Tag Archives: books

Best Books Home Decor & Garden: Personal Flair

I’ve been browsing through Amazon.com’s list of the best books of 2014 in the Home and Garden category. I noticed how many of those books focus on the home as a place to express your unique personality.  Each book approaches the subject in a different way, so let’s take a look at these ‘best books of 2014′ – they are all quite new as they were all published last fall.

Elements of Style: Designing a Home and a LifeElements of Style Home Decor

Written by Erin Gates, an interior designer, blogger, and magazine writer, Elements of Style is a practical guide to designing a home that reflects your personality and style. Gates believes that home design and decor is “an outlet of personal expression and an exercise in self-discovery.” We’d agree with that! The book looks at rooms in the author’s own home as well as in her clients’ homes. Gates is a candid and witty writer. India Hicks described the book as, “hugely refreshing” and she commented on “the undecoratorly way this book is written.” Sounds great to us!

 

Heart and Home: Rooms That Tell Stories

heart and home decor bookI love the title of this book. Every house has a story, doesn’t it? Just like the people in it. Bring the stories together and you can create a really wonderful space. (This is what we’ve tried to do in our 1920s vintage bungalow renovation.) This book looks at the stories inside the homes of people known in the fields of interior design, architecture, fashion, and art. The rooms are decorated with character, originality, and personal meaning, from a New York loft in a 1920s factory building to an “Old Hollywood” estate in Beverly Hills. The author, design writer Linda O’Keeffe, was the creative director of Metropolitan Home magazine.

Cultivating Garden Style

Cultivating Garden StyleThe full title of this tome is: Cultivating Garden Style: Inspired Ideas and Practical Advice to Unleash Your Garden Personality. I know it’s early to think about gardening for many of us across the country – some are still deep in snow season. But spring will be here soon! Gardening writer Rochelle Greayer helps everyone develop their inner garden designer with step-by-step projects and tips.

The aim is to create charming, comfortable, and individual outdoor areas. The book features more than 1,500 color photographs to explain the 23 basic gardening styles that you can make your own.

If you’ve read any of these home decor and garden “best books” of 2014, we’d love to hear what you think of them. Or perhaps you have your own nomination for the title?

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

 

 

 

Bookshelf: French Style at Home

I’ve got French style on my mind because our latest container full of antique furniture just left Europe to travel to the USA! It’s due to arrive around Thanksgiving so we’ll have a lot of new inventory of French antiques and vintage home decor soon in our online gallery at EuroLuxHome.com.  I’m so looking forward to the arrival of the pieces we are bringing across the Atlantic for you, I’ve found some new books that are all about French style at home.

Private Houses of France

Books on French style at homeIf you’re in the mood for some serious opulence, take a tour of the grand homes in Private Houses of France: Living with History. The houses and castles featured in the book all illustrate important periods in the history of French decor. The fashion designer Givenchy’s Parisian townhouse is designed in the style of Napoleon III. The fabulous Château de Champchevrier pulls out the stops with the regal French Hunting style. Our customers who love Renaissance style will enjoy the allure of Château d’Anet, where King Henry II and Diane de Poitiers had their romantic trysts. Other readers will be swept away by the beauty of a Parisian manor house… sigh!

At Home with Madame Chic

Living with French Style at HomeThis lively book is written by Jennifer Scott, a Californian who first went to Paris as a foreign exchange student, then returned to live in Paris with her family years later. (This is a bit like my own story of falling in love with Europe, except I first went on a Study Abroad program to Florence, Italy, and then 11 years later launched a European Antiques import business with Greg!)

At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life talks about the effortless style and small comfortable details that make home a wonderful place to be every day.

Home Style by City

Home Style by City: French style at homeThe full title of this book is quite a mouthful. It’s: Home Style by City: Ideas and Inspiration from Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, and Copenhagen. So it’s not JUST about French style, but it does include an evocative section on what author Ida Magntorn describes as the “nonchalant elegance” of Paris. She takes readers into the homes of her vintage-loving friends in Paris to share their home decor tips. This book has a philosophy that, “Decorating is about telling a story in order to create ambience.”  The French style story is of course chic, romantic, and artfully spontaneous. It’s gently imperfect and tousled, making it look as though nobody has tried hard at all. (A casual French shrug of the shoulders!)

