Christmas decoration with houses and cloches

Inspiration for Your Home

Foyer decoration for Christmas

Do you decorate your home for Christmas?

Christmas decoration with houses and cloches

I enjoy having the halls decked for the season so much, but I’ll be honest, there is a sense of dread associated with getting out all of the boxes and tubs and the mess it makes to decorate.  Once the last ornament is hung, the celebration begins with Christmas cookies and hot chocolate or a glass of bubbly!

Christmas decorations

I think the hardest part is getting motivated.

I want to share a few photos from my sweet friend, Vonda Cloutier’s home.  I am always so inspired when I visit her and I thought you might be too.

Christmas wreath

Wreaths are a major element in Vonda’s holiday decorations.

Christmas decorations

She uses wreaths as the foundation for so many of her decorations and they ground the design. Notice how she creates interest by mixing the style of wreaths.

Christmas decorations

Layered wreaths add fullness to this urn and rose bowl arrangement.

Christmas decoration in mason jars

These darling jars are filled with snow and reindeer!

Reindeer in a Mason jar.

Surprises are everywhere!

Lanterns with Christmas decorations

I love how Vonda uses lanterns on the tabletops and fills them with a mixture of ornaments, trees and houses.

Metal lantern with Christmas decorations

This metal lantern is particularity fetching with sparkly lights; it hangs on the wall near the front door.

Living room with Christmas decorations.

When I look at this picture, I notice that the holiday decor is like jewelry and so elegantly done.

I can’t help but associate Vonda with gorgeous sterling silver jewelry.  She had a thriving Silpada jewelry business hosting in home parties for many years. When Silpada changed their structure several years back, Vonda was one of only a few, invited to be a Silpada Brand Ambassador with an online shop, so if you have been searching for this iconic brand, just click this bit.ly/SilpadaInsiderVonda 

Santa and other Christmas decorations

You can also catch up with Vonda in her latest endeavor; she has an adorable shop called Lovely Jane at the Antique Company Mall in historic downtown McKinney!

Silverplate chalk board with the word Joy

It brings me so much JOY to introduce you all to my talented friends!!

Happy decorating!

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Chateau in the Dordogne region of France.

Audrey’s Frenchie Story

Vintage metal flower pot with pink and blue flowers.

I love introducing you guys to my friends.

Audrey Friedman, owner of French Vintage Home, and I met years ago at an event in Dallas.  We bonded over our shared love and passion for France so we decided to meet for lunch.  We’ve been meeting regularly ever since and have become fast friends.

Audrey Friedman in front of the Eiffel tower.

Audrey has been such a generous supporter of A Taste of Paris and ME and I know you will find her Frenchie story fascinating.

Audrey made her mark in industry by creating, building and then ultimately selling a linen company.  In the midst of her busy work-a-day life she found herself traveling the world to visit family and for adventures of her own.

In 1998, Audrey visited a friend in the Dordogne region of France and fell in love with it.  She began toying with the idea of buying a holiday home there.

Chateau in disrepair before construction.

While looking and working with her agent, she came across at 15th century chateau in a terrible state.  The agent tried to talk her out of buying the property but Audrey had vision and knew the place would be spectacular when completed.

Chateau in state of disrepair.

When Audrey began, there was no running water, no indoor restrooms and a kitchen that was just a hull; cooking had previously been done outside.

Chateau in the Dordogne region of France.

The restoration was done, quite remarkably, in 1 year.  Audrey credits an extraordinary architect for the process going so smoothly.

The chateau was back and stunning as you can clearly see.  During construction, many of the townspeople came to thank her for restoring this magnificent place which had been in ruin for over 100 years.

Audrey pink table

During the busy year Audrey made many friends and had a full social calendar attending and hosting her new neighbors but on Sundays, things were just too quiet.  In small town France, everything is closed on Sundays, except the flea market.

French flea market.

Audrey made a trip to the market and with the first treasure found and purchased a new business was created.

French flea market

Since that time Audrey has been seeking out the very best that the French brocante has to offer.  She imports these amazing goods and sells them in her Etsy Shop and on her website French Vintage Home at very reasonable prices.

vintage linens

I know many of you like myself, are seeking the perfect treasures to go under the Christmas tree for family and friends.

red package

Let me tell you, French Vintage Home is a great place to look but don’t delay, the best is going fast!

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Tune in Tomorrow on Fox 4 for Dinner Boards!

