Sista, Sista! {The Traveling Pans}

by Jenn (eating bender) on June 29, 2010

Hello, everyone!

You all made me smile with your kind words about my food journal post. It’s one of those things where it just hasn’t quite become a “habit” yet, but I am definitely working on it.

Thanks also for the GREAT wedding song suggestions, too! Once I get a playlist together, I will post it on the blog. It will be quite a diverse mix of music, let me tell you :)

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pans, a meeting of a wonderful group of women who get together for delicious dinners and healthy conversations. The one and only Mara invited me for this special occasion – the theme was Central America. You can read her absolutely stunning detail of events – with gorgeous pictures – on her blog.

Here’s a photo taken by Amy, the hostess for the evening. Clockwise from left: Tina, Leigh (Mara’s sister!), Mimi (Mara’s mom!), Mara, Beth, Me, Sue and Liz.

When I arrived at Amy’s home, I was immediately offered a cooling glass of white wine sangria on a very humid Chicago evening. You can probably guess my response.

Absolutely! The white wine sangria was one of the most refreshing cool drinks I’ve had in a long time. It featured homemade limoncello, fresh citrus, and prosecco. Perfectly sweet and “ahh” inspiring.

I truly enjoyed meeting and chit chatting with all the ladies and watching as they put together an absolutely incredible feast. While we were standing around talking, we snacked on a light and tasty crab ceviche on top of fresh cucumbers and guacamole – a fabulous contribution from Beth.

I also watched as two delicious creations came out of the oven from Tina and Mara. The first was jokingly dubbed, “Yucca Surprise” by Tina, who attempted to make a yucca pastry dough and found it was very hard to get the yucca to turn into a flour consistency! But through the challenges came the most delicious looking pastries, stuffed with shrimp and oozing with flavor.

Mara contributed Venezuelan arepas, which, according to her post, are a “tender corn cake that’s split and then stuffed with a variety of ingredients.”

She also made slow-cooked three-pepper chicken and had queso fresco, avocado and sour cream on hand for the toppings. She had all the fixins’ and we were definitely ready to eat!

The table setting was out on Amy’s back porch and was absolutely gorgeous. Amy works at one of my favorite stores of all time and you could tell that it inspired the beautiful ambiance.

Before we knew it, the sistahood was sitting down to eat! You must excuse my slightly poor quality photos in the dim light. They don’t do this food justice!

I grabbed a bite of everything. In the bottom you can see Mara’s arepas, which I topped with the chicken, queso fresco, sour cream and tomato. Clockwise from there, we have Mara’s mom Mimi’s Puerto Vallarta-Style shrimp burgers, which had an absolutely amazing flavor and were served on mini buns with arugula and more sour cream. Next we have chorizo-stuffed tomatoes from Liz. These were phenomenal with a little bit of oven-browned cheese on top! Finally, I also tried a “Yucca Surprise” from Tina, as well as a radish and fruit salad from Sue.

I was overwhelmed by the care and quality of every dish. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pans certainly knows how to throw an amazing dinner party! We continued gabbing for hours and eventually the conversation led back into the kitchen to prepare dessert!

And OH what a dessert selection there was! Amy made a Tres Leches cake topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberries from her garden {how amazing!} and Leigh, Mara’s sister and a damn good pastry chef, brought a cinnamon bread pudding topped with dulce de leche cream and berries that she picked up from the farmer’s market and spiked with a pepper called espelette.

None of my pictures can truly do these two desserts justice, so I am borrowing Mara’s. I hope you don’t mind, Mara – it was just too mouthwatering to resist!

The rich creams paired with the moist bread pudding and tres leches cake really put me in food bliss. I could have gone back for more had my stomach not been ready to explode from every taste sensation, so I settled on bringing some home with me for later 😉

Thanks again to Mara for the invitation and to Amy for hosting! I had a marvelous time and can’t wait to see where we go next – and contribute a recipe of my own!

Have you ever had an “around the world” dinner party? If so, what theme?!

On the agenda this week:

  • Insanity Month One workout review
  • Couscous and smoothie review {but not necessarily together…} 😉
  • More food journaling?
  • More wedding planning! 109 days…AHH!
  • Taste of Chicago
  • Unexpected surprises {there are bound to be some!}

Hope YOUR weeks are off to a wonderful start!


1 Courtney @ Three Months June 29, 2010 at 10:49 am

I have not been to an around the world party – they look really fun though!

2 Erica June 29, 2010 at 11:23 am

What a party! I’m always a fan of parties where the good food is the main attraction. Love the little cucumber bites…an I so want to try making cinnamon bread pudding. Very cool. Hope you’re doing well <3

3 anutritionisteats June 29, 2010 at 11:28 am

What a fun dinner party! I’ve never been to an around the world dinner, I just might have to host my own!

4 adrienmelaine June 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Excited to hear about your one month review of insanity!

I actually just started a food journal too, I don’t judge what I write in it, but I write everything, I’m trying to maximize my energy for marathon training- right now I’m tired all the time, I think it’s from too much sugar, I think this will help me figure it out!

I’ve done an around the world party around the neighborhood, we went to different countries in different houses- it was amazing!

5 Melissa @ Tryingtoheal June 29, 2010 at 4:15 pm

omg what an awesome event! that is so neat and that food looks amazing!! wish i had something like that out here!

6 carolinebee June 29, 2010 at 6:32 pm

OMG that all looks amazing!! The yucca “surprises” look just like empanadas- those are my all-time fave!! Haha i will definitely be attending the next one 😀

7 BroccoliHut June 29, 2010 at 7:11 pm

I’ll take about 5 of those arepas and all of that avocado. Please and thank you.

8 Lauren @ Eat, Drink, and Be Hopeful June 30, 2010 at 1:03 pm

All that food looks incredible! I love trying a little bit of everything. This post just made me so hungry! Looks like so much fun.

9 Angela June 30, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Wow! This dinner looks so delicious. I love food from Central America so this makes my mouth water.

I’ve never been at a real “around the world” dinner party like this, but we’ve tried to have some at my apartment. My roommates are all international, Italian, French, Lithuanian, Morrocan, English and American, so we’ve had our share of cuisines at “family dinner”, but I think we might need to step it up a notch next time :)

I’m really looking forward to your review on Insanity – I’ve been thinking about starting it and love hearing other’s experiences.

10 Chelsey July 1, 2010 at 9:41 am

I remember when my wedding was 100 days away and I thought, “omg it’s almost here!” Now it’s TWENTY NINE days away and I am sort of on the verge of freaking out :)

11 John July 1, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Looks like a tasty and great night! Only 107 days left now but you got everything taken care of by now don’t you? :-)

12 CaSaundra July 2, 2010 at 7:17 am

The “traveling pans” is such a cute & catchy name!!
Have a good holiday weekend! :-)

13 Gena July 10, 2010 at 6:18 am

I love the idea of these dinner parties! What a wonderful way to celebrate sisterhood and food!

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