My Favorite Holiday and a Recipe of Course!

cupids paintng a heart

Does Valentine’s Day seem like a strange holiday to be my favorite?

One of my V-Day rituals is to ask my husband and children if they will BE My Valentine, to which they reply YES of course!  This entitles me to shower them with some of the traditional goodies designed for this day and the best part, there is little to no expectation for something grand so it’s just plain FUN.

assorted chocolates

This is part of my love for February 14th, but it’s mostly the fact that I am literally surrounded by all of my favorite things.  I love all of the romantic girl-things like the color PINK, hearts, flowers, chocolate, and champagne.  AND I take 100% liberty this time of year, to mix pink and red in my outfits and feel boldly fabulous doing it!

assorted roses piled high

In my younger days, I relied on my husband to shower me with my favorite things on this momentous day, after all, it seemed like his job as my guy.  I will say that he has never let me down.  Most years I receive a big beautiful bunch of flowers, usually red roses, and a package or two of some of my favorite chocolate morsels and life is good!

closeup red roses

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that I can be my own best Valentine.

Lighting a beautiful candle at my desk, picking up a small bunch of pretty flowers at the grocery store or making a batch of chocolate truffles to enjoy in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day (recipe below).  I can even open a bottle of my favorite French sparkling wine to enjoy…on a weekday! Treating yourself in a special way makes you feel good and it’s a lovely thing to do!

Being YOUR own best valentine was part of my inspiration for Its Valentine’s Day- An Enchanting French Experience, the exclusive winter A Taste of Paris event scheduled for February 7th, from 10:30-2:30.

Valentine event chocolate 3

I wanted to create something dazzling around Valentine’s Day and the idea occurred to me that I could assemble MY FAVORITE things to share with YOU!  There are still a few tickets left.  For all of the delightful details CLICK HERE!

And for one of the last tickets, CLICK HERE!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Chocolate truffels in a bowl

Spiced Rum Truffles

Truffle

1 cup heavy cream

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon spiced rum

Finishing

½ cup cocoa

½ cup powdered sugar

Heat heavy cream on medium heat in a double boiler until cream is simmering.  Add rum and vanilla and remove from heat.  Add chocolate and butter, stir until completely smooth.  This may take a few minutes.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.  To finish the truffles, mix powdered sugar and cocoa in plate.  Using a spoon and your hands, scoop a walnut sized amount of chocolate and roll into a ball.  Drop the truffles into the cocoa mixture, roll to coat the surface.   Store the truffles in the refrigerator until ready to eat and for up to 2 weeks.

au-revoir-for-now-lorie-002-300x192

It’s Valentine’s Day -An Enchanting French Experience

pink flowers and petals

When I set out to create the winter A Taste of Paris event for Valentine’s Day, I knew it had to be something really special.

While reflecting on Valentine’s Day, one word kept coming to mind, PASSION.

Curating an experience with one purpose in mind; to spark or reignite passion for the participants, became my goal and I am thrilled to share this exclusive opportunity with you.

It’s Valentine’s Day- An Enchanting French Experience is a French inspired event, held at the stunning Toulouse, Legacy West.  The day starts with 3 sessions focusing on beauty and pleasure.  French people are pleasure seekers, this passion prone quality stems from their Latin roots. This is one of the many mysterious qualities that makes French women so alluring and for the day we will act as they do!

assorted chocolates

Beginning of course with chocolate!  You will hear from a passionate chocolate maker that hand-crafts the very finest ganache and fillings and finishes them in the elegant French style…the best part?  Tasting!

pink flowers and petals

I was deeply inspired by the simple floral arrangements in the Provencal villa where I stayed this past September that I thought this was the ideal chance to share these ideas with you.  You will see a gorgeous arrangement made by an expert in the field, right before your eyes.  I think you will be inspired too!Christian Dior logo

French women just seem to have that special something, that je ne sais quois.  The regional director of Dior Beauty and his team, will present Savoir Faire, an interactive experience designed to unlock the mystery of the alluring French women, Christian Dior the man and this iconic brand.

 

After fanning the flames of passion, we will take a break for a flute of champagne before heading to the table for a lovely 3-course French meal.

At the conclusion of the day, guests will be presented with a gift valued at over $65.00.

I hope you will join me for this exclusive A Taste of Paris event offered 1-time only

Friday, February 7th 10:30-2:30 It’s Valentines Day-

An Enchanting French Experience 

See YOU soon!

au-revoir-for-now-lorie-002-300x192

Tickets are available ONLY from Eventbrite, DO NOT accept tickets from any other source.

 

Natures Palette is Irresistible

colorful winter vegetables

Every year it seems just a little bit harder to clean my act up after all of the holiday feasting.  Is it just me?

This year it’s helping to concentrate on preparing beautiful plates.  Did you know pretty food is good for you?  Focus along with me, on filling your plates with the irresistible colors from the earth, and you will be well on your way to that healthy routine your body, mind and spirit will love!

