KING CAKES – PART 2

CAN I MAKE KING CAKE AT HOME?

Yes! You can definitely start a tradition of making your own king cakes at home with your loved ones. Check out Sucre’s award-winning king cake recipe for inspiration this Mardi Gras season. Voted “A Favorite” by the Times-Picayune King Cake Contest and “BEST” King Cake by a Washington Post blind taste test. Sucre’s signature buttery danish pastry is sweetened by cinnamon and raw cane sugar then folded with a light layer of creole cream cheese.

HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!! this is the strawberry almond king cake from @laboulangerienola ⚜️📿❤️ #delicious
📷: CK
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#followyournola #showmeyournola #neworleans #kingcake #mardigras #foodstagram #foodies #neworleansfood #neworleanslouisiana #nola #nolafood #laboulangerie #eatnola #eatingnola #504 #louisiana #eaternola #yelpnola #gambit #southernliving #eatingood #tsgnola #goodeats #foodbeast #foodceleb #yelp #eater #opentable #nolafoodgramotw

SUCRE’S KING CAKE RECIPE

THIS RECIPE MAKES 2 KING CAKES

Dough

  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature

Combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast and milk in a mixing bowl and mix on low speed till it comes together. As dough comes together, add 1 egg at a time then add butter gradually. Continue to mix at medium speed till smooth and elastic. Do not overmix.

Place in a clean bowl and wrap with plastic wrap, keep at room temperature and allow to double in size. When doubled, “punch down” to deflate, and wrap again to allow to rise again.

At this point, make the cream cheese filling.

Filling

  • 8oz Cream Cheese (1 pack)
  • 1ea Egg yolk
  • 1/8 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

Combine all ingredients and mix till smooth. Will be divided on 2 pieces of dough

Assembly

Roll dough to an even rectangle about ¼” thick. Cut into 2 lengthwise and pipe or spoon cream cheese filling on the upper 1/3 of each piece. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon) evenly. Roll each piece into a log and twist them together to form a braid. Shape into a ring sealing the ends well.

Proof to double in size and bake in preheated oven @360*F for approx 20-25 minutes or till golden brown on the bottom surface. If top is golden brown and bottom is still not baked, cover the top with foil and turn oven down to 325*F. Allow to cool before glazing.

Glaze

  • 2 cups Powder sugar
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients till smooth and coat top of cooled cake. Allow glaze to dry before serving. RECIPE COURTESY OF SUCRÉ – WWW.SHOPSUCRE.COM 

(Information obtained from www.neworleans.com/events/holidays)

KING CAKES – PART 1

SO, WHAT IS A KING CAKE?

The name “king cake” comes from the Biblical story of the three kings who bring gifts to Baby Jesus. A blend of coffee cake and cinnamon roll, king cake is usually iced in yellow, green and purple – the colors of Mardi Gras — and is frequently packed with fruit fillings and decadent cream cheeses. Hidden within these season sweets also lie a special surprise: a plastic king cake baby to continue the fun.

WHAT DOES THE BABY INSIDE THE KING CAKE MEAN?

HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!! this is the strawberry almond king cake from @laboulangerienola ⚜️📿❤️ #delicious
📷: CK
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#followyournola #showmeyournola #neworleans #kingcake #mardigras #foodstagram #foodies #neworleansfood #neworleanslouisiana #nola #nolafood #laboulangerie #eatnola #eatingnola #504 #louisiana #eaternola #yelpnola #gambit #southernliving #eatingood #tsgnola #goodeats #foodbeast #foodceleb #yelp #eater #opentable #nolafoodgramotw

Hidden in its interior, or under a slice, is a small plastic baby. Whoever finds it must either bring the next cake or throw a party, thus sparking an unending round of food and fun. Whether at the workplace, school or home – king cake is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the Mardi Gras season.

WHEN DO YOU EAT KING CAKE?

King cake is indeed a heavenly treat for residents of New Orleans when it appears in supermarkets and bakeries between early January and Ash Wednesday. Some bakeries across the city begin selling as early as December, but always at the start of Carnival – January 6. While we hold firm to our belief that king cakes taste best in New Orleans, don’t fret if you aren’t here during that special time of year. Several bakeries offer fast delivery anywhere in the United States.

