Quick Sweats + a FemCity Locavore Dinner

It has been a long last two weeks, which is only supported by the look of complete contention on Bug’s face.  She goes to day camp three days a week at Pampered Pets, which is probably her own personal disney land, but with people she loves instead of humans dressed as animals (she doesn’t love that).
bug stares

The unfortunate bit of her schedule is that on Tuesdays and Thursday’s she’s stuck at home and usually ends up watching me spend what she likely feels are her ‘best years’ doing work and checking emails.  These days have been especially bleak for Bug since the amount of work happening in the home office (and out of the house) is at a possible all-time high, and that is definitely saying something.

Somehow I’ve managed to fit in workouts most days, and try to take rest days when my schedule is just too full to rationalize creating another obligation.  I’m incredibly lucky to still be able to  go back to the weight room + athletic facility that I trained in when I was rowing for UVa.  All of the equipment is amazing, the strength and training staff is some of the absolute best out there, and it just feels like a second home to me.

McCue Center

Despite the amazing platforms and equipment, since I’m no longer training on a high level I try to avoid olympic lifting at all costs. I typically make an appearance when it’s too hot (or cold, or rainy) to use the Woodway treadmills – they are amazing pieces of machinery.

Last Thursday I stopped in and did a quick workout with a run + a small circuit:

  • 4 mile run
  • 25 wall balls
  • 25 sweepers (laying on the floor holding a bumper plate right above your chest + lift your legs taking toes to plate working on your lower abs)
  • 25 burpees
  • 25 air squats.

Normally I’d shoot for 3 – 4 rounds of this, but I was running out the door to get ready for our FemCity event, so I cut myself off at 2 rounds. It still started the big muscle engines though, I assure you.

Which brings us to the next item on the menu, literally: the FemCity Charlottesville Locavore Dinner Series.  One of the main purposes of Femfessionals, and our FemCity community here in Charlottesville is to connect, promote, and support women in business, across all industries and professional levels, to create a dynamic and powerful group of women actively changing and developing our city.  That being said, we love to have business (and human) connection events where members and future members can meet other women in the community.  The purpose of these events is to connect and share the passions, projects, and businesses that they put their time and energy into, hopefully increasing interest, support, and awareness for their work.

Last Thursday we launched a new dinner series to do just that, with a hyper-local focus that not only reflects our FemCity community, but also Charlottesville as a whole.  The event was limited to a small group of local women and was a dinner event where everyone was able to sit together, around the same table, connecting personally and professionally over a locally sourced dinner.  For this first one, I cooked, in the spirit of representing this very blog as well as many of our local bakeries, markets, and food vendors to keep things, well, local.

local asparagus from FEAST

It’s not too terribly difficult to accomplish an entirely local meal in Charlottesville, but it is somewhat expensive if you’re really committed to a tight radius.  I found some amazing asparagus, strawberries, and a local pesto at Feast! that cost a pretty penny but could not be beat in freshness and quality.


While I was at Feast! I grabbed some cheeses, including but not limited to, a great cheddar that I used to make some little grilled cheese appetizers, with local Breadworks bread (of course) in two flavors: 1) pesto + cheddar, and 2) granny smith apples + cheddar, all done directly on the grill.

the makings for grilled apple-cheeses

There are no pics of the finished project, but in full disclosure I did break from my typical no-bread stance and indulged in the apple and cheddar sammies, and it was TOTALLY worth it.  They are probably my favorite little treat snacks from recent memory.

I scored an amazing amount of produce from C’ville Market for less than $80, which always seems to be the case there, and had more than enough for all of the dishes, including the salad.

fuel sweat grow: salad

Mixed local greens, topped with avocado, cucumber, local strawberries, blueberries, and last but not least: sliced almonds.

fuel sweat grow: salad

I’m on a fruity salad kick right now, and have definitely been appreciating the surplus of local greens available at the market, so it pretty much just created itself with only a little help from my hands.

For one of the main dishes I went with my favorite veggie topping (zucchini, yellow squash, red + yellow peppers) all sautéd in coconut oil and served over amazing local fettuccine from Mona Lisa Pasta.  Even though they don’t have a gluten free variety yet, this pasta is made fresh in house, and is absolutely amazing.  This dish had half spinach fettuccine and half basil fettuccine to give everyone a little bit of choice in the matter.

fuel sweat grow: mona lisa pasta

In addition to the pasta we had gilled chicken from the Organic Butcher, marinated in either the local pesto or honey dijon, with a side of tomato mozzarella.

fuel sweat grow: chicken and tomato

The meal capped off with some SweetHaus cupcakes (and wine of course).

fuel sweat grow: sweethaus cupcakes

We had amazing conversations, a number of brand new faces, and an awesome night all around.  I could not be more excited for what is to come in our little FemCity, as well as all of the exciting projects and upcoming plans that all of our Fems brought to the table.  It was incredibly inspiring.

It’s so easy to get caught up in ‘work’ and the demands of every day life, and it was so great to have a casual reminder of just how energizing and productive it can be to sit down and share with no particular objective or necessary outcome.  We’ve got great programming coming up, so check our FemCity Charlottesville if you live here, or whatever Femfessionals community is close to you – they’re all amazing.

A Week of Updates: From coffee to wine

This has been ‘one of those weeks.’  You know the kind where your workouts and meals seem like they’re wedged into 30 minute blocks and the rest of life slops out of it’s designated time slots to overtake your day?  Yes, it was that week.  Thankfully those brief windows of fueling and sweating managed to persist, and I have lived to tell the tale. Next week I will update you on the actual contents of my to-do lists, with big announcements coming out of FemCity Charlottesville.  Ah-mazing upcoming events.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but coffee is the only reason that I’m alive.  This is one fact that I’m certain of.   One of the hardest things about running around town on a crazy schedule is getting my coffee fix, but also getting some good food into my body to start the day.

LaTaza coffee

One of my favorite spots in Charlottesville, LaTaza, has the awesome coffee house community vibe, with great coffee, and great food to back it up.  The breakfast menu is awesome in and of itself, but they are also amazing about modifications.  I’ve found myself there several times this week for meetings, but Wednesday morning after bootcamp I desperately needed a re-fuel.

Scrambled eggs with zucchini, tomato and a side of avocado. If that’s not an awesome healthy dine-out breakfast, I don’t know what is.  Oh, also, it was delicious.  It’s so hard to find a spot that has great coffee and great food, so this was such an amazing find.

laTaza breakfast

As I was heading back out into the world, well fed and caffeinated, I caught a glimpse of this flyer for Adam & Katie’s yoga workshop next weekend at Opal Yoga, right here in the heart of Charlottesville.


I can not wait for next weekend not only to see those two jokers, but to show them around our beautiful city. Since I know that they’re on the same page when it comes for having locavore hearts and a love for all things farm to table, one of the stops on the docket will undoubtedly be the city market. This way I can fulfill my produce needs for the week, buy my local meat, and see the ever-loving ever-amazing creative soul, Erin McDermott, who will be selling her jewelry there.

Quick sidenote: check out this guide from Real Simple on the best spring produce.  It’s a great one to keep seasonable vegetables in mind, and generate some new fresh meal ideas.

spring produce

Dinners have been mostly grilled or left over this week, with my personal favorite meal of grilled flank steak and vegetables.

flank steak grilled

When it comes to grilled vegetables, the most commonly grilled for me are usually asparagus, squash, eggplant, and peppers/onions when it’s kabob time, so I wanted to throw in something different.  A few weeks ago I had some grilled cauliflower at Zinc that I absolutely loved so I gave it a shot at home.

grilled zucchini + cauliflower

Truly, it was awesome.  Cauliflower doesn’t have the same crisping tendency that broccoli does, so it gets nice and tender without the same burning/dry tips.  You can lightly brush with olive oil and season with salt (or whatever you want – maybe throw in a little cayenne for a kick) and grill it up.

The other upside to grilling a little firmer of a vegetable is that they really hold up well as leftovers to use with other meals, and in the case of this week, in scrambled eggs.  Seriously, it was good.

My sweat schedule this week consisted almost exclusively of Bootcamp, with one simple quick and dirty run that may have actually been my first run in a few weeks. I’ve been nursing a tight back thanks to some not-so-smart adventuring that I did, so my goal was to keep moving, but take it all in stride.  Rest can be a good thing.

I’ve hit my limit of work interest for the day, or maybe the week, so I’ve planned a walk into the afternoon and will be shutting down for the rest of the night with a couple productive but social (socially productive work) meetings to kick off the weekend.   As I  always say, ‘when in doubt, wine,’ and that’s exactly what’s on the docket.


Until next time, keep it local + cook it clean!

This Little Piggy Went to Market.

Some people look forward to Friday nights so they can hit the bars with their friends (I know this, because sometimes I am ‘some people’), but this week, I looked forward to a night of absolute nothingness, at the end of a long week.

So, instead of getting dressed and going out to a bar, I got in my sweats and made my way over to C’ville Market to re-stock my fridge for a weekend staycation.

fuel sweat grow - food blog
on Meade Rd, next to Belmont Pizza, in Charlottesville

I love the fact that we have such a locavore community here in Charlottesville, and this market is such a huge part of it.  I used to come here once a week to get my produce, but once my route changed and the City Market went out of season, I found myself (and the majority of my income) going to Whole Food or Trader Joes to get my groceries.  Well, yesterday that all changed, and I had the best time spending part of my friday evening picking out my eats of the next week.

amazing produce. rows of it. virginia grown.
amazing produce. rows of it. virginia grown.
my favorite section: zucchini, yellow squash + BEETS!
my favorite section: zucchini, yellow squash + BEETS!
grains, beans, gluten free flour, etc
grains, beans, gluten free flour, etc

This was such an exciting trip out that I almost couldn’t contain myself, and I certainly didn’t limit myself.

(I probably should have put this disclaimer at the beginning of the post: I’m a huge dork.  A huge food dork, and a I prefer cooking over going out to dinner, pretty much all the time.  I typically go out as the simple product of social obligation and the fact that I actually do like to talk to other humans.)

So brace yourselves, I’m about to throw a pretty proud moment your way in the form of numbers and quantities.  Since I’m not certain I could execute basic functions on a graphing calculator, I wouldn’t be too afraid of the math coming at you.  I don’t think it even qualifies as ‘math,’ persay.

Here it is: 1+1 = I got ALL of these groceries for under $100.

green beans, beets, brussels, cantaloupe, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash + baby spinach
green beans, beets, brussels, cantaloupe, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash + baby spinach
sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, 6 avocados, bella mushrooms
sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, 6 avocados, bella mushrooms
spinach fettuccini, pumpkin seeds, snack (nut) mixes & eggs
spinach fettuccini, pumpkin seeds, snack (nut) mixes & eggs
apples, pears, lemons, limes + chocolate covered mini pretzels (YES!)
apples, pears, lemons, limes + chocolate covered mini pretzels (YES!)

There is food in the house, and it is everywhere.  After I finished putting everything away, I un-puffed my chest, cranked down my sense of accomplishment and got down to business turning some of these newly stocked ingredients into a friday night dinner.

I was craving avocado (per usual), and really anything green, so I got creative and threw in a few additional colors to make it look more appealing.

Here’s what happened:

diced zucchini + carrots
started with diced zucchini + carrots
threw in red pepper, mushrooms + simmered in coconut oil
threw in red pepper, mushrooms + left simmering in coconut oil (stirring occasionally)
halved the fingerling potatoes
halved the fingerling potatoes + mixed around in ziplock w/warm coconut oil
mixed the potatoes around in a ziplock with warm coconut oil + then squirted lemon over top
then squirted lemon over top
added cajun spice, salt + Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning
added cajun spice, salt + Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning; put in the oven to broil
halved avocado w/side of tomato, cucumber, balsalmic vinegar + olive oil
halved avocado w/side of tomato, cucumber, balsalmic vinegar + olive oil
boiled brown rice spaghetti
boiled brown rice spaghetti

Once the pasta was finished, everything was ready to go, and what was going to be a small friday night meal turned into an awesome feast that will undoubtedly be eaten as leftovers for days.

brown rice pasta w/ zucchini, mushroom, red pepper + carrot blend mixed in
brown rice pasta w/ zucchini, mushroom, red pepper + carrot blend mixed in
avocado packed w/tomato + cucumber salsa
avocado packed w/tomato + cucumber salsa
roasted cajun fingerling potatoes
roasted cajun fingerling potatoes
Oh yeah, and there was steak! Pan seared, medium.
Oh yeah, and there was steak! Pan seared, medium.
My plate was full, and it was good.

From beginning to end my friday night culinary adventure was a total theraputic energy boost, and fed whatever need I had for down time in the kitchen.

Plus, I got to spend time with my littlest sous chef, Bug!
Plus, I got to spend time with my littlest sous chef, Bug!

This was definitely one of my favorite meals to date, but that review is strongly linked to the extreme hunger and fatigue that I was feeling at the end of a long week.  If I were to make one change it would be for more protein, and I would have either added ground chicken to the pasta mix, or white kidney beans.  Otherwise, it served as great fuel to recover from the week and fuel up for my Saturday on the go.  Mission accomplished.