Kale is King

After this summer I think that I’m going to designate Kale as it’s own food group.  It’s not just that it’s such a nutrient rich plant (or, you know, the most ‘in’ leaf right now; my excitement really revolves around the fact that it keeps so amazingly well marinated in dressing that other soggy and often slimy leftover salads just don’t stand a chance.

fuel sweat grow: kale saladIt’s the easy travel, prep in advance, versatile and vibrant solution to any big dinner and week of leftover lunches.  In a world where healthy and clean eating convenience is so hard to come by, Kale is King.

When I do have time, or at least some time, on week nights I like to keep things pretty simple.  The main objective is easy cooking, and lots of leftovers that lunch is ready to go for a few days and I’m not stuck in a morning, or lunchtime panic at work trying to find something that I can eat. (Add roasted cauliflower and chicken to any kale salad and you’ll be SO happy. promise.)

fuel sweat grow: grilled dinner

So far this week has continued to be sponsored by Kale for lunch (and a couple dinners too) with a little extra flair to keep the variety up.  The base, however, is the same with Kale marinated overnight in fresh squeezed lime, drizzled olive oil and kosher salt.

Today I ate my breakfast and lunch pretty much back to back, so I had some eggs scrambled with squash and steak as an appetizer which truthfully only made the whole experience better since my stomach had been talking to me through three hours of meetings.

fuel sweat grow: kale summer fruit salad

There’s just something about summer fruit that goes perfectly with the lime tartness of the dressing, and the tenderness of the kale leaves, combined with the crunch of sliced almonds seconds that perfection.   For those 10 minutes I was eating, this salad was everything.   I’m pretty much always eating lunch at my desk – or a desk – these days, so having bright happy colors and bold flavors really helps to create a happier experience and a little boost in my day.

fuel sweat grow: work lunch

This past weekend I actually tried my hand at cauliflower pizza crust for the first time, and I have to say, while I’ll definitely make some tweaks to the recipe next time, it was great.  Pizza without the grain, but all the fun of the crust — that’s what I’m talking about.

Since I don’t really eat a lot of cheese, or much dairy at all, these days, the whole thing was a pretty awesome treat, and paired with filet, salad, and some veggies, it was a brilliant Saturday night dinner despite really not feeling well at all (who started circulating this mid-summer cold? because we’re not friends).

I need to read a bit more on how to REALLY get all the moisture out of the cauliflower before mixing together all the dry ingredients.  Sounds easier than it seems, but you’d be amazed by how much moisture it holds in just the raw state without any steaming or added moisture.  As a disclaimer, it’s kind of a messy process (such is the nature of cauliflower in general) so I bypassed pictures for attempt #1, but I’ll be sure to share the whole experience next round.

The rest of the week has been a hodgepodge of leftover meals, a few quick grabs (big hugs to Foodiecall and CPK!).  I’ve got just about an hour left in Charlotte before I make my way back to Charlottesville to get ready for our 1 Year Anniversary Party, and assorted celebrations therein — and I could not be more excited.  It has been a long last month and I’m ready to spend a weekend full of nothingness in my favorite city.

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Nights on the Town; Chuck Town

The weekend recap posted yesterday really only did justice to the Saturday portion of the weekend.  It did nothing to share the tremendous nights leading up to the Grand Opening Party.

I blew into Charleston Thursday evening after the longest short-day of work I’ve had in a while, and was ready for a night out on the town.   It’s about 3 hours on the nose from Charlotte to the Holy City, and by the time I whipped out of my office I was already in a mad rush (pun intended?) to get here in time — and I made it with a 10 minute turnaround from bag unloading to our departure time for dinner.

Our coach Donna, and her husband Tim (the unofficial mayor of the 6am MAD class), were the guides for the evening food tour — and they were amazing  [If there was ever a human that Dar would share her Mayor status with, it’s Tim.  None of the rest of us are worthy].

