Buñuelos de Año Nuevo

Monday, December 31, 2007 at 6:42 PM
When I was a little girl the family always gathered together to welcome in the New Year. There was music, food, drink and much laughter. My abuelita (grandmother) would often make buñuelos for that special evening. I never learned how to make them but they have always been a warm memory of my abuelita.
Tonight we are gathering at my home. Just a few of us who are left from what once was a big family. They will soon be here and I am surprising them with my buñuelos! I am happy to say that I couldn't resist and had to try one out and they are just yummy!!!
Buñuelos de Año Nuevo 6
Buñuelos de Año Nuevo 1Buñuelos de Año Nuevo 2
Buñuelos de Año Nuevo  4Buñuelos de Año Nuevo 5

To prepare:
about 1½ dozen uncooked flour tortillas.
   note: I bought them pre-made but uncooked at Cosco.  For a history and recipe to make flour tortillas go to:  Wikipedia, Tortillas
Next I heated about an inch deep of canola oil till very hot then fried each tortilla till golden on both sides; draining in large paper towel covered pan.
While still warm you can sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the buñuelo and enjoy or you can prepare a 'meil' (syrup) from  about 3 cups of water,  2 piloncillos,  4 cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and slices from one orange ( I used a blood orange from my tree).  
Bring water and rest of ingredients to a boil, reduce heat and simmer stirring constantly till mixture thickens into a thin syrup.  
  If eating with the syrup do not sprinkle with cinnamon sugar but instead breakup the buñuelo into a bowl and ladle the warm syrup over the flakey buñuelo.

after note:  They were a big hit bringing back memories for my sister and I from when our abuelita made them for us when we were little girls!

Wishing all of you a great year full of creativity and good cheer!


at 6:41 PM

Developing, originally uploaded by mmvgonzales.

I intended to take a nap in the studio today before preparing for the evening. But instead I found myself trying out a new 9x12 sketchbook with 65lb drawing paper. I just picked something in the studio, an old Kodak Brownie camera that used to belong to my husband's mother. The sea shell I don't remember where it's from and the luggage tag a souvenir from a cruise we took on the Queen Mary last December.

Before the curtain rises....

Friday, December 28, 2007 at 9:46 AM
I took a few minutes before the performance began to do this quick sketch, adding color at home.  We went to see the Rocketts at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.  It was such a fun evening!  Those legs!!!!  I remembered when I was little and my sisters and I would pretend we were Rocketts; kicking up our legs higher and higher!  (I can still do it!)

Before the curtain rises

In Memory: Benazir Bhutto

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 1:37 PM
Inspired by my friend Laura from Lauralines who painted a beautiful tribute to this charismatic lady, I too took comfort in the quiet of my studio and my graphite sticks.

In Memory: Benazir Bhutto
graphite sticks on 50# sketch paper  18x24 inches

I am always so saddened when hope is extinguished.

Flipping through recipes

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 6:02 PM
Amy is visiting for the holidays. Today we went to the gym where she put me through some moves. Then Rudy and Aaron joined us for an afternoon at Borders, lunch at El Torito and to the movies to see I Am Legend. She bought a cookbook at Borders and here she is flipping through recipes as I sit and sketch her.
It was good to get back to doing some sketching. :)

Feliz Navidad

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 at 12:51 PM

Merry Christmas, originally uploaded by mmvgonzales.

Well if I have to spend my Christmas at work, at least it's with a good looking doctor. I brought a piece of my Christmas Tea ring for him and I to enjoy this morning. I make it for my kids for Christmas morning, left it on the kitchen table for them but cut a couple of servings for Doctor Jose and I. Feliz Navidad Doctor Jose, gracias for breaking bread with me; I wish you good fortune and success where ever life leads you.
and Feliz Navidad to all my artist friends around the world...I hope your day was filled with family, love and laughter....marta

Dianne and Marta

Saturday, December 22, 2007 at 3:46 PM

Dianne and Marta, originally uploaded by mmvgonzales.

Dianne turned out to be a great tamale maker! After reading the instructions in my new Tamale Book she put on an apron and got started! A true renaissance woman! The fun will continue tomorrow when we have our party and we all eat the tamales!

