Something strange is happening in our house. Our 6 yr old, Dylan, has been asking what vegan is. My husband is an omnivore, so I cook 3 vegan meals, 3 non-vegan meals and we eat out one day a week. We don’t really use labels with our food, so the kids don’t think about our meals as vegan or non-vegan. They will eat almost anything, as long as it’s good.

This recipe for Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha), is another great dish you can prepare for the Day of the Dead celebration. The pumpkin

This recipe for Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha), is another great dish you can prepare for the Day of the Dead celebration. The pumpkin

This recipe for Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha), is another great dish you can prepare for the Day of the Dead celebration. The pumpkin

He has been hearing the word vegan a lot though, because of the blog, and my husband constantly asking if something I have prepared is vegan (possibly with a grimace on his face). I don’t want Dylan to think of vegan food as different or worse than other food, so I have been naming some of his favorite foods and letting him know they are vegan. He loves tofu! When he asked me what vegan was, the best explanation I could give him was that it was food that came from plants, not animals. He kind of nodded and moved on to the next distracting thing in his path.

This recipe for Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha), is another great dish you can prepare for the Day of the Dead celebration. The pumpkin

This recipe for Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha), is another great dish you can prepare for the Day of the Dead celebration. The pumpkin

This recipe for Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha), is another great dish you can prepare for the Day of the Dead celebration. The pumpkin

Now that the WHO (World Health Organization) has stated that processed meats can cause cancer, it is more important than ever to demistify plant-based food and show others, especially our children, how great you can feel from eating it and how delicious it can be.

This recipe for Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha), is another great dish you can prepare for the Day of the Dead celebration. The pumpkin

The Recipe: Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha)

This is another great dish you can prepare for the Day of the Dead celebration. A cinderella pumpkin is cut into thick wedges, and simmered slowly in piloncillo, cinnamon, clove, and orange peel. Once the pumpkin is soft and tender, it is drizzled in its own syrup. Traditionally it is served with milk, but this version is topped with decadent coconut whipped cream. Enjoy!

This recipe for Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha), is another great dish you can prepare for the Day of the Dead celebration. The pumpkin

candied pumpkin (calabaza en tacha)
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Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha)

Prep Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 10 servings
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 small (4 -5 lbs.) Cinderella pumpkin
  • 1 lb. Piloncillo, (2 cones)
  • 1 Ceylon cinnamon stick
  • 1 Clove, whole
  • 1 strip Orange peel
  • ¾ cup Water

Preparation

  1. Place the piloncillo, water, cinnamon, clove, and orange peel in a large pot or dutch oven set to low heat. Let the piloncillo slowly dissolve, stir frequently.
  2. In the meantime, rinse the pumpkin well to remove any dirt. With a small knife cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin. Almost like you are carving a jack-o-lantern. Remove the stem and pull out the seeds and flesh attached to it. Leave the rest if the seeds and flesh inside.
  3. Following the natural vertical grooves of the pumpkin, cut it into wedges from top to bottom. The wedges should be about 2 ½ “ wide x 3 “ long. You do not need to remove the seeds, but you can if desired. Score the skin of the pumpkin wedges with a small knife to help them absorb the syrup.
  4. Once the piloncillo has completely dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and layer the pumpkin wedges skin side down on the bottom of the pot. Once you have covered the bottom of the pot completely, add a second layer of pumpkin wedges flesh side down, so that the pumpkin is touching flesh to flesh.
  5. Cover the pot and set it to medium- low heat. Let the pumpkin simmer for 1½ hours. Don’t worry about not having enough liquid in the pot. As the pumpkin cooks it will release a large quantity of water.
  6. Uncover the pot and let simmer for ½ hour more or until the pumpkin is a dark brown color and is completely submerged in the syrup. Take off the heat and let cool.
  7. Serve hot or cold and top with coconut whipped cream. (see note)

Chef's Notes

If you cannot find Cinderella pumpkins, use a sugar pumpkin instead. Here is  a super easy recipe for coconut whipped cream.

 

 

 

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-muerto2

Bake at 350F for 40- 45 minutes. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar.

pan de muerto

 

pan de muerto
5 from 5 votes
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Vegan Day of the Dead Bread

This vegan day of the dead bread or pan de muerto is tender, sweet, and delicious. Perfect for dipping on hot chocolate.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword day of the dead, pan de muerto, vegan
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 day 45 minutes
Servings 4 loaves
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 pack (.25 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.

