Christmases past to share with you. While I do that, here is another recent tree for us to indulge in. I hope it inspires you to have some fun with your tree this year.        IMG_8323

I chose some softer, unique colors for my French country tree. Notice how the pillows add so much? Yet they were so, so easy to make. The details are in the fabric chosen (see cherubs) and the lace & jewels which match the stockings.

These floral balls are easy to make and add great dimension to a Christmas tree. They are also fun to hang in other places to tie the rest of your decorations in with your tree theme.

To make, just purchase some styrofoam balls from your local craft store. Take a piece of wire and bend in half. Insert the wire into the balls so that you can hang them. To make sure it stays secure, use a low temp glue gun. Using the low temp glue gun again, glue flowers of the same kind all around the ball. Simple as that. If you like, you can add a matching ribbon to the wire hanger so that you can hang them from different lengths around your home. These are beautiful year round if you choose colors that compliment your home decor.

You won’t find “Where’s Waldo” in my trees but you could probably play “I spy” with all of the little oddities that I enjoy hiding amongst the typical ornaments. You never know where you will find them either. We have a few of these precious faucets that we bought for our first home. We never got around to using them so I have carried them in my craft supplies ever since. They make me happy, especially when I find creative ways to use them.

More oddities that make me happy.

Another tip… shop out of season! I bought these sweet cherubs after Valentine’s Day for 90% off. Perfect for this tree. Love.

I love to collect small things. Small things don’t take up a lot of room but can be just as lovely as clutter that would drive you and everyone else crazy. I pulled these pretties out of one of my button jars.

The velvety stockings were made by my mom and I decorated them with furs, lace, buttons and such. It was a fun project to do. Together. At 11:30pm the night before my tree had to be set up. Crazy.

See the sweet little wooden threads? I collect those too. I covered the thread on them with ribbons which matched the colors and style of the tree. Joy.

Finally, I grabbed some moss off the trees on our road and started the tree by shoving it into the fake tree to give it some umph… or life (It was messy but worth it). There is nothing worse than a wimpy Christmas tree.

I just won thirdsies this year but it’s always fun to be creative no matter which place I take…. I keep telling myself that this year especially because there were only five trees. 🙂 I have a confession. When this happens, I just stand by my tree for awhile and listen to the gasps of fair attendees who disagree with the judging and then I feel better.

More Christmas trees


Vineyard Tree                 French Country Tree         Gingerbread Tree


A Christmas Tea           Americana Christmas




This makes me feel pretty even when I’m wearing sweats & a t-shirt.



A Gingerbread Christmas Tree


This post is dedicated to my cuzzie, Vanessa, with whom I baked mini gingies with last week. We both heart a very early Christmas.

In 2004, I went a little spicy with my gingerbread boys.  My colors were light greens, soft pinks and white.

I baked a bunch of gingerbread boys and dipped them in wax (you can buy it in the canning section of your grocery store). I let them dry and then used royal icing to decorate them so the icing would harden. You could also use fabric paints.

Again with my quirky additions such as wooden spoons dipped in royal icing.

I used a cute white box for the topper & somehow got creative with my ribbons, tissue paper, sticks, etc to create this wild number. I do believe this is my favorite topper yet though. The star is styrofoam with glitter paint and some craft supplies that that went well with my theme from the mini section of the craft store. I do love all things mini.

And here she is in all of her baked glory. This tree won grand prize and all the gingies and their maker cheered.



Things don’t always go as planned.



Simple Salmon and Cheesy Rice Recipe

I’m not a big seafood fan but I do love salmon. I also love that salmon is so easy to cook and can be enhanced with so many various simple recipes. Sweet, lemony or this simple salmon…


A tip when it comes to shopping for salmon is to buy the wild salmon. Farm fed salmon is often mushy and nearly flavorless. Always wait for the wild salmon! I purchased this awhile back and just froze it for another time – still a hundred times better than the farm fed salmon.

First, line a baking sheet with at least one inch sides with foil. Salmon skin tends to stick to the foil (instead of the baking sheet), making clean up easier.

Cut 6-8 thin squares of butter. I heart little squares of butter.

Place salmon pieces on foil and place butter squares on top of salmon as pictured above. Season to your liking. A house seasoning such as Spike or Johnny’s will work great along with some salt & pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for about a half an hour or until salmon reaches 145 degrees in the middle of the thickest area of the salmon. When fully cooked, you can drizzle fresh lemon juice over the salmon for added flavor if you like.

Now for the easy cheesy rice. Place two cups of long grain basmati or jasmine rice into rice cooker.

Pour 2 cups of water over rice.

While rice is cooking in rice cooker, place a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Place about a half of a chopped yellow onion and a couple of tablespoons of crushed or minced garlic into oil to cook. Heat until onions look somewhat clear.

Add 1 1/2 – 2 cups of chicken broth or milk to the saucepan.

Add the cooked rice into the saucepan and stir.

Stir in about 1 1/2 cups of your favorite cheese. This recipe would be especially wonderful with sharp cheddar or even a few different kinds of cheeses.

Finally, toss in about 1/2 cup of chopped celery and salt & pepper to taste.  Stir for the finish.

Scoop cheesy rice up with a measuring cup or some other fun shaped container and plate with the oh so lovely simple salmon. If you like, use a decorating bag to swirl some sour cream on top of the rice and add some chopped green onions for flavor and beauty.



Kitty is giving me the stink eye



Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake Recipe


I have been hunting for this recipe for years. Turns out, I didn’t really have to look all that far for there it was right in our old family cookbook. I am convinced that I have now found the cause of my chubby childhood for these chocolaty bars were at every family reunion as far back as I can remember.

Start your ovens! Preheat to 350 degrees.


Sheetcake Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 T. Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 t. Baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

As with pretty much any recipe that was created by our grandmothers, this starts with butter. Melt in a saucepan.  Add water. Then add cocoa powder. Stir, bring to a boil and remove from heat.

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.

In another container, combine sour cream and eggs.

Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture. Whisk together.

Then add sour cream mixture to chocolaty goodness.

I repeat. Chocolaty goodness. If you’re feeling nutty, add pecans.

Spray a 18 x 12 x 1 baking sheet with baking spray and pour, pour, pour.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick)
  • 6 T. milk
  • 4 T. dark cocoa powder
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a clean saucepan, melt butter. Add milk and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil and then remove from burner. Add powdered sugar, sea salt and vanilla.

Stir frosting and set aside until cake is out of oven.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, gently spread frosting.

Welcome back, Texas sheet cake, welcome back. I love you.

I will share. If I have to.


Superfood Salad


What a lovely parade of healthy treats! Our doctors and Jamie Oliver have taught us to eat colorful foods. I do believe this lovely more than qualifies.


This colorful salad is full of goodness for your body and really yummy!

  • Fresh baby spinach (I do love all things mini!)
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Homemade sugared pumpkin seeds
  • Grated flakes of dark chocolate



Top with raspberry poppy seed dressing

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 a cup of raspberry jam (sugar-free works great too)
  • 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds
  • Dash of salt & pepper

Place all ingredients in a container & stir (or place in a jar with a lid & shake).

Of course, as with any salad, all things are optional. Play with it and figure out what you like! The reason I chose this rainbow of colors is because many of them are superfoods – believe it or not, about 15 percent of my cookbooks are healthy ones. 🙂


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