Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sherbert Lemonade

Check out this super simple recipe from Jason Vale, the Juice Master, a cinch to make in your juicer!  Amaze your party guests this summer with this delicious & healthy drink!  All I can say is that this drink is awesome!

Sherbert Lemonade
Serves: 1

  • 2 Golden Delicious Apples
  • 1 Lemon
  • Ice

  1. Slice end off of Lemon and cut a 1" thick slice, leaving the peel on
  2. Throw Apples and Lemon slice into Juicer
  3. Pour over Ice & Drink!
Check out Jason's video for a play by play of this easy recipe:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hoff Hit: Excellent Source of Omega-3s

Looking for a rock star source of Omega-3s?

Flaxseed is the most concentrated source there is, but skip the oil and grind whole Flaxseeds instead.  Sprinkle on or in anything and everything - oatmeal, cereal, soup, salad, pancake mix or add whole to a Smoothie before blending.

Store Flaxseed in the fridge to extend it's shelf-life.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What is Nutritional Yeast?

You've may have noticed that I reference Nutritional Yeast in a lot of my recipes: Hoff's Buttery RiceHoff's Chickzo, Hoff's Pesto Sauce - you get the picture.

So, what is it?

Nutritional Yeast is classified as a nutritional food supplement.  It is derived from fermenting yeast, among other things.  Depending on your taste buds or how you use it, it can take on a salty, nutty, cheesy or buttery flavor.  Vegans tend to use it in place of cheese in recipes.  It comes in flake or powder form and can be used as part of a recipe or as a condiment.  

Is it healthy?

Yes, Nutritional Yeast is usually fortified with B12 (make sure it is), making it an excellent source for this essential vitamin, which is lacking in a vegan/vegetarian diet.  Nutritional Yeast is low in fat and sodium and free of dairy, sugar & gluten.  Typically free of preservatives, it also contains protein, fiber and essential amino acids.  Depending on the brand it may contain B vitamins, niacin, folic acid, zinc and selenium.  But to be honest, I use it for the taste & the B12, everything else is just a bonus.  

Where to get it...

Nutritional Yeast is a very popular item in the bulk bins of "healthy" grocery stores. It's a great bargain because it weighs next to nothing, so you can get a lot and pay very little - I stock up this way when the opportunity presents itself.

It can also be found in the supplement section of health food stores.

I typically get my Nutritional Yeast from, because I don't have a "healthy" grocery store nearby.  They sell Bob's Red Mill for $9 for an 8oz. bag.  A little more than I suspect I would pay at the bulk bin, but this one is a convenience factor.  Or you can get a handy dandy shaker by Red Star for $4 for an 5oz. bottle.  I like them both.

What to do with it...

I use it as a flavor enhancer, particularly when I'm looking for a cheesy or buttery taste.  You can use it as a topping/add-in for just about everything - pizza, scrambled tofu, garlic bread, stir-fry, spaghetti, casseroles, chili, soups, mashed potatoes, gravies, cheese sauce...  Many times, vegan mac & cheese recipes will rely heavily on Nutritional Yeast.  It also makes a great topping for popcorn - spray popcorn with a little Bragg Liquid Aminos and then mix in some Nutritional Yeast - cheesy popcorn!

Where to put it...

Store it in a cool, dry place (hmm, your cabinet perhaps). I like to store mine in a glass mason jar (along with ever other dry-good in my kitchen).

At first you may think, "This tastes nothing like cheese!"  Give it a fair chance, eventually your taste buds will come around and in the absence of real cheese, this stuff may become your new best friend.

Keep It Healthy!
The Hoff

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hoff's Taco Salad

Despite this being a salad, there's a lot of prep work involved, but it's worth it!

Hoff's Taco Salad
Serves: 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • Hoff's Guac
  • Semi-Homemade Corn Chips
  • 4 generous cups Romaine Lettuce
  • 2 cups cooked Brown Rice
  • 1 cup Onion (chopped)
  • 1 Red Pepper (chopped)
  • 1 can Corn (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 can Black Beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes (seasoned)
  • 1 Lime
  • Sea Salt (optional)

