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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Bright red tulips in a green vase setting next to a stone cherub.

Are you ready for spring?

 

Bright red tulips in a green vase setting next to a stone cherub.

I don’t know about you, but winter has seemed extra-long. In my town we have had many cold, rainy and I will say it, gloomy days.

Much to my surprise, a sweet friend brought me a lovely bunch of tulips on Friday evening and it was a welcome sign that spring is on the way! I simply adore having fresh cut blooms in the house, it is such a decadent luxury.

Red tulips laying on a counter

When you start to see tulips and daffodils in the markets and florist you know warmer weather is just around the bend.

The stems of tulips being trimmed.

Tulips are probably the easiest flower to manage into a gorgeous arrangement.  I thought I would show you what I did. First, trim each stem with very sharp scissors and cut them at an angle.  This lets the stems take on more water.

Tulips laying on a counter with a hand removing excess foliage.

Next, remove any loose foliage towards the bottom of the stems.  This helps to keep the water clean and pure for the blooms.

A bunch of tulips being put in a green vase.

To arrange, simply gather the bunch of stems and place it into a vase or even a mason jar filled with water.

A bunch of red tulips in a glass vase.

I am always amused at how the stems seem to turn towards the sun, just like me!!

Are you as ready for spring as I am?  What are you looking forward to most? I hope you will share your thoughts so we can all get ready for spring together!au revoir for now lorie (002)

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Variouls Spices for Chicken Marinde including soy sauce, miller lite, green chile's

Chicken Marinade 3 Ways

It’s that time of year, everyone is working to eat cleaner. Chicken breasts are a great source of high-quality protein but preparing them the same old way can became boring.

I wanted to share a technique that I have been using for many years that allows me to get dinner on the table in a hurry without sacrificing variety.

Forgive the shadowing pics, it was late on a gloomy day when I shot these. Start by slicing chicken breast in half to create meal sized portions.

Next, get out 3-gallon zip top bags and all of the ingredients to create the 3 chicken marinade recipes below.

Add chicken to the bags and marinate for 2 hours, overnight or stow in the freezer until needed!

Having trouble sticking to your plan to Eat Well in 2019 or are you out of ideas for delicious options? Join me for a cooking class filled with amazing recipes and tons of tips for helping you look and feel your BEST in 2019.

Eating Well- Friday, January 25th from 11:00. For more information Click HERE or email me to register lorie@atasteofparis.net

Chicken Marinade 3 Ways

Honey Mustard Chicken Marinade

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

½ cup beer

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole seasonings

Mix all ingredients in a zip top gallon bag.  Add up to 6 chicken breasts and let marinate 2 hours-overnight or place in the freezer until ready to cook.

Teriyaki Chicken Marinade

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ cup beer

2 cloves garlic, pressed

¼ cup teriyaki sauce

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

Pinch crushed red pepper

Mix all ingredients in a zip top gallon bag.  Add up to 6 chicken breasts and let marinate 2 hours-overnight or place in the freezer until ready to cook.

Green Chili Chicken Marinade

1 cup green chili enchiladas sauce

2 cloves garlic pressed

1 lime, juiced and zested

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Mix all ingredients in a zip top gallon bag.  Add up to 6 chicken breasts and let marinate 2 hours-overnight or place in the freezer until ready to cook.

Christmas Morning~Cinnamon Pecan Wreath

Do you have your menu planned for Christmas morning? At our house, I always make something sweet and something savory.  We eat a big breakfast to tide us over to an early Christmas dinner.  Last year I shared my Cinnamon Bread Leaves with you and this year I have done a throwback to on oldie but goodie.  Cinnamon Pecan Wreath is so beautiful and tempting; your family will be delighted! Cinnamon Pecan Wreath happens to be one of the recipes I shared with The Art of Living Beautifully readers this month.  For my post, I want to take you through the steps to make this centerpiece delight.

Begin the day before you want to serve the Cinnamon Pecan Wreath by thawing frozen bread rolls in a greased bowl overnight in the refrigerator. Roll the dough into a rectangle; it does not have to be perfect!  Next pour on melted butter, then cinnamon sugar and last pecans.

Roll dough into a log; bring both ends of the log, together to form a ring.  Pinch the dough ends together, sealing it.

Using a pair of kitchen scissors; cut 2/3 of the way through the ring every 1-2 inches all the way around.  Take each slice and twist it to expose the layers.  Twist all of the slices.

Once your wreath is complete, cover it with a cloth and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.  Bake for 30-35 minutes in an oven set to 350 degrees before garnishing with glaze and pecans. 

Stay tuned for another Christmas Breakfast recipe later this week!!

