Category: lifestyle

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

For many, Valentine’s Day equals chocolate, right? This year, I asked Nick what he would like his ultimate Valentine’s Day treat to be. If you remember from last year’s Pink Heart Cake, you know Valentine cakes are my thing! This year Nick wanted a chocolate cake, filled with delicious fresh raspberry. And here you have it! Our delicious and decadent Raspberry Truffle Cake! Completely grain-free, refined sugar-free and dairy-free! Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

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Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

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Decadent Chocolate Layer Cake with Raspberry infused Ganache

A Valentine’s Day Cake


 

Ingredients:


 

For the cake

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup cacao

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the ganache

8 ounces/266 grams Unsweetened 100% baking chocolate

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup coconut milk

1 cup raspberries, gently smashed, plus extra for garnish

Optional raspberry spread (for garnish)*

2 cups raspberries

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon lemon juice


 

Directions:


 

To make the cake

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease one 8-9 inch pan or two 6 inch pans with coconut oil.

Mix almond flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir until batter forms. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

To make ganache

In a double boiler or a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt baking chocolate and coconut oil. When completely smooth, remove from heat and pour in maple syrup, coconut milk, and raspberries. Gently stir and allow to sit a room temperature until you are ready to frost your cake.

To build the cake

When your cakes are completely cool, place on a layer on a cake plate and smooth about 3-4 tablespoons of ganache over the first layer. Repeat with the second layer. Add optional berries spread and garnish with fresh berries!

*To make optional raspberry spread

Place raspberries, maple syrup and lemon juice in saucepan, and then cook on low for about 10-20 minutes, gently smashing down berries as the mixture cooks. Allow mixture to simmer additional 10 -15 minutes, and then remove from heat. Garnish cake with complete cool raspberry mixture.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Sliders \\ Sweet Laurel

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner and I’m dreaming of last year’s Nachos !! I will definitely be making those, and also my new favorite: Sweet Potato Sliders! These are the ultimate game day special, and an easy and healthy make ahead dish! It’s a slam dunk, or should we say touch down??!! 😉 Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Sliders \\ Sweet Laurel

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Ingredients:

4-8 sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons coconut oil or avocado oil

1 cup cashews

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon lemon or lime

1/2 teaspoon salt (divided)

Pinch of cayenne or chipotle

To garnish- chopped peppers and cilantro


 

Directions:

Allow cashews to soak in 3 cups of water for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare sweet potatoes by washing the outsides and poking the outside of the sweet potato with a fork all around the potato. About 4-5 pokes per potato will do.

Cut sweet potatoes in half. Brush the underside of each sweet potatoes with coconut or avocado oil. Place the prepared potatoes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, then place in preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour – 1.5 hours, until sweet potatoes are nice and soft.

Meanwhile, finish the cashew creme. After the cashews have soaked for about an hour, remove the cashews from the refrigerator. Pour the cashews into a high-speed blender or food processor, but do not toss the liquid just yet. You may need this during the processing. Combine the coconut milk, lemon and remaining salt in the blender. Blend the cashew creme on full speed until completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit of the soaking liquid, blending until desired consistency is reached. Pour the cashew creme into a container and store in

Combine the coconut milk, lemon and remaining salt in the blender. Blend the cashew creme on full speed until completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit of the soaking liquid, blending until desired consistency is reached. Pour the cashew creme into a container and store in refrigerator until serving time.

When ready to serve, place sweet potatoes on a platter and drizzle cashew creme over potatoes. Sprinkle with chopped peppers and cilantro.

Grain Free Overnight Oats \\ Sweet Laurel

This is a spin off the ever popular ‘overnight oat’ breakfast scenario, minus the oats! I feel best eating 100% grain free, and all our recipes and baked goods at Sweet Laurel are grain free in entirety. This recipe uses shredded coconut and chia, making a delicious and nutritious breakfast, even Nico loves it!

