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Hearty Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

The northern part of Mexico, where I am from, is famous for their flour tortillas. Of course whenever you are trying to be “healthy” you eat whole wheat tortillas. These hearty whole wheat flour tortillas are my paternal grandmother’s recipe. They are not your chewy and tasteless like the ones you can get at the grocery store. These are vegan and the real deal! I had to test the recipe a couple times to get it right, but the kids loved them. We even toasted them on a comal and cut them into triangles to dip in our guacamole or hummus.

These hearty whole wheat flour tortillas are my paternal grandmother's recipe. These are vegan, delicious, kid approved, and the real deal!

 

This past week has been busy. I am trying to get everything setup to start homeschooling, buying the books, and supplies. It has proven to be more complicated than I thought since everything takes so long to get here by mail. I’ve been looking around for co-ops and homeschooling groups. Dylan, who is the one being homeschooled seems so cool and ok with everything. I’m the one that’s freaking out a little bit. Luckily I have found an amazing Catholic homeschool group that has been really supportive and helpful.

These hearty whole wheat flour tortillas are my paternal grandmother's recipe. These are vegan, delicious, kid approved, and the real deal! These hearty whole wheat flour tortillas are my paternal grandmother's recipe. These are vegan, delicious, kid approved, and the real deal!

We finally hiked Diamond Head and we had so much fun! I had been postponing it because I didn’t want to do it without my hubby, and I was trying to avoid the crowds. One day though, I got tired of being stuck in the house so I decided to go for it. I wore the two year old on my back and Dylan wore the camelback and the snacks. I would say it is an intermediate hike in terms of difficulty, but adding the extra 29 pounds to my back really made it a great workout. The crowds of tourists were pretty bad. The whole hike we were surrounded by people, almost like we were all hiking together in a huge line. Regardless, the kids and I enjoyed ourselves and ended the hike with some shaved ice.

These hearty whole wheat flour tortillas are my paternal grandmother's recipe. These are vegan, delicious, kid approved, and the real deal!

The Recipe: Heart Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of connecting with Douglas Cullen of the blog Mexican Food Journal, and he was kind enough to guest post with his recipe for Creamy Poblano Soup. This time I have guest posted on his blog and that is where you will find the recipe.

READ RECIPE AT MEXICAN FOOD JOURNAL

 

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Vegan Day of the Dead Bread

Who knew death could be so colorful? Purple and orange tissue paper banners line altars decorated with marigold petals, colorful sugar skulls, and a bounty of fruit and vegetables. This is a celebration of life and triumph over death, the intermingling of the religious beliefs of the indigenous people of Mexico and the faith of the Spaniards that conquered them. The Day of the Dead is not only a holiday that honors those who have left us, but it is believed that on that special day the souls of the dead return to visit the living. Both the indigenous people and the Church of the Spaniards believed that death was not an end, but only a passageway to another life. That is why this is a joyous occasion, a homecoming festival, and at the same time a way to mock death and the power it holds over our bodies.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

Before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores, the Aztecs held rituals for the dead during the summer months in a joint celebration with the first days of harvest. The dead were traditionally buried with rich offering of ceramics, personal objects, and food. The offerings where meant to assist them in their journey to the afterlife. After the arrival of the Catholic missionaries their traditions and beliefs were merged with those of the indigenous people, and the festivities were moved to coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, Nov 1st and Nov 2nd.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

 

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

The festivities have evolved over the years and differ from region to region. Some of the most popular ones include altars in honor of loved ones who have passed, preparing the dead’s favorite foods, and gathering at the cemetery to decorate a loved one’s grave, share a meal and reminiscence. My favorite tradition is the elaboration of the altars. The symbolism incorporated into the altars is so rich and meaningful that it truly honors the dead, those we keep in our hearts, but somehow with the passing of time fade in our memories.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

Every altar has several key symbols which are:

water– as an offering to the soul to quench their thirst in their long journey

salt– as a symbol of purification and to preserve the body so it will not wither

fire– to represent the light of the faith and guide the spirits in their journey

incense– to elevate our prayers to God in heaven

flowers– marigolds, their color represents the radiance of sunlight and life

bread– as a symbol of the body of Christ, usually round loaves with topped with “bones” and known as pan de muerto

a picture of the person who the altar is dedicated to

religious images– to symbolize God as an intermediary between the living and the dead

the favorite foods and drinks of the departed– to delight the souls who will be visiting (the most common being Mexican hot chocolate, tequila, atole, mole, tortillas and rice

candy skulls– the indigenous held the skull as symbol of death being a part of life

tissue paper banners– purple to symbolize christian mourning and orange to symbolize Aztec mourning

fruits and vegetables– an offering from the earth

personal objects of the person being honored– to accompany them on their journey back

a dog– to protect and guide the spirits.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

Every year we make an altar in our home to a loved one lost. It is our own special way of introducing our deceased loved ones to our children. We talk about the things that they liked to eat, do, and why they are important to us. On November 2nd we say a prayer for them, and keep hoping for the day we will be reunited in the afterlife. For years now, we have also been attending the Day of the Dead Festival in Oceanside, CA. The festival takes place in the Mission San Luis Rey. There are a variety of traditional foods such as tamales, tacos, tortas, aguas frescas, and pan de muerto. There is also face painting, sugar skull decorating, and regional dances. However, the highlight of the festival is the showcase of the altars, some representing various Mexican states and built by whole communities and families.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

Out of all the wonderful Mexican traditions, the Day of the Dead might be the one that still holds firm to its pre-Hispanic roots. The loved ones lost, who we cannot see or hear, make themselves present in our homes, share our food, and partake in the rejoicing of life and the conquest of death.

Sources:

Los Dias de Los Muertos, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian and National Museum of American History, 2010

Simbolismos en el altar del Dia de los Muertos, Tanatologa Aida Maria Castro Morales, 2007 (http://www.slideshare.net/internatoni/simbolismos-en-el-altar-del-da-de-muertos)

The Recipe: Vegan Day of the Dead Bread (Pan de Muerto)

This recipe might be better than the non-vegan version, according to my husband. I have substituted the eggs with potatoes, resulting in a moist, soft, and sweet bread. It is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate or coffee.

pan de muerto
Print

Vegan Day of the Dead Bread

Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 day 45 minutes
Servings 4 loaves
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 pack (.75 oz) Active dry yeast
  • ½ cup (3.5 oz) Almond milk, room temperature, 3.5 oz
  • 3 1/3 cup (17.5 oz) Bread flour
  • ¾ cup (5.5 oz) Sugar, granulated
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Orange zest
  • ¼ cup Orange juice
  • ¾ cup (6 oz.) Potato, Yukon gold, cooked, mashed
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp. (4 ¼ oz.) Vegan butter room temperature, cut into 1 inch pieces,

Topping

  • 2 tbsp. Vegan butter, melted
  • ½ cup Sugar, granulated

Preparation

  1. In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the almond milk and add 2 tbsp. of the flour. Whisk to incorporate and let rest in a warm place for 20 min.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, with the dough hook, combine the dry ingredients: the rest of the flour, salt, sugar, and orange zest. Mix.
  3. Add the wet ingredients: the orange juice, mashed potato, and yeast-flour mixture. Mix on low until the dough begins to incorporate.
  4. Add the ½ cup + 1 tbsp. of softened butter little by little and increase speed to medium. Mix for 15 min. until the dough has come off the sides of the bowl and is stretchy but not sticky.
  5. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough and fold the side over unto each other and flip. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  6. The next day take the dough from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place (70-75F) until the dough comes to room temperature, about an hour.
  7. Take a piece of dough, weighing about 3 oz., and set aside. Divide the remaining dough into four pieces. Roll them tightly into rounds and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment. Press down on the rounds lightly.
  8. Use the reserved dough to make 4 small balls the size of a quarter and set aside. Use the remaining dough to roll out eight strips long enough to cover the rounds. Place two strips on top of each round forming an x, use your fingers to press lightly on the strips to form knobs, they should resemble bones. Repeat the process with the rest of the rounds.
  9. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 ½ hrs. in a warm place (70- 75F) or until double in size.
  10. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350F. Place the small balls in the center of the rounds with a little bit of water. Bake for 20-30 min. until the rounds have become a rich brown color. Cover with foil and bake for 10 to 15 min. more, until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 190F. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.
  11. While the bread is still warm melt 2 tbsp. of butter and brush the bread with it. Sprinkle evenly with sugar.
  12. Let bread completely cool before eating.

Chef's Notes

My favorite vegan butter is Earth Balance. This recipe is a combination of my dad’s recipe and Fanny Gerson’s method for Pan de Muerto in My Sweet Mexico.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

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Whole Wheat Honey Bread

I’ve always been deeply suspicious of vegetarians and vegans. In restaurants they’re a pain in the butt, with all their special requests and demands. I have tried to be empathetic, but really, who willingly gives up all kind of animal product? Don’t they know how delicious a medium rare steak is? or a slice of Manchego cheese from Spain? I’m also guilty of being inconsiderate towards them, like the time we invited our vegetarian friend to eat at Animal Restaurant! We didn’t do it on purpose, we completely forgot. Luckily they had a couple of vegetarian options.

I recently watched the documentary Forks over Knives and read the book the China Study. I also just read a really good blog that talks about the myths of nutrition. All this reading has made me more aware of the food I eat or should be eating and what I feed my family. So as an offering for Lent we will be eating a whole foods plant based diet. This means no animal product of any kind, and no processed foods. How is this different from veganism? We are making this choice for health reasons not political ones. We love animals, but we also love to eat them. This has never been an issue for us, but when you read things like:

“Those who eat more whole, plant-based foods not only have lower cholesterol levels, but have less heart disease.”

“That a diet high in animal protein gives rise to cancer cells, and allows more rapid growth of tumors once they have officially formed.”

“Multiple sclerosis has been linked to animal food consumption, especially dairy consumption.”

“A whole-foods plant based diet can protect against and even treat a wide variety of chronic diseases.” (The China Study by T. Colin Campbell & Thomas M. Campbell II)

……..you can’t just continue to eat the way you did before. Will this eventually lead to a full conversion to the other side? I don’t think so, but it is yet to be seen.

How do we eat now? A week of dinners looks like this:

Monday: Pan roasted Steelhead Trout, Roasted Baby Fennel & Cherry Toamtoes, Celery Root Mash.

Tuesday: Eat out (this week we had pizza)

Wednesday: Turkey Chilli, Cornbread & Black Bean, Corn & Tomato Salad in a lime-avocado dressing.

Thursday: Roasted Chicken, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Kale braised with garlic, onion, apple cider, chicken stock, and almonds.

Friday: Whole wheat pasta, olive oil, oven dried cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, garlic, red pepper flakes, & mushrooms.

Saturday: Shredded Chicken Tinga, Avocado, Salsa, Tortillas & Beans.

Sunday: Leftover day

I buy most of our produce at the local farmer’s market, and cook almost everything from scratch. I’m not obsessive about buying organic, I focus on buying mostly local. I spend about $120-$140 a week on groceries for a family of 3. We drink water with our meals and enjoy wine, cocktails and beer whenever possible. When it comes to processed food we buy staples like bread, crackers, tortillas & peanut butter. We also indulge in the occasional donut, muffin, cookie, cake, and ice cream. We love ice cream!

When we eat out it’s another story. We are professional cooks, so we eat everything and anything we can get our hands on. We take it upon ourselves to taste as much as possible. Bottom line is, we enjoy eating and cooking, it’s our job and our passion.

I will be posting recipes here and pictures of what we’re cooking or eating on Pinterest, you can find us as Dora Stone. For now here is a recipe for whole wheat bread, it’s easy to make and contains no additives, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup like your typical grocery store sandwich bread.

The Recipe: Whole Wheat Honey Bread

This bread is hearty and soft with a touch of sweet. Perfect for sandwiches and toast.

Print

Whole Wheat Honey Bread

Recipe adapted from Orangette: Rancho la Puerta Whole Wheat Bread
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 2 loaves
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups Whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup Wheat bran
  • ½ cup Oat flour
  • 1 tbsp. Active dry yeast 1 pkg
  • 1 tsp. Salt, kosher
  • 1 tbsp. Oil, canola
  • 1/8 cup Honey
  • 1 ¾ cups Water warm

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl combine the oil, active dry yeast, water, and honey. Stir and set aside for 5 to 6 minutes or until the mixture bubbles and foams.
  2. Spray 1- 8×5 loaf pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl combine the flours and the salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients 1 cup at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon until all flour is incorporated.
  4. Turn the dough out into a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. To test if the dough, insert your thumb into the dough for 5 seconds. If your thumb comes out clean the dough is ready.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F. Shape the dough into a loaf and place in the pan. Cover with a dish towel and let rise until it doubles in size, for about 1 hour.
  6. Bake bread on the center rack of the oven for about 40 min. or until the crust is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  7. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Chef's Notes

To make this vegan, you can substitute the honey for agave nectar