I hope you enjoy reading and taking some French style inspiration. If you have a tip on how to create French style at home, please do tell us in the comments!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Bookshelf: European Designer Decor

This month I’m stepping into the fantasy world of European designer decor for our round-up of interesting books. These books all look inside the homes of European designers and even when the style is not exactly to my taste, I can’t help but admire the joie de vivre!

Valentino at the Emperor’s Table

Valentino at the Emperor's TableValentino is best known as a fashion designer, designing glamorous clothes for some of the most famous women in the world. But the Italian designer’s new book goes behind the doors of Valentino’s own home… or should I say HOMES! He has five of them, in Rome, Paris, London, Gstaad, and New York. He also has a yacht. He entertains lavishly in all those places and the book looks at his dining rooms and table settings. It also includes recipes by his personal chefs. For example, Lime-Basil Cream Puffs with Raspberries. (Yum!)

The book isn’t out till October 1, but I bet it will be a big hit for holiday gifts among the fashionistas. As Valentino says in the introduction: “I am in love with beauty.” This photo from the book gives a colorful idea of what he means.

Valentino At the Emporer's Table
Robert Couturier: Designing Paradises

Robert Couturier Designing ParadisesFrench interior designer Robert Couturier likes mixing up Old World elegance with other influences. For example, he might bring together an antique French Louis XVI commode with a 1960s vintage lamp. He’s a man after my own heart!  The Paris-born designer opened his New York firm nearly 30 years ago and in the book he gives us a tour of his country retreat in Kent, Connecticut. As well as his own designer decor filled with European furniture and art, he also shows us some of his luxury projects for clients. Designing Paradises is a good title because Robert Couturier designed the tropical Mexican hideaway Cuixmala for tycoon Sir James Goldsmith. The lush 25,000 acre private estate is now a fancy eco-resort with guests including Tom Cruise and Madonna. It really does look like a romantic paradise!

Modern Originals: At Home with MidCentury European Designers

European Designer DecorJust as the name says, this recently-published book looks at the designer decor created by mid-century European designers for their own homes. Many of these houses aren’t open to the public so it’s great that author Leslie Williamson gives us an exclusive peek inside the private spaces of famous designers like Le Corbusier and Robin and Lucienne Day. Each chapter looks at a different house, from Studio Achille Castiglioni in Milan to Finn Juhl’s Scandinavian farmhouse. It includes all kinds of design styles from the era, not just Mid-Century Modern. For example, the photo below shows Italian designer Carlo Mollino’s sitting room in his Turin apartment.

European designer Decor Mollino

The elegant design transcends time, doesn’t it? You might be interested to know that one of Carlo Mollino’s furniture designs set a world record price for a piece of 20th century furniture. In 2005, a Mollino oak and glass table dating to 1949 was sold by Christie’s in New York for a staggering $3,824,000!

It was a simple and streamlined trestle style table and one of four glass-topped tables Mollino created between 1948 and 1950. Nobody knows where two of those tables are now… they’ve got lost somewhere along the way. So keep looking out, you never know where those two multimillion dollar tables might turn up!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

“I am in love with beauty,” he admits in the book’s opening. “I have always loved beautiful objects.” – See more at: http://www.assouline.com/9781614282938.html#sthash.0Ty74SaP.dpuf
“I am in love with beauty,” he admits in the book’s opening. “I have always loved beautiful objects.” – See more at: http://www.assouline.com/9781614282938.html#sthash.0Ty74SaP.dpuf
“I am in love with beauty,” he admits in the book’s opening. “I have always loved beautiful objects.” – See more at: http://www.assouline.com/9781614282938.html#sthash.0Ty74SaP.dpuf

Bookshelf: Cabin Decor and Rustic Retreats

I’ve been browsing some of the latest books on cabin decor and rustic retreats, as spring approaches and the idea of getting away to the great outdoors is very tempting. I bet I’m not the only one with cabin fever after this long winter, so check out these new titles. They give plenty of cabin decor ideas and inspiration for your vacation home or mountain lodge.  Even if you aren’t lucky enough to have a rural retreat, some of the design ideas could be incorporated into your home.

Back to the Cabin: More Inspiration for the Classic American Getaway

Cabin Decor in Back to the CabinArchitect and cabin expert Dale Mulfinger’s first book on cabins was so popular, he’s back with another one. A simple (or not so simple!) cabin in the woods is part of the American dream, and the 37 cabins featured in this book remind us why. It’s all about natural charm and traditional values. The cabins range from tiny rustic retreats to restorations and fancier cabins. The book’s photos give good ideas for all kinds of cabin decor as well as extras like saunas and gorgeous porches. Building your own dream cabin? There are floor plans too!

 

Homes from Home: Inventive Small Spaces, From Chic Shacks To Cabins And Caravans

Cabin decor and hideawaysIf your wilderness hideaway is a small one, you’ll get some great tips from author Vinny Lee. This book covers all kinds of tiny treasures, from cabins (naturally) to mountain chalets, renovated grain stores, boats, Airstream trailers, and even treehouses! There’s a real do-it-yourself spirit in these intimate and individualistic spaces. As Design NJ Magazine said in a review, the book is “a dreamer’s guide to getting away from it all”

 

 

Chalets: Trendsetting Mountain Treasures

Chalets decor and designChalets have evolved from simple herdsmen’s huts in the mountains of the Swiss Alps into something far more lavish today. But even the most upscale Aspen chalet is designed to blend with the mountain landscape in a way that stays true to the humble roots. With 700 photographs, this hefty book takes an armchair journey around chalets of the world, from Austria and France to Japan and South America. And Aspen, Colorado, of course! The stunning images of gorgeous interiors are very enticing, from streamlined modern chalets to rustic and historic beauties.

Tell us about your cabin decor or rustic hideaway in the comments box below!

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Bookshelf: Vacation Homes, Living Artfully, Period Gardens

Summer is a time for dreaming and the first book on my bookshelf this month inspires me with fantasies for my dream vacation home. Another recently published book inspires flights of fancy for designing a period style garden. Perhaps we’ll opt for a vintage 1920s garden once we’ve finished our 1920s bungalow renovation! But even in my wildest dreams I don’t imagine owning three homes as fabulous as those of Marjorie Merriweather Post. Never mind. We can get a sense of her style with a look inside the book…

Designers Abroad: Inside the Vacation Homes of Top Decorators

Designers Abroad: Inside the Vacation Homes of Top DecoratorsThis colorful book takes a peek inside 22 vacation homes owned by leading designers. There are more than 200 photos, from tropical escapes in Mexico, South Africa, and Thailand, to designer Stephen Shubel’s sanctuary in the Loire Valley. It is interesting to see how the decor in the vacation homes is inspired by different countries and cultures. Timothy Corrigan’s apartment in Paris is gorgeous. His dining room is to sigh for, with its decorative wood panel walls, marble fireplace, antique French furniture, and a splendid chandelier. The designers also tell how they achieved the looks in their vacation homes, so there is plenty of inspiration to be found!

American Home Landscapes: A Design Guide to Creating Period Garden Styles

American Home Landscapes: A Design Guide to Creating Period Garden StylesIf you want to create a period garden or just add in some period elements, this book shows the way! It looks at 400 years of American landscape design with more than 300 illustrations to provide inspiration. The authors are the horticultural historian Denise Wiles Adams and landscape designer Laura Burchfield. They clearly know their stuff. They divide garden history into six eras, from 17th-century colonial style up to the end of the 20th century. Dig in to the book to find out about the plants and features such as pathways and fencing used in different periods of history. Then get digging!

 

Living Artfully At Home with Marjorie Merriweather Post

Living Artfully At Home with Marjorie Merriweather PostThe stylish heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post founded General Foods. The businesswoman was also famous for her parties, her philanthropy, and her homes! This illustrated book describes life at three of her homes from the 1950s to the 1970s. You can’t exactly call them vacation homes because she just shifted between them by season. She spent summer at Camp Topridge in the Adirondacks and winter at her villa in Palm Beach. In spring and autumn, you’d find her at her Hillwood Estate in Washington, DC. Marjorie Merriweather Post was a big collector and a fan of 18th century French decorative arts. So we’ve got a love of French antiques in common, although unfortunately I don’t share her enormous wealth! Visitors can see her collections at the Hillwood Mansion and Gardens. But if you can’t make it to the house, check out the book. The author, Estella M. Chung, is a curator at the estate.

