Making it Work in Charlotte, Literally

Last Sunday morning came far too quickly, big thanks to the debachary of the post-10 year old birthday party libations, and unfortunately my natural daylight alarm kicked in to wake me up before 7:30. Awesome.

Since I was getting ready to transition my life back to Charlotte for a while I decided to really take time to enjoy my sweet Charlottesville morning with brunch at LaTaza.

fuel sweat grow: la taza veggie burrito

It is a veggie scramble with zucchini, onion, tomato, some sort of cheese and avocado all wrapped up with fruit on the side.  They will also make a wrap-less version of the scramble with a side of avocado if you prefer, but I was feeling like I needed a little carb-recovery on that particular morning.

When I started writing this post, last monday night, I took a much lengthier approach to detailing out the rest of the day (and week), but since I’ve failed even my most lenient timeline for posting this week, here’s an abridged version.

I’m working on a project at Wells so I’m splitting time in the office for the next few months, and thanks to the magic of time blocking (and patient business partners), I’m balancing it with my Fight Gone MAD and FemCity Cville workload.

That being said, here’s what lunch on monday looked like, carried straight upstairs from energy cafe at the bottom of the Duke Energy Building.

fuel sweat grow: energy cafe salad

This salad was mixed greens, grilled chicken, cucumber, apples, sunflower seeds, mozzarella, and cranberries.  I don’t actually love the creamier style of balsamic dressing, but it served its purpose since structured business hours conflict with my preferred 10am breakfast time and I was beyond normal hunger.

Since Charlotte had a huge afternoon thunder storm that was followed by about 43 accidents and an absurd number of fallen trees, the 15 minute drive home took an hour, and dinner at 8pm took the form of two of my prepped lunch salads into one huge bowl with added flank steak.

fuel sweat grow: salad w/steak

It was a solid 10 hour day in the office, and a roundtrip 90 minute commute (that should have been 30), so I was glad to see Tuesday coming over the horizon, but it was still a great start to the week.

holy hell monday is over

Tuesday morning I was planning on going to the 6am Flywheel, but according to the website the class was full (lies) so I opted for a run (an obvious choice over my other option – the erg).

Work was another long day, but ended with an awesome Happy Hour that my friend Gwen planned for me with the girls from the trading floor.  We walked over to Halcyon in uptown Charlotte, and grabbed seats outside to enjoy the rain-free weather.


For the sake of a quick review – it was awesome, farm to table (LOVE) and will most definitely be a place that I go back to for a full meal.

Wednesday night after work I hit up the 5:30 class at Fight Gone MAD, which completely knocked me back after days of no sleep, constant work, and stupid amounts of travel.  I left the class shaking and in a panicked search of food because I had completely failed my own food preparation rules at work.

I was having a bit of a comfort food moment, something that I haven’t had in a while, so I dropped into Whole Foods and filled my plate at the hot bar with green beans, mac + cheese (so good), and roasted cauliflower.

fuel sweat grow: whole foods dinner

I had actually gone in for some protein, that ended up coming in the form of chicken salad, and then went rogue in the hot bar section.

whole foods

I loaded up a nice glass of wine to go with the meal, and ended up not finishing most of the binge mac + cheese, but it was great for a few bites.

Thursday I skipped the sweat portion of the day on account of my incredible soreness, and to spend the afternoon up in Denver (North Carolina) planning out the opening retail designs for Fight Gone MAD Cville.

Friday afternoon I hit up Fight Gone MAD (again) for a workout with a great group of friends, which was an awesome end to the week, and start of the weekend.

I’m committed to better sweats this week so stay tuned for that schedule, and new updates from a weekend at the beach!

Chilly Days Chili w/Spaghetti Squash

We didn’t get any snow this week in Charlottesville, but the threat was enough to create mental need for winter comfort food.  Enter: Meat-ful veggie chili.

I had 3lbs of grass-fed ground beef that had been Whole Food’s ‘deal of the day’ for 4.95/lb (!!!).  It went into the pot to simmer with onion and coconut oil.

As the meat browned, I chopped up the zucchini & yellow squash and added it in to simmer with the meat.

zucchini & yellow squash
a little added color & a lot of hungry excitement
fuel sweat grow - food blog
beans x 2 + crushed (or whole & chopped) tomatoes

Once everything was in the pot the heat went down to low and it simmered with a lid on for another 20 minutes to let the beans cook down and everything blend together.  I added salt, chili powder & my favorite Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning to the mix, and stirred occasionally.

yes. please.
yes. please.

Historically I have not been a chili + pasta combo person, but I’ve met some people in my travels who have liked the combo, so in the spirit of giving options, and also taking a short break from all things brown rice pasta, I decided to experiment with spaghetti squash.

Step 1:  Preheat the oven at 375.

Step 2: I made little knife pokes into its out most layer so the heat could release through, and  popped it in the oven before I started the chili.

Step 3: Let it cook for 1 hour (rotate once if desired).  Use a kitchen knife to test -if it slices in with minimum resistance, it’s done.

[If you want the most official roasting recipe for spaghetti squash, Martha has you covered: here]

fuel sweat grow - food blog
sittin’ pretty. pretty hot.

Step 4: Once the squash has a few minutes to cool, slice it in half and use a big spoon to scoop out the seeds from the center.  It’s really pretty easy, but keep your kitchen knife on hand to make in case you want to cut the seeds out a little quicker.

Step 5: Scoop out the spaghetti squash into a bowl (I like to hold the exterior and scoop out the middle like I’m cleaning out an avocado half).

One awesome part about spaghetti squash is that it really does take the place of the pasta, and adds the texture of the carb that we’re so accustomed to.  The best part, in my opinion, is that it always yields a pretty substantial amount of the spaghetti strands, and can easily be saved and used in additional meals later in the week.  Which is exactly what happened, which was helpful since this Chili made plenty of extra servings that are now living happily in the freezer.

This is one of my favorite winter time meals – always adapting and using different ingredients, but it’s super simple to make, and if you’re a non-meat eater, either use a meat substitute, or add double the veggies (plus carrots & peppers?) to keep it exciting.