4 Frozen Recipes for the Fourth of July

Fire up the grill, fill up the kiddie pool, and put your apron on, because it’s the Fourth of July! Here are a few frozen treats to keep you cool while you enjoy a barbeque or marvel at a fireworks display – all free of the top eight food allergens!

GranitaPineapple Strawberry Granita

  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Purée strawberries in blender or food processor; pour in pineapple juice, blend and set aside. In small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let syrup cool, about 20 minutes. Whisk pineapple-strawberry mixture into sugar syrup and pour into to a shallow metal pan. Place pan in freezer, mixing with a fork every 30 minutes until frozen, about 2-3 hours.

Orange Juice Slushie

  • 1 cup rice beverage
  • 1 (6-oz.) can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 60 ice cubes, divided

In a blender, combine rice beverage, orange juice, vanilla extract, and sugar. Add 20 ice cubes and blend until ice is well-blended. Add another 20 ice cubes; blend again. Add remaining ice cubes and blend until the mixture is as thick as you want it to be.

Decadent Dark Chocolate Raspberry Sorbet

  • 2 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup plus 7 T. sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup plus 6 T. cocoa powder, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup milk-free margarine, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. raspberry extract

In large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Let boil, whisking frequently. Let boil, continue to whisk for 45 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in remaining cocoa poweder, sugar, margarine, vanilla and raspberry extracts, and remaining water. Whisk well.

Transfer mixture to a blender, and blend 15 seconds. Chill mixture overnight and then freeze it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Blueberry Ginger Sorbet

  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground or fresh ginger
  • 1 (16-oz.) package frozen unsweetened blueberries

In a small saucepan over high heat, heat water, sugar, and ginger, stirring until sugar dissolves. In blender, add blueberries and water mixture. Blend thoroughly. Pour into freezer-safe container and freeze overnight, or until firm.

FARE Kids Who Care: Making School More Food-Allergy-Friendly

Whether eating in the lunchroom or playing team sports, navigating food allergies at school can sometimes be hard for kids. Nicole Dunham and Ryan Smith each came up with fun and positive solutions to help meet their needs at school, and in turn were able to raise awareness about food allergies and make a difference. We hope you’ll share these stories with your children or friends to give them ideas of how they can inspire improvements and spread the word about food allergies in their schools too!

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High school senior Nicole Durham, a  cross country and track runner, didn’t let the abundance of shelled peanuts at sporting events stop her running career – even after having breathing issues that forced her to withdraw from a state race. This setback prompted her to focus her senior project on peanut allergy, with the goal of educating, creating awareness, and raising money to help researchers find a cure. As her final project, she successfully lobbied administrators to restrict the sale of shelled peanuts in her school district and at school activities. She also raised $1,000 for FARE by selling “No Nuts Allowed” water bottles, hosting a sweatpants/gym short day fundraiser, and collecting personal donations.

Read more about Nicole’s story in her own words.

ryansmithFirst-grader Ryan Smith won a raffle at his school to be “Principal for the Day.” That day, teachers could wear casual clothes if they made a donation to the charity of Ryan’s choosing. He chose FARE without hesitation, and collected extra donations from his 9-year-old sister and family. In addition to raising funds, the Smith family also helped push the school to offer milk-free pizza in the cafeteria. Even though they hit a few snags along the way, Ryan wasn’t willing to give up on working with the school nutrition office to provide a safe pizza. Now he and other students in the school with milk allergy can enjoy pizza along with their friends.

Nicole and Ryan should be proud of themselves for making a lasting impact on their schools that will help students with food allergies for years to come.

Take Me Out to the (Food Allergy-Friendly) Ballgame 2013

photo 1At baseball games across the U.S., thousands of fans may sing “buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks,” but for families managing food allergies, these traditional snacks can affect the decision about whether to attend a game in person. With shelled peanuts often found in the stands and other allergen-containing foods served throughout the ballpark, a baseball game can feel like an allergic reaction waiting to happen.

Luckily, many minor and major league teams are stepping up to the plate and hosting games that cater to families dealing with allergies.

There are a number of food-allergy-friendly baseball games coming up this summer. Check out the list below, and let us know if you have any additions of food-allergy-friendly games in your area. Be sure to check with the team/stadium about the specific accommodations they will be making.

View our list of baseball games for 2014 here. 

Major League

Minor League

You can also learn about new games as they are added by visiting FARE’s Regional Offices page on our website, where you can find a link to the FARE office nearest you with calendar listings of events.

View our list of baseball games for 2014 here. 

A Guardian Angel

medicA MedicAlert bracelet was responsible for the first fashion stand-off between my daughter, Nina, and me. She was three years old and allergic to peanuts. She did not take to the red lettering that I preferred.  “No red.  Pink. Pink. Pink. I want to wear the Pink!” (For those of you who have read the wonderful book “Ella Sarah Gets Dressed,” you’ll know just the tone of voice this was said in.)

