Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Well WHO DAT be knockin at my bloggin door?! LMAO! Welcome to the Mardi Gras edition of my life LOL! Its gonna be a cold one, let me tell ya! Freezing temps must be combated by none other than what else?

Yep… A PARTY!!! Get the warm ovens and cookers going and the blood flowing and we’ll have no problems staying warm! So today is about decorations and foods for the last day of Mardi Gras! This year, Mardi Gras Day is on Tuesday, February 16, 2010. Mardi Gras begins on "Twelfth Night," (12 days after Christmas) on the 6th of January, culminating on Mardi Gras Day. Each year, Mardi Gras Day is 46 days before Easter, and thus is on a different date (although always on a Tuesday) each year. Mardi Gras which is French, meaning "Fat Tuesday", is the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of lent. For many, the celebration is highly religious, but for some, Mardi Gras is an opportunity to celebrate and be festive as much as possible before lent. Now, here’s a great article I read on Taste of Home… I couldn’t have written a better one myself, so I’ll share it here.

A Family-Friendly Mardi Gras Celebration

Bring the flavor of New Orleans to your home on Fat Tuesday with these party plans. It's easy to turn your house into a family-friendly French Quarter for Mardi Gras with a few decorations and most importantly, some Cajun cuisine.

Traditionally, Mardi Gras is a three-day celebration prior to Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The final day of Mardi Gras is known as Fat Tuesday. It serves as the last big chance to "live it up" before forty days of fasting.

Here are a few ideas to make your party the hit of the season:

Send out paper masks as invitations to a masquerade ball. In New Orleans, invitations, not tickets, are distributed for attendance at Carnival balls during Mardi Gras season.

Use bright colors and shiny flatware for your table or buffet. The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold. Lay aluminum doubloons or shiny chocolate coins around your table interspersed with sparkly, colorful beads and masks.

Bring the party to Bourbon Street by setting the mood with a little Zydeco, Cajun or Jazz music. Bands like the Funky Meters, Buckwheat Zydeco or Preservation Hall Jazz Band are sure to set the tone.

Pass out feathered masks or inexpensive paper masks and beads to guests as they arrive at your party, then ask the guests to add their names to an elaborate Mardi Gras-themed hat. Crown a king or a queen for the day by picking names out of the hat, then have the king and queen wear the hat for the rest of the party.

Bake your own King Cake (see recipe below) —a ring of twisted pastry or bread topped with purple and green frosting or colored sugar that contains a plastic doll hidden inside. The person who finds the doll is supposed to have good luck for the year and is crowned the "King of the Feast."

Have children follow a parade route through the house conga line-style. Give them colorful beads and doubloons to throw to the adults at the party, or vice-versa.”

OK so lets start the day off right with some “Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Pancakes!” Check out these I made for the kids! (I have 2 sick home today!) I even put their beads on the plate too… extra festive!

Now let’s talk crafts! Like the article said, the colors of Mardi Gras are gold (symbolizing "power"), purple (symbolizing "justice"), and green (symbolizing "faith"). You can find tons of cute and glittery decorations at most Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, JoAnns and other crafts stores as well as party stores like Party City, etc. But you know me and what do I always say? Where’s the fun in that?! Let’s get crafty and whip up some of these great homemade decorations!

Paper chain garland is always a simple decoration. Grab some scrapbook or construction paper in green, purple, and gold and cut into strips. Then glue, tape, or staple the “chain links” together, alternating colors.

Laying strings of beads on the table or hanging them for ceilings and walls can add a nice little flare to your decorations. You can also use Christmas lights to decorate.

You can make your own table runner in the traditional gold, green and purple colors for Mardi Gras. To do this all you will need is some glue, glitter, and a fabric in the color of your choice. Once you have the fabric run glue all around it and add the glitter to it to make it very decorative for Mardi Gras. Cut the fabric down to size for your table and then you can tape the edges down underneath the table. You can get these supplies at your local craft store for about ten dollars and you can use any fabric you choose including plastic or felt. This is a very simple easy homemade idea for getting your house ready for Mardi Gras.

You can also make a homemade Mardi Gras decorative bowl for serving treats. You will need a plastic or glass bowl and some paint in the gold, green or purple colors. Paint the bowl in the color of your choice and then let it dry for a day. This bowl can come in handy as a food serving bowl or you can fill the bowl up with beads to add flare to your house during Mardi Gras. This bowl will be perfect for Mardi Gras and can be made by supplies from your local craft store or retail store for about six dollars. Or you can use a bowl you may already have to save money! If you have a colored bowl, you can also simply dress it up with Mardi Gras and Carnival Stickers for a cheap & easy party prop!

Mardi Gras Shoebox Float
These mini floats make great table centerpieces and can even be made with special places to hold fresh flowers, foods like dips, etc.!

Materials needed:

Shoe box with lid (one for each float you'll make)
Glitter, tissue paper, construction paper, aluminum foil, paint, paintbrushes, or other decorative materials

1: Pick a theme for your float. or use an actual New Orleans Mardi Gras Parades theme. Be creative when choosing your theme. It could be anything you like your favorite movie, political or current events or even Mardi Gras as theme itself.

Shoe Box Float Themes
Usually decorations on Shoe box floats followed simple themes from book report stories, Movies, favorite television shows of which represented story characters scenes and events, to serious themes like "Just say no to drugs", or "Hurricane Katrina Recovery" or "The kingdom of make-believe!" just as an example. These floats theme and design are limited only by your own imagination and of what you have on hand to decorate with.

Remember a Mardi Gras Float is rolling scenery or just a background for the riders. Some floats are castles others battlefields and places created from the imagination of the float designer. You can look up Mardi Gras Float pictures on the internet for lots of great ideas!

Take your box and cover both parts (the lid and the base) with the colored Christmas paperback foil wrapping paper or plain aluminum foil. Then, flip the box over and attach the lid to one side of the box using the stapler or, a hot glue gun, or tape.

2: Remove the lid from the shoebox, turn the box upside down on the table and glue the lid (so that it stands up) to one end. Now your float will have a back.

3: Decorate your float using tinfoil, tissue paper, glitter, paint, markers, and other materials. Toys and even Christmas cards or pages out of story books. Get creative and as they say think out of the box!

Mardi Gras Mask

You need:

Mask Pattern
Purple Craft Foam
Sequins and/or Gemstones
Wooden Skewer or Dowel
Metallic Pipe Cleaners
Low Temp Glue Gun


Print the Mask Pattern. Staple it all around the outside edges to craft foam. Cut it out. Paint dowel gold. Let dry. Decorate mask using gemstones, glitter and gold paint. Wrap pipe cleaners around a pencil. Glue with feathers to the back of the mask. Hot glue one end of the mask to the dowel.

You can also make some masks and leave the dowel off and hang on the wall for decorations.

Jester's Hat

You need:

Jester Hat Pattern
4 pieces of Craft Foam (green, purple, yellow or gold)
Low Temp Glue Gun
36 Jingle Bells - 3/8"


Cut a piece of craft foam into a 3" strips. Glue together using a low temp glue gun until you have enough to fit around the child's head. Print 8 pages of the Jester Hat Pattern. Staple to foam around edges and cut out. Glue each piece to the top inside edge of the foam crown. Glue two jingle bells on each point. Glue jingle bells all around the crown.

Mask Bouquet
Mardi Gras mask bouquets are easy and elegant centerpiece ideas. You can buy several different sized and shaped Mardi Gras masks from a local discount or online party store. You will also want to obtain a purple, green or gold vase, flower arrangement foam, a hot glue gun and several long, thin craft sticks.

Place the foam in the vase. Hot glue your masks to the craft sticks and place into the foam in the vase. Vary the mask lengths and placements. Tie a multicolored Mardi Gras ribbon around the neck of the vase to complete the look.