WHERE DO I BUY A KING CAKE?

New Orleans is filled with a number of bakeries, sweet shops and restaurants eager to begin sharing this sweet seasonal treat. Enjoy customized, traditional and unique king cakes from across the city. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a list of bakeries that offer king cakes, or browse a this list of some of our favorite king cake spots here.

(Information obtained from www.neworleans.com/events/holidays)

Twelfth Night in New Orleans



Unlike Mardi Gras’ ever-changing date, Twelfth Night always falls on Jan. 6. It marks the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, thus officially ending the holiday season. While some religious sects believe that Twelfth Night falls on Jan. 5, in New Orleans it is celebrated on Jan. 6, the 12th day after Christmas. Those who observe Twelfth Night on Jan. 5 consider Christmas starting at sunset on Christmas Eve.

Less than two weeks after Christmas, New Orleans has begun the celebrating anew with Twelfth Night. The Feast of the Epiphany which is on January 6, marks when the Three Wise Men visited the Christ child. In New Orleans it also means the launch of Carnival season. New Orleans observes it with the Joan of Arc parade that marches through the French Quarter. This is followed by the Twelfth Night Masquerade Ball and the ride of the Phunny Phorty Phellows, a group of gentlemen who board the St. Charles streetcar with great fanfare Uptown to herald the arrival of Carnival.

Twelfth Night is significant here in New Orleans because it is the official start of the Carnival season, which concludes at the end of Mardi Gras Day. Leave it to a city like New Orleans to transition directly from the Christmas holidays to Carnival season. Twelfth Night has always been important in New Orleans, being celebrated and observed as far back as colonial times. However, it wasn’t until post-Civil War in 1870 that the Twelfth Night Revelers formalized the tradition. Since then it’s been celebrated in various forms.

It’s also important to note that since Carnival season doesn’t start until Twelfth Night, staunch observers of tradition wait until that day to have their first piece of king cake for the year. Local lore goes that if king cake is eaten before Twelfth Night, it will rain on Mardi Gras day. Many wave this off as nonsense and sell king cakes year-round. However, since New Orleans is a city built on traditions and superstitions alike, the majority of people here still observe the practice of waiting until Twelfth Night for that first delicious, gooey, cinnamon-y bite of king cake.

How to Celebrate Twelfth Night in New Orleans

Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc Parade. This medieval-themed walking parade is a theatrical procession inspired by Joan of Arc’s time in 1400s France. The parade usually begins at 6 p.m. at Toulouse and Decatur Streets, goes through the French Quarter and ends up back on Decatur Street across from Jackson Square. Along the way there are toasts from the Historic New Orleans Collection and Vincent Sciama, Consul General of France in New Orleans, from the Williams Research Center balcony at 400 Chartres St.; a sword blessing at St. Louis Cathedral by Father Philip Landry; ending with the crowning of the king and a king cake ceremony. Revelers are invited to wear gold and join the fun.

The Phunny Phorty Phellows (PPP). The PPP’s annual ride exists to gleefully celebrate the arrival of Carnival time. As per tradition, this small but jovial krewe commandeers a single streetcar for the evening, spreading revelry and merriment all along the St. Charles Streetcar line. This year the PPP kicked off their parade at 7 p.m. Jan. 6 in Uptown at the streetcar barn on Willow Street. The route takes the festive streetcar along the entire length of the streetcar line (all the way downtown to Canal Street) and then retraces its route back to the barn on Willow Street.

Mardi Gras, like Christmas, is a whole season – not just one day. That being said, Fat Tuesday is the biggest day of celebration, and the date it falls on moves around. You’ll find that Fat Tuesday can be any Tuesday between Feb. 3 and March 9. Carnival celebration starts on Jan. 6, the Twelfth Night (feast of Epiphany), and picks up speed through midnight on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.

This year (2019) Mardi Gras is celebrated on Tuesday, March 5.