Recipe Video

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.

Hot sticky summers, clothes drenched in sweat, and the almost unbearable burn of the sun on your skin can only describe a summer in northern Mexico, ok and probably Arizona and Texas too. Those were the summers of my childhood, but summer in Mexico also means dozens of paleta flavors to explore and the perfect yuki o raspado(slushie) to cool you down. One of the most memorable raspados is the mangonada, a combination of sweet mango puree and ice, layered with spicy chamoy, lime juice and chile powder. It is a classic combination of sweet, sour, and spicy, which is a popular flavor profile of Mexican cuisine, and one of my favorites.

mangonada

This mangonada was made with homemade chamoy which means it has no added sugar! What no sugar? That’s right. (Chamoy is a sweet and spicy sauce made from dried apricots that is used as a dip for fruit or in paletas and raspados.) The only sugar in this mangonada is the natural sugar found in the mango and dried apricots. You can also buy chamoy bottled at your local hispanic market or on amazon. Just writing about this is making my mouth water.

mangonada

mangonada

We will not be spending this summer in Mexico. Instead two of my nieces are coming to visit. We will be enjoying the beautiful California weather and beaches  while they are here. There will be swim lessons, vacation bible school and possibly a road trip in July. I’m looking forward to a long summer spent with family and friends. Enjoy!

The Recipe: Mangonada (Mango and Chamoy Slushie)

mangonada
5 from 2 votes
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Mangonada (Mango and Chamoy Slushie)

Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

Chamoy

  • 1 cup Apricots, dried
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2-3 tbsp. Chile ancho powder
  • 2 tbsp. Lime juice, fresh
  • 1 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar

Slushie

  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp. Mango, diced
  • 1 cup Ice
  • 6 tbsp. Chamoy
  • 1 Lime, juice of
  • Chile powder To Taste (tajín)

Preparation

  1. To make the chamoy, place the dried apricots and water in a saucepot and bring it up to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 min. Set aside.
  2. Reserve ¾ of a cup of the apricot cooking liquid.
  3. Take the simmered apricots, reserved cooking liquid, chile ancho powder, lime juice, and apple cider vinegar and blend until smooth. Add more or less water for a thinner or thicker consistency. (I left mine a little on the thick side.) Let cool.
  4. To make the slushie, place ½ cup of mango in the bottom of the blender container, add a layer of ice, continue to alternate the layers this way with the rest of your ice and 1 cup mango.
  5. Blend on medium speed until you are left with a slushie consistency. The pieces of ice, though small, should still be seen.
  6. To assemble, take to glasses and pour in a tbsp. of chamoy in the bottom of each one. Add a layer of mango slushie, followed by another tbsp. of chamoy. Repeat one more time.
  7. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of diced mango on the top of each finished slushie. Squeeze half of a lime into each glass and top with as much chile powder as you desire. Serve with a spoon and a straw.

Chef's Notes

Makes 2 (8 oz.) glasses. Use 2 tbsp. of ancho chile powder for a mild chamoy, use 3 for a spicier version.

 

 

Christmas is so close and you can’t have Christmas without baking cookies. Here is a recipe for coconut shortbread cookies filled with a chocolate ganache. They are also known as garabatos or scribble cookies. These cookies are very popular in Mexico city, and you will fall in love with them too. Who can resist two coconut shortbread cookies, sandwiched in a smooth chocolate filing, and drizzled with warm chocolate? The best part, they’re 100% vegan.

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Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin! We are now well into pumpkin season and I’m wondering if you’re starting to get tired it. In case you’re not, here is a recipe for mermelada de calabaza or pumpkin marmalade.

 

Pumpkin, as you probably already know, is native to North America. In fact, the oldest evidence of pumpkin seeds has been found in Mexico, pre-dating the Aztecs. The pumpkin was a staple of the diet of many of the indigenous people of Mexico. Now a days in Mexico, pumpkin is used to make candy, mermelada de calabaza, and empanada fillings.  The seeds are used to make oils, sauces, and eaten as a snack.

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I looove ice cream, almost as much as I love cheese. Last year we bought an ice cream machine at Costco and spent the whole summer making ice cream. This year I’ve been on a bit of an ice cream funk. All the ice cream alternatives without dairy suck, and I just can’t seem to get into sorbet. This banana cinnamon ice cream though changed my mind.