Sausage, beans and slaw on a wooden board.

Tune in tomorrow, Tuesday, October 15th to see me making gorgeous Dinner Boards on Fox 4, KDFW.  I will be on about 9:35!

Lorie with wooden boards

This is a sneak Peek at the featured recipes:

Rotisserie Chicken Board

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

2 sweet potatoes cut into medallions

4 large carrots peeled and cut into sticks

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons good quality maple syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary

Pinch fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place oil, syrup, herbs and cinnamon into a zip top bag and mix well.  Add vegetable and toss to coat evenly.  Spread vegetables onto a baking sheet, generously salt and pepper.  Place into the oven and roast until fork tender 15-18 minutes.

Kielbasa Sausage with Parmesan Crusted Potatoes and Green Bean Salad

Parmesan Crusted Potatoes

3 pounds baking potatoes

1 teaspoon salt divided

½ cup melted butter

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and cut potatoes into 1-2-inch chunks.  Mix parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, rosemary, salt, garlic and pepper on a plate. Put potatoes in zip top bag, pour butter over and toss to be sure potatoes are coated.  Next roll potatoes in bread crumb mixture before placing in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

Green Bean and Cranberry Salad

1 ½ pounds of tiny green beans washed and trimmed

½ cup dried cranberries

½ red onions sliced very thinly

¼ cup slivered almonds

Dressing

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons honey

1 garlic clove crushed

Pinch salt

Pinch pepper

¼ cup olive oil

Heat 2 quarts of water with 2 teaspoons salt in a saucepan until it boils.  Add green beans and cook for about 4 minutes.  Drain the beans and plunge into an ice batch to stop cooking. Make the dressing in the bottom of serving dish by whisking all ingredients together reserving the olive oil.  Stream olive oil in slowly while continuing to whisk.  Add first onions then beans and remaining ingredients to the serving dish.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Just before serving toss salad well.

Take Out Pizza Board

Harvest Salad

Mixed greens

½ cup crumbled fresh chevre

½ cup dried cranberries

½ toasted walnuts

1 ½ cups cubed butternut squash

1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Vinaigrette

1 shallot minced

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 Tablespoons honey

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare salad preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss squash with oil and salt and pepper and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Roast for 8-12 minutes until squash reaches desired tenderness, remove from oven and set aside. To prepare dressing, combine vinegar, shallot, mustard, honey and olive oil in a small jar and shake well.  Assemble the salad by combining all ingredients in a serving bowl, toss with dressing and serve.

Looking for a FUN Friday Night?

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Will today finally feel like FALL?

When the first cool and crisp air blows in, I always feel like cooking.  It’s the signal to my brain that the holidays, are just around the corner. Old recipes feel new again and I am invigorated to be in the kitchen.

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I am welcoming fall with a nod to my precious time spent in Lake Como AND a first time ever, Friday Night Dinner Party on October 25th from 7:00-9:00.

With only 12 SEATS at the table, this will be a truly special evening of amazing food and FUN. Perfect for date night or night out just for YOU! 

A quick demonstration style cooking lesson and then I will cook and serve YOU!

ON THE MENU:

Grapefruit Rosemary Sparkler Cocktail.

Appetizers: Spicy Shrimp with Basil and Focaccia with Caramelized Onions and Fennel

Salad Course: Grilled Pear and Gorgonzola Salad

Main Course: Menaggio Pork Loin served with Fontina Mac and Cheese and Assorted Roasted and Picked Vegetables– served family style

Dessert: Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Tuaca Gelato $79.00

To register, email me lorie@atasteofparis.net or CLICK HERE

Huge wheel of Parmesan Cheese

Fall and Holiday classes are booking fast, to see the complete list CLICK HERE

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Eating in Paris

Pain chocolate croissant

For me, eating in Paris is a magical experience.

Without fail, I start my day with my favorite bite, pain chocolate.

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I will be in France when this post drops; thank goodness because my cravings for these little gems has been intense!  I don’t worry about calories while I’m there.  I eat what I want within reason and I walk…all day.

baguette sandwhich

For lunch I usually try and find something on the run.  This can be hard to do in a country whose culture supports sitting for meals for roughly 2 hours at a time.

Ham and Cheese crepe.

Usually I grab a prepared sandwich at a boulangerie or a savory crepe eat as I go, very American!

The chocolate counter at La maison du Chocolat.

