Pretty Pink Valentine Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

We’ve received numerous requests for cake recipes, so here you go! When I was a little girl, my mom made heart shaped cakes every Valentine’s Day. I remember they were always delicious, and always pink! It was not long before I took over the tradition, and now I make one each year. This is a deliciously moist vanilla cake with coconut whipped cream frosting, colored with beet juice. It is perfect for your sweetheart or any occasion! If you don’t have a heart-shaped pan, feel free to substitute circular or square pans. We hope you enjoy this Sweet Laurel favorite!

Pretty Pink Valentine Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Pretty Pink Valentine Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Pretty Pink Valentine Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Pretty Pink Valentine Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Pretty Pink Valentine Cake

Yields about a small heart pan (6 – 7 inches in diameter) with this recipe or a large heart pan (9-10 in. diameter) with double the recipe


 

To prepare the cake:


 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Prepare a heart shaped cake pan by coating with coconut oil. For small heart pan, about 6 – 7 inches in diameter, use this recipe. For larger heart pan, about 9-10 inches, double this recipe.

Place eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl. Whisk until well incorporated. Add almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until batter is formed. Using a spatula, pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cakes in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpic inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from the pan. Once cake is cooled, top with coconut whipped cream (recipe below).


 

To prepare the coconut whipped cream:


 

Ingredients:

2 cans of coconut milk, refrigerated overnight

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons beet juice


 

Directions:

After the coconut cream has set in the fridge overnight, the coconut fat solids separate from the coconut water. Open cans of coconut cream and spoon the solid cream into Kitchen Aid mixer bowl. You can also use a bowl and hand mixer. Beat the solid coconut cream on high speed until cream peaks form.  Slowly stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Add beet juice to color until desired ‘pink’ is reached. Refrigerate until use. When you are ready to frost the cake, smooth coconut whipped cream over sides and surface. Sprinkle with dried rose buds.

Enjoy!

Healthier Super Bowl Nachos \\ Sweet Laurel

We have a Super Bowl secret for you, and it is healthier nachos. This is a delicious vegan cheese sauce atop our crunchy and delicious spin on tortilla chips. These flavorful little bites are now a new favorite. Feel free to make adjustments to the amount of hot sauce added. I love it spicy! Super Bowl, here we come!

Healthier Super Bowl Nachos \\ Sweet Laurel

Healthier Super Bowl Nachos \\ Sweet Laurel

Healthier Super Bowl Nachos \\ Sweet Laurel

Healthier Super Bowl Nachos \\ Sweet Laurel

Paleo Nachos with Vegan Cheese Sauce

Serves 4


 

To make the vegan cheese sauce


 

Ingredients:

2 cups pine nuts, soaked in water for about 5 minutes

3 tablespoons water

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons hot sauce, we like Oh Brother, That’s Hot! (more depending on how spicy you like it)

pinch Himalayan pink salt


 

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend on high for about 2 minutes. Refrigerate until use.


 

To make the paleo tortilla chips


 

Ingredients:

1 cup almond or hazelnut flour

1 egg white**

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350.


 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until dough forms.

Roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Remove top layer of parchment and cut dough into triangles.

Place on baking sheet and put in oven. Bake about 12 minutes. Remove chips from oven and cool to room temp.

Note: I recommend serving the nachos shortly after baking because they taste SO good fresh. If you need to make ahead, you can pre-make and cut the batter and store in the refrigerator overnight. Bake off before you plan to serve and enjoy!

**You can make these chips vegan by simply substituting a flax egg (To make: Add 1 tablespoon freshly ground flax seed to with 3 tablespoons of water. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes before adding to batter)!


 

Garnish:

1-2 serranos or jalapeños

paprika

To assemble Nachos:

Preheat oven to 350.

Place baked tortilla chips on a pan lined with parchment paper. Pour desired amount of cheese sauce over tortilla chips and bake about 10 minutes. Toss thinly sliced serranos or jalapenos on top, and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve and Enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup \\ Sweet Laurel

Chicken soup is synonymous with comfort. Warm, savory, flecked with herbs, carrots, and onion – it’s always just the thing. We love to make huge batches of it, and enjoy it all week or freeze it for the next cold night in.

Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup \\ Sweet Laurel

Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup \\ Sweet Laurel

Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup \\ Sweet Laurel

Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup

Serves 4


 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 leek, rinsed and chopped

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

3 carrots, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

8 cups of water

4 cups sliced zucchini

6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into one-inch pieces


 

Directions:

Over medium heat, melt the coconut oil in the bottom of a large dutch oven.

Add onions, leek, celery and carrots to the pot. Gently saute about 10-12 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar, thyme, and water to the pot, followed by zucchini. Bring pot to a boil, and simmer about 20 minutes. Add chicken thighs and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Spanakopita Tart \\ Sweet Laurel x Shiva Rose

I’m a Greek girl, so I just had to figure out a way to enjoy Spanakopita sans gluten and dairy! I made this with the beautiful Shiva Rose last winter. It has quickly turned into my favorite savory pie and is delicious year round. Enjoy my friends!

