Cooking on a Budget - Pastelitos de Guayaba

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I have perfected the simplest recipe for making pastelitos de guayaba (Cuban guava pastries) at home.

Porto's, which is the closest Cuban bakery to us is still miles and miles and a half day's road trip away. So, when the craving for pastelitos hits, I just make my own. It happens a lot more often than I'd care to admit, but that's not important right now.

The pastelito recipe is in my cookbook, of course, which, if you don't already have it, you should get it, because you're being supportive and everything. (Was that the weirdest, clunkiest sentence ever? Yes, it totally was.)

Marta darby cookbook

Me and my cookbook. Photo Credit -

Anyway, my good friend, Carlos de la Vega who is one of the co-creators of the show "Wassup En LA?" and is a whiz with graphics and video has recently been a bit obsessed (in a good way) with making my pastelitos at home. 

My big fat cuban family cookbook

'Wassup En LA?' co-creators Rudopho Zalez and Carlos de la Vega crushing on their copies of "My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cookbook."

So much so, that he has created a most awesome video sharing the ease and magic of how to make your own DIY pastelitos de guayaba a la Marta. Also, here's the recipe:

Marta's Homemade Pastelitos de Guayaba

Pastelitos de guayaba

This is the first in what promises to be a really fun cooking series, "Cooking on a Budget. How to make Pastelitos de Guayaba."

Cooking on a Budget Carlos de la Vega

Please notice my Naturally Curly Self at about the 1:18 mark. (Thanks for the shout out, Carlos!)

You didn't really believe homemade pastelitos were this impossibly easy, did you?

There's probably other things you don't know about Cuban Cooking. Don't worry. I'm here to help.

Click on the image for the link to My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cookbook. Buen Provecho!

My big fat Cuban family cookbook

My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cookbook for Christmas

If you'd like to own your very own copy of My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cookbook; A celebration of Cuban-American life around our family table or (even better!) would like to give it as a gift, my publisher, Blurb Books is offering a very nice promotion right now.


25% off with the promo code: BLURBGIFT-1 at checkout.*
Here's the link: MBFCF Cookbook

What are you waiting for? Merry Christmas to YOU!

Mbfcf cookbook

Or, if you prefer...Feliz Navidad!

*Offer valid through December 15, 2013 -11:59 pm PST

Seven Years. (MBFCF Giveaway WEEK!)


You know that I'm all about celebrating.

Big events. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Summer. Dinner. I believe in celebrating. Often. And well.

Today marks my 7th anniversary here in this space. SEVEN.

My big, fat, Cuban family is 7 years old today. And so I'm celebrating. *fires off the confetti canon*

Buen provecho 2013

But first you have to sit through the usual recap of my 7 years in the Blogosphere. 7 years, people! I totally deserve a party. Or at least a recap. But before the 7 year recap, how about a celebratory video?

Yes, I think a video would be perfect. Enjoy!

Did you know I also have a YouTube Channel? I know. The over-sharing never ends.

Also, if you're following me on Instagram, you'd recognize that most of my life takes place at #CasaDeLaLoma. I'm Smrtqbn, by the way. (See what I did there?)

Year One. October 1st, 2007. I was delighted to have found my voice and an audience.

Mbfcf year 1

Year Two. October 1st, 2008. I was taking care of my family and sharing the stuff I had cooked. And people liked it. Who knew?  I also wrote a cookbook that year, which gave me something to give away. And so the giving away commenced in earnest.

Mbfcg year 2

Year Three. October 1st, 2009. Three years? I was amazed that I had been able to keep at it for so long. And I fell in love with you, my readers. Always kind and ever gracious. I felt like I had won the lotto.

Mbfcf year 3

Year Four. October 1st, 2010. I could have graduated from an institution of higher learning with a degree. Bachelor's in Bloggology?

Mbfcf year 4

Year Five. October 1st, 2011. It was a rough year, filled with some physical challenges, but then I became the "little Cuban that could" and just kept right on writing. (<--That last bit took tremendous grammatical focus, as do most of my blog posts, but that's not important right now.)

Mbfcf year 5

Year Six. October 1st, 2012. Six years. Add lots of great experiences and some amazing blog-friends later, I was still standing. Seriously so much to celebrate.

Mbfcf year 6

Which brings us to today.

Year Seven. I am so very grateful that I get to write and you are still there, reading and sharing your lives with me. You get my sense of humor and you seem to enjoy my writing style.

