Friday 27 April 2012

The Journal Of Clinical Investigation-International Students-Inadvertent Changes

News From The Journal Of Clinical Investigation: April 23, 2012

GENE THERAPY: Inadvertent changes: how engineered viruses disrupt normal gene expression Gene therapy holds the promise of treating genetic conditions by restoring normal gene function. The field has developed slowly over the last several decades with high importance placed on safety to reduce the chance that introduced genes cause problems... read more..

Black Bean Cakes

The Hubs and I have gotten so we host some international students, from the local University, for dinner on Saturday nights. Aside from the general challenge of cooking something that is cost effective for a larger group of people, my biggest challenge is creating something that is new and interesting to the [...] read more..

International Journal Of Developmental Neuroscience-Autism Spectrum Disorders-Immune System Problems

Autism Linked To Immune System Problems, Further Evidence Found

According to a study in the April 2012 International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, the plasma of children with autism disorder (AD) had significantly lower levels of various cytokines, compared with that of unrelated healthy siblings from other families, who had family members with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)... read more..

Traditional Chinese Medicines-Dna Testing-Allergens-Toxins

DNA Testing Finds Allergens, Toxins in Traditional Chinese Medicines

U.S. experts say supplements made in America are different, but neither country tests for ingredients read more..

Computers Education-Dog Allergies-Religion-Books

Dog allergies worse

Beauty & Self Books & Music Career Computers Education Family Food & Wine Health & Fitness Hobbies & Crafts Home & Garden Money News & Politics Relationships Religion & Spirituality Sports Travel & Culture TV & Movies Humans may not be the only ones suffering more than usual this year with allergies. read more..

Spring Allergies

Do allergies benefit your health?

Depending on severity, allergies can range from annoying to deadly. Millions of Americans are familiar with the sneezing, itching and coughing that come along with spring allergies to toxins, while others suffer hives or even airway blockage if they eat the wrong food. read more..

Immune System

Why Do Allergies Make You Cough?

There are literally millions of “bugs” that can make us ill, but generally speaking, we remain healthy most of the time and for that we have to thank our immune system. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending how you look at it, the immune system has evolved to be able to catch all intruders that come in [...] read more..

Computers Education-Religion-Books

Dehydration-allergy connection

Beauty & Self Books & Music Career Computers Education Family Food & Wine Health & Fitness Hobbies & Crafts Home & Garden Money News & Politics Relationships Religion & Spirituality Sports Travel & Culture TV & Movies Water may be the cheapest and most overlooked 'antihistamine,' according to F. Batmanghelidj, M.D., author of ABC of Asthma, ... (more) read more..

Monday 23 April 2012

Chicken And Dumplings-Rotisserie Chicken-Salt And Pepper-Chicken Stock-Dairy Free

Chicken and Dumplings

For years, my family has made chicken and dumplings from The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook.  I went without this creamy, savory dish after others told me that soy milk would never work in the recipe...until last week that is. 
I decided that it was worth a shot to make a dairy free version of chicken and dumplings and I am so glad that I did!  The dish came out perfectly and looked identical to my family's dairy version.  I am now kicking myself for not making a dairy free version years ago!
Chicken and Dumplings
-1 rotisserie chicken, diced or shredded
-4 cups chicken stock
-¼ cup of your favorite dairy free butter
-6 tablespoons flour
-? teaspoon paprika
-Freshly ground pepper (black or white)
For the dumplings:
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the dairy free butter.  Stir in the flour and paprika.  Stir until well blended and lemon colored, about 3 minutes.  Pour in the 4 cups of stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil, stirring often.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened and smooth, about 10 minutes.  Add the chicken, soy milk, and pepper.  season with additional salt and pepper if desired.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook slowly while preparing the dumplings.
Into a large bowl, sift the flout, salt, and baking powder.  Blend in the shortening with a pastry blender or fork.  Add the soy milk and mix well.
Dip a teaspoon into cold water and then into the dough.  Spoon the dumplings on top of the gently bubbling chicken mixture.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes without lifting the lid (very important!!).  Serve at once.
Close up!This chicken and dumplings is a classic comfort food and is delicious!  It could easily be confused for a dairy laden version.  Enjoy!
My mini dairy free version next to my family's dairy version (I didn't want them to eat the dairy free version on the trial run in case it didn't work out!) read more..

