Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Food Show!

Today, I hit the Fabulous Food Show at the I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio for the first time as a vegan.  I didn't have very high hopes, but to my surprise there was a little bit of something for everyone, even a whole foods, plant-based girl like me!  I was also very happy to see so many locally-owned business doing their thing!

My Lunch!
I was relieved to find a Subway there, so if no one could accommodate me, at least I could get a veggie sandwich.  Honestly, when I go to these types of events I'm always concerned with starving.  But, at the way back of the event, the food trucks gave me hope!  I scored a very tasty entree of baked white bean mash with carrots and fresh zucchini in a lemon sauce - oil-free & vegan, double score!  This vegan meal came courtesy of StrEat Mobile Bistro, one of Northeast Ohio’s newest gourmet food trucks, making the rounds in the Cleveland area!  When traditional restaurants drop the ball, food trucks always pull through, never be afraid to approach them, they just might surprise you to how with it they are when it comes to vegan/vegetarian connoisseurs.

After lunch, it was time for dessert!  I hit the various bakery booths, and scored with two that offered vegan options!  The first, Ciste by Crystal, located in Parma, Ohio.  They had the most adorable tiny cupcakes and I am a sucker for a cupcake.  They only had one vegan option on hand, a French Toast Cupcake, but that's all I needed and it was delicious!  I was told that they can make anything on their menu vegan - I like the sound of that!  The next bakery was About the Cake.  They didn't have any vegan goodies on hand today, but they do offer them as well as gluten-free - both of which can be ordered via their website & they deliver!  About the Cake also does those tricked out designer cakes you see on Food Network!  One vendor there had dark vegan chocolate which was awesome, some painted like Aztec gold - but I ate my sample piece with such delight, that I forgot to get their card or even their name (sorry nice man who deserves a shout out).  I did get a Chocolate Chia Cinnamon Bar from Fantasy Candies, another Cleveland-based company!  They won't come out and say they are vegan, but close inspection of the ingredients revealed that this bar at least was!

Aside from the eating, there was the shopping.  Lots of cool little gadgets and niche vendors.  I think Beanilla was my favorite because their booth smelled the best!  They sold various flavors of vanilla in all forms.  I got myself some whole Madagascar Vanilla Bean so I could make my own vanilla sugar - super excited for that!  Then the Tupperware lady (her real name is Loretta DiCenso-Tiber) got a hold of me and I had to pick-up a the Time Saver Chop N Prep Chef - it's a small chopper that I can use to quickly grind up small quantities of nuts, garlic, ginger, herbs, almost anything.  I already used it and it did an awesome job on some fresh cilantro.

 Something I didn't buy, but think is a totally cool new concept is a grow your own mushroom garden kit by Back To The Roots!  Everything you need to be your very own mushroom farmer is in one little box.  In fact, your mushrooms grow in the box or rather out of the box!  In 10 days and with very little effort, you can have 1 1/2 pounds of oyster mushrooms in your kitchen or wherever you like to grow things. The very helpful girl at the booth told me that oyster mushrooms are similar to Shitaki mushrooms and that you can get up to 4 crop yields out of one box, not bad for $19.95!

I had a very nice chat with Amy Jamieson-Petonic, a Cleveland-based health & wellness coach.  She runs Nutrition Today with Amy J and offers a variety services for all your health needs.  Super nice, full of energy and good info!

Lastly, I stumbled upon a pick-your-own berry farm - I do love farms!  This one has been right under my nose for years, who knew there was a farm in Brooklyn, Ohio!  Rosby Greenhouse & Berry Farm located at 42 E. Schaff Rd, Brooklyn Hts., OH 44131 is open to the public for red raspberry picking mid-August thru October - already marked my calendar!

All in all, a good show!
The Hoff

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Christmas in April!

About a week ago, I received my first KLUTCHclub goodie box!  You may recall last month that I wrote about this company providing health & wellness surprises right to your door step. You know I had to sign-up!

Just as I suspected, I felt like a kid at Christmas - anxiously awaiting my arrival and feverishly tearing into the box once it landed on my doorstep!

So what did my first box of loot bring me?

