On a chilly day, we want something warm & comforting. In Seattle, that often means running to the nearest coffee house for that warm brew of goodness. But with spring just around the corner and with the help of my friends at the West Seattle Produce Stand, on THIS [not-so] typical gray Thursday in Seattle, my day was brightened in a better-than-expected way and yours can be too!
When we fill our bodies with whole, real and fresh ingredients, especially those derived from plant food, we see a huge shift in our energy levels and improvement in our digestion, to name a few benefits, while additionally not being able to overlook the mental boost we get from feeding our body good, delicious food!
The best type of food to buy is always local and organic whenever possible. However, knowing where the food came from and trusting its source is just half the equation; once we have these fresh ingredients, to enjoy them, we need an idea of what to do with them, right? I consider myself SO lucky to live approximately 6 blocks from the West Seattle Produce Stand – where it’s not only convenient to shop this way, but the people there make it fun. Yes, I just said produce shopping was fun. There are three employees – owner Bruce (your soon-to-be favorite mate; he’s from New Zealand) and the ever-smiling Robby and Shannon; who are, by the way sooo helpful. Produce is not only their expertise, but passion, so gobbling up new facts and flavors from them is my new favorite past-time.
So today, on my typical Thursday, a visit to the WSPS not only boosted my body (from my purchases), but also my mood. I encourage all of our West Seattle community (clients, friends & strangers) to get down there ASAP and support not only one of our brightest local businesses, but feel good about the food you buy and the people you buy it from! All recipes posted below came from the Stand today; and if you’re wondering, yes, they were all DE-licious.
And PS: Tell them Whitney from Macks Mo sent you with love and you’ll receive $2 off any $20 or more purchase!
Pesto Kale & Arugula Salad:
1 head Lacinato (aka Dinosaur) Kale, ends of stems cut off then chopped into bite-size pieces
2 handfuls arugula
Handful of grape tomatoes, quartered
½ cucumber, peeled & quartered
1 whole carrot, peeled & sliced horizontally
1 avocado, meat sliced into cubes & pit removed
Leaves from 3 stems of basil
½ cup walnuts
1 tsp. minced garlic
Sea salt + pepper to taste
- To make pesto, combine last 4 lines of ingredients in a food processor with 1/8 cup water. Puree until desired consistency (smooth or chunkier; can always add more water).
- Add kale, half the avocado meat, arugula and pesto to a large bowl and get dirty. Use your hands to massage pesto & avocado into every inch of the salad (helps to soften kale and slightly “wilt”.
- Rinse hands and add remaining ingredients to the salad.
Fresh Homemade Vitamin Water
Inspired by and Adapted from Mama Earth Organic
Admission – I don’t have a pitcher. I know, as one who likes to play host to parties a lot I should. And will have one by the end of the weekend so that I can make MANY more of these! Hence the blender “pitcher”. J
½ lemon, sliced horizontally
Leaves from 2 basil stems
1 lime, sliced horizontally
- Add fresh basil to the bottom of a pitcher. Press or twist a muddler (or wooden spoon) to bruise leaves and release the flavor; you don’t want to totally crush them.
- Next, add the lemon and lime, doing the same thing. Slightly muddling or pressing wooden spoon into them to release flavor. Add 1 cup of ice cubes then fill with water.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. And I would recommend letting the flavors steep together for at least an hour before serving! A great non-alcoholic alternative for parties! Or even a way to infuse plain alcohol for natural flavors (like vodka).
Have you ever done an AMRAP workout before? Did I just speak a foreign language to you? 🙂 AMRAP stands for “as many rounds as possible” and is always done within a set amount of time. The goal behind AMRAP’s is to take a short period of time, a challenging set of exercises (generally 2-4) and to work at your max effort for that set amount of time to get as many rounds as possible in of the exercises prescribed.
Benefits of an AMRAP workout? Well, first of all, they are fast. You know how long they are going to take and it’s a great way to quickly get a challenging workout in. Second, when you know the amount of time a workout will take, it’s easier to give it your all. For example, if you go to a group fitness class and have 60 minutes ahead of you, most people aren’t likely to go “all out” on every exercise because, well heck — you’ve got 60 minutes of exercises & work ahead of you for Pete’s sake! But, if I were to say, “here are your two exercises, do as many as you can in 7 minutes”, well, quite frankly, it’s a lot easier to wrap your head around working as hard as you can for 7 minutes vs. 60 right? The best AMRAP workouts combine full body movements that build not only cardiovascular endurance, but also muscular strength and endurance. And last, AMRAP workouts are a great way to track your progress! Record the # of rounds you get when completing the workout, then when you try the workout again, see if you can best your previous go at it.
In terms of pacing yourself, I like to think of AMRAP workouts like running a 400 on the track. There is a big difference between sprinting 100 meters (the straight away on a track) and running one full lap. A good 400 runner is able to stay right on the border between running as fast as possible at a consistent pace versus an all-out sprint. You’re balancing pushing the pace in order to maintain your speed throughout the entire race with knowing that there is some distance to cover and you’ve got to make it all the way around the track. I am sure you’ve seen the competitors that start way out front, then finish last — they go too hard right out of the gate and can’t maintain their starting speed. The pace you want to find should be challenging throughout every rep & exercises – you should never feel like you’re recovering until it’s over, but when it’s over, your body is spent.
