The first couple of weeks back to teaching are always a little hectic. We’re trying to enjoy the final days of Summer, holding on to every last inch of that time until we have to throw ourselves completely into the new year.
The months of January and August have always been the months we eat at home almost exclusively. In January it’s quiet and dark, and there’s not a lot of extra activities going on and in August, I don’t have students half the month so I’m home more and have time to cook dinner like normal people.
Things are about to get crazy this week though and will continue that way until the second week of October. I won’t bore you with my details as you have enough going on of your own.
Since many of us are in the same boat as we get things going, I thought I would share half-a-dozen quick and easy recipes that can make your back-to-teaching life easier.
Most of the recipes will also allow you to enjoy end-of-summer produce and will avoid turning on the oven. You’re not going to find a crockpot or soup recipe in this bunch. It’s too early for that – I’m not ready!
Six Easy “Back-To-Teaching” recipes
Panzanella Bread Salad (Simply Recipes)
If you’ve never had Panzanella bread salad with your beautiful, lush, red, juicy August tomatoes, you have not experienced life.
Can you see what I mean?
While you’re making the salad, throw pork chops in a cast iron skillet seasons simply with S&P and call that a meal.
I’m corny, I know! LOL.
Surely my title at least made you smile, didn’t it? See, goal accomplished. 😉
Interested in getting some professional development in this year but can’t afford an expensive conference? Would you love a few days away from everything in a relaxed country home with plenty of good food you don’t have to cook? Your opportunity has arrived!
Joy Morin’s piano retreat last year was such a success she’s organizing another!
Everyone’s tummies were apparently happy enough to have me back as the official “caterer.” Yea! Feeding people makes me happy. 🙂
Check out more details over on Joy’s website ColorInMyPiano.com
Hope to see you there to EAT food, MEET people, and RETREAT away! 🙂
When it comes to this time of year, I usually whine a little. Not because I don’t love Christmas or giving gifts, but because I have to figure out something different to do for my students once again.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE giving gifts to my students. It’s just the process of making my brain think about what to do this year that makes me often procrastinate. After getting down to the wire a few years ago, I vowed never again and right after Christmas, I purchased my gifts for the following year (ornaments). Bye-bye stress.
Crafts are not my strong suit so my kiddos will most likely never get a hand-made craft from me. Since I love to cook, however, homemade goodies have made it into the mix frequently.
The gifts I do each year often have to do with where life is for me at the moment. Don’t you agree? Some years money may be tight so gifts may be bulk-homemade and lest costly, and some years I may be too busy to put the effort into making something so I just purchase an item – even if it’s a little more costly. I would say I have spent anywhere between $1.25 – $5 per student but my comfort zone is around the $3 mark. It adds up quickly with a full studio!
Symphony Extra Large Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar.
Music Notes and Treble Clef Ornaments
Decorate your studio Christmas Tree with student Christmas-gift ornaments. Let them choose their ornament off the tree at their last lesson before Christmas Break. I really like these black ones from Amazon. Hobby Lobby has some gold sparkly versions of this same ornament as well.
These Music Snowman Christmas Tree Ornaments are my choice for this particular year. Sara over at Sara’s Music Studio made a fun suggestion to add a ribbon around the neck like a scarf. I’m not crafty, but that I can handle. Won’t it be so cute!?
*Note: At the time of this post, the price on Amazon is $22.99 for a dozen. You can get these at Oriental Trading for $15.99 but with shipping at $6.99, it makes a total of $24.36 with tax. If you have Amazon Prime it’s actually cheaper to order from Amazon!
A couple of weekends ago, I made quite a loop-de-loo around Indiana and Ohio. It started out with a 2-hour drive up to Bowling Green Ohio to present with Joy Morin to her local MTA chapter. It was our first time out (and our first session together!), Teaching the Way We Learn: First Applications of Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. We will be presenting the same session for Indiana and Kentucky MTA conferences this Fall. For details visit my speaking page.
After enjoying lunch with several Ohio teachers and one of Joy’s adult students who came to the session, I made the 3-hour trek down I-75 to Cincinnati where I attended my first Summit for MTNA Leadership.
Several weeks ago, I was lucky to get to participate in playing hostess to a wonderful group of piano teachers during Joy Morin’s Piano Teacher Retreat, “Retreat at Piano Manor,“ where I got to play the role of foodie/caterer!
I thought it would be fun to share the weekend with you from my perspective including meals and recipes I used (links to those available online).
Keepin’ it Healthy
Knowing that we had a gluten-free guest, I decided it was easier to keep that in mind for the whole shebang. Needless to say, I think we ate pretty healthy! Now THAT’S the kind of grocery cart I could aspire to every week. Color and real food.
(Two) Breakfasts Included
Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
Raspberry Orange Almond Muffins with Sprouted Wheat Flour
Maple Candied Bacon
Honey Vanilla Yogurt
Unfortunately, I missed getting photos of my breakfast tables!
In the “Sound Recipes” series, 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.
Do you have a cookbook that’s like “home” to you – one that you go to over and over again? It may be the one you had the longest, the one your grandmother passed on, or the one with the most tried and true recipes.
For me, that book is Ina Garten’s 2006 cookbook Barefoot Contessa at Home.
After my husband and I married in 2002, I quickly learned that I needed to up-my-game from the recipes of my childhood. I wanted to learn to how to use more herbs as opposed to butter and sour cream for flavor and cook fresh vegetables rather than sprucing up canned.
With the help of the (new at the time) Americas Test Kitchen on Saturday morning PBS and Ina Garten in her Barefoot Contessa series on Food Network, I slowly began to experience food differently.
This was one of the first cookbooks I purchased and used outside of the church cookbooks from both of our childhoods and the Better Homes and Gardens one I got as a wedding present.
I swear everything Ina makes turns out perfect. Her recipes are truly “sound.”
Let me share with you why you would love this cookbook and some of my favorite recipes to tempt you. Continue reading
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.
It’s day three of the one-year anniversary celebration of Piano Pantry!
Thank you to everyone who entered yesterday’s (day 2) giveaway. The winner of Day 2: John Feierabend’s “Move It!” DVD was Christie Ventura who has been notified via email). Congratulations!
I’m only giving away items that I currently use and love. We have two more days to go. Monday and Tuesday of next week, (March 13, 14) will be high price prizes!
Soon, many Americans will be gathering for one of the biggest annual sporting events – Super Bowl Sunday.
In honor of the upcoming festivities, I’ll be sharing some football-themed lessons resources, a few of my favorite game-day eats, and a couple of personal memories of years past.
First, the memories.
Football, “Footy,” and I
As a non-sports fan, Super Bowl Sunday for me is a day where I get to have fun making all kinds of fun food and spend time with people I love. I’m that person: the commercial-watching, appetizer-eating, half-time show critic. The only time I’m ever interested in the game itself is when the Indianapolis Colts are playing.
If you’re like me when it comes to the Super Bowl, you may check out the podcast An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl by Freakonomics.
My biggest Super Bowl memory was Super Bowl XLI (2007) between the Colts and the Chicago Bears. At the time, we were living in Melbourne, Australia. We kept a blog of our adventures back then called Aussie Chaps. Here’s what I said at the time:
Did you think we’d actually miss seeing the Colts play in the Super Bowl just because we live 12,000 miles away? Of course not! We ordered the sports channel for a month just so we could catch the game!
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.