Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hoff's Personal Pizza

Hoff's Personal Pizza
Yields: 8 Pizzas
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 4 vegan English Muffins (Orlando)
  • 1 1/2 cups Oil-free Pizza Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • 1 Avocado (cubed)
  • 1 cup Sweet Onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup Mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 cup Red Pepper (chopped)

  1. Cut English Muffins in half, set aside
  2. In a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, sautee Onions, Mushrooms & Red Pepper
  3. Mix Water with Pizza Sauce
  4. Spread Sauce onto each English Muffin
  5. Top with Onions, Mushrooms & Red Peppers
  6. Using a toaster oven, toast for 10 minutes or until heated through
  7. Top with Avocado

Hoff Thoughts: If you ever cooked as a kid, most likely you made these.  I think these were one of my first culinary exploits.  This recipe takes this meal from kiddie time to adult time!  Take the time to hunt through your bread isle for a vegan English Muffin (hint: Thomas ain't it, but they do exist).  If you can't find an oil-free Pizza Sauce, check out Prego Light Spaghetti Sauce, you can find this almost anywhere.  The Avocado is a stand-in for cheese, but if you're down for a little oil. splurge on the Daiya.  Adding the Water to the Pizza Sauce helps the sauce from drying out in the toaster oven.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hoff's Mushroom Tacos

Hoff's Mushroom Tacos
Yields: 6 small tacos
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

  • 6 Corn Tortillas
  • 2 cartons Mushrooms (rough chopped)
  • 1 cup shredded Cabbage or shredded Lettuce
  • 1 Avocado (chopped)
  • 1 Lime
  • 1-2 tbsp. Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt 

  1. In a small bowl, combine Paprika, Sugar, Cumin, Onion & Garlic Powder and set aside
  2. In a medium bowl toss Mushrooms with Worcestershire Sauce to coat
  3. Add seasoning mix and toss to coat
  4. In a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the mushrooms long enough to make soft and tender in the inside and lightly seared on the outside (remove before they release their juices, if the juices do release, pool to one side and carefully remove with a paper towel)
  5. Remove from heat and set aside
  6. Heat Tortillas directly on the burner, using metal tongs to flip until soft and pliable, wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm
  7. Assemble Tacos by scooping in Mushrooms, layering with shredded Cabbage/Lettuce and topping with Avocado chunks and a squeeze of fresh Lime Juice

Hoff Thoughts: Any type of Mushrooms will work with this recipe - go for your favorite!  Make sure the Mushrooms are dry before assembling your taco; otherwise kiss your shell goodbye!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chiptotle: Free Burrito Monday!

Chipotle's first new product in over 10 years and it's VEGAN!  

Now is the time to breakout the Snoopy happy dance!

Longtime vegan-friendly Chipotle just upped their game with the introduction of the Sofritas - made from  Organic (non-GMO) Tofu (Soybeans ,Calcium Sulfate, Water), Roasted Tomatoes, Onions, Bell and Poblano Peppers, Chipotle Chile, Rice Bran Oil, Cumin, Garlic, Oregano, Black Pepper, Tomato Paste, Red Wine Vinegar, Salt.

Order an organic tofu Sofritas TODAY at any Chipotle in the US or Canada, then bring your receipt back on your next visit—from January 27th through February 28th, 2015—for a FREE burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos of your choice!!!

What are you waiting for?  Go, Go, Go!!!

5 Minute Guided Meditation for Stress Relief

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hoff's Fried Rice (Instant Pot)

Hoff's Fried Rice (Instant Pot)
Serves: 4-5
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, gluten-free

  • 2 cups Veggie Broth
  • 2 cups Jasmine Rice
  • 1 Bok Choy (chopped)
  • 1 small Sweet Onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup Mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 cup shredded Carrots (chopped)
  • 1 cup frozen Peas (thawed)
  • 1 cup frozen Organic Corn (thawed)
  • 2 tbsp. Braggs
  • 1 tsp. frozen Garlic
  • 1 tsp. frozen Ginger

Directions (Instant Pot):
  1. Bring Broth to a slight boil using a microwave
  2. Combine all ingredients in the IP
  3. Lock lid in place and make sure pressure release valve is closed
  4. Press "Manual" button and adjust cooking time to 3 minutes at high pressure
  5. When done, use quick release method

Directions (Skillet):
    1. Cook Rice according to package, increasing Broth to 3 cups
    2. Saute Onions until brown in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat
    3. Stir in Garlic & Ginger for 30 seconds
    4. Add Bok Choy, Carrots, Mushrooms, Peas & Corn
    5. Stir in Rice & Braggs

    Hoff Thoughts: I bring the Broth to a boil in order to speed up the Instant Pot in coming to pressure.  Because even though it cooks fast, I'm still impatient.  Thaw the Peas & Corn by placing in a wire sieve and running cold water over them.  Find frozen spice cubes in the freezer section likely near the vegetables.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Hoff Hit: Storing Mushrooms

    I love mushrooms, but what I don't love is how they get wet and slimy after only being in my fridge for a few days.  Rude!

