Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ask The Hoff: Ingredient-free Labels

Hello Healthy Hoff,

I don't have a question, just a comment.

Thank you so much for including an ingredient-free label on your recent recipes.  I love how quickly I can determine if a recipe will work for me or not.

Ever so helpful!
Dairy Intolerant

Dear Dairy Intolerant,

Thanks for noticing!

Can't believe it took me so long to realize that including the following: "meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free" to my recipes would make them more user-friendly. 

But it's not just new recipes, I went back to the very beginning of The Healthy Hoff and updated every recipe to include this info.  Note, that while I am vegan, no-oil now, I wasn't always and some recipes do contain soy.

Just my way of helping cut through the clutter!

Healthy, Happy Cooking!
The Hoff

Gotta question for The Healthy Hoff?  Hit me up at TheHoff@healthyhoff.com

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Makin' Oat Flour!

A few times this past year, courtesy of my CSA, I received pounds of organic rolled Oats - grown right in Ohio and harvested by horse drawn reapers (no clue what that means).

Sounded awesome!

In reality, I couldn't stand them.  Try as I might, I'm addicted to my tried & true Quaker Oats and scowled each time I received a new bag.

That was until I discovered...Oat Flour!

Got Oats?  Got a Vitamix?  Then you got the makings for Oat Flour!

Here's how...it's soooo hard.

Oat Flour
Yields: 1 cup

  • 1 cup Old-fashioned or Steel Cut Oats

  1. Pour Oats into Vitamix
  2. Blend on high until flour consistency is achieved, about 60 seconds or less
  3. That's it (I was being sarcastic about the hard part)

My2Cents: No, quick oats won't work.  Yes, you can make this in a regular blender or food processor - probably need to pulse instead of blend.  Now what?  Use as a straight up substitution for Whole Wheat Flour or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.  Makes baked goods moister, chewier, and crumblier.  Great for making bread - infuses a nice, nutty flavor, but I recommend using half Oat & half WW Flour/Bread Flour.  While Oats are gluten-free, cross-contamination in the field or manufacturing plant can corrupt them for you sensitive types.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hoff's Potato Soup

Hoff's Potato Soup
Serves: 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 2 cans Potatoes (diced & rinsed)
  • 2 cups Veggie Broth
  • 2 cups Original Almond Milk
  • 1 cup Corn
  • 1/4 Onion
  • 2 tbsp Potato Flakes
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • Splash of Liquid Smoke
  • Sea Salt

  1. Place 1 can of Potatoes, Veggie Broth, Milk, Onion, Potato Flakes & Garlic into a Vitamix
  2. Blend for 6 minutes
  3. Pour over 1 can of Potatoes & Corn
  4. Stir in Liquid Smoke & Sea Salt to taste
  5. Serve!

My2Cents: The soup, while hot, may not be enough to warm through the Potatoes & Corn - you may need to heat through for a few more minutes.  The potato flakes work as a thickener and are a good alternative to flour or corn starch.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hoff's Lentil Soup

Hoff's Lentil Soup
Yields: 8-10 cups
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

  • 2 cups Lentils (washed & drained)
  • 4 cups Veggie Broth
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 cup shredded Carrots
  • 2 Potatoes (diced)
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard (chopped)
  • 1 carton Mushrooms (diced)
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Bragg Liquid Amino
  • 1 tbsp Herbs De Provence
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Dry Mustard
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Juice of 1 Lemon

  1. In a large pot (see below), soften Mushrooms & Onions in the Braggs while preparing the rest of the ingredients
  2. Add remaining ingredients (excluding Salt & Lemon Juice), placing the Bay Leaf on top
  3. Cook as instructed below
  4. Mix in Sea Salt & Lemon Juice!

Stove Top Large Pot- Bring water to a rapid boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a gentle simmer.  Cook uncovered, 20-30 minutes
Crock Pot (large) - Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours
Pressure Cooker (large) - High pressure, 20 minutes

Hoff Thoughts: Adding the Sea Salt during the cooking process will prevent the Lentils from softening.  Bringing the Lemon Juice to a boil will cause it to bitter.  Best to add both ingredients at the very end.  Experiment with different Greens, I make this soup with Kale and it is excellent!  If you don't have Herbs De Provence, just use an Italian Herb mix.  But, I encourage you to check it out because it's a little on the sweeter side and pretty with the addition of lavender.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chocolate Mug Cake Just For You!

I have come across this concept before, only the recipe wasn't as healthy as this, so I had to share!  I cannot lay claim to fame however, this recipe was created by vegan chef, Lindsay S. Nixon, author of The Happy Herbivore Cookbook!

Chocolate Mug Cake
Serves: Just You!
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

This "healthy" cake goes from flour to your mouth in under 5 minutes!

  • 4 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp nondairy milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1-2 drops vanilla extract
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 2-3 tbsp vegan chocolate chips

    1. In a small bowl, whisk Flour, Sugar, Cocoa, Baking Powder & Cinnamon together, set aside. For a really sweet cake, add more sugar. 
    2. In another small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup applesauce, nondairy milk, and a drop or two of vanilla extract together. 
    3. Pour wet into dry, then add chips, stirring to combine. 
    4. Add another 1-2 tbsp of applesauce, until the batter is wet and resembles regular cake batter. 
    5. Pour batter into a coffee mug, and microwave for three minutes (at 1000 watts).

    Per Serving: 276 Calories, 4.1g Fat, 59.3g Carbohydrates, 7.8g Fiber, 31.6g Sugar, 8.3g Protein

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

    Doc: You Can Heal Your Life

    You Can Heal Your Life, is a documentary that can change your life, if you're open to it.

    This doc reminds me of The Secret in a lot of ways.

    The film capture's the life's work of Louise L. Hay, an inspirational leader in inspirational & self-help publishing, while imparting practical self-help advice along the way.  It's a great reminder just how powerful our thoughts are and how we create the direction of our lives - good or bad with everything we think and say.

    Check out a preview!

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Hoff's Split Pea Soup

    Hoff's Split Pea Soup
    Makes: About 10 cups
    meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

    • 20 oz. Split Peas (rinsed)
    • 8 cups Veggie Broth
    • 4 cups Water
    • 2 White Potatoes (peeled & chopped)
    • 1 cup shredded Carrots (chopped)
    • 1 Zucchini (shredded) (optional)
    • 1 cup Orzo Pasta (optional)
    • 1 Onion (chopped)
    • 2-3 cloves of Garlic (minced)
    • 1/3 cup BBQ Sauce
    • 1/3 cup Braggs
    • 2 tbsp. Liquid Smoke
    • 1 tbsp. Cumin 
    • 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
    • 2 tsp. Onion Powder
    • Season with Sea Salt
    • 8 oz. Smoked Tempeh (chopped) (optional)


    Stove Top
    1. In a very large pot over medium-high heat, sautee Onion until soft, add Garlic stir for about one minute
    2. Add Veggie Broth & Water, bring to a boil
    3. Add Split Peas, Potatoes, Carrots & Zucchini
    4. Season with Braggs, Liquid Smoke, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder & Cumin
    5. Cover & cook for 30 minutes
    6. Reduce to simmer and cook for another 20 minutes
    7. Add Orzo & cook for additional 10 minutes
    8. Remove about 4 cups of soup & blend into a puree, stir back into soup (optional)
    9. Season with Sea Salt & serve

    Crock Pot
    1. In a very large Crock Pot, set to High, begin to soften Onions & Garlic
    2. Add Veggie Broth & Water, turn back to Low
    3. Stir in Split Peas, Potatoes, Carrots & Zucchini
    4. Season with Braggs & Liquid Smoke
    5. Cover & cook for 6-8 hours
    6. With 2 hours or less to go, add Garlic Powder, Onion Powder & Cumin
    7. Add Orzo & cook for additional 30 minutes or until soft
    8. Remove about 4 cups of soup & blend into a puree, stir back into soup (optional)
    9. Season with Sea Salt & serve

    My2Cents: Check your Split Peas before serving to make sure they are soft, you may have to cook longer or add more liquid.  Adding the Salt during cooking will prevent the Peas from softening.  You know your soup is done when the liquid cooks down & thickens and the peas become mushy & soft.

