Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hoff Hit: Jasmine Rice

Recently, I have been incorporating Jasmine Rice into some of my recipes and meal inspirations.  As a result, some of you have asked what Jasmine Rice is.

Let me tell you.

Jasmine Rice is a long-grain, white rice, which originated from Thailand.  Sometimes, it is referred to as Thai fragrant rice.  It is very popular in Asian cooking.  It has a somewhat nutty aroma..  Requiring a mere 15 minutes to cook,  it is large and fluffy, with substantial texture.  It's provides a really nice break from short grain brown rice.

This rice tends to vary in price from cheap to pricey depending on the brand and can be found at any grocery store (even Walmart). I'm not really sure what is driving the price difference, but I opt for the cheap one and am very, very happy with this rice.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hoff's Summer Pasta Salad

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

  • 1lb Whole Wheat Pasta
  • 1 Zucchini (chopped)
  • 1 Yellow Squash (chopped)
  • 1 15 oz can Beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 2.25 oz can Sliced Black Olives (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 cup Red Onion (chopped)
  • 1 bottle Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1 packet Zesty Italian Salad Dressing Mix

  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.  I also use Good Season's seasoning packet because it is dairy-free and oil-free.  Typically, I use whole wheat spiral pasta for this salad, but bow tie works just as well.  Use any bean you like, I tend to favor white beans for this dish.  Try substituting cucumber for the zucchini/squash.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DIY: Vanilla Sugar

You may have seen Vanilla Sugar in specialty shops - it is simply sugar infused with vanilla and is très delightful.

I think it was Alton Brown who enlightened me to how easy it is to make your own Vanilla Sugar.

Ever since then, I have not been able to shake the concept from my mind.  The only solution - make my own Vanilla Sugar.

Here's how:

I acquired 2 fresh whole Vanilla Beans (although dried will work as well) & 48 ounces of Organic Granulated Sugar.

I pondered whether or not to relocate the sugar to another container and then opted not to because the container it came in (plastics bottle) was just fine.  Of course my initial thought was to store in a mason jar, as an airtight container is essential.

Temporarily, I moved half of the sugar into a bowl and set aside.  I then sliced each bean open and scrapped the seeds into the sugar.  Then I shoved each bean into the sugar as well.  Using a funnel, I returned the previously removed sugar into it's original container.  A few shakes to get the vanilla mingling and I will allow this concoction to marinate for 1-2 weeks.

That's it - you've got a very simple and cheap solution to an otherwise gourmet and expensive product!

What to do with it:

Use Vanilla Sugar for anything you'd normally use sugar for - coffee, tea, oatmeal, baked goods, pancake/waffle mix etc.  I can't wait to dip some juicy strawberries into this!

Don't worry about longevity, this sugar is as shelf stable as regular sugar - if you can keep it around that long...

Gotta love DIY!
The Hoff

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thank You

Enjoy Life - New Products!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Enjoy Life to review some new products that recently launched.  Since this company is dedicated to creating gluten & allergy free products and are vegan, I gladly accepted this challenge!

I received two of their latest chocolate products - Semi–Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks and Double Chocolate Crunch Granola!  Chocolate - score!!!

Being Mother's Day weekend, I had two things I needed to make - Chocolate Covered Strawberries and a batch of vegan Brownies courtesy of Simply Organic.

I opted to put the Semi–Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks into the Brownies, because I just love chocolate chips in baked goods, especially brownies and I figured chunks of chocolate would be even better!  Since I ignored the brownie mix instructions to add vegan margarine and instead opted for apple sauce - they came out pretty gummy/mushy (next time I will experiment with banana).  I am happy to say that the chunks of chocolate helped to salvage my baking wreck.

I also found myself as well as other members of the household mindlessly snacking away on these mega chunks!  They are the perfect size for snacking and I wager would work perfectly in some trail mix.  I also liked that they were a little soft, easier to bit into.

So, what did I do about the Strawberries?  I actually had Enjoy Life's Semi-Sweet Mini Chips on hand that I had been using to top Hoff's Awesome Chocolate Ice Cream!  A most awesome combination, I must say.  So I melted those down to cover the Strawberries.  They worked perfectly and my Chocolate Covered Strawberries once again received rave reviews!

I am not going to weigh in on the nutritional content of these two types of chocolate chips, because lets face it, chocolate is a treat and cannot be expected to be nutritionally perfect.  I was alarmed at first when I saw that these chocolate chips were made from chocolate liquor and no actual chocolate! But, a little research revealed that chocolate liquor is actually pure chocolate in it's liquid form and comes straight from the cocoa bean - crisis adverted.  I give Enjoy Life props for producing vegan chocolate chips that only contain three ingredients and nothing that I can't pronounce or understand. And for that, I say Enjoy Life's chocolate baking line rocks!

