Weekend Painting Project

It’s been straight-up months since I wrote a blog post, but I’m quite excited about this and it seemed like time.

After many months of living in this apartment, Ben and I finally got around to doing some home improvements. The weather was beautiful and sunny last weekend, so we painted our TV console!

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January Covet Crate Subscription Box Review

Hi! I received this wonderful box on Monday but it’s been so crazy busy that I haven’t been able to write this post until now!

Covet Crate is a brand-new subscription box for the busy, professional woman. There are two different levels, Girl Boss ($44.95) and Lady Boss ($84.95). This is a review of the Girl Boss box.

Ashley, the founder, was kind enough to let me try it out a month early, and she is letting me offer my readers a 25% off coupon on the first box! Keep reading to get the code 🙂


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December Hole in Wall Box Review

The lovely people of Hole in Wall were good enough to send me their San Diego box to try this month, and I am thrilled with it!

For those of you who aren’t familiar, this box strives to bring the best of a location to subscribers. This can include items from mom & pop shops, farmers’s markets, and other fun places. Hole in Wall is a bi-monthly box.


I love food, but food in subscription boxes is usually not paleo-friendly, so I was so excited by this beef jerky.


Sinsa Korean BBQ Beef Jerky – $7

I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m thinking it will be the perfect snack to take down to Southern California this weekend! And even Ben will eat it, since the beef contains no hormones or antibiotics.


S.D. Scented Candle- $7

I love me some candles. This one smells like ocean & jasmine, a great combo, and I love it. I might bring this into work and have it in my cube.


Oaked Chipotle Hot Sauce- $6; Caramel Kettle Korn- $3

These two items are perfect stocking stuffers! The caramel corn is made with American-grown corn and I think my mom will love it. I also think that she’ll like the Arrogant Bastard Ale hot sauce.


MJ’s market PC Bar- $4

I have never had a snack bar quite like this one before. The flavors were good and not too sweet because everything is natural and whatnot, but the consistency was chewy and kind of like a rice krispy treat because of the puffed millet.

Vegan Sweet Potato Stuffing

This super simple recipe was a hit at my work Thanksgiving potluck! I have several vegan gluten-free coworkers, so I wanted to make something that they could eat, even though I was kind of sad to make this without butter. It turned out really yummy though, and you won’t miss meat as a part of this at all.


6 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 large onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped



2 cups fresh cranberries

4 TBSP olive oil

salt & pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line baking trays with foil or parchment paper.

Toss the cubed sweet potatoes in a large bowl with 2 TBSP of olive oil. Salt and pepper.

Put the remaining olive oil into a large frying pan over medium heat, and, when hot, add onions and celery and herbs. Cook until translucent.


Bake sweet potatoes in a single layer for 30 minutes, then turn and cook for 25 more.


Remove sweet potatoes from oven and transfer to a large casserole dish. Combine with onion/celery/herb mix and cranberries and stir gently to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. This reheats well and goes well with ham as well as turkey! Happy Thanksgiving!


Pumpkin Lamb Chili

It’s finally cool and feeling like fall here, so I was more than happy to make something in the crockpot this week. It’s a delicious, hearty meal, inspired by minister Laura Thompson.

{I made this with two pounds of meat so it will last us a while, but you could easily make this vegetarian by substituting an additional 2 cans of beans and/or celery, carrots, even potato.}

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Serves: Many

Prep time: ~1 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Cook time: 5 hours on low


1 lb. ground lamb

1 lb. grass-fed ground beef (or another lb. of lamb)

1 can black beans, drained

1 can pinto beans, drained

1 can pumpkin puree

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

4 or more cloves of garlic, finely chopped

~1 cup broth/stock of choice

Optional: pour or two of red wine

Chili powder


Salt & pepper


1 TBSP Coconut oil


Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat and add onions. Cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.

Add your drained beans and diced tomatoes (with the juice) to your crockpot or slowcooker. Add chopped garlic and the onions and stir together.

Put your ground meat in the frying pan and season heavily with chili powder and moderately with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. The cinnamon tastes amazing with lamb and will bring out the pumpkin flavor. Cook until most of the pink is gone and it’s broken into small pieces (it’s going to be cooking for hours, it’ll get cooked through eventually so there’s no need to dry it out now.)


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Add the cooked meat and stock to the crockpot and stir to combine.

Add the pumpkin, stir it in and gauge if more liquid is needed. The pumpkin is quite thickening.


Now add more chili powder, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Tabasco, too, if you want more spice. Taste it and probably add even more chili powder. It’s a lot of food to flavor & I was surprised how much chili powder it took.

Turn crockpot on to low and cook for 4-5 hours. Enjoy!

October 2015 Rocksbox Review

This is my third Rocksbox, but I’ve been so busy that I didn’t get around to reviewing the other ones! Rocksbox is a designer jewelry subscription service, but instead of keeping the pieces, you wear them and send them back when you’re ready for a change! If you fall in love with a piece, you do have the option to buy it at a discounted price (which I did with the necklace in this box.)

Each box comes with three pieces of jewelry, usually one from your Wishlist and two surprise pieces selected by a stylist based on your answers to a style quiz. You can keep the box and wear the pieces for as long as you want, but you won’t get a new box until you send the old one back. Rocksbox is $19 a month, which I think is a great deal because you can get new jewelry as many times as you want – as fast as you can wear it and send it back!


Use code LEILABFF18 at checkout to get your first month for free!

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Raw Kale Salad Recipe

I have been working at my company for over a month! I feel adjusted to being a working person now and I’m totally out of school mode. I biked through campus on my way home today and it was weird, like I could have been just coming from class or something but I wasn’t.
I’m still waiting to hear if the company will be hiring me permanently or not, which is stressful but doable. The worst time is when all of my bosses are in interviews in the conference room near my office and I can *almost* hear what they are asking the candidate. I love my job here and I think I’m really good at it, so I just want them to hire me already!
*Update:* the funny thing is that my boss called me into a meeting while I was writing the above paragraph of this post and while I am not an official, regular employee yet, they have made it clear that I’m not going anywhere soon and that December is looking like my official hiring time!!! I’m an employed college graduate!
Anyway, here’s a recipe that I got at the cooking class I went to two weekends ago (that’s how long it’s taken me to write this post. It’s so easy, delicious, and healthy!
Feeds 2-4
Adapted from recipe by Chef Debra Chase
  • 1 bag chopped kale (to save time) or 1 bunch kale
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 can black olives, sliced
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. salt*
  • pepper to taste


  • Put kale in a mixing bowl (non-reactive, like glass, ceramic, or plastic) and sprinkle salt over the leaves. Massage leaves until the turn darker green.
  • Drizzle lemon juice over the leaves and massage again. The leaves should get a bit darker and seem “cooked” by the acid.
  • Add tomatoes and olives to the kale and mix together.
  • Mash the avocado with olive oil and pepper until smooth and then toss into salad.
  • Serve chilled.

*Be careful adding more salt to this salad since the kale is already salted. Taste before you add more!

Leila’s Why is Davis so Hot Still Paleo Peach Cobbler

I went on an awesome but rather exhausting roadtrip to Portland this weekend and was lucky enough to be able to take today off work. I woke up from my nap this afternoon having had a dream about my mom making peach cobbler. It sounded really good, so I decided I would make some.  It wouldn’t really be a complete, relaxing day off for me if I didn’t bake something, so here it is: my several-weeks-into-fall-but-it-still-feels-like-summer-here peach cobbler.

Serves: However many persons want to chow down on this deliciousness.

Prep time: ~30 minutes

Bake time: ~20 minutes



3 cans of peaches in fruit juice, not syrup (you could use fresh fruit, of course, but peaches aren’t in season for me right now)

2 TBSP grassfed butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 TBSP maple syrup

pinch of salt


pumpkin spice to taste

roasted almonds


2 eggs

2 TBSP grassfed butter, softened

1 TBSP raw honey

1/2 cup coconut flour

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

pumpkin spice to taste

1/2 tsp vanilla

water (added in 1/2 tsps until desired consistency)


Open the three cans of peaches and drain two of them. Dump all of the peaches and the juice from one of the cans into a pot.

Add butter, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and pumpkin spice* to peaches and heat over medium low until the mixture begins to bubble. Turn burner off and set aside.

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*I use pumpkin spice because I enjoy the mixture of spices in it and how it gives this dessert a fall-ish flavor, but experiment with what you like best.

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Grease a pie or square baking dish and pour peach mixture in. Add nuts.

[I opted for whole roasted almonds, but that’s mostly because I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to chop them. That’s what teeth are for. The sesame seeds are in there because of a failed attempt to use a spring form pan for this recipe. My dad uses butter and sesame seeds to keep things from sticking, so I tried it, but the filling started leaking. Whoops.]

Add butter, honey, and eggs in a bowl and beat well.

Add vanilla and pumpkin spice and mix.


Add salt, coconut flour, and baking soda and mix together. A sticky yet slightly crumbly dough should form.


Add small amounts of water to get the dough to your desired consistency. I’ll have to play around with the recipe a bit because the dough I got today was too sticky to roll out but too thick and crumbly to pour on top, but it tastes delicious so I’m not complaining.

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Get dough onto the top of the peaches however works for you, and then bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Enjoy!

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Everything is Yoga and Other Things I’ve Learned Recently

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I have been frequently practicing at a yoga studio here in Davis, and today, the owner and the teacher I most frequently go to, commented on my attendance. “You’re becoming a regular here, huh, Leila?” I was so happy she noticed. I’m a Kia devotee now; so much of what she says and the way she teaches speaks to how I want to learn, and would someday like to teach, yoga. The fact that she has learned my name (and is pronouncing it correctly) is making me feel at home there.

Last week in one of her Level 2 Vinyasasa classes (kicking my ass, Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-7), Kia talked about how traditionally, yoga was practiced in solitude. To have a yoga community, a kula, to practice with is a much more recent invention, but I find it makes all the difference in getting me to expand and grow in my practice.

“Everything is yoga, everything is a pose,” Kia says. “You’re not doing bad yoga. Just go to your edge, go to your version of the pose, how it is best suiting you today.” She encourages her students to do what feels right, as long as they are doing it with intention and in the moment. I love this kind of nurturing, supportive, and adaptable teaching style, and I think more yogis could benefit from it.

I love putting yoga photos on Instagram. I think that the presence of an international online yogi community is very cool. But sometimes, in taking pictures for various challenges, I have noticed that I become fixed on a certain outcome. My ego, as Kia would say, is attached to what I see in pictures as “The Pose.” Because of this, I have been thinking about making sure that when I take inspiration from Instagram that I integrate it into my practice in the best way for me, not in exactly the same way someone else did it.

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This is a backbend

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This is a backbend, too. Different days, different places, different poses.

I am so happy that I have a studio to go to, and amazing teachers (not just Kia, they are all great) to help lead me on my yoga journey. I’m sure I’ll learn even more as I go along.