In the afternoon, I almost always make a stop for a bite at one of my favorite chocolatiers!

Chicken and vegetable in a copper pot.

For dinner, I usually sit and almost always order some version of roasted chicken or fish with vegetables.

Fish with potatoes and vegetables

Ratatouille is my favorite and I get very excited when I find it on the menu.  Full disclosure, fish is rarely served like in this photo.  It’s almost always brought to the table whole; head on!

Lorie at a French bistro in paris.

Want to eat and cook your way through Paris with me?  Registration for travel for 2021 is OPEN!!

A Taste of Paris April 12-18th

Want to just spend A Day in Paris, Cooking?  Join me for:

A Day in France- Bistronomy Friday, November 1st 10:00-2:30 French bistros have changed over the years, many combining the classics along with gastronomic dishes all at affordable prices.  Bringing an haute cuisine experience to the masses, this movement, now decades in the making is called Bistromomy and will be the inspiration for our class. We will enjoy crafting a French Blonde Cocktail, wine with the meal as well as a cheese course. For Petit Dejeuner, I will demonstrate Pain Chocolate, always my favorite, served with Homemade Yogurt and Fresh Fruit Compote and honey.  Le Dejeuner will be comprised of a beautiful Savory Tart and Beet and Goat Cheese Mousse Salad a la Ritz, Paris.  For diner, 2 dishes; sensational Salmon over Hash wildly elegant and Polenta Ratatouille, both will have your taste buds on high and served with Gougeres Swans! Dessert will be a bouquet of Roses, a stunning apple tart AND from Stohrer in Paris, chocolate Cake Stuffed with Cream and more chocolate! Tuition $89.00 Register HERE or by email to lorie@atasteofparis.net

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Roasted chicken at Bistro 31

A Favorite- Bistro 31

Up the stairs to the bar at Bistro 31.

Do you have a place that no matter how many times you go; you ALWAYS have a fantastic time?

That’s how it is for me with Bistro 31 at Highland Park Village.

Coctails at Bistro 31

It all started about 6 years ago when Mark and I had date night here.  We went to the upstairs bar, (hidden at the time) and ordered a bottle of champagne!  What an absolute luxury!  We had an amazing night and Bistro 31 became one of my favorites.

Glass of champagne in the stairwell.

There are so many things to love about this place.

For starters, it is just fun to get “off campus” and do a little people watching.

Patio tabels at Bistro 31.

The restaurant is intimate with a smallish main building and a greenhouse structure with a movable wall.  When the weather is nice, they leave it open so you get an al fresco dining experience.

The cocktails are fabulous, they have a superb wine list and the food is always scrumptious.

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 Mark always gets the steak and frites but there is something for everyone; seafood, pasta and specials including a chef featured risotto of the day.

 The furnishings are cool and comfortable, upholstered booths and chairs at the tables by the windows.

Burata salad Bistro 31

On this visit I had the Burrata Salad and the Roasted Chicken.

Roasted chicken at Bistro 31

Such a lovely evening!

Lorie at Bistro 31

Bistro 31 was the site for lunch at the ATOP summer event; A Day of Dior.

I hope you will be inspired to give Bistro 31 a try soon, and let me know how you like it!

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One of the Sweetest Provencal Towns

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L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is without a doubt one of the sweetest towns I have ever visited.  It’s an idyllic small community that is surrounded by the Sorgue River.

water wheels in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

The Sorgue has 14 remaining water wheels making use of the power of running water.  These wheels were originally used to power mills; first corn then wool and silk mills.  The moss-covered paddles pushing the babbling water, add real charm to the riverside.

market day in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Sunday is market day in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Fresh foods at the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market.

Shoppers can find vegetables and other food items.

Paella in the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market

Prepared foods abound, like this enormous copper pan filled to the brim with paella.

This market usually has a nice assortment of brocante for shoppers seeking treasures. Arrive early, by 8:00 as vendors start to pack up by noon.

baskets and pails in the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market.

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is an antique town and shops are open on Sundays.  A little known fact; walk down the alleys past the antique stores and you will find many of the back-doors of the establishments open creating a maze of tiny booths and tables of goodies.  If you are an antique lover, this comes highly recommended.

I found several sets of linens here that are absolute treasures.

