Food Lately, November Style

The last two weeks have been about cleaning up from the chaos of the previous few months, organizing everything within reach, and setting up for a solid start to 2016.

I’ve been doing a little more of a local and multi-source roundup for food stuffs lately, trying to both create and save a little change in the process.  Last weekend, however, with limited time and limited need, I hit up Whole Foods, my own personal Kryptonite.

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I’m going through a pretty serious chicken phase at the moment, trying to move away from the all too frequent steak indulge – both for a little reining in of my food expenses, and also for a little change up to get out of the repetitive meal rut that I’ve been in for a while.

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Whole chickens are totally my jam, so I kicked off the week  on Sunday with a little grill action; all the chicken, asparagus, and my favorite kale slaw [shredded kale, cabbage, green onion, carrots with bonus radishes and avocado dressed in fresh squeezed lime juice, olive oil and himalayan sea salt].  Dinner = Yum.

IMG_4031Tuesday night I took a different twist on one of my absolute favorite meals.

Salad was just a simple love [torn romaine, cherry tomato and slivered almond combo (avocado added as the finale) dressed in light olive oil and truffle salt].

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The main love of the meal (for me) was simmered ground beef and onion (with coconut oil), zucchini, and mushrooms, with spiraled sweet potato noodles added in for the last 5 minutes to soften and absorb the flavor.

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When I say I loved it, I think I’m actually not fully doing the meal justice since it was absolutely everything I wanted and nothing that I didn’t.  The red wine that accompanied it also didn’t hurt.

When I make the time to refocus in the kitchen to allow for creativity and  a little personal therapy, having time away from everything else that takes my attention, it is usually the best way to infuse energy back into all aspects of my being.

This weekend, which ‘thankfully’ started two days early, is a long awaited opportunity to get all of the things organized, strategies completed, and life organized as we march hard into December and the scheduling chaos that is before us.

Tomorrow we’re doing a b:MAD misfit toys paleo potluck hosted by part of the original tribe, so get pumped for the recap of what will undoubtedly be a crazy amazing holiday to remember.

Shaking Things Up w/Carolina Barre & Core: Thanksgiving Edition

I’m not going to lie – I don’t love winter.  I love the idea of it; pumpkin things, snow days with hot chocolate, beautiful blankets of white snow that lasts for a day before magically disappearing, and all of the holiday things that HomeGoods has to offer.  I love the storybook moments of winter, and none of the dark, cold, everyday parts hat come from shorter days and wind chill.

This past week was a cold one in my part of the world, and I can’t say I was too thankful for that life reality, but I’m Thankful nonetheless.  I’m still in complete denial that it’s not summer anymore (deep denial apparently), so the 30 degree weather that we met in Charlotte for Thanksgiving week was a bit traumatic.  Naturally, I took to wine, blankets, and barre to recover…along with a pretty significant amount of cooking.  I was in good company for all of those things, so it managed to balance out the wind chill and a happy wine-giving was had by all.

On Thanksgiving Day the Mayor of MADville (Dar) and I made a pilgrimage (get it?) out of the full house and over to Carolina Barre & Core to shake things up with our good friend Amity.  Amity was one of my first ever Barre teachers, and is (and probably will forever be) my favorite teacher of all time.

fuel sweat grow: carolina barre and core

About two years ago I got a phone call from Amity telling me she was thinking about leaving her previous studio to open one, with programming powered by Exhale Spa, and the Barre technique that started it all.  And when I say it all, I mean it.  This method is the first derivative of the Lotte Berk method that spawned the frenzy of barre techniques and studios.

I was already a huge fan of Amity’s, but I’m also obsessed with the diversity of this method, the flexibility and depth of programming, and the warm spirit that it brings to the community of her studio.  In addition to just having standard Barre Fusion classes, they also have Advanced Barre, Cardio / Barre [LOVE], Cardio Sport, and Yoga Fusion classes, just to name a few.  The other huge plus, in my opinion, is that they don’t promote ‘tucking,’ which is a big criticism of more main streamed techniques for the negative impacts the repetitive motion and pelvic contraction can have on women’s bodies.

