Find Your Food Allergy BFFs

walkwomenYou have friends you exercise with, go on vacation with, and spend nights out with, but do you have friends who are also managing food allergies? Whether you branch out and make new “food allergy friends” in your town, or you connect online, it’s beneficial to build your support network. Having someone to talk to about challenges you’re facing, swap recipes, and trade tips is invaluable in the day-to-day management of food allergies.

Here are a few ways you can start building or expand your group of food allergy friends and confidants:

  • FARE Events

While all of FARE’s information and resources are available for free online, we know the value of gathering the food allergy community in person. That’s why we host events across the country to bring people together to learn, connect, and raise funds to support our mission. Here are just a few examples of the types of FARE events you can attend with your family and friends:

FARE Walk for Food Allergy Events

FARE Walks for Food Allergy are family-friendly events taking place in more than 60 communities nationwide in 2014. Walks are a great chance to meet other families in your community who are managing food allergies, as well as raise funds for food allergy research, education, advocacy and awareness. Register for a Walk at www.foodallergywalk.org.

Teen Summit

  1. The 9th Annual Teen Summit is a 3-day event, being held November 7-9, 2014 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., that gives teens living with food allergies a chance to meet with other teens from across the country. There is also a sibling and parent track for family members to share their experiences and learn from some of our great speakers. You can hear about teens’ experiences at the summit by reading page 11 of our Summer edition of Food Allergy News. Register at http://www.foodallergy.org/teensummit.

FARE National Food Allergy Conference

This annual conference gathers the country’s leading food allergy experts and members of the food allergy community together for a weekend of world-class programming. The 2015 conference is scheduled for May 16-17 in Long Beach, California and registration will open in winter of 2014. Learn more about the 2014 conference at http://www.foodallergy.org/conference.

  • Support Groups

Online and in-person support groups can provide advice specific to your community, such as suggestions for local restaurants, products, and events.

Search FARE’s support group directory for a group in your area.

  • Blogs

Even if you’ve never met your favorite bloggers, you feel like you know them after learning so much about their lives online, and reading their blogs can start to feel like checking in with old friends. Food allergy bloggers are a great source for laughs, recipes, news and opinions about hot topics in food allergies. We’ve listed just a few blogs covering different topic areas here to get you started, and we encourage you to share your favorite food allergy blogs in the comments section!

Research

Food Allergy Mom Doc

Food Allergy Sleuth

Advocacy

The Grateful Foodie

Allergic Girl

Food Allergy Buzz

Food Allergy Mama

Oh Mah Deehness!

Parenting

The Nut-Free Mom

The Food Allergy Mom

Mom Versus Food Allergy

Mothernova

Allergic Kid

Multiple Food Allergy Help

Cooking and Recipes

Making it Milk Free

Don’t Feed My Monkeys

Our Life as an Epi Family

CAFE (Celiac & Allergy Friendly Epicurian)

Food Allergy Feast

Cybele Pascal – The Allergy Friendly Cook

EBL Food Allergies

Nut Free Wok

Adults with Food Allergies

Adventures of an Allergic Foodie

Franny Cakes

The Diary of Ana Phylaxis

Teens with Food Allergies

Food Allergy Froggie

Teen FAAB

Miles with M.E.

Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly

Raising Jack with Celiac

Ginger Lemon Girl

Angela’s Kitchen

Do you have any favorite food allergy blogs? List them in the comments section!

However you choose to reach out and connect to others in the food allergy community – we encourage you to make the effort. Good friends are truly invaluable to have by your side as you’re managing the day-to-day of living with food allergies.

Allergy-Friendly Father’s Day Barbeque Recipes

Let Dad spend time doing what he does best – man the grill at your Father’s Day barbeque! These food allergy-friendly recipes for steak marinade and potato salad are perfect for dads and guests alike and free of the top eight food allergens.

Milk-free, Egg-free, Wheat-free, Peanut-free, Tree nut-free, Soy-free, Fish-free, Shellfish-free (Free of the Top Eight food allergens)

Steak Marinade

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (for soy-free), or tamari/wheat-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger, minced
  • 1 lb. steak (flank steak recommended)

In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce or balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, garlic, red wine vinegar, pepper, and ginger. Place steak in glass dish or large plastic bag; pour marinade over steak and cover or seal for several hours or overnight.

Spicy Potato Salad

  • 4 large red potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 (8 3/4-oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 6 green olives, sliced

Cook potatoes in boiling water 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Drain. Set aside until cool to touch. Cut potatoes into cubes; place in large bowl. Set aside. In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt; pour over potatoes. Toss gently. Cover and chill 1 hour. Stir in corn, carrots, and olives.

We hope you and your family have a great Father’s Day!

Recipe Rehab’s Chef Vikki Krinsky Talks to FARE About Cooking with Food Allergies

RR8525_STILL_08In this weekend’s special food allergy episode of the CBS morning show, “Recipe Rehab,” Chef Vikki Krinsky will attempt to make the Savant family’s carrot cake recipe healthier and safe for two children who have multiple food allergies. She’ll go head-to-head with another chef to see which made-over recipe is the family’s favorite. Check local listings to see when the program is airing in your city.

