A few years back, I had the opportunity to work with YUM Food & Fun for Kids Magazine on an article all about one of my favorite celebrations, Mardi Gras. My family is from the New Orleans area, and it was a great excuse to pull out all the family recipes–I think I O.D.ed on jambalaya and red beans and rice the week I shot the pictures! With the help of Rayna Houveras, ninja photographer, and Jill Luecht Photography, my photo editor, we created a dinner celebration for a fun at-home Mardi Gras party.
Not everything has to be over-the-top to be special, and my kids might even get this Mardi Gras party again is was so simple to do!
Mardi Gras celebrations are easy to have–both big and little–all you need is good food, some bright beads, and willingness to have a little fun. Decorations are loud and colorful, so you don’t need many. Really, just a centerpiece and some beads to drape around the room make a big impact.
For the centerpiece, I covered a box in scrapbook paper and glued some masks and signs on bamboo skewers and stuck them in a piece of foam in the bottom for them to stand up in. You could use any kind of tall narrow box for this. Then I added some beads and had a very festive centerpiece for my dinner table. Some Mardi Gras-themed linens and a gold charger rounded out the pretty table.
King cake with its tiny hidden plastic baby is the official dessert of Mardi Gras (see my 30 minute king cake recipe here), but the stand in for our Mardi Gras party were some colorful cupcakes. Also easy to make–make a white cake, separate the batter into three bowls, and use a gel color to color the batter in purple, green and gold. Put a tablespoon of each into cupcake liner and bake as directed.
If you’d like to make a quick king cake yourself, see our easy king cake recipe here on the site!
Food, of course, is very important at a Mardi Gras party. Most cajun food is easy to make, but to get it just right you need just the right stocks and seasonings. There is one recipe I have that is positively foolproof that the pickiest of eaters will enjoy: Red Beans and Rice. My New Orleans cousin’s say this recipe tastes just how grandma used to make it, which in Southern is possibly the highest compliment you can give. Go check out the recipe here.
And if you have a craving for jambalaya, you can find Grandpa’s Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya recipe here. It takes a bit longer to make, but it’s totally worth it.
Play a little dixieland jazz or zydeco, and break out the Zatarans, and have yourself a great little Mardi Gras dinner!
And all the fun printables I used in here are available in the shop for your Mardi Gras Celebration.
Photography | Paula Biggs and Rayna Houveras
Paperie | Frog Prince Paperie
Photo Editing | Jill Luecht Photography
Visit a few of these affiliate links (it keeps this site running!) to shop for Mardi Gras supplies!