Friday, April 14, 2017

Holistic Holiday At Sea

I just got back from a 7-day vacation in which I never stressed once about what I was eating!  That in and of itself is a real testimonial, considering all of my vacations start with a mandatory visit to to find vegan or vegan friendly restaurants as well as a trip to the grocery store to stock up on, “just in case” food.  I’m exhausted before I ever start my trip!

Dr. Michael Greger,
But Holistic Holiday At Sea changed all that this year.  HHS is a vegan cruise, to be more specific an oil-free (optional), gluten-free (optional) vacation paradise!  

And it gets better! 

The whole week is jammed pack with speakers, most notably Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neil Barnard and Dr. Michael Greger.  As well as additional speakers covering such topics as animal welfare, laughter as medicine and how to eat vegan.  In addition to the daily talks there are cooking demonstrations by well-known chefs in the plant-based movement like Christina Pirello from Christina Cooks (PBS) and exercise/meditation classes.   No matter where your interests lie, health, animal rights, fitness, cooking or mind, body & soul – there is something for everyone. 

Me in Jamaica!
The cruise still offers ports of call and the speaker schedule does slow down so you can get off the ship without feeling you are missing anything.  Now for the islands, I did hit to do some recon before I left and I’m so happy I did, because once on shore, I found that I had no cell service and the locals weren’t very familiar with the few vegan restaurants that were available.  Another option is to book vegan excursions through HHS, but don’t drag your feet, they book up fast.  However, I did find most of the people in our group stayed aboard and took advantage of the spa, salon, gym and pools while most of the ship debarked.  I think we were all exhausted from learning so much and just wanted to hang out and relax.

Did I mention that I lost 3 pounds!!!  Can’t say that with many vacations, let alone a cruise.  The food was good, I wouldn’t say amazing, but I was able to get oil-free and gluten-free at every meal without any hassle.  And every dish had the ingredients listed in case of  food allergies – many took a photo with their phone of the menus for easy reference.  Surprisingly, I was never hungry, each meal had four-courses, breakfast, lunch and dinner – 4 courses!  I never had to break into my emergency food stash while on board.  Oh, and you still get to have fun, there were pizza and ice cream socials almost every night.

This year there were 1,700 participants, we didn’t quite take over the 4,000 person cruise ship, but if things keep expanded like they are, a 100% cruise could be in our future!  It was so refreshing to meet so many like minded people, I made a ton of new friends.  Every meal I was meeting someone new and learning about their own unique vegan story as well as their life - people from all over the world and of all ages!

For those of you who like to mix business with pleasure, CME/CE credits are available for most classes. 

Next year is going to be a big year for HHS; it’s their 15th anniversary and as such they are extending the cruise to 10 days!  By moving it up to February 15-25, 2018, they are taking advantage of President’s Day, which many get the day off from work.  They already have the speakers lined up and it looks to be another fantastic offering and learning experience.  And check out these ports of call - Martinique; St. Kitts and Nevis; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Freeport, Bahamas!

If you have trouble traveling vegan or as a healthy whole-food, plant-based, oil-free vegan, check out Holistic Holiday At Sea, this cruise will keep you on track and is the opportunity of a lifetime!

Keep it healthy!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hoff's Orange Rice (Instant Pot)

Hoff's Orange Rice (Instant Pot)
Yields: 3-4 Servings
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

  • 2 cups Orange Juice
  • 2 cups Jasmine Rice
  • 1 15 oz. can Mandarin Oranges in light syrup
  • 3 tbsp. chopped Cashews (optional)
  • Sea Salt
  1. Mix Juice & Rice together in IP
  2. Lock lid in place and make sure pressure release valve is closed
  3. Press "Manual" button & reduce time to 3 minutes
  4. When done, use manual release method
  5. Fluff Rice with fork
  6. Stir in Mandarin Oranges with Juice & Cashew pieces
  7. Season with Sea Salt

Hoff Thoughts: I don't actually chop my Cashews, I just throw them in a sandwich bag and bash them a bit with a heavy object, ah...Zen.  I also don't buy whole Cashews, too pricey!  Instead, I opt for their cheaper, yet still tasty alternative - Cashew pieces.  As I typically blend them to make sauces or break them into tiny pieces for a hit of crunch in dishes such as this, the cost effective pieces work out perfectly!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sushi Bazooka Roller

I’ve been a sushi making fiend since I go my latest toy…the Sushi Bazooka Roller by Sushezi (get it, sush ezi...)!