Spanakopita Tart \\ Sweet Laurel x Shiva Rose

Spanakopita Tart \\ Sweet Laurel x Shiva Rose

Spanakopita Tart \\ Sweet Laurel x Shiva Rose

Spanakopita Tart \\ Sweet Laurel x Shiva Rose

Spanakopita Tart \\ Sweet Laurel x Shiva Rose

Spanakopita Tart \\ Sweet Laurel x Shiva Rose

 

Spanakopita Tart \\ Sweet Laurel x Shiva Rose

Yields one 8X8 pan or 9-inch Tart pan


 

Crust


 

Ingredients:

2 cups almond or hazelnut flour

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 egg


 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl, then slowly stir in coconut oil and egg. Stir to combine. If more moisture is needed, add a bit of egg. Press into the bottom of a pie or tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool.


 

Filling


 

Ingredients:

2 pounds of spinach

1 cup chopped leek or shallot

1/2 cup feta (I use 100% sheep’s milk feta as I am not sensitive to sheep’s milk. For a vegan cheese option, use Kite Hill!)

1/2 cup chopped dill

1/2 cup chopped mint

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 eggs


 

Directions:

Heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add leek or shallot and saute. After about three minutes, add the spinach and cook. When spinach is fully cooked, stir in feta, dill, mint and cayenne pepper. Allow it to cool. Stir eggs and add spinach mixture. Stir to combine. Pour into pre-baked crust. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Enjoy!

My Simple Morning Sickness Remedy \\ Sweet Laurel

All the mamas out there know about morning sickness. While it is typically linked to early pregnancy, it can occur during the entire pregnancy for some women. Last summer, when I was blissfully enjoying my first few weeks of motherhood, nausea struck me from behind. I could not believe how much it affected my everyday activities. It was very hard for me to cook or bake, and my days in the Sweet Laurel kitchen were certainly difficult. I remember asking my husband to find me a face mask to wear in the kitchen and help with all the smells that were seemingly causing nausea.

Eventually, I found one concoction to ease my symptoms: lemon + water. Because of lemon’s ability to balance your body’s ph level and neutralize stomach acid, it becomes a calming remedy for nausea’s unrelenting toll during pregnancy. In the morning, I enjoyed it hot but, iced in the afternoon. I’m sure you will find what suits you best. You can also switch it up and use orange or grapefruit for different flavors. Lastly, be sure to drink your lemon water with a straw to protect your teeth! This is a trick I learned from the dentists in my family. Wishing all you mamas a beautiful pregnancy!

My Simple Morning Sickness Remedy \\ Sweet Laurel
My Simple Morning Sickness Remedy \\ Sweet Laurel
My Simple Morning Sickness Remedy \\ Sweet Laurel

 

My Simple Morning Sickness Remedy


 

Ingredients: 

1 lemon, sliced

16 ounces of water, hot or cold

Optional add-ins:

mint leaves

rosemary

orange slices

grapefruit slices


 

Place the hot or cold water in a glass and squeeze the lemon through a strainer. Garnish with optional add-ins if desired. Enjoy!

Thai Kelp Noodle Salad \\ Sweet Laurel

Kelp Noodles are my new favorite grain-free noodle alternative. They are starch free, loaded with fiber, and a low-calorie alternative to other types of pasta. This noodle is perfect for a quick and easy dinner at home. I love making this Thai version, infused with delicious veggies and my Paleo ‘peanut sauce’ alternative made with almond butter and dates. Throughout my pregnancy, this has been a go to dinner, and has met my Thai dish cravings! You can add some cooked chicken or shrimp for extra protein, and other veggies of choice for added nutritional boost! We soak the kelp noodles in baking soda to get them nice and soft, a trick I learned from my dear friend, author, and chef extraordinaire Meredith Baird. If you love kelp noodles and would like to see more recipes like this, leave a comment. I have tons of other kelp noodle dishes I would love to share in future blog posts. Enjoy!

Pad Thai \\ Sweet Laurel

Pad Thai \\ Sweet Laurel

Pad Thai \\ Sweet Laurel

Yield: 2 servings


For the sauce:

3 tablespoons coconut aminos

1/2 cup almond butter (you can also use cashew butter)

2 dates, pitted

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup water

 

For the pad thai:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 red bell pepper, sliced into quarter inch slivers (plus extra for garnish)

1 cup thinly sliced cabbage (plus extra for garnish)

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

1/4 cup basil, thinly sliced

1 12-ounce bag of kelp noodles


 

Directions:

Place kelp noodles in water + 1 tablespoon baking soda for 20 minutes. Make sure the baking soda and water are mixed well before placing the kelp noodles in the bowl. While kelp noodles are soaking, give the noodles a couple of cuts with scissors, making them into smaller noodles, easier to eat. Prepare sauce while you wait.

Mix all ingredients for the sauce in a high-speed blender. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a saucepan. Gently saute cabbage, bell pepper, and ginger. Add sauce, then stir in rinsed kelp noodles.

