Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Plant-Based Show: How To Live To 100!!!

I'm super excited to check out the Cooking Channel's new Plant-Based show,
"How To Live To 100", premiering January 6, 2013 at 8pm ET/5pm PT)!!!

"Detroit-born chef, Jason Wrobel, dishes up a sublime fusion of food and humor as host of the new Cooking Channel special, How To Live To 100. Known as the "King of Superfoods," which are powerful ingredients proven to increase your longevity, Jason turns up the heat and whips them up into culinary masterpieces."

It's about time these food networks put something together for us veggie lovers!

My DVR is already set!

Check it out!
The Hoff

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Honey Mustard Dressing

Honey Mustard Dressing
Yields: 1/2 cup
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 2 tbsp plain Almond Milk
  • 2 tbsp Grey Poupon Mustard
  • 2 tbsp Yellow Mustard
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Cashews
  • Juice from 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt

  1. Blend ingredients together

My2Cents: Use it as a salad dressing or to spruce up veggies like cauliflower!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hoff Hit: Fluffy Rice

To achieve fluffy rice, always stir rice with a fork instead of a spoon.

The fork will infuse the rice with air, while the spoon will leave you flat.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hoff Hit: Stop the Splatter!

My walls know all too well when I am attempting to pour things like spaghetti sauce.

But, here's a trick to avoid that dreaded splattering!

Pour the sauce over a  mixing spoon and that shall cut down on your clean-up!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seasonal Eating: Winter

Despite the lack of snow, today marks the first day of Winter in Ohio.

With the change in season comes a change in seasonal eating habits.

To eat seasonally, means to consume foods that are grown in your region for the current time of year.  It does not mean consuming strawberries in the dead of Winter flown in from another hemisphere.  Eating seasonally enables you to consume food when it's at it's peak in flavor & nutrient value.  Listen to your body, you're probably not craving a cold, crisp salad right now, but I bet a bowl of steaming, hearty soup can get you salivating.

Yes, you can get anything you want year round, but that's not the way we were designed to eat.  And doing so tends to throw us out of balance.  "The body naturally needs different foods during specific times of the year—foods that protect us from the effects of seasonal changes—say experts such as Elson M. Haas, MD, author of Staying Healthy with the Seasons (Celestial Arts, 2004)."

Winter Eating

Winter is the time to reserve energy & rest and there are Winter specific foods designed to help us achieve this.  You want to consume hardier, warming foods at this time of year - think root vegetables, beans & seaweed.  These types of foods take longer to digest and therefore better support our core temperature.

Here's what to look for until Spring blossoms...

Winter Foods
  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chestnuts
  • Clementine
  • Collard Greens
  • Dates
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruits
  • Kumquats 
  • Leeks
  • Meyer Lemons
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Oranges
  • Parsnips 
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Radicchio
  • Rhubarb
  • Rutabagas
  • Snap Peas
  • Sprouts (homegrown)
  • Sunchokes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Turnips 
  • Winter Greens (Arugula, Collards, Kale, Lettuce, Spinach, Swiss Chard)
  • Winter Squash (Acorn, Butternut, Calabaza, Delicata, Hubbard, Pumpkin, Spaghetti)

    If this list is too long to remember, just hit your local farmers market - they won't have anything that's out of season for your area.


    Winter is the time to switch to longer cooking methods at lower temperatures.  Think soups, stews & chili simmering on the stove top or dust off that slow cooker.  Try roasting a variety of root vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces and tossed with flavored vinegar & your favorite seasonings.

    Learn More

    Check out the NRDC Smarter Living website to see what's in season for your state!


    Download the free NRDC Eat Local App from iTunes to help you figure out which foods are in season  when you're out & about!

    So, while the dietician in your head is screaming, "Order the damn salad!" your body is saying, "Hey man, I just want some soup."  Listen to your body, not your head.

    Keep it Seasonal!
    The Hoff

    Seasonal Eating: Spring, Summer, Fall


    Event: Cleveland New Year's Eve, Veg Style

    Ring in the New Year with these 
    Vegan/Vegetarian friendly 
    Cleveland events!

    Vegan Friendly

    New Year's Eve Gourmet Menu
    Chef Jonathon Sawyer has created a nine-course, gourmet tasting menu for the celebration; vegetarian and omnivore menus available; vegan selections available with advance notice.
    Where: Greenhouse Tavern
    Cost: $134 per person w/wine, $89 without
    Reservations required - indicate vegan

    Celebration of Consciousness Annual New Year's Eve Party
    Yoga, Potluck, Kirtan, Drumming, Meditation & More!
    Where: Studio Cleveland - Thai, Yoga, Massage & Art Gallery
    Time: 10:00am - 2:00am
    Cost: $20-$40 per person
    Reservations required

