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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 Cookie Recipe

I often forget about peanut butter cookies… so plain, so ordinary. But, then I have a hot-out-of-the-oven peanut butter cookie again and oh the joy that fills my soul.

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Preheat oven to 350°F.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar (plus more for stamping cookies)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cup flour

Cream sugar, brown sugar, and butter together. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.

Using small cookie scoop, place balls of dough on baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Leave a few inches in between each dough ball.

Dip a fork in sugar and then stamp down on each cookie twice, making the shape of a cross.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

Everyone needs an outstanding (and delightfully ordinary) peanut butter cookie recipe.

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How to Start a Conversation

Having authentic conversation all begins with showing people know you care about their souls.

I used to own a bed & breakfast. I had such a fun time teasing and chatting it up with guests. I learned a lot about people, talking, and laughter. So much so, I can’t hold it in. I just gotta share.

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A few of years ago, I wrote a blog post for my famous mud pie recipe and added some fun with the help of the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It remains one of my favorite footprints I have placed out on the interwebs. Be sure to check it out.

Although that post was all written in fun, there are some great ways to start authentic conversations that we can all apply.

Smile

A smile may only stretch across your face but people feel your joy for miles when you use it. A smile begins the conversation before one word is even said out loud. It states that you are open to conversation.

Compliment

Don’t be afraid to tell someone when he or she gives great service or that you really like their tie, earrings, or whatever. Be honest and they will feel special.

Be a little silly

When I owned a bed & breakfast, one couple told me of all their B&B experiences when we first met. They mentioned one inn had delivered McDonald’s breakfasts to the breakfast table. I couldn’t help myself. No, really. I simply couldn’t. I had to serve McDonald’s for breakfast as well. The gentleman turned white until his wife burst out laughing. I then gave them their real breakfast. Best. Morning. Ever. We’re still friends, the McRaes and I – yes, that’s their real name.

Sympathize

Sometimes we meet people while they are going through a really significant loss. Show you are sorry for their loss. Try to put yourself in their shoes in your mind. Don’t compare their story to yours out loud; but, instead, relate inside the best you can and focus on their story. Be a good listener. Sometimes the best way to show you care is to just listen.

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Ask Where They Grew Up

Some people think they’re too shy to start small chat but it’s not hard to do when you commit these conversation starters to memory.

Where did you grow up?

What was your first car?

What are you up to this weekend?

What kind of dog is that? How old is he/she?

Have you been here before?

Are you on twitter too? Here’s my card. I’d love to stay connected.

Make your own list that caters to the crowd around you. Create mom to mom questions or questions that relate to your children’s friends so you’re prepared when they visit. Use your questions often so it becomes easier & easier to make friends. Remember, people can feel artificial when it comes at them. Be sure to use these for starters then let the conversation flow naturally. Machine-gunned questions freak people out. Don’t be afraid of pauses – they are natural too.

Don’t Keep Inside Jokes Inside Yourself

If something hilarious happens in front of you and someone else, use it to giggle together and then introduce yourself. Ask them if they live in the area. Acknowledge that you just shared something funny. If it happens in front of the grocery store clerk whom you see weekly, bring it up again the next time you go to the store. People love being remembered and sharing memories with others.

There’s a small part of me that was filled with joy when I checked guests into the inn one day and the neighbor’s goats decided to come for a visit inside the B&B. The guests and I became goat herders. I’m pretty sure they’ll never forget that day and neither will I.

Make The Most Of The Moments That Mortify

Finally, one of the biggest fears we have when it comes to opening up socially is that we will fumble around. Fumbling is okay. As Russell Wilson said once, “My career will not be defined by one play.”

The worst that can happen is you will end up with a hilarious happening, which allows for a conversation in and of itself. People love to know you are human too.

Try these tips and let me know what happens! I’d love to hear your stories.

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Saying No to Tolerance

Wikipedia says “Toleration and tolerance are terms used in social, cultural and religious contexts to describe attitudes which are “tolerant” (or moderately respectful) of practices or group memberships that may be disapproved of by those in the majority.”

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For years I have been hearing about the act of tolerance from schools, government and well meaning people around me. I have tried and tried to grasp it as a way of life but I have finally wrestled with the concept of tolerating enough to have decided that I choose to say no to tolerance.

I tolerate you so much.

I love you so much.


Which sentiment would you rather hear from someone who you know?

I will not deny that tolerance has been a part of my life. It usually sneaks its ugliness into my heart when I have been hurt by someone or when someone reminds me of someone else who has hurt me in the past. A certain look or tone of voice will trigger a previous wound and I will quickly place a new acquaintance into a box of tolerance because I am scarred and scared to take the chance of them being different from the person that they remind me of.

