At Sweet Laurel, we might be best known for our decadent grain-free layer cakes, cinnamon-dusted snickerdoodles, or double-chocolate brownies. But when we’ve frosted our last jam cake of the day, our minds turn to dinner, just like any other home cook. Well, not just dinner. Though our sweet tooth is mighty, we love the savory just as much: brunch, lunch, breads, salads, pizzas, dips, platters—anything you find bouncing around between the cookie crumbs. Just as we believe everyone should be able to have a slice of cake on their birthday, no matter their journey or challenges with food, we also believe everyone should be able to enjoy pancakes in bed or a fun Taco Tuesday.
So many who have found Sweet Laurel have come to us because they feel a connection to our personal struggle with chronic health conditions. It’s easy to feel alone in the struggle to understand your body and what it needs, or like you have to put your life on hold to accommodate those needs, but Sweet Laurel is and has always been about the freedom and ability to enjoy everyday decadence.
In 2012, Laurel was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid. In Laurel’s case, her digestive system, hormone levels, and energy were catastrophically affected. She couldn’t eat without experiencing severe stomach pain, she could barely climb a flight of stairs, and she was told she may never have children. She was ready for a change. When Laurel’s doctor told her to remove all grains, gluten, refined sugar, soy, legumes, and dairy from her diet to adhere to a strict paleo protocol, she had the same question most people ask: Well, what
can I eat, then?
When she began to do research, she discovered the many magical superfoods that have power to heal, as well as add to everyday deliciousness. She began what she calls her “healing through food” protocol. Being on such a strict diet meant Laurel cooked most of her meals at home, and living within that scenario, she became very well versed in what it looks like to have a kitchen free of gluten, grains, refined sugar, and dairy.
After a few months, Laurel began to develop recipes for things she missed the most—at first
it was mainly cakes, cookies, and brownies. Then came tea sandwiches, crostini, sweet potato rolls, and finally pizza and bread. With these nourishing wholesome recipes, Laurel began to heal.
Meanwhile, Claire’s body can easily tolerate dairy, grains, and pretty much anything else, yet she still adores Sweet Laurel food. Of course, we have a large base that follows a strict diet that eliminates wheat, dairy, corn, soy, refined sugar, gums, and/or fillers. We are sometimes surprised to hear that our customers can tolerate gluten and grains just fine, but they’re searching for options that are less inflammatory and generally healthier. For some, our food is a solution, and for others, it’s just wholesome and nutritious. One of the most rewarding parts of this journey has been facing these food restrictions by using creativity to build more inclusive food practices with a simple approach—one that never equates to sacrifice.
A few years later, Laurel’s autoimmune disease is in complete remission—and we have not one but two cookbooks to share with you. About This Book
This book contains multitudes of healthy and delicious foods, along with adaptable practices for becoming a daily cook and baker. Grain-free baking is broken down and more approachable than ever.
We start with basic, core baking recipes, which are the foundation for the meals you’ll find later in the book. We then cover the meals you can make with our baking recipes, plus a few recipes to pair with our baked goods. From weeknight favorites to celebratory holiday entrées, comfort foods to chic brunch buffet spreads—our hope is that your home-cooked discoveries will fill the needs of your hearts and homes and inform your cooking and baking for years to come.
We’ve gone through our families’ recipes scrawled on index cards, unearthed our personal stashes of vintage cookbooks, and recalled our favorite meals we grew up eating. This cookbook is a deeply personal extension of our first cookbook and of the Sweet Laurel brand. Each recipe is meant to be accessible, delicious, and crowd-pleasing. You can enjoy this food at a fancy brunch with friends or on the couch with your partner. We hope you love these recipes as much as we do.
Copyright © 2021 by Laurel Gallucci and Claire Thomas. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.