Meet My Piano Pantry Dinner Guests!

What a delightful time we had at the first annual Piano Pantry reader’s dinner!

Our party of 20 met on Monday night of the 2017 MTNA Conference in Baltimore at Ten Ten American Bistro. I was pleased to find such a great restaurant a convenient 5-minute walk from the Marriott. The interior was fabulous and the food matched the quality of the chic atmosphere.

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Healthy Go-To Recipes from All-Over the Web

Today I want to share with you some of my favorite “healthy” recipes from all over the web.

I’m guilty like everyone else every January in redirecting my attention to healthier living. Is that a bad thing? Nah, I don’t think so. Even when I’m more conscious of maintaining healthy living over the holidays, I always feel I need a refresh and reboot in the weeks following. I’m usually sick of the sweets and crave vegetables more than ever.

This year more than anything, rather than focusing on what I “shouldn’t” eat to be healthy, I want to shift my attention more simply to what I SHOULD be eating. How can I get one more serving of veggies into my day? Did I eat at least one piece of fruit?

In the first couple months of the year, Drew and I eat at home more than ever. Last year I recall eating at home every meal in January, literally – not even takeout. I think it was more about the challenge for me than anything, but we did, and it was great! In doing so, I discovered some of the recipes I’m about to share with you today.

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Amy’s Holiday Favorites

amys-holiday-favorites

Who else is a sucker for “favorites” lists? For years I used to love reading Oprah’s favorites. It was usually the first page in the magazine I would read.

I’m ready to share some of my holiday favorites with you today including favorite holiday recipes from all over the web and my tradition of purchasing a new Christmas album every year.

Since I start listening to Christmas music the first of November – the same time I start Christmas pieces with my students, I figured it’s the perfect time to bring you my favorites. We’re planning our biggest holiday meal of the year – Thanksgiving, and simultaneously setting the mood for the Christmas season to come.

I’m not one to make the same recipes over and over so anytime you get a recommended recipe from me, it means it’s a keeper!

 

Favorite Holiday Recipes and Cooking Equipment

 

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

cranberry-pinwheelsMy family goes CRAZY over these Cranberry Feta Pinwheels from Food.com

A couple of tips. First, when I used a regular soft taco shell size, I needed six tortillas. If you use the large burrito shells, you might be okay. Second, I found adding 1/2 cup of sour cream to the mixture helped make it more spreadable.

A nice variation is to add thin slices of ham on top of the spread before rolling.

 

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Sound Recipes: Giada’s Feel Good Food

In my new series, “Sound Recipes,” I will review a cookbook from my collection and share the top, most “sound” recipes from the book that have become staples in my kitchen. You can expect to see a post in this series between 1-3 times a year.

Sound Recipes Giada FGF

 

I love cookbooks. There’s something about flipping through pages of a beautiful cookbook that makes the prospect of cooking satisfying food every day more viable. Especially ones with glossy pages that aren’t too cumbersome to hold and have LOTS of photos.

Despite the fact that I love cookbooks, I’m careful not to purchase too many because I like to suck the life out of each one. If I get too many, it makes me feel like the possibility of making everything I want much less attainable.

I often start a cookbook, use it for a month or two then get bored and stop for several months. A year later, I return to it, remake some of the recipes I liked the first time (to confirm I still like them), then finish making everything else that appeals to me.

I always make notes directly on the pages of the cookbook including when I made it, how much I liked the recipe, if I would do it again, and any points to note for the next time.

recipe-notes

 

This book, although not my favorite, just happened to be the one I came back to this summer because it’s healthy food. I always feel a little more inspired to eat healthy in the summer.

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A Multigrain Bread Morning

OK so even though this blog is more about piano than it is food, I just have to share my exciting morning. I had my first experience baking homemade bread and not in a breadmaker! (I experimented with making bread in a breadmaker years ago and didn’t like it. It always turned out too much like store-bought bread. Who knows, maybe it was just the recipes I tried or the old breadmaker I used).

We don’t eat much bread at all partly because we try to keep or carb intake on the low-end (within reason) and partly because I’ve never found a store-bought bread I’ve ever liked. Several months ago I saw Martha Stewart make this recipe on Martha Bakes and suddenly for some reason it has been on my mind, enticing me to make it the last few weeks.

I finally got a chance to do so, and it was totally worth the work! Honestly, it wasn’t as much work as you might think!

It’s full of whole grains like wheat berries, bulgur, oats, sunflower seeds, and flax seed and uses a mix of rye, whole wheat, and all-purpose flour.

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