Need a bit more inspiration?  Join me for a cooking class on January 24th, filled with goodness from the earth.

beets

Eating Right is so Colorful- Friday, January 24th 11:00-1:00-

Being well in the New Year is at the top of everyone’s to-do list.  In this entertaining class we will explore simply GOOD FOOD packed with color and nutrients from the earth that will feed your body and your soul. In this class we will sip a glass of red wine as we start with a Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, pretty and tasty! Fresh Pesto is so fast and versatile; we’ll top our piping hot Fire Roasted Tomato Soup with it AND we’ll use it again for our Lemon Pesto Chicken served a top satisfying Quinoa and Vegetable Medley.  Faro and Salmon Hash will be a dish you love, it has all the key elements for a crave-able meal and oh so fast! For a any-time snack and a sweet treat we will explore bars.  First, my Apricot Oat Bars followed by a family favorite, Cherry Chocolate Granola bars. Class Fee $59.00

Register for the class Now by Clicking Here or email lorie@atasteofparis.net

Holiday Appetizers

IMG_3252

Tis the season for appetizers!  I thought I would share  a few of my recent favorites with you!

I had a very large board crafted for my daughter’s small engagement party and for the recent ATOP wine event with Chateau Pommard and I just love the way it works for tasty tidbits.

IMG_3249

I like to line up 3 or 4 selections in rows on the board for a unifying look.  You can see  that I included 2 types of sandwiches, Chicken Tart-lets and miniature Bistro Salads with Blood Orange Vinaigrette.

Small salads made in plastic cups

Making salads in cups with small wooden forks is a simple do ahead idea that allows you to offer tasty vegetables without the traditional veggie tray.

Beef and Blue Cheese Crostini is always a favorite so for the party I modified it into a sandwich.

Open faced beef and blue cheese sandwich

The layers were built on French bread; lettuce and tomatoes were added for a pop of color.

Beef and blue cheese sandwiches

The sandwiches were sliced into smaller, 3-4 bite sizes.

small sandwiches tied with string

To make the small sandwiches an easy grab and go appetizer, just add a strip of brown butcher paper and tie them with string.

IMG_3241

I love making Spicy Chicken Tart-lets because they are so cute.  They are also super easy to eat at a party and everybody loves them.

 

Bistro Salads with Blood Orange Vinaigrette 

1 head romaine lettuce chopped

1 tomato chopped

1 avocado chopped

¼ cup dried cherries

¼ cup toasted pecans

Dressing

½ cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice and its zest

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 shallot minced

1 teaspoon sugar

1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Toss salad ingredients in a bowl.  To prepare dressing, add all ingredients to a glass jar and shake vigorously.  Dress salad and serve.

 

Beef and Blue Cheese Crostini

Beef Marinade

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 pound deli roast beef thinly sliced.

Crostini

1 French baguette cut into thin slices

3 tablespoon olive oil

Sauce

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

2 tablespoons chives

Prepare beef by placing all marinade ingredients and beef in a zip top bag.  Refrigerate several hours.  Prepare sauce my mixing sour cream, horseradish and pepper in a small bowl.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush both sides of French bread slices with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake until bread it beginning to brown and turn over to brown the other side.  Remove from oven and allow bread to cool.  Assemble the crostini by adding beef, a small amount of sauce and then sprinkle with both blue cheese and chives.  Serve at once.

Spicy Chicken Tart-lets

1 baked chicken breast, shredded

1 package puff pastry, thawed

½ cup frozen corn

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

¾ cup salsa

¼ cup red onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos, diced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 slightly beaten egg

Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken in a medium bowl, add spices and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients reserving puff pastry and mix.  Unfold and roll pastry sheets out on a flour surface to about 10 x 12 inches.  Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter cut rounds of pastry, 12 per sheet. Place a spoonful of the chicken mixture in the center of each circle.  Top with a second circle and using a fork press the two circles together.  I like to pinch a crinkled pattern on the crust edge, like a pie crust edge.  Brush the tart-lets with egg wash and prick tops with fork to let steam escape.  Bake on a greased baking sheet for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

au-revoir-for-now-lorie-002-300x192

Santa winking

Dear Santa…

Santa winking

Have you been dreaming of a trip to France?

I’ll bet Santa is wondering what to put under the tree for you…

I have some good news, there are still seats OPEN in all 3 A Taste of Paris food and wine excursions to France, but registration is heating up so let Santa know which trip he should stuff in your Christmas stocking!

The arc de Triomphe in Paris

 Have you always dreamed of visiting Paris?  Or maybe you have been many times before, and like me, you can’t get enough.  Either way, this trip dazzles with historic marvels, breathtaking masterpieces and unsurpassed flavors.

Eiffel tower at sunset

Paris, the most recognized city on earth, holds unmatched gastronomic treasures waiting to be experienced. Tree-lined boulevards and the romantic river Seine, winds through the city beckoning travelers from all corners of the globe. Partake in the glory that is Paris.

