Sunday, February 10, 2013

Host Your Own Mardi Gras Party

Whether you have been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras or not, you can still host your own Fat Tuesday celebration with ease and confidence.

Follow the suggestions below and all your guests will be happy.  We have something for those that like the traditional fare as well as vegan and gluten-free.  There are also two types of the ever-popular drink -- The Hurricane.

The Decor

If you love Halloween, then you are going to really like Mardi Gras.  The official colors for Halloween are Black and Orange.  However, coming off Christmas, you get to continue with vibrant colors.  Mardi Gras colors are purple, gold, and green.

Ginger at Deep Fried Kudzu starts our party off with a beautiful wreath on the front door. 
Mardi Gras Ornament Wreath

Mardi Gras is a bit of a cross between a Masquerade Party and Halloween.  Decorating the house over the top with feathers, masks, beads, and streamers is a must.  In addition, everyone gets to dress up in harlequin, black, and all the fun colors.  Check out this table scape by Kendall from Kendall's Entertaining Life.

Mardi Gras Table by Kendall's Entertaining Life
Mardi Gras Party Decorations

The Menu

Now that we have the house decorated, let's take a look at the menu.  New Orleans is known for its cajun spicy dishes.  So, we'll have some spicy food, King's Cake to satisfy our sweet tooth and pay homage to the three kings.  Oh, we didn't forget a couple other items that are a New Orleans/Mardi Gras tradition.  Keep reading...

We will start the menu with Shrimp Etoufee brought to us by Buttery Books.
Shrimp Etoufee by Buttery Books
Shrimp Etoufee

Tonight is about everyone so we have a Vegan Etoufee, courtesy of Susan from FatFree Vegan Kitchen,  for those who are vegan, vegetarian, trying to get a little more vegetables in their diet, or still sticking with their New Year's Resolution to eat a bit healthier.  :-)
Vegan Etoufee by FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Vegan Etoufee

For the meat lovers, here is a Jambalaya dish The Two Bite Club has cooked up for us.
Laura's Jambalaya by The Two Bite Club
Laura's Jambalaya

Heidi over at The Conscious Perspective is providing us with a vegan version of jambalaya for our Mardi Gras party.
Vegan Jambalaya

Feeling a little thirsty yet?  How about quenching your taste buds with a powerful hurricane?  Do you ever watch The Food Network Channel?  If so, then you've probably caught an episode or two (or at least heard) of The Neelys.  Patrick and Gina Neely came up with a true Southern Hurricane for those who are of the legal age to enjoy.
Hurricane by The Neelys on the Food Network
Hurricane by Patrick and Gina Neely

Is one Hurricane enough for you?  "Wait a minute, Marie.  Isn't this party supposed to have something for everyone?  What about those who aren't quite of the proper age or don't drink alcohol?"  I hear ya!  Never fear.  We have a family friendly Hurricane for everyone to enjoy.  In fact, Holidays Central came up with this particular beverage as well as some others you might like to try.
Non-Alcoholic Hurricane by Holidays Central
Non-Alcoholic Hurricane

Carol Fenster has made some light and fluffy beignets.  Years ago there was a stand in the New Orleans airport that sold beignets and whether I needed it or not, a bag of beignets and a cup of cafe au lait went on the plane with me.  Now, with Carol's help, these can be made in the comfort of our own home!
Gluten Free French Beignets by Carol Fenster
Gluten Free French Beignets

After our beignet detour, are you ready for the official dessert of Mardi Gras?  It is the King Cake.  Traditionally, it is in a bundt style shape, half cake/half bread texture, and decorated with Gold, Purple, and Green.  Also, a porcelain baby or uncooked bean (lima or something on that order) is placed inside the cake somewhere.  The lucky person who gets the surprise is usually crowned king or queen for the day and gets to bring the cake and/or host the next Mardi Gras celebration.

Jeanne Sauvage of Art of Gluten-Free Baking has a wonderful recipe as well as a little history for this King Cake.
Gluten-Free King Cake by Art of Gluten-Free Baking
Gluten-Free King Cake

Sometimes single portions or miniature cakes are the way to go.  Try these Mardi Gras King Cupcakes by Frog Prince Paperie.
Mardi Gras King Cupcakes by Frog Prince Paperie
King Cupcakes

What will you serve at your Mardi Gras Party?  Please link your posts with us showcasing your decorations, projects, menu, or celebrations.

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