Welcome to Fall: Comfort Food + Charlottesville Weekends

It’s fall.  It’s a leaves changing, crisp air breathing, college football kind of fall, and I’m so in love with it.

fuel sweat grow: pumpkins and fall

I love warm weather just as much as the next winter-fearing southern transplant, but there’s some naturally ignorant draw to the changing of the seasons that fools my body and mind into thinking that there will be a favorable outcome, or at least a perpetual new reality where life is all hot-chocolate, boots, and pumpkin everything.  And listen, if there’s a world like that somewhere, please send me the coordinates.  I’ll be there….fully engulfed corduroys, a turtleneck and tall boots – because that’s my jam.

This past weekend, despite Saturday being unreasonably hot, was a beautiful first full September weekend in Charlottesville.  Football, the downtown mall, long sleeves and my first hot chocolate provided the perfect lead in to what I’m hoping will be a little calmer season than the last.

Sunday, outside of just football and the steep break in the weather from Saturday, was the perfect day of balance and organization.  The morning included my favorite Sunday activities – coffee, breakfast, and strolling the downtown mall, and in the process, seeing this sweet little love note on the door of Mudhouse downtown. [MUD + MAD = <3].

fuel sweat grow: charlottesville mudhouse downtown

Early afternoon kicked off at Citizen’s Burger Bar in tandem with the 1pm NFL kick off, and was followed up by a nap, a trip to HomeGoods and Whole Foods, and then an evening of food prep glory.  It was perfect.

For this week in food, a few things went into production to prevent any meal driven panics, starting my favorite Spaghetti Squash Bolognese. As far as clean eating goes, it’s one of the best cold weather comfort foods you can imagine, and might be even better reheated (so make a LOT and pre-package lunches for the week if you can).

The squash was already roasted, so I took some ground beef from Whole Foods, simmered with squash (zucchini and yellow), and then added in the ‘spaghetti’.  The sauce was my favorite (at least favorite store bought), Keswick Gourmet, made locally in Charlottesville.

fuel sweat grow: spaghetti squash marinara

fuel sweat grow: spaghetti squash bolognese

While this was happening on the stovetop, SO much more was happening all around it to make my new favorite pack and go snacks, including chopping, grilling, and even more stove-topping.  The result: amazing spring rolls.

fuel sweat grow: hand rolled spring rolls

I made a batch of these last weekend in Maine with my Aunt, and immediately got all of the necessary ingredients to bring them back to my everyday life.  Stay tuned for the full scope update with recipe options and process.  I’m obsessed.

I guess the cliffs notes version of all the above is: welcome fall, you’re beautiful.  The rest of the week is promising to be pretty awesome as well with the cool air sticking around, amazing sweats, happy hours, live music, and food throughout.

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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!

 

Talking Leafy Greens on Earth Day

You didn’t see a ton of [green] salads from me through the winter (though there were several created), but now that spring is here I’m all up in the leafy greens.  In the warmer weather, having the lighter option for meals is so appealing, and still allows for great variations, all while still abiding by the protein, carb, fat rule for meal pairings.

Here are some of my favorite salads from the last few weeks:

salad
romaine, walnuts, apples, avocado, blueberries
fuel sweat grow: salad
add chicken for the protein
romaine, avocado, red peppers,
romaine, avocado, red + yellow peppers, carrots, steak. topped with sunflower seeds
chopped salad:
chopped salad: romaine, avocado, sugar snap peas, walnuts, tomato [flank steak on the side]

Before I get into the food prep portion of this post, I think it’s more important to say that these salads are all amazing and delicious in their own right.  As I posted the pictures I started to crave salad in a serious way, which serves me right for writing this while I’m hungry – and also really speaks to the power of these salad combos to create positive taste bud memory.  Truly anything can go into a salad if you balance it with the other ingredients so they compliment each other, and is a great option when you’ve got a ton of leftovers or random orphan ingredients around your kitchen and no real apparent ‘meal’ components.

The hardest part of  meals creation isn’t actually putting them together – that’s the fun part. The hardest part of staying on plan and eating healthy is being prepared for each meal before you’re hungry and ready to eat anything in front of you.  While I’ve talked a bunch about pre-chopping vegetables and grilling extra meat every time the grill is on, there is also a ton of opportunity and advantage to pre-planning, making and packing salads.

When I make salad for a meal I always over plan so that there are plenty of leftovers, but complimentary to my love for ball jar organization, I really love salad jars for quick and easy planning and packing.  Dressing & any wet or chopped items on the bottom, lettuce and dry greens on the top to protect them from getting soggy.

salad jar

(source)

So, in honor of earth day, have a salad.  Love the earth.  Love your body and eat the food that was grown for it.  It will thank you, more than you can imagine.

Home Grilling + Saturday Morning 5K Stretch

Happy Weekend Everyone!

This week was crazy packed with lots of awesome progress on a few projects I’ve been working on lately, so I was ready for a Friday night in.  I hit up Whole Foods while I was out to get Bug from camp and grabbed a few essentials I knew I would need to get through the weekend.

fuel sweat grow : grocery shopping

My actual motivation for going in was to get flank steak, which they were out of for the first time in my whole foods shopping history.  Thankfully the person at the meat counter knew more about beef cuts than I do and directed me to the flatiron steaks, which are exactly what is wrapped up in that pretty brown paper package on the belt.

Since I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to leave Whole Foods without spending $50 + dollars at a shot, I grabbed other ‘essentials’ which included the latest issue of Food & Wine.  Get excited my friends, this reading material will do nothing but excite my every taste bud.

When I got home I was so hungry that cooking had to commence immediately, and it went like this.

fuel sweat grow: zucchini + asparagus

  • Asparagus + Zucchini, grilled until tender, but still crisp

fuel sweat grow: chopped salad

  • Flat Iron steak tenderized + grilled to pinkness

fuel sweat grow: flat iron steak

  • Flat Iron steak tenderized + grilled to pinkness

The whole meal took 25 minutes to whip together, and it was exactly what I was hungry for.

fuel swat grow: hungry dinner

Throw two glasses of wine into the mix, and I was out shortly after the double digits rolled around.

This morning kicked off early for the HOOS Heal 5k.  Dar led the post-(adult) race stretch  (and what turned out to also be the pre-youth race stretch) at Nameless Field.

fuel sweat grow: Hoos Heal 5k

The stretch was great, and the kids race was awesome.  The whole event was pretty quick, but before we scooted out Dar stopped for quick snapshot with her new groupie, Cav Man.

fuel sweat grow: dar + cav man

Since it’s not every morning that I find myself on grounds these days, I wanted to take the opportunity to hit up the corner to enjoy the spring and a caffeine boost from Para Coffee.

fuel sweat grow: para coffee

The rest of the afternoon was spent downtown at the Tom Tom Founders Festival, which was amazing.  All of the events really spoke to the community of learning and entrepreneurial culture we have here in Charlottesville, and the Tom Talks were full of inspirational, passionate, speeches from some of our community’s most respected thought leaders.

I can not say enough good things about today’s talks, and I certainly can’t fit all of my thoughts into this post so I’ll do my best to organize my excitement in a few posts over the next week or so.  I have a number of big announcements coming up, including some new programming for FemCity Charlottesville, so stay tuned.  Things are about to get [more] awesome.

Sharing our eats + our sweats as fuel. sweat. grow

Welcome to fuel. sweat. grow.

This blog is a collaborative space where we will share the sweats, eats, and learnings from our fitness focused lives, with bonus shares from those we meet along the way.  We are runners, yogis, spinners, CrossFitters, Barre lovers, and all around athletes doing our best to live whole lives with whole foods & fitness.

IMG_1584food blog - fuel sweat grow 1

IMG_1729fuel sweat grow kettle bells

 We share everything from our favorite grocery lists, to our daily sweats (and everything in between), and invite you to read, share + connect with us through this open journal (and journey) of whole living.

Connect with us through what we share, and connect with us on our social channels so we can learn from your journey as well.