Sansa’s Lemon Cakes [recipe]

Season 6 of Game of Thrones is in full swing! I am a reluctant latecomer to this show, as I don’t watch any HBO shows and tend to not really jump on a popular show’s bandwagon once it gets really big. Especially dramas. I was definitely really resistant to watching GoT because I heard it was very graphically violent and sexually explicit, two things I usually avoid in my shows.

But with spoilers on my newsfeeds and timelines every Sunday evening and Monday, I knew an awful lot about Game of Thrones without having ever watched a single minute from the show. I could have made a very impressive “Things I Know Without Watching the Show” slideshow, as I did with Doctor Who a few years back. (In fact, I think I started one and then just decided to watch the show, because I had so much information on my hands…)

Sansa refusing to eat her favorite food with Tyrion Lannister

So of course, in a totally expected move, I decided to have a themed watch party for the season 6 premiere! It was my first time watching the show live (and not several episodes at a time on HBOGo) so we went to Don and Megan’s (of recently-married fame on this blog here) and had a themed feast! Don made each of us our own honey-glazed Cornish game hen with roasted onions, potatoes, and carrots. Ben and I brought bread & salt (which was supplemented with some olive oil and black pepper) and a salad to balance out our feast, as well as the ingredients for Sansa Stark’s favorite lemon cakes.

Lemon cakes served to Sansa by her aunt Lysa

Most fans may know that lemon cakes are Sansa’s favorite food, but why? It stems from young Sansa’s aspirations of being a lady, doing ladylike things, living that lavish lady life. Lemons are extremely hard to come by in frosty Winterfell, so it makes sense that a young girl who wants to live this life of luxury would yearn for this hard-to-get delicacy and how easily it fits into her image of what life as a lady would be like: laughing in a courtyard, drinking tea, eating lemon cakes, with other ladies who shared her interests. It’s an idyllic world that, unfortunately, is unlikely to become a reality for Sansa. But she can still enjoy delicious lemon cakes.

Margaery and Olenna Tyrell offering Sansa lemon cakes

This was my first time using a recipe by Rosanna Pansino, aka Nerdy Nummies, and I had a few issues with doing so:

  1. While she does have the ingredients + quantities listed in the video description, there were no steps written in the description and no link pointing to a written recipe anywhere to be found. So, I was stuck rewatching parts of her video over and over in order to get the steps. Thankfully, this was a fairly short and simple recipe.
  2. The video was a bit annoying to watch over and over again. I felt like the target audience for Ro’s video was children, with her overly playful and silly tone and jokes, and it was irritating listening to them over and over again trying to determine the directions for these cakes.
  3. These cakes are intended to be served upside down so that the lemon on the bottom of the tins when you bake are on the top when you serve them. This is all well and fine BUT because we are baking in muffin tins, they have rounded tops and will not sit flat unless you slice off the bottoms. Which I would prefer not to do to avoid crumbly edges.

With that being said, here a written-down recipe adaptation of Ro’s lemon cakes, which did turn out very delicious, especially served with the freshly whipped cream that Don whipped up.
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Busy Chanukah?

I’ve had a very eventful Chanukah, actually! Although I’m not Jewish, I figured this would be a good way to mark the time period and also its a fun holiday where you get to eat fried food (hit me up with some latke and sufganiyot) and play with dreidels and chocolate gelt. (In another life, I was destined to marry a nice Jewish boy.)

Let us begin!

On the first day of Chanukah, I spent the day ambling about the National Aquarium. I’ve been 2 times before, but I have this apparently unique habit of wanting to read every single sign. All of them. After all, someone worked very hard to make the signs and I want to learn and know what I’m looking at when I’m in an aquarium/museum/art gallery! It was nice to spend the day there without having someone rush me through the exhibits.

This is Calypso, their sea turtle. She is missing a fin/foot but is still the star of the aquarium.

I got to see the beautiful little golden lion tamarins, looking at me with their giant eyes and hugging each other.
(They later started humping each other about arm’s-length away from me and I will just assure myself that doesn’t mean anything.)

I had a lovely dinner and a lovely birthday cake. (But srsly, can a girl get some Carvel ice cream cake with those delectable chocolate crunchies?)

Chocolate cake!!! With a snowman and a tree on it. (They weren't edible...)
Chocolate cake!!! With a snowman and a tree on it. (They weren’t edible…)

I took my dad to the airport on Thursday (before seeing the last Hobbit film again) because my grandfather is unwell and he wants to look after him. This would begin a long weekend of me chauffeuring my family around.

On Friday, I was able to crash attend my old company’s holiday party at – wait for it – the Newseum! For those unfamiliar, the Newseum is a really cool museum that looks at our history and relationship with news. News is intensely important in informing us what is going on, whether in our own background or across the world, and it’s really amazing to see how far the news has come as well as how far we have come in parallel with the news.

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Bartending in an elevator
Bartending in an elevator
I was craving doughnuts and LO AND BEHOLD! Doughnuts, macarons, and tiny pies
I was craving doughnuts and LO AND BEHOLD! Doughnuts, macarons, and tiny pies

Also it was fun scaring the bejeezus out of people who thought they would never see me again.

Even though it’s not free admission (SADNESS) (in a town with all the free Smithsonian institutions, it’s difficult to get me to pay for a museum or art gallery or zoo), I would really like to come back to the Newseum for a proper visit. While it’s a really cool venue, I don’t think it’s a great place for a celebratory party, given that a lot of news is, well, bad news. The coat check line hugged the wall with all of the Pulitzer Prize-winning photos and people were stumbling around drunkenly through the 9/11 exhibit. It felt distasteful, in my opinion, but that’s no fault of the museum’s.

A tissue box provided by the museum in the 9/11 exhibit
A tissue box provided by the museum in the 9/11 exhibit
One of the antennae from the Twin Towers

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In any case, I had a lot of fun with my old coworkers and I’m glad I was able to see so many old familiar faces.
(ALSO WE HAVE A SLOW-MO VIDEO)

I came back from DC really late that evening, and was supposed to go to an alumni meeting Saturday morning but I totally slept in and missed it, whoops. Luckily, they very kindly invited me out to lunch and we had dumpling at “Mama’s Dumplings” (aka China Bistro) and tried the famous new bubble tea place SnowBots for some snow cream! I don’t really have many photos from Saturday but it was nice to catch up with this group from college that I really had fallen out of touch with. I also picked up my brother from school after picking up an extra boba for him as a post-finals treat.

On Sunday, my Yelp region had our annual holiday party! I went dressed as Santa (kinda) and a fun time was had by all. There was White Elephant, a gingerbread house contest, a mimosa bar, Italian food catered by Venti Tre, bagels galore, eggnog, a photo gbooth, etc. etc. Again, not many photos since I was working the event, but it was a lot of fun.

Afterwards, I went to a belated birthday dinner with my closest friends and my boyfriend and then we went back to my room to just chill for a bit and so that I could give everyone their Christmas gifts. (I’m so glad I cleaned my room!)

Yesterday, I mostly chilled before picking up my mom from the airport, thus having chauffeured every member of my immediate family and making a second trip to the airport.

And that’s been Hanukkah for me! If only I could get my hands on some potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts…