Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Mardi Gras!

I have never celebrated Mardi Gras before. Thomas, on the other hand, spent two years in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina, and for him the holiday has a lot of significance. So Jamie and I took it upon ourselves to surprise him with a Mardi Gras celebration! We made red beans and rice and King Cakes and found Mardi Gras beads to wear. Thomas had NO IDEA about any of it. When he got home from campus, Jamie threw the beads around his neck and announced, "Happy Mardi Gras!" He was almost overwhelmed by the sights and smells of our King Cakes on the table and the red beans in the crockpot. Unbeknownst to me, he had been bummed all day that he wasn't doing anything for Mardi Gras and had even tweeted about wanting some King Cake. Little did he know Jamie and I were busy working on them! It was one of the best surprises ever.

Making the cakes...
King Cakes are a traditional part of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. They are round cakes covered in purple, green, and gold sugar sprinkles, and they have a plastic baby hidden inside. Tradition has it that the person who finds the baby in their piece has to make the next cake. I used this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs. Jamie helped me make the dough and then later put the sprinkles on. Wow did he love that part!
don't worry, the stove was NOT ON at this stage!
His first time licking a beater! It's not often I use the beaters on something without raw eggs so he had never gotten to before. He loved it!
time for sprinkles! The purple ones were a different brand and came out EXTREMELY fast. Almost the whole bottle got used up!
now for green...
and yellow...
eyeing the cakes...
Dinner time! I used this recipe for the red beans and rice, which probably isn't the most authentic New Orleans recipe, BUT I was able to find Andouille sausage! We ate dinner wearing our festive beads. :)


And the moment Jamie was waiting for all day... Time for cake!
My piece had the baby! I was hoping Jamie would get it but I didn't remember where it was in the cake. Maybe next year!
My favorite non-food related moment of the day: Jamie ran into the kitchen with his stuffed Grinch, exclaiming, "He will steal Mardi Gras!" Made me laugh SO hard.
Also, this:
Peter and his mommy got in on the action.
Thomas said both the red beans and rice and the King Cakes were the best he'd ever had. High praise! And since the recipe made two cakes, he took the second one to campus today to share with his classmates. We had such a great Mardi Gras! We'll have to make it a yearly tradition, though it might not be quite as fun without the surprise factor.

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