Jul
02
2015

Incredible Nut-Free Ice Cream Cake

Never Buy a Store Bought Ice Cream Cake Again!

Incredible Nut-Free Ice Cream Cake

Make this incredible nut- and peanut-free cake for less than $15!

I'm not lying when I say this nut-free cake has totally changed my life. Both my kids love ice cream cakes, but I've always been really nervous about buying them anywhere because of my son's tree nut and peanut allergies. With this super easy recipe, you'll be an ice cream cake superstar in less than 15 minutes for under $15. Awesome, right?

I use Chapman's ice cream (the stuff in the box) because it's nut- and peanut-free, but if allergies aren't a concern for you, go wild!

Ingredients

2 1L boxes of Chapman's nut- and peanut-free ice cream in your choice of flavour
2 bags of Oreo cookies
4 tbsp butter or margarine
1 jar President's Choice Butterscotch sauce (or any other sauce like fudge or strawberry)
You'll also need 1 9" springform pan, and some parchment paper.

Directions

 Take the ice cream out of the freezer 10-15 minutes before you want to make your cake, to allow the ice cream to soften a little (but not too much!).

 Grease the bottom of the springform pan with a little butter or margarine. Then line the sides with parchment like so:

 In a medium bowl, crush one entire bag's worth of Oreo cookies roughly. Chunky is fine.

 Combine with butter.

 Press crust mixture into the bottom of the springform pan.

 Crush the second bag of Oreos roughly -- these will be used inside and on top of your cake.

 Scoop ice cream on top, and press it down firmly.

 Once you have one layer down, drizzle caramel on top and sprinkle some crushed Oreos. Then scoop your next layer. Repeat, alternating caramel, Oreo and ice cream layers until the entire pan is full. I used only a little ice cream from the second box, so technically you could get away with just 1L of ice cream, but the extra bit gave the cake a nice height. 

 For the top, I sprinkled more Oreos and then drizzled caramel on top again.

 Put the cake into the freezer and leave it to set for at least 24 hours.

 When ready to serve your cake, remove it from the freezer about 10 minutes prior to cutting. Remove the springform pan and parchment paper lining, but serve on the base of the springform pan.

Imagine all the possibilities? It takes all my willpower not to make delicious, cheap ice cream cakes weekly now that I know how simple they are.

 Skip The Cone: 8 Amazing Things You Can Make With Ice Cream

Jul
02
2015

SickKids' Allergy Program Aims to Eliminate Allergies

In Conversation with Dr. Adelle Atkinson

SickKids' Allergy Program Aims to Eliminate Allergies

SickKids' Allergy Program Aims to Eliminate Allergies

Fatal allergic reactions are a very real, very terrifying possibility for nearly 300,000 Canadian families. With the prime allergens causing anaphylaxis being nuts, eggs, milk and insects, every day activities can feel overwhelmingly stressful when working to avoid deadly reactions. Allergies interrupt our lives, they're intrusive and annoying (believe me when I tell you I'm mad I can't eat peanut butter, too).

Allergies get in the way of everything.



SickKids Hospital in Toronto is actively working to eliminate allergies by getting to their root, and solving the problems. Did you know that approximately 2% of the entire Canadian population is at risk for anaphylaxis? That's a pretty high number, and it's been rising steadily over the last 15 years. It's no wonder it feels like an allergy epidemic - with no cure and no way to predict reaction severity, it's a scary thing to try to manage.

I was able to chat recently with Dr. Adelle Atkinson of SickKids' Division of Immunology and Allergy Pediatrics. Not only is Dr. Atkinson an expert in her field, she's also got personal hands-on knowledge of how it feels to be the parent of an allergic child: her teenaged son is allergic to peanuts. Dr. Atkinson knows the daily worry of managing life with allergies, and she works diligently to ensure that patients are accurately labelled, noting that correct diagnosis is of paramount importance. The team in the Allergy Program at SickKids works to dispel misinformation and provide more accurate diagnoses and better advice. That's not easy, considering how research and advice has changed dramatically over the last five years. When my son was born in 2009 it was common practice for pregnant women to avoid eating peanut butter, and avoid feeding it to infants until at least one year of age. Research has now clearly demonstrated that this is ineffective, and in fact my have lead to sensitization for many children.

New studies focus on ways to prevent progression of anaphylaxis, and examining immune cells that could control reactions. Even more hopeful are the studies investigating ways to predict predisposition to allergies, with a target of modifying or eliminating allergic responses through genetic or drug interventions.

"In order to confirm an allergy diagnosis, it may be recommended that your child undergo skin testing, blood testing and an oral challenge. These tests help to ensure that children are correctly diagnosed, which is of paramount importance."
- Dr. Adelle Atkinson



These studies provide such hope! I honestly cannot imagine a life without the fear of losing my son to anaphylaxis anymore. Atkinson notes that this fear is very common, and that that's why accurate diagnosis and the chance to "delabel" kids is so important. She says the relief and quality of life improvement seen in families who find out a child doesn't have (and perhaps never had) a food allergy is immeasurable.

"Prevention is key," says Atkinson. With new Canadian pediatric guidelines for the introduction of food (in place since December 2013), parents are told to not change their diet while pregnant or nursing and to not delay introducing any foods, ever. More research is being done even for high risk kids, and parents are urged to discuss food introduction with their doctors to find out how to help avoid sensitizing children to foods unnecessarily. For those children who do seem to have allergies, Dr. Atkinson cannot stress enough the importance of accurate labeling of patients. Having skin and blood tests is a good first step, but food challenges are the only true way to determine if someone is at risk for anaphylaxis. Skin tests, when positive, are only about 50% accurate, indicating only that antibodies may exist, so families need the full picture for accurate diagnosis. Dr. Peter Vadas, Head of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital has also had some success in predicting allergy severity using a "Platelet Activating Factor", or PAF test, but this is not something available to patients at this point, notes Dr. Atkinson.

So for now, my family, and the other 299,999 Canadian children and their families who live daily managing life-threatening allergies wait for answers with great hope, and huge thanks to the doctors and researchers out there aiming to eliminate anaphylaxis.

For more information or to make a donation to help fund this research, visit SickKids.

 What It's Like Parenting an Allergic Kid