Category Archives: mardi gras

Mardi Gras party

It’s that time of year! Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, so it was time for our party. We had it a little earlier than usual because of scheduling conflicts with next weekend, but it’s all good in the end.

We had a good lineup of food, but then again, whenever we get together – there is a lot of food LOL!

John made vegetarian red beans and rice (from scratch).

These were very good. I’ll have to have him post the link to the recipe because I don’t know what it was.

Top: Shrimp and grits. Cheese grits topped with shrimp cooked with bacon. From Bobby Flay. This was really good.

Left: Tabasco biscuits (from my sis). Recipe here. Nice and spicy!

Right: Baked chicken with a creole sauce.  I did the chicken and sauce separate in case John wanted some sauce with his meal. Here is the recipe for that.  It’s really good and chock full of veggies.

There was game playing, although I didn’t partake this time because I was finishing up the dessert. Bread pudding.

On one of our first trips to New Orleans, I took a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. It was a fun class and we got to eat at the end! I loved the bread pudding recipe and it’s the one we always use. You can customize it 10 ways to Sunday with different flavors like chocolate, peanut butter, pineapple, etc. This time, the raisins and coconut were omitted (I don’t think we have ever put in raisins) and it was just the basics. This dessert is so worthy. Hello pound that I lost last week, but I don’t even care  😀

Masks are fun, but they are kind of scary at the same time.

Any favorite cajun/creole dishes you like?

Snow and Mardi Gras Feast!

We were luckier with Nemo not to be measuring our snow in multiple feet!  We did have to dig out on Saturday, though.  I know our driveway is somewhere under here.


We got mostly the lighter weight snow up here, so at least shoveling wasn’t the ‘heart attack’ snow.  Now we have a nice clear driveway and John is now pulling snow off the shop roof here.


Kudos to the county for getting the roads cleared fast. They really do a good job and worked all night. The sun came out and it was clean and beautiful.


Cold, though. I spent Saturday working on the bathroom.  I’ll update that progress tomorrow because there were more important things happening on Sunday, like our Mardi Gras Party!  John and I don’t celebrate Lent, but we love celebrating Mardis Gras.  A lot of you know how we love New Orleans. Our secret (or not so) dream is to rent a place there for part of the winter.


We love our family get togethers.  Got out the bead stash.


I put some beads on Pixie and she was less than thrilled (but it serves her right for getting on the table where the beads were – I couldn’t resist!)


John was the pensive reveler today.


On today’s menu?  Meat pies.  These are really supposed to be filled into pastry and deep fried, but I did want to lighten them up a little bit. These are little phyllo cups.


Jambalaya with chicken and andouille, (of course):


We have *so* much of this leftover.  Some was sent home with everyone, but we still have a ton left.  John made a lot :D  I wonder how it freezes?

My sister and family brought red beans and rice.


Delicious!  We did have steamed vegetables, as well as some cheddar biscuits, also made by my sister.

Can’t forget the pralines!


After dinner, it was game time!  We tried Tribond.


That wasn’t  as fun. You are given 3 things and have to figure out the common thread between them.  Really hard!  So – it was time to get out Telestrations.  I gave myself a New Orleans name.


And yes, it must be said with the exclamation point!

I am quite the artiste – my word was “Can of Worms”


This game makes us laugh so much that our faces hurt!

After games – dessert time!  John made up some bananas foster – complete with flambe:


And yes, we do have a fire extinguisher for the kitchen!  This went up really high, too. It was only 1/4 cup of bourbon, which is less than called for. Good thing we didn’t use more.  It was fun to do.

Served over ice cream


It was –10 when we woke up this morning (-23 Celsius). Makes it more appealing to winter down south.


I can’t believe the weekend is over already!

Mardi Gras feast!

Time for our annual Mardi Gras Party!

We used to hold on Mardi Gras itself, but it is easier on a weekend than a weeknight.  More time to par-tay!

We put the flag out.

I dug out my personal bead collection.

All of this acquired on our various trips to New Orleans.  A couple bought, but most were thrown to me, but I always kept my shirt on  :mrgreen:

Can I also just say that I am liking my haircut.  It’s so easy.

Masks arrived!

Dinner was

Chicken Cornbread casserole:

Barbecue Shrimp (served with rice)

Mardi Gras vegetables (courtesy of my sister’s family):

Plus a fruit tray. (courtesy of the parents)

Very, very good!  The shrimp was so good and so easy, too. If the large shrimp weren’t so expensive, I think we would eat this more often.

Jenga and wine – a good combo or not?? You be the judge.

I played guitar some, along with one of the nieces.

Then it was time for dessert! Bread Pudding – White chocolate  chips with rum sauce.  No raisins in our bread pudding because as we say, raisins are *always* optional!