If you’re used to spending lots of time at the gym – either on cardio equipment or with your dumbbells, the concept of getting a complete workout in such a short amount of time might be hard to wrap your head around. I know – it sounds too good to be true. But think of it this way: take all the strength, all the effort, all the “muscle burn” and breathlessness you experience at various times throughout your 60 minute workout and pack ALL of that into your AMRAP time. I mean all of it. It’s not the quantity (i.e. amount of time you spend in the gym) that matters, it’s the EFFORT and the quality of reps that you do.
So, are you ready to try one? Here is a simple AMRAP workout with a “finisher” (a final blast of effort to finish). Two 10 Minute AMRAP’s with 2 min’s off in between = 24 minutes. Then you complete the finisher as fast as you can (shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes). Which makes your total workout time under 30 minutes. Now that sounds like something I can get behind — you?!
AMRAP #1: 10 DB Burpees + 20 DB or BB Bent Over Rows + 10 Hover Ups or DB V Ups
AMRAP #2: 10 DB Plank & Row + 20 Full Sit-Ups + 10 Flying Jacks
Finisher: Outdoor Option: 4x (rounds) of four 20 yd. sprint with 30 second forearm plank hold OR Indoor Option: 6x: 100 (total) high knees or 100 jump ropes with 30 second forearm plank hold.
Notes about exercises:
– Burpees with DB’s: When you hop back to plank & perform the chest-to-ground push up, the DB’s are underneath your hands. After you hop forward (landing in a squat), you hop up with the DB’s in hand, arms by your side. Land back in a squat, set the DB’s down to ground so you can repeat back through plank. Can do without DB’s as well.
– Hover Ups: Lay flat on your back with arms & legs extended. Imprint sacrum (lower back) into the ground, contracting the core, sweeping arms by your sides to roll yourself up to a modified boat pose; knees bent. Slowly roll back down to start, but let arms & legs “hover” above the ground for remaining reps. Head touches the ground every time!
– DB Plank & Row: This exercise is less about the “row” itself and more about core stability. You want to keep
your hips as still as possible, trying not to move out of your original plank while you’re rowing. Regardless of whether you have 3 or 4 foundation points (FP = limbs; hands & feet) on the ground, your plank looks the same.
– Flying Jacks: Think “big jumping jack”. Start in a squat position with legs directly underneath frontal hips bones, arms in front of you. At the same time, circle arms from the inside-out and jump in the air, spreading the legs into an invented “V” (see Whoopi’s jump to the left), then land back in your squat position. Landing back in the squat is the most important piece here to protect knee joint & low back. Try to land softly, with hips back and butt low.
*Do you like our Macks Mo workouts? Want a custom designed workout of your own that’s built around the time you have & equipment you have access to? We do personalized online workout programming! Tailored to help you reach your goals and accessible from anywhere. Find out more by emailing us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special shout out to my girl Molly Scott – whose provided fit-spiration for me lately and put me through some pretty frickin’ tough AMRAP workouts, myself. xo.
This quick meal makes 4 servings and is great to make as a dinner with plans for leftovers or on a Sunday to have for meals throughout the week. With a fresh blend of tomatoes and herbs, this flavorful dish reminds me that summer is near.
1 lbs. medium raw shrimp, shell & tail on
1 cup bulgur
1 cup diced grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled & sliced into 1/4’s
1 avocado, sliced into chunks
1 tsp. each of cumin & minced garlic
Juice from 1 lemon
Handful chopped parsley & mint (same amount between the two, about 1/2 cup total chopped
3 Tbls. olive oil
Sea salt + pepper
- Start the bulgur first. Boil 1.5 cups water, then add the bulgur and return to boil. Cover and turn off heat. Do not remove lid or move from heat; let sit for 25 minutes.
- While that’s cooking, prepare everything else: in a large bowl, add cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, parsley and mint. Separately, whisk 2 Tbls. oil, lemon juice & cumin. Add to vegetables and season with sea salt + pepper.
- With 6 minutes left on the bulgur, add 1 Tbls. + garlic to saute pan. Heat for 1 minute, then add shrimp. Cook for 5 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through and turned pink.
- Add bulgur & shrimp to large bowl and stir to fully combine flavors.
Beets can be messy, I know. Purple everywhere. But aren’t they delicious? 🙂 This recipe minimizes your “mess” but doesn’t fall short on flavor. You can make a bunch of beets at the beginning of the week and add in the arugula + other salad components each meal to keep it fresh. Great served warm in the winter!
3 beets, scrubbed well! and then sliced horizontally – tail & top cut off
A few handfuls of arugula
1/2 cup sunflower seeds + 1/8 cup dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar + 3 tsp. cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbls. coconut oil x 2
Raw milk parmesan shavings [or feta cheese], sea salt & pepper to taste
#1: Place 1 Tbls. coconut oil in large sautoir pan with beets. Saute for 2 minutes, then add 1/4 cup water and cover. This will steam the beets, but make sure to stir occasionally. Cook for 8-10 minutes; until beets are soft.
#2: In a small, saute pan, on low, heat remaining Tbls. coconut oil and add sunflower seeds + dried coconut. Saute for 1-2 minutes, careful not to burn, then remove from heat.
#3: In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk balsamic and olive oil together.
#4: Place finished beets in a large bowl and toss with remaining ingredients.