Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy World Vegetarian Day!!!

Steam Cooking

Just when I think I have every kitchen gadget a girl could need, another one pops up!

This time it was the glory of steam cooking, courtesy of an electric steam cooker!

Yes, I have steamed food in the past, the old fashion way - pot on the stove with a steamer basket to separate the food from the water.  I have even used a bamboo steamer basket.  Neither method all that exciting or efficient.

But when a friend of mine (Hi Jessica!) told me that she cooks almost all her meals in an electric steam cooker, I was intrigued.  I hate buying equipment that only gets used a few times a year, but the possibility of daily use?!?  My investigation began...

What I discovered...

Steam cooking has come a long way from my lonely pot on the stove.  Electric steam cookers have hit the market in droves!  These suckers have tiers, multiple tiers; which separate your food, thus keeping flavors from mixing and allowing for your ENTIRE meal to be cooked by one gadget!

Why I love it...

*I get my time back.  Steam cooking requires no stirring, no doting.  I can set up my tiers and do non-kitchen activities.  It's so freeing!!!

*Steam cooking is quick!

*Steaming maximizes the flavor and color of food.

*Can't screw up.  It's really hard to overcook or burn your food with steam, which adds to easy clean-up as well!

*It's healthy.  No oil needed to prevent sticking and the debate is still out on whether or not microwaves are destroying the nutrients in our food.  I for one, keep my microwaving to a minimum.  Plus, steam cooking is a more gentler way to cook.  Unlike boiling, nutrients are not leached out of the food, leaving the food more nutrient dense.

*It's not just for cooking, but for warming food as well.  I can steam fresh produce in one pan and heat up frozen or canned food in another.

*Food seems to taste better - crisper, more vibrant!  My steamed rice came out better than the rice cooker or traditional stove method.  This is now the only method I use for corn on the cob!

What to look for...

One major thing I discovered was the importance of the material that your steamer is made from - avoid plastic, go for stainless steel.

Just as I avoid cooking or storing food in plastic due to leaching chemicals, I don't want to steam my food in plastic either.  Sure there are a few BPA-free plastic steamers on the market, but I opted for the Secura 3-Tier 6-Quart Stainless Steamer, one of the few stainless steel steamers on the market.  The best price I found was on Amazon for $69.99.  My only regret, not opting for the 9-Quart steamer.  Yes, even for two people, I find the 6 quart a bit small for some things such as corn on the cob.  Also, 3 tiers is not enough for me (I may have an overcooking issue).  Thankfully, the Secura is expandable, just buy extra tiers!!!  I am currently rocking a 4-tier steamer, which for now, seems to be enough and yes I do use them all!

With these expandable tiers, comes the freedom to steam larger items.  Each tier comes with a removable inner pan, allowing you to stack the tiers in essences creating a large pot and steam a bunch of ears of corn or a whole spaghetti squash!   The possibilities are endless!

This unit also heats up in 15 seconds!  No more waiting for water to boil.  The built-in timer helps you from forgetting that you are actually cooking.

What am I steaming...

Unlike my friend, I only steam cook 1-2 times a week and that works for me.

So far I have steamed:
  • Corn on the cob
  • Cauliflower
  • Greens & Onions
  • Whole Squash
  • Carrots
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Sweet & White Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Frozen Veggies
  • Canned Beans
  • Re-heated cooked Veggies

The possibilities of steam cooking are endless - what will you steam?

Cook Happy!
The Hoff

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vegan Eats Hits Heinen's!

Typically, I hit up Heinen's to score vegan sushi & their stellar produce.  

Now, I'm super excited to announce that they have added a line of Vegan "grab & go" items!  Woo hoo!!!  (Knew I liked Heinen's for a reason.)

Bonus, aside from being a 100% Vegan - no added oil!!! (I might shed a tear.)  


Because this line is based on Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's No Oil diet!!!

Check these tasty winners out:
  • Adobe Black Bean Soup
  • Creamy Corn Chowder
  • Tuscan Bean Stew
  • Creamy Spinach Lasagna Bowl
  • Creamy Tomato Bisque
  • Thai Sweet Potato Soup

Each 15.5 oz. container sells for $7.99.