So good!  I love really good bread pudding.  It is never as good in a restaurant as what we make at home with the exception of Red Fish Grille in New Orleans.  Theirs is amazing.

More games:

This game is basically guessing true or false on statements.  It’s just makes it more fun to yell out that it’s crap!

Ladies in masks.  The guys didn’t wear masks (or want to be in pictures, the party poopers).

Even Pixie got into the spirit with the beads.

Okay, she didn’t really like the beads LOL!

Always a good time – and there are still 2 days left to party!

Mardi Gras Festivities!

Busy weekend!  I spent most of Saturday ice fishing with my sister.  Or rather, she fished while I tried to keep my feet warm in gale force winds by a fire…  and we shall never speak of that again.

Today, however, was a different story!

John and I planned out our annual Mardi Gras dinner party.  I tried my hand at making a king cake for the first time.  It is a yeast dough bread with filling inside.  The recipe I made gave us 2 cakes, so I did them differently.  Here is the dough all rolled out and spread with filling.

One cake I did with a cream cheese and strawberry jam filling (which I made today) and the other was a pecan praline filling.  This was then rolled up jelly roll style and made into a ring:

Then baked up!

Then the best part is the colored glaze to make it festive!

I couldn’t wait to try it!

We got out the beads for the party:

My mother provided the masks:

Rare sighting of my dad being silly:

On the menu for tonight- shrimp and crab etouffe!  John made this.  He rocks!

We also had some cajun chicken strips.  Just breaded seasoned chicken cutlets, really.  Plus green beans with a bit of bacon! (Everything is better with bacon, right?)

And some cornbread muffins, courtesy of my sister. Normally I don’t have a giant plate like this, but it was the one I ended up with, so the food is all spread out LOL!

After dinner it was game time!

Just a tiny bit of alcohol in some coffee :mrgreen:

Then it was time for the awesome King Cake!

Very good!  It is a yeast dough, so this was very much like a danish.   I think it was pretty successful, although we have a lot of cake left over LOL!  Definitely need to put a lot of this in the freezer.

Now, we are hunkered down for *another* winter storm.  Heavy snow and blowing winds right now and up to a foot is expected by tomorrow morning.  Eeek!  Maybe I’ll have another piece of king cake!

Mardis Gras and jam packed day!

We packed a lot of things into today!  Absolutely stunning weather today.  If I hadn’t hurt my back, we would have been biking miles and miles today.  Oh well.  I started off my day with some banana chocolate oats!

Cooked with a mashed banana, 5 grams of dark cocoa powder, and 2 egg whites.  Topped with some nutzzo.  And plenty of cafe au lait!

Then we headed out to do our duty:

We did this for our nieces at the health fair scheduled at the school.  What we do for family, I tell you! 😀

After leaving a pint behind, we hit up the Sports & Fitness Expo in Saratoga.  If I can’t actually be active right now, I can at least look at active stuff 🙂

This was pretty neat!  We talked to a lot of exhibitors about different biking routes in other parts of the county we live in.  We have some new places to scope out!  Lots of cool biking jerseys:

We were hungry at this point, so we ate some gumbo at the Esperanto stand to get prepped for later.

Plus we split this tiny Larabar:

Then popped back into the expo.  I was totally drooling over some of the bikes, and for the second time in about a week, I touched a $10,000 bike!  I’m gonna start wanting one pretty soon…..

I also saw these first hand:

These seem exactly like swim/water shoes, only with each toe housed.  They do not look like they would fit my toes.

There are so many different kinds of races going on this year from 5K to marathons, to triathlons and trail runs.  Too many things!  I totally have the itch to get out there now.

I had forgotten it was Mardi Gras day in Saratoga today (or I would have worn my beads).  So, we decided to stroll downtown.  Or rather walk really, really slow.  I’m still limping a bit, but at least I can walk around.  Yay!  Mardi Gras had some music – check it out, slide guitar!

This group was bluegrass, which is too close to country for me, but they started with a Django Rienhardt tune, which made me so excited!  John called it country fried Django LOL!  Then they got too country, so we went on to some samples.  Many restaurants serve little cajun/creole samplings for $1 and you can vote on what you like.  We went the dessert route today.  First up was a bananas foster bread pudding:

The pudding itself was okay, but the sauce was really good.  I am licking my cup:

Then we needed a drink and I needed a rest, so stopped off for coffee and a bit of reading at Borders:

Then a couple more samples:

This was really good, although a bit eclectic.  The orange creme anglaise was the best part.

Then another sample, which was quite big, so John and I split it:

This brownie had bourbon whipped cream on top. Yummy!  While not really cajun/creole, this was the freshest and best tasting of the 3, so that is what we voted for.