  • Plentils Dill & Sour Cream Lentil Chips - despite the cream in the name, these chips are vegan.  Unfortunately, they contain two types of oil.  But, despite this, I tried them anyway, because they passed the 20% calories from fat test, were very low in sugar and overall had relatively descent ingredients.  I liken these to pork rinds - in texture only.  Having never actually had a pork rind, I can only imagine that the puffy, crispy, air texture of these chips would be similar to that of a pork rind as they kinda look the same.   Verdict: These are good - maybe too good, as I want more, stat!  I need to mention that these are allergy friendly chips - being free of: wheat, soy, tree nuts, egg, peanuts, shellfish, dairy & fish (who puts fish in chips?)
  • Zico Coconut Water - I was surprised to find zero saturated fat in this product, not sure where it went since coconut is high in that stuff.  Not sure what the "natural flavor" is referring to.  Verdict: Ew.  For the record, I am not a fan of coconut water.  I've had the real stuff straight from the coconut and this tastes about the same, disgusting.
  • Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Mix - woo hoo no peanuts!  This one is pretty high on the fat scale, sodium, sugar & fiber is spot on though.  Not digging the added oils, but with vegan chocolate thrown in, I had to give it a go!  Verdict: Yummy!  Two thumbs up!
  • Kind Plus Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein Bar - there's dairy in this one kids and more oil.  Not happy about the 3.5 grams of saturated fat and the calories from fat is out of control!  Having a peanut allergy, I had to remove myself from this taste test, but my boyfriend was MORE than eager to be the guinea pig.  Verdict: He likes it!  In fact if it didn't contain dairy, he would eat more of them. 
  • Hyrdrive Energy Berry Blast Energy Drink Mix - this has a scary list of unpronounceable ingredients and upon closer inspection contains Splenda, disguised under the industry term of Sucralose - not cool!  Add to that the artificial coloring and 160mg of caffeine.  I find it odd that the label declares that there is not a significant amount of calories from fat or saturated fat - what is fat doing in a drink mix and don't get me started on the 50mg of sodium.  That all said, I was happy to see the addition of B12.  Seeing as I don't touch energy drinks, my boyfriend almost ripped this out of my hands in anticipation of trying it.  Verdict: While some energy was gained, the overall taste was horrible (like a diet drink) and managed to spike his blood pressure and that can't be a good thing.
  • Tea forte - this tea claims to take care of your skin from within - interesting.  I tend to be leery of food products making health claims, but tea is generally good for you. Verdict:  While this green tea smells good and has some unique flavors (Cherry Marzipan, Honey Zuyu, Coconut Mango Colada, etc.), it's hardly bursting with flavor.  Props for having an organic line!
  • Barlean's Omega Swirl Fish Oil - as a reformed prescatarian/supplement junkie, I once actively indulged in this product to provide my omega-3 fix.  I can attest that it is tasty, with no hint of fishiness.  As I am now a pure vegan and kicked the supplements habit, I can't speak for the Mango Peach flavor that was in the box, but I'm sure it's as delightful as the other flavors.  I will gift this to someone still on the "wagon".  Verdict: If you're into fish oil, you'll enjoy this product. 
  • Sheaterra Organics Rose Hips Black Soap - I think I was most excited to try this product as I love organic beauty products!  I was surprised by it's black molasses-like consistency, definitely never saw that with any facial cleanser I've ever tried - this added to the intrigue.  Verdict: After leaving it on for 5 minutes as instructed, I did begin to feel slight burning, but nothing major - apparently this is the microderm going to work.  My skin did feel squeaky clean afterwards and I guess a little softer.  I have to admit I never see much of a difference when I try these products.  I will tell you that despite the name, this is not 100% certified organic, only a few ingredients are organic.  There's also no scent, so if you're allergic to that type of thing (me!), you'd be happy with this.
  • Hyde Yoga Clothes & Apparel $25 coupon - Even with the coupon, this stuff is a little too pricey for what they're offering.  Verdict: Pass
  • Kristin McGee's Power Yoga DVD - I couldn't wait to try this DVD!  I like yoga & I like MTV (or at least when they actually played music videos, did I just date myself?), which is where this chick hails from, she did a series of MTV yoga videos - who knew!  Verdict:  Being a off/on yogi, this DVD kicked my ass!  From an endurance standpoint, I was struggling to keep up, but from an instructional standpoint, it was very easy to follow.  Not digging the studio backdrop or lack of zen-like music (you know I love me some Rodney Yee!) and there's not a hint of MTV, but overall a good yoga video for probably someone a little more advanced than the occasional practitioner.

Can't wait to see what I get next!

Till Next Month!
The Hoff

Friday, April 27, 2012

Oh Yes I Did!

Tonight I was in the mood for Hoff's Chinese Lettuce Wraps and was not in the mood to cook anything else.  But, these wraps do not an entire meal make.  So, I thought about it and wondered if I could get away with a McDougall Teriyaki Noodle Cup (just add boiling water) as a side dish.  I typically reserve these cups for snacking.

The answer would be - YES!

The two paired perfectly together & was filling enough for two, just be sure to make one noodle cup for each person!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Event: Health & Fitness Expo

As part of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, there will be a Health & Fitness Expo at the I-X Center, featuring over 115 booths showcasing health & fitness products as well as information.

This expo is sponsored by Prayers From Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation.

Expo is open to the public.

When: Friday, May 18 - Saturday, May 19, 2012
Where: I-X Center: One I-X Center Drive, Cleveland, OH 44135
Time: 11:00am - 7:00pm (Friday) & 11:00am - 6:00pm (Saturday)
Cost: Free (standard parking fees apply)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cayenne Tea

Ugh!  It's spring and I feel a cold coming on!  At the first sign of sickness, I immediately begin to chug what I call Cayenne Tea.  And by chug I mean all day long, as many cups as I can handle.

This "tea" is a hybrid of another tea I was introduced to while on my travels, that I will talk about at a later date.

This is a very simple tea to make that you most likely have all the ingredients on hand already.

Here's how:

Warm up 8oz of water (stove, microwave, etc.), stir in on teaspoon Honey (local is better, but not a deal breaker), and all the Cayenne Pepper you can handle.

Hint: You CANNOT handle a lot of Cayenne Pepper at first, go easy. Overtime, your palette will be able to handle more.

When I chug this tea, typically my cold will not fully develop and rather tuck tail and run!  I put this theory to the test last month when 24 hours before I was about to board a plane for California for a 10-day trip, I was getting a head cold!  I chugged this tea all night and by the morning I was fine, my symptoms never fully developed.

Why does this work?

Lets start with the Cayenne Pepper, it is very high in Vitamin C and helps to unblock the sinuses and clear out mucus.  It also helps to soothe soar throats.  Cayenne has antibacterial properties, along with high amounts of Vitamin A, which both help with healing and fighting infections.  If you're running a fever, Cayenne can help lower the body's core temperature.  Of course, Native Americans are well aware of all the benefits of Cayenne and have been using it for thousands of years.

As for the Honey, it also aids in soothing a sore throat and may been an effective cough suppressant.  Honey has strong antibiotic properties as well as being an antimicrobial agent (kills or slows growth of microbes). It also helps to boost immunity. "Different varieties of honey possess a large amount of friendly bacteria (6 species of lactobacilli and 4 species of bifidobacteria), which may explain many of the "mysterious therapeutic properties of honey." -

Or, this could all be in my head, a placebo if you will.  For me, it doesn't matter, because it's working.

So, next time you start to feel not so great, kick back a Cayenne Tea or two and see what it can do for you!

Keep It Healthy!
The Hoff

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Help From My Friends

The other night, I got a little help from my friends for dinner - my friendly grocer to be exact.  I frequent a family-run farmer's market type grocery store and noticed recently in their prepared foods case, a mouthwatering variety of grilled veggies all ready to go!

I chopped the veggies even further and mixed them into a batch of Hoff's Buttery Rice to heat through.  Dinner was done in 15 minutes - only one pot to clean!

Check out what your grocer might have in their prepared foods section to give you a helping hand at meal time.

Thanks Chuppa's for making dinner a snap!
The Hoff

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hoff's Buttery Rice

Hoff's Buttery Rice
Yields: 2 cups
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 1 1/2 cups of Water
  • 1 cup of Jasmine Rice
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • Sea Salt

  1. Bring Water & Seasonings to a boil
  2. Stir in Rice, cover, reduce to simmer
  3. Cook for 15 minutes
  4. Fluff & Serve!

My2Cents: I was going for cheesy rice with this one, but it ended up tasting like butter instead.  No worries, equally as good!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gobble Green: Vegan/Vegetarian Food Delivery

Struggling to eat healthy but don't have the time or desire to cook?  Tired of eating out?  Gobble Green may be able to help you with that.

Gobble Green is a gourmet vegan meal delivery service, providing healthy frozen meals throughout the United States, Canada and the UK.

Complete meal plans start at $500 a month for 3 meals a day.  There are six plans to choose from.

The Fit For Life platinum plan, for example, is offered in weekly increments for either individuals or couples and supplements three pre-planned meals and a daily dessert with unlimited access to a Gobble Green nutritionist, as well as to an online virtual fitness page to keep tabs on your personal goals and progress. This plan starts at $750.

You can expect meals such as vegetable paella with faux chicken and ginger thai salad, spaghetti and meatballs or a burger with mango salsa.  They even have pizza!  For dessert they offer things like peanut-butter-chocolate-chip bars or chocolate chip cookies.

Too much?  Try their a la carte options and Kits.

And for those of you who have a love/hate relationship with gluten, they've got you covered with gluten-free options as well.

Each box is packed with dry ice in an environmentally friendly container.  Meals are frozen and vacuum sealed and labeled with their ingredients and nutritional value.

Healthy Hoff Disclaimer: I haven't tried this service and cannot attest to whether or not it's good.  I did come across a few blogs that sang their praises, but on the comments section of The Token Fat Girl review of this service, folks slaughtered Gobble Green.  My advice, do your homework and go with your gut.

An alternative to this type of service would be to team up with a local personal chef, in which you could get exactly what you want based on your dietary preferences/needs.  One chef that I am familiar with offering this service in Northeastern Ohio is Chef Robin of Cooking with C.A.R.E. who will create weekly or bi-weekly prepared meals just for you.  I know for a fact that she is open to preparing vegan meals without oil.  Prices for this service start at $140 per week.

Check it Out!
The Hoff

Friday, April 20, 2012

DIY Window Cleaner

For an all-natural Window Cleaner, mix together:
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Rubbing Alcohol
  • 1 tbsp White Vinegar
Store in a re-usable or re-purposed spray bottle and you're good to go!

Happy Spring Cleaning!
The Hoff

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Event: Food Revolution Virtual Summit

Join The Food Revolution Summit with John & Ocean Robbins!

Listen to 21 interviews (3 per day) with the most wise, inspired, and HELPFUL voices on the planet all focused on one topic, Food!  Each interview is 30 minutes long and will be live.


A sample of the speakers you will hear from:

Caldwell Esselstyn, MD — How to Prevent and Cure Heart Disease
Dr. Esselstyn is author of the bestselling book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. President Clinton credits Dr. Esselstyn’s work with helping to save his life following quintuple bypass surgery. Dr. Esselstyn is a surgeon who has produced more than 150 scientific publications. He completed a groundbreaking 20-year nutritional study that rocked the medical world. Dr. Esselstyn explains, with irrefutable scientific evidence, how we can end the heart disease epidemic forever by changing what we eat.

David Wolfe — Radiant Health Now
With a masters degree in nutrition, and a background in science and mechanical engineering, David Wolfe is considered one of the world’s authorities on natural health, beauty nutrition, herbalism, longevity, chocolate, and organic superfoods. David is author of seven bestselling books, founder of the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, and a successful eco-entrepreneur. You’ll receive top tips from this world-renowned champion of the "eco-beauty revolution".

Dean Ornish, MD — Simple and Proven Breakthroughs
Dr. Ornish is founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, and has been a leading researcher on diet and health for more than 30 years. His program is the first based in comprehensive lifestyle change (not drugs or surgery) to ever be covered by Medicare. The author of six bestselling books, Dr. Ornish was chosen by Life Magazine as "one of the 50 most influential members of his generation", and by Forbes as "one of the seven most powerful teachers in the world."

Morgan Spurlock — Super Size Me
Morgan Spurlock is a writer, director and producer. His first film, Super Size Me, captured him eating nothing but McDonald's meals for 30 days, and tracking the results. Super Size Me premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 and won Morgan Best Directing honors. The film went on to win the inaugural Writers Guild of America best documentary screenplay award as well as garner an Academy Award nomination for best feature doc. Morgan went on to be the executive producer and star of the reality TV series, "30 Days." What he has learned just might change how you look at fast food forever.

T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. — The China Study
For more than forty years, Dr. T. Colin Campbell has been at the forefront of nutrition research. His legacy, the China Project, is the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. Dr. Campbell is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. He has more than seventy grant-years of peer-reviewed research funding and has authored more than 300 research papers. He is coauthor of the bestselling book, The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health.

    When: Friday, April 28 to Sunday, May 6, 2012
    Where: Your PC!
    Time: To be announced
    Cost: Free!

    Click here to register!

    "Heal your body and world...with food!"

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Hoff Hit: Zest!

    If you're zesting your citrus (lime, lemon, orange), make sure to only buy Organic!

    You don't want the pesticide residue used on traditional citrus in your tasty treats! 