We recently caught up with Chef Vikki to talk to her about how she became a chef, her experience working with families managing food allergies, and her tips for creating nutritious and delicious meals!

Tell us about yourself and how you became a chef.

I am a private chef in Los Angeles, and my approach and theory is all about balance and portion-based meals that limit certain foods but don’t completely eliminate them. This way of living allows us to maintain a healthy lifestyle while managing our cravings, which we all have!

Formerly an actress, I was discovered at the age of 16 and worked on a couple television series, including “Edgemont” in Canada and Lifetime’s “Wild Card” here in the U.S.

At a pivotal moment in my teenage career, I was told to lose weight. Initially disheartened, I picked myself up and had a revelation – I would put aside acting and focus on educating myself on the benefits of healthy eating. I booked a one-way trip to Europe with a debit card, a week’s worth of clothes, and two books on nutrition. On my second day in Paris, a local chef took me under his wing and within a month I was apprenticing throughout Europe. With a new-found passion and knowledge, I returned to the U.S. in search of a kitchen. Good fortune struck again and I found a part-time job with a private chef service in Beverly Hills. Long nights of self-taught technique and hard work, coupled with great mentors in my life, eventually I learned the art of cooking delicious and nutritious food. I have been working exclusively with Seth MacFarlane for several years and wake up smiling everyday because I love my job!

I am lucky enough to be starring on Everyday Health’s Emmy-nominated show “Recipe Rehab,” where I share my passion by leaning on my own personal experience to improve the health, happiness and body image of my clients with fans every Saturday morning on CBS stations.

Tell us about the experience cooking for the Savant family.

As a nutrition-based chef I really enjoyed working with the Savant family because the challenge in finding alternative ways to create delicious classic favorites is both exciting and satisfying. I see it as a beautiful opportunity to help motivate and encourage others to live a healthier lifestyle through their food choices.

RR8525_STILL_03

When you have a client with a food allergy, how do you make sure they are getting the nutrition they need, while also avoiding the foods to which they’re allergic? What advice do you have for families in avoiding nutritional pitfalls?

There are unlimited ways to get the proper nutrition, but it is very important to educate yourself on how. For me, I enjoy reading an array of articles based on my client’s food allergy, so my wheels are always turning. My advice is to use this opportunity to educate yourself and be creative in the kitchen. Don’t look at it like what you can’t eat but rather what you can and enjoy the creative process.

Preventing cross-contact in the kitchen is crucial to making safe meals. What is the best way to keep your home kitchen safe? 

Honestly, I think it’s a lifelong investment to buy multiple sets of equipment. To be very aware of use in the kitchen and creating food stations can also be very helpful.

Sometimes people with food allergies, especially kids, can get into a rut with eating the same safe foods all the time. What’s a way they can jazz up some of their staple snacks and meals?

A great way to jazz up snacks and meals is by using different techniques. For example: pureeing carrots, steaming carrots, chopping carrots, eating carrots raw. There are a million things to do with carrots; it’s fun coming up with different ways to eat them. Think outside the box! Another great option to jazz up staples is to find alternative ways to play with your food – celery stalks filled with hummus or other vegetable purees, lettuce leaves filled with ground chicken, bell peppers or tomatoes filled with brown rice and crumbled feta cheese. Using vegetables and fruits to fill up with your favorite ingredients can make eating veggies so much more enjoyable!

Thanks to Chef Vikki for this great information, and we look forward to seeing which chef wins the challenge on the show this weekend!

Allergy-Friendly Passover and Easter Recipes

For many, Easter and Passover herald the beginning of spring and bring together family for special meals to mark the holidays. Our Passover lasagna is a great way to use up leftover matzo, or as a meal during the week. Blueberry-Peach Upside-Down Cake makes a great addition to Easter brunch. And our spring punch is a refreshing beverage to serve to children and adults alike!

Passover Lasagna
Milk-free, Egg-free, Peanut-free, Soy-free, Tree nut-free

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 2 (10-oz.) packages frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (26-oz.) jar meatless tomato sauce (homemade or a jar kosher for Passover)
  • 6 to 8 Passover matzo boards

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until opaque. Add garlic and turkey; saute until browned. Stir in spinach and salt and pepper to taste. Blend ingredients well and remove from heat.

Pour 1/2 cup tomato sauce into 9×12-inch pan. Moisten 3 to 4 matzo boards under running water. Do not allow them to become soggy. Place each matzo board in baking pan, covering tomato sauce with layer of matzo. Top with half turkey mixture. Pour half of remaining tomato sauce over turkey. Moisten remaining matzo boards and layer over tomato sauce. Follow with remaining turkey mixture and remaining sauce. Bake 30 minutes.