Overnight Oats \\ Sweet Laurel

Overnight Oats \\ Sweet Laurel

Overnight Oats \\ Sweet Laurel

Overnight Oats \\ Sweet Laurel

Paleo/Grain-Free Overnight Oats 


 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chia seeds

3/4 cup hemp hearts

1 cup shredded coconut

2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon Sweet Laurel Vanilla Extract

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (or other sweetener of choice)

1 cup organic coconut milk

1 cup hot water (at least 200 degrees)


 

Directions:

Mix chia seeds, hemp hearts and shredded coconut in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle in cinnamon, ginger, vanilla extract and sweetener of choice. Add hot water and stir. Add coconut milk and allow to sit in fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Sprinkle with gogi berries, mulberries, shredded coconut flakes, bee pollen or even extra hemp hearts! Serve with superfood toppings and enjoy.

Mango Chia Seed Pudding \\ Sweet Laurel

Nothing like a simple and refreshing recipe to start off the new year! This is one of our favorite takes on the classic chia seed pudding.

Mango Chia Seed Pudding \\ Sweet Laurel

Mango Chia Seed Pudding \\ Sweet Laurel

Mango Chia Seed Pudding \\ Sweet Laurel

Mango Chia Seed Pudding 

Serves 2


Ingredients:

 

1 cup coconut cream (fat solids from coconut milk)

1/2 cup fresh mango, cubed into 1/2 inch cubes

1 tablespoon honey (optional)

3 tablespoons chia seeds


Directions:

In a bowl whisk together all ingredients until well mixed. Pour into two 4 ounce glass jar and cover with lid. Store in fridge overnight. Enjoy within 3 days!

Cranberry Kombucha Mocktail \\ Sweet Laurel

Mocktails are sometimes necessary. We love making fun mocktails that are pregnant mama and kid approved! Try different flavors of your favorite kombucha to mix it up a bit.

Kombucha Cocktail \\ Sweet Laurel

Kombucha Cocktail \\ Sweet Laurel

Kombucha Cocktail \\ Sweet Laurel

Kombucha Cocktail \\ Sweet Laurel

Cranberry Kombucha Mocktail


 

Ingredients:

1 quart unsweetened cranberry juice, refrigerated

1 quart freshly squeezed orange juice, refrigerated

1 bottle of your favorite kombucha

To garnish:

Frozen cranberries

Orange


 

Directions:

Pour a bit of cranberry juice, orange juice, and kombucha in a cocktail shaker and shake for 1 minute. Pour into cocktail glass and top with frozen cranberries and freshly sliced oranges.

Pumpkin Cheesecake \\ Sweet Laurel

Dairy-free dreams come true with this cheesecake. My husband Nick is a cheesecake guy. It is his favorite dessert, and if he is craving a really special treat, cheesecake is usually at the top of his list. When we changed our lifestyle to be grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free, I needed to figure out an alternative to the classic dessert, and one that Nick would love just as much as the dairy and sugar full version. After lots of testing, I came up with this recipe. And as a little teaser, the Sweet Laurel Cookbook has a delicious version of this recipe, Creamy Cheesecake, which I’m excited to share with you when it comes out April 3. But for now, here’s my pumpkin spice and everything nice version!

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Yields 1 Cheesecake


To make the crust:


Ingredients:

2 cups pecans or almonds, or nut flour

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare a springform pan by lining the base with parchment paper and greasing the sides with coconut oil.

In a food processor, blend the nuts, maple syrup, coconut oil and Himalayan pink salt. Press into the base of a springform pan. Bake 10 minutes. Allow to cool while you prepare your filling.


To make the cheesecake filling:


Ingredients:

1 cup coconut yogurt

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons date paste, or 3 pitted dates

3/4 cup pumpkin

2 eggs

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


Directions:

In a blender, pulse the coconut yogurt, maple syrup, pumpkin, and date paste together until mixture is congealed. Pour into a bowl, and beat coconut yogurt mixture with eggs using a hand whisk or stand mixer. Slowly add arrowroot powder, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and spices. Mix until batter is well incorporated.

