Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Even Vegans Eat Like Royalty in the Magic Kingdom Part 3 of 4

Continuation of: Even Vegans Eat Like Royalty in the Magic Kingdom Part 2 of 4
By Amy Shoff (Guest Writer)

The next day of my trip was spent in “real” Orlando, but that evening we went to a movie at the new dine-in part of AMC Theaters at Downtown Disney. I’ve been to theaters that serve food before (shout-out to the Enzian in Orlando, a really amazing independent theater that also serves food), but the set-up at AMC is very different because it features rows of chairs with long tables between them. This has the added bonus of putting about five feet between you and the nearest audience member both in front of and behind you, and given all the horrible movie moviegoers who like to talk, text, and kick the back of your chair when you’re trying to enjoy your $12, 3D flick, I’d be willing to pay the extra money just for the swanky seats, let alone the bonus of having food service. I enjoyed everything about this experience. Our waiter took our order before the lights went down, but we had a call button (like on airplanes), which we could use to summon him during the show if we needed anything. The seats are grouped in fours so that the waiters can come along side you and not disturb the other rows of people watching the show. My sister ordered a chicken salad, and I got the veggie plate, which came with celery, carrots, jicama (seriously!) and pita bread strips with a little bowl of hummus. It was delightfully fresh and flavorful.

The waiter also talked me into the 24 oz Stella, instead of the smaller size, so that I wouldn’t have to interrupt my movie by calling him for a refill. That idea made sense when I ordered it, but after downing it with my cup of coffee and ice water, I manifested my own disruption - a hurried run to the restroom (sorry, Captain America, my bladder isn’t strong enough to outlast enemy forces).

Day four was a day of quick-service (Disney speak for “fast food”), but you’d be amazed at how much veggie/vegan stuff you can find even in the non-fancy restaurants. The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor at the Magic Kingdom actually features Tofutti, which can be substituted into any of their sundaes, and even the ice cream carts you find around the parks sell no sugar added Frozen Strawberry bars and Itzakadoozie Ice Pops. Some locations also sell soy milk for the lactose intolerant, gluten-free prepackaged snacks, and sugar-free candy for diabetic guests.

Disney has joined the recent healthier foods trend and taken steps to offer more fresh fruit and salads at its walk-up locations. They also changed their Kids Meals to automatically come with grapes and carrots and a choice of milk, water, or apple juice, instead of French fries and soda (you can special request those instead, if you want to sound like a terrible parent in front of the other people standing in line…no pressure or anything). Many of the quick service stands serve a veggie burger, which is vegan and primarily made up of brown rice, carrots, and peppers.  I ordered mine with apple slices as the side, so that I could cancel out that healthiness with a side order of onion rings, haha.

Some stands have items that are unique to their locale, most especially at Epcot, where the countries of the World Showcase feature ethnically appropriate food items (vegetable lo mein in China, hummus and falafel in Morocco, Jager shots in Germany…what?!? Jagermeister is totally vegan…). 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Even Vegans Eat Like Royalty in the Magic Kingdom Part 2 of 4

Continuation of: Even Vegans Eat Like Royalty in the Magic Kingdom Part 1 of 4
By Amy Shoff (Guest Writer)

Moving on to vegan meals, my first fancy dinner of the trip was at the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This restaurant is one of my favorites, not only because it faithfully recreates the original Brown Derby right down to the celebrity caricatures on the wall, but because it is home to my favorite vegan dish in all of WDW. By fortunate coincidence, our wonderful waiter, Joshua, was also vegan, and kindly offered to have the signature Cobb Salad (invented at the original Brown Derby in the 1930s) made vegan friendly for me, which meant eliminating the blue cheese, turkey, bacon, and egg and replacing it with bonus vegetables that no one else gets, like asparagus, broccoli, and cucumbers. Joshua even swapped out the dressing for me, because the original Cobb salad dressing is made with anchovy paste. My entrée was the Noodle Bowl with Wok-fried Coconut Tofu, Soy Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Bok Choy, and Shiitake Mushrooms in a Red Curry Broth.  It has that perfect balance of sweet coconut and spicy curry, and although it’s been a signature dish on the menu for several years, I never get tired of it. When it got to dessert time, there was nothing on the menu that didn’t involve milk, but Joshua offered some off-menu passion fruit sorbet served over fresh blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Absolutely magical!

The next day’s lunch was at the relatively new Hacienda de San Angel at the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot. The World Showcase at Epcot features 11 different countries (with delicious restaurants at each one), which are staffed by international representatives from each respective nation, who are living in Florida on temporary contract basis. So, when you’re visiting Mexico, your wait staff is actually FROM Mexico, and speaks fluent espanol, which is muy divertido!