  1. Prepare Hoff's Guac and set aside
  2. Prepare Semi-Homemade Corn Chips, but instead of triangles, cut into stripes
  3. Prepare Rice according to box directions, infusing the water with juice from half of a Lime
  4. In a large pot, sauté Onions & Red Pepper until soft
  5. Add Rice, Corn, Black Beans & Tomatoes to pot and warm through
  6. Line a plate with 2 cups of Romaine Lettuce, layer with Taco Mixture, top with 1/2 cup of Guacamole & Salsa (as much as  you want)
  7. Drizzle with Lime Juice
  8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 for the other serving

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hoff's Lima Corn Rice Bowl

Hoff's Lima Corn Rice Bowl
Serves: 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 1 1/2 cups Water + 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 1/2 Onion (chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves of Garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup Lima Beans
  • 1 cup Corn
  • 3 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • Sea Salt

  1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil, add Rice, 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast & pinch of Sea Salt, reduce to simmer & cook with lid on for 15 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, sautee Onions & Garlic until browned & softened in a non-stick skillet
  3. Add 1 cup of Water, Lima Beans & Corn and simmer until heated through & water evaporates
  4. Add Veggie mixture to Rice, season with 2 tbsp of Nutritional Yeast & 2-3 pinches of Sea Salt

My2Cents: This is a super quick, very basic meal that I came up with when I was craving Jasmine Rice & trying to get the freezer under control.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ask The Hoff: Supplements

Hello Healthy Hoff,

I was wondering what kind of supplements you take.  I am drowning in all the recommendations out there.  What keeps you healthy?

Thank you much,
Nutrient Envy

Dear Nutrient Envy,

I once was like you, snapping up ever supplement and vitamin recommendation that came my way.  Spending about $50 bucks a month on them and spacing them out throughout the day because I literally was downing anywhere from 10-20 a day all in the name of "health."

Then I came to my senses, with some guidance.  Here's my epiphany, bear with me:

Man, is an idiot. I mean mankind in generally, "he" constantly feels that he can improve what Mother Nature provides.  Yet, man often times falls short.  In regards to supplements, what man fails to realize that when you extract a single nutrient from food, that we don't understand or fail to understand how that nutrient interacts with the other countless nutrients in that food. 

As for the fear of being nutrient deprived.  Eat a whole foods, plant-based diet, and you'll get all the nutrients your body needs in the manner in which it can effectively use them.

But, I don't do this theory justice, check out this video from Dr. McDougall (one of my mentors):

That being said, I still take a Probiotic (Lactobacillus acidophilus) daily, because I have a problem with yeast and that actually does help me keep things in check, plus it's just good practice in general for anyone (a must after a round of antibiotics!).  No, yogurt is not a suitable source for this healthy bacteria (#1 you don't need the dairy, #2 it doesn't provide the beneficial amount needed - you'd have to actually eat a gallon of it).  Be sure to store your Probiotic in the fridge to keep those billions of healthy bacteria alive!

Aside from that, my medicine cabinet is supplement/vitamin free! 

Whether to take supplements/vitamins or not, is a personal choice.  Do the research and come to your own conclusion.  As for me, I have found it liberating to purge my house of these "health in a bottle" and feel empowered to give my body the nutrients it needs through whole-foods.  Not to mention relieved of the stress of playing mad scientist!  Plus I like saving all that cash!

Kick the Habit!
The Hoff

Gotta question for The Healthy Hoff?  Hit me up at

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Event: 13th Annual World Veg Festival

Featured Events:
  • Children’s Corner
  • Green Film Festival
  • Healthy Food Demos with Recipes & Samples
  • International Speakers & Workshops
  • Live Entertainment
  • Vegan Cuisine to sample or buy
  • Veghealth Awards Ceremony by Vegetarian Health Institute
  • Catered Vegan Dinners: Saturday & Sunday, 6:30 p.m. $25 each

Click here to learn about the special 4-day package & itinerary!

When: October 5, 2012 - October 8, 2012
Where: San Francisco County Fair Building: 1199 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122
Time: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Cost: $10 at Gate; Free for Children under 12, Students with ID, & Seniors over 65
Event Schedule: TBD
Special 4-Day Package: Adult Price per person: $185.00, Seniors over 65: $171.00, Children under 12: $86.00
Registration: Open Now

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hoff's Chinese Noodles

This super quick & simple recipe makes a great side dish for 2 or mini meal just for you!

