Chocolate & Cherries for a Grain-Free Holiday

by laury on July 4, 2012 · 25 comments

Hey! I hope all my US friends had a nice holiday! I kind of wish the 4th was on Friday instead of Wednesday. I see more total clients on Wednesdays (the least Friday—who went away anyway), and I am only seeing one on Thursday morning since the rest are shore-bound. I guess it would be the same story no matter what day. I may be the minority here, but I hate missing work in the middle of the week! Plus, one of my favorite clients is on Wednesday morning Holiday weeks when they fall smack dab in the middle are never good for my business. What can you do though?

{Say hi to my beautiful Bundt– Munchkin…}


Michael really wanted to go out an do something Tuesday night, since he had off the following morning. This is when I thought the grain-free challenge was going to be…well…a challenge.

The fireworks in my hometown were Tuesday, but they start after dark aka after Ella’s bedtime! We ended up going Joe’s Crab Shack for an early dinner and split a bucket of crab legs and shrimp instead. Grain-free success. Michael had two nice sized beers, which I passed on. Exhibit A as to why I am not meant to be a food blogger. I was too busy enjoying them, and getting messy to snap a photo. I am sure you all know what a crab leg looks like though Winking smile

Exhibit B is the fact that I eat the same stuff, or variations of the same things all of the time. I don’t see a point in spending extra money to make different things just to post about them when I like what I like.One thing that I am playing around with in my diet, which may not make sense as I cut out grains for a specific reason, is Fage Greek yogurt. That’s the ONLY cows dairy I have though. Why add in any dairy? I am still not on board with eating it regularly…but I introduced full-fat “Total” PLAIN Fage yogurt just to get some more protein from whole foods. And more probiotics. And more variety. I am getting back to the basics of when I started this blog…whole foods, nothing processed. All other dairy-free yogurts are incredibly processed. I hate to admit it but Fage is freaking delicious. Like dessert. I love adding fresh blackberries or raspberries for a pool-side snack.

This smoothie I had for breakfast today was 2 scoops Life Basics Plant Protein with Greens, 1/2 container plain Fage Total, 2 Tbsps. chia seeds, 2 Tbsp hemp hearts (seeds), 1 Tbsp coconut oil, Unsweetened vanilla Tempt hemp milk and ice. I actually originally made this into chia cereal. However, the Life Basics wasn’t as good as I remembered in it. Vega is still the only thing that works for the grain-free cereal.


Ella Weezer and I went to the pool in the morning. We’ve been going there a lot on these really hot days (heat wave over here!). She cracks me up. She tries to fit as many toys as she can in her floaty. I bought her these pool-balls and she found a way to hide them under her raft. I thought I was going crazy and they were missing, I walked around the entire half of the pool looking, only to find they were under her thigh. Crazy girl.


check out her butterfly unikini!

We went over my brother and sister in laws late afternoon for a BBQ. I am loving this Greek salad I have been making lately. I made it for my brothers engagement party and a BBQ on Memorial Day and everyone loved it. I knew because it was practically gone in the first hour. Unfortunately, we got to the cookout late today, my MIL made a Caesar that was almost gone when I got there (after Ella’s nap) so most of my salad went to waste (once the hamburgers were out, no one wanted salad I guess? More for me!)

My family loves it so I plan to drop a bunch off tomorrow. I buy the whole milk Vermont Feta. Michael says it’s the best Feta cheese he’s ever had in his life. That’s a huge testament! Too bad he hates olives and tomatoes. If I am making this for a party I’m not about to go separating things for him. And although this is not even a recipe, I am going to share my method and the dressing since someone asked me how, and also because I think it’s pretty amazing. I had a huge serving of this along with my brother in laws grilled peppers, onions, asparagus and a few shrimp.


For dessert…I am well aware that I have played this one to DEATH on here {exhibit C why I’m not a “food blogger}. But. I made the BEST version of avocado mousse {in my opinion} that I have ever! Ever!CherriesOrganic

Whole foods has had organic cherries on sale for the past 2 weeks, so we have been eating them in abundance over here. Why not add it to me dessert? {Ps-did you know that cherries are one of the most pesticide-laden fruit? I read something yesterday about even organic ones you need to watch out for…yikes! Soak em’ and rinse em’ well! And always buy organic if you can!}

The crust was chocolate almond macadamia nut. Adapted from my chocolate hazelnut crust. The center….chocolate cherry mousse. I died and went to heaven.

