I recently had the pleasure of attending the launch of the 2016 Milk Calendar.  I have literally been a fan of the Milk Calendar since I was a little girl.  The milk calendar has been around for longer than I’ve been alive and ever since I got the spark for baking, the Milk Calendar was one that I always looked out for.  I am a Milk lover through and through so this opportunity was very special to me.
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It was really interesting to hear about the entire process of making the Milk Calendar from inception to publication.  We had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Heather Trim, who is the lead recipe creator for the Milk Calendar.  The process starts as a bunch of themes and then recipes are created based on those themes (concepts and experiences).  An example of a themes is cooking with children.  Some recipes are created keeping children in the kitchen in mind, so, if there is a task that is suitable for a child, it will be noted.  The final recipes are selected and then the testing phase begins.  Heather said her neighbours, family and friends all took part in testing the recipes to make sure they were easy to interpret and make and they also helped her with the taste testing (lucky neighbours!)
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On the Milk Calendar website, there are 35 years of the best Milk Calendar Moments.  It’s fun to look through all of the retro photos and recipes.  All of the recipes from the past calendars are available on the website as well – from the 1970’s all the way to today!
During the event, we paired up with a fellow blogger and made two recipes from the new calendar.  In particular we made the Fresh Pesto Beans and Greens Orzo and the Citrus Tea Loaf.  I whipped up the tea loaf in about 10 minutes flat.  For some reason, I cook like my life depends on it.  This could be because of my past cooking competition experience or because I am a mother and my hungry boys always want food on the table fast!

We all had the pleasure of sitting down to eat the dishes we had created.  Heather and her team also made us a few delicious pizza varieties using puff pastry.  I will totally try the puff pastry pizza out one of these days – they were so delicious!

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A generous goodies bag was also given to all of the attendees — A lovely surprise!  There was a mini tea loaf in each of our bags which made a perfect treat for the car ride home.  I gladly ate the entire loaf myself!

I have included the recipe for Fresh Pesto Beans & Greens Orzo – one of the recipes we tried out at the launch.  It is really easy to make, it’s healthy and full of good stuff and tastes really great!
The Milk Calendar has made its way into your homes by now.  If not, look out for it and be sure to try the recipes out!
With Love,
Julie
*All of the above gorgeous photos were taken by the beautiful and talented Jennifer Moher.  Check out her Instagram feed @Jennifermoher – She’s so very talented and lovely to be around!


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Fresh Pesto Beans & Greens Orzo
 
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Eat your greens and beans, now with pesto. It’s the ideal way to start your summer with this garden-fresh recipe that you can make in no time flat. Per serving: 531 Cal. | 20 g Protein | 78 g Carb. | 16 g Fat | 6.0 g Fibre | 330 mg Sodium | 219 mg Calcium
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ¼ lb (115 g) each, yellow and green beans, trimmed
  • 2 cups (500 mL) orzo
  • 1 cup (250 mL) frozen shelled edamame
  • 4 tsp (20 mL) butter
  • 4 tsp (20 mL) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1½ cups (375 mL) milk
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) homemade or store-bought basil pesto
  • 4 cups (1 L) baby greens, such as kale, spinach, arugula or a mix of your choice
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, patted dry
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) snipped fresh chives, chopped basil or your choice of fresh herbs
  • Shaved Canadian Parmesan for serving
Instructions
  1. Cut beans in half or thirds depending on bean size. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook orzo for 6 min. Add beans and edamame; continue to cook 2 to 3 min until orzo and beans are tender. Drain well and return to pot. (2) In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle with flour and salt; cook, whisking about 1 min. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Whisk for 3 to 5 min or until smooth and slightly thickened. Whisk in pesto. (3) Add sauce to orzo mixture along with greens and sun-dried tomatoes. Season with pepper. Stir 2 min over medium heat until greens are wilted and mixture is coated. Serve sprinkled with herbs and shaved Parmesan.
  2. Variation: Serve with grilled shrimp on skewers or add leftover chicken. Substitute peas for edamame.
  3. Tip of the month: Are your portions too large? A great trick for reducing portion size is to use smaller plates, bowls and cups.
  4. Cooking tip: Edamame (soybeans) are often served salted as a snack in Japanese restaurants. Look for them shelled in the freezer section of your supermarket.
    *Recipe courtesy of the 2016 Milk Calendar presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada. Each recipe features 100% Canadian Milk.