Hoff's Chinese Noodles
Serves: 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

  • 1 Bundle Soba Noodles
  • Juice of 1 Clementine
  • Bragg Liquid Amino
  • Grated Ginger or Ginger Powder
  • 1 tbsp Corn Starch/Kuzu Root
  • 2 tbsp Water

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil & cook noodles 2-3 minutes or according to package
  2. In a small jar combine Corn Starch & Water, shake to combine
  3. Add  Juice, Aminos & Ginger, shake to combine
  4. Drain Pasta and return to pot, add Sauce and stir until thicken

My2Cents: Do not walk away from the pasta after adding the sauce, it takes maybe 2 minutes before it starts to thicken.  If you don't have a Clementine, any citrus juice will do - try Lime!  Add seasons per your taste.  Throw some veggies into the cooking water with the pasta, like broccoli!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Event: Vegetarian Summerfest


When: June 27 - July 1, 2011
Where: Conference Center at Pitt-Johnstown, on the picturesque campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, PA
Time: TBD
Cost: Click here for pricing
Registration: Available now

The conference will feature experts in the fields of health, nutrition, animal rights, the environment, exercise and related lifestyle areas, plus talented chefs.  To view the line-up, click here!

Full program details!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hoff's Black Bean Mash

This is the dish that I referenced in I Fought The Mouse & Won...Barely, that was so good that I had to recreate it!

Hoff's Black Bean Mash
Yields: 4 servings
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

  • 2 cups Jasmin Rice
  • 2 15oz. cans Black Beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 15 oz. can Organic Corn (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 cup Onion (chopped)
  • 1 Red Pepper (chopped)
  • 2 Zucchini/Yellow Squash (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 tsp. Cilantro
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • Sea Salt (to taste)

  1. Prepare Rice according to box directions, adding Nutritional Yeast to the cooking water
  2. Using a mini food processor, blend 1 can of Black Beans with juice from Lime, 1 Zucchini and Garlic until smooth - add a little water if too thick
  3. In a small pot over low-medium heat, heat "black bean mash"
  4. Meanwhile in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, brown Onions
  5. Add Red Peppers, 1 Zucchini, Corn & 1 can of Black Beans - brown & then cover with lid to allow veggies to steam until softened or desired texture
  6. Mix in Seasonings until veggies are well coated
  7. Plate Rice, layer on Black Bean Mash & pile high with veggies!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Are Chia Seeds?

Believe it or not, I was introduced to Chia Seeds by my mother who learned about them from the Dr. Oz show.  She jumped on the bandwagon a lot quicker than I did, but after hearing about all the healthy benefits associated with these little guys, I am now a Chia convert as well.

So let me tell you a little about Chia Seeds in case you were like me and had never heard of this superfood before...

We can thank the Mayan Aztecs for our Chia Seeds.  They were the first civilization to recognize their greatness and incorporate them into their diet.  "Chia," by the way is the Mayan word for "strength."

  • Good source of protein & fiber
  • Good source of B vitamins, calcium & potassium
  • Contain phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, niacin & zinc
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Low glycemic index, helps control blood sugar levels
  • Contains boron which aids in the metabolism of calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus for bones and muscle growth
  • Contain the highest concentration of the ALA fatty acid (55-64%), which may help promote cardiovascular health

  • Stabilize or boost energy
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lose weight by creating sense of fullness
  • Natural detoxifier
  • Aides in digestion
  • Fights the effects of aging
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Cleanse colon, remove toxins and aid with regeneration
  • Early cancer research shows promise in this area

Better Than Flax Seed?

Chia Seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and some believe are a better source than Flax Seed.  And unlike Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds are shelf-stable and hold up much longer and better.  Flax Seed, if you don't know, needs refrigeration after opening as the oils can go rancid rather quickly.  Also, in order to reap the benefits of Flax Seed, the seeds must be ground as our teeth cannot break through the husk and therefore will be digested whole if eaten in whole form with little nutritional benefit.  Chia Seeds on the other hand do not require grinding to reveal their inner goodness nor will blending as part of a smoothie diminish their nutrients.

How To Use Them

When hydrated (soaked in liquid), Chia Seeds will increase in size by 10 times and will form a gelatinous outer layer which lends it self well to homemade puddings!  I enjoy the squishy outer layer and teeny, tiny crunchy inside, it's an interesting take on yin and yang.

Chia Seeds have a somewhat nutty flavor and a very gelatinous texture when hydrated.

Add to:
  • Cereal
  • Smoothies
  • Juices
  • "Milk" Shakes
  • Oatmeal
  • Soygurt
  • Salad Dressing
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Rice dishes
  • Baked goods
  • Water - drink it straight!

