Chocolate Bean Cake, from Debbie in Portland

This is something Debbie made and brought for me to try, as we were driving all over the rainy greater Portland area last weekend. That’s “Chocolate is Non-Negotiable” Debbie. If you can’t beat the chocolate addiction, make it tons more nutritious! This cake is rich and yummy and it comes to you with love from Portland–enjoy!

Debbie’s Chocolate Bean Cake

Smother this in the Chocolate Sauce (below).

2 cups whole-grain flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¾ cup coconut sugar

¼ cup flax seed, ground

2 tsp. baking powder, non-aluminum

½ tsp. Original Crystal Himalayan Salt (or Real Salt)

2 cups cooked beans (lima, navy, cannellini)–about 1 ½ 15 oz. cans, rinsed well

1 to 2 tsp. vanilla

1 ¼ cup almond or rice milk

½ cup pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 6 dry ingredients in a bowl. In blender, puree next 4 wet ingredients. Pour blender mix into bowl of dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add a little water if batter seems thick. Pour into 8″ square baking pan. Bake 45 min. or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Cover with Sauce now, or each piece individually as needed. Can be refrigerated or frozen.

Chocolate Sauce

1 cup coconut sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. Original Crystal Himalayan Salt

1 cup almond or rice milk

1 – 3 tsp. vanilla

1 – 3 tsp. flax oil or nut butter (optional, aids with texture)

Mix first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add next 3 wet ingredients and stir well. Refrigerate and use as needed. May need to be stirred again before first use, as cocoa powder tends to float to the top.

6 tips to make any baking recipe healthier, part 1 of 2

At the Zermatt in December, I taught these six tips for making a baking treat healthier. You don’t have to know anything about recipe development. These are no-brainers. Three tips today, three tomorrow. (All of this information is in Ch. 11 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods.)

1.           Substitute finely ground whole wheat instead of white flour.

What you see on recipe labels as “wheat flour” is actually a toxic, nutrition-less white gluey mess. It’s the grain with the germ (vitamins) and bran (fiber) removed).

Ask for a good grain grinder for Christmas. I love K-Tecs, which you can find here. They aren’t terribly expensive, and you’ll need one in an emergency where you have to make your own bread, so it’s a good preparedness item.

For cookies, cakes, pastry recipes, I like SOFT WHITE WHEAT, ground on the finest grind setting your mill has. Your kids won’t even know the difference. A coarser grind will cause a heavier product, and red wheat will make it look darker. (I use red wheat for breads, etc.)

Some people think they don’t like whole wheat flour products, when in fact they’re just used to eating RANCID whole wheat. When the grain is ground, the protective shell of the grain is destroyed and oils inside begin to deteriorate. Consequently, those milled grains go rancid quickly and taste bad in baked goods. (Plus, rancid oils are carcinogenic.) Bags of whole wheat flour sometimes have spent months in warehouses and in transit before arriving in your home, and then you store them even longer.

Thus a grinder becomes essential, so you can have FRESHLY milled grains anytime you want.

2.           Substitute coconut palm sugar, or Sucanat, for sugar.

I recently mentioned coconut sugar in a blog entry and since then, we’ve gotten many queries from readers who can’t find it, to buy. I spent some time looking for it and have obtained the best organic product I could find for a good price in the GreenSmoothieGirl store: get some here.

Read about it here.

I’m thrilled about this product because of its low glycemic index for far less impact on your blood sugar and pancreas. It has high vitamin and mineral content, it is highly sustainable, more so than cane sugar, and it tastes lovely. Sucanat is in my baking recipes in 12 Steps (it’s dried, unrefined cane juice) but coconut sugar is my new favorite and is an easy substitute.

Substitute it 1:1 for any white or brown sugar called for in a baking recipe.

3.           Baking powder

Please buy the kind in the health food store that is ALUMINUM FREE. Don’t buy giant quantities because it’s good for only 1-2 years. Aluminum is a toxic metal your body has a very difficult time eliminating, and it’s linked to Alzheimer’s and many other health problems. And it’s in commercial baking powders. Substitute the aluminum-free version 1:1 in your recipes.

one of my favorite weekend breakfasts, pumpkin waffles

So my Breakfast class at the Zermatt Resort last week was great fun. Just one strange thing, I discovered after class when I went to sample the food: the chef apparently made my Pumpkin Waffles . . . without pumpkin!

Weird. But my newsletter with these recipes went out, and one reader immediately went out to find canned pumpkin and said “crop damage” means no canned pumpkin right now. Maybe that’s why! (I keep it in my food storage, so I didn’t know.) If you can’t get it in the store, hang onto this recipe, perfect for fall. Or used cooked pureed carrots, or your own winter squash or pumpkin, baked, outer peel removed, pureed.

Anyway, we love these dense, delicious waffles with raw applesauce from the apples coming out of our tree now (see the photo below of Tennyson picking them), and a little real maple syrup.

To redeem myself, here’s the recipe. It makes a big batch so you have leftovers, which you can freeze if you want.

