A Modern Thanksgiving Salad


I have so much to be thankful for. My little girl, my hubby, my work, the village of grandparents, siblings, and friends who help us navigate the new world of parenting.

Those are the obvious. We can’t let the little things go unmentioned either this Thanksgiving.

Like infant-sized purple leopard Uggs from Violet’s Great Aunt and Uncle, the patience our loved ones are exhibiting as it takes me far too long to send out thank you notes, Dean’s ability (and willingness) to change a diaper in the dark, the rare moment I had this weekend to try out a new recipe like a delicious carrot and avocado salad, and my very kind neighbors who came to check on me when I set the smoke alarm off while roasting the carrots (note to sleepy new moms everywhere: parchment paper and broil setting don’t mix well).

Smoke-filled kitchen aside, this salad will be a perfect new dish on our Thanksgiving table. Wishing you all a happy holiday, lots of thanks, and a scrumptious feast.


carrot&avocado salad

Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad

Adapted from ABC Kitchen via NY Times


• 3 garlic cloves, peeled
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
• Salt and ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 pound medium-size carrots peeled
• 1 orange, halved
• 1 lemon, halved
• 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut in thin wedges
• 1 ½ cups packed pea shoots
•  1/2 cup of crunchy sprouts
• 3 tablespoons roasted hulled pumpkin seeds


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small food processor or a mortar, pulse or pound the garlic with the cumin, thyme, chile flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper to make a paste. Add vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the oil, and mix well.
2. Arrange carrots in a roasting pan and spread spice paste on top. Place orange and lemon halves, cut side down, on carrots. Roast until carrots are tender (but not mushy) and starting to brown, about 45 minutes. (I like a little char on them, so I broil for a short time at the end)
3. Using tongs, arrange carrots on a serving platter. With the tongs or a dishtowel to protect your hands, squeeze juice from the roasted orange and lemon halves into a measuring cup. You should have about 1/2 cup juice. Beat in remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle some of this sauce over the carrots.
4. Arrange avocado over carrots, then scatter sprouts on top. Drizzle with reserved sauce, top with a sprinkling of the seeds. (The restuarant serves it with a dollop of sour cream or yort on top, I thought it was just as good without)

YIELD 4-6 servings (I will double this recipe for Thanksgiving) (Plan on a carrot per person)



Love U Madly’s Next Chapter: It’s All About Violet Andie


I am thrilled to share that our Violet Andie made her world debut on September 7th at 3:14am!

Labor was laborious, but relatively fast. Amazingly, a few days later the hospital sent us home and told us to go be parents. The first week, we pretty much just stared at her. “I love us,” Dean said as we both got a bit weepy staring at our precious baby girl.


I instantly loved my little Violet more than I thought possible. I love her little lips, her soft skin, her sweet I-just-made-a-poop-smile. Sure, I’m exhausted. My boobs seem to be the focus of most conversations in and out of our home, invited and uninvited, with closest friends and total strangers. Most days I consider myself lucky if I shower and change out yesterday’s PJs by 10 pm. But, I’m obsessed with every of her 7 pound 12 ounces (and growing!).

All this, quite honestly, I expected.

What surprised me? How much I love my husband even more madly. He is a rockstar partner who cleans the breast pumps, enthusiastically changes diapers, and manages to seem sincere when he tells me I look incredible with spit up in my hair and milk leaking down my stomach.

We are a family. I love us.



Turning 30 and Roasted Tomato Salad


Today is my thirtieth birthday. I feel so lucky (and maybe just a little overwhelmed) by everything else going on in my life that this birthday could easily pass me by. But, I’ll make sure to take a few minutes to count my blessings. Baby prep, work, new apartment, husband, family, friends – all of it can be a juggling act and I tend to get inundated in all the details and hiccups along the way. Today, I just simply want to say thank you and, jeez, I’m one lucky 30-year-old.

And, here’s a really delicious salad  I think you should make.