We started with drinks at Charleston Grill, and moved on to dinner at FIG, one of my new favorite Charleston restaurants – and for good reason.

I would have happily eaten anything on the menu, but to avoid overwhelming gluttony, I went with the heirloom tomato salad and the steak that was included on that day’s menu.  Both were amazing.

fuel sweat grow: FIG Charleston - tomato salad

fuel sweat grow: FIG Charleston

The end of dinner scene looked something like this (I think had 5 of my own wine glasses?), a true sign of a great night — but it didn’t end here.

fuel sweat grow: FIG charleston Wine

After dinner at FIG we marched on to Palmetto Grill to raise the bar on what gluttony means on a Thursday night, and dove fork first into four of their top desserts — including the (in)famous Coconut Cake.  This damn Coconut Cake is so amazing that it doesn’t even require refrigeration (read: BUTTER) and is most definitely a dangerous gateway drug.  If you haven’t had it, avoid it like the plague; if you have, may god have mercy on your soul.

fuel sweat grow: FIG Charleston

The transition from Thursday to Friday came FAR too quickly, and the 12:15pm class that I struggled through might as well have been a 4am class, but it was worth it.  There’s nothing like a little anaerobic MADness to shock the body back into action.

Friday’s recovery lunch was provided courtesy of Charleston Choo, our Saturday night event caterers for the MAD Charleston Grand Opening Party, and it was perfection.  They were parked in their caboose just a few blocks from MADabolic in Mt. Pleasant, which was lucky since I was about 3 minutes away from a total state of hangriness.

fuel sweat grow: Charleston Choo Wedge Salad

fuel sweat grow: Charleston Choo

I had a wedge salad, followed up immediately by a hamburger on a lettuce wrap with bacon, tomato, onion, and a fried egg to top it off.  It was the perfect blend of a hangover helper and a good carb / fat / protein blend to serve as afternoon fuel.  Again, if you haven’t checked out our buddies from Charleston Choo, do it.  Find them wherever they may be squatting in the Holy City and grab a bite.  You can thank me later — just as I’ll take this moment to thank Scott from Charleston Food Bloggers for recommending them!

Friday Night was another amazing night hosted by Donna and Tim — but this time at their beautiful house with our coaches for a little development.

fuel sweat grow: MAD coaches development

The full details of conversation, learnings, and the amazing amazing culinary masterpieces of Tim, ‘Mayor of MADcharleston,’ will be coming later this week since I’m far too much of a goals / strengths / development dork to summarize it in a few short sentences.

Needless to say, this was a strong start to the four day weekend that was rounded out with a little more Charleston, fun with our coaches and clients, and a lot more gluttony– because everyone needs a vacation, no matter how short.

 

 

 

 

 

A Celebration of MADness: Charleston Style

Hello, Charleston.  Yep, that’s right, we’re back again, and all in the name of MADness.  We opened the doors to MADabolic Charleston (Mt. Pleasant) in the beginning of June, and this weekend we celebrated the coaches, community, and the complete disbelief that it’s only been 7 weeks.

After an epic Thursday and Friday nights (which I’ll recap later this week) we kicked off the Grand Opening celebration on Saturday with some morning interval action (it.was.brutal.) followed by FREE samples from our friends at modpaleo.

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston

I met Amber and Carter, the creators/owners of Modpaleo, a few years ago – just prior to their meal plan launch- when I started to drop into their morning bootcamp in Charlotte for lululemon.   Like anyone who has pushed hard to eat clean,  they recognized the lack of convenient or easy meal options for those days or weeks when you just don’t have the time to spend hours doing prep work.  Thus modpaleo  was born providing amazing chef prepared paleo meals to their pick up locations (in select cities…).

