The Longest Week of [My] Summer

It’s not like Bug to be the face of canine depression, but even she couldn’t keep up with this past week.  [And perhaps she is jut a little dramatic.]

Bug: bored

Last week marked the second full week of being the MADness in Charlottesville, and it was a long one thanks to life AND the Memorial Day extension.

We kicked off week two with a growing group of now ‘regular’ faces, and great new-to-them intervals that will set their foundation of familiarity, and indoctrination into the MAD methods. We’ve had a number of full classes both weeks, and no empty ones, so I’m pretty happy with that start.

MADville

I personally kicked off my second week straight of taking classes with little to no rest days, and a continuation of the respiratory illness that I have been fighting (but not really doing anything about) since before we opened.  Exactly the opposite of the balance I believe in.

Now, let me be the public service announcement stressing the importance of taking rest days, and listening to your body.   The moment I stopped taking the time to really focus on my own fitness schedule (which sometimes means RESTING); eating clean meals over convenience food;  hydrating more than caffienating; and most importantly sleeping enough, I unbalanced my own scales.   When we hit crunch time for getting MADville opened,  I could no longer hear the warnings from my own body — except for the lung burning and rib crunching coughs that came out of it.

I now have a rib injury that is entirely self-inflicted… from coughing. So what’s the moral of the story? Be kind to your body.  Rest it, nourish it, and listen to it.  Sometimes the last thing your body needs is another workout, so take a day off.  And then, take another one off for safe measure.

Instead of hanging out in the sun and officially living out the end of summer by a pool or at a vineyard, I spent the last few days of the week indoors hugging my survival kit.

cough bin

I’m not great with idle time, typically, but when I found myself with a few hours of unplanned freedom (thanks to Dar and April for picking up my classes) I took the opportunity to get reacquainted with the kitchen and the last remaining ingredients in the fridge.

Per usual, there was a salad, and this one consisted of a bed of romaine and kale, topped with tomatoes, cucumber, purple onion, and roasted pumpkin seeds.

salad

The main dish was split into two options to create some great leftovers for the rest of the week on both fronts.

I browned some ground turkey with onions (in coconut oil) and threw in zucchini and yellow squash with it.  In two different pots/pans.

Pan number one housed this base combination of ingredients, and kept things simple.

ground chicken scramble

In pot #2 (or #1, depending on how you look at it) I had the same basic foundation (ground turkey, zucchini, onion, squash) with a few added plops of whole foods pasta sauce and two containers of free range chicken stock.

ground turkey soup

 

This was possibly the most simple solution I could come up with to fill my need for some fresh soup, and it totally did the trick.  The rainy weather helped me to love on this soup a little more than normal in August, and was the perfect answer to soothe my cough (and spare my ribs).

Since ready-to-eat protein in the fridge is a complete necessity around here, I threw the last remaining steak from the Wolf Creek Farm’s cow share on the grill and called it a meal.

steak

With good food in me, and rest under my belt, the rest of the weekend managed to shape up into a little more mobile few days, still taking the time to rest and refuel when necessary.

I took time off from my own sweats to let my body heal, and instead enjoyed watching the athletic pursuits of others around grounds at UVa, starting with Men’s Soccer on Friday night at Klockner Stadium.

UVA Men's soccer

I haven’t been to a soccer game in a few years, so it was awesome to return and just relax in the stands.  Saturday, after the 8:30 and 9:30 classes, I managed to fit in a ‘quick’ 3 hour nap before heading over to Scott Stadium for the first Football game of the season, where we actually beat BYU.

UVA Football v. BYU

The only slight bump in the game was the 1st half evacuation of the entire stadium due to an impending thunder storm (lightning included).   In case you were wondering what that was like, it’s pretty much like mass confusion, but if you’re ever faced with this scenario where it’s a seemingly low-level emergency, remember this: be the first out.  Why? Because you’ll get the best seats in whatever building you decide to take cover in.  That’s what we did.

This was the scene from my super cozy seat after the space had filled — not too shabby.

Rice Hall

 

The rest of the weekend followed suit with some good relaxation time, some more new client faces getting MAD, and a restful transition into week three.  Also, I went grocery shopping, so things are just about back on track.

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Chilly Days Chili w/Spaghetti Squash

We didn’t get any snow this week in Charlottesville, but the threat was enough to create mental need for winter comfort food.  Enter: Meat-ful veggie chili.

I had 3lbs of grass-fed ground beef that had been Whole Food’s ‘deal of the day’ for 4.95/lb (!!!).  It went into the pot to simmer with onion and coconut oil.

As the meat browned, I chopped up the zucchini & yellow squash and added it in to simmer with the meat.

zucchini & yellow squash
a little added color & a lot of hungry excitement
fuel sweat grow - food blog
beans x 2 + crushed (or whole & chopped) tomatoes

Once everything was in the pot the heat went down to low and it simmered with a lid on for another 20 minutes to let the beans cook down and everything blend together.  I added salt, chili powder & my favorite Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning to the mix, and stirred occasionally.

yes. please.
yes. please.

Historically I have not been a chili + pasta combo person, but I’ve met some people in my travels who have liked the combo, so in the spirit of giving options, and also taking a short break from all things brown rice pasta, I decided to experiment with spaghetti squash.

Step 1:  Preheat the oven at 375.

Step 2: I made little knife pokes into its out most layer so the heat could release through, and  popped it in the oven before I started the chili.

Step 3: Let it cook for 1 hour (rotate once if desired).  Use a kitchen knife to test -if it slices in with minimum resistance, it’s done.

[If you want the most official roasting recipe for spaghetti squash, Martha has you covered: here]

fuel sweat grow - food blog
sittin’ pretty. pretty hot.

Step 4: Once the squash has a few minutes to cool, slice it in half and use a big spoon to scoop out the seeds from the center.  It’s really pretty easy, but keep your kitchen knife on hand to make in case you want to cut the seeds out a little quicker.

Step 5: Scoop out the spaghetti squash into a bowl (I like to hold the exterior and scoop out the middle like I’m cleaning out an avocado half).

One awesome part about spaghetti squash is that it really does take the place of the pasta, and adds the texture of the carb that we’re so accustomed to.  The best part, in my opinion, is that it always yields a pretty substantial amount of the spaghetti strands, and can easily be saved and used in additional meals later in the week.  Which is exactly what happened, which was helpful since this Chili made plenty of extra servings that are now living happily in the freezer.

This is one of my favorite winter time meals – always adapting and using different ingredients, but it’s super simple to make, and if you’re a non-meat eater, either use a meat substitute, or add double the veggies (plus carrots & peppers?) to keep it exciting.