Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hoff's Simple Salsa

Hoff's Simple Salsa
Yields: About 4 cups
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

  • 1 15oz. can Organic Corn (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 15oz. can Black Beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 Tomato (seeded & chopped)
  • 1 small Onion (minced)
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Sea Salt to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, allow to chill in the fridge or serve immediately

Hoff Thoughts: Enjoy this over Hoff's Enchiladas!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hoff Hit: Meditation & Weight Loss

As if you need another reason to meditate - engaging in the practice for a mere 8 minutes a day may help you lose weight!

It seems that those who get their Om on are better able to avoid emotional chow downs.

The theory is that meditation helps people learn to deal with boredom or anxiety instead of turning food to mask the issue.


Source: Women's Health Magazine, June 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

DIY Fruit Fly Trap

Now that I'm kicking it Raw Till 4, Fruit Flies have become an even bigger pain in my ass than past years due to all the increased fruit all over the kitchen.  I have quickly deduced that these little suckers are smart and require their own special trap.  But you can't buy this online or in stores; you're going to have to make it yourself.

Don't worry, it's fast & cheap!

Here's how...

  • Drill
  • Small Drill Bit
Trap Stuff:
  • 1 Pint Mason Jar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Liquid Dish Soap

Make It Happen:
  1. Screw the lid onto the jar
  2. Carefully drill 3-4 holes (don't touch, will be sharp)
  3. Remove lid & fill jar half way with  Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. Add 2-3 drops of Liquid Dish Soap
  5. Stir to combine
  6. Replace lid, place in fruit fly hangout
  7. Refresh concoction as the bodies pile up
  8. Auf Wiedersehen fruit flies!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hoff's Tomato Sauce

Hoff's Tomato Sauce
Yields: Enough for 1 lb. of Pasta
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

  • 1 28oz. can Tomato Puree
  • 1 5.5 oz. can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. Dried Onion Flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt

  1. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, dry sautee Onions until translucent
  2. Add Garlic, stirring constantly for 1 minute
  3. Add Tomato Paste, stirring constantly until Paste darkens in color (a few minutes)
  4. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer
  5. Simmer for 30-45 minutes before serving or storing

Friday, August 22, 2014

Event: Cleveland Screening of Cowspiracy

Promoted by Healthy and Humane Community

"The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world's leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. As eye-opening as Blackfish and as inspiring as An Inconvenient Truth, this shocking yet humorous documentary reveals the absolutely devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet."

When: Thursday, August 28, 2014
Where: Cedar Lee Theatre: 2163 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, OH, 44118
Time: 7:30 PM - 9:21 PM
Cost: $11.00 per ticket

Reserve tickets now!

Find a screening near you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Wellness Forum's 18th Annual Fall Conference
The Wellness Forum's 18th Annual 
Fall Conference 

"Meet some of the most knowledgeable health care professionals helping to change the world in positive ways; spend time with people who value optimal health, practice healthy habits; and enjoy some of the finest gourmet vegan food available!"

Scheduled Speakers:
  • William Lessler - mental health guru who will discuss conditions like ADHD, depression, and anxiety and how to treat without medications
  • Dr. Kurt Southam - presenting a workshop on how to make permanent changes in all areas of your life, ranging from eating and exercise to developing better relationships with the people you care about
  • Dr. Janice Stanger - one of Wellness Forum's favorite presenters will discuss protein myths, low-carb dieting, vitamin D, and other confusing issues
  • Susan Levin, R.D. - PCRM's dietitian will talk about nutrition and pain, and some early findings from ongoing studies at PCRM
  • Eileen Kopsaftis - Wellness Forum's best educator on musculoskeletal issues will talk about how to resolve injuries and pain without drugs and surgery
  • Dr. Kathy Waller - enlightened professor at Ohio State University School of Medicine; currently working on research projects involving plant-based nutrition and disease

When: November 14-16, 2014

Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel: 6500 Doubletree Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43229

