Monday, November 25, 2013

Give A Lucky Turkey A Happy Thanksgiving!

The President isn't the only person who can pardon a turkey!

Adopt a turkey or 2 today!!!
Sponsored by Farm Sanctuary

Check out what the Farm Sanctuary is all about!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

To Juice Or To Blend, That Is The Question

This is the question I faced when I decided I had to get more fruits and vegetables into my diet.  Drinking a combination of them seemed like an ideal solution, but what method would provide the best results?

Juicing by definition is the extraction of juice from a fruit or vegetable.  While the soluble fiber will remain in the juice, the insoluble fiber is removed along with the pulp.  This makes the nutrients more readily available to the body in much larger quantities than if you were to eat the fruits and vegetables whole.  Can be an instant shot of energy as you will absorb the nutrients within 30 minutes. 

While you can get more produce into a juice than you can a smoothie, you need to use more produce in order to get a reasonable amount of juice. 

Juicers take more time to clean, with lots of different parts.  You may need to cut up larger produce in order to fit in the shoot. Juicers can be loud!

Blending utilizes the entire fruit or vegetable, thereby including the
fiber.  Therefore, you will fill up faster and remain fuller longer.

This is the method used to create smoothies, a thicker version of juice.  Typically ice or frozen fruit is added for consistency and to keep the friction of the blender from "cooking" the food.

You may need to cut up larger produce in order for the blades to catch and blend correctly.  Best to add a little liquid as well to ease in the blending process.

A blender is very easy to clean.  Blenders can be loud!

Each method requires a different type of appliance.

Juicing: A Breville Juicer as seen in Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (Documentary focused on healing through juicing) 
Quality machine is at least $150 & up.

Blending: A high powered blender, such as a Vitamix
Vitamix starts around $349 & goes up.

Benefits of Both

Both methods help alkalize the body.  Both methods can help greens become more palatable.  Both provide a way to get more fresh veggies and fruits into your diet.  Both can be an excellent way to use up "leftover" produce at the end of the week.  Both can make you feel better, more alive, more energized!

My Personal Experience

After watching Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, I caught the juicing bug.  At first I craved pure, sweet, apple juice, so I went to the store and bought a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer.  Eagerly, I got my new toy home, opened the box and closed it right back up.  There was no way in hell I was going to clean that thing on a regular basis.  I diverted my attentions toward the Vitamix to make smoothies instead, because of its super easy cleaning.  My love affair with the Vitamix held my interest for a few years.  But then, I got the juicing bug again.  I wanted to check out what all the health experts were clamoring about.  This time, I took a page from Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and got a Breville Juicer.  Now, I juice sometimes and blend at other times.  I like them equally as well and at the end of the day, I'm getting my fruits & veggies in!

Sources to get you going:

Vitamix Lady
Hoff's Bulk Green Smoothie

Reboot Your Life 
Sherbert Lemonade Juice

There really is no wrong way to go, simply go with whichever method you will enjoy and stick with and there's nothing wrong with doing both!

Keep it Healthy!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Golden Gravy

This recipe is an adaptation from Mary McDougall

Golden Gravy
Yield: 2 cups
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 2 cups Veggie Broth
  • 2 tbsp Braggs
  • 2 tbsp Tahini
  • 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour

  1. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, mix all ingredients well
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally until smooth & thick
  3. Serve at once or thicken in the fridge

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pumpkin Donuts

This recipe is an and adaptation of Easy Baked Doughnuts from One Green Planet.

Pumpkin Donuts
Yields: 6 large donuts, 12 mini donuts
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free


  • 1 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 3/4 cup Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/3 cup canned Pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla
  • 1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together wet ingredients
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk together until just combined
  5. Carefully spoon batter into a non-stick donut pan (oiling the pan is not necessary)
  6. Bake for 12 minutes
  7. Allow to cool completely for easy removal

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hoff's Grilled Tomato Sandwich

My boyfriend grew up on a grilled tomato and cheese concoction doused in mustard.  I grew up eating my grilled cheese straight up - no distractions please!

Fortunately, he got me to try one of these "sandwiches" during my Vegetarian days and I have to say, not too shabby.  So, when I decided to go Vegan, my first thought was, "What about my grilled cheese!"  One would naturally go to a Vegan cheese, but I have chosen to get off the processed food train.  So, I decided to give my boyfriend's childhood delight a try sans the cheese and I'm happy to report that I don't miss the cheese all that much.