As you can see from the photo on the left, La Hacienda has its own separate vegetarian menu in addition to the regular menu.  Not every WDW restaurant has this, but many do. Almost all of the full-service restaurants feature at least one vegetarian option, and in the few cases where they don’t, you can usually order some combination of side items that they will turn into an entrée for you. I opted for the Ensalada de la Casa with pomegranate, pine nuts, and avocado, sans queso fresco (yes, sans is French, but I don’t know the Spanish equivalent-lo siento!). Our adorable waiter, Nicolas, ended up bringing me a little bowl of black beans in addition to the one you see on the table in the photo (on the right) because he realized they had put cheese on top.  The silly thing was, I wasn’t even supposed to get beans because they were actually part of my sister’s order. I totally ate them with delight, though. We were so full, we skipped dinner that night (…okay, you caught me, I had some french fries around midnight…see, I told you I wasn’t healthy…).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Even Vegans Eat Like Royalty in the Magic Kingdom Part 1 of 4

The Healthy Hoff would like to give a BIG, warm welcome to Amy Shoff, who has been so kind to be a guest writer and share her Vegan experiences at the greatest place on earth...Walt Disney World!!!

Having recently returned from this magical place, Amy came with goodies in hand - Vegan, Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies from Disney's Vegan Bakery - BabyCakes NYC!  That's right, Disney World has a Vegan Bakery - holla!!!  I pressed Amy to learn more and I was blown away by her Vegan experiences and behind the scenes knowledge, so I asked her to share with all of you so you too can add Disney to your list of Vegan friendly vacation spots.

This post is the first of a four part series - can you believe Disney has that much to offer a Vegan Sista (or brother)?!?!

Amy take it away...

Even Vegans Eat Like Royalty in the Magic Kingdom Part 1 of 4

Asking me how many times I’ve been to Walt Disney World (WDW) is like asking someone how many times they been to the movies. I just couldn’t possibly count. Between all the childhood trips with my family, working there during my college years, and visiting almost every weekend when I lived in Florida, I consider it more of a home than any apartment I’ve lived in since I left my parent’s house.

What I’m saying is, I kinda like the place. Which is why I was excited when The Healthy Hoff asked me to write a piece about all the delicious vegan food I ate on my most recent trip. What’s that you say? VEGAN food at a theme park?!?! No, we’re not talkin’ cotton candy and food on a stick (although there’s plenty of that to be had, if that’s what you’re looking for). Walt Disney World boasts some of the finest dining in the country, including a AAA 5 Diamond awarded restaurant, as well as venues from celebrity chefs like Todd English, Cat Cora, and Wolfgang Puck.

Between four theme parks, two water parks, 2 shopping/nighttime districts, and 20+ hotels on property, you could stay at Walt Disney World for a month and still not eat at all of their restaurants.  WDW is 47 square miles (twice the size of Manhattan island!), so it’s not an exaggeration to say that it is its own city. Walt Disney World has a Head Chef for the entire resort, as well as Executive Chefs at each theme park. They even have their own greenhouses at the Land pavilion at Epcot (talk about eating local—you can order a salad featuring the cucumbers you just floated past on the boat ride!).

If I tried to list every vegetarian/vegan option available on property, I’d fill a novel, so I’m just going to recap the awesome meals that I had on my latest trip. I also feel compelled, given the nature of this blog, to give the disclaimer that I would not describe myself as, uh, healthy, per se. I mean, an unintentional side effect of being vegan is that I eat better than 95% of middle America, but I’m not one to count calories or limit myself in any way beyond the whole i-don’t-wanna-eat-dead-animals thing. So you’ll notice in the photos that my nutritious salads are accompanied with alcohol and copious amounts of dairy-free cupcakes, haha. It’s a vacation, after all, right?

Speaking of cupcakes, let’s start off with a recent addition to WDW, the vegan bakery from BabyCakes NYC.  They currently have only three locations in the country, and Downtown Disney is one of them! Everything they make is vegan, and most items are also gluten free and organic. The cupcakes are sweetened with agave nectar, which is a low glycemic sweetener that is kinder to your blood sugar levels than refined sugar or that dreaded high fructose corn syrup that is commonly found in sweets. Agave is also the magic ingredient behind my friend, tequila.

BabyCakes at Downtown Disney has a walk-up stand where you can purchase goodies from the case, but you can also call ahead and order birthday cakes and other treats, which they will ship to any restaurant on Disney property. So, for example, if your birthday boy or girl suffers from gluten allergies, they can still go to Chef Mickey’s buffet and see the characters, but they can also enjoy an allergy-friendly birthday cake made just for them!

I went a little crazy and ordered several “cupcake tops,” which are like Seinfeld’s muffin tops, but with icing. The icing is made with coconut oil, which according to their website does all kinds of awesome things for you, including boosting your metabolism. It would probably be completely incorrect and irresponsible of me to promote cupcakes as a weight-loss plan, but I decided to eat as many as I could to test that theory.