    New Year's Eve Dinner
    Enjoy exclusive offerings from regular menu, plus some oh, so special additions including Seafood Pot Pie, Rack of Lamb, and Veal Chop.  Vegan option available.  Champagne toast at midnight!
    Where: Crop Bistro & Bar
    Reservations required - indicate vegan 

    New Year's Eve Dinner
    Contemporary American six course tasting menu w/glass of bubbles. Champagne toast at midnight!
    Where: Bistro185
    Time: Three Seatings: 5:00, 7:00, 9:00pm
    Cost: $95 per person 
    Reservations required - indicate vegan

    Hang out in the bar or listen to Besto spin and scratch old school hip hop on a real sound system in the show space. Bass in yo face!
    Where: Now That's Class
    Time: 9:00pm - ?
    Cost: Free admission (food extra)

    Vegetarian Friendly

    New Year's Eve Prix Fixe Dinner
    Bling in the New Year with Spice! Last year’s New Years event was a sell- out smash, so we’re bringing it back for year two. Special vegetarian & vegan menus being offered along with regular New Year's menu.  
    Where: Spice Kitchen +Bar 
    Time: Two seatings: 6:30pm & 9:30pm
    Cost: $100 per person w/wine, $75 without
    Reservations required - indicate vegetarian/vegan

    New Year's Eve Service & Vegetarian Potluck
    All are welcome to join us as we ring in 2013 with meditation, chanting, the traditional Passing of the Light and an Incense Offering. A vegetarian potluck celebration will follow the service.
    Where: The Zen Center of Cleveland
    Time: 6:30pm - ?
    Reservations required

    Celebrate New Year's Eve!
    Live DJ, party favors, bowling, free champagne toast at midnight!  Vegetarian items offered on regular menu. 
    Reservations required - indicate vegetarian

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    Sprout Mixes

    Been sprouting one type of a seed at a time?

    That's so last season.

    Open up your world to Sprouting Mixes!

    Sprouting mixes offer you a vast world of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.  It's like sprouting on steroids, because you're combining various types of foods at their peak state of nutrition!  You also get some pretty unique flavor combinations.

    You can create your own mixes by simply pairing seeds together that sprout within the same time frame.  But, if that's too hands on, check out these fascinating sprout mixes:

    Mixes Available from Sprout People:

    Beanie's Awesome Mix: Green, Crimson & Red Chief Lentils, Green, Marrowfat & Yellow Peas, Beige Garbanzos and Adzukis

    French Garden: Clover, Arugula, Cress, Radish, Fenugreek, Dill

    Halloween Treat: Black Garbanzos & Orange Lentils

    Italian Blend: Clover, Garlic, Cress

    Mother's Mix: Red Clover, Alfalfa, Broccoli, Fenugreek, Natural & Black Sesame & Garlic Chive

    Neville's Midnight Moon (Mix #47): French Blue & Crimson Lentils and Speckled Peas

    Nick's Hot Sprout Salad: Clover, Radish, Fenugreek, Mustard, Dill, Cress and Celery

    Oriental Greens: Alfalfa, Clover, Oriental Mustard, Mizuna and Tatsoi

    Russian Mix: Clover, Onion, Mustard, Dill, Fenugreek

    San Francisco Mix: Peanuts, Mung Bean, Adzuki Bean, Black, Crimson, Eston, French Blue & Green Lentils, Green, Speckled & Bill Jump Peas, Black, Brown & Beige Garbanzos

    Spicy Mix: Alfalfa, Clover, Radish, Fenugreek

    And that is just scratching the surface of what's available...

    Yes, there are more to sprouts than bean & alfalfa - get out there and explore!

    Sprout Happy!
    The Hoff

    Monday, December 17, 2012

    Amazing Carving - Not Your Mother's Centerpiece

    Standout from the rest of the parties with your very own customized vegan centerpiece or fruit platter!

    Amazing Carving of Brunswick, OH will give your party a healthy flair with edible fruit & vegetable carvings for any occasion!

    Check out these amazing creations!

    Check out Amazing Carving or contact Svetlana Partem: or 440.212.9046 to order your special piece today!

    Saturday, December 15, 2012

    Hoff's Stripped Down Chili

    Hoff's Stripped Down Chili
    Yields: 10-12 cups
    meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

    • 2 15 oz. cans Kidney Beans (rinsed & drained)
    • 1 46 oz. can Tomato Juice
    • 1 can Diced Tomatoes (seasoned optional)
    • 1 15 oz. can Pumpkin
    • 1 1/2 cups Wheat Berries/Barley
    • 1 Red Pepper (chopped)
    • 1 medium Sweet Onion (chopped)
    • 3 cloves of Garlic (minced)
    • 1/4 cup Almond Butter (or any nut butter)
    • 1 tbsp. Chili Powder

    1. Turn slow cooker to high to warm up
    2. Add Onion, Red Pepper & Garlic and sweat to soften (about 5 minutes)
    3. Stir in remaining ingredients (except Chili Powder)
    4. Heat on low for about 6-8 hours, high for about 4 hours
    5. With 2 hours or less, add Chili Powder to prevent it from losing it's kick

    Hoff Thoughts: I used to use V8 Juice in this recipe; but much to my horror, it turns out V8 isn't vegan!