Hoff's Grilled Tomato Sandwich
Serves: 1
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 2 pieces Whole Wheat Bread or English Muffin
  • 2-3 slices of tomato, whatever will cover the surface area of the bread
  • Mustard

  1. Toast Bread
  2. While bread is toasting, warm up tomato slices in either a frying pan or microwave (1 minute)
  3. Assemble sandwich, apply ample amounts of Mustard
  4. Imagine the cheese is there...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hoff's Mushroom Quinoa

Hoff's Mushroom Quinoa
Serves: 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 8 oz. Mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 cup Sweet Onion (sliced)
  • 1/3 cup Pine Nuts

  1. Using a fine wire mesh strainer, rinse Quinoa
  2. Combine Quinoa & Water into a 2 quart pot, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, fluff with fork
  3. Meanwhile in a medium, non-stick frying pan, brown Pine Nuts until you can start to smell their aroma, remove Pine Nuts from the pan
  4. Using the same pan over medium-high heat caramelize the Onions & Mushrooms
  5. Combine everything together and eat!

Hoff Thoughts: Rinsing the Quinoa removes the outer coating which can sometimes have a bitter taste.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hoff's Savory Stuffed Squash

Hoff's Savory Stuffed Squash
Serves: 2
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Israeli Couscous
  • 2 1/2 cups Veggie Broth
  • 1 cartoon sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 cup Shredded Carrots (rough chopped)
  • 1 small-medium Sweet Onion (chopped)
  • 2 Garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tbsp. Almond Butter
  • 2 tbsp. Braggs
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • Sea Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut Squash in half and deseed
  3. Place Squash face down in a baking dish with about an inch of water
  4. Cook until soft for about 40 minutes
  5. Season Squash with Sea Salt & set aside
  6. Meanwhile, bring Broth (Nutritional Yeast added) to a boil, reduce to a simmer, stir in Couscous, cover & cook for 15 minutes (fluff with fork when done)
  7. In a non-stick skillet, sauté Onions, Mushrooms & Carrots in Braggs, adding Garlic at last few seconds of cooking
  8. Stir in Almond Butter until melted and well combined
  9. Combine with Couscous, stir in Seasonings & fill each side of Squash

Hoff Thoughts: You will have leftover stuffing, that's a bonus in my book as it's delicious!  But, if you insist, cut back to 1 cup of Couscous and 1 cup of Broth.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What is Quinoa?

What is it?

Quinoa, pronounced as KEEN-WAH, is actually a seed, not a grain - a common misconception. However, it is prepared and used in the same manner as rice or couscous.  It is gluten-free for those of you with touchy inner workings, making it easy to digest.  It has the texture and look (size) of Couscous, but tends to be a little crunchier, brown in color and has a slight nutty flavor.

Quinoa has been around a little while - since 3,000 B.C.  The Incas once revered this sacred staple as the "mother grain." - as it was so substantial as to fuel its mighty armies.

Is it healthy?

Yes - it's very nutrient rich!  Quinoa is high in fiber, high in protein, a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, iron, vitamins, minerals, and is considered to be alkaline.  It's high in calcium and iron and a good source of E & B vitamins.  Since Quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, it is considered a complete protein source.

What to do with it:

Quinoa can be easily substituted in place of Rice, Couscous, Millet or Pasta in just about any meal.  Use it as a side dish, in casseroles, in cold salads, soups or stews.  Add nuts and fruits to cooked Quinoa and serve as breakfast porridge.

The Quinoa seeds can also be sprouted for a super raw nutritional snack!  Sprouted Quinoa can be used in salads and sandwiches just like alfalfa sprouts.

How to cook it:
Quinoa cooks up simply and fast.  For every 1 cup of Quinoa, use 1 1/2 cups of Water or Veggie Broth.  Bring Quinoa & liquid to a boil together, reduce to a simmer, cover & cook for 15 minutes.  Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes, fluff with a fork and enjoy!

Adding Salt to the cooking water will increase the cooking time by 1 - 2 minutes and yield a firmer texture.  Leave it out and you get a fluffier end result.

Want a nuttier flavor?  Dry roast the Quinoa before cooking; to dry roast, place it in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir constantly for five minutes. 

It is important to rinse Quinoa using a fine wire mesh to remove the bitter outer layer (saponin), prior to cooking.  With this in mind, the Quinoa can be soaked up to 5 minutes to help with this process.


Store quinoa in an airtight container. It will keep for a longer period of time, approximately three to six months, if stored in the refrigerator. 

Keep it Healthy!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Omega-3 Sources

Omega-3s are referred to as essential, because our body cannot create them, we must ingest them.  However, fish and supplements (DHA/EPA) are not the answer.  Instead, to receive optimal benefits, it is best to consume omega-3s via plant-based foods.
But let’s, back up, why are omega-3s so great?
For starters they are highly anti-inflammatory and protect against heart attacks, stroke and dementia, while limiting the severity of arthritis, depression and even dry wrinkly skin and dry scalp.  They are absolutely necessary for brain and retinol development in a growing fetus.
They also:
  • help to reduce inflammation in the body
  • help prevent cancer cell growth
  • help the body assimilate insulin

So, where should I get Omega-3s?

Cut out the middle-fish and go directly to the source.  That’s right, fish don’t make omega-3s either, they make it from the plants they eat.  You do the same…
  • Beans
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Ground Flax Seed
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Kiwis
  • Leafy Greens
  • Seaweed (just try it)
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Soaked Chia Seeds
  • Walnuts

What about Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids?
Yes, equally as essential as omega-3s and not created by the body either are omega-6s.  However, we get plenty of those through polyunsaturated fats which are rampant in our daily diets.  In fact, we get too much. Ideally, we want a ratio of 2 to 1 omega-6 to omega-3.  But, we get more like 20 to 1 due to all the oils, animal fats, processed and convenience foods in our diets.  With this imbalance comes inflammation.  Luckily for you, those who stick to a whole-food, plant-based diet with minimum processed foods have a way better omega-6 to omega-3 ratio than all the other poor saps.
Keep it Healthy!
The Hoff

Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Eye Brow Threading

Ever get your eye brows waxed?  Screw the pain, that continuous pulling on the most delicate part of your body causes your eye lids to droop!  Unless you're stashing cash away for a face lift in 20 years, knock it off!

Instead, switch to Eye Brow Threading, a much less destructive way of maintaining that pretty frame!  Plus, it's great for anyone with sensitive skin.

Threading is an ancient Indian technique.  "In threading, a thin (cotton) heavy duty thread is doubled, then twisted. It is then rolled over areas of unwanted hair, plucking the hair at the follicle level. Unlike tweezing, where single hairs are pulled out one at a time, threading can remove short lines of hair."  This results in a more precise and gentler way to remove hair.  The pros can pull this off quick & painlessly; 2-3 minutes tops!

The results are amazing!  Well, next day amazing.  For a few hours after you have it done, expect gawkers to stare at your reddened, puffy eye area.  Let them stare, we do far worse things in the name of beauty and this is completely worth it - you will be left with a perfect crisp brow-line!

Expect the results to last a few weeks, as the hairs are removed at the follicle.  Then I get in there with some tweezers to get the budding wannabes out, I can stay on top of matters for a few weeks as well.  So basically every 2-3 months I go in for a touch-up.  I don't know about your area, but in Cleveland, that will run you $12 - yeah, that's right only 12 bucks!  Worth every penny and then some.

Most malls these days have a Threading salon - not only catering to those caterpillars above your eyes, but also eliminating all unwanted facial hair.  Check out the best places in Cleveland!

Keep it Healthy!


Hoff's Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

Hoff's Mushroom Lettuce Wraps
Serves: 2 (about 6 leaves total)
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, gluten-free

  • 16oz Mushrooms (finely chopped)
  • Leaves from 1 Romaine Lettuce Heart
  • Green Onion (diced)
  • 2 tbsp. Cashews (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. Braggs
  • 2 tbsp. Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Ginger Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • Juice of 1 Lime

  1. Saute Onion & Mushrooms until each release their juices
  2. Add Aminos, Vinegar, Ginger Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder & heat through
  3. Remove from heat, finish with fresh Lime Juice
  4. Serve by allowing guests to scoop mixture into individual leaves

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Christmas Gifts + Giving Back!

Yes, you can trudge through the mall or hit Amazon in your pj's this holiday season.  But wouldn't it be awesome to get your friends & family cool, unique gifts, while helping out some fantastical causes?

Check these out...

Ho Ho Ho!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mini Beans To The Rescue!