Looking back now, eight years or so later as Nina prepares to graduate from fifth grade, I can’t believe I got into a tiff with my toddler over the color of the letters on her bracelet! But, to be fair to myself, I have to also remember that I was still a relatively new food allergy mom and that to me, so much was at stake in ordering this bracelet for my eldest daughter. This bracelet was to be her guardian angel. It was to guide others on how to save her life if I wasn’t there. The letters had to be red and vibrant and attention-getting; who would ever see those faint pink letters?

Well, I finally got my red letters, but not until bracelet #3, when I was several years into our food allergy journey and much more relaxed about the colors:  the order went pink, lavender, and finally red.

What convinced me to give in on the color choice (besides Nina and her strong-willed Scorpio self), was the wonderful MedicAlert representative, who knew all the right questions to ask, all the right information to include on the bracelet, and who made me feel like there really would be guardian angels on the other end of the line should Nina need them. I realized in talking to her that the most important thing was that Nina wear her bracelet always – it had to become a part of her, and if pink was going to help make that easier, then pink was our color.

I don’t think that first bracelet left Nina’s tiny wrist for almost a year.  When her younger sister, Daniella, started getting into the fashion scene at age two a year later, she wanted to know how come I hadn’t bought HER a pretty bracelet like Nina’s. Hmpf!

So much has changed in how we manage Nina’s food allergies now that she’s off to middle school. It is now a partnership between us, and that feels so good. One thing never changes, however, and that is the need to always be prepared:  epinephrine always at her side most importantly, care and caution when choosing foods, and educating those around her – MedicAlert has been such an important ally for our family in this third, critical step.

For more information about MyVoice, the new program from MedicAlert and FARE, visit www.medicalert.org/fare.

Maria Acebal is a member of FARE’s Board of Directors and the former CEO of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. Her daughter Nina is allergic to peanuts. 

Father’s Day Guest Post: Pete and Dave, Founders of Skeeter Snacks

Dave & RemyIn this special Father’s Day guest post, food allergy dad Dave Leyrer discusses why all dads need to be educated about food allergies. Dave partnered with another food allergy dad, Pete Najarian, to start Skeeter Snacks, a line of cookies and snacks made specifically for those with tree nut and peanut allergies.

Tell us about your family and the food allergies affecting your family.

My wife and I have two children, and our 4-year-old son Remy is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. Pete and his wife have two kids as well and his 12-year-old daughter Abby is also allergic to tree nuts and peanuts.

How do you manage food allergies in your family? What have been your biggest challenges?

At different ages you employ different strategies. With Remy we teach his older sister to be his advocate and protector as he learns what to avoid. Abby is older so the challenges are different—with pre-teens the job seems to be more about getting her to slow down and remember her allergies and to avoid peer pressure.

What advice would you give to other dads with kids with food allergies?

This is a team effort, and dads have to be as involved as moms. For example, dads who coach sports are often responsible for snack decisions for an entire team, and on most teams there are a variety of different allergies that need to be addressed. We think that all dads need to know about food allergies because whether their kids are allergic or not they are probably going to be tasked with providing snacks for allergic kids at one point or another.

Studies have shown that moms and dads react differently to food allergies in their families. In your experience, is that the case?  

There’s a perception that guys are a bit lazier on the margin, so some might think that dads don’t take it as seriously as we should. But in our experience dads are really on top of things. Pete and I probably take it more seriously than some dads considering we started a company that makes the kind of products we couldn’t find for our kids! Remy and Abby are the reasons we started Skeeter Snacks. We were frustrated consumers; we couldn’t believe that a brand didn’t exist that made it easy to be safe.

From all of us at FARE, we’d like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to Pete, Dave, and all food allergy dads!

EDITOR’s NOTE:  Skeeter Snacks is a FARE Corporate Partner and their products can be found at many of our FARE Walks for Food Allergy. 

Father’s Day Guest Post: Trials and Triumphs of a Peanut Allergy Dad

In honor of Father’s Day, we asked Michigan dad Tim Burns to write a guest blog post for us about what it’s like to be a father to a daughter with food allergies. Read on for Tim’s advice to other food allergy dads, and to learn more about a Halloween event that he spearheaded in his community geared toward creating an inclusive experience for kids with food allergies.
tim burns

Tell us about the food allergies in your family and how you manage the day to day challenges they can present.

A few years ago I was a first-time dad juggling the responsibilities of being a parent with a demanding professional career. Our twin son and daughter spent most of their weekdays either at daycare or being looked after by one of their grandmothers while my wife and I were at work.