Now for the Double Chocolate Crunch Granola.  First, I have to admit that I am not much of a granola fan.  I'm always confused as what to do with it - snack on it, pour milk on it, stick it in something?  That and the high fat content that typically goes along with granola is a downer.  I opted to snack on this one and frankly, I wasn't too impressed.  Yes, there's a hint of chocolate, but beyond that it didn't do a whole lot for me.  Maybe used to create a trail mix with raisins and such it would hold it's own?

But, it was really the nutritional content that turned me off.  I don't consider granola to be a decadent, indulgent treat, so I'm going to judge this product like I would any other.  The sodium & sugar is rather low and it has a little bit of fiber and protein - not bad.   It fails however, in regards to fat content - it overly exceeds the 20% of calories from fat rule.  That plus the addition of oil, which is probably driving the fat.  Bear in mind that most granola's are high in fat and contain oil, so this product isn't breaking new ground here.  Props again for being vegan and avoiding the top 8 common food allergies, but for me, I would pass on this one.

Keep it Healthy!
The Hoff

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Fought The Mouse & Won...Barely

Vegan Warrior
I have just returned from my first trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

After studying the four part series that Amy Shoff did on her experiences of eating Vegan at Disney World: Even Vegans Eat Like Royalty in the Magic Kingdom, as a Healthy Hoff guest writer, I was super excited to finally go on a vacation and not have to worry about what I was going to eat!

That was until I attempted to order my first meal...

Lets back up a moment.  I was a vegetarian for about 7 years and that was by choice.  During that time, I would simply create my own meals from a menu, never asking a single question about how things were prepared.

Now that I been a vegan for the past year due to health reasons, I now must ask how all things are prepared.  Once I started asking questions, my meal options dwindled to next to nothing and I was shocked by what I learned and eventually became very angry...

First, the wait staff does not know how or with what the foods are prepared and it's not until you state you have a food allergy do they take you seriously.  Then they have to tell their manager, who comes to the table to tell you that they are getting the chef.  The chef typically blankly stares at you and asks what your food allergies are (by now I have stated this three times) and asks what you want.  I scramble through the menu asking if I can have the rice - no it's made with chicken broth, how about the vegetable burger - no it's made with egg whites, how about the pasta - no, more egg.  Are you f'ing kidding me?!?  These are basic foods that can easily be made without animal products and no one would ever know they were missing.

Everyone else in the restaurant gets a pretty, glossy menu with photos and descriptions to choose from, but since I have food allergies, I have to be johnny on the spot and create my own meal, using nothing on the menu!  Unacceptable Disney!

I wouldn't be so angry about this poor treatment if I wasn't assured by every "Crew Member" I inquired with about the "map with apples" indicating which restaurant are vegan/vegetarian friendly, that Amy spoke of, which apparently no longer exists, that all restaurants in the parks can accommodate any dietary request or food allergy.  To add to fuel to the fire, I was shown this delightful little marketing blurb every time I asked:

"Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is committed to offering a wide range of options for you and your family. We offer menu selections for all of our Guests, including children, seeking well-balanced meals, snacks and beverages as well as those with lifestyle dining requests or special dietary requests.

Guests are also welcome to speak to a chef or a manager on duty when arriving at the dining location.

Most restaurants offer no sugar added, low fat, low sodium or vegetarian options. Advance arrangements are not necessary for guests with lifestyle dietary requests. Guests can discuss this with their server upon arrival at the restaurant."

Bull shit!  A policy is meaningless unless is is easily attainable and I did not find the ordeal that I had to go through at every single meal at every single restaurant easily attainable.

In fact, my dreamed about, easy go lucky vacation turned into a daily scavenger hunt for acceptable sustenance.  By the time I left, I was disgusted by Disney's lack of understanding or caring for those who choose or simply cannot eat the typical Western diet.  Food allergies or health conditions do not make us any less of a customer and we deserve better treatment.  While over 47 million people visit Disney World each year from all over the world, I was treated as if I was the first vegan to step foot on the property.

Despite the obstacles, lack of understanding and lack of food choices, I persevered, stood my ground and kept it vegan for all 15 meals - it was tedious!  As I heavily relied on Amy's vegan account, to guide me through my journey, I will tell you what I was able to scrounge together should you find yourself in the same debacle and in need of guidance.

Here's what I ended up with...


Day 1 at the most magical place on earth was just the start of what I was going to endure for the next five days.  First stop - Downtown Disney for lunch.  I chose the Rainforest Cafe, because that had to be a no-brainier for healthy food.  Boy was I wrong.  Their "natural" vegetable burger had egg in it as did the bun, the rice cooked in chicken broth.  Other than a salad (you know my thoughts on salads), my only option was a Portobella Mushroom Burger on Texas Toast (which came out the first time buttered - back it went).  A side of fries and chips and salsa completed the meal - pretty good.  I gave up asking for no oil as I was barely getting the vegan thing accomplished.  Oh by the way, my boyfriend opted for the chef's other suggestion of pasta and veggies - he got pasta with sausage, even though he lied and said he had food allergies too, to support me (what a nice guy).  I was delighted with the mango/peach sorbet for dessert, which would become one of many sorbets in my immediate future...

Dinner the first night consisted of a Vegetable Burger at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café in the Magic Kingdom with a side of apple slices.  In retrospect, I now fear the bread contained eggs as that seems to be the trend everywhere else in the parks.  The meal was fair.

Day 2

I could not bear hunting down breakfast, so we opted to eat at our hotel, Port Orleans all five days.  To my dismay, they only offered fast food service.  I spoke with one of many chefs who provided us with vegan, gluten-free waffles in the shape of Mickey's head and a side of hash browns.  He even offered to get ingredients to make a tofu scramble the following day.  I was thrilled - things were looking up!

Then we hit up San Angel Inn, a Mexican Restaurant in Epcot.  I was impressed that they had a special Vegetarian Menu, containing all of two items, none of which could be made vegan.  Things started to look bleak until the chef hit with inspiration blurted out, "How about steamed vegetables on a bead of black bean mash and rice?"  I'll take it!  This would turn out to be the best and most memorable meal of our trip and one that I will be recreating for a later post!  Fruit for dessert.

For dinner I decided to try Chinese at Nine Dragons Restaurant in Epcot.  This is where I was denied a Cucumber Salad because it was marinated with chicken stock.  I ended up with a side salad (grrr) with specially made ginger dressing (yummy) and a tofu/vegetable stir-fry with white rice (not on the menu).  The tofu was awful. They just tossed some cut up tofu in at the very end of cooking and it was watery and flavorless.  Had that been my first experience with tofu, it would have been my last.  I was also denied sweet & sour sauce because it couldn't be confirmed as vegan - seriously?  For dessert a mango and strawberry fruit slushy - delightful!

After a rather stressful and tiring day, I was hell bent to make it back to Downtown Disney in search of Baby Cakes NYC - a vegan, gluten-free bakery.  And did I ever indulge: 2 chocolate chip cookies, 4 brownie bites, 4 cupcakes.  Every last crumb delicious and magical!  No, I didn't eat it all that night, although very tempting.  I relied on this stash to get me through the next three days...

Day 3

Returning to our hotel for breakfast to find that my promised tofu was still frozen, yielded another round of Mickey heads and hash browns.

Next, I found myself at Yak & Yeti Restaurant in the Animal Kingdom for lunch.  Still a pain in the ass to order, but we did get awesome lettuce wraps and an equally awesome vegetable stir-fry.  The chef found it necessary to give me a hard time for not knowing that Hoisin Sauce was made from fish. My bad, I've never heard of it before!  And for the record - this is what Wikipedia has to say about it - "Despite the literal meaning of "seafood", hoisin sauce does not contain fish."  Uneducated and rude lesson in sauce not appreciated!

On to dinner...I was starting to feel bad that my vegan necessity was sucking the from the fun of our trip, so against better judgement I suggested we dine at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater in Hollywood Studios, where you sit in 1950 Cadillac replicas and pretend to be at a drive-in movie theater.  I got a little pissed when the waitress asked if my food issues were a preference.  Um, yeah I prefer to be allergic to mac & cheese, fried chicken and chocolate - it's a real dream come true!  Ok, maybe she didn't mean anything by it, but I was pretty frustrated by this point.  Some negotiating with chef yielded another veggie burger with a side of sweet potato fries.  The veggie burger tasted generic, like institutional food, just as my boyfriend's vegetable pasta, which he claimed was good to spare my feelings of getting him roped into another sub-par meal.  The sweet potato fries rocked!  And you'd never know it because it's not on the menu, but this restaurant has Tofutti ice cream, which I talked the chef into making as a chocolate milkshake.  It's little details like this that make it really hard to navigate Disney dining and something really easy to fix!

Day 4

Another new chef at the hotel, so more Mickey waffle heads and hash browns - yippee!  Might I mention that we couldn't have the oatmeal because it was prepared with milk and we couldn't have cereal because they didn't have a milk alternative.  More very simple fixes that apparently are too much for Disney to handle.

Based on Amy's recommendation, I decided to hit The Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios and order exactly what she had.  But before I even waited in line, I asked the maître d' if they could accommodate my needs, just to make sure (there is a line for everything you do at Disney).  He said of course and gave me the standard Disney policy blah, blah, blah.  Another chat with the chef and I got the Cobb Salad - veganized and the Noodle Bowl with Wok-fried Coconut Tofu, Soy Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Bok Choy, and Shiitake Mushrooms in a Red Curry Broth.  I was treated to grilled portobella mushrooms on my salad that were to die for - yes, I actually enjoyed a salad!  The Noodle Bowl was quite yummy as well.  Turns out the maître d' was a vegan too due to sustaining a heart attack years before and not wanting drugs or surgery turned to diet to regain his health.  I asked if he was on the Esselstyn diet, but he had never heard of him.  He was just following the diet of his people (I forgot where he was from).  He chatted with us so long that he got yelled at three times for not being at his post - very nice man, he understood me.

By the time dinner rolled around, I was not in the mood for anything particular, I just wanted food! That landed us as Portobello, an Italian Restaurant in Downtown Disney.  More blank stares and quite frankly a cold reception from the chef.  Another meal I had to create myself.  I asked if he could do a side dish of vegetables as an appetizer - that yielded very tasty sauteed zucchini, squash and caramelized onions.  For dinner I got him to add mushrooms and zucchini shreds to spaghetti - best spaghetti ever!  I forced myself to finish it all.  Screwed for dessert - come on guys, you couldn't run across the street to Baby Cakes?  I say screwed because on the pre-paid meal plan, you get one appetizer, one entree, one dessert and one drink per person - no refunds for anything not used.

Day 5

Final breakfast and I was determined to get that damn tofu scramble!  New chef again - asks if I just want the block of tofu...I freak and say never mind give me the Mickey heads.  He says "wait, let me get the chef."  I thought you were the chef?!?  Again, I have to tell the chef how to make the scramble, this time my boyfriend bails on me and gets more Mickey heads.  My boyfriend is a very wise man.  The tofu scramble sucked!  Disney really has no clue how to handle tofu. I ended up with a watery mess of sauteed onions, red peppers, broccoli, hash browns, chunks of unseasoned tofu and some vegan cheese.  I looked longingly at those Mickey heads - I'm so sorry I scorned you...

We hung out at the hotel pool that morning since we had to leave for the airport that afternoon, this meant having lunch at Port Orleans.  What a surprise that I could eat nothing from the menu.  They did have vegan veggie burgers but no vegan bread - come on!  The chef dug into the freezer and found some gluten-free Tapioca buns they no longer use.  Instead of the fries, I opted for grapes and mixed fruit.  The burger sucked and frankly so did the fruit.  I was so ready to go home.

The Bright Side

I really didn't see this one coming, but my 5 days in food hell made me appreciate my own cooking.  I could not wait to get back into my kitchen with my tools and my recipes and my own ingredients.  I wanted my power back!  My Disney disaster had returned my cooking mojo.

My Disney Vegan Tips

Do not use the term, "vegan" no one who works at Disney knows what that means - instead you have to say, "no meat/fish, no dairy, no eggs" - just like that.

Whether it's true or not, you have to say you have food allergies - it's some type of code word that sets off alarms and gets people's attention.  Otherwise they assume it is a food preference and don't really take you seriously.

Be persistent, you are paying A LOT of money for these meals and if you're on a food plan, be prepared to get screwed unless you push them.

Download the free Disney App to your Smartphone, you can browse through the restaurants and get a very vague description of what they offer.  (Yet another opportunity for Disney to add a vegan/vegetarian friendly notice for applicable restaurants.)

Final Thoughts
The last day I was there, the chef at my hotel asked if I would return.  I said absolutely not.  It was just too damn hard just to eat.  For the amount of money invested in this vacation, I should have been treated better.  He agreed, stating that the entire Disney Resort lacked viable vegan/vegetarian offerings.

Get it together Disney, an estimated 15 million people in the U.S. alone have some type of food allergy and this number is steadily growing.  Around 1 million people are vegan and 7.3 million vegetarians - these numbers continue to increase each day as well.

We'd like to come to the most magical place on earth too, but right now, you're no where near where you need to be handle our business.

Have a magical day,
The Hoff


Friday, May 25, 2012

Hoff's Black & White Hummus

Hoff's Black & White Hummus
Yields: 3 3/4 cups
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 1 can Garbonzo Beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 can Black Beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 Red Pepper (seeds & stem removed)
  • 2-3 cloves of Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Whole Flax Seeds
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 3 tbsp Water
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Salt (to taste)

  1. Place all ingredients in blender (order not important)
  2. Use tamper (Vitamix) to push ingredients into blades
  3. Blend until smooth (not too long)
  4. Enjoy!

My2Cents: Try it on Hoff's Black Bean Wrap or Hoff's Green Wrap or some carrots & celery!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Doc: Super Charge Your Immune System

This doc is a bit dated in appearance, but the information is still very relevant.  Dr. Gary Null, a research scientist, presents a ton of beneficial information that has been based on 25 years of clinical nutrition research.  Dr. Null also pulls upon the knowledge he has gained from working with thousands of patients suffering from a variety of immune diseases.

You'll learn about how food effects the body, both good & bad.  How food can damage the immune system leading to chronic disease & in that respect how you can use food to fight chronic disease.  You'll learn the real causes of cancer, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, crohn's disease and allergies along with many other forms of immune dysfunction.

I have a feeling that this is a doc to watch over and over again, because there is so much information, you are bound to pick up on something new every time.

And the best part, I found it online for free!

Check it out!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Make Friends With Your Local Beekeeper!

