Real Easy, 'Big Easy'. Last Minute Mardi Gras!

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Even though we are stuck in frigid Indiana this Fat Tuesday, it's kind of like Bourbon Street around here; beverages spilled all over the floor, people with no shirts on, throw up, incomprehensible language, just general melee.  The culprits are all under age 6 so, pretty much the same thing.  No?  I wish I could escape to the "Big Easy", but instead I am going to throw together a real easy last-minute Mardi Gras for my little heathens.  And, BTW, Mardi Gras just means Fat Tuesday in French.  It's kind of a no-brainer.  Kind of like my 5 Steps to a Real Easy, 'Big Easy'... Step 1  Everyone put on purple, green, gold, or at least a shirt.

Step 2  Hurricanes.  The drink, not the winds outside.  Here is Emeril Lagasse's version, here is my version...

Pineapple juice from canned pineapple in pantry.

Splash of orange juice.

Maraschino cherries.

Rum for us grown ups, "Virgin Hurricanes" for the kiddos.

Warning:  Drink a 'grown up' hurricane at your own risk.  Unless you are used to rum, which I am not.  I quite famously (or infamously) spent much of Fat Tuesday '07 on the floor in between the cocktail table and couch.

Step 3  Costumes.  Well, actually I just am having the kids decorate their own Mardi Gras masques while I whip the food together.  Find the free printable template here.  We also are all wearing beads, whatever I can find around the house.  I have discovered I have an oddly large collection of beaded necklaces at my disposal.  I would also like to add that all kids love a parade.  Pull up some Cajun music on Pandora or YouTube and just have everybody march around in their "costumes".  Why is this so fun?

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Step 4  Cajun Food.  I love to prepare authentic Cajun and Creole recipes.  Tonight is not that night.  Tonight it is going to be Crajun.  Just a crazy person making Cajun food from whatever they can find in their pantry.  Here is Martha's authentic New Orleans Shrimp and Rice recipe.  Here is my version ce soir...

Box of rice.

Tomatoes. Diced, stewed, fresh, whatever you have.

Frozen bag of peppers and onions.

Can of beans, drained.

Cajun seasoning.  Don't have any?  Use hot sauce.

Shrimp.  Sausage.  Chicken, if you must.  Cooked.

Simmer.

Serve.

Step 5 King Cake.  I actually had the fore-sight the other day to buy a store-bought King's Cake.  I was fore-seeing that I wouldn't possibly be able to bake one on my own.  If you don't have the chance to pick one up, you can substitute with basically any white cupcake or cake mix or pastry dough.  Traditionally, a King Cake has purple and green icing, find more information here.  But, if all you have is some green sprinkles, go for it!  I don't think anyone is going to complain!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Translation:  Let the good times rolls!  We are all busy, we are all crazy.  Make a random night special.  Eat in the dining room.  Eat on paper plates.  Who cares?  Maybe all you do is print out some decorate-your-own masks.  The kids will love it!  Maybe you drink too much rum.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  So... why not laissez les bon temps rouler?

Bon Mardi Gras!

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