Friday, March 27, 2015

sticky chicken with bacon and leek

Something I used to make my family growing up we called sticky tuna. It remains one of my dad's favourite things to eat when he visits. Basically it is tuna and noodles with some peas, sauted onions and cheese all blended together. I don't make it much any more as neither of my guys will eat tuna but the other week I had some leftover chicken from a slow roasted bird and thought of making a sticky version with chicken. Et voila. My husband loved it. The boy still hasn't warmed up to the idea of noodles yet so he had just chicken and cheese. Meanwhile I'm kicking myself that this never occurred to me before so we could have been eating this all along.

Sticky Chicken with Bacon and Leek
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 medium leek, halved and sliced into half moons, washed well
2 rashers bacons, sliced
3 tbsp butter
10 mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp flour
1 3/4 c milk
1/2 tsp mustard powder
2 c of leftover chicken, diced
1 package egg noodles
1 c frozen peas
1 c medium cheddar, grated

Saute the onion, leek and bacon in the butter in a largish saucepan over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes. Add the flour and milk and stir until blended. Add the mustard powder and chicken and heat for a couple of minutes. Add the noodles and cover. Stir every couple of minutes or so, adding more milk or some water if the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. As the noodles approach al dente, add in the peas and the cheese, stirring to mix.

 Keep cooking until the noodles are completely cooked and the mixture starts to brown on the bottom (that's the sticky part). Serve warm.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Hello again. It may seem like I've turned over a new leaf with two posts within days of each other but this is the beginning of a new chapter for me. I've left my full time job after many, many years of commuting and working and have started on a new adventure as a work from home, part time consultant and full time advocate for my boy. Whether he will think this is a good idea remains to be seen. So far my first week has been all about our other boy, the furry one.

 He's been to the vet twice and to the groomer and looks a lot different than he did when the week started
all groomed and trimmed

after surgery he is so quiet the cat is quite worried about him

 and he may or may not be my friend after his vet visit yesterday. I have to remind myself it is the best thing for him as a male dog but my boy is still a bit groggy and finding his feet. I'm sure he'll be back to his terrier ways soon.
someone's been digging in the garden

Early spring still continues here and yesterday it was so warm and lovely after a soft rainfall the day before.
our two tone camelia

The cherry trees are out, the magnolia are blooming, the daffs are out and waving in the park and I can feel the green about to burst forth on the trees.

 It makes the scenes on the weather reports back east seem rather surreal. We've had a couple of stellar Saturdays which made the last day of winter soccer season an excellent day

 and then we had an even better day for the end of season celebration, which turned out to be a pick up soccer game, boys vs dads with snacks and water at the park.

 It was a fabulous day and we hope to do it again tomorrow if the rain holds off. And it makes for lovely days for spring break adventures at home which is where we are this year.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Skittles cake 2 ways

The boy turned 9 a few weeks ago

and as one of his besties has a birthday just 2 days later the boys decided to have a joint birthday bash. So we mums got together in front of their Christmas tree and planned with the boys. They settled on a party at the climbing centre and our boy convinced his pal they should have a Godzilla cake (Godzilla is a newish obsession). But a few days later as I was musing on how to make a Godzilla cake, the boy arrived with another plan and showed me this awesome video. Everyone else agreed and as one of their other pals is celiac, I did a gluten-free version. The cake was a big hit and there was enough left after the party for the parents to sample as well.

gluten-free Skittles cake for a party (adapted from here)

2 packages of gluten free vanilla cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
2 bags of Skittles, sorted into colours
1/2 c ground red skittles
1/2 c butter
3 c icing sugar
4 tbsp milk
3 packages of  Glutino chocolate wafers

Prepare one big 9x13 cake using 2 boxes of cake mix, following the directions. Once cool, square off the sides and put it on a foil or paper surface suitable for display.

While the cake cools or a day or so in advance make Skittles syrups of various colours. For each colour of syrup, place 1/4 cup of Skittles in a small pan with 1/4 c of water and heat until the Skittles are all melted and incorporated into the syrup. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a clean glass or jar to cool. Repeat with other colours to get a variety of syrups.

When your cake has cooled, poke holes at 1" intervals around the cake with a chopstick or large skewer to create holes in which to pour the syrup. Once the holes are done spoon the syrups over the cake and let them soak in. Try and alternate the syrups over all the cake so each piece will have a variety of flavours.

Grind 1/2 c of skittles in a food processor or blender until finely ground. If you want a fine powder with no chunks, pass through a sieve. Blend the Skittles powder, butter and 2 cups of icing sugar together until fluffy and well mixed. Add in a couple tablespoons of milk and the remaining cup of icing sugar and beat for a couple of minutes. Add in the remaining amount of milk slowly until the frosting has reached your desired consistency. (Try and keep any children in your kitchen from eating all the Skittles frosting). Frost the cake sides and top.

Size the wafers so they are just a bit higher than the sides of your cake and press them into the frosting all around the sides of the cake.

Decorate the top of the cake with the Skittles. Take pictures to share your triumph on social media and then eat.

A couple of weeks ago we went to a potluck Scouting dinner and my boy requested I do another Skittles cake. For this one I passed on making the syrup, instead I ground up orange, yellow and green Skittles into powder, and sprinkled the green and some of the orange powder into the cake batter and swirled it through the batter in a marbled fashion prior to baking. I used yellow and orange powder in the frosting and left the red and purple Skittles for decoration, and skipped the chocolate wafers on the sides of the cake.

Both cakes were a big hit although the syrup one is a bit moister.