Let's Celebrate! Cuban Food Poster Giveaway

You're all invited to my Online Blog Birthday Party. It's happening right here, right now. Well, technically it's not a party party.

As in, I won't be having you all come over to my house and I won't be cooking or decorating or any of that. Which is making you think this won't be much of a party after all. I know. I feel your pain, but bear with me.

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The Spamerican! Tour Surprise - A Giveaway

I was recently invited to cook with celebrity chef Sunny Anderson. I know. Shut up. Of course I was going to attend!

The surprise was that she was kicking off The SPAMERICAN!TM Tour and would be cooking - wait for it - with SPAM®.

FYI: The SPAM Brand invited me to the event and provided me with a gift bag like the one I'm giving away. All the opinions and text are my own. 


Do you remember the ubiquitous blue and yellow can that was in everyone's mother's pantry? Go right now and read about the 6 simple ingredients that go into each can of SPAM®. It's okay. I'll wait.

Wasn't that interesting? 

I know a lot of us Cubans from my generation remember it fondly. In fact, my mom used to make a wonderful Arroz con SPAM®. I am not kidding. In fact, I'd forgotten all about it until I attended the event and my memory was jogged. It was like Arroz con Salchichas, but with SPAM® instead. And it was indescribably delicious.

Full disclosure: I just haven't eaten SPAM® in a lot of years.

That all changed at this event. 


A group of us bloggers jumped right in with Sunny as she extolled the wonders of SPAM®.

"For many years now, I have been a fan of the SPAM® brand; its flavor and versatility lends itself to so many different cooking styles and recipes. The SPAMERICAN!TM Tour brings together such a unique curation of SPAM® dishes and is a celebration of the iconic taste that Americans and chefs, like myself, have grown to love."

I guess I shouldn't have been, but I was mildly surprised that some of the younger people present had never even tasted it in their lives. And I loved seeing their faces when they tried it for the first time. It was a where-have-you-been-all-my-life look of surprise.

The entire place was decked out in all kinds of SPAM-aliciousness. 


The SPAMERICAN!TM TOUR kicked off at our event in LA with Chef Sunny Anderson unveiling a special menu.  The truck will be traveling to popular events across the country, it will feature partnerships with local chefs.

At each of the 12 stops, fans will enjoy a signature recipe, alongside some SPAMTASTICTM creations from local chefs, all while experiencing a taste of the brand's fun-loving personality.


Sunny made Coconut SPAM® Spears with Spicy Pineapple Chutney. (recipe follows) While the cooking was happening, the SPAM® Tour Truck kept sending out the tastiest creations. Imagine a cocktail party with all the hors d'oeuvres made with a little bit of SPAM®

Guys, it was so deliciously genius.


The sweet and sour fragrance of Sunny's chutney was to die for. The SPAM® was sliced into spears, rolled in beer batter and deep fried to golden perfection.


Here me now and believe me later...they were crazy-delicious.


Coconut SPAM® Spears with Spicy Pineapple Chutney


  • For the Chutney
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons mild yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts (plus more for garnish)
  • For the spears
  • 1 12-ounce can of any SPAM® variety
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup soda water, ice cold
  • A pinch of salt
  • Canola oil, for frying
  1. Make the chutney. In a small sauce pan on medium heat add the pineapple, lemon juice, sugar, vinegar, curry powder, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook while stirring until the pot begins to bubble a bit, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of warm water. Stir until smooth. Pour this mixture into the chutney. Stir to incorporate. Turn off heat and allow to cool. Once cool, stir in the scallions (remember to leave some for garnish!).

  2. Prepare the spears. Fill a large pot or deep fryer with canola oil, leaving a few inches at the top. Bring the temperature to 375° F. Cut the SPAM® in half lengthwise and then cut each half into five long spears. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, coconut, cornstarch and lemon zest. Add in the soda water and egg. Dip the spears into the tempura batter and slowly lower the battered SPAM® into the fryer. Let fry for 5 minutes or until brown and crispy. Remove to a sheet tray lined with a wire rack. Serve the SPAM® spears with a side of Pineapple Chutney.

One of the funnest parts of this event, besides cooking with Sunny, was all of the supremely clever SPAM® merchandise from the SPAM® Tour. In fact, I confess I'm kind of becoming a SPAM® Snob. (Don't judge me.)

And because I love you (and the SPAM® peeps are supremely generous) I'm doing a giveaway for a great big bag of all that is good and holy about the SPAM® brand. Believe it.

Also, you know what's really fun to say? SPAM®. But that's not important right now.