I have met so many of you in person and I'm always amazed and humbled by your enthusiastic response to whatever silly things I'm up to. I enjoy hearing from you on Facebook and Twitter and (even if I don't respond right away) I love receiving your emails.

And yes, of course I'm going to get to the giveaway, but first I want to say thank you. I would not be doing this at all if it wasn't for my awesome online and (for some of you) now real life friends.

Thank you. From the bottom of my big, fat, Cuban heart. Seriously. Thank you.

You may have noticed that I've changed up the banner up on top there and added color. It makes me happy and I hope you'll enjoy the things I've got coming up this year.

I have so much to celebrate!

In fact, I'm going to be celebrating ALL WEEK. From today, October 1st, 2013 through October 7th, 2013.

Seven glorious days and seven fun-filled nights of celebrating that I've survived and possibly even thrived right here on the internet. For this next week I've lined up some wonderful Cuban friends that I've met because of my blog who have graciously agreed to sponsor some very cool giveaways every single day for the ENTIRE WEEK to celebrate each of my SEVEN bloggy years.

I can officially call this MBFCF Giveaway Week! (7 days and all that...) Yay!

MBFCF Giveaways

To kick things off - here's MBFCF Blogiversary Giveaway #1

My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cookbook

Mbfcf cookbook

An autographed copy of My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cookbook. I know. Shut up.

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win my cookbook and please answer the following question:

  • When and how did you find My big, fat, Cuban family?

I'll choose a winner at the end of MBFCF Blogiversary Giveaway Week on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 at 11 am, so you have lots of time to enter.

Thank you again and let the celebrating begin!

Five. (A giveaway)

I sat down at my computer on October 1st, 2006 and wrote out my very first blog post with the title, "Life on the hyphen..." 

You're welcome to click over and read it. I lifted that post title from a book written by my friend, Gustavo Perez-Firmat, called Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban-American Way. In that book, he brilliantly describes how we Cubans "straddle" the hyphen between being Cuban and American. That so resounded with me that I was inspired to write about my everyday life here in The O.C. as a Cuban-American wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.

I've written about how I've homeschooled my kids, which is an odd proposition for someone with my history.

I often say that I'm 100% Cuban and 100% American. I'm quite proud of being a part of both of the cultures that have informed my life and personality and for the last five years, this blog.

I have been celebrating Cuban-American life here on this little corner of cyberspace for five years now. And I'm very proud of what I've created.

So, please, help me celebrate my Five Year Blogoversary. Five whole years, people! (I'm like Methuselah in the blogging world, but that's not important right now.)

Cuban Living Magazine Cover for MBFCF

I'm so grateful that I have had a place to share my stories and my kitchen and the cool stuff I get to do and the people who are so important to me. I'm humbled, too, by the constant and generous attention that you pay me.

I appreciate those of you who have been around since 2006 and have watched my children grow up on these pages. And I appreciate every member of my family who have been gracious enough to let me share their lives here. They are now used to having Mom pointing a camera at them and they're okay with seeing themselves in their fabulous goofiness. 

I am grateful to those of you who have just recently Googled a Cuban recipe and found yourselves here and have decided to continue coming back to visit. Please stay. My blog-casa is your blog-casa. ;-)

To celebrate this auspicious occasion, and as my way of saying thanks for reading my blog, I'm going to give away 5 (!) MBFCF items from my online shop, Cuba To GO! (because I can).

I'm giving away:

1) A MBFCF Mug:


2) A Cuban Spice Apron:

Cuban spice apron

3) and 4)  Two people will win an autographed copy of My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cookbook:


5) And last, but certainly not least, an autographed copy of my friend, Gustavo Perez-Firmat's lastest and absolutely delicious book, The Havana Habit:

  Havana Habit

I thought it only fitting, since he was my inspiration for this whole thing. Gracias, Gustavo!

So, by now you know the drill...

To enter the drawing for a chance to win the above mentioned uber-cool MBFCF stuff, please leave a comment on this post and answer one or all of the following questions:

  • If you're a regular MBFCF reader, why do you keep coming back ? 
  • Do you also live "on the hyphen?"
  • Is it the recipes? 
  • The stories?
  • The giveaways?
  • Or is it like a bad habit you picked up that you can't break? ;-)

I'll do a random drawing on Monday, October 3rd at 12 noon Pacific Time.  

Happy 5th Blogoversary to me! 

*throws confetti*

Fricase de Pollo Recipe - a lo Cubano

As you know, I've recently been participating in Mizkan's™ Cooking Challenges. See here and here.