    As it is not typical to eat the skins of these fruits, these crops are highly sprayed and chemically treated and no, washing won't remove all the residue.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Event: Green Fest 2012

    "Green Fest is a fun, FREE event at South Central Park focused on educating the community about protecting our environment. Bring your family, friends and pets to enjoy the games, food, prizes, entertainment, green merchandise and much more! Many of the vendors will be recycling and re-purposing everyday items. View the full list to see what to bring for RECYCLE REWARDS and win a prize!"

    When: Saturday, April 28, 2012
    Where: South Central Park: 7565 Avon Belden Road, North Ridgeville, OH, 44039
    Time: 10:00am - 2:00pm
    Cost: Free

    Click here for more information

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    Event: Healthy Hoff to Speak on Sprouts!

    Me & My Sprouts!
    Hey everybody!

    I'm super excited to announce that I have been invited to be a guest lecturer for the No Oil Vegan, Dr. Esselstyn's & Rip's E2 Diet NE Ohio Meetup Group at their monthly Vegan, No Oil Dinner at Sushi Rock!

    Dinner and a lecture, what more could you want?

    This event is open to all Healthy Hoff followers as well!

    I will be giving a lecture on Sprouts & Sprouting!  Trust me, this is exciting stuff!

    During this talk, you will learn:
    • What a Sprout is
    • Why you want to eat Sprouts
    • How to use Sprouts
    • Where to find Sprouts
    • How to grow Sprouts

    Dinner will consist of:
    • Soup
    • Choice of Two Salads with dressing
    • Build your own Tofu Wraps with a variety of vegetable options  
    • Large and succulent cucumber and brown rice rolls
    • Steamed brown rice with steamed vegetables
    • Fruit Sticks for Dessert
    • Choice of Hot or Iced Tea

    More importantly, everything will be buffet style, vegan and no-oil - just how I like it!

    When: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
    Where: Sushi Rock: 2101 Richmond Rd # G1, Beachwood, OH
    Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
    Cost: $18 (*does not include tip or gratuity)
    Registration: In order to attend, you need to become a member of this super fun Meetup Group.
    Membership is Free & open to anyone looking to eat healthy. Click here to join & RSVP.

    It is very important that the group has an accurate head count to give to the restaurant, therefore an RSVP is imperative.  I appreciate your help with this.

    *Payment to be made directly to Sushi Rock at the time of event.

    Limited to 50 attendees.  This event is filling up fast, so don't procrastinate!

    Any questions?  Send them my way:

    Hope to see you there!
    The Hoff

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    Recall Alert: DOLE® Seven Lettuces Salad

    Dole Fresh Vegetables Announces Precautionary Recall of Limited Number of Salads

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 14, 2012 - Dole Fresh Vegetables is voluntarily recalling 756 cases of DOLE® Seven Lettuces salad with Use-by Date of April 11, 2012, UPC code 71430 01057 and Product Codes 0577N089112A and 0577N089112B, due to a possible health risk from Salmonella. Dole Fresh Vegetables is coordinating closely with regulatory officials.  No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall.

    The Product Code and Use-by Date are in the upper right-hand corner of the package; the UPC code is on the back of the package, below the barcode. The salads were distributed in fifteen U.S. states (Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin).

    No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall. This precautionary recall notification is being issued due to an isolated instance in which a sample of Seven Lettuces salad yielded a positive result for Salmonella in a random sample test collected and conducted by the State of New York.

    No other Dole salads are included in the recall. Only the specific Product Codes, UPC codes and April 11, 2012 Use-by-Date of Seven Lettuces salads identified above are included in the recall. Consumers who have any remaining product with these Product Codes should not consume it, but rather discard it. Retailers and consumers with questions may call the Dole Food Company Consumer Response Center at (800) 356-3111, which is open 8:00 am to 3:00 pm (PDT) Monday - Friday.

    Salmonella is an organism that can cause foodborne illness in a person who eats a food item contaminated with it. Symptoms of infection may experience fever and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain. The illness primarily impacts young children, frail and elderly people and those with weakened immune systems. Most healthy adults and children rarely become seriously ill.

    5 Magic Veggies for Smoothies

    If you're into smoothies, this post is for you!

    Courtesy of the Vitamix Lady, here are the 5 Magic Veggies that you can blend with fruit and almost never know they are there (I found out this depends on how much you add)!
    1. Cabbage (red or green)
    2. Spinach
    3. Carrot
    4. Yellow Squash
    5. Zucchini
    Blend On!
    The Hoff

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    Baking Soda To The Rescue!

    So the other day I made Split Pea soup in the crock pot and while I thought it was impossible to burn anything in a crock pot, I learned the hard way that that it is very, very possible.

