Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's not Paleo! It's Viking!!! Skyr!

To our friends and family Viking Dad loves to tell the story on how I got hooked on Skyr while pregnant with Viking Monkey Boy. I couldn't get enough of it and it did ease my grumpy tummy. Especially, when it was cold. You can imagine how truly disappointed I was when I discovered that the United States didn't carry skyr, at least when I was pregnant with Viking Monkey Boy. In a hormonal, pregnancy craved brain I even tried to buy $300 worth of skyr and ship it to California. My Sister-in Law who lives in Husavik thought I had gone bonkers.  Viking Dad stepped in and said, "No." I eventually learned to make it for myself. This was before I found Siggi's Skyr at a local health food market-yeaaarrrrrsssss later. 

What is skyr?

Skyr looks like thick yogurt, and the taste is reminiscent of it. But skyr is not a yogurt, it's actually a type of fresh cheese. It is made with skim milk, so the fat content is very low, allowing it to be eaten with real cream and sugar. It is also an excellent source of calcium.

The Viking settlers brought it to Iceland and are believed to have brought the knowledge of skyr-making with them from Norway, and developed it further after settlement. Since that time, the knowledge of skyr-making has been lost in Scandinavia. Skyr is prominently found in Iceland now. It can be found frozen, with fruit, without fruit and traditional. 

Making it takes time, but it's well worth the effort. If you are comfortable making yogurt this should be easy too.

Skyr Recipe:  Translated from an Icelandic Farmstead Demonstration

This recipe makes 16-20 servings, but can be easily reduced. 

  • 10 Liters/2 Gallons of skimmed milk. Preferably raw organic grass fed cow's milk.
  • 8-9 drops or  1 1/2 tablets of rennet. I use the white cheese rennet.
  • 10 grams skyr = þéttir  (if not available, use 1 tblsp. live culture sour cream or buttermilk. OR use Siggi's Skyr- plain)

1. Heat the skim milk up to 86-90°C/186.8°-194° F, and cool slowly for about 2 hours, down to 39°C/102° F. I use a cheese thermometer to help gauge the temperature and stay accurate.  Stir the prepared þéttir with a little boiled milk and mix into the milk with the rennet (if you are using dry rennet, dissolve in a little water before adding. Enough to make a wet paste). 

2. Remove from burner and close the cooking pot and wrap in towels or a thick blanket. (DO NOT LEAVE THE POT ON THE STOVE AT THIS STAGE!)
The milk should curdle in about 5 hours. If it curdles in less than 4 ½ hours, the curds will be coarse, but if it curdles in more than 5 hours, the skyr will be so thick it will be difficult to strain. When the milk is curdled, cut into the curds with a knife. When you can make a cut which will not close immediately, then you can go on to the next stage.

3. Line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth or a fine linen cloth and pour in the skyr. Tie the ends of the cloth together over the top and hang over a bucket or other container so the whey can drip off. If the skyr-making has been successful, there will be little whey, and it will not float over the curds, but will be visible along the edges of the sieve and in the cuts you made in the surface. You can judge the quality of the skyr from the appearance of the curds when you pour them into the sieve. If the skyr is good, it will crack and fall apart in pieces, but should neither be thin nor lumpy. Do not put a layer thicker than 7-9 cm. into the sieve. Keep the sieve in a well ventilated room, with a temperature no higher than 12°C/53°F and no lower than 0° C/32°F. The skyr should be ready in 12-24 hours.

4. The skyr should be firm and look dry when ready. The whey can be used as a drink, to pickle food, or as a replacement for white wine in cooking.

Serve it with fresh fruit, raw sugar, fresh cream, jam, or just plain. I also store my skyr in glass jars instead of plastic. It takes on a whole new flavor. 

For more fun check out this cool blog..Breakfast in Bed(Stuy) adventures of a curious foodie in Brooklyn and beyond!

Eat Well Be Healthy

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Has Television Violence Gone Beyond a Stated Taboo?