Blueberry-Peach Upside-Down Cake
Milk-free, Egg-free, Peanut-free, Soy-free, Tree nut-free

  • 1 (15-oz.) can sliced peaches
  • 1/4 cup milk-free, soy-free margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 packet plain gelatin
  • 2 T. warm water
  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain peaches, reserving half cup liquid. Set aside. Spread margarine in bottom of 8-inch round cake pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange peaches and blueberries on top of brown sugar. Set aside. In large bowl, cream together sugar and shortening. In small cup, dissolve gelatin into warm water. Beat into shortening mixture. Set aside. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with reserved peach liquid. Mix well. Carefully pour mixture over peaches and blueberries. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate.

Spring Punch
Milk-free, Egg-free, Wheat-free, Peanut-free, Soy-free, Tree nut-free

  • 1 (2-liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled
  • 1 (12-oz.) can frozen pink lemonade concentrate

In large bowl, add ginger ale and pink lemonade concentrate, stirring until combined. Serve immediately. Ice may be added, if desired.

Suggestion: Use lemon-lime soda or carbonated water in place of ginger ale.

Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving and Hanukkah Recipes

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are both holidays with long-standing traditions – and this year they fall at the same time on the calendar. Whether your traditions involve turkey, lighting the menorah, or football, it’s a time to celebrate with friends and family. Here are a few recipes for holiday classics to help you maintain long-standing culinary traditions while creating some new allergy-friendly ones! If you’d like to talk more about holiday meal preparation, join our Twitter chat on November 19! More details here.

Thanksgiving Recipes

Leftover Turkey Casserole

  • pastry dough for 9-inch double-crust pie*
  • 1/2 cup milk-free margarine
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup soymilk, divided
  • 2 cups chicken broth*
  • 3 cups cooked turkey, cubed
  • 3 potatoes, cooked, peeled, and cubed
  • 1 (16-oz.) package frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Preheat oven to 375°. Divide the pastry dough in half. Roll out half of the dough on lightly floured surface into 14-inch circle. Gently fit rolled-out dough into 2-qt. deep-dish casserole; set aside. Trim pastry to 1-inch from edge of dish; set 1-inch strip aside. Roll out remaining dough on lightly floured surface into 10-inch circle; set aside.

In medium saucepan, melt margarine. Add flour, salt, and pepper, and stir until combined. Slowly add 1/4 cup soymilk and chicken broth. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thick and smooth. Remove from heat and pour into large bowl. Add 1/3 cup soymilk; mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon into pie crust. Cover casserole dish with 10-inch pastry circle and fold 1-inch strip around the top edges of the pastry. Crimp to seal, and cut four slits in top to vent. Brush pastry with water. Bake 60 to 70 minutes, or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

*Check ingredient labels for any packaged dough.

Sweet Potato Pie

  • 1 (40-oz.) can sweet potatoes, drained
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 T. milk-free, soy-free margarine, softened
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 4 T. warm water
  • 1 pie crust (wheat-free if needed), unbaked*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, mash sweet potatoes. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. Mix well. Stir in margarine, salt, and apple juice. Set aside. In small bowl, combine gelatin and warm water, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Add to sweet potato mixture. Mix well. Pour into pie crust. Make 1 hour. Allow pie to set overnight before serving.

Note: This recipe was tested using a glass pie dish. Increase the oven temperature by 25 degrees if you use an aluminum pie pan.

*Be sure to check ingredient labels for any packaged products.

Veggie Rice Stuffing

  • 1 ½ cups rice, uncooked
  • ¼ cup bacon drippings
  • 2 ½ cups onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups green onion tops, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups celery and leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper

Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside. In large skillet over medium-high heat, combine bacon drippings, onion, green onion tops, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until soft, sitting constantly. Stir in salt and pepper. In large bowl, combine rice and vegetable mixture. Toss gently. Serve as is or use as stuffing for poultry.

Hanukkah Recipes

Potato Pancakes

  • 1 cup cooked potatoes, mashed
  • 1 cup cooked potatoes, finely grated
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 2 T. milk-free, soy-free margarine

In large bowl, combine all ingredients except margarine. Set aside. In large skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Spoon potato mixture into skillet, forming pancakes; cook until golden brown on bottom; flip and continue cooking. Serve plain or with maple syrup.

Fudge Layer Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 14/4 cups milk-free, soy-free margarine, softened
  • 4 ½ T. water, 4 ½ T. oil, 3 tsp. baking powder; mixed together
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 ½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups warm, mild coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. In large bowl, blend sugar and oil. Add water, oil, and baking powder mixture; and vanilla extract; mix well. Combine remaining ingredients, and stir until well-blended. Batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pans and bake 35 to 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks. Frost one layer with Fudge Frosting; place second layer on top, and frost as well. Garnish with colored sugar, miniature plastic dreidels, or Hanukkah candles, as desired.

Fudge Frosting

  • 2 T. shortening
  • ¾ cup milk-free, soy-free margarine, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 to 4 cups confectioners sugar

In medium bowl, cream shortening, margarine, and vanilla extract. Add coca powder, water and 1 cup confectioners sugar. Mix well. Continue adding sugar, 1 cup at a time, until mixture reaches desired consistency. Spread evenly over cooled cake.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah, from our FARE family to yours!