  • Pudding - try Hoff's Chocolate Chia Pudding!
  • Chia Fresca (classic Mexican drink) - mix Chia in water w/lemon or lime juice and a little sugar
  • Gluten-free flour for baking by grinding seeds

Some have even mixed the seeds with water to use as an oil/fat replacement in some recipes.

If you choose to use Chia Seeds without soaking first, be sure to consume ample amounts of water as they will soak up the moisture in your body.

Chia Pet?

Yes, the Chia Seeds that you eat and the very same seeds that have made the Chia Pet so enduring all these years...the Aztecs are rolling over in their graves.

Ch, Ch, Ch, Chia Seed!
The Hoff


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hoff's Fiesta Pasta Salad

Hoff's Fiesta Pasta Salad
Yields: Around 13 cups
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 1lb Whole Wheat Pasta
  • 1 Cucumber (de-seeded & chopped)
  • 1 15 oz can Beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 15 oz can Corn (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 2.25 oz can Sliced Black Olives (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 Red Pepper (chopped)
  • 1 cup Red Onion (chopped)
  • 1 bottle Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1 handful fresh Oregano (diced)
  • Juice from 1 Lime

  1. Cook pasta according to box directions
  2. Combine all ingredients in a very large mixing bowl, mixing until everything is coated well with the dressing and seasonings
  3. Allow at least in a hour in the fridge for the flavors to blend before serving

My2Cents: I use Maple Grove Farms of Vermont dressing because it does not contain oil.  Substitute fresh corn right off the cob if you can get your hands on some - two ears should do it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Italian Monday!

Every Monday, I have the same thing - spaghetti.  There are a couple of reasons for this.
  1. I like spaghetti.
  2. Having a set meal on certain days, makes my life easier.
  3. Spaghetti supplies are shelf-stable so you bulk up & always have them on hand.
  4. I can't think on Monday's so, planning out a dinner would be a disaster.
  5. If I'm late, my boyfriend can start dinner. :)
  6. Lots of variety with spaghetti - different pasta shapes, different sauces, different add-ins, etc.
  7. I like spaghetti.
So tonight's dinner consisted of traditional Spaghetti with Prego Light Smart Spaghetti Sauce, plus one, 15oz can of Tomato Sauce - I find this is the perfect amount of sauce for one pound of pasta.  I always make one pound of pasta, so I can have leftovers for lunch the next day & sometimes enough for a snack later in the week (depends on how hungry my boyfriend is).  To the sauce I added 1 Zucchini (shredded), 1/2 cup of diced Spinach & 1/2 cup of diced fresh Cilantro (courtesy of my Tupperware Time Saver Chop N Prep Chef).  I also added one can of Black Beans (drained & rinsed).  I threw that all together and topped with a generous helping of Nutritional Yeast (pretend it tastes cheesy).

That's it!

A super simple, quick, no-brainer dinner and now you know what I'm eating every Monday and for lunch on Tuesdays!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day!!!

Hungry Jack Hashbrowns

I have tried and tried and tried to make homemade hashbrowns.  Ok, I've really only tried to make them once, the rest of the times were my boyfriend's attempts.  They always turn out gloppy and gray, hardly appealing & forget browning!

So when I came across Hungry Jack's Premium Hashbrown Potatoes I thought, hallelujah this could be the answer to my weekend breakfast prayers!

Why was I so excited?  Check out these ingredients!


No oil!  No crap!  Hooray breakfast is saved!

True, it would be nice to have dried potatoes only in that box, but everything else is pretty much acting as a preservative to prevent spoilage.

Simply put, this cute little milk container box contains dried potato shreds that are reconstituted with warm water within a few minutes.  Once re-hydrated, dump potatoes into a non-stick frying pan along with some sauteed onion & red pepper (some kraut, if you dare) to heat through and brown.  Top with mustard and you're going to be one happy camper!

The directions actually suggest to cook with oil, but as you can see from the nutritional stats that is just going to ruin your day!  Just say NO!  Use a little water to prevent sticking if you run into trouble.  And if you're still in doubt check out, Cooking Without Oil - Yes It Can Be Done!

And in case you're wondering, they packed A LOT of potatoes in that little container!

Check It Out!
The Hoff

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hoff Hit: Naturallty Heal a Blister

Got a blister?  Got Listerine?

