Mother of two remembers celebrating Christmas in Florida

Dahlia Glass puts finishing touches on a gingerbread house at her in-laws' house in Roy Webb.

Trent Penny

When Dahlia Glass speaks with passion, it always includes the word family. Growing up with two brothers and two sisters the holidays were about family gatherings, cooking good food, talking, and lots of laughter.

“Christmas in Winter Haven, Fla., is typically spent in T-shirts and flip flops,” she said.

They would gather at her sister’s house and cook while all the children played soccer or basketball outside. Food always varied from your typical ham and turkey to her brother Carlos’ ribs on the grill. Her sister would cook her carrot cake and her mother would make her perfectly round flour and corn tortillas.

Dahlia grew up in Winter Haven and graduated from Winter Haven High in 1988. She attended Florida Southern and received a degree in financial management in 1992. During her college years she worked at the State Attorney’s Office in Bartow.  She assisted with setting up hearings, sending out summons and attending court.

After college she started working for State Farm Insurance as an insurance catastrophe adjuster. Her first assignment happened to be one of the worst hurricanes in Miami and U.S. history, Hurricane Andrew.

“Helping families recover after suffering devastating loss, made working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week more than worth it,” she said.

Dahlia just celebrated her 25th year anniversary working as a claims adjuster for State Farm.

Spending that amount of time at work it was inevitable that she would meet her future spouse, David, on the job. Dahlia first met David during training in Bloomington, Ill., in 1993. They stayed in contact over the next five years.

In 1998, David proposed at Noccalula Falls in Gadsden and later that year they married in Jamaica. Their son, Joshua, is 17 years old and a senior at Jacksonville High School. He will graduate in May and has been accepted to The University of Alabama on an academic scholarship.  Their daughter Gillian is 15 years old and is a sophomore at Donoho in Anniston.

Until recently, Dahlia had been spending most of her free time taking Gillian and her horse Vinnie to horse events in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida.

“I loved it,” Dahlia said. “It was both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. We have been blessed with two wonderful children and have enjoyed every minute of their childhood. We are especially thankful that they have grown up in this community where they have developed close relationships with many friends and family.”

Dahlia shares some of her favorite family recipes

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4 eggs

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

1 ¼ t. cinnamon

1 ½ cups oil

2 - 7 oz. jars of carrots (baby food jars)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients. Cook on 350 for 25 minutes. Remove and let cool before applying frosting.


1 - 8 oz. cream cheese

¼ cup margarine

1 box powdered sugar

½ cup chopped pecans

2 t. vanilla extract

Let cream cheese soften.  Melt margarine.  Combine all ingredients.


1 T. oil

1 T. minced garlic

Tortellini shells

3 cans chicken broth

Stewed Italian tomatoes

Italian seasonings or ½ t. oregano

1 can of each type vegetable of your choice

Cook oil and minced garlic 1 minute. Cook shells in chicken broth. Add remaining ingredients and simmer.


5 or 6 boneless chicken breasts

1 pkg. spaghetti

2 green peppers chopped

2 large onions chopped

½ stick margarine

1 or 2 cans English peas (optional)

1 can Rotel (tomatoes and chilies)

1 ½ lbs. Velveeta cheese

Cover with water and cook chicken until tender. Remove chicken and debone, reserving broth. You should have about 3 quarts of broth. Cook spaghetti in broth; do not drain.

Saute peppers and onions in margarine until tender. Add this to spaghetti and broth. Cut Velveeta into pieces and add to spaghetti mixture and stir until cheese melts. Add chicken pieces, peas and Rotel. Salt to taste.

Bake in large casserole dishes. Will make at least two 9 x 13” pans and sometimes more.  Bake at 325 for 1 ½ hours. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving.