Recipe of the Week: Beef and Barley Stew

What foods remind you of home? Which recipes do you turn to when you want to remember happier times?

This week’s episode showed us Sansa and Jon reuniting after technically no time together, at least on screen. Their embrace brought tears to our eyes and made us think maybe, just maybe things will start looking up for this family!

As they discussed their future steps and ate some of the meager rations available at The Wall, we saw them reminiscing about the stews old nan used to make for them in Winterfell. They both lit up and seemed to drift away from their current predicaments as they thought about the meals.  After their warm reunion and hot debate in the middle of all that snow, we were in the mood for something cozy for ourselves. Even though Winter is yet to come where we’re writing this, the last couple of rainy, gray days have us hankering for a little stew.

This recipe from The Inn at the Crossroads, an amazing Game of Thrones-inspired food blog, reminded us of what Jon and Sansa must have once enjoyed in their homes surrounded by their family. It also seems like the yummiest thing you could eat in the cold, sad world they’re both living in. Make it one of these Spring rainy days and spend a night in watching old GOT episodes!

The recipe seems easy enough, and though we’ve never made it before we encourage you to do so! Send us photos and reviews of your creations to our Instagram @amidstsaltandsmoke ! Also tell us what you’d like us to feature next! The A Song of Ice and Fire universe has a vast amount of fun foods that are sure to peak your interest!

Click the photo below to go to the recipe!

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Book of the Stranger: YAS KWEEN!

Hello everybody! Welcome to the weekly, salty, smoky recap of probably the best episode of the season yet! A lot of important stuff happened this week in very very dark lighting, plenty of reunions too, so let’s get right to it:

1. Jon and Sansa are together once again

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What a time to be alive! Finally two Starks (?) together again! This encounter was a breath of fresh air to all of us tired of seeing Sansa be miserable season after season. Their initial embrace was terribly emotional, and the new character dynamics between them show how much these kids have grown and changed since they last saw each other. Sansa is ready for revenge and Jon is pretty over it, but there’s a Stark (and a castle) that needs a rescuin’ from everyones favorite ill-fated family! We can’t wait to see what comes next.

 

2. Tyrion adjusts to Mereen politics

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It’s great to see Tyrion doing things that don’t involve drinking himself into oblivion or sulking/interrupting Greyworm and Missandei’s dates. Though it’s a dire situation and almost no one agrees with his decisions, he’s the one who knows how to run a corrupted city like no other. We sympathise with Greyworm and Missandei on their disapproval, but then again, we get Tyrion’s diplomatic shenanigans. Hopefully it won’t blow up in anyone’s face. Something tells us they’ll be fine because of another important moment in this list.

3. Theon goes home!

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Poor Theon. Well, kinda. After a couple seasons of being objectively the worst, Theon got his punishment and then some to become this shadow of what he was before. Seeing him finally reach his home and his family feels like a welcome change. After the first awkward ice breakers and his sister’s frustration coming out, we see him rise again to a little bit of backbone. His offer to help his sister rule The Ironborn feels genuine and heartfelt. Now all we need is for Yara to win the Kingsmoot.

4. Loras and Margaery are back

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And sadder than ever! Poor Margaery is defeated by God-knows-how-many days in that dungeon with the super scary nun. Her conversation with the High Sparrow left us confused and kinda bummed out, until she was finally left alone with Loras! Poor Loras, though. From his terrified expression and begs to make it stop we can only imagine he’s having worse a time than Margaery, who knows what they’re doing to the poor guy. We really liked Margaery’s spunk through the whole shindig, as she was strong for the both of them and told him the truth, she’s more manipulative than Cersei and more intelligent too! We can’t help but hope to see her conniving ways get to the High Sparrow soon. (Also props to Loras for that great beard, yasss!)

5. Dany just changed the Game (of Thrones!)

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Yaaaasssssssss Queen of Mereen, First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Ream, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons!
Homegirl just gave a lesson on how things are done in staff meetings where people refuse to listen. Her shpeel on strenght, valor, and what it means to be “great men” schooled all the khals on aspirations and #goals. Though looking back we can’t help but think it was a given, the twist of her burning down the temple and emerging from the flames really hammered in how she’s still the biggest contender (and only?) to claim the Iron Throne. She has apparently become the ruler of the Dothraki, as the Stallion who mounted the world and destroyed all the khals (this according to Dothraki legend). Does she plan on briging all these people to Mereen? That’s gonna be fun.

BONUS: #relationshipgoals and Couple of the Year

10 minutes into GOT and chill and he gives you this look.

Leaving for The Wall: An exercise in storytelling

As you may or may not know, this blog is part of a project for a Writing for Interactive Media class at Miami International University of Art and Design. We recently did an exercise in creative writing and related a short story inspired by a photo to the general theme of our blogs. Our choice was to engage in the mystery and the tragedy that brings men to join the Night’s Watch.

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I didn’t want to come here. I didn’t want to kill her. I didn’t want to shame my wife’s name. The journey was cold, dark, wet. It only got worse as we progressed towards our destination. Some of my companions frightened me with their stories, their causes. They didn’t regret their choices, they reveled in their wicked-ness, they relished in their chance at survival. Some other companions seemed as sullen as I was. Lords of fallen houses, bastards, sad middle children with no place to go. I was all of them and none of them, all at the same time. I left my good cloaks with my brothers, I left my gold with my child, I left my heart in her grave. I didn’t want to come here. I didn’t want to kill her. I didn’t want to shame my wife’s name. With every bump in our wagon I recalled the thuds of his head, she wouldn’t stop, not even when I called out to her. He is my son, and he will never know me, my true intentions, or the fact that I saved him from the only person he was born to be safe with. It was him or her, I like to think. The thuds echoed in the castle halls, I ran and found her beating our only son. No one knew she would kill him, not even him, as he laid unconscious on the floor. I tried to reason with her, she wouldn’t listen, blind rage burst from her eyes, she had gone mad. I didn’t want to come here. I didn’t want to kill her. I didn’t want to shame my wife’s name. The privileged Lady of the privileged House, she died at the hands of her husband in a fit of rage. She was sweet and kind, she hadn’t gone mad, a Lady like her never could. I didn’t want to come here. I didn’t want to kill her. I didn’t want to shame my wife’s name. I chose to take this path, my son would have still taken my name. A powerful Lord, from a powerful House, with a privileged Lady of his own some day. Their lives were taken too soon, he trusted her as did I, it wasn’t her fault. The powerful Lord ends his privileged Lady and his beloved Heir. They will be remembered in glory, I will be forgotten in the dark. And now their lives are ended, and now my watch begins. I didn’t want to come here. I didn’t want to kill her. I didn’t want to shame my wife’s name

His watch is ended: girl byeeeeee!

We wanted to really like this episode. All of our insiders loved it and sang its praises. Meanwhile we were just “ok” with it. However it’s still time for our best moments of the episode! This was a Stark party and we were into it! We’re breaking oaths and taking names!

1. I can see clearly now

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Arya has gone on to level 2 of Sexy Jesus’ Academy for Wayward Murdering Girls! We loved seeing her evolve in her lil’ Karate Kid montage and though we don’t buy her no one schtick for a second, we’re glad her story is moving along for something bigger.

2. Little Rickon is back

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How terrible for him to come back in such a hopeful time for the Starks but in such a dire situation! While his living brothers and sisters are growing and thriving, he’s stuck with literally the most evil person in Westeros and a dead direwolf. The fact that Lord Umber refused to swear allegiance to Ramsay gives us a little hope that maybe it’s all a set-up. We hope to find out next week!

3. Bran is a teenager

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Angst! I don’t want to be an old man in a tree! Time travel! My dad looks like NPH! More angst! The Tower of Joy sequence was the biggest tease of the series, and though we understand why they’re keeping a bit of mystery around it we’re still mad we didn’t get to see what was in the tower 😦

4. Everyone else is caught in a Fest of Snooze

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Dany’s being held for trial for not letting her life end after the death of her husband. Tyrion’s a funny little third wheel. Varys is an ~insider~ and Qyburn stole his little birds. Literally no one cares what Cersei has to say. Tommen is being brainwashed by the High Sparrow. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

5. Jon Snow wants to find himself

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After making everyone giddy over killing a teenager and being the butt of some locker-room jokes, he gives his boy Edd the cloak and peaces out on all the dudes that tried to save him (and the ones who didn’t). For the first time, he’s making a choice not for duty or for honor, but for himself! You go Jon!
Where is he off to now? Can we go with him? Why is he all mysterious and sad still?

