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    Hi! My name is Leah and I like food! Welcome to my blog about mostly healthy eats! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at leftoversforlunchATgmailDOTcom.

  • March 2018
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Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Stew


This was one of the last detox meals and we definitely ended on a high note. For me, eggplant dishes are hit or miss. I could do without grilled eggplant, eggplant parmesan, and stuffed eggplant boats. But give me ratatouille or babaganoush and I’m all over it. I think the secret is that I just like it roasted. And without skin.


But I think the reason I really liked this recipe was the cinnamon. And it’s really hearty and filling for a vegetarian meal. I did cook up a cup of quinoa on the side – in the future, I would just stir it in. Also, the original recipe was for a crockpot meal. I did it on the stovetop and it took about 45 minutes.

Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Stew

  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 large eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
  • 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel eggplants, if desired, and cut in half lengthwise. Brush the cut sides liberally with 2 tablespoons oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast until tender, about 25 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, Italian seasoning, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and the chopped mushrooms; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, tomato and eggplant. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Southwest Spaghetti Squash

Snow Day 104

Ok, so I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but the last couple of spaghetti squashes I’ve had haven’t come out very stringy and spaghetti like. It’s more like mush, like you would expect from a regular baked squash. What am I doing wrong, folks? Overcooking or something?

So besides this looking like a gross pile of mush, it actually tasted really damn good and Huz said it was his favorite spaghetti squash recipe to date, so I had to share. The basis for the recipe is here. It’s pretty basic so I dolled it up quite a bit.

Snow Day 087

Southwest Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
2 chipotle peppers, minced
1 tsp adobo sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
1 green onion, sliced for garnish

1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

2. Place squash halves in a shallow baking pan with about 1 inch of water.

3. Bake squash in the preheated oven until soft, about 1 hour.

4. Scrape flesh of squash from the rind using a fork and place in a large serving bowl.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the black beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, cumin and garlic in the hot oil until the vegetables are soft and the liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes; pour into the bowl with the squash; toss to combine. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, chipotles and adobo, lime juice, and cilantro and toss again. Season with salt and pepper to serve. Garnish with green onion slices.

Detox Wrap Up

Yesterday was our last day of our 3-week detox. This is the third time we’ve done the detox – the first time was pre-blog, and the second time is pretty well documented with a really in-depth reflections post. (Jodus also left a detailed comment about his thoughts on it as well.)

I don’t want to rehash it all out because my thoughts are basically the same – breakfast is still a challenge but having a Vitamix helps make bomb smoothies, greens are still smelly, our energy is up, we both lost weight (8lbs for me, 12 for Huz), I still craved chocolate and wine and eggs. What I do want to talk about is why we do this.

The goal for the detox was to get back on track. Mission accomplished.

In October, I went to Hawaii for a week. November had Thanksgiving in there. December was a trip to Phoenix, Christmas, and Huz’s birthday. We were indulging way more than usual – boozing it up, eating a significant amount of chocolate every night, not paying attention to portions. As a result, I packed on 10 pounds and my pants were uncomfortably tight. (It should be noted that part of that was due to reduced activity level thanks to a knee injury.)

Through 3 weeks of a plant-based diet, we were able to undo most of the effects of 3 months of crap. My pants are comfortable again, I feel like I’m in control of my eating habits again, and I generally feel better about myself (it was touch and go there for a minute). I like to describe it as a pendulum effect. We had been swung hard left off balance and had to come back hard right to help us get back to that gentle swaying in the middle.

This strict of a “diet” is definitely not something I can maintain for much longer than 3 weeks without losing my sanity. But it does make me a lot more aware of my eating habits. Do I really want/need a piece of chocolate after dinner or am I reaching for it out of habit? (Answer: it’s usually habit.) Is there a better snack option for me than the all-too-convenient granola bar? (Answer: yes, there is a better option – veggies and hummus or a piece of fruit.) How many servings of fruits and veggies have I had today? (Answer: typically it isn’t enough.) Do we really need a starchy side dish with dinner? (Answer: probably not.) Do I really need to butter these veggies? (Answer: Not really, but damn is butter good.)

So now, we work on finding that balance. And yes, it will include adding a little butter to veggies. And it will include eggs for breakfast. And it will include eating meat again. But it’ll all be in moderation. Side salads will be a regular occurrence. So will smoothies for breakfast. I’m going to try to not get into the habit of coffee everyday just for the sake of having coffee. And I’m back to super dark chocolate instead of Lindor truffles and Milky Way Midnight bars.

And yes, I’m fantasizing about my next piece of bacon and gulp of dark beer which will definitely be going down this upcoming weekend in epic form.

Zucchini Mediterranean Style


We are scraping the bottom of the barrel for vegan meal ideas that are low on grains and that isn’t in soup form. I did break down and let in some brown rice, just to get some starch in us so we don’t kill each other by Sunday. I’m exaggerating. The detox hasn’t really been bad at all. I’ll be back Monday with a semi-detailed recap. I loved that this dish was really light feeling as opposed to the heavy soups we have been eating. When I ate it as leftovers yesterday, I added a spoonful of capers on top and that was perfection – nice and salty!


