Monday Recipe: Great Food, Plentiful Wine + Good Company

I don’t know a lot of things for certain, but I know that great food, plentiful wine, and good company will always rank highest on my list of needs. All three seem to be constants in my life, which is something that I am eternally grateful for, and while there’s nothing better than time spent with old friends, it’s always exciting to welcome in some new faces.

Last night after spending some time checking in with the MAD crew in the 5:30 and 6:30 classes, an old friend of Dar’s swung by the space after his first day in his new job…IN CHARLOTTESVILLE.  Her friend Robert has long worked in the financial industry, one that we both know (too) well, and recently made the choice to pick lifestyle and community over long commutes and even longer days in his old California stomping grounds.  And to that I say, welcome Robert, to the good life.

In the spirit of slowly inducting him into our Cville crew and showing him the best that Charlottesville has to offer (which is everything, of course) we beelined to The Local.

Mondays are 1/2 price wine night (on bottles $75 or less) so it was a win even before we stepped in the door.  We all shared a bottle of the Petit Verdot from Pollak Vineyards – another local choice – and I started with the local caramont goat cheese salad that I love.

fuel sweat grow: the local goat cheese salad

Because I’m a creature of habit, and at that point I couldn’t even remember what I had for lunch, I had my typical tenderloin ‘special’ for my main meal (‘dry’, no mashed potatoes, and double veggies).  And I promise, despite the lack of butter and sauce, this steak was anything but dry.  So good, and probably the most perfect ‘medium’ steak I’ve had in recent memory.

fuel sweat grow: tenderloin special Just as anticipated, and in line with the food and wine exceeding expectations, the company was excellent and before we knew it hours had passed and the wine was getting low.  That’s the truest sign of a quality night, and the beginning of a very exciting chapter with this new member of our cast.  MAD crew get ready, he’ll be a part of your ranks very soon.

fuel sweat grow: Pollak vineyards wine

 

This week, so far, has been very good to me, and for that I’m so thankful.  The weather has turned, spring is here, and things are aligning even better than I could have planned.  It’s such a rare thing in life to have all things pointing positively forward with days unfolding with relative ease so I’m making a point to pause and enjoy it.  These days will pass, the calm will ebb and flow, and the march will always be up hill, I’m just choosing to be optimistic that the incline may be evening out ever so slightly.

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Sweating + Working and Celebrating America

I keep thinking that it’s Saturday, but alas, it’s just Thursday so nobody panic.  We still have 3.5 sweet days left in this weekend and I, for one, intend to use them all.

Since getting back from Charlotte last week I’ve been a catch up and settle in cycle that can only be described as organizational chaos.  Thankfully I’ve squeezed in enough sweats to keep my brain functioning and my body awake.

Sunday required planning + body testing Tuesday’s bootcamp workout, which I was more than happy to oblige to since I needed a little circuit to get myself going in the morning.

The time table looked like this:

  • 45 seconds on / 15 seconds off (rotating through each station once per round)
  • 1 minute of rest in between rounds
  • 5 full rounds of high intensity pace

And the menu was:

  • Kettlebell RDL (option of 12, 16, or 20 kg kettlebells)
  • Medicine Ball Thrusters (holding ball at chest squat full down, drive up through heels extending arms and ball overhead while fully extending hip flexors)
  • Kettlebell twist (using 10 or 12 kg bells – slight dip with hips twisting to one side + pop up to extend hip flexor and twist bell to opposide side of body.  All while keeping an engaged core + strong back)
  • Turkish Getup w/barbell
  • Slamballs (12 or 20lb)

After testing this Sunday, Monday was a welcomed day for a long run + walk around town to slow things down a little and lengthen out the soreness in my glutes and hamstrings.