Recipe of the Week: Dragon Wings!

Let’s think for a second that we’re in Tyrion’s shoes. You’ve lived your whole life in your family’s shadow, you lost the love of your life, you’re surrounded by corruption and deceit everywhere you go. All of a sudden you escape death and go halfway around the world to help a girl who claims to be the Queen and then witness her riding a dragon away from death and danger. On this week’s episode, we saw him in true awe, and capable of wonder once again. His emotional exchange and his raw words struck a chord as the non believer saw and believed once again. It was lovely to have a peek on young Tyrion’s hopes and dreams, and the experiences that made him the man he is today.

What goes better with tender child-like emotion than delicious chicken wings? We do not dare say. These spicy, yummy wings look like they either came from mini baby dragons (oh no!) or from a chicken who had the fate of meeting our beloved Drogon! By the way, where in the world is Drogon? After he bailed on his mom and she got kidnapped by the unfriendly Dothraki hotties he’s been totally MIA.

In honor of the absent Mother of Dragons and Tyrion’s tender encounter, we’re giving you this amazing “Dragon” Chicken Wings recipe courtesy of Delish!

These are perfect to munch on during TV time, so make room for these and prepare them before you tune in to the new episode next Sunday! We know we will! Click the photo for the easy recipe.

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Send us photos and reviews of your creations to our Instagram @amidstsaltandsmoke ! Also tell us what you’d like us to feature next! The A Song of Ice and Fire universe has a vast amount of fun foods that are sure to peak your interest!

He lives, now what?

Finally, folks! Our boy Jon is breathing (and confused, as he should be) and the story is movin’ on forward!

Let’s go over the biggest moments of the episode, and get ready for the next one together!

1. Bran is back!

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We’re getting some big big exposition with the Bran storyline this season, and it all starts with the baby Starks! I loved seeing Ned and Benjen and their relationship, also finally some Lyanna personality! The best part was Hodor=Willys though. Now we must know what happened to the poor guy that forbade him to speak normally again….

2. Roose Bolton is dead, Ramsay continues to remind us that he’s literally The Worst

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Aw man, I really want someone to end the Ramsay arc soon. After torturing Theon for the whole of season 4, then torturing Sansa for the whole of season 5, we see him killing his father to solidify his claim to House Bolton’s lordship and releasing the hounds on his step-mom and newborn baby brother. Never a dull moment in the Bolton household, y’all.

3. Arya gets adopted!

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After one episode of seeing our girl Arya get her butt kicked by literally the meanest girl in Braavos (someone set her up with Cersei so they can hash out their feelings and leave everybody else alone), we see Jaqen H’ghar (sexy Jesus) pick her up for a little pop quiz on the Faceless Men. Thankfully, smartie pants responds very well and gets to go back to the House of Black and White! She’s graduated from beggar school!

4. Tyrion realizes his childhood dream

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This was a beautiful scene. After all the baby and dad killing, seeing Tyrion interacting with the hunger-strike dragons with such docile ease was a breath of fresh air. He was so happy and moved by their trust in him, and they liked him right away! We can’t wait to see how this relationship evolves, and if our tinfoil theories are correct, we might even see him ride a dragon of his own one day?

5. JON SNOW HAS COME BACK TO LIFE!

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hey bb.

Whew! You had us scared for a second. All the Night’s Watch baddies coming in to wreak havoc on the Church of Jon Snow and latter day Ghosts, Ser Davos’ bravery, and the Wildlings coming in to save the day! Melisandre’s faith! Ahhhhh! We were totally expecting him to come back at the last minute, and we still audibly gasped when Jon opened his eyes. This was followed by screams of joy, sorry not sorry.

This episode was filled to the brim with character exposition and more building blocks setting up what’s to come. We wonder what it’ll beeeeeeee……

That’s it for our weekly recap kids! Tune in later this week for our recipe!