Sasha W.

About

Sasha W. began her career at Publix in 2007 as a cashier and has since gained experience in both Event Planning and Social Media – which is perfect, because the combination of those two interests are what drive the writing behind her favorite blog posts! A New England girl turned southern belle, Sasha loves taking her puppy on tropical adventures all throughout Florida. Describing herself as fifty percent manatee and fifty percent flamingo, Sasha hopes to bring fun and unique ideas to your future events!

Posts by Sasha W.

01_SW_KingCake_FeaturedImage

Mardi Gras celebrations begin weeks ahead of the holiday, with loud music, bright colors and festivities making this an exciting time of year that culminates on Fat Tuesday. While there are many traditions throughout this time, we wanted to tell you a little bit more about a popular tradition that we find to be sweet – the King Cake!

 

01_SW_KingCake_BodyImage_1The History of the King Cake

The tradition of the King Cake has been around for centuries. It’s believed to have made its first appearance in New Orleans in the 1870s with a French settler. January 6 is known as “Kings Day” or the Epiphany, the day said to be when baby Jesus was presented to the three gift-bearing kings. Tradition says these cakes were made to honor those kings, thus resulting in the name “King Cake.” Just two short years later in 1872, three colors were chosen to decorate these cakes — purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power. These colors are still found today in many Mardi Gras decorations.

Good Luck Charm

What makes these cakes even more unique? Each cake is stuffed with a tiny baby. Before you worry, they’re not baked with real babies! But a small, plastic figure shaped like a child is hidden in each cake. Why you ask? The significance of the baby is to represent the baby Jesus when he was first presented to the three kings. The fortunate person who discovers the baby in their piece of cake is believed to be rewarded with good luck and must host the King Cake gathering for the next season.

01_SW_KingCake_BodyImage_2King Cake Today

This ring-shaped confection is full of tradition and taste! In its original recipe, these rings were a yeast bread frosted with powdered sugar. Nowadays, they come in all shapes and sizes. Many are made of a braided Danish pastry mixed with cinnamon. Today Publix offers three flavors—Cinnamon, Cheese, and Strawberry Cheese. Can you say “YUM?” The celebration of Mardi Gras has spread all over the world, with many countries and cultures adding their own twists on these celebratory cakes.

King Cakes are popular during the Mardi Gras season and, much like any holiday, this is a time to bring friends and family together to celebrate. Making your own at home is easier than you think! You can find many unique recipes and tips on Pinterest. If you’re not the baking type, you can find ready-made King Cakes in your local Publix Bakery.

 

We have no doubt that you will feel like a King after enjoying these yummy cakes. Will you be joining the celebration this year?

02_10_SW_Fresh Roses_Header

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we thought it would be a perfect time to share a few tips to help extend the freshness of your flowers. Our floral experts shared some great advice to keep your blooms glowing.

 

Water

One of the most important ingredients to lasting flowers is water. Try these tips to keep your blooms vibrant.

Temperature: Place stems in room temperature water. Water that is too cold or hot can shock the flowers and cause them to wilt sooner.

Refilling: Replace water every other day. Stale water can cause bacteria to grow on the stems, shortening their life.

Quantity: Limit water to one-third of the vase. This provides enough water to avoid evaporation and covers the stem ends.

 

Feeding

Cut flowers are typically harvested before they’ve fully developed, removing their access to food. Feeding your flowers is simple – check it out!

Process: Before placing the stems in the vase, ensure that the contents of the food packet have fully dissolved.

Frequency: Multiple packets are not needed if the water is changed often. Just one can provide your arrangement with the extra boost it needs to fully bloom.

 

Placement

Environment: Since these flowers have already been cut, they survive best in cooler, dim areas. Direct sunlight causes the roses to mature faster. If you plan to be away for more than 24 hours, place the bouquet in the fridge to help preserve them.

 

Cutting

Stems: Use sharp utensils to cut the stems at a 45-degree angle. Using dull knives or hand pruners can crush the stem. It’s important to cut half of an inch off the bottom of the stem each time the water is changed. This exposes new tissue and provides the flower with a larger surface to uptake water, which can rejuvenate the flowers.