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    Stainless Steel Scoop!

    Out of all my kitchen gadgets, I may covet this one the most!

    It is my spring action, stainless steel scooper!

    When a recipe calls for the scooping of anything, I reach for my trusty scooper and she never fails me.

    Perfectly proportioned portions (say that 3 times fast) every time!  Single hand scooping action.  No fuss, no mess!

    What makes this scoop rise above the rest is the spring loaded scraper that glides smoothly under the food, depositing equally sized mounds a single squeeze.

    I find that a two tablespoon scoop is the perfect size for such things as Pumpkin Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, even Zucchini Cakes!  Use it for sherbert, melons, veggie meatballs - anything you need to scoop.

    I never scoop without her - she is the Lexus of scoopers!

    These scoops come in a variety of sizes: 4 tablespoon, 3 tablespoon, 2 tablespoon, 1 tablespoon and even half sizes or smaller.  Coming in under $15, this is a worthy investment.

    Ask Santa to fill your stocking with one or two of these babies this year, you'll thank me later...

    Luxury Scooping!
    The Hoff

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    Hoff's Broccoli Cheddar Soup

    I wasn't always a vegan and during those times, I would make pilgrimages to The Barn Restaurant in Smithville, Ohio specifically for their Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  I have been obsessed with this soup since I was a kid and it's one of the things I miss most from my pre-vegan days.  I'm happy to say that I took at stab at this legendary soup and came pretty close to the original.  It will never beat The Barn's soup, but this vegan gal is a happy camper once again!

    Hoff's Broccoli Cheddar Soup
    Yields: about 16 cups
    meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

    • 5 cups Water
    • 3 cups Veggie Broth
    • 4 cups plain unsweetened Almond Milk
    • 12 oz. thin Whole Wheat Spaghetti (broken into bite size pieces)
    • 1 large head of Broccoli (finely chopped)
    • 1 cup Sweet Onion (chopped)
    • 1 tbsp. Sea Salt
    • 1 tbsp. Garlic Powder
    • 1 tbsp. Onion Powder
    • Pepper to taste

     "Cheese" Sauce
      • 1 can Diced Potatoes (rinsed & drained)
      • 1 cup Veggie Broth
      • 1 Red Pepper (chopped)
      • 4 tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
      • Juice from half a Lemon
      • 2 tbsp. Yellow Mustard
      • 1 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
      • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
      • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
      • 1/2 tsp. Paprika

      1. In a very large pot over medium-high heat, sautee Onions until soft
      2. Add Broth & Water, bring to boil
      3. Add Pasta & Broccoli, cook for 7 minutes
      4. Meanwhile, combine all "Cheese Sauce" ingredients in a Vitamix or blender, blending until well combined, about 2 minutes
      5. Once Pasta has cooked, reduce to a simmer
      6. Stir in "Cheese Sauce"
      7. Once soup has stopped boiling, add "Milk"
      8. Simmer for 2 hours uncovered, stirring occasionally
      9. Add Seasonings & serve

      Hoff Thoughts: Yes, this is a lot of soup, but it freezes well if you happen to have leftovers.

      Monday, December 10, 2012

      Bite Size Spaghetti

      I think Rachel Ray turned me onto this handy, dandy trick.

      If you're just not into long strands of spaghetti or have a recipe better suited for smaller pieces, follow these super, simple steps:

      Start with Whole Wheat Spaghetti & a clean Dish Towel

      Lay spaghetti lengthwise with the towel

      Wrap the spaghetti in the towel, twisting the ends, so nothing escapes

       Drag the towel along the edge of a counter or table until
      desired sized pieces are accomplished
      You will need to apply pressure to get the pasta to break

      That's it - takes mere seconds to accomplish!

      Sunday, December 9, 2012

      You Gotta See The Baby!

      You may recall a few posts ago, I had a guest writer - Morticia, my 16 year old black cat who's been with me for over a decade.  She simply insisted that I help her write the post - Adopt A Black Cat - Bring Luck To Your Family.

      It's with great pride that I announce that Morticia is no hypocat and during a recent vet visit, she insisted that we forever home an abandoned little black kitty.

      I'd like to welcome the newest member to The Healthy Hoff family...

      She's practically perfect in every way and just like Morticia said, this little black beauty has brought joy, laughter and a little luck to our family!

      Hoff Hit: Stop Budding Potatoes

      I hate it when my potatoes start growing those green thingees on them.  Stop rushing me!

      To prevent this, stick an apple in with the potatoes!

      Saturday, December 8, 2012

      Country Gravy

      Country Gravy
      Yields: 4 1/2 cups
      meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free


      1. In a medium pot over medium-low heat, whisk together Flour & Nutritional Yeast for about 3 minutes to remove raw flavor of the Flour
      2. Slowly whisk in Veggie Broth & Almond Milk
      3. Whisk in Braggs & Seasonings
      4. Bring Gravy to a low boil, reduce heat to a simmer & allow to thicken

      Friday, December 7, 2012

      Event: Raw Living Expo

      • We’ve got love and respect for where you are, and hold the vision with you for where you are going.
      • We’ve got dynamic presentations from speakers to inspire and motivate you.
      • We’ve got hands-on experiential workshops to help you “dial it in!”
      • We’ve got DELICIOUS raw foods cuisine for you to enjoy and sample, from many of the world’s top Raw Chefs & companies!
      • We’re co-creating a fantastic networking experience in a GORGEOUS Sedona resort location!
      • We’re bringing in outstanding bands, musicians and DJ’s to rev up the energy and get our bodies moving!
      • We’ve got some of the Brightest Stars on the Raw Stage as our emcees!
      • We’ve got 17 outstanding Raw Chefs who will teach you their culinary tips and secrets, in person!
      • Our question to you is, “What is this event, that it absolutely takes your life to the next level?” Let us know!
      • We’ve tuned into the needs of our community, and Yes Indeed, we’re here to Rawk Your Life!

      When: 2/22/13 - 2/24/13
      Where: Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa: 90 Ridge Trail Drive Sedona, AZ 86351 
      Cost: $97 - $650

      Register now!

      Monday, December 3, 2012

      Hoff's B&W Hot Chocolate

      Hoff's Quick B&W Hot Chocolate
      Serves: 1
      dairy-free, soy-free

      • 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Almond Milk
      • 1/2 cup Vanilla Almond Milk
      • 1/2 cup Water
      • Sea Salt
      • Cinnamon

      1. Mix Milk & Water into a mug and microwave for 1-2 minutes
      2. Top with Salt & Cinnamon

      Saturday, December 1, 2012

      Hoff's German Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

      Hoff's German Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti
      Serves: 2 + lunch leftovers
      meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

      • 1 Spaghetti Squash (size will really determine the number of servings)
      • 2 cups Sauerkraut (rinsed & drained)
      • 1 jar Spaghetti Sauce

      1. Microwave Spaghetti Squash for 1 minute to soften skin
      2. Cut Squash in half and remove seeds using a spoon
      3. Place Squash cut side down in a baking dish and fill dish with enough water to cover the Squash by 1/2"
      4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until tender
      5. Meanwhile, heat up Sauce & Sauerkraut on the stove
      6. Once, Squash is done, allow to cool & using a fork, scrape the inside to form "spaghetti noodles"
      7. Mix the Squash into the Sauce & enjoy!

      My2Cents: Experiment by adding shredded Zucchini or Yellow Squash, Matchstick Carrots or Diced Potatoes.

      Friday, November 30, 2012

      What If Money Didn't Matter?

      Check out this inspiring, short, 3 minute video posing the question,
      What If Money Didn't Matter?

      Don't feel bad if you don't have an answer to that - I don't.  However, I intend to watch this video daily until I figure it out.

      Narrated by Alan Watts

      Thursday, November 29, 2012

      Hoff's Veggie Chili

      This is a dump recipe intended for a crock pot and a long, slow day of fall/winter cooking.

      Hoff's Veggie Chili
      Yields: A lot!
      meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

      • 1 - 15 oz can of 100% Pure Pumpkin
      • 2 - 16 oz cans of Kidney Beans - rinsed (light or dark)
      • 1 - 28 oz can of Diced Tomatoes (consider seasoned)
      • 1 cup Brown Rice
      • 1 cup Lentils
      • 1 large Sweet Onion - chopped
      • 1/2 package Portabella Mushrooms - chopped
      • 1 Pepper - chopped (color of choice)
      • 1/2 bag Matchstick Carrots
      • 1 Zucchini
      • 4 Garlic Cloves
      • 1 - 46 oz can Tomato Juice
      • 1/4 cup Liquid Smoke
      • 3 tbsp Chili Powder
      • 2 tbsp Sugar
      • 1 tbsp Cinnamon
      • 1 tbsp Cumin

      1. Dump Pumpkin, Kidney Beans, Tomatoes, Barley, Lentils, Onion, Mushrooms & Pepper into crock pot
      2. In a food processor, finely chop Carrots, Zucchini & Garlic together, add to crock pot
      3. Pour Tomato Juice into crock pot
      4. Add seasonings
      5. Set to low and allow to cook for at least 5 hours

      My 2 Cents:
      The pumpkin in this recipe kicks up the fiber content a ton!  The liquid smoke is that key ingredient that will catapult this chili into greatness!  As for the carrots and and zucchini, you'll never notice they are there, but you'll still get their nutrients!

      I will stretch this chili for the entire week by pairing it with spaghetti for "Skyline" chili, over a baked potato, over toast, over corn bread, over baked corn chips - let your imagination run wild!

      Don't be afraid to trust your instincts - if you don't like an ingredient, don't use it, if your gut tells you to try another ingredient - go for it!

      Tuesday, November 27, 2012

      Mystery Soup!

      Has the end of the week come and your fridge is still jammed with healthy produce you had every good intention on consuming?

      No worries - make soup!

      Chop up larger things and throw everything into a large pot and cover with equal parts Water & Veggie Broth.

      Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until everything is soft (I let mine go for a few hours).

      Season with your favorites: Tomato Sauce, Sea Salt, Garlic Powder, Cumin, etc.

      Using an inversion blender, blend into a rich, creamy soup.  Or, using a blender, blend about 2 cups at a time (to prevent a messy overflow).  If the soup is too thin, throw in a few spoonfuls of Instant Mashed Potato Flakes to thicken things up.

      Something different every week...

      Monday, November 26, 2012

      Hoff's "Alfredo" Sauce

      Hoff's "Alfredo" Sauce
      Yields: About 3 Cups
      meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

      • 1 cup Garbanzo Beans (rinsed & drained)
      • 1 cup Almond Milk (plain)
      • 1 cup Veggie Stock
      • 1/2 cup Cashews
      • 1 clove of Garlic
      • 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
      • 1 tbsp White Miso
      • 1 tsp Onion Powder
      • 1 tsp Sea Salt
      • Pinch of Nutmeg
      • Pepper to taste

      1. Using a Vitamix or blender, blend all ingredients together until smooth, 1-2 minutes
      2. Serve with pasta, veggies, etc. 

        Sunday, November 25, 2012

        What is Flax Seed?

        What is it?

        Flax seed is considered a super-food because it is an excellent source for Omega-3 fatty acids.   Omega-3s are essential because they cannot be synthesized by the body but, are vital for normal metabolism and overall health.

        *Evidence suggests that Omega-3s can help with such issues as: Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes and certain cancers among other things.

        The seed comes from the stem of a plant native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India.

        There are two basic varieties of Flax seed - Brown and Golden/Yellow.  Brown and Golden have very similar nutritional profiles, but Golden tends to have less Omega-3's.

        Flax comes in either Whole Seed form or Ground form. Both are not shelf-stable due to their oils turning rancid easily and must be kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

        Because our teeth are not strong enough to break through the hull of the Flax Seed, it must be ground prior to consumption or the nutrients will be lost.  Many invest in a coffee grinder - grinding a weeks' worth of Flax at a time.  If adding to a smoothie, the blender will take care of this for you.

        Is it Healthy?
        • Excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
        • Good source of fiber
        • Help lower LDL Cholesterol
        • Keep Blood Glucose leveled
        • Regulate digestion & improve nutrition absorption

        What to do with Flax?
        • Add to Smoothies
        • Add to homemade Hummus
        • Add to homemade any Baked Goods
        • Add to homemade Bread
        • Top Oatmeal/Cereal
        • Sprinkle on Salads
        • Mix with Water for Egg/Oil Substitute

        Keep It Healthy!
        The Hoff

        Source: *

        Friday, November 23, 2012

        Enjoy Life: New Gluten-Free Vegan Cookies!!!

        Before I begin, full disclosure - Enjoy Life approached me and asked if I would try their new line of cookies.  They sent me all four flavors for free and here is my honest opinion of these cookies...

        They ROCK!

        To clarify, I have tried a lot of gluten-free products, most of which flat out sucked.  But these babies hold their own again their gluten laden counterparts.

        Triple score bonus - they are Vegan & contain no trans fats (Snoopy happy dance)!!!

        They do unfortunately contain oil; palm oil to be exact.  So if you're sensitive to oil or avoid it for health or weight issues, these aren't the perfect cookies.  However, for those who can tolerate a little oil here and there, these are the perfect treat (notice I said treat and not a part of a daily regimen).  I will confess, that I have been chowing down on these cookies daily, in obscene amounts since they arrived on my doorstep - yeah, they are that good!

        I mentioned four flavors, they are Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Vanilla Honey Graham and Sugar Crisp.  Double Chocolate is hands down my ultimate favorite, followed by Chocolate Chip.  The Vanilla Honey Graham is a unique flavor and isn't bad.  The Sugar Crisp is very similar to the Graham and isn't something I would typically buy.  Then again in any cookie arena, I'm always going to go for chocolate, but if someone handed me either one of these non-chocolate cookies, I wouldn't turn my back on them.

        These cookies are thin & crispy and about the size of a soft ball (flattened of course).  They taste so awesome, that you would seriously question if they were in fact Vegan or Gluten-free.  While I am no longer sensitive to gluten, I would buy these cookies in a heart beat, as limiting one's exposure to gluten, can reduce the chances of one becoming sensitive.

