Amy’s Holiday Favorites

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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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Chris Botti Concert with the Philharmonic

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My husband, Drew, and I had a fun night out this weekend as our local Fort Wayne Philharmonic hosted the brilliant jazz trumpeter, Chris Botti (BOH-tee), in their annual Pops Concert.

I’ve only been to a handful of concerts with the F.W. Philharmonic and tonight certainly reminded me of what I’ve been missing.

The concert was packed (if not sold out), but first, of course, we had to start the night out with good food. The bacon-wrapped pork looked better in person than it did in this photo but oh well, it was fantastic, and my cute hubby makes the picture even better. 🙂 OK, I’ll stop the sap.

 

Copy of IMG_0843   Copy of IMG_0844

 

If you’ve never seen him live in concert, I would highly recommend catching him on tour. Mr. Botti is quite the entertainer. The quality of musicianship displayed was out-of-this-world.

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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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A Fountain of Joy

The word “joy” has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

It started with reading the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Besides learning how to store clothes in a way that makes good use of space, the word “joy” came up frequently. The author, Marie Kondo strongly encourages readers not to skip one important step when working to reduce and organize “stuff” in our life. That is, we should hold every single item physically in our hand and ask “does this bring me joy?” Such as simple question!

I finished that book on my flight to San Antonio a couple weeks ago and the next day was once again asked to consider “joy” when I heard Robert Duke speak. Continue reading