Fueling Up: Greens, Eggs + Sweet Potato Noodles

I’m not sure what’s in the air, or if it’s just the sheer fact that it’s cardio week at MADabolic, but I feel hungry all the time.  ALL the time.  I’m usually slow to start in the morning, not grabbing any real food until I’ve had ample time to get coffee, settle in, and assess the schedule for the day.  This week, I have one objective, and it’s to get food into my body.

While vacation is great in concept, any travel where there’s no kitchen is always challenging for me, so the last few months have been hit or miss for me.  My first destination when I got back into Charlottesville was to hit up the grocery store, and I did just that — hard.

Whole Foods here (and maybe everywhere?) has this awesome kale slaw in the juice / chopped veggie section that also has shredded cabbage, carrots, broccoli (sometimes) and green onion that I seriously can’t get enough of.  I’ve historically used it to make salad and sides for dinner, but it just so happened that I was craving it one morning, so I went hot with it.

Sautéed in some coconut oil ad seasoned with a little sea salt, my little green friends made a turn for the even more delicious, and perfectly accompanied my eggs.

fuel sweat grow: green eggs and bam

I’m calling this ‘green eggs and BAM’ because it was totally a power breakfast that I needed to get myself going. It’s going to quickly become clear that I was loving on kale this week, but I’m still not sick of it, so no apologies here.

The thing that really started my love affair with kale was it’s amazing relationship with all things citrus, and the fact that you can absolutely douse it in lemon/lime/orange juice based dressing and it didn’t become slimy or sad.  In fact, while it does soften (thankfully), it seriously takes on the flavor and tartness of the dressing, and that always makes everything more delicious.

This salad wasn’t anything particularly special; just kale, blueberries, cucumber, and some leftover grilled chicken to give it a little boost — but to be honest, it didn’t need anything else [the dressing was fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt sprinkled].  It stood just fine on it’s own, and was a great partner for my new favorite thing: sweet potato noodles.

fuel sweat grow: summer kale salad fuel sweat grow: kale salad and sweet potato noodles

I’ve long been loving on zoodles and spaghetti squash, but I never really took the time to dive hard into the sweet potato arena. I think this ignorance was in part because the first time I did 28 to Life I convinced myself that sweet potatoes were on the naughty list (I was later corrected….but not until much much later).  Recently I’ve been seeing more and more meals pop up on blogs, and also on MODpaleo’s menu that are centered around them, so I figured it was worth a shot.  And worth it, it most certainly was.

I sent those sweet P’s through the spiralizer and then sent them straight into a pan with some ghee (yeah, it’s butter folks, and it was delicious).  In case you can’t tell, just writing about this meal is making me hungry all over again, so I definitely recommend it.   I also recommend the (RED) meals on the MODpaleo menu, because they’re amazing too [and friends that use the code MadnessCville get 10% off their first order, so get after that…stat].

I did get after it again with the spiralizer again, with an awesome new thai cucumber noodle salad that I made last night, but that one is going to have to wait because it was too good to rush through.

fuel sweat grow: cucumber thai noodle salad

Now that I’m back to cooking and feeling a little more food-stable, I’m pretty excited to start playing around with some old favorite recipes and clean them up – at least as much as is reasonable.

I’ve got a goal to make one new recipe each week, minimum, and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be rolling through a whole new cycle of favorites.  But who knows, if I stay hungry like this I’ll probably hit that full 52 new recipe marker a lot sooner than I projected.  If you’ve got any favorites of your own, shoot them over — I’m most definitely taking suggestions.

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MODpaleo: Clean, Convenient Fuel

Remember earlier this summer when our friends from MODpaleo came out to our Grand Opening Party at MAD Charleston for a little ‘MEAT & GREET’ to let our clients taste test their delicious paleo meals? Well, we’re actually their pick up location in Mt. Pleasant, which is awesome, and since July I’ve been pumping hard (from my social media perch) to make sure that their food is in ALL of my favorite places.

fuel sweat grow: modpaleo

In addition to putting a hard push on them to bring their clean eats to Charlottesville, I somehow managed to score them as a breakfast vendor in my office in Charlotte so I’ve got some amazing healthy options when I’m there.  It’s all about convenience and quality in our industry, and when the right options are there it’s not hard to make good choices and maintain positive momentum knowing that you’ve been fueling your body to sustain an active lifestyle.  Day 8 of #23to30: quality of life comes from the quality of your surroundings -know what you need and what makes you feel whole and surround yourself with it.

Two weeks ago when I was working in Charlotte you better believe that I was in the office early on Wednesday morning to get my breakfast on with MODpaleo in our super pantry, and it was killer.  [Egg baked in a sweet potato, herbed chicken patty with fresh pesto on top.]

fuel sweat grow: MODpaleo Breakfast

This meal sold out completely by 8am, and not only tasted amazing, it kept me full well past lunch time.  In a job and world where I rarely have a down moment or a regularly scheduled anything, having MODpaleo at the office was an absolute life saver.  So, naturally, this breakfast just re-lit my hard march to get their pre-packaged meals to Charlottesville so I can spend a few less days doing meal prep and planning and just let them do it for me.  And then low and behold, I saw this on instagram:

fuel sweat grow: MODpaleo Virginia

You better believe this made my day.  Happy, clean, fresh fuel made for convenience and overall goodness – I’m in.  For everyone who has been nagging asking frequently for made to order clean meals….well here’s your best shot.  Check out their website and the weekly menu posted and get your orders in — they even have veggie options people.

Amber + Carter, sounds like it’s time to get your Cville on and get this full-blown show rolling.  We’re ready for you in MADville.  Next goal: shipping meals to me on all my trips.  Just saying…

 

Always Go Full-Ass Towards Your Goals

Day 3 of #23to30: Don’t half-ass anything, and be clear about what’s important to you.

I’m perpetually working to keep up the juggling act that is my life; trying not to let anything drop and to give all of my jobs and commitments (to othes and myself) the attention they demand.   When I choose new ventures, my goal is not only for it to be successful, but more importantly, fulfilling.  I learned a long time ago that I have to passionate about what I’m doing to be effective in it, and my success unfailingly runs in direct proportion to how connected I feel to the work content, the people, and the overall balance I’m able to keep across my life. The last thing I want is to waste my time and energy giving marginal effort to something I’m not connected to, or don’t have enough time to give to.
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This year has been a big year for really setting priorities, digging in deeper to the things/places where I find value,  making room for what’s coming next, and becoming clear on what I for any degree of life-balance.   For me it’s work and life.  Outside of the connection to my work, I need the structure and balance of a eating good clean food, being physically active – ranging from the most intense sweats to childs pose – and a little time once in a while to be no where in particular.

  • What’s important?
  • What is a fundamental need to be happy?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • What people and passions fall within the first concentric circle of your life?

I ask myself these questions to help me figure out whether something is important enough to say yes to, or whether it will end up compromising the balance in my life.  While the system isn’t fool proof, and some bouts of passion are just momentary, it does help me to stay a little more focused than I normally would on what I have available for myself, and anyone else.

So after many, many, failed attempts to do and be everything, here’s what I’ve learned to be the most important: know your passion, set your own path, and always, always, go full-ass towards your goals (it’s just a metaphor, mom).

 

Day 1 of 28: Real Food + ‘Real’ Life

Day 1 of 28 is in the books — and it was a great one.

I had done my due diligence of stocking the fridge and cabinets with all of my favorite clean foods and ingredients, but I completely failed on the Sunday prep piece so meals today were a little bit of a scramble (and a lot off schedule) but it all worked out.

I’m not big on early breakfasts, so I typically start myself off with coffee, and today in order to ease my way back into the swing of things I grabbed my favorite almond milk latte from Milli Joe and got to work.  By mid-morning I was ready for some breakfast — Eggs scrambled with zucchini/yellow squash and mushrooms – avocado on the side (standard).

breakfast Eggs

Prior to 28toLife I didn’t eat eggs more than a couple times a week, and now they’re definitely a staple.  I still try to abide by the food pairing rules: Protein (eggs – and sometimes meat); carbs (vegetables); fat (avocado) and it really does make all the difference in how long my energy is sustained and what that level is to begin with.

Breakfast and snacks are always the toughest meals to stay on track with, so I always try to make extra of everything when I do cook so there is something to reach for when I need it.  If you have a quick morning routine, I highly recommend making a big batch on Sunday to grab and go on Monday/Tuesday morning, or even make them while you’re cooking dinner the night before.  Since I typically don’t get hungry until 9 or 10am for actual food, having something to pack and take to work with me is a life saver.

fuel sweat grow: Kale Salad & Stock Provisions

Lunch yesterday came a little late (and rushed) after the 12:15 MAD class, but it turned out to be a winner.  Kale, softened slightly with lime juice (did this first and let it sit for the 10 mins it took to get the rest ready), and avocado, almond slices, hard boiled egg and grilled chicken on top.  The dressing was finished off with a little olive oil and sea salt, and was exactly what I needed.

The background items are two of my new favorite local finds (thanks Elly!): cold brew coffee and fresh farm eggs from Stock Provisions on Main Street (just next to Bellas!).  I’m addicted to cold brew to begin with, but I can’t say enough about how amazing and fluffy these eggs are.  It’s actually disappointing to eat store bought eggs after having experienced these guys.

Dinner came a little later after I helped my parents unload a 16′ truck of furniture into the new, aptly named, ‘summer house’ they closed on the Rivanna in Cville yesterday, adding one more layer to the amazing summer to come (and their retirement winters).  Don’t worry guys, I’ll make sure the pool gets plenty of attention until you get here.

fuel sweat grow: rivanna summer house

Since I had pretty much had two full workouts by the end of the furniture moving sweat session, I just needed a little refuel without getting too complicated.

fuel sweat grow: broccoli slaw, chicken, avocado

Broccoli Slaw sauted in coconut oil, grilled chicken, and avocado.  It was exactly what I wanted, and with a little apple + almond butter later on for dessert, I was all set to close out on day 1 of my return to ‘real’ food.

I’m hoping to carve out a little time tomorrow to get some end of week meals prepped, but until then I’ve got some chicken, salad, and great snack/smoothie options awaiting to keep things on track.

Here’s my sweat schedule for the week!

Monday: MADabolic [+ manual labor] = done!

Tuesday: Run + Stretch

Wednesday: MADabolic

Thursday: MADabolic + Stretch

Friday: MADabolic

Saturday: Run/Walk + Yoga!; Come get MAD with me at 9:30 in MADville!

Sunday: Kickball w/ the MADabolic Team!

 

Welcome 2014: the year of coffee + anything you want

Welcome to 2014: the year of coffee.

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I’m pretty sure that’s not the official slogan of the new year, but if it went to a vote, I’d definitely support it.  I’ve  been getting more sleep lately than I have in a really long time, so I’m not nursing my favorite mud for any major reasons, but more for the comfort and warmth that it provides.

That’s kind of what I’m looking for this year: comfort and warmth.  So, if I can get a little hit of that each morning (afternoon, and evening…) to keep me on track, well, I’m going to take it.

The extended holiday season was something borne out of what felt like pure chaos, so for the last week or so I’ve been really pumping the breaks on 2013 to allow for a fresh and intentional start to the new year.

Fuel Sweat Grow: New Year

I think the hardest thing about pressing the reset button, or setting goals is, really, honestly, taking the time to figure out what you actually want.  We’re so programmed to want what we’re ‘supposed’ to want, what we think we ‘should’ want at whatever our particular age is, or what other people want for us.

I’m still working on the list of things I want to accomplish this year, but there are a few major things that I know I want to do for me, and either create or strengthen the habit(s) as a part of my forever lifestyle.   I used to break out my goals in terms of career, personal + health, but to change things up a bit (and because those aren’t easily decipherable categories these days) I’ve divided them into my three favorite life categories:

FUEL:

1.  Take a cooking class

2. [Better] Sunday preparation for the week of meals to keep things clean.

3.  Hydrate.  This means drinking 5-6 times the amounts, of water, that I drink of wine.  (This one is really a major learning and goal from the holidays, but I think it’s a worthy rule of any life experience.)

SWEAT:

1.  Master ALL of the MADabolic primal movements.  Or at least let myself believe I have for the length of time I need to KEEP MOVING during the entire interval.  (I can be an angry gorilla, right? right.)

2. Re-incorporate yoga + stretching into my life, 2-3 times a week.

3. Take a group class at a trampoline gym (and then buy a[nother] trampoline).

GROW:

1.  Take an art class.

2.  Take on at least three of the projects I’ve pinned to my Pinterest boards.  Even if just for the sheer entertainment of making the attempt.

3.  Make dates with myself.  I used to dress up in real clothes and take myself to coffee and shopping or a movie once a month.  I don’t know why I stopped, but I miss me.  I was pretty fun to hang out with.

The list goes on… and on, and on, but for now, that seems like a good start.

2014, I’m in this with you.  Let’s see OWN how this goes (coffee mandatory).

Falling Back with Coffee + Home Cooking

Hello Monday.

Rise & SHine

Even with the bonus hour of sleep (which I took FULL advantage of), Monday came as abruptly as ever.      And with the lowest temperatures of the fall, which is really only going to contribute to my discontent.

I’m definitely a coffee-only morning person, and will consider food a few hours later once my body has had a chance to wake up.  This morning I was definitely on the slow and steady path, starting with iced coffee first thing, and followed up with a vegetable, steak, and egg scramble late-morning to keep me going.

By noon I was hungry for a little something more, and needing another kick in my veins, so I made my new favorite midday pick me up (aka: vitamixture):

vitamixture

I started hoarding collecting iced coffee tumblers from Whole Foods a few months ago, not only because proves economical for me ($4 refills!), but also because I don’t have the time or energy to coordinate a coffee run every morning.   Having their amazing iced Toddy mixture  just an arms length away, in my own fridge, feels like winning each and every morning.

So, with a tumbler in hand, and vitamix plugged in, I make my own version of a Frozen Monkey.

Here’s what you need (measurements are discretionary):

  • 1/2 c. Ice

  • 1/2 c. Coconut milk

  • 1 c. Iced Coffee

  • 1 frozen banana

  • 4 Strawberries

  • 1 tsp. raw cocoa powder

  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  • (option to add in 1 tbsp almond butter)

Frozen Monkey

Today was a long day of work, and since I took class at MADabolic the last three days in a row, I decided upon a well deserved rest day.  I’ve been trying to be better, recently, about really enjoying my rest days and fully listening to my body when it needs a break.  So that’s what I did.

What does an afternoon of rest look like, you wonder?  It looks like this (and it feels awesome).

Fall Salad

Mixed greens, chopped walnuts, a honey crisp apple, and blueberries, made for a pretty awesome fall salad.  And since no salad is complete without some protein and side items, this particular meal was rounded out with a mixture of Sunday night’s leftovers: roasted chicken, and spaghetti squash sautéed with roasted cauliflower.

monday night dinner

Lets be honest, if it’s going to get dark before 6pm, the least you can do to cope is have a great meal ready and waiting.   And this one was exactly the right blend of not-too-heavy combined with the warm comfort that comes with cold weather food.

Welcome November, I was not looking forward to you, but so far, so good.