To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 through October 15), we were asked to share a recipe from our country, or "Receta de Mi Pais." 

For this challenge, I chose to enter one of my family's favorites, Fricasé de Pollo.

The Original Story* about the Fricasé de Pollo goes like this:

The first time my husband (then boyfriend) was to meet my big, fat, Cuban family, my mom made what we would consider a regular (albeit wonderful!) Cuban meal.

I spent days and hours preparing Eric for the meet and greet. I explained our customs, our politics, what topics were allowed and what NOT to bring up. I could have written a complete guide to meeting the Cuban girlfriend’s parents.

In fact, I still may. I think I’ll call it - “Huat to Especk if Ju Don’ Espik Espanish.” 

I coached him on what to say to my dad. I told him how he was expected to treat my mom. I told him our island history and my family history. I told him the number and names of all my siblings and their offspring.

I explained that if all else failed, to just nod and smile. I thought I had told him everything he needed to know.
For the dinner, my mom made a typical Fricasé de Pollo.

So it surprised me, after he passed the Cuban Family Review (with flying colors, of course), when he said:

“You didn’t tell me your mom was an amazing gourmet cook.”

“Umm… she’s not. She’s just Cuban. Like me.” 

 He proposed just a few days later. =D

*posted on Babalú blog on August 9, 2007

Fricase de pollo a lo cubano

Fricasé de Pollo Recipe a lo Cubano 

(This recipe works well for both slow cookers and pressure cookers)

The challenge was to use one of the Holland House brands in the recipe. I chose Holland House White Cooking Wine. 


  • 3-4 lbs. Chicken pieces (I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups red potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 - 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 packets Goya® Sazón Completo
  • 1 1/2 cup Holland House® White Cooking Wine
  • 1 cup Bitter Orange Juice* (see recipe below)
  • ½ cup green olives (stuffed with pimientos)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Make the sofrito by sautéing the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until the onion is translucent.
  2. Season the chicken pieces with cumin and garlic powder.
  3. Add chicken back into the slow cooker or pressure cooker along with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. In the slow cooker - cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5.
  5. In the pressure cooker - cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.
  6. Serve over white rice.

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored series to promote Mizkan cooking wines, vinegars and marinades. I also received samples of Mizkan’s Holland House, Nakano and World Harbor brand products and promotional material from Mizkan to assist in preparing the posts. All opinions and recipes in this series are my very own.

* Bitter Orange Juice (Naranja Agria) Recipe

If you can’t get bitter orange juice in your area, it is just as easy to make your own:

Slicing key limes for naranja agria 

  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 1 part lime juice (I love using the little key limes for the taste.)

Making naranja agria

This is an ever-so-Cuban marinade for chicken and pork.

By the way, have I told you how much I love my digital pressure cooker? I do. I love it. ;-)

Digital pressure cooker  

Celebrating My 4th Bloggiversary - Winners!

I want to thank you all for your kind words and good wishes.

I love celebrating blog birthdays because unlike regular birthdays, I get to give stuff away.

It makes me so happy to be able to give back to you, even in this small way. I so want you to know how much I appreciate that you read and enjoy my stories and misadventures.

To choose winners, I used I put in the number of valid entry comments into the True Random Number Generator and it gave me 4 random numbers that I matched to entries. So without further ado, here are the winners of the giveaway. 

Congratulations to the winners. And thank you to all of you. I love you MORE.

1) The My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Mug goes to:

Mbfcf mug

Marta Quinn said...

Congratulations on 4 great years, just a side
note: I mastered Arroz con Pollo thanks to your
recipe. Thanks for the recipes and the storys
Carinos tu tocaya, Marta


2) The Cafe Cubano Mug from CubaToGo! goes to:

Cafe cubano mug said...

Congratulations! I love your Cuban recipes.


3) The Marta's Cuban American Kitchen Apron goes to:

MCAK apron

Angela Garcia said...

Love you and your blog, Marta! I've had you bookmarked for about 3 years now, and you are a daily "must click" for me. Thank you for all the wonderful stories, insights, inspirations, and of course your delicious recipes (especially that magnificent guava glazed turkey recipe, which was a hit at my house last Thanksgiving!)

Angie G.


Mbfcf cookbook

Mercy Arrate said...

Congratulations! May you (and we) enjoy many more years of the adventures of Marta!


Once again, thank you. Congratulations to the winners. Please send me an email with HEY, MARTA! I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG in the subject line (so I don't accidentally delete you) and send me your snail mail address so I can get your goodies out to you right away.