I wanted to take some home, but the very friendly and knowledgeable baker behind the counter informed me that they probably wouldn’t last much past my walk out to the parking lot in the 95 degree, so-humid-you’re-almost-breathing-water, Central Florida weather. I did successfully transport a bag of cookies back to Cleveland with little to no melting, as well as some Pumpkin Bread (the featured flavors of the day change, so my first day I had carrot cake, and my last day I had pumpkin…perfect excuse to visit on every day of your trip!)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hoff Hit: Muscle & Fat

Muscle burns fat in your sleep - in your sleep people!  Hit the weights!

The Healthy Hoff's Major Award!!!

The Healthy Hoff, aka me has made it to the finalist round of my employer's most prestigious honor, a Chairman's Award!!!

This is a HUGE deal.  You are nominated and selected by your peers.

This year, my company has undertaken an initiative to promote health and wellness to all  it's employees.  As a result, a new category was added to this 15th Annual Celebration  - the Health & Wellness category, in which The Hoff was nominated!

To be considered, you must demonstrate a high level of commitment and personal initiative to living a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition, exercise, preventive care and work/life balance as well as approach a healthy lifestyle management passionately and enthusiastically, which motivates others to do the same.

I am super excited and very touched that someone would take the time to nominate me and completely blown away to make it to the finalist round - not an easy feat.

Aside from this honor, I get to participate in some pretty cool activities over the course of three days - did I mention my company takes this award very, very seriously?

I am among two other finalists - fingers crossed!

The Hoff

Ask The Hoff: Where Can I Find Hoff Reviewed Documentaries?

Dear Healthy Hoff,

I really enjoy reading your documentary reviews and would like to watch some of them. Where can I find them?

Doc Watcher

Dear Doc Watcher,

The majority of docs I review can be found through Netflix or Amazon Prime.  For the most part they are available through the TV streaming feature and some are available through Instant View via your computer.  Some docs such as Processed People and Eating, I had to purchase.  An even more limited few are available to view online, such as The Gerson Miracle - but those I typically call-out in the review.

Happy Watching!
The Hoff

Gotta question for The Healthy Hoff?  Hit me up at

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vegan Zombie!

Yeah, that's right, I said Vegan Zombie!

The Vegan Zombie is an online zombie themed cooking show and it rocks!

John, the creator has been a vegan for 16 years; mix in a love of horror movies and you get...The Vegan Zombie!

These video shorts are hysterical - but beyond that, the episodes are incredibly well-made (someone went to film school) and you might actually learn a thing or two about cooking vegan and protecting yourself from zombies.  And my mother says you can't learn anything from watching tv- ha!

Vegan Zombie is not for the squeamish or the kiddies, there are quite a few zombies getting their heads blown off, so be prepared to be entertained prepared for violence.

Food Network - give this guy a show!
The Hoff

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Doc: Processed People

"Processed People" is worth your time to watch.

What makes this doc unique is that is poses a variety of questions to a broad spectrum of nutrition and health experts.  Each of which weigh in with their own perspective.  For the most part, the experts agree with each other.  There are a few rare instances in which they do not, which leads one to believe that the experts were not specifically selected for a particular angle, giving you a well-rounded perspective.

Here's a sampling of the questions:
  • Why are we fat?
  • What is health?
  • Do we need to eat animal products?
  • What's a processed person?

Some of the experts:
  • John McDougall, MD
  • Joel Fuhrman, MD
  • Caldwell Esselstyn, MD
  • Pam Popper, PhD

Be sure to check out the Special Features, where there is over 2 hours of extended interview footage that is just as eye opening.

Check out the trailer:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Event: 53rd Annual Milan Melon Festival

53rd Annual Milan Melon Festival

Home of watermelon sherbet & muskmelon ice cream!

When: Labor Day Weekend: 9/3/11 - 9/5/11 
Where: Milan, Ohio: (12 miles south of Cedar Point at the intersection of U.S. 250 and S.R. 113)

"This annual event has drawn crowds in excess of 50,000 people to the Milan Village Square for more than 50 consecutive years."

For more info visit:

Monday, August 22, 2011

A New Coffee Romance...HoffTea!

Until recently, I had my weekend coffee routine down to a science.

Adding cinnamon to the coffee grounds before brewing (a delightful surprise) and then taking my coffee with one tablespoon of blackstrap molasses and six tablespoons of  Coffee-mate Fat Free French Vanilla Creamer.  The molasses gives the coffee a nice earthy foundation and a healthy shot of potassium, while the French Vanilla is pure heaven.

I can hear the descent brewing - how could The Healthy Hoff willfully ingest such an unnatural substance?!?!

It was my one and only vice, people! In fact, I don't think I even like coffee, it was merely a delivery tool for my beloved Mr. French.  I would have panic attacks when running low.  I had to have two bottles on hand at all times to prevent such a catastrophe!

