You really cannot ever be fully prepared for what comes along with motherhood.  When my first baby was born, we noticed that he was not a happy camper, and he was later diagnosed with a milk allergy.  If milk was in anything he ate or drank, he would have a reaction within the day, and it could take up to three days for the inflammation to subside.  Due to this, our entire eating habits changed. Over the years, our family has transitioned from no dairy, to vegetarian to plant-based. This was initially to help our son, and he soon was quickly able to recognize the foods he could or could not eat.  He knew to ask at parties if foods had dairy in them, and if he could not get a definite answer, he’d stay away.



I knew this was something he got used to over the years, but it wasn’t until his 6th birthday party that dealing with allergies took a unique twist.  Our son wanted to invite a friend of his from school to his birthday party, however he had a very long list of severe allergies, so he was usually unable to eat at friends’ parties.  My son was set on us making him an allergy friendly party, right down to the cake so his little friend could partake in the entire party. So we did.

This meant a few things.  First off, we had to prepare our kitchen for the food.  Ensuring that there were no allergens and we did a thorough clean.  We checked all food labels, and even went further to make sure if there was an ingredient that we were not quite sure of, to look it up.  We have learned over the years that milk and milk derived ingredients can be hidden in unique names such as:

Casein & caseinates — ammonium caseinate, calcium caseinate, hydrolyzed casein, iron caseinate magnesium caseinate, potassium caseinate, sodium caseinate, zinc caseinate, Hydrolysates — casein hydrolysate, milk protein hydrolysate, protein hydrolysate, whey hydrolysate, whey protein hydrolysate … just to name a few.



So after we did the “triple check” -- once at the store before buying it, once when you get home and put it away, and again before you serve or eat the product, we were off to the races.  We made some yummy treats that all of the children could enjoy, and a cake with non-dairy icing! Yum!

As a mom of a child with an allergy, I am constantly trying to learn new recipes to keep meal time fun. But what is equally important is to be aware of how to keep my kitchen safe for my son and his friends with food allergies.  Recently we had the chance to join expert home cook and allergy awareness advocate Thea Vanherwaarden and Team NASCAR driver/ Food Allergy Canada ambassador, and NASCAR driver Alex Tagliani to learn some new allergy- friendly recipes and tips, which as a fellow allergy advocate, I wanted to share with all our mom-tribe today.


Melissa’s favorite safety tips when dealing with a food allergy:

  1. Read food labels each and every time you buy something. Manufacturers can change their production process and alter their products at any time

  2. Cook meals that are free of the person’s allergens first, using separate cookware and serving utensils. Keep the food covered in a space where it will not be splashed or come into contact with other foods.

  3. Use two different cutting boards: one dedicated to allergy-safe meal preparation.

  4. Wash hands often with soap and water

*Note: Even with all your kitchen precautions, you may still come in contact with your allergen. Be sure to always be prepared by carrying an epinephrine auto-injector with you at all times.
Disclosure: Epinephrine auto-injectors are indicated for the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis. This product may not be right for you. Always read and follow the label.



Acai bowl

A refreshing addition to breakfast or any meal, easy and quick to make. The fresh fruit and seed toppings are simply gorgeous. Download this recipe!


Inspired by west coast culinary fusion, this sushi calls for chicken instead of fish. Let your creativity loose for inspiring additional filling ideas. Download this recipe

Chicken tacos with mango salsa and chickpea avocado crema

These chicken tacos will have any guest asking for more. A pop of spice from the chicken is cooled down perfectly with a creamy chickpea and avocado crema. Serve with a side of tradition­al black beans and you have yourself a Mexican fiesta. Download this recipe!


If you know of a mom who has a little one with an allergy or you are a mama trying to cook for someone with an allergy, share this blog and head to foodallergycanada.ca/SummerofTAG for more allergy-friendly recipes and tips on how to stay safe in the kitchen.


This post is sponsored by Pfizer Canada. All views and opinions are my own.

10 Sneaky Foods To Get My Kids Eating Healthy...Without Knowing It!

Moms, you know that feeling, when you sneak something healthy into your kids diet and they don't find out! They are devouring a healthy dish and they think they have you tricked, because it tastes SO good, there is NO possible way it's healthy!  For this #WellnessWedensday I am here to help you achieve this more often!

Check out this weeks video!


10 foods packed with goodness for your shopping list:

  1. Avocado
  2. Chia Seeds
  3. Cocoa Powder
  4. Wheat Germ
  5. Coconut Oil
  6. Black Bean Pasta
  7. Quinoa
  8. Nutritional Yeast
  9. Vegan or Whey Protein Powder
  10. Dates

Recipes from vLog:

Smoothie Bowl: http://minimalistbaker.com/super-green-smoothie-bowl/

Green Monster Smoothie: http://www.blendtec.com/recipes/green-monster-smoothie

Home Made Granola Bar: http://www.healthandlifestyle.ca/healthy-recipes/classic-glo-bars-from-the-oh-she-glows-cookbook/

Avocado Pudding: http://www.californiaavocado.com/recipe-details/view/31696/chocolate-avocado-pudding-with-coconut-milk

    Gluten Free Chickpea Apple Cookies

    As if cookies could get any healthier!?  This week on " COOKING WITH SOUL" we are baking cookies with chickpeas, which means protein, fibre and with the apples in it, this is a sweet treat that the kiddies wont even guess that you hid all that goodness inside!!! SCORE!
    AND...of course as always, we are having a blast in the kitchen with little Miss Soul, who has lots to dish out!

    Cinnamon Raisin French Toast Bagel Bites

    Okay there is just something about breakfast foods that wins my heart every time.

    One morning when the little ones were begging for pancakes, I scoured the kitchen, but did not have the ingredients I needed.  So that morning I literally emptied out raisin boxes, grabbed some whole wheat bagels and let my creative juices start flowing.  

    From this we created the 'Cinnamon Raisin French Toast Bagel Bites".  

    These are quite easy to make and loads of fun for the family to do all together. Want to see? Check out our latest vLog "COOKING WITH SOUL" on YouTube below  (see below for full recipe).

    Love the recipe book we featured in this vLog? So do WE! If you must have it, head over to: http://lilyandval.com/ 


    • 2 whole wheat bagels
    • 2-3 fresh organic eggs
    • 2 TB coconut milk (or milk of choice)
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup raisins
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
    • 1 TB coconut oil (for pan)
    • 1/3 cup maple syrup (split in two- and you do not need to use it all)


    1. Mix eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and milk in bowl and beat until smooth

    2. Cut bagel into bite size (1 inch) pieces and add to mix, stir

    3. Add in raisins

    4. Let sit for 1-2 minutes so the mixture is soaked up by the raisins

    5.  Heat pan on medium with coconut oil

    6. Cook on one side for 3-5 minutes and flip, then stir until all sides are browned

    7. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup on top


    Spaghetti Pizza Dinner


    This week on Cooking with Soul, we made a delicious and healthy dinner. Packed with veggies, dairy-free cheese and high protein pasta!

    Want to see how much fun we had making this together? Check out the video below!


    • 1/2 Box of Barilla ProteinPLUS pasta Pasta
    • 1 pot of boiling water (splash of salt in it)
    • 1 cup of italian pasta sauce
    • 2/3 cup of Turkey Pepperonis
    • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
    • 2/3 cup of Daiya Vegan Cheese
    • 2/3 cup of Mozzarella cheese

    (We added the Daiya because we have a dairy free little guy in our home.  If you do not, feel free to omit this, or if you are all dairy free then omit the mozzarella cheese!)


    • Bring water to a boil and cook the pasta
    • During the last 1-2 minutes drop in the mushrooms
    • Pour out water, and add to a square baking dish
    • Mix in sauce and toss in half of the pepperonis
    • Place the cheese on top
    • Top with remaining pepperonis
    • Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until cheese in bubbly 
    • Let cool, and enjoy!

    Cooking With Soul: Chilli Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

    Welcome to our weekly feature.  Mommy Melissa and her little Miss Soul are taking over the kitchen and YouTube each Wednesday with their favourite recipes!

    This week we are making easy, yummy Chilli Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes.  These are a great idea for a healthy side at dinner time or perfect to store in a tupperware to add to vegan bowls, Mexican wraps and more at lunch! (see below for full recipe)

    Chilli Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes


    2 lbs of sliced PC Organics Sweet Potatoes

    1 TB melted PC Organics Coconut Oil

    1 tsp Chilli Powder

    1 TB Cinnamon

    Sprinkle Pink Sea Salt


    • Pre-heat oven to 400 
    • Slice sweet potatoes about half an inch thick
    • Melt the Coconut oil
    • Mix in spices
    • Lay on pan
    • Bake for 30-35 minutes flipping at half way point

    TADA You're ready to go!