(Information from Mardi Gras New Orleans.com)

New Year’s Resolutions – Part 2


New Year’s Resolutions – Part 2

Some popular resolutions are:[

Popular resolution

  • Promise to donate to charities more often
  • Try to become more assertive
  • Strive to be more environmentally responsible.
  • Improve physical well-being: eat healthy food, lose weightexercise more, eat better, drink less alcoholquit smoking, stop biting nails, get rid of old bad habits
  • Improve mental well-being: think positive, laugh more often, enjoy life
  • Improve finances: get out of debt, save money, make small investments
  • Improve career: perform better at current job, get a better job, establish own business
  • Improve education: improve grades, get a better education, learn something new (such as a foreign language or music), study often, read more books, improve talents
  • Improve self: become more organized, reduce stress, be less grumpymanage time, be more independent, perhaps watch less television, play fewer sitting-down video games
  • Take a trip
  • Volunteer to help others, practice life skills, use civic virtue, give to charity, volunteer to work part-time in a charity organization
  • Get along better with people, improve social skills, enhance social intelligence
  • Make new friends
  • Spend quality time with family members
  • Settle down, get engaged/get married, have kids
  • Pray more, be more spiritual
  • Be more involved in sports or different activities
  • Spend less time on social media (such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr etc.)

Success rate

35% of participants who failed their New Year’s Resolutions admitted they had unrealistic goals, 33% of participants didn’t keep track of their progress and a further 23% forgot about it. About one in 10 respondents claimed they made too many resolutions. [

A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail,[10] despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”).

(Information From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

New Year’s Resolutions – Part 1

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New Year’s Resolutions – Part 1

New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life

Religious origins

Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.[

The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.[

In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.[

At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions. This tradition has many other religious parallels. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People can act similarly during the Christian liturgical season of Lent, although the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. In fact, the Methodist practice of New Year’s resolutions came, in part, from the Lenten sacrifices. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.

Participation

At the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults formed New Year’s resolutions. At the start of the 21st century, about 40% did.[5] In fact, according to the American Medical Association, approximately 40% to 50% of Americans participated in the New Year’s resolution tradition from the 1995 Epcot and 1985 Gallop Polls.  A study found 46% of participants who made common New Year’s resolutions (e.g. weight loss, exercise programs, quitting smoking) were likely to succeed, over ten times as among those deciding to make life changes at other times of the year.

(Information from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )


NEW YEAR’S TRADITIONAL MEALS

NEW YEAR’S TRADITIONAL MEALS

Most New Year’s traditions are believed to ensure good luck for the coming year. Many parts of the United States observe the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. Auld Lang Syne: “Auld Lang Syne” is traditionally sung at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

According to popular folklore, if these foods are eaten on New Year’s Day, they guarantee good luck throughout the year. Peas or beans symbolize coins or wealth. Choose traditional black-eyed peas, lentils or beans to make a dish seasoned with porkham or sausage. Greens resemble money, specifically folding money.

Pork and sauerkraut is believed to bring good luck and good fortune in the months ahead. … Part superstition and part tradition, eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day is like a Pennsylvania Dutch-style insurance policy for the new year. It is believed to bring good luck and good fortune in the months ahead.

Image result for new year's traditions in america

Cabbage has many good points, and a context that dates back before recorded history. It always has been an inexpensive vegetable, an even more compelling virtue these days. Wrapped in plastic, a head of cabbage will last two or three weeks in the refrigerator, or four if you don’t mind peeling off a yellow outer leaf or two.

Cook cabbage for New Year’s and you find yourself richer in the coming year. I grew up in a New Orleans Southern family eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. My family also always had cooked cabbage as part of our New Year’s meal. My mom and aunt said it will bring the person that eats it money in the coming year. At the time, I thought it was just to get us kids to eat the stinky smelling cabbage. Although both ladies were very good cooks and the cabbage dish very tasty, it was rather smelly as it was being cooked. It turns out that cabbage is actually very good for you!

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Cabbage is really good for you. Raw, it’s got lots of vitamin C, plus potassium, iron and calcium. Red cabbage has more fiber and even more of the above-mentioned minerals, while Savoy and Napa cabbage have lots of vitamin A. Bok choy has even more vitamin A, 60 percent of the recommended daily allowance.

Red cabbage is loaded with beneficial phytochemicals. Cabbage (and sauerkraut) also fight cancer, along with the other members of the cruciferous family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts and collard greens. The National Cancer Institute includes cabbage among foods with high cancer-fighting powers, and notes two compounds. One helps protect against breast cancer and another helps detoxify carcinogens. And, it has been shown that people who consume lots of cabbage generally have lower rates of colon cancer.

