Saturday Recovery + Food Restocking

The past few weeks have been pretty hectic, and when I threw in a last minute trip down to Charlotte last weekend, my normal routine fell apart.  On Saturday morning when I opened the fridge and realized that had allowed my reserves to deplete down to liquid diet options of either booze or almond milk, I put on my coat and ventured out on a gathering expedition.
food blog - fridge pic

On a warmer Saturday in Charlottesville (seasonally dictated) I would have gone directly to the farmers market, and found all my favorite local sources of meat and produce, but alas, it is the middle of winter and four walled stores it was.

When I’m heading on a full fridge restock trip it always involves multiple stops, so on Saturday I made my way to Trader Joe’s, by way of Whole Foods.   The produce section of TJ’s has all of my staples and is always cheaper than WFM, but the meat section just can’t compare.  I am going through a pretty serious flank steak phase, and Whole Foods has some of the best grass fed cuts that don’t taste ‘grassy.’

food blog - flank steak from Whole Foods

I used the opportunity to grab an iced americano from the little coffee cart, and happily made my way across the street to Trader Joe’s where I picked up staple produce, berries,  nuts, and some basic replenishing supplies in the form of spices, pasta and coconut oil.

food blog produce
basic core staples: spinach, mushrooms, zucchini + yellow squash, romaine
food blog  spices from TJ's
TJ has the best seasoning spices – everyday seasoning is my go-to for everything
food blog berries from TJs
dark berries: blues, blacks, & rasp.
TJ's coconut oil
most universal + used staple in the house.

Friday morning included Dar’s bootcamp at Solidarity, immediately followed by Pure Barre with Kristin, so my body was ready for a rest.  Friday night had been an equally long night out venturing over to Mudhouse in Crozet to listen to a small acoustic show performed by a friend’s husband, and then dinner and drinks back downtown at Citizen Burger Bar.  By Saturday night I was ready for some down time to get work done and spend a little time creating in the kitchen, so that’s exactly what I did.

whole foods flank steak w/tenderizer & seasoning
whole foods flank steak w/tenderizer & seasoning
purple potatoes, zucchini, sliced bella mushrooms
purple potatoes, zucchini, sliced bella mushrooms

When I start chopping, I like to do more than I need and pack it away so it’s easier and faster to make quick meals during the week, so I chopped what I had and then packed the potatoes away with some mushrooms and zucchini to use in scrambled eggs this week.  The flank steak went on to the grill, and the rest went into a pan with a table spoon of coconut oil, and added spinach once everything else was tender.

food blog : mushroom, zucchini, spinach

I’m always amazed at how much spinach cooks down, and how quickly, so I never add it until the last second and try to take it off the heat before it gets too soft.  While everything was cooking down I had brown rice pasta cooking on the back burner, also taking it off the stove a minute before the suggested time to avoid it getting too soft.

food blog - brown rice pasta

After the pasta and veggies were done, they were combined in a mixing bowl, and created one of my favorite combinations of flavors.  The coconut oil combined with the juices from the vegetables acts as a natural dressing for the pasta.

food blog - 021113

food blog - 021013

I kept the salad simple since so much else was happening around the chopping block and the stove, so it was just romaine, avocado, walnuts, and mozzarella cubes, with the Trader Joe’s Cilantro salad dressing.

food blog - 021013

food blog - 021013

All in all, Saturday was a great day for both food and rest, and I threw in a couple glasses of wine for ‘moderation’ and relaxation as I pushed through the to-do lists that had been piling up.

On to a new week now, but check back in for Sunday highlights, full of more market finds, friends, and PB toning.

Meet VAL: sweatworker with a love for clean fuel

valerie moriniWelcome to fuel sweat grow.  I’m Val.

I’m excited to finally be getting this blog up and running, and have a space to share my finds and favorites from my life as a perpetual health seeker.  You can find my bio on our sweat worker page, but here are a few added details that you won’t find on there.

I grew up in Philadelphia, went to college at UVa in Charlottesville, and spend 5 years post-college living in Philadelphia and Charlotte before finding an anchor (Pure Barre) to plant me back in Cville for the time being.  I am in love with the sweet downtown of Charlottesville, the locavore mindset, and the amazing community focus on buying and eating local, but I still have a piece of my heart in Philadelphia.

Wherever I live, two things that I am always in search of are the best places to get local organic produce and meats, as well as the best sweats in town.  I am constantly in motion, always up for inspiring projects, and use the kitchen as my zen therapy studio.  For me, the best stress solution at any given time is either a great workout, or a great escape into a market, followed immediately by a project of creation in my kitchen.  My ideal days include a great sweat followed by a night of friends + clean whole foods turned into a great meal.  I guess you can say I live my ideal life  since that describes most nights around here, and Charlottesville is full of amazing people looking for exactly the same thing.

fuel sweat grow val collage

You’ll see lots of food pics coming at you from me, recipes (+ my own modifications) and my workout journals.  There will also undoubtedly be a few posts that include my sweet little monster, Bug.  Bug has her own blog where she shares her adventures, but likes to pop into my life every once in a while as my kitchen assistant.  She’s not great at the chopping, but she’s great at cleaning up any morsels that drop off the stove or counter (or your plate if you’re not careful).

bug says

You can find me on most (all) social media channels, so don’t be a stranger.  I’m always up for connecting, sharing, and learning from others.  Share your favorite recipes and finds with me, and I’ll be happy to share them on the blog.




In fueling, sweating, and growing in your life, always be real and keep working on the whole.