Cinnamon Pecan Wreath

20 frozen bread rolls

1 stick of butter, melted

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup cinnamon

1 cup pecans chopped

12 whole pecan halves

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 vanilla pod

1 small orange, zested and juiced

Pinch salt

Grease a medium mixing bowl and place frozen rolls in the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.  Roll the dough to a large rectangle about 13×22 inches.  Brush the rectangle with melted butter.  Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the butter.  Next, sprinkle on chopped pecans.  Roll long end of rectangle into a log.  Bring the two ends of the log together to form a ring and pinch the dough to seal the ring.  Using kitchen scissors, cut into the ring every 1-2 inches, about 2/3 of the way through the ring forming slices.  Pull each slice firmly and twist it towards the right.  Continue twisting all the slices. Your cinnamon ring will resemble a wreath.   Cover the wreath with a cloth and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about one hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake wreath for 30-35 minutes.  If wreath is getting too brown, tent it with foil.  Prepare glaze by combining powdered sugar, the seeds from the vanilla pod, salt, the zest and 2 tablespoons of juice in a bowl and mix well.    Drizzle glaze over bread ring and garnish the top with pecan halves.

Fox 4 This Morning- The Humble Tart

Peach Blueberry Tart 2

Tune into Fox 4 KDFW this morning, Monday October 8th, about 9:30, to see me making one of my most favorite things, tarts!

Caprese Tart 1

Tarts have humble beginnings.  Originally they were served as a way to stretch protein and ingredients into additional meals.  If you have a crust on hand, cheese and eggs, you can have a tart for dinner tonight!

I love to make tarts for so many reasons, for starters they are pretty.  You can make a rustic version, like my Caprese Tart, simply folding the puff pastry crust back over the tart or for a classier tart, like in my Peach and Blueberry, use a bottomless pan to give you the pretty fluted edge.

In my home I often have leftover salmon or chicken.  Adding this extra protein to a prepared crust, along with vegetables, cheese and eggs, and I can have a beautiful tart in the oven in a matter of minutes.

Tarts can be sweet or savory.  Generally, savory tarts include an egg custard filling that acts as the glue to hold everything together.

After spending time in commercial kitchen in Paris, I learned foolproof strategies for creating the very best savory tarts! Start by getting your crust into a baking tin or dish.  Next, arrange all of the goodies, the cheese, meat and vegetables evenly over the crust. Mix up fresh eggs with salt, pepper and a dash of milk or cream, not too much, or the tart won’t set.  Last, pour the egg mixture slowly into the center of the tart and let it seep into all the crevasses.  Place the tart onto a baking sheet and into the oven until the tart is puffed and brown.  Let tarts set 10 minutes before serving with a salad for a bistro style lunch or dinner.

Fruit tarts are really straightforward. Crust + fruit and a little sugar = dessert heaven.  If you use frozen fruit, always add about 1 tablespoon of flour to the sugar and fruit before you pop it into the crust.  This will help absorb the extra moisture created by the freezing process.

The humble tart, a crust, a filling and a fork is all you need! Bon Appetit.

Caprese tart 2

Caprese Tart

1 sheet puff pastry

10 eggs

¼ cup milk or cream

1 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese

3 medium tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick

10 leaves fresh basil cut in a chiffonade

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degree.  Unfold puff pastry sheet and eliminate creases by rolling it out on a floured surface. Place the pastry into a 9 inch pie plate allowing the corners to hang over.  Sprinkle an even layer of Gruyere cheese in the bottom of the crust.  In a mixing bowl combine eggs, salt, pepper, milk and basil and beat until well blended.  Pour egg mixture into the crust.  Top with tomatoes in a single layer, don’t worry if they sink.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the top and fold the corners of the pastry over the filling.  Bake the tart for 40-45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

 

Chicken Red Bell Peppers and Leek Tart

1 prepared pie crust

1 tablespoon butter

1 leek, cleaned and finely chopped

10 eggs

¼ cup milk or cream

1 cup grated Gouda cheese

1 cup of rotisserie chicken, cubed

1 red bell pepper, sliced in rings

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degree.  Heat butter in a small chef’s pan and sauté leeks until soft.  Add the leeks and chicken to the bottom of the crust and spread out.  Sprinkle an even layer of cheese into the bottom of the crust.  In a mixing bowl combine eggs, salt, pepper and milk and beat until well blended, pour the egg mixture into the center of the crust, top with red pepper rings.  Bake the tart for 40-45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Peach Blueberry Tart 2

Peach Blueberry Tart

Crust

1½ cups flour

¾ cup cold butter cut into cubes

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Filling

2 cups frozen peaches, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 cup fresh blueberries

½ cup sugar

1 lemon zested and juiced

2 tablespoons flour

Crumble

1 cup flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

½ teaspoon salt

To prepare the crust, combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix well.  Add cold butter and pulse until dough forms a ball.  Prepare tart pan by coating with butter or non-stick spray.  Press dough into pan evenly, prick bottom of crust with a fork. Chill crust for 15 minutes in the freezer.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To prepare filling, add all filling ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Pour fruit mixture into prepared crust. Make the crumble by whisking all of the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add the butter and mix with a folk or your hands until the mixture resembles peas. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the fruit and bake for 40-45 minute until fruit is bubbly and crumble is browned.