    To my defense, I had to make an impromptu run to the emergency vet with Morticia (my cat) after an incident with Hawkeye (my other cat) in which I feared she had torn a ligament or dislocated her hip.  I'm happy to report it was just a sprain and she is good as new!

    My crock pot  on the other hand bared the brunt of the debacle.  When I returned the sides were thickly coated in burnt on split pea soup.  Sigh.  

    I did what I could, but it was late and I was tired so I decided to let the pot soak overnight with a warm water & baking soda solution.

    To my delight, the baking soda lifted almost everything up, just a tiny bit of elbow grease was required to get some very stubborn bits.

    So next time your pots/pans have a disagreement with your cooking, try soaking in a some baking soda & warm water to mediate the situation and allow a few hours for the two parties to simmer down.

    Happy Cleaning!
    The Hoff

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Keep It Simple

    Sometimes, you just have to go back to basics.

    That's exactly what I did for tonight's dinner.

    Tonight's meal consisted of:
    Ready in mere minutes, clean-up was a breeze. Satisfying and filling.

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Most Awesome Garlic Peeler!

    I just got The Ultimate Garlic Peeler and I am in love!

    The only thing that keeps me from using more garlic is all the work that goes into peeling that damn skin off!  It seriously slows me down when I'm in the cooking groove.

    I kid you not, this Garlic Peeler removes ALL the peel within seconds with just some light pressure and the roll of your hand!

    At $4.50, this may be the cheapest, most satisfying investment you ever make for your cooking experience!

    Pair this with Garlic Press and you will be in garlic heaven!

    And if you're in need of some serious amounts of garlic, check out this YouTube video for some heavy duty garlic peeling in 10 seconds flat!

    Check it Out!
    The Hoff

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Moldy Sprouts

    Hopefully after reading my post on Sprouting: What Is It? or following my day by day account on the sprouting process, I inspired you to start sprouting for yourself!
    Root Hair

    But you may be running into mold trouble.


    When I first started sprouting, I panicked because I saw what I thought was mold forming on my delicate little sprouts.  How could this be?  Sprouting is so easy, how did I manage to screw this up!  Actually, it was not mold that I was seeing.  In fact what I was experiencing was Root Hairs, fuzzy little white hairs that mimic mold, but are in fact part of the root.  Simple rinsing will put these little guys back into place.

    But, what if you really are experiencing mold?

    First, throw your sprouts out and start over, no use getting sick over moldy sprouts.

    Here are some things that can lead to moldy sprouts & how to fix:
    1. Poor air-circulation - keep jar upside down at 45 degree angle
    2. Insufficient drainage - keep jar upside down at 45 degree angle
    3. High humidity - use a fan for circulation and/or add a 3rd rinse per day
    4. Non-sterile jar & lid - soak in bleach/water solution for 10-20 minutes, rinse thoroughly
    5. Growing sprouts in a cabinet - grow sprouts out in the open, but not in direct sunlight
    6. Rinsing with warm or hot water - only use cold water
    Happy Sprouting!
    The Hoff

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Doc: Ingredients

    Ingredients focuses on small independent farmers, the local food movement and the chefs, restaurants and communities supporting these little guys.  You'll also learn how these sustainable foods are changing our health and our culture for the better.  You will gain an appreciation for what these farmers are providing and be motivated to seek them out and support them.

    Ohio makes an appearance in this doc - woo hoo!!!

    An inspiring doc that is worthy of your time!

    "You can pay the doctor or pay the farmer."

    Check out the trailer!

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    A Very Vegan Easter Dinner

    After reading my post, The Woes of Holiday Eating, many of you have been asking how I handled Easter dinner.

    Well, I took matters into my own hands and hosted Easter dinner myself!  Complete control over the entire menu.  My number one goal was to keep it simple and stress-free.

    My Easter menu:
    • Cucumber Soup - courtesy of the Jazzy Vegetarian
    • Roasted Butternut Squash mixed with Apricot Jam, Maple Syrup & Sea Salt (combination tastes like butter!)
    • Couscous with roasted Pine Nuts & Caramelized Onions
    • Homemade Succotash (yes, all I did was combine 1 bag each of frozen Lima Beans & Corn - seems to taste better than the pre-mixed version)
    • Hoff's Awesome Chocolate Ice Cream!

    To relieve the baking duty, I tried out Poison Berry Bakery, a Cleveland-based vegan bakery!  Delivered to my door were 16 vegan Choco-Oaty Cookies (got my chocolate chip cookie fix after all!) & one dozen Classic Cupcakes - all for the bargain price of $33, plus free delivery!  If that seems high to you, you have NOT priced out vegan bakeries...

