A Slow Train to Mystic

Off to CT for another visit.  Started at the Lancaster train station, really old building being renovated.  They have a lot to do yet!!  Had a connection in Philly this time, not NY.  I  STILL FEAR the escalator.  Seriously.  I  have lingering images of tumbling down the up escalator, people screaming, arms trying to grab me,  EWWW I have to stop!!! 

Loved the train station at Philly tho.  Lots of shops, food vendors, policemen and drug sniffing dogs!!  Grabbed a chi latte and did a little people watching. 

Arrived in Mystic, the weather was perfect and my Aunt was waiting for me!  She whisked me off to lunch at the little place called Abbott’s, in Noank, CT.  Now, it sort of looks like a little dive and you know places like that usually have the best food!   Only my friends that live in Hanover or have lived here will know what I am about to describe.  Friends, York Street Treat, okay?  Imagine that little dumpy “walk up to order your food” kind of place by the water and selling seafood.  Yep, awesome.  Then you grab your food, go find a picnic table by the water and your worries just fade away along with your stress.

Then she whisked me off to Saltwater Winery.  It’s a renovated airplane hangar.  And stupidly I did not take any pictures inside the building.  We grabbed our bottle and glasses and went outside. 

I walked around the grape vines taking pictures, but not inside mind you!  The wine was just incredible!

The following day we went to Old Lyme to visit the Florence Griswold Museum.  This was a house that artists once would visit, pay to stay there, and they just went out onto the grounds and painted.  It is absolutely a beautiful house. 

The small barn behind the house has been turned into a cafe.  You could order your food and go sit at some very quaint tables and chairs or do what my Aunt and Idid…grab a picnic blanket and head out onto the lawn!

Another small building was turned into an educational center for kids.  They have art classes for the little kiddies.  While we were there they posted their art work on the outside of the building and they had painted beautiful paper parasols.

 And a huge museum with 3 galleries is down by the lake.  We walked the beautiful gardens, admiring all the flowers and plants. 

We strolled up to the side porch, and all I could think about was grabbing a bottle of wine and parking myself right there to relax for the day.  But instead we went into the house.  Several of the rooms are decorated to the period style of the house.  And art is hanging everywhere.

The following day was much warmer but it didn’t stop us from going to te art festival downtown Mystic, we walked the entire festival and looked at everything.  I saw tons of beautiful artwork, different ways to paint, artistic expressions, and chatted to a photographer, a fellow “Nikonian” as he put it.  I did not purchase any canvases but I did buy a pair a handmade silver earrings with a pau shell.  I think I have worn them everyday since.  Aunty and I grabbed some sandwiches and soda’s, found a spot on the lawn and enjoyed the shade….

Sunday was a prayer service.   Just a private prayer service among friends for the last 25 years.  Had to be one of the most moving services I have been to.  Then it was home to relax for the day, and watch it rain.   Actually it poured all day.  And pack.  My time with my Aunt was coming to a close.  Monday morning I caught the train to come back home to PA.  No drug sniffing dogs in Philly this time.  But the title “A Slow Train to Mystic” popped in my head as a great book title!  Wonder what sort of adventure and romance I can find on the train??!!!

It was a wonderful trip, and I am ready to go back for another escape.  Maybe at Christmas, Mystic at Christmas has to beautiful!


Lazy Lasagna

I can be lazy sometimes, I’ll be the first to admit it.  I was having ALL of the kids over for dinner last week to celebrate what would have been my Dad’s birthday.  Trying to decide if I had the time and the energy to cook a huge meal, much less what to cook, was almost being pushed aside in my head with “just order pizza”.  I figured something easy and fast, maybe a one pan type of meal…..but what could that be???  Then lasagna popped in my head but I knew I just didnt feel like cooking those noodles and neatly layering 2 pans of it.   So I thought I’d just continue with the lazy theme and make Lazy Lasagna.  Still had to do layers but they are sloppy layers.  Layers that have no plans or perfection.  All I do is cook the penne pasta, make the sauce and then toss things in the dish.  Done!

Here’s what I did:

I made the sauce the evening before I assembled the dish, so the sauce has time to simmer and get all yummy!!  I browned about 3-1/2 lbs of hamburger and a small onion, drained it when it was cooked and poured about 2 large cans of tomato sauce in.  The seasoning was just what I felt like at the time, other than salt and pepper I used oregano, a little dill, and red pepper flakes.  So sorry, but I was so carried away with making this sauce I never snapped any pictures *insert frowny face.

The following night I added sauce to the cooked penne pasta (almost 2 boxes), no meat just sauce, and tossed to coat all of the pasta.   Then I started to build, in a haphazard sort of way.  Sauce in the bottom of the pan, some pasta, meatsauce and then the cheese.  I used fnely shredded mozzerala, ricotta and slices of provolone.

More pasta, more meat sauce, more cheese….

Topped it with whatever cheese was left and grated parm. 

Cover the dish with foil and pop it in the fridge for the next night.  Baked it covered at 350 for about 20-25 minutes (or until heated through), remove the foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese on the top melts.

I served the dish with garlic bread only simply because I was too lazy to prepare a salad.  Being lazy, it happens sometimes.  And I love it!

PS:  I have made this with italian sausage, it is my favorite way to make Lazy Lasagna.  You can also use ground turkey, just as yummy!