Tuesday morning was a boocamp morning which means a bright and early 5-something in the morning wake up, and kicking off the day with the 6 + 7am classes.  Per usual everyone rocked it, and we shot this picture of part of the 6am gang after the workout.

fuel sweat grow: 6am bootcampers

Usually I’ll try to swap coaching times with Dar if I can convince her, and I’ll take the 6am and she can take the 7 (if we feel so athletically inclined in those early morning hours) but Tuesday I happily delayed my activity until the afternoon and took a quick 2 mile warm up run before doing the circuit for the second time in three days with the 5:30pm group.  (I’m not pictured because apparently I have the most superior photo-taking skills – or at least that’s the reason I give myself.)

fuel sweat grow: 5:30pm boot campers

Meals this week have also been slightly chaotic, and have involved far more restaurant food than home-cooked, which is something I don’t usually like to let happen.

Monday night I did manage to pull myself together before too late and used the last of the fridge contents to make this meal.

fuel sweat grow: dinner at home

Ground local (Wolf Creek) beef with zucchini, onion, and mushrooms all sautéd together, plus a salad with romaine, almond slivers, blueberries, cucumber and avocado.

fuel sweat grow: guacamole and carrot chips

A side of my homemade guacamole and sliced carrot chips (for dipping and eating) also doubled as the salad dressing.  I’m not sure if it was just a really filling and great meal, or if I was so craving something home cooked, but it was exactly what I needed to kick off the ‘work week.’

There were multiple mornings turned ‘breakfast meetings’ at LaTaza this week, and I finally converted over to Dar’s full-time ‘regular’ order of scrambled eggs with veggies and extra avocado.

fuel sweat grow: eggs and avocado

This used to be my go-to for healthy (@28tolife style) breakfast out, but lately I had fallen into a pattern of getting the same thing, just wrapped up in a burrito.  I highly recommend both from a taste standpoint, but my body is thanking me for cutting out the gluten-full wrap.

Wednesday, which happened to be an off day for my body started with a LaTaza breakfast and began celebrating America a little early with an afternoon bar business meeting in Richmond.

fuel sweat grow: tequila snack time

It’s pretty uncommon (outside of such holiday events…) that I’ll decide on cocktails in the middle of the day, but somehow yesterday fit the bill, so I went for it.

After a full afternoon of meetings, and a quick trip over to Short Pump for a little retail tour, it got too late to think about going to the grocery store and cooking and when we got back to Charlottesville around 8:45, Dar and I settled on the idea of an extended post-business meeting business-meeting at The Local.

The one single change to my usual order is that I ventured over to the House Salad, forgetting my usual goat cheese favorite, and lived on the wild side of choice, even for just one meal.

The Local: House Salad

I’m not someone who can eat the same thing every single meal, or even every single day for that matter (outside of coffee and wine) but I have a hard time diverting from my favorite dishes at certain restaurants, especially if they’re local and real food oriented.  Therefore, once again I got the Tenderloin Special, and unlike Dar I opted to keep the potatoes rather than getting double vegetables.

The Local: tenderloin special

We’re celebrating America here people, and America (apparently) is about starches and butter, not vegetables.  [Disclaimer: I do not actually recommend that choice model or mentality any days of the week or year outside of some select holidays, and in moderation…].

This morning (Thursday — yep, still Thursday) since everyone was off work for the 4th, bootcamp turned into 1 group class with everyone still in town and moved to the park at 9am.

In an effort to push a little more cardio, and account for a larger group, the workout was structured a little differently.

4 people per station: 4 stations (each station had 2 exercises)

1. speed balls (modified wall balls)/breakdancers

2. jump squats/plank

3. slam balls/walking lunges

4. KB swings/star jumps

We started at each station for 2 minutes (1 minute of each exercise + then switch), with one minute of transition rest in between.  It may have been the heat, it may have been hangovers, or it may have just been much harder than we thought, but after the first round of 1 minute for each exercise, we took it down to speed rounds with round 2 having 45 second intervals, and round 3 pushing through at 30 second max effort intervals.  Regardless, there was heavy breathing, lots of sweating, and three full rounds of work.

Fuel sweat grow: boot campers

The rest of my day consisted of catching up on work, stocking up at Whole Foods (updates on that to come later), and this:

Fuel sweat grow: Ball Jar Mimosas

So far I’m enjoying my celebrations of both Freedom and America, but I’m ready for a nap, and still hoping to squeeze out a little more work.  Two contradictory forces working there, but I’m optimistic.