We are now one of their pick up locations in Charleston, and the only one in Mt. Pleasant, so check them out and place an order! The food is amazing, and the convenience seriously can’t be beat.

fuel sweat grow: modpaleo

fuel sweat grow: modpaleo

[coconut curry beef – roasted cauliflower – apricot glazed chicken – YUM ]

fuel sweat grow: modpaleo

After two packed morning classes, and two additional preview classes for new clients, there was just enough time to take a 30 minute nap in between setting up and getting ready to go.

I don’t have all the pictures back from our photographer to really do the whole event justice, but I have to give a huge shout out to the guys from Charleston Choo who catered the event and did an amazing job.  I absolutely loved all the food, and they went beyond what I was even envisioning with the house made dressings and original recipes to fit our locally-sourced and more farm-to-table requests.

Our friends from King of Pops were also there to round out the catering with their sweet treats and signature pops.

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston grand opening party

The party was awesome, and a great celebration of our community.  And let’s not forget our awesome founding team of coaches, all of whom made this community (and stream of photos) as ridiculous and fun as it is strong.

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston coaches

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston coaches

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston coaches

There’s really nothing as good as a Saturday night well spent with a group of great people.  Thanks Charleston for another awesome weekend.

[Foam] Rolling Through Another Cville Weekend

On Tuesday afternoon I thought that this week may never end, but now, as we get ready to turn the page to what then was ‘next week’, I’m realizing that I’m already behind on tomorrow.

We’ve already ‘rolled’ through our Foam Rolling Clinic with Airrosti at MADabolic (Charlottesville), and are just under a week out from our Grand Opening Party at MADabolic (Charleston) – which if it’s anything like that community, is going to be incredible all around.  I’m heading back to Charlotte on Tuesday to squeeze a few days in the office before heading to Charleston.   Since I’ll be gone for the rest of the month,  I’ve been packing in every last second of Cville summer life while I can.

There are parts of my split and transient life that I love; the amazing friends, communities, and teams that I get to look forward to seeing in all the Charl-cities that I land in – but it’s the transitions out that are hard.   And of course,  leaving my little love bug behind is the absolute worst (even if she is so pre-occupied with her camp friends and holding down the fort in ‘her office’ at MAD to probably even notice).

fuel sweat grow: Bug Says MADness

After my much needed R&R on Monday, I got back into the MAD intervals on Tuesday and Wednesday, both of which were absolute crushers.  My arms and legs were so sore by Thursday that I had to make a point to walk around my office every 30 or so minutes, standing during conference calls, and finally at 6pm managed to run it out with a slow and steady 5 miles.  Friday was off in preparation for what was a very, very, MAD weekend.

Saturday morning the weekend crew was out in full force with waitlisters on deck to get in to all classes, as well as the Foam Rolling Clinic with Airrosti.  I played coach support and amateur photographer in the 8:30 class, and got to sweat it out in the 9:30.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Intervals

The Foam Rolling Clinic was led by Page, our favorite Airrosti guru and client, and was so unbelievably needed by all of us – judging from the groans and nauseous looks that were spread across the room.  Our community is so incredibly committed to our intervals and intensity, the clean eating we love to promote, and the strict rules about being on time and doing the full warmup, but its so much less prevalent to see anyone take more than a few quick minutes to really work-out the days work with a little foam roller or lacrosse ball.  And I’m fully open to the reality that I’m probably the worst – over the last year my yoga attendance has decreased by several thousand percent, and stretch class?  I wish.   This is definitely something that I’ll be talking more about (and committing completely to) to give back a little love to my body that I ask so much of.

Today was the first weekend that I’ve been in Charlottesville where I haven’t made it up to at least check in with the classes, but I just needed a morning to sleep, and slowly prepare for the day; long coffee, dog time, and then my favorite home cooked eggs for breakfast.

We had a 1pm kickball game – yes, that’s right, we have a MAD kickball team, made up of just a small sample of our awesome clients, friends, and coaches.

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

We’re not exactly Championship bound, but we do have a perfect record (it’s all how you look at it …backwards helps), but it’s a great group and a really fun way to sweat a little differently.

