Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The AM~Erica Mardi Gras

So anyway...

It's yet another holiday!!

We've already had a very Seussical time this week! (reminder HERE) But today is the culmination of a celebration that has been going on for a few weeks.

Remember when I said part of why I enjoy celebrating things? (here's a reminder HERE) The part I'm referring to, right now, is the researching & learning part! I love finding out new things & about why some of the traditions happen...as well as the fun nuances, timing & terminology of these holidays.

So, today is Mardi Gras! WOO-WOO! Par-tay! Amm-i-rite? However...I love knowing people who are & know the culture of NOLA (aka: New Orleans, LA)...even if they leave New Orleans, they take the culture with them.

Since January 6th (aka: Three Kings Day), we have actually been celebrating Carnival! Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday". So, Mardi Gras actually happens on the day before Ash Wednesday (aka: the beginning of the Lenten season).

So I have a friend, Lisha over at THE LUCKY MOM, who is from that area. We got into a Facebook discussion about sweets for breakfast that led to making King Cake. It got there...in a stair step conversation that really did make sense...I'm just jumping to the bottom step to save you some mental exercise...and extra typing on my part.

Anyhoo...I have, also, talked about Britta, from BRITTA BLVD., too. She does incredible Mardi Gras parties, on top of her Halloween ones (and many other things)!! I do know she makes a bread maker King Cake that was adapted from a by-hand, from-scratch, time-consuming recipe. But I don't have a bread maker...and I don't get a lot of time. So I went researching on how to fake a King Cake, but with the colors & lemon-flavored glaze.

I found a few places on Pinterest that said to use canned cinnamon rolls & roll 'em out. Most of them have a cream cheese filling. I have also seen some, from scratch, that do NOT include the cream cheese filling, but still appear to be a glorified cinnamon roll sweet bread...

In the conversation with Lisha, I said that I wanted to try one. She did inform me that King Cake needed a baby...or it's just "cake". Then she offered to send me some to use...and she did! I had 2 babies delivered So...no pressure, eh? Now I gotta figure out something...so I got researching & planning. So, I decided to take a super-mega-cheater route to trying a King Cake. We had a group coming to the house a few days before Mardi Gras, so still in the Carnival season, I decided I should try it. So I rolled out a couple cans of cinnamon rolls, slathered the top of it with melted butter & sprinkled with brown sugar, rolled back up like a big cinnamon roll loaf, then snaked it into a ring inside a bundt pan...and baked it. I made a glaze that was too runny, then drizzled it on the cake & decorated it in sections of purple sugar sprinkles (for justice), deep green sugar sprinkles (for faith), and deep yellow/gold sugar sprinkles (for power). I also hid one of the babies inside the ring. Then...BAM! Cheater King Cake!

Crazy enough? After explaining King Cake to our small group...the first cut contained the baby! Go figure!

Britta saw this pic & thought it would be a pull-apart version! That would be awesome! And Lisha said it looked like the real thing. I think I'm gonna stick with it...or try a pull-apart version, even!

With it being Fat Tuesday, I am making another one. This will finish up an awesome meal we have planned!

We have done Dirty Rice the last couple of years...but this year we are going to do a shrimp boil with red beans & rice! Oh yes we are! I'm stoked! And we changed it up since we had Dirty Rice a few days ago.

A pot of the very pretty Dirty Rice we (hubby, Teen Girl & I) enjoy

I'm even planning to make some fake-out mocktail Hurricanes (again).

A couple of years ago, I made a tshirt based on Kate Spade's "Pardon My French" shirt, from her Fall/Winter 2012 runway. I think it's funny. And I made one for Teen Girl, too, to wear for Mardi Gras & beyond.

I have also donned purple, green & gold in outfits &/or accessories, too.

One year, I did a silly-selfie photo shoot based on a last-minute character I had my arm twisted into doing. I was "asked" by the incomparable Kevin McBeth and Ben Nordstrom to help out a variety show act. It was to help move along a rendition of "Copacabana". There's about a 2ish-minute interlude in the middle with nothing happening except music...for about 2 minutes. So...the night before it was to happen, I was "asked" to come in during, at least part of, the interlude as a filler...dressed as a Lola-type showgirl (but appropriate enough for church) to move along this little guy's song rendition. No really...he was vertically challenged, so the thought process was that "Lola" would be much, much taller as a sight gag. In less than 24 hours, I had to put something together quickly...so...here was a goofy pic of Lola:

Leis on the head to create a very tall Carmen Miranda type "hat",
little girl tutus on the arms,
long necklaces & a borrowed dress...
Also had on very tall, 
strappy , platform heels for extra height.
(pic taken by Gary Ford)

Use what you got or can get a hold of...under pressure, you never know what you can come up with!

So it was this that got me thinking how well it would go with Mardi Gras just a few days later...

I bring you just a few pics from my silly-selfie Mardi Gras photo shoot (which I did do ON Mardi Gras that year)...Lolafied:

I know, I know...just missing a mask...but I didn't have one at that time. So, I just dealt with the over-the-top outfit in Carnival/Mardi Gras colors in a very costumey-form.

These were taken 4 years ago! WOW!! Can't believe it's been that long!


Anyhoo...I really like this time of year! And I love getting to know more about it. I want to find the parades sometime, too. One day...hubby & I may even host a masquerade party. I've always wanted to that...

But now we remember that it's the day before Ash Wednesday. Tomorrow begins the Lenten season. And as we begin to focus ourselves on the coming season, I offer you some thoughts on Lent HERE. Just some focus on what the season is about & how to handle it.

In the meantime...enjoy your Fat Tuesday! Listen to some jazz music, even! (Or listen to Harry Connick, Jr. ... That would be amazing! He's a jazzy-crooner, NOLA guy. He's kind of talented.)

Maybe we'll just throw on some masks, dress crazy, bang on some pots & pans, play a kazoo or other toy instruments while listening to jazz music...and march in a couple of circles in our house. We'll be the Williams Krewe parade! Or it might just be me...not sure how my family would feel about that one. Maybe I'll be the All AM~Erica Krewe...so there!

OK...I have a cheater King Cake to make! And an extra baby to keep going on this new tradition in our house...thanks to Lisha!

What do you all do (or plan to do)?
Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

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