(Information from history.com)

Best After Christmas Sales to Shop – Part 3


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Holiday Decor

If you want to be the most impressively decorated house on the block, you’ll need to plan for next year. Set a reminder to spend December 26 stocking up on everything from holiday lights to inflatable snowmen, and from pre-lit Christmas trees to sparkly tree toppers. Of course, there’s a chance that these items could hit sale shelves just before Christmas, too.

Last year, Lowe’s kicked off a Christmas clearance sale a couple of days before the holiday, offering shoppers the chance to grab last-minute decor for cheap.S

However, buying decorations right before Christmas means you won’t be able to leave them up long, unless you prefer to leave your house decorated year-round. So why not wait a few more days for the really good sales? Last year, Home Depot kicked off its sale on December 30 and took 50% to 75% off Christmas trees, lighting, and other decor. Shopping sales like that means you can deck the halls with savings in 2019, while everyone else is paying full price.

Exercise Equipment

Last year, about 21% of the fitness deals we listed were Editors’ Choice picks. That might not sound like much, but they’re definitely worth checking out (especially if you have a certain New Year’s resolution on your list).

REI was one retailer to watch last year, as it took 50% off apparel and gear right after Christmas Day. And if you were interested in outlet shopping, REI Garage took an extra 25% off one item. Additionally, check for item-specific discounts — in 2017, we saw weight sets drop to $15.

Video Games

If you didn’t find the video game deals you wanted before Christmas, you’re in luck! Last year, nearly 50% of the video game deals we saw during After Christmas sales were Editors’ Choice-worthy. They included titles like Fallout 4 for only $8, and an Xbox One X bundle that was $108 cheaper than buying the items separately.Last year, nearly 50% of the video game deals we saw during After Christmas sales were Editors’ Choice-worthy.

Prefer PC gaming? Look for the Steam Winter Sale to kick off sometime around December 20. Since this promotion lasts longer than the Autumn Sale, you should have more of a chance to grab all the titles on your wishlist. Amazon tends to drop game prices, too.

And if you prefer console gaming, be sure to check out GameStop’s sale. Typically that retailer hosts a buy two, get one free sale on used items.

Electronics

You won’t find a ton of Editors’ Choice deals on electronics post-Christmas — in fact, only about 13% of the deals we saw last year earned our best-of-the-best designation. However, it’s still worth checking them out! It’s possible you’ll find an unbeatable deal on a gadget or device you’ve been eyeing. TVs and headphones will be popular items for deals, with a wide variety of prices and types on sale.

In 2017, we saw a Samsung 55″ smart set that beat its Cyber Monday price by $99 and an LG 43″ smart TV bundled with a $100 gift card for $330. We also saw Klipsch earbuds drop to the lowest price we’d seen.

We also expect to see a few Amazon device bundles. Last year, a second-generation Dot and Fire TV Stick were sold together for $60 during the After Christmas sales. If you don’t mind refurbished products, you can usually find a slew of deals, including TVs and headphones. You should also keep an eye out for Canon‘s refurbished sale, which tends to take an extra 15% off select items.

(Information obtained from dealnews.com)

15 Best After Christmas Sales to Shop – Part 2

15 Best After Christmas Sales to Shop  – Part 2

Christmas may be over, but After Christmas sales are only just beginning! Here are a few of  the top sales you should shop before they’re done for another year.

Image result for after christmas sales 2018

Holiday Decor

If you want to be the most impressively decorated house on the block, you’ll need to plan for next year. Set a reminder to spend December 26 stocking up on everything from holiday lights to inflatable snowmen, and from pre-lit Christmas trees to sparkly tree toppers. Of course, there’s a chance that these items could hit sale shelves just before Christmas, too.

Last year, Lowe’s kicked off a Christmas clearance sale a couple of days before the holiday, offering shoppers the chance to grab last-minute decor for cheap.

However, buying decorations right before Christmas means you won’t be able to leave them up long, unless you prefer to leave your house decorated year-round. So why not wait a few more days for the really good sales? Last year, Home Depot kicked off its sale on December 30 and took 50% to 75% off Christmas trees, lighting, and other decor. Shopping sales like that means you can deck the halls with savings in 2019, while everyone else is paying full price.

