How to Host Mardi Gras Brunch

How to Host Mardi Gras Brunch via Chrystina Noel

After spending three years working in Baton Rouge, Louisiana there will always be a place for Mardi Gras in my heart. Man, do those people know how to party. And while you might immediately start thinking of masses of people drinking on Bourbon Street, where it’s really at is when the brass band music comes on and everybody starts dancing. Doesn’t matter the time or place, they know how to drop what they’re doing and have a little fun. (Definitely something us Northeastern-ers have a problem with sometimes. Especially me.)

Three years ago (how was this that long ago??) I posted a hypothetical post on how you would host a Mardi Gras party. In 2015 I kicked it up a notch and hosted my own Mardi Gras party. I took the day off of work and spent the whole day cooking red beans and rice, jambalaya, gumbo, and beignets. We drank until after midnight, listened to brass band music, and ended the evening with some intense games of mafia.

Two years later, I’ve dialed it back a little bit. While the fridge is completely full of beer (purely by accident) I haven’t been drinking as much, but still wanted to celebrate the season. I realized some of my favorite treats from New Orleans would create the perfect menu for brunch: king cake and beignets. And there it was born, my Mardi Gras brunch idea.

How to Host Mardi Gras Brunch via Chrystina Noel

How to Host Mardi Gras Brunch via Chrystina Noel

Mardi Gras Brunch Menu

Brunch is my favorite meal to plan. I’m convinced the food is the easiest to cook, it’s the most fun, and you have the most options on the sweet to savory spectrum. I’m also finally learning that with only 6 people, you don’t need to make that many things. (Took long enough.)

  • King Cake: I used Joy the Baker’s recipe for king cake. King cake is essentially what you would get if you crossed a cinnamon bun with a bundt cake and added a hint of lemon. Absolutely delicious. And a Mardi Gras specialty. It was a pretty straight forward recipe, even for somebody who doesn’t work with yeast that often. I didn’t want to invest in green, yellow, and purple sprinkles, so I took my friend Stephanie’s suggestion and dyed the frosting to add some color. Purple frosting + green Christmas sprinkles = perfection.
  • Beignets: I don’t care if it’s touristy or not, but stopping at Cafe Du Monde for beignets and a hot chocolate is an absolute must for me when I’m in New Orleans. I used this beignet recipe from All Recipes during my last party and it came out delicious. They even have videos so you can be sure that you’re on the right track.
  • Breakfast Casserole: We needed something savory to balance all the sweetness of king cake and beignets. I decided on a Whole 30- and Paleo-friendly breakfast casserole from Paleo Running Momma that turned out to be absolutely delicious. (So delicious that I made another one last night to eat for breakfast this week.) On top of that, it ended up being purple (sweet potatoes), green (brussel sprouts), and yellow (egg). I’m going to pretend I did that by accident.
  • Sliced Fruit
  • Champagne, Tea, and Water

How to Host Mardi Gras Brunch via Chrystina Noel

Mardi Gras Brunch Ambiance

There are many things you can do to decorate for Mardi Gras, but I decided to keep it simple this year. I reused the paper chain I made for the last party I had which has been stored in the basement and turned on the Rebirth Brass Band Spotify station. Places like Party City and Oriental Trading have a million Mardi Gras decorations if you’re looking for more pizzazz!

How to Host Mardi Gras Brunch via Chrystina Noel

How to Host Mardi Gras Brunch via Chrystina Noel

Mardi Gras Brunch Plan

Half the battle of a party is figuring out how to get ready for it. The trick is reading all of the recipes before hand to understand exactly how much time they’re going to take; how much time things need to sit, settle, and cool before you can complete them; and making sure you have all the ingredients before you start. This party was on a Saturday morning at 11:00am. Here’s the breakdown of what the schedule looked like:

  • Friday Night: Grocery shop. Bake the king cake. Set the table and decorate while the king cake cools enough to cover for the evening.
  • Saturday Morning: Frost the king cake. Make the casserole. Make beignets and set aside so they’re ready to fry when your guests arrive. Put a pot of hot water on the stove. Enjoy.

How to Host Mardi Gras Brunch via Chrystina Noel

I felt the need to include this photograph so that you understand while the table upstairs was lovely looking, the kitchen was (and will always be) kind of a hot mess. There is still flour on my black boots.

How to Host Mardi Gras Brunch via Chrystina Noel

How to Host Mardi Gras Brunch via Chrystina Noel

There’s still time this year to host your own Mardi Gras brunch, or at least to try your hand at making beignets or a king cake. Happy Mardi  Gras season, y’all. Can’t wait for my next trip down to the Bayou. Only 3 more months to go!

