Wednesday, March 27, 2013

S3PP: Posting the Grocery List of Doom...

Season 3 Premiere Party:
Almost time to get groceries... UGH.

I hate grocery shopping so I am going to start out this post with a major gripe.  UGH GROCERY SHOPPING!  I hate it.  You spend hundreds of dollars and then in a few weeks you have to do it again and you have nothing to show or it... (except life but that doesn't really count...)  Plus you wonder up and down the isles looking at 42 different kinds of everything that are all made in the same factory but with different labels on the stuff.  THEN, you have to balance out organic, sugar free, no trans fat, no cholesterol, now made with 100% pure motor oil, etc etc...   Things used to be so simple.  You would need spaghetti sauce so you went to the store and bought tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce.  Now you stand in the isle of spaghetti sauce like a dumb ass staring at the 75 different varieties of spaghetti sauce from tomato/basil to ham and cheese to vanilla pudding flavored spaghetti sauce.  Why not just have "Spaghetti flavored spaghetti sauce"??  Want to add olives and honey?  That stuff is on isle 9.  I hate grocery shopping and one day I will have my revenge... one day...  who am I kidding?  If I can just get in and get out then I don't have time to gripe about it.  It's the little blue haired lady in front of me paying her $247 bill in nickels and pennies.  But hey, she got the .20 cent gas reward so she's happy, right?

Ok, bad attitude off...

Looking at this list I'm sure it doesn't look too incredibly daunting but quantity is the key here and more then likely, I'll end up with a very full cart and no room in my truck.

This list covers the jist but I did leave out the things at home I already know I have - like dates and honey.  Those I got covered.  I'm also posting this on here so that I will have a quick reference when I am at the store and make sure I didn't forget anything.  This will also give you an insight on what throwing a party of this magnitude will cost you.  (Arm+Leg.)  Total costs will be forthcoming.

EGGTIP:  I mentioned this yesterday but it's worth mentioning again - If you are planning to hard boil eggs for Sunday - whether it be for Game of Thrones to make Scotch eggs or to color them for Easter, buy your eggs ahead of time! (Like NOW.)  If they're too fresh when you boil them they will not separate from the shell and you'll have a crazy mess trying to peel them!

Grocery list:

5 lbs ground pork
2 lbs ground beef
3 whole chickens
4 lbs Italian sausage
Little smokies (2 packages)

Eggs 18+12+
Sharp white cheddar
Crusty bread
Heavy cream – big carton
4 cans of biscuit dough
Cream cheese

Lipton Onion Soup
2¾ cups roasted chestnuts
Raw apple cider (1 gallon)
Beef broth – 3 cans
Canola oil
Black sesame seeds

Currants – 2 cups (Apricots will sub as well)
Carrots – 1 large costco bag
4 shallots
Black cherries
5 apples
Leeks – 20
Green onions

From Bevmo:
Smuttynose Star Island Single (2 bottle)
Dry sherry
Iron Throne Ale
Grand Meriner
Gold Tequila

From Ross:
Table Cloths
Dish Towels

Who needs rent money with a full stomach??? ehem....

S3PP: House Sigil Stories

Season 3 Premiere Party
House Sigil Stories

So we have these great sigils that we made for all of our guests and their houses but - there was a piece of the puzzle that seemed to be missing.  A huge piece, like the one that tells everyone how we ended up with these in our possession.  Sure, I could just hand them over and say "Lookie what I made!" but we can take it a step further... and I did. (maybe too far…)

If you're taking this route for your guests, you can make your stories as simple or complex as you like.  Some of these are short and some of them are very elaborate. 

The following stories will be shared with each family before dinner and in this order.  If you're no good at coming up with these kinds of things for entertainment purposes, feel free to nab these one and change the names to protect the innocent.  

A lot of people don't know this but we actually went to Westeros a little while back.  You'd be amazed at what has changed but much of it is still the same.  They have their ways still, their traditions but like most tourist traps, (and Westeros is a giant tourist trap, like Disney Land only for grown-ups...) we found some neat little trinkets to bring home with us.  We also came across some pretty unique things that I think will have some relevance in each of your lives....

 It is said that this sigil was found on the bones of a dead warhorse whose drunken rider had been kidnapped and tortured at the Twins.  They say his rider was very clever in the ways of war and had been a strategic master in order to aid his army in their battles.  They also say that the rider was born with one too many thumbs as all of those in his household are said to have had.  The horse was  also clever, however,  and had tracked down his beloved rider only to find a resourceful kitchen wench from House Frey.  With a butchers knife and some doped carrots, she turned him into a sumptuous stew made from whiskey, bacon, onions and mushrooms, served alongside a warm flagon of mead.    

This sigil was found in the red fork between Riverrun and the Darry.  It is said that the boy who found this sigil had no home and no family and yearned for revenge against the townsfolk of Riverrun for incessant bullying.   He devised a plan to fake status and get his revenge but was thwarted when a teenage black fish recognized him as the smiths lazy good-for-nothing apprentice who had stolen all of the smiths holdings and disappeared in the night on his horse.  Upon returning the squealing lad to the smith and shouting something about being a squire for Ser Cliff of House Brown and how he’d be sorry, the smith promptly beat the boy, cut off all 10 of his toes to keep him from running away and then removed his lying tongue to feed the molten fire.  It’s said that every sword made by the smith thereafter had a ring that carried further than most – earning the smithy the name “Smith of the Singing Swords.”

This sigil was found in the Painted Mountains of Essos by a dwarf logger named Butkis.   The story goes that Butkis was logging in the forest as loggers do when he was interrupted by a large THUD.  Hearing large thuds often as a logger does isn’t a strange occurrence, but this one felt different to him.  He stopped cutting his logs and wondered about to see what was the matter when he happened upon a giant man who was holding his brow with a furrowed look on his face.  The dwarf approached the giant – 20 times his size and shouted up at him – “Hoy, what’s yer trouble, eh?”  The giant sobbed about how his giant wife had kicked him out because he was watching too much Judge Judy and how his kids were terrible teenagers who he was certain were selling drugs, and how he thought for sure his wife was cheating on him with the man that does their taxes.  Butkis didn’t understand a word of what he was saying but offered a good word anyway and asked the giant if he needed a task to get his mind off things.   The giant gladly accepted and the two bonded over tree cutting.  Though Butkis was awkward with the ladies, he still offered his advice to the giant to patch things up with the misses and straighten up his unruly children.  When Butkis returned to Mantarys to sell the enormous pile of wood that was chopped down and share his story, he didn’t think that the men he’s stolen the wood from would be in the crowd hearing his tale.  After he told his story, they offered to buy him a drink for his bravery with facing such a monstrous man and then killed him in a dark alley.

This sigil has an ominous tale – They say the man who owned it turned to a wight and murdered everyone in his village.  It started long ago, far north of the wall in the Lands of Always Winter.  In a small village that is not named there lived a mad scientist named Cave Johnson Jewel who had a liking for strange shiny things.  The townsfolk didn’t understand it and kept their distance – they assumed he was a powerful wizard and didn’t want to cross him.   His neighbor, however, felt pity on the man for being an outcast and thought that there was no real reason to fear him so he ordered his wife to cook up a feast and his 13 children to prepare their humble home for a guest.  When the mad scientist came to visit, he was hesitant to interact – he was awkward and figity but never the less, held their company and expressed appreciation for the warm mead and comforting food.  The wife worked all day to prepare a wonderful supper for the man to make sure he felt welcome in their company and to end the evening, she served what had been her families favorite desert since they came to be – Lemon Cake and potatoes.  They had no idea this would set the mad scientist off in such a way – he grabbed his knife and started slashing at the family – first going for the children screaming “THE CAKE IS A LIE, I WILL NOT HELP YOU, GLADOS!”  He flipped the table over and ranted on “I DON’T WANT YOUR DAMN LEMONS!  YOU WILL RUE THE DAY THAT YOU GAVE CAVE JOHNSON JEWELL LEMONS!  I’M THE MAN WHOSE GOING TO BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!”  Eventually, they could not understand his words as they became angry grunting and hollering.  The man of the house, desperate to protect his family came after the mad scientist with a hunting ax, but not before he had killed their eldest daughter.  In a fit of rage, the man buried the ax into the mad scientists skull and watched his lifeless body flop to the floor of their cabin.   The mans sons dragged the wizards lifeless body into the cold just past the stables and urinated on his corpse in anger.  They threw the remaining cake and potatoes on his body in hopes that it would entice the local wildlife into devouring the him.  The next morning, the youngest boy went out to see if the man was still there and discovered that he was not.  He reported this to his father who said that the wolves must have carried him away.  They went on their business until the next night when the man returned with his experiments – all as wights - and killed everyone in the village.   With lemon cake.  And potatoes. 

This sigil was found in a brothel in Lyse by the son of a Lysine courtesan.   He used it for many years to pad the inside of his left shoe as he had been born with one foot shorter than the other.   It was found later in a bowl of brown along with the shoe.  The wench who found it kept it safe in her bosom until she died by choking on a pigeon bone.  It had been passed down through many generations, many not knowing what it meant until we came across it and it’s history in Myr. 

Lastly - We found this sigil on the path from Winterfell to Hornswood.  It was half buried in the rocks so we dug it up.  When we reached the Hornswood we found their Septa and asked her about this strange sigil.  Sorrow filled her eyes and she asked us to come with her for a sad tale – House Burnorrest was the noblest of the families of the North.  It is said that the Stark family honored this house with land and titles for their loyalty before Torrhen Stark bent to the mad king.  House Burnorrest still showed loyalty to the Starks though, honoring their pledge but the Mad king knew that the only way he could rule is by forcing all Stark followers to swear fealty to the King of the Seven Kingdoms.   The mad king sent an envoy to the Burnorrest house demanding that the family surrender a hostage in exchange for the protection of the king.  Lord and Lady Burnorrest had only one child so the thought of losing their only son was enough to destroy a spirit.  Lord Burnorrest sent a raven to Winterfell to ask their dear friends for advice.  Torren Stark had dealt enough with the mad king and knew that his envoys had a craving for delectable foods – and knew that the great Lady Burnorrest, though not typical of a lady of her stature, loved to mingle in the kitchen with the kitchen maids and cook amazing dishes.  Lord Burnorrest offered the envoy a warm house and plenty of mead in the days needed to prepare their son for the journey – to which the envoy accepted.  Lady Burnorrest quickly went to work preparing the finest dishes to stuff the man til he could no longer walk.  He ate and ate and ate and when he thought he could eat no more, he was offered more amazing dishes from all over the western kingdoms and beyond.  After the third day of their feast, the envoy began to feel guilt for demanding their son to the service of the Targaryans.   It was the envoys idea, with a full stomach, to send the family away to keep them together.  He told Lord Burnorrest not to tell him where they would be going, but told them to leave, else their son would be taken from them.   Lady Burnorrest wasn’t sure what to say other than she wasn’t sure he could be trusted – would they be tried for treason?  Would they be hunted and killed?  The envoy looked at her and took her hands in his and told her that never in his life had he been filled with so much love around a table and that it would be his privilege to help them do what is needed to keep that love alive.   We kinda teared up a bit, that’s sad, yo.  Apparently, the Burnorrest family left Westeros with the help of the Starks and opened up a restaurant in Volantis.   Apparently, they’re known for their famous honeyed dormice and Pentoshi stuffed dates.  They say the envoy left the service of the crown soon after and died a very fat and happy man in Essos.  The septa took our hands and asked us to carry on the good words of this house and their traditions – so here we are!  LETS EAT!