Warm, roasted tomatoes. Crunchy bits of bread. Balsamic.  Yum.

roasted tom panzanella

Roasted Tomato Caprese Panzanella

This recipe was great for a summer BBQ side dish without taking up any room on the grill! You can buy balsamic glaze (a thickened vinegar) that makes the nice drizzle effect. Alternatively, you can reduce balsamic vinegar in a pan before adding or just add regular balsamic vinegar and it will just be thinner.
  • 4 cups grape tomatoes
  • 4 cups cubed multigrain bread
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2½ cups fresh mozzarella balls/pearls (I cut a few balls into fours)
  • 15-20 fresh basil leaves
  • a heavy dose of balsamic glaze

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On one baking sheet, lay the tomatoes down and drizzle with 1½ tablespoons of olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. On a separate baking sheet, place the cubed bread and toss it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place both sheets in the oven. Roast the tomatoes for a full 20 minutes, tossing once during cooking. Toast the bread for 10-12 minutes, until golden, tossing 2-3 times during cooking.
  2. Place mozzarella on a paper towel to remove a bit of the moisture and water. Chop any larger basil leaves, leaving the smaller ones intact if desired.
  3. In a large bowl, add bread, tomatoes, basil, remaining salt and pepper. Gently toss with two large spoons, trying to keep the tomatoes intact for pretty visual purposes. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the salad, and then add on a liberal drizzle of balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.


You Don’t Have to Love Pesto, But You Will Love This

Pesto Pasta

Dean does not like pesto. He swears it. He makes that scrunched up ick face at the mention of it. And yet – magically – I now have two dishes in our repetoire (this one quite often) that feature lovely pesto and none of that ick face. This week I even made my own pesto and guess what? He ate a big bowl of it. Perhaps, he was just relieved to have his pregnant wife finally cooking a hot meal, but I’m choosing to believe he actually likes pesto now.

The plan was to make pesto pizza on the grill, but the dough dried out and so I made a last minute switch that turned out to be the perfect summer pasta dish. I had it cold the next for lunch and it was delicious that way too.
Pesto Pasta, Love U Madly
Pesto Pasta with Shiitakes and Tomatoes

  • 1 lb Fusilli (or any pasta that has some crevaces for sauce to get stuck in)
  • Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
  • Grape tomatoes, split in half
  • Parmesan
  • Garlic or garlic scape
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Basil Pesto: store bought or easily homemade (see below)

  1. Cook the pasta in salted water. Leave it a little undercooked as it will cook more in sauce. Drain and set pasta aside.
  2. Saute mushrooms, tomatoes, and a handful of pine nuts in olive oil with a little garlic or garlic scape. Use the same pan you cooked the pasta in so you have room to add pasta back later.
  3. Add a heaping spoonful of pesto the mushroom/tomato mixture and continue to saute.
  4. Add desired amount of pasta to mushroom/tomato mixture.
  5. Add the rest of the pesto mixture and stir into pasta.
  6. Throw in a little extra parmesan if desired. Season to taste.
  7. Enjoy hot, warm, or cold the next day.
  8. For homemade pesto, try this recipe:
  9. Combine the 1-2 cups of basil, 1-2 garlic scapes (or 2-3 garlic cloves), ¼ cup of pine nuts, 1 lemon (juice and zest), salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse about 20 times, until fairly well combined. Pour in ¼-1/2 cup of olive oil slowly through the feed tube while the motor is running. When the oil is incorporated, transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in ¼ cup of the grated cheese. If you plan to freeze the pesto, wait to add the cheese until after you’ve defrosted it.


A Crazy Rant That Only a Pregnant Lady Can Get Away With (I Hope)

This bump has taken over my life already. Everything I eat and do revolves around this boxer in my belly.I take giant bags to work filled with organic, healthy food that I relentlessly devour throughout the day. Then, by the time I get home, I am STARVING again. Poor Dean has the option of cooking (ha!), ordering in (again!), or eating my mostly plant-based dinner. Never has the man eaten so much salad, spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, and a little more veg on the side. Where has his carnivore wanna-be-chef wife gone? Not to mention my hair. My hair has been horrible. (OK- this is a digression, I know, but I finally went for a highlight at an organic, no chemical salon in Tribeca. Cut was fab, color was a little red but SO much better).Anyway.. back to the FOOD. SO…. I don’t want to really cook, but I do want to eat healthy. And chicken makes me gag. Even writing that evil word… gag.

Enter: Blue Apron. You order 3 meals and they deliver local, healthy ingredients that can be made into a great meal in 30 minutes or less. I went with the vegetarian for two. Sorry, Dean. It arrived in a cooler box with little bags of the right portion size. No measuring cups, no wasted leftovers.

This week’s menu is:

Img_9485_thumb Kung Pao Tofu with Chinese Broccoli & Brown Rice Maindish_thumb Quinoa with Baby Squashes, Basil & French Feta Cheese Final_thumb Spring Minestrone with Fresh Fava Beans & Asparagus


Will report back in my adventures of eating for two with aversions for ten. Up tonight (recipe and ingredients included):





* Blue Apron has no idea who I am or what this blog is. This is NOT a sponsored post. *

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