Some ‘Almost’ Summer Sweats + Eats

Happy Memorial day WEEKEND!  It feels a little strange to think that it’s already memorial day weekend since I’m not sure how we got to May, and have seen only a handful of days that I would categorize is truly ‘spring’ days, but hey, if everyone is in agreement I think I’ll just take it as the truth.

So far the weekend has been amazing.  Totally relaxed, driven less by a to-do list than a want-to-do list which is just beautiful in and of itself.  The lead into the weekend was pretty sweet with Thursday night’s bootcamp group rocking out a partner workout.

Workout: 3 station with 7 minutes of constant work for BOTH partners, alternating work at each station.

There was a 2:30 break in between rounds.

Station 1: 6 Box Jumps / 6 slam balls (counting rounds)

Station 2: KB swings / 200m run

Station 3: Air squats (or goblet squats w/KB) / Plank hold

After bootcamp was in a complete grilling (and using everything in the fridge) sort of a mood, so here’s what happened.

1. grilled asparagus.  made the usual way – light olive oil + sea salt.  grilled to tender, but not wrinkly.

asparagus

2. grilled turkey burgers! I bought ground turkey from Whole Foods a couple days prior so it was time to put it to use, so, that’s what I did.  I literally just made them into patties and added nothing except for a little ground sea salt on the outside.

turkey patties

While they grilled I set out the ‘fixins,’ which included iceburg lettuce for buns, tomato, cucumber, avocado and (not pictured) some amazing dijon mustards.  I always order the dijon at Citizen Burger Bar when I build almost this same burger there (but with Timbercreek beef and pickles instead of cucumbers) and it has this unbelievable kick that I can only assume is horse radish, so of course I bought some.

fixins

Here is my completed plate for a meal that was exactly what I needed.  I did add one more lettuce leave for full coverage (and control) of the burger, but it was amazing.

val burger complete

A few hours after dinner I somehow managed to make a slightly better choice than the Sweethaus cupcakes that Margaret had dropped off during her lunch hour, and had strawberries, blueberries, sliced almonds, a few mini chocolate chips, with a shaken coconut milk/cocoa/vanilla extract ‘sauce’ on top.  It was awesome and I got exactly the right amount of sweet from it.

dessert

Friday morning we had the 6 and 7 am bootcamps who did the same workout as the Thursday night group, and then I jetted off to Richmond for the morning to get some things signed and to get a little retail therapy in on the backend at Short Pump.  I scored some amazing new sneaks at Nordstrom and a new outfit at lululemon, of course.  By the time I got home (and after I woke up from a surprise hour-long nap) it was time for Friday’s after Five downtown.

There’s not a ton of graffiti in Charlottesville, or really much at all that I could even recall, but this was on the wall at my new favorite ‘not so secret anymore’ parking spot for Fridays.  There’s something about it that really actually appealed to me for some strange reason, and added a little color to a random and hidden side street.  There is a serious artistic talent to some of these sections that I totally appreciate and that actually make me miss making art.

charlottesville 'street art' charlottesville 'street' artcharlottesville graffiti art

Friday’s was awesome as per usual, despite the chilly winds that took the heat of the sun away, immediately.  Most of the usual suspects were out, and Dar of course managed to meet some new people that will likely now add the group of ‘The Usuals.’

Thanks to the chilly winds we did split a little earlier than usual to find refuge and delicious food at the upstairs bar in The Local.  I love the local in general, but there is something about sitting at the bar and getting to chat with other people, bartenders included, that really adds to the element of being out, and Dar and I were able to talk at length about new ideas and thoughts for the Fight Gone MAD grand openings here in Charlottesville, as well as in Richmond.

Sidebar: have you ever read the ‘history of the building’ section in the menu? It’s so very Charlottesville, and gives a great historic feel to the whole space.

The Local History

 

The drinks definitely helped the feeling of excited jubilance.

bold rock cider

They have my favorite Bold Rock Cider, which helps me cause greatly, and then my favorite courses of local meals around.