Then we’ll all eat all the wonderful food.   THE END.  :D

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

S3PP: Let's talk about appetizers, baby!

S3PP - Season 3 Premiere Party

Nothin says loving like FOOD - especially when your guests are greeted with it the moment they walk in the door.  Our party is not going to be any different than any other gathering at Castle Burnorrest - come and eat til you can't walk anymore!   Surely some think I won't be satisfied til their skinny rears start looking more like mine, but I digress...

In Westeros the tradition lies (spoiler!) that if you give your guests bread and salt they will come to no harm while in your house.  I have taken the liberty of assuring all of my guests that they will be safe in our home as long as a 747 doesn't crash into our party.  Some things are out of our control, ya know?  So we're going to start with that - simple bread and salt.  The best recipe I found, of course, was at the Inn where they have a blooming variety of breads but this one I found to be the most fitting for our event - plus its different and I tend to gravitate towards things that are different... it explains a lot, trust me...

I'll make 2 of those loaves to go on our appetizer tray on either Friday or Saturday.   I will also have my Oldtown Mustard - you can find my adventure with that here:

I will place them with a bundle of green grapes, some kalamata olives, a variety of cheeses and...


Until the wonderful women at the Inn introduced me to their version of this amazing treat, I had no flippin idea what they were.  If you've never heard of them, let me tell you what they are:  Hard boiled egg wrapped in meat and then deep fried.  Mmmm... Hunimah.  Sorry vegetarians!  Yet another dish that isn't for you. 

You can find the Inn's version here:

Now, if you have been reading most of the way through this adventure, you know that I don't just follow a recipe and I'm good.  OH NO.  I gotta make it my own and with these beauties, it's no different.  In their version, they use quail eggs but since Safeway doesn’t carry quail eggs, regular old chicken eggs will have to do.  I have a trick up my sleeve....

PROTIP:  Ever go to the store, buy eggs, boil them, then have a hard-ass time trying to peel them without the egg going with the shell?  It's because you're using FRESH EGGS.  Buy your eggs a week ahead of time and you won't have that problem.  :)

I gave these a test run a few weeks back with my boyfriend and my son.  The squishy was very intrigued by this - he may only be 4 but I will turn him into a master cook if it kills me.  He was very helpful to peel the eggs and even got to wrap a few of them though he needed a bit of help.  Small hands, ya know...

This recipe calls for sausage meat.  No mention on the variation of sausage meat although I've heard in Scotland they use breakfast sausage.. I'm sure that's good in all but I like a little kick so I am busting out the hot Italian sausage for this recipe.  Not a fan of spicy food?  Weenie!  (Just kidding!)  I'll be making a batch of mild Italian sausage ones too for a few of my non-spicy food eaters.

So you wrap the eggs, you bread em, you fry em... then what?  Well one of these ends up being huge and really too much for one person to eat so we cut them in half and gazed upon it's sheer wonder for a minute before giving them a whirl...

Such a  beautiful thing...

Then I got to thinking... You know what I love?  Deviled eggs.  You know what would make them even more awesome?  To wrap them in meat and deep fry em!  OH YES. 

I took the yolks out of the eggs I had left and whipped them into a filling with some green onions, cream cheese, and a smidge of Italian Seasoning.  If you're going to use this method, make sure that your cream cheese is just below room temp so that your filling turns out really smooth and delicious.

My squishy is only 4 and despite the fact that these were a bit on the spicy side of life, he still had 3 of them before I had to stop him and chase him around outside for a little bit.    They are amazing and the perfect thing to go on our appetizer plate.

Another thing I love about these is that you can make them the day before and serve them cold - like they do in Scotland.  I'll probably end up making them the day before and making the filling the day of.

So we'll have bread and salt, olives, grapes, cheese, Scotch eggs, mustard and lastly, mulled wine that our buddies from House Brown will be bringing. 

Hmm... maybe that's not enough food?

Ok, I know it is but seriously, I'm adding one more thing.  Just. One. More. Thing... PROMISE!

Since the squishy will be at his dad's for the weekend, it sort of foiled my plans a bit to sit down and make these with him - it's the perfect recipe for little ones to get their hands on, think pigs in a blanket only with ears and a tail.  They look super cute and who doesn't love little smokies? 

Ugh... Really Jess - gotta draw the line somewhere, sheesh. 

On the plus side, they fill up with appetizers and they'll have more food to take home with them... win/win!

Monday, March 25, 2013

S3PP: Reservation for 4 in my oven!

S3PP - Season 3 Premiere Party
Hen of the Wall

Last year for the premier party we made a honeyed chicken - it was fun to make and one of the easier recipes to dive into for our first Game of Thrones Party.  If you’re interested in this amazing recipe, you can find it here:

This year, we're taking a baby step to the bit more complicated and creating our very own version of this recipe:

We had some family over a few weeks ago to give it a good test run and the result was... seriously nomable.  Here's what we did:

The thing that makes this recipe is the stuffing.  These ladies really outdid themselves in the creative process here.  Not your typical stuffing by any means but still incredibly flavorful and rich with the mixture of carrots and prunes.  The base of this stuffing is oatmeal, and though a little unconventional, it really holds the rest of the ingredients together really well.  The first time we made it, we doubled the recipe since we were feeding so many and with such easy instructions, making as much or as little of this stuffing as you want is very easy.  Make lots of it though!  Even if you're only cooking one bird, my suggestion is to double up on the stuffing because you can roast it right alongside your chicken.  Pairing the moist tender chicken with this amazing stuffing will surely mean no leftovers so plan ahead!

Now, what this recipe does not tell you is how to season and roast your chicken.  It also doesn't tell you that taking the opportunity to roast a crap-ton of vegetables in with your chicken will not only make an ideal "One pot meal..." and give you a dishes break, but will also provide you with an additional side to serve with your chicken that your guests will think is amazing. 

Let’s start with seasoning your bird.. or birds in my case, all 4 of them. 

You can chose whatever seasonings you prefer here but for chicken, I like to use it's best friends salt, pepper and sage.  Chicken loves sage like Ricky loves Lucy.  Trust me, it's amazing.  The first thing that you need to do when cooking your chicken (And really, this rings true for all meat...) is dry it off!  You'll have it in some packaging no doubt that will be just sopping in meat juices.  I like to rinse my chickens off and give them a good pat-down.  Not only will this make the chicken taste better but I can also double check that it's not trying to sneak giblets by me.. or smuggling any weapons into my oven.  I run a tight ship here.

Next, I am going to mix my salt (1/2 teaspoon) pepper (1 teaspoon) and sage (1 tablespoon) per chicken with about 1/2 of olive oil.  The trick to yummy anything is making sure it is well seasoned and this amazing combination will be a great rub-down for our bird.  Don't rub the bird down quite yet though, you want to get your veggies in order first.

I have a giant roasting pan that I use all the time for these types of things.  It's big and deep and works perfectly for roasting large quantities of all kinds of yumminess.  It's going to seem like we're going to bit overboard with the veggies here but we're not.  My quantities will be much much bigger since I'm cooking 4 birds - I'm adjusting for you with 1.  

For 1 bird you will want to use 6 leeks, 12 BIG carrots, 1 onion, a head of garlic (Yes, a head of garlic... we love the garlic but one of my guests is allergic to garlic so we'll be using shallots instead...) and mushrooms if you want to add them. 

If you've never cooked with a leek (Rhymes with FREAK!) it's not as daunting as it might seem.  The trick is to clean them well.  Usually I chop the roots part off and cut the rest on a bias in 1-1 1/2 inch slices until I reach the top 3 inches or so - that I just toss in the compost.  You'll need a great big bowl of water too and once they're cut you'll want to toss those babies in the water to clean them.  You're not done yet though!  I like to peel them apart and separate them into rings just to make sure I've gotten all the dirt out.  Jooge them in the water a bit (Technical term...) and all the dirt will sink to the bottom while the leeks float on the top.  Once they're cleaned, transfer them into another big bowl that the rest of the veggies will go into - trying to get as much of the water off in the process as you can.

I prefer to skin my carrots so I'll take the next few minutes doing that.  After they're skinned, I will chop them on a bias the same way I chopped the leeks.  I want to make sure that the veggies are mostly the same size so that they will cook evenly. 

The onion gets a super rough chop because it always makes me cry.  I chop the ends off, skin it, chop it in half, half again, and each half into halves then separate and toss them into the bowl with the carrots and leeks. 

If you're using garlic (And you should unless you have a guest who is allergic...) you will want to chop the head off the garlic, smash each clove, peel the skin of and toss the whole smashed clove in your bowl.  If you're not using garlic, and you're using a shallot do the same thing.  There, easy..

Now you have a giant bowl full of veggies that you'll need to season.  Remember what you did to season the chicken?   Do that again only double up on everything.  Pour this mixture in your bowl full of veggies and mix it well, making sure that every veggies is coated with your seasoned oil.  We do this to make sure they don't burn in the roasting pan.  It gets HOT in there and we're not going for Cajun style.

Dump your veggies into your roasting vehicle - whether that be a pan or a lasagna dish or one of those 3$ roasting gigs from the grocery store made out of aluminum.   Now is the time to stuff your bird!  You have the stuffing prepared and ready to go - any stuffing that doesn't fit in the bird you can drop into your roasting pan by the spoonful so that your bird will sit on top of it.  Next, plunk down your chicken and rub it down with your olive oil mixture.  Make sure to get underneath too! 

Too cook the birds, I usually will toss them in a 450 degree oven (Pre-heated!!) and leave it in there for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, I will turn it down to 300 and let it cook another 30-45 minutes or until the internal temp is no lower than 165.  Stuffing too - don't want to get sick, do ya?

Next, my favorite part - the eating.  The skin will be wonderfully crispy while the inside will be perfectly juicy and moist.  Pair this with that amazing stuffing and you'll want to make sure you have spaces for all of your guests as they endure the inevitable food coma.  The veggies will also be perfectly roasted as for the last hour and 15 minutes the delicious juices from the chicken have been partying with the veggies and making them taste just... om nom very very nomable.


I love being pruned when I least expect it.  Huminah.

Friday, March 22, 2013

S3PP: Medieval Pork Pie - - Hello my darling....

S3PP - Season 3 Premiere Party
Huminah huminah huminah... brother speak for mmm yummy.

This idea is just... amazing.   I mean, really, you're combining two of the most incredible things ever - meat and pie.  Naturally this is a win all around.  Of course I need to take a moment and apologize to our non-meat eating buddies... this recipe isn't for you.  In fact, I would probably have to say that back in medieval times I wouldn't imagine that the vegetarian would be widely accepted by society.  Though we're in a much more tolerable time now, Robert Baratheon would look at a vegetarian much in the same way he would probably look at Lady GaGa.

That being said -

Meat eaters and pie lovers rejoice!  From the magical minds of the women behind, we find some amazing recipes for the Pork Pie.  There are two of them posted on their website, here:

While the other ones that I will be using come from their book, A Feast of Ice and Fire.  If you have not picked this book up yet, you need to!  It is worth the trip to your favorite book store - or you can be lazy and order it on Amazon in your underwear... either way..

The plan for this adventure will be pretty simple.  I thought I would just buy the crust from the store but to be honest, pie crust is super easy to make and there is a fabulous recipe for it in the beginning of A Feast of Ice and Fire that I will be using.  The recipe itself calls for saffron - this is one of the most, if not the most expensive spice in the world - whew - but I have a trick for you.  There might not be time to snag this before the premier party but possibly might be worth while to keep checking back for the finale. offers a wide variety of spices for a very good price.  I don’t buy any of my seasoning at the store anymore, I just go here and they have everything - everything - everything!  I could ever possibly need.  Another thing I love about them is that they offer a freebie - a giveaway if you spend more then ... 25$ I think.  It's easier to do than you might think....  More than a few times last year, their freebie was a gram of saffron for FREE.  Yes.  This is a good price.  I don’t normally cook with saffron but if I need it, I don't want to pay for it.  Free is in my budget.  We love free.  Because of this, I just happen to have some saffron lying around the house that needs a good use. 

It's going to be a challenge to make these - I haven't quite figured out how I am going to swing it.  What I will probably end up doing it making the filling and the dough the Saturday before hand (holy crap, that's in a week!!) then put them together and bake them before I bake the chicken of the wall.  Once the chicken comes out of the oven and is cooling, I will probably put the pies back in to warm them up a bit.  I thought about making them on Saturday and just keeping them in the fridge to serve cold... might not be a bad idea since I am also serving hot Flea Bottom Bowl of Brown next to them. 

My guests are going to be stuffed...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Let the countdown to madness begin...

S3PP - Season 3 Premiere Party
Holy crap, I'm feeling the pressure...

First it was mayhem... it's graduated to sheer madness.  And my time is running out!  I'm at the point right now that every little thing is just building a house in my brain and making me crazy... for example: I can't find my flipping tablecloths!  I have 3 of them total - ok, not really one to use tablecloths very much, they seem kinda old-lady-ish to me but I don’t want people eating on the top of a giant plastic folding table either. 

I have looked everywhere!  Can't find them... and tablecloths aren't cheap either!  So I'm stuck - continue to tear my house apart?  Use an old bed sheet and hope no one notices?  It's making me insane, man!

I'm making a mental list of all the things I need to accomplish in the next week -

Portal sigil
more mustard
door sign
hang over cures
apparently buy table cloths... ugh...
paint the most incredible looking dragon eggs!  (Can't wait to start this!!)
stain and secure fastenings to the other sigils
Forrest sigil
wench costume...

At this moment, my list is not finished but I feel like my brain is going to just rocket itself out of my skull and run away cursing at my craziness...

To boot - Bioshock comes out on Tuesday, and if any of you are fellow gamers, you know that getting any avid gamer to do anything the week after this most epic release is going to be like asking someone to lick their elbow.   We did plan a little ahead though and request some vacation time before and after the premier party - just in case... ya know... we need more Bioshock time as we recoup from our insane hangovers.

Did you catch the Evening with Game of Thrones podcast?  I thought it was awesome!  I knew the Peter (aka Tyrion) was absolutely hilarious but to see his hilarity in person was very cool.  Lena (Cersei) was also very awesome and I have to say, just by watching them that for the most part, these people are incredibly talented artists.  Lena doesn't seem like she would be a Cersei (BITCHY!) type at all!  Kit (John) seemed incredibly shy too which I didn't think he would be so much.  George R.R Martin was also there and he talked about book 6 a little.  I won't spoil anything for you but it was a great panel and I would most certainly suggest that you give it a watch.  It's a bit on the lengthy side but still very good.  My favorite part was when the moderator asked everyone if they had read all the books - won't give away any answers but... I was lol-ing a lot.

You can check that out here:

Part of me will be really glad when all of this frantic planning and creating is over... part of me will die a little on the inside and I will have to start planning for the Finale party.... then IT'S ON!

