King cake is popular this time of year, but it’s not the only way to celebrate Mardi Gras. Check out some recipes inspired by one of our favorite parades, Zulu.
The krewe rolls on Mardi Gras Day, Feb. 17, in Uptown at 8:00 a.m. Perhaps you’ll get one of their prized coconuts, but if not, no problem! Whether you prefer savory or sweet, we’ve got your coconut fix right here with these easy coconut recipes.
Who needs king cake when you have coconut macaroons? Honor Zulu with these cookies and other coconut recipes. (Photo courtesy Dennis Wilkinson on Flickr)
Toasted Coconut Brussels Sprouts
The exotic flavors of coconut create an intriguing flavor combination alongside Brussels sprouts while toasted coconut flakes add a satisfying crunch. Hearty enough for a vegetarian main, this dish is also the perfect side for a steakhouse dinner at home.
Cranberry Coconut Trifle
With Mardi Gras falling close to Valentine’s Day, we think this recipe is a delectable way to celebrate both. Surprise your sweetie with a cranberry coconut trifle – pops of red cranberry tie in Valentine’s colors while coconut, of course, says nothing but Zulu. You can follow the instructions for the homemade sponge cake, but we won’t tell if you use store-bought ladyfingers instead.
Baked Coconut Shrimp
This classic dish is healthier when baked. The dipping sauce continues the theme of exotic flavors – curry, rice vinegar, and orange zest are spicy and bright. Serve as an appetizer or pair with a simple salad for an elegant weeknight dinner.
Slow-Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken & Vegetables
You had us at “slow-cooker.” This one-pot meal is a wonderful and warming dish to come home to – simply put assemble all the ingredients and let the slow cooker do the work while you’re at the office. Chicken thighs are a budget-friendly choice, but you can swap boneless, skinless chicken breasts for a more health-conscious meal.
Five ingredients and you’re on your way to moist and chewy cookies. They’re also gluten-free! Drizzle them with chocolate for extra richness and depth of flavor.
Several recent articles have shown a growing trend in real estate: many millennials are opting to rent rather than buy. We think this is a great option that falls in line with important lifestyle perks of renting. Take a look at some of the reasons why renting is a viable, long-term option for millennials.
Moving on up! Millenials prefer to rent because of unbeatable amenities like pools and gyms. (Photo courtesy Robert Donovan on Flickr)
Buying a home not only requires money up front for a down payment but also a monthly mortgage in addition to property tax, insurance, and possible homeowner’s association fees. Homeowners are also responsible for their own maintenance and repairs plus the usual utilities, water, and trash. Conversely, apartments keep it simple: rent and utilities.
Even if a millennial chooses to buy his or her own home, it’s unlikely to compete with the types of amenities available at most apartment complexes. For example, our new Bella Ridge property features an attached parking garage and covered walking path, a resort-style swimming pool with a tanning ledge, outdoor cabanas, and a state-of-the-art fitness facility with brand-new Precor equipment (it’s also open 24 hours). What’s more, our Bella Ridge property doesn’t limit amenities to just humans. Bella Bark, an on-site dog park, caters to furry friends by providing them with a dedicated space for outdoor play. Looking beyond Bella Ridge? Our Lakes of Chateau Estates South property feature a private lake.
Free Time and Convenience
Residents who rent from apartment complexes like those we manage don’t need to worry about maintenance and repairs or yard work. For example, all of our properties features meticulously landscaped grounds that you can simply enjoy. If something breaks in your apartment, simply contact the office – we’ll take care of repairs quickly and thoroughly. With qualified staff taking care of tasks like landscaping and repairs, you won’t have to devote your weekends to mowing the lawn or repairing the sink. Renters can get outside and enjoy the day!
Purchasing a home in a city like New Orleans can be expensive, especially with more young professionals coming to the area, but renters get the advantage of incredible proximity without the high monthly mortgage and insurance. Many of our properties are just a quick drive to sought-after areas like the CBD and the French Quarter – without the price tag.
Southern Living’s blog, The Daily South, just posted their definitive list of the 10 best oyster houses in the south. Locals won’t be surprised one bit to learn that Acme Oyster House, Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, and Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar all made the list! We love how these places let the flavors of fresh oysters shine through, and we especially love how close they are to several of our Greater New Orleans apartments. Drago’s, for example, is just 2 miles from Boardwalk Apartments, and our new Bella Ridge property (part of our January specials) is a 15-minute drive from Acme Oyster House’s Metairie location.
Drago’s is one of several local restaurants named among the best oyster bars in the South. (Photo: Drago’s Seafood Restaurant on Facebook)
If you’re not a raw oyster fan, don’t worry. Acme, Drago’s, and Felix’s have plenty of other options to satisfy your palate. Take a look at some popular menu items with nary an oyster in sight:
Acme Oyster House
Boo Fries are the start to an unforgettable meal. Smothered in roast beef gravy and cheese, the fries are similar to poutine – with a Creole kick, of course. The grilled shrimp po-boy is another worthy pick.
