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Stop stressing about food for Easter, and get prepped with these easy ideas!

Although the family will be tempted to snack on sweets all day, get prepared with a great list of meals for Easter! From breakfast to dessert, as well as snacking and drinks, be sure to walk through these ideas to make this year’s Easter special.

iStock-518728054 CroppedMardi season is upon us, and while that may mean carnival masks, beads, parades, and other celebratory activities, we're really here for the food. Now is the perfect time to enjoy Cajun and Creole specialties as well as some classic cocktails. 

What To Eat For Mardi Gras

We covered Oysters Rockefeller and Bananas Foster already, but there are so many more amazing dishes that you should be enjoying this week. 

King Cake is the traditional dessert, and don't forget to hide a baby doll charm in the cake for a lucky friend or family member to find. We suggest using the green, yellow, and purple icing as well for extra festiveness. Beignets are another New Orleans classic that are also extremely appropriate for the holiday - or any time at all, really, because you never need an excuse for beignets.

Jambalaya or gumbo both make fantastic main dishes, and red beans and rice is a great side dish for pretty much everything on the Mardi Gras menu. Shrimp creole, etouffee, and so many other New Orleans are also great options for your Mardi Gras inspired menu.

No matter what you serve, keep things casual with a brunch or buffet style dinner, because this holiday is about having fun and letting loose. And don't forget the music! A little jazz, big band bass or zydeco, or funk can all get the party started.

Fat Tuesday = Cheat Day

On Fat Tuesday (February 28th this year), it's traditional to eat pancakes or paczkis - so it might be worth a cheat day to have a fabulous carb-laden breakfast. And besides, isn't Fat Tuesday the original cheat day, since it's the chance for one last indulgence before the austerity and fasting for Lent begins? Go for it. 

And What To Drink

If you require a delicious beverage or two for Mardi Gras, look no further than a Sazerac - perhaps America's oldest cocktail  - or a bright, fruity Hurricane or New Orleans frozen daiquiri. If you're in the mood for a challenge to pair with your cocktails, you can attempt to craft a Ramos Gin Fizz

Whether or not you celebrate Mardi Gras or Carnivale with a big parade or party, you should at least enjoy the food! After all, the feasting might be the very best part! 

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It's called a "poke cake" because once the cake is baked you poke holes in it to allow the filling or frosting to seep into the holes. For this recipe, we took eggnog to a new level by mixing it with espresso for a deep-flavored frosting. Our poke cake worked as individual-sized mini cakes, mini loaves of dessert bread, and baked in ramekins. The recipe is forgiving and flexible, so you can use it for an after-dinner dessert or as an addition to your party table.

Eggnog Poke Cake With Espresso-Eggnog Glaze

INGREDIENTS:

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• 1 package vanilla cake mix

• 2 large eggs

• 1/2 cup vegetable oil

• 1 cup eggnog

• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Glaze:

• 1 cup powdered sugar

• 1 Tbsp. eggnog

• 1-3 tsp. espresso (instant espresso granules diluted into water work great!)

Optional Topping:

• Whipped cream

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven according to the directions on the box.

Mix the cake mix, eggs, oil, eggnog, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Bake at 350 degrees in a 9x13-inch pan for 20-25 minutes. (We used a variety of pans with different shapes. Remember to adjust the cooking times accordingly. If you're using a smaller pan, you'll need to cook for less time.)

Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes; remove to a cooling rack.

Prepare glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, eggnog and espresso.

Add more powdered sugar 1 teaspoon at a time to get your desired consistency.

Poke holes in the cake using a fork and pour glaze over cake. (You can also wait to poke the cakes until just before serving and serve the glaze in a pitcher alongside the cakes so guests may pour as much as they like. The consistency will be a little different with this approach, but all of the flavors will be there!)

Top with whipped cream, if desired.

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We all want to start the new year off in a positive, serendipitous fashion. So whether you are mildly superstitious, a true believer in all things mystical and supernatural, or a skeptic who's just going along with it, check out some of these interesting good luck traditions from around the world and try a few for good luck and a wonderful 2017!

Eat Twelve Grapes At Midnight.

This Spanish tradition of eating twelve grapes all at once at midnight started as a way to determine whether each month of the upcoming year would be sweet or bitter based on the flavor of the grapes. Now we can choose, so pick out twelve sweet grapes for twelve happy months! 

Pick Up Some Pomegranates. 

They represent an abundance of health, fertility, and prosperity. And who doesn't desire those positive things in the new year? What's more, you can use this tasty fruit to predict your fortune - in Greece the tradition is to smash a pomegranate on the floor in front of a door and count the seeds. The more seeds, the more luck you'll have in the new year! 

Enjoy Some Delicious Noodles.

A long noodle means a long life, so it's become common in some cultures (although it's actually part of the official observation in Japan) to dine on dishes that feature long noodles for health and longevity in the new year. It's even better if you can eat your noodles without breaking them, so work on your slurping technique before NYE.

Or Deviled Eggs.

These tasty little snacks also signify longevity and good health. 

Put A Ring On Your Dessert.

Donuts, bundt cakes, and other ring-shaped foods symbolize the year coming full circle (plus they are delicious). If you bake a cake, hide a coin inside as a bonus good luck charm for the lucky person who gets the coin on their slice.

Make Pork The Main Dish.

The pig symbolizes progress and pushing things forward, so it is only natural that we enjoy all things pork-related in the New Year. Perhaps pork chops or a tenderloin might be in order for dinner? 

Or Perhaps A Whole Fish.

The word for "fish" in Chinese is similar to abundance, making the a whole fish perhaps the ideal New Year's main dish. Plus the scales resemble money, and fish always swim forward, representing progress towards a goal. 

Eat Your Greens.

Leafy green veggies like cabbage, spinach, kale, and other healthy favorites symbolize money and therefore wealth and prosperity in the new year. Now that green juice or smoothie is extra-good for you! 

Lentils Are Also Lucky.

Because they resemble coins, eating lentils in the New Year means good things for your finances. 

Herring Is Lucky Too.

Because the silvery fish also resemble coins, so it's a tradition in Scandinavia, Russia, and the Philippines to eat herring on New Year's Eve. 

So Is Cornbread.

Because it looks like a hunk of gold (if you squint. A lot). Sense a theme here? Consuming foods that look like money or precious metals means you'll hopefully have a lot of those things coming your way in 2017. 

And So Are Black-Eyed Peas.

They bring prosperity and happiness according to tradition in the southern U.S. Hoppin' John is the classic dish, but however you prepare them, serve them with some collard greens for an extra dose of luck. 

Clearly, if you want to have plenty of luck in 2017, you'll want to make sure that luck is on the menu. Happy New Year - and happy dining!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A new twist on classic fudge, this recipe infuses the fudge with the traditional holiday taste of eggnog and offers a burst of flavor on top with candied ginger. It is a great addition to your party table, holiday meal or even wrapped up as a gift.

INGREDIENTS:

• 2 cups sugar

• 1/2 cup butter

• 3/4 cup eggnog

• 12 ounces white baking chocolate

• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme

• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

• Pinch of ground ginger

• 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• Candied ginger

• Roasted pistachios

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DIRECTIONS: 

Bring sugar, butter and eggnog to a full boil in a heavy medium-size saucepan.

Continue to boiling over medium heat until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees, stir constantly to prevent scorching.

Remove from heat and stir in the white chocolate, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, stirring until the chocolate is melted.

Add marshmallow creme and vanilla extract; beat until well blended.

Pour into a buttered 8- or 9-inch square pan.

Cool, then cut into squares.

Top with chopped candied ginger and pistachios if desired.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

May be frozen for up to three weeks.

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