Because, We All Deserve Some Good Clean Fun

There is no better prep for a clean eating month than the complete over indulgence of the holidays — at least for me — but the most painful part (aside from the complete and total withdrawal from my holiday wine pours) is social time out in public.

It’s not that it’s forbidden to go out, or that it’s that difficult to modify dishes to comply with whatever your preferred ‘clean’ mode of eating is — in fact we have a number of favorite restaurants locally that are amazing about modifying to be compliant, and have gone above and beyond to be safe havens for those brave enough to venture out during a ‘clean’ January.

The struggle, for me, is when I’m the only one at dinner in the early stages of cleaning up my fuel sources and I see someone fully enjoying my favorite red winter wine, or get a waft of some hot french fries passing behind me.  It’s the sensory overload of smells, emotions, and the connection between the two that initiates the game of personal restraint to not go full primal madness and launch my body across tables to secure my coveted wine simultaneously securing the french fries directly out of a small child’s hands.  And that is why I say with full conviction, that the struggle isn’t just for me, it is me, and the first two weeks are the absolute hardest. That is why we’re so pumped to hold our 1st ever Private ‘Whole Damn Thing’ Paleo/ Whole30 compliant dinner event at Timbercreek Market.

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I don’t know if you’ve experienced the dinner service at Timbercreek Market, but it’s amazing, and could not be more authentically farm to table.   They’ve put together an amazing three course meal for our community, all compliant with ‘The Whole Damn Thing,’ with a vegetarian option as well.

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Please join us for this one of a kind dinner event, and take a much needed night out to engage with the community, relax from cooking, and experience this amazing restaurant and menu.  Space is limited and spots are filling, so make sure you REGISTER on the b:core mindbody site to reserve your spot! Note: The event is listed on the schedule for Tuesday 1/17, and ticket purchases are listed under workshops/events.

 

 

Gratitude, Vegetables + Love: Featuring Zoodles [ Day 7 of #23to30 ]

The last 5 years have taught me more than I can fully communicate in the #23to30 chronicles, but these three concepts have proven to be critically important day to day.  When one is missing, the whole day is off balance.70b009db8decb19162818bffee458eea

I’ve always been a vegetable lover – growing up my dad had to have a backyard garden – we ate fresh food, we learned to like all food (mostly) and fast food was not something that came around often.  My mom did have a thing for Dairy Queen, but we all try not to talk about it.

I truly grew up thinking that salad made with home grown produce, and whole wheat pasta sautéd in olive oil with pine nuts, arugula and sun dried tomatoes was a typical tuesday night dinner for all families.  Add avocado? Obviously.   That’s how I learned to cook (and eat); watching my dad cook, acting as his sous chef, and being second in command to conduct the evening assessment of refrigerator contents to determine what meals are actually possible (aka Fridge Disposal Meals).  When my dad would travel I was automatically promoted to head chef, a scenario which my mom was both intrigued and terrified by; but outside of a few small and thankfully contained kitchen fires, I steadily honed my craft.

As an adult I can honestly say that things have only gotten worse, which of course really means exponentially better.  My love for locally grown and organic food has become more obsessive, I live in a town that is focused on locally sourced foods and culinary uniqueness, and I have slowly (but certainly) become more compulsive about cooking and eating clean and delicious food.  That being said, it should come as no surprise that Zoodlers and spiralizers are one of the greatest things to happen to me in the last decade.

fuel sweat grow: zoodles  Anyone who has peeled or sliced zucchini into ribbons knows, these kitchen toys have completely changed the game.  Lately I’ve been loving zoodles sautéed in coconut oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and ultimately topped with browned ground beef and sautéed peppers, carrots, and mushrooms.

fuel sweat grow: zoodles and ground beef

I love this as another grain free option, in addition to spaghetti squash, to create and replicate meals.  Obviously it’s an amazing pasta replacement, but it also works as an amazing addition to scrambled eggs (like below), fajitas, and pretty much anywhere you might want to mix in some greens.fuel sweat grow: scrambled eggs and zoodles

You can definitely expect a series of zoodle heavy recipes to come out of the winter months, so get excited.  You’ll be zoodling before you know it.

While I never really lost touch with my love for vegetables and ‘fridge disposal meals,’ it wasn’t until the last few years that I’ve really focused on creating more in a clean and grain free arena.  The first few months were a little scary, and I missed the meals that I was so used to, but slowly I figured out how to recreate them; how to work with different ingredients, pair different ingredients, and create more flavorful and exciting meals than I ever had before.

This is going to be the winter of amazing meals and I’m inviting you all to dinner, one way or another – so join me with plenty of gratitude, vegetables, and love.

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.
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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.