...and I am very happy there.

...and I am very happy there.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Memories gone awry...

A couple weeks ago, Jim and I decided to take advantage of the low humidity and bright sunshine to go check out our old campgrounds. The trip over the river and up the turnpike brought back memories of earlier days and we looked forward to the memories that would come rushing back.

We were prepared for some changes and updates. After all it had been a good 20 plus years since we had been to this particular state park. The first change we noticed was the sign...They renamed the park, Lake Taghkanic, back a few years. We did remember reading something about that in the news. The name we were familiar with was, Lake Taconic, like the parkway. But history shows that the place was originally named the Indian name for the area by the people who donated the property to the state.

As we passed the first entrance off the parkway, it was shut down. So we drove on to the more familiar second entrance and the memories started to flood back in. Just inside the gate one has to make a decision of going to the East (smaller) beach with camping area or the West beach. I had read on-line that the East beach was currently closed, so I directed Jim to the West beach. We pulled in and it was as if we stepped back in time...

There was the 'new' beach house that had been built in between the seasons in years past. The picnic grounds, the beach, the cabins were all as we remembered. We took out our camping chairs, our snacks and sat down to enjoy the view and the excitement of the families on the beach and reminisce of our times there. The smell of barbequed chicken was welcoming and memorable.

As we sat, I mentioned to Jim the changes I noticed:  kayaks on the water along with the rowboats and canoes we remembered; the variety of languages spoken -- or yelled in by the beach goers; and the tattoos -- on women and young people! Other than those reminders of the age we now live in...things were still the same.

Eventually, we put our chairs back in the car and walked the trail along the picnic area and cabins. We found a nice dirt road that went around the lake and walked it for about a half mile before turning back.

Before heading out of the park, we decided to drive down to see the old campgrounds and the closed beach. What awaited us was a depressing sight to behold.

Boarded up buildings, crumbling walls of stone, weed strewn beaches and nothing of what our 'fond' memories held.

Sadly the only things recognizable were the parking lot and the platforms for camping. The platform unfortunately did not hold a fond memory as it was where our oldest son fell and broke a rib when he was just a tyke...

They did have a new playground to one side of the now deserted beach.

It looked woefully out of place among the ruins.

As we pulled out of the park, we were greeted with a beautiful sunset. I couldn't help but feel God was showing us there is still beauty that cannot be destroyed by wear and tear or by abandonment.

It also put a nice close on a fading memory.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Veggie Lasagna

Veggie Lasagna

Serves 6

2 large eggplants, NOT peeled, but sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, through garlic press or minced
1 cup broccoli, chopped
8 oz baby spinach, chopped
salt & pepper to taste or use non-salt seasoning (i.e. Herbamare)
2 cups pasta sauce, divided
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced, divided

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil a baking pan. Arrange eggplant in a single layer in the pan. Bake about 20 minutes or until eggplant is tender. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons water in a large pan, add onion, celery, garlic and broccoli; sauté until just tender, adding more water if needed. Add the spinach and seasonings and cook until spinach is wilted. Mix in 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce.

Spread about 1/4 cup of the pasta sauce in a baking 9 x 13 baking pan. Put down a layer of 1/2 of the eggplant, top with 1/2 of the vegetable mixture on each eggplant slice, top this with a layer of 1/2 the mozzarella cheese. Top with 1/4 cup of sauce. Repeat with a second layer and pour the remaining sauce over the last layer of mozzarella. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until heated through.

You can use other veggies...peppers, greens, broccoli, you can put more cheese on top if desired... can be made ahead, frozen, reheated...delicious!