A Taste of Paris- April 12-18th, 2021

 

grapes on the vine in Burgundy France

Are you a lover of wine?  Join the fun and explore the thriving wine regions of Burgundy and Champagne, France; their rolling hills, medieval villages, the labyrinth of centuries old cellars and slow cooked iconic dishes will trill.

Very old dusty bottles of wine in a wine cellar in Burgundy France.

Champagne and Burgundy: Two of the most prestigious wine regions in the world, are as divine as the wines they produce.  French wines delight the senses and engage the soul.  With stunning estates and fruit laden vines that reach to the heavens.

A Taste of Paris- Wine Lovers- April 22nd-30th, 2021

 

View of Gordes in Provence

Or maybe you have been dreaming of Provence; the colors and light have seduced artists for centuries and it’s no wonder.  The countryside of rolling hills, olive groves, pine forests and lavender fields is peppered with Roman relics and elegant churches giving it a storybook quality.

Cassis France harbor view

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.

A Taste of Paris- Provence- September 11th-18th, 2021

Let Santa know what you are hoping for and dont delay! Christmas morning you may just find it under the tree!

For more information, contact me at lorie@atasteofparis.net OR call 214 551 9630 

au-revoir-for-now-lorie-002-300x192

Christmas cookies

The BEST Christmas Cookies

Christmas cookie platter

Is there anything happier than a platter of Christmas cookies? These are an assortment of my families favorites and so many happy memories!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies are my son’s favorite and if I do say so, they are the BEST!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 cups ground oatmeal (grind old fashioned oatmeal in a food processor or blender)

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips preferably Ghirardelli’s

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs one at a time.  Mix flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl.  Add gradually to sugar mixture.  Add ground oatmeal slowly until fully incorporated.  Mix in chocolate chips, drop by spoonfuls and bake on greased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes.

 

Christmas Tree Cookies

Christmas Tree Cookies are a tradition and Brooke and I usually make them together.

 

Magic bars

Magic Cookie Bars are my Mom’s favorite and we make them every year!

 

snowball cookies

And last but not least, Snowball Cookies are irresistible!

Happy baking!!

au-revoir-for-now-lorie-002-300x192

 

 

Holiday Luncheon and Cooking Lesson-2 seats OPEN

Join me for the first time ever for a Holiday Luncheon.  We will have a cooking lesson while enjoying appetizers and a Pomegranate Martini.  Next, we will sit for Lunch, prepared and served by me!  You will enjoy an amazing 4 course meal, served with wine and go home with the recipes and a sweet treat! The perfect holiday gift for someone you love or YOU! Seating is limited, class fee $74.00

Appetizers

Crostini Bar with Grilled Vegetables and Crusty Bread AND decadent Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Salad Course

Peppery Greens with stuffed swans and Meyer Lemon Dressing

Main Course

Beef Wellington Stuffed with Mushroom Duxelle with Peppercorn Sauce served with Orange Thyme Carrots and Gratin Mashed Potatoes

Dessert and Centerpiece

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake with Dark Chocolate Bark Garnish

Register TODAY by email to lorie@atasteofparis.net OR Click Here to go to the class registration page!

Top 5 Goodies from Paris

paris snow 3.jpg

I have always dreamed of spending Christmas in Paris.  Snow gently falling on the bustling streets and shop windows packed full of interesting goodies.

Alas, for now it is merely a dream.  For anyone lucky enough to be traveling to my favorite city this holiday season, or any time of year for that matter, I have assembled a goodie guide for you.

Top 5 goodies to bring back from Paris

1-CHOCOLATE

chocolate from Paris.

Simple bars or carefully curated chocolate morsels, packed in a precious box, travel well and make marvelous gifts.

2- TEA

Mariage Freees tea from Paris

Mariage Freres tea is a lovely gift to bring back from the city.  The blends are crafted much like fine French perfume and are meant to excite and entice the palette.  You can buy loose tea or tea bags; tiny muslin sachets, that make me smile every time I reach for one. My favorite blend is called Wedding Imperial.

3- COOKIES

boxes of French cookies

Marquise de Sable is a wonderful brand of biscuit, or cookie as we call them, to bring back for friends.

French cookies

There is a wide assortment of flavors and the boxes are nice and flat making packing a breeze.

4- Mustard 

Maille French mustard

Maille is a fantastic French mustard and lovely for gifts carried home.

mustard assortment in Paris

It is astonishing the number of mustard flavors available; there is something for everyone on your list.

5- Olives 

wall of French olives

Olives make a nice gift or tidbit to enjoy once you are home.

jar of French olives

French olives have their pit making them much more flavorful.  My personal favorite are the picholine.

Paris in the snow

Is Paris your favorite city too or have you been dreaming of going there?

Join the group and come along with me, A Taste of Paris!

 A Taste of Paris- April 12-18th, 2021

au-revoir-for-now-lorie-002-300x192

 

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!

au-revoir-for-now-lorie-002-300x192