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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Dinner Boards

 

Lorie holding antique board from Turkey.

I am into wooden boards!

Of all shapes and sizes!  These are a few of my favorites.  The board I am holding is an antique Turkish bread board, and it’s old!  You can see that the wood split and copper was hammered in place to hold it together and restore it for good use.  Below that is a striped board that Mark and Brandon made me many years ago that is a treasure and staple in my kitchen.  And just beneath that, is a prized large olive wood board that I hauled back from Provence and trust me, it barely fit in  my suitcase!

Artichoke and red Pepper Quiche on a wooden board.

I NEVER cut on these boards!

Instead, I like to use them for serving.  Here I am using it as a trivet for a hot dish of Artichoke and Red Pepper Quiche.

Chicken Cesar Salad on a wooden board.

What about the idea of serving an entire meal on the board?  This is my olive wood board, piled high with a fresh crispy Chicken Caesar Salad, ready to be served right from the board.

Sausage, beans and slaw on a wooden board.

Talk about a quick dinner, Sausage warmed along with Baked Beans and Confetti Slaw.

Who’s hungry?

If you are board with dinner, try using your wooden boards to serve!

Tune into Fox 4 for a segment featuring ME and more Dinner Boards on Tuesday, October 14th!!

Chicken Caesar Salad on a Board

Dressing

1 cup mayo

3 cloves of garlic

1-ounce anchovy paste

¼ cup milk or half and half

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Salad

2 grilled chicken breasts cut into chunks

2 heads Romaine lettuce

½ cup of halved tomatoes

Parmesan cheese shards

Toasts

½ small French bread loaf sliced paper thin

¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves of garlic crushed

To prepare the toasts, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix olive oil and garlic in a small bowl.  Dot both sides of the bread with a small amount of the oil mixture using a pastry brush.  Spread the bread on a baking pan.  Bake toast until golden brown about 4 minutes, turn toasts and cook another 3-4 minutes to brown the other side. Meanwhile, prepare dressing by adding all ingredients in food processor or blender, process to combine well.  Add additional milk if a thinner dressing is desired.  To prepare the salad cut root of each lettuce head off and let water run through to clean the leaves.  Keeping the bundles intact slice heads into thin strips and place the lettuce in the center of the serving board.  Add chicken, tomatoes and toasts and toss along with a generous amount of dressing.  Top with Parmesan shards and serve.

Confetti Slaw.

Confetti Veggie Slaw

2 carrots shredded

1 green bell pepper cut in a julienne

1 red bell pepper cut in a julienne

2 cups of shredded purple cabbage

2 green onions finely diced

Dressing

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

To prepare dressing, whisk together ingredients in a small bowl.  Assemble slaw in serving bowl by layering ingredients.  Add dressing, toss to coat.  Let salad stand for a few minutes before serving.

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

2 16-ounce cans of baked beans any brand

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup ketchup

¼ cup yellow mustard

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch salt

Mix all ingredients in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.  Bake for 25 minutes or until center is bubbling.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

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!

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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)

Stone Fruit Chutney Over Brie-Oh My

Stone Fruit Chutney Over Brie

Sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that taste the sweetest.  Stone Fruit Chutney Over Brie is definitely in this category. So simple to make and it really wakes up your taste buds.

Stone fruit chutney over brie on a grazing board.

Stone fruit is only in season a short time so grab bushels of cherries and nectarines NOW and what you can’t eat; make into chutney.  You will be glad you did!

Stone Fruit Chutney over Brie

1 wedge Brie

2 small nectarines peeled and chopped

1 cup fresh cherries pitted and sliced in half

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Pinch of lemon zest

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

In a small chef’s pan combine, fruit, sugar, lemon juice and zest and salt.  Cook over medium heat until mixture is bubbling, turn the heat down and simmer until the fruit is broken down and the juice is a thick syrup.  Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour hot mixture over the Brie and serve with French bread or for dessert, ginger snaps.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

 

Shrimp with Basil Gremolata

shrimp with Basil gremolata

In the summertime, I am less interested in spending time in the kitchen prepping and cooking.  Dishes that utilize all of the goodness from the earth and my garden that cook very quickly are winners in my book.

Basil gremolata

My Shrimp with Basil Gremolata is fast and easy to prepare and incredibly tasty.  Gremolata is an herb rich, lemony sauce that is fantastic over any fish or grilled meat.

Serve Shrimp with Basil Gremolata over pasta or alongside a large salad and you will have a fantastic dinner on the table in minutes. Enjoy!

Shrimp with Basil Gremolata

Shrimp

1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt to taste

Gremolata

Zest from a lemon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic

1 ½ cups fresh basil, packed

½ cup fresh parsley packed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup olive oil

To make gremolata, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.  To prepare shrimp, heat a chefs pan over medium heat, add olive oil and shrimp.  Sprinkle shrimp with salt and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes until shrimp is opaque.  Remove pan from heat.  Toss with gremolata and serve.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Salmon with Fresh Strawberry Salsa

Salmon with Strawberry Salsa

Today I want to share a true go-to from my kitchen.

A standout topping that can be used on practically any grilled meat.  My Fresh Strawberry Salsa over salmon is a true taste sensation. The sweet and savory blend of fruits and vegetables with just a hint of lime keeps you diving in for more with every single bite.

Try this idea with fruits and veg you have on hand and create your own flavor combinations; the key is to combine flavors you love.