    Turns out these little guys don't like being cooped up, surrounded by plastic.  They want to breathe!

    Toss the carton and store these little immune boosters in a plain brown lunch bag.

    Happy little mushrooms!

    Monday, January 19, 2015

    Hoff's Broccoli Udon Noodles In Brown Sauce

    Hoff's Broccoli Udon Noodles In Brown Sauce
    Serves: 4
    meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free

    • 4 bundles Udon Noodles
    • 1 bunch Broccoli (chopped)
    • 1 cup Shredded Carrots (chopped)
    • 4 cups Veggie Broth
    • 4 tbsp. Brown Rice Flour
    • 4 tbsp. Braggs
    • 2 tbsp. Maple Syrup
    • 1 tbsp. Mirin
    • 1 tbsp. Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
    • 2 tsp. frozen Ginger
    • 2 tsp. frozen Garlic

    1. Cook Noodles according to package, adding Broccoli & Carrots once water comes to a boil
    2. Meanwhile, in a medium pot bring Broth & Seasonings to a simmer
    3. Slowly whisk Flour into Sauce and simmer for 5 minutes or until Sauce begins to thicken
    4. Combine Noodles with Sauce

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

    Waffle Iron Hash Browns

    Waffle Iron Hash Browns
    Yields: 4 Waffles
    meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

    • 1 carton Hungry Jack Hash Browns (re-hydrated)
    • 1 15 oz. can Black Beans (rinsed & drained)
    • 1 Red Pepper (chopped)
    • 1 small Sweet Onion (chopped)
    • 2 tbsp. Whole Wheat Flour
    • 2 tbsp. Nutritional Yeast 
    • 1 tsp. Cumin
    • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
    • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
    • 1 tsp. Sea Salt

    1. Preheat waffle iron (may need to apply cooking spray between Waffles & wipe excess oil off)
    2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together
    3. Spoon in mixture & spread evenly, it will be thick, but will cook down
    4. Close lid
    5. Cook for 5 minutes
    6. That's it!

    Hoff Thoughts: Hey Martha Stewart, these Hash Browns are not going to release as one pretty little waffle; that would be nice, but not going to happen.  You're just going to chew it up anyways.  This recipe is more to get a nice crisp brown crust.

    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    Do You Chaga?

    I recently got into Chaga and it's not half bad - it does smell bad and the taste is something to get used to.  I credit it for turning what was destined to be a horrendous head cold into nothing more than one day of fleeting misery.  I've been hooked ever since.

    Chaga is classified as a tonic herb, more potent to Reishi.  It's also considered an adaptogen. "Adaptogenic plants and mushrooms help to bring the body back into balance and have beneficial effects on the nervous system, immune system, the GI tract, the cardiovascular system and the endocrine system. By supporting the body and mind in these ways, adaptogens help us to cope with stress, stay healthy during the cold and flu season, fight cancer, and lift us out of the dark depths of depression and adrenal burnout." "Adaptogens gently tone and support the body systems over time and need to be taken for a minimum time of two months to develop the full effect of their healing powers. Enjoying a cup of delicious chaga tea daily during the fall and winter months ensures that your are receiving support when it is needed most."

    Chaga is actually a mighty potent mushroom chocked full of phytochemicals, including sterols, phenols, and enzymes.  It's also high in copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, and iron.  Translation, that's a whole lotta good stuff that you want.

    Chaga also just might be the fountain of youth since it contains superoxide dismutase (SOD), the most potent antioxidant in the human body.  SOD is an enzyme that halts oxidation, especially the toxicity of a free radical known as singlet oxygen. "This is the type of oxygen which is responsible for oxidizing and damaging the tissues, which results in aging.  SOD blocks this damage by quenching the singlet oxygen free radical. The SOD content per gram of Chaga is exceedingly high and accounts for many of its historical powers."  This anti-inflammatory affect is also great for people suffering from arthritis.

    As if that weren't enough, "studies have shown that Chaga use is an effective way to fight against unwanted bacteria, viruses, and inflammation. Chaga has also been shown to have very strong anti-tumor properties."

    Chaga has also been known to improve hair and help with an even tan as well as fade sun spots.  But this merely scratches the surface of all the medicinal properties of this superfood.  