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

Bookshelf: Stylish Living, English Country House, Romantic French Homes

I’m surrounded by fine antique furniture all day and talking with customers about their home decor. I often take photos of their homes too, for our client spotlights. So what do I do in my spare time? Curl up with books about antiques and interior decor! I can’t get enough of seeing how people make their living space so uniquely personal to them.

These three new books provide lots of home design ideas. They’re great for anyone who loves traditional stylish living.

Designers at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living

Our customers have their own sense of stylish living, but it's still fun to peek inside the homes of design gurus! EuroLuxAntiques.comOur customers have their own sense of stylish living. They trust their own taste above the opinion of any interior designer. Still, it’s always fun to take a sneak peek inside the homes of design gurus! Lifestyle blogger Ronda Rice Carman (foreword by Martha Stewart) explores the personal spaces of famous interior designers. For example: Hutton Wilkinson’s Beverly Hills pad, Nicky Haslam’s historic hunting lodge, and Barry Dixon’s Edwardian manor. It’s perking up my energy for our 1920s bungalow renovation!

Romance & Revival in an English Country House

Ideas for stylish living the English way by Nicky Haslam. Nicky Haslam’s Folly De Grandeur: Romance and Revival in an English Country House gives a closer look at how Haslam renovated his home. The posh society interior designer has a glittering list of clients including Mick Jagger. Haslam has called his home “the prettiest small house in the world.” Small? He says none of the rooms in the Tudor part of the hunting lodge is more than 12 feet square! He shows that size is no obstacle to stylish living. You can make even the smallest space comfy and welcoming.

If this book inspires you, check out our English Antique Furniture and reproduction furniture in the English style.

Romantic French Homes

Romantic French Homes EuroLuxAntiques.comLove French style as much as we do? This book captures the spirit of French home decor. It shows both formal and casual interior decor, for fancy entertaining or just enjoying family time. During our antiques buying trips in Europe, we accept every invitation we can to see inside French homes. We love low they use heirlooms and antiques for a timeless, romantic, and very stylish living space. This book by American writer Lanie Goodman gives a glimpse inside country manors, farmhouses, city apartments and townhouses. You’ll spot a few chateaux too!

Want some French romance for the castle you call home? Browse our antique French furniture collection. You’ll find armoires, buffets, vintage chandeliers and home decor accessories plus our personally selected high-quality reproductions.

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

The Vintage Art of Writing Letters

The Love Letter by Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta, 1841-1920

The Love Letter by Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta, 1841-1920

It may seem old-fashioned to write a proper snail mail letter in these days of text messages, emails, and social media. But it’s that old-fashioned quality – the novelty of it! – that makes it special to receive a real letter. It puts a smile on someone’s face. As Phyllis Theroux said: “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”

We call this blog Letters from EuroLux because it feels like we’re penning a note directly to you, our friends interested in traditional and antique furnishings and lifestyle, home decor, and design. Some people call letter writing a lost art… we prefer to call it a vintage art!

Vintage Art of Writing LettersEven if there’s no specific reason to write to someone, like a thank you letter, you can always write to people you haven’t been in touch with lately, just to tell them your news. Or send a note of appreciation to someone who had an influence on you – a mentor or teacher, perhaps. Or send a letter to a family member or friend, even if you’re frequently in touch. They’re bound to be delighted. It’s a great way to slow down and reflect on what a person means to us, and to tell them things we wouldn’t always say in the rush of an email.

Vintage French Oak Secretary Desk from EuroLuxAntiques.comLetter writing is even more of a pleasure when you have a nice pen, some attractive notepaper, and a beautiful writing desk! We love the customized stationery at Iomoi, in classic designs with a contemporary edge. (Or “tradition with a wink” as they describe it.) We also love this vintage 1950 French Oak Secretary Desk at EuroLuxAntiques.com, with beautiful carving and a fab Fleur de Lis motif. The desk has plenty of drawers, shelves, and a cubby hole to tuck away your writing gear and the letters you’ve received yourself!

