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Partying Mardi Gras style

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By Deanna Godman

Angie Leonard of Normandy Heights hosted a Mardi Gras themed birthday party for her husband and her son on Sunday, Feb. 27.  She chose this theme because it was seasonal and the products were easy to find, and because she thought a Mardi Gras party would be a novelty for her guests which included family and friends of all ages.

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“We made it a family event,” said Leonard. “It was an easy way to integrate a party with adults and kids.”
Leonard served muffulettas, a New Orleans style sandwich; gumbo; King Cake; and hurricanes to go with the theme. She also served potato salad, nachos and other typical party food for the kids and any non-adventurous guests.
“If you’re doing this party and including kids, you want to make sure you have things for them to eat,” said Leonard.
To create atmosphere, she played zydeco music in the background. She was able to find some zydeco music through the library, but at the party played music from pandora.com, a personal web radio site. The stations she played were “Cajun Porch Music” and “Cajun Superstars.”
Leonard planned several activities for her guests to enjoy. The kids decorated mardi gras masks with sequins. They could wear them with the elastic backing or attach a skewer to the side to hold the masks in front of their eyes. The adults danced to the zydeco music.
After baking the King Cake, Leonard put a small plastic baby inside. According to legend, whoever gets the baby becomes king for the day and gets good luck for the next year. Since it was a birthday party, she marked the spot where the baby was by placing a piece of tape on the platter near that spot. That way, the birthday boy could receive the crown and be King at his own party. Rather than purchasing her King Cake, Leonard make one using a recipe she found in Taste of Home.
For the gumbo, Leonard used a Zatarain’s gumbo mix and added 1 pound of chicken, 1 pound of shrimp and 1 pound of Polish sausage. She served the gumbo in a divided steam tray so she could have one version with shrimp and one version without in case of allergies. She made a label for the gumbo stating that shrimp was in it.
For the adult drink, Leonard purchased a rum-based Hurricane mix, and added pineapple and orange slices and cherries to the glass container. She served the drinks with the fruit on skewers.
“If serving alcohol drinks, make sure they’re properly marked or not where kids can get it,” Leonard advised. She not only had the drink labeled as for adults only, she also had the container placed on a high shelf.
If you have a recipe you would like to share, contact Deanna at ideas@funmama.net. For more recipes for a Mardi Gras party, see Deanna’s blog at http://blog.funmama.net.