Remember (read Ch. 9 all about this) that if you soak the liquids in the grains overnight, you neutralize phytic acids that may bind to minerals, making them unavailable to you. You also break down the proteins, making grains easier to digest.


2 cups whole-wheat flour (finely ground, soft white is my favorite for this)

2 cups regular rolled oats

1 (30 oz.) can pumpkin

¼ cup coconut oil (liquid)

3 Tbsp. Sucanat or unrefined coconut sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. sea salt

1 ½ tsp. baking powder (no aluminum), reduce by ½ tsp. if you soaked grains overnight

1 cup yogurt or kefir

2 ½ cups water

2 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs (organic, free range) or 3 Tbsp. chia soaked in 9 Tbsp. water

Mix rolled oats in your high-power blender to break them down to a coarse meal. Mix the whole-wheat flour, oats, yogurt, and water together, then cover and let sit overnight (optionally). In the morning, add the remaining ingredients and mix by hand, but don’t overmix. Batter is dense, and baking time usually must be longer than waffle timer indicates. Top with Quick Raw Applesauce or plain yogurt, and real maple syrup.

Quick Raw Applesauce

4 large Jonathan or Fuji apples, washed/cored/quartered

1 cup water

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

1/3 cup (or more, to taste) maple syrup

Pulse all ingredients in high-power blender for a chunky sauce.

Expo West and “health food”

So Tif and I got back this week from Expo West in Anaheim, one of the biggest trade shows in the U.S. After three days, we were still seeing booths we hadn’t been to before. Everything and anything you can find in a health food store. A lot of stuff you’d find in the “organic” or “natural” section of a regular grocery store, or Costco, too.

This is my main reaction to the show. At the risk of sounding like a snob, most of what is flying under the banner of “natural” and “organic” is just expensive junk food. A lot of refined food, soy products, stuff with a healthy ingredient or two and a bunch of bad ingredients.

Tif works for me but isn’t a foodie or a health nut. So she’d tell me something tasted wonderful (oh, the samples are endless!) and then she’d ask, “Is this good for me?”

More often than not, I’d say, “On a scale of 1 to 10, the regular stuff is a 1 and this is a 2.”

One of the worst examples: an “all-natural” cake mix. The dude handing out samples of the cutest little cupcakes and brownies. I said no thanks, and he protested: “But everything in this is what you’d use to make it from scratch at home!” (He obviously doesn’t know me.)

I walked over and read the ingredients on the box. The first two were: wheat flour, cane sugar.

Tif said, “But it’s WHEAT flour!” That just means white flour–bran and germ stripped away, nothing but nutrition-free endosperm (and some chemical vitamins added). If it doesn’t say “whole-wheat flour,” it’s white flour. If the box doesn’t say “100% whole grain,” it’s not (and usually the first ingredient is, in fact, white flour–because it’s people who don’t know better who buy stuff with labels that say “includes whole grains.” You can legally put a pinch of whole wheat in the recipe and tout it as INCLUDING whole grains.)

This is what I call “feel good” health food. It’s not good for you. It just makes you feel better about your food dollars. At the end of the day, it’s still just a bunch of crap in boxes and cans and packages.

I have found just the very fewest of exceptions and I’ll be talking about them in the coming weeks. Seriously. Like 1 in 500 booths at that show are offering anything worth your time and money.

Just because white flour is organic doesn’t make it nutritious. Just because the sugar is organic doesn’t make it good for you. Just because it’s made of soy doesn’t make it non-fattening.

2 cake recipe contributions from a reader

These recipes were submitted by RuLea Taggart when I blogged about my kids’ birthday cake last August. (I have made healthier ingredient substitutions for these two recipes. Note that I have not tested the recipes, and any comments are welcome!)

If you don’t have Original Crystal Himalayan Salt, read my report on it here with a link to get some:

Hot Fudge “Burn the Fat” Pudding Cake or

Healthy Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

1 c organic whole-wheat flour, hard white, ground fine

3/4 c. Sucanat

3 T. organic cocoa

2 t. baking powder

½ tsp. Original Himalayan Crystal Salt

½ cup filtered water

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix & blend together in your high-power blender or using a hand mixer. Pour into 9″ square or oblong  glass or non-teflon baking pan.  Double recipe for 9×13 cake pan.

1/4 c organic cocoa

1 c Sucanat

1 3/4 c filtered hot water

½ cup chopped nuts (sprinkle over the top, optionally)

Combine this mixture & pour over batter.   Bake  in oven  at 350 degrees for 40-45 min until done.   Serve warm or cool.   It is delicious and nutritious!

(I, RuLea, cut the sugar down & it is still plenty sweet.   I also substituted agave &  used less liquid.   Make as directed. It seems very runny, but the cake bakes up & pudding settles on bottom….yum yum.)

Note from Robyn: substitute 2/3 cup agave for 1 cup sugar in BAKING recipes. Rulea says cut the liquid. I have not tested this recipe, so please post if you have more specific alterations after trying it.