My local beekeeper!
Aside from being able to reduce if not eliminate seasonal allergies by consuming small amounts of local honey on a daily basis, there's another reason to stick with local honey - grocery store honey, may not be so pure after all...

"The Journal of Food Sciences study pegged honey as a top fake, representing 7% of food fraud cases. Last year, Food Safety News tests also found that 75% of store honey doesn’t contain pollen. People are still buying a bee-made product, but all the pollen has been screened out, says Andrew Schneider, a food safety journalist who wrote the reports for Food Safety News. A lack of pollen makes it tough to determine its geographic origin -- and also means regulators don't recognize the product as honey, he says. Why the misdirection? Separate Food Safety News tests found a third of the faux honey imports from Asia were contaminated with lead and antibiotics. For the real deal, Schneider suggests buying from a local beekeeper. A National Honey Board spokesman says the group disputes the Food Safety News findings, and says regulations do allow for pollen to be filtered out as part of the removal of particles such as bee parts and other organic debris."

I don't know about you, but I'm going to support the local bee union & buy only their honey!

Bee Healthy!
The Hoff


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hoff's Bulk Pancake Mix

Hoff's Bulk Pancake Mix
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 3 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 4 tbsp Baking Powder (aluminum free)
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Salt
Store in air-tight container.

  • 1 Cup Mix
  • 3/4 cup "Milk"
  • 1/2 cup Apple Sauce (individual sauce cup)
  • 1/2 cup Frozen Blueberries (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Chia Seeds (optional)

Batter Makes: 8-10 pancakes

Don't forget the homemade syrup!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Free Online Viewing of "The Weight of the Nation"

If you missed this documentary series on HBO, you can now view this four part miniseries online for free!

The Weight of the Nation, takes a look at the serious health consequences of the obesity trend, what choices we have, the challenges we face and how this is all affecting our children.

"Some experts fear this may be the first generation of American children who will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents."

Each movie features case studies, interviews with the nation’s leading experts, and individuals and their families struggling with obesity.

Check out the trailer!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Alicia Silverstone Launches Organic Vegan Beauty Line

Long-time vegan, Alicia Silverstone has teamed up with Juice Beauty, an established organic beauty line, to launch her very own organic, vegan beauty collection!

So far there are only four Eco-friendly products available: a cleanser, moisturizer, facial highlighter, pressed powder and lipstick.

Priced from $16 - $36 dollars, this line is reasonably priced in comparison to other vegan, organic lines.

“This is who I am. This is not just something I’m slapping my name on. I would never align myself with something that I don’t 100-percent believe in.” -  Women’s Wear Daily

Check it out!
The Hoff

(I have to admit though, that the packaging looks like something my grandmother would be into)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Best Sunscreens for 2012!

You've read my speeches on getting enough sun to satisfy your Vitamin D needs (*Are You Getting Your D's? & How Much Sun Do You Need?).

Now it's time for you to focus on sun protection! Yes, after getting your daily 15, you need to slather up - the sun's not that friendly.

Lucky for us, the Environmental Working Group, creators of the Skin Deep Database, which tells you how toxic your cosmetics are, has compiled a list of the least toxic sunscreens for 2012!  Aren't they nice?

Check out their list of the best of the best, the worst of the worst and see how your sunscreen rates! This comprehensive list consists of over 1,800 sunscreens, SPF lip balms, moisturizers and makeup.

I WAS a fan of Neutrogena's Ultimate Sport Sunblock Spray SPF 100+, until I learned that EWG gave it a 7 rating (high hazard)!  Time to go shopping for a new force field.

Be safe out there!
The Hoff

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Event: Cleveland Women's Wellness Resource Fair & Film

In honor of National Women’s Health Week, Negative Space in Asian Town is hosting a Cleveland Women's Wellness Resource Fair & Film!

"The goals of the event are to increase awareness of health and wellness issues affecting women and expose attendees to different programs, services, products and local businesses that address health and wellness issues, including alternative therapies and fitness options such as massage, yoga and detoxification, plus much more!"


4:00 - 7:00: demonstrations of healthy activities and treatments, healthy food samples, get pampered, learn about local resources and find new ways to address common health concerns

7:00 - 9:00: free showing of Hungry For Change, a documentary that talks about taking your health into your own hands!

When: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Time: 4:00pm - 9:00pm
Where: Negative Space: 3820 Superior Ave. E (at Asian Town Center), Cleveland, OH 44114
Cost: Free
Parking: Free parking in Lots B & C off of E. 38th Street between Superior and Payne. Handicapped accessible.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Event: Health on a Budget Summit

Learn how to be healthy in an affordable way!

The Health on a Budget Summit, is a FREE, live, 5-Day online conference that will feature over 30 talks, including:

  • Eating organic on less than $5 a day
  • Gluten-free on a budget
  • Getting fit in the free outdoors
  • Eating raw foods on a budget
  • Getting the most out of your supplements
  • Eating vegan on $4 a day
  • Gardening on a budget

Daily Topics:
  • Day 1: Affordable Healthy Living: The Basics
  • Day 2: Beyond Budget/Healthy Eating
  • Day 3: Garden on Any Budget
  • Day 4: Live More on Less
  • Day 5: Eating Healthy in College/Time Management
  • Day 6: Health Care on a Budget

And that's NOT ALL! 

The summit will feature exercise and price-friendly recipe videos; a Budget 101 Guide; and a Summit cookbook with over 100 raw, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free recipes.

When: May 19-25, 2012
Time: Varies by day
Where: Your PC
Cost: Free

For the complete program guide, click here!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hoff's Purple Madness Ice Cream

Just as good as Hoff's Awesome Chocolate Ice Cream! but made even better/healthier with a punch of blueberries!

Hoff's Purple Madness Ice Cream
Serves: 2
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free


  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 or freeze for later

My2Cents: I am AMAZED how well the frozen bananas mimic the creamy consistency of regular ice cream!  I HATE bananas, but if you pretend just a little, you can block out the banana taste and embrace the chocolate!  This may work in a regular blender, but I don't have any experience with them, so I can't say for sure - try it!  This dessert is so decadent, you won't even realize you just consumed a serving or two of fruit - crazy good!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Teatulia Coupons!!!

Check it out! 

From now until May 17, you can get 25% off your entire order or free shipping on orders over $15 at Teatulia Tea Store!

Use coupon code: tea4me25 for 25% off

Use coupon code: teaship for free shipping with a $15 purchase

Automatically get free shipping with orders over $65.

Teatulia offers a variety of black, green, white & herbal teas in both bagged and loose leaf form.  All teas are 100% USDA Organic.  All packaging is eco-friendly!  All teas are cultivated in a sustainable manor from their own garden in Bangladesh. "Teatulia organic tea comes directly to you from our organic tea garden. There is no middle man, no long-term warehouse storage and no waiting around to be put into just the right blend as defined by a third-party blender. What does this mean for you? You get to enjoy some of the freshest certified organic tea in the world, and you know exactly where it came from." -

The Hoff

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Yields: 12 Strawberries
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free


  1. Wash & dry Strawberries thoroughly (best to do this ahead of time to allow air drying)
  2. Remove any questionable leaves
  3. Combine Chocolate Chips & Sea Salt in a bowl & microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each increment until Chocolate is melted (should only take 2-3 rounds)
  4. Grasp Strawberries by the leaves & dip into the Chocolate, rolling around or using a spoon to help coat the sides
  5. On parchment or wax paper lay out Strawberries to dry or allow to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  6. Store in the fridge & eat within a few days

Optional Sprinkles:
  • Sea Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  • Chopped Nuts
  • Cacao Nibs

My2Cents: This is a super quick & most decadent "healthy" treat!  Perfect for Easter, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, a birthday or just because!  Beats store bought candy any day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hoff's Towering Veggie Supreme Pizza

There is a lot going on with this pizza, but that's just the way I like it - lots of variety!  The crust isn't wide enough for me, so I find myself going up as well as out!

Hoff's Towering Veggie Supreme Pizza
Serves: 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free

  • 1 Large Thin Crust Pizza
  • 1/2 - 1 cup Pizza/Spaghetti/Marinara Sauce
  • 1 MorningStar Farms® Grillers® Vegan Veggie Burger
  • 1 small can sliced Black Olives (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 small can sliced Pineapple (rinsed & drained)
  • 1/2 Onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 Red Pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Mushrooms (diced)
  • 1/2 cup Spinach (diced)
  • 1/2 cup Zucchini (diced)

  1. In the microwave, heat frozen Veggie Burger for 1 minute, just enough to cut it into small pieces
  2. Add Sauce to Crust and layer on Veggies & Burger (order is not important)
  3. Cook at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until crust starts to brown

My2Cents: I have yet to find a ready-made pizza crust without oil, so I opt for thin crust, which usually has less oil.  These veggie burgers also contain oil, so if that is of concern, just leave them out.  I just have them as a treat from time to time - this pizza is just as good without them.  Prego Light Smart Spaghetti Sauce does not contain oil and marinara sauce typical is oil-free as well (check your labels).  I used my handy dandy Tupperware Time Saver Chop N Prep Chef to do all the fine dicing (love that thing).  I also like to drizzle a fine line of honey around the outer edge of the crust - gives me something sweet to look forward to.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hoff Hit: Parsley Garden

If you're planting a garden, be sure to plant some parsley as well.  This little trick will save you the angst of watching your veggies get eaten by uninvited guests!

This concept is known as companion planting.

By planting parsley, you will attract predator insects who will eat the insects gorging themselves on your bounty!

Tomatoes in particular benefit from this practice.  The parsley will attract wasps who will leave your veggies alone, but will kill the "tomato hornworm!"