Treasure Chest
You can create a Mardi Gras treasure chest centerpiece that can also double for your guests' party favors. You will need one large box base, scotch tape, a stapler, gold, green or purple tissue paper, ribbon and glitter pen, Mardi Gras beads, doubloons, miniature Mardi Gras masks, feathers, a king cake and cellophane bags.

Begin by taping the colored tissue paper to both the inside and outside of the box. Staple the feathers to the rim of the box. Then fill the box with all your Mardi Gras beads, doubloons and other novelty items. Cut your king cake into individual pieces and place the pieces in cellophane bags. Tie the bags with a ribbon and use the glitter pen to write your guests names on them

If you plan on crowning a king and queen of Mardi Gras, be sure to have crowns, scepters, and royal purple robes. If you aren't going to have a crowning ceremony, these items would be great to create a photo-op area or just use for decorations.

Oh goodness… there is so much you can do for decorations… AND a menu too! Cajun corn chowder, seafood gumbo, crab cakes, Bloody Marys, Shrimp Remoulade, crawfish dip, Andouille Sausage, Jambalaya, Etoufee, etc. You name it! OMG I love Cajun food… and yes that INCLUDES alligator! YUM! Since there are TONS of great Mardi Gras recipes you can make, I want you to 1. Check out Taste of Home Mardi Gras Recipes for tons of awesome ideas and 2. Check out these recipes right at your fingertips that I’ve posted here… all courtesy of Taste of Home.

Chunky Crawfish Spread


1 package (16 ounces) frozen cooked crawfish tails, thawed
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 to 12 drops hot pepper sauce
Assorted crackers


Chop crawfish; pat dry. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the peppers, onion, garlic, Creole seasoning, salt and hot pepper sauce; stir in the crawfish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with crackers.

New Orleans Jambalaya


1 pound smoked kielbasa or smoked Polish sausage,. cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed or 1 pound of shrimp, shelled
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups uncooked rice
2 cups water
1/2 pound fresh or frozen uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


In a Dutch oven, saute sausage for 1 minute. Add chicken; saute 2 minutes longer. Add the celery, onion, green pepper and garlic; saute for 2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink; stir. Let stand for 5 minutes to absorb any remaining liquid before serving. Fluff with a fork.

Roasted Cajun Potatoes


2-1/2 pounds medium red potatoes
1/4 cup Crisco® Light Olive Oil or Canola Oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


Cut each potato lengthwise into eight wedges. In a large bowl, combine the oil, shallots, garlic, salt, paprika, cayenne and pepper; add potatoes and toss to coat. Place in a greased roasting pan.

Bake, uncovered, at 450° for 45-50 minutes or until tender and golden brown, turning every 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Traditional Mardi Gras Kings Cake
(No Mardi Gras is complete without this cake LOL! A "King Cake," also known as a "Twelfth Night Cake," or "Twelfth Cake," is a colorful cake which contains a plastic doll (baby) baked inside. Originally, a bean was baked into the cake, but the plastic baby doll is more commonly used today. The most common New Orleans King Cake is rolled with cinnamon and covered with icing or glazing with green, gold, and purple sugar sprinkled on top. The person who gets the slice of King Cake with the baby must provide the next King Cake (or host the following year's "Twelfth Night.")


2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
2 egg yolks
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten

1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons water
Green, purple and yellow sugars


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1/2 cup sugar, butter, milk, egg yolks, salt, lemon peel, nutmeg and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 16-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over dough to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet; pinch ends together to form a ring. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Brush with egg.

Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. For glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and enough water to achieve desired consistency. Spread over cake. Sprinkle with colored sugars.

Ok, so today we’ve covered Mardi Gras… crafts, foods, and even a bit of history lessons throughout, right? LOL alrighty then… my work here is done LMAO! So I’m off to get dressed in my bestest beads, my brightest purples and greens, and have a crazy Cajun day! Ya’ll be safe and have an awesome day! HUGS!

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