Here it is ... May!
The weather is getting warmer and days are longer. May is a bittersweet time in the reign of a Dairy Princess. Springtime brings more opportunities to promote the industry we love so much, but it also is the time of year to look for the next enthusiastic young lady who will represent the SUN Area and our dairy farmers for a fun filled, exciting and busy year of education and promotion.
Ag Dairy Days will be held June 1 and 2 at Ard's Farm Market in Lewisburg and on the evening of June 2, the 2012-13 SUN Area Dairy Princess will be crowned.
With the warm weather and spring sports under way, I thought it was time to talk about our sports recovery routine.
Did you know that fat-free and low-fat chocolate milk is the best way to refuel, rebuild, rehydrate and replenish our bodies after a strenuous workout? Let's talk about the science of peak performance and how chocolate milk has what it takes to help you recover and perform your best over commercial sports recovery drinks.
Drinking chocolate milk after a hard workout could give athletes a performance edge. Some studies say drinking low-fat chocolate milk after strenuous exercise could help athletes boost power and improve their training times.
Low-fat chocolate milk contains the right mix of carbs and protein scientifically shown to help refuel muscles. Chocolate milk helps restore muscles quickly to their peak potential.
Replacing muscle fuel (glycogen) after exercise is essential to an athlete's recovery. A recent study found that drinking 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk with its mix of carbohydrates and protein (compared to a carbohydrate-only drink with the same amount of calories) led to greater concentration of glycogen in muscles at 30 and 60 minutes post exercise.
Low-fat chocolate milk contains high-quality protein to help repair and rebuild muscles after strenuous exercise. It's also been shown to help athletes gain more lean muscle and lose fat when compared to drinking a carb-only beverage.
Several studies have found that subjects who drank regular or flavored milk after a rigorous workout experienced less exercise-induced muscle damage than those who drank typical sports drinks or water.
Chocolate milk is a natural when it comes to electrolytes, providing some of the same electrolytes that are added to commercial recovery drinks (calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium) along with fluids to help you rehydrate.
In fact, some research suggests milk may help you stay hydrated after exercise, more than some commercial sports drinks.
Low-fat chocolate milk has nine essential nutrients that an athlete needs, including some not typically found in recovery drinks.
The bottom line is low-fat chocolate milk has the right mix of carbs, proteins, essential nutrients and electrolytes over other sports recovery drinks. It's made with real milk, costs less than 50 cents a glass and is made with all natural ingredients, unlike commercial recovery drinks that are lab created to give us what milk provides naturally.
For more information about how you can use low-fat chocolate milk as part of your sports recovery program and the scientific research behind it, visit www.gotchocolate milk.com.
During my tenure as SUN Area Dairy Princess, I've shared quite a few recipes. These are a few I frequently get requests for. The first is an unconventional way of making peanut butter fudge, but I'm sure you'll love it after you try it.
My mother made a chocolate variation of it that I also will include.
8 ounces Velveeta Cheese
1 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 pounds confectioners sugar
Melt butter and cheese on low heat. After it is melted, add peanut butter and vanilla.
Mix well, then add sugar. Mix until smooth. Once you have it to a smooth consistency, spread the fudge in a buttered 9-by-13-inch pan and refrigerate.
You can vary the recipe by adding 1/2 cup of cocoa to make chocolate peanut butter fudge or omit the peanut butter and add the 1/2 cup of cocoa for chocolate fudge.
With warm weather, come parties, reunions and picnics.
Here's a light fruit dip that's sure to bring a smile to your guests faces.
1 ounce container of low-fat yogurt (I like to use vanilla-flavored Greek-style yogurt)
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
3 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding
Combine yogurt, sour cream and instant pudding in a bowl. Stir until smooth and blended. Serve with your favorite fresh fruit.
Creamy berry fruit dip
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/4 cup marshmallow fluff
3 tablespoons strawberry jam or preserves
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Blend well. Serve with fresh fruit.
Franck, 16, is a student at Mifflinburg Area High School and the SUN Area Dairy Princess serving Montour, Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her column is published on the first Wednesday of each month.