Time: Friday, November 14 (5:30pm - 9:30pm), Saturday (9am - 10pm), and Sunday (9am - noon)

Cost: $199 per person Wellness Forum members and $219 per person Non-members.
(Ticket price also includes three meals - dinner on Friday & lunch and a multi-course dinner on Saturday. All Meals are Vegan, Low-Fat and Gluten Free)
(Special room rate: $89.00/night plus taxes - use code WLL)

Registration: First fill out the Registration Form (PDF), SIGN and fax back to the Wellness Forum office to ensure you reserve your place at the Conference

Click here for more details! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

National Black Cat Appreciation Day!!!

Tree Hugger's, Oberlin...Don't Bother

I really don't like to criticize "vegan" businesses - they are a struggling species in Ohio.  But keeping quiet about subpar food and/or subpar service is not going to further the cause.

So, that brings me to Tree Hugger's Cafe.  I have been known to sing the praises of the original Berea, OH location, but that stops now; for a couple of reasons.

1. High, untrained, staff turnover - I have severe food allergies, that's why I'm vegan, I make this very much known before ordering in any restaurant.  But I have been served dairy several times by staff that didn't know and didn't ask how the food was being prepared.  And depending on what day you ask, you get a different answer at this place.

2. Vegan & non-vegan community is turned off - for years I assumed it was just me and my guests that were annoyed with the service, but the more I talk to people, the more I learn that many, many are not happy with the downturn of Tree Hugger's over the past years.

3. They don't care - I have and others have spoken to the owner and management with zero response, zero action and zero correction.  I guess they feel they are doing pretty well and don't have to answer to customer dissatisfaction.  Good luck with that.

And this brings me to the Cafe's newer Oberlin, OH location.  Frankly, I have been avoiding this place like the plague since it opened a year or more ago; in fact I have been avoiding Tree Hugger's all together after several disappointing experiences.  But, my mother has had her heart set on going (she's not vegan) and wanted to check out Oberlin.  Ok, for her I conceded and we made the 45-minute haul to Oberlin for my birthday dinner.

As we walk in the door, it doesn't start off well.  No hello, no smile, not even a simple acknowledgement from the 2-person staff and it was really, really hard not to tell we were there, given the rush of their three customers (all eating) and the fact that the place is the size of a closet.  But size, doesn't matter, so we stood around waiting to be seated before finally realizing, it was a seat yourself kind of joint.  Menus in hand and we quickly determine that this is no full-size Tree Hugger's.  The menu is about half, if that, of the Berea location.  Ok, not giving up hope yet...  My bf goes to the bathroom, promptly returns and states that he doesn't want to eat there.  Well, years of me telling him that the bathroom is a clear indicator of the cleanliness and quality of staff must have paid off.  He was ready to bolt.  My mother went to the counter and asked a few questions and promptly returned and said she didn't want to eat there.  Since I was still pissed off of the lack of welcome, I said giddy up!  Now mind you, I was starving, we drove 45-minutes to get there and Oberlin is a tiny, tiny town and the odds of getting anything vegan were slim.

Thanks to my Happy Cow app, we landed around the corner at the Black River Cafe.  Not a vegan restaurant by any stretch of the imagination, but they did have a few things that could be turned vegan, plus a waitress who knew exactly how the food was prepared.  Confidence in your server is priceless when it comes to food allergies; Tree Hugger's has lost my confidence.  Anyway, we enjoyed a Beet Salad, minus the goat cheese, a Margarita Pizza, minus the cheese and the one pure vegan offering - Quinoa Stuffed Peppers.  All pretty good given the circumstances.

