Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hoff's Vegetable Honey Mustard Sauce

Hoff's Vegetable Honey Mustard Sauce
Yields: Enough for 4-6 servings of vegetables
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

  • 1/4 cup Honey Mustard
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp. Hemp Seeds/Chia Seeds
  • 2 tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3-4 pitted Dates
  1. In a Mini Food Processor or NutriBullet, blend ingredients until smooth
  2. Check Sauce for consistency and add more Water if necessary

Hoff Thoughts: Use this sauce over Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, etc.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Move Over Bread, There's A New Kid In Town

So, I've kinda been on a diet.  I'm not a believer in diets, but I have been giving the McDougall Maximum Weight Loss Program a spin.  It's a modification of the whole-food, plant-based, oil-free diet that I typically follow - basically it eliminates high fat foods.  Since I've been "living it up" with frequent restaurant trips, vegan bakery and fake meat products, my body was crying out for a reprieve. I feel a lot better since being on this program and although it's meant to be used for short durations, I'm surprisingly not feeling deprived at all and am not anxious to stop doing it.

But that's not the purpose of this post.  On the MWL program you don't eat bread among other key things.  So the first thing to go was my weekend breakfast toast.

That was until my boyfriend had an ingenious idea!  On a recent grocery outing he questioned my stocking up on plain rice cakes to which I replied that they were legal on the MWL program and that I had them as an after dinner snack.  He pondered this for the night and come Saturday morning, accompanying our usual weekend hashbrowns, were rice cakes and jelly.  That's when my light bulb finally went off - rice cake toast!  I love it!  It's crunchy just like toast, except I don't have to wait impatiently for the toaster to do it's thing and it's the perfect delivery vessel for my homemade blueberry jam

Now the wheels are turning...what else can I do with rice cakes.  Once I end my MWL run, I am definitely putting a little salted avocado on these bad boys, maybe some vegan cheese for an open-faced "grilled cheese," almond butter!  I may never eat bread again!  Ok let's not get crazy.

Check it out!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Snack Attack: Fresh Figs

I love fresh figs! That's why from June to October my go-to snack is 4-8 fresh Figs paired with and 4-5 Brazil Nuts.

Keep it healthy!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Crazy Easy Steamed Asparagus

Crazy Easy Steamed Asparagus
Yields: As much as you want
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, gluten-free, soy-free

  • 1 bunch Asparagus (trimmed)
  • Water
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Sea Salt
  1.  Layer two, three half sheet paper towels on top of each other and spray with Water until well saturated
  2. Spread out Asparagus and apply Seasonings liberally
  3. Gather Asparagus into a bundle and roll in the towels 
  4. Microwave for 3.5 minutes
  5. Unroll and enjoy!

Hoff Thoughts: Truth be told, this was not my idea, I lifted it from Alton Brown.  That guy really knows his food stuff.  But it is by far my most preferred way to prepare Asparagus - it's quick, easy & tasty! If you can't tell, I like to use those select-a-size paper towels - 3 squares per layer seems to do the trick.  Basically you just want enough paper towels to wrap around your Asparagus bundle & enough moisture to steam.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Ripple Can Make A Wave

There is a little park at the end of my street, where kids can play on the swing set and such & boys as well as grown ass men gather to play basketball.  It's the latter that leaves the park covered in trash on a daily basis.  Why anyone would choose to play, work or live in garbage is beyond me.

Whenever I walk by this park I make a point to pick-up any trash along my path and place it in the provided trashcan (yes, there is a trashcan as you exit the park!)  My hope is that the kids/men will see me and get the hint & be inspired...

This past Sunday, the park was in the worst condition I had ever seen.  Determined not to allow the ugly side of mankind mar the beauty of Mother Nature and all that she gives us so freely - the Garbage Chick in me sprang into action & I paused from my daily walk to clean every inch of that park (my park, your park, our park).  It was early morning; no one was around - so no inspiring today I thought.  Until, a friendly wave and a good morning, greeted me on one of my many trips to the trashcan.  Friendly banter ensued around what I was doing, followed by a sincere thank you.  But more so, this stranger was inspired to call his local councilman the next morning and demand a second trashcan be placed in the opposite side of the park.

Just when you think one person can't make a difference with a simple, small act...a wave starts to form.  That wave led to a second trashcan...who knows what else...

Do it for yourself...
Do it for others...
Do it for the animals...
Do it for the planet...

It doesn't matter why you do it, just be the change you want to see in the world.

Keep it healthy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NASCAR Goes Vegan!

 Kinda, sorta...

