Icelandic Skyr

On the last night of our road trip around Iceland last month, we stayed at a working farm called Eftstidalur. It’s a working dairy farm which in 2002 opened a restaurant and added overnight accommodations in response to a growth in tourism, according to their website.

At breakfast, there was a large bowl of something called “skyr.” A small placard  informed me that it was made fresh from cow’s milk produced there at the farm. Next to the bowl was a stack of small pancakes and a little pitcher of syrup. I took a pancake, added a dollop of skyr, and drizzled some syrup on top.

It was very tasty!

I texted my sister, who had happened to have been in Iceland about a month earlier, to ask her if she had had the opportunity to try it. She had seen skyr offered at breakfast, but had not sampled it. She did tell me, however, that it is available in the United States.

An aside here: Technically, skyr is a cheese, because rennet is used to make it. But because of its consistency and texture, which is more like sour cream, it is often called a yogurt. However, it is very mild in flavor, neither tart like yogurt nor sour like sour cream. It is higher in protein and lower in fat than yogurt, and also lactose-free.

After we returned home, I did an internet search to see where it might be available locally. I was pleased to see that it is stocked at several nearby grocery stores, including the one we usually shop at.

The most common brand, Siggi’s, offers plain and vanilla in 24-ounce tubs and a variety of flavored skyr in 5-ounce containers. The plain variety has now replaced vanilla yogurt in my breakfast granola.

It is also proving to be the avenue for my grandson to solid food.

Approaching eight months in age, he was not keen on the whole concept of spoons and baby food. So about a month ago, one Thursday afternoon while my daughter was over for a visit, I proposed that we try giving him some skyr, on the theory that he would find its mild flavor sufficiently inoffensive.

My daughter and I set ourselves in chairs across from each other, me holding the baby on my lap. We each had a few spoonfuls of skyr, expressing great delight, to demonstrate proper eating technique. When I first offered it to little Gage, he refused it, shaking his head from side to side. His mom suggested that I put a little dab on his lip. I did so, which allowed him to get a little taste.

In short order, not only was he opening his mouth to accept small spoonfuls, but he was even leaning forward! To say that his mother was thrilled is an understatement.

skyr

 

 

 

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Backyard Flowers

The crocuses, daffodils, and tulips if the front yard are long gone. Now, it’s the back yard that is full of color.

There are two kinds of lavender . . .

lavender stalks

English and . . .

spanish lavender

Spanish.

Two kinds of poppies . . .

poppy in lettuce

California and . . .

icelandic

Icelandic.

The rose bush is blooming . . .

pink rose

as is one of the peony bushes.

white peony

The other peony bush is just showing buds.

peony buds

I don’t know what this plant is, just that the leaves are very pungent.

purple flower

And some of the lettuce seeds I planted in April bypassed the leafy stage and went straight to flowering.

lettuce flower

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Twisted Star

twisted star

When selecting the fabrics for this quilt, my latest contribution to Project Linus, I had to thoroughly sift through my stash.

First, I had to find enough light-value, “cool” fabrics that went well together.

Then, I had to find enough coordinating dark-value fabrics, such that each one got used just once.

This tilted, wonky design of this block really appealed to me. Foundation piecing made piecing the unusual shapes super-easy and accurate.

The project is from Vintage Quilt Revival, which was the basis for a Block of the Month quilt two or three years ago at Pacific Fabrics.

 

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Our Meal Kit Adventure

So, my husband and I listen to lots of podcasts. For quite awhile now, we’ve noticed that a common sponsor is one or another of these delivered-to-your-door meal kit subscription services. Blue Apron was the first, then Sun Basket came along.

A few months ago, when we went to Fred Meyer for our weekly grocery shopping, there was a refrigerated case situated right inside the front entrance filled with Home Chef meal kits.

We perused the offerings, and were less than impressed. Since then, we survey the case’s contents each week, and take a pass.

However, this morning when we were doing our weekly menu planning and composing our shopping list, we came up short on ideas for tonight’s dinner. We’d been tossing around the thought of trying out a meal kit, and decided that today would be the day.

The one we selected was “Sirloin Steak with Pesto Butter.” Here is a video showing the unwrapping of the box and an enumeration of its contents.

home chef

The recipe on the enclosed card was simple and straightforward. The one glitch was when I picked up the carrots. They were not particularly fresh. Carrots are supposed to be firm and crisp; these were most definitely not. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they were limp, but they oscillated when I shook them. Fortunately, we had bought carrots that morning, so were able to utilize them instead.

Otherwise, the kit contents were satisfactory. The meal took about 45 minutes to prepare, just like the card said. The timing of everything worked out just right, and the results were quite tasty.

meal

It’s certainly something we would consider making again, except that we would just buy the individual ingredients and make the meal from scratch.

 

 

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Mindless Knitting

I really enjoy knitting socks, but I’ve made my close friends and family at least one pair — some of them even two or three.

It was time to knit something else.

I haven’t had much luck with sweaters. One I completely unraveled after it was done and used the yarn to knit a couple Moebius cowls and a beret. Another just didn’t fit and at some point will be gifted to someone smaller and slimmer than myself.

I also wanted to work on something that held more immediate gratification than something that would take me three years to knit.

Since my grandson was born in October, I’ve kind of had baby on the brain. He has a gazillion blankets, but I thought it would be fun to knit one for some baby yet-to-be-determined.

I checked out a book of baby knits from the library which included a pattern for a Log Cabin Afghan. Unfortunately, I neglected to record the title of the book.

I screwed up my first attempt. When one band of color is bound off, you’re supposed to rotate the project 90 degrees and pick up stitches along the next edge. I mistakenly picked up stitches along the just-bound-off edge. After making this same error a couple of times, I ripped back all my knitting and started over.

The original pattern tells you to make six squares with two rounds around a center square and then sew them together. Instead, I just kept knitting.

Except for the picking up and binding off, it’s all garter stitch, and you can’t get much easier than that.

knitting

 

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Blue Baskets

For the latest quilt top for Project Linus, I chose “Blueberry Baskets” from Basket Bonanza by Nancy Mahoney.

The cutting instructions called for each block to use the same blues and yellow fabrics. But I chose different yellows and blues for each block.

For the border, I happened to have a fair amount of a blue-and-yellow floral print in my stash. Someone was giving it away several years ago. She had already used it to make something — I don’t know what exactly, except it was round. But the pieces were a good size, and I was able to cut my borders without having to sew together smaller cuts.

baskets quilt

The background color has a green tint to it. I would have preferred something more white, but I think it works well enough.

 

 

 

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Not-So-Scrappy Quilt

Yesterday, I finished sewing together my latest quilt for Project Linus.

This one is less scrappy than the previous ones, and I departed from the practice of just using fabric from my stash.

Sew one quilt

I had selected three fabrics to use — background, medium and dark. But when I sat down to cut out the pieces, I decided I did not like the medium I had chosen. It was too pink to coordinate well with the other two fabrics.

I looked through my stash of purples again. There was one medium purple that was more blue and worked better, but I had only a very small remnant, not nearly enough.

So, I bought some fabric just for this quilt top.

It is a Tula Pink print, and it was the only fabric I found that was — again — not a pink-y lavender, but a blue-toned one.

The quilt is “Porcelain Stars” from Sew One and You’re Done by Evelyn Sloppy.

I did not follow her instructions for how to make flying geese bucks, half-square triangle units, and quarter-square triangle units. Instead, I used the No-Waste method for the flying geese, and this method for the HSTs and QSTs.

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