Local (Caromont) Goat Cheese Salad:

the local's goat cheese salad

Followed by the tenderloin special with no sauce, cheeses, or dressings of any kind.  Asparagus and red bliss mashed potatoes underneath.  It’s amazing people, you need to try it.

The Local's tenderloin special

That was a wrap for Friday night, and it was a good one.  Definitely an awesome lead into a three-day weekend full of beautiful weather and nothing but want-to-do’s.

More to come on that later.  Hope you’re all enjoying your weekends, let us know what eats, treats, and possibly even sweats (?) made their way into your holiday fun!

A Weekend of Workouts, Yoga, Friends + Yum

Last week was exciting, overwhelming, and completely packed.  Thanks to the rain that had been pouring down for days, we had to split up the bootcamp groups to bring them inside which meant early mornings every day.  When the sun finally came out on Friday morning, it was almost euphoric, and a definite prelude to a classically beautiful Charlottesville weekend.
morning bootcamp

The Friday bootcamp workout took us right up to the hour marker with a solid warmup and stretch followed by a chipper-style partner workout that took all the groups between 22-30 minutes.

The rules of the WOD were that both partners had to carry the med ball at some point during the run, and only one person’s work counted at any given time, so the resting partner was either at rest, or holding a plank, while the other was working.  The workout was:

  • 800m run w/med ball (12 or 20lbs)
  • 100 Box Jumps (resting partner held a plank)
  • 150 Kettlebell swings
  • 100 Push-ups
  • 150 Air squats (resting partner held a plank)
  • 800m run w/med ball (12 or 20lbs)

I worked out with the 7am group which was an awesome way to kick off the day.  I love getting a solid workout in early so I can either take the rest of the day easy, or take an afternoon run or walk when it’s nice out.  Dar actually offered an optional Saturday bootcamp to anyone that could make it, and found herself with a full house on Saturday morning for a killer Barbell Complex that I’m going to try out tomorrow morning.

The rest of Friday flew by with meetings and to-do lists in anticipation of a pretty awesome weekend.  As I shared a few weeks ago, two of my favorite people – Katie and Adam – were coming up from Charlotte to teach an inversion workshop at Opal Yoga here in Cville.  Neither of them had ever been to Charlottesville before, so it was game on to try and show them the most abridged version of everything that makes Charlottesville unbelievable.

We strolled the downtown mall, hit up the middle of Friday’s after five, and then made our way over to The Local for a long (and overdue) dinner.

The Local

The weather got a bit wonky as our drinks came out, so our awesome waitress let us move into the private wine room that was empty after a reservation cancellation.

the local wine room

I’m not sure if it could have gotten much better than that; great friends, amazing food, and the ability to hear each other and have very in-depth conversations – all surrounded by walls chock full of wine.  In the words of our friend Brandon: #notbadifyoulikeperfect.

And that wasn’t even all.  When we got home we had the most amazing treat, literally: cupcakes from one of our favorite friends, Anita, who is the sweet-genius behind Maliha Creations, and happens to also be our neighbor.  We had received (hand delivered by her three adorable children) lavender cupcakes with vanilla + lemon icing on Thursday night, only to be surprised with a second box of carrot cake cupcakes with caramel drizzle on Friday afternoon.

maliha creations - cupcakes

They were amazing.  Seriously amazing.  I love carrot cake, and these were especially good, but there was something so different and appealing about the combination of the lavender and lemon that I couldn’t get enough of.

lavender/lemon cupcake

They were the perfect way to end the night.

Saturday was a crazy morning that included, but was not limited to, 90 minutes of walking for me, getting locked out of the house with all of the keys and dogs inside (thanks Kristin for saving our lives with the million keys at the bottom of your bag), and the Charlottesville City Market.  With all of the bustling around town we got home with just enough time to make a quick salad before the yoga workshop.

grilled chicken salad

Pretty simple no-drama salad here: romaine, cucumber, avocado, grilled chicken, tomato.

The workshop was awesome, and we had a great group of well-intentioned, fun, and engaged yogi’s at Opal, which made it even more amazing.  Here are a few pics that Katie took to capture the event.

Opal workshop w/ Adam + Katie

Opal Workshop with Adam + Katie

Opal workshop with Adam + Katie

Even Dar got into it, and was able to knock ‘crow’ off of her to-do list in her first-ever attempt which is both impressive and really annoying to anyone who has ever struggled. But hey, coordination is coordination I suppose, and you know how she likes those functional movements.

After the workshop we took up four tables at Moto Pho Co AND One Meatball Place and played musical chairs (meals) for a while, getting to know each other a little better, inducting Katie and Adam into our culture (it wasn’t difficult) and enjoying the beautiful day that it turned out to be.

Since Adam also teaches music he and Katie had to head back to Charlotte last night so we capped off their visit with a necessary trip to Paradox Pastry, and then a tour of our top-secret, never been revealed location for the new Fight Gone MAD: Cville.  I think it’s safe to say you can expect to see them here again, hopefully sooner rather than later, and most definitely for some events around the grand opening of Fight Gone MAD, and anything else we can think of to bring them back.  If you have ideas of your own, inbox me, I’m taking all suggestions.

They gave me this awesome spice kit from Savory Spice Shop in Charlotte as a Thank you for having them, and I could not be more pumped to use them in some meals very soon.  Thank you guys!

spice kit

We already miss having them here, but I can’t exactly put into words how devastated Tank and Bug were that they left.  Tank took to Adam more (and faster) than he has ever taken to another human in his life, and bug was sure that she was going to get to live with Katie (and Mitch, wedgie, ralph + weaz).  They even practiced their own versions of sun salutations on the deck for an hour before giving up and settling into the couch. IMG_3454

What they don’t know is that we’re all heading to Charlotte tomorrow so they’ll get to see them again soon.  Until then, I’m going to take a few minutes to unwind before another crazy week begins.   Happy Mother’s day to all you moms out there!

Beets + Greens Salad and Fridays After Five

Things have been deliciously crazy around here as of late, and we have lots of overdue updates from the past week’s adventures to share in the coming days, along with some long awaited announcements about upcoming events.

Last weekend I scooted up to Philadelphia for my CrossFit certification course at CrossFit KOP (more to come on that soon), so needless to say when I got home I was working with limited resources left over in the fridge.

salad + chicken

I had gotten some beets from C’ville Market the week before that I had been saving for a beet salad, so there was no time like the present.

I peeled, chopped, and steamed the beets until they were tender, and let them cool to the side.  Once the beets were cool, I added in some chopped avocado to top a bed of arugula for a beet + green salad.  Since I haven’t been eating much dairy at all lately, I added a favorite little treat to the top of mine: local caromont goat cheese.

beets + greens w/caromont goat cheese

It was perfect.  Dressing was just balsamic + a touch of olive oil, keeping things simple but still adding flavor.  I fell in love with the Caromont Farms goat cheese in the Caromont salad at The Local.  One day I might replicate it for you, but they do such a great job that if you’re in Charlottesville (or ever visit Cville) you need to go try it for yourself.

For the most part since finishing the ‘28 to Life’ challenge I have been sticking to the basics of the plan, but occasionally I’ll expand the menu options a little bit.  There are so many ways to eat clean at restaurants these days and keep modifications within reason.

gluten free pasta primavera

Last night was the first meal in several months that has had a grain component to it, and thanks to the gluten-free menu at Bella’s, I was able to stray without getting to crazy (or sick).  I had their Primavera Pasta (gluten-free).

I was a little sluggish this morning, but I am confident that it had less to do with introducing brown rice pasta back into my diet, and more to do with the three glasses of wine I had before dinner at last night’s Friday’s After Five downtown.

fridays after five

It’s the 80/20 rule in full effect.  For the most part I think I’d say I live more in a 90/10 world, but I sure do make that 10% count!

Next week I’m kicking off a modified 2 week challenge that I will share tomorrow, with my grocery list and prep plans.  Stay tuned for complete ‘meal plan’ updates, and the 2 week trial of the Cville Fit Fuel Meals.  So excited!