I have a confession to make. Viking Dad and I watch television after the Viking Kiddos go to bed. We have many favorite shows including the Walking Dead, Elementary, CSI-Las Vegas and Criminal Minds. We do have shows that we watch that are much lighter, like Big Bang Theory and SyFy's Face Off.  

I know- I know- I know---- not very "Waldorfy."

I have only started watching Game of Thrown. I wasn't too impressed with the books so I hadn't immediately jumped on the "band wagon" to watch the HBO show. Plus, boob, sex, blood, some dialogue, more flapping boobs, more sex with more blood and dialog didn't immediately appeal to me. I can go watch the History Channel's The Vikings for that kind of entertainment and learn some history, too. Over Spring Break I did re-read Game of Thrown Book 1 and I have started Book 2. 

Which brings me to my personal observations and comments. Now, if you are a Walking Dead fan and haven't watched this last Season-----SPOILER ALERT!! 


In light of the recent school shootings and tragedies the blame for this kind of violence is often directed at violent movies, games, music, books and television. This is still a hotly contested debate. 

What I am observing in the media is a crossing of a line from what is acceptable violence for entertainment and pushing a society taboo. 

Twenty-five years ago Tipper Gore and various mothers gathered together and created the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in which they asked the Senate to create a bill to force record companies to place warning labels on records, yes I am dating myself, that had violent and explicit lyrics and content. The turn out of musicians and artist to speak in front of the Senate Committee ran the spectrum. What caught many by surprise at the time was the folk singerJohn Denver walking in with punk glam rocker Dee Snider of Twisted Sisters. Sitting next to these polar opposite artists was Frank Zappa who had, at the time, a rather psychedelic performance style. Check out the photo gallery here.

Folk/Country singer John Denver

Twisted Sister's lead singer, Dee Snider

What finally come from this effort was a pared down version of the Parental Advisory labels and a clarified definition of the movie ratings. 

That was twenty-five years ago. The PMRC did create an open dialogue to discuss what would be considered acceptable violence and sex in entertainment that is used to this day. Many topics and images are still considered too taboo to show in entertainment. There are still Sensors in the entertainment industry that determine what is acceptable and what is not. In a recent article I discovered that television and movie writers are not allowed to show a murder in a bathroom, especially if a girl is being stabbed. The scene can lead up to it and the scene can be the aftermath of the murder. The real color of blood still can not be shown. Cannibalism is another taboo area as well in entertainment. The death of children is still a fragile and touchy area as well. 

The death of a child or children can be a fragile and touchy topic. It is even more startling when the child becomes a "monster."

~Spoiler Alert~

 In the case of the Walking Dead this season two little girls, Lizzie and Mika, have survived the initial apocalypse of zombies and even watched their father die. Actually, he was bitten by a zombie aka Walker, and Carol had to end his life or he would become a Walker.  The two girls have been adopted by another survivor named Carol. Carol, a once abused wife, who has lost her only child to the zombie apocalypse and has grown rather rigid and cold in her version of survival has decided to teach the girls how to survive. Initially, this doesn't seem to be a problem. Then the viewers start seeing Lizzie trying to make friends with the deadly Walkers. One bite from these Walkers and its instant death. In her mind they are "just sick" and need to be taken care of. She can't destroy a Walker. On the flip side her younger sister, Mika, sees that the Walkers are deadly, but struggles killing living things to survive; like a deer. This duality comes to a tragic conclusion when Lizzie is determine to show Carol and another survivor that the Walkers are "harmless" by killing her own sister. Carol comes to the gut wrenching conclusion that Lizzie can never be near living human beings or Walkers. In the real world she murdered her younger sister. In the harsh apocalypse world she presents a risk to everyone around her. 

The final scene is Carol making what she thinks is the best decision. She takes Lizzie out to a field of flowers and kills her. In a plush comfortable modern world Lizzie would be confined in a small "padded room." Its been shown that children who have gone to this extreme can not easily be assimilated back into the real world. 

