Grandma Josie's Kitchen


This recipe is one of my dad’s favorite desserts! My grandma Josie used to make it for him all the time! Even when my dad left home to go into the Navy back in the early 60’s, he would come home to visit and she would whip up a pot of it for him!

You might be thinking, “what the heck is Panocha?”. That is a perfectly normal reaction when people hear about this dish. Heck, when I first heard about it being my dad’s favorite, I said the same thing!


Panocha is a traditional Native American dish that came from my ancestors centuries ago. Panocha, in New Mexico and southern Colorado, is a pudding made from ground sprouted wheat and piloncillo (sugar). It is traditionally eaten during Lent. The sprouted-wheat flour is called “panocha flour” or simply “panocha”, as well.

Main ingredients: Ground sprouted wheat flour, piloncillo (sugar), and butter.
Region or state: New Mexico and southern Colorado

My Grandma passed this recipe down to my aunts, and now it has been passed down to me!


Although I usually try to bake and cook in a healthy and mostly THM (trim healthy mama) way, there are just some recipes (especially traditional family recipes) that just shouldn’t be changed! This is one of them.

(Don’t get me wrong, I will probably try to THMify this eventually, just so I can eat it all the time! It’s that good!).

Traditionally, this recipe is more of a pudding consistency, but ours came out a little thick…which I actually liked. My Aunt Naomi taught me how to make this last week, and it was so much fun seeing the process. It is a little time consuming, but it is so cool to be able to make something that my ancestors from centuries ago actually made all the time. There is just something cool about thinking of how Native Americans from so long ago used to go about making this, without modern kitchen tools.

The Process

First, you need to get a large bowl and sift the flour. We used a mix of whole wheat flour and sprouted whole wheat flour. If you go to a Mexican market, they will probably have panocha flour (which is basically just sprouted whole wheat flour).

Sift the two flours together.

Boil a kettle full of water (about 4 1/2 cups).

Meanwhile, brown the sugar (we used regular dark brown sugar and white sugar) in a large pan. It’s a delicate process because you don’t want to burn it. Make sure to keep mixing! The “browning” of the sugar gives it that unique taste.

making panocha

Be sure to continue mixing the sugars until it caramelizes. Add some of the boiling water (about 2 cups) to the sugar mix and turn down heat to low. Cover and let sit on low for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the rest of the boiling water (about 2 1/2 cups) to the flour mix. Stir until well dissolved. Add the flour mix to the sugar mix and stir until well mixed. Add the butter and mix until fully melted.

After everything is mixed together well, our mixture into buttered baking dish (that has a lid). Place in oven and bake 300 degrees for about 3 hours, stirring every 45 minutes to an hour.

Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream or milk.

Note: Contemporary additions to panocha include a teaspoon or so of cinnamon and or vanilla. A tablespoon or two of butter gives extra richness. Any of these additions should be made at the conclusion of the panocha’s cooking time on the stove, just prior to baking.

This dessert/breakfast is so rich in history and is chock full of flavor! I love the creaminess of this dish, and my kids especially loved eating it. It is a hearty and delicious dessert/breakfast; perfect for growing kids!

I hope that when I make this dish, my grandma Josie will be looking down from heaven smiling at me.

Love you Grandma Josie!

God Bless!


Yields 15-20 servings

Grandma Josie’s Panocha

A rich and decadent dessert or breakfast! A traditional Native American dish.

15 minPrep Time

3 hrCook Time

3 hr, 15 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image


  • 2 1/2 cups sprouted whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • Optional: Cream, whipped cream, cinnamon or butter for toppings.


  1. In large bowl: Sift the two flours together, making sure to get any chunks of flour out.
  2. Turn stove on to medium/high heat.
  3. On stove in Medium pan or dutch oven, Brown the sugar.
  4. Add in boiling water (2 cups). Mix well until dissolved, and then turn stove down to low.
  5. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the rest of boiling water to the flours, mix well.
  7. Add flour and water mixture to the sugar mixture.
  8. Mix all well until well mixed.
  9. Add to buttered baking dish.
  10. Cover and bake for 3 hours.
  11. Mix every 45 minutes or 1 hour.
  12. Once baked, should have a thick pudding consistency.
  13. Seve warm with optional toppings.
  14. Enjoy!



Grandma Josie's Kitchen

My Grandma Josie

I am beyond proud to add this page of authentic and traditional family recipes to my blog! These recipes and stories have been passed down from my grandma Josie!

Grandma Josie’s Kitchen will be a place where amazing and delicious recipes, stories of my ancestors, dishes of all sorts and  wonderful pictures will shared! My grandma’s recipes will be forever memorialized here!


grandma Josie Josephine Gurule-Vasquez was born in the year 1919, in the tiny little town of Mogote Colorado. She was the youngest of 5 siblings. She graduated high school when she was 18, in 1937. She went to work for a resort in southern Colorado called MenkHaven, where she started off with sewing clothe diapers for the resort guests. She was so good at what she did, that they promoted her twice. Once as a layette sewer, and then on to a cook in the kitchen. This is where she began her love for cooking, and learned a lot of the cooking skills that used her whole life.