So, why the sudden change in my lack of support?  Well, I've been silently discontented for awhile, but after my recent visit to Santa Monica, CA - where vegan businesses get it and take veganism very seriously, I'm not willing to settle anymore and my silence isn't helping any of these places get their shit together, in fact, just the opposite. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Hoff's Mango Raspberry Smoothie

Hoff's Mango Raspberry Smoothie
Yields: about 6 cups
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free
RawTill4 Compliant 

  • Water
  • 6 Ice Cubes
  • 1 handfuls Spinach
  • 2 Mangoes (chopped)
  • 1 pint Raspberries
  • 3-4 pitted Dates
  • 1 tbsp. Chia Seeds

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender (ahem, Vitamix)
  2. Add just enough Water until there is 1/2" of ingredients uncovered
  3. Blend on high until thoroughly combined, using tamper if necessary
  4. Feel the base of the container to ensure the smoothie is not heating up (add more ice cubes if necessary)

Hoff Thoughts: Typically I like to use frozen fruit in smoothies and avoid the use of ice cubes.  There's nothing wrong with using ice cubes, especially when all the ingredients are fresh; they just don't add anything other than coldness.  Freezing leftover juice as ice cubes is an excellent way to enhance a smoothie.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

No Complaining Challenge

It all started with this image coming across my Facebook news feed.

Challenge accepted I proudly proclaimed to all my FB peeps.  Challenge promptly ended.  Perhaps starting this challenge while at work was not the wisest choice.

OK, next day, new day, challenge begun again. Damn it, I didn't even make it an hour?!?!?

I was not about to give this up - I wanted to see how my life changed - I was determined!  How hard can it be to not complain?


We love to complain!  We are creatures of habit and we use complaining as a commiseration tool.  We use it to fit in with our peers.  It helps us to connect with perfect strangers when we are in the same frustrating situation.  It's a good thing...or is it?

Complaining brings a heavy dose of negativity, an energy shift in our environment, our spirit, our soul.  It's not healthy, it's not useful and it  doesn't bring the best out of us.  Face it; do you really like being around Debbie Downer; the person who constantly complains about everything?  Of course not, she rips through your good mood and leaves you physically and mentally drained.  Don't be a Debbie Downer!

But how do you stop?

Instead of chucking the challenge every time, I lost it, I became mindful of my complaining.  This challenge was forcing me to own my complaining, to be responsible for the vibe I was generating in myself and putting out into the universe.  I began catching myself, sometimes in mid-sentence and saying to myself, you're complaining, stop & reset (a Ctrl-Alt-Del for the mind).  And eventually the challenge turned into a practice.  I didn't beat myself up about it, I mean; I've been a seasoned complainer the majority of my life.  But, by being aware of it, I was slowly turning my my Debbie Downer ways into Little Miss Sunshine ways!

So the challenge is over, this is now a daily practice.  I strive to eliminate my complaining every single day - it's a struggle, but one worth fighting. 

Will you accept the challenge?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Event: Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 Cinema Premiere One Night Only!

SEPTEMBER 18, 2014
One Night Only Theatrical Premiere in Select Cinemas Nationwide

I'm a big fan of Joe Cross & Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, so I'm super excited to share that Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 is being released in the movie theater!

If only for one night, this is HUGE for the plant-based community.

Find a theater near you!

Synopsis: Fathom Events, Reboot with Joe and Gravitas are thrilled to bring Joe Cross’s new documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 2 to select cinemas on Thursday, September 18, 2014 in a special one night event. In 2010, Joe Cross took viewers on his journey from overweight and sick to healthy and fit via a 60-day juice fast in the award-winning Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. And now he’s back with Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2, where Joe examines how to make healthy habits last for the long-term, and how lifestyle choices impact overall health. Throughout this story, Joe meets with experts who present realistic solutions and viable strategies to make and maintain long-term sustainable improvements to eating.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hoff's Blueberry Peach Smoothie

Hoff's Blueberry Peach Smoothie
Yields: about 6 cups
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free
RawTill4 Compliant 


  • Water
  • 1-2 handfuls Greens
  • 2 cups frozen sliced Peaches
  • 1 cup frozen Blueberries
  • 3-4 pitted Dates
  • 1 tbsp. Chia Seeds

