The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year. Families come together to put up lights, decorate trees, prepare delicious food and await Christmas Day. This time reminds me of some of my favorite memories growing up. I loved watching the snow falling outside the window and counting down the days until Christmas on our Advent calendar. This year, I have realized how important it is to cherish these small moments together. I hope you all take the extra time in your day to find the joy in moments spent surrounded by the ones you love.
    This past month, I am grateful for the amazing moments I have had in my role as Princess Kay of the Milky Way. I was able to attend the first Fuel Up to Play 60 virtual tailgate event. I was joined by special guests Mike Harris, retired Minnesota Vikings player, and Ifeadi Odenigbo, starting Minnesota Vikings defensive end. While on the call, I gave a presentation on my role, cow fun facts and the nutritional value of dairy. We also played rounds of trivia and had a question and answer opportunity. Additionally, I had my first classroom visit with seventh graders at Willow River Area School. Even though it was virtual, it was so fun sharing dairy’s story from farm to table. I appreciated the enthusiasm shown by these students to learn more about our industry and the nutritional value of all the good foods we contribute to their diets. I am looking forward to what December will bring.
    As we enter colder temperatures, I want to share a recipe you can make to warm up on a cold winter night. As you sit around the fireplace, I encourage you to create this delicious recipe with your family. Follow the recipe below to make your own mug of homemade hot chocolate.
    – 4 cups of milk
    – 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    – 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    – 1/2 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
    – 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    Place milk, cocoa powder and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium/medium-low heat, whisking frequently until warm (but not boiling). Add chocolate chips and whisk constantly until the chocolate chips melt into the milk. Whisk in vanilla extract. Place in a mug and enjoy. Makes four servings.
    If you are looking for more fun recipes to prepare for the holiday season, be sure to follow my social media accounts on Facebook @PrincessKayOfTheMilkyWay and on Instagram @mnprincesskay. This month, I will be sharing more recipes and fun dairy-themed activities for you and your family to enjoy.
    Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy holiday.
    Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Brenna Connelly serves as the Minnesota dairy community’s goodwill ambassador. Throughout the year, Princess Kay helps people understand the dedication of dairy farmers to wholesome and nutritious food, and the way milk is produced. Princess Kay does many school presentations, represents dairy farmers at the Fuel Up To Play 60 events that are held in conjunction with the Minnesota Vikings, and is very active during June Dairy Month sharing the importance of dairy farming and dairy foods. Brenna grew up in Byron, MN working on her cousin’s dairy farm. She is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, studying agricultural education and animal science. When she is not showing cattle or participating in dairy judging, she loves to read and travel.