Category Archives: Recipes

Quitting Cookies. Two Week Plant Based Challenge, During Pregnancy

Plant based lunch -

Quitting Cookies. Two Week Plant Based Challenge, During Pregnancy

“Let’s eat clean (he means plant based when he says this) until Thanksgiving!” Those are the words my husband dared to speak to my pregnancy-fatigued soul, amidst moving boxes and off-schedule toddlers.  I looked it up today “how many days until thanksgiving, Google?”  16 days.  Basically two weeks.  So, I decided to blog about our 2 week plant based challenge.

Now, I accepted this challenge because number one- I love my husband! But also,  I have gone crazy this pregnancy. Candy, cookies, sweets have been a staple in my diet.  Not only has it made me feel crappy and low-energy, but I know it’s not good for little unborn baby Haven. Plant-based makes me feel energetic and great! So, I’m hoping this two week plant based challenge will set me back on course to have a more plant based, nutritious diet.  This will also make it easier when I switch back to normal eating after pregnancy cravings have dwindled.  I’m just focusing on keeping the diet exactly that – plant BASED, meaning the foundation of every meal is plants.  I’m not stressing over keeping it vegan.  And I’m not stressing over portions.  If I want a whole head of kale, well I’ll just eat until I am satisfied and filled.

Day One of the Two Week Plant Based Challenge

This is day one. So tired. Moving all weekend was rough. And I’m determined to complete all my Piyo workouts on my 8-week schedule so that means 2 workouts today. I see the schedule taped to the wall. Ugh. But that’s later. Time to get the girls ready for daycare/work. I struggle with Sofia who is about as excited about getting up as her mama.

Kate actually slept through the night, and I’m so glad we didn’t have a repeat of the night before where I ended up sleeping with her after two hours of crying/consoling/crying/…. Shew that girl is stubborn!   Paul changes her diaper & I put her clothes on. Then Paul & Fia head to the city and Kate and I head to the office.

But not before I make a vegan chocolate shakeology shake. I throw a cup of strong coffee into the blender so that maybe that will help. It doesn’t really. I feel like the walking dead for a good hour and a half. Grandpa takes baby Kate with him to the bank, and I use a small reserved energy to accomplish office tasks.

On on my way home from lunch around 1 I swing by the store. The checker comments on how healthy my diet is. LOL. If only she knew I had chicken wings, riesens & twizzlersfor dinner last night.

When I got home,my mom was walking with Kate to the playground. Guess grandpa & grandmother had switched. It’s sort of nice having all your family so close. (I basically live in a commune now. Lol.) but it’s AMAZING when you’re 31 weeks pregnant & been moving for the last week.

I whipped per up this lunch. Eggplant parm patties and lemon tahini kale. The patties are adopted from this recipe, but I threw on a handful of shredded Parmesan before forming it into balls. Also I cook it on the stove as patties rather than oven meatballs.) Then I continuously flatten & flip in the sauté pan because I like it that way!

While led that was cooking, I poured this lemon tahini dressing (I use grated Parmesan instead of nutritional yeast; but I’ve had it both ways, and both are good) over a bowl of chopped kale. I mixed it in and then threw all of it in a sauté pan and cook covered, adding water as needed. I take it out when it’s soft but still bright green. the kale is sort of adapted from this recipe.

I really want a cookie when I finish lunch. I am terrible when it comes to sweets during pregnancy. I have a handful of frozen grapes instead, and start my Piyo workout.  Today I did Strength Intervals and half of Core.  The core workout is so great for pregnant ladies.  The majority of the moves are in prone/plank or standing.  There’s only about 5 minutes of it that I can’t do because it’s on my back.  And it provides so much strength work to keep those abdominals tight and strong (good for bouncing back to a somewhat flat tummy postpartum and for PUSHING during labor.  Here’s a few other reasons why PiYo is awesome for pregnancy.  Seriously love the way this workout makes me feel!

Pregnancy PiYo -
We had a salad for dinner with onions, tomato, cheese, carrots, romaine, avocado, and a little too much dressing.  At night when I am craving something sweet, I have some shakeology (any chocolate protein mix would probably work) protein brownie mix that I made kind of like these only I never shaped them into brownies, just ate it like batter.  I went to bed satisfied and feeling very accomplished that I went 24 hours without a cookie.

Hi, my name’s Lauren and it’s been 1 day since my last cookie.   

Here is my meal plan for this first week.  I may not stick to it exactly, but it gives me a foundation to work with.  I find it makes meal planning and “clean eating” easier when I use repeat meals. When the meals are creative, colorful, flavorful, diverse, etc… it doesn’t feel monotonous to me at all.

