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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 .

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice Krispie Turkey Drumstick Pops


Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Well, you will want it to arrive even sooner after you see these adorable, edible place settings. get a leg up on your turkey day prep now…

To make these darlings, you will need to order these little plastic bones in advance: Rubie’s Costume Bag’O Bones Costume Package (10 Piece) These are fantastic for this recipe because they can be washed and used again.


  • 3 1/2 cups rice cereal
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups white miniature marshmallows
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 10 ounces peanut butter chips (butterscotch chips instead if someone has nut allergies)
  • 12 ounces Wilton dark cocoa melts (milk chocolate is great for kids)

Measure rice cereal and set aside.

Melt butter over medium heat while watching closely. After melted, stir in marshmallows & sea salt and melt completely. Stir in peanut butter chips and, again, melt completely while stirring. Set aside just long enough to cool to touch.

Press rice cereal mix onto each bone so it looks like a turkey leg. Place on a sheet tray covered with a parchment paper.

Melt chocolate over a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can just put about a half inch of water into bottom pan and place a little smaller pan on top of it. This will keep chocolate from being over direct heat and prevent scorching.

How to melt chocolate in double boiler:

  1. Place about 1/2 inch water in bottom pan.
  2. Place top pan over bottom pan.
  3. Turn heat on high until water boils.
  4. Leave pans on burner but turn off heat and place chocolate in top pan, making sure not to get water in chocolate.
  5. Stir chocolate occasionally while it melts.

Dip each “turkey leg” into chocolate. Use a spoon to help spread the chocolate over all the rice cereal parts. Tap a bit over pan to allow some of the excess chocolate to fall off. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Pan can be placed in a fridge or freezer for about 10 minutes to firm chocolate or just place in a cool location. Make sure plastic legs are cleaned of chocolate before serving. Break off any excess chocolate.

Serve with name tag attached or in a bucket. Fun for your country barbecue or Thanksgiving table setting. No bones about it.


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Homemade Cake Doughnut Recipe


The only way to properly follow up a post about Spanx is with a cake doughnut recipe. Amirite? And the only way to follow up a doughnut recipe is with a frosting recipe. And the only way to follow up all of the above is with sprinkles.

You can take the girl out of the bakery but you can’t take the bakery out of the girl. And this is why I need Spanx.


Fill with Crisco shortening and then preheat doughnut fryer to 375F. Look up your appliance’s instructions (or look for fill line) to decide how much shortening to use.

Prepare a baking sheet with an old, clean towel (or several layers of paper towels) on it to place doughnuts on after frying.


  • 3 cups flour (plus about 1-2 cups more for rolling out dough)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 T. canola oil

Place all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir well then set aside.

Pour all wet ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk until eggs are beaten and all are well incorporated.

Combine wet ingredients into large bowl with dry ingredients. Stir gently just until all dry ingredients are moistened.

Dust counter, doughnut cutter, & rolling pin with flour. Roll out dough to about 1/2-inch thick. Cut doughnuts & doughnuts holes out and lay on a baking sheet so they are ready for frying.

Fry for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Look for middles and edges to become golden brown before flipping.

Place fried doughnuts on baking sheet covered with a towel to drain excess grease off doughnuts.

Eat while hot or wait for doughnuts to cool a bit before frosting. This chocolate frosting recipe is fantastic.  Or if you are feeling rather maple-y this maple frosting recipe is top notch.

If you would like to keep it simple, you can use this vanilla frosting recipe:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can use clear vanilla for pure white frosting)
  • 1 tablespoon water

Makes about 24 cake doughnuts and 24 doughnut holes.

Tips For Making Homemade Bakery Goods 

When measuring flour measuring cup into flour canister. Level off top of measuring cup with a butterknife. Do not pack the flour into the measuring cup (like you would brown sugar) because you will get too much into your dough.

Stirring too much will make doughnuts (and pancakes and scones…) tough and rubber-y.

Wait for the oven or fryer to preheat every single time. If you begin before the preheat, your puff pastry will flop in the oven and your doughnuts will be full of grease from the deep fryer.

Don’t panic. If you’re afraid of your doughnuts under-cooking, just try one first and figure out how long you need to fry on each side then repeat.

Don’t forget the sprinkles. And Spanx. And sprinkles.

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The Two Questions Every Mother of the Groom Receives

I am getting ready to attend my baby’s wedding.


The first question one receives as the mother of the groom is, “Do you like his fiancé?” 

When the first question is asked, I light up like a Christmas bubble light from the seventies. You cannot get me to stop talking about how wonderful my dotter-in-law to be is. She’s creative and silly and kinder than necessary and real and, like me, she speaks in many accents & languages – even though the only one we really know is English. She makes my son so very happy and I love her. Tearing up just thinking about how much I love both of them. I could bubble on and on but I will contain myself.

