Lifestyle & Seasonal

Fat Tuesday Fun – quick solutions for a last minute celebration

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler – Let the good times roll! – Everyone in New Orleans

Midweek dinners can be a rush for many families. Adding a celebration to a school night is a tall order. But you can let those good times roll tonight with just a few simple additions. First, if the weather is good, move outside. A patio, an outdoor kitchen, a hardscape is meant to be used. Breaking up the routine alone is enough to bring on some fun. Second, know you don’t have to do it all from scratch. Here are some ways to add some Fat Tuesday fun.

A quick trip to the market may be all you need to make this work. Many markets have pre-made dinners. Look for anything cajun, shrimp dishes, or jambalayas. Buy precooked shrimp and a simmering sauce and serve with white rice. Get a bunch of fresh lemons for garnish or for tart twists on the shrimp. If you want to get really into the spirit, grill up some alligator meat, a regional delicacy. Shrimp on the grill is another option, as well as andouille or crawfish entrees.

Don’t forget dessert. A sweet pastry is the best respite after cajun food. If you can find a King Cake, by all means, roll that tradition on out. But any pastries with a french flair will do just fine. Think lots of icing and powdered sugar.

Most drinks associated with Mardi Gras tend to be of the adult variety. Daiquiris, Hurricanes, even mojitos or gin fizzes are the cocktails you can whip up in a flash. Other Fat Tuesday liquid delicacies are Pimm’s Cups, Milk Punches, and something called a Sazerac, said to be invented at the famous Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans. Mixes or non-alcoholic recipes are easy searches on your favorite recipe site. For those who would like to make it to the office in the morning, a delicious and sweet alternative to the saucy servings is sparkling water with raspberries or strawberries. Hint: Make sure to eat the berries once you’ve finished your glass – they absorb some of the carbonation and may sizzle on your tongue.

According to, the official colors established in 1872 for the celebration are purple (for justice), green (for faith) and gold (for power). Setting your picnic table up with these colors will instantly bring the image and spirit of Mardi Gras to your patio.

If you have time for more decor, throw some beads along the center of the table. The kids can print out mask shapes and cover them with purple, green and gold glitter glue. Attach the masks to garden sticks, small dowels or straws and place in tall vases to make a quick centerpiece.

Music for Fat Tuesday won’t be hard to find – jazz and creole bands with some brass horns will do the trick. Streaming parade footage on your outdoor entertainment system can make the party hop too. Appropriate videos of daytime or kids’ parades are probably a good idea. Let the good, “safe-for-work” times roll for a family gathering.

Get out there and enjoy that patio, and bring a little of New Orleans with you. Happy Fat Tuesday and Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

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