Leaves: Before placing flowers in the vase, remove all leaves and buds that will be submerged in the water. This will prevent them from deteriorating in the water, which can encourage bacterial growth.

 

Bonus Tip02_10_SW_Fresh Roses_Image 2

Vase: While the shape of the vase will not affect how long blooms will last, they do affect how they look. Choose the vase that best fits your arrangement. If you have only a few stems, choose a vase with a narrower mouth, whereas, if you have a grander bouquet with larger flowers,  select a vase with a wider neck.

 

No matter the occasion, roses are the perfect gesture to show you care. Keep these tips in mind when gifting your loved one, or yourself, with a beautiful bouquet.

 

Do you have additional tips and tricks to keep your flowers brighter longer? Let us know!

Mulled wine at romantic fireplace

Say cheers to this holiday season with our take on some festive drink classics. Grab your friends and family, toss on your ugly Christmas sweater, and stir things up!

 

Pumpkin Spice White Russian

Look no further for a winter cocktail to kick off the holiday festivities. This recipe calls for the perfect combination of chocolate and Kahlua with smooth hints of pumpkin.

12_16_SW_Aprons_Holiday Drinks_Image 2(Makes 1 serving)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1 1/2 ounces coffee liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Whipped cream, crushed pecans, and graham cracker crumbs, for garnish

Steps

  1. Fill cocktail shaker with ice, then add vodka, coffee liqueur, cream, and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. Shake well. Strain into chocolate syrup-rimmed tall glass.
  3. Garnish with whipped cream and graham cracker crumbs.

Add a subtle variation

Substitute your favorite flavored coffee creamer for the heavy cream. Add some finely crushed pecans for additional garnish.

Snow day!

If you have a nut allergy or just want to add a creative touch, substitute white chocolate shavings or mini morsels for the pecans.

Food pairing

Serve the Pumpkin Spice White Russian with an assortment of Irresistible Desserts and other sweet treats.

 

Spiced Rum Cider

When the temperature drops, warm up with a sweet and spicy cider. This delicious recipe is a palate pleaser—we promise!

(Makes 1 serving)12_16_SW_Aprons_Holiday Drinks_Image 3

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces spiced apple cider
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 1 ounce triple sec (or other orange liqueur)
  • 1 ounce club soda
  • Apple cubes or cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Steps

  1. Fill cocktail shaker with ice; add cider, rum, and triple sec.
  2. Shake well; pour into a serving glass. Top with club soda.
  3. Garnish with apple cubes or cinnamon sticks.

For a touch of sweetness

Dip the rim of a rocks glass in cinnamon sugar before adding the cider mixture.

Spice things up

Try substituting cinnamon bourbon for the dark rum.

Food pairing

Serve with Cranberry Almond Chicken With Beet Spinach Salad.

 

Maple Bourbon Nog

For a drink filled with holiday spirit, you’ll want to reach for this spiked eggnog.

(Makes 1 serving)12_16_SW_Aprons_Holiday Drinks_Image 4

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces eggnog
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg, for garnish

Steps

  1. Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a highball glass.
  2. Stir well. Top with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

 Spice it up

Before mixing the drink, dip the rim of a highball glass in crushed ginger snaps for an unexpected flavor explosion.

 Multiply the maple

Replace the bourbon with a maple bourbon to intensify the flavor.

Food pairing

Serve with chocolate-covered strawberries or a rich chocolate dessert from the Publix Bakery.

 

Cranberry Screwdriver

Toast to the holidays while enjoying our twist on this classic beverage. With refreshing ingredients such as cranberry and orange, it will make any dreary day a little brighter. Let’s raise our glass to another wonderful season!

(Makes 1 serving)12_16_SW_Aprons_Holiday Drinks_Image 5

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces orange juice
  • Orange wedge, for garnish

Steps

  1. Fill a rocks glass with ice; add all ingredients except garnish.
  2. Stir well. Garnish with an orange wedge.

Enhance the flavor

Use a berry blend juice or a dark grape juice instead of cranberry juice for heightened taste.


