Tag: comfort

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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Dairy Free Tzatziki and Grain Free Crackers \\ Sweet Laurel

This Greek girl cannot get enough Tzatziki! The creamy, cucumber and dill sauce goes with everything, seriously. Whether it is grilled veggies, salad, or kebabs, the list goes on. I first started to make my own Tzatziki for my husband, who has been dairy free since childhood. This is the version I make for my him, and nearly every family gathering. Enjoy this recipe, and do me a favor: Chop up some bell peppers or celery and dip them into your Tzatziki for a snack. You will fall in love instantly!

Dairy Free Tzatziki and Grain Free Crackers \\ Sweet Laurel

Dairy Free Tzatziki and Grain Free Crackers \\ Sweet Laurel

Dairy Free Tzatziki and Grain Free Crackers \\ Sweet Laurel

Dairy Free Tzatziki and Grain Free Crackers \\ Sweet Laurel

Dairy Free Tzatziki

Yields about 2 cups


 

Ingredients:

2 cups unflavored yogurt (I always use a clean, unsweetened store-bought version or I make my own coconut yogurt. You can also use goat or sheep’s milk yogurt if you tolerate it) 

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup dill, chopped

1 cucumber, shredded

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1 lemon, squeezed

1/4 cup olive oil

Cracked pepper to taste


 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill for about an hour. Enjoy with veggies or my favorite grain-free crackers from Simple Mills! Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Note about the crackers: These are seriously so good, so good that they were in my hospital bag when I gave birth to sweet Nico! I love that they are made with sprouted seeds, making it easier for digestion. The original flavor is my favorite, but they’re all super yummy.

Baby Beautycounter \\ Sweet Laurel

Beautycounter is my go-to for all things safe beauty. I don’t wear a ton of make up, but when I do, everything I wear is from Beautycounter.  I am happy to say Beautycounter is a company we’ve worked with regularly at Sweet Laurel. They have partnered with us at events, hosted workshops with us and shared our recipes!

I trust their products, and can confidently wear them without worrying about toxic chemicals seeping through my pores. Recently, I’ve re-thought everything I put on my face and body because I’ve been pregnant and breastfeeding for the past year. Make up and beauty products tend to have ingredients that are highly toxic, and unfortunately the United States does not monitor what companies put into their products. For example, the European Union has banned 1,400 chemicals from use in beauty products. That means beauty and make up products are far safer in Europe then in America! Fortunately, Beautycounter has come to the scene here in the states. Their goal is to create beauty products that are safe to use, sans chemicals, with high quality, long lasting appeal. As you can see, I love Beautycounter and what they stand for.

I was overjoyed last year when I discovered Beautycounter launched a baby line! I got my hands on a couple of their products, and have already used them on Nico! Nico has sensitive skin, so I’m super careful with what I use for soap, lotion, etc. Fortunately, the products have worked great for Nico, and we both love using them!

Baby Beautycounter \\ Sweet Laurel

Baby Beautycounter \\ Sweet Laurel

Baby Beautycounter \\ Sweet Laurel

Baby Beautycounter \\ Sweet Laurel

I highly recommend the diaper rash cream and gentle all over wash. They also have this roomy diaper bag! I don’t know about you, but for me, I always need more room in my diaper bag. This one sure does the trick!

Something else I love about Beautycounter is how spot on their packaging is. Always simple, chic and beautiful. They nailed it! I hope you are able to get your hands on Beautycounter soon! I know you (and your baby) will be glad you did. xo, Laurel

Avocado Toast 6 ways \\ Sweet Laurel

It’s almost silly to have a series of recipes dedicated to Avocado Toast. It’s so pervasive out here. It’s on every cafe menu, pops up on everyone’s social media, it’s practically omnipotent. Simple things hardly ever go out of style, and avocado toast is equivalent to a little black dress. Always the right decision. We suggest making your toast on top of our grain-free Turmeric Bread, however, any bread will work just fine.

When something is so simple, you can get playful with the flavor combinations. Below are some of our favorites.

DSC_5246

Avocado Toast 6 Ways \\ Sweet Laurel

Avocado Toast 6 Ways \\ Sweet Laurel

Avocado Toast 6 Ways \\ Sweet Laurel

Avocado Toast 6 Ways \\ Sweet Laurel

Avocado Toast 6 Ways \\ Sweet Laurel

Avocado Toast 6 Ways


 

The Classic


 

Ingredients:

1 half-inch slice grain-free bread, toasted

1/3 avocado, smashed

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 pinch dried chili flakes

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Smash the avocado with the lemon juice, and spread over the toast. Top with a bit of chili flake, salt, and pepper.


 

Thai Inspired


 

Ingredients:

1 half-inch slice grain-free bread, toasted

1/3 avocado, sliced

1 tablespoon coconut cream

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves

1 pinch cayenne

1 teaspoon lime juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Place the avocado on the toast, and drizzle with coconut cream. Top with cilantro and cayenne, and finish with a bit of lime juice. Finish with salt and pepper.


 

Breakfast


 

Ingredients:

1 half-inch slice grain-free bread, toasted

1/3 avocado, sliced

1 egg

1 teaspoon finely chopped chives

1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

For a perfectly hard boiled egg, place an egg in a small pot of room temperature water over medium heat. Once the water is boiling, turn it off, and let the egg sit in it for 8 minutes, less time for a slightly looser yolk. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and run with cold water until you can handle it. Peel the egg and slice.

Place the avocado on the toast, top with sliced egg and finish with chives, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.


 

The Purist


 

Ingredients:

1 half-inch slice grain-free bread, toasted

1/3 avocado, sliced

1 slice of heirloom tomato

1 teaspoon hot sauce

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Place the avocado on the toast, top with tomato, and drizzle with hot sauce. Finish with salt and pepper.


 

The Fattoush


 

Ingredients:

1 half-inch slice grain-free bread, toasted

1/3 avocado, chunked

1 tablespoon tahini

1 radish, thinly sliced

2 slices cucumber

1 teaspoon dill

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Spread the toast with tahini. Place the avocado on the toast, and drizzle with lemon juice. Top with cucumber and radish, and finish with a bit of dill. Finish with salt and pepper.


 

The Nori


 

Ingredients:

1 half-inch slice grain-free bread, toasted

1/3 avocado, sliced

1 tablespoon nori, chiffonade

1 pinch black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon mint, chiffonade

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Place the avocado on the toast. Top with nori, sesame seeds, and mint, and finish with salt and pepper.

Blueberry Muffins \\ Sweet Laurel

Who doesn’t love a scrumptious blueberry muffin? Our Blueberry Muffins are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, and ridiculously simple to make. The flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, almond and blueberry are delicious together, and there’s a subtle sweetness from the maple syrup. This is definitely one of our favorites.

NOTE: we lined our cupcake molds with parchment squares. Feel free to use cupcake tins or liners for your muffins, or grease the molds with coconut oil.

Paleo Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping \\ Sweet Laurel

Paleo Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping \\ Sweet Laurel

Paleo Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping \\ Sweet Laurel

 

Paleo Blueberry Muffins

12 small muffins (cupcake size)


 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups almond flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

2/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoons vanilla extract

4 oz blueberries (about 4 per muffin)

 


 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Prepare your cupcake pan by lining with parchment liners or tins. Alternatively you can grease each mold with melted coconut oil.

In a small bowl, mix together the almond flour, baking soda, Himalayan pink salt and cinnamon thoroughly. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the cake molds and top with blueberries.

Bake muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown. Allow the muffins to cool ten minutes before removing from the pan. Enjoy!

Berry Cobbler \\ Sweet Laurel

So simple and so delicious. That’s just how we like it at Sweet Laurel. This cobbler is ready within minutes, and perfect when served warm with a scoop of ice cream or right out of the fridge by the spoonful. Hope you enjoy this special summer sweet treat!

Berry Cobbler \\ Sweet Laurel

Berry Cobbler \\ Sweet Laurel

Berry Cobbler \\ Sweet Laurel

Berry Cobbler \\ Sweet Laurel

Berry Cobbler

Yields 1 8×8 pan


 

To make the filling


 

Ingredients:

5-6 cups of berries (fresh or frozen)

juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

Place berries in a 8×8 casserole dish. Squeeze lemon juice over berries. Set aside while you prepare topping.


 

To make the topping


 

Ingredients:

2 cups almond or hazelnut flour

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch Himalayan pink salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Place all topping ingredients in a bowl and stir until soft dough forms. Press dough onto berry filling.

Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes. Serve with coconut whipped cream or ice cream. Enjoy!

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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!

Trio of Salsas \\ Sweet Laurel

Growing up in Southern California means that we know our salsa. It’s one of those quick and simple sauces that can add energy, lift, and zip to any dish. To keep it simple, we chose our top three favorites. Paired with our savory and spicy tortilla chips, you have the perfect appetizer to an easy and delicious meal.

Trio of Salsas \\ Sweet Laurel

Trio of Salsas \\ Sweet Laurel

Trio of Salsas \\ Sweet Laurel

Trio of Salsas \\ Sweet Laurel

Trio of Salsas with Paleo Tortilla Chips

Serves 4


 

Pico de Gallo


 

Ingredients:

2 tomatoes

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

1 cup chopped cilantro

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 jalapeno, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper

Directions:

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend for about 30 seconds. Let sit for about 30 minutes so the flavors can meld together and serve. Can be held in the refrigerator for up to a week.


 

Roasted Salsa Verde


 

Ingredients:

4 tomatillos, peeled

1 bunch cilantro

1/2 cup onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon, squeezed

1 jalapeno, roasted and skinned

1 poblano, roasted and skinned

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper

Directions:

Place tomatillos in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and gently simmer about 5 minutes.

Place tomatillos in a food processor with remaining ingredients and blend. Let sit for about 30 minutes so the flavors can meld together and serve. Can be held in the refrigerator for up to a week.


 

Orange Salsa


 

Ingredients:

3 navel oranges, Supremed

1 shallot

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 cup cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon, squeezed

1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper

Directions:

Stir everything together in a bowl. Let it sit for about an hour to let the flavors come together. Let sit for about 30 minutes so the flavors can meld together and serve. Can be held in the refrigerator for up to a week.


 

Tortilla Chips


 

Ingredients:

1 cup almond flour

1 egg white

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

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

Roll dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Cut dough into triangles.

Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and put in oven. Bake about 12 minutes.  Remove chips from oven and cool to room temp. Keep sealed on your counter for up to 3 days.