Super simple to use, you can roll your own sushi in minutes! I got the hang of it the first time I used it. It produces the most perfect sushi roll, your friends will be amazed! I was a little nervous about the cutting, but that too is easy – you just need to let the sushi, wrapped in Nori (seaweed), sit for 15 minutes in the fridge. This allows the wrapper to absorb moisture from the rice and become pliable. Next, use a very sharp knife, I use a ceramic knife, and a glass of warm water – wet the knife before every cut, no need to wipe down. This will ensure perfectly cut sushi! Can you get away with no Nori sheet? Maybe, I’ve been too nervous to try, but the rolls are pretty compact, so they might hold up.

I will say that the #1 complaint on Amazon is about the hinges and it’s true; the hinges suck and can get you really frustrated. But with a little maneuvering you can make it work. The good thing about the crappy hinges - the device comes apart really easy for cleaning.

You will notice that the instructions tell you to oil the inside chamber to allow for easy release – like most things that call for oil, I ignore it and guess what, perfect sushi sans oil!

Now to make awesome sushi, you need awesome ingredients and that starts with the rice! Save yourself the hassle and buy sushi rice right from the start, there is a difference (it’s sticky). I make my rice using the Instant Pot, but you can use a rice cooker or traditional boiling method. I don’t know how either of those methods work, but here’s my recipe for the IP.

Sushi Rice
Yields: 2 cups Rice, enough for 2 Rolls
My Masterpieces

  • 2 cups Water 
  • 1 ½ cups Sushi Rice 
  • 2 tbsp. Rice Vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar 
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt

  1. Mix together Water & Rice
  2. Close & lock lid
  3. Set Pressure Valve to Sealing
  4. Select Rice setting
  5. Manual release pressure for 10 minutes, then Quick release
  6. Remove the inner pot from IP to help Rice cool quicker
  7. While Rice is still hot, stir in Vinegar, Sugar & Salt
  8. Set aside until cool to handle & prep fillings

Next comes all the ingredient combinations! I LOVE Sweet Potato Sushi, but I hate hassle, so I just get a can of Sweet Potatoes, drain it and stuff away. You can also try Shredded Carrot with Avocado, Asparagus with Avocado, Cucumber with Avocado, Mango with Avocado – sensing a theme here? Also try cooked Shitake Mushrooms, Cucumber with Shredded Carrot or straight up Avocado (mmmm)!

Why bother making your own sushi?

Well, for one it’s pretty freakin’ cool that you can do it so easily with this tool and two it tastes waaaaaay better than store bought. I wouldn’t say homemade sushi is going to put any Asian restaurants out of business, but for a quick snack or meal the Sushi Bazooka Roller is worth adding to your kitchen arsenal.

Keep it healthy!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Liz Lovely I Love You! know we just met and you don't know me, but after going gluten-free, you have brought baked vegan goodness back into my life and for that, I thank you from the bottom of my little cruelty-free heart.  :)

I discovered you at my local grocery store after asking the bakery for their gluten-free, vegan goodies and being told that their facilities couldn't handle gluten-free.  My heart sank for a moment, as I feared that might be the case wherever I go.  Seeing the hurt in my eyes, the compassionate soul behind the counter directed me to the Liz Lovely display where a wonderland of delectable goodies unfolded before me. Cowgirl Cookie, a soft-baked chocolate chip cookie drizzled with chocolate, the Chocolate Moose Dragon, a soft-baked rich dark chocolate fudge cookie with chocolate chips, rolled in sugar or the Triple Chocolate Mint, a soft-baked rich dark chocolate and mint fudge cookie with chocolate chips, drizzled with chocolate...  For you non-chocoholics there's the Snicker Dude, Peanut Butter Classic, Oatmeal Raisin, Cowboy Cookie and Ginger Snapdragons.

And I haven't even gotten to the best part yet, the truffle cookies!!!!  Yes, I said it - truffle + cookie and it's even better than you can imagine!

