Category Archives: Traditions

Game of Thrones Feast

I mentioned that we had a big party planned this weekend, and oh man, it was a big one. We’re big Game of Thrones fans. While it is airing, we watch with our friends every week, then spend a ton of time talking about everything. Last year, we got this crazy idea to have a medieval-style feast for the premier. It turned out fantastic, so we knew we had to do it again this year. Unfortunately, Amanda was out of town last week and we weren’t sure she was going to make it back in time for the premier, so we decided to push the feast to this week.

Obviously, for a Game of Thrones feast, we have to watch Game of Thrones, but, we decided to make a whole day of it. Since Saturday was International Tabletop Day, we decided to play some board games to kick off the day. What was supposed to be a few different games turned into a single marathon game of Run, Fight or Die. There was a heated debated over who the Heroic Dog belonged to (if we go by who ended up with him, he belongs to me), the most massive overflow of zombies, a zombie-proof van that kept getting stolen, and possibly the worst conditions that you could have with a zombie apocalypse: a full moon and really alert zombies. Overall, it was a lot of fun.

Afterwards, we spent a while playing Word Gush, the geeky “guess the word” game app made by Loot Crate. We really like Loot Crate. They get us. This app? It gets us. It’s freely available on Android and iOS, with the option to buy additional categories of clues. The free version ha great categories like movies, toys, super heroes, and comic books. There is also a charades mode, which we can guarantee will make you laugh. We took turns going around the room being the guesser while everyone else shouted out clues (or performed ridiculous, ridiculous actions for charades). After a few rounds each, we were hungry, so it was dinner time.

Our friend Cathy is a great cook. She put together a mouth-watering menu of honey-glazed chicken drumsticks topped with raisins, roasted mixed vegetables, rustic bread, and a chilled apple soup. We brought the same dish as last year: our take on the Sansa Salad (recipe below), an herb-infused salad we found on the Game of Thrones food blog Inn at the Crossroads. Also, we bought a few kinds of the official Game of Thrones beers brewed by Brewery Ommegang, so we enjoyed the Iron Throne blonde ale with dinner, saving the other 2 varieties for the coming weeks. For dessert, there was a delicious warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

After dinner, we played a few more rounds of Word Gush. For those keeping score at home, today has been about tabletop games, mobile party games, and a giant feast. For any other day, that’d be enough, but there is only one thing we say to Death: not today. How do you get even more epic from here? How about spending some time with the Clone Club? Yeah, we went there: we watched the most recent episode of Orphan Black. And a fantastic episode it was. There were some fun Helena moments, some focused-up Alison moments, and Sarah is always off doing what Sarah does best: getting into trouble. I won’t say anything more to avoid spoilers, but that show is amazing and you should watch it.

Finally, after we finished the episode of Orphan Black, we got to our feast’s namesake: Game of Thrones. Since this is being posted so soon after the episode aired, I’m not going to say much about this episode to avoid spoilers, but after it was over, we discussed all of the amazing scenes and plot points and came to the conclusion that this episode was in the top 5 best GoT episodes ever, and arguably even in the top 3. If anyone from Game of Thrones (either in front of or behind the camera) ever happens to read this, you guys are awesome.

Here is the recipe for our take on the Sansa Salad, which yields 6 servings.
Ingredients:

  • 3 cups leaf lettuce, hand shredded
  • 3 cups arugula, hand shredded
  • 3 cups spinach, hand shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 6 ounces blueberries
  • 3-4 ounces walnut pieces
  • raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing

Directions:
Hand shred all of your salad greens and mix them together thoroughly in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle on the chopped, fresh herbs and mix thoroughly again. Top with blueberries and walnuts. Serve with raspberry vinaigrette on the side so the greens don’t wilt in the salad bowl while you’re eating. (That might have happened to us last year. Oops.)

Today’s date was so long, but so fantastic. It’s always great to spend so much time with each other and with friends, especially feeding all of our geeky habits, and our stomachs.

Links:
Buy Run, Fight, or Die on Amazon
Sansa Salad recipe from Inn at the Crossroads
Iron Throne blonde ale from Brewery Ommegang

Super Bowl Party

The Super Bowl. The Big Game. One of our yearly traditions is having a few friends over for the Super Bowl.

