Kale is King

After this summer I think that I’m going to designate Kale as it’s own food group.  It’s not just that it’s such a nutrient rich plant (or, you know, the most ‘in’ leaf right now; my excitement really revolves around the fact that it keeps so amazingly well marinated in dressing that other soggy and often slimy leftover salads just don’t stand a chance.

fuel sweat grow: kale saladIt’s the easy travel, prep in advance, versatile and vibrant solution to any big dinner and week of leftover lunches.  In a world where healthy and clean eating convenience is so hard to come by, Kale is King.

When I do have time, or at least some time, on week nights I like to keep things pretty simple.  The main objective is easy cooking, and lots of leftovers that lunch is ready to go for a few days and I’m not stuck in a morning, or lunchtime panic at work trying to find something that I can eat. (Add roasted cauliflower and chicken to any kale salad and you’ll be SO happy. promise.)

fuel sweat grow: grilled dinner

So far this week has continued to be sponsored by Kale for lunch (and a couple dinners too) with a little extra flair to keep the variety up.  The base, however, is the same with Kale marinated overnight in fresh squeezed lime, drizzled olive oil and kosher salt.

Today I ate my breakfast and lunch pretty much back to back, so I had some eggs scrambled with squash and steak as an appetizer which truthfully only made the whole experience better since my stomach had been talking to me through three hours of meetings.

fuel sweat grow: kale summer fruit salad

There’s just something about summer fruit that goes perfectly with the lime tartness of the dressing, and the tenderness of the kale leaves, combined with the crunch of sliced almonds seconds that perfection.   For those 10 minutes I was eating, this salad was everything.   I’m pretty much always eating lunch at my desk – or a desk – these days, so having bright happy colors and bold flavors really helps to create a happier experience and a little boost in my day.

fuel sweat grow: work lunch

This past weekend I actually tried my hand at cauliflower pizza crust for the first time, and I have to say, while I’ll definitely make some tweaks to the recipe next time, it was great.  Pizza without the grain, but all the fun of the crust — that’s what I’m talking about.

Since I don’t really eat a lot of cheese, or much dairy at all, these days, the whole thing was a pretty awesome treat, and paired with filet, salad, and some veggies, it was a brilliant Saturday night dinner despite really not feeling well at all (who started circulating this mid-summer cold? because we’re not friends).

I need to read a bit more on how to REALLY get all the moisture out of the cauliflower before mixing together all the dry ingredients.  Sounds easier than it seems, but you’d be amazed by how much moisture it holds in just the raw state without any steaming or added moisture.  As a disclaimer, it’s kind of a messy process (such is the nature of cauliflower in general) so I bypassed pictures for attempt #1, but I’ll be sure to share the whole experience next round.

The rest of the week has been a hodgepodge of leftover meals, a few quick grabs (big hugs to Foodiecall and CPK!).  I’ve got just about an hour left in Charlotte before I make my way back to Charlottesville to get ready for our 1 Year Anniversary Party, and assorted celebrations therein — and I could not be more excited.  It has been a long last month and I’m ready to spend a weekend full of nothingness in my favorite city.

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Spaghetti Squash Nosh

Remember when spaghetti squash acted as the carb replacement for the chili recipe? Well, as promised, there were leftovers, and they went to good use!

I’m a pretty huge fan of using leftovers to create new meals, and spaghetti squash is one of the best chameleon-like foods to do that.  Add only what you need to each meal, and save the rest in a separate container for later use – it’s a huge time saver for mid-week meals.

For this meal, I sautéd zucchini and yellow squash in coconut oil, and then once tender threw in the leftover spaghetti squash and mixed it around.

spaghetti squash in coconut oil w/zucchini & yellow squash
spaghetti squash in coconut oil w/zucchini & yellow squash
add peas! lots of delicious peas.
add peas! lots of delicious peas.

Since this squash overload has tons of good vitamins in it, but no protein, the grill was fired up and and some fresh cuts from The Organic Butcher were thrown on.

grilled to perfect pinkness.
grilled to perfect pinkness.

This was a definite throw together meal, but surprisingly one of my favorites in recent weeks.

the whole shebang
the whole shebang

The spaghetti squash really gives the feel of a stringy pasta and added so much to the combo with the other squash.  I’ve found a few awesome recipes on Pinterest that I want to modify to make it cleaner & more of a comfort fuel than comfort food.

In other news, I found these sweet chocolate covered mini-pretzels on my trip to Cville Market, and they were the perfect compliment to the dinner.

so. good.
so. good.

While these particular treasures are gluten rich, making the gluten-free versions from scratch is a newly prioritized project on our list, because hey, a girl’s gotta have her chocolate once in a while.

Sunday Meals + the Leftover Meal Plan

One of my main goals each weekend is to make enough good, real, food to have leftovers in the fridge for the next week’s on-the-go meals. Since I had done some prep chopping and cooking on Saturday, it made for a much faster cook time on Sunday.

I still had one of the flank steaks left over from my Whole Foods trip, so it went directly on to the grill.  And per usual, it came out to perfection.

flank steak

WFM flank steak grilled - fuel sweat grow

Steak is one of my favorite leftovers to add to all meals, and  with these big cuts there are always leftovers.  My other absolute favorite carb filler and gluten-free side is tiny (or fingerling) potatoes.

fingerling potatoes

Sometimes I’ll broil/roast them, but on Sunday I sautéd them in coconut oil and dusted them with my favorite sea salt and rosemary seasoning from Feast.

tiny potatoes in pan roasting

I set the dial to a mid-level so they soften and brown in the coconut oil, just stirring occasionally.  The rosemary + sea salt combination adds a great flavor to the potatoes, and makes them an even more valued leftover to add to salads, eggs, or even vegetable sautés.

tiny potato sauté

Since no meal is complete in this house without avocado, the second side was made up of tomato, cucumber, avocado, with fresh mozzerella added to the ‘dairy-allowed’ side of the plate.

tomato mozz salad

Salt, basalmic vinegar and light olive oil finished the salad off.

tomato mozz salad

The main dish was a combination of what was left in the produce drawer (and not a repeat from yesterday’s zucchini/mushroom/spinach pasta), so broccoli made an appearance.

food blog - broccoli

I threw the broccoli, some more mushrooms, and steak tips into the wok, and once it was all tender and cooked, tossed it together with some brown rice spaghetti.

steak broccoli mushroom pasta

A pretty large meal for a sunday night, but as planned, the leftovers filled several separate and portioned tupperware containers for early in the week grab-and-go midday fuel.  Monday through Wednesday are my most chaotic days of the week, and with early starts at Dar’s Bootcamp M-W-F followed by morning classes at Pure Barre, by 11am these leftovers save me.

complete meal - fuel sweat grow

The first round of the meal was also an awesome way to finish off the weekend. I thought my eyes had far exceeded my stomach when I sat down, but after a busy day that included teaching and taking Pure Barre, I needed to replenish my energy.  And I did just that.

This week I’m also playing with the VitaMix, and the Daily Balance whey protein powder from Stronger Faster Healther that Dar picked up from the guys at Fight Gone Mad a few Charlotte trips ago, so stay tuned for different ingredient combos and reviews to come for great breakfast and midday quick fuel options. Spoiler alert: they’re all pretty tasty.