Category: oil

Festive Cacao + Coconut Butter Bark \\ Sweet Laurel

I just love coconut butter (sometimes called coconut manna) and use it as a frosting most of the time. Today, we’re using coconut butter to make this delicious Festive Cacao + Coconut Butter Bark! The fun thing about this recipe you can add peppermint essential oil to make it taste festive, or add dehydrated raspberries to make it look festive! If you aren’t a coconut butter person,  sub in white chocolate. Enjoy!

Raspberry Coconut Butter Bark \\ Sweet Laurel

Raspberry Coconut Butter Bark \\ Sweet Laurel

Raspberry Coconut Butter Bark \\ Sweet Laurel

Raspberry Coconut Butter

Yields one 8 x 8 sheet of chocolate


Ingredients:

1 cup coconut butter

1/2 cup coconut or almond milk

4 oz 100 % cacao baking chocolate

1/4 cup maple syrup (divided)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional:

1 cup freeze dried raspberries, finely chopped

1 small drop peppermint essential oil

 


 

Directions: 

In a saucepan, place coconut butter over very low heat, or over a double boiler. As the coconut butter melts into a liquid, slowly stir almond or coconut milk. If the coconut butter turns brown, it has overheated, so try and keep your stove at its lowest setting.  Off heat, add the 3 tablespoons of maple syrup. If you don’t want your bark too sweet, feel free to leave the maple syrup out. (I prefer it sans maple syrup). Once the mixture reaches a pourable consistency, spread mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread evenly over the parchment.

Working quickly, melt the 100% cacao baking chocolate over low heat. Slowly add 3-4 tablespoon maple syrup. This is where you can optionally add the peppermint oil to make a peppermint flavored bark. Take care not to add too much peppermint however.

Dollop one tablespoon of chocolate over coconut butter mixture. I like to do three rows of four round dollops. Using the back of a spoon, spread the chocolate into the coconut butter mixture, making a fun, swirly design. Top the bark with finely chopped freeze dried raspberries. Place in fridge until completely firm, then cut into squares. Keep in fridge or freezer until serving.

Best Sweet Potato Fries Ever \\ Sweet Laurel

I tricked Nick with these fries. He used to think sweet potatoes were one the nastiest things ever (can you imagine?). Now these fries are his side of choice. A few years into our marriage and I had enough with the anti-sweet potato antics. I decided to make a batch of fries using white sweet potatoes, which look almost identical to regular potatoes and see if he’d notice a difference. Is that mean? Well, see if you can tell the difference. Bake these up and you’ll see (and taste) why!

Best Sweet Potato Fries Ever \\ Sweet Laurel

Best Sweet Potato Fries Ever \\ Sweet Laurel

Best Sweet Potato Fries Ever \\ Sweet Laurel

Best Sweet Potato Fries Ever \\ Sweet Laurel

Yields 4 servings


 

Ingredients:

4 pounds sweet potatoes (I use the white ‘Hannah’ or ‘Japanese’ sweet potatoes)

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted) or avocado oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 -2 tablespoons Bragg Organic Sprinkle Seasoning or Italian Seasoning (blend of oregano, basil, thyme, sage, rosemary and marjoram)

1 -2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon Himalayan pink salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


 

Directions:

Preheat oven 420 convection.

Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper. This makes for an easy clean up!

Wash sweet potatoes and cut in half, then cut into strips.

Place fries in bowl with remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Put cut potatoes on prepared cookie sheet.

Bake at 425 convection for 40 minutes. Halfway through baking, scrap from pan with spatula and continue to bake.

After 40 minutes, remove from oven and enjoy!

***You can prep a day or two before, place the marinated fries in a sealed container, and bake 40 minutes before you plan to serve.

Peach Tart \\ Sweet Laurel

I created this summertime tart to highlight the star of the season: peaches! A simple dessert to prepare, and a beautiful one at that. This tart tastes great with vanilla ice cream or coconut whipped cream. Enjoy!!

Peach Tart \\ Sweet Laurel

Peach Tart \\ Sweet Laurel

Peach Tart \\ Sweet Laurel

Peach Tart

Yields one 8-9 inch tart


 

To make the crust:


 

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour + 2 tablespoons

1/2 tsp pink salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 egg

Directions:

Place flour and salt in food processor. Pulse briefly. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, and egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball.