Vegan Eats are available now near the fresh soups & deli section at your local Heinen's store!

Mad Props Heinen's! 
The Hoff 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 28th is Hug a Vegetarian Day!!!

Dandy Blend: Coffee Alternative

You've all heard me sing the praises of Teeccino, a caffeine-free, herbal coffee substitute.

Now, I'm here to tell you about Dandy Blend - another caffeine-free, herbal coffee substitute!

Just in case Teeccino wasn't your cup of tea...

 Dandy Blend is
  • 100% caffeine-free
  • gluten-free
  • acid-free
  • GMO-free!!!
  • low in calories (5 per cup)

Dandy Blend is made from roasted dandelion, chicory, beets, barley and rye.  Yet, it still has the same taste, body and texture of regular coffee.

Depending on how you take your coffee, you may not require any additional sweeteners, because some find the naturally occurring fructose in the dandelion & chicory roots to be all the sweetness they need.  In fact, it's this fructose that prevents this product from being bitter.

Is it healthy?

Each cup contains over 50 trace minerals, mostly used by the body to facilitate metabolism.

*Dandelion is loaded with trace minerals and potassium, iron and calcium. Dandelion is reputed historically to be an excellent liver tonic and blood purifier, and one of the best diuretics, complete with its own potassium source. It is reported also to regulate the gastro-intestinal system, and is a good cure for anemia and acne. It also has the reputation for lowering serum cholesterol and blood pressure, eliminating gas and acid indigestion, aiding in weight loss,and counteracting certain cancerous tumors.

*Roasted Chicory promotes healthy digestion. It is food for the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract, and is reported to increase both digestion and nutrient absorption into the blood stream. Chicory also is rich in potassium, provides support to the immune system and promotes synthesis of B vitamins.

*Roasted Beetroot detoxifies and builds blood. It also renews old blood with minerals and natural sugars. Beetroot contains betaine, which stimulates liver cells and protects the liver and bile ducts. It also is reputed to build red corpuscles and add tone to the blood. It is rich in phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin A and C and other nutrients. Beetroot also has a significant tumor-inhibiting effect. According to an article in the Feb 27 1996 issue of Cancer Letters. “The combined findings suggest that beetroot ingestion can be one of the useful means for preventing cancer.”

*Barley and Rye are very nutritious grains and a rich source of protein and B complex vitamins. Barley is good for urinary tract disorders as well, and is very useful in fevers and all inflammatory conditions because of its soothing properties. It helps heal the digestive system and digest starchy foods, and is also good for treating urinary disorders like nephritis and cystitis. Possibly most important, because the ingredient is the water soluble extracts free from gluten, and not the whole grains of barley and rye, those who normally couldn’t benefit from the nutrients in barley and rye can by drinking Dandy Blend.

A Cleveland Connection...

While Dandy Blend was adapted from a herbal formula that originated in Austria about 200 years ago, it found it's way to an obscure herbal shop in Canada.  Where, in 1988, Dr. Peter Gail, a Ph.D Ethnobotanist from Cleveland, OH, discovered and then brought to the United States!  Dr. Gail was a professor at Cleveland State University for 16 years!  He established Goosefoot Acres, Inc, also located in Cleveland - which currently distributes Dandy Blend as well as some books published by Dr. Gail.  Check out his blog!

I want some!

Find some at a Mom & Pop near you, Amazon or directly through Dandy Blend as it appears to be cheaper!

Check it Out!
The Hoff


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cheap Nuts!

I don't know about you, but I have become so frustrated by the price of nuts, that I had stopped buying them.

That was until I stopped looking for the "perfect" nuts and started buying the nuts that nobody wants.

You know the ones, the broken pieces of Cashews, the slivers of Almond, etc..  For what I use them for, these are perfect & cheaper! Sometimes $2-$4 per pound cheaper.

I seldom just eat plain nuts with the exception of Pistachios.  Instead, I am blending them to create creams, sauces, butters or chopping to mix into a dish.

So in actuality, the nut pieces suit my end needs much better.

And ultimately, aren't we just chewing them to pieces anyway?

Stop looking for perfection and save yourself a buck or two...