A Child Soldier from Africa

Viking Dad commented (long winded sometimes) that rarely, if ever, do music and movies lead  society in a direction.  Instead, he says, that music and movies are the mirrors, and benchmarks of the state of the society.  Music and movies rise with the societies awareness like a wave.  They follow society.  The world becomes aware of an issue, then when the issue is already on everyone's TV News or magazine or newspaper, (dating himself isn't he), then the movies, dramas, and documentaries bring the issue to the front in full color.  Society can be looked back upon, and major changes identified dramatically in the content of Movies, Music, and TV.  But these media products are plucked from the breaking point of the wave, not from the starting driving surge.

This fact is clearly illustrated in the Walking Dead, The Hunger Games, and Taken. Recently, we watched Omega Man with Charleton Heston. It is based on the novel, I am Legend written by Richard Matheson. In the 1971, movie Omega Man the screen writers believed that vampire apocalypse would be too terrifying for the population. Instead, they used a mutant subculture called the "Family." The fear of the time was germ warfare which was a real threat. In 1971, China and Russia were in the midst of a boarder war in which they were using early biological weapons.  In the 2007, remake and renamed I am Legend, society readily accepted a vampire plague as a reasonable possibility. The vampire causing agent was genetically modified genes that were designed to cure cancer. This is the current fear. 

If one accepts our premise that US entertainment is a reflection of our current societal views then how disturbing that the child brides and massacres in Game of Thrown is acceptable entertainment. What is the box office income from the Hunger Games?

 Our society continues to push the boundaries of established taboos. 

Just my two cents....
Bless Bless.....

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Break! Happy Easter Happy Eostre and Happy Spring

The Viking Homestead and Hus Drekka-lundr will be on Spring Break and a very well deserved vacation this week.

In the meantime enjoy a past post I posted on my other blog
House Drekka-lundr

Did the Vikings celebrate Easter or Eostre or Spring?
Check it out here. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Final Easter Dinner Menu- Gluten Free and Paleo!!

It is final. I have finally created a gluten free and paleo Easter Dinner!! 

Here it is:

Pineapple and Mustard Ham- see previous post

Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole- courtesy of Paleo Leap
Roasted Asparagus-  courtesy of Our Paleo Life aka Kendra. I may be visiting her sight more. She has some family friendly recipes.
Fresh Fruit Compote courtesy of our local CSA
Deviled Eggs- 

and for dessert----

Chocolate Cranberry Pie courtesy of Paleo Leap  
The only change I am going to make with this pie is I am going to use Lingonberries instead of Cranberries. 

Many Blessings from the Viking Homestead.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Viking Paleo Easter Ham-OMG! Yum!!!

I was searching high and low, through the fjords, over the mountains, down the road to Damascus and through wind, rain and sea to find the perfect Paleo Easter Ham. 

I discovered that we had our own right in our humble homestead. My husband WOW'd me several years ago with his baked ham. It is made with fresh pineapple, the juice, a touch of mustard and real whole cloves. My Grandmother informed me that day that if I didn't marry him, she would. It was that good. 

Let me share with you Viking Dad's  Viking Paleo Easter Ham


  • 1 whole fresh pineapple. Cored and sliced into rings. Save 1/2 cup of juice. 
  • 1 Tbs dry mustard
  • 1 4.5 lb butt end ham ( or ham cut of choice)
  • 1/4 cup whole cloves

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 F degree.

2. Cut pineapple into rings. Save 1/2 cup of juice. This juice will become the glaze that will baste the ham. 

3. Whisk pineapple juice and dry mustard in a bowl until mixed thoroughly. 

4. Place ham in a roasting pan with cut side down and arrange pineapple rings onto ham; secure with cloves. Baste ham and fruit with pineapple juice. 

5. Bake in the pre-heated oven until "glaze" from the juice has baked into the ham, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Baste every 30 minutes. (If using a different size ham or cut follow the recommended cooking time instructions). 

6. Turn on the oven's broiler and brown the glaze for 5 minutes. 

Please enjoy the instruction video on how to core and slice a real pineapple.