Yummy All-You-Can-Eat Cake with variations


3 c finely ground whole-wheat flour

2 t baking soda

2 c organic sugar

2 t vanilla

2 tsp. Original Himalayan Crystal Salt

(Spices to taste – cinnamon, allspice, clove)

Blend in:

2 c cold water

2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar

(Add apples, nuts, carrots, raisins, zucchini, dates, etc)

Mix together for 1 min in blender or 2 min by hand.  Pour into 9×13 pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 min.

Need motivation to eat less meat and more plants? . . . part 7 of 12

Today, good stats about the fact that Americans need EDUCATING on the subject of a plant-based, whole-foods diet. (You know has an agenda to get YOU to help spread the word–and many of you already do so, brilliantly.)


98 percent of the wheat eaten in the U.S. is eaten as white flour.   Only 2 percent is eaten as whole wheat flour!   In traditional diets, 75-80 percent of total dietary energy comes from whole grains.


U.S. children who eat the recommended levels of fruits, vegs, and grains: 1 percent


American who are aware that eating less meat reduces colon cancer risk: 2 percent


American men who are aware of a link between animal products and prostate cancer: 2 percent

Tell me: How can YOU help, you being much more educated about nutrition than, well, basically almost everybody?

Quinoa cookies

Brigham Young University’s alumni magazine just ran a story on some researchers who are distributing quinoa cookies to starving populations. The idea is that quinoa is a very nutritious food that is high in protein, important for people in third-world countries. 12 Stepper Kris and I have altered the recipe that ran in that publication to be much more healthy, so you can enjoy it. You could give these cookies along with with a big baggie of fruits and veggies to your kids for a school lunch that has plenty of protein and is low in sugar but feels like a “treat.”   If you like them and want to save  time on school lunches, make and freeze a lot of them!

Kris also tells me that she often cooks up some quinoa (which takes only 10-15 mins.!) and puts any of the dressings in Ch. 3 of 12 Steps on it. She says she’s found every dressing she’s put on the quinoa to be yummy. I also recommend tossing in lots of your favorite raw veggies for a complete dinner that’s quick and easy.

Tip: If you are a vegan and don’t want to use an egg, instead put 1 Tbsp. of ground flax seed in 2 Tbsp. of water for a few minutes until it gels.


1 cup quinoa flour (blend quinoa in BlendTec)

1 cup finely ground whole wheat flour

¼ cup Sucanat or honey

1 Tbsp. aluminum-free baking powder

½ cup coconut oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1 organic, free-range egg

Add 1 tsp. at a time of  water if needed for mixing. Mix all ingredients well and bake at 350 degrees for  8 mins.

Eating right, even at Disneyland

Hi, Ben here—’s webmaster. Robyn’s on spring break in SoCal, seeing Wicked and doing the theme parks with her family. But she left me her list of what she packed, to give you some travel ideas. She keeps her family’s energy high and digestion strong on vacation, while saving money on restaurants, by packing this stuff for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.


Bags of baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, raw sweet potatoes

½ gal. homemade yogurt

2 bags Costco spinach

1 bag Costco frozen mixed berries

pint of soaked/drained sunflower seeds (to add to granola for breakfast)

quart of alfalfa/radish/clover sprouts (to add to granola for breakfast)



Plastic cups, straws, bowls, spoons, and baggies

Knife and cutting board for smoothies (I use it even on hotel room tables or vanities)

Lexan mugs for smoothies

Backpack for taking food to the parks

3 loaves whole-wheat bread

organic peanut butter-honey mix

gallon bag of homemade granola

3 boxes Rice Dream

gallon bag of soaked/dehydrated teriyaki almonds

Tonya’s “For Cryin’ Out Loud Dehydrator Onion Bread” (post to follow)

bananas (for green smoothies and to add to yogurt for breakfast)

bags of washed apples, pears, plums


5-gallon jug of filtered water

Chocolate Beet Cake and Frosting


Chocolate Beet Cake

This cake is great for birthdays and parties.   My kids beg for this decadent but nutritious dessert.   I also have other fabulous uses for beets in the Jump-Start recipe collection and 12 Steps to Whole Foods chapters.

  • 3 eggs (organic, range fed)
  • 1 ½ cups Sucanat (unrefined cane sugar)
  • ¾ cup coconut oil (can substitute applesauce for half of this, if desired)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups steamed beets (about 2 medium-large beets, peeled and chopped)
  • 4 Tbsp. raw cacao (best) or nonalkalized baking cocoa
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (soft white wheat, ground fine)
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Puree beets in BlendTec, then add eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla.   Add chocolate and other ingredients.   Bake in 9″x13″ oiled pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


Cream together:

  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa (even better, raw powdered chocolate)
  • ½ cup butter, softened (or coconut cream concentrate, if it is soft but not turned to liquid–please note that you can’t put frosting made with coconut oil/cream on a refrigerated cake or it will become hard)
  • ½ cup powdered Sucanat (if you have only regular Sucanat, blend it in your BlendTec until very fine, or your frosting will be grainy)