Put the two together and you got a natural, non-invasive treatment!

Soak a cotton ball in Listerine and apply to the blister 3 times a day until it is gone.

The alcohol in the Listerine will absorb the moisture trapped in the blister.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Corn Stripper!

Nothing tastes better than fresh corn!

But nothing is more of a pain in the ass than removing the kernels, aside from husking the corn of course. (For a genius method for husking, check this out!)

So, when I came upon the OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper, I had to give it a try!

Never again will I take a knife to an ear of corn to free the kernels.

I won't sugar coat the Corn Stripper, it takes some practice to get the hang of this gadget and the container will only hold about an ears worth of corn at a time and it can get a little messy.  But, it does make quick work of removing the kernels without the risk of cutting yourself.

You can use this tool on raw or cooked corn.  (Yes, you can eat corn raw, it's just a little tough.)  When using the tool on hot corn, I suggest using your Ove' Glove (I keep two on hand) to keep from burning yourself.  Also, it's easier to start from the wide end and move toward the narrow end.

Keep It Healthy!
The Hoff

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hoff's Zucchini Cakes

Hoff's Zucchini Cakes
Yields: 12 patties
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 2 Zucchini (about 2 cups shredded)
  • 1/2 cup minced Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1 tbsp. ground Flax Seed
  • 3 tbsp. Water
  • 1/2 cup Chickpea Flour
  • 1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tbsp. Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Hoff Seasoning
  1. Using a paper towel, blot the shredded Zucchini to remove any excess water
  2. Mix together Zucchini, Onion, Garlic, Flax Seed & Mustard
  3. Add Chickpea Flour, Nutritional Yeast, Baking Powder & Seasonings, mix together
  4. Drop spoonfuls of batter, flatten using the back of the spoon on a silpat sheet
  5. Airfry at 400 degrees for around 20 minutes
  6. Serve with mustard or tofu sour cream!

Hoff Thoughts:  I like to use a spring-loaded scooper to ensure that equal amounts of batter are used for each cake.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Enjoy Life: New Products!!!

So Festively Packed!
I was once again approached by Enjoy Life, to test some of their latest products - this time their line of Plentils.

Plentils are a vegan's answer to flavored potato chips, except that these chips are made from Lentils and contain none of the 8 most common allergens: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish & shellfish.  They also happen to be gluten-free!  Add to that minimal, pronounceable ingredients and these chips are a dream come true!

To my dismay, these chips are seriously addictive!

In fact my boyfriend and I polished off 4, yes FOUR, 4 ounce bags in one weekend.  Oiy!

So you can guess what I think of these chips, they are seriously good!

I loved three flavors: Dill & Sour Cream,  Garlic & Parmesan & Margherita Pizza!  These really pack a flavor punch with this lighter than air chip.  Flavors that are typically off limits to a Vegan Girl like myself are once again a possibility!  They don't taste spot on to their real counterparts, but they are delicious nonetheless.  With these I don't feel so left out come snack time.

I thought the Light Sea Salt was okay.  After trying the other three samples, these chips were a little bland.  However, if you're craving traditional potato chips, this flavor is your answer.

I just have one issue, the oil.  Every single flavor contains one to two types of oil (Safflower or Sunflower Oil).  A healthy diet just doesn't need added oils, an unhealthy diet doesn't need them either.  These chips would be perfect if they would just drop the oil, but I suspect it is necessary to get the crisp, lighter than air texture (sigh).  And I suspect it's the added oil(s) that is driving the rather high fat content on these chips.

However, for those of you not concerned with oil, these are a most excellent vegan snack!

Keep It Healthy!
The Hoff

Monday, June 11, 2012

Shucking Corn - You Have to See This!

Check out this ingenious way of shucking corn so you don't have to deal with all those pesky threads.  I had to watch this twice just to believe it!  I love the music!

This guy rocks!

Shucking Corn - Clean Ears Every Time

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hoff's Fake It Italian Sausage & Spaghetti

This is a super quick, one-pot meal; that I whipped up one day for lunch.  It makes just enough for two and requires minimum effort.  Truth be told, I made it while putting away the weekly groceries because I was so ravenous & had to eat stat!

