Friday, November 30, 2012

What If Money Didn't Matter?

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

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

Narrated by Alan Watts

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hoff's Veggie Chili

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mystery Soup!

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

No worries - make soup!

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

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

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

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

Something different every week...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hoff's "Alfredo" Sauce

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

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

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

    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    What is Flax Seed?

    What is it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Keep It Healthy!
    The Hoff

    Source: *

    Friday, November 23, 2012

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

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

    They ROCK!

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Check'em out!
    The Hoff

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Hoff's Basic Stuffing

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

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

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

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

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

    Hoff Hit: Cake Mixes Made Healthier

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

    Stock up - pure pumpkin tends to disappear after Thanksgiving.

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    Hoff's Bulk Vegan Hot Cocoa Mix

    No winter should be fought with out this!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Hoff's Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

    Hoff's Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

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

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

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

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

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Quick Ripen a Persimmon!

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

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

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

    The frigid temp tricks these little guys into maturing faster!

    Eat as you would an apple.

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

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Thank You

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

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    Vitacost Goes Cruelty-Free!

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

    They just got cooler.

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

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

    Learn more about animal testing & Leaping Bunny!

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

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

    Shop Cruelty-Free!
    The Hoff

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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

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

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

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

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    Hoff's Corn Chowder

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

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

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

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Saturday, November 3, 2012

    Event: Bistro 185 Presents a Vegan Thanksgiving

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

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