Don't Touch That Squirrel's Nuts!
The Hoff

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Event: 10th Annual Holistic Holiday at Sea

Holistic Holiday at Sea presents the ultimate gift for your mind, body and spirit. Share the experience and wisdom of some of the world’s leading authorities and experts in holistic living and natural health.

Cruise the Western Caribbean on one of the world's premier Italian luxury liners, the MSC Poesia, which combines the style and sophistication of Europe with American comforts and convenience.

Visit exciting ports of call as we sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to exotic Falmouth, Jamaica; beautiful Georgetown, Grand Cayman; historic Cozumel, Mexico; and tranquil Isla de Roatan, Honduras.

All this and more while you dine on specially prepared vegan natural foods and beverages prepared by our own chefs.

Lectures, workshops, and cooking classes included.

Continuing education credits (CEUs) are available.

A huge list of guest lectures, including: Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Neal Barnard, Christina Pirello, Michio Kushi, Yogi Desai, and many, many more!

What: Holistic Holiday at Sea
When: March 2-9, 2013
Where: Sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Cost: Rates vary - see chart

For Information about the holistic program, classes or meals, contact Holistic Holiday at Sea directly.

Toll-free: 1-800-496-0989 or 1-828-749-9537

Monday, September 24, 2012

Seasonal Eating: Fall

I held out as long as I could, but has Summer faded away...sigh.

Swooping in to take it's place - Fall.

I can't fight it anymore and I need to revamp my eating habits.  With the change in season comes a shift in seasonal eating.  Fall is the time to store energy & build immunity and there are Fall specific foods designed to achieve this.

To eat seasonally, means to consume foods that are grown in your region for the current time of year.  It does not mean consuming a fresh tomato in the dead of winter, just because it's in you grocery store.

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)."

“Fall gives us immune-building foods rich in beta carotene, like pumpkin, squash, and kale. Those foods also provide extra sweetness while stabilizing blood sugar, to keep us energized as the days get shorter.” - Terry Walters, author of the seasonal cookbook Clean Food (Sterling Epicure, 2009)

If you listen to your body, it's probably already steering you away from salads and other lighter food and more towards soups, stews and hardier food in preparation for Winter.

Another bonus to eating seasonally, is getting food when it's at it's peak in flavor & nutrient value.  Plus, you won't get bored with your food but rather look forward to strawberries in the Spring, zucchini in the Summer, pumpkin in the Fall and sweet potatoes in Winter.  If you were to eat these foods year round, they would lose their pizzazz.

Here's what to look for until Winter hits.

Fall Foods in Ohio
  • Apples 
  • Broccoli 
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage 
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower 
  • Chard
  • Corn 
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Grapes 
  • Kale
  • Lima Beans 
  • Okra 
  • Onions
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Potatoes 
  • Pumpkin 
  • Raspberries 
  • Sprouts (homegrown)
  • Snap Peas 
  • Tomatoes
  • Winter Squashes

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 for your state when you're out & about!

One more thing...

Try to adapt your cooking style as well; focusing on these Fall friendly methods: stir-frying, sautéing, steaming, and braising.  These methods will add heat and water, preparing the body for the cold, dry winter months lurking ahead.

Keep it Seasonal!
The Hoff


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Star McDougaller Jessica Bowen: My Winning Battle with Breast Cancer

I'm honored to call Jessica Bowen a friend & a source of inspiration.  We met earlier this year at McDougall's 10-Day Program in Santa Rosa, California.

Check out Jessica's life-changing & inspiring story on how she beat cancer & continues to kick it's ass every day!

Star McDougaller Jessica Bowen: My Winning Battle with Breast Cancer

Better yet, watch Jessica tell her story!

Rock On Jessica!
The Hoff

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Event: Cleveland's RIPE! Fest No. 03

Eat, Drink and Be Local!

RIPE! Fest is a seasonal celebration suitable for all ages.

Enjoy the cornucopia of tastes, sounds and scents that make RIPE! a true feast for your senses.