Stewart-Hass Racing announced yesterday that Nature's Bakery will be Danica Patrick's major sponsor in a new multiyear deal starting 2016!  NB is new to the world of racing, so this is a very big deal!

If you're not a NASCAR fan, Danica is the only chick behind the wheel, running with the big boys right now and holding her own quite well (You go girl!).

"Patrick is the only woman to win a pole (for the 2013 Daytona 500), has the best finish of any woman in the Daytona 500 (eighth in 2013) and has more top-10s (six) than any woman in Sprint Cup history."
Nature's Bakery's "mission is to make delicious, convenient, on-the-go snacks that complement health-conscious living and active, everyday lifestyles."  And I am thrilled that they are fulfilling this mission with 100% non-GMO, vegan fig bars!  Bonus - they have gluten-free bars too, for you sensitive types.  Now if they would only ditch the oil, I'd do a Snoopy dance... Despite the oil, I cannot wait to get my hands on their limited edition Pumpkin Spice bar!

Check it out!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hoff's Mashed Potatoes & Gravy Meal (IP)

Hoff's Mashed Potatoes & Gravy Meal (IP)
Yields: 4 hearty servings
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, gluten-free


  • 3 cups Water
  • 2 cups Instant Potato Flakes
  • 1 cup frozen Lima Beans (thawed)
  • 1 cup frozen organic Corn (thawed)
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Plain Plant-Based Milk
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast

  • 4 Portobello Mushrooms (chopped)
  • 2 cups Veggie Broth
  • 1/4 cup Braggs
  • 4 tbsp. Arrowroot
  • 1 Sweet Onion (half moon slices)
  • 6 Garlic Cloves (chopped)

  1. Add all Gravy ingredients to Instant Pot, stir
  2. Close & lock lid
  3. Set Pressure Valve to Sealing
  4. Select Manual setting on High Pressure & cook for 10 minutes
  5. Quick release pressure
  6. Meanwhile, bring Water & Nutritional Yeast to a boil on the stove
  7. Remove from heat, mix in Potatoes
  8. Add Milk adding more if necessary until desired consistency is reached
  9. Return to stove, fold in Lima Beans & Corn and heat through
  10. Serve with Gravy

Hoff Thoughts: To thaw the Lima Beans & Corn just run under cold water in a colander.  This will make a lot of Gravy, more than you need for this meal.  Save it for another day...

Sunday, August 9, 2015

3 Dish Dinner

I've been keeping it simple lately, so unfortunately that means no new recipes.  However, I've got meal inspirations pouring forth for those who just don't want a big production at dinner time.

For this meal, I employed my Instant Pot (seriously loving this thing) & the stove top. 

I put a can of organic corn with a little water on simmer on the stove top.

While that was going, I steamed Kale in the IP because it takes longer than the Broccoli & Cauliflower.  After the Kale was done, I removed from the IP & dumped in Broccoli & Cauliflower florets with 1 cup of water and set the IP to manual with 0 minutes. 

Yes, it is possible to let the IP come up to pressure & then use the quick release method to keep from obliterating delicate veggies that would otherwise be too mushy if cooked for anything length of time.

For the Kale, I dressed with Hoff's 1 to 5 Dressing and for the Broccoli & Cauliflower, I dressed with Hoff's Vegetable Mustard Sauce

Friday, August 7, 2015

SPF Products For The Summer & Beyond

I'm a firm believer of getting a minimum of 15 minutes of sun exposure daily or at least 3 times per week to as much skin as legally possible to get one's Vitamin D supplies stocked up.  Since Vitamin D is a hormone that the body produces when the skin is exposed to sun, the sun is by far your ideal source - not supplements.  And remember, Vitamin D is fat soluble, so stocking up on it throughout the spring, summer & fall will get you through the winter when getting your sun on isn't so pleasurable or least in Ohio.

"Vitamin D supplements are not a substitute for sun exposure, and vitamin D supplements can cause serious side effects with little proven value for most people. Adequate sun exposure in the spring/summer/fall insures adequate stored vitamin D for winter months. Optimally healthy people are able to efficiently convert the storage form of vitamin D to its active form." - Dr. Pam Popper

That being said, sunscreen has its place in a healthy regime. I'm playing in the sun for any prolonged period of time, my go-to body sunscreen is Kiss My Face SPF #50 Sunscreen Cool Sport Continuous Spray.  I like that it has an adequate SPF*(anything beyond 30 is not really doing anymore for you), applies in a continuous spray that dries quickly and has a non-chemical scent (tropical coconut).  It's also water resistant for up to 40 minutes.