Food Allergies-Peanut Allergy-Nut Allergies

Food Allergies and 'Safe' Activities: How Do You Decide?

One of the most frequent questions I hear from parents of kids with food allergies and peanut allergy, especially, is whether or not a certain activity is "safe" for their child. It stands to reason: Peanut residue (and tree nut, too, if you've got that concern as my family does), is all around us and often in the spots where you'd like to bring your kids. Events like the circus, baseball games, arena sporting events (like basketball or football), concerts, indoor playgrounds at the shopping mall -- just about every place you can think of might have a significant amount of allergen in the environment.
As parents, we might wonder: what are we supposed to do with this information? We can't keep our kids away from anything and most of us don't want to do that. This is one reason I'm so glad to see more and more baseball teams offering "peanut allergy-friendly" sections or "peanut-free" baseball games. Since peanuts are tradition at baseball, limiting them in certain sections takes a huge weight off parent's shoulders, especially those of us who've watched their child have a reaction during a regular game.
First, the bad news about nut allergies and whether or not to do something: this is not a question with a one-size-fits-all answer. I still struggle with it, depending on the activity or event. For one thing, a child's age and awareness of their allergy will play a role; so will their level of sensitivity to an allergen. If you have a child who is extremely sensitive, you might not even ask yourself if you can do something involving a lot of the allergen; you just don't do it. For example, with all of the peanuts everywhere, we don't feel comfortable bringing our daughter to a baseball game without a peanut-free section, especially at an outdoor field where weather, wind and peanut dust blowing around in the air is a strong possibility.(Be sure to ask your allergists about your particular situation; everyone is different.)
The event itself is a factor, too. How big of a role does an allergen play in this activity?Sometimes that will decide it if for you.
Now the good news: most of the time, you can find a way around allergies and do the activities you and your kids enjoy. And for the things you can't do or don't feel good about doing--it's OK. Your kids can still have an awesome, full and happy childhood.
I think it's important for parents to give themselves a break when it comes to dealing with food allergies. While it's important to find ways to do things that kids really want to do, we shouldn't feel like we have to take heroic measures to do every single thing. I mean, let's face it: even without food allergies, most kids can't do every single thing they'd like to do.
I remember when my daughter was first diagnosed with severe allergies at age 4. We found out in a very scary way--anaphylaxis following one bite of a peanut butter sandwich.
At the time, my daughter was in preschool and was beginning to get invited to birthday parties. Tea parties for the girls were big that year, held in special venues that catered to little kids. Of course, the main focal point of these parties was, you guessed it, food. Lots of unsafe food. Baked goods galore, sweets, sandwiches with PB & get the picture.
I got pretty good at deciding what parties we would go to and which ones we wouldn't. I'd ask a few questions. Was my daughter really excited about this party or person? Would she be devastated if she didn't go? If she did go, would it be worth it to send in basically an entire menu of separate food and then still be concerned someone would give her the wrong thing?
When my daughter was four, I also had a toddler and limited outside childcare (aka, grandparents, sitters), so I think that decided a lot of it for me, too. I couldn't drag my little one to every party and drive myself crazy trying to keep an eye on her and make sure anaphylaxis didn't happen, too. So we skipped a few parties read more..

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Motherhood Maternity-Maternity Clothes

19 Weeks And Counting...

I'm at the 19 week mark as of last Thursday.  This week will put me at the half way point.  I feel like things went really slow in the beginning, but now they seem to be flying by.This week I have my monthly O.B. appointment and my level 2 Ultra Sound (which I swear they did at my genetic counselling appointment, but when I questioned them on it, they said no).I did manage to run out last Sunday and buy some maternity clothes.  I won't tell you what I spent because you'd fall off your chair, but I got everything I need for right now (except I could use a few more tops, but I don't like maternity T-Shirts so I'll keep looking).  I bought:4 pairs of pants4 tops2 packages of maternity undies (I realize these aren't for everyone, but they work for me.)2 maternity P.J.'s1 Dress (for Easter and for the Little Man's First Communion)I found my items at J.C. Penney and Motherhood Maternity.  I like J.C. Penney the best.  I feel like they had nice things, at good prices for "the older mom".  I'm pregnant.  I don't need to be trendy, just comfortable.Speaking of comfort, my back has been bothering me.  I did not have back pain with the other two, but this time I have lower back discomfort.  It's not debilitating, but I prefer not to have to bend over or bend down too much (I think weeding the flower beds will be out for me this year).  Due to not wanting to bend down, I've taken to only wearing slip on shoes.  Again, they may not be fashionable but they do the trick.  
My shoe of choice:  Crocs.  Luckily we have a Croc outlet not too far from our house, so I already had a nice supply of Crocs on hand.
All of these are Crocs except for the black shoes with the gold buckle.  A girls got to do what a girls got to do.
I also purchased a few baby items with week. I bought a few outfits, some bootie socks, burp cloths, and the travel system.  The travel system cost more than I wanted to spend, but I really wanted a light weight stroller.  Our last one weighed 25 pounds and it was almost impossible to load and unload from the back of our SUV.  This one weighs 16 pounds and folds smaller.
I also wanted a good infant car seat.  This baby has already been in one car accident (back in early December before I even knew I was pregnant) so I want to make sure that he's as protected as he can be.  I shopped around and I found the best price on  It was about $70.00 cheaper than Babies R Us and it had free shipping.
So things are moving along nicely.
And in other news:  The boys are back to being healthy.  But Hubs now has it.  Keep your fingers crossed that I don't get it.  I feel like the last man standing.
Well, it's dinner time and I can hear hungry grumbles coming from the basement (they are watching NCAA and the Cavs at the same time) so I better get off the computer and get cooking.
Have a wonderful week! read more..

Chardon High School

Things Like This Don't Happen Here

Chardon High School Shooting: 2 Dead
But unfortunately today, they happen everywhere.  And even in your own community.  You can't run from it.  This isn't our high school.  But it's in a neighboring community and only about 15 miles down the road.  It's close enough that you know families in that school or people in the community.  It's close enough that you realize that YES these types of things can happen here.
Chardon High School is considered one of the better public schools in the area.  It's a mix of people from different socioeconomic back grounds.  To have a student bring a gun to school and gun down 5 class mates is unthinkable.  But you have to think about it.  Even if it didn't happen in your area.  It can happen.
We can't live in fear but we have to live in awareness.
The shooter was allegedly a bullied kid with a bad home life.  He had problems.  He was at Chardon High School to pick up a bus that takes him to a school for "at risk" kids.  Clearly people knew he had some issues.  But can you ever really know the extent of those issues?  Lots of kids are bullied and they don't bring guns to school and kill kids.  Why was this kid so desperate that he felt he had to kill someone?  Were there warning signs missed?  Or was he just touched by evil and no one could have seen this coming?  I'm not sure we'll ever know the answers to these questions.
How safe is your child's school?  Would they know what do to if a gunman opened fire in the school?  Chardon High School and law enforcement did a fantastic job under the circumstances.  They had drills for this type of situation and the teachers and students jumped into action and did what they had trained to do.  Law enforcement quickly jumped into action and secured the site so that EMS could get in quickly and help the injured.
I remember having fire drills and tornado drills when I was in school.  We never had to have a drill for an "active shooter".  As sad as that is, clearly it's necessary in today's school climate.
My heart breaks for the families of the dead students.  And my prayers go out to the injured, the students at the high school, and the entire community of Chardon.
Luckily my kids were shielded from most of this yesterday.  But they did see a small piece of news on a television at an after school activity.  They had questions and we answered them the best we could and in a way that would make sense to a seven and ten year old.  We've been leaving our television off and won't have it on for a while.  I don't want to scare them but we also know that this is their reality today and we need to discuss it in an age appropriate manner.
For more ideas on how to talk to your children about violence, see the Washington Post article The Answer Sheet: How To Talk To Kids About Violence
For some ideas on how to keep your kids safe at school see What Parents Can Do To Keep Kids Safe At School from the National Crime Prevention Council , Strategies To Keep Schools Safe, and Educators Guide to Cyberbullying, Cyberthreats and Sexting by Center for Safe and Responsible Use of the Internet.
It happened here.  It can happen anywhere.  I pray it never happens again, but in the mean time, we need to teach our children to be aware, to not be afraid to tell if they hear or read someone making a threat, and probably most importantly we need to teach our kids to be kind to everyone. read more..

