American Moments Turns 5!
Yes, it was on a cold dark pre-winter November evening (Nov 14th to be precise) in 2014 in Bluebell, Pennsylvania when the idea for American Moments was born. Now, 5 years later and after more than 222 recipes, its still going strong. I must confess, it has been an absolute challenge to find time to try new recipes, take beautiful well laid out Instagram worthy photos and post them, but I promise they will be posted more regularly. I now make a resolution for the upcoming 2020 to post at least 2 recipes per month? If I falter, please give me a jolt?
I came across this super easy mushroom pasta which looked so creamy without any cheese. How incredible! Just by using flour and coconut milk, a creamy base was created. Packed with mushrooms, it is a perfect weeknight meal. Inspired by mushroom stroganaff, I had to try it and see if my vegan daughters would love it! Yes, its unbelievably quick and easy to make this pasta dish! Girls loved it !! Hv your ingredients all ready and on medium to high heat, this only takes 5 mins!
The recipe below serves 4.
250gm (3 cups) large Penne Pasta
3 tbsps vegan butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
500gm white button mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
4 tbsps plain all purpose flour
200ml thin coconut or any other non dairy milk
100ml veg stock
1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
Salt and pepper per preference
A sprig of thyme for garnish and a dash of black pepper/chilli flakes
1) Cook the penne pasta till al dente, drain and set aside.
2) Heat the vegan butter in another pot and fry the chopped onions until softened.
3) Then, add the crushed garlic, oregano and the sliced mushrooms. Fry till the mushrooms are cooked and softened.
4) Add the all purpose flour and stir fry for around 1 min.
5) Then, add in the coconut or any other non dairy milk you are using and vegetable stock. Keep on stirring till it reaches a simmer. It should be perfectly thick and creamy by now.
6) Add in the salt, pepper and dijon mustard together with the cooked pasta. Toss well.
7) Garnish with thyme and serve warm. If it thickens up after some time, add 1/2 cup hot water, stir and warm it up. It should loosen up and be creamy.
(223rd Recipe Credit : LovingItVegan)
Now that autumn is giving way to cold wintery days, this Chinese Vegetable soup will come in handy. Yes, it can be whipped up in 15 mins if you have all the ingredients ready. Quick and easy! Vegan and gluten free, this soup is pretty versatile too in that you can just throw in any vegetables you have in your fridge. Serve it with a small serving of brown rice or even quinoa and you have a protein-packed (tofu, peanuts) belly-filling meal. This is quite a straighforward recipe which doesn't require step by step photos.
Ingredients (Serves 4 as a side soup or 2 as a main meal)
1. Heat a medium sized saucepot and fry the pounded ginger.
2) Add in the mushroom powder and sambal oelek.
3) Now, pour in 3 cups of water and add the hardier vegetables like zucchini, snow peas and capsicum first. Let the soup boil then reduce fire and let it simmer for 5 mins.
4) After 5 mins, add in the cherry tomatoes, shimeji mushrooms and peanuts. Boil again for another 5 mins.
5) Lastly add in the silken tofu and stir. Cook for another 2-3mins on low heat.
6) Add the corn flour mix and let the soup thicken. This will happen instantly.
7) Serve warm garnished with sesame seeds and coriander leaves.
I recently tried this delicious Grilled Tofu on Quinoa at the Food For Thought Cafe at the National Museum of Singapore. I'm not usually a fan of quinoa but to be honest, this was quite delicious. Quinoa was not cooked plain but with veg stock and it was topped with a vegetable tomato gravy and again topped with the grilled tofu. Its vegan and gluten free too! The portion size was quite small for a whopping $16 but its a good take away recipe to try at home. The ingredients below serves 1.
Ingredients (For Flavoured Quinoa)
Ingredients (Vegetable Tomato Gravy)
1) Firstly, rinse and cook the quinoa in the vegetable stock till all the liquid has evaporated.
2) Next, grill the tofus in shallow oil. Remove them when slightly golden brown and leave them on kitchen paper to absorb the oil.
3) Start getting the ingredients of the vegetable tomato gravy ready. Add 2 tbsps of canola oil to medium sized pot and start frying the chopped yellow onion and garlic.
4) Next add the garlic herb blend spice powder and chilli flakes.
5) Add the sliced zucchini, red capsicum and shimeji mushrooms. Let them cook on medium heat for 5 mins.
6) Afterwhich, add the diced tomatoes from the can or chopped tomatoes.
7) Let the whole gravy cook on medium heat for 10 mins. Check for seasonings and add more salt or garlic herb salt, if required.
8) These are the ingredients I used for this recipe.
9) Serve the tomato vegetable stew on top of a bed of quinoa and top this with the grilled tofu steaks. Garnish with a sprig of coriander leaf.
In Singapore, I usually frequent a restaurant called The Soup Spoon for its delicious soups but today I decided to try a different dish..the Flatbread with falafel and hummus. I like flatbreads with fillings or wraps. I don't know why but there is something quite delicious and satisfying about them. Its light on the tummy, full of good for you vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, avocadoes, beetroot, pumpkin and we can add any plant protein to make it wholesome. You don't leave the restaurant feeling guilty for loading yourself with carbs and worrying where its going to go - tummy, arms, thighs??