    Vegan Veggie Bites

    I raised my first child vegan until he was nearly 4 years old!  So I had to master the craft of baking and cooking without dairy!  While scrolling on Instagram, I saw a really yummy recipe that motivated me to do a take on Quinoa Broccoli bites (without the cheese or eggs), which included a vegan cheese and chia seeds to replace the eggs.


    • 2/3 cup chopped peppers
    • 1 cup chopped spinach
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • 2 TB of chia seeds (let sit in 2.5 TB of water for a few minutes to gel- this is your binder)
    • 2 tsp sesame seeds
    • 1 tsp ground mustard
    • 1 cup shredded Earth's Island vegan cheese

    Hand mix all together

    Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. #vegancheese #earthisland

    Note* These come out a little less like a muffin, more like tiny bites (they are delicate when you remove them so use a small spoon and be careful)

    Winter Energy Protein Balls

    Do you have the winter crazies? Tired, sluggish, easily irritated and maybe even a little SAD?  This is not just because of the cold weather. There are studies that show we lack in nutrients during the winter months, which can lead to a variety of symptoms we want to shovel out with the snow!  Luckily though, there is an easy away around this, which is ensuring your nutrition is tip top as soon as the cold dark days appear!

    It’s within our human make-up to crave denser foods, as the months get colder.  If you are aiming to eat more local produce, you will notice (unless you live in a warmer climate) that the foods which are ‘in season’ during this time perfectly match our desires for these rib sticking meals. Squashes, seeds, nuts… full of protein, energy boosting carbs and micronutrients that can increase your overall performance in the gym and life.  Most athletes find themselves in off season during these months as well, so make sure that you stock up on some of these winter foods to help your gains over the winter months.

    What are some essential vitamins we need over the colder months?

    Iron: Feeling tired?  Struggling to jump out of bed into the cold frigid air? Me too!  However, that sluggish feeling that carries on all day can be due to low iron levels.  So make sure that you have plenty of iron in your daily nutrition routine.

    Calcium: Bones and teeth.  We all know this and especially during the winter months our calcium stores can dip. Don’t risk a bone break from a shovelling fall and keep your teeth strong, as you might be dipping into a few more treats over the holidays!

    Omega’s: The winter can give us a sense of sadness (SAD), due to the gloomy months with less sunlight shining over us.  Thankfully, ensuring you sock up on Omega-3 will help you keep your smile bright (even if it is 20 hours of darkness).

    My family just loves treats (obviously) and sometimes it is hard to get little ones to munch on plain nuts for the benefits of the good fats, calcium and protein!  So here is our family recipe for a nutty ball that is stacked with all you need, protein, omega’s, iron and all the other goodies you need to keep your body and tummy happy at the same time!


    1 heaping scoop ATP Whey Protein

    1/2tsp mountain sea salt

    1 cup dried apricot

    1/2 cup dried dates 

    1 cup gluten free raw oats

    1/3 cup unsweetened coconut shreds 

    1/2 cup unsweetened cacao

    1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds 

    1 cup unsalted pecans 

    1/3 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds 

    1/4 cup maple syrup

    1 cup sun butter 



    1. Chop apricots/dates in food processor

    2. Repeat with nuts

    3. Add to bowl with ATP Protein, oats, seeds, cacao and coconut

    4. Pour in maple syrup and sunflower butter

    5. Blend well with clean hands and form into little balls

    **If you really want to make these a treat, melt dark raw chocolate and dip each ball in it! YUM!**



    Jen's Vanilla Lemon Birthday Cupcakes (with vanilla buttercream frosting)

    My oldest son is turning 4 this weekend so it's time do make some cupcakes! I have enjoyed baking for quite a few years now and my specialty is cupcakes. I love decorating them for my kids birthdays and love the excuse to do so for friends or family. This year my son asked for a Toy Story cake and buzz and woody coloured cupcakes. I tend to use the same vanilla lemon cake recipe as it seems to please most at the party and the vanilla frosting allows me to decorate based on the theme. The lemon flavour adds a bit of zest which cuts the sweetness. 

    I try to bake guilt free when I can..coconut  and lemons make them healthy right?!

    I have shared my birthday cake recipe below and I hope you enjoy as much as we do!