The second most important question is, of course, “What will you wear?” 

Then the second question comes out of nowhere faster than you can say, “But I haven’t even lost the baby weight yet.” I mean, it’s only been 21 years since he was born. I mumble. I stumble. I sweat more than someone wrestling with skinny jeans on a humid 110° day in Pennsylvania.

I was once a banker girl who wore dresses, nylons, & high heels to work six days a week and, since that wasn’t enough, to church again on Sundays. Now, yoga pants are the meat and potatoes of my daily attire. They work well when meat and potatoes are the meat and potatoes of your diet.

Dotter was kind enough to gently coax (forcibly push) me back into a shopping dressing room. I can’t remember the last time I was in one for my own sake. It was a tough love moment. She won. And we both survived.  After two shopping trips and about seven stores, Dotter asked, “Mom, so are you saying yes to the dress?” We cheered for a few minutes and then she confronted me about my eyebrows. I tried to tell her even though I might not be entirely pleased with the results when I pluck my own eyebrows, at least I look like I am. She said, “Make an appointment.” I can tell this is going to be like the time my kids took me hiking and kept promising we were almost done. We had only just begun.

Next stop, Spanx. If you ever consider telling others you are considering Spanx, don’t. Stuff it in.  You will get the same reaction as when you announce you are pregnant. You get advice. You get horror stories. You get a lot of “good luck”s. You get scared.

I imagine things will turn out similar to my high school graduation where the audience thought I was singing off tune because I was crying; while, actually, I was crying because I was off tune.

I will, indeed, be emotional seeing my baby get married; but, I might actually be in a straight up panic because, well, Spanx.

Inside I’ll be bubbling over and at the same time just trying to contain myself.

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Homemade Chocolate Brownies Recipe


How about being able to say your bake sale brownies are made from scratch without fibbing? How about PTA moms begging for your recipe? How about the pride when your kids asking for extra brownies in their lunch so they can share with friends?

Just when you thought there was no such thing as a moist, chocolate-y homemade brownie with perfect chewy edges outside of the box, here she is. And she’s easy… easy-to-make, that is.

Homemade Brownie Recipe Made With Real Chocolate


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. high quality semi-sweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. flour (about 1/2 cup but it’s best to measure in ounces)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 9X13 baking dish by spraying with baking spray.

Place about 1/2 inch of water in a saucepan. Place another saucepan over the water-filled one while making sure not to get any water in the top pan. Turn heat on high. Place chocolate & butter in top pan. Wait for water to boil then turn burner off. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted together.

Place eggs, salt, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla into a medium bowl. Whisk together well. Stir melted chocolate & sugar mixture in well. Stir in flour. Stir in pecans if desired.

Pour batter into 9X13 pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until somewhat firm and top has a shiny crust. Allow to cool before cutting them for as long as you can muster.

Your life is about to change for the better this school year. Bake on, popular girl. Bake on.

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Chicken Makhani AKA Indian Butter Chicken Recipe


When my kids were little, they learned about various countries by studying not just the history of the country, but the foods. Son and dotter had to cook dinners that represented the country they had been learning about. In my home? Imagine that. I wish I had found my love for Indian food back then. I suppose this time mom is the student.

I know I’m a little late to the game, but I have finally figured out which Indian foods I can eat and still have tastebuds left after trying them. I had to ask a nice lady at our favorite Indian restaurant which dishes were hot and which were not after a few visits of dead buds tuckered out from all the heat. One bite of the super spicy stuff and I can’t taste anything else.

Butter Chicken has a little zing to it but not much. If you like things really spicy, you can add more green chilis or just leave the seeds in. Me? I’ll be the one with the taste buds in tact, thanks.


Indian Butter Chicken Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 green chiles, stems removed, cut in half, and middles removed
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, roasted in oven for 20 minutes then remove skin
  • 5 tablespoons kasoori methi
  • 2 tablespoons red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 4 whole green cardamom seeds (husks can be left on)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (add a teaspoon or so more if finished product is too acidic)
  • 2 pounds chicken breast, diced into large bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Place two tablespoons of the butter and olive oil into a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add diced tomatoes. Cook tomatoes down for about 10-15 minutes. Stir in ginger, chiles, garlic cloves, kasoori methi, red chili powder, paprika, cardamom seeds, and honey. Simmer for about 5 more minutes.

Carefully pour sauce in a blender. Cover lightly and blend on lowest setting. Work blender up to medium speed until sauce is smooth. Set aside.

Clean large sauce pan.

Place last two tablespoons of butter in saucepan over medium heat. Saute chicken pieces in butter until cooked through to 165F on inside and light golden brown on outside. Pour sauce over chicken. Stir in cream.

Continue to simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken and spices will settle, making this a dish you will adore.