A few more days to go

Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 6:18 PM
Livingroom at xmas

This is just a quick study I did this evening. I am not going to add any color to it now, perhaps later. The day was cold and misty with a bit of drizzle toward the end of daylight. I cooked the meat for the tamales today and began to wash the 'hojas' (corn husks). I also found some time late in the afternoon to bake my applesauce loaf which I have made every year since I was about 12 years old, while Rudy and Adam finished decorating the tree (wait till you see it!). Tomorrow begins three very busy days making tamales, baking, finishing up with housework culminating in the grand party on Sunday evening for family and friends. As for my holiday shopping. I didn't do any this year. I published my tamale recipe book and will give it to the ladies in my family on Sunday.  For my one year old grand-nephew we got a little people barnyard and animals and for my Annie (grand-niece) I bought her sketching supplies and a gift certificate redeemable to me for weekly art lessons in my studio.  You HAVE to get little kids a gift!  Now, back to warm myself by the fire.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Roses

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 4:17 PM
Our Lady Roses
at 4:02 PM

I picked the last of the Our Lady of Guadalupe roses yesterday and brought them inside to enjoy in the studio.  The story of Our Lady is very beautiful.  Her day of honor is celebrated on December 12th in many places in the Americas.   The lovely pink roses help remind me of the miracles that abound at this time of year.  

Open Studio

Monday, December 17, 2007 at 4:12 PM
The studio is now open.  The flow of creativity should begin soon as all supplies are close at hand, yet neatly stored.  In this space I can draw, paint, read, watch television, work on my computer, listen to music, do yoga, make sketchbooks, knit socks, make quilts, sleep and dream.  

mARTa's B & B

Located in sunny southern California, mARTa's Studio is just a little over an hour away from so. California's best sights and attractions.  Within a short time you can be splashing on the shores of some of the Pacific Coast's best beaches or be playing in the snow in the local San Bernardino Mountains.  Maybe a desert oasis surrounded by majestic palm trees is your dream or visiting some of the country's best museums in Los Angeles, Orange or San Diego areas.  And of course Disneyland is less than an hour away.

The studio is a spacious 12x12 foot room which can accommodate two people with a double sofa bed, wi-fi Internet access, radio and television.  All bedding and linens provided.  Bathroom down the hall with tub/shower combo.  Breakfast consists of freshly squeezed Blood Orange juice (when in season), a pot of hot coffee and assortment of breads and pastries.  Champagne and chocolate on request for certain guests (Casey).  Also for your pleasure the jacuzzi is open year round and the swimming pool is warm enough from May through October.  And for friends like Gabi, come on now, little kids can sleep downstairs on the floor!  

The best part of staying at mARTa's B&B studio is that it is totally free of charge!!!!  Only condition is that I get to tag along for all the fun!  We can go sketch, paint plein air, shop, eat, shop, take day trips, shop and take a break for massages at the day spa!

Several weeks notice is required so I can get the time off work!!!

So Casey, Ronell, Sandy, Deborah, Robyn, Sharon, Anita, Gabi, Wendee, Sherrie, Knitting Painter Woman and Natalie..... Come on over!!!

Studio Chaos

Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 8:05 PM
chaos 1 chaos 2

This cloud is slowly lifting.  Yesterday I spent the day with my friends Dianne and Dawn shopping, eating, sipping champagne and eating chocolate while lounging in bathrobes.  We began the day by shopping the boutiques in downtown Riverside, then having a lovely lunch at Las Campanas and then finishing off the day at the day spa relaxing in the jacuzzi, enjoying the bubbly and getting total body massages with hand & foot treatments also.  As we were leaving to go home Dianne spotted a black cat sitting on a car hood in front of us.  I knew then that it must be a bad omen and the bad luck I've had lately was not going to go away soon.  But alas...today was a good day and I accomplished a great feat!  I tackled the studio and it's clutter; filling 6 trash bags with things I no longer used, wanted or needed.  Next a pile of art supplies that I hope somebody wants or else they go out too!  I eliminated 2 bookcases from the studio so I had to eliminate a lot of stuff!!!  I found that there is a lot of space under the sofa bed so that is where my large sheets of paper are going.  Larger boxes in the closet downstairs.  I am just about finished with it and it will soon be open for creativity and creative guests!