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Cute tartlets, I recently served at an event!

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Can you feel my face pressed against the glass?  This is pretty window of tarts in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.  I especially love the Mushroom pies!

 Travel with me to Provence in 2019 or Paris in 2020!

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Provence and Pastis

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Have you ever heard of Pastis?  This aperitif cocktail was a mystery to me until I visited Marsalis France a few years ago.

This is my last week to explore my recent travelers response to the questions  “Why France?” Registration for my trips to France in 2019 is OPEN

A Taste of Paris- March 31st-April 7th 2019

A Taste of Provence- September, 2019 

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“My favorite thing about my ATOP trip was getting to do so many things, cooking, the history, shopping, eating and having cocktails only the way the French do.

“I loved the bonding of the ladies and getting to branch out on the side to go to the big flea market.”

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“Knowing Lorie personally, I knew the trip would be well planned and informative and now I can place a check on my bucket list!” Kelly Jacob

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It’s true Kelly, having cocktails in France is an event and serving Pastis definitely fits that bill!

Pastis is an anise flavored aperitif that’s strong and a bright green color.  It’s served  with water and a few cubes of ice, unless you are in America, you know how we love our cold drinks! To drink this beverage, add desired water, a few cubes of ice and stir.  At this point pastis looks like milk.  With its fresh licorice flavor’ pastis, is really quite refreshing especially in August.  If you have not tried it before I highly recommend it!

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It was super fun having Kelly along for our France adventure!  To make some memories of your own in 2019 contact me by email lorie@atasteofparis.net or phone 214 551 9630!

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Paris, a City for Romance

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“Why travel to Paris? Why not? In my opinion, Paris is magic!”

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“It transforms/transports my spirit to another level; one of tradition, romance, history and of course, food and wine that is truly unique.”

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It feeds my soul as well as my body! I return refreshed and renewed!” Jeanne Busch

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I love what Jeanne shared, this is how I feel too.  I get goosebumps reading her words.

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It’s true, Paris is a place for romance whether you are with someone you love or completely alone, Paris seduces you with its sights sounds and tastes.

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Jeannie is a special lady that inspires me with her courage and wisdom. Thanks for sharing and for traveling with me!

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To make some memories of your own in 2019 contact me by email lorie@atasteofparis.net or phone 214 551 9630!

A Taste of Paris- March 31st-April 7th 2019

A Taste of Provence- September, 2019 

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A River Runs Through It

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The River Seine, (pronounced like sin) gets its name from the Latin word Sequana; the Gallo-Roman goddess of the river. The Seine runs through Paris splitting in in half, on one side, the right bank and on the other the left.

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  The river snakes through the city making it hard to determine which side you’re on unless you are a seasoned Paris traveler.

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Taking a cruise on the Seine is always an activity planned for A Taste of Paris groups on our first evening. Seeing Paris from a river view helps people understand how the city is laid out.

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Not to mention the very best view of the Eiffel Tower is from a boat on the Seine!

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The Seine is closely associated with Paris and is featured in many poems and songs; however, it covers much more of France than just Paris.  The Seine is 482 miles long running from Dijon France through Paris and Rouen and finally to the English Channel at Le Havre and Honfleur.

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The city of Paris boasts 37 bridges that span the Seine and there are no two alike!

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The Seine happened to be a favorite of Sue Nagy, the ATOP guest that is being featured in today’s post answering the question “Why France?”

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Sue traveled to Paris with me in 2017 and will be with me again for A Taste of Paris Goes PINK in 2019!  I adore Sue’s fun nature. Here she is with friend and fellow traveler Kerry Harrison in front of Notre Dame.

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This is the best picture of Sue, writing her name in her croissant dough, I am certain that was not part of the chef’s instructions!

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Here is what Sue had to say about our travel. “My ATOP trip to Paris with Lorie was over the top wonderful!  I loved every single moment!!”  

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“Lorie’s knowledge on the food, culture and neighborhoods was exceptional! 

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The agenda is well planned, professionally organized and a must-do for anyone that loves an adventure!”

If you travel with me to Paris, our first adventure will be a cruise on the Seine!

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This is the final photo I will leave you with today.  It is a blurred view but reminds me of the French impressionist paintings hanging of the Musee d’Orsay!

For more information on Travel in 2019, CLICK HERE

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