Hoff's Fake It Italian Sausage & Spaghetti
Serves: 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

  • One bundle Buckwheat Soba Noodles
  • 1 Vegan Veggie Burger
  • 1 15oz can of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Zucchini (shredded)
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • Italian Herbs
  • Garlic Powder

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil and cook Pasta for 3 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, microwave Burger for 2 minutes (1 minute each side)
  3. Drain water and return pot to heat with Pasta
  4. Add Tomato Sauce, Zucchini & crumbled/chopped Burger
  5. Add seasonings to taste
  6. Eat!

My2Cents: Tastes just like Italian Sausage with Spaghetti!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Doc: Hungry For Change

From the creators of Food Matters, Hungry for Change is a very well put together doc that takes a look at food addictions & how to overcome them, busting dieting myths, what a real diet is, natural detox, why fad diets fail and a whole lot more.

Some of the experts weighing in:
A definite must see!

"I was 31 when I realized I didn't know how to take care of myself and I am sick.  So I had to go back and learn all the things I wish I would have learned as a child." - Kris Carr

Check out the trailer!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hoff's Blueberry Syrup

Hoff's Blueberry Syrup
Yields: About 1 1/2 cups
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup frozen/fresh Blueberries
  • 1 tbsp Kuzu Root
  • 2 tbsp cold Water
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • Salt

  1. In a small sauce pan, bring Water & Sugar to a boil
  2. Stir in Blueberries & bring back to a boil
  3. Gently mash Blueberries (leaving a few whole for texture)
  4. On the side, combine Kuzu Root & Water, stir into syrup
  5. Add Vanilla & Salt to taste
  6. Allow to simmer until desired consistency (few minutes)

My2Cents:  I use a small leftover food jar to shake up my Kuzu Root & Water mixture.  I don't even bother measuring the Water, I just add enough to cover the Kuzu.  If you don't have Kuzu Root, just use Corn Starch.  Kick this syrup up a notch by substituting in Vanilla Sugar!  Whether you use fresh or frozen fruit, this is a super quick recipe!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

CSA: Fresh Forks

You may recall last year when I excitedly started telling you about my experiences with my very first CSA.  You may also recall, that those updates abruptly stopped.  That was because things turned sour with my CSA farmer rather quickly and while I stuck through the entire season, it was wrought with hostility and frustration - nothing that I felt like writing about nor sharing with you.  What I took away from that experience is the importance of thoroughly investigating any CSA in which you intend to enter into a contract with.

(Perhaps you came to the party late and have no clue as to what a CSA is; check out CSA Season is Upon Us! to catch up.)

I thought twice about joining another CSA this year, but I was determined not to let one farmer's misdealings deter me from a potentially great experience.

Yesterday I received my first bounty from my new CSA, Fresh Fork & I am so thrilled that I reconsidered!!! I know, I know, it's still early, but I have a really positive feeling about these guys.  This time, I actually talked to people who have participated in their CSA program in the past - all who had nothing but good things to say.  In fact when a friend of mine had to back out of her agreement due to logistic changes, she received a full refund - no questions asked.

 Who is Fresh Fork?

First of all, they cater to omnivores, vegetarians and vegans!  Say what - isn't a CSA all vegetables and fruit?  Not with these guys - they pool area resources to provide tasty treats each week such as: pasture raised chickens, sweet pea & basil pasta and vegan burgers!  Plus at pick-up they were selling Ohio Maple Syrup, dried black beans by the pound, salsas and cheeses all à la carte.

They are high-tech!  You can get everything you need from their robust website.  They send out weekly email newsletters with topics ranging from farming techniques to recipes and preservation techniques.  They even give you heads up of what you're getting and ideas on what to do with it!  Plus, Fresh Forks maintains a blog, to keep you in the know.  They also have digital tablets at the pick-up to keep track of things!  Très efficient.

Fresh Fork Market was started by Trevor Clatterbuck, along with four other Case Western students, 4 years ago while still in college.  They are committed to sourcing only the best local, artisanal products. Working directly with the producers to bring food from the farm to customers in a very short time; assuring  the freshest products available.  Their mission - " be the first, middle, and last name of local foods. We will bring the freshest local ingredients of the highest quality straight from the farm to your fork."

My First Bounty!

My bag was so full, I needed the help of a friend to carry it!  To tell the truth, I was kinda overwhelmed by everything I got and am at a lost for what to do with some of it, but I do have a few ideas...

