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*

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)

From Varadero. With love.

I entered the list of names into

I hit send and came back with a winner.

I was sad because I had twelve entries and only one sign. =(

But I loved each and every story. And I suppose I could just make eleven more signs....or I could just name the winner.


Congratulations to the winner of the Varadero Beach sign, made by me with much love (insert drum roll here)......


Kiki Bacaro said...

Can't find my post:( I believe I was # 2 or 3 to I just feel whiny...I hope this counts or I'm gonna have to tell my "el farito" story again:)




Please send me an email with your snail mail address so I can send the sign out right away. Make the subject line: MARTA, I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG! so I don't accidentally delete it.

Thank you ALL for sharing your wonderful summer stories. I love you so much for that.



"Ya, KIA, Ya!"

I drive around my suburban neighborhood in a minivan.
It's actually a KIA Sedona. And I like it. A lot.

We just call it The KIA. And that has become its given name.

Adam, who is 22 and who has, shall we say, a different driving style than I do, mocks me whenever I am driving and I accelerate to pass someone.

"Ya, Kia, Ya!" He shouts as if he were driving (no pun intended) a team of horses.

Mom accelerates.
Adam shouts: "Ya, KIA, Ya!"

It's even better when he does it with a Cuban accent, which makes it sound like he's yelling at the KIA to STOP.

"Ya, KIA, Ya! Por favor, basta ya!"

(Sorry, you have to actually speak Spanish to get that one and it's kind of impossible to translate. Just trust me on this. He's asking it to please stop.)

We laugh every time. (But then, you know, we're easily entertained...)

So, I had been thinking of getting a personalized license plate. (Okay, a VANITY plate. =D)

My original one, Smrtqbn (that also happens to be my Twitter name in case you want to follow me, but that's not important right now) has expired and I was trying to come up with a new plate.

We applied for Cuba2Go, which is the name of my online business Cuba To Go!, and I got very excited about that, but the Braniacs Who Work At the California DMV wouldn't approve it (I am so not kidding about this!) because it sounded (wait for it....) racist to them. (Racist?? Seriously? Look at the stuff that has slipped by them!!!)

We even showed them extensive documentation that Cuba to Go! was indeed our business name and was REGISTERED WITH THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA as such, but no go.

Which now left us pondering other clever combinations of letters to make some kind of a mobile statement as we drove around town in The KIA.

How about "Ya, KIA, Ya!" ?

Yay! How cool is that?
We got kind of excited about it, until we put the letters together as they would appear on the license plate....

It was my 95 year old Cuban mom who was the first to say it: "Parese algo Japones."

Yep. YAKIAYA sure sounds like a Japanese surname.

Shut up. I know. So, who needs a vanity plate?

I have other ways to recognize my KIA.  ;-)

KIA apple

Be it ever so humble...

Thanks to all of you who participated in the drawing for the mugs:


I took all of your names and plugged them into a list at and the following names/comments popped up:


Marti, I think I have been reading MBFCF for about two years. Actually, it's been longer that that. Wow - in the cyberworld, that's probably the equivalent to a decade! LOL. Although I was born here, my mom is from Oriente and my Dad is from Camaguey, although they met in La Habana. I've been to all three parts of the island and I enjoyed each one.

Feel better!



Oriente - la tierra de los martires y los calientes - please.


Marta, my little touchstone to Cuba ... glad you are up & about! My mami is from Sagua la Granda, Papi from Guantanamo and my brother and I were born in La Habana, where, unbelievably, my abuela's house still stands today. I found your blog via Babalu Blog and am hooked on your recipes.
Besos y abrazos, amiga!


Congratulations and Thank You for reading MBFCF and for sharing your lives with me. I can't tell you just how much that means to me. I often tell people that one of the highlights of blogging for me has been to be able to hear other people's stories.  I love how in your short 3 line comments you shared so much of yourselves. I'm so grateful.

Winners, please email me ASAP - in the subject line write: MARTA, I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG!  And send me your snail mail address and which mug you'd like me to send you.

And just for the record:
Luza & papi
My mom, Luz Perez-Puelles, was from Puerto Padre, Oriente.
My dad, Rodolfo Antonio Verdés was from Pinar del Rio.
They met at the University of Havana, (this is from my mom's graduation & before they were married in 1939).
My parents stayed in La Habana, married there and started their family.
I was born in La Habana in 1955.
We lived in El Nuevo Vedado.  #33 Avenida de La Loma.

"Home is where one starts from." ~ TS Elliot

Happy Friday!

Ooops! I almost forgot....

If you didn't win, but would still like a mug, please get yourself over to my online store Cuba To Go! (I have other cool stuff there too. =D)

I *heart* blogging or $8.95 well-spent

I've been blogging for about 2 1/2 years now.
When I first started it was kind of a dirty-little-secret.  I just didn't know how to explain it. So I didn't.  But I know I was constantly looking for stories to tell.

Maybe it was an age thing?  Or an untapped (for me) creative outlet? 

I just know that as a scrapbooker and storyteller and accidental family historian I had stuff to say.  I honestly didn't expect anyone except my family and maybe a few friends to even read it. 

Eric (my sweet husband) was the one who encouraged me, "Just write from your heart. You have a lot to share."

And so I started my blogging adventure.

I researched blogging platforms and knew immediately that TypePad was the one that most fit my style.
Almost immediately I had to upgrade from the $4.95 a month Basic to the $8.95 per month Plus.  (No, I'm not quite a $14.95 per month Pro, but that's not important right now.)

And so I blog. I'm a blogger. A Cuban-American Blogger.
And I love it.

1. I get to write about the things I'm passionate about.
2. I get to cook and share my food with you. (If you lived nearby, I'd just invite you over....)
3. Blogging has made it possible for me to connect with Cubans all over the world. (isn't that crazy?)
4. Blogging forces me to think. (Always a plus.)
5. I get to blog about anything that's interesting to me or funny or serious.
6. It's the next best thing to being a stand-up comedian. (which I totally might have been, if I hadn't found blogging. =D)
7. If I Google "my big fat cuban family" I'm all over the first 3 pages of Google which makes me feel accidentally cool.
8. I really think the name of my blog is inspired. ;-)
9. My blog is mine. It completely reflects my ideas, my values, my point of view. (except when my daughters hijack it...)
10. Blogging is therapeutic at times.
11. My blog has helped me to meet some of my very favorite people.
12. Blogging gives me something to talk about. "So, what do you do?"
13. Blogging is easy.
14. My blog has given me a way to reach the next generation of young Cuban-Americans. I love that.
15. I've gotten to meet most of the Smart Cuban Authors on my list there on the right.
16. My blog is like an archive of my life.  (only a bit neater than my journal and with pictures!)
17. I get to celebrate the milestones in the lives of those closest to me.  I like that a lot. A Tribute post being much better and more thoughtful than a Hallmark card, in my opinion.
18. I get to be myself.  (Yes, I am genuinely this goofy.)
19. I get to write as much or as little as I like.  I get to write about deeply thought out subjects and I get to write "toss away" posts just because I feel like it.
20. Blogging has given me a reason to open a youtube account (I'm smrtqbn) and a twitter account. (I kind of suck at twittering so far, but I plan to get better.)
21. I love posting pictures to illustrate my stories.
22. Reading blogs is what I do each morning with my coffee. I make it a point to comment if I read something that intrigues or amuses.  I know that we bloggers love comments. (hint, hint)
23. Blogging lets me occasionally over-share with impunity.
24. Blogging has helped me find my voice - and it doesn't sound at all like what I imagined...
25. I'm VERY proud to be a blogger now.

And no, I'm not celebrating any kind of anniversary, but okay..... I'll still give something away....

I have mugs with each of the original provinces on them.  La Habana, Pinar del Rio, Oriente, Matanzas, Las Villas, Camaguey.  Leave me a comment and tell me which part of the island your family is from and (if applicable) how long you've been reading this blog. The winners will get to choose the mug with the Province of their choice.  I think it's only fair.

I'll do a drawing on Friday, the 20th, which, come to think of it is the date I posted my world-famous Guavalicous pastelito recipe which put me on the Cuban food blogging map.  So, there it is. Something to celebrate! 

Thanks for reading MBFCF.

I'm a blogger. I blog. I *heart* blogging.  =D