She met and fell in love with Daniel Vasquez (my grandpa) in 1942, and was married shortly after in the same year. They lived on a ranch in the back hills of Pass Creek, near Redwing Colorado. They raised their 6 kids there for over 20 years. (I was able to visit this ranch of theirs on several occasions and it was so awesome to actually see where some of my family history took place).

Josephine and Daniel had their first son, Dan Jr. in 1943. Samuel (my Dad) was born in 1944. My aunt Mary was born in 1946. My Aunt Becky was born in 1950. Then there was my Uncle Jake, who was born in 1954.

From left to right. Grandpa Dan, Aunt Mary, Uncle Dan, Grandma Josie and Aunt Mary. Circa 1950’s.

My grandma Josie also had baby Rebecca in between my aunt Mary and my aunt Becky, but she died at only a few days old. I have had the amazing privilege to see baby Rebecca’s grave site when I was younger, on a day trip we took to explore where my dad grew up. She was laid to rest in a beautiful place in the back hills of southern Colorado, near their family ranch. It was a special thing to me, to be able to see my dads baby sister’s grave site and to pay respect to my little aunt who I was never able to meet.

Finally, my aunt Naomi was born in 1959. The last of 6 children.

I have so many good memories of all my aunts and uncles. I love that I am able to remember them and share memories with my dad and family about how they have impacted me.


My aunt Naomi has been a huge influence in my life. Her natural talent for pretty much anything that she does is inspiring. She has taught me a lot about cooking, baking, painting, arts and crafts, crocheting and so much more!

Her ability to just listen and dream with me is one of my favorite things about her. She is so non-judgmental of my flaws and always challenges me to be better at everything I do. She is also one of my biggest fans and has encouraged me so much in all of my random ventures.

Whenever we get together, we always end up cooking, baking, swapping recipes, antique shopping, drinking coffee together early in the morning and sharing stories about life, love and everything in between. I can truly say that we are kindred spirits and I am so thankful for her role in my life.

A lot of the recipes that I will post in Grandma Josie’s Kitchen page will be recipes that my aunt Naomi has taught me. Grandma’s legacy lives on through her, and hopefully I will do these recipes justice as I learn them and master them myself.

Grandma’s Legacy

Josie in kitchen
Grandma sitting in her spot at the table in her tiny kitchen.

My Grandma Josie was the most giving and self-less lady I have ever met. Her meek personality and feisty spirit is one that will never be duplicated. She loved her kids with a fierce love, and she doted on all of her 21 grandkids. Her great grandkids are so numerous, it would take me all day to research!

She loved to cook for people. She had this nac for cooking for a large group of people with little to no notice, and the meals being absolutely delicious! She loved having her family around, and always had a way of bringing her family together. One of the ways she did this was by cooking her delicious meals for everyone.

family at grandmas
Grandma and family around the table. At the forefront is my dad, Sam Vasquez, circa “old school”!





These recipes that I will share here has been passed down from my Native American, New Mexican and Colorado born ancestors. They have been passed down to my grandma Josie, down to my Aunt Naomi, and now to me. I am so excited to forever memorialize my grandma Josie’s recipes!

Grandma’s ability to whip things up has been an inspiration to me as well! I want to be that kind of woman who is able to that! I strive to always feed people when they come to my house, and I always want people to leave my home filled with yummy food and happiness! 


grandma cooking
Grandma Josie cooking in her kitchen.

I always remember my grandma cooking in the kitchen. She loved to gather everyone around the table, and see everyone happy. Some of my best childhood memories were in her kitchen.

One of the most memorable memories that I have of her kitchen was when she would feed us grandkids corn flakes in the mornings. She would load up the bowl with about 1/4 cup of sugar, and top it off with evaporated milk! I swear, to this day I can not eat corn flakes without thinking about my grandma and all the sugar she would give me as a child. Lol.



kids with grandma
There I am at Grandmas house with my Grandpa Dan and all my cousins. I am the one with my eyes closed and the messy long hair with a head band. 🙂

I always remember my grandparent’s house being the place that we would all gather. It was a tiny house, but somehow that didn’t matter. The love and acceptance that was there made it homey and comfortable, and everyone loved being there. Even if we were packed like sardines!

That is yet another thing I always want my home to be like! Welcoming, cozy and always, always, always food on the table!



Authentic Recipes

I am so excited to be able to share some of my grandma Josie’s recipes with you! I will also be sharing traditional and authentic Native American dishes that are still popular in New Mexico and Colorado today.

From Traditional Sweet Meat Empenadas, Pressure Cooker Beans (a recipe that was passed down from my Mom who learned it from grandma Josie), Sopaipillas, Tortillas, Green Chili Sauce, to Panocha (a sweet porridge), these recipes will inspire!


My aunt Naomi teaching me how to make Empanadas.
Sweet Meat Empanadas











As I write this, I can almost feel the authentic richness of these dishes coming alive!

My grandma Josie was a special lady. She effected so many with her love, acceptance and cooking! I look forward to seeing her in heaven some day and sitting on the porch of heaven, talking about life, love and food! I love you grandma Josie!

my grandma
Grandma Josie Vasquez. 1919-2005.

I hope you enjoy these recipes from my Grandma Josie’s Kitchen and beyond!

God Bless!