After the game I actually hit up MAD to get my sweat in for the day, just a little bit off the grid.  Heading there I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do – would it be today’s interval that I missed, or the one coming up for tomorrow?  In the end I decided on my own flashback to college, full out slideboard interval series that I would do with my strength coach as part of my cross-training and rehab when I was injured.  I needed a little break from weights, and it was perfect – details coming in the next couple days on what it all entailed after my Apollo Ono stance was put into action.  I think I missed my calling….but I also think I seriously missed the height cap for that sport, so I’ll settle for just living the dream when I can in the privacy of my own workout.

fuel sweat grow: slideboard speed skaters

To wrap up this very incomplete summary of an amazing weekend (including also Sarah Bareilles live at the Pavillion and dinner at Bella’s); here’s the short story of Sunday night dinner, as I love to make it with as many leftovers as I think the week can possibly handle:

fuel sweat grow: sunday night dinner in cville

[Steak (fresh ribeye, and flank steak from Whole Foods); brussel sprouts and broccoli slaw, both sautéed in coconut oil with a little crank of himalayan sea salt on top; roasted/grilled cauliflower; and a kale salad with cucumber, avocado, and a fresh lemon juice and olive oil dressing.]

All in all, it’s been a crazy-beautiful Charlottesville summer weekend and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Charlotte, I think I might actually be ready for you this week – and I’m certainly ready for your yoga.

Monday Coffee + Some Work-Lunch Balance

I’m definitely a fan of three-day-weekends, but there’s something a little painful about it when the short week comes on the front end of the holiday.  Adding an extra weekend day never achieves that extra rest and work catch up that would probably be the responsible time spend.  Instead, adding an extra 30% to the weekend immediately results in a 50% increase of overall wine consumption, sun exposure, and as a combined result, sunglass wearing to compensate for the consequences of both.

That being said, Monday morning brought a pretty harsh snap back to non-holiday reality, so, naturally,  I coped the only way I knew how: with an almond milk latte from Milli Joe.

fuel sweat grow: Milli Joe Coffee

And since Monday’s are tough (and this one didn’t disappoint), I decided to keep the celebration going after work with wine and a catch up friend date at Commonwealth.  I mean, it’s America kids, lets not limit our freedom celebrations to one day in July – celebrate every day and wine when you damn well please.

fuel sweat grow: commonwealth restaurant

And why quit while we’re ahead?  I was bordering on hangry driving while I was looking for parking downtown (which only took about 90 seconds, but they were 90 long seconds), so with my coveted wine I paired up two quick appetizers that proved to be a pretty awesome little meal. [Brussel sprouts and spicy chicken lollipops – try them Charlottesville, they’re both amazing.]

fuel sweat grow: commonwealth dinner

Today was another packed day, so work-life balance quickly translated into a work-lunch balance experiment of trying to eat, type, and strategically mute myself through conference calls to fit in chewing (Kale is NOT a quiet food).

fuel sweat grow: work place lunch

I had actually gotten myself up for the early am classes at MAD this morning to hopefully clear out my schedule for the rest of the day and enable myself to stay in my house with no interruptions, but of course I found myself rolling up to the 5:30 class to check in and take some much needed photos of our clients doing what they do – being awesome.

Dinner was a plethora of leftovers; kale marinated in lemon juice and olive oil, grilled flank steak, cucumber, and avocado.  I’m apparently on a kale binge, which was not intentional, but mostly just a product of some pretty aggressive fridge stocking last week.  Thankfully there’s not much I love better than some really great leftovers, so I’m all for it.

Here’s to hoping that the rest of the week shakes up a little to find some pockets of calm, but I wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway, so I might as well just hope for large periods of productivity coupled with some good food, great company, and MAD sweats.  I’m back to Charlotte next Tuesday so I’m trying to pack in as much time in MADville as I possibly can, and I couldn’t have picked a better line up of intervals than this week.