Carl and I have been discussing where we would go if we could go somewhere together, and I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to end up. We have hopes of maybe taking a plane one day with just the two of us (it hasn’t happened yet), but where to go? Neither of us has much interest in sitting on a beach all day, although we would both like to be close to water, but that’s basically where our similarity ends.
My top things: animals, moderate temperatures, and stunning cathedrals. Long evening walks by the beach would not be frowned upon. I am obsessed with animals, all their incredible intricacies and quirks and special little features that make them just so perfectly suited to where they live, what they eat, how they reproduce…creation amazes me to no end. My travel goals are basically to see all the best zoos that exist in a leisurely, sign-reading manner.
Carl’s likes include hot hot heat, activities like surfing, hikes to ancient ruins or incredible lookout points at the crests of waterfalls or snow-capped peaks. Being directionally challenged and elevationally winded, lookout points are something completely lost on me. When I went to Europe years ago, we climbed not a few winding staircases or small mountains for these elusive lookouts.
Them: “Oooh, there’s St. Peter’s Basilica, and that bridge we crossed yesterday, and do you see our hostel right over there? No, maybe it’s a bit further left, since that’s where the main square is? Yes, yup, I think that way was the market and over there is where we’re going tomorrow, see how close that is?”
Me: “Oh, we climbed all this way and there is….below. Marvellous.”
So far all we’ve been able to come up with is Greece or Spain. Both seem to have a decent amount of history combined with a decent amount of good lookouts and a decent amount of siestas for avoiding midday heat. And I’m sure we can find us some animals, or at least I can bring a really gripping zoology book and read facts to Carl during said siestas.
Either way, it’s fun to dream…and motivation to get myself in gear for some level of fitness in case I have to feign interest in a lookout as payback for Carl having to feign interest in my enthusiastic animal facts. Marriage is all about gracious compromise, amiright?
Lasagna is something we can agree on. Who doesn’t like lasagna? All those glorious layerrrrrrs, and my mother’s voice forever in my head: sauce-noodles-sauce-cheese-noodles-sauce. Top it all with more cheese and you can’t go wrong, you really can’t.Maybe we should consider Italy for a destination…I hear they make a mean lasagna (but they probably don’t use broccoli).
This is one of my favourite ways to use up leftover ham and a head of broccoli not quite big enough to feed us as a side dish. I finally got around to making it into an official recipe. This freezes and reheats well, making it a perfect meal to double and freeze half, or to bring to a friend who could use a surprise meal. Leftovers are deeelicious the next day.
Lasagna is just so flexible and versatile, it will be one of my favourite foods forevva.
- 8 lasagna noodles
- ½ cup butter
- 1 leek, white parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon EACH salt and pepper
- 1½ cups milk
- ¼ cup herb and garlic OR plain cream cheese
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 small head of broccoli, finely chopped
- 3 cups cooked, cubed ham
- 2 cups cheddar cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- Cook lasagna noodles in large pan according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat while you chop your leek. Sauté leek in butter until just softened, about 3 minutes.
- Whisk in flour, salt and pepper until well combined and all flour is incorporated. Whisk in milk and chicken stock. Bring to a gentle simmer, whisking often, then add broccoli and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring 2-3 times, until thickened.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while you assemble the lasagna. Lightly grease a 9x13" baking dish and coat the bottom with a thin layer of the sauce. Add ham to sauce, stir well, and season with additional salt and pepper to taste (do this after adding the ham as ham can add a lot of salt and you may not need any more seasoning). On top of sauce in dish, layer 4 overlapping noodles. Top noodles with half the meat sauce, then sprinkle with all the cheddar cheese. Do another layer with the remaining noodles, top with remaining sauce, and top everything with mozzarella cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
- *To make ahead: fully prepare lasagna, then let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before wrapping with plastic wrap and foil. Refrigerate and use within 4-5 days, or freeze for longer storage. If frozen, let thaw overnight in refrigerator and bake according to directions, adding 10-20 minutes to heating time to ensure it is heated through.