Vary your citrus

Use a lime or lemon wedge, instead of an orange wedge, to add a little tartness.

Food pairing

Pick up a Publix Deli rotisserie chicken and potato salad for a quick weeknight meal.

 

Champagne Flamingo

Out with the old and in with the new! Cheers in the new year with this unique champagne cocktail.
(Makes 1 serving)12_16_SW_Aprons_Holiday Drinks_Image 6
Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce vodka
  • 3/4 ounce Campari
  • 5 ounces chilled Champagne
  • Orange twist, for garnish

Steps

  1. Fill shaker glass with ice; add vodka and Campari.
  2. Shake well; strain into a chilled Champagne flute or cocktail glass of your choice.
  3. Top with Champagne. Garnish with an orange twist.

Make it a fruit sensation

Garnish this cocktail with a selection of seasonally fresh berries.

Food pairing

Serve with a selection of Publix sushi, Publix Deli fried chicken tenders, and other Party Hors D’Oeuvres.

 

 

Let us know what you think of our holiday cocktails. Don’t forget to swing by your local Publix Liquor Store for everything you’ll need to serve up your holiday favorites.

*Drink responsibly. Be 21.

12_7_SW_Aprons_Dog Treats_Header

Dogs sure have a way of melting our hearts, especially when their sweet puppy eyes are begging for a nibble underneath the dinner table. As much as you’d love to give in and share what’s on your plate, that might not be the safest option for your furry friend.

This holiday season, don’t forget your pets. We’ve teamed up with our Aprons Chefs to bring you some treats that are sure to have their tails wagging!

 

Basic Dog Biscuits

Yield 30 (2-inch) Biscuits12_7_SW_Aprons_Pet Treats_ Image 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Water as needed

Method

Heat oven to 350°F.

Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer with dough hook attachment. Mix until dry, stiff dough forms. Place dough on floured work surface and roll out to ½-inch thick. Cut out using a dog-bone-shaped cookie cutter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pierce the center of each biscuit with a fork lengthwise, one time. Bake 45 minutes or until hard. Cool on rack.

 

Peanut Butter Bacon Treats

Yield 4-5 dozen12_7_SW_Aprons_Pet Treats_ Image 5

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup quick cooking oats
  • ½ cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 pieces bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Method

Heat oven to 300°F.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until dough forms.

Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll out to ¼-inch thick.

Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 1×3-inch strips. Transfer strips to a parchment lined baking sheet. Pinch strips to raise center to create a wavy bacon effect. Bake 25 minutes. Cool on rack.

 

Apple Cracker Treats

Yield 2½ dozen12_7_SW_Aprons_Pet Treats_ Image 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Gala apples, chopped into 1-inch squares
  • 1½ cups quick cooking oats
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Method

Heat oven to 350°F.

Place apples in food processor and pulse until apples are in small pieces. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until well mixed. Spoon mixture by the tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheet. Press dollops down with finger tips to make thin crackers. Bake 30 minutes or until browned and crispy. Cool on rack.

 

Banana Carrot Bars

Yield 2 dozen bars12_7_SW_Aprons_Pet Treats_ Image 3

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 egg

Method

Heat oven to 350°F.

Cut carrots and banana into 1-inch pieces. Place in food processor and pulse until carrots are finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process until dough is formed. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll out dough to ¼-inch thick. Cut dough with cookie cutter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, turn off oven and let sit with door cracked open for 20 minutes.

 

 

 *Before getting creative in the kitchen, consult with your vet about adding any new ingredients to your pet’s diet.

We know they’ll be drooling over these goodies, and we won’t blame you if you take a bite, too! Snap a picture of your pet enjoying these sweet treats underneath the Christmas tree to share with us on Facebook or Twitter!

 

bouquet of pink and white flowers

  Within the United States, there are more than 4,000 people diagnosed with cancer every day. Of this statistic, more than 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2016 alone. To us, Breast Cancer Awareness Month isn’t about flooding the world with pink, but about the survivors — the real stories … (Read the full story)