Author Archives: sweetlaurel

The Sweet Laurel Cake, Coffee + Tea Shop \\ Sweet Laurel

 

Sweet Laurel: Cake, Coffee + Tea by Claire Thomas

From the beginning Laurel and I knew it needed to be a jewel box. Sweet Laurel has always had this “secret garden” quality. Our only form of marketing was through word of mouth, and I wanted the space to reflect that: like stumbling into an English tea room in the middle of LA. It feels like you’re in on a wonderful secret. Pink is our color, and being mothers to sons, we joke that the store is our daughter. It’s hyper-femme, but still modern. The phrase “mayfair meets Malibu” kept bouncing in my head,. Laurel and I love garden roses, and the storefronts in Mayfair in the springtime were a huge inspiration. Sweet Laurel is like a city girl in the country. It’s comfortable and filled with antique touches, but is essentially modern and unfussy. No lace doilies here. The iconic Jam Cake has been our visual touchstone from the beginning, so the look of something romantic but unfussy, covered in garden roses, is really the heart of our look. Our dear friend Lauren Conrad let me raid her garage for tea cups to decorate the space with, and my family friend and epic Santa Monica caterer Sandy Miller let me get a sneak peek at her estate sale before she moved. I basically swept through and grabbed all of the Limoges and Haviland I could find. We really benefited from their amazing taste!

Texture was hugely important to the space. If everything is pink, it needs to to have layering to break it up, otherwise it’s like walking into a wad of chewing gum. It also needed to feel grown up and elegant, not like a little girl’s room, so I focussed on mixing modern, minimalist pieces like the Mitzi light fixtures (and here), Room and Board furniture (sofa, table, chairs), and menu board with more old world pieces filled with character and texture. The tile from Cle has incredible variance, and the floor from Du Chateau feels like it was pulled from an old European home. 

The countertops, Caesarstone Noble Grey, are not only incredible durable, but elegant as well. We wanted something soft gray, with stone-like detail, but marble was way too fussy for a busy coffee bar. Caesarstone being more resistant to scratches, chips and cracks than both marble and granite as well as many other natural and engineered surface materials was a huge plus to us, considering how much wear and tear the counters were going to get.  For the espresso bar in the back, the counters being naturally nonporous and requiring little maintenance is a huge plus. This means that with a Caesarstone surface, we will never have to worry about sealing, stains or bacteria growth. Honestly, in the short time the shop has been open, it is crazy how much use it gets – so having all of these benefits are so important to us.

My first image of the space was a hand painted mural, a modern chandelier, and a pink velvet couch underneath. I couldn’t stop picturing this vignette, and it sort of became the guiding light of the space. When actually painting a mural became too crazy, I reached out to Anewall and they created the most stunning wallpaper for us. I can’t wait for people to be able to purchase it for their own home.

Laurel is obsessed with bay windows, so we knew a banquette was a must. All of the natural light, with casual pink velvet pillows makes it the best angle to enjoy our shop. 

People’s reactions to it. When I hear an audible gasp followed by “It’s so pretty!” it makes me light up. It’s so exciting to see Sweet Laurel as a brand exist three dimensionally rather than in a cookbook or on a plate.

We finished the basics of the space about 72 hours before opening, so we were in sweatpants getting everything ready to the last second. My husband teased me because I was up at 2am making the faux floral garlands that are around our window. It was crazy, but worth it! We have to give Andrew Kim, our architect, a big shout out. He always had creative solutions, and helped us realize the vision beautifully. 

Architect Andrew Kim

Caesarstone Noble grey counters

Cle Tile Cashwrap in Cherry Blossom Terracotta

Mitzi Paige Lights

Du Chateaux floors in St. Moritz

Room and Board Furniture, velvet in Vance Rose

Murphy Couch

Aria Table in Marble Ceramic top and graphite

Doyle Chairs

Outdoor Rio chairs

Maris Round table in graphite

Custom wallpaper by Anewall

Details:

Antique touches throughout (door handles, cake plates for serving, silverware for cutler, decor, etc.)