I will not deny that tolerance has been a part of my life. It usually sneaks its ugliness into my heart when I have been hurt by someone or when someone reminds me of someone else who has hurt me in the past.

Other times that I have defaulted to tolerance is when I am not sure how to handle behavior that is intolerable. Those are the times that I might think that one sin as worse than another so it is easier to avoid interacting with those who struggle with those unspeakable sins. When in doubt, tolerate.

Good Lord, forgive me for tolerating. My poor choices are no better or worse than someone else’s. The consequences and levels of pain may vary but how dare I choose to hurt them even further by just tolerating them.

I have done nothing better than to reject someone when I choose to give crumbs of toleration.

Tolerance is a small part of love but it cannot even come close to replacing love. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” When we tolerate, we stay clear of the mess and there is no sharpening going on which means very little to no growth is happening. I will choose to love. What a wonderful, messy adventure to love.

Tolerance is a small part of love but it cannot even come close to replacing love. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” When we tolerate, we stay clear of the mess and there is no sharpening going on which means very little to no growth is happening. I will choose to love. What a wonderful, messy adventure to love.

Love requires more of us. Love will be uncomfortable but it is also so much more rewarding for us and those we love. Love is a choice though. It will not always come easy. I have noticed that when my family and loved ones go through busy and difficult seasons, we often slide into a daze of tolerating one another just to get over the waves. It is when we choose to love once again at a conscious level that we finally realize the difference between tolerance and love.

Have you been so busy tolerating that you have forgotten how to love. And yes, by loving, I mean loving everyone.

I hope that you will join me in saying no to tolerance.

 

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How to Make Bacon Jam Recipe

Your life is about to get much better. You’re welcome.

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, fine diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple extract
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup high-quality, large bacon bits or 1 cup home-cooked bacon, crumbled

Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add diced onion. Cook onion until translucent. Add minced garlic, stirring occasionally.

Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Cook down over medium heat for about 5 minutes. After it cools, the liquid portion will become a thick sauce.

This jam is a perfect addition for various recipes like atop a burger or in these brussel sprouts. It is especially fantastic on olive oil-coated, oven-toasted French bread as a bruschetta appetizer as shown.

Make this as hostess gifts for all of your holiday parties, and you will be invited back every year. Unless, of course, you over do the martinis. That, I cannot help you with. But there will always be bacon jam.

 

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How to Cook Brussel Sprouts Recipe

Perhaps I should’ve called this “How to Fall in Love With Brussel Sprouts.” Bacon. Garlic. Cheese. The end.

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Preheat oven to 400°F.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound brussel sprouts (or about 1/2 stalk)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 recipe of The Old Hen’s Bacon Jam
  • 3 ounces parmigiano-reggiano

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Cut brussel sprouts of stalk if purchased on one. Cut each sprout in half and cut out the small stem part at the bottom. Set aside.

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Heat olive oil in an oven-safe saute pan over medium-high heat. Well-seasoned cast iron pans are perfect for this.  When pan is hot, place sprouts flat side down in pan. They may stick to pan for a couple minutes, but will loosen again when done browning. Cook until bottoms are golden brown. Gently shimmy pan to turn over sprouts. If you prefer, you can use a utensil to flip them.

Place pan in oven fro about 5-8 minutes or until sprouts are tender. larger ones may take about ten minutes.

Stir in as much of The Old Hen Bacon Jam as you like.

Top with parmigiano-reggiano.

NOTE You can also roast an entire stalk of brussel sprouts by preheating oven to 375°F. Place stalk on a baking sheet coated in olive oil. Brush olive oil on sprouts. Sprinkle with sea salt & pepper. Bake for about 45 minutes. Serve on a platter. Guests can pull of their own sprouts and dip in bacon jam for an appetizer packed with delightful drama

 

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How to Make Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup Recipe

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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.

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Ingredients

  • 6 quarts water
  • 1 turkey carcass (or about 2 cups leftover turkey, chopped)
  • 2 cups flour (plus 1 cup for rolling out noodles)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 8 ounces frozen peas & carrots
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • House seasoning (optional)
  • 2 stalks fresh sage, chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Chicken Better Than Bouillon (optional)

 

First, just save your turkey bones and you’re halfway there. Place them into a large pot with about 6 quarts of water. Turn heat to high and wait for it to boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes.

Remove all bones from broth and place on a sheet pan to cool. Pick out all turkey pieces you can find and place them back into the broth. Turn heat to low. Throw away leftover bones. If using turkey pieces only, disregard carcass-separating instructions and just leave turkey in broth.

Place flour, eggs, and salt into a bowl.

Mix ingredients until dough forms.

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 rolled dough downward in half a few times.

Cut into thin strips. A pizza cutter can be handy for this. Unroll and place in a pile, again with plenty of flour so they don’t stick together. Set aside & let noodles rest for a few minutes.

Add onion, chopped celery and peas & carrots to broth. Add seasonings like salt, pepper, a house seasoning, and maybe even some of your favorite chopped herbs like rosemary, thyme & sage. Sage will give your soup a similar flavor as traditional stuffing. Stir in some Chicken Better Than Bouillon if soup is bland and needs more meat flavor. 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. Of course, my kids have never complained about clumped noodles. In fact, they have always laid claim to them. 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.

Variations

Chicken: Use raw chicken cut into pieces, boil until chicken is fully cooked, remove chicken to cool, place chicken back into broth and disregard skin, bones, etc.

Beef: Use leftover pot roast cut into small pieces and Better Than Bouillon Beef. This is not a recipe for beef stew. Here is the recipe for beef stew.

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Chocolate Crackle Cookie Recipe

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One of the most admired cookies in all the cookie kingdom is the Chocolate Crackle Cookie. Shiny and crackly on the outside and delightfully chewy on the inside.

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Preheat oven to 350°F.

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place chopped chocolate and butter in double boiler over high heat. When water in bottom pan comes to a boil, turn off heat but keep double boiler over hot burner. Stir chocolate & butter occasionally until fully melted.

In mixer, whip butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs & vanilla. Mix well.

Turn mixer on low speed and add melted chocolate & butter mixture to mixing bowl.

Add baking powder, salt, flour, and (if desired) cinnamon. Mix just until combined.

Place parchment paper on baking sheets. Drop about six scoops of batter on each baking sheet. I use a heaping cookie scoop per cookie. Note: Batter will be thick yet a little runny.

Bake for 15 minutes.

This is a must add to your cookie platter this year and every year. All hail Queen Crackle.

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Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe

One of the popular searches that brings readers to this website is “butterscotch shake”. It doesn’t matter that it’s November and the leaves are falling, people want their milkshakes. Here’s to you, butterscotch shake googler. I present thee with hot fudge sauce the day before Thanksgiving.

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  • 1  cup white corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until sauce comes to a boil. Stir continually. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.


Serve over the best ice cream your money can buy. I recommend Haagen Daz, Umpqua, or homemade.  Place leftovers in refrigerator to reheat for another time…. this fall.

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Homemade Indian Naan Bread Recipe

Naan is especially practical when eating Indian Butter Chicken. Yeah, that’s it. Practical. Spread garlic butter over naan, and it becomes a delight. Toss taco makin’s inside naan and you have full-on rebellion that is completely worth the calorie consequences. The fun is, well… you know,  naan-stop.

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Naan Recipe

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Set aside 1 cup of flour for rolling out naan.

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Whisk in sugar, yogurt, and baking powder. Whisk in 1/2 cup flour and the salt. Stir in 1 1/2 cups flour. Combine and then knead naan  in bowl for a few minutes, sprinkling as needed with a little of the flour set aside for rolling.

Cover naan bowl with a towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.

While naan rises, make garlic butter recipe below.

After naan has doubled in size, press down and divide into eight pieces. Place some flour on countertop and roll each piece into an oval shape. Place rolled-out naan on a baking sheet for about ten minutes.

Place a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. If you don’t have cast iron, non-stick will also work. When pan is hot, put a piece of naan in frying pan. Watch closely. Cook for about one minute, then flip, and cook other side for another minute.

Place hot naan on a plate and use a cooking brush to quickly spread garlic butter on it. Continue cooking naan until all eight are ready to enjoy.

Garlic Butter Recipe

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Stir butter, salt, and garlic together well.

I can’t wait to hear your practical, delightful, and rebellious ideas for naan.

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Kale Salad

Kale doesn’t try to fit in with everyone. The flavor is a bit stronger than your average lettuce so some snub kale; but, the health benefits make her worth getting along with.

A light, lovely dressing is the answer. Coat salad with this healthy dressing as you would a Caesar, and you will be pleasantly pleased, have one more veggie friend, and be a bit healthier than you were yesterday.

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Kale Salad Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted in saute pan over medium high heat for a few minutes
  • 1 bunch kale, julienne-cut (thin strips)
  • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (or a mix of both)
  • 8 ounces parmigiano reggiano, large grated with potato peeler

Place all ingredients except parm in a large bowl. Toss together.

Lemon Dressing Ingredients

  • Juice from 1 large, fresh lemon
  • 2 ounces grapeseed oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Shake the salad dressing ingredients together in a container with a lid.

Drizzle over kale salad.  Toss salad until well-dressed.

Top salad with beautiful parmigiano reggiano.

Here’s to lean and green… and to more new, bold veggie friends.

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