When: Saturday, September 22, 2012 - Sunday September 23, 2012
Where: Cleveland Botanical Garden:
Time: 11am - sundown
Advance Tickets:
   $6/member adult; $4/member child
   $11/non-member adult; $5/non-member child
At-the-Door Tickets:
   $8/member adult; $5/member child
   $13/non-member adult; $7/non-member child

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hoff Hitt: Cilantro & Toxins

Eat raw Cilantro to help the body rid itself of toxins, such as Mercury!  Cilantro is also an anti-inflammatory - double bonus!

I add raw Cilantro to home-made hummus & spaghetti sauce!  Or create a Pesto using Cilantro instead of Basil.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Event: 2012 Happy Trails Compassionate Thanksgiving Dinner

 an animal-friendly (vegan) event

Proceeds to support the rescue and outreach programs of Happy Trails!

Special Guest - John Pierre, "Trainer to the Stars"

John Pierre is a nutrition and fitness consultant who has devoted more than a quarter century to improving the lives of others through his expertise in the areas of geriatrics, nutrition, fitness, women’s empowerment, green living, and cognitive strength and improvement. John works with people of all ages promoting the benefits of a plant-based diet, stress reduction, physical fitness, and the importance of compassion in life.

Guest Chef - Chef Scot Jones

Chef Scot Jones, (formerly with Vegi-Terranean and currently with The Mustard Seed Market) will create an incredible traditional Thanksgiving animal-friendly (vegan) menu for Happy Trails’ Compassionate Thanksgiving! It’s a great experience for meat-lovers, too! Vegan food doesn’t get any better than this!

More Good Stuff
  • Cooking Demo by Chef Scot
  • Free Holiday Vegan Recipes
  • Raffle Baskets
  • 50/50 Raffle
  • Auction Items
  • Door Prizes
  • and more!!!

When: Saturday - November 3, 2012
Where: Acker-Moore Memorial Post 4738 American Legion Hall: 3733 Fishcreek Rd, Stow, OH 44224
Time: 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Cost: $22 (advance purchase required)

For more info contact:
Ilona Urban
(330) 296-5914

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Event: Walk on the Beach Weekend Retreat VII

Vegan Gal Presents:
Walk on the Beach Weekend Retreat VII
Change your food, change  your life!

Scheduled Speakers/Presenters:
  • Jill Ovnik, keynote speaker & hostess
  • Dr. Kerrie Saunders, "Dear Dr. Kerrie"
  • Evelyn Kissinger, Lifestyle Consultant, Registered Dietitian
  • Susan Milliron, Inspirational Success Story
  • Christine Nesci, Fitness Instructor
  • Paul Frederick, Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
  • Luann Bermeo, Cookbook Author & Chef
  • Sara Hardina, Chef

What to expect:
  • 6 Healthy meals
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Guided meditation
  • Stretch & strength classes
  • Certificate of completion - Introduction to Plant Based Diet

When: November 2-4, 2012
Where: South Haven, Michigan (Arundel House Bed & Breakfast)
Cost: $235 for the weekend

Call to register: 269-906-2226

For more details, click here!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hoff's German Not Dog

Hoff's German Not Dog
Yields: 4 sandwiches
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

  • 1 Onion - thinly sliced
  • 1 Pepper - thinly sliced
  • 1 cartoon sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups Kraut (rinsed & drained)
  • 4 Hoagie/Steak Buns
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • Mustard

  1. Sautee Onion until it starts to brown, season with Braggs
  2. Add Peppers & Mushrooms, season with Braggs & sautee until softened 
  3. Mix in Kraut & warm through
  4. Meanwhile, make room for filling by removing some of the inside bread & toast Buns
  5. Assemble sandwiches by dividing ingredients four ways top with Mustard & enjoy! 

My2Cents: So good, you won't even notice the missing kielbasa, brat or hot dog!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Good Greens!

So, what does Good Greens have to offer you?

A vegan, oil-free, gluten-free yummy snack bar packed with 100% of your daily fruits and vegetables and loaded with antioxidants.  While the ingredients lists is pretty extensive at least you can pronounce everything listed & Google Dictionary is not required.  They are also all-natural, mostly organic and GMO-free!

Bars come in an array of different flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter (not oil-free), Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Chunk, Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Coconut (not oil-free), Wildberry (not oil-free).  (I'm liking the chocolate theme.)