RunHoly Plant-based Meal Plan week 1


If for some reason, you want to download this meal plan, you can do that by clicking here: plant based meal plan – week 1






Zucchini Pizza Bites Recipe: Fast, Fresh, Five

Zucchini Pizza Bites Recipe: Fast, Fresh, Five

I LOVE this zucchini pizza bites recipe!  I think I first found this recipe on I make it all the time.  It’s healthy and fast! You could also substitute any kind of sliced squash too (if you like that better). I’m blessed to have an Italian husband who makes amazing sauce.  This is an all-day ordeal. And the sauce is amaaaazing. I usually make this recipe a lot with his leftover sauce. But any spaghetti sauce will do for the zucchini pizza bites recipe.

What you need (Ingredients):

2-3 Zucchinis

Spaghetti sauce

Olive oil or Olive oil spray

mozzarella cheese

Salt & Pepper


Turn your oven on broil.

First, I slice the zucchini.  I slice it diagonally so that the surface area on top is bigger.  (Zucchinis seem to be a little on the small side when I buy them.)

Lay the zucchini slice out on a nonstick pan. Then I take an olive oil spray and spray the tops of the zucchinis.

Next I dust the slices with salt and pepper.  Put the pan in the oven. After about 3 minutes.  Flip them. And do the same with the other side (olive oil drizzle or spray & salt/pepper).

Last, top them with sauce (I heat mine for a minute in the microwave.) and mozzarella cheese.  Put back in the oven for about 1 minute or until the cheese is melted.


zucchini pizza bites recipe

MMM! Even my husband likes these, and he’s a picky eater (especially when it comes to veggies).zucchini pizza bites recipe

I make these around 1pm and snack on these zucchini pizza bites all afternoon. Then I eat less at dinner and am full of healthy zucchini with all of its good fiber & nutrients all day.

zucchini pizza bites recipe

Fast, Fresh, Five Ingredient Recipe #2: Stir “Fry” Veggies Over Couscous

Fast, Fresh, Five Ingredient Recipe: Stir “Fry” Veggies Over Couscous

I love to throw things together for healthy recipes, but it has got to be fast with an 8 month old crawling around. But just because something is easy and convenient doesn’t mean it’s gotta be unhealthy! Move over, Mac-n-cheese, for this delicious, healthy five ingredient recipe!

5 Fresh Ingredients:

Five Ingredient Recipe  1. Cocunut oil or oil of choice

2. mushrooms

3. leafy green vegetable like spinach

4. couscous

5. Garbanzo beans


Five Ingredient Recipe Optional Ingredients: I like to spice it up so I added: garlic, cayenne pepper,  and sriracha

Fast Directions:

Prepare couscous according to directions ( I added oil & salt to mine). Set aside.

Dump garbanzo beans in a bowl and microwave 3 minutes.  Set aside.

Start some coconut oil in a pan.

I  love using coconut oil to cook everything also.  I even make scrambled eggs with it!  Sidenote: it’s great for diaper rash and face moisturizer too!

Five Ingredient Recipe


Next, Add in the mushrooms (*and optional cayenne and garlic). Stir around a couple minutes.



Then add in leafy green veg.  Stir around a couple minutes.  Five Ingredient Recipe




Once the leaves cook down, add some garbanzo beans.  Stir around a minute or so….

Five Ingredient Recipe

Serve over the couscous.  Top with optional sriracha.Five Ingredient Recipe

And there it is–a five ingredient recipe that is healthy and fast to make!  I love a five ingredient recipe like this because it is filling because of all the fresh greens and protein but also leaves you feeling good.  I was in a vegetarian mood for lunch, but this would be an awesome fast, fresh, five ingredient recipe with chicken, beef, eggs, or tofu. Or you could throw in hummus instead of the garbanzo beans and turn it into a wrap.  (That’s that’s the way I used the leftovers from this on the next day.)


Fast, Fresh, Five #1: Greek Yogurt Parfait

greek yogurt fruit snack

Recipes that are Fast to make, Using Fresh ingredients, and Five or less ingredients

I’ve been trying to cut out processed crap!  But I don’t have time to whip up some fancy, complicated recipe.  It’s gotta be fast–that I can make fast & eat fast.  With a little crawler, that’s a necessity.  But I don’t want to compromise my health by eating junk.  My solution? Stuff like this:

Greek Yogurt Parfait

1. Plain greek yogurt

2. Fruit: I use a frozen blend

3. Sliced almonds (walnuts and pecans are good too)

4. Honey

5. Cinnamon

Get a small bowl. Put some greek yogurt in first.  Top with frozen fruit and almonds. Drizzle with honey. Top  with cinnamon. Done. Easy. This is great when you are craving sweets or ice cream.

greek yogurt fruit snack

Bonus! I made a little serving for Sofia.  Only I just used yogurt, banana, and cinnamon. Yum! You know you’re eating fresh when you can share snacks with your baby.