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What I love about these rich chocolate desserts is that they are not super sweet. In fact…people with a viscous sweet tooth will probably think it’s not sweet enough (as I have been told). Another testament as to how my taste buds have changed!


When you take it somewhere where people are used to store bought cheesecake and Baskin Robbins ice cream cake loaded with sugar…this may not be “sweet” enough. I kind of think my in-laws don’t trust my food too. I mean, avocado mousse probably sounds “weird” to most people…so you shouldn’t tell them Winking smile To make it “sweeter” for “regular” sweet eaters you can always use maple syrup, or add more stevia. I thought it was perfect just how it was. My mom (who is a sugar iced tea addict) LOVES my chocolate avocado mousse! So does my 90 year old great grandfather–who is the most reliable food critic I know.

I tried a bite of Michaels cheesecake, without the crust, not even sure why I didn’t want it.  I was not a fan at all. I did nothing for me.  I thought this mousse was a million times better. Yet another example of how taste buds can change! For those that don’t want it…or think it’s weird….you know what I’ll say to that…


More for meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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There you have it…I got through the holiday grain-free and practically added sugar free! (1 teaspoon of date sugar in an entire pie is scant!).

Next challenge…grain-free at the shore!

How was your holiday?

How do you keep holidays and summer BBQ’s on the healthy side?

(I think it’s fairly easy, especially in the hot weather when you typically crave more fresh, light foods like salads, veggies and fruit…do you agree? I know many people love themselves some burgers and dogs with a nice crispy grilled bun and some “real” cherry pie in the summer! Or creamy ice cream….Back in the day I used to always gain weight by the end of the summer with all of the ice cream I’d consume!)

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Yaara Leve July 5, 2012 at 2:40 am

Hey girl!
That chocolate-cherry tart looks to die for!! Ok–I still don’t know what you’re talking about. You look amazing. I wish my abs were as flat as yours! And I agree–I looove Greek yogurt–especially Fage Total–that’s my fave. Oh–and yes–I do take probiotics–a ton actually! I kind of overdose on them–lol 🙂 I have a brand I get at Whole Foods that tastes amazing.


2 laury July 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm

It was!!!! You need to make some!!!!!! The Fage is so creamy and delicious! I did break out a little but not sure if it was the yogurt or the heat!

And…..Thank you, sweetie…for the compliment!!! xoxo


3 blackhuff July 5, 2012 at 7:59 am

I love how you have kept the Holiday – day so health with those meals. Well done.
You being in the pool with baby – you look good. Hard work, well done.


4 laury July 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm

thank you!


5 thehealthyapron July 5, 2012 at 8:26 am

Because it was BLAZING hot, I literally stayed inside most of the day 🙁 I felt like a shut in but every time I went outside I got dizzy and light-headed! We did have 2 friends from out of town over and went to my favorite Lebanese restaurant! Thank you A/C!! I got the falafal salad…so light and delicious! I took maybe 6-7 bites and felt like I ate an entire pizza though so it felt heavy as heck when we left. I split the leftovers for dinner with the hubs…very non-traditional July 4th for us (not even fireworks!) We did have a scoop of ice cream in the afternoon…couldn’t resist! At least I got a strength workout in the A.M.! 37 weeks! Ready to deliver!! 🙂


6 laury July 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I SO feel for you! Aghh! It’s SO hot here too and I can not imagine being 37 weeks pregnant!!!

It didn’t feel like 4th of July to me if that makes you feel better


7 Ari@The Diva Dish July 5, 2012 at 10:57 am

I love your fourth of July! Especially with that tart! I am definitely going to have to remember that one when I need a dessert :)!

And love the un-ikini 🙂


8 laury July 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm

You’d love it! Although you’re pretty amazing in the kitchen so I am sure you whipped up goodies!


9 lisa@healthydiaries July 5, 2012 at 11:42 am

yay for staying grain-free over the holiday! I did too! I made a peach and blueberry crisp with an almond flour topping and everyone LOVED it! Gonna work on a post for it soon!

I LOVE Greek yogurt and have been eating it a lot lately to help with my protein during pregnancy. I always purchase Fage! It’s the best. I actually posted a Greek yogurt smoothie today! 🙂

Both your recipes sound so delicious and definitely stuff that I would eat!