    These treats came up against the toughest, most cut throat critic I have ever met in my mother.  Whom by the way has not fully bought into this "vegan" thing.  She is also a world-renowned dessert expert.  Let me tell you that she holds no punches and told me that my Lettuce Wraps suck - to my face!  We don't agree on much, but we did agree on the verdict for Poison Berry Bakery...

    This bakery rocks!  The cupcakes were AMAZING, the cookies AWESOME!  We want more!!!

    At the end of the day, my Very Vegan Easter Dinner was a smashing success!  Out of all the dinners I have hosted, I am the most satisfied and proudest of this one.  I didn't stress, the food was amazing and I proved you can celebrate the holidays without compromising your beliefs and still have a fabulous time!

    Keep It Healthy!
    The Hoff

    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Portabella Hummus Caps

    This recipe can be used as an appetizer (cut into bite size pieces & served with toothpicks), snack or mini meal - whatever you're in the mood for!  I actually like taking one cap to work for lunch - very filling!

    • 2 Portabella Mushroom Caps
    • Hoff's Red Pepper Hummus (or whatever hummus you have)
    • Onions (chopped)
    • Sprouts
    • BBQ Sauce
    • Mustard (optional)
    1. Prepare the Mushroom caps by removing the stem and gills, this can be done with a spoon & rinse
    2. Slather on a layer of BBQ Sauce on the inside of the cap
    3. Mound a generous amount of Hummus
    4. Layer on Onions & Sprouts
    5. Swirl on some Mustard
    6. That's it!
    My2Cents: I'm not very into raw food - aside from wraps and smoothies, I don't eat as many raw foods as I should.  So, it's rather cool that every time I eat this "sandwich" how "alive" it feels - so fresh, so full of energy.  Kinda hard to explain, you'll just have to experience it for yourself!

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    Event: But I’m not a Vegetarian Cooking Class

    This vegetarian/vegan cooking class will be instructed by Chef Robin Blair of Cooking with C.A.R.E. In a small group setting, you will work with the freshest, in-season ingredients available all of which are everyday foods you are familiar with! You will prepare an entire meal & then eat it! You will be able to ask questions about anything food related. This is sure to be fun and exciting, so be sure to bring a friend or two!

    • Hearty Lentil Soup
    • Caramelized Onion and Spinach Lasagna (served with a vegan option)
    • Balsamic Asparagus

    When: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 – 6:30 – 8:30pm
                Saturday, April 28, 2012 – 1:00 – 3:30pm
    Where: Shore Cultural Center: 291 E. 222nd Street, Euclid, OH 44123
    Cost: $25 per person

    For more information & to register go to: Cooking With C.A.R.E

    Contact Chef Robin with any questions: or 216.577.6981

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Hoff's Breakfast Burrito

    Hoff's Breakfast Burrito
    Yields: 6 burritos
    meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

    • 6 Soft Tortillas
    • 10 oz Firm Tofu (crumbled)
    • 1 cup Mushrooms (diced)
    • 1 Red Pepper (diced)
    • 1/2 Onion (diced)
    • 1 tbsp Mustard
    • 1 tbsp Liquid Smoke
    • 1 tsp Cumin
    • Sea Salt
    • Salsa (optional)

    1. Saute Mushrooms until softened
    2. Add Red Pepper & Onions until soft & browned
    3. Add Tofu & Seasonings
    4. Cook until warmed through
    5. Assemble burritos, adding salsa

    My2Cents: Sauteing the mushrooms before anything else hits the pan, brings out a unique flavor that doesn't happen if you add to or cook along with the red peppers & onions - I found this out by pure accident.  The mustard gives the tofu a yellowish tint, giving the allusion of scrambled eggs.  It also gives a nice tangy taste!  Before I went vegan, I used to add mustard to scrambled eggs - delicious, must be the German in me!

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    The Woes of Holiday Eating

    Holidays are a contentious time for me.

    Now that I have adopted a whole foods, plant-based, oil-free diet for health reasons, I have to be very diligent about where I eat (some might call me difficult, that's just too bad.)

