Amy’s Holiday Favorites

Recipes, Gadgets, and Music

Who else is a sucker for "favorites" lists?

Oprah's favorites lists were always the first page I turned to when I used to get the magazine. Today we're not getting Oprah's list, but Amy's list!

This list includes the recipes and gadgets I arm myself with year after year for holiday cooking and the Christmas albums that create the most nostalgia in my ear during the season.

For years (until I started using Spotify Premium), I had a personal tradition of purchasing a new Christmas album each Christmas season. I love listening to the same albums each year with one new one thrown in.

Since I start listening to Christmas music on the first of November (about the same time I start Christmas pieces with my students), it's the perfect time of year for a holiday favorites list as we're planning our biggest holiday meal of the year (Thanksgiving), and while simultaneously setting the mood for the upcoming Christmas season through music.

(Just a heads up that this post does not include my favorite Christmas repertoire for students. You can find a list of those in Trust Christmas Favorites: Repertoire I Return to Year After Year and Christmas Collaborations: Recommended Piano Ensembles Music.)

 

Favorite Holiday Recipes

Appetizers and Side Dishes

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 (make as many of the recipes as possible), 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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