The SPAM BAG Giveaway is for the following:

  • 1 SPAM Tote Bag
  • Sunglasses (these are Eric's favorite because they're super polarized)
  • Cutting Sheet
  • Can Holder
  • Pen
  • SPAM Can Bank
  • SPAM Temporary Tattoo
  • SPAM Spatula (say that 3 times, really fast)
  • SPAM Slicer
  • Wine Glass
  • SPAM Cook Book
  • SPAM Apron
  • SPAM Mug
  • SPAM Pennant
  • SPAM Pot Holder
  • And a variety of SPAM product

1) To enter this drawing for the SPAM® Bag of Fun (That's not really what it's called, I just named it that.)

Please leave a comment on this post and answer one or both of the following questions:

  • Tell me what your remember about SPAM®.
  • Go to this link: SPAM® Recipes and tell me what sounds good to you!

Please leave your comment on this post and I'll choose one winner on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 at 11am PST. 

Also, as I was writing this post I keep thinking of this Monty Python skit. But that's not important right now either. I just cracked myself up.

Veggie & Herb Garden Starter Package Winners

As always, I'm grateful for all of you who take the time to enter my giveaways. Plus it makes me feel like I can show my gratitude by offering you something of value.

I appreciate that you don't all live in a climate conducive to growing veggies and herbs, so I acknowledge those of you who entered the giveaway and are feeling excited to get your garden growing. 

So, again, thank you.


The winners of the two Scotts Miracle-Gro® Veggie & Herb Garden Starter Packages are:




The winners will each receive:

  • 1 Scotts Yard Care Wet/Dry Grip Gardening Gloves
  • 1 Scotts Miracle-Gro® Stainless Steel Floral Cutter
  • 10 Miracle-Gro® Growables® Combination mulch, seed & fertilizer pods for assorted herbs and vegetables.

Congratulations, Cindy A. and Faustino!

Please shoot me an email with HEY! MARTA I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG! in the subject line, so I don't accidentally delete it. 

Be sure to include your mailing address so that I can ship your Box of Gardening Fun to you ASAP!

Also, when you get that veggie garden growing, I want to see pics, or it didn't happen.

Again, I'm grateful to Scotts for sponsoring the giveaway. The opinions and text are all mine.

I have a few more giveaways coming up in the next few weeks so stay tuned! 

Hello, Summer Garden! - A Giveaway

California is fickle. 

It can be 100 degrees one day and back down to 65 the next. It's been a relatively mild Spring and we are now barreling towards summer and that means Outdoor Entertaining Season. Can I get an "Amen?"


Eric and I have been planning a Big Birthday Bash. It should have taken place this weekend. However, because California is acting out like a spoiled child right now and the weather is not cooperating with our plans, we've had to bump our celebration out another month. 

I'm okay with that. It just gives us more time to attend to last minute garden details.


Remember last month when we started loving and feeding and refreshing our lawn and garden? Scotts wants to know how I express myself in my garden. Hello....Flowers!

I'm a Flower Lover. Anything that will give me lush green leaves and gorgeous blooms has my heart. Also, the whole planting, pruning, watering stuff is part of our family's DNA. It's just an activity that we love to do together. Well, mostly Eric and Jonathan do the heavy lifting and I just shout out commands, but that's not important right now.


As you can see, the time and care we took last month and Scotts Miracle-Gro® has totally paid off. Be prepared to be amazed by my flowers...


My favorite Disneyland Roses are really putting on a show for the entire neighborhood. Seriously. Neighbors stop as they're walking by to ooh and aah and make comments and smell my roses. (Win!)


My hydrangeas, too. I always get a little scared that this might be the year they decide not to bloom because they want to stay dormant. Using the Scotts Miracle-Gro® has changed all that. I know I'm practically guaranteed some beautiful blooms. You can pick all these products up at Walmart, of course.


I really want you to get in on the fun of sprucing up your garden, so with a generous donation from my sponsor, Scotts, I'm excited to share today's giveaway. 

Scotts has given me one of these for myself (Yay!) and I'm happy to announce that I'll be sharing the love with two lucky MBFCF readers.


I'm giving away, not one, but two Veggie & Herb Garden Starter Packages from Scotts Miracle-Gro® for you to do some fun summer gardening yourself. 

Included in this Veggie & Herb Garden Starter Package

  • 1 Scotts Yard Care Wet/Dry Grip Gardening Gloves
  • 1 Scotts Miracle-Gro® Stainless Steel Floral Cutter
  • 10 Miracle-Gro® Growables® Combination mulch, seed & fertilizer pods for assorted herbs and vegetables. (Come to me sweet basil!)


1) To enter this drawing for the Veggie & Herb Garden Starter Package from Scotts Miracle-Gro® 

Please leave a comment on this post and answer one or both of the following questions:

  • Tell me your favorite garden flower. 
  • What's growing in your garden?

Please leave your comment on this post and I'll choose two winners on Friday, May 29th, 2015 at 11am PST. 

