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February 18, 2012



Does cocoa contain caffeine?

The Healthy Librarian

@ Carol: There's caffeine in cocoa. Each brand will be different. Here's the info for Hershey's unsweetened, 1 TBS.
Hershey's Cocoa (natural) Size: 1 Tbsp Caffeine: 5 mg of caffeine/serving

Carole Hwang

Thanks so much for posting the recipes!!! I can't wait to try that crazy Grasshopper thing!

Constance Braid

Thanks for the recipes and the tips on popcorn! The brownies are in the oven as I write. I had to laugh as I made oat flour in my tiny Cuisinart chopper (didn't use the Vita Mix b/c it said not to use for less than 2 cups); then I got out my super old "Emmie" (small food processor) to grind the dates to paste, then added the Chia egg gel--at this point my husband looked in and was astonished--the whole process was so alien to my normal brownie prep--just seemed funny and what a mess! I love the fact that black beans can actually taste like brownies, we will see what the gang thinks of this one. Not sure all of my makeshift appliances did the job!

The Healthy Librarian

@Constance: Can't wait to hear what the gang thinks about them. A regular food processor makes it easier--that's for sure. It would be hard to do in the VitaMix, for sure.

As my mom would say, "This is a real pitchkey patchkey." But, it get easier once you know the ropes. Hope you're going to make the Chocolate Mocha Mousse to go on top. You HAVE to let me know what you think.

Wendy (Healthy GIrl's Kitchen)

What a shock and surprise to see my crazy spinach banana soft serve and vegan overnight oats! I love those whacky things! Glad you enjoyed them too. xoxo

Marilou Garon

I just want to thank you for your blog, Healthy Librarian! You really inspired me to try Esselstyn-style eating. It's only been a week but I credit you for awakening myself to these principles. I can't say it easy, however... I feel good physicaly, but I also really, really miss the oil. I didn't realize how much I used - and love! - olive oil! I'm a huge vegetable eater, including all the leafy greens and cruciferous, but I always cook them in oil. It's very tough without. I hope my tastebuds will get accustomed because right now, ther're rather angry at me!

I made Kathy Hester's Cuban black beans and mango (I bought the book after reading your post!) and have tons of black beans left over. I will therefore make these brownies as a little reward for going no-oil! I'll report back my experience.

Best wishes from Montreal!

Sue in Denver

Hi Healthy Librarian!
I am almost ready to order my next batch of Scharffen Berger cocoa, but keep reading how much you like the Penzey's. Have you compared the two? I'll order Penzey's if you think it's better!

The Healthy Librarian

@Wendy: I LOVED your crazy Grasshopper Oatmeal. How did you ever think that one up? Glad you did. Love the bright green spinach soft-serve!

@Marilou: Thank you so much for all your kind words! The longer you stick with it--the easier it will get--and your taste buds will definitely change. Hope you like the brownies. Follow the recipe exactly--and definitely add the flour & baking powder last--and don't process them for long, at all. Works best when made in a good food processor.

@Sue in Denver: My Scharffen Berger is all gone--so I could only compare Penzey's Natural with Hershey's & Ghirardelli cocoa. Hands-down Penzey's was the winner. You'll have to tell me if Penzey's is better than Scharffen Berger--but I'm betting it is. I wouldn't want to disappoint you.


After reading some of your articles I have been inspired to cut out canned foods except for Muir Glen tomatoes. Are you still using canned beans? Is this okay? Did I misunderstand? Probably I did. Thanks, Dawn

The Healthy Librarian

@Dawn: I buy mostly Eden brand canned beans which are in BPA-free cans. They do cost a lot more, though--so that might be a problem. BPA is best avoided primarily by children & pregnant women--because they are most affected by its hormone-disrupting properties. I only mention this as a way to say, if you are older, with no pregnancies in your future, it's not as big of a concern---IMO, that is.


Thanks so much for the reply. I have no pregnancies in my future! I think I will continue to avoid tomatoes except for Muir Glen and look for Eden. I think I have only seen them at the natural grocery store near me which is yes--quite expensive. It would be handy to have canned beans on hand for emergency dinners though so I am glad to know the BPA issue is not as big of a concern for me. Thanks again.


Really enjoy your informative blog and the creativity used to make delicious meals and treats without sugar, eggs, or fat.

Reading this post today, prompts my response. While experimenting with my own eggless versions of cakes and brownies, I also had some tasty mush until I got the portions right. Chai, flax eggs, EnerG are not necessary when making an eggless cake with vinegar and baking soda. It is so much easier and it comes to mind that this is probably how our grandmothers made their cakes. :) After all baking a cake is simply getting the correct proportions for wet and dry ingredients. After that, the fun begins experimenting with new flavors.

Secondly, why would anyone ever buy canned beans?! Buy in bulk. Soak overnight to reduce cooking time. For extra flavor, I soak in homemade vegetable stock. I make a large batch and then divide up into 1/2 c patties and freeze for later use. I prefer this method to opening a can. :)

Good Health to all!



Do you know if the process used to make powdered peanut butter removes some of the beneficial nutrients from the nuts? I just bought some peanut flour and am curious as to how the oil-removing process affects the nutritional value.



How much is in your stevia packets? Mine are 1/2 tsp. Wondering if 1 1/2 tsp is enough for the brownies. Thanks.

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