Garnish with extra sliced cabbage, bell peppers, and optional chopped almonds. Top with fresh basil and serve. Enjoy!

 

Citrus Cayenne Juice \\ Sweet Laurel

It’s hard to imagine the classic breakfast vignette without a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. This time of year especially, while citrus is at its peak, I like to load up on the nutrient-packed fruit. It’s not only delicious, but citrus is filled with vitamin C, antioxidants, flavanoids, and is just a powerhouse for your body. Add cayenne for some anti-inflammatory properties, plus a spicy kick, and you’ve got a delicious start to your day.

Citrus Cayenne \\ Sweet Laurel

Citrus Cayenne \\ Sweet Laurel

Citrus Cayenne \\ Sweet Laurel

Citrus Cayenne Juice

For 2 glasses


 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup lime, juiced

1/4 cup lemon, juiced

1/4 cup grapefruit, juiced

1/2 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon cayenne


 

Directions:

Combine, chill, sip.

Festive Snowball Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

This cake is a festive and delicious holiday beauty. We start with our grain-free and refined sugar-free chocolate cake and then top the cake with a super simple, dairy-free cashew based frosting. The whole cake is topped with shredded unsweetened coconut to make it look fun and festive, and giving it the name Snowball Cake. We hope you can include this your holiday baking this season!

Festive Snowball Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Festive Snowball Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Festive Snowball Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Festive Snowball Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Festive Snowball Cake

Yields one two layer 6-inch cake or one 8-inch cake


 

For the cake:


 

2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup cacao

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

2 eggs

1 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


 

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease one 8-9 inch pan or two 6 inch pans with coconut oil.

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

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


 

For the frosting:


 

4 cups cashews (soaked for at least 1 hour)

1 cup water

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt


 

Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until use.


 

To Finish:


 

Place one cake round on a cake plate. Cover with frosting. Repeat with next layer (if you chose to make a two layer cake). Smooth frosting all over cake, covering tops and sides.

Top cake with coconut flakes and sprinkle with gogi berries. Enjoy!

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons with Vegan Eggnog \\ Sweet Laurel

Santa is getting an upgrade with these Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons paired with Vegan Egg Nog. This perfect combination of holiday favorites will satisfy all at your next holiday gathering. The eggnog is not too rich and has the perfect pop of flavor. Enjoy, and we wish you all a beautiful holiday season!

Coconut Macaroons with Vegan Eggnog \\ Sweet Laurel

Coconut Macaroons with Vegan Eggnog \\ Sweet Laurel

Coconut Macaroons with Vegan Eggnog \\ Sweet Laurel

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons


 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup almond flour

3 cups shredded coconut

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

3/4 cup maple syrup

4 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Using a small ice cream scooper, scoop ball – like rounds onto a cookie sheet.

Bake about 15 minutes. You can bake longer if you’d like your macaroons to be crispy. Allow to cool in pan about 10 minutes. Move to rack to cool.

Dip cooled macaroons in chocolate sauce, then let set for at least 10 minutes. Enjoy!


 

To prepare chocolate sauce:


 

Ingredients:

2-3 ounces unsweetened chocolate

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:

Melt chocolate over low heat. Allow to cool, then add maple syrup.


 

Egg Nog

Makes about 4 cups


 

Ingredients:

2 cups almonds, soaked overnight

3 dates

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Directions:

Combine almonds in Vitamix or high-speed blender with 4 cups of water. Add all remaining ingredients. Blend on high for about 1-2 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth into a bowl. You may wish to switch the egg nog to a pitcher, then store in the fridge until serving.

Enjoy!

Braised Chicken with Cranberries and Butternut Squash \\ Sweet Laurel

This mouth watering, one pot wonder has the perfect combination of sweet and savory and is topped with a slight tartness from cranberries, another superfood sensation. Slowly braising the chicken leaves a delightful aroma in the kitchen and a moist and tender chicken dish all will enjoy on a lovely winter day.

Braised Chicken with Cranberries and Butternut Squash \\ Sweet Laurel

Braised Chicken with Cranberries and Butternut Squash \\ Sweet Laurel

Braised Chicken with Cranberries and Butternut Squash \\ Sweet Laurel

Braised Chicken with Cranberries and Butternut Squash

Serves 4


 

3 tablespoons coconut oil

6-8 chicken thighs, chicken thighs (with bone and skin)

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes

1 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

2 tablespoons chopped sage


 

In large dutch oven, heat coconut oil. Add chicken thighs and brown on each side. Once browned, remove chicken from pot and place on a plate.

Add onions to the pan and gently saute. Add apple cider vinegar to pot, followed by chicken or vegetable broth. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Return chicken thighs to the pan, and place butternut squash and cranberries over chicken. Sprinkle chopped sage on top. Cover the pot and allow to simmer over medium/low heat for thirty minutes. Remove pan from heat. Allow chicken and vegetables to cool uncovered.

Enjoy!