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 

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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!!

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Top 5 Goodies from Paris

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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

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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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Southwest Turkey Soup

Southwest Turkey Soup

If you’re like me, you still have some turkey meat left from Thanksgiving.  Turkey is such a high-quality protein it would be a shame to waste it. Right?

The good news is, you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator to make this dish and start to finish it’s 20 minutes to table. It’s so tasty, you’ll love it!

Southwest Turkey Soup

Southwest Turkey Soup

2 cups shredded turkey

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

4 cups chicken broth

1 large onion chopped

3 ribs celery chopped

1 cup chopped carrots

2 cloves garlic, pressed

¼ cup faro

1 can green chiles and tomatoes, Rotel

1 4-ounce can dice green chiles

1 16-ounce can tomato sauce

1 15-ounce can black beans

Toppings

Shredded cheddar cheese

Sour cream

Corn chips

In a large soup pot, cook the onions, celery and carrots in 1 cup of chicken broth until they are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.  In a small bowl, toss turkey with the seasonings very well.  Add all remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an additional 15 minutes before serving with toppings.

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centerpiece

Fall Dinner Party- 2019

Fall decorations and a sign that says happy fall y'all!

Last year I participated in a huge dinner party with The Art of Living Beautifully and Unique Unique Designs, it was a blast so this year I decided to create a Fall Dinner Party Class on a smaller scale.  It was really fun for me to get out my dishes and crystal wine glasses and set a beautiful table for my honored guests.

Copper pumpkins and fresh fruit centerpiece.

For the centerpiece I wanted to use copper pumpkins.  These were perfect to go along with my copper chargers and I thought a little bit of metallic would reflect the lights.  To make them, I bought fresh white pumpkins, the stems were taped off and then sprayed them with copper paint.  Once they were dry, they were ready to be the focal point of the table arrangement.

To complete the design, pears, squash and lots of grapes were added.  Using fresh foods as centerpieces is an idea that has been gaining popularity and it’s really smart because you can eat the arrangement after the party is over!

orange roses in a crystal bowl.

I still had plenty of fresh flowers in the house.

roses and pumpkins make pretty decoratins

I was completely enchanted with these stunning roses that were the color of fire.

Rosemary Grapefruit Sparkler.

The table was set and the guests arrived!

All 12 were greeted with a Rosemary Grapefruit Sparkler, a tart refreshing cocktail, ideal for the unpredictable Texas fall season.

Focaccia bread and spicy shrimp

While we munched on appetizers of Focaccia Bread topped with Caramelized Onions and Fennel and Spicy Shrimp, we had a short cooking lesson.

I shared about my recent experience in Lake Como, Italy and how a special meal there  inspired this menu.

Salad with pears, blue cheese and pecans.

Next up were beautiful salads topped with pear shards, blue cheese and my famous Sweet and Spicy Pecans, recipe below!

My kitchen all set for fall.

Dinner was a Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Pork Loin Roast served on a bed of root vegetables and alongside Fontina Mac and Cheese.  Dessert was Chocolate Lava Cakes with Tuaca Ice Cream and I might have even gotten the bottle of Tuaca out for sampling…I will never tell!

Pumpkin and leaves in an urn.

The night was a huge success and I look forward to hosting many more events like this one!

Pumpkins arranged on a pedestal.

In fact, I have a Holiday Luncheon scheduled for December 13th with only 2 seats left at the table.  If you would like more information CLICK HERE and register TODAY!

Velvet pumpkins on a silver tray.

Registration for all 4- 2021 ATOP trips to France is in full-swing.  Request information TODAY and start to plan YOUR ATOP trip to France!

 

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I hope you are all enjoying the fall season!

Sweet and Spicy Pecans

2 cup whole pecans

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon smoky paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large skillet, brown pecans in butter over medium heat.  Add sugar, spices and toss until pecans are coated.  Add vinegar to mixture, stir over low heat until the moisture is mostly evaporated.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Pour pecans onto prepared pan and bake for 5-7 minutes until golden brown and pecans are dry to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool.

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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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Cheers to “Cooking Season” and Irresistible Greek Layered Dip

cooking class toasting

I can’t think of a better way to spend a few hours than making great food with YOU GUYS!

There are so many fabulous cooking classes this fall, how will you choose?

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Classes are filling fast so take a look and make your plans for “cooking season” and tons of great friends and good times, with me!