One nice summer day I decided to take a day off to enjoy with my kids. My wife called me around lunch time. She had never given our children peanut butter before because she was worried about all the things she had read on the Internet about food allergies. She asked me to give some to my son and daughter so that if there was a problem I would be there to deal with it rather than a daycare provider or one of our mothers. I remember telling her it couldn’t be that big of a deal – no one in our family had food allergies, and I hadn’t heard anything about peanut allergies, so how bad could it be? Half an hour later I was in the emergency room dealing with a life-or-death situation; my 18-month-old daughter’s eyes and throat had swollen shut as she went into anaphylaxis from a severe reaction to the peanut butter I had given her.

It has been more than two years since that traumatic food allergy reaction. My daughter is four years old now and doing fine. Interestingly, her twin brother doesn’t have any food allergies. Here are a  few  ways we manage her food allergy:

  • not allowing peanut/tree nut ingredients or products that may contain these allergens into our house;
  • avoiding going to high risk places;
  • not letting her eat foods that were prepared in someone else’s home;
  • being active with informing people about her condition, and;
  • reading lots and lots of ingredient and warning labels.

Many of the changes impacting our family have been “little” things that I had simply taken for granted in the past. For example, I’m a big Detroit Tigers fan and going to the ballpark was a regular date night for my wife and me before we had kids. I had been planning on buying season tickets for our family. Now we only go as a family to the one baseball game a year where the Tigers sell tickets to a peanut allergy-friendly suite.  We don’t go out to get ice cream or buy dessert at restaurants because of ingredient and cross-contact issues. I rarely read ingredient labels before my daughter’s food allergy, now that’s standard operating procedure before she eats anything.

The biggest challenges with our daughter’s food allergy have been her own understanding of it and others peoples’ responses to it. My daughter knows she can’t eat “nuts” or she will get sick and have to go to the hospital, but she still really doesn’t grasp the details and dangers that this presents. I worry that if someone offered her candy or a cookie she would take it and eat it without thinking about it. Our other big challenge is that businesses often don’t understand that food can be dangerous without having peanuts as an ingredient because of cross-contact.

What advice would you give to other dads with kids who have food allergies?

Speak up! Most people don’t understand the seriousness and complexity of severe food allergies. I have to say that I was clueless myself until our family was impacted. You need to be your child’s most vigilant advocate by educating everyone and being willing to say no to others when it presents a risk to your child. It’s not easy or comfortable having to constantly speak up to a teacher or other parents to require and enforce rules that safeguard your child, but if you don’t do it, no else is likely to stand up for you.

Also it is unacceptable for your child to be excluded or isolated because of their food allergy. My daughter’s preschool started sending her to the office during snack time so they wouldn’t have to take precautions for her in the classroom. I stopped that quickly and we switched schools the next year. Be alert for behavior that excludes your child, and be prepared to intervene.

Food allergies don’t make life worse, they just make it different. We actually eat healthier now because we have more of a focus on our diet. Help your family make the best of the situation!

Studies show that moms and dads react differently to food allergies in their families.  In your experience is that the case?

My wife is definitely more active in researching information concerning my daughter’s food allergy than me. She is also more protective when it comes to restricting my daughter’s activities to limit her exposure to potentially dangerous situations. I don’t want my daughter to grow up in fear of her allergy, so I am more open to allowing her to go places and try things, as long as we take precautions to be safe.  I believe my wife and I do a nice job of balancing each other’s tendencies so that my daughter can experience a childhood that is both fun and safe.

Tell us about the Trick-or-Treasure event you started in your community.

Taking my daughter trick-or-treating has to be the most nerve-racking experience of my life. I try to stand in front of her to screen the candy first, but people have given her peanut butter cups before I could say anything, or have tried to give them to her even when I’ve said no. Some people have even argued with me at their doorstep that food allergies aren’t that big of a deal.

I loved Halloween as a kid and didn’t want my daughter, or other kids like her, to not be able to enjoy it, so I partnered with local businesses to create Trick-or-Treasure. This event allows children to go trick-or-treating for candy that has been prescreened to avoid peanuts and tree nuts, as well as comic books, toys, and other fun trinkets. Last year, we had Star Wars characters take photos with the kids, a bowling alley gave out passes for free games, and a magician made balloon animals.

This Halloween will be the third year we’ll he holding Trick-or-Treasure and we are expanding the event beyond peanut/tree nut to screen the candy we give out for the eight most common allergens. I don’t want to see any child ever have to be excluded from a fun time because of a food allergy. Helping local kids be able to enjoy Halloween has probably been my biggest success as a peanut allergy dad.

Thanks to Tim for encouraging inclusion for kids with food allergies in his community and for sharing this great advice with us. Happy Father’s Day!