Thursday 12 April 2012

Completely Dairy Free-Marshmallow Creme-Cup Dairy-Soy Milk

Dairy Free Fudge

CAUTION:  In order to sufficiently prepare to read this blog post, you may want to get a drool bucket.
That's right...this creamy, chocolatey, decadent fudge is dairy free.  No kidding.  And it also happens to be incredibly delicious, but that's just a bonus.
Back in my dairy consuming days, my mother used to make marshmallow topping fudge, and boy, was it good.  I had yet to recreate a dairy free version because I wasn't sure if I could do it justice without evaporated milk.  This past weekend, my sister and I decided to give it a go since we had a serious craving for holiday treats.  To replace the evaporated milk, we simply reduced soy milk over the stove (instructions are in the recipe).  This worked perfectly!  The fudge set up with no problems, and when we gave a sample to our mom, she was shocked that we had made it completely dairy free.
-2/3 cup dairy free evaporated milk (instructions follow)
-3/4 cup of your favorite dairy free butter
-1 package (12 oz.) of your favorite dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chips/pieces
-1 1/2 cups (1 container) marshmallow creme
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar, dairy free evaporated milk, and dairy free butter in a large heavy saucepan.  Heat the mixture to a boil.  Stir constantly for about 5 minutes over medium heat or until the sugar has dissolved.  Remove from heat.
Add the chocolate, marshmallow creme, and vanilla.  Stir vigorously until well blended and the chocolate has melted.  Pour into a greased 13x9x2 inch pan.
Cool for about 3 hours, or until the fudge is cool throughout.  Cut into squares and carefully remove (I used a tiny spatula) from pan and place on wax paper.  Allow the fudge to dry out for another hour or 2.  Package the fudge into air tight containers with wax paper in between each layer.  The fudge can be left in a cool place (such as a basement or garage in cooler climates) or in the refrigerator.
Makes about 3 pounds of fudge.
Dairy Free Evaporated Milk
-Dairy free milk (I use soy and have only tried this with soy)
In a sauce pan, add soy milk in twice the amount that the recipe calls for evaporated milk.  For instance, the fudge recipe above calls for 2/3 cup evaporated milk, so you would use 1 1/3 cups soy milk.
Bring the milk to just a boil and stir constantly until it has reduced to half of its amount, about 5-8 minutes (depending on the amount of milk).
If you are unsure if the milk has reduced to the necessary measurement, pour it into a glass measure and then pour it back into the pot to continue to cook down if it is not sufficient.
The pieces of fudge are firm enough to hold up well, but are super-creamy in the middle...Mmmm!  They make great gifts when packaged into small holiday tins.  Enjoy! read more..

Thursday 5 April 2012

Wholesome Goodness-St. Patrick's Day-Irish Soda Bread-Tree Nut Allergy

Nut-Free St. Patrick's Day Must-Have: Nut-Free Irish Soda Bread!

When you have a peanut or a tree nut allergy, Irish soda bread from the bakery is off-limits due to cross-contact risk, but that's OK because I prefer the wholesome goodness of baking my own.
Here is a link to my St. Patrick's Day post from last year, that included two delish nut-free recipes for soda bread. I hope you enjoy them! read more..

Nut Allergies-Tree Nut

Most People Can't Tell a Tree Nut From a Peanut

Knowing which nuts to avoid can be a matter of life-or-death for those with nut allergies, study says read more..

Research Institute-Inanimate Object-Peanut Allergy-Misery

Early pollen dusting provides misery for area allergy sufferers

While virtually every inanimate object, especially vehicles, in the Tennessee Valley appears to be suffering from malaria, it's only the dreaded pollen that has blanketed the area for the last week or so, creating misery for those with allergies, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. read more..

Improved Peanut Allergy Diagnosis

Researchers from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and the University of Melbourne have identified a new way to accurately test for peanut allergy. It is hoped the test will be more cost effective and convenient than standard approaches and minimise over-diagnosis of peanut allergy in the community... read more..

Sinus Headaches-Pollen Season-Allergies-Primack-Trees

Pollen season comes on strong for allergy sufferers

For Michelle Primack of Alexandria, Va., the change this year has been obvious. Allergic to trees, grass, pollens and mold, Primack says she has dealt with a constant post-nasal drip and frequent sinus headaches since mid-February, six weeks earlier than in past years. read more..

Do You Really Have Allergies?

Maybe, but you could actually have one of these annoying ailments. read more..

Allergy Friendly Products-Printable Coupon

Best deals on allergy-free products April 1 - 7

There's no fooling that you can get some great deals on allergy friendly products at Columbus stores this week! Use $1.25 printable coupon from and $1 off 2 Meijer Mealbox coupon to get 2 free I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Avoid if you have lactose allergy. read more..


Gluten-Free, Boar’s Head

From my colleagues at Boar's Head, here's their monthly newsletter all about how gluten-free they are.
This month they included the fun recipe and video we created together last year - top eight allergen free, yummy hot or cold.
Read more here or watch more here.
Thanks again Boar's Head, love you guys read more..

Sunday 1 April 2012

Allergy Medicine-Allergy Season

Pharmacies Now Let Kids 'ahhh-Choose' the Flavor of Their Allergy Medication

With allergy season in full swing in most parts of the country, many kids are once again faced with the task of taking their allergy medicine day-in and day-out. This year looks to be particularly daunting with the early onset of Spring and heavy pollen counts. read more..

Food Intolerance Symptoms-Food Intolerances-Allergy Symptoms-Food Allergies

Food Intolerance Symptoms You Should Know About

There are certain challenges in identifying food intolerances since food intolerance symptoms often mimic those of food allergies. Also the symptoms may be less acute and obvious and this increases the challenge of identifying the food intolerance. Food intolerance symptoms may be different from allergy symptoms Symptoms of food intolerance are present when the body [...] read more..

Autoimmune Diseases-Hygiene Hypothesis-Mechanistic Basis-Global Increase-Urban Settings

Getting the dirt on immunity: Scientists show evidence for hygiene hypothesis

Medical professionals have suggested that the hygiene hypothesis explains the global increase of allergic and autoimmune diseases in urban settings. However, neither biologic support nor a mechanistic basis for the hypothesis has been directly demonstrated. Until now. read more..

Allergy Season-Itchy Eyes

Your Survival Guide for the Worst Allergy Season in 10 Years

Sneezing, itchy eyes, can't breathe through your nose...sound familiar? We may just be a week into spring but because of the unseasonably warmer weather many parts of the country have been experiencing, many experts predict that this might be the worst spring allergy season we've seen in more than a decade. read more..