Check out what I got, keep in mind this is a small, vegan option:

Just a portion of my bounty!
  • 1 head broccoli - Hoff's Chinese Broccoli Noodles
  • 1 bulb kohlrabi - ???
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1 quart strawberries - already gone!
  • 1 bunch red Russian kale - hello Mr Juicer!
  • 1 bunch garlic scapes
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce - Hoff's Chinese Lettuce Wraps
  • 1 bunch radishes - hmm...
  • 1 quarter lb bag of pea tendrils - ???
  • 2 lbs hothouse tomatoes
  • 1 lb shelled peas - making Pea & Pesto Soup!

While I may be at a loss for what to do with some of these things, Trevor's got me covered with the first CSA Newsletter for 2012.

CSA 2012 Season

For 22 weeks, Fresh Fork will provide fresh and local foods of the highest quality.  Each week, you can expect to get a center of the plate item, side dish type items and a selection of produce that pairs nicely with those products.

Have I peaked your interest?

Although this CSA officially started June 6, there is still time to get in on the action.  Check out their online registration page for CSA packages and payment options, review their pricing, find out if they have a drop-off location convenient for you.

Yeah, I have a good feeling about this one...more to come.

I Got My CSA Back!
The Hoff

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What a Novel Concept

Check out this short, 2-minute video from Dr. John McDougall in which he breaks down the differences between the Asian Diet Vs. the Western Diet.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cleveland CSA: Central Roots

That's's CSA season again!!!

I've got a new kid on the block to tell you about, Central Roots!

Now in their second growing season, Central Roots is currently accepting applications for their 2012 CSA until June 20, 2012, which will run weekly from June 22nd through December 21st.

Matthew Pietro, Sarah Sampsell & Todd Alexander    
Don't let the newbie status scare you off, Central Roots is growing a lot of stuff, over 60 varieties of  produce & they know their stuff!

Who are they?

Sarah, Todd, and Matt founders of Central Roots have a love for Cleveland and a passion to grow, eat, and sell healthy food!  Their goal is to make healthy food hassle free.

What makes them special?

Central Roots is committed to producing nutrient-dense, flavorful vegetables and fruits.  They utilize a practice called ‘integrated pest management’, in which they confuse insects and disease to reduce or altogether eliminate the need for pesticides and fungicides. What does that mean for you?  No chemicals!

And um, they are farming under the skyline of downtown Cleveland - that in of itself is just cool!

Where are they?

Central Roots actually has two farms, one at the Ohio City Farm: West 25th and Franklin Avenue (CSA pick-up point) and one at the Thackeray Avenue Orchard: East 59th and Thackeray Avenue.

They also have a food stand at Ohio City Farm: West 25th & Franklin Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44113 each week; Friday & Saturdays, 9am - 3pm, June - November.

For more info, check out the CSA page on their website or their blog!

Got questions?  Give'em a shout!

Keep It Healthy!
The Hoff

Shout out to Wendy of the Earth Day Coalition for passing this info along!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Event: Cleveland Screens Vegucated

"Vegucated is a feature-length documentary that follows three meat-and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. Part sociological experiment, part science class, and part adventure story, Vegucated showcases the rapid and at times comedic evolution of three people who share one journey and ultimately discover their own paths in creating a kinder, cleaner, greener world, one bite at a time."

When: Thursday, June 7, 2012
Where: Big Dog Theater: 2781 Euclid Heights Blvd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44106 (2nd floor of historic Centrum in Coventry Village)
Time: 7:00pm - 10:00pm (reception with vegan food samples at 6:00 p.m.)
Cost: $8 in advance (Paypal), $10 at door (cash only)

For more info, click here.

"Vegucated is one of the most effective films I’ve seen about the myriad reasons everyone should consider a vegan diet." – Moby

Check out the trailer!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Christmas in May!

I can't help but say that I am rather disappointed by this month's KLUTCHclub box - it is very skimpy to say the least.  For the record, these boxes are the size of a shoe box - I had envisioned something a tad bigger.

More Coconut Water - yippee!  April's box was much more impressive!

