Strange Bedfellows: sleepy parents, a fridge clean-out, and a Waldorf-ish salad

Greetings from an under-slept, spit-up-covered, empty-baby-carrier-wearing (though thoroughly happy) duo. How this combo works out is beyond me, though I think it's the fact that we're in it together. Nothing takes your bond to the next level like parenting. Despite today's exhaustion and a couple bouts of crying (because dealing with the fact that your kid is enduring some kind of pain that you can't stop is haaard), I feel the need to sink my teeth into some kind of project. More than anything, doing so makes me feel like myself.

So, here we are. I'm considering a fourth coffee of the day and planning on using what is left of my afternoon and evening to post this to my blog, re-heat leftovers, and sneak into the studio (I honestly don't care if it's 5 minutes at this point - I've got a screwed up painting that I'm determined to bring back to life!). M is sleepily watching a subtitled (and artsy...and slightly gruesome...) zombie/samurai movie. Sunny and Kit are dozing, and Jo is currently sleeping (finally, I might say). To be more specific, she is strapped into her carseat and is sleeping in the center of the living room (with our supervision, of course) because even after screaming for most of last night (and this morning...and this afternoon...), and even though she is a good napper in general, today she will sleep no where else. According to our nurse, the poor thing is struggling with gas (probably?) and reflux (maybe?). With babies, it's always a maybe - for both diagnosis and solution. They say to follow your gut. My gut tells me that her discomfort is a part of the process of her little digestive system growing and working harder as she grows.

It's heart-breaking to hear her piercing screams and know that I can do little to make it better other than feed, change, sooth, and whispering that we'll keep doing everything in our power to make things better - hoping that her little subconscious understands that she's not alone and that she can count on us.

On a completely separate note, since Jo is down, I'm ready to dive into that project. Please forgive me if I'm all over the place, I'm operating on little sleep here!

Marcio *strongly dislikes* (just trying not to use the word hate here) food waste. It comes from growing up in a third world country and being raised by a mom who made dishes that didn't waste any aspect of any component.

Luckily, I love a good recipe that doubles as a fridge clean-out. While it's always important to not buy food just to let it go off in your fridge, it somehow feels much more important these days as we navigate COVID-19 and face empty shelves at the grocery store (whether this is the result of people hoarding or people losing jobs somewhere in the supply chain seems uncertain).

In our house, the non-perishables most likely to go off are: meat leftovers, cheese, and produce. The best ways I've found to cook around a fridge clean-out are: frittata, pizza, and salad. You can take any left over food or wilting produce and mix it with eggs, throw it on a flatbread, or toss it with a dressing and call it a meal.

At around noon yesterday, inspired by the need to take stock of what we had for the week to make a grocery list, I found myself putting together lunch by reaching for items that needed to be eaten. What resulted reminded me of a Waldorf salad, mostly because it included celery, apple, and nuts. A true Waldorf has chunks of apple, walnuts, celery and is dressed with a mayonnaise-based dressing. This salad shaves veggies as opposed to using chunks and incorporates more ingredients (mostly because my salad greens, apple, onion, celery, and fennel were just about on their last legs), but the outcome works!

Part of what makes this salad so special is using a mandolin to create paper-thin veggie slices. Shaved veggies help you enjoy the subtle crunch and flavor of raw veggies that aren't as enjoyable when presented to you as a large chunk (hello: radish, fennel, carrots, celery).

A mandolin is one of my top used kitchen tools. It doesn't come with a million parts, is easy to clean and helps you get consistently thin slices with much more ease than using even your sharpest knife. I don't tend to bring people gifts for their kitchens, but if I did - this one would be it. I absolutely recommend one if you love shaved veggies in your salads, sandwiches, and meals as much as I do!

Waldorf-ish Salad





salad greens (I used left over romaine and spinach)

sprouts (I used radish and clover sprouts)

celery (I used celery leaves and sliced the stalks for tuna salad)

apple (thinly sliced using mandolin, and then chopped lengthwise)

fennel (thinly sliced using mandolin)

white onion (thinly sliced using a mandolin)

approx. 1/4 c green olives

approx. 1/4 c roasted unsalted cashews

approx. 1/8 c crumbled gorgonzola


olive oil

lemon Juice

S + P to taste


Wash and dry your produce. Tear or chop your salad greens in the base of a plate.

Thinly slice your produce on a mandolin (or use a sharp knife). Plop a handful of your veggies in the center of your salad greens.

Make your dressing: whisk a glug (or about 1 TBSP per person) of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, and salt. Add some dijon mustard if you'd like. Drizzle your dressing over your veggies.

Top with a handful of olives, nuts, and cheese.



If you make this recipe, you'll find that this salad lands somewhere between substantial snack and very light lunch. I've served it once with buttered english muffins (because it's impossible to go wrong there) and a second time with brown rice and chicken legs (which made it much more of a meal). Chopping the ingredients into a bowl of brown rice and mixing in a little chicken breast would make a nice protein-packed, filling, and satifying grain bowl. Have fun and make it your own!

You can follow this recipe item-by-item to re-create my salad (which was delicious!), or you can use the formula I took from it to throw together something equally as good. I've got some recommendations for you:

- Walforf-ish salad formula-

  1. Base of salad greens

  2. something for crunch (eg. sprouts, shaved or spiralized veggies)

  3. something sweet (eg. dried or fresh fruit)

  4. something salty or briny (eg. any marinated veggie: olives, capers, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, roasted red peppers)

  5. something cheesy (any cheese will do!)

  6. something nutty - any mixed nuts or granola.

To anyone who has read this far - I'm so grateful! And also, if you use this formula to create something delicious, please share! I'd love to hear what you made.

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