But, having recently given up oil...I found myself at a crossroads.  Mr. French and I needed to take a break.  I had to explore other fish in the sea and try as hard as it may be - to replace my coveted Mr. French.

I searched high and low and tried many, many concoctions and I am happy to reveal that I have in fact found my new love...

Adding lose leaf tea (I prefer berry infused) to the coffee grounds as well as cinnamon not only fills the house with a most excellent aroma, but it mellows out the bitterness of the coffee - leaving behind a smooth, rich and most yummy experience that will have you begging for more.  Add to that one tablespoon molasses, two tablespoons agave nectar and about 1/4 cup alternative milk of choice and it's curtains for trans fat ladened cream!

I'm sorry it had to end this way - it was a good run while it lasted, but you're just no good for me.

Sianoha Frenchie!
The Hoff

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Event: 14th Annual Instrumental Evening for the Earth

*Artwork by Ralph Solonitz
Reposted Courtesy of The Earth Day Coalition

Tickets are now on sale for the 14th Annual Instrumental Evening for the Earth hosted by The Earth Day Coalition.

When: 11.10.11
Time: 6:00pm - 9:30pm
Where: West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church: 20401 Hilliard Blvd. Rocky River, Ohio 44116
Cost: $100 per person

The evening will include:

A gourmet reception by local, organic and sustainable restaurants from Cleveland. Current caterers include: Gypsy Beans & Baking Co., Don's Lighthouse, Nature's Bin and Luxe Kitchen & Lounge

Green Silent Auction featuring an exciting array of earth-friendly items, eco-vacations, services, one-of-a-kind outings and unique packages highlighting a variety of Greater Cleveland neighborhoods.

World Class Chamber Music by Daniel McKelway and Lembi Veskimets of the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra. They will be joined by additional members of the orchestra and friends for an intimate candle-lit musical performance.

Click here for more details.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Eat Vegan on $4 a Day

Check out this new book from author, Ellen Jaffe Jones, "Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day: A Game Plan for the Budget Conscious Cook"

"Readers will learn how to adapt their favorite recipes, cook with beans and grains, and use bulk buying to get big savings. Includes nearly 100 nutritious, delicious and low cost recipes and a week's worth of menu- planning ideas that show how the recipes can be combined to get a cost of $4 a day."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Eating Out: The "Healthy" Way

Eating out can be challenging when one wants to do so while not sabotaging their healthy ways.  It's for this reason that I make the majority of my meals.  But that can get boring, mountainous and some days you just don't feel like cooking!

Then there are the days when your friends/co-workers say, "lets go to lunch!"  You can't resist because sometimes you need a break and you crave social interaction (totally understandable).

So when these times kick in for me, I do two things:
  1. Demand to know where we are going beforehand (usually people just let me pick, it's easier)
  2. Check out the menu for said destination to determine my order based on nutrition info and not menu description
When a non-chain, local restaurant is chosen (my fav), number two is no longer an option.  So, I hit the internet and do a Google search for the healthiest things to eat for that certain cuisine.  I just so happened to run across a nice little list from BeachBody (P90-X), so I thought I'd share it with you.

The Hoff

Reposted courtesy of BeachBody:


Get steamed: Order steamed rice, not fried, and go with brown rice if they have it—it has extra fiber.

Veg out: Look for the dishes that are mostly vegetables and are steamed rather than fried. If you order dishes like beef and broccoli, ask them for extra broccoli.

Soup it up: Egg-drop, wonton, and hot-and-sour soups are good low-cal, low-fat options (although they usually have plenty of sodium, so no extra soy sauce!). Fill up on some soup and put away half your entrée for later.

Grease: Stay away from deep-fried dishes like egg rolls, crispy orange chicken, General Tso's chicken, sweet-and-sour pork, etc.

Lay off the sauce: Watch out for sauces made with corn syrup or oil. Request low sauce or no sauce. An order of kung pao chicken seems healthy but it's sautéed in enough oil that it can have up to 76 grams of fat—more than an entire day's worth. If possible, ask how it's prepared.

Pass up the salt: Ask for low-salt options. Don't use the full-sodium soy sauce packets that come with your meal. Instead, invest in your own bottle of low-sodium soy sauce. Also, make sure your restaurant is one of the many that no longer use monosodium glutamate (MSG) in their dishes.

Switch it up: For dinner combos, see if you can substitute healthier options for the normal items. For example, at my Panda Express®, they'll give me an extra serving of steamed vegetables instead of the side of starchy chow mein or fried rice that it typically comes with.


More veggies: Load up on veggie toppings like peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, fresh garlic, jalapeños, etc.

Less fat and/or less cheese: Ask for low-fat cheese, or ask them to use half the cheese.

Defeat the meat: Try to stay away from fatty meat toppings like pepperoni, meatballs, and sausage. Instead, try leaner options like Canadian bacon, chicken, or shrimp.

