We have a great group of friends that look at creative ways to get our busy schedules together. And by creative I mean a celebration of some type that includes a food theme. This year for Mardi Gras we are gathering our families together, play some games and enjoy a festive food. On the menu will be Jambalaya, Hurricanes, and King Cake. I was planning on a fruit or veggie tray and then decided healthy skewers would be fun to make and easier party food. Perfect for some healthy Mardi Gras party food (and to balance out the King Cake I was also making)! And more fun in Mardi Gras colors: Purple, Green and Gold. Always the curious one, I had to look up why these colors are significant to Mardi Gras and a little history of Mardi Gras.
Short History on Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras is traced back to Medieval Europe and is translated to “Fat Tuesday”. It is a celebration of the beginning of Lent. French Explorers settled in what is now New Orleans on the eve of the festive holiday and over time, the kick off of the celebration became more elaborate with Carnivals, wearing masks, throwing beads and the crowning of King Rex.
The colors represented are of royal colors (purple and green) and of metal (gold). Colors were “necessary” at the time to honor the King Rex. A King needs a kingdom and a kingdom needs a flag. And a flag needs colors fit for a King! These flags were to wave proudly over Carnival. And now, these colors are everywhere to represent Mardi Gras. (For more, detailed history, visit the site Mardi Gras New Orleans. Here is a Bonus from this site, if you are a sports fan or just a fan of fun details:
“According to legend, Mardi Gras colors influenced the choice of school colors for arch-rivals Louisiana State University and Tulane University. They say when LSU was deciding on its colors, the shops in New Orleans had stocked up on purple, green, and gold for the Mardi Gras season. LSU decided upon purple and gold, and bought much of it. Tulane bought much of the only remaining color – green.” (Source: www.mardigrasneworleans.com/mgcolors.html)
Healthy Mardi Gras Party Food – Fruit and Vegetable Skewers
What’s the best way to balance the sweet treats at the food table? Fruits and veggies of course! I thought it would be fun to come with a Mardi Gras color palatte and make skewers that can be grab and go and simple finger food.
So with so much history and tradition with these royal colors, I went to the best resources on fruit and vegetable colors, my two girls! I got out a pencil and my journal and ask them to name fruits and vegetables in purple, green and gold (yellow).
Here was our list:
- Snap peas
- Cucumber (technically a fruit, but is a better bite with veggies)
- Cheese (I know, not a veggie, but a nice pairing with veggies!)
- Baby Corn
- Cheese (I know, not a fruit, but a nice pairing with grapes!)
What other ones can you come up that you can find locally?
There is an amazing kitchen store right down the road from me. I found my skewers there and was back home about 8 minutes later. I had to stop and chat to the owner for a bit! Stores like Cash & Carry also have bamboo skewers. Amazon carries these bamboo skewers.
I can’t decide which combination I like best grapes with the pineapple…
Or the pineapple with the kiwi and grape! Good thing they are healthy bites so I can enjoy them both.
Isn’t this purple cabbage a thing of wonder and a thing of beauty? Again, my curiosity got the best of me and I had to look into what the deal is with purple cauliflower. My first thought was “is it dyed?”. I was relived to find out, no, it is NOT dyed. The reasoning for the purple color comes from an antioxidant also found in red cabbage and red wine. Ohhh, I like red wine! This paired nicely with the crispy crunch of a sugar snap pea and the rich creaminess of Tillamook Cheddar cheese, found here in my home state of Oregon!
Another fun find was some organic carrots in purple, yellow and the standard orange. As I was looking through the bags to ensure I got the most colorful bag, I caught the curiosity of a stranger. She was interested in my interest in these carrots that we struck up a conversation and she ended up buying a bag, too. I just love these little unexpected, joyous encounters in my day.
I hope you find this healthy nibbles fun and a nice change up to your Mardi Gras party food. Still indulge in that King Cake! I did, but just a little sweet sliver. It was so worth it.