Group of students at Gifts from the kitchen class

Some classes are already sold out so register TODAY HERE or by email to lorie@atasteofparis.net

Friday, August 30th 10:30-2:00 Pasta Pop-UP!-1 seat just opened for this SOLD OUT class Let’s make homemade pasta!  After working with Italian chefs in the Lake Como region, Lorie is ready to share all the secrets and fresh dishes she learned with YOU! We will make a snack of Sundried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese dip for fresh Crudité and we’ll toast the generous spirit of the Italians with Prosecco READ MORE

October 10-11th French 2-Day Flavors and Inspiration from Burgundy France 10:30-2:30- 2 SEATS OPEN Join me 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 READ MORE

Friday, October 25th 7:00-9:00 POP-UP Dinner Fall Party  Join me for the first time ever for a Fall Dinner Party.  We will have a cooking lesson while enjoying appetizers and a Grapefruit Rosemary Sparkler Cocktail.  Relish a gorgeous tablescape set for fall.   Feast on a 4-course meal inspired by my trip to Lake Como this spring, READ MORE

Friday, November 1st 10:00-2:30 A Day in France- Bistronomy Join me for a fabulous class- a day in France.  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 READ MORE

Friday, November 8th 11:00-1:30 The Thanksgiving Table-Looking for inspiration for the most talked about meal of the year?  Join me for a class that will inspire you to explore traditional flavors in fresh new recipes.  While we get our feast together, we will sip Peartinis, my most requested cocktail, and snack on a wonderful TG app, Rosemary Raspberry Pistachio Brie. Of course, the turkey is always the star of READ MORE

Thursday, November 14th 6:30-8:30 Ultimate Appetizers-Holiday Entertaining Come to a cooking class that’s like throwing a party without the work!  Join me in the kitchen to concoct crave able appetizers that look more complicated than they are.  Enjoy my fabulous fall Apple Pear Rosemary Martini while we prepare an appetizer feast.  Join in the action or just sit back and watch the show!  We will get the party started with unbeatable Salmon Tacos with Crispy Slaw and spicy Aoli Sauce.  Next up, READ MORE

FRIDAY, November 22nd 6:30-9:30 A Taste of Paris presents- France comes to McKinney, Burgundy Wine Tasting Experience. Chateau Pommard, one of the most prestigious wine houses in Burgundy will be coming to McKinney Texas for a very special evening of wine tasting with A Taste of Paris guests.  As a participant you will taste 6 luxurious Burgundy wines and relish premium composed appetizers READ MORE

Thursday, December 5th 6:30-9:00 AND Friday, December 6th 11:00-1:30 15th Annual Gifts from the Kitchen-FILLING FAST! Back by popular demand this fun and festive class will take you through an array of goodies perfect for gift giving from your own kitchen, fabulous ideas to gift neighbor’s, coworkers or hostess.  Each recipe will be made and tasted and all while sipping delightful Citrus Crush Cocktails.  Creative packaging techniques will be taught for each recipe so your gifts will dazzle…so fun! Most of the work will be done so you can sit back and soak up the spirit READ MORE

Friday December 13th 11:00-2:00 Holiday Luncheon 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, at a lovely table scapped with the spirit of the season. Relish a 4- course meal prepared and served by ME! READ MORE

Register now by clicking HERE or by email to lorie@atasteofparis.net

Lorie with a dish of Greek layered dip

7 Layer Greek Dip

1 recipe Basil Hummus

2 recipes Pita Chips

4 ounces feta cheese crumbled

1 large cucumber peeled and diced

1 clove garlic

1 5-ounce container plain Greek yogurt

¼ teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

½ cup diced red onion

1 jar roasted red peppers diced

1 cup assorted sliced olives

In an 8-inch glass dish spread hummus as the first layer of the dip.  In a small bowl mix cucumbers with yogurt, garlic, dill and parsley and mix well, gently spread this as the second layer.  Sprinkle on tomatoes, then peppers, onions then olives.  Sprinkle the last layer of feta cheese and serve with pita chips.

Basil Hummus

1 15-ounce can chickpeas drained and washed

1/3 cup fresh basil packed

2 cloves garlic

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup tahini paste

2 tablespoons olive oil

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until creamy.  Serve with pita chips.

Pita Chips

1 package of pita bread cut into wedges

¼ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush bread with a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and arrange on baking sheet in single layer.  Bake until chips are crispy.  Flip over and bake until other side is crispy.

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Homemade peaches and cream ice cream.

Peaches and Cream!

Homemade peaches and cream ice cream.

I thought this cool creamy recipe was worth a second look!

I created Peaches and Cream Ice Cream for Lauren at The Art of Living Beautifully for her July blog post.  Subscribe there so you never miss a post!

As the summer heat drags on, a batch of freshly churned ice cream can really perk up a crowd.  This simple recipe with honest ingredients is a true winner.  Try it today, you will be so glad you did!

Peach ice cream 1

Peaches and Cream Ice Cream

3 cups fresh peach chunks

1 ¼ cups sugar

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod

Pinch salt

Pinch cinnamon

In a small sauce pan heat milk, cream, and sugar over low heat stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved.  Remove pan from heat and pour milk mixture into a glass bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and cover the bowl before placing it in the refrigerator overnight.  Pour the cold milk mixture into electric churn and follow the instructions, most ice cream makers will churn for 20-40 minutes.  Remove the ice cream from the churn and place it in a covered glass or plastic container.  Place the container in the freezer to harden completely for at least 4 hours.

Note- This recipe is for a 2-quart electric ice cream churn and can easily be doubled for a larger churn.

au revoir for now lorie (002)