My Mother’s Day Miracle \\ Sweet Laurel

Processed with VSCO with 4 presetThis year has been a whirlwind. Everyday, I take a moment to think about how blessed I am, and today is no exception. I want to share the most beautiful thing that happened to me this year, as it has everything to do with what we are trying to accomplish here at Sweet Laurel. Sweet Laurel is dedicated to providing beauty and health to all through our cakes, recipes, educational workshops and our upcoming cookbook (available Spring 2018!).

If you were to tell me last May that in one year I would have a 2 1/2 month old baby sleeping next to me in bed as I type this, I would have thought you were a bit crazy. You see, the last four years had been a struggle to get my thyroid, digestive system, and reproductive system back on line. They all stopped functioning properly when I was diagnosed with my autoimmune disease in 2012. My body screamed at me to stop, rest and heal up through various physical signs, one of them being I had stopped ovulating. I eventually listened, and took a year off to heal, and and in 2015 I launched Sweet Laurel as a result of the incredible results I felt changing my lifestyle and diet in order to allowing healing to take place.

Last May, one year ago to date, I had a call with my nutritionist about my recent hormonal blood work. As she discussed the details of my hormone panel, the results were not so hot and I started to cry. Over the last few years, I’ve made my health a priority. Thankfully, my thyroid and digestive system were back to normal, but my reproductive system just wasn’t kicking into gear. I felt like I had tried everything, which is why the news from my nutritionist was so disparaging. I took a deep breath between tears and tried to accept the fact that a baby and my complete healing were just not in the cards for me quite yet.

Flash forward a few weeks. My husband Nick came home from work around 6pm and I was laid out on my back in bed. This is very abnormal for me, as I am quite a busy bee, especially around the dinner time hour. My favorite thing to do is make dinner for Nick every night so that’s usually what I am doing when he comes home. Nick immediately knew something was wrong when he saw me in bed so he started peppering me with questions. I told him I was just really tired, and I had been at the Sweet Laurel kitchen all day on my feet, which is why I was in bed. “I think you should take a pregnancy test,” Nick said. Even though I could barely get out of bed at this point, I managed to go the bathroom and find an old pregnancy test squirreled away under the sink.

And It was positive. My first response was, ‘NO!’ I didn’t understand how this was possible. Very soon after we both started crying tears of joy. Around May and the first week of June, my body kicked into gear and ovulated. This is why our sweet Nico is a miracle. I never would have imagined I’d be celebrating Mother’s Day this year, but I am, and I am so very grateful.

Sweet Laurel is all about sharing health with others, which is why I wanted to share this  story with you. Dedication toward wellness can lead to breakthroughs in your health. Wishing all the mothers our there a very Happy Mother’s Day! xo, Laurel

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Laurel is wearing Fillyboom’s I beleive in Unicorns dress.

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

I love being a mom! In honor of Mother’s Day and my first time celebrating as a mom, I’m sharing some of my most used, and favorite mom-friendly items. This week’s recipe features my Lactation Cookies, which accompanied me to the hospital when Nico was born, and have been made regularly since!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

First off, Nucifera! I LOVE Nucifera, and the amazing entrepreneur who developed it. Nucifera is the ultimate pregnancy and breastfeeding safe, all in one, beauty product. I use it regularly before bed and on my face as part of my cleansing routine. By now you all know how in love I am with coconut, and this is a coconut based product, and the benefits are unending. It moisturizes, soothes, purifies, and combats various skin conditions. Nucifera can even be used as an all natural deodorant. I personally like using it under my eyes. And by the way, Nucifera is not just amazing for mothers, it is great for fathers and children alike!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Second, my Petal Soft Ballet Nursing Bra. Not only is it pretty to look at, it is oh so comfortable. I never thought nursing would change my whole outfit. For some reason, I never made the connection. Well, a good nursing outfit starts with a good bra, and this is my go-to! It is from Bravado Designs, who also makes two other nursing bras I’m digging– the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra, also comfy, and the Clip and Pump, which gives me mobility with my hands while I pump!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Third, a good notebook. I want to cherish each day with sweet Nico, and this helps me do! I’m a very sentimental gal, so essentially, writing down thoughts, precious moments and words of gratitude have been very therapeutic for me. Nico has made me a more organized person, and this is one tool I’ve begun to use to help in that department.

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Lastly, Lactation Cookies. Do you every need an excuse to eat cookies? Well, when you’re breastfeeding, you automatically have one! Lactation enriching foods have been used for centuries to help with breast milk production, and my cookies contain just a few of the many nutritious foods know to encourage milk supply nursing. I read a book entitled Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck, and learned about the foods I should focus on during pregnancy and nursing. I highly recommend this book. Per the words of Planck, two of the most popular lactation foods are oats and beer. I don’t include either of those in my cookies, as I don’t digest either well, but have included several of the other recommended foods. These cookies freeze super well, so I typically make a batch and store them in the freezer to snack on and give to people who come over. Having a baby really ups your weekly visitors!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Lactation Cookies

Yields about 30 cookies


 

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds or shredded coconut

1/2 cup macadamia nuts or pecans

1/2 date paste or 7 dates, pitted

4 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil (melted) or grass fed butter (solid)

1 cup chocolate chips (recipe below)


 

*For Oatmeal Raisin variation

Exchange flax and sesame seeds for 1/2 cup of oats (if you tolerate). You can also add shredded coconut for texture!

Exchange and 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 cup raisins for the chocolate chips.


 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a blender, combine the flax seeds, sesame seeds, macadamia nuts, dates, eggs, coconut oil and maple syrup. Turn on low speed, and blend until batter is incorporated. Remove mixture from blender and place into a bowl. Stir in almond flour and chocolate chips. Spoon one tablespoon sized cookies onto cookies sheet. Gently press dough down with a piece of parchment paper.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Lift parchment off pan, and allow cookies to cool all the way.

Enjoy!


 

Homemade Chocolate Chips 


 

Ingredients:

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate (100% cacao, organic is preferable)

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey


 

Directions:

Break baking chocolate into one-inch pieces and place in thick saucepan or double boiler. Over a very low heat, melt baking chocolate. Once melted, take off heat, and add maple syrup or raw honey and stir. Pour chocolate onto parchment paper and spread into a rectangle, about 8×12 inches. Place parchment in freezer. Once hardened (will take a few minutes), break into small pieces and use as chocolate chips.

 

Blueberry Lavender Donuts with Coconut Glaze \\ Sweet Laurel

Today is my birthday, so I’m sharing one of my favorite new recipes with you! These Blueberry Lavender Donuts have the loveliest flavor, and are perfect for a springtime brunch, or better yet, Mother’s Day! The food grade lavender is optional. The donuts will have perfect flavor with or without. Enjoy!!

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts with Coconut Glaze

Yields 6 donuts


 

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup blanched almond or hazelnut flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

3 tablespoons 100% maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

2 eggs, at room temperature, whites and yolks separated

1 teaspoon dried lavender

1/8 teaspoon food grade lavender oil (optional, for extra lavender flavor)

1/4 cup blueberries


 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease your 6-mold donut pan with coconut oil.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl combine all of the wet ingredients except egg whites.

Mix the wet with dry and set aside. Beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Add lavender oil, dried lavender and blueberries.

Equally distribute the batter between the 6 donut molds. Smooth out the tops of each donut.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden.  Allow the donuts to cool, remove from pan and then chill in the fridge for half an hour.


 

To Prepare Glaze


 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut butter

2 teaspoons 100% maple syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup coconut milk

Dried lavender and blueberries for garnish


 

Directions:

Mix remaining ingredients over very low heat.  Allow to cool. If too thick, add a bit more coconut milk.

Dip donuts into icing. Once all donuts have been dipped, you may wish to re-dip donuts for a deeper white color.

Garnish donuts with dried lavender and blueberries if desired.

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so here’s a fun DIY gift you can give to the mommas you love! This soak includes two of our favorite ingredients at Sweet Laurel: coconut and pink salt. Both are beneficial to your body inside and out! Pink salt and coconut have benefits once digested, and several topical benefits as well. While the coconut milk powder in the recipe works to moisturize the skin, the pink salt acts at a detoxifier. Roses are used for their gratifying and soothing effect to the senses. This bath soak is a simple, yet beautiful little gift! Enjoy.

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Rosebud Bath Soak DIY Gift


 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Himalayan pink salt (I like to use the coarsely ground salt)

1/2 cup coconut milk powder

3 tablespoons dried rosebuds

1-2 drops essential rose oil

1 8 oz glass jar


 

Directions:

Grind a few of the rosebuds in a mortar and pestle until slightly broken. Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Spoon into a jar and seal. Keep in a cool. dry place until use.

Lactation Muffins \\ Sweet Laurel

As a new mom, I want to eat the best foods for lactation! Water, water, water is great I hear, but there are so many delicious foods as well.  Flax, sesame, carrots, nuts and ginger are also helpful agents in increasing milk supply. I figured I’d make a muffin combining them. Hope you enjoy! PS- these are a super healthy breakfast muffin even if you are not a nursing mama!