EWG Rating: 4
SPF 50
6 oz.

Verdict: It works, it's convenient!  I always keep in on hand and never travel without it.

That being said, I have been ignoring my daily protection. The times when you're in and out throughout the day, so what's the point?  Well, two sun spots on my face later and I get the point!  I want to have great looking skin well into my twilight years, so I set out to find the perfect SPF protection for my face even beyond the summer months.  Here's what crossed my path... started with my go-to brand 100% Pure and tried their Green Tea Oil-free Hydration.  This product features a SPF of 30 and claims to "protect your skin from the sun's harmful UVA (ultra violet aging) and UVB (ultra violet burning) rays, skin cancer, fine lines, wrinkles, sun and age spots."  It's "organic green tea soothes and calms while purifying herbs keep complexion fresh."

EWG Rating: 1
SPF 30
1.6 oz.

Verdict: Sigh, it left a white film on my face & therefore eliminated what tan I did have.  The search continued... my next try, I decided to see what else Kiss My Face had in terms of sun protection, but this time something made specifically for the face.  That brought me to Kiss My Face Face Factor Sun Screen for Face and Neck.

Key Features:
  • No parabens
  • No nanoparticles
  • No artificial colors
  • No animal ingredients or testing
  • Fragrance free
  • Phthalate free
  • Gluten free
  • Oxybenzone free

EWG Rating: 3
SPF 30
3 - 2oz. bottles

Verdict: I like it.  It goes on light, rubs in easily and doesn't leave a white film, but for everyday wear, it didn't seem quite right.  Not really something you want to conduct a meeting in if you know what I mean.

I thought that my next try should be some type of tinted moisturizer with SPF added.

This brought me to Juice Beauty's Stem Cellular CC Cream.

Besides providing sun protection it also:
  • Reduces appearance of fine lines & wrinkles
  • Broad spectrum sun protection
  • Evens skin tone
  • Smooths uneven texture
  • Creates a radiant, glowing complexion
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Protects with mineral SPF 30
  • Ultimate moisturizer
  • Skin perfecting color
  • Mineral tinted coverage
  • No chemical sunscreen
  • Non-nano natural sunscreen

At first, I was perplexed about the bottle or the tip rather, then I checked out the company's product information video and everything became clear.  Now I think the applicator tip is a pretty cool feature.

EWG Rating: 1
SPF 30
1.7 oz.

Verdict: This is the winner! For now... :)  Despite its awful chemical smell (which goes away quickly), it blends in well, has a barely there feeling and fingers crossed is doing all that other stuff listed above.  I went with Dessert Glow, which not only didn't mask my tan, but also enhanced it!

So get your sun on, but don't forget to protect yourself for the long haul.

Keep it healthy!

*"...According to Spencer, an SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays; and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays. "After that, it just gets silly," he says.  Sunscreens with higher SPF ratings block slightly more UVB rays, but none offers 100% protection." - Dermatologist James M. Spencer, MD


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Felafel, Corn On The Cob & Green Beans

With the help of some store bought Felafel mix (vegan & oil-free of course), this summertime meal came together with very little effort.

To start, a simple side salad made with chopped Romaine, Chickpeas & Hoff's 1 to 5 Dressing.

The Falafel mix just needs to be combined with water and then baked, while the Corn on the Cob steamed in the Instant Pot and a can of Green Beans warmed on the stove.

Who says dinner has to be complicated?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Japanese Sweet Potato

Have you heard of the Japanese Sweet Potato or as the Japanese would say...Satsumaimo?

I haven't, but lately it's all anybody I cross vegan paths with is talking about.  Well, I couldn't find them anywhere, until a few days ago when I stopped into the Mustard Seed Market in Akron, OH.

I grabbed two because I wasn't sure how I would feel about them.  I'm used to regular sweet potatoes that for me require a ton of doctoring with maple syrup and/or brown sugar.

The verdict...

Hands down, these potatoes are AMAZING!  They are so sweet and so flavorful, that they require absolutely nothing to get the happy mouth party started!  I was completely blown away at how tasty these potatoes are and totally get what all the hype is about.  In fact, they have ruined me for traditional sweet potatoes - they just can't compete.

I cooked them just like I would a regular sweet potato - couple of fork piercings, directly on the oven rack at 400 degrees from anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the size of the potato.  This will result in the skin caramelizing adding to the sweetness of the potato.  (Yes, the skin is edible & packed full of nutrients.)

Don't be fooled by imposters.  Look for potatoes that have purplish, green, yellow or red skin and a buttery colored flesh.

Check it out!