Serve with Basmati rice (with some peas & carrots mixed in) and naan bread.

I couldn’t of been whiter in that moment I asked for help, but it has allowed me to find a love for Indian food. And by Indian food, I mean Butter Chicken and rice and naan bread. Happy buds.


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Southwest Salad Recipe


I’ve had some fantastic Southwest salads and I’ve had some horrible ones. One restaurant served theirs covered in a vinaigrette – heavy on the vinegar. I couldn’t eat it. I puckered up, pecked at it like an Old Hen would, cut my losses, and left the place $18 poorer and pretty darn hungry.

So, because I love you, I present thee with a Southwest Salad which will be more pleasing than a prissy plate of lettuce & vinegar every single time.


Makes two large salads or 4 medium salads.


  • 1 small can black beans
  • 1 recipe of Southwest Rub
  • 2 chicken breasts, butterfly cut in half
  • 1 cup Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped into about 1-inch squares
  • 1 ear corn on the cob
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalepeno, minced
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, diced fine
  • 8-10 stalks cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons grated cheddar
  • 4 tablespoons grated pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Tri-color tortilla strips (or regular tortilla chips will do)

Rinse black beans well and place in saucepan in water. Boil for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

Turn on grill (or oven to 350F. Prepare Southwest Rub and set aside. Butterfly cut chicken breasts and coat with Southwest Rub. Allow chicken to sit for about 20 minutes then grill until middle of thickest part reaches 165F.

It is wise to invest in a good meat thermometer to be sure any meats you cook reach their safe temperature for eating. 

Place corn cob in a pot of boiling water. Leave in water for three minutes and then place in a bowl of ice cold water for a few minutes. After corn is cool enough to handle, cut corn off of cob.

Place lettuce on plates. Top each plate of lettuce with corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, black olives, red onion, cilantro, cheddar and pepper jack cheese.

Slice chicken at a slant for an extra stylish look and place on top of salad.

Drizzle with desired amount of ranch dressing.

Dice avocado right before serving (so it won’t brown). If preparing in advance for a crowd, you can drizzle and toss avocado with fresh lime juice. Keep everything except chicken refrigerated until ready to use.

Decorate sides of each plate with tortilla strips and a couple of lime wedges. Lime wedges are ever so delightful squeezed upon your salad.

Budget-friendly, fresh, flavorful, and comforting. Eating out (on the patio) is so very perfect.

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Eggs Benedict Recipe


I’m on a kick lately. Back to basics… the traditional, if you will. The basics are good for the soul. Here are some others I’ve been in touch with lately:

  • Take road trips.
  • Be happy.
  • Be kind.
  • Be silly.
  • Keep learning.

There’s something about going back to the basics that refreshes the soul. Sometimes we get too fancy, too complicated, too side-tracked. And then there’s Eggs Benedict – classy and uncomplicated.


Two servings.


  • 2 English muffins, toasted
  • Butter
  • 4 pieces of Canadian bacon (or several slices of Black Forest ham)
  • 4 poached eggs
  • 1 recipe of hollandaise sauce
  • 1 green onion, diced (optional)

Toast English muffins and butter them. Place each on a plate.

Fry Canadian bacon or ham until hot. Place on English muffins.


Poach four eggs. The best way to do this is to heat water in saucepan on high until it starts to boil. Place a paper towel on a plate and set aside. Turn heat down to medium high. Stir until water forms into a circler rotation in pan. Crack an egg open and drop into middle of pan. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes.  Remove egg from water with slotted spoon and place on plate. Continue until all four eggs are cooked. Eggs will look imperfect and this is perfect.

If you’re not a fan of the runny yolk and like an over-hard egg, you can cook them for about 8-9 minutes. This isn’t traditional, but you should enjoy your eggs the way you like them. You can also use fried eggs or scrambled eggs. This dish is delightful either way. 

Make hollandaise sauce and pour over your eggs. Oh, sweet Baby Jesus.

She may seem prissy and hard to figure out, sure, but she is so much more than that. She is comforting. She is saucy. And she is empowering. And, once you realize you can make the basics, you can do anything.


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Homemade Rich, Meaty Bolognese Sauce Recipe


I’m pretty sure every last one of my Facebook friends has visited Italy this week. There are beautiful pictures of naked male statues standing by glorious fountains, bold red wines, and churches – oh, the churches. And I’m all sittin’ over here in Seattle listening to my neighbor’s favorite music and eating a whole wheat bagel covered in peanut butter & jelly. Perhaps this post came out of my subconscious jealousy (and by subconscious, I mean complete awareness).

Cue the neighbor’s music that sounds like the back end of an eighties boom box by the time it reaches my ears… I’m about to welcome you to my own Little Italy.