This recipe for Banana Cinnamon Ice Cream is a great healthy option made with almond milk. The combination of banana and cinnamon is a classic

This recipe for Banana Cinnamon Ice Cream is a great healthy option made with almond milk. The combination of banana and cinnamon is a classic

A couple of weeks ago I visited Pino Gelato in Hilton Head and I had already mentally prepared myself to eat sorbet when I noticed they had banana sorbetto. I was skeptical at first, but with the first bite I was won over. It was light, yet smooth and creamy. It was sorbet’s fatty cousin! That’s when I knew I had to recreate it at home.

This recipe for Banana Cinnamon Ice Cream is a great healthy option made with almond milk. The combination of banana and cinnamon is a classic

Ok, so as you can already see from the pictures my ice cream is brown, which might be unappealing to some. I could’ve added lemon juice to prevent it from oxidizing, but I didn’t want to risk altering the flavor. It is made with bananas (of course), homemade almond milk, a pinch of cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla. That’s it! Pure, simple, and delicious!

This recipe for Banana Cinnamon Ice Cream is a great healthy option made with almond milk. The combination of banana and cinnamon is a classic

The Recipe: Banana Cinnamon Ice Cream

Regular ice cream has a lot of fat, which is why it is still somewhat soft even though it’s frozen. This ice cream has almost no fat at all, so it will become very hard once frozen. Be sure to take it out of the freezer a couple of minutes before eating to let it soften.

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Banana Cinnamon Ice Cream

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 1 quart
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 6 Bananas, very ripe, 3 of them frozen
  • 2 cups Almond milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon ground

Preparation

  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Place in ice cream machine immediately and follow the manufacturers instructions.
  3. You can eat it right away or put it in the freezer for later.

Chef's Notes

Regular ice cream has a lot of fat, which is why it is still somewhat soft even though it’s frozen. This ice cream has almost no fat at all, so it will become very hard once frozen. Be sure to take it out of the freezer a couple of minutes before eating to let it soften.

 

 

After packing all our belongings in less than two weeks we drove across the country and finally reached South Carolina. Well, I didn’t, my husband did! I’m spending some time at my parents’ house in Mexico, where the munchkin and I are being spoiled silly, while the hubby is finding a place to live. (Thanks babe!) I have written several posts about my hometown of Acuña, taken lots of pictures, and shared recipes, so this time I don’t have much to show you. It really is a small town.

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.

There is one thing in particular that I greatly enjoy when I come here in the summer, the abundance of mango. The variety most commonly available here is the ataulfo. It is an oblong shaped, yellow-skinned, mango that is known for its sweet and buttery flesh. Its skin is slightly thicker than other varieties, but its seed is thinner than most.

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.

You can find them at your local Mexican grocery store, Costco, or Sam’s Club. They are in season from March to July. Ataulfo mangoes turn from green to yellow as they mature. When you buy a mango make sure it is not bruised or over-ripe. If you can only find green mangoes, just let them mature at room temperature. An ataulfo mango is ready to eat when the skin is golden-yellow and the flesh is soft to the touch. Once they are ripe, store in the refrigerator for up to five days.

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.

In Mexico, ataulfo mangoes are served on street carts with lime and powdered chile, in salads, salsas, and savory seafood dishes. There are also mango popsicles, mango candy, dried mango slices covered in chile, mango cakes, and pastries.

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.

The Recipe: Mango Chile Paletas

I have created two popsicle recipes for you. The first one is sugar-free, super easy, and kid approved. The trick is to use really ripe mangoes. The second popsicle uses simple syrup as a sweetener, and has key lime juice and chile powder to make it fit for grownups. Enjoy!

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Mango Chile Paletas

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 popsicles
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups Mango peeled, diced
  • 1/4 cup Simple syrup*
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp. Key lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. Tajin chile powder

Preparation

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 5 hours before unmolding.

Chef's Notes

To make simple syrup bring ¼ cup of sugar, and a ¼ of a cup of water to a simmer, until all the sugar dissolves. Let cool completely.
Tajin chile powder can be found at most Mexican grocery stores and some Wal-Mart´s.

 

Sugar-Free Mango Popsicles

 Yield: 4 popsicles

Time: 15min + 5 hrs.

 Ingredients:

Mango, peeled, diced1 ¼ cups
Water1/3 cup

Preparation:

  1. Combine ingredients in blender and process until smooth.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 5 hours before unmolding.

Chef´s  Notes:

Use really ripe mangoes for extra sweetness.

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.

 

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.