Happy Mardi Gras

Happy Mardi Gras!

I have so many wonderful memories of Mardi Gras from growing up in New Orleans. I remember some of the costumes I wore, the ladder seats we sat in, scavenging the ground for beads, watching the St. Aug band play, and eating Popeye’s chicken.

Those memories spurred me into having our own little Mardi Gras party despite the fact that we are 600 miles from the real event.

Like most parties I host, I was planning on decorating and cleaning right up to the minute when guests walk in the front door.

This time that plan backfired on me.

Our party was set for 4:00 on a Sunday afternoon. I thought…plenty of time to cook and work on things. That’s a great plan exept that I became sick at 6:00pm the night before the party. I mean, I went down quick and was in bed by 8:15.

In came my superhero husband. He cleaned and cooked up a storm. Without him there would have been no party. I was still in bed when it was only one hour until the party and went back to bed about an hour after the party.

So, our decorations were minimal. Not my best work but it is what it is. After all, I’m pretty sure everyone was there for the crawfish pasta and king cake, anyway.

My mom sent the adorable mask along with Mardi Gras plates, napkins, and shirts for the party. The mask was placed in a flower vase filled with purple beads. I added the gold signs which read, “Let the Good Times Roll,” and the same in french,”Laissez Le Bons Temps Rouler.”

The only other decoration I put up for the party was the “Parades” sign. I actually wasn’t able to finish the sign since I got sick so the last parade, Crescent City, has a lighter coat of paint than the others.

And no I haven’t gone back to complete the sign. I got things to do.

I remember getting up early on Mardi Gras day to get to our spot on the parade route. First came Zulu and the thrill of them throwing decorated coconuts, Rex with the huge cow float, and then the truck parades, Elks and Crescent City, which each had over 120 floats in a row.

Steps in creating the sign:

1) Paint large board purple

2) Print out the names of the parades and arrange on the board.

3) Take the slip of paper with the parade name on it and turn it over. Color the letters with a white crayon (you are coloring on the back of the paper).

4) Turn the paper over so that the crayon will make contact with the board.

5) Trace the letters with a pen onto the board.

6) Lift the paper up and you will see a faint outline of the parade name.

7) Color inside the letters with paint.

Go here to see our Mardi Gras wreath.

Do you have any favorite Mardi Gras memories?

Homemade King Cake

We love King Cake around here.

Every time we have king cake the boys mention to each other, “Mom got king cake at school every week when she was little.” I try to tell them it only occurred during Mardi Gras season but I can’t deter their thoughts of what a pitiful school experience they are having compared to me.

My mom sent us a Randazzo’s king cake for Derek’s birthday. It was devoured in 3 days. The only reason it wasn’t gone faster was because I wouldn’t let them have it for breakfast. Alex “got the baby” in the Randazzo king cake so he knew it was his turn to provide the next cake.

Occasionally, Alex would remind me it was his turn to buy the next king cake . Our neighborhood grocery store was the only place which came to mind for buying a king cake but frankly, they looked quite unappealing to me.

While browsing the magazine section one day in Lowe’s, I started flipping through a Sandra Lee magazine. Behind all of the Valentine treats she was featuring was a small section on Mardi Gras recipes. Gumbo, etouffee, and king cake were listed as well as dirty rice.

While reading I whispered, “Homemade king cake.” Alex was at my side in a second. “Oh, can we try? Can we make that tonight?” Seeing as it was already 4:45 I appeased him by buying the magazine and promising to make the dessert soon.

A few days later, after gathering the supplies, I decided the time was right to make the king cake. We were once again stuck in the house all day due to ice. I was desperate for an activity (and frankly, something sweet) so I told the boys we were celebrating Friday night dessert early because of the weather.

Here’s a picture of our ingredients: 3 cans of cinnamon rolls with icing (we didn’t use the extra one shown here), a plastic baby, and sprinkles. Our sprinkles are not the traditional gold, purple, and green since we used what was in the pantry.

ingredients for king cake1) First we buttered the baking sheet.

2) We unrolled the 3 cans and separated each cinnamon roll.

3) We then formed an oval shape with the rolls. Sandra Lee suggests using 5 cans of cinnamon rolls but I thought that would be a tad gluttonous for us.

4) We baked the cinnamon rolls / king cake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

5) We waited 15 minutes for it to cool (Next time we’ll try 5-10 minutes) , covered it with the cinnamon roll icing, and then covered with sprinkles.

The finished product!

Considering they each ate the king cake 3 times in 24 hours I’d say it was a big hit. (By the way, Andrew got the baby this time).