Certified vegan, gluten-free, Kosher and non-gmo - what more could a girl as for?!?  Oh yeah, everything is made by Liz and her team of 20, no factories, no middleman, no corporate BS - just clean, simple ingredients coming together in the Green Mountains of Waitsfield Vermont.  No fillers, no artificial flavors, no shortcuts - everything made from scratch!  And the palm oil (save the orangutans!!!) is coming from a certified, organic, sustainable source.  Woah thought we were going to have to break up there for a second...

Check it out!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Hoff's "Chicken" Stew (IP)

Hoff's "Chicken" Stew (IP)
Yields: 10 cups
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, gluten-free

  • 3 cups Veggie Broth
  • 1/2 cup Braggs
  • 4 tbsp. Arrowroot
  • 2 tbsp. Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 package Soy Curls (rehydrated)
  • 1 cartons sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 Sweet Onion (half moon slices)
  • 1 15 oz. can organic Corn (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 15 oz. can Green Beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 15 oz. can Potatoes (rinsed & drained)
  • 4 tsp. minced Garlic
  • Season with Sea Salt

  1. Mix together Broth, Braggs, Arrowroot & Worcestershire Sauce in IP
  2. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine
  3. Close & lock lid
  4. Set Pressure Valve to Sealing
  5. Select Manual setting on High Pressure & cook for 15 minutes
  6. Quick release pressure
Hoff Thoughts: I like to serve this over Brown Rice - also made in the IP, 2 cups Rice to 2.5 cups Water, Manual for 22 minutes, natural release.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Hoff's So Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Hoff's So Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
Yields: 4-6 serving
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

"Cheese" Sauce
  • 1 15 oz. can diced Potatoes (rinsed & drained)
  • 3/4 cup plain unsweetened Plant-based Milk
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper (jarred)
  • 3/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tbsp. Arrowroot
  • Juice from half a Lemon
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Re-hydrate Hashbrowns per package instructions
  3. Meanwhile put "Cheese" ingredients into a Vitamix/high power blender & blend until smooth
  4. Drain Hashbrowns; mix with Onions & "Cheese Sauce" in a large bowl
  5. Spread Casserole into a 9 x 13 baking dish (I prefer glass)
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is browned

Hoff Thoughts: For special occasions, I add a little chopped Field Roast Sausage and top with some Daiya Shreds

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics - Vegan? Who knows.

As I continue my quest to rid my beauty stash of non-vegan compliant items, I now find myself writing to various companies to learn about their ingredients.

One such company on my hit list is Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, whom I have been a faithful consumer of their long-wear cream shadow for many, many years - because once you put it on, it stays on.

After an Internet search could not conclusively determine whether this coveted personal staple was in fact vegan, I did what any consumer would do - I contacted the company.

Unfortunately, this is what transpired...

The Hoff:

Can you tell me if your long-wear cream shadows contain any animal derived ingredients?

Bobbi Brown:

Dear Ms. Hoff,

Thank you for your interest in Bobbi Brown.

In reference to your inquiry, we have enclosed the ingredient listing as displayed on the packaging for your review. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly at 1-888-303-7615 should you require additional information.

Please be aware that ingredient lists may change or vary from time to time. Please refer to the ingredient list on the product package you receive for the most up to date list of ingredients.
I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your question, and sincerely hope I was able to be of assistance. You are valued as our consumer and we hope you will continue to use and enjoy our products with confidence and satisfaction.


Neha M
Consumer Response Representative
Case ID: 9095966

Long-Wear Cream Shadow

Anybody know what the hell those ingredients are?  What I do know is that Carmine, isn't vegan - it's made by boiling insect bodies in ammonia or a sodium carbonate solution (1). Real compassionate.

After reading this chemical breakdown, there's no way in hell I would put that stuff on my skin - so for this lame ass response, I am thankful.  But, that's beside the point - the point of this post is that I asked a very simple, straightforward question and received a very unhelpful, non-answer.

I don't have a clue what those ingredient names mean and I suspect neither does Neha.  Let this be a wake-up call and opportunity to companies. There is a growing need for vegan cosmetics and we as consumers want to know what we're putting on our skin, just as much as what we are putting in our bodies.  So skirting around the issue, won't land you any new customers or keep the ones you had - we want straight information!