Press into 8-9 inch tart pan. TIP: To ensure your tart comes out of the pan easily, you may want to line your tart pan with parchment paper before pressing dough into tart pan.


 

To prepare filling:


 

Ingredients:

5-6 peaches

Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350.

Directions:

Prepare a large pot of boiling water. When the water has hit a rolling boil, drop 4-5 peaches in the water. Blanch for about 3 minutes. Carefully remove the peaches and allow to cool.

After about 5 minutes, remove peach skins. Slice peaches into small 1-2 quarters. Arrange peaches in tart pan in circular formation. Pour lemon juice over the peaches.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30-40 minutes, until peaches are soft and they begin to slightly brown. Switch oven to broil, and carefully broil tart for 3-4 minutes. Remove tart from oven and allow to cool. Enjoy!

Fajita Night \\ Sweet Laurel

These fajitas will keep everyone happy. You’ve got options here: veggie, chicken or beef, pending on your crowd and your palate. The tortillas are delicious, and even my husband, a Mexican food aficionado, adores these grain free tortillas.

Fajita Night \\ Sweet Laurel

Fajita Night \\ Sweet Laurel

Chicken, Beef and Veggie Fajitas with Spicy Cole Slaw and Tortillas

6 servings


 

For the chicken:


 

Ingredients:

4 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 red bell pepper

1 green, yellow or orange bell pepper

3 tablespoons cumin (divided)

1 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (divided)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

To prepare the chicken:

Cut chicken breasts in half and tenderize. Slice chicken into one-inch strips and place in a bowl.

Cut bell peppers in half and remove seeds and core. Slice into one-inch strips and place in another bowl.

Season the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the cumin and 1 teaspoon of the salt and stir. Add the remaining cumin and salt to the bell peppers and stir.

Heat coconut oil in large skillet.  Add chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes. Flip chicken strips and continue to cook until no longer pink. Remove chicken from skillet and place on a plate. Add bell peppers to the skillet and cook for about three minutes per side. Add to plate.


 

For the Beef:


 

Ingredients:

1 16 ounce skirt steak

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 shallot, chopped

4 cloves of garlic

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon cumin

2 tablespoons coconut oil

 

To prepare the beef:

Place steak in a large freezer bag or baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, combine lime juice, shallot, garlic cloves, cayenne pepper, and cumin.  Blend until a sauce-like mixture forms.  Pour over steak and allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in skillet.  Add steak to skillet and cook about 3-4 minutes per side.  Transfer steaks to cutting board.  Slice against the grain and add to chicken and bell pepper mixture.


 

Tortillas

Serves 3


 

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 cup basic almond milk

1 cup cassava flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

To prepare tortillas:

Whisk together eggs and almond milk together in a bowl.  Add flours and salt and mix well.

Heat skillet.  Pour 1/2 of mixture onto skillet and swivel the pan around so the mixture make a large circle.  Reduce the heat and wait until bubbles form on surface of tortilla.  Flip and cook tortilla on the other side until well browned.

Transfer to a plate and serve with fajitas!


 

Spicy Coleslaw

Serves 6


 

Ingredients:

I medium head of savoy cabbage

2 carrots

1 cucumber

1 bunch of cilantro

2 medium shallots (divided)

1 serrano pepper

1 avocado

2 limes

2 tablespoons coconut oil

salt and pepper to taste

To prepare colesaw:

Shred cabbage or slice thinly and place in a large bowl. Grate the carrots and cucumber into the bowl as well. Chop the cilantro and add to bowl. Thinly slice one of the shallots and add to the bowl.

In a food processor, blend the remaining shallot, serrano pepper, avocado, lime juice and coconut oil.

Pour over coleslaw and toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Safe Mom Beauty Round Up \\ Sweet Laurel

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, and even more beautiful is the effect it has on one’s level of self-care. Before I was pregnant, self-care did not mean too much to me. Besides eating well, basic hygiene, yoga and the occasional infrared sauna treatments, I never really went out of my way to treat my body kindly. When I became pregnant in May, everything changed, and for the better! Suddenly I became focused on the care of another human life, through my body. After all, the health and wellness of my baby depends on me.

And so the changes began. I scoured the ingredients on everything I put on my body, and stopped using some of my lotions and scented soaps! I sorted through cleaning product in my home and made sure I only used non-toxic and environmentally safe detergents and disinfectants. I even bought organic sheets for my bed! Think I went too far there?

