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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 .

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Glory glory. Hot Cross Buns have risen and are here just in time for Easter.

Hot Cross Buns Ingredients

  • 5 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water (110F or lower)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup instant mashed potatoes stirred together with 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup shortening or unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Zest and juice of one orange (small pieces of orange are great too!)
  • 5-6 cups white flour
  • 1 cup sweet dried fruit of your choice (pineapple, cherries, cranberries, etc. work great)
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Place yeast into a large mixing bowl. Add warm water and sugar. Give a little swirl and let sit for about 10 minutes to create the sponge for your dough. When it looks bubbly & frothy, it is ready.

Whisk mashed potatoes, shortening, eggs, salt, orange zest, and orange juice into yeast mixture.

Add in flour a cup at a time, stirring in between each addition. At about 4-5 cups, you will need to start kneading with your hands and evaluate whether or not you even need more flour. Continue to knead for about 5 minutes. The dough should be able to be formed into a smooth ball. Let sit in a warm place to rise for one hour. Using a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook is a great way to knead dough. When the dough clings to the dough hook and is still very elastic-y, it has enough flour.

Knead in dried fruits. Place dough in a large bowl, cover with a towel, place in a very warm place, and allow to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size. If it’s too cold, it will take longer.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Form dough into rolls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Leave about an inch between each roll. This dough should make about 20-24 buns. Allow to rise again until doubled in size. Beat one egg and brush the top of each bun with egg.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Allow to cool to almost room temperature. Make frosting and use to make a cross on each bun.







Brown Sugar & Bourbon Glazed Ham Recipe

I present thee with Brown Sugar & Bourbon Glazed Ham No Easter is complete without a glazed ham. We’re adding a party today with a bit of bourbon whiskey. She is glorious. And sweet. And glorious.

Brown Sugar & Bourbon Glazed Ham Recipe

Brown Sugar & Bourbon Glazed Ham Ingredients

  • 10 pound smoked ham (approximate size will vary)
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Take ham out of refrigeration 1-2 hours before roasting. Poke whole cloves into sides of ham. Place ham in a large roasting pan with about 1/4 cup water. Cover with a lid (or you can cover with foil). Preheat oven to 275°F and start roasting.

Preheat oven to 275°F.

Place remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and whisk together. Cook on medium-high heat until glaze thickens.

Coat ham with half the glaze. Roast for 15 minutes per pound. So, a 9-pound ham will bake for about 2 1/2 hours.

Finally, when ham has a half hour of cooking time left, use the remainder of glaze to coat again.

Easter is a time to be humble and grateful which is going to be tough when you pull this baby out of the oven, but you can do it.


How to Make the World’s Brightest Easter Eggs

My Name is Deanna. And my mother is a retired cake decorator and this is how you make the prettiest Easter eggs in all the land.

I’ve never had an Easter egg that was pastel.


I’ve never had an Easter egg from a kit and I’ve never had an Easter egg that was dull. While other kids were using the barely-there coloring kits, I was at home whining because I didn’t realize how amazing my own home was. For it was bright.

“How?” you ask. Well, my mother was a cake decorator. She had the magical potion for bright, jewel-toned eggs right in her cake decorating kit…. er, closet. Yeah. Cake decorating closet.

Steps for brightly colored Easter eggs

  1. Place eggs in a pot of water. When water begins to boil, time the boiling for up to 8-10 minutes.
  2. When eggs are finished boiling, drain hot water and allow to sit in cold tap water for about 6 minutes.
  3. Bring some hot water to a boil. As soon as it reaches boiling point, remove from heat and carefully pour into containers that will hold about 1 cup of water and still have enough room for the weight of an egg.
  4. Using your favorite cake decorating food colorings (not liquid!), place about 1 teaspoon of food coloring into each cup of hot water. Wilton food colors are the very best food colors. They can be purchased at Michael’s Craft Supply and other craft stores.
  5. Pour one cap full (or one teaspoon) of vinegar into cups of water as well.
  6. Stir food colors into each cup of water until well mixed. Remove any clumps that might be left over. This might happen if the food coloring has been around too long. It will still work but if you leave the clumps in, you’ll get little blotches of color.
  7. Using a spoon, gently place one egg into each color. Soak and occasionally give a little stir to get the best coloring. Soak as long as you like – the longer, the brighter.
  8. Remove eggs when you’re happy with the brightness of your eggs and allow to dry on a few layers of paper towels.
  9. Use your hands to coat with butter for the amazing shine. Why? Because that’s what grandma always did. Also, just think of it as car wax.

I always got the purpleiest of the purple eggs in my basket.

The Wilton brand food colorings I used for the eggs pictured here: Purple, pink, yellow, royal blue, teal and leaf green.

P.S. Juniper green is fun if you have boys who like army guys. Just don’t soak it very long.

Thank you, mom. You have given me an undying love for jewel tones and helped me to see why being me is special; and, indeed, butter goes on everything.




How to Make Silk Dyed Easter Eggs with Video

It’s time to get spiffy for Easter with silk dyed Easter eggs!

silk dyed easter eggs

Here are some important tips for making our silk dyed Easter eggs:

  1. You gotta use 100% silk. Thrift stores are a fantastic place to find old silk ties, scarves, shirts, etc. because, well, cheap.
  2. Wrap ’em up tight! Tighter is brighter.
  3. If you prefer some white streaks and a pale color, maybe keep the material a bit looser.
  4. You can use rubber bands, twist ties, or anything that is safe in boiling water to secure the material around your eggs.
  5. Like shiny eggs? Just coat eggs with butter or a little canola oil while still warm.
  6. Finally, don’t eat the eggs. They are for decorative use only. You can blow out the insides of the egg out first so you can keep them longer, but I’d recommend a very low temp simmer after the water comes to a boil so they don’t crack.



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.


I shall name him Shnookiewookiewoolsiewoosie.


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.


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.


The Perfect Sugar Cookie Recipe: Easter Chicks

img_3022It only made sense that if I had Easter Bunny cut-outs, that I needed to make baby chicklings too. Besides, it gave me a reason to color some coconut yellow.

So very easy too. Just make circle (or egg shaped for a long face) cut-outs that are about 3-4 inches across.

Some yellow frosting.

Buy some orange Airheads candy…

… and cut like so. Each small piece should make 8 beaks (16 triangles).

Use white York Peppermint Pieces and light blue frosting for the eyes.

Here’s to cute chicks.

Steps for making chick cookies:

  • Bake cookies, color coconut with a little bit of food coloring.
  • Make frosting with powdered sugar and a little bit of water until consistency you like. Color most light yellow and a small amount light sky blue.
  • Cut Airheads as sown above.
  • Frost and decorate one cookie at a time.
  • Place candy in place.
  • Cover with coconut. Use coconut to help keep the beak propped in the right place while it dries.
  • Finish eyes with blue dot.
  • Allow frosting to dry & wrap.

A Spring Decoration: Robin Easter Eggs

These eggs make for the oh so prettiest display. They are simply boiled eggs made extra beautiful but could be made to last longer if you hollowed out the egg instead of boiling it. To hollow, poke uncooked egg with a pin at the top and the bottom of the shell. Over a bowl, blow the inside of the egg out into the bowl. Of course, they would be more fragile but can still be made to look like these…

robin egg easter eggs

Place small white or light-colored eggs in a pot of water. Once water is boiling, allow to continue boiling for 10 minutes. remove from burner & set aside.

Heat up a medium bowl of water or if you prefer to color the eggs one at a time, use a large mug.

You will need sky blue & leaf green food coloring (or a teal or turquoise will do).

If using blue and green, place a tablespoon or two of vinegar into about 20 ounces of water, then add a little bit of green food coloring & stir.

Add the blue food coloring & stir again.

Don’t underestimate the power of vinegar when coloring Easter eggs. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

Using non-toxic paints, use a stiff paintbrush, place some brown little paint on it and flick onto eggs. Practicing on newspaper first is a good idea to be sure your paint flicks just how you want it too. You want speckles, not blotches or streaks.

The nice thing about living where I live is that I was boiling noodles for spaghetti and went outside to grab some fresh moss off a tree and came back to perfectly cooked noodles. I know, right?

Just place some fresh (or store-bought) moss into a glass container. I used my Southern Living at Home hurricane vase. She is not surprised at this as she has been used as many things, including punch bowl. Thank you, Lovely, you never disappoint.

Perfect for a peaceful moment of reading on the porch alone.



Bird’s Nest No-Bake Cookies Recipe

I have decided that, perhaps subconsciously, the reason that I have decided to go wild with Easter posts simply to push my blonde hair post deeper into blog history oblivion. Could be. It also could be due to the undeniable truth that I heart Easter.


After this post, I shall have accomplished two goals. The blonde hair post will be buried on page two and the world will have learned of more adorable Easter goodness – the traditional no-bake bird nest cookies.

Place these ingredients into a saucepan:

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup softened butter (one stick)

4 tablespoons Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa

1/2 cup milk

1 pinch of salt

Allow to boil gently for one minute while stirring. Remove pot from heat.

Swirl in 3/4 cup peanut butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Oh the smell. These will be in heaven for suresies.

Stir in 8 cups of chow mien noodles.

Use a scoop to make even sized nests. A regular ice cream scoop is pictured above. Scoop onto parchment paper covered baking sheets. Makes a dozen or two depending on the size of scoop you use.

Press Hershey’s candy covered chocolate eggs (or smaller egg-shaped candy if you use a smaller scoop). Allow cookies to harden.

How tweet.

*Update: For even more flavor, melt a handful or two of butterscotch chips in the chocolate as well. Oh my!


How to Make Panoramic Sugar Easter Eggs

When I was still old enough to believe in the Easter Bunny, my mom was just getting into cake decorating as a hobby. One of the first things I remember her making was panoramic Easter eggs. She would make them and people would save them for years. I don’t see them around anymore which makes them unique once again. You know, like skinny jeans. Let’s make sugar art, shall we?


