Eating & Drinking

Sneak Peek! Our readers test out the new Milk Calendar recipes

It has stayed relevant through cookbooks and iPads, holds some of the greatest tastes Canadians love, has adorned many a kitchen wall, and it has a killer go-to for mac and cheese.

Few calendars have stood the test of time as the Milk Calendar has.

First printed in 1974, this year marks the 39th issue (they skipped a few in the ’70s) of the calendar. The number of recipes have increased since that first issue, and it has moved online (where you can also find video guides).

The mango and quinoa wraps call for a cup of milk. Knife courtesy of Knifewear, Bank Street.
The mango and quinoa wraps call for a cup of milk. Knife courtesy of Knifewear, Bank Street.

In spite of the calendar’s Internet accessibility, people continue to hold on to the physical pages, along with their memories of recipes from years past. And the calendar’s creators say its content is inspired by everyday moments: meals eaten out, dishes cooked at home, trends, cookbooks, even older Milk Calendar recipes, which are updated for more modern tastes. Heather Trim, chef and recipe creator for the Milk Calendar, was in Mexico with her family and came across someone selling paletas (ice pops) made of fresh fruit and milk. This moment inspired the recipe for July (Tasty Fruit Ice Pops).

The recipes continue to be quick, easy, and nutritious. They try everything during testing from high-end kitchen equipment to low-cost. Recipes can be prepared in 45 minutes or less and always include at least one cup of milk. They also strive to meet recommendations from Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating.

When the Milk Calendar approached OTTAWA magazine to sample new recipes for their 2016 calendar, we wanted to share the experience with our readers, many of whom are devout Milk Calendar fans.

The mango and quinoa wraps feature several fresh ingredients, including mint leaves, coarsely grated carrot, a small red bell pepper, baby arugula leaves, and a small ripe but firm avocado.
The mango and quinoa wraps feature several fresh ingredients, including mint leaves, coarsely grated carrot, a small red bell pepper, baby arugula leaves, and a small ripe but firm avocado.

The magazine assembled Chef Trim, along with Geneviève Fontaine, Manager for Marketing and Nutrition Communications for Dairy Farmers of Canada, and Debbie Morris, food stylist.

Chef Heather Trim shows off some of the recipes in this year's milk calendar as our readers, from left, Janet Dempsey, Céline Forgues and Shamima Khan, look on.
Chef Heather Trim shows off some of the recipes in this year’s milk calendar as our readers, from left, Janet Dempsey, Céline Forgues and Shamima Khan, look on.

We also invited three of our readers to participate as taste-testers for the Mango and Quinoa Wrap and the Green Goodness Smoothie Bowl made with honeydew and kale — then we interviewed them to get their take on this year’s recipes. Here’s what they had to say:

Fresh ingredients ready for Chef Heather Trim.
Fresh ingredients ready for Chef Heather Trim.

Janet Dempsey
A huge fan of the annual Milk Calendar, Janet was excited to preview 2016. “Woohoo! My all-time favourite, the Farm-Favourite Oatmeal Pancakes — so yummy!” she posted on our Facebook page.

Dempsey says she has a sweet tooth, (“It’s the French,”) and has been receiving the Milk Calendar for the last 30 years since moving to Ontario from Quebec.

“They are proven and tested, no specialty ingredients required. We have a hobby farm and are part of the farming community, it is important to us to buy local and Canadian.”

Usually ordering the calendar online when it comes out, Dempsey remembers calendar release days when news boxes were more prevalent, “People would go through the paper in the news box and take out the calendars.”

On her recipe storing…

“I’m a tagger.” Rather than tearing out recipes, Dempsey hangs onto her calendars and tags individual recipes.

On the mango and quinoa wrap…

“I’ll be making this.”

Shamima Khan
“I think I might still have some old milk calendars from years ago in my boxes. I used to collect them but don’t think I have received any in recent years. Totally love them and did try a couple of recipes although I’m more of an eater rather than the person who cooks now. My fave recipe was mac and cheese,” she said on OTTAWA magazine’s Facebook page.

On her recipe storing…

“I tear, but my mom tags.”

On the mango and quinoa wrap…

“It was amazing — it’s easy and affordable to do at home.”

On the smoothie bowl…

“Surprisingly good — I’m not a kale-y person. Instead of doing build-your-own sundae bars with friends, I’ll do this.”

The green goodness smoothie bowl is made with three cups of cubed honeydew melon.
The green goodness smoothie bowl is made with three cups of cubed honeydew melon.

Céline Forgues
“My favorite calendar! Can’t go wrong with the mac & cheese! The kids love it. Happy kids, happy mom!” she noted on our Facebook post about the calendar.

Céline has a taste for savoury, a seven-week-old, two-year-old, and a 14-year-old in the house to feed and prefers recipes that “you don’t have to stay in the kitchen for.”

On her recipe storing…

“I’m a tearer.”

On the mango and quinoa wrap…

“Loved it.”

Milk Calendar recipes, including the ones we sampled today, are available online now.