2022 is upon us! I absolutely love the excitement New Years Eve brings and I always look forward to planning a fun and festive outfit to celebrate in. After a chill at-home NYE last year, Will and I will be ringing in the new year in his hometown of New Orleans so I’m going all in with sequins, feathers and stars!
Mardi Gras celebrations around the country have been cancelled or scaled back this year because of coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate safely at home. Since I’m married to a New Orleans boy, we will keep the good times rolling by bringing Mardi Gras and quintessential New Orleans treats to our home. From King Cake to beads and balconies, we will have it all here.
In lieu of Mardi Gras floats this year in New Orleans, many people are decorating their homes instead. My in-laws have been sending us the coolest pictures from the homes in Uptown and it has been great to see the spirit of the city living on even though one of their main events has been cancelled.
For our celebration at home, I’m focusing mostly on the food. I’ll be making red beans and rice and I ordered a King Cake for dessert. One of my husband’s favorite meals is red beans and rice and since he was born and raised in New Orleans, I had to do a ton of research to get the recipe right. The consistency was tricky to achieve, but after a few tries, I finally got it and I am so proud. To add a fun little twist, I served our red beans and rice in miniature bread bowls.
Brit’s Red Beans and Rice
2 ham hocks
10 cups water
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. Crystal Hot Sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1 lb. red beans (soaked overnight and drained)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil
¼ lb. hot sausage, sliced
¼ smoked sausage, sliced
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
Place ham hocks, water, garlic, salt, Crystal hot sauce, Worcestershire and beans in a large Dutch oven and cook uncovered on low heat.
In a separate pan, sauté celery, onion and garlic in olive oil.
In another pan, cook sausage.
Add sautéed vegetables and cooked sausage to the red bean mixture.
Add bay leaves, salt and pepper to the mixture. Cook over a medium-low flame for four hours.
Remove ham hocks and bay leaves.
Serve over white rice.
I don’t think it’s possible to have a Mardi Gras party without a King Cake. Our absolute favorite is from Haydel’s Bakery, but if you’re not in New Orleans and ran out of time to get a cake shipped, Whole Foods actually makes a pretty good King Cake.
While I didn’t bring the house float trend to Austin, I did build a balloon arch inside! This arch was so easy to assemble and I think it turned out really well. Call me crazy, but I’m still throwing beads off of my stairs and pretending I’m on Bourbon.
How will you be celebrating Mardi Gras this year? However you do, I hope you are all safe, happy and healthy and as they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps rouler!