Hand Laid Mosaic reading “cake” at the front threshold

 

Gingerbread Brownies \\ Sweet Laurel

Gingerbread Brownies

There’s nothing more festive then gingerbread cookies, gingerbread house decorating, and gingerbread lattes to get you in the holiday spirit. Well now, you can go ahead and add this recipe to your list! These gingerbread brownies are the perfect mix of ginger flavor with a fluffy cake like texture. You can spice it up with some holiday decor too! We used a paper cut out snowflake as a stencil and coconut “powdered sugar” for the winter wonderland feel. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 cups almond, cashew or sunbutter

2 eggs

1 ¼ cups 100% maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup cacao powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

In large bowl, beat the nut butter and maple syrup until creamy, then slowly add eggs and vanilla extract.

Add cacao, ginger, baking soda and salt. Mix until well incorporated.

Pour batter into 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

To make the coconut powdered sugar

Ingredients

½ cup shredded dried coconut

½ cup arrowroot powder

Directions

Place coconut and arrowroot in a blender and blend on high for about 30-40 seconds, until mixture resembles powdered sugar texture.

Rose Tea Cookies featuring Diamond of California Heirloom Reserve Walnuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Rose Tea Cookies featuring Diamond of California Heirloom Reserve Walnuts

To be honest, we always have cookies & cake on our mind! I’m constantly trying to think up new recipes to put a unique spin on a classic cookie. For Cookie Week over at Diamond Nuts, Sweet Laurel is celebrating with a delicious cookie recipe to warm up your house during the winter season! Here’s the recipe for these beautiful Rose Tea Cookies, made with real rose petals and perfect with a side of tea. These cookies will blow you away with all the interesting flavors and textures packed right in!

Ingredients

2 cups almond flour

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup arrowroot

1/4 cup 100% maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/2 cup finely crushed walnuts

1/4 cup dried rose petals

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together almond flour, arrowroot, pink salt and baking soda. Slowly add maple syrup and coconut oil stirring until dough forms. Add rose petals.

Place dough between two sheet of parchment paper and roll out until about 1 inch thick. Place dough in fridge for about 15 minutes, then remove from oven and cut into squares.

Bake on a pan lined with parchment paper for about 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool, then enjoy!

Healing Journey Update \\ Sweet Laurel

Healing Journey Update

It’s been a while since I have given you an update about my healing journeyHealing through food has been my mantra since 2014. After my autoimmune disease ripped through me with a vicious force, my family intervened and encouraged to not put my health off another year. My top symptoms were energy depletion, extreme hormonal imbalance, lack of menstrual cycle and unexplainable weight loss.

It was very soon after when my dear friend, Eleanor Womack MD, saw me at a family wedding and the first thing she asked me was ‘WHAT?? Is going on with you??’ I responded by saying I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease. She quickly followed up with by asking me what I’ve been eating. I told her every morning started with sprouted wheat bread topped with peanut butter and coffee. She quickly told me that if I have Hashimoto’s Disease I should NOT be eating gluten EVER. I wasn’t really ready to make such a change in my lifestyle, but I had had enough of being so sick and energy deprived.

That was the day I started my 100% grain free, refined sugar free and dairy free journey, and I have never turned back. A year into the journey, I started Sweet Laurel with long time friend and ever talented lady Claire Thomas. It began with my Instagram, this blog, and experiential workshops and events. I started baking grain free, refined sugar free and dairy free cakes for people in my home kitchen, and it soon turned into a booming business in LA, with loads of private customers and wholesale accounts. A cookbook, national shipping and cake shop later, we’re here. Talk about a whirlwind of blessing.

The best part of it all, is that I’m doing 100% better. My autoimmune disease is in remission, even in these postpartum years, and I have the energy I had in college. Can you imagine? It’s been so great, I actually have been able to start up cardio work outs again. Back when I was healing initially, yoga and walking were the only two forms of physical fitness I could physically do. I’m now going to Platefit regularly and jumping on my rebounder when I have pockets of spare time.

Something that I almost can’t believe is I’m not taking ANY thyroid hormones. From about 2012- until January 2018 I took Synthroid or Armour Thyroid. Because I was in remission from the time I got pregnant, through my breastfeeding year, my nutritionist encouraged me to wean myself off thryoid hormones after weaning Nico. I was a little scared, but I figured I’d give it a try. I ripped the bandaid around Nico’s 1st birthday, and to my surprise I felt normal. After about three months with no thyroid hormone, I checked my antibodies and thyroid numbers, and everything was normal. I checked about 6 months later, and everything was normal again. I can’t explain the science behind, it but all I know is my autoimmune disease has been in remission for over two years, and it appears my thyroid is functioning like it is supposed to. Doctors will tell you that with Hashimoto’s Disease, you always have to be on some sort of hormonal support, so I’be always thought I would be taking Armour or Synthroid forever. So grateful for this deep healing that’s occurred in my body.

Another facet of my healing has been the return of a regular menstrual cycle. Before getting pregnant with Nico, I had not had a period for four years. My doctors were never sure what caused this, but it was most likely linked to Hashimoto’s Disease and the unexplained weight loss I experienced. If any of you are experiencing secondary amenorrhea like this, don’t give up hope! I was able to have my beautiful baby despite this issue.

I’m still 100% paleo, and I’m feeling great. It has truly been an amazing journey. Having a baby was the first miracle, but seriously, the second miracle is how much better I feel these days. My amazing nutritionist has repeatedly told me that this is solely because of the dedication I’ve had to my 100% grain free, refined sugar free and dairy free diet, and because I stuck to her strict gut healing protocol before and during my pregnancy. And I’m so happy I did. As a result, I’m able to put my best foot forward with Sweet Laurel, and the ever-changing, growing business it is, and my adorable son Nico.

Here are a few photos our nanny Ms. Elsie took yesterday. I love this boy so much, I’m so excited for this Christmas, as he is definitely starting to pick up on the holiday cheer. He points to every Christmas tree and loves all the ‘balls’ aka ornaments, on them. Happy healing my friends! xoxo, Laurel

Watch by Movado, Nico’s outfit by Pepa and Co and my adorable Nico necklace by Cutarts.

Laurel’s Stuffing ft. Sweet Laurel Turmeric Bread \\ Sweet Laurel

It’s here! With Thanksgiving only a couple days a way, I thought I’d share one of our most festive recipes while you’re prepping your dishes. This turmeric stuffing is a healthy and delicious version of everyone’s Thanksgiving favorite! The turmeric bread can be used as sandwich bread or toast for those leftovers as well! Happy Thanksgiving from Sweet Laurel!

Ingredients

1 loaf turmeric bread or other grain free \ gluten free bread

2 tablespoons avocado oil or grass fed butter

2 red bell peppers

2 cups chopped celery

2 medium onions, chopped

3 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed and chopped

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, stems removed and chopped

1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1 egg

Optional – ground turkey or beef

Directions

Cut turmeric bread into one inch cubes. Set aside.

Chop celery and onions. In a large cast iron pot, heat oil or grass fed butter. Add onions and celery and gently sauté until golden brown.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Cut bell peppers in half, remove seeds, then cut in half again, and place on baking sheet. Roast bell peppers for 20-25 minutes. Once bell peppers are finished, tent under a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, lift tent and then remove the skins of the bell pepper, they should slip right off.

Chop the bell peppers into 1 inch squares and add to the onion and celery mixture. Add salt, thyme leaves, and chopped rosemary. Add cut turmeric bread squares and egg, then stir until completely mixed.* Pour into a casserole and bake covered for 20 minutes at 350, then uncovered for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

*Optional – you can add cooked ground turkey or beef at this step.