Currently Vol. 05

Chrystina Noel Currently Vol 05

Well, the Saturday currently posts have been slowly turning into Sunday currently posts. I blame work? 60-70 hour work weeks are not my jam. As for this week, I was:

Tired. Trying to catch up on sleep. There’s only so many nights I can go on minimal sleep before nobody wants to be around me.

Attempting to figure out men’s fashion. I don’t know all that much about it and it seems like something that would be useful. What are the basics? Where can one go to learn this.

Making PowerPoint presentations. Why do they always take so longer than you think they’re going to?

Celebrating Mardi Gras. After spending three years in Louisiana it’s definitely a must. I made my first King Cake, took out my Mardi Gras beads, and fried up some beignets. Super excited to write about it this week.

I must have done something else this week, but all I remember is working. I’ll try harder next week.

Cereal Valentines, Part of a Complete Breakfast

In true Valentine’s day tradition here on Chrystina Noel, Tory and I have put together some Valentine’s to share with each one of you. in 2013 we did 90’s sitcom Valentines, in 2014 we did Nickelodeon Valentines, in 2015 we did Disney Channel Original Movie Valentines, in 2016 we did Broadway musicals, and this year – well, this year life got the best of us, but we were still able to put together one set of Valentines. We give the credit to Phillip for choosing this topic. Without further ado, Tory and I would like to present some Valentines for the breakfast cereal lover in your life.

I will warn you, breakfast cereals can be a lot raunchier than I realized. But what fun is a set of themed Valentines without some there to shake it up a little bit? Enjoy!

Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Apple Jacks
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Cheerios
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Cheerios
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Ched
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Cocoa Puffs
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Cookie Crisp
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Corn Pops
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Count Chocula
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Froot Loops
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Frosted Flakes
Frosted Flakes
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Frosted Mini Wheats
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Honey Bunches of Oats
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Honey Nut Cheerios
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Honey Smacks
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Kix
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Lucky Charms
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Lucky Charms
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Raisin Bran
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Reeses Puffs
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Rice Krispies
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Trix
Breakfast Cereal Valentines - Wheaties

I wish each of you a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Whether your single, dating, or married, I suggest that you treat yourself today to something nice. You deserve it. Don’t forget to check out last year’s Valentines.

2013 Valentines: Boy Meets World | Family Matters | Full House | Saved By the Bell
2014 Valentines: Doug | Hey Arnold | Rugrats | The Wild Thornberrys
2015 Valentines: Zenon | Cheetah Girls | Motocrossed | High School Musical
2016 Valentines: Grease | Rent | Hairspray | Wicked

Also, if anybody can come up with a good thing to put on a breakfast cereal valentine for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, that would be great. The tagline is “the taste you can see.” Please leave all suggests in the comments below.

Images references: froot loop, frosted mini wheat man, raisin bran sun, frosted flakes tiger, rice krispies elves, cocoa puff bird, chocolate chip cookie

Currently Vol. 04

Chrystina Noel Currently Vol 04

This week was so much less chaotic than last week, y’all. It wasn’t any less busy, but it was less jumping from thing to thing to thing, which made me feel much more like a sane person. This past week was spent:

Wishing I didn’t have to be a big people and worry about getting my damn heat fixed. It works on warm days, but not on cold days. It’s kind of the worst and makes me want to cry. It also makes me not want to change my clothes or shower at all, which in general is always a problem, but this is making it way worse.

Glad that things are settling into place for The Blog Connect. We’ve announced our party venue and 90% of the speaker list at this point. At this point it’s just promotion, solidifying the remaining sponsors, and making it as wonderful as we can. I’m super excited.

Proud of myself for getting my taxes done early this year.

Thankful for grocery stores. I think the time I was happiest this whole week was while shopping at Trader Joe’s. Grocery stores are my happy place, man.

Getting closer to being done watching Cheers. I started it months ago, and it’s the slowest moving sitcom I’ve ever watched. It’s amazing how long this has dragged out. That said, I do really like some of the characters. I’m definitely not watching Frasier after this though. I can’t handle another 9 seasons.

Wondering how I’m going to fit in all the travel I’d like to do this year. On my list for “want-to-go-to” places are: Utah, Montana, and Nashville. None of those are on my current “go-to” list though. I’m going to have to figure this out and start making better use of my weekends.

Loving these pop open cards made by Compendium. Actually really loving everything on their site.

Pigging out on Girl Scout Cookies. Give me all the Samoa (I mean Caramel Delites) and Thin Mints.

Enjoying mugicha tea. It’s a barley tea, caffeine free, and has a toasty warm flavor. Perfect for all the cold nights.

That’s it for now. Looking forward to hopefully another low-key week next week. We’ll see if I can make it happen. In the meantime, everyone have a wonderful rest of your weekend.