Studio Work

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at 4:48 PM
studio 2 studio 1

Lots has happened in the past week.  None of it good.  Must be that black cloud over my head.  The worst of it was my wallet being stolen from my nursing bag while at work last week.  I asked my friend Dianne if the Quilt Group Christmas party at her house last week, could be a 'pity party' for me but she said  "NO!"   I haven't been in the mood to draw either although I carry my pen, sketchbook and travel paint set with me everywhere; just in case the dark cloud lifts.  So today I decided to change my focus (poor me) and dive in and do some remodeling of the studio.  It's begun to get that cluttered look about it and I hate clutter.  I took everything off bookcases in the closet and emptied it out.  In that space I am put a little sofa bed which we bought at IKEA today.  I am going to make it a little haven for me and of course it will now double as a guest room as well.  I just need a hot plate and with the bathroom down the hall; it's right cozy!  So, anyone want to come visit me?

Mug Series: Christmas no. 1

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at 9:02 AM
Mug Series: Christmas_no.1

Around the beginning of December my mother would announce that there would be no Christmas tamales.  They were too much work for just one evening's celebration.  The rest of us would plead her to reconsider for it would not be Christmas without her tamales.  I think now she just wanted us to beg for there never was a year without tamales.  
I begin December usually agonizing about getting the house ready for the holiday.  I don't really like to decorate and the tree....oh agony for me to decorate.  When my mother was alive she'd come over to decorate it and over the past few years I get friends to come do it.  But tamale making.....I look forward to the event.  For me the real party is the gathering of my family and friends who come help make them.  I am already excited about having new friends come join us this year and join in the fun!
So this morning while the air is still crisp and the neighborhood is just beginning to awaken; I am sipping my morning brew in a holiday mug and wondering who I need to invite to come help me this year.

Los Tamales de Noche Buena

at 8:43 AM
I'm just going to come right out and say it:  I make the world's best tamales.  I make them only once a year for Christmas Eve.  It takes me 3 days from start to placing them on the table but all the work is worth it when family and friends sit to enjoy them.
Tamales de chile have been my family's Christmas Eve tradition for generations.  I remember my grandmother's and mother's tamales and mine are just as good!  
Almost 20 years ago I asked my mother to write down the recipe.  I always helped her make them but didn't quite know the process involved in the preparation of ingredients.  She would say, "oh, there is no recipe, just watch."  So I did, and I took notes and when she died 9 years ago I sat and wrote a recipe booklet.  That booklet is now worn and stained and lives in a kitchen drawer coming out a couple of weeks before Christmas so I can get my shopping list ready.  But on Sunday when I came across the booklet I decided it needed to now become a real book.  That decision was confirmed when I was working on the part that involves the chiles.  For some unexplained reason my studio was permeated with the strong and pungent smell of dried chile peppers!!!  It only lasted a few seconds but I knew it was a message to me that the book is meant to be.
I am enjoying my new imac so much and on iphoto you can make a photo book which apple will print and mail to you.   I have a few more days to work on it and will have copies made for my family.  My sister's girls have been helping me the past few years and so I am happy knowing that one day when I too am gone; the tradition will continue.

Clara's Cup

Sunday, December 2, 2007 at 9:03 AM
Clara's cup
fountain pen, noodler's ink on 90#HP Fabriano artistico wc paper

My friend Clara is one of those loving and giving souls who are just a lot of fun to be with.  Although she lives close by we don't see each other as often as we should or would like to.  She has a beautiful historic home here in town which is a lot of fun to meander through and explore.  Around every corner you find something you haven't seen before and it's always so much fun to 'discover' at her home.  And it is a home because you are always made to feel welcome and feel you can just curl up and pretend that it's "your" house!!!  
Last Christmas Clara hosted our Quilting Group's Christmas Potluck.  A group of about 40 of us gather for the evening to enjoy a good visit and to eat!  We exchange gifts and begin planning our next quilt camp weekends for the coming year.  This year Dianne is hosting the party at her beautiful home....but alas, there will be no skinny dipping in the hot tub as the pool is not quite finished yet.
Last year Clara had picked my name for the gift exchange.  I was showered with several wonderful gifts like a super soft sheepskin throw which sits draped across the bed.  It is referred to as 'the sex blanket' (no explanation needed).  Among the goodies was this very classy cup and saucer which I keep in my china hutch and bring out when I want to sit and enjoy a nice cup of tea.  I smile when I think of how wonderful it is to have so many good friends, Clara among them.

Clara's cup al fresco
Clara's cup altered on adobe photoshop: fresco filter

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