Until next time!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

S3PP: Flea Bottom Bowl of Brown

S3PP - Season 3 Premiere Party
Flea Bottom Bowl of Brown

I had a little struggle with recipes here with myself.  On one hand, I have a super authentic amazing looking stew that would probably resemble the bowl of brown best, complete with a slew of bones and gristle to make things more interesting.  This recipe is found in "A Feast of Ice and Fire," the official Game of Thrones cook book.  It looks amazing and savory and plain delicious and I couldn't wait to try it.  Then I found another recipe online that used less authentic ingredients but looked equally delicious.  After much consideration and inner toil - as it's no secret that I have a huge girl-crush on the ladies from the Inn where this beloved book of mine was born - I decided to go with the other recipe. 

I know, sad, huh?  Not to say that I won't someday cook up their amazing version of this scary-looking stew but for this occasion I went with the more simpler of renditions.  The recipe from the cook book has lots of bones in it and there is nothing I hate more (Ok, slight exaggeration... Justin Bieber is pretty dang annoying...) than bones in my soup.  It's a weird quirk and I admit that I am a bit strange for this being as off-putting as it is to me - that being said I will still cook their stew at some point to try it if for no other reason then to appreciate their amazing craft.   For the premier party, however, no bones just lots and lots of mystery meat. 

The recipe I am using can be found here:

I love this recipe because it's easy - this is something I intend to cook the Saturday before hand in my crock pot and let it ride until party time.   

I was also faced with quite a dilemma when I finally got my guest list finalized.... I have more people coming to this party than I have dishes to feed them.  I could have dinner shifts but that's kinda annoying... you'd have the first shift sitting at the table oogling over how awesome the food is and the second shift sitting on the couch slamming wildfire and glaring in jealousy at the first shift.  No, that wasn't going to work.   I had to buy more dishes... UGH.  And can I really say UGH because the ones I wanted to buy were insanely expensive and honestly, how often do I have 13 people over to eat at once?  Not often enough to justify crapping $200 on new dinnerware.  I love ya'll but not that much! 

The search began for some inexpensive dinnerware - bowls being the first priority.  I would need a lot of them since I would be using them for the soup and the desert... I did, after all, flake out of building my 13 dragon egg bowls for the cherries and cream so, there’s that.  I searched high and low, store to store... dollar tree had nothing impressive and all of my local thrift stores came up empty as well (Although I did manage to snag some pretty awesome serving trays and dishes - more on those later!)

I wanted to find some really pretty onion soup crocks - complete with the lid and the little handles on the side - Now, given enough time, I could have just MADE them, but I had no time when everything was said and done.  I went to a few potter buddies of mine to see if I could commission something from them and yes, their work is amazing but I couldn't afford $20 a piece for these so I turned to my dear old friend eBay to see what she had to offer me....

Amazon and eBay have been my close buddies for years.  Every once in a while, eBay and I will have a bad experience and I will take a break - using Amazon as my go-to online shopping source.  Then I will get sad and miss eBay and we'll start talking again like we never stopped in the first place.  On Amazon, I found a case of onion crocks for a really good price but it was from an outside vendor which means I would have to pay for shipping... Nuh-uh.  So I went to eBay.  On eBay I found the same case of onion crocks for less money plus free shipping - it would have been slightly cheaper for a case of 12 crocks but LO - scrolling down a little further and I found a case of 24 crocks for about 20$ cheaper than the case of 12.  Hey, that's good math to me, so I bought them!

They're your average onion soup crock, nothing special, mass produced, super cheap style crock.  They don't have the lid I was looking for but that's ok, the lid was more for my own wow-factor anyway.  All in all, I am very happy with my little soup bowls.  And I have almost enough (minus 1...) to make desert with them as well.    They hold up to 12 oz which doesn't seem like much but with all of the other food we're planning on having, this is the perfect amount. 

Plus they look cool.  And they're dishwasher safe. 

So I will have my soup, a heel of some day-old bread and a slice of pork pie to top things off for the first course of our meal.  Should be pretty awesome!  Here's to hoping none of the crocks are broken.... eeep!

S3PP: Menus, door signs, and other fun little projects to keep me out of trouble...

S3PP - Season 3 Premiere Party
Menus, door signs, and other fun little projects

These were a lot of fun to do and mostly didn't take up much time at all.  Using a combination of creativity, boredom, and a few Office software products, we've come up with some nifty things that will not only add more awesome to our variety of awesome but also give our guests a few more things to take home with them. 

First, lets start with the door sign, since this is NOT going to home with anyone and will stay in my custody until I lose it or my house burns down.  I did some digging on the internet and found an invitation that someone had come up with that I thought was pretty awesome.  I did some minor adjusting to it to take out the date information and ended up with this awesome image that I mostly can not take credit for:

The text reads as follows: King Robert Baratheon is dead, the lands of Westeros brace for battle and the North remembers.  Quaff a keg, scheme and plot, and stake your claim for the Iron Throne (No matter how uncomfly it looks).  If you can't handle the cold, get off the Wall.  Winter is coming.

ooo - I'm getting all excited just thinking about it!!!
What I will end up doing with this image is printing it on a piece of parchment paper and adhering it to a stained plank - one of the extras I made for the house sigils.  I'll then add a chain on the top and hang it on my front door.  This will be there along with the Kazoo of Winter which I will get to in just a jiffy.

