Author Archives: sweetlaurel

Nico at 20 Months

Nico is now officially a toddler. And I can’t believe it! He’s running and climbing, babbling to himself and opinionated! Although his only real words are Mama and Dada, he responds to questions in his own language both verbally and physically. My favorite is his sign for no. He closes his eyes and shakes his head very dramatically to left and right about 4 times. Not sure where he picked that up!

I am so impressed with how quickly he catches onto things. Nick and I constantly need to watch what we do around him, as he will copy us as soon as we turn our heads. Example: tonight, Nico picked up the finger nail clippers after Nick had been using them and attempted to trim his nails!

I’m seeing Nico mature in many ways. For example, Nico didn’t care for books until about a month ago. Despite, Nick and I always read him at least one bedtime story. A few weeks ago, Nico suddenly began enthralled with books! He’ll grab a book and plop himself in your lap. He is engaged in the books too. He’ll point to characters and objects, and my favorite thing to do is ask Nico questions. Where’s the ball? And he’ll point. Where’s the car Nico? And he’ll point it out. Call me silly, but I think it’s amazing that he’s starting to understand what we’re saying. Nico is also becoming more social. He plays with kids at the park, and runs laps around the house with his cousins. I love watching him socialize, and I’m grateful that he enjoys his playtime.

As far as his eating routine, he’s had almost everything at this point! Many people ask me if Nico  is completely Paleo (grain free, legume free, refined sugar free and dairy free) like I am. The answer is no. Nico ate this way until he was about 14 months.

The only real differences are this: recently we started to give him organic cow’s milk cheese (he had only had goat’s cheese before this) and legumes. Nico adores the sprouted hummus I give him for snack, and red lentil pasta. He also tends to get an assortment of treats when he’s at family gatherings. I used to really freak out about stuff like this, but recently I’ve started to chill out. Because Nico doesn’t have any known allergies, I believe letting him eat outside the Paleo way occasionally is fine. He’s more 80 \ 20 like his dad, whereas I am 100% paleo. I am eating Paleo so my autoimmune disease will stay in remission, and I’m just trying to keep Nico as healthy as possible.

Nico has had wild fermented sour dough from the farmer’s market, and he’s sure into it! It’s an occasional treat, but he’s into it. Another not-so- Laurel- like meal Nico has had is one of his dad’s quesadillas. We use The Real Coconut Tortillas (MY ABSOLUTE FAVE) and organic cheese with avocado and spinach. This is Nick’s ultimate dinner to whip up if I haven’t had a chance to cook. I just try and make sure as many side veggies as possible make it into Nico’s mouth. I make kale chips almost every night, so Nico usually eats lots of those.

Speaking of veggies, I’ve noticed Nico has gotten tired of broccoli and cauliflower which is such a bummer! These are my fave. I’ve mixed in cooked carrots, peas, and cucumber. Any seasoned mama’s have veggie ideas to throw my way?? I’m all ears.

xoxo, Laurel

Kiss Cookies \\ Sweet Laurel

Kiss Cookies

These Kiss Cookies are a fall favorite! Peanut Butter cookies are one of the ultimate classics. However, peanuts are inflammatory for many people, so this recipe keeps the chewy, nutty flavor without the nuts. Sunflower seed butter is creamier and lighter than peanut butter and the chocolate ganache center makes these absolutely heavenly! We’re completely addicted to these, and they’re perfect for a school bake sale!

Recipe makes 1 dozen cookies

Ingredients for the chocolate ganache

4 oz. 100% cacao unsweetened baking chocolate, roughly chopped

1/4 cup coconut oil, solid

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup almond butter, store bought or homemade

1/4 cup almond milk or full-fat coconut milk (or as needed)

Ingredients for the cookies

1 cup sunflower seed butter

1 large egg

1/2 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup arrowroot powder

3/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt

1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the chocolate ganache 

In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate and coconut oil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat. Slowly add the maple syrup and stir to incorporate. Allow to cool completely.