Plant protein comes in various ways - grilled tofu slices, scrambled tofu, soy patties or even chickpea patties or falafel. Falafels are one of my favourite middle eastern dishes and I'm embarassed to say till today I haven't attempted to make them! I just realised oh how long I have deprived my family of this delicious protein packed patties.
So, after gobbling down the flatbread with hummus and falafel, I headed home with a conviction to make them for dinner tonight and I'm proud to say I stuck to my conviction. The recipe below is adapted from a website called Cookie + Kate. I have shallow fried the falafels here but you can even bake them to be extra healthy. The falafels should be golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft inside. One bite will tell you if you have a winning recipe.
Did I mention that these patties are gluten free and vegan? They make great party appetizers as well. You can even make them as large patties for a vegetarian burger treat!
Ingredients (yields around 35-40 small falafels)
2 tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic, peeled and sliced
1 cup of coriander leaves
1/4 cup red onion, cut into big pieces
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 tbsps olive oil
1-2 cups Chickpea flour or Besan flour to thicken the batter should it become too wet while processing
1. Assemble all the ingredients except the Gram flour into a food processor.
2) Process the ingredients into a half crumbly paste. You may need to add bits of water. Don't add too much lest it becomes too wet.
3) Place the uncooked falafel paste into a bowl. Check for salt and add more if needed. If the paste is too wet, add gram flour to thicken so that its the right consistency to make the patties.
4) Take a flat pan and heat 2-3 tbsps of canola oil. Using your hands, take a tablespoon size paste and roll it into a ball, flatten it and place it on to the heated oil on the pan. Do the same for a few more and shallow fry the falafel patties in batches.
5) When brown, turn and cook the other side. Remove from fire and drain the oil on kitchen paper towels. Serve warm with a fresh garden salad and piping hot vegetable soup. That's what I served my family for dinner tonight. Needless to say, it was a winning dish with my family!!
My younger daughter has recently turned vegan. She is all of 14 years and as a mother I was and am still worried about her nutrition and her development.
Riya started her vegan quest a month ago avoiding eggs, claiming that the chickens are packed tighly in cages without any space to move around and they are stacked in levels so that the poo of the chickens above falls on the chickens below. She felt so sad for the chickens being caged this way just so that they can produce eggs for us. Of course that jolted me. Here is my daughter who loves eggs in any form. Without much of a choice, I agreed and persuaded her to go egg free but still have milk products. She was fine with that for a month.
Last week, she read that cows are impregnated purposely with sperms so that they get pregnant to produce milk. The cows are always pregnant! Imagine being always pregnant throughout your childbearing years? That got her all riled up. Her fight for these poor animals who are being managed inhumanely skyrocketed. The many videos and posts in Instagram supporting vegan lifestyle didn't help as it only made her more wilful. She couldn't stand to watch us having milk and eggs and started trying to convince us to go vegan too. She even went on to say that she will not date a guy who eats meat! 'Imagine kissing him after he eats beef or pork? Ew!!' She has stopped all makeup that tests on animals and is now against all leather products as well. She wants to become a vegan activist when she grows up. That's my spirited younger daughter! My thoughts are why wait till you grow up? Why not start a vegan group for teens in Singapore? I hv pitched my ideas to her. Let's see where she takes them.
I was against her veganism at the beginning as I was worried about her development but now after seeing how passionate she was about these poor animals, I only can support her and ensure her growing body's nutritional demands are met in other ways. She has become more conscious of what she is eating and ensuring that there is enough protein through nuts and tofu. I supplement her diet with multi vitamins which she now takes without complaining. Her junk food bingeing has stopped as well because she discovered there is milk in all cookies and snacks.. My chips packets remain untouched and unopened for so long. She claims she has lost all taste for junk food. She is so mature and serious about this whole issue that I'm surprised how could she be only 14?
I have scouted around for special vegan bread for her ( did you know that all baguettes are vegan?!), special vegan ice cream etc. I also found out there are special supplements for vegans. Fish Oil from algae and flax seeds. Thanks to my docent friend and also a vegan advocate Christine Zeng.
But there is always the nagging worry at the back of my mind about her health. Will she recover quickly when she falls ill? What about when she reaches child bearing age? Only time will tell.
My first vegan recipe I'm featuring, after this development at home, is vegan pancakes. They don't taste like the usual with butter and eggs but it passed. Riya appreciated the fact that I'm making special dishes for her to support her vegan diet. Should I ask for more?
Ingredients (6-8 large pancakes)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
2 tbsps fine sugar
3/4 cups canola oil
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries, rinsed
1. Mix the dry ingredients, followed by all the wet ingredients. Whisk well.
2. If the batter is too thick, add more soy milk to thin it.
3. Add the blueberries.
4. Heat a small frying pan, drop a few drops of canola oil and swirl them around the pan.
5. Once the pan is hot pour enough batter to coat the base of the pan. Drop a few drops of canola oil on top, cover and cook on medium heat till you see the sides cooked with holes all around.
6. Flip and cook the other side, this time uncovered. It should turn golden brown on both sides.
7. Serve warm with maple syrup.
Hi guys! I'm Nilofar Iyer and I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family and friends with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.