Once you accomplish the initial steps, this is a great recipe to throw in the crockpot for the remaining 4 hours. Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day so you had to know their sauce would take at least four hours to make. Also, you know I never miss capitalizing on a great pun. Like, ever. I’m sorry. You’re welcome. I’m sorry.

You have not tried spaghetti sauce until you’ve had bolognese. I promise you will never go back.



  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 large carrots, finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground veal
  • 8 ounces country style ground pork
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cup water (1 cup may be replaced with a dry white or red wine if you’re feeling especially fancy pants)
  • 3 tablespoons beef Better Than Bouillon
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

Most meats come in about one pound packages. If making one recipe, you can freeze the other halves. You’ll be making this again soon. I promise.
Preheat oven to 350F. It is a good idea to dice veggies in advance. This is a long simmering dish; but, it is also pretty busy in the beginning. Set veggies aside.
After veggies are diced, cut tomatoes into quarters and place on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Salt & pepper tomatoes. Add garlic cloves (still wrapped in peels) to pan as well. Bake for 20 minutes. This is the only step that requires the oven so you can turn it off.
In a large pot, pour olive oil and add butter. Melt over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add diced veggies. Cook until onions are translucent.
While veggies cook, place milk, water, Better Than Bouillon, and tomato paste into a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Remove tomatoes and garlic from oven when they are done. Place tomatoes into food processor. Remove peels from garlic (they should practically slide off) and add. Process until still a little chunky, but soup-like.
Add ground meats. Using utensil, chop meat up well while cooking. Pieces should be very fine. Allow to cook until juices evaporate and meat is beautifully browned and somewhat sticking to bottom of pan.
Add bouillon mixture to pot. Stir in. Add processed tomatoes and garlic to pot. Stir in. Allow sauce to simmer on lowest heat with a lid partially covering for about 4 hours. Make sure to check and stir once and awhile. Sauce will become more red and be kind of oily in texture as it cooks. Near the end is a good time for additional salt since it may reduce down and become too salty if you add a lot in the beginning.
When it is time to serve, cook noodles according to instructions on box. Be sure to bring water to a boil first, add noodles, then cook for as long as box says (all noodle cooking times are different).
If you don’t count the fact there are no naked male statues standing by glorious fountains, bold red wines, and churches, it’s just like I’m there. Only, you know, I’m watching the Mariners on ESPN and approximately 5,661 miles away from an ancient colosseum.

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Fresh Roasted (or Grilled) Restaurant Salsa Recipe


I haven’t met a soul yet who can resist Mexican restaurant salsa and chips. We get full before our meal comes. Amirite?

How spiffy would it be to make your own salsa at home and have the power of making your salsa as mild or spicy as you like? How awesome would it be to have the power to say you’ll skip the 2,794-calorie burrito platter and just get full on the chips & salsa freebies?

Your answer is here. Let’s salsa.


If oven-roasting, preheat oven to 350F. If grilling, turn grill on medium-high.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 medium tomatoes, stemmed & cut in quarters (I like vine-ripened but fresh outta the garden are for sure the best)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into quarters 1-3 jalepeno peppers, stemmed & cut into quarters (removing seeds is optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, remove peels after roasting
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional, great addition when using out-of-season tomatoes)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 3 green onions, roots removed then diced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only

Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over a half sheet pan that has sides. Place tomatoes, onion, peppers, and garlic cloves on pan. Drizzle with a couple more tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place pan in oven for about 20 minutes or until sizzling. If grilling, place larger items on grill and turn occasionally until charred on outside edges. Place smaller items in a cast iron pan drizzled with olive oil to heat up.

Place all ingredients into a large food processor and pulse until the texture of restaurant salsa as pictured above. Sample with a tortilla chip to be sure the flavoring is right and that there is enough salt to bring out all the gorgeous flavors of your salsa.

Now that you’ve saved 2,794 calories, let’s do margaritas, you zesty little thing.

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Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe


The date. Strong and subtle. Pair him with sugar-y, oats-y goodness and you have the perfect escort for your next potluck.


Preheat oven to 350F.


  • 1 pound dates, diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Pour dates, water, and sugar into large saucepan. Stir and place over high heat. After filling starts to boil, reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally. Allow to simmer for five minutes. When done, remove from burner and set aside.

Place remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Using a pie cutter, cut ingredients until they combine into a loose crumble.

Press half of crumble mixture evenly into a 9X13 pan. Set remaining crumble aside. Pour and spread date filling evenly over bottom layer of oatmeal crumble.

Top date filling with remaining loose crumble mixture evenly (do not press down).

Bake for 35-40 minutes. Top should be golden brown and filling should be bubbly hot. Allow to sit until cooled to room temperature and filling has a chance to firm up a bit.  Cut into squares.

The season of reunions and picnics is quickly upon us, so let us not forget the decadent date bar. You will never be let down.

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