Open window in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

I am still wondering what is behind this charming open window covered with ivy in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue…

Want to visit L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and many other Provencal villages in 2021?  REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

PROVENCE
September 11th-18th, 2021

Provence – where sparkling seascapes, fiery sunsets, and the striking variety of scenery make visitors feel as though they are stepping into a French Impressionist painting. Sun-soaked flavors and a convivial spirit flourish in this region. Our magnificent base for this food and wine centric trip of a lifetime is Saint-Rémy-READ MORE  

Burgundy, France- Where Beautiful Food and Elegant Wines Prevail

Old dusty wine bottles Burgundy, France.

After spending time in the Burgundy region of France this spring, I am ready to share 2 exceptional A Taste of Paris happenings, that YOU won’t want to miss.

Chateau Pommard

I am both delighted and humbled to announce the A Taste of Paris Fall Event.  One of the most prestigious wine houses in Burgundy, France, Chateau Pommard, will be making a trip to McKinney TX to share their knowledge, passion and wine with a few A Taste of Paris guests.

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This extraordinary experience was crafted to give each participant a rare look at the elegant foods & wines of Burgundy, France.  The festivities will begin with flute of Crémant de Bourgogne, followed by an entertaining cooking lesson, Let’s Get Skewered, perfect inspiration for holiday entertaining.  Advanced wine tasting techniques will be shared by Chateau Pommard’s own Preston Mohr as you relish their exceptional wines.  Wines will be paired with fanciful tidbits AND a composed, passed Appetizer. Delectable French sweets from a renowned patisserie will abound and the evening will end with a luxury gift for each participant.  Couples and singles are welcome!  For tickets Click HERE

Boeuf Bourguignon

I was absolutely energized by the amazing foods, of Burgundy.  Superb flavors and magnificent presentations inspired me to create a 2-Day French Workshop.  We will spend 2-thrilling days cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner together.  These dishes will dazzle and soon become your families favorites. Space is limited so register TODAY.

Wine country of Burgundy France.

 

A Taste of Paris  Presents:

Friday, November 22nd 6:30-9:30  France Comes to Texas, Burgundy Wine Tasting Experience

Chateau Pommard, one of the most prestigious and beautiful wine houses in Burgundy will be coming to McKinney Texas for a very special evening of wine tasting with A Taste of Paris guests.

Taste 6 luxurious Burgundy wines. Plus 2 full pours.

Relish premium composed appetizers paired with each wine.

Entertaining lesson Let’s get Skewered- that will get you ready to host for the holidays.

Wine tasting techniques will be shared as well as the background and stories of these Burgundy wines; rich in both intensity and history.

Tidbits that pair with each wine will abound.

French Sweets to satisfy any sweet-tooth will be almost too pretty to eat!

Each guest will receive a recipe booklet with pairing information AND an exceptional gift to commemorate the evening.

Tickets are limited. Tickets.

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October 10-11th 10:00-2:30 French 2-Day Flavors and Inspiration form Burgundy France-for a truly unique culinary event as we travel to Burgundy for some of the most delectable food on earth.  Slow cooked dishes eking all of the flavor from food, Dijon mustard and delectable cheese abound in the Burgundy region.  Dishes packed full of love and timeless flavors with an artful quality that we will share together.

This 2-day workshop is immersion style, cooking side by side. Each day we will prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner and a sweet along with a snack or two!  Wine and a cheese course will be served each day for an authentic French dining experience.  Dinner portions will be packed up to-go.

In addition to this fabulous menu, we will prepare 2 classic French doughs; Brioche, an enriched dough that is a staple in France and Choux Paste the basis for so many sweet and savory dishes.  For those that want to arrive 30 minutes early on the second day, I will demonstrate Laminated Brioche, similar to croissant, a favorite treat of mine that is hard to find unless you are at the finest boulangerie in Paris! And just because we can, we will shake and enjoy French 75’s, how much for French can you get?

This course promises to improve your overall kitchen skills; French cooking is the gold standard and expertise acquired will last a lifetime.  Be a part of the fun! Limited enrollment, Fee $189.00

Day 1- We’ll start our day with time honored baking skills.  Brioche, made with my Parisian, Le Cordon Bleu recipe; is hands down the absolute best, add fresh churned European Style Butter and exquisite Cherry Jam and you have achieved perfection!  We will also prepare delectable Oeuf en Meurette, traditionally served as a main course, will make a hearty breakfast.  Cornittes, precious pockets of cheesy goodness, will be our luxurious snack.  For lunch, Wreath of Greens Salad with Choux as the centerpiece, will delight your pallet and your senses.  Choux puffs stuffed with mushrooms, leeks and a frothy goat cheese mixture is almost too pretty to eat! For dinner, Traditional Coq au Vin a classic slow simmered dish with rich complex flavors.  Served with Maple Roasted Carrot Salad, sure to be a favorite fall go-to. For dessert we will make Burgundy Poached Pears with homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.