10 laury July 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

That sounds fantastic! I need to try it please post that recipe!!!!


11 the delicate place July 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm

omg i think you might have made one of my most loved desserts! i love chocolate + cherry anything. i’ll share that pie with you! i’m interested to hear how you feel with the greek yogurt addition. if i have any dairy, i stick with goats since i tend to breakout with cow dairy.


12 laury July 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Come share it! I am about the devour it all hahaha

Funny..I have added it back in these past 2 weeks, and I got my first pimple since I was pregnant! Not sure if it’s the yogurt, or my hat I wear at the pool all the time (sweat, etc). Interesting!!! I only do goats too!


13 jen July 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

so the past month has been filled with moving, end of the school year insanity, not having any of my workout stuff organized, not having a tv to play my workout dvds, eating like a scavenger, and going on a vacation, and i just wanted to tell you that your posts have totally gotten me to find my mojo again! for the first time in a month im back to smoothies, greens, and taking care of myself…so thank you for being so inspiring!


14 laury July 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Awwww yey!! This makes me happy!!! xoxo


15 Lisa July 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm

OMG—you’re a genius with this one, my friend! I love the avo-choco mousse (and ever since you mentioned in my comments that you add coconut oil, my mom has been making hers that way and she won’t stop talking about how great it is. lol). Cherries with macadamia crust sounds amazing with this!
The salad looks super yummy too. I love that kind of stuff.
Ella is so darn cute—I love watching little kids in water. My friend’s 20 month old was actually swimming all over the pool by herself (with swimmies on) the other day. It’s so funny to see babies do grown up things (well, and baby things, like hoarding toys…too)!


16 laury July 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

You NEEEEEED to try this one! Seriously! The crust is TO DIE FOR! You will love!! I’m so glad your moms loving it with coconut oil! I am telling you it makes it!!!


17 laury July 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Awww I would love to be your mom 🙂 But you already have an awesome mom!!!

I am so glad you finally tried it with the coconut oil. It really makes a difference it making it firm and creamy and delicious!!!!!


18 Kat July 7, 2012 at 11:28 am

Look at you hot pool mama!! 😉
Ive made your avocado mousse before and DEVOURED it, but my hubby was not much of a fan. I think I actually over did it on the coconut oil, which made it more firm than creamy when it came out of the fridge, but I ADORED it!!


19 purelylori July 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I will take one of each please 😉
love chocolate and cherries almost as much as I love chocolate and mint… almost haha


20 Lisa July 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm

You kept the holiday menu so healthy, but still indulgent. Love that! And that avocado filling looks so delicious! Oh my, I have for to try that one out!


21 Jessica April 4, 2014 at 9:16 am

Hi, thanks for the amazing recipe. I can’t wait to try it! I was wondering, though, if I don’t have or can’t find NuNaturals Liquid Stevia, could I substitute powdered Stevia or granulated birch xylitol?


22 laury April 6, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Hi Jessica! Sorry for the delay, I have such issues replying to comments through google chrome and have to fight the spam on firefox to get in there 😉

Anyway…I have gotten away from using stevia since this post. Honestly, the powdered stuff is super bitter and stevia in general I feel ruined my taste buds and didn’t do much for my “sweet tooth” so I would recommend using honey or maple syrup, try 1/4 cup. The cherries add sweetness, and you can ALWAYS taste the mousse as you blend and add a little more if needed. Also note, after it’s chilled it tasted better and more flavors come out, so I always try to keep it on the less sweet side, more rich and chocolatey! That’s how I have been making many variations of this recipe as of late! Let me know how it goes and enjoy!


23 laury April 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Hi Jessica, I think I replied via email, I have such issues getting into the comments on my blog sometimes! Anyway, I am going to answer here for others.

I need to go back and edit a lot of these because I no longer use stevia. I will use raw honey or maple syrup (grade B), or coconut palm sugar. I think in this recipe you can get away with just 1/4 cup, but the beauty is you can taste the batter as you go and add sweetness, so maybe 1/2 a cup depending on the sweet tooth you’re serving, and how dark, rich and chocolaty you want it. I find the other stevias to be very bitter, the Nu Naturals was the only one that was not to me. I have never worked with Xylitol so I am not sure about that. Sugar alcohols scare me with my GI! Good luck and let me know how it goes!


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