Here are some of my all-time favorite, pregnancy safe, beauty products. Each one is sourced from companies that CARE about what is in their products and the impact the products have on people and our planet. I hope you enjoy this collection and get to check these amazing products soon! xo, Laurel

Safe Mom Beauty Round Up \\ Sweet Laurel

For toothpaste, my husband and I love Powersmile by JASON. It is so refreshing and leaves your mouth feeling sparkly clean. Powerful Peppermint is our current flavor. I love how strong it is. I seriously look forward to brushing!

Safe Mom Beauty Round Up \\ Sweet Laurel

Next up, KOSÅS COSMETICS! Packaging aside, this is my all time favorite for chic and effortless lip color. Every color is just gorgeous and has the loveliest taste on the lips. For safe and beautiful lipstick, Kosås your best bet!

Safe Mom Beauty Round Up \\ Sweet Laurel

I love Los Angeles native and beauty queen, Shiva Rose. We share a deep love for Santa Monica Canyon and a special bond since working together on recipes in her kitchen last year. She has an amazing product line centered around simple and organic ingredients, and my favorite flower: the rose. This rose water is my go-to scent and my favorite perfume. It is also pregnancy safe, as some scents and essential oils are harmful to use during pregnancy.  Check out her beauty products here!

Safe Mom Beauty Round Up \\ Sweet Laurel

This one is more for my hubby, who I’ve been nagging to start using safe deodorant for a while now. I was so concerned when I found out most deodorants were filled with aluminum, and I didn’t want him rubbing it on his skin (the largest organ of the body) every morning! Agent Nateur came to the rescue thankfully! And the best part is, this product is safe AND effective!

Safe Mom Beauty Round Up \\ Sweet Laurel

Nail polish is something I don’t wear much, but when I do, I make sure it is free of harmful ingredients. This is a tradition I started before I became pregnant, and now that all my polishes are safe, I’m loving my collection! Enter RGB. Their color range is extraordinary, and standards high. This color is RGB 10, and my all time fave shade to wear on my nails.

Safe Mom Beauty Round Up \\ Sweet Laurel

Last, but certainly not least, Beautycounter. This company is dedicated to providing clean, safe beauty products and quality make up. What I love about their offerings is that they actually perform, and last all day long! I use this sweet smelling moisturizer before bed each night. It is like my night cap ;).

Easy Paleo Granola \\ Sweet Laurel

This granola is the perfect combination of sweet and crunchy, like granola should be. Throw it together in one bowl and back it off! That simple. You can adjust sweetener, adding more or less, to your liking. I used Xylitol once, and it worked perfect. Have fun!

Paleo Granola \\ Sweet Laurel

Paleo Granola \\ Sweet Laurel

Paleo Granola \\ Sweet Laurel

Paleo Granola \\ Sweet Laurel

Easy Paleo Granola

Yields about 2-3 cups granola


 

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 pecans

1 cup almonds

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 pistachio or almond flour

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup


 

Preheat oven to 375. Stir all ingredients until well mixed. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until desired crunch is reached. Allow to cool. Scrap off pan with spatula. Store in air tight jar.

Enjoy!

DIY Hair Masks \\ Sweet Laurel

When it comes to a bit of pampering, our face tends to get the most love. And for good reason, it’s our source of expression, connection, and communication. But, every so often it’s nice to give our body’s supporting players some attention, so today I’m sharing three of my favorite at home hair masks (these double as face masks, too). They’re all three easy to find ingredients or less, and each serves a different purpose. I hope you enjoy these luxurious at-home treatments as much I do!

DIY Hair Masks \\ Sweet Laurel

DIY Hair Masks \\ Sweet Laurel

DIY Hair Masks \\ Sweet Laurel

DIY Hair Masks \\ Sweet Laurel

DIY Hair Masks \\ Sweet Laurel

DIY Hair Masks \\ Sweet Laurel

DIY Hair Masks \\ Sweet Laurel

DIY Hair Masks \\ Sweet Laurel

DIY Hair Masks \\ Sweet Laurel

Clay + Essential Oils

For clarifying + volume


 

The idea of removing toxins has been growing trend over the last few years, and when something becomes a trend, that usually means there’s a lot of confusion about what it actually does. In the case of benotite clay, a clay composed of volcanic ash, it produces a strong negative charge when in contact with water, which supposedly bonds to the positive charge in many toxins. So when contacts a toxin, chemical, or heavy metal, the clay absorbs the toxins and release it’s minerals, like a giant sponge. Bentonite clay isn’t a cure-all, but it’s a great way to clarify your skin, and especially your hair – which soaks up environmental toxins throughout the day (like how your hair can reek of cigarettes hours after you sat at a bar).

