Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bring Local Flavors to the Table with Winn-Dixie!

My family doesn’t partake in the traditional celebrations of holidays, but I can honestly say that I do enjoy the “holiday season.” I see it as an opportunity to take advantage of awesome sales and most importantly, enjoy some much needed, extended family time. My home does not feel complete to me until my hubby walks in the door, so I love when he has the day off to spend with us. Not to mention that if he has a few consecutive days off, we often trek down to see my parents and spend quality time with them as well. Of course, cooking (and sometimes baking) comes in to play on these occasions. My father and I share a deep love for baked goods and confections and though I don’t bake often, when I do, I try to make it something special, which doesn’t mean fancy, just delicious!

I’ve been cooking since I was about 12 years old; I’m the oldest of three and my mother and father worked outside of the house. Preparing dinner started as a way for me to help fill a need for my family and help out my mother. I soon discovered that I have a knack for it. I’ve never been one to follow recipes per say. I have found that when I cook off the cuff, I tend to prepare the best dishes. Now that I’m married and have a family of my own, cooking has taken on an even bigger role in my daily duties-as a SAHM, I find myself cooking 2-3 meals a day, at least 5 days a week. I see it as an act of love and care for my family and I can’t describe the joy I feel when one them tells me that what I prepared tastes good!

I love to cook. In fact, my family knows that there must be something wrong with me if I ever utter the phrase “I don’t feel like cooking.” There is something very relaxing to me about the process of preparing a meal or dish and the satisfaction I feel, knowing that I am doing something necessary for my loved ones, that they will really enjoy, really speaks to something within my soul. It’s part of my nurturing nature that connects with the whole act of cooking-not to mention the fact that I love to eat!

I was born and raised in the South, and reside in the South still, with my family. There are certain dishes that are staples to Southern culture when it comes to big occasions or family gatherings: collard greens (we prefer ours spiked with red pepper flakes and with a smoked turkey leg), sweet potato casserole (with the requisite mini marshmallow blanket), copious amounts of stuffing/dressing (my dad uses a recipe that’s been passed down for generations), deep fried turkey (or some other form of delectable poultry as my father does not partake of pork or red meat), and often times a candy glazed ham (to appease the rest of us with less strict dietary requirements). My contribution to this feast is dessert-pound cake!

Here is the recipe that I use for my fabulous pound cake. All of the ingredients can be obtain at your local Winn-Dixie, making this a convenient, affordable, and yummy addition to any occasion! I actually bake at least two cakes every time I set out to prepare this, one to take and one to leave at home. Sometimes I even bake three, so that my dad can one of his very own!


1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1⁄4 tsp. salt
12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter,
  at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
1⁄4 cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature


Preheat an oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8 1⁄2-by-4 1⁄2-inch loaf pan, preferably glass, and dust with flour.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt until blended. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extract on medium to medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until just blended. Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over the egg mixture and stir until both are just incorporated. Stir in the sour cream and ricotta cheese then sprinkle with the remaining flour mixture and stir until evenly distributed.

Pour the batter into the pan and tap gently on the counter to even out and settle the ingredients. Bake  for about an hour and ten minutes, or longer if using a metal pan. You will know it’s ready when you stick a toothpick through the middle and it pulls out clean.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to allow the cake adequate time to cool before messing with it too much. If it’s still warm, it will fall apart or crumble when you try to handle or slice the cake.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

(Serves 8 to 10.)

Do you have a holiday recipe that your family raves about year after year? Submit it to the Winn-Dixie Recipes to Impress E-cookbook for a chance to be featured in the final e-cookbook. Or if you’re scrambling for ideas to prepare a dish or meal for your family’s holiday fete, you  can also browse through recipes already submitted in the gallery to see how others are celebrating local flavor. You can also join Winn-Dixie for a Twitter party on December 18, 9 p.m., EST: RSVP here http://twtvite.com/WDLocalHoliday

What's your favorite dish to prepare? What are your family's traditions? My inquiring mind wants to know! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Until next time...

Disclosure Statement:  This post was written in partnership with Niche Mommy Network & Conference and Winn-Dixie and I received compensation (in the form of a Winn-Dixie gift card) for posting.

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