        They are sold both online through various retailers and in grocers and natural food stores (check the gluten-free aisle).

        Check'em out!
        The Hoff

        Monday, November 19, 2012

        Hoff's Basic Stuffing

        Hoff's Basic Stuffing
        Yields: about 4 servings
        meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

        • 7 slices Multigrain Bread (cut into bite size cubes)
        • 1 small Sweet Onion (chopped) 
        • 1 cup Veggie Broth
        • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
        • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
        • 1 tsp Onion Powder
        • 1 tsp fine Sea Salt

        1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
        2. Bake bread on large cookie sheet, 8-10 minutes until toasted
        3. Meanwhile, sautee Onion in a medium non-stick pan over medium - high heat until translucent
        4. Combine Onions, Bread & Seasonings in large bowl
        5. Add a little Broth at a time until Bread is moist but not soaked (all liquid may not be needed)
        6. Transfer Stuffing to large glass baking dish
        7. Cover & bake for 25 minutes
        8. Remove cover & bake for additional 15 minutes to crisp the top

        My2Cents: Add more Broth or water if you feel Stuffing is too dry.  Experiment by adding Raisins or other dried fruit, even Mushrooms!  My best stuffing has resulted from bakery bought bread.

        Sunday, November 18, 2012

        Hoff Hit: Cake Mixes Made Healthier

        Substitute one 15oz can of pure pumpkin for the oil and eggs in any standard cake mix - eliminates the fat and delivers fiber!

        Stock up - pure pumpkin tends to disappear after Thanksgiving.

        Saturday, November 17, 2012

        Hoff's Bulk Vegan Hot Cocoa Mix

        No winter should be fought with out this!

        Hoff's Bulk Vegan Hot Chocolate Mix
        Yields: 1 quart Mason Jar
        dairy-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

        • 2 cups Cacao Powder
        • 1 cup Coconut Sugar
        • 1/2 cup vegan Chocolate Chips
        • 2 tsp. Salt

        1. Blend ingredients together with a high speed blender until well combined 
        2. Store in airtight container

        1. Microwave a mug of water for about 1 minute, leaving about 1 1/2" of room
        2. Stir in 1 heaping spoonful of mix until completely dissolved
        3. Top off with Vanilla Almond Milk or Coconut Vanilla Creamer

        Hoff Thoughts: You can easily substitute Cocoa Powder & regular White Sugar.  I store this mix in a wide mouth quart canning jar. 

        Add-in ideas:
        Try adding 2 tsp. of Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg or Ginger to the bulk mix or just sprinkle on top of your cup o' cocoa.  Try adding 1 tsp of Honey to your prepared hot beverage.

        Preparation Alternative:
        Not into milk?  Use all water instead, adding 1 spoonful of Dandy Blend, to get the same frothy, thickness that the milk delivers.

        Thursday, November 15, 2012

        Hoff's Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

        Hoff's Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

        Yields: About 15 brownies
        dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

        • 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
        • 1/2 cup Cacao Powder
        • 1/4 ground Flax Seed
        • 2 tsp Baking Powder
        • 2 tsp Baking Soda
        • 1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
        • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
        • 1 1/2 cups White Sugar
        • 1 1/4 cups Chocolate "Milk"
        • 1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin
        • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
        • 12 oz vegan Chocolate Chips

        1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
        2. In large bowl, whisk together Flour, Cacao, Flax Seed, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Pumpkin Spice & Salt
        3. In a medium bowl, mix together Sugar, Milk, Pumpkin & Vanilla
        4. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture, stir gently to combine (not too much)
        5. Fold in Chocolate Chips
        6. Pour batter into 9X13 glass baking dish & bake 35-40 minutes
        7. Cool completely before cutting (at least make an effort)

        Hoff Thoughts: I tend to favor Almond Milk as my milk substitute for this one.  No Cacao?  Just use regular Cocoa Powder. 

        Tuesday, November 13, 2012

        Quick Ripen a Persimmon!

        Persimmons are a unique soft fruit with Chinese origins, that when ripe, taste like caramel...mmm.

        The only problem is that they take forever to ripen (up to 3 weeks)!

        To trick this tasty treat into giving up the goods quicker, place a whole Persimmon in the freezer for 10 hours.  Allow to thaw and what you will get is something resembling a water balloon.  That's when you know that your Persimmon is ready!

        The frigid temp tricks these little guys into maturing faster!

        Eat as you would an apple.

        In my neck of the woods (northern hemisphere), Persimmon season is from September through to December.

        Sunday, November 11, 2012

        Thank You

        This Veterans Day will be the first celebrated with no living survivors from World War I.

        Saturday, November 10, 2012

        Vitacost Goes Cruelty-Free!

         As if Vitacost couldn't get any more awesome with their hard to find vegan health foods & organic beauty products all with prices up to 50% off retail & delivered right to your door for free (need to spend $49 bucks)!!!

        They just got cooler.

        Vitacost has launched their own cruelty-free beauty products store!  To top that off, this store has been certified by the Leaping Bunny, a program developed by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) to end animal testing.  Making shopping cruelty-free, easy!

        There are over 40 cruelty-free brands in this line-up including my personal favorites:

        Learn more about animal testing & Leaping Bunny!

        Shoot me your name & email, if you'd like to be referred for a $10 coupon (new customers only)!

        Because animals shouldn't have to suffer for our beauty!

        Shop Cruelty-Free!
        The Hoff

        Friday, November 9, 2012

        Homemade Cranberry Sauce

        Homemade Cranberry Sauce
        Yields: about 1 Cup
        dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

        • 12 oz whole Cranberries
        • 1 cup Wild Blueberries (frozen)
        • 1 cup Water
        • 1/2 cup White Sugar
        • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
        • Juice & Zest of 1 Orange
        • 1 tsp. fine Sea Salt

        1. Place all ingredients in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil
        2. Cook until the Cranberries start to pop, 10-20 minutes
        3. Remove from heat and place in serving bowl
        4. Sauce will thicken as it cools

        Hoff Thoughts: Serve as is, mash with a potato masher or blend a bit using either a high speed blender or immersion blender.  Substitute 1/2 Orange Juice for 1/2 cup of Water.  Making 24 hours before serving allows the flavors to mellow.

        Wednesday, November 7, 2012

        Hoff's Corn Chowder

        Hoff's Corn Chowder
        Yields: About 6-8 cups
        meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

        • 2 cups Veggie Broth
        • 2 cups plain Almond Milk
        • 1 can diced Potatoes (rinsed & drained)
        • 1 can Organic Corn (rinsed & drained)
        • 1 can Organic Creamed Corn
        • 1/2 Sweet Onion (chopped)
        • 2 tbsp Instant Mashed Potato Flakes
        • 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
        • 1 tbsp Liquid Smoke
        • 1 tsp Sugar
        • 1 tsp Salt

        1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sautee Onions until softened
        2. Add Broth, Potatoes & both Corns to pot and bring to a simmer
        3. Remove 2 cups of soup & blend until very smooth, 1-2 minutes
        4. Add back to pot & stir in Almond Milk
        5. Mix in Potato Flakes & Seasonings
        6. Heat through & serve
        If using fresh Corn, cut from the cob as usual and add cobs to the soup while simmering to release the milk from the cob and enrich the soup even more.

        Monday, November 5, 2012

        Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

        If you've never turned a spaghetti squash into spaghetti noodles, you are missing out!

        It's a low prep, super easy and extremely healthy meal to make.

        This is one of my go-to dinners in the winter as that's when the prices of this winter squash tends to go down, which is a plus since they are sold by the pound and can get rather pricey.

        First, prepare the squash as indicated by the sticker they all wear.  

        Essentially, cut the squash in half; this feat can be made easier by microwaving 1 - 2 minute to soften the skin. Scoop out the seeds, place cut side down in a baking dish filled with about a 1/4" of water. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until fork tender.

        Meanwhile, get your sauce going by heating up a jar of spaghetti sauce, I prefer Light Prego Traditional Spaghetti Sauce (no-oil).  I doctor mine up with additional Italian Herbs and Garlic Powder - makes me feel like I had something to do with it's creation.

        Once the squash is done, remove from oven & let cool.  Then using a fork, scrape the insides to achieve the "noodles."  If the noodles seem a little on the watery side, use a strainer to get rid of the excess moisture.  I like to push down on the strands with a paper towel.  Don't want runny spaghetti, do you?

        Top with sauce and you're ready to go!  Pair this with some greens and crusty bread and you have a meal to live for!

        P.S. One cup of spaghetti squash has only 40 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein - not too shabby!

        Saturday, November 3, 2012

        Event: Bistro 185 Presents a Vegan Thanksgiving

        Enjoy a delicious 3 course vegan Thanksgiving Dinner prepared by Guest Vegan Chef Jabuk and Chef Ruth, owner of the Bistro!

        When: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
        Where: Bistro 185: 991 East 185th, Cleveland, OH 44119
        Time: 5-9pm
        Cost: $30 person (beverage, tax & gratuity additional)
        RSVP: Prepaid reservations required, call 216.481.9635

        Monday, October 29, 2012

        Adopt A Black Cat - Bring Luck To Your Family!

        Morticia enjoying the outdoors
        Miss Morticia asked that I write this post on her behalf.  She wants to banish the superstitious myth that black cats are bad luck and help out her furry brothers & sisters confined to shelters across the land.

        We've all heard the warning that it's bad luck for a black cat to cross your path.  Morticia says talk to the paw!