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

    My Latest Toy: Mini Food Processor

    "IT'S SO FLUFFY!!!"

    Hopefully, you're familiar with this legendary line from Despicable Me.  If not, indulge me for 39 seconds.

    That's the level of excitement that I am currently experiencing over my new FUCHSIA Cuisinart Mini Food Processor!!!

    Why do I love it so?  Because it's the same color as my hair - yeah that's right, I have pink hair - it makes me happy.

    That and with the three cup capability, I can make lots of yummy things that are too small to justify dragging out its much larger mother.

    I have been making all kinds of dressings, sauces and dips since I got it!  It chops, it grinds, it purées, it emulsifies, it blends.  It's also super cute!

    Don't have fuchsia hair?  It's all good, this cute little gadget comes in a whole rainbow of colors from orange to purple - pick your poison!  I got my mini food processor from Amazon for $40 bucks!

    I'd go into more details, but my new awesome chopper is not actually the intended focus of this post.  It's incitement.

    Typically, it's a new recipe or a trying a new vegetable that gets me pumped about cooking.  This time it was simply getting an everyday appliance in a color that makes me happy, happy that has led to an avalanche of meal ideas.  

    I encourage you incorporate something into your kitchen that gets you excited to cook, whenever things get monotonous.  Paint the walls, get new plates, anything that brings a smile to your face - just because.  Eying a pink colander, but already have one?  Who cares, get it anyway!

    And don't stop at the kitchen, look at other areas in your life in which you feel like you're stuck in a rut.  Surround yourself with things that make you happy, because you only get one go around in life and it might as well be fun!

    Get Excited!
    The Hoff

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    Sprouting for Cats

    Believe it or not, animals can benefit from sprouting just as much as humans.  In fact, most animals love vegetables!  Here's a hint, if  your cat is eating your house plants or is practicing to be an escape artist to the great outdoors - they probably crying out for some grass.

    Grass is very beneficial to cats.  "The juices in grass contain folic acid. This is an essential vitamin for a cat's bodily functions and assists in the production of hemoglobin, the protein that moves oxygen in the blood."  Cats are actually designed to eat grass and therefore can eat all they want without issue.  That being said, one of the main reasons cats eat grass is because of hair balls or digestion issues, as the grass can help the cat throw up.  Not pretty, but it is a fact of life for us cat owners.

    I have been sprouting kitty grass for Morticia, my 16 year old kitty for a few months now. She loves having her own private supply!

    After receiving veterinary treatment for heart failure, I noticed that Morticia's cravings for grass increased ten fold.  I don't know if there's a direct correlation, but I tend to trust an animal's instinct over man's, so I began growing pesticide-free, chemical-free grass for her to chow down on.  According to the vet, Morticia should have died over a year ago - she's still meowing, so I'm still sprouting!

    Miss Morticia & her grass
    Cat grass has the shelf life of about a week.  So it's no surprise that the stuff you buy at the store is looking a little peaked before you even get it home.  It's actually more beneficial and economical for you to sprout your own. I have found that I am able to keep my home grown cat grass around for about 2 weeks, before things start going south.

    What I love most about sprouting grass - it's super simple & requires no dirt!  You sprout cat grass just as you would regular sprouts.  The only difference is that you start the seeds (1-2 days) and then spread them out on a contained water absorbing surface to promote growth & continue to water daily - that's it!  I've been successful growing grass on a folded up paper towel in a plastic sushi container.  Or you can get fancy with a Baby Blanket and  plastic Tray.  Within about 3 days, your grass is off and growing and ready for your cat!