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender (ahem, Vitamix)
  2. Add just enough Water until there is 1" of ingredients uncovered
  3. Blend on high for about 2 minutes or until thoroughly combined, using tamper if necessary

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Chocolate Date Milk

Chocolate Date Milk
Yields: about 4 cups
RawTill4 Compliant

  1. Blend all ingredients in a Vitamix or high powered blender for 1 minute
  2. Enjoy!

Hoff Thoughts: This drink tends to "foam up," be sure to use the tall 8 cup container and not the short 6 cup container if using a Vitamix to avoid overflow issues...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Event: Farm Sanctuary Walk in Cleveland!

Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals is coming to Cleveland on September 6! Join hundreds of other compassionate people to raise money in support of Farm Sanctuary’s work to stop cruelty to animals and promote compassion for all!

When: Saturday, September 6, 2014
Where: Wade Oval: 1 Wade Oval Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106
Cost: $15 (advance), $25 (day of event), Kids 18 & under free

  • Free vegan food from Cleveland’s favorite establishments
  • Live music
  • Great prizes
  • Cute temporary tattoos for the kid
  • Entertainment: TBD

Help make this the most successful Cleveland Walk ever! Farm animals everywhere are relying on your support!

Register today at!

Registration begins at 10 a.m.
Walk begins at 11 a.m.

Sponsored by:
Deagan's Kitchen & Bar
Metro Croissants
Tommy's Restaurant
White House Artesian Springs

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Freezing Fruit

Hey Healthy Hoffers!

Over the weekend, I hit a local Farmer's Market to see what goodies I could find for my daily smoothies!  I was not disappointed. 

I landed some stellar Black Plums, Nectarines, Peaches and Figs!

I got to work Sunday morning washing, chopping, pitting & then throwing each into their own freezer Ziplock bag.  I don't bother removing the peels (lots of fiber) because the Vitamix makes those babies disappear and I also don't bother freezing the fruit on a tray first.  I find that if I don't over crowd the bags and lay them flat to freeze, that I have very little sticking.

This little bounty should satisfy me nicely for the week when paired with additional smoothie ingredients.  I have no plan for any of it; I will just wing it and post the successful recipes for you guys. 

So get out there, buy what looks tempting, experiment & enjoy the fruits of summer!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

This Short Video Turned Me Into A Garbage Chick!

No one likes litter - it's ugly, it's unnecessary and it's 100% preventable.  But more so, it's disheartening.

When you see litter, you know someone didn't care about the earth that we all share and decided that their own needs were more important than the needs of anyone or anything else.

No one I know litters, at least I hope I don't know anyone like that.  But until recently, I realized that I was no better than someone who litters, because I ignored it. 

Don't we all just think in our heads how horrible to see an empty water bottle lying on the ground, but then walk right past it?  Of course we rationalize that it's dirty and we don't know where it's been and that makes it alright to ignore it.

It only took 3 minutes & 48 seconds to change my life forever.
Check this out; you won't be the same after either...

I'm proud to say, that I am now a Garbage Chick!  That's right, I can't ignore litter anymore.  I am compelled to pick it up & pitch it properly.  And, I get joy from doing it...

One, knowing that I'm helping this beautiful earth.

Two, because I know I made a difference in an animal's fate.

Three, because someone might see me doing it and just maybe will be inspired to do the same.

If you ignore the problem, you are the problem. Be the change that you want to see in the world.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Fig & Brazil Nut Snack

Hey Healthy Hoffers!

My post about my trying RawTill4 has generated a lot of interest.  I have been contacted by a lot of you wanting to know what I'm eating.  So to help you out, I have created a new category called...RawTill4; where I will be posting raw recipes, inspirations, tips & tricks and whatever else I come across. 

Today, I share with you one of my fav snacky snacks!

Pictured above is a snack that I love to have when figs come into season (June-October).  Check out my post Finicky Fantastical Fresh Figs to get more info on dealing with these delicious wonders. 

