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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 .

How to Make Wool Lambs

Please forgive my fascination with wooly balls. No, don’t. They’re so much fun and the cuteness. I mean, can you even? I can’t either.

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I shall name him Shnookiewookiewoolsiewoosie.


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What you will need:

Tear ivory roving wool apart and form into little balls and push them into some old nylons. Tie a knot tightly after each ball. You can do various sizes or all the same. Do the same with the black roving wool. There is no right or wrong way. For my lambs, I made almost 2-inch ivory balls for the bodies and under 1-inch balls with black wool for the heads. If you decide to make larger lambs, they will just probably need to be put through the washer and dryer an extra time or two until your balls are firm. I know. I know. So many jokes available to me. It’s nuts.

Place knotted balls in the washing machine on a short hot water setting. Then place balls in the dryer until dry.

Use scissors to cut nylon balls apart and carefully pull balls apart from nylons pieces.

I’d say these supplies should produce at least 16 lambs.

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Heat glue gun and insert glue stick. Hot glue head onto the body.

Carefully poke nails or pins into bottom of lamb so he can stand on his own four legs. Test him to be sure you put them in evenly.

Place a small amount of hot glue on his belly.  Carefully (because a hot glue gun hurts bad enough to make a good Christian woman swear for realz) wrap curly wool all around his body so he becomes fluffy. begin and end on the hot glue so curly wool stays secure.

Cut black sheet of felt into teenie tiny rounded ears. Using a teenie tiny amount of hot glue, glue them onto the back of his teenie tiny head.

These little lambs are not safe for small children, but they are sweet enough to bring an adult woman back to her childhood. Place them up high for yourself to enjoy. If you’d like to hang them, perhaps it is best to secure the legs with a little hot glue and you can stitch a loop of gold embroidery thread through his back so you can dangle him from your Christmas tree.

They make perfect Easter decorations too. They enjoy Easter grass.

Shnookiewookiewoolsiewoosie, I love ewe.

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How to Make Wool Ball Garland

Sometimes a girl just has to break out of the traditional and make somethin’ a little funky. A little hippie. A little ballsy.

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What you will need:

  • Roving wool in colors of your choice. Oh, the colors out there. So loverly!
  • Old (or new) nylons
  • Scissors
  • Washer & dryer
  • Large embroidery needle
  • Gold embroidery thread on a spool

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Tear wool apart and form into little balls and push them into some old nylons. Tie a knot tightly after each ball. You can do various sizes or all the same. There is no right or wrong way to make your hippie garland.

Place knotted balls in the washing machine on a short hot water setting. Then place balls in the dryer until dry.

Use scissors to cut nylon balls apart and carefully pull balls apart from nylons pieces.

Thread needle with embroidery thread then pull through each wool ball in the order you’d like your balls to be in.

Tie knots at each end of your garland to help keep your balls in place.(No, all the naughty joke possibilities in this post are not lost on me. I may or may not be sitting here giggling. I’m just not ballsy enough to write them here.)

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Hang your wooly balls on your Christmas tree, or mantel, or wherever you like your balls.

It is better to hang your balls in your tree than your bra; but, that is a story for another day. Or, you know, never.

Well done! Now, enjoy your cute balls.

Okay, I’ll stop now.

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How to Cook Prime Rib with Red Wine Mushroom Gravy

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This post could easily be entitled “How to Make Guests Happy” for this is what a great prime rib roast dinner does.  With the holidays coming up, perhaps eating prime rib would be a lovely way to celebrate.

Look for a rib roast or prime rib roast at your grocery store. With bone or boneless, either way is great. Most of the time, it will already be tied but if not, then use twine to tie around roast to prevent the meat from pulling apart while cooking.


Place roast in a shallow roasting pan on a rack.

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Smear sides with butter.

Cut slits at about every inch across the top of the roast.

Rub olive oil into slits and all around the roast. Season with salt, pepper, and your favorite house seasonings (we like Johnny’s Seasoning and Spike Seasoning). Slice a few garlic cloves and place them in the slits.

Allow roast to sit for a couple of hours – long enough that it comes to room temperature. This will allow it to cook evenly.

Place roast in preheated oven at 450F for 20 minutes. This is why a shallow roasting pan is important. If we used a deeper pan, we wouldn’t get the lovely browning we need.

Lower temperature to 325F for remaining cooking time.

An average roast is about 13-16 pounds. Cook for about 3-4 hours or until it reaches 145 degrees in the middle (between 125-135F if you would like it to be rare).

The fact that this picture was taken before I received my new camera and while about seven people were anxiously waiting for dinner, certainly did not do this prime rib photo justice. Incredibly tender and perfectly cooked.