Fresh salsas; a great way to brighten up any plate!

Do you have a delicious go-to you would like to share from your kitchen?  Please tell us in the comment section!!

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 Salmon with Fresh Strawberry Salsa

1-2 pounds wild caught salmon

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped

½ orange bell pepper, chopped

½ poblano pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh jalapeno, finely minced

½ cup fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped

1 lime, zested and juiced

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare salmon by brushing with Worcestershire sauce on both sides of the fish.  Salt and pepper the fish generously and place it in a glass baking dish.  Cook the salmon for 12-15 minutes until fat is bubbling to the surface.  Meanwhile, prepare the salsa by combining all remaining ingredients and toss well. Season with salt and serve a generous amount of salsa on each portion of salmon.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Maubert; a favorite Parisian Market

Vegetable Provence market

Market shopping in Paris is a must.  Markets run every morning in various areas of the city.

This is a quick selfie-video I took on my last trip.

One of my favorite markets is in the Latin quarter and it’s called Maubert Marche.  It’s so easy to find, just take the Metro, line 10 and get off at Maubert Mutualite, come above ground and you have arrived!

eggplant 2 market

The vegetables are incredible!

Basket of fresh herbs.

So are the herbs.

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And eggs.

wall of roses.

Don’t even get me started on the flowers; pure paradise!

 

Lorie in the Maubert market

This is me in the Maubert Marche, from what seems like a million years ago!

I would Love to take YOU there!

Make one of the last seats for

A Taste of Paris 2020

YOURS!!

Register today by email lorie@atasteofparis.net

au revoir for now lorie (002)

A melt in your mouth bite…in Paris!

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When I find something new that is crave-able…

ATOP 2019 group at Aux Merveilleux de Fred, Paris

I can’t wait to share it with my travelers and YOU!

Last year I happened upon this adorable sweet shop with its classic slate grey facade and huge crystal chandelier that beckoned me in.

Aux Mervilleux de Fred, Paris

Aux Merveilleux de Fred in the Latin quarter of Paris has windowed stuffed with cute balls of goodness that resemble Hostess Snowballs

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One bite lets you know this is oh so different!

Aux Merveilleux de Fred small treat with 1 bite missing.

I have always been a lover of meringues and when you stuff it with cream, and then roll them in chocolate, how can you go wrong?

Fred 7

I predict these pretty, melt in your mouth treats will become all the rage.  There are already 1/2 a dozen locations around Paris and a location in New York city!

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Want me to take you there?  I would love for YOU to be along next year for the tasty FUN!

Register TODAY by email to lorie@atasteofparis.net

 A Taste of Paris April 13-20th  

Guacamole with a Twist

Grapefruit guacamole.

When Lauren Palmer, the editor of The Art of Living Beautifully asked me to develop a grapefruit guacamole recipe for the summer issue of the magazine, I was skeptical.  The inherit problem with grapefruit is their intense bitterness.  As I thought about the combination, I began to get really excited.

pink-grapefruit2

 

The key to a great tasting guac is cutting the fruit into supremes. This method of preparation takes most of the bitterness from the fruit leaving behind that unmistakable, juicy, citrus flavor.

Lauren and I created this video to show you how to cut grapefruits into supremes.  This method works really well for oranges too!

I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do and the many taste tester friends, I made it for this spring!

If you have not already subscribed to The Art of Living Beautifully, do so!  You will find lots of inspiration there as well as recipes from me!

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Grapefruit Guacamole 

2 large ripe avocados

½ teaspoon grapefruit zest

1 large grapefruit cut into supremes

2 teaspoons fresh jalapeno, finely chopped

2 tablespoons red onion, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil cut into a chiffonade

Dash cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

Cut grapefruit supremes into ½ chunks. Mix avocado, grapefruit chunks and zest, onion, jalapeno and basil very well.  Season to taste with salt and cayenne and serve with chips.

Playground for the Rich and Famous-the French Riviera

Pebbled beach in NIce, France

The French Riviera; playground for the rich and famous, will be the back drop for an amazing adventure for 7 travelers, in April 2020.

French Riviera

The vibrant coastal town of Nice will be our hub for this week-long exploration of the area and Nice has it all.  The magnificent cerulean blue Mediterranean ocean on one side, and 3 mountain caps on the other, home to the sweetest villages I have ever encountered.

Village around French Riviera.

This village with the fortress wall around it, is tucked into the mountains and is begging to be explored.

City view Nice, France.

The colorful city center of Nice is packed with cafes that spill into the streets, with a waft of the Provencal flavors in the air and the casual nature of these establishments hint at the warmth of its people.

Not far from this is SHOPPING!  Nice is a larger city so all of the high-end brands are available and plenty of moderately priced options too!

Te e Tisane al mercato di Eze, Costa Azzurra

Markets in this region of France abound and all with their own flair.  I always love seeing the beautiful spices and…

Confiture in the window, Nice, France.

…the candied fruits; confiture, a delicacy of the region.

Shrimp Risotto

Don’t even get me started on the food.

Penne pasta with basil.

Nice is very close to the Italian border so there is PASTA, so tasty and yet still served with the elegance that can only be associated with France.

Nice, France

Can you tell I am crushing hard on the French Riviera?

I have only 3 spaces left for this amazing trip

The French Riviera April 24th-30th 2020.

Don’t delay, make one of them YOURS Today.  By email to lorie@atasteofparis.netau revoir for now lorie (002)