Next, transfer the chocolate mixture to a medium bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat in the almond butter until a thick frosting forms. Add the almond milk and stir with a spatula until smooth.

To make the cookie dough

Stir together the sunflower seed butter, egg, maple syrup, arrowroot powder, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl until a soft dough forms.

To complete the Kiss Cookies

After cookie dough prep, use your hands to take 1-2 tablespoons worth of dough and roll into a ball. Place on prepared cookie sheet and press your thumbprint into the center of the cookie. Fill with 1-2 teaspoons of ganache. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Bake 12-15 minutes.


Brownie Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Brownie Cake

My brother Paul invented this cake. He’s in law school, and whenever he comes over, I make him brownies because, gasp, he’s not a cake person. Can you imagine? Anyways, as I said, he invented this cake. He suggested I pair the brownies with our classic coconut whipped cream, and this delectable cake is the result. Enjoy!

*Note: This recipe requires coconut milk that has set in the fridge overnight*

Cake Ingredients

2 cup creamy almond or cashew butter

1 ¼ cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

½ cup cacao

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoons Himalayan pink salt

Coconut Whipped Cream Ingredients

2 cans 13.5 oz coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 350.

Line 3 six inch pans with parchment paper cut to fit the base of the pan. Grease pans with coconut oil.

Prepare the brownie layers by mixing the almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and eggs together. Mix until smooth. Stir in the cacao, baking soda and Himalayan pink salt. Pour into the three pans. Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

To prepare the coconut whipped cream, scoop the fat solids from each can of coconut milk into a bowl. Do not use the water that has settled to the base of the pan. Stir in maple syrup and vanilla extract.

To build the cake, place one layer of brownie on a serving plate. Top with about 2-3 tablespoons of coconut whipped cream. Repeat with remaining 2 layers.

Decor tip: Using a bar of 80-100% cacao, shave chocolate shreds over cake (you can use a cheese grater). You top the cake with pieces of the cacao like we did here. 😉

Sweet Laurel Cake, Coffee, + Tea Grand Opening

It’s finally here! Sweet Laurel is opening its first brick and mortar cake shop this Saturday, September 22nd in Palisades Village in Los Angeles. The shop will feature our grain free and paleo cakes and other treats, as well as coffee and tea! We can’t wait for you all to stop by for a little slice of heaven! XO

Fig Tart \\ Sweet Laurel

Fig Tart with Cashew Marscapone

I love figs. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I spy fig trees from a mile away and patiently wait until late summer or fall when I can pick the delicious fruit. I think it’s the Greek girl in me. The cashew mascarpone is beyond delicious, and a wonderful pairing with the figs. Enjoy this recipe!*

Note: This recipe requires coconut milk that has set in the fridge overnight and also cashew that need to soak for at least an hour*

Ingredients to make the crust:

2 cups + 2 tablespoons almond flour

1/2 tsp pink salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 egg

2 cups cashew mascarpone (recipe below)


1-2 pints figs


Preheat oven 350

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 lightly greased (you can use coconut oil) 8-9 inch tart pan.

Bake crust about 10 minutes. Remove from oven. While crust cools prepare coconut whipped cream.

Ingredients to make the cashew mascarpone:

2 ½ cups raw cashews (soaked about 1+ hour, drained and rinsed)

1/2 cup coconut or almond milk

½ cup +  2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1 can coconut milk refrigerated overnight, fat solids only


Place all the mascarpone ingredients except coconut milk solids in a high-speed blender. Blend until creamy, smooth texture is reached. Scoop mixture into a bowl and gently fold in coconut milk solids. Stir until smooth. Set aside for tart assembly.

To finish:

Place cooled tart crust on a serving plate. Scoop the mascarpone into the crust, and and using the back of a spoon, smooth to the edges of the crust. Top with sliced figs, a drizzle of honey and maybe some rosemary for accent. Store in refrigerator until serving time. Enjoy!