Day 2-Arrive 30 minutes early for a demonstration on cinnamon crusted Laminated Brioche, a truly unique treat that is worth every bite.  We will start our day with wholesome Tartouillat, a tart filled with apples and pears that you will see in every glass pastry counter in the Burgundy region.   Crème de Cassis, a black currant liquor, is produced in the Burgundy region. We will make a Kir Royal, one of my all-time favorites and toast them with thanks! For an irresistible snack we will make Herbed Fromage Blanc served with fresh vegetables.  We will prepare the most famous dish from the burgundy region, Boeuf Bourguignon and we will serve it with Potato Leek Gratin, my favorite bite from my recent trip to Burgundy! Dinner will be delectable Jambon au Chablis served with Roasted Root Vegetables.  For dessert, heavenly Chocolate Banana Crepes. Register NOW

Lorie at Chateau Pommard, Burgundy, France.

What to go to Burgundy with me?  Click HERE for more info!

Can’t wait to see you!

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

Getting Creative with Seashells

decorating with seashells

Nothing screams summer more than seashells.  I bought loads of shells years ago when I was throwing a 50th birthday party for my husband, you guessed it, the party was beach themed.

decorating with seashells

The seashells were packed up in boxes on shelves in the garage until one day I came across them and thought…huh, these might look good in my house!  Ever since then, I’ve been decorating for summer using these shells.

decorating with seashells

I’ll have to admit; I really hate to put them away when fall creeps in because I enjoy them so much.

decorating with seashells

This year will be especially hard because I am only now getting the place set for summer…no judgement, please!

decorating with seashells

I’m sharing the pictures because I thought you might enjoy them too!

decorating with seashells

This little bird made her next in a bed of seashells.  She makes me smile!

decorating with seashells

Stay tuned for next week, I am going to share a fun paper craft with you!

au revoir for now lorie (002)

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Dior gowns at the DMA

Two Magical Friday’s

Dior gowns at the DMA

As promised, a recap of the ATOP summer event, A Day of Dior, and in case you missed it; how to create your own Day of Dior.

Silk floral Dior gown

I had 2, sold-out events, both on Friday’s in July.  We met at the Dallas Museum of Art and begin our day together.

Dior gowns

The exhibit Dior from Paris to the World, is a feast for the eyes.  Each room, more beautiful than the last.

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I had seen the exhibit in Paris more than 2 years ago and was moved deeply by it. The Dallas exhibit is very different than the one in Paris.  One of the unique features of the Dallas exhibit is the inclusion of artwork in many of the rooms.  Seven pieces of artwork that are part of the permanent DMA collection, and 2 that are borrowed, are incorporated in the exhibit.  The artwork, like Monet’s “Water Lilies” seen here, help to create a particular mood in each room.

Dior gowns at the DMA

The painting called “The Abduction of Europa” by Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre, along with the Dior gowns, created a dream-like experience.

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Next, a delicious lunch at Bistro 31.

Bistro 31 menu

Good food and…

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Great company!

Dior boutique.

And finally, to the Dior boutique for stories about classic products at Dior.  Learning the history and back ground of this iconic brand was definitely the highlight of the day.

 Champagne ands sweets at Dior

Champagne and sweets in the salon made it very special too!

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And the day was capped off with treat bags given to each guest of A Taste of Paris. A good time was had by all!

The land in Burgundy France.

I am thrilled to share that A Taste of Paris will be offering quarterly, French Inspired events.  After the success of the first event, A Day of Dior, I am more convinced than ever that YOU want events like this!

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What’s next?  A Taste of Paris presents: Burgundy, France comes to McKinney, TX!  All of the details and only 15 tickets available by clicking HERE.

 

Glass of champagne.

To Create your own Day of Dior:

Book Tickets in advance for the Dior exhibit

Make a reservation at your favorite French restaurant for lunch after the exhibit.

Plan to make a stop at the Dior boutique for a little shopping.

Stop off at your favorite sweet-shop for a treat.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

au revoir for now lorie (002)