I simply wash and chop each  in half and then pair with a handful of raw Brazil Nuts.  It's a super quick and tasty snack that is RawTill4 compliant!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hoff's Black Cherry Chip Ice Cream

Hoff's Black Cherry Chip Ice Cream
Serves: 2
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free


  1. Combine all ingredients (except 1/2 cup Cherries & Chocolate) in a Vitamix
  2. Using the tamper, push the Bananas into the blades
  3. Blend until smooth about 10-15 seconds
  4. Drop remaining Cherries & Chocolate in & run a few seconds more to break up
  5. Serve immediately for soft serve or freeze for hard ice cream

Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Horror Story With Essential Oils...

Ok, my story isn't really all that bad, but it's a great warning for any of you interested in working with essential oils.

In true Healthy Hoff fashion, I went on one of my tangents and dived in head first into experimenting with some essential oils recently.

I had read that combining Lavender Oil with Frankincense Oil could create an effective concoction to remove sun spots.

Lesson 1: Know what you're working with.

I knew how potent 100% oils could be, but I went ahead anyway with no additional research to determine what I was working with.

Well, I burned myself.  I spilled both oils all over my hands, which resulted in a mild chemical burn.  Initially, nothing happened and I didn't think anything of it.  In fact, I didn't even wash it off; I just rubbed it into my skin.  BIG MISTAKE.  I should have washed it off immediately.

About one in the morning, I woke up scratching my hands like a mad man and could not stop!  When I finally did get up, my hands were bright red and HOT! At that time, I did not make the connection to the "oil spill."  I grabbed a tube of Benadryl and off to work I went.  Throughout the day I applied the Benadryl, but my hands still burned.

I went through the usual list of suspects: stress, allergic reaction, flesh eating bacteria (you can never be too thorough).  But, in the back of my mind I wondered if the essential oil had anything to do with it.  See the problem was that I had red blotches going down my forearms and the oil never got there; hence my perplexity.

The next day, hands still inflamed, I noticed a definite rash on my feet.  OIY!  Either this thing is spreading or I've got multiple problems.   

Lesson 2: Seek medical help.

This time I ignored my typical response to simply wait it out and called the doctor ASAP!  Funny thing, you say chemical burn and suddenly the doc isn't booked after all. 

So I was right, I just didn't understand how I was right and my doc put the pieces together for me. I definitely had a chemical burn on my hands from the initial contact.  And since our body absorbs 60% of what we put on our skin and I didn't wash off the essential oil, both oils went right in my bloodstream and began an assault on my body; in the form of rashes.  In fact on day three, I woke up to find my legs covered from waist to toe in really, really bad large red blotches.  I'm so glad I got the scoop from my doc before that little discovery because I would have gone into full on panic mode.

What to do?

Lesson 3: Wait & hydrate!  

That's right, I just needed to wait until the essential oils worked their way out of my system and the best way to speed that along is by drinking lots and lots of water.  The doc did give me a topical cream for the rashes and burn and a pill to combat the itching.  But, I opted against the steroid cream and questionable side effects of the pill and relied on Coconut Oil & Calamine Lotion and lot and lots of water instead.  Within about seven days,  I was ready for my bathing suit again.

Lesson 4: What did I learn?

So the moral to this story...respect the oils.  They seem all harmless, but some can be pretty potent.  If you're going to work with oils, do your homework and learn to properly use them.

Also, this experience really emphasized just how much are bodies absorb what we put on our skin and where it goes when it does - everywhere!  So think of that next time you apply make-up, perfume, moisturizer, deodorant, use cleaning products...check the ingredients, is there anything in there you wouldn't want in your body?

As for me, I'm going to put my oils on the shelf for now, until I have the time to properly educate myself and continue to workout products with harmful or questionable ingredients out of my repertoire.

By the way, it only took 2 teaspoons worth of oil to cause a weeks worth of misery.

Good times,