Red Wine Mushroom Gravy

Remove prime rib roast from baking pan and place pan over stove top burner/s on medium heat. Add a little olive oil if pan is dry. Dice one medium yellow onion and place into pan. Cook onions until golden and somewhat see-thru. After onions are cooked, stir in about one cup of diced mushrooms. Let mushrooms cook for about 4 minutes.

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Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of flour and stir together with the delicious meat juices, onions & mushrooms. Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes. This is called a roux. It won’t be pretty, it will look scruffy even but it will make an incredible gravy.

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After flour is cooked, add about 1 cup of red wine and stir. Then add  2 cups of water and 1 cup of milk and continue to stir. As the gravy comes to a boil, check the thickness and add more water if needed.

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Stir in about 3-5 tablespoons of beef base ad continue to season to your liking with salt, pepper, and a house seasoning. Chopped fresh herb leaves such as rosemary, thyme and parsley can be nice as well.

Serve with potatoes and green beans, perhaps.

And everyone said, “Amen.”

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Raspberry Almond Mazarin Tart Recipe

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One of my favorite Scandinavian treats is the mazarin tart. It is rich and regal yet one of the easiest things one could make for friends… the perfect dessert.

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Preheat oven to 350F.

Dough Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt

Cream butter & powdered sugar. Add egg yolk (save egg white for filling). Combine. Add flour & sea salt. Mix well. Place some flour on countertop. Separate dough into six equal pieces. Press into six 4-inch tart pans with removable bottoms. Make sure bottoms and sides are covered as you would a pie crust. Set aside.

Filling Ingredients

  • 7 ounces almond paste
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white (remaining from above egg yolk)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Whip butter and almond paste until combined well. Add sugar, egg, egg white, almond extract, and sea salt. Whip together. Spoon filling into tart crusts. Place all tarts on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool until they can safely be removed from tart pans.

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 cup Strawberry or raspberry preserves

Spread a few tablespoons of preserves over the top of the almond tarts while they are still somewhat warm.

Serve on a pretty little plate.  Add a few fresh raspberries on top and drizzle with chocolate if desired.

This recipe can also be made in about a 10-inch tart pan for one large tart.

Alternate Topping

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine

Mix together well to make a lovely glaze. Spread over top of tarts after they have cooled. Allow icing to dry for several hours before serving.

These are an impressive holiday dessert but also easy to make ahead and refrigerate for a hot summer evening.

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Maple Boys Recipe

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If you’re looking for a special Christmas morning breakfast, you have come to the right place. These adorable little boys have become a tradition at family gatherings and at our B&B. Everyone loves them and all of their maple-y goodness.

This recipe makes about a dozen Maple Boys.


These are perfect for making on Christmas Eve night and then refrigerating & baking the next morning.

Place 5 teaspoons of yeast into mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup of warm water at about 110 degrees and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Give a little swirl and let sit for about 10 minutes to create the sponge for your dough.

While waiting for sponge to do it’s magic, you can get the other ingredients ready…

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup of instant mashed potatoes stirred together with 3/4 cup of warm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk (110 degrees or cooler)
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs

After sponge (see bubbly goodness in picture) has developed, add ingredients listed above. Mix well.

Keep mixing and add a couple of cups of flour.

Continue to mix in flour until dough wants to “hug” the beater as shown in this picture. Dough will have gone from somewhat soupy to more elasticity. Give or take, it can take about 7 cups to reach this point. This isn’t an exact measurement because the amount of flour you’ll need depends on how much moisture is in the air.

This is the time to switch to the dough hook. Kneed with dough hook for about 6-8 minutes.

Be sure to lock the mixer down or, turns out, you will end up with a dough tornado. I’ll be darned. That’s a first.

Cover with a clean warm, damp towel and let dough sit in a warm place for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size.

Have I introduced you to Scoop yet? I love how this scoop allows me to pretend I am a baker like the ones I grew up watching. My baking has gotten better since I found her in an antique shop. Okay, maybe it’s not because of Scoop but I like to think so.

While I’m at it, I thought you might like to see how I keep my flour. I bake. I bake a lot. So, I went for the charcoal caddy. The pantry incident this year is further proof that I should not keep 20 pounds of flour upon my pantry shelves. Okay, I do believe I have killed enough time and can move on to the next step with you. See how clever I was there?

Turn happily risen dough onto flour covered countertop. Coat with a little bit of flour and roll out to about 1/2 inch thick.

Find a gingerbread boy cookie cutter that is about 5-6 inches tall. Swoosh in flour a bit so it doesn’t stick to the dough…

… then use to create Christmas magic. If you don’t have a gingerbread cookie cutter, you can just cut into rectangles and make baked maple bars. I promise you that they will taste just as amazing.

If baking on same day, place oven on 350F to preheat. Place boys on a baking sheet coated with non-stick baking spray or parchment paper.  Let sit on tray in a warm place until doubled in size (about 45 minutes) or if your oven has a proofing setting, you can place them in there for about 1/2 hour to speed things up. After they’re done rising, bake for about 20 minutes or until light golden brown.

