|My kids are in Catholic school and last year I became a Catholic myself so Lent is a big deal around here. My eight year old came home from school the other day wanting to know what I was going to give up for Lent. I’m still thinking about that… Hmm, Some people give up sweets or meat or shopping, anything that is a sacrifice for you.
Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday”, is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the fasting period of Lent in some Christian traditions. As such, it is traditionally a day to eat, drink, and be merry before the austere fasting season begins, leading up to Easter. In North America, Mardi Gras is most closely associated with New Orleans and other Southern cities, such as Mobile, Alabama. French settlers brought the tradition with them from France and Canada, and it has grown and taken on its own Southern flavor.
|This is my e-vite I chose from pingg.com|
One of the most popular foods during Mardi Gras is the king cake, consumed by the carload and traditionally sold in bakeries, grocery stores and delis from January 6 to Ash Wednesday. Locals and visitors alike eat king cake for breakfast, coffee break, and dessert. In fact, almost any excuse to grab a slice will do.
The tradition of king cake dates back to the Middle Ages when a popular devotion during Christmas was placed on the Three Wise Men (or Kings) who followed the North Star to find Christ. The twelfth night after the birth of Christ marks the end of Christmas and the celebration of Epiphany. Thus, Twelfth Night in some cultures became a time for pageants and giving special presents to children. Along with gifts came the celebratory cake, or king cake.
Today’s king cake is a confection made of braided Danish pastry, laced with cinnamon. It is always iced in the Mardi Gras colors of purple (justice), green (faith) and gold (power). Hidden in each king cake is a tiny plastic baby. The person who finds the baby must buy the next king cake or host the next party. Contemporary king cakes are often filled with cream cheese, fruit fillings, such as apple or strawberry, and other fillings.
Here is a super easy King cake recipe on Allrecipes.com. It uses store bought sweet mix that comes in a can. I’m not into slaving all day to make a sweet bread. It’s more for the look anyway. I have cocktails to get to!
Now here are some ideas for New Orleans style cocktails:
New Orleans Hurricane
Directions: Pour the ice cubes into a hurricane glass. Add the rums, vodka, gin, liqueur, triple sec, and orange juice into a mixer and shake a few times. Pour the drink into the hurricane glass. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.
French Quarter Fizz
Directions: Pour ingredients in a mixer filled with ice. Shake it until it is well mixed and then pour into a glass. Add more grenadine if desired and garnish with a cherry.
Directions: Add the three ingredients in a mixer filled with ice. Shape it and then strain the liquid into a martini glass. Garnish with a piece of pineapple and serve.
Now I happen to think the first recipe would be great to serve in a big punchbowl. But I’m afraid my guests might become totally plastered if they drink this and I don’t want any of them driving home on my country road and landing themselves in one of the ditches that is next to the side of the road. The third one sounds good but sweet but where am I going to find Raspberry wine in California? Do they mean that cheap wine we used to drink in high school, what was that. Boone’s Farm ?
I’ll probably go with number two…
On to decorations: I hope some of these ideas inspire you to create your own projects. I can’t wait to make something like one of the following projects:
This printable banner on Etsy I LOVE. You buy it ,download it and can print it out on cardstock:
A candlestick made from Mardi Gras Plastic beads on Craftster :
A gorgeous wreath on Etsy:
A cute banner also on Etsy
Look at this incredible leather mask from Etsy
A cute door sign on Etsy
Cool Clip Art you can use for projects:
An old Mardi Gras street scene. This would make a neat banner.
And now to some vintage clip art I found on The Fabric Fairy..
She is amazing!