I can not believe I have been blogging for over three years and have never attempted a healthy caramel slice! I think when I started blogging caramel slice was a really big thing and so I felt like I would have been absolutely drowned out by the millions of other recipes on the internet and I just never bothered. I’m also not the biggest fan of caramel, caramel is much too sweet for me. Even when I eat the healthy vegan versions I can’t seem to eat too much without feeling slightly sick. I figured however that adding some tahini to the caramel would help balance out some of the sweetness because tahini has a bitterness about it. I love tahini but fail to use it anywhere near as often as I should ( unless it’s in hummus) I also added macadamias because my husband loves them and they turned out to be amazing! not overly sweet at all. Our toddler loved them so much he would happily have an entire slice all to himself, which is a lot for him. I love that the entire recipe can be made in the same food processor which cuts down on clean up and comes together really quickly! I think I made the whole dessert start to finish in under 10 minutes. The dessert is gluten-free, refined sugar-free and dairy free.
Every time I do any recipe related to tahini or sesame seeds I remember the very beginning of my health journey when I was still in a very dark place, with no idea as to what I was actually dealing with. I’ve mentioned before that when I first started struggling with my health my aunty who is a doctor advised me to eat 1 TBSP of ground up sesame seeds every day to help with my low calcium levels ( sesame seeds are very high in calcium). I didn’t even know tahini existed back then! if I did, I may have been better at following her advice. However, I look back to those times and remember that it was an absolute struggle to eat anything at all. My low magnesium levels made an already very fussy eater struggle to eat even more and then a few short months later I entered into antidepressant withdrawal reaction that made me absolutely terrified of food. During that time I was so afraid of eating that I might as well have had an eating disorder even though I didn’t (Food anxiety is a common withdrawal side effect from the particular antidepressant that I took – Paxil or paroxetine). I struggled with food anxiety and very low appetite for around three years. At the worst of it, I would have a near panic attack before each meal. I truly believe the antidepressant withdrawals hindered my recovery. Because of the antidepressants, I was unable to eat and assimilate food properly for years which meant it was difficult for me to eat enough to help balance my hormones. I hated food so much. I had lost so much weight because I just could not eat and my nausea was so intense (worse than morning sickness while pregnant) that it was difficult not to be afraid that if I ate I would vomit, and if I vomited it would cause me to lose more weight which would make me feel more ugly and would make me feel like a failure. Being skinny not only made me feel ugly but it also forced me to see what I really was, which was sick. I desperately did not want to be sick and I tried very hard to convince myself otherwise especially since nobody knew what was wrong with me.
That anxious thought cycle stayed with me for years. I became obsessed with eating healthy, (which was great and it was something that needed to happen) The healthier I ate the better I felt but it also meant that I panicked whenever I had to eat something unhealthy. I was convinced that the only reason my body was holding it together was because of my healthy diet and if I ever let go of that, even for one meal, I would break to pieces again. It wasn’t until I was having a mini panic attack on the phone with my mum about having to go eat out at a restaurant and Mum told me the words that I desperately needed to hear “food will never hurt you, it will only help you.” Although what she said may not be true for everyone, it was true for me because I was so deprived of food that literally any food would have helped me at that stage. This was the beginning of my learning to enjoy my food again. Not long after that, I went on a long European holiday with my husband. I was forced to eat junk while travelling for 6 weeks and although my digestion did suffer a little, I didn’t break down! My body was able to carry on despite 6 weeks of eating utter crap. Once I realized that my body was strong enough, I finally, after a very long three years, let my food anxiety go. I will most likely write a dedicated blog post about my food anxiety soon as I am coming to realize that food anxiety is much more common than people are aware.
|Rae Vegan Salted Tahini & Macadamia Caramel Slice|| |
- 1 cup macadamia nuts
- 1 cup pitted dates
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- 1¼ cup pitted dates
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 TBSP almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt or sea salt
- CHOCOLATE TOPPING:
- 4 TBSP coconut oil
- 3 TBSP cacao powder
- 3 TBSP maple syrup
- drop vanilla extract
- sea salt flakes for sprinkling ( optional)
- Break down the macadamia nuts in a food processor until they are a crumb. Add dates and shredded coconut and process again until sticky.
- Press mixture down onto the bottom of a square cake tin and set aside
- For the filling add all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until a thick but smooth caramel filling forms. Add more almond milk if the mixture is not smooth enough.
- Spread out filling over the base as evenly as you can with a spatula and set aside.
- For the chocolate coating, meltdown coconut oil if not already liquid and mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over the caramel layer and smooth out evenly.
- Place in freezer to set for 1-2 hours.
- Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and cut into slices.