The menus were also fun to make - Again, giving mad props to my homies at for posting this amazing invitation template for last years party, I will be using it this year for the menus.  You can find the template on their website and go to "Planning a Party."  I would post the link for you but my browser is deciding to dance with the stupid at the moment.

I simply took this image and copied it into word twice and flipped one of the images so that it has a mirrored effect.  I added text boxes and typed in my menu so that it was balanced and cool.  From there, I will take these and print them on more parchment paper and seal them with green sealing wax and a leaf stamp.  These will go on every plate and will be something the guests can take home with them if they'd like.   I have a picture of the template here but the finished product is so much cooler.  I will get a picture of them as soon as I can for you.

The Kazoo of Winter - This was fun.  I got the idea from reading about someone's party planning on a budget but actually decided to do it for real.  Kazoos are cheap and fun and this little rendition will add a little more hilarious to your party.  Next to my doorbell, I will post this:
A single blast will herald the return of brothers to the Watch
Two blasts warn of an attack
Two short blasts followed by a long blasts is call to mount up
Three blasts have not been heard for thousands of years
Three blasts warn the coming of Others.

Ok it says this (That font is hard to read!!):  A single blast will herald the return of brothers to the watch.  Two blasts warn of an attack.  Two short blasts followed by a long blast is a call to mount up and three... three blasts have not been heard for thousands of years.  Three blasts warn the coming of Others.
This will also be printed on some parchment and tied to a bunch of kazoos in a basket by the door.  Each guest will probably warn us of others in which case we will be ready with our obsidian daggers and White Walker drinks...  Nothing fixes your problems like a big tall glass of White Walker.  I'll share that recipe a little later on -

The Keys to the Dungeons: This was also fun - Amazon sells these old dungeon looking skeleton keys on a huge ring for a decent price so I bought 2 sets.  One will be for the Sky Cell keys, the other will be the Red Keep dungeon keys.  For the Sky Cell keys, I will be making a key ring with the Arryn bird on it on a small round piece of wood that I will iron their sigil on.  It's pretty simple - one side will have the bird, the other side will say "Sky Cell Keys".   For the Red Keep, I will stain a narrow piece of wood red, add a bunch of dirt, cuts and gauges in it and iron "Red Keep Dungeon" on one side.  These will be displayed in our "thrones" room just to remind any sassy guests that they can join the ranks of Tyrion of Ned at any moment - if our "King" so demands it...  I was going to make a crown for my 4 year old to wear and make him the king, but alas... it's Easter weekend and his daddy gets him this year.  Foiled again.

The Westerosi Hangover Cures will be needed and appreciated the morning after our shin-dig which will also happen to be April Fools day.  No joke, these are clever and hilarious and most certainly something that they will need in their bags when they go home.  I found them at the Inn as I find most of my stuff so I can't take credit for their awesomeness but I can certainly share them.  Printed on some parchment paper and attached to a bottle of mead, they will either find it that night as they are unpacking their goodies, or the next morning when they are trying to cure their hangover the old-fashioned way: More drinking.  The text reads as follows: 

Westerosi Hangover Cures:
Castle Black: walk to the top of The Wall.
Stark: go and stand in the snow
Tyrell: extract of blueberry and greens.
Greyjoy: drink more. A bit of raw whitefish and a few swigs of seawater.
Lannister: egg yolk in port or sherry, with honey and a chip of ice.
Arryn: fresh milk.
Dornish: whole spicy peppers.
Bolton: Demand silence and darkness. Take the tongue of anyone who speaks.
Maester Qyburn: licorice steeped in vinegar, with honey and cloves.
Maester Luwin: willow bark in warm beef broth, with plain oatcakes.
Red Priests: burn the offending bottles.
Warlocks of of Qarth: stick pins in the corks of the offending bottles.
Tyrion: A brothel.
Sandor Clegeane: hair of the dog.
Braavos: raw oysters
Strong Belwas: Liver and onion smoothie
Dothraki Khal: Mare’s milk, stallion blood and slaughtering a whole Lhazarene village (good cardio).

My contribution:  Robert Baratheon: Giant Boar Tusk.  ooooo... too soon?  haha!

The last little project I have to share with you are the Doggie Bags - This came from as well and is a great alternative to what I had originally planned - a wicker basket full of goods for each house.  This alternative is not only cheaper but also takes less work if you do it my way - a lot easier than the love and care that the ladies at the Inn put into it, but equally cool.

Online, I looked for the Clegane house sigil.  I already had it from the house sigils project that I worked on but I wanted something with less pizzaz - more simple - I'm talking print, cut, paste kinda stuff here and I found it!  I bought some craft bags on Amazon for about $10 - they're a pretty good size and have the nice handles on them so when I pack them full of goodies, hopefully they won't fall apart.  I cut these out from regular paper and glued them to each bag.  They're not as pretty as the Inn's bags but they will serve their purpose.  The thought of hand painting 20 bags with the Clegane sigil makes my nose wrinkle and my brain overcome with exhaustion since my dance card is pretty full with about a dozen other projects that I only have 2 weeks left to finish!  AHH!

I'm starting to feel the pressure!!!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

S3PP: House Sigils for Guest Houses

S3PP - Season 3 Premiere Party
House Sigils

This idea has taken several stages of evolution to get right and I think the final product (When I finally get off my bouncy butt and finish it...) will be pretty dang cool.