Bust the crust: Not all pizzas are created equal, and neither are their crusts. Most pizza chains list nutrition info on their Web sites. So make sure you take a look before ordering to ensure the smartest choice.


Lighten up:
Many of the same tips for Chinese food apply to Thai food as well. Try to get steamed brown rice and lots of vegetables and stay away from heavy sauces and high-sodium dishes.

Don't get saucy: Satay is a good option, but try not to use too much of the peanut dipping sauce, if any; that's where your calories will start to add up.

Don't go (coco)nuts: Watch the coconut milk. It's delicious, but usually extremely fattening. Try to look for dishes flavored with ginger, citrus, curry, or chilies instead. Or ask if they can prepare your dish with low-fat coconut milk.

Hold the milk: Thai restaurants offer a lot of delicious low-fat soups that you can fill up on. They also have some soups that are high in fat because of coconut milk. Try and order soups that don't include it. And as with all soups, keep an eye on the sodium.

Green and lean: Thai cuisine includes many salads that are a meal in themselves, such as Yum Nuah (beef salad) or Pla Goong (grilled shrimp salad). Many of these have simple lime juice dressings that are low in fat. But, as with American salads, caveat emptor, and ask the restaurant what's in the dressing.

Go fish (or tofu): Check out the fish and tofu options. Even more than their Chinese counterparts, Thai restaurants have lots of dishes that feature seafood and tofu. And if you don't care for either, the Thai spices might just help you overcome your aversion.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Online Store Alert: Buy Momma!

Check out Buy Momma, a new online store featuring: handmade organic skin care products, children's apparel, shoes and stuffed animals, most of which are naturally made, and/or made from "upcycled" materials.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Keep It Healthy While Traveling

Going away for a vaca or business and worried about maintaining your vegetarian or vegan desires?

Do a little research before departing.

Check out Happy Cow or Trip Advisor to search by location and dietary preferences.

With just a few minutes of homework, you'll get a list of diet friendly restaurants to suit your personal needs.

I recently did this for a summer vacation spot that I have been hitting for years.  Having a list of vegan friendly restaurants in my back pocket not only made the trip less stressful but it also put a whole new spin on a town I thought I knew.

I also searched my home town and found some treasures I wasn't even aware was in my backyard.

Fun Fact: Headed to Vegas?  Check out the Wynn and Encore hotels.  Steve Wynn, the owner is vegan - so he made sure every restaurant in his hotels has vegan options!!! 

Click here for more tips

Travel Well!
The Hoff

Sunday, August 14, 2011

VegiTerranean Review

Over the weekend, I dined at VegiTerranean - a vegan restaurant located in the hometown (Akron, OH) of rocker, Chrissie Hynde!


VegiTerranean is 100% vegan and kosher, with gluten-free capabilities.  

It was so freeing to be able to order anything from the menu and not have to scrutinize or alter it.  They even have an outstanding array of vegan desserts.  So much so, that I found myself ordering two desserts; one for there and one for the road.

The staff is also amazing - so friendly, so attentive.  Our waiter, Skip made our evening outstanding.

The restaurant is set amidst a newly constructed condo development in downtown Akron.  It is so modern and sleek with touches of Pretender's memorabilia throughout that you will think you were transported to a posh New York City establishment.

Having been my first time there and celebrating my birthday, I went a little overboard.  

Dinner began with the best bread of my life!  Followed by an appetizer (really a side item) of Chrissie “Best You’ve Ever Had” Fries.  These were good, but the Sweet Potato Fries were better.  Yes, that's right - two orders of fries.  Soup of the day was Broccoli "Cheese," that I could not resist.  For my main meal, I had the Chick’n Fried Portobello Steak - Tomato Basil Pan Cream Gravy, White Bean Mashed Potatoes and Braised Greens.

And then there was dessert...

Vegan bakery is hard to come by in the Cleveland area, so when I do find it, I get a little overindulgent.  I simply had to try the Lemon Cake with Raspberry filling and the Chocolate Raspberry filled Cupcake. OMG people - that's all I can say.

Thank you Chrissie Hynde for sharing your vegan lifestyle and bringing a such an awesome restaurant to an area in which trendy and vegan is a foreign concept.  VegiTerranean is truly a vegan treasure and I hope it thrives for years to come and spawns more dining establishments of the same caliber.

Check it Out:
21 Furnace St. Akron, OH 44308

Lunch: 11a - 3p
/ Dinner: 5p - 10p

Full bar: 11a onward

Dinner & Full bar: 1p - 9p

Healthy Hoff Approved!
The Hoff

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ellen DeGeneres Launches Vegan Website!!!!

Super excited to announce a brand new vegan website from Ellen DeGeneres!!!

Going Vegan with Ellen

Having been a vegetarian for many years, Ellen has decided to go vegan and wanted to develop a website for others making the transition.