    I get my personal stash of Chaga in powder form from Four Sigma Foods, available via Amazon.  This allows me to add to a hot tea, chai tea or a smoothie.  Mind you most people drink this stuff straight up and claim that it tastes like coffee, I do not.  In fact one of the more delectable ways to consume this miracle herb is via hot chocolate. 

    One daily dose keeps me calm, grounded and super immune - I won't take on cold & flu season without stocking up - it's my ace in hole.  I have also recently discovered that one cup of Chaga will make back pain magically melt away...

    To learn more about Chaga, check out David Wofle Presents CHAGA: King of the Medicinal Mushrooms on YouTube.

    Check it out!


    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    Mr. Manatea...My New Friend
    After diving deep into the tainted tea world, I began exploring organic teas and came across Numi Organic Tea and decided to give their Orange Spice loose leaf white tea a spin.  Eager to try, I dug out a tea infuser that had been stashed in my kitchen drawer for many, many years and stuffed it full of tea.

    Mellowing into Zen state, I inhaled the heavenly aroma of the orange peel, schizandra berries and lemongrass before taking my fist sip of pure organic goodness and...


    My tea tasted like metal - blah!  I knew immediately that the culprit was not the tea, but rather the stainless steel infuser that is typically used to brew loose leaf teas.

    This was unacceptable!

    I hit the internet in search of a better solution and found my new bestie...Mr Manatea.

    Why I love him:
    • He's made from BPA-free, food-safe silicone
    • His tiny holes are small enough to keep the tea from escaping but big enough to let the flavor out
    • His little flippers allow him to perch on the side of the cup while brewing (he's so cute)
    • He makes me feel like I am vacationing in Florida
    • He holds A LOT of tea, for a stronger brew
    • His mighty tail doubles as a spoon
    • He's very easy to clean - his head pops off!
    • He doesn't taint my perfect tea with any additional flavoring
    • He chats with me (just kidding...or am I?)

    If manatees aren't your cup of tea - try the deep sea diver, teatanic or Mr. Tea.

     Check it out!

    Sunday, January 11, 2015

    Am I Replacing My Vitamix With NutriBullet?
    Replacing my Vitamix with the NutriBullet?

    Um, no way.  But I have just added the NutriBullet Pro 900 to my vegan bag of tricks.

    You may be wondering why a diehard Vitamix chick would do such a thing.

    My reasoning is twofold.

    One, I wanted a travel solution.

    We can all agree that traveling vegan can be challenging.  I try to make it easier by getting a hotel with an in-room mini fridge and then hitting a local grocer or farmer's market for fresh produce.  Due to its small stature, the NutriBullet can easily fit into a suitcase and create magical smoothies on-the-go!  The super, easy clean-up can be taken care of via the bathroom sink.  Bonus, the blending containers double as travel mugs.

    Two, smaller is sometimes better.

    The Vitamix can truly do anything, but when it comes to smaller quantities, the NutriBullet is a better solution.  Specifically for sauces, dips and dressings - think a cup or less in volume.  The smaller size is also perfect for grinding flax seed, herbs and whole spices.

    I like the NutriBullet because it grinds nut & seeds just like the Vitamix.  It's just as easy to clean and due to its size, can be stored away in a cabinet in seconds. I went with the Pro 900 series, because I wanted the 900 watts, so that power difference from the the Vitamix's 1380 watts of power wasn't too noticeable.

    Better than a Vitamix?

    Now, don't think that the NutriBullet can replace a Vitamix.  That's like comparing a Corolla to a Mustang.

    At a maximum capacity of 24 oz. the NutriBullet falls short to Vitamix's 64 oz. capacity.  Additionally, the NutriBullet can only run at 1 minute intervals, 3 intervals max before the motor needs a timeout to avoid burnout.  A far cry from the 6 minute max with Vitamix - that means no making soup and no walking away while blending.

    Currently, the NutriBullet Pro 900 is running around $130 bucks and can be found on Amazon.  Although, check the big box stores for on-going sales.

    For small, quick jobs or vegan travel, I'm all about the NutriBullet.

    Check it out.

    Friday, January 9, 2015

    Is Your Tea Poisoning You?


    Tea is good for you.  Tea is relaxing.  Tea is healthy.

    But could your tea be poisoning you?

    If it's not organic, the chances are yes.

    What happens to pesticides that are banned in the United States for being "too toxic?"  Upstanding companies like Monsanto simply stop making them, right?

    "There are many cases where highly hazardous pesticides, which are not permitted for use in industrialized countries, are exported to developing countries.  For a pesticide to be banned, it has to be registered first. Some pesticide companies have not registered or re-registered products which they knew would have not have been authorized in their own country but continue to produce and export the same products to developing countries. There are also cases of pesticide manufacturers increasing exports of products that have been banned or restricted in their own countries, possibly in order to use up existing stocks or to compensate for depleted local markets.  Pesticide companies have also been able to circumvent bans on specific products by building formulation plants for the product in developing countries. They then supply the technical grade active ingredients needed to make the pesticide and claim that the product itself is locally manufactured.  The argument is put forward that developing countries are demanding these hazardous pesticides because less toxic products are often too expensive."

    "According to U.S. Customs records, between 2001-2003, the U.S. exported nearly 1.7 billion pounds of pesticide products - 32 tons per hour. A study by Carl Smith of the Foundation for Advancement in Science and Education, published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, notes that these exports included "27 million pounds of pesticides whose use is forbidden in the U.S.," including "500,000 pounds of known or suspected carcinogens." Endocrine disrupting pesticides were sent overseas at the rate of 100 tons a day. Most of the exports - including shipments of deadly persistent organic pollutants (POPs) - were destined for developing countries."

    Then these countries grow & produce food and other edible goods such as tea and import them right back to the USA.  In fact the majority of tea is grown & produced in these same third world countries (India, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan and Japan).

    Starting to see the problem?

    By practice, most tea is not washed before it is put it into those little tiny tea bags, which means the first time any pesticides get a shot of being washed off is in your tea cup. 

    Did you know that decaf tea contains formaldehyde?  "Many health-conscious people insist on "decaf." But knowledgeable gardeners will tell you not to pour decaffeinated coffee or tea onto your plants and not to use decaffeinated grounds or tea bags. Why? Because the decaffeination process uses formaldehyde, and there's a residual in the resulting beverage." 

    And briefly mentioned on a recent episode of the A Healthy You & Carol Alt show (sorry folks, no video clip available), formaldehyde has also been linked to processing of green tea.  Hopefully, no harm is coming from this minimal amount or we'd be hearing about it a lot more (I would hope), but do you really want to drink any amount of formaldehyde?  I'll save that cocktail for when I'm dead.

    The good news is that you don't have to give up your beloved tea, just go organic.

    "Certified organic tea is free of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides."  Strict guidelines and testing enforced by the USDA guarantees this.  "The USDA organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms were not used."  (Um what the hell is the USDA allowing in conventionally grown food?!?!)

    And think twice before ordering tea in a restaurant, chances are, it's not organic and you'll be paying for a big cup of cancer-causing pesticides.  Best to bring your own.

    Just one more reason to support organic...


    Wednesday, January 7, 2015

    Tabata - Heaven or Hell?

    Have you heard of Tabata?  Good god this is a workout!

    Tabata is a high-intensity interval training that builds endurance and strength quickly!

    The concept is simple, go all out for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, repeat the pattern until you pass out (just kidding, kinda).  Sounds easy and doable.

    As I was eager to try Tabata, I hit YouTube and came across this energetic, "fun" hip hop video by Keaira LaShae.  The music is pumping (Miss LaShae's), she has a great attitude and doesn't sugar coat that what you are doing is tough and offers modified moves.  I made it through and then collapsed in a pool of sweat.  But I did it!

    If you want to give Tabata a try, check this out!

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    Hoff's Cranberry Smoothie

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

    • 1-2 handfuls Greens
    • 1 cup fresh/frozen Cranberries
    • 2 cups frozen Strawberries
    • 1 cup frozen Blueberries
    • 2 tbsp. Coconut Sugar
    • 3-4 pitted Dates
    • 1 tbsp. Chia Seeds
    • Water

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

    Hoff Thoughts: Try Spinach, Baby Kale or Mixed Greens.  The Sugar & Dates help to offset the bitterness of the Cranberries.  Take advantage of the immune boosting properties of this seasonal red jewel to help prevent cold & flu!

    Thursday, January 1, 2015

    Hoff's Mei Fun Noodles

    Hoff's Mei Fun Noodles
    Yields: 4 servings
    meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, gluten-free


    • 1 package Mei Fun Noodles
    • 4 cups Vegetable Broth
    • 1 bunch Bok Choy (chopped)
    • 1 sheet Dulse Seaweed (torn into pieces)
    • 4 Scallions (chopped)
    • 2 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Amino (or soy sauce)
    • 1 tbsp. Miso (dissolved in broth)
    • Juice from 1 Lime
    • 2 tsp. frozen Garlic
    • 2 tsp. frozen Ginger
    • Sea Salt to taste

    1. Combine all ingredients (minus Noodles & Lime Juice) in a pot and bring to a boil
    2. Reduce to a simmer, add Noodles, cover and cook for 10 minutes
    3. Finish with Lime Juice