One visit to Goldwiser and you will make it your favorite place to buy and sell your precious metals!!!

15 Best After Christmas Sales to Shop – Part 1

15 Best After Christmas Sales to Shop  – Part 1

Image result for Christmas sales

Christmas may be over, but After Christmas sales are only just beginning! Here are a few of  the top sales you should shop before they’re done for another year.

What to Expect From After Christmas Sales

If you thought December 25 marked the end of the winter shopping season, you’re definitely mistaken. After Christmas sales have exploded in recent years, providing yet another opportunity to score awesome deals before the year is over.

Despite the moniker, we actually saw sales begin on December 21 last year. Neiman Marcus led the pack with free overnight shipping — which meant you could get your After Christmas goodies before Christmas Day. That said, in 2018 the bulk of the After Christmas sales will fall between December 26 and New Year’s Eve.

Here are the best things to buy during After Christmas sales.

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Clothing

Clothing deals tend to dominate After Christmas sales. Last year, about 55% of the post-holiday deals we saw were for clothing and accessories. Even better, these sales often matched Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales — if not outright beating them.

For example, last year Men’s Wearhouse took an extra 60% off clearance, tying as the strongest general clearance sale we’d seen from the clothier all year. Additionally, Banana Republic and Kate Spade hosted their best extra discounts of the year. They took an extra 60% and 40% off, respectively.

Last year, about 55% of the After Christmas deals  were for clothing and accessories.

Be sure to look out for clearance clothes, which are sure to have incredibly steep discounts. Last year, New York & Company had an excellent buy one, get three free offer on clearance items.

For its part, Jos. A. Bank offered a scarf and hat set for only $7. The menswear retailer also had polos for only $6, while American Eagle Outfitters had reversible beanies for $4.

Stay turned to Part 2 for more about the Best After Christmas shopping deals!

(Information obtained from dealnews.com)

DISNEY PARKS MAGICAL CHRISTMAS DAY

DISNEY PARKS MAGICAL CHRISTMAS DAY

Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade (ABC)

The Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day parade once again brought the celebrations from Florida’s Walt Disney World resort directly to American television screens.

The parade traveled down Main Street, U.S.A., the first “themed land” at the park, and passed a Christmas tree that stands around 60-feet tall. Later in the evening, the iconic Disney castle was lite up prior to a huge firework display. There was also a slew of musical performances.

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The parade aired from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (EST) on the ABC Television Network. It is also available to watch on the ABC app on both iOS and Android devices, and will stream on ABC.com and connected devices Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.

According to a press release on the Disney Parks blog, airtimes did vary.  This year, the segment was hosted by Jordan Fisher and Sarah Hyland. Jesse Palmer also performed co-host duties at the Christmas Day celebration.

The festivities brought together the “Christmas Day parade, musical performances, celebrity guests and heartwarming family stories”. Parade correspondents were listed as actor Trevor Jackson and Cierra Ramirez, star of upcoming series Good Trouble.

Here are the musical performances for the day:

  • Gwen Stefani performs “Winter Wonderland” from her Christmas album.
  • Brett Eldredge sings the holiday classic “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
  • Andrea Bocelli sings the incredibly moving “Ave Maria”; then Andrea is joined by his son, Matteo Bocelli, to perform “White Christmas.”
  • Host Jordan Fisher performs “This Christmas.”
  • Aloe Blacc performs “Tell Your Mama” from his new holiday album.
  • Hollywood Records artist Olivia Holt sings a holiday tune.
  • American Idol winner Maddie Poppe performs “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
  • Disney’s DCappella performs the popular hit “Last Christmas.”
  • Why Don’t We performs “Kiss You This Christmas” from their holiday album.

This is THE holiday parade at the Magic Kingdom and one of the best of all the parks. Up until about a week before Christmas, this parade is shown exclusively during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party — and shown at night. Then, about a week before Christmas, the parade is shown once or twice in the daytime during regular park hours. The Kringle Crew provides a “pre-parade” experience with singing and crowd interaction. The parade, itself, consists of tons of Disney characters decked out in holiday-garb, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Claus and plenty of holiday music.

Hope all readers had a wonderful Christmas!  Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

(Information from DisneyWorld.com)