You truly make me happy (but that's not important right now). ;-)

Cada Dia con Marta Maria

I have been blogging now for 4 years and I'm celebrating! (It seems I'm always celebrating something, but that's not important right now.)

I started this blog on October 1st, 2006. I never pictured I'd still be going four years later. Four years, people! I thought by now I would have run out of stuff to write about. But, obviously, I haven't.

This surprises me, too. I sit down most days at my keyboard and wonder what I'm going to write about and the keyboard stares back at me and says nothing. But then, I start looking at my photos. And I remember that behind every photo I take there's a story.

Every day, no matter how ordinary, has a story.

And that, my friends, is the secret to blogging. Just tell your stories.(<--This bit of advice right there is like gold. You're welcome.)

So won't you celebrate with me? Here's to:

  1. My Happy New Year.
  2. My Blog Birthday.
  3. My New Beginning.
  4. The First Day of the Rest of My Blogging Life.


I'm celebrating that I get to tell my stories everyday. I love that you seem to enjoy them. I love that they are saved for posterity. (Win-win.)

To celebrate I'm giving stuff away. (You love this part, don't you?)

Since there are so many of you who tell me that you start the day with your coffee and MBFCF (this pleases me, by the way) and that you like cooking with me, and it's my 4th Bloggiversary, I'm inspired to give away 4 fabulous items:

1) A My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Mug

Mbfcf mug

2) A Cafe Cubano Mug from CubaToGO!

Cafe cubano mug

3) A Marta's Cuban American Kitchen Apron

Cuban American kitchen apron

and of course,

4) A My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cookbook

Mbfcf cookbook

To enter the drawing for a chance to win the above mentioned uber-cool MBFCF stuff, please leave a comment on this post and I'll do a random drawing on Monday, October 4th at 11 AM Pacific Time. 

A big thank you to all of you who keep reading about and relating to the misadventures of my big, fat, Cuban family.

I look forward to many, many more bloggy years.

Mil gracias. De todo corazón.

[Disclaimer: That's not a real magazine cover. But you knew that, right? =D]


When I started blogging three and a half years ago, I thought about why I wanted to do this. I decided I wanted to write stories about my life and what it's like to live "on the hyphen." I wanted you (my readers) to feel right at home. I wanted you to laugh and cry with us. I wantedyou to feel like you wanted to be friends with us and hang out with us.

I wanted you to feel like we were trading stories over a good Cuban meal or a cup of coffee and just sharing life.

I love being 100% Cuban and 100% American. (I know. I was never good at math anyway, but that's not important right now....)

My husband, Eric, has always reminded me to "write from your heart." And that's exactly what I try to do.

So as your comments and emails began pouring in, I was blown away. It seems that you like coming here to MBFCF and reading for the same reasons I like writing. (<--- Total win!)

Thank you all for your help and for your gracious comments. I had to reluctantly (because I wanted to give everyone something) choose four winners. 

(How I chose the winners: I entered your names into and had it generate a new name four times in a row.)

Drum roll, please....


1) The MBFCF cookbook goes to:

alby said...

When I stumbled across your blog, I just felt at home. Your family reminds me so much of my own Cuban family. Your mother is so darling at cute even at her 90+ years of age. I love how you share with others our Cuban culture and all the love behind it. It's just an amazing blog to read, and since I'm Cuban also I can obviously connect with your words. But it's great how even those who aren't Cuban can see and learn about the Cuban way of life, even though we may not be in Cuba at the present moment. Everytime I see a picture (like the one of your Mom sitting with her sisters laughing like school girls) it honestly warms my heart. This is a blog of Love & Family, which I think couldn't be any better. So this is why I read & will continue to read your blog.

Alby Perez-Vergara, McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey.


Mbfcf mug

2) MBFCF Mug #1 goes to:

jose s. said... what i love most about this blog is that you dont have to be cuban to enjoy it because it's about family and life and reading the posts here not only make me laugh but as in the posts that amy wrote about her trip to cuba also made me cry. i also ate cuban food for the first time when i made marta's ribs in my crock pot they were great! but i guess the reason i come back is because this site is just a very welcoming happy place that always makes you glad you stopped in.


Mbfcf mug

3) MBFCF Mug #2 goes to:

Kristen said...

I read your blog because you are my friend and you write interesting stories of everyday life. You find the everyday stuff note worthy (as do I). I appreciate that. Kristen B, Foothill Ranch, CA



4) Marta's Cuban American Kitchen BBQ apron goes to:

Ody Fabregas said...

