When we were planning our trip to Palm Springs, I noticed that a very special friend would be visiting a town that was between Palm Springs and home. Thatboy and I bought a couple of tickets and surprised Thatbaby with his first encounter with a real celebrity.
Thomas the Tank Engine was visiting Orange Empire Railway Museum and seemed like a great stop for our little train lover. What's funny is, even without seeing a single Thomas episode, Thatbaby had been calling every train "Thomas" for a long time. I have a feeling it was a daycare influence since they have Thomas trains there.
Thatmom got Thatbaby a Thomas book, and he received another for his birthday and both get read again and again. We actually avoid the television show, because I don't like it. I think the trains are mean and are always making awful faces, or as Thatbaby says when he sees them "Peeewww horse poo poo!"
But as soon as we pulled into the parking lot, Thatbaby went crazy. Thomas pulled out right in front of us on one of his trips and Thatbaby couldn't wait to see him, and ride him!
Thatbaby had been such a good sport that morning, letting Thatboy and I hit up the outlets, that we felt really good taking him to something that was so exciting for him. We killed some time before our boarding time by taking some pictures with Thomas, and then it was time. ALL ABOARD!
Once we got in our car, the Conductor came around and had all the kids "choo choo"ing. Then he got a Jr. Engineer Certificate!
We rode around on Thomas for a bit, Thatbaby glued to the window. And when we arrived back at the station we took advantage of the rest of the museum. Like a ride on the caboose!
And we got to go inside a bunch of other trains, like a sleeper car, a mail car, and the inside of a steam engine.
Thatbaby also manage to finagle a ride in the caboose engine. So we got to sit with the engineer as he drove the train. Being so close to the engine made Thatbaby a little nervous, but Thatboy loved the experience.
It was a great way to end our trip, but it made for a very long day. We got home in time for dinner, bed, and right back up for work/school the next day. Which meant we were all a little tired last week. It's hard to come right back from a vacation and jump into the regular work week. Usually that means at least one of us ends up sick. This trip, we somehow lucked out. Just in case, last week I made us one of your stereotypical "sick" foods - chicken noodle soup. But since we weren't sick, I made it with a twist, chicken noodle lasagna! All the comfort of chicken noodle soup, including the same ingredients. Lasagna noodles take the place of egg noodles, chicken, and the same sort of soup vegetables you're used to seeing. All that's missing is the broth! But you won't miss it.
Chicken Noodle Lasagna
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 chicken breast
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
16 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 head of broccoli, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can tomato sauce
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup parmesean, grated
- Preheat oven to 350. Heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Season chicken with salt, pepper, thyme and oregano. Cook 6 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Once chicken cools, dice.
- Combine ricotta, eggs and some salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat remaining olive oil in the pan. Add the onions, garlic, celery, peppers, and carrots and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add the broccoli and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Pour just enough tomato sauce to coat the bottom of an 8x8 pan. Place 2 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce.
- Top the noodles with half of the ricotta, half of the chicken, and half of the veggies.
- Put 1/3 of cheese on top of the veggies and 1/3 of the sauce on top of cheese.
- Repeat with 2 noodles, remaining ricotta, chicken and veggies, and half of the remaining sauce and cheese.
- Top the final layer with 2 more noodles, remaining sauce, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.