Now, now - don't dismiss this valuable resource just because you're not vegan or vegetarian - having a meat-free meal at least once per week will do your waistline, health and wallet some good.  Go wild and have an entire vegan day - oh no, she didn't!

Bookmark this site and reference it for recipe ideas, tips and to learn about famous vegans (very inspirational)!  Some celeb vegans that may shock you: Mike Tyson, Steve-O and Woody Harrelson!

There's a bunch of other stuff, including a blog!

Check out Ellen's reasoning behind going vegan:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ground Turkey Recall!

In case you haven't been following the news, there is a Mass Recall on Ground Turkey.

There has been an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to eating ground turkey.  So far 77 cases have been reported across the country.

There have been 10 illnesses documented in Ohio (the highest in the country so far) and at least one in Cuyahoga County.  There has been one fatality, but that was not in Ohio.

Specific Info:
Cargill Recall

How to tell if you have Salmonella poisoning:

Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Most people recover without treatment but in rare cases hospitalization is necessary.

How long has this been going on?

What disturbs me most is that this recalls reaches back to February 2011.  Seriously, seven months has to go by before the public is notified?  What exactly does the USDA do - sit on their asses until someone dies apparently.  Heaven forbid profits drop for these precious companies who can't manage to produce safe food.

Be Cautious!
The Hoff

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

L'Paige Lipstick: Natural, Long-lasting

L'Paige's Natural, Long-lasting!

I recently became aware of this line of lipstick and immediately had to try it, unfortunately I am less than impressed.

First I tried the Green Lipstick, that changes color based on your body chemistry, thus guaranteeing the perfect shade for you.  I was looking forward to watching the green transform, but while the lipstick is green, it goes on clear and instantly changes to pink.  Oh well, but the pink made me look like an old lady! Is my body telling me I'm an old lady!?!?  This became apparently clear when I pressed a friend of mine, Das Baldwin for her opinion, which resulted in the smile, long pause - translation: "Girl, what the hell were you thinking?!?!"

Then I tried the Black Lipstick that changes to a red...more startled reactions.

Next I tried the non-changing Coral color...more old lady-ness!!!!

The only lipstick I was mildly impressed with was the clear Lip Gloss.

So, the colors are bad, what about the claim to lasting throughout the day?

Long-lasting my ass.  I am impressed that it does not rub off on a drinking glass or your teeth, but after your first meal, kiss "most" of the color goodbye.  I say most because it leaves enough color behind for people to stare with wonder.  Yeah, that's what I'm aiming for.

I will say that the Aloe Vera (one of the natural ingredients) does leave your lips moisturized.

Beyond that the colors are sooooo 1980's, probably because this line launched in 1984.  The rich cream look is NOT in fashion and hasn't been for some time.  Even the lipstick cases and packaging are dated.

Someday I shall be united with a natural, long-lasting lipstick.

Until then...the search continues,
The Hoff

Monday, August 8, 2011

Check it Out!, run by a Clevelander (awesome), gets Healthy Hoff props for creating an extensive directory of green, organic and sustainable goods and services.

Check it out!
The Hoff

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ask The Hoff: How Do You Find The Time?!?!

Dear Hoff,

You are always writing about making things from scratch - how do you find the time?

Time Challenged

Hi Time Challenged!

I hear ya - I always feel like I don't have enough time for all the things I want to do, but I find the time for the things that are most important - one of those being, eating!  I take what I eat very seriously, because I believe that has a direct affect on one's health.  Therefore, finding time to make what I can from scratch is invaluable.

Here's how I do it:

Friday Night
I know it doesn't sound fun, but I do my grocery shopping every Friday night.  I spend my week researching new recipes and meal ideas, so I actually look forward to getting what I need to make those things come to life.  I immediately wash all produce (berries excluded) when I get home, so everything is ready to go when I want them.  I also leave the non-perishable ingredients of what I am making within the next two days on the counter instead of putting them away.

Saturday Morning
I spend about an hour or less every Saturday morning chopping everything I need for the week and preparing the rice for my Rice Milk.

Sunday Morning
On Sunday mornings, I use the pre-soaked rice to make the Rice Milk, I use the pre-chopped veggies to assemble Hoff's No Salad, Salad for my weekly lunches, I make enough Smoothies for two days, I make up water bottles (I take two re-purposed Snapple bottles filled with filtered water to work with me daily), pasta salad for the week in the summer and soup for the week in the winter and any special extras for the week: hummus, syrup, dips, etc.

So there you have it, I break everything into succinct daily tasks that if done all at once, would take half a day or more, which would suck!  Now that I have done all this prep work, I have very little to do during the week other than cook dinner, exercise and go to work of course.  A little planning really does go a long way.

Take Charge!
The Hoff

Gotta question for The Healthy Hoff?  Hit me up at

Congratulations, Healthy Hoff Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Suzy!

An overwhelming majority believe that the residue coating the apples is...wax!

