Feb
11
2015

How We're One Step Closer to a Peanut Allergy Cure

Creating Tolerance is Key in Study

How We're One Step Closer to a Peanut Allergy Cure

Peanut desensitization gives hope to allergic people.

Last January, I told you about two studies that had been completed, both showing success with desensitizing peanut allergies in children. And this January, another study is demonstrating the same hope! After 18 months, around 80% of kids in the group studied for an Australian trial could tolerate peanuts. I can't tell you how pleased I am to hear of all the studies being done that are having these positive results. Even if it's not a cure (yet?), the fact that tolerance is built is incredible.

Minimizing reactions and building tolerances may not be an indefinite cure, nobody seems to know how long the results of these studies last, but they certainly do offer hope. Desensitization lessons the threat of cross-contamination risks for those with peanut allergies. It means that small traces of peanuts may no longer pose a threat to lives. 

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Here in Canada, Dr. Susan Waserman of McMaster has been having great success in desensitization peanut allergies as well. In addition to these efforts, DBV Technologies SA is readying to launch "Viaskin Peanut", a patch that delivers small amounts of peanut protein to the skin, which then helps the immune system build tolerance. The patch is set to hit the market in 2018.

There's such great hope just around the corner, and I cannot wait to see how the allergy landscape changes in just a few years. The idea that these studies could change the way I parent my son is amazing.

Image Source: WikiCommons

Feb
10
2015

What Men REALLY Want for Valentine's Day

Don't Blow it, Folks.

What Men REALLY Want for Valentine's Day

What do men want for Valentine's Day?

I've got a little experience with Valentine's Day. From hand-written love letters cut into heart shapes to thoughtful gifts, homecooked meals and sexy lingerie - I've done (and received) them all.

When trying to decide what to talk about on my next local TV appearance, I was researching Valentine's gifts, and wanted to have some truly unique ideas to throw out there. Women are easy. I mean . . . easy to shop for. I'm not making any judgments about how easy easy you all are. But honestly. The vast majority of women want a romantic card, something thoughtful, it's not that difficult to decode our desires, guys.

But men? What do men really want for Valentine's Day? I took to the streets (Twitter and Facebook) to find out.

My friend Peter says, "Men want different things. We are all different. Find out what makes him happy and give him that." Awww.

My friend Cory says, "I'm in my first relationship, and I'm 40. I was just never really interested in being in one. But you know, that one person walks into your life and something says, "Yeah, this is it." So this will be my first Valentine's Day ever. All I want is to spend time with her. I have a pretty low budget lifestyle. I'm incredibly easy to please. But I also want to give her everything she desires. So I'll be taking her to Niagara Falls for a weekend." MAJOR AWWWW!

And the rest of the entire male population around the entire globe says . . .

BLOW JOBS.



So ladies, when you ask and he says, "Oh, just time with you, baby," he's really saying, "Blow job".

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When he says, "Maybe a new fishing rod?" he is actually saying, "Blow job."

And when he says, "Just to see you smile" he's really saying, "Blow job." 

There. Done. You're welcome, ladies and gents; I've said what you're uncomfortable saying. 

(Mom, I'm sorry you read my blog. Please don't share it with the rest of the family this time.)

Photo source: Flickr Creative Commons

Feb
09
2015

Make Your Own Candy Conversation Hearts

Go Retro This Valentine's Day - and Say What YOU Want to Say

Make Your Own Candy Conversation Hearts

While flipping the pages of Chatelaine this month, I fell in love with the idea of making candy conversation hearts. I gave their recipe a try immediately, and while it didn't really work for me, with minor adjustments, I think the end result is perfect and my kids say they're even better than the store-bought ones. (Which, come on, doesn't seem too difficult, does it? They taste like chalk.) But conversation hearts are adorable, fun, and surprisingly easy to make. I love that you can write absolutely anything on them, they'd be adorable as cupcake toppers or cake decorations, too.

6 Allergy-Friendly Valentine's Day Recipes

I'm going to explain how to make just one batch, but obviously if you want multicoloured hearts like I've done, you'll need multiple batches. The flavoured gelatin powder is what gives them their pretty pastel hue.

Candy Conversation Hearts

(makes ~120 heart candies)

Ingredients

3tbs water
3tbs flavoured gelatin powder
3 1/2C icing sugar

1" heart cookie cutter (I used one from a linzer cookie cutter set I bought at Bulk Barn)
package of Food Writer markers (these are markers filled with food colouring, found at craft or baking stores)
parchment paper-lined baking sheet (or just lay parchment on your counter)

How to Make Candy Conversation Hearts

In a medium bowl, add icing sugar.

Boil water and add gelatin. Stir till combined (this takes maybe 45 seconds) and remove from heat. 

How to Make Candy Conversation Hearts

Pour the gelatin mix into the icing sugar.

How to Make Candy Conversation Hearts

Using a hand blender or fork, combine well.

V This is what your mix should look like. Don't panic if yours is too dry or too wet! If it's dry, add a DROP of water, and combine. If too wet, add more icing sugar. 

How to Make Candy Conversation Hearts

Take the mix out of the bowl and knead it into a ball. It's pretty maleable, though a little crumbly.

It'll magically change colour! Kidding. I forgot to take photos of one colour through the whole process, sorry about that. Roll the mix out over a surface coated well with icing sugar to prevent sticking. It should be about 1/2" thick. Then press your heart cutter into it. If you have trouble getting your hearts out, using the back of a pencil and gently push the candy out. You can use a spatula flipper thingy if they stick to the surface. Remove the excess and lay the candies on parchment to dry out. Collect the excess, smoosh into a ball and start again until your mix is used up.

How to Make Candy Conversation Hearts

Leave the candies out to harden for at least 24 hours before writing on them.

How to Make Candy Conversation Hearts

My kids and I had so much fun writing different sayings on them. 

How to Make Candy Conversation Hearts

Aren't they adorable?

How to Make Candy Conversation Hearts

And you can even write some with an attitude, that's ok, too. Not everyone's a fan of the day of looooove.

How to Make Candy Conversation Hearts

Here are some other super easy (and allergy-friendly!) Valentine's treats you'll want to try.