Bottom line, I guess Bobbi Brown Cosmetics is not vegan - I make this assumption based on my inability to get a straight answer from the company itself.  Probably why my Internet search proved futile.  And not a slam against Bobbi Brown, because at least they answered my inquiry.  Many companies didn't even bother replying - more $$$ lost guys...

So, I'm done trying.  I'm voting with my dollar and supporting true vegan companies from here on out!

Here's a few I have been able to find so far...

Beauty Without Cruelty
Dr. Alkaitis Organics
Foreue (natural, vegan, no preservatives)
Intelligent Nutrients
Jeffrey Star
Juice Beauty
Lime Crime
Living Earth Beauty
Living Librations
Luminance Skin Care 
Lush (some products contain honey, yogurt/eggs)
Olivu (all natural, fresh to order)
Thesis Beauty
Urban Decay
100% Pure Cosmetics
Yes To Carrots

Keep it healthy!

Source: 1

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ask The Hoff: What Is Your Face Routine?

Hi Healthy Hoff,

With your vegan diet, I'm curious as to what products you use to clean your face.

Face Off

Hi Face Off!

I have to admit, that my beauty routine in general is ever changing.  But, I have been doing the following routine for a few months to keep my face squeaky clean.

My morning routine is minimal:

When I wake up, I just wash my face with water, that's it.  Then I use an alcohol-free witch hazel toner to make sure my face is clean - it always is.  That's because I always, always remove my make-up the night before.

My night routine is a little more involved:
A few years ago, I got into the trend of using an oil cleanser - which seemed mind blowing at the time because I have combination skin, but it actually worked out quite well.  Just recently, I began using straight, unrefined coconut oil as my cleanser - it works great, takes off make-up with no effort, smells awesome and doubles as moisturizer.

Every other day, I go over the oil using a Clarisonic brush, on the odd days, I just use a washcloth to gently exfoliate the skin.

No matter which tool I use, I always, always rinse my face 30 times to make sure no product is left behind.  I learned this industry trick from an ex-model and I really can feel the difference in my skin's texture when I'm done.

I again tone my face using witch hazel.

If I'm feeling a little dry, I'll put on a bit of coconut oil, but otherwise I just let my skin breath for the night. kick it up a notch on the weekends:

Once a week, usually on Sundays (when I have more time), I apply a facial mask for at least 30 minutes.  Right now, I am going back and forth between the 100% Pure facial masks and Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay.  And, I always follow-up any mask with a moisturizing slathering of coconut oil.

That's it!  What do you guys use/do as part of your beauty routine?  Please share in the comments below.

Keep is healthy!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Truly Organic

Organic.                                 Vegan.                                     Luxury.

That’s what Truly Organic provides for all your skin & hair needs! I’ve been a loyal customer of this company for over a year and I love it! My hair has never looked so good!

I alternate between their Gently Volumizing Shampoo/Conditioner and their Healthy Scalp Shampoo/Conditioner. I also like their body lotions, face & eye creams. Truly Organic also offers bar soap, body wash, hand wash, bath bombs and anti-aging serum. For the little ones they have baby moisturizer and baby shampoo/wash and for the special guy in your life his own shampoo & body lotion. You can take care of the whole family in one stop!

I love Truly Organic because they only use 100% raw organic fruits, plants and veggies in their products. No chemicals or toxins, no sulfates or parabens and no testing on animals!

Plus, the products are made once a month, so they are fresh! While this does mean that they don’t contain synthetic preservatives, the formulas are self-persevered so they are still usable beyond their best by date. Personally, I have yet to have any product go bad and I keep them around for months!

While you can purchase each product separately, I’ve done the math and it’s in your best interest to purchase a monthly bundle; which you cancel at any time. Pick from 1 month, 3 months or 6 months (best deal). You can also skip a renewal, which is what I do, since I don’t seem to be going through the product as quickly.

You can get as few as two items per month up to seven per month (again, best deal). Don’t worry, you’re not locked into the same products every month; simply change your order before the next shipment. I do have one process improvement, it would be nice if they told you before they packed your next order, but they don’t, so pay attention.

And, you know I love free shipping, just spend over $50 (easy with a bundle) and you’re golden!

Get 20% off your first bundle purchase, by using promo code: Extra20!

All products come with a 100% money back guarantee – what do you have to lose?

Check it out!