Pour into cooled pie crust and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

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Pumpkin Nut Milk \\ Sweet Laurel

Did someone say dairy-free and delicious? Our Sweet Laurel pumpkin nut milk is the best way to usher in the holidays, and the closest thing to a healthy, vegan egg nog we’ve ever tasted. It’s no surprise that most menus this time of year are filled with less than healthy ingredients. Luckily, we’ve nailed down a recipe that will satisfy your seasonal beverage cravings with a little bit of that pumpkin spice we all know and love. Thick, creamy and delightful in a festive way, look forward to love at first sip when you dive into this homemade pumpkin nut milk. Keep scrolling to see just how simple this recipe is to recreate in your own kitchen…

Make sure to check out 12 other flavors we made with almond milk!

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Pumpkin Nut Milk

Dairy Free, Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo

Yields 6 cups of milk


Ingredients:

2 cups almonds, cashews or pecans*

6 cups filtered water, divided

4 dates, pitted

1/2 cup cooked and pureed pumpkin, butternut squash, or sweet potato

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Pinch salt


Directions:

Place nuts in a large bowl and soak in 4 cups of filtered water. For almonds and pecans, soak for 6-7 hours. For cashews, soak for at least two hours. After soaking time is up, empty soaking liquid from the bowl.

Place nuts in a large bowl and soak in 4 cups of filtered water. For almonds and pecans, soak for 6-7 hours. For cashews, soak for at least two hours. After soaking time is up, empty soaking liquid from the bowl.

Place soaked nuts in a high powered blender with remaining 4 cups of water, dates, pumpkin, squash or sweet potato, vanilla extract, and spices. Blend on high speed for 2-3 three minutes, until mixture is thoroughly puréed.

Set a bowl on the counter, then using a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, strain puréed mixture into a bowl. Using both hands, squeeze the excess liquid from the nut milk bag or cheese cloth into the bowl.

Cover milk or place in an air-tight container and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy!

* if you are allergic to nuts, sub hemp seeds. No soaking is required, just place 2 cups of hemp seeds in 6 cups of water, and continue on with the recipe.

Baby’s First Bone Broth \\ Sweet Laurel

I’ve been doing lots of research over the past few months in order to prepare for Nico’s transition into eating solid food. Nico is still about 98% breastmilk fed. He hasn’t been super into solids, but to me, that’s ok because I love nursing him! I’ve read a few books on the topic and consulted with my nutritionist, Margaret Floyd. I love her approach as it is filled with nutrient-dense, real food and also very practical. Margaret maneuvered through my autoimmune disease and has successfully helped me with the daunting task of introducing my Nico to solid foods

One of the first foods she recommends is bone broth. Bone broth, considered around the world as a health tonic, has been used for centuries as a healing food. As real food expert Nina Planck has stated, “it is digestible, nutritious and tasty. Broth is perfect for babies (Real Food for Mother and Babies, 2009).”

I adapted this recipe from my nutritionist Margaret’s original recipe. Margaret wrote her basic approach to introducing solid food here, and why bone broth is a great choice for babies!  Read up on it, and then cook up a pot of bone broth for you or baby!

Baby's First Bone Broth \\ Sweet Laurel

Baby's First Bone Broth \\ Sweet Laurel

Baby's First Bone Broth \\ Sweet Laurel

Baby's First Bone Broth \\ Sweet Laurel

Baby’s First Bone Broth


 

Ingredients:

chicken bones, including the ligaments and joints (be sure to use bones from organic, pastured raised chickens)

1-2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

pinch of Himalayan pink salt

filtered water


 

Directions:

Put the bones, vinegar, and salt into the stock pot. Cover with filtered water.

Bring to a boil and skim any foam off the top. The foam is just any impurities coming out of the bones. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it isn’t.