The May KLUTCHclub Box contains:
  • Hydroxatone’s Instant Effect 90 Second Wrinkle Reducer - seeing as I have no wrinkles, I gave this one to my mother (a leading cosmetic expert) to test out.  Verdict: She likes it, she really, really likes it!  Works great under the eyes and for those little crows feet - smooths perfectly, even covers those pesky dark circles.  She asked for more.
  • ONE Coconut Water "Will help you miraculously replenish electrolytes after those hot, summer workouts!"  Verdict: I still don't like Coconut Water and this product hasn't changed my mind.  The juice box packaging was cute and convenient.
  • Moving Comfort Sports Bras - I received a coupon for $25 off any purchase from Moving Comfort and one to give to a friend.  Aside from bras, this company also sells tops, bottoms and accessories for the sport minded.  Prices appear to be between $36 - $50 per bra, with free shipping on orders $50 and over.  Verdict:  I attempted to make a purchase and my coupon was not applied, no reason given.  I suspect it was because I was attempting to purchase a sale item.  Frankly I thought I was getting a free bra, not a coupon, very disappointing.
  • This site allows you to download or stream all types of classes from office yoga to prenatal yoga to pilates and even meditations.  Prices vary from $.99 to $14.99 for either one time plays or to download permanently.  There are also four levels of monthly memberships to choose from if you really get into it. Verdict: The preview feature is useful to determine what it is that you want. With my one free download coupon ($10 value), I opted for a meditation, seeing as I have difficulty keeping focused.  I really liked Journey To Deep Relaxation by Ananga Sivyer.  It's an 11:30 minute guided meditation designed to deliver you into deep relaxation, perfect for after work.
  • thinkThin bars - since both bars contain dairy, my boyfriend volunteered to try them, but I'm beginning to feel guilty about him consuming all this dairy given the known health issues. Verdict: The thinkThin® Creamy Peanut Butter Protein Bar was very bland, imagine a watered down Reece's Cup. The Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nuts bar was bland as well, did not pack a chocolate punch despite the bottom being coated in chocolate.  Overall this bar was overwhelmed with nuts.
  • KLUTCHclub Water Bottle - it's plastic, that's really all I have to say about it.
Till Next Month,
The Hoff

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Coconut Oil: Yeah or Neah?

Many of you have been asking me whether or not I thought that Coconut Oil was healthy to use. I have been avoiding the topic, because frankly, I was as confused as you.

I once consumed Coconut Oil after reading many, many claims of health benefits.  To add to the confusion, I could only find this oil at a health food store!  However, I abruptly stopped when I started avoiding saturated fat for health reasons.

I have finally gotten into some actual scientific data on Coconut Oil and am ready to weigh in on the topic.

Here goes...

Coconut Oil:
  • 100% fat
  • Contains over 90% Saturated Fat, Lard contains 43%!
  • Mono & Poly unsaturated fats (good fats) are overshadowed by the amount of Saturated Fat
  • Contains no Omega-3 essential fatty acids (good stuff)

Lets look at nutrition...

1 tbsp Coconut Oil:
  • 116 CALORIES (all from fat & stored as fat)
  • .8 MONO
  • .2 POLY
  • O IRON
  • O ZINC
  • NO VITAMIN A, C, E, B6, B12

In fact, Coconut Oil pretty much mirrors lard from a nutritional standpoint - would you eat lard?

1 tbsp Lard:
  • 115 CALORIES (all from fat & stored as fat)
  • 5.8 MONO
  • 1.4 POLY
  • O IRON
  • O ZINC
  • NO VITAMIN A, C, K, B6, B12

    So what do you think?

    You don't need me to tell you that Coconut Oil has zero nutritional value and should be avoided at all costs.

    And to quote the great McDougall, "The fat you eat is the fat you wear."

    You Decide!
    The Hoff

    T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Lecture
    The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall

    Friday, June 1, 2012

    Hoff's Vegan, Oil-free Pesto Sauce

    If your Pesto ain't neon green, it ain't fresh!

    Hoff's Vegan, Oil-free Pesto Sauce
    Yields: 1 cup 
    dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, gluten-free

    • 4 cups Basil
    • 1/3 cup frozen Peas or 9 oz. fresh Spinach
    • 2 tbsp Pine Nuts/Cashews/Any Nut
    • 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
    • 2 tbsp Braggs 
    • 2-3 cloves of Garlic
    • 2 tbsp Water

    1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth - 10-20 seconds
    2. Mix with pasta or rice and serve

    My2Cents: It may not look like a lot, but you will have all you need for 1 pound of pasta.  Pesto can also be frozen for later use.  Experiment with different types of nuts, such as walnuts or almonds.  If you don't have enough Basil or none at all, substitute Spinach to make up the difference.  Add a block of Tofu for a creamy Pesto.