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Recall: Cleveland Beansprouts

Re-post Courtesy of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

CLEVELAND, Ohio (May 4, 2012) - Cleveland Beansprouts Co. of Cleveland, OH is recalling all alfalfa sprouts because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections to individuals with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

All alfalfa sprouts produced by Cleveland Beansprouts are being recalled. There are no lot codes or any other identifier on the product. The alfalfa sprouts were only distributed in Ohio.

The contamination was discovered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture while collecting and testing samples under the United States Department of Agriculture’s Microbiological Data Program. No illnesses have been reported to date.

Consumers who have purchased alfalfa sprouts produced by Cleveland Beansprout should discard them.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tupperware Time Saver Chop N Prep Chef

I'm in love again!  I tend to fall in love a lot when it comes to cats and gadgets.  This time I have fallen hard for Tupperware's Time Saver Chop N Prep Chef!

This is one cool handy, dandy gadget for small, quick dice jobs.

I appreciate it's simple design, because it makes it quick to operate and easy to clean.  You could put it in the dishwasher (not the blades), but I hardly think it's worth the effort.

It has three VERY sharp blades that are removable and works by a pull string method.  The more you pull, the finer the cut.

It also comes with a storage lid, as the top comes off and then you can use the bottom for storage - I like to have mine at the ready at all times, so I actually think I lost the lid already.

I use this to chop/dice garlic, ginger, onions, mushrooms, herbs, spinach, zucchini.  I think if I can get it in the container, this thing can chop it!

Check out the awesome chop/dice job this baby did on Hoff's Udon Noodle Soup!  I just love uniformity!  I also put it to work on Hoff's Heaping Supreme Veggie Pizza!

I like this chopper a lot better than my slap chopper.  It does a much better job.  Everything is chopped as opposed to my slap chopper which tends to miss pieces and it also doesn't require the angry pounding motion, although I suspect that my blades are dull on my slap chopper.  Plus there's not as many pieces to clean.  Think my slap chopper is headed to Goodwill...

The Time Saver Chop N Prep Chef sells for $45 through Tupperware, but I suggest you get it through Amazon for $37, plus free shipping!  There is also the larger, Tupperware Quick Chef Food Processor and Chopper, which sells for $51 on Amazon, but I have not tried it and cannot vouch for it's potential awesomeness.

Chop Happy!
The Hoff

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Honey & Allergies

Suffering from seasonal allergies?

Seek out locally produced honey and work one teaspoon into your diet daily.  As the bees are pollinating the plants and flowers within the area you live, you will slowly build up a resistance from the pollens that plague you.  It's best to start this treatment a few months prior to the start of pollen season to give your body time to build up this resistance.

There is also anecdotal evidence to support this same trick can aid with asthma symptoms.

To learn more check out this article by Dr. Mercola, "Can Eating Local Honey Cure Allergies?"

Keep It Healthy!
The Hoff

Saturday, May 5, 2012

In-flight Meal - Vegan Style

San Francisco
Whenever I plan a trip that involves a plane, my first thoughts are, "What am I going to eat?!?"  I've seen enough 60 Minute specials on airplane food to know not to touch that stuff and I'm not foolish enough to think they can accommodate my vegan, oil-free ways.  I even buy my own water at one of the airport shops prior to boarding - read the above article, you'll understand where my paranoia comes from...

I just smile and say, "No thank you." to every offer by the nice flight attendant and then gleefully munch away on my 100% healthy & sanitary snacky snacks.

I put everything in disposable Ziplock bags, so I can leave the plane with less than I got on with.  Ziplock, so when airport security tears apart my carry-on (they always do), I don't have a holy mess on my hands!

Here's a list of things I bring with me (varies depending on length of flight):

  • Paper towels
  • Plastic utensils
  • Wet naps
  • Bottle of Water (airport store)
  • Larabars or Kind Bars
  • Cereal
  • McDougall's Noodle Cups (just request hot water)
  • Instant Oatmeal (just request hot water)
  • Hoff's Green Wrap
  • Portabella Mushroom Caps (pre-cut & stick in ziplock bag, a little messy but when you're hungry, a lifesaver)
  • Semi-Homemade Tortilla Chips
  • Baked Baby Potatoes/Baby Sweet Potatoes
  • Avocado
  • Sliced Cucumber
  • Dried Fruit: Dates, Prunes, Figs, etc.
  • Fresh Fruit: Berries, Apples, Bananas, etc.
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn
  • Pistachios
  • Rice Cakes
  • Roasted Soy Beans 
  • Edamame (light salted & shelled) 
  • Veggie Sushi!
  • Clementines, apples, bananas, berries (other fruit - not with international travel)
  • Pasta Salad
  • Black Olives (rinsed & dried)
  • Gerkin Pickles (rinsed & dried)
  • Veggies & Hummus
  • Veggies & Salsa

I once watched a girl eat an entire avocado on a flight.  Not sure I could do that, but I admired her ingenuity!