Recently, I embarked on a road trip in which I had zero control over the food that was served.  Being no stranger to fending for my vegan-self, I packed rations of food to sustain my travels.

While shopping for provisions, I came across a new product from Bush's Baked Beans.  In actuality, the beans are the same - Vegetarian Baked Beans (technically vegan – you say potato, I say…).  What's new is the smaller, snack pack size - 8.3 oz. vs. the traditional 28 oz. - it’s super cute!  Coming equipped with a convenient pop-top lid, this self-stable food can travel anywhere – no fuss no muss.

I could have easily eaten these beans alone, as cold baked beans are not as bad as it sounds, especially when left with little else to choose from.

Instead, I poured them on top of the rather meager salads I received (never trust a non-vegan to make a vegan salad), which turned out quite well.  The beans packed a fiber & protein punch, while the tangy brown sugar sauce doubled as a salad dressing.

These cute little cans are so convenient to travel with, that they are now a staple on my grocery list.  Just don't try to take them on a plane - or do and let me know how it goes!

Keep It Healthy!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hoff's Broccoli Pasta Cauliflower Alfredo

Hoff's Broccoli Pasta Cauliflower Alfredo

Yields: 4-6 servings
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 1lb. Whole Wheat Pasta
  • 1 head Broccoli (chopped)
  • 5 cups Cauliflower (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup plain Almond Milk
  • 1/3 cup Cashews
  • Juice from 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • Pinch Nutmeg
  • Black Pepper (to taste)
  1. Bring one large pot of water to boil, cook Pasta according to directions
  2. Meanwhile, steam Cauliflower until fork tender, about 5-8 minutes
  3. In a Vitamix/Blender, place remaining ingredients & steamed Cauliflower
  4. Blend until smooth, about 2-3 minutes
  5. With 3-4 minutes of cooking time left, add Broccoli to Pasta cooking water (check Broccoli for desired doneness)
  6. Drain Pasta & Broccoli, combine with Sauce & heat through

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

This is a modified recipe from Kris Holechek Peters’ book  Vegan Desserts in Jars.

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée
Serves: 6

  • 6 4oz. Canning Jars
  • 3/4 cup Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup Cashews
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 15oz. can Pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 6 tbsp. Raw Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Spice
  • 1∕4 tsp. Sea Salt

  1. Soak Cashews in Milk for 30 minutes
  2. Then using a food processor or Vitamix, blend Cashews & Milk until creamy
  3. Add Brown Sugar, Pumpkin, Maple Syrup, Vanilla & Seasonings & blend until smooth
  4. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a bubble until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  5. Divide mixture among Canning Jars, leaving 1/4" of space
  6. Allow to set in the fridge until ready to serve
  7. Prior to serving, top each brûlée with 1 tbsp. of Raw Sugar
  8. Turn broiler to high and move rack to leave 2" of space between the jars and broiler
  9. Heat until the Sugar caramelizes and becomes brown, 30 seconds to 2 minutes

Hoff Thoughts: If you've got one of those nifty kitchen propane torches, you can use that instead of the broiler - a ton more fun!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Slow Down Cowboy!

I do it, you do it, we all do way too fast.

We just can't help ourselves - our society is churning out speed eaters.  Do you even know what your food tastes like?  I didn't think so.

This speed eating may save time, but it comes with consequences:
  1. It over taxes the digestive system leading to indigestion or an upset stomach
  2. Digestion begins in the mouth, food that is not thoroughly chewed is not thoroughly digested and therefore the nutrients are not thoroughly absorbed
  3. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that that it's full, which means overeating which leads to weight gain

So how can we slow down?

  1. Eat a table away from the computer or TV
  2. Eat in a calm, quiet environment
  3. Don't eat angry or upset
  4. Thoroughly chew and swallow food before taking the next bite
  5. Savor the meal/experience
  6. Recognize when you are speed eating

Another way to slow down your eating is to employ a method of eating that you are probably not used to - chopsticks!  Unless you're into stabbing your food, these babies are going to slow you down!

I just picked up the most sleek stainless steel chopsticks from Amazon under $10 for two sets - I love them!  Not only have they slowed down my eating, they are a breeze to clean!  Plus, they travel well.  I always carefully eye my silverware at restaurants and am usually disgusted.  Not no more - now, I carry my own flatware!

Try It!