NO! Not Christmas! MARDI GRAS! I have come to love this southern tradition. I’m not sure when or why my love for it started, but I do know that I look forward to it every year.
Many years back we were invited to our first Mardi Gras party. I had always heard of such things as a child growing up but never attended such a gathering. Our host spent the entire morning working on his homemade gumbo. I’m talking the “honest to God, he spent 30 minutes making the roux” kinda gumbo. I knew in that moment this was serious business. I made and brought a king cake (of course it had a baby in it… no baby = glorified cinnamon cake with tri-colored icing). As the other guest filtered in and the party started I “got” it. I was hearing the song of my people and I instantly fell in love with the celebration of Mardi Gras.
Since then I have learned its history and traditions. Living along the gulf coast of Florida and Alabama (and having a fondness for New Orleans) it became second nature. Best part is I can keep my house colorful and bright after Christmas. (In THIS house we use POUNDS of beads to decorate with… all or course from several parades throughout the gulf coast region) This plethora of beads inspired some handmade decorations around my own home.
This piece came to me as I was hanging said beads around the house. I asked my husband if he would mind me cutting some up. He was cool with it and I created this:
Mardi Gras Bead Art
I fell in love with it as it came long. With each bead I glued down I got more and more excited. no photos will ever do it justice! It sparkles, it shines, it screams “MEMORIES!” We have celebrated with many a friend over the years and since we acquired a second home in a city that celebrates Mardi Gras even more good times roll! I cherish those friends and the time we spent together clawing and fighting over beads. The laughter and the stories we can now share.
All of that lead me to make this:
I found the blank wood cutout in a craft store after Mardi Gras and HAD to have it. I was originally going to glue beads to it. I could see the finished product in my head. I stopped short of gluing the beads on because I knew that adding the beads would be a mistake. It looked fantastic at this junction. I bought two because I knew that I would want one for my own home. I was NOT wrong. I can’t wait to hang it’s twin up once the Christmas tree comes down! Let’s be honest! I am half tempted to keep it hanging all year round. It really does look that good!
At some point in the further I’ll be making another beaded canvas and will be putting it in the store for your pleasure!
Until then Laissez les bons temps rouler!
For what it’s worth…. Mardi Gras is only 299 days away!
I think I finally found the perfect solution for this blog. (Shameless promotion of my Etsy Store )
Please don’t get me wrong, I still love food, drink, and all things travel. It just didn’t feel right to blog about them. I hated the time it took away from my adventures and husband (the brief time he is home). I felt guilty if I didn’t post. Hated that I felt that way. But, now that I FINALLY listened to those in my close circle and opened the Etsy store and started brushing the dust off my beloved materials; it feels right! I blog now to share what I really want to, not what I thought I wanted to. I LOVE to TALK to people about food. I have a hard time conveying my passion for food in the written word. My art work can speak for itself.
So, I’m sorry that you followed this “food and travel” blog only now to have it shift gears. I can’t promise that I will be strictly sharing my creations in this space. After all, travel greatly shapes our creative spirit. I brought home a lot of it from Cabo on my recent trip there. Made earrings because of it. Matter of fact, several projects have been started because of my travels to Cabo. Travel= inspiration !
I hope you guys stay with me on this new journey of mine. If you don’t I completely understand! You can’t say I didn’t warn you though…. I wasn’t kidding about the “Crazy Life” part 😜 ! Hope everyone has a blessed weekend! Back to the studio for me.
But oddly enough, I don’t layer it, and I’m not sure there are seven layers in it anymore. Growing up, I had eaten this salad many times. However, it WAS layered and beautiful to look at. Seven layers of lettuce, celery, onion, bell pepper, frozen peas, dressing, and bacon bits all served up in a glass dish. It was a beauty to behold and so crisp and fresh. With the advent of summer we have had our first few salads of the year. And with each one we remark how delicious and satisfying it is.
Had another one this afternoon and there is something about it. Not sure what it is. My daughter says it’s the dressing. (which very little of is needed). But maybe it’s everything else we have added/subtracted from the original. My “Seven Layer Salad” looks much different from its inspiration salad. As much as I like the flavor of bell peppers, they don’t like me. My husband doesn’t like peas so they only party on my plate. and other ingredients have found their way into the mix. I don’t layer it anymore due to the different taste of each family member… the dressing however, is constant on all plates. And even the dressing is different from the “original”. Very similar, but different enough.
For this summer tradition we gather:
greens romaine lettuce and spinach are our go-to
thick slices of deli meat and cheese that we cut into chunks smoked turkey, smoked ham, baby swiss*
grilled corn (cut off cob and chilled)
Parmesan cheese, shaved
french fried onions (instead of croutons for an extra added crunch and saltiness)
*You can go to your grocer’s deli and request the deli meats sliced thick. Tell them roughly 3/4″. At my store I can request they use the #10 setting. You’ll want close to a pound of meats and half a pound of baby swiss.
3/4 cup Mayo
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
juice of a half lemon
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
cracked black pepper
The measurements for the dressing ingredients are WAGs. I honestly don’t measure out these ingredients. It isn’t baking, where measurements are exact. It’s a make-til-ya-like-it kinda of dressing. I like a nice thick, loaded with tons of cheese, kinda of dressing. The flavor resembles a Caesar dressing. It is sooooooooooo very good. I use very little of it on my salad. The flavors in the salad alone are enough to carry it, but the salad wouldn’t be the same without it.
My darling husband introduced me to this chocolate sauce. Now, growing up I had eaten “homemade” doughnuts before. Not the “let them rise for hours” variety, but the whomp kind. You know, the whomp biscuit kind. The kind that comes out of the cardboard tube that you have to whomp on the counter-to open and then fry in hot grease. But this isn’t about the biscuits parading around as doughnuts. This is about the sauce, the dark, warm, and dreadfully easy to make chocolate sauce.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 stick of butter
a good healthy dollop of creamy peanut butter
Put everything in a pot and heat until the sugar is melted and the sauce is smooth.
Now as is, this sauce is homespun goodness and perfect over the whomp biscuits doughnuts. It’s a good base to take in many directions. You just need to keep in mind that it gets fudgy and thick as it cools. You will also want to be sure to have at least a gallon of milk handy. It screams for milk!
WARNING: This breakfast will be sure to induce what we call a sugar coma. Do not consume on a morning where you have an active day planned. Your desire to do anything will be completely sapped.
This has become tradition on camp outs and special occasion days, or often served for breakfast after a slumber party. Father’s Day is coming up, I see this in our future! Nothing else like it.