Read more about Tim’s Halloween “Trick or Treasure” event>

FARE Food Allergy Fundraising Champion: David Serle

serleFood allergy moms and dads are often compared to superheroes: constantly on guard, protecting their kids and sometimes saving the day or even a life. But they’re also human, and can make mistakes. A mistake that David Serle made with his daughter Emma inspired him to start a project that is not only raising funds for FARE, but is also helping him to grow closer to his daughter and inspiring others.

It started one day while David was trying to help Emma become more independent and make breakfast for herself. In his haste, he pulled the wrong box of waffles from the freezer. The waffles contained wheat and egg, both of which Emma is allergic. David’s wife took Emma to the hospital to treat her reaction, and luckily Emma recovered, but David was devastated by his error.

As a way to apologize and show Emma through his actions that he was sorry, David decided to take on a challenge: to “Eat Like Emma” for 10 weeks. For every week that he avoids gluten, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, and shellfish, he will donate $5 to FARE.

Even more remarkable, David has recruited others to “Eat Like Emma.” Seven weeks after starting the challenge, 25 people have taken a pledge to change their diet along with him. We asked David to tell us more about his idea:

What is your connection to food allergies?

My 8-year-old daughter is allergic to wheat/gluten, egg, all nuts, sesame and shellfish.

Tell us about your fundraiser. How did you think of the idea?

Mostly from guilt. I felt horrible and instead of just saying sorry, I wanted to make sure this never happened again. I wanted to say sorry through action, not just words. So I came up with the idea to make a Facebook page and challenge myself, as well as others, to try to eat like Emma for one week.

How can others get involved?

They can share their stories on www.eatlikeemma.com or they may challenge themselves to eat like Emma for one week.

Why did you decide to get involved with FARE in particular?

I do the FARE Walk for Food Allergy every year in Miami and I really love the resources and education that FARE provides.

What’s been the best part about running this event/fundraiser?

Bringing awareness to people who would not otherwise know how serious food allergies can be. By educating and bringing awareness to food allergies, maybe the bullying and the rolling of eyes will stop when ordering at restaurants and asking for ingredients. Food allergies are not a choice.

Thank you to David and his supporters for their success thus far. If you’d like to “Eat Like Emma,” please visit www.eatlikeemma.com or contact your regional office for more information on how to set up a campaign of your own!

FARE Kids Who Care: Charlie Porter

charlieOne of our key advocacy initiatives this year involves expanding the availability of epinephrine auto-injectors in schools. More than 20 states already have laws or guidelines in place allowing schools to have on hand “stock” epinephrine, which is not prescribed to a specific student, but can be used for any student or staff member in an anaphylactic emergency.

Washington state joined that group in April with the help of Charlie Porter and his mother Sally.

Charlie is allergic to peanuts, soy and peas; Sally is the Food Allergy Chair of her school’s PTA and a tireless food allergy advocate. Sally worked with State Sen. Mark Mullet to help pass the new legislation in Washington, which will greatly increase schools’ ability to provide life-saving medication for students.

Charlie did his part by bravely testifying before the state legislature, talking to the legislators about food allergies and demonstrating how to use an auto-injector. On May 16, 2013, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill into law at a ceremony at his office in Olympia.

We talked to Charlie about what it was like to advocate for this law:

What’s it like having food allergies?

It can be hard because people say I am missing out on peanut candy like Snickers.

How did you get involved with the stock epinephrine law in Washington? Why was it was important to you?

Because my mom was one of the people who helped make this law. My mom thought I should get involved. I heard stories about how kids died from food allergies and I didn’t want that to happen anymore. Everyone should be safe in school.

What was it like to talk in front of the state legislature?

I was very nervous. I didn’t know if I was saying the right things. It was my first time speaking in front of very important people. They were all very nice and they clapped for me. When they talked about it on the House Floor, one representative said, “If a nine-year-old can do it, anyone can.”

I really like the law we worked on – we worked hard. It was really fun to be there and see the governor sign it into law.  He even said my name to the cameras. It is a moment I will never forget.

Do you think other kids could do the same thing? What would your advice be to them?

Yes, I think other kids could do it easily. I would tell them, “Don’t be nervous – It’ll be great! Practice with someone you trust and remember what you practice.”

Thank you to Charlie and Sally for their hard work in passing this important bill in Washington!

Just two weeks ago on May 22, 2013, the federal School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act (H.R. 2094) was reintroduced into Congress. This bill encourages states to adopt laws requiring schools to have on hand “stock” epinephrine auto-injectors. It’s now critical to build support for federal legislation, whether or not your state has already passed a bill. Please contact your U.S. Representative and urge them to support this important legislation!

For information on how to contact your U.S. representative about the H.R. 2094 bill, please visit our website.