Drago’s Seafood Restaurant
Lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, spinach dip, and blackened duck linguine are just a few of the decadent options at Drago’s. Those with food allergies will enjoy ordering from the restaurant’s extensive gluten-free menu.
Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar
We won’t tell if you start off with dessert: Felix’s Creole Pecan Pie is a must-try. Classic New Orleans dishes like turtle soup, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and red beans and rice are all on the menu, too.
Prefer an Asian twist when it comes to seafood? Try out Kyoto 2 in Elmwood – it’s practically next door to Bella Ridge.
Not long after the decadence of Christmas, Carnival season gets underway, treating us to a calorie-laden stretch of parades and celebrations (it’s not called Fat Tuesday for nothing). Although you won’t see us restricting ourselves completely, we plan to at least put in the effort of baking our own vegan king cake this year.
This version from Dairy Free Cooking relies on rich – yet vegan – ingredients like maple syrup, coconut milk, and pecans to create king cake luxuriousness without the extra fat and calories of dairy products. It yields 10-12 servings, and you can make the icing and filling in advance if you’re short on time. Check out some other healthy, vegetarian recipes here!
Vegan king cake. (Photo courtesy House Vegan)
For the cake:
- 1 package dry active yeast
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 tablespoon organic white granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons soy margarine, cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons Egg Replacer Powder mixed with ¼ tablespoon hot water
- ¼ cup coconut milk (not “lite” variety), plus more for brushing
For the filling:
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup dairy-free soy margarine, softened
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
For the sprinkles:
- Unrefined cane sugar (about 1 ½ cups)
- Yellow, green, and purple Food Coloring
For the icing:
- 1 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and maple syrup, mixing gently until the yeast dissolves and bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Set aside until frothy, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine flour, salt, nutmeg and sugar into a food processor. Add the soy margarine and process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add this mixture to the yeast, along with the Egg Replacer and coconut milk. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until a soft dough forms. Place in an oiled bowl, covered, for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy margarine, chopped pecans and cinnamon until combined.
- Make the Sprinkles. In three small bowls, mix about ½ cup of sugar in each with just a few drops of desired food coloring. Mix well until desired color is achieved. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly oil a large baking sheet or round pizza pan.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle about 1/8” thick. Using a floured sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise. Cut each of the strips into triangles, each about 3 inches at their base. (Think of a zipper or zigzag pattern when you cut, alternating the tops of triangles with the bases.) With the tips of the triangles pointed inward, place the triangles in a circle on the prepared sheet, overlapping one over the other and pressing the edges to seal. Place an even amount of the filling on the centers of the triangles, and place the baby or dried bean somewhere on the filling. Fold the outsides of the triangles over the filling, so that the reach just over the filling. Fold the tips over, pressing slightly to adhere the tips to the outside of the ring. Cover the ring lightly with a paper towel or clean dish towel, and let rise for 20 minutes more.
- Brush the cake lightly with coconut milk or soy milk. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow cake to cool completely on a wire cooling rack, and then transfer the cake to a serving platter large enough to catch excess icing.
- Prepare the icing. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and salt. Add the warm water and, stirring vigorously, stir until the mixture is a very thick glaze. Ladle the mixture over the cake in several additions, letting the icing run down the sides. While the icing is still slightly warm, sprinkle the prepared sprinkles over the cake, alternating sections of purple, green, and yellow. Allow the icing to harden completely before serving.
The old adage tells us that “it’s better to give than to receive.” We think this applies not only to gifts, but also your time. The greater New Orleans area is a vibrant community, but it also has a lot of people and organizations in need, especially during this time of the year. That’s why we’ve put together a list of places where you can volunteer during the holidays – perhaps you can make it a new tradition with your friends and family!
Animal Rescue New Orleans Shelter
This no-kill shelter in Elmwood is always looking for volunteers to help with laundry, animal care, dog walking, and more. Volunteering at this shelter counts toward school service hours. You also can donate directly to ARNO as part of our December pet drive.
The Roots of Music
The Roots of Music is one of several organizations in New Orleans that depends on the work of volunteers. (Photo courtesy: The Roots of Music on Facebook)
This organization ties music directly to empowerment for at-risk youth in the New Orleans community. Providing music education, academic support, and mentorship are just a few tenants of The Roots of Music, all while preserving the musical and cultural heritage of New Orleans. Volunteers can help participating students with homework, projects, and test review – no experience is necessary, and you’ll directly aid a child in becoming their most positive, productive self.
Grow Dat Youth Farm
Creating job opportunities and professional development for high school students and youth interested in urban agriculture, Grow Dat Youth Farm is a fully functioning farm in City Park that produces organic fruits and vegetables through sustainable farming techniques. The farm also relies on volunteers to help keep its grounds in tip-top shape – get out into the sunshine and put your hands to work with tasks like weeding, crop maintenance, and more.
There are many other worthy organizations in the area where you can volunteer. HandsOn New Orleans provides a detailed database of causes that might interest you based on distance, keywords, dates, and whether you’re volunteering as an individual or on behalf of a corporation. No matter what your passion, there is a volunteer opportunity available!