Lactation Muffins \\ Sweet Laurel

Lactation Muffins \\ Sweet Laurel

Lactation Muffins \\ Sweet Laurel

Lactation Muffins \\ Sweet Laurel

Lactation Muffins

Makes 12 muffins


 

Ingredients:

2 cups hazelnut or almond flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

3 tablespoons freshly ground flax + 6 tablespoons water

1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/3 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 cup grated carrot

1 cup grated apple

2 teaspoons freshly ground ginger

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Optional: 1/4 cup raisins

Optional: 1/4 walnuts


 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12 cup muffin tray with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, place freshly ground flaxseeds with water. Allow to sit on counter for about 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix the hazelnut or almond flour, cinnamon, Himalayan pink salt, baking soda, and shredded coconut.

Add the coconut oil, sweet potato, flax mixture, carrot, apple, ginger, and optional raisins and walnuts. Stir until combined.

Scoop batter into muffin tins. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place into oven and baked for about 30 minutes.

Allow to cool and enjoy!

Easter Cookies \\ Sweet Laurel x Jenni Kayne

Last Easter, I had the privilege of working with Jenni Kayne on her annual Easter party.  As always, everything about it was beautiful. Jenni is such a talented lady. I shared a super fun recipe, and I thought you all would like it as well. These are simple yet delicious Easter cookies. They are easy to whip up with kids and beautiful to look at on the table.

Easter Cookies \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cookies \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cookies \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cookies

Yields 2 dozen cookies


 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/4 cup 100% maple syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Either by hand or in a food processor, combine the ingredients into a dough. The dough will be slightly clumpy, so do not fret if the dough doesn’t look like traditional cookie dough. If the dough is a bit dry, add a little more melted coconut oil.

Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough. During this stage, the dough will join together and be much more uniform. Place parchment paper with rolled out dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up. Remove from refrigerator and cut into shapes. Carefully transfer cut outs to cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until barely golden brown at the edges. Cool completely, and decorate with icing.


 

Coconut Butter Icing


 

Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut butter

2 teaspoons 100% maple syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut milk


 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients over very low heat. The coconut butter can easily burn, and turn a brownish color, so be careful during this step. Color with a pinch of turmeric for yellow, beet juice for pink, matcha powder for light green or other natural food colorings if you like. We sprinkled these cookies with a bit of gold dust to make them extra fancy!

Easter Cupcakes \\ Sweet Laurel

Spring has sprung! These adorable little cupcakes are perfect for any celebration. We love the mild yellow color you can achieve with our all natural, yellow food coloring, turmeric. Turmeric is also an anti – inflammatory powerhouse, so it is a win-win way to color your frosting. This is the debut of our vanilla cupcake recipe that many of you have been requesting, so enjoy!

Easter Cupcakes \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cupcakes \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cupcakes \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cupcakes \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes


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:

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 ice cream scooper, scoop batter into prepared cupcake molds.

Bake about 20 -25 minutes. Allow to cool.

 


 

To prepare yellow icing:


 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut butter

2 teaspoons 100% maple syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon turmeric (more or less depending on the brightness you’d like)


 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients except turmeric over very low heat.  Allow to cool. If too thick, add a bit more coconut milk. Whisk in turmeric to color icing.

Dip cupcakes into icing. Repeat with all cupcakes. You may want to double dip them for deeper color. Enjoy!

Top with fresh, organic chamomile flowers.

SNOO \\ Sweet Laurel

The number one piece of advice people offered me when I was pregnant was to, ‘Enjoy sleep while you still have it!’ Now, this is a very good piece of advice, but one thing I have that they likely did not have is the SNOO, by Happiest Baby. The SNOO was recently invented by Dr. Harvey Karp, the author of bestseller Happiest Baby on the Block. This was one of the first books I read during my pregnancy with Nico, and it provided an excellent backbone to infant care and educated me on Karp’s ever popular 5 S’s. The 5 S’s are the essential tools for parents to use to calm their babies. The 5 S’s are Swaddle, Side or Stomach position, Shushing, Swing and Suck. I’ve found the 5 S’s work wonders for Nico. Nick especially loves to use all 5 S’s to calm Nico.

SNOO \\ Sweet Laurel

SNOO \\ Sweet Laurel

SNOO \\ Sweet Laurel

While these tools work very well during the day, at night, the SNOO is our best friend. The SNOO is the world’s first smart sleep that boosts baby’s sleep by imitating the rhythmic sensations they feel in the womb. It is truly an amazing invention! The goal of the SNOO is to solve the number one complaint of new parents: lack of sleep. The SNOO works to soothe a fussy baby by using a good swaddle, rocking motion and white noise. It is engineered to increase rocking and noise as the baby’s cry increases. Our baby is not super fussy, but we quickly noticed the benefits of the SNOO with Nico. At night, after I’ve fed Nico, burped him and changed his diaper, I put him in the SNOO sack (the swaddle built into the SNOO). I turn it on and it starts to play white noise and rock. Nico loves the movement and it helps him go to sleep faster.  I want Nico to get all the sleep he can get because that is when infants do most of their growing. If Nico falls asleep, then wakes within the hour before he needs to feed again, he will naturally fuss a bit. If this happens, the SNOO reactivates and starts to rock him again and increases the white noise. The white noise, rocking and swaddle mimic the way he felt in the womb creates a calm and sleepy baby Nico.

The SNOO is also safe! It comes with a built-in swaddle that doesn’t allow the baby to turn from his back onto his stomach, a fear many parents have with a traditional swaddle. Because the SNOO is only used until the baby is 6 months old or can roll over, the swaddle is built for babies to sleep on their backs only. We use the SNOO as a co-sleeper, and it is stationed right next to our bed. While I’d love for Nico to sleep on my chest all night (I frequently let him nap here, never overnight, however), I prefer to have him sleep in a crib, like the SNOO, while I am sleeping. When he is in there, I can rest peacefully knowing he is swaddled up and in his own bed, whereas something could happen to him on my bed.

While I still do get up 3-4 times a night to feed him, my sleep is maximized because I do not spend much time soothing him before he gets to sleep or worrying whether he is comforted or not. I know the rocking, white noise and swaddle make him feel secure, so I am a happy camper, who can get back to sleep!  Thanks to the SNOO, I am not suffering from sleep deprivation. I usually arise rested, and if I need a nap during the day, Nico goes into the SNOO and I go on my bed while he naps! Check out this video all about SNOO, or read more on their site.

xoxo, Laurel

Orange Chocolate Tea Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

 

I love this little tea cake so much! We don’t post many cakes using coconut flour on the blog, it’s usually always almond flour. Here is a beloved coconut flour recipe! It’s like a classic pound cake, but with less heft, and the orange and dark chocolate compliment each other perfectly.  Plus, the giant chunks of chocolate add such a rustic and dramatic look to the whole thing. So pretty!

Orange Chocolate Tea Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Orange Chocolate Tea Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Orange Chocolate Tea Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Orange Chocolate Tea Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Orange Chocolate Tea Cake (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Yields 3 mini loaves (or 8″x 8″ pans)


 

Ingredients:

3/4  cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

6 eggs

1/2 cup orange juice (about two oranges squeezed)

Zest of one orange

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup homemade chocolate chips (recipe below)


 

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line three mini loaf pans or one standard loaf pan with parchment. You can also use an 8 x8 pan.

Stir together the coconut flour, baking soda, and Himalayan pink salt. Beat the eggs, adding in the dry ingredients followed by the wet ingredients and vanilla extract and zest.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into prepared pans.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.


 

Homemade Chocolate Chips


 

Ingredients:

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate (100% cacao), (organic is preferable)

1 tablespoon maple syrup (or more depending on how dark you like it)

Directions:

Break baking chocolate into one-inch pieces and place in thick saucepan or double boiler. Over a very low heat, melt baking chocolate. Once melted, take off heat and add maple syrup and stir. Pour chocolate onto parchment paper and spread into a rectangle, about 8×12 inches. Place parchment in freezer. Once hardened (will take a few minutes), break off pieces and use as needed.

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake \\ Sweet Laurel

Here’s a wholesome upgrade for a Shamrock Shake! Mint chocolate chip has always been my favorite flavor of ice cream. Whenever I’m craving my fave ice cream, and Kippy’s doesn’t have mint chip at their shop ;),  I whip up this simple shake. It is a delicious St. Patrick’s Day treat, and creamy, minty, chocolatey, and totally healthier than your average shake.

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake \\ Sweet Laurel

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake \\ Sweet Laurel

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake \\ Sweet Laurel

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake

Serves 2


 

Ingredients:

2 frozen bananas

2 cups coconut milk, I like Nature Value

1/2  cup fresh mint leaves

4 dates, pitted

2 handfuls fresh spinach

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-2 scoops protein powder (optional)

2 tablespoons cacao nibs


 

Directions:

Put all the ingredients except for cacao nibs in the blender and mix on high until fully blended. You may want to add extra coconut milk depending on the texture you desire. Pour into two large glasses and stir in cacao nibs. Enjoy!