STYLE

Dairy farmers contribute their favourite recipes to 2014 Milk Calendar

11/11/2013 06:00 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
TORONTO - Canada's dairy farmers are being celebrated for their contributions to the industry in the 2014 edition of the Milk Calendar with recipes straight from their families.

Thirteen favourite dishes from farmers across the country are featured in the monthly pages of the calendar, which is being distributed free this week in most daily newspapers in Ontario and the Maritimes.

As well, father and son Ed and Reuben Bos from Bosdale Farms in Cambridge, Ont., are pictured on the calendar's cover in a pastoral scene looking over fields with cows grazing toward their farm buildings.

A Dairy Farmers of Canada committee whittled down the huge number of submissions from farmers, selecting easy, family-friendly and nutritious recipes. They were then tested by professional home economist Jennifer MacKenzie, who made sure the 13 finalists contained a milk serving and were lower in sodium and with a moderate fat content.

"It was really fun to see what they're making in their homes, what their family-favourite recipes are, and so I got to test those," she said by phone from her home at Buckhorn Lake, near Peterborough, Ont.

The monthly recipes range from quick and nutritious breakfast foods to simple entrees to sweet treats.

Recipes for hot breakfasts were favoured by many farm families as were pasta dishes, which are "always popular with all Milk Calendar users so it was neat to see they're popular with the dairy farmers too," added MacKenzie.

Hearty Ham and Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese and Fettuccine Alfredo With Chicken and Vegetables are featured along with make-ahead Baked Nutty Berry French Toast, perfect for entertaining during the upcoming holiday season or any time of year.

Mackenzie, spokesperson for the calendar and recipe developer since the 2001 edition, created the recipes printed in the calendar's sections on baking, cream and cheese.

When developing recipes for the calendar, she blends tastes and ingredients that make them family friendly while keeping up with trends.

In the baking section, for instance, Three Seed Yogurt Muffins feature flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, "all the rage in health news these days." Raspberry Almond Muffins offer extra protein from the almonds, milk and yogurt included in the batter.

Along with decadent Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Swirl Brownies there is a Pumpkin Spice Snacking Cake.

"We try and incorporate things that people are reading about and hearing about and pumpkin has certainly come to the forefront for its good nutrition and fibre and vitamin A so we have included it in a really easy snacking cake."

The Brie, Pear and Greens Pizza in the cheese section "is really easy with a nice fresh flavour. You bake brie, pears, herbs and garlic on premade pizza crust, so it's really easy, then top with fresh greens at the end. It's definitely one of my favourites," said MacKenzie, also the author of "The Complete Book of Pickling" and co-author of several other cookbooks.

Shrimp and Hearty Greens Saute in the cream section is a great way to try kale, Swiss chard, turnip greens and spinach or a mixture.

"We all know we should be eating dark leafy greens and it's a really easy recipe," she noted.

Peppered throughout are cooking tips, suggestions for kids, nutritional analysis and options for varying the ingredients.

In all, there are 30 recipes. All recipes included in the calendar, as well as additional recipes from dairy farmers across the country, are available for download at MilkCalendar.ca.

Monthly recipes are available in French at the back of the calendar. The website offers all recipes in French.

The distribution date each newspaper has chosen — from Thursday through Saturday in most cases — can also be found on MilkCalendar.ca or check with your local paper. Limited quantities of calendars will be available for ordering online after Nov. 18.

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