How to Make a Pasta Salad Turtle: The Potluck Dish of Your Kids’ Dreams


Even though it’s been a while, moving back to America from Italy has meant many big changes. English. Big cars. And potlucks. So many potlucks. Church potlucks, school potlucks, people who get mail potlucks (you’re coming, right?). We have another one coming up in a couple of weeks and I have to confess something: I… 

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cheery cherry tomato & basil salad

tomato salad on right

YOU KNOW WHAT you should do this week? Have people over for dinner. Once you get the laundry done and your house totally clean, just invite them over. Ha, ha, ha! Even though the laundry most certainly ISN’T done and your house is stubbornly refusing to clean itself, you should still have people over. And… 

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Grated carrot salad, a recipe inspired by “French Kids Eat Everything”

grated carrot salad with basil up close

DON’T WORRY, AN INTERVENTION ISN’T NECESSARY. But we liked the grated carrot salad from Karen Le Billon’s book so much I wanted to include it here. I also changed the dressing a bit, making it a little more Italian rather than French. It’s still every bit as Euro-delicious.  


Endive kiwi salad, a recipe from “French Kids Eat Everything”

Endive kiwi salad

LIKE THE STATUE OF LIBERTY, WE CAN THANK THE FRENCH for this one. Karen Le Billon, inspiring writer and author of my new fantasy lifestyle manual favorite book “French Kids Eat Everything“, introduced this idea to our household. And hold on to your hats because the kids ate it. Salad. One toddler, one preschooler, eating… 

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Tuna nicoise potato salad, Italian style

tuna nicoise salad

I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. What kids eat salad? For dinner? If serving a fresh potato salad isn’t in the cards for your crew, consider using the same ingredients to create a plate that works for everyone, without a lot of extra effort on your part. (Also, French kids eat salad. Really!)  


Grilled chicken salad with peppers two ways: one for toddlers, one for adults

Grilled chicken salad with peppers

IT’S AN INDIAN SUMMER IN ITALY. Actually, that’s not official but with afternoon heat still hitting the mid 80s it certainly feels that way in Rome. So we’re still into salads here and they come in two versions. One for adults and one for toddlers (aka, one that will not be spit out.) The culprit?… 

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Straccetti, arugula salad with sizzling strips of steak and Parmesan cheese


THIS IS A CLASSIC ITALIAN MEAL, so naturally I’d never heard of it. That was before I moved to Rome and discovered that Italian food is more than pasta, tomatoes and cheese. (But they do that very well.) One of my favorite summer meals has turned out to be a version of the Big Salad… 

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Barefoot Contessa Makeover: Lemon chicken with pesto potato salad

Phoebe at the beach

WE’VE HAD A BREAKTHROUGH in the potato department. Never a fan of them, Phoebe actually said, “I ont aunt tatoes” when I was trying to play up tonight’s dinner—a tough task considering that we were swimming (aka, the most fun activity ever) just before the potato conversation. But potatoes it was. Only I added a… 

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