Antique French Gothic Desk with Keyboard Tray from EuroLuxAntiques.comThe vintage art of writing letters meets the 21st century! If you prefer to write your letters by computer, rather than by hand, and print them out to sign and mail, the recipient will be just as pleased. This heavily carved antique French Gothic solid oak desk dating to 1850 has been updated with the addition of a pull-out keyboard tray. So you can have the traditional feel of an authentic antique desk (standing over 6 feet high – whew, that’s big enough for all your home office bits and pieces!) and all the benefits of modern communications.

Letters of the Century: America 1900-1999. Get inspiration for your letters from Mark Twain and Charlie Chaplain
For inspiration, check out the book Letters of the Century: America 1900-1999. The book features letters written by ordinary folk capturing moments in history, and letters by famous people including Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, and Charlie Chaplain.

 

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her husband and best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

 

Bookshelf: Audubon, Gardens & Elegant Decor

Everyone knows I love fine French antique furniture. But, like everyone else, my interests are diverse. I love gardening (as you can see from my Vintage Life blog series). I love the challenge of restoring a classic American bungalow. I love taking nature walks with Greg to enjoy the beauty of trees, flowers and birds.

And when I’m not living my passions, I love doing the next best thing: Reading about them.

A trio of recently released books from publisher Skira Rizzoli will feed my senses with stunning photos and engaging commentary. These books will not only make great reading, but I think they’ll look terrific on the coffee table.

The Elegant Garden by Johann Kraftner

Now that the winter doldrums have set in, are you feeling a flush of cabin fever? This book will rescue you! Lavishly illustrated, this 432-page book covers every type of garden imaginable. Whether you’re keen to fashion formal English style gardens to complement your Victorian home or you lean more towards a prairie look, this lovely tome will provide you with a visual feast and plenty of ideas to implement when the spring thaw finally enables you to get back outdoors.

The Age of Elegance by Alex Papachristidis

If you follow American interior design at all, you’ll recognize the name of designer Alex Papachristidis. Known for his love of 18th century furniture and his eclectic design style, Papachristidis rooms never fail to delight. No matter where your decorating tastes lie, this book is sure to please, with photographs of 16 residences designed by Papachristidis. Ranging from New York mansions to a beach house on Cape Cod, the interiors presented will inspire you to incorporate elegance into your own decor.

Audubon’s Aviary: The Original Watercolors for the Birds of America

Because we’ve recently added a line of high-quality reproduction aviary and botanical prints to our online collection, I was delighted to discover this sensational book that spotlights Audubon’s original watercolor paintings that were later turned into the engravings we’re all so familiar with in “Birds of America.” Truly a work of art, this coffee table book will provide you and your guests with a rare look at Audubon’s paintings and historical insight through the text by Roberta Olson.

What kinds of books do you enjoy? I could use some suggestions to fill my winter reading list!

 

 Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

Don’t miss a blog post! Enter your email to subscribe below:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Bookshelf: Napkin Folding, Soups & More

Part of what I love about living with antiques is the innate sense of history each piece embodies. And nowhere is this more evident than with antique or vintage French Country kitchen furniture. When I sit down at my antique kitchen table, I can almost feel the original owners gathered around, the entire family enjoying a bowl of the classic French pot au feu. Who knows how many generations ate this hearty stew and drank wine together at this very table? I love France, and my antique dining table connects me with those wonderful people on a soulful level.

So I was delighted to discover a trio of new books from Robert Rose publishing that will help you enjoy your antique furnishings during this holiday season. Two are cookbooks and one teaches you how to create elegant napkin folds — perfect for any occasion, and particularly appropriate for those planning a Victorian Christmas. Let’s dive right in!

Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds

This delightful book by Denise Vivaldo takes you through all kinds of fun and pretty napkin folds with skill levels that range from easy to challenging. Vivaldo has catered everything from the Academy Awards Governor’s Ball to Hollywood wrap parties, so she knows her stuff. The book is helpfully wire-bound so you can set it flat right next to you as you walk through the steps to create each napkin fold.

Napkin folding is kind of a lost art, yet it will make your family members and friends feel very special to sit down at a place setting that includes a folded napkin. And your holiday dinners will feel even fancier with the simple touch of a folded napkin.

In the book, Vivaldo also discusses how to choose the right napkins for any occasion, what to look for in terms of fabric (to make folding work better), and what size napkin to use for various occasions (think: cocktail napkins, luncheon napkins, dinner napkins, and even paper napkins). This is a book that will reside on your bookshelf for years to come, as you discover the fun of napkin folding.

I thought this “orchid fold” would look particularly lovely on a Victorian Christmas table. Email me for a full-size version of the photo you can print out and keep! (Note: All photos and recipes courtesy www.robertrose.ca.)

Orchid Napkin Fold Directions from EuroLux Antiques.jpg (5.19 mb)

150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the volume of cooking involved in the holidays? I know I do. So, I was pleased to discover this book of delicious (and simple!) grilled cheese sandwiches. Written by Alison Lewis, a nationally known recipe developer, 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches includes selections that range from humble to decadent.

A little history (because antiquers always love history!): The grilled cheese sandwich dates back to about 1920. It became popular during the Great Depression as an inexpensive company supper dish and was often called the “Cheese Dream.”

If you picture the grilled cheese sandwich of your childhood and can’t stomach even the thought of the calorie load, you’ll be happy to learn Lewis’s book includes tips on how to lighten-up a grilled cheese sandwich (hint: use grainy mustards and Greek yogurt) and devotes an entire chapter to light and healthy sandwiches.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are enjoying a huge resurgence and were recently named a major trend in cooking. These sandwiches can be fun to prepare with guests, and you can even create dessert sandwiches!

One of our favorites to help us get out of the holiday turkey rut is this decadent-looking Grilled Roast Beef and Stilton sandwich.

Grilled Roast Beef and Stilton
Serves 4

You’ll need: a panini grill or large skillet. Preheat panini grill to medium, if using.

  • 8 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or basil aioli
  • 12 oz thinly sliced roast beef
  • 1 cup arugula leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup crumbled Stilton cheese (or your favorite blue cheese)
  1. Brush one side of each bread slice with butter. Place on a work surface, buttered side down. Spread 4 bread slices equally with mayonnaise. Top equally with roast beef, arugula, tomatoes and cheese. Cover with remaining bread slices, buttered side up, and press together gently.
  2. Place sandwiches on preheated panini grill or in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, turning once if using a skillet, for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

300 Sensational Soups

Getting back to that pot au feu I mentioned earlier… With their classic beef stew, the French knew this truism: A good soup nourishes the heart as well as the stomach. This fabulous soup cookbook by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds will keep your family warm all winter. When you share the sublime soup recipes in this book, you’ll connect with friends and family members on an intimate level.

Vegetarians and vegans will be happy to know the book contains plenty of meat-free selections. There’s even a classic pot au feu recipe! But I loved this decadent lobster chowder recipe because I think it would make a beautiful first course for any holiday dinner.

Rich Lobster and Roasted Corn Chowder
Serves 6

Preheat oven to 425F. You’ll also need a large rimmed baking sheet.

  • 3 cups corn kernels (fresh or thawed frozen)
  • 1 1/2 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 Tbl unsalted butter
  • 3 cooked lobster tails (each about 10 oz), meat removed and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 3 Tbl chopped fresh chives
  1. On a baking sheet, combine corn, oil, 1/2 tsp of the salt and 1/4 tsp of the black pepper; toss to coast evenly and spread in a single layer. Roast in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Stir and redistribute into an even layer. Roast until corn is lightly but evenly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, saute bacon over medium heat until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Pour off all but 2 tbsp of the fat in the pot. Add onions and saute until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add cayenne and saute for 1 minute. Add potatoes, stock, clam juice, and the remaining salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in roasted corn and cream; return to a simmer, stirring often, until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Do not let boil.
  4. In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add lobster meat and saute until heated through, about 1 minute.
  5. Ladle chowder into heated bowls and top with lobster. Garnish with reserved bacon and chives.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and the napkin-folding instructions and can use these ideas for your holiday entertaining — and the cold weeks ahead! These three books from Robert Rose will make a welcome addition to your antique French Country kitchen bookshelf. (Note: We are not affiliated with Robert Rose in any way.)

What elegant, decadent, or surprising dishes do you make during the holidays? Do you salute your ethnicity through food? Please share with us in the comments!

 Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

Get our blog posts delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner. We respect your email privacy.