    Going Out To Eat

    Most restaurants feature buffets for the holidays.  While I am disciplined to avoid the obvious (ham, eggs, cookies, etc.), it's the hidden ingredients that are difficult to avoid.  Where is the milk/butter hiding: gravy, mashed potatoes, pudding?  Veggies are probably sitting in butter.  As for the oil, it's almost guaranteed to be in everything.  If I could take the Chef by the hand and say walk me through this buffet and tell me what I can eat, the offering would be so restricted that it's not even worth the admission price.  That and I don't want to be stressed/"difficult" on a holiday - I am after all supposed to be enjoying myself.  So restaurants, just aren't worth the hassle for me.

    The Family Dinner

    Then there's the family dinner.  Families mean well, but if they aren't following your diet it's very difficult for them to accommodate your needs.  And should they?  Most families have long standing family recipes that make a special appearance during the holidays.  Who am I to say don't put butter in Grandma Bea's Best Ever Stuffing, you won't miss it!  So for me this is a another stress area, I don't do well when hungry, but I'm not willing to break from what I think is best for me to appease someone else. Yes, I could bring my own food (awkward/rude), but again where's my holiday (now I have to pack a lunch)?!?!


    I never met a chocolate chip cookie I didn't like.  Those little babies are my potential downfall at any given moment.  You have no idea the great lengths I go to procure a vegan chocolate chip cookie!  Yeah, I'll admit it, I'm a chocolate chip cookie addict!  So, is it fair to surround myself by temptation for an entire day?  I'm no saint people, I didn't give up my favorite foods without a struggle.

    Some would tell me it's just a day, enjoy yourself!  Well there are about 5-7 of these "days" within the year.  And frankly, my health is worth more to me than a fleeting moment of "enjoying myself." Because that day will come and go, but the aftermath on my health will last a lifetime.  And don't tell me a little won't hurt, people just say that to justify their bad eating habits and I know better.

    So to all of you out there struggling these holidays, I'm with you & stay strong.  You know what's best & block out all the rest.

    Keep It Healthy!
    The Hoff

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    Hoff's Chocolate Chia Pudding

    Hoff's Chocolate Chia Pudding
    Serves: 1
    dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

    • 2 tbsp Chia Seeds
    • 1 tbsp Sugar/1 Stevia Packet
    • 1 tsp Cacao Powder
    • 1/2 cup Chocolate Almond Milk
    • Sea Salt

    1. Mix all the dry ingredients together & then add the Milk
    2. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes
    3. Enjoy!

    My2Cents: Don't expect a smooth pudding, the Chia Seeds will plump up and resemble tapioca with a slight crunch.  It's a unique experience, but one worth having due to all the benefits of the Chia Seed!  Chia seeds are a great natural detoxifier.  Mixing the dry ingredients together first helps with the Cacao powder to be absorbed by the milk.  Allowing this pudding to set-up in the frig over night is even better!

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    Hoff Hit: A Healthy Toothbrush

    To keep your toothbrush happy & healthy, disinfect it daily by soaking in a solution of half water & half hydrogen peroxide for 1-2 minutes.  Listerine will yield the same results.  This is especially important when you have a cold.

    And did you know that when a toilet is flushed, it shoots particles into the air up to 6 feet!  Close the lid before you flush and keep you toothbrush undercover.

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    Taco Tuesday Streamlined

    I began tonight by attempting to turn a taco into a casserole.  Why?  Because I was tired, lazy, busy, you fill in the blank and I didn't feel like being so hands on with dinner.  What I ended up with was streamlining my traditional taco dinner (already a quick meal, but oh so needy).

    Here's what I did:

    In an over safe dish, I combined:
    • 1 can Fat-Free Refried Beans
    • 1 can Tex Mex Diced Tomatoes
    • 1 cup Brown Rice (uncooked)
    I baked this at 375 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes.  This saved me warming the beans & tomatoes & cooking the rice separately .  No babysitting. :)

    On the side, I prepared Hoff's Guac, putting the pit back into the concoction & covering to slow down the browning/oxidation.  No streamlining here.

    Lastly, I placed a whole Red Pepper in the oven set to broil for about 15-20 minutes until it was nicely charred.  Normally, I would have sauteed pepper strips in a frying pan, but that requires my constant attention.  To my surprise, the broiling method resulted in a sweeter taste & again no baby sitting!

    What did these minimal efforts yield me?

    About an hours worth of free time to get my tasks done that otherwise would have happened after dinner.  And I am a happy camper!

    Keep It Healthy!
    The Hoff

    P.S.  You'll notice in the picture that I topped my creation with crushed Tortilla Chips (this was when I still thought I was making a casserole).  Um yeah, that didn't turn out so good...they burned.  So for those of you looking to try this, I would add during the last 10 minutes of cooking.