For this simple mask, I added rosemary and lavender oil, mostly because of their beautiful scent, but also because of they are believed to help stimulate hair growth from the scalp.


 

2 tablespoons Benotite Clay

8 tablespoons water

3 drops organic rosemary essential oil

3 drops organic lavender essential oil


 

In a non-metal bowl (the clay reacts to metal), mix together the ingredients, adding more water if needed, to get a thick yogurt textured paste.

Section your hair  and apply the clay from root to dip, massaging into the scalp.  Let the clay sit on your hair for 20 to 25 minutes, but do not let it harden (hard clay is harder to remove). Rinse out all of the clay with warm water. Shampoo and condition as you normally would.


 

Avocado and Egg

For Hydrating and Softening


 

Avocado is a powerhouse of phytochemicals, antioxidants such as vitamin A, E, D, and B6, amino acids, and minerals like potassium, copper, iron, and magnesium. Combined with avocado’s luxurious texture, its moisturizing properties are fantastic for frizyy, dry hair that needs a shine.  The egg yolk also packs a multitude of nutrients, including B-vitamins, vitamin A, zinc, protein, and sulphur, which means in addition to moisture, you’re also soothing your itchy scalp and possibly promoting hair growth. These two ingredients have so many amazing qualities, and can transform your hair into princess level tresses.


 

1/2 avocado, pulp removed

1 organic egg yolk


 

Blend the avocado and egg yolk until you have a lump free paste (small lumps will get caught in your hair, and you’ll have to comb it out).

Section your hair and apply the mask from root to dip, massaging into the ends. Let the mask sit on your hair for 20 to 25 minutes. Rinse out all of the mask with cool water (hot water will cook the egg). Shampoo and condition as you normally would.


 

Coconut Yogurt and Honey

For moisturizing oily hair


 

Packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins, calcium, and protein, coconut yogurt has moisturizing properties that help control oily, greasy hair by washing away excess oil in the scalp and hair. Honey is a key ingredient in this mask, enlivening dry, dull hair. Combining them creates a powerful hair mask that is perfect for someone with an oily scalp.


 

1/4 cup Coconut Yogurt (recipe below)

2 tablespoons honey


 

Section your hair  and apply the mask from root to dip, massaging into the ends.  Let the mask sit on your hair for 20 to 25 minutes. Rinse out all of the mask with hot water. Shampoo and condition as you normally would.


 

Coconut Yogurt


 

2 cup organic coconut milk

1 capsule probiotic


 

Place coconut milk in a pot. Heat to 180 degrees. Allow to cool completely. Add probiotic.

Place in dehydrator for 5 hours at 110, or place in yogurt maker for 5 hours.  Place in fridge for 5-10 hours.

Infused Oil \\ Sweet Laurel

For our infused oils, we used olive oil. First of all, I’m Greek, so I love good olive oil, and secondly it is so healthy and flavorful. Use these oils to step up a dish or massage into skin. Enjoy!

Infused Oil \\ Sweet Laurel

Infused Oil \\ Sweet Laurel

Infused Oil \\ Sweet Laurel

Infused Oil \\ Sweet Laurel

Infused Oil \\ Sweet Laurel

Infused Oil \\ Sweet Laurel

Infused Oil \\ Sweet Laurel

Infused Oil \\ Sweet Laurel

Each recipe yields 1 cup


 

Rose Saffron Oil


 

3-4 rose petals (dried)

5 sprigs of saffron

1 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients together and pour into sealable glass jar. Use in a dish or massage onto skin!


 

Chai Spiced Oil


 

2 sprigs cinnamon

7 cloves

5 anise stars

1 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients together and pour into sealable glass jar.


 

Herbs de Province Oil


 

1 tablespoon herbs de Province

1 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients together and pour into sealable glass jar.