They look more difficult to make than they really are.

For one medium egg, place 4 1/2 cups of sugar and 3 tablespoons of water into a large bowl.

Mix together well.

Fill egg by layers. Press down each time you put about 1/4 inch of sugar mix into the eggs so that it get packed in very well.


This is the egg that I used. It’s in stores now for Easter and is about 5 inches tall. It works lovely because it is flat on two sides so you can easily make your egg window at the end or on the side. Yay!

Carefully turn sugar eggs over onto a baking sheet.  This makes me happier than it should.

Choose which side you would like to make your window and cover with a little piece of saran wrap so it will stay soft enough to carve after the egg is dry. Allow egg to set overnight.

Carefully remove the sugary guts with a spoon and carve out the window with a knife.

Do a window check to be sure that everything lines up well. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just close, because you’ll be decorating away the imperfections with frosting later.

Make royal icing to hold together and decorate the egg. I use Wilton’s recipe.

Keep icing covered with a slightly damp cloth so that it doesn’t harden while you work.

Of course, there are so many ways to decorate a sugar egg. People can get quite elegant. Mine is simple as you will see. I started by coloring a small amount of icing light blue to frost the inside top of the egg to create a sky, complete with little puffy, white clouds.

Next, I colored about 1/2 cup of coconut with a teeny tiny bit of green food coloring for the grass. I like to use a glove so I can use my fingers, be sanitary and still keep my hands food coloring free.

Who knew it was so easy to “go green”?

I also frosted the inside bottom part blue & added the grass. I placed a few gum drop “eggs” in the grass and made a baby chick out of these candies:

  • Chick – a yellow Hershey’s Easter egg chocolate
  • Beak – two orange Wilton Spring Confetti Sprinkles
  • Wings – two light yellow Wilton Jumbo Confetti
  • Eyes – two blue nerd candies (the tiniest I could find from the box)

They key for me is trying to use what I have on hand. This also tends to bring out creativity because I come up with ideas I didn’t think of before I looked at my candy stash.

Pipe some white icing all around the edge of the bottom egg and attach the top, carefully wiping of excess frosting. Go ahead, sneak a peek inside. You know you want to.

For the outside, use your choice of decorating tips to pretty up your egg. I used Wilton Heart Drops Sprinkles for the top and some little pastel pearly candies I happen to have on hand and cannot identify.

A good egg.

I guess you could say it’s a peep show. Not that I would say that. That would be naughty. Have fun creating these cuties with your family.

Happy Easter to you!

If you keep in a cool, dry place in a plastic bag, rumor has it that these can last for years… of course, that’s if you don’t decorate them with chocolate.


Easter Bunnies: The Perfect Decorated Sugar Cookie Recipe


A long, long time ago there were two crazy girls who believed in dreams. The girls were determined, like their classmates, to take a senior trip from Seattle to Washington D.C. – unlike the classes before them who had all gone to Disneyland. So they washed cars and sold decorated cookies for four years to make their dream happen.

Deanna, the cake decorator’s daughter, hand decorated hundreds of cookies and Margaret provided the sugar cookie recipe and used her personality plus to make sure every cookie sold. That, and she had the idea of baking quarters into some of the cookies to support teenage gambling and choking hazards.

Here is their magical combination of sugar cookies and frosting art to help you celebrate this Easter. We no longer recommend baking quarters inside… no matter how much you clean them first.

Cream together:

  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 3/4 c. sugar

Add & beat together well:

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 T. milk
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. flour

Refrigerate dough for about 1 hour. Meet our family tradition – Mr. Dough Boy. He looks more evil than usual today.

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Roll out and use cookie cutters.

Create your favorite shapes.

Bake 6-8 minutes.

Allow bunnies to cool completely on a rack.

While bunnies cool, set aside a bowl of grated, sweetened coconut.

Mix together about 5 cups of powdered sugar with a few teaspoons of water at a time until it becomes a smooth, easy to spread (but not too runny) consistency. In a small bowl, mix about a cup of frosting with a very small amount of pink food coloring.

Pick out  & set aside the pink candies out of the Hershey’s candy-coated chocolate eggs and the light blue & light green m&m’s from the Easter colored plain m&m’s.

Ice one Easter Bunny with white frosting.

Place pink frosting into a decorating bag with a larger, circular tip (or just cut the end of the bag). Draw inside of ears in pink by starting at the top & letting up on the pressure as you work your way down to the bottom of the ears.

Add the pink nose and matching eyes (green or blue). Oh the cuteness is showing already.

Cover bunny gently with lots of coconut. Make sure not to fully cover the pink ears, nose and eyes. Also, carefully shake extra coconut off the bunny.

Super-cutie Easter Bunnies for your gathering. We can only hope they will multiply.

What happened to the girls who were dreamers? Well, the school’s only bus broke down the year before their senior trip so their class paid half of the cost of a new bus and they went to Disneyland the following year. They are very happy that no one ever choked on a quarter and they are still dreamers.

© Deanna Morauski 2009-2017