Mardi Gras is a special time of the year down in Cajun Country. Even if you don't live around New Orleans you can still rejoice in some of the fun and revelry associated with Mardi Gras by throwing a grand old meal befitting King Rex himself.
The trick about bringing Mardi Gras to the Midwest or wherever you may be, is to always have the mindset that makes Mardi Gras such fun and an enjoyable event for people from all over the world. If that doesn't work a bowl or two of gumbo topped off with some Mardi Gras music should do the trick quite nicely.
Honestly though, part of the appeal and intrigue of Mardi Gras and the city of New Orleans is the food that has made this city almost as famous as its ability to party. If you are considering what to cook to bring the spirit of Mardi Gras into your home, try any of the traditional favorites. If ingredients prove hard to come by you might want to add a little rice, a little spice, and a lot of hot sauces to your favorite family meal.
Those who live in New Orleans often use rice to stretch the budget. Rice is filling and is cost effective. This makes rice a great foundation of a meal for many of the families of New Orleans many of whom have been pretty poor by tradition.
Rice is used in all manner of dishes from gumbo to red beans and jambalaya and many dishes in between. It is almost certainly the one staple of Cajun cooking that you will find everywhere you go.
Otherwise there are wide differences in cookery according to cost and culture (though the more costly foods are normally considered Creole rather than Cajun. Sort of a city cousin - country cousin type relationship between the cuisines).
Spices are dominant in these dishes for much the same reason that rice is. They have traditionally been an inexpensive method of seasoning dishes that would otherwise be quite insipid. Expect to find plenty of spices and some heat in most traditional Cajun dishes all over the city. Some restaurants that cater to tourists have somewhat watered down versions of local favorites.
If you want to try something with a little less fire, a po-boy or muffaletta might be what you are looking for. These sandwiches are more than a little deceptive in appearance because they are very filling. French fries are still a Cajun favorite, although we also have a popular dish called fried sweet potatoes.
You can find recipes for all of these online quite easily though you will probably have trouble finding the ideal bread for a po boy anywhere outside the Crescent City. There is a unique "chewiness" to the perfect po boy bread that may be copied in other places but not equaled anywhere in the country.
For the best finish to your Cajun cooking you should make a point of buying some chicory coffee. This is easily accomplished via the Cafe du Monde website if your local coffee shop doesn't have any. Historically, chicory was added to coffee and often used instead of coffee because it was much cheaper.
This meant it could make the more high-priced coffee beans go further and yet provide a similar taste and texture with that hint of chicory. It's a somewhat unique flavor and for many people is synonymous with the city itself.
Health food recipes may seem daunting; however, they can be prepared very easily on a budget and ensure that the correct foods are eaten. Far too many people today eat snacks and meals that are full of fats and processed foods. Obesity is becoming a huge problem all over the world, and learning how to prepare and cook healthy recipes is essential.
When the body does not receive the adequate amount of nutrients and vitamins that it requires every day it will begin to suffer. Many of the foods that are eaten are simply quick, processed, empty calories that provide nothing for the body. Health recipes are easy to follow and will ensure that the body is receiving exactly what it requires on a daily basis. There is no excuse why everyone cannot learn how to prepare and cook healty recipes.
People often think that cooking health recipes is time consuming, and expensive, however, if the meals are planned in advance they will, in fact save time and money. By providing the body with healthy, nutritional snacks and meals throughout the day, the cravings and over eating will stop. It is surprising once a routine has been established how easy it is to follow the health food recipes. There are always plenty of different options, and healthy does not need to mean boring or bland.
Planning is essential from the very beginning knowing what meals are to be cooked, and what health recipes are to be followed will save time and money. Although it may take time for the whole family to adjust to the new healthy recipes, once they understand that there are no unhealthy alternatives they will give the healthy foods a chance.
Fruits and vegetables can often be included in the health food recipes raw, therefore, saving on cooking time. The fruits and vegetables can be simply washed, chopped and thrown in salads and fruit cocktails. Finding alternatives to frying is essential, and many of the health food recipes will ask for foods to be grilled, boiled or steamed. Once the habit is broken of frying everything, this method of cooking will soon be forgotten.
Thankfully the popularity of healthy foods and health recipes is growing, which will help to bring the ingredients down in price. Eating healthily no longer needs to be an expensive way of cooking, and finding the right ingredients will ensure that they are great value. Including fresh herbs in the cooking process is a great way to provide an extra element to the meals.
Introducing healthy recipes will encourage children to eat healthily, and ensure as they grow they understand the importance of healthy living. Children learn everything from their parents and the adult influences within their life. If the children of the future are introduced to health recipes, they will not want to eat unhealthy foods. Healthy foods can be great alternatives to many of the processed snacks that can be found at the local stores.
Whatever diet you choose, low carb, low fat, low sugar, all of the best tasting foods are always the villains! All the comfort foods are high in carbohydrates, high in calories, and are highly processed. All three of these things are to be avoided when trying to lose weight and/or gain health.
Carbohydrates are literally in just about everything. There are simple and complex forms of carbohydrates. We need a certain amount of carbohydrates to function. We just need LESS of a good thing. So the phrase low carb diet food, simply connotes those foods that are lower in carbohydrates.
Simple forms of carbohydrates burn faster, so you are hungry again sooner, and for one thing, this leads to cravings and binges. Simple carbohydrates are for instance those that contain sugar. While refined sugar (sucrose) is the worst enemy, there is also fruit sugar (fructose) and milk sugar (lactose).
A low carb diet food would be those that limit all carbohydrates, but especially the simple carbohydrates. Of the simple carbohydrates the only one we really don't need much of to be healthy is sucrose. Particularly, refined white sugar. We would not be wise to eliminate milk (as long as it is skim or low fat), and certainly fruit is always associated with a healthy diet.
Complex carbohydrates are those that are more healthful, such as whole grains and vegetables, which are less processed. It seems the processing is what removes the nutritional value of the foods. Complex carbs take longer to digest and are therefore available to generate energy for a longer period. However, these whole grain foods would also need to be limited due to them being considered high in carbohydrates. In that they are healthy foods, however, small amounts would provide more nutrition than a large amount of processed foods.
The only foods that don't have carbohydrates are meat and fat. Both of these, if eaten in excess can be detrimental to your health. If I eat only meat and fat, I will indeed be on a low carb diet and may lose weight. However, while I may look better, I may die of clogged arteries or a number of other diseases caused by too much meat or fat. No use being a svelte corpse. I'm vain, but not that vain
Pastries are usually made from processed flour, and refined sugar is their main ingredient. Almost as tragic as a life without pastry, is a life without pasta or rice. However, this wonderful food is also one of the main foods that would not ever be considered a low carb food! Eat these very sparingly.
So besides avoiding these major villains, the operable concepts in describing the low carb diet food are limiting or reducing, (not omitting) most carbohydrates; and choosing natural or unprocessed forms of carbohydrates, rather than processed or refined; moderation, as in all things, is key to a low carb diet plan.