    I get my Kat Grass seeds & supplies through Sproutpeople.org, which just happens to be a certified organic sprouts supplier.  Currently, they have a winter package, which contains all the supplies needed to be your own kitty grass farmer for up to 6 months! They also have sprout seeds available for dogs, birds and smaller animals such as bunnies, hamsters, turtles and iguanas.

    Check out this video for more info & step by step instructions on growing grass:

    Keep Our Pets Healthy!
    The Hoff

    P.S. Cat grass doesn't do it for every cat, Hawkeye, my son won't touch the stuff...kids!

    Sources: Why Do Cats Eat Grass?

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    Hoff Hit: Orangey Brownies

    Whether using a brownie box mix or baking from scratch, add juice from half an orange to kick this decadent treat up a notch!

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    What's That Smell?!?

    Please be considerate to others that may have fragrance sensitivities.  We all like to smell pretty, but the act of wearing perfume/cologne in public can trigger migraines and even asthma with those who have scent allergies.  
    We usually suffer in silence, but suffer nonetheless.

    Monday, February 4, 2013

    Valentine Sweets For Your Vegan Sweetie!

    Um yeah, it's not Valentine's Day without chocolate!  But, if the love of your life goes sans animal products, that can be a tall order to fill.

    Don't worry, I hunted down some resources for you...you can thank me later.  :)

    Check out these rockin' sites offering special Vegan Valentine's!

    Allison's Gourmet
    Chocolate Decadence
    Endangered Species Chocolates
    Farm Santuary
    Lagusta's Luscious
    Natural Candy Store
    Rescue Chocolate
    Rose City Chocolatier
    Sjaak's Organic Chocolates
    The Vegan Store
    Vegan Essentials

    If you're more the hands on type, make some super easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries!

    And for those of you going solo this V Day - find the love of your little veggie life at Veggie Connection!

    The Hoff

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    Honey, One Sweet Cleanser

    You don't need fancy, expensive cleansers - all you need is some Raw Honey!

    Yes, you can actually wash your face with honey - it's safe, it's natural and it's loaded with good stuff.  And if  you get a little in your mouth, you won't gag.

    Why should I?

    For one, no harsh chemicals, no animal testing required.  Honey is antibacterial and antimicrobial.  Meaning, the honey will take care of any nasty things that try to set-up camp on your face and wreak havoc.  Honey does not discriminate, it works on all skin types.  It's two-faced - on one hand it's slightly drying, which helps to soak up pimples & oil on the skin's surface, on the other hand, by soaking into your skin it works as a moisturizer.  It's enzymes help stall the aging process.  Honey also goes to work on acne sores & scars.  And, in two weeks, you'll be glowing!

    A little goes a long way...

    Yes, Raw Honey is more expensive than pasteurized honey, but with the added benefits, the fact that it will never go bad and that you really only need a dab or two - that bear is going to last you a really long time - actually saving you $$$.

    So, what do I do?

    First, remove make-up as usual (no, honey alone can't get that job done).  Then, get your hands a little damp, pouring about a quarter size worth of Honey onto your hands and rub together to soften.  Gently massage the Honey all over your face, neck and décolletage (these areas need our attention too, ladies).  Leave on for a few minutes as a cleanser or longer as a facial mask.  Rinse off with warm water.

    Should you decided to add Honey to your beauty regimen, it's best to only use once a day.  While Honey is naturally moisturizing, using too much can dry out your skin.  Preferably use at night in order to wash the dirt & grim of the day away.  In the morning, just use pure H2O to freshen up after a hard nights slumber.  Trust me, this ritual will leave your skin better balanced.

    Why raw?

    Pasteurization, which requires heat, kills off the beneficial properties in honey. Raw Honey tends to crystallize more quickly, simply run warm water over your honey bear or container to get things flowing again - DO NOT MICROWAVE!

    Where is it?

    Look for Raw Honey at your local farmer's market, local bee keeper or you might get lucky at say Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or a natural health food store.

    Stay Sweet!
    The Hoff

    Source: http://www.crunchybetty.com/honey-challenge