First, it was your sense of humor,
second, it was our mutual culture,
then I realized we serve the same Savior!
But now, we are family. ;-)
It's like fixing yourself a nice cup of coffee and
getting a daily phone call from a friend to catch up. Ody F. Miami Lakes, FL


Congratulations! Please contact me via email. In the subject line, please write: MARTA, I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG. Send me your snail mail address and I will send out your goodies ASAP.

Thanks again, everyone. I am seriously humbled by your kind words.

WHAT? Another Giveaway!?

Here at MBFCF we are putting together A Press Kit. (I know. Shut up.) It feels like graduation time.

We have received a few queries from various advertisers asking if they can advertise on our blog. (Crazy, isn't it? But, seriously, we're totally smiling from ear to ear.)

We couldn't have come this far without you, our loyal readers. You are all so supportive and wonderful. It warms our hearts to read your comments and to know we've had an impact on your lives. Even if it's just teaching you how to cheat and make pastelitos de guayaba. ;-)

And we totally love to have you share your lives with us.

We have to show how fabulous our readers are and why they keep coming back. So, can you please answer the following questions in the comment section:

  • Why do you keep coming back?
  • What is it, in your opinion, that makes MBFCF worth visiting?

We'd like to use your comments in our Media Kit. (I feel sooo accidentally cool.)

But we want to respect everyone's desire for privacy, so please sign your comment with a name and where you're from, in a way you wouldn't mind us sharing. Like this:

  • Marta D., Mission Viejo, CA

If you're kind of shy, we still want to know what you think, but you are welcome to email either one of us:

  • Marta -
  • Kikita -

As a way to say "Thank You" for your comments, we're going to make this a giveaway. (I know. It's like a bribe, but that's not important right now.)

This post will stay at the top of the blog for the next week and on Friday, April 16th at 3pm we will announce the winner.

Thank you! (You can go ahead and queue up "Pomp and Circumstance now....")  =D

Look at what we're giving away:

1) A personally autographed copy of MBFCF Cookbook. (I still really, really love this cover. A lot.)


2) Two MBFCF mugs. So you can enjoy your morning coffee while reading the comings and goings of my big, fat, Cuban family.

Mbfcf mug

3) One very cool BBQ Apron from Marta's Cuban American Kitchen.

Martas kitchen logo 1 copy-1 Apron 

Fun stuff, right?

So please, leave a comment, signed with your first name and last initial and tell me where you're from and why you like to hang out here at MBFCF.

And always remember this:

     "My blog-casa is your blog-casa."

                                                    ~ Marta  ;-)

... is a Magic Number

Three years ago today I started this blog.

I started writing about the people I love and the things we do and the places we go.

Along the way I found out three things:

  • I love blogging. I didn't know that I would. But I do. I'm Cuban and a storyteller at heart. Blogging is a great fit for me.
  • I love interacting with you. This is why I do quizzes and giveaways. I love it when y0u respond. (Plus, I love that I can make you happy, but that's not important right now.)
  • I am related to an amazing group of Cuban people. So thank you to all of my big, fat, Cuban family who find themselves represented on these pages when they least expect it and are always good sports about it: Luza, Ofie, Annette, Laura, Rafa, Lisa, Alex, Frankie, Quinny, George, Darine, Mason, Miller, Helen, Daryl, Helen del Taco, Daisy, Benicio, Al, Juliette, Rudy, Carmen, Michael, Kimberly, John-Paul, Jennifer, Julie, Tony, Manana, Isaac, Nicole, Alina, Jay, Kelley, Katie Mac, Nat. And especially, Eric, Amy, Adam, Lucy and Jon. =D


So on this auspicious occasion that is The 3rd Blogoversary (<--that should totally be a word) of the Founding of My Big, Fat, Cuban Family: A Cuban-American Blog, I would like to give stuff away. (Yay!)

I'll be giving away THREE fabulous MBFCF things:

1) My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Coffee Mug from Cuba to GO!


2) My Big, Fat, Cuban Family BBQ Apron also from Cuba To GO!


3) My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cookbook


To enter the drawing for a chance to win the above mentioned uber-cool MBFCF stuff, please leave a comment on this post and I'll do a random drawing on Sunday, October 4th at 10 AM Pacific Time. 

Thank you all for making this the fun adventure that it has been.  MUAH! MUAH! MUAH! (<---that's 3 Big, Fat, Cuban Family kisses!)

Let's get this party started!!

(NOTE: That's not a real magazine cover. You know that, right? =D)