By this time, I had walked way more than I have in 2 weeks, so we decided to go and hit up Kohls so John could get some shoes, and he had success!  I also got a couple things on sale, but I didn’t take a picture, so those will appear this week.

Home time and dinner time by this point!  I roasted up some beets and parsnips along side some pierogies.

Not crazy about the beets, I have to say.  I about fell asleep while eating. I am so wiped out!  I can’t believe how much we crammed into today.  I am also a little full – I ate a lot today LOL.

I also found the perfect cycling jersey for me:

I guess I am going to have to cough up the $75 for this, because I love it!  Suits me pretty well, don’t you think?

Mardi Gras and the Oz

Happy Mardi Gras!  Thanks for all of your comments on the ‘normal‘ thing yesterday.  John doesn’t always understand where I am coming from with body image, so it’s nice to know I am not crazy! :mrgreen:

I woke up pretty early this morning and headed off to the gym to get my run in.  5.5 miles and a ton of sweat later and I was ready for breakfast!

Banana custard oats.  Topped with peach jam and almond butter.  Delish!  I’ll explain custard oats later this week.

Did a lot of work this morning.  Trying to be extra productive with all that is going on today.

Superfood lunch!

Greek yogurt, agave nectar, pumpkin, cinnamon, dried cranberries, and rice krispies (okay, not a superfood).

My folks came over and watched the Dr. Oz show today.  It was so weird knowing I was there.  And seeing my face a few times (dork alert!!).  Surreal.  I was smiling all the time.  I was just so happy to be a small part of all that!
I can’t believe they are able to hide all of those cameras and edit out the bloopers.  Merrill really was so inspiring wasn’t she? (and the others!).

And Richard Simmons – my very favorite things he said were about knowing your self worth.  They left out a big chunk of his interview, though, and the part that I had liked the most about never knowing who you would inspire each day.  Maybe it is online?

Happy Mardi Gras!

Each year John and I cook a Mardi Gras dinner.

Tonight’s dinner featured some chicken and andouille gumbo with brown rice:

Shrimp poboys (baked breaded shrimp)

Cornbread and fruit for goodness.  This was my sensibly portioned plate.


Then came some fun – tiny bead thrower:

Simpsons Monopoly!

Bananas Foster for dessert!  We even did a flambe and didn’t burn the house down…. phew:

I had a small portion:

I was extremely pleased at my eating today.  This was one of those times where I had the plan and followed through on it!  Yay!  I enjoyed every bite and am sitting here satisfied and not full.

What a great time.  We love to host dinner parties. 😀

Now I need to relax some.  Another busy day in store.  Have a great one!

Hola from NOLA !!

Hey everyone!  We made it safely to New Orleans despite last minute snafus of a tenant with a nonworking furnace late Friday night and a bloody nose in the morning.  Great way to start a vacation, right?

We are staying at the Place D’Armes Hotel in the French Quarter.  I love this place because it really fits into the Quarter style wise and it is very reasonable.  Not to mention being easy to walk everywhere!

It was pretty cold here on Saturday – 40 degrees (which was 45 degrees *warmer* than what we left behind)

We were ready for dinner and hit up a classic business district place:

Mother’s! Always crowded, but the line went really quick.  We split a bowl of crawfish etouffee:

Yum!  Plus we split the house specialty the Famous Ferdi Special, which is a sandwich with ham, roast beef and debris, which is a mix of shredded roast beef and gravy left over from the roasting process.  This was a rich tasting sandwich and sooooooooo goood!

Very tasty sandwich, I have to say.

We were lucky enough to catch a parade Saturday night!

It was the

Krewe de Vieux parade

This is one of the only big parades that goes right through the French Quarter (and a block from our hotel).  I love the parades here because you get involved in them.  The parade people toss out trinkets, beads, and souvenirs.  This parade can get political and quite racy, I have to say LOL!  It was funny, though.

And Who D’at?????  This city is soooo proud of it’s Saints.  Here is a take on that with this float.

Here is my collection of stuff tossed to me at the parade (it was sooo cold, too)

Then we had some beignets!  Cafe du Monde had an enormous line, so we went to Cafe Beignet instead:

So good.  Although du Monde is better, I think.

This morning, I was all ready for a run!

John, not so much:

We headed out for a 30 minute run all around the Quarter.  I would have gone farther, but John hasn’t run since the end of October!

Then we hit up CC’s Community Coffee for some brekkie.  John decided to get a piece of praline king cake:

Richly decadent and more like dessert.  I decided to have a Sunday staple:

With some damn good coffee.  Now we all ready to do some sightseeing and more eating!  I’ll be back tonight.  I love free internet access in the hotel!