This disturbs me greatly.  Had I not washed the apples in a salt bath, this wax would never have been visible and since soap and water can't remove it, I suspect that as we all think we are getting our produce clean enough to eat, we sadly may not be.

Had I just consulted the Ohio Seasonal Produce Chart, I would have realized that I was eating out of season and therefore ensuring I was not getting locally grown and hopefully (fingers crossed) residue free apples from our very own orchards.  They taste the better anyway.

Suzy from Clarksfield Township, Ohio - you were the first to respond with the correct diagnosis, email ( your address and I will get your Healthy Hoff Hat in the mail ASAP!

Congratulations and thank you for your interest in The Healthy Hoff!
The Hoff

Healthy Hoff Contest!!!

Hey Everybody!

First person who can tell me why my apples have a white, stubborn, residue on them, wins a  
Healthy Hoff Hat!

Here's what I know:

  • I washed my apples in a salt bath as I normally do
  • Residue appeared after the bath
  • Soaking in white vinegar did nothing
  • Scrubbing with soap and water lifted it a bit
  • I have no idea what it is, but I will be the judge of all answers and the most reasonable WINS!
Good Luck!
The Hoff

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hoff's Sweet Potato Burrito

Hoff's Sweet Potato Burrito
Yields: 6 Burritos

Photo Courtesy:
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 1 Sweet Onion - halved
  • 1 cup Brown Rice
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 can Black Beans - rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 Lime - halved
  • 6 Whole Wheat Soft Shell Tacos

  1. On a tin foil lined baking sheet, place Sweet Potato and Onion (cut side down).  Fold up tin foil around each and bake in oven for 1 hour at 400 degrees.
  2. In a rice cooker, add Rice, Water and juice from 1/2 of the Lime and set to cook.
  3. Once Rice has cooked and the rice cooker switches to "warm," stir in black beans and allow to warm, while Sweet Potato and Onion continue to cook.
  4. After an hour, poke Sweet Potato with a fork to ensure it is soft and ready, cut in half.  If peel does not readily come off, scoop Sweet Potato out with a spoon and add to rice cooker.
  5. Using a fork to steady the Onion, cut up enough for personal taste (refrigerate the rest for another meal) and add to rice cooker.
  6. Add Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids, Cumin and juice from the other 1/2 of Lime to rice cooker and mix well.
  7. Assemble burritos and enjoy!
Bon Appétit!
The Hoff

Friday, August 5, 2011

How Do You Wash Your Veggies?

As soon as I get home from the store or Farmer's Market, I throw all fruits and vegetables into a salt bath.

I fill up the sink with cold water and grind sea salt into the water.  I say grind because you're supposed to use sea salt powder, but I can't find that anywhere.  You can't use the whole sea salt because it will take forever for the salt to dissolve.  So, I say ground sea salt is the next best thing.

Then I throw everything into the bath and let it soak for about an hour.

You will see a film appear on the surface of the water - this is the germs, pesticides, waxes and general dirt lifting off your precious cargo.  You may need to take a vegetable brush to certain items such as potatoes.

Next, wash each item off in cold water and either dry with a paper towel or allow to air dry before tucking them into their new temporary living arrangements.  In the summer, I like to throw my produce into a dish strainer to dry.

When I'm short on time or only have a few things, I will spray each item down with 100% white vinegar, let sit for a few minutes and then rinse with cold water.  I keep a spray bottle filled with vinegar for such tasks.

Be sure to remove those pesky stickers before soaking - once wet, they can be a pain to remove.  I just learned that those stickers are edible - I don't care, I still don't want to eat them.

Now your fruits and veggies are readily available at a moments notice!  One less dreaded chore to slow down your meal preparations - trust me you're going to love it!

Be Clean My Friends,
The Hoff

P.S. You may have noticed that I had my watermelon and cantaloupe in the bath.  You may not eat the rinds of these types of items, but once you cut into the rind, you drag whatever was lurking on the outside all the way through your produce via the knife...that guy who didn't wash his hands after using the facilities and fondled each melon in search of the perfect one, those spiders that crawl into the crates during transit, the mice...need I go on?  And to that I say eww.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Quick & Easy Lunch

Here's an idea for a quick and healthy meal that requires no prep, travels well and is cheap: 

Lentil Rice Soup

You can use any Lentil Canned Soup, but I'm partial to Progresso's Lentil Soup, the pop top makes it convenient to assemble this meal at work or on the go.  Add to this one Minute Rice Ready to Serve Brown Wild Rice cup.  Heat & Enjoy!

For you fiber conscious folks, you'll get 15 grams in one meal!!!!

Just remember a bowl and spoon!

Pair this with the Hoff's No Salad Salad and your tummy will be satisfied until snack time.

And if you work in a meat locker like I do, soup in the summer won't seem so odd.

Bon Appetit!
The Hoff

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Event: Blue Pike Farm August Events Calendar

Re-post Courtesy of Blue Pike Farm

Blue Pike Farm 
Calendar of Events: August 2011
East 72nd Street, Cleveland OH 44114

August 4th, 4-7pm
Fourth Annual  BBQ & Peach Festival at the Farmers Market at Blue Pike Farm.

If you've been holding off visiting the Blue Pike Farm Farmer's Market this summer, now is the time to give in to your basest urges for award winning BBQ ribs. Wild Bill's BBQ will be back to reprise his summer of 2010 success. Peaches from Woolfs Family Farms, Peach Cobbler from Lucy's Sweet Surrender, special treats from Kevin's Creative Cuisine and more. It promises to be the most exciting event of the summer one.

August 20th, 9am - 12pm
BugFest 2011 at beautiful, pastoral idyllic Blue Pike Farm.
Free and open to the public.

Do you know what's been bugging you this summer? Want to know what, if anything to do about it?

Join us, fellow buggees at the 2nd Annual Bugfest at Blue Pike Farm. Romp with us through the beneficial bug habitat at Blue Pike Farm in search of creatures large and small.

Dr. Mary Gardiner, PhD of the OHIO AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER and several of her graduate students will conduct a morning workshop about good bugs and bad bugs in your garden. Dr. Gardiner will also present some preliminary findings on her team's research on predatory insect populations in urban gardens and farms, honey bee colony health and other concurrent research. Blue Pike Farm regularly collaborates in various research projects with O.S.U. and C.S.U. students and faculty.

Bring your favorite bug samples for identification, a magnifying glass and a bug net if you have one plus a comfortable chair too.

Reservations are limited and required. Write to with "bugfest reservation" in the subject line.


Blue Pike Farm and The Charmed Kitchen are teaming up to present a series of food preservation workshops in August.

The three different sessions will be held on Tuesdays  Aug 2, 9 and 16th from 6:00 P.M. until 8:30 P.M. at beautiful, idyllic Blue Pike Farm at 900 E. 72nd St., Cleveland, OH. Each session will repeat on the following Saturday (6, 13, 20th)  from 10:00 A.M.until 12:30.

All three sessions will cover the information you need to get the most out of your garden and summer produce specials. From canning basics to freezing, you’ll learn how to safely store many fruits and vegetables. You’ll also get recipes using fresh, frozen and canned produce. Learn how to make super salsa and pie fillings and much more. Each participant will take home a sample jar of the days product.

Pickle Barrel - (August 2nd & 6th)  From old-fashioned crock pickles to pickled peaches this class will teach all you need to know to make tasty pickled products for home and gifts. You’ll get to taste several pickled products and learn how to use them in cooking. You’ll get recipes for cucumbers and other pickles. You also learn how to make tasty relishes including one that uses up all those green tomatoes. There will also be recipes for home.

Preserving Fruit and making Jams: (August 9th &13th) Preserving fruits and making homemade jams and jellies can be very rewarding and fun, too. You’ll learn the basics of preserving fruit and making jams, jellies, preserves, conserves and marmalades. There will be food to sample in class and everyone will have a jar of preserves to take home. Recipes included.

Totally Terrific Tomatoes:
(August 16th & 20th) Tomatoes are powerhouses of nutrition and very versatile. Fresh, cooked or dried they can be used in salads, sauces, soups and more. In class we will learn how to make the most of this tasty food. You will also learn how to preserve fresh tomatoes by dehydrating, freezing and canning. Plenty to sample in class and recipes for home.

Each session is $30.00 with discounts for Blue Pike Farm 2011 CSA members and BPF email recipients.

Blue Pike Farm is the first farm started in Cleveland in the 21st Century and is located at 900 E. 72nd St. in the hood at the gateway to the beautiful St. Clair / Superior neighborhood. Blue Pike Farm has been internationally recognized as the 'best' farm on E. 72nd St for 5 consecutive years.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Free eBook: The Seven Secrets to Being a Cool Vegetarian

Get your free eBook courtesy of The Cool Vegetarian, just by supplying your First & Last name and email address.  I received my link to download the book within a few minutes.

Photo Courtesy:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Quick Meal Idea: Teriyaki Salmon

I used to enjoy this super quick, lost cost meal during my Prescetarian days (a vegetarian who eats fish).

This meal feeds two for dinner or makes a great work lunch for two days.

A Meal For Two:
  1. Cook Rice according to package
  2. Divide Rice into two portions (one package is about 2 cups)
  3. Heat Green Beans divided into two portions
  4. Heat Salmon
  5. Plate and Eat!
For Lunch:
  1. Divide Rice into two containers (I like Pyrex or Anchor Hocking glass containers)
  2. Top with Green Beans divided into two portions
  3. Top with Salmon, allowing the marinade to flow over the Green Beans and Rice
No need to heat any of this ahead of time.  Simply heat the meal all together once lunchtime rolls around.

Bon Appetit!
The Hoff