Basil Pesto

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

4 cloves garlic (you can cut that in half, but I love garlic)

¼ cup toasted pine nuts (Just put them in a dry pan over low heat and toast until golden)

¾ c good EVOO

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (I just put a chunk in the food processor to speed up the process)


  1. Combine basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add EVOO and process until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
  2. If you use it immediately for the week, stir in the cheese at the end.  You can keep it up to a week in the fridge, just make sure you put a layer of oil on top each time you use it to prevent it from turning black.  If not, freeze in a container with a layer of EVOO on top and stir in the cheese after thawing.


It’s so good for you and so flavorful; I use this pesto for everything.  I add some extra EVOO and whisk for vinaigrette; I use it as a sauce for pasta.  I pour it over chicken, steak or seafood to give the proteins an extra punch.  You can even use it as a vegetable dip.  Delicious and so healthy!


10 Things a Dance Teacher Should Never Say or Do to a Student

As dance teachers, we all get frustrated when a student doesn’t live up to what we believe to be their potential.  However, the way you address your frustration is what can make you an inspiring teacher.  As a student, I know the good things my former teachers said were wonderful, but passed from my mind quickly.  Unfortunately, the negative things they said, most of the time offhandedly, were devastating and have haunted me throughout my life.   Because of this, I am so careful of what I say to my students and how I say it.  Just like there are things that students should never say to a teacher, there are definitely things that teachers should never say to their students. 

  1. Comparing one student to another in a negative way.  ‘Angela, why can’t you get your leg as high as Connie in arabesque?’  I have heard so many teachers say things like the above.  All you did was inspire negative competition between your students.  Competition is such an important part of being a dancer and there are so many ways to encourage students to look at competition in a healthy way.  What I say instead?  ‘When I was in college, my best friend and I always stood beside each other.  I would try to do as more pirouettes than she did and she would try and get her leg higher than mine in développés.  It made us better friends, made us both work harder and made us both better dancers.  Each one of you has something that others can admire, whether it is great technique, memorizing a combination quickly or having beautiful port de bras.  Learn from each other and be inspired.’
  2. Yelling at a student who is late for class.  Being late for a dance class is not just disruptive, but potentially dangerous.  My students have to stand at the door and wait for permission to enter when they are late; they also have to sit and observe class if they are more than 10 minutes late.  However, I calmly explain to the student that he or she has missed too much of the warm-up and could get injured if they were to participate.   If it happens more than once, I talk to the parent and ask why.  Sometimes moving a child to a class that meets on a different day or time is an option.  If it is chronic, I’ve been known to run after parents to have a serious discussion about tardiness, but I never yell at a child for something over which they have little control.

    Read More…