    Makes 12.

    Bake at 350 for 18 to 20 minutes. 


    1 1/4 cups flour

    1 Teaspoon baking powder 

    1/4 teaspoon of salt 

    1 cup sugar

    1/2 cup of butter or substitute apple sauce 

    1 egg

    1/2 cup of yogurt or unsweetened  coconut almond milk (keeps cake moist)

    3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or more for tartness 

    2 teaspoons lemon zest

    You can also use lemon extract but I like real thing. 


    1/2 cup butter.

    3 cups icing sugar.

    1 tablespoon of milk of your choice. 

    To make the cupcakes combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, I add the lemon juice once the cake batter is all mixed together. I also find cupcakes always taste lighter when the batter isn't over mixed. 

    While the cupcakes are baking you can prepare your amazing frosting and then once cooled start decorating! 



      Jen Bobby is a lover of fashion, travel, food, beauty products, coffee, wine and all things in between. She has her own baby clothing line Chic and Cheeky Accessories and is a mama of two beautiful boys!  You can check her out at:      https://www.facebook.com/chicandcheeky

    Jen Bobby is a lover of fashion, travel, food, beauty products, coffee, wine and all things in between. She has her own baby clothing line Chic and Cheeky Accessories and is a mama of two beautiful boys!  You can check her out at: https://www.facebook.com/chicandcheeky

    High-fibre broccoli bites

    Sometimes it is hard to get our littles to eat...broccoli

    Here is a tasty take on a broccoli pancake that is backed with nutrition! with over 130% of the daily recommendation of vitamin C and almost 6 grams of fibre, this is a win for us mommies!

    We did these on a flat top iron with some coconut oil spray.

    2 whole eggs

    2 cups chopped broccoli

    1 slice of High-Fibre Dempster's bread toasted and then made into bread crumbs

    6 TB of light Kraft Parmesan cheese

    Salt to taste


    1. Steam chopped broccoli

    2. Toast once slice of bread and then put in food processor to make bread crumbs

    3. Add Salt, eggs, cheese and broccoli

    4. Pulse to make a batter

    5. Use a spoon to scoop out and form into balls

    6 This makes about 10 mini cakes, one serving is 5

    Adapted from www.superhealthykids.com

    High Iron Kid friendly muffins


    200 Grams mashed banana

    1/4 cup apple sauce

    1/3 cup Molasses

    1 Large egg

    1 Large egg white


    2 cups of ground oat flour

    1/4 cup Coconut flour

    1 tsp baking soda

    2 tsp baking powder

    1. Pre-heat oven to 350

    2. Mix wet add dry ingredients

    3. Blend well

    4. Put into 24 mini muffin's5. Bake for 20-25 minutes

    Baked pumpkin oatmeal muffins

    2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, gluten-free as needed
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
    1 egg or 2 egg whites
    1/4 cup pure maple syrup
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
    1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
    1/4 cup dried craisins or any dried fruit (optional)
    1/4 cup mini chocolate chips - Enjoy life or Krisda 
    *Pumpkin pie spice = 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon each of ground ginger and nutmeg.

    Here we go:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, stir together oats, baking powder, seasonings and salt.
    In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin, 1 egg (or 2 egg whites), maple syrup, vanilla extract, milk and add-ins. Add pumpkin mixture to the oats and stir to incorporate.
    Allow the mixture to set and thicken for about 3-5 minutes before spooning into your muffin pan.
    Fill muffin pan almost completely full with oatmeal mixture. The muffins will not rise.
    Bake for 30-35 minutes and until the center of each oatmeal muffin is set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. If you don't allow these to cool before taking them out of the muffin pan, they will fall apart. Store in a covered container in the fridge for about a week. 

    Nutritional info calculated with 1 egg and 1/4 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips. The addition of nuts and fruit was not included. Calculated per muffin- calories: 126, fat: 3.8g, protein: 3.5g, carbs: 21.6g, fiber: 3g, sugar: 9.7g, potassium: 10.4mg excellent source of vitamin A and good source of B-12

    For the Pumpkin Seeds:
    Rinse and soak in a large bowl for 10 minutes
    Then add seeds to a large pot filled with water and 1tablespoon spoon of salt
    Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes
    Bake at 400 for 5-20 minutes with sea salt & cumin...keep checking on them as they can burn easily.. Enjoy!