Priced at $2.49 per bar, you can find them locally at various Marc's, Heinin's, Dave's Markets, Hobart's, and Chuppa's Grocery Store.

If you can't find Good Greens near you (Northeastern Ohio), you can score some online!  Spend $50 bucks and you get free shipping!

Best of all, Good Greens is an Ohio born & raised business - headquartered right here in Shaker Heights!

For those with peanut allergies, read the ingredients carefully because some of these bars contain peanut paste.  The Chocolate Chunk is safe - thank goddess!

So how are they?

Unfortunately, Chuppas only had the Chocolate Peanut Butter & Chocolate Coconut bars and since I'm allergic to peanuts, I could not personally try these out.  My boyfriend on the other hand was more than happy to be a test subject and inhaled them promptly.

His conclusions:

Chocolate Peanut Butter: Very chocolatey, definitely taste the berries, but the peanut butter was barely noticeable.  Overall, he'd eat this chewy bar again!

Chocolate Coconut: This one had a mild chocolate flavor with a hint of berries & a heavy coconut taste.  Softer, not as chewy as the Peanut Butter bar.  As he does not care for coconut, he would not consume again.

I on the other hand cannot wait to get my hands on the Chocolate Chunk!

Snack Healthy!
The Hoff

Update 10.13.12:

Finally tracked these bars down at the store and they all contain peanuts in some form - either in peanut flour or peanut paste.  Sigh.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hoff's Vanilla Ice Cream

Hoff's Vanilla Ice Cream
Serves: 2
dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free

  • 2 Bananas (halved & frozen)
  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

  1. Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix
  2. Using the tamper, push the Bananas into the blades
  3. Blend until smooth about 10-15 seconds
  4. Serve immediately

My2Cents: Best if served over a warm vegan brownie with some vegan chocolate syrup...mmm...

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

    Hoff Hit: High Fructose Corn Syrup

    We've all had up to here with those High Fructose Corn Syrup commercials insulting our intelligence by claiming there is no harm in consuming it.  One problem, those commercials were bought and paid for by The Corn Refiners Association.

    Here's a fact they don't want you to know, studies indicate that High Fructose Corn Syrup, a man-made sweetener, manipulates the chemicals in our body so we crave more of it.  It's also been linked to the nation's rising levels of obesity.  Oh and one more corn is a top GMO crop!

    No thanks!

    At the end of the day, sugar is sugar and we don't need it in everything we consume.  Don't think it's everywhere?  Start checking those labels folks!

    This commercial is a little more accurate:


    Friday, September 14, 2012

    Hoff's Potato Salad

    Hoff's Potato Salad
    Yields:10 cups
    meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

    • 6-8 Baby Potatoes (cut into 1/4s)
    • 2 blocks Firm Tofu (rinsed)
    • 1/2 cup chopped Onion
    • 1 packet Simply Organic Seasoning Mix
    • 2 tbsp Grey Poupon
    • 2 tbsp Yellow Mustard
    • 2 tbsp Pickle Relish
    • Paprika

    1. In a large pot, insert a wire basket steamer, add enough water to just touch the basket, add Potatoes, cover and steam until Potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes (or boil)
    2. Meanwhile using a blender, blend together Tofu, Seasoning Mix & Mustards
    3. Allow Potatoes to cool
    4. Gently fold together Potatoes, Tofu Mixture, Pickle Relish & Paprika together
    5. Allow flavors to blend in the fridge a few hours before serving

    My2Cents: Simply Organic has a variety of seasoning mixes that are vegan, oil-free and of course, organic.  I have used the Creamy Dill and French Onion mixes for this and both are equally delish!

      Thursday, September 13, 2012

      Not So Beautiful

      Why manufacturers keep pumping our beauty products with toxic chemicals is beyond me.   A girl needs to look out for herself these days...

      Here's 5 Ingredients to Avoid:
      1. Sodium Lauryl (Laureth) Sulfate - foaming agent, common in cleansers, shampoos & toothpaste.  It penetrates the skin, allowing other chemicals to ride it's coat tails.
      2. Phthalates - texture enhancer, common in fragrance, nail polish, shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, antiperspirants, sunscreens, lotions & creams.  Increases the penetration of other chemicals.
      3. Parabens (aka Ethyl, Methyl, Propyl, Butyl) - preservative in many products, can cause allergic reactions & mess with the immune system.
      4. Mineral Oil, Petroleum Jelly/Petrolatum - found in moisturizers & cosmetics.  Prevents the skin from breathing, leading to blackheads.
      5. Synthetic Dyes & Colors - may be toxic

      Click here for even more ingredients to avoid.

      If you're ever in doubt, you can consult the non-profit Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Cosmetic database for the down & dirty, non-influenced facts and toxic ratings of more than 75k products.

      Keep It Healthy!
      The Hoff 

      Wednesday, September 12, 2012

      Hashbrown Breakfast Hodgepodge

      Like my stir-fry's, my Hashbrown Breakfast Hodgepodge is another opportunity to clean-out the fridge of any little extras or veggies I just don't know what to do with.  Most of the ingredients for today's Hash came from leftovers and my weekly CSA haul.

      • Hashbrowns
      • 1 can Beans (rinsed & drained)
      • Sliced Black Olives (rinsed & drained)
      • Sliced Mushrooms
      • Chopped Yellow Squash
      • Chopped Matchstick Carrots
      • Diced Onions
      • Chopped Leek
      • Chopped Red Pepper
      • Minced Garlic
      In a large non-stick frying pan, I got the Onions, Red Peppers, Leeks and Mushrooms started.  As they released their juices, I could chop the rest of my ingredients.  I added everything else, mixed together and allowed to blend for about 10 minutes.  That's it - a one pot breakfast full of protein, fiber and nutrients to get your day off to a great start!

      Monday, September 10, 2012

      Top 10 GMO Foods

      Until the U.S. gets it act together and starts mandatory labeling of GMOs as millions of Americans want, we are left to fend for ourselves.

      GMOs are genetically modified organisms or simply put, plants and seeds created in laboratories. Frankenfood if you will.  Jury is still out if these foods are safe or not, but personally, I don't want to be a guinea pig.

      So what's a girl to do?
      1. Alfalfa
      2. Corn
      3. Soybeans/Soy
      4. Canola
      5. Cottonseed
      6. Sugar Beets
      7. Hawaiian Papaya
      8. Some Zucchini & Yellow Squash
      9. Dairy (cows are injected with GM Bovine Growth Hormone to increase milk production)
      10. Meat/Farmed Fish (commonly fed GM foods)

      On a side note, you may be shocked to learn that some of your beloved organic brands are lobbying to prevent GMO labeling:
      1. Naked Juice -- owned by PepsiCo
      2. Honest Tea, Odwalla, and Simply Orange -- owned by Coca-Cola
      3. Alexia and Lightlife -- owned by ConAgra
      4. Kashi, Gardenburger, and Morningstar Farms -- owned by Kellogg
      5. Silk -- owned by Dean Foods
      6. R. W. Knudsen and Santa Cruz Organics -- owned by Smucker's
      7. Cascadian Farm, Larabar, and Muir Glen -- owned by General Mills

      Do not fret, there are still a few good guys left, fighting on our behalf: Nature's Path, Dr. Bronner's, Nutiva, Lundberg Rice, Organic Valley, Amy's, Eden Foods, as well as

      For the full & very eye opening story, check out Seven Corporations Lobbying Against GMO Labeling.

      Just Say No GMO!

      Sunday, September 9, 2012

      Hoff's Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

      I'm not much of a baker, but when 4 of these cookies sneaked off behind my back, I knew I did something right...

      Hoff's Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
      Yields: 24-28 Cookies
      dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

      • 3 tbsp Chia Seeds
      • 3 tbsp Water
      • 1 large Banana
      • 1 cup Sugar
      • 1 cup Brown Sugar
      • 1/4 Cacao Powder
      • 2 tsp Vanilla
      • 1 tsp Baking Soda
      • 1 tsp Salt
      • 3 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
      • 12 oz of Vegan Chocolate Chips