Be careful with any type of liquid based food, yogurt for example can be confiscated by security.  If you do bring any type of liquid, it must be in a 3 oz. or smaller container.  Those apple sauce snack packs are 3.9 oz. of course!

Aside from the dry foods, most of these foods are only going to make it one way.  For my return flight, I try to track down a Subway (veggie sandwich) or some other airport eatery that serves vegan food.  Not always possible to find, so I don't like to rely on that plan of attack.

I highly recommend that you do some research of both your departure airport and destination airport so you can know ahead of time what they offer and where that is in relation to your gate.  Just Google the name of the airport and restaurants and you are bound to come across a website listing them all out, most airports have this information available on their website.  Having a plan before your are in rushing, panic mode will keep you from making a hasty impulse move that you will regret later.

*"Potential" vegan offerings at Cleveland Hopkins Airport:

*I can't 100% confirm that these places will have vegan offerings, so you still need to inquire once you get there.

With a little pre-planning, your in-flight meal can be delicious, healthy and just the way you want it!

I'd love to hear what you guys bring on your travels - light up the comments!

Keep It Healthy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

How Much Sun Do You Need?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that we do not readily get from food.  It is better to synthesize your own Vitamin D from adequate sun exposure than to take a supplement, eat oily fish or fortified manufactured foods.

How much sunlight should you get to make your daily allowance of Vitamin D?

That actually depends on a few factors: your skin type, the daily UV Index, among other things (smog, cloud cover, where you are in relation to the equator).

This chart can help you figure it out:

Chart Courtesy of: T. Colin Campbell Foundation
To determine the UV Index, visit the EPA website, input your zip code and get that day's UVI for your area.  The EPA even has free SmartPhone Apps!

Not into calculating?

No worries, just strive to get 10-15 minutes of sun, 3 times per week on at least your face, hands & arms (sans sunscreen).  This will give you the equivalent of taking between 15,000 and 20,000 IU’s of Vitamin D - ensuring your Vitamin D levels stay where they should.

It's important to get your sun without sunscreen.  "A sunscreen with SPF of 8 reduces the ability of the skin to make Vitamin D by 92.5%. Sunscreen with SPF 15 reduces it by 99%."  No, this duration of exposure is not going to lead to skin cancer.  But, keep in mind that you're looking to be slightly pink, not red so, don't over do it.

Can't get any sun six months out of the year where you live?  

Me neither!  But, that's OK because vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning your body will store it until it needs it.  If you get the recommended exposure during the sunny months, you will have enough Vitamin D to get you through the dreary months.

Keep it Healthy!
The Hoff


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Healthy Hoff Talks Sprouts!

I had an awesome time last night speaking to 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!

A great bunch of people who are taking control of their health, their lives, their future!  It was so refreshing to be among people so dedicated living a healthy lifestyle!  I loved their enthusiasm to learn about sprouts and sprouting.  They really made my first speaking engagement fun and a fantastic success!  Thanks guys!
Me & Anne Marie!

It was great to finally meet Anne Marie, founder and organizer of this No Oil Vegan Meetup Group.  A very cool chick, who worked very hard with Chef Nello Salvatore & Corporate Chef Scott Buttari of Sushi Rock to nail down a meal plan that would fit this group's needs.  By bringing awareness and educating restaurants that there is a market for plant-based, no-oil meals, it makes it easier for all of us to enjoy a meal outside the house!  You rock Anne Marie!

I also met Sandie, another hip & cool vegan who has an awesome event coming up very soon, which I will be talking about later!

Vegan Sushi!
The meal was awesome - served buffet style so you could help yourself to as much as you wanted!  First we had a broth based soup with tiny cubes of tofu, leeks and seaweed - très yummy.  My fav was the stir-fry/steamed veggies (mushrooms, red pepper, onion, zucchini & yellow squash). I paired this with brown rice and a liberal dousing of gluten-free soy sauce - yum!  Can't forget the raw "cucumber" roll sushi with asparagus, carrots, broccoli  - so cute!  Of course there was salad, but you know me and salad... No meal would be complete without dessert - bamboo skewers of fresh fruit!

As if the night couldn't get any better, I met my first Healthy Hoff fan live and in living color (friends & family, don't count - you have to like me)!  Shout out to Kelly, one awesome chick!  I can't believe I didn't get a pic with her!

If you're interested in hanging out with a group of great and enthusiastic people in Northeast Ohio, you can join the No Oil Vegan, Dr. Esselstyn's & Rip's E2 Diet NE Ohio Meetup Group.  Membership is free and you're not required to do anything.  These guys get together for meals such as this one, potlucks, cooking classes, recipe swaps and lectures by the likes of Dr. Esselstyn.  I'm a member - what more could you want?!?!

If you missed the talk but are interested in learning about sprouts, you can check out Sprouting: What Is It?  If you're curious as to what to expect when sprouting, check out my day by day account!  If you're already sprouting but running into trouble, check out Moldy Sprouts.

Keep It Healthy!
The Hoff