        Morticia makes a point to cross my path everyday and I'm all the better for it!

        Sadly this stereotyping causes many black cats to be put down as they tend to take longer to adopt out and simply run out of time.

        In reality, it's actually good luck if a black cat chooses to live with you.  Morticia has been with me for more than 16 years and my life is all the better for it!

        And if that's not a good enough reason, check out this list of
        Top 10 Reasons to Adopt a Black Cat courtesy of SFGate:
        1. We are always sleek, stylish and elegant looking.
        2. You’ll never lose us in a snowstorm.
        3. Black fur won’t show up on your [chic] black clothing. (SO TRUE!!!)
        4. Statistically speaking, we are friendlier than other cats.
        5. We are happier because we look thinner!
        6. In many cultures, we are considered GOOD luck.
        7. We can be slimming when draped over your lap.
        8. We can easily accessorize our collars because everything goes with black.
        9. We are always appropriately dressed at cocktail parties.
        10. We take the longest to get adopted and need your help the most!!!

        I can personally attest that black cats make awesome additions to the family - especially rescued ones.

        Pets Are Good For You!

        Pets, not just cats are very beneficial to our overall health.  Pets naturally make us feel less stressed & anxious.  They cause us to have lower blood pressure & lower heart rates.  Pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiac disease, including heart failure.  A pet's unconditional love helps to combat depression. Pets bring us out of our shell & help us to socialize.  Kids growing up with a pet in the house tend to have fewer allergies.  In fact kids at risk for asthma, who grow up with a cat, are less likely to develop asthma.  Cat owners tend to have fewer strokes as cats have a greater calming effect than other animals. 

        Now that you realize what's missing in your life, check out PetFinder to find the black kitty of your dreams!



        Saturday, October 27, 2012

        VegGala Awesome Success!!!

        October 14, 2012 marked the first annual Cleveland VegGala!  And it was amazing!!!  Four hundred hungry people came out to show local restaurant owners that there is a market for vegan food in Northeast Ohio! 

        A night filled with eating, music, mingling and a lot more eating!   All the vendors were sooooo friendly and super knowledgeable!  It was so freeing not to have to ask about ingredients!  As a vegan, this evening was a dream come true!  Nothing was off limits - quite a break from the norm!

        Over 20 local businesses participated:

        Aladdin’s                                                  Mo Bite Products
        Bon Vivant                                               Nature's Bin
        Carriage House Bakery                            The Olive and The Grape     
        Chop It Salad Co.                                     Orale! Mexican Cuisine
        Clifton Martini & Wine Bar                     Pura Vida Restaurant
        Dandy Blend Instand Herbal Beverage    Root Cafe
        Deagan's Kitchen & Bar                           The Sweet Spot
        Earth Fare                                                 Tommy’s Restaurant
        Flaming Ice Cube                                     Tough Cookie Bakery
        Green Kitchen                                          Treehugger's Cafe
        Grovewood Tavern                                  Tremont Scoops
        India Garden                                            Umami Moto
        Lion on Lorain Bar and Grill                   Vegan Sweet Tooth
        Luxe Kitchen and Lounge                       Village Martini & Wine Bar

        I took my mother, who has been on-again, off-again vegan for the past year.  At this time, she's off the wagon, but despite that, she loved the food as well!  I also met a few friends there, one of which won the 50/50 raffle (Hi Jill!).  I'll let it go that I bought my 50/50 tickets right after her...

        If you missed it, because they SOLD OUT - mark your calendars, as the proceeds from this event are going to support Cleveland's first ever VegFest on June 1, 2013 at Cleveland State University!  You know I'll be posting details as soon as they are available.

        Personally, I can't wait until the second annual Cleveland VegGala!  Big thanks to The Cleveland Vegan Society for hosting this much needed event.

        Till Next Year!
        The Hoff

        Thursday, October 25, 2012

        Event: Vegan Cooking Class

        Cooking with C.A.R.E presents Eat Well, Live Well Cooking Series

        When: Thursday, November 6, 2012
        Where: Mandel Jewish Community Center: 26001 South Woodland Rd. Beachwood, OH 44122
        Time: 6:00pm - 7:00 pm
        Cost: $5 members & $15 guests
        Registration Required: Call 216/593-0448 or 216/831-0770

        More info!

        Tuesday, October 23, 2012

        Hoff's Pumpkin Pancakes

        Hoff's Pumpkin Pancakes
        Yields: 8-10 pancakes
        dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

        Start with Hoff's Bulk Pancake Mix.

        • 1 cup Mix
        • 1 cup "Milk"
        • 1/2 cup canned Pumpkin
        • 1/2 cup Apple Sauce
        • 1/2 cup Vegan Chocolate Chips
        • 1 tbsp Chia Seeds (optional)
        • 1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

        1. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl
        2. Cook like any other pancake, but on a non-stick pan, using no oil