If making the night before, cover with non-stick spray coated saran wrap and place in fridge.

Finally the almost holy maple frosting.

  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 ounces of (salted) butter, softened
  • 8 tablespoons of water
  • 8 teaspoons of Mapleine
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Cool maple boys for about 5-10 minutes and then coat with maple frosting.

You’ll also need about 1 cup of powdered sugar & a teaspoon or so of water mixed together to create the white frosting for the gingy cuteness.

Your family might actually have a hard time deciding between gift opening and Maple Boys. Okay, maybe not, but there’s no better way to start Christmas morning than to spoil them with both.

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Chef Michael Symon shows how to carve a turkey

Video takes a couple of seconds show the play button.

Thanksgiving Recipes


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How to De-bone (Airline) a Pheasant

Our friends from Woodman Lodge in Snoqualmie, Washington posted this video of Chef Don Hoots showing how to de-bone (airline) a pheasant for the holidays.


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Gingerbread Boys Recipe

What would the holidays be without gingerbread boys? Sugar, spice and everything nice… we could all use a little more of these things in our lives. Start celebrating today with these cookies which win in the category of “Most likely to make someone smile.”

Cream together:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

Add:

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg

Slowly add:

  • 3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350F.

Roll out gingery goodness onto a floured surface to about 1/4th of an inch thick.

Swoosh cookie cutter in flour for easy release from dough each time you cut out a gingerbread boy.

Everyone alike yet everyone unique.

In line for the oven. Bake for about 8 minutes. Allow gingerbread boys to cool completely. Decorate with simple powdered sugar frosting: Add up to 10 tablespoons of water (depending on how thick you’d like it to be) to about 2 cups of powdered sugar. Stir well and pipe with a decorating bag onto gingerbread boys. Allow to dry overnight or for several hours before plating or wrapping.

Happy, spicy cookies.

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Little miniatures make a big impression at dinner parties.

May your holiday season be filled opportunities to quite literally spread smiles to everyone you love.

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It’s the Little Things

Some original pictures from this post have come up missing.

Day 9

Whenever you have gone to a very fancy party, restaurant or event, you have noticed it is the little things done with love that make all the difference.


Creativity without love = showing off & guests who leave with a void in their hearts

Creativity with love = inspiration & guests who wish they could return again tomorrow

If you cannot spend a lot of money on guests, you can always give away plenty of love & inspiration. It’s always fun to see what you can make with things you have on hand.

Here is a little box decorated with some scrapbook paper (old cards & calendar pages would work just wonderfully), rosemary, and a pine cone (which didn’t look too good on the back so I used that to my benefit as it was easier to glue since it was already flat). Fill box with verses, pictures or quotes.
This mini lunch bag is prettied with a ribbon misfit from an old craft project, scrapbook paper and an old phone clip. The clip is still useful as it can be repurposed in many ways. Fill bag with candies, a pretty soap or a mini candle.

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Buy your holiday decorations plain and you can redesign them for other holidays like this cute little bunny. Add a lemon thyme wreath, and he hops from Easter to Christmas!

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These Halloween boxes I found on clearance make for a perfect Christmas box with festive papers, a big black bow & shiny button. Inside? Bell candies or actual bells, of course. P.S. Black bows are always so very classy.

As we all know by now, the odder the juice glass, the more delicious the juice. Find inexpensive food safe bottles with fancy toppers for juice. You could not help but giggle if someone served juice to you in a shorty baby cutie glass like this. Am I right? The dollar store would perhaps be a great place to find something like this.

Make sure to buy them brand new & without perfume inside. Do not under any circumstances buy them from a second-hand store. They must be new & never used for perfume!

Remember this holiday season, in the midst of all the recipes, ideas & sparkles you are bombarded with, it is the little things done with big love that will count the most.

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The Merry Cherry Christmas Drink Recipe

Day 8

I love, love, love this commercial. So much so that I may or may not of had to go purchase these little glasses.

Okay. I did. I may or may not have also chanted “Party Party! Party!” to the clerk when I bought them.



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To make this pretty little party in a mini martini glass, place these ingredients into a Boston shaker:

  • About 10 ice cubes for chilling
  • 3 ounces cherry schnapps
  • 3 ounces cherry vodka
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/4 cup 7-Up
  • One lime wedge (squeeze first & then drop lime wedge in as well for added flavor)
  • 5 maraschino cherries with or without stems

Place one cherry in the bottom of each glass. Shake well & pour drink into mini glasses. Makes about 5 mini martini glasses full.

I cannot guarantee that your glasses will sing, “Party! Party! Party!” but I can guarantee you a…

Merry Cherry!

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