I am thrilled to share with you all today a guest post from my very sweet friend Leanne Vogel from the site Healthful Pursuit! She's quite the recipe developer, I think you will enjoy her work as much as I do. When she mentioned to me the idea for these bars I just knew they needed to be shared with you! Enjoy. -Brittany-
Gee willikers, I'm so excited to be here today! Getting to work with Brittany is a dream come true. She's quite the inspiring lady!
Do you feel like you're a slave to your food allergies? Do you feel restricted - like you're missing out on a bunch of awesomeness by living without grains, gluten, sugar, corn, animal products, dairy, or nuts?
Boo on that. Thumbs down.
I'm all about Food Freedom - a way of living where struggles, restrictions and deprivations are replaced with kindness, radiance and pleasure. How can you capture a bit of Food Freedom for yourself?
- Feel free. Transform one of your favorite recipes into an allergen-free masterpiece. Don't think you can pull it off? Google a healthy version of the recipe. These days, I bet it exists somewhere.
- Inject your life with gratitude. List 10 things that you're thankful for and why you're thankful for them - what would life be like without these things? I betcha you have a lot of awesomeness around you!
- Kill it with kindness. When you wake up tomorrow, be kind to yourself. Take 5 minutes to just hang out in bed. These 5 minutes of calm in your morning can boost your digestion and help your body heal from its food sensitivities!
Out of all the sensitivities, allergies and varying eating styles out there, dairy is one of the heaviest hitters - the allergen that many of us experience and that challenges Food Freedom to the very core.
After a decade of being dairy-free and learning what it takes to thrive on the diet; along with being allergic to a host of other foods, I created the Done with Dairy Toolkit ñ a (free) guide to living dairy-free with loads of dairy-free recipes and health tips from yours truly. All of the recipes are gluten-free, too!
With a couple of strategies on infusing your life with a bit of Food Freedom, and the Done with Dairy Toolkit on your side, I have no doubt that anyone; no matter their food struggles, can bust through any recipe or restriction with an allergen-free fist!
To give you a taste of the dairy-free recipes you'll find on my Done with Dairy Toolkit I've prepared some ultra yummy toffee bars, just for you. No milk included, no refined sugar included, just pure, wholesome ingredients.
Homemade (dairy-free) caramel made of honey and nut butter and tossed with toasted hazelnuts, cinnamon and vanilla.
- 3/4 cup pure honey
- 1 cup roasted almond butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the flesh from 2 vanilla beans
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup toasted hazelnuts (skin removed), chopped
- To toast and skin the hazelnuts: Spread the nuts in a single layer on a a baking sheet. Bake at 325F until they give off an aroma, and their skins are brown and split, about 10 minutes. Check the nuts every few minutes and shake them so that they toast evenly and do not burn. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool to room temperature. Place them between two clean kitchen towels and begin to rub the towels together. The skins will come off with the friction, leaving clean and toasted nuts. Don't worry if there's a bit of extra skin on the nuts. Chop them roughly and set aside.
- Now, to make the toffee! Line a 8x8 square pan with parchment paper across both sides for easy lifting and set aside.
- Place honey in a medium saucepan and cook over low-medium heat, stirring constantly until it reaches a simmer. The honey should begin to foam. This is okay! Just donít stop stirring. Continue to stir for another 6-8 minutes. The longer you allow this mixture to cook, the more brittle your toffee. If you want it chewy, stop at the 5 minute mark. If you want it brittle-like (as I did) cook for a full 8 minutes.
- Add almond butter and extract. Turn the heat to the lowest setting. Continue stirring until it begins to thicken, about 1 minute.
- Add the nuts. Mix until combined. Then, quickly drop into the prepared pan, smooth out with the back of a spoon - do all of this as quickly as possible before it sets! Place in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up.
- Using the corners of the parchment, lift the toffee out of the pan and cut into 16 squares. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freezer for up to a month.
Although I have not tested it myself, some substitution ideas include:
- Replace honey with coconut nectar or maple syrup to make vegan.
- Use any type of nut butter. Coconut butter would be really nice!
- If you're allergic to nuts, you could use sunflower seed butter and a combination of hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and toasted sunflower seeds in place of the nuts.
- Add almond extract for extra goodness.
Author bio: Leanne Vogel is a holistic nutritionist who has chosen to celebrate her allergies, overcome her food restrictions, release her negative relationship with food and live freely. You can find her living out her journey as she documents her latest adventures on her blog, www.healthfulpursuit.com.
Connect with LeanneÖ