I love the classes at CBC, but it’s truly the community and the friendly vibe inside the studio that makes it feel like a home away from home for me, and when I’m in Charlotte for work, that’s exactly what I’m looking for.

fuel sweat grow: Carolina Barre and Core

I can’t say that I was totally feeling up for any sort of sweating (first thing) when I woke up on Thursday, but about 3 minutes in to the class I remembered why Amity is everything, and why I was never able to walk, breathe…or really move, after I took one of her classes.  All of those thing proved true again, and on Friday morning when I returned, very stiffly, for day 2, I met my complete match in 30/30 (Cardio/Barre).  That class is my own personal love.  It starts with 30 minutes of body weight, and light weight, cardio isometrics, utilizing full body movements to elevate the heart rate and simultaneously strengthen with slight weights through more functionally designed movements.  It’s not about just isolating one single group at a time, and it’s everything about feeling the burn, and apparently sweating like an animal if you’re me.  The second half of the class is Barre, but only my favorite parts (thighs, glutes, abs, and stretch), and then almost as fast as it started you find yourself laying peacefully on your mat lingering just a little longer before you have to go home.  And then there’s the bonus: there are two stall bars in the studio for you to stretch out and re-align your body/spine, which is pretty critical.

fuel sweat grow: carolina barre stall bar Needless to say, after two consecutive days at Carolina Barre & Core, followed up by Saturday morning back at MADabolic in Charlottesville, my body welcomed a much needed rest day today to get organized for another week of everything at once as we steadily build into the thick of the holiday season. Tomorrow is December 1st, beginning the last month of 2014 and I’ll be damned if this year doesn’t end on a positive note, so who’s in?

Spreading Awesome w/ Paleo Parents, Athletic Stretch + Friendsgiving(s)

Last week I needed a little focus mantra to push through the week and I loved this perspective of Kid President.

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Sometimes the to-do lists, the perpetual over scheduling and the weight of the yet-to-be-done work can bring senses of monotony and burden, rather than opportunity.  That was the choice last week for me; get pulled down into depths of the trivial, or prioritize through both time and emotional investment the things that really matter.  I chose the latter — the relationships and opportunities for the future that can give even the most mundane hours purpose.

So, that’s what I did.  And by the end of the week, I was tee’d up to be even more excited for the things that were happening in MADville (a.k.a. MADabolic Cville).

Friday night brought the book signing, and talk, with Paleo Parents, Stacey and Matt.  We loved having them in to MAD to share their story with the Charlottesville community.

fuel sweat grow: Paleo Parents Real Life Paleo

What I loved about their story is that it was about health — real health for their kids and family as a whole.  Weight loss and fitness were something of a byproduct, but their motivation and benefits had to do with saving their lives, and their children’s lives, from obesity and all that it triggers.  They are real people, with real lives, and very real health motivations to clean up their food.

fuel sweat grow: Paleo Parents Beyond Bacon

Their first book, Eat Like a Dinosaur, was originally written to help bring some normalcy, and clarity, to their children’s eating, and all the kids that were on gluten-free, dairy-free, or some allergen-free diets — and it’s awesome.  Kid tested and MAD approved.

We were lucky to also have Kathy from Keswick Gourmet sampling out her amazing marinara sauce; no sugar, preservatives, or any sort of additives…just good homemade sauce, the way your grandma always made.

Fuel sweat grow: spaghetti squash marinara

So all and all, we had some good clean fun last Friday in MADville, and are even bigger fans of Paleo Parents now that we can put faces to the name, and connect their story to the root of their cooking.  It’s a lifestyle thing, and we can totally dig that.

Saturday brought our Athletic Stretch Class with Robin from tru PILATES, which was over-sold and awesome — and definitely the first of many for our community.

fuel sweat grow: athletic stretch class tru Pilates

Tacos and mind-mapping continued after stretch with Robin and her fiancé Ryan for what was my final breakfast at Brazos Tacos before they ended their 60 day term in our beloved IX building.  We’re so lucky to have such cool things happening around us in our space (studio IX coming soon just two doors down!), and the coolest people that take anchor in our lives.

Saturday evening brought ‘Friendsgiving’ with some of the best people I’ve ever known.  And, of course, because it was a Maliha Creations (hosted) event, it was a warm, embracing night of grateful hearts and beautiful souls.

fuel sweat grow: friendsgiving 2014

fuel sweat grow: friendsgiving dinner

Sunday brought a day of recovery that included, but was not limited to breakfast back at the scene of the previous night’s friendsgiving, and a bonus night of real life paleo eating (and of course Keswick Gourmet).  There are few things I love more than small Sunday night dinners with friends, accompanied by great food, wine, and conversation.

All in all it was a great wrap up to a crazy week, and was exactly what was needed to wined down, and back up, into a week of work and holiday travel.   Boring was totally out, and awesome is the new black.