      1. Mix Chia Seeds & Water and let sit for 5 minutes or until gelled
      2. Using a hand mixture, cream together Chia Seed, Banana, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Cacao Powder, Vanilla, Baking Soda & Salt
      3. Fold in WW Pastry Flour and Chocolate Chips
      4. Scoop batter onto wax paper lined cookie sheets & bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
      5. Flatten each mound of dough using the back of a spatula & cook for another 10 minutes
      6. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool
      7. Store in fridge or freeze extras

      My2Cents: If the batter is too dry, add 1-2 tbsp of Milk Alternative (I like Vanilla Almond Milk.)  I like to scoop batters such as this using a spring triggered scoop, it allows for equal sized cookies and tends to be less messy.  You could flatten the cookies prior to baking, but this batter is very sticky and it's just easier to do once it has set a little.  For additional add-ins, try raisins or Craisins!  For the chips, I go for Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips.  After cooling, these cookies get a little hard (ok very hard) - nuke for a few seconds before digging in.

        Saturday, September 8, 2012

        Got Yellow Nails?

        Did you go for the blue mani again and now the end of your digits are an unfathomable hue?

        No worries, try this easy DIY nail trick:
        1. Make sure all polish is gone
        2. Mix 2 tbsp Baking Soda with 1 tbsp Hydrogen Peroxide to create a paste
        3. Apply paste to your nails for 10 minutes
        4. Rinse!
        Now resume your regular hand modeling activities...

        Friday, September 7, 2012

        Seaweed Salad To Go

        In this month's KLUTCHclub box, I received the coolest product to date - Seaweed Salad To Go by Japanese Delight.

        It is essentially a variety of dried seaweed, sesame seeds, plus a sesame soy dressing in a cup.  The only thing required is cold water and 5 minutes to allow for re-hydration.  If you can hold out for 15 minutes, the seaweed will triple in volume and have a softer texture.

        If you're one for texture issues, this may not be the food for you. Seaweed is not a favorite for everybody (I love it!), but it's very, very good for you, so I urge you to try it just once.

        Seaweed is rich in minerals and fiber, with a very low calorie content.  It's also high in essential amino acids and contains virtually no fat.  Sea vegetables in general are an excellent source of iodine, which helps to helps to stimulate the thyroid gland and control metabolism.

        Check these ingredients:

        Dressing: Water, Sesame Oil, Vinegar, Rice Cooking Wine, Sea Salt, Soy Sauce, Kombu Extract, Onion Powder, Brown Sugar

        Salad: Wakame, Wakame Stem, Sesame Seed, Kombu, Agar, Red Pepper

        My only complaint is that the dressing contains Sesame Oil, I would have been happier with no oil at all.  Despite this, this salad is all natural, contains minimal ingredients, no MSG, no artificial flavoring or trans fat, which to me makes this one cool healthy product!

        While, I have not seen this product in the stores, you can get it through Amazon.  Also, keep an eye out for seaweed salad at your local oriental buffet!

        Thursday, September 6, 2012

        Hoff's Mac Salad

        Hoff's Mac Salad
        Yields: 9 cups
        meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

        • 13 oz. Whole Wheat Elbow Macaroni
        • 6 oz Firm Tofu (rinsed)
        • 1/2 cup Onion (minced)
        • 3 tbsp Yellow Mustard
        • 2 tsp Rice Vinegar
        • 1 tsp Sugar
        • 1 tsp Sea Salt
        • 1/2 tsp Paprika

        1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add Pasta, cook for 7-9 minutes or until al dente
        2. Drain, rinse with cold water
        3. Meanwhile using a blender, blend together Tofu, Mustard & Seasonings
        4. Gently fold together Pasta, Onions & Tofu Mixture
        5. Allow flavors to blend in the fridge a few hours before serving

          Wednesday, September 5, 2012

          Event: Health & Wellness Seminar

          Health & Wellness Seminar

          with the “Nutritionist To the Pro's”

          Shan Stratton

          Shan Stratton is known internationally for his training sessions and corporate speaking events as a nutritional consultant, a sports supplementation specialist and a renowned motivational speaker.  He has addressed crowds of up to 3,000 on both the national and international scene and is proud to possess the credibility to speak at professional health conferences as well as the “down to earth” ability to motivate and educate the everyday American.

