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Allergen-Free & Vegan Party Snack Recipe for March Madness!

You’ve sent in your rsvp, your bracket is locked in, but you’ve yet to figure out what to bring to the party? There’s a ton to think about when you are hosting or attending a pal’s (or soon to be pal’s) shindig.

Have a long commute to the action? Want to be mindful of food allergies? Not in the mood to contend with the prep and dishes associated with a “hot dish”? Then we have a recipe for you!

This is our delicious allergen-friendly take on the classic party mix. Quick to whip up and easy to transport, this allergen-free and vegan party snack is friendly and accessible. Though we have ingredient recommendations, we encourage you to use your intuition, let those imagination juices flow, and just go for it!

Ingredients 
• 1 cup of roasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
• 1 cup of roasted and salted sunflower seeds
• 1 cup of dried cranberries
• 1 cup of dried pineapple chunks
• 1 free2b Chocolate Bar, chopped into bite sized pieces
 
Directions 
1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
2. Serve up your delicious top 12 allergen-free vegan party snack!

Want to stand out at the snack table? Why not present your party mix in a reusable bowl which doubles as a host/hostess gift? It’s convenient, attractive, and great for the environment!

And if you’re feeling extra generous, why not treat the party to allergen-free free2b Chocolate Crunch bars? You’ll surely be the hit of the party.

Tell us how you like to mix it by sharing your comments below!

Mint Cup Chocolate Shake

Ingredients
1 pint of rice milk or hemp milk ice cream
1 cup of kale (your kiddo won’t even taste it!)
1 cup of fresh mint leaves
½ cup of rice milk
2 free2b chocolate mint cups

Directions
1. In a blender, mix all ingredients together on high until fully blended.
2. Enjoy immediately!

Food Allergy Checklist: Hosting an Allergy-Safe Birthday

Perhaps one of the most time consuming and most fun events is throwing birthday parties for your children. Agreeing on a theme, creating decorations, developing a menu, and last but certainly not least managing the invites.

In this day and age food allergies are common, particularly in children. It’s been reported that one in thirteen children under the age of 18 are affected with food allergies in the U.S. For parents of children with food allergies, birthday parties can be a danger zone with many common food allergens lurking in store-bought treats and confections. For children it’s upsetting and confusing to be left out because the host is concerned that managing the allergy sufferer seems too scary or too hard. Thankfully with our handy food allergy checklist, it’s easier than you think to host an allergy-safe birthday celebration.

When it comes to the safety and health of your guests, communication is key! Some of the tips we recommend are:

Start the dialogue early: Request that allergies be shared at the time of RSVP. If you have questions or concerns about how to keep a party guest safe reach out in advance.

Medications: Set up a time for you to talk to the child and their parent about what food allergy symptoms to watch out for, whom to contact, as well as how and when to use an EpiPen. Be sure to check-in with the parent as to if they are ok with their child administering their own allergy meds. If you are not comfortable administering an EpiPen voice up and perhaps invite the parents of the child to stay and help out.

Foods: Discuss what will be served ahead of time and share whether meal and snack time will be supervised. If you are open to suggestions, let it be known. If you will be offering safe foods in addition to other offerings be aware of cross-contamination by using separate utensils and dish cloths.

Think outside the box: If you are creating goodie bags for guests, consider non-food items such as mini puzzles, pencils, fun erasers, and small trinkets. If you do opt to include edible treats we suggest making safe goodie bags for guests with food allergies and waiting to hand them out as a parting gift. This will help ensure that a safe treat hasn’t been swapped for an unsafe treat as well as allow the guest to open their goodie bag with their parents.

Just a phone call away: Last but certainly not least, be sure to obtain the parent’s contact information in the case of emergency, or if you have any questions.

Having a child with food allergies can be challenging. Going the extra mile to make the child with allergies feel welcome and safe will go a long way with them and their parents. Not to mention your care and consideration will help ensure no little one is left out.