Well, really, it’s a party that happens to be at the same time as the Super Bowl. And we occasionally look up at the TV, but mostly during the commercials. Like us, most of our friends don’t really care about football. The Super Bowl is usually the only football game most of us watch every year, unless we happen to lose the remote and one comes on. I don’t want to admit how often that happens. Usually, we end up playing a party game around the table, pausing to watch the commercials.

So, with little football love, why do we have a Super Bowl party? This directly relates to the advice we give to all newly-wed couple: If you want to do a yearly event, stake out your claim on a holiday early. We were late to the game, so the only thing left was The Big Game. Memorial Day and Fourth of July? Family picnics. Halloween? We’re usually invited to 3 different parties. “Surely,” you say, “you must be free for New Years!” Alas, we are not. And don’t call me Shirley. But I digress.

I love making party food and every year we’ve tried to do something different. A couple of our previous party food centerpieces have been a big nacho bar with 10 different salsas, a baked potato bar with all of the fixings, and one year, I made hamburger sliders from scratch, including the sesame seed buns. We always make some dips and appetizers to go along with the rest. Another hallmark of our party is that we always end up with way too much food because I’m horrible at estimating how much people are going to eat. Guess it’s a good thing I’m a computer guy and not a caterer.

This year, in an attempt to get a better handle on party planning, we didn’t do a big center piece dish, but instead did a few smaller, more interesting dishes. Our group has a couple vegetarians (including Amanda), so we always try to have some good vegetarian options, but this year, we tried to do about half of the dishes vegetarian. Our overall menu for this year:

Mains:
hot wings for the meat eaters
falafels for the vegetarians

Sides:
Vegetable tray with veggie dip
Pigs in a Chipotle Blanket

Dips, served with Tostito’s Scoops, pretzels and pita chips:
Buffalo Chicken Dip (probably my favorite party snack and a yearly staple)
Butternut Squash Parsley Dip
Avocado Basil Dip
Hummus

We’ve joked around for years about making a cookbook called “Meets Meat” out of all of the crazy dishes we make that are half vegetarian and half meatatarian to satisfy both of our palates. We’ll definitely include a few of these recipes.

This year, we actually didn’t make it to playing our party game, which was going to be One Night Ultimate Werewolf. We were all fascinated by the low scoring game, and trolling our one friend who actually does like football (Sorry, Brian). The commercials this year were pretty good to boot and the half time show wasn’t bad either. A great time was had by all, which makes this a very successful party.

Groundhog Day

Okay campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties because it’s coooold out there today!

A great part of being together long term is establishing and sharing traditions together. One of my long-time traditions, which is now one of our traditions, is watching the movie Groundhog Day every year on Groundhog Day. This year we made a small exception and watched it the day before for Monday Movie Madness.

This tradition started for me back in high school. Some friends of mine were big fans of the movie and threw a party every year to celebrate Groundhog Day. They would order sausage pizza (ground hog, get it?) and watch the movie, reciting so many of the famous lines right along with the movie. It was a great time. I’ve since moved away, but I have kept up the yearly tradition of watching the movie, introducing people to it along the way. Now, Amanda and I watch it every year.

Groundhog Day is the story of Pittsburgh weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) being stuck in Punxsutawney, PA repeating the same day over and over. He starts out not wanting to even go to the Groundhog Day celebration, thinking that covering the groundhog is beneath him, but he is forced to go for his job. He stays the night of February 1st in a nice bed and breakfast. The following morning, he wakes up to Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” on the radio and a couple of morning radio show hosts talking about how cold it is. Phil goes about his day, providing coverage of Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow. then trying to get out of the city as fast as possible. However, a blizzard traps him in Punxsutawney, so he has to stay another day. When he wakes up the next morning, instead of being February 3rd, it’s Groundhog Day again. He is confused at first, thinking it is a bad case of deja vu, but as the day repeats more and more times, he gradually starts to accept it and make the most of his situation. Hilarity ensues as he decides he’s immortal and can’t suffer any consequences.

It’s a great movie that’s a lot of fun to watch. Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliot all provide really fun characters to the story. We definitely recommend watching this movie. More importantly, we recommend starting your own traditions.

As an added bonus this year, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, so according to the Prognosticator of Prognosticators, an early Spring is coming!

Links
Buy Groundhog Day on Amazon