          • What is more important than nutrient consumption?
          • What is a synthetic or fraction ed vitamin? How to tell if a supplement contains any?
          • How does the body absorb minerals?
          • What is SOD? How does the body produce it?
          • What is the role of enzymes? Why are they so important?
          • How can heartburn be eliminated?
          • What are Prebiotics & Probiotics?
          • Get the answers to these questions and MUCH MORE!

          Also Featuring:
          • Demonstration and food sampling with Gloria Zabala, Health Advocate
          • Hear the latest news from Janet Miller about a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil

          When: Wednesday, September 21, 2011
          Where: R & R Time Education & Wellness Center: 8180 Brecksville Road, Suite 204, Brecksville, OH 44141
          Time: 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
          Cost: $10 at door

          For more information contact: 440-546-1800 or 

          Tuesday, September 4, 2012

          Hoff's Pasta Salad

          Hoff's Pasta Salad
          Yields: A lot
          meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

          • 1 lb Whole Wheat Pasta
          • 1 bottle Salad Dressing
          • 1 2.25 oz can sliced Black Olives (rinsed & drained)
          • 1 15 oz can Garbanzo Beans (rinsed & drained)
          • 1 can Corn (rinsed & drained)
          • 1 Zucchini (chopped)
          • 1 Red Onion/Sweet Onion (chopped)
          • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
          • 1 cup Matchstick Carrots

          1. Cook pasta according to directions on package
          2. Combine all ingredients & allow to marinate in fridge at least one hour before serving

          My2Cents: Any oil-free salad dressing will work, making this a very versatile dish.  Some suggestions: Marzetti Fat Free Italian Dressing, Maple Grove Farms of Vermont Fat Free Honey Dijon Dressing or Olde Cape Cod Fat Free Wasabi Soy & Ginger Vinaigrette.

            Sunday, September 2, 2012

            Event: A Beautiful New You Health & Beauty Expo

            • Style
            • Fashion
            • Makeovers
            • Spa Treatments
            • Fitness
            • Nutrition

            When: October 21, 2012
            Where: Embassy Suites: 5800 Rockside Woods Boulevard, Independence, Ohio, 44131
            Time: 11am - 6pm

            Click here for more info!

            Saturday, September 1, 2012

            I Killed My Vitamix!

            Ok, it's not as dramatic as I'm making it out to be, but to be without my beloved Vitamix for any period of time, I felt like I did indeed kill my Vitamix.

            Totally my fault, I take full responsibility.

            After 3 years of faithful service from my Vitamix - hundreds of smoothies, soups, sauces and shakes, my God the shakes, I pushed my Vitamix a wee bit too far...

            One bright Sunday morning, I got it in my head that I was going to make my own Almond Butter.  I hit the internet to learn how using my Vitamix.  Armed with my new found knowledge, I went to work.  But, the butter wasn't coming together as quickly as I thought it would, and after stopping the machine every 3 minutes to scrape down the sides, to my surprise, 16 minutes had passed - 10 minutes passed the allowable running time.  A burning odor wafted in the air, raging steam engulfed me, the almonds turned a dark dingy brown and the container was on fire (not literally)!  Long story short, I ran my Vitamix so long that I melted the container, forcing the blades to back out and warping the entire bottom.  I was devastated.

            That was until I called Vitamix Customer Service.  I spoke a really nice, REAL person who totally understood what I did because she used her Vitamix to make Almond Butter all the time.  Well, actually she didn't believe that I could have "killed my Vitamix" as I blurted out as soon as she answered.  But, she said they needed to take a look at the machine nonetheless.  She mailed a pre-paid mailing label to me and instructed me to carefully pack and ship my Vitamix back to the company on their dime!  Within 5 business days, my beloved Vitamix was back in my arms!!!  A shiny new container with lid and even a new stomper (how did she know I chewed that up the first week I owned my Vitamix?)!  While the motor base was perfectly fine, they replaced all the rubber components.  It's like having a brand new Vitamix!

            I had heard tales of legendary service by this company, but now having actually dealt with Customer Service, I can attest, this company rocks and one I plan to do business with for a very long time!

            And how did I christen my "new" Vitamix - chocolate shakes of course!!!

            Welcome Home Vitamix!
            The Hoff