Reduce the heat on your stove to the lowest possible and gently simmer your broth for at least 8 hours, up to 48 hours. The rule of thumb is the bigger the bones, the longer you need to simmer your broth. Make sure not to cook the broth at too high a temperature! It will denature some of the proteins and create natural MSG. We put the stove at the lowest temperature and just leave it for a couple of days.Strain out the bones and veggies, and either use

Strain out the bones and veggies, then either use immediately or store in a big glass jar in your fridge. It can last for a week.

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Cashew Creme and Pomegranate \\ Sweet Laurel

Fall in a dish! Here’s our take on a classic roasted butternut squash. As you know, we like to keep it simple at Sweet Laurel, and here we let the flavors of the butternut squash shine amongst delicious cashew creme, pomegranate seeds and a dash of fresh parsley.

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Cashew Creme and Pomegranate \\ Sweet Laurel

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Cashew Creme and Pomegranate \\ Sweet Laurel

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Cashew Creme and Pomegranate \\ Sweet Laurel

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Cashew Creme and Pomegranate \\ Sweet Laurel

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Cashew Creme and Pomegranate


 

Ingredients:

1-2 butternut squash

1 cup cashews

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon lemon

1/2 teaspoon salt (divided)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

1/2 cup pomegranate

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Chopped parsley for garnish


 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400.

Place cashews in a bowl with 2 cups of filtered water. Set in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to soak.

Prepare butternut squash by washing the outside, cutting them in half and de-seeding. Lightly salt the squashes with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Rub the flesh of the squash with coconut oil. Optional: you can add cinnamon & maple syrup here for added flavor. 

Place butternut squash cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 1 hour, then remove pan from oven and allow them to cool.

Meanwhile, finish the cashew creme. After the cashews have soaked for about an hour, remove the cashews from the refrigerator. Pour the cashews into a high-speed blender or food processor, but do not toss the liquid just yet. You may need this during the processing. Combine the coconut milk, lemon and remaining salt in the blender. Blend the cashew creme on full speed until completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit of the soaking liquid, blending until desired consistency is reached. Pour the cashew creme into a container and store in refrigerator until serving time.

To serve, place butternut squash cut side up on plate. Drizzle cashew creme over squash, then sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and parsley. Enjoy!

The First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

The last seven months have been an absolute joy! Nico is a bright light in our lives and a constant reminder of the goodness and love new life brings. I wanted to share a bit about my recent transition from life as a wife and business owner into life as a new mom, wife, and business owner, and the balancing act therein.

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

Here’s a fun little background story: When my husband was a little boy, he told his mom she had an easy job. She was a stay at home mom with three boys, all close in age. Although she was slightly offended by Nick’s comment, she knew he would see for himself in the years to come. Boy, has he! We have now both witnessed the time and commitment babies bring.

If I’ve learned one thing during this journey, it is balance. Being a parent is a full-time job. I respect all of you who are participating in this noble duty. Add in the day job, and that’s another story. If I want to enjoy being a mother and a good partner to my husband while running a business, I’m learning that I need to seek balance every day in my life. My mentor once told me, ‘Balance does not come in a day, but over time.’ If Nick and I make daily choices to support a more balanced approach to life, we will eventually be in a beautifully balanced life.

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

Although days are filled with baby, meetings, house chores, emails and lots of baking for Sweet Laurel, I try to do at least one thing every day that’s for pure joy. For me, these activities include going for a walk, taking a yoga class or going in a sauna. I also get a lot of joy out of making dinner for my husband and I, which is a daily priority. I know this about myself and have learned to schedule my day accordingly. Obviously, there are days when this just can’t happen because of schedules, etc., but like I said, we strive for balance over time.

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

Nico has reminded me to stop and enjoy moments. When I am working at home and he is crawling around laughing at random things in the house, occasionally I will drop everything and just hang out with him for a bit. After all, he’s only going to be a precious baby for so long. I wanted to share these gorgeous family photos by my talented friend Elsie Dardon. She’s helping Nick and I document life with our Sweet Nico.

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

Enjoy these photos, and feel free to give me some advice about the motherhood balancing act or share your stories with me!

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