Do you have any other tips to add to the food allergy checklist? Let us know in the comments below!

How To Prepare: Slumber Party Tips For Kids with Food Allergies

One rite of passage many of us look back on fondly is our first slumber party. The late night giggles, the games, and last but not least, the snacks! Oh, the snacks!

For children with allergies, staying safe while enjoying time having fun with their friends can be a bit challenging. Other families may not be aware of the steps they need to take to keep your child safe, or just how serious an allergic reaction can be. So, planning ahead and letting your child know what to expect is key.

One of the best slumber party tips for kids with food allergies is reaching out to the host well in advance to make them fully aware of your child’s food allergy. This helps to ensure that you have the host’s full attention and gives them time to reach out with questions before the event.

When it comes to the safety and health of your child, over-communication can be a great thing! Some of the topics we recommend covering are:

Party food for kids with allergies: Discuss what will be served and whether meal and snack time will be supervised. If the host is open to suggestions, share some ideas on good treats for children with food allergies. If sending a safe treat or meal for your child is an option, let the host know (this can be a great way to introduce the host and your children’s peers to yummy and safe foods).
How and when to use an EpiPen: Set up a time for you and your child to teach the host and their child what food allergy symptoms to watch out for, whom to contact, as well as how and when to use an EpiPen.
Emergency contact information: Last but certainly not least, be sure to give the host your contact information and request that they reach out in the case of emergency, or if they have any questions.

If you are aware that there will be snacks or treats your child needs to steer clear of at the slumber party, let the host and your kiddo know. Perhaps, send your child with something special so they don’t feel left out. Discussions and reminders with your child about safe eating are also important. After all, your child is the last line of defense.

We know these conversations can be challenging, but the more you have them, the more comfortable you and your child will be when the next invite rolls in. Including your child in the planning can help make it fun. For example, if you opt to send them with a snack, take their input. Maybe even prepare it together. The other kids might just be jealous.

With two parts preparation, three parts conversation, and one part perspiration, your little one will be well on their way to their first of many fun-filled slumber parties.

Top 12 Allergen Free Skillet Cookie

Top 12 Allergen Free Skillet Cookie 

Ingredients: 
5 tablespoons of vegan “butter”, at room temperature (we used soy free Earth Balance) 
1 banana, mashed 
1 cup of sugar 
1 cup of gluten free flour  
1 teaspoon of baking soda 
¼ teaspoon of salt 
3 free2b chocolate cups (flavor of your choice) 

Directions:  
1. Preheat oven to 375 F and grease a small cast iron skillet with vegan butter. 
2. In a small bowl, mash the banana using an electric beater. Add the vegan butter and continue to blend
until smooth. Add the sugar and mix for another minute.  
3. Slowly add the gluten free flour, baking soda and salt together until fully mixed.  
4. Pour mixture into the greased cast iron skillet and chop two of the chocolate cups into small pieces and
add to the top of the batter.  
5. Bake for 25 minutes.  
6. Right before the cookie is complete, heat up the last chocolate cup in the microwave for 2 minute, or
until fully melted and set aside 
7. Remove the cookie from the oven and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy! 

Cherry Mocha Frappe

Coffee, chocolate, and cherries? Oh my! Treat yourself this weekend with a yummy top 12 allergen free frappe.

Cherry Mocha Frappe

Ingredients:
1 cup of freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temp
1 ½ cups of ice
1 free2b Foods chocolate cherry bar
½ cup of rice milk
1 cup of frozen cherries, pitted

Directions:
In a blender, mix all ingredients together on high until fully blended. Enjoy immediately!

Serves: 2

Top 12 Allergen Free Strawberry Chocolate Shake

Valentine’s day is right around the corner! Sweeten up the holiday with this delicious and nutritious (and might we add beautifully pink!) Top 12 allergen free and vegan shake.