Remember to always read and follow label directions for the referenced products.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Scotts . The opinions and text are all mine.





Mother Ring Winner

Do you know what makes me smile?

I read each of your comments, particularly the ones from those of you who entered my recent giveaway for the beautiful Mother Ring Charm Holder. And what I read was the pride in those few lines. "These are the names of the people I love most." I love that. 


And I get it. As a mother, I think I take the most pride in the four lives I've brought into the world. So, thank you all for sharing your loves and I wish every one of you could win. 

Sadly, I could only choose one winner. The rest of you may want to consider ordering the commemorative jewelry from my friend, Pam. You can contact her through her Facebook page, Pandora Lee Originals

To choose a winner, I went to the site, Random.org and plugged in the number of comments into the True Random Number Generator. Whatever random number it picked was the winner. In this case, it was Jackie.

Screenshot 2015-04-27 09.47.36

Congratulations! Please send me an email with all  with HEY, MARTA I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG! in the subject line (so I don't accidentally delete you) with your contact information and I will connect you directly to Pam so she can get started on your beautiful Mother's Day creation.

I'm so delighted all of you played along. Thank you so much! 

The Mother Ring Revisited - A Giveaway

My mother has a beautiful "Mother Ring." If you don't know what that is, it's a ring with a stone that represents the birth stone of each child in the family. Click on this link to read that story.

I have always thought that I wanted one. You know, one that represents each of my kids. But I already have my mom's ring, so I have been wanting something of my own. But what?

A few weeks ago my dearest friend in the whole wide world sent me an updated version of The Mother Ring. (Because "ring" - get it?)


First, let me tell you a little about my friend (my BFF!), Pandora - her close friends call her Pam. She's funny and smart and the most caring person you would ever want to know. I've known and loved her for the past 40 years, which is pretty much a lifetime, isn't it? 

She won't mind me telling you that she has MS and that some days are better for her and some are worse. On her good days she can be found making jewelry in her little workshop. 

Check out her Facebook page: Pandora Lee Originals

Anyway, back to the Mother Ring. Here's what's on the other side of those little bars:


She stamped each of my kids' names and the year of their birth on each one and attached each of their birthstones. I was surprised to find five instead of just four. That's when I realized she had added my grandson, Asher. I'm seriously in love.

Amy, my first-born arrived in June of 1983 and is my Pearl of Great Price. Perfect and beautiful.

Adam was born in July of 1986. The red garnet is his stone. He's my crazy-making, passionate one.

Lucy came to us in August of 1993. Represented by the peridot, which is bright and rare.

Jon was born in December of 1995. The blue stone is Tanzanite. Unique and interesting.

Asher, our grandson was born in August of 2014. Another peridot, but in a smaller package. 

Could I be any more in love with a piece of jewelry? It's such an elegant piece and absolutely one-of-a-kind. 

It hangs on a long 20" silver chain and I've worn it pretty much every single day since I received it. I lovingly caress the bars and play with them throughout my day as I send up prayers for each one daily. It has become a talisman of the bond I have with each of them and also reminds me to bring each of their names and cares before God. 

I have ooh-ed and aah-ed over this piece so much to Pam until I have finally succeeded in talking my very generous friend into letting me offer a giveaway on my blog for one of these gorgeous custom pieces for one lucky reader, just in time for Mother's Day.

So let's do a comment drawing shall we?


What you will receive if you are the lucky winner:

One custom made silver charm holder, exactly like mine, with the names and birthdates of each of your kids engraved on silver bars, along with each of their birthstones. 

To enter the drawing for a chance to win your own custom made "Mother Ring" like the one pictured above, please leave me a comment on this post and tell me...

  • How many kids do you have?
  • What are their names and birthdays?

I will choose ONE lucky winner on Monday, April 27th, 2014 at 11am PST.

Thanks so much for reading my blog and best of luck!

I am not receiving any compensation for this post. In fact, I've purchased the custom jewelry from Pandora Lee Originals to offer as a giveaway gift to one of my readers. The opinions are also my own.

Cuban Food Poster - Winners

Seriously, people. I read every single one of your comments and I swear that your love for Cuban food shows right through. Thank you all for participating and sharing your favorite foods and your stories behind them. 

I'm grateful that you are enjoying my poster. Thank you for that. I love mine. And I figured you'd love it, too. 


I wish I could choose all of you, but that's why I can't be trusted with these kinds of decisions. Which is why I go over to random.org and plug the number of (legit) entries into the True Random Number Generator, which then gives me well, random numbers.

The winners of the Cuban Food Posters are (drum roll, please)...

Screenshot 2015-01-14 11.09.24


Screenshot 2015-01-14 11.11.04


Screenshot 2015-01-14 11.12.31

Congratulations! Please send me an email with HEY, MARTA! I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG! in the subject line (so I don't accidentally delete it) and be sure to include your mailing address and I will ship out your posters ASAP.

