Celebrating Mardi Gras

Mardi-Gras-Beads(image via)

I cannot believe that it’s already February! I spent the first half of this week sick and sore, all of which is because of the gym on Sunday. JZ and I went to workout together and it was a lower body day for me so I did squats and lunges. Little did we know that the 25 lb straight bar JZ gave me to do my squats with was really 45 lbs. It didn’t feel so heavy on my shoulders but I couldn’t walk Monday and most of Tuesday. Then, as we leave the gym covered in sweat, I drove home with the windows rolled down because the 30 degree air felt great. Well, JZ told me I would get sick and I did so he had a nice “I told you so” moment this week. So time to call this week a bust and move on to the next…

Next week is pretty busy for me. Not only is it Valentine’s Day (ugh) but it’s Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent). For me, the beginning of Lent was sort of like the beginning of the end of winter. Easter is my favorite holiday so to be able to countdown to it was always exciting and there was always a lot of seasonal changes during this time in Upstate NY: snow melting, sun finally coming out, small green buds starting to show. And it sometimes falls on my birthday so that was an added bonus.

Going into Lent, I always need a reminder about what this time means. Growing up we always used lent as a time to give up something that we loved, to make ourselves “better”: chocolate, soda, watching too much TV. Getting older the focus should shift to sacraficing your time to help others. When I start thinking about what I want to do for Lent, I automatically go back to my old mentality: “I should give up alcohol,” “I could always give up sugar.” “I’ll sacrafice an hour of TV a day to go to the gym.” Using lent selfishly as a diet tool or a “how can I make myself better” strategy is the wrong way to go about it. Those “resolutions” should be saved for New Years. Instead, my focus should be about what I can do to help others over the next 40 or so days. Although this shouldn’t only be reserved for these weeks leading up to Easter but it’s a great start. I do know several people who use Lent as a kick off to their year of giving back.

4354055252_0ac3fb2d86(image via Annie’s Eats)

But before you get started with Lent, why not celebrate on Fat Tuesday?! First brought to the US by French Catholics, Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French) is the day for eating rich, fatty foods before fasting during Lent. I don’t know if I’ve ever celebrated Fat Tuesday, mostly because I don’t even realize it’s coming up until a few days before. This year I was thinking about having a personal Mardi Gras celebration with JZ on Tuesday night: jambalaya, King Cake, and a Sazerac or two. I will be making this jambalaya recipe from Annie’s Eats. I learned when researching that a true jambalaya has to have the Cajun Trinity, onion, bell pepper, and celery. It can also have garlic and parsley too. This is the base for many of the Cajun recipes. I love random food knowledge like that.

king cake(image via)

I’m not sure if I will actually have time to make this but I’ve always wanted to try a King Cake with the purple, gold, and green sprinkles. It looks delicious. Maybe I’ll try it this weekend while JZ is away on his fishing trip.

sazerac-sl-l(image via)

I found this drink recipe in my search for traditional Mardi Gras food and this might be worth a try. It’s called a Sazerac. I think we have all this at home (minus the anise liqueur) so it shouldn’t be too hard. I’m not a big whiskey or bourbon fan but it sounds good to me. Worth a shot, right?

How do you celebrate Fat Tuesday or Lent?

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