Strawberry Shake

Ingredients
1 pint of Rice Dream Ice Cream
1 cup of rice milk (or any milk of your choice!)
2 cups of frozen strawberries
2 Free2b Chocolate Cups, chopped for topping

Directions
1. In a blender, mix ice cream, plant-based milk and frozen strawberries on high until fully blended
2. Pour shake into two glasses. Chop Chocolate Cups into small bits and sprinkle on top. Enjoy immediately!

Share your creation with us by tagging free2b Foods!

free2b Crafty: Valentine Mason Jar Ideas

February the 14th brings surprise and delight to people all over the world. In Finland and Estonia, it’s a celebration of friendship, in Norfolk, England you may look forward a visit from “Jack Valentine” (a Santa Claus of sorts) known to leave little treats and small presents at your doorstep. In much of the U.S. yummy treats, clothes and decorations adorned with hearts, and the trading of sweet notes reigns supreme.

This year we had a blast creating a fun-filled Valentine’s Treat bag with your little ones in mind! Valentine’s Day can be a challenge for families with allergies and we want to be sure that no one misses out on the fun. Our bag is a one stop shop that not only includes 40 custom created Valentine’s Day cards but also 40 delectable Top 12 Allergen Free and Vegan Chocolate cups. We hope you and your family have as much fun filling out the cards and affixing the chocolate cups as we had putting the treat bags together.

With keepsakes and treats aplenty why not make a cute little vessel to store, gift, and display them in? We are excited to share with you a fun valentine mason jar craft. This took us about 15-20 minutes and we think it would be a fun, quick and easy craft to do with your kids!

There are many uses for your mason jar Valentine’s craft, let your imagination run wild! We like the idea of gifting a loved one chocolates, storing your keepsakes, using it as a flower vase, or even to hold writing utensils at your desk. These are just a few ideas. Have fun with it and make it your own, too!

MATERIALS
1. One half-pint mason jar with lid (a pickle jar or pasta sauce jar would also work great!)
2. Paint (we chose multi-surface satin paint)
3. Small bowl or jar (for holding the paint, we recommend using a bowl that is not used for eating or storing food)
4. Brush or sponge
5. Hair dryer
6. One or two sheets of felt (in the colors of your choosing)
7. Scissors
8. Hot glue gun
9. Your choice of stickers
10. 1 foot of twine or ribbon

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Begin with a clean and dry mason jar
2. Give the multi-surface satin paint bottle a good shake and pour a small amount out into your bowl
3. With your sponge or brush, paint a layer of the paint onto the outside of the mason jar
4. With your hair dryer on a low setting carefully dry the mason jar for a minute or two
5. Add a second layer of paint with your sponge or brush
6. Dry the mason jar for a few more minutes with your hair dryer until the paint is no longer sticky/tacky to touch
7. Use soap and water to clean your hands, brush/sponge and small bowl
8. With the scissors carefully cut out a few hearts (we used heart stickers as guides)
9. With your glue gun carefully affix the felt hearts and stickers to the Mason Jar (for kiddos safety we recommend that the adults execute this step)
10. Wrap the twine/ribbon around the rim of the mason jar and tie a knot or bow
11. Fill with whatever tickles your fancy; display, gift, and enjoy!

Notes:
Please be careful with your creation. To enjoy your valentine mason jar for years to come, we recommend a gentle hand wash as well as keeping it out of the microwave, dishwasher, or oven. If you will be using it to store food, we recommend keeping the paint on the outside of the mason jar.

We’d loooove to see you and your kiddos creations, so please feel free to tag us on your social media posts with #Valentinesdaymasonjar!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Shake with Sun Cups

Dark Chocolate Cherry Shake With Sun Cups

Ingredients
3 cup Vanilla Rice Dream Frozen Dessert
½ cup Dairy-free Milk
3 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
¾ cup Pitted Cherries, frozen
4 free2Be Dark Chocolate Sun Cups

Directions
1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into two glasses and garnish with an extra scoop of frozen dessert.