Zucchini Mediterranean Style

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan, and stir in the rice. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a separate medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, red bell pepper, and garlic, and cook until tender. Mix in tomatoes and zucchini, and season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir cannellini beans and olives into the tomato and zucchini mixture, and continue cooking about 10 minutes. Serve over the cooked rice.

Sweet & Spicy Carrot Bisque


So, I know we just had another carrot soup last week but this recipe came in my email from Vegetarian Times. I was going to delete it after just seeing the title but somehow I accidentally opened it on my phone and my eyes caught one of the ingredients: banana. Um, say what? A banana in my soup? Ok, now this is something I must try. Apparently banana curry is a semi-common thing that I’ve apparently never heard of. Strange. I’m happy to report that the banana did add a nice silky texture to the soup and a bit of sweetness to cut the spice and didn’t taste like banana at all.


Sweet & Spicy Carrot Bisque

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tsp.  salt
  • 4 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. curry powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 1/4 cup water (or vegetable broth)
  • 5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 13.5-oz. can light coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. lime juice

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and and sauté 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Stir in ginger, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add curry powder, cayenne, and 1/4 cup water. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to coat onion and ginger with curry mixture.
2. Add carrots, banana, 1 tsp. salt, and 4 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes, or until carrots are soft enough to be pierced with fork.
3. Purée soup with immersion blender or in batches in blender. Return soup to pot, and stir in coconut milk and lime juice, reserving a small portion of the coconut milk for garnish.
4. Ladle soup in bowls, and garnish with coconut milk into each serving.

WIAW: Detox Week 3

Fingers are crossed for a snow day today – we are supposed to get up to 10 inches! That’s huge in this area.

Breakfast: Green Monster in new tumbler! Straws make drinking these so much easier. I always make them too thick to slurp.


For two: 3 carrots, 1 banana, 3 cups frozen chopped spinach, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 2 scoops brown rice protein powder, 2 scoops Greens+, 3 cups unsweetened almond milk. That makes 2-24oz monsters that take me over an hour to drink while getting ready. Pills: Vit D, Vit B, Vit C, mutli-vitamin, Fish oil, glucosamine, glutamine. (And yes, they are in a smiley face, thanks to my husband!)

It was a busy day at work after a 4-day weekend. I munched on grape tomatoes while processing paperwork and prepping for a big meeting. (<- I only said that so I sound important. But I’m not at all.)


A slightly later than usual lunch: leftover Italian Vegetable Soup with Vegan Pesto (stirred in) that got devoured all too quickly. It’s actually a pretty big bowl – 4 cups I think? And lots of sweet potato and parsnip to fill me up.


Also did really well on the water front – 3 Siggs at work and one at home.

Afternoon snack at the office: 2 kiwis, skin and all.


Afternoon snack at home so I don’t gnaw my arm off while cooking dinner: 3 tiny dates with almond butter.


Dinner was yet another orange soup. Recipe to come, tomorrow probably.


And I made a decent sized side salad to go with that looks kind of unappetizing but is really good: Earthbound Organics Herb Salad Mix + sundried tomatoes + capers + kalamata olives + homemade vinaigrette.


It was a fabulous dinner and relatively normal. I don’t think that you can tell by looking at my daily eats that I’m on a detox and that’s what I love about this program. It isn’t extreme. Anyone can do it.


Daily totals:

Calories: 1658
Carbs: 228g
Protein: 69g
Fat: 59g
Fiber: 54g (wowsers!)


I’m happy with that considering this is essentially a vegan diet. Normally, I’d shoot for a higher amount of protein but since I’m not weight lifting right now, it is less of an issue for me.

And with that, that’s the last WIAW for the 3-week detox. I’ll be back next week with a little recap/reflection post for this go around but if you are itching to hear more about it, check out this post from 2010.

Sweet Potato Chipotle Chowder


So, it wasn’t until I was done making this soup and took a taste that it was really familiar. Wait, have I made this recipe before? Hmph. I racked my brain then searched the good old blog. No, I haven’t made this recipe before but I have made one that was super similar: Jalapeno Sweet Potato Chowder. Apparently I have a thing for spicy sweet potato soups? This one is detox-friendly but the Jalapeno version was better I think… probably only because it had meat.


Sweet Potato Chipotle Chowder

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 2.5 pounds total), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 medium chipotle in adobo sauce (Spicy! Add one at a time and taste test if you don’t love a lot of heat.)
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • additional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Cilantro for garnish

In a large saucepan or soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until just soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and stock and bring to a boil.Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add the chipotle with sauce to the soup. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree contents of pot, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Reheat soup, stirring in the corn and molasses. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve.