Two of My Favorite Things: Pastales and a Good Book

OK, I’ll be honest. Yesterday did not go as planned. In short, our first official sit-down dinner was a bust.

Long story short, after dropping our oldest back to his dorm to resume his RA duties, we made an unscheduled visit to my husband’s elderly aunt to wish her a Happy New Year. A native of Puerto Rico, there’s no visiting this woman without eating something and there’s no leaving her without a feeling stuffed.

We weren’t there long before she sat us down and served us two pastales each. According to,  “Pastales are a Puerto Rican special occasion food. The whole family usually gets together assembly-line-style to make large numbers of these starchy parcels and get them ready for the boiling pot.”

Needless to say, they are rich, delicious and filling. So much so, by the time we arrived back home at 5:30pm, not only had I not started the ribs in the crockpot before we left, there was precious little left to make for dinner and the stores were about to close.

Digging through the freezer, I found a box of salmon burgers that I started frying up in my big skillet and, in my pantry, I found a box of macaroni and cheese. Pathetic, I know.

As I was busy whipping together this quick makeshift meal, my bright-eyed youngest walked in and asked, “So! What are we having for our first sit-down dinner?”

I felt completely deflated. Shuffling him out of the kitchen before I was struck by lightening, I reminded him that since 2012 is a leap year, we technically have a 1-day grace period before starting that resolution.

Despite my lapse, lightening did not strike and the evening concluded without incident.

As I write this, the country ribs are bubbling happily in their BBQ sauce bath and I am about to head out to the store to stock up for the week. I’m looking forward to trying a few new recipes as well as some old reliables.

What I serve when, though, is anyone’s guess, but I’m sure I’ll invoke memories of my working mother all along the way. I’m hoping to discover how in the world she did this, night after night for my four sibs and I, and survive with her sense of humor in tact.

Before I leave you today, I’d like to give a shout out to my friend, Beth Aldrich, the author of the new book, Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight, and Feel Fabulous (Penguin Books, January, 2012). 

The book, written in a funny, conversational tone, offers easy-to-follow weekly tips to help moms find the best way to love food, lose weight and still look fabulous. We have to eat three or more times a day, so why not love every bit? 

It’s really a wonderful book and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

To order your copy at a discounted price, visit her page on Amazon today:

Her blog, Real Moms Love to Eat, ( is listed among my favorites and is a great source of ideas for food, family and fun and everything in between.

Until next time…

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