Supplies needed to complete this task:

Rough canvas or other cloth
an Iron
wooden plank - sanded and stained to fit the size of the sigil
textured nails
chain to hang them
more screw hooks! (Yay, I love me some blister!  :(  )
Iron on transfer paper:  I found that Lesley Riley's TAP Transfer Artist Paper from Amazon works the best.  I tried some other transfer sheets and it just didn't have the look I was going for - Let me explain:

The picture on the left is the one using transfer paper from Michaels.  It's your typical transfer paper for dark colored fabrics and it has a very... plasticy feel.  Don't get me wrong, those sigils turned out ok but it felt very fake to me.  The one on the right has more texture - sure the transfers aren't perfect but I don’t want them to be for this project.  The TAP sheets allow for the color of the fabric to show through your design as well, which I found that the other ones didn't really allow for that.  Not only that, but these transfer sheets will work for all kinds of mediums.  Later on, I will tell you how it went when I tried to apply it to a piece of wood for the sky-cell keys.

Ok, back to this project... 

I made 6 sigils all together for this project, each sigil made specifically for the people who will own it.  It took me a while to nail down a design for each house but we went with the theme of "Mythical Creatures" for all of them.  One of them is kinda a stretch but we'll get to that in a minute.

I started with our house - we have a blended family so even coming up with the house name for this one was an adventure.  We decided to go with the Chupacrabra as our sigil because they're beasty eaters - totally fits us.  "We Shall Not Starve" being our words and if any of my buddies are reading this, you know me, and know that it's impossible for me to cook something simple much less avoid cooking for an entire starving country.  We always have leftovers and most of the time, our buddies benefit from my over-exuberance in the kitchen. 

Being that the boyfriend runs a Gamestop, we're all avid gamers, and this stretches to all of our friends as well.  For our buddies Lee, we chose the mythical Jackalope as their sigil - as the Jackalope is clever, and cunning, and easily lured by whiskey.  Their words "With Our Thumbs, We Thrive" because they wield the x-box controller as I wield my spatula. 

For our buddies Brown, we chose the beautiful Loch Ness Monster on a blue backdrop with the words "For Pen, For Glory."   These guys are animators and are ridiculously good at their craft.  Plus one of them is from Scotland so... there ya go.  I wouldn't imagine that the Loch Ness would have such a dirty mind but they do!  And we love them for it.

Next, we have the Jewell Sisters - we actually may only have 1 Jewell sister but I digress.  This particular Jewell sister though is hilarious and LOVES Portal.  Now, only in our messed up minds do the worlds of Game of Thrones and Portal come together - and just in case you were wondering what in the world that would look like, well, it would look a little something like this:

 That one was fun to make... and yeah, quite a bit of a stretch from a mythical creature...

House Corson will also be joining us and yes, you guessed it, someone is a HUGE Giants fan so, of course, we chose the giant as their sigil with the words "Together We Are Giant."  Not really stretching my creativity much here but they're really going to love it.  Especially since Baseball season is upon us, we may just be seeing their sigil as a sign of good luck.  Like a rabbits foot or something, right?   Go A's!  :D

Finally, the house we are all sworn too and my boyfriends family sigil - House Forrest.  For them, we chose the Ent and the darker green with the words "Deep Are Our Roots."  Yes, they are.  This particular sigil held a lot of significance to me because their family just oozes in all kinds of awesome.  Their sigil though was a bit tough to find - there are all kinds of Ents out there but not many of them have clean lines - not so much shadowing and a LOT of details which is not what you're looking for when you're creating these.  You want long bold clean lines, black and white, not a lot of detail otherwise it will be tough to see the image after you've transferred it.  For their sigil, I am doing something a little different - instead of making a sigil on a chain, I am ironing this on to a special piece of fabric so that mom can sew it into a quilt if she wants to.  She's an avid quilter and a square to honor the family might be just the thing for her.  That, or I can iron it onto a pair of shoes for her but that might be a lot easier said then done... 

This took a lot of digging around on the internet for images and quite a bit of Photoshop wizarding to get just right.  I used a combination of programs to create the sigils including Photoshop, I also used Microsoft Word to do my formatting.  Sure, I coulda done it all in Photoshop but I like things to be extra complicated, as you can probably already tell.

Once I had every sigil formatted in Word, I saved it as a PDF and opened it again in Photoshop to add the color.  I chose a very large textured brush and put whatever color I was using on almost completely transparent - allowing me to paint over the top of the sigil without losing the sigil.  To create this particular effect you see here, I did not paint as I normally would, rather "dabbed" the paint - that is to say I did more pointing and clicking rather than dragging the color across the screen.  After a plethora of curse words and hours of tinkering, I managed to get them how I wanted them.

At first I was going to embroider them with some snazzy accents... but then reality hit me and I decided that would take WAY too long.  Then I thought I could sew them to a small dowel rod and hang them with some rope... but again, that would take way too long since I don't have a sewing machine and would be doing it all by hand.  In the end, I decided that nailing them to a piece of stained wood would be the best way to go.  I can texture the wood so it looks weathered and stain the fabric for an aged look.   There’s a lot of fun things you can do with the graphic once you have it laid out how you want - it will also make the perfect accent for a fantabulous kitchen wench costume!

With any luck I will have a finished product for you to see a little later on. 

Just a little over 2 weeks to go!!!