For those of you who were so patiently waiting and did not win, you still have the option to head on over to my Etsy shop and buy the poster for yourself, or for your Mami, or for your Tia Cuca. She loves this kind of stuff.

Here's the link: Marta Darby Designs

Marta darby designs logo


I have two sizes of posters: 16" x 20" and 20" by 30". And also a 16" x 20" wrapped canvas. 


Thank you again for participating in my giveaway. I'd so love to see this poster in every single Cuban kitchen. 

Happy New Year Cuban Food Poster(s) Giveaway

I've got all this great Happy New Year energy going right now and I have so many stories to tell and I'm going to San Francisco next week to visit Pixar and Skywalker Ranch. I just feel like I want to share the love and happy vibes.

If you were in my town, I'd say, "Hey, come over for dinner. I'll cook you something Cuban." But since that's not likely to happen, how about I just do a Happy New Year Cuban Food (Poster) Giveaway? 

Yes. I think it's a wonderful idea. 

If you were coming to dinner, I would be torn. What to serve? Check out this poster and just try to make a decision.

Because I look at this one every day in my kitchen, I think I'm going to try to master the art of making Pan Cubano. (See? It's not just cool looking. It's motivational, too.)




So much Cuban food. So little time. *sigh* 

I'm going to be giving away Three (3) Cuban Food Posters to 3 lucky winners.

Each 16"x20" poster is unmounted and  printed on heavy duty premium luster paper with archival fade-resistant inks.

It looks just like the photo above. Black background with white lettering and some distressing for an aged texture.

To enter the drawing for a chance to win one of the 3 posters, please leave me a comment on this post and tell me...

  • What's your favorite comfort food? (I'd have to go with picadillo, myself.)
  • Who makes it the very best? (Your mami? Tia Cuca? El Palacio de los Jugos?)

Leave one comment only, please! 

Remember that if you want to enter the drawing for the poster, you must leave a comment on this post and I'll choose THREE winners on Wednesday, January 14th at 11:00 am PST.

Gracias and Buen Provecho! 

If you're the impatient type (and you know who you are), my posters are for sale over at my Etsy shop: Marta Maria Designs. the 16"x20" is only $21.00 plus shipping and handling. 

Marta darby designs logo

I also have a larger size (20"x30") and one (16"x20") on canvas, but that's not important right now.

Buena Suerte and Happy New Year! 


The Cuban Table - A Winner

Do you know what I love most about running a comment giveaway on my site? Well...your comments. Seriously, I love hearing about who the best cook in your house is and about your favorite foods to cook. 

That, and I have some cool things to give away. I wish all of you could win because this is such a beautiful cookbook.


Or as we say in "good Cuban," Ana Sofia Peláez and Ellen Silverman, "You ATE it!"*

NOTE: *This particular Cuban phrase loses everything in translation. "Te la comiste" means that you did an amazing job. See? Everything sounds better in Spanish.

Congratulations to the winner:

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 11.23.59 AM

Beatriz Navia, you won! Please send me an email with "HEY, MARTA! I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG!" in the subject line. Include your mailing address so I can send you your very own copy of The Cuban Table. You are so going to love it!.

For the rest of you, you MUST get a copy of this cookbook. It's available on Amazon. Here's the link: The Cuban Table by Ana Sofia Peláez and Ellen Silverman

Thank you to Ellen Silverman Photography and Hungry Sofia. Congratulations on a beautiful project.

Buen Provecho!

Cuban Heritage Day - Ticket Winner

As I'm writing this, I have "Take me out to the ballgame" playing in a loop in my head. I am anticipating the excitement of arriving at Chavez Ravine for the big day on Sunday.

From last year, I remember the awesome pre-game Viva Los Doyers party with the Charanga Cubana playing classic Cuban music. I loved being surrounded by all my Cuban people as they came to enjoy the music, the game, and especially the "Cubania." 


I can't wait to find our seats inside Dodger Stadium. I love looking around and seeing a sea of Dodger blue shirts. I'm so excited that one lucky MBFCF reader will join me and my family and all the rest of the Cubanity on Sunday, August 17th to cheer on our boys in blue (and expecially our home boy, Yasiel Puig.)

Congratulations to Daniel Swaby! He won this fantastic Dodger Gift Pack and the tickets.


Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 9.15.55 AM

I will need your shipping address ASAP so I can get those tickets and all the Dodger Goodies delivered to your door before Sunday. Please shoot me an email immediately with HEY, MARTA! I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG! in the subject line. 

I look forward to meeting you and having you join us for the Best Cuban Baseball Party this year! 

"It's time for Dodgers baseball!"