Race Weekend Ready with Cara Stawicki

Fresh produce and hot poached eggs keep me satisfied all morning.

A couple of months ago, Cara Stawicki and I decided to collaborate on a post to reach both of our audiences.  Cara is also a lightweight rower, training for a spot in a World Championship boat as a member of the U.S. National Team.  You can read more about her rowing aspirations on her blog, which features monthly posts on our favorite topics: training, recovery, nutrition and sports psychology.  Despite not being able to link up in person on my recent East Coast visit, Cara and I decided to move forward with our bi-coastal collaboration and compared notes over FaceTime.  We both want to address a variety of concerns in many different travel scenarios, to ease the stress and uncertainty that can come with food preparation while traveling for races or spending a full day at the race course.  As with any race day recipes, I would recommend trying these foods during regular training periods to make sure they sit well with you!  We do not want you to try anything new on race day.  For an in depth look at navigating nutrition and travel, visit Cara’s latest post “On the Road: Nutrition, Mindset and Travel.”

This month, I have been experimenting with Whole30 recipes, so you will see many adaptations and substitutions to make my recipes Whole 30 compliant.  All of these recipes were taste-tested by my husband, Alex, who is not following the Whole30 guidelines, so I have notes to satisfy either preference.  It was especially fun to have him guess which ingredients I used in the smoothies and granola!  (Granola: “honey?” “nope!”, “oats?” “nope!”).  Read on for a variety of snacks and meals that require a varying degree of kitchen access: from make-ahead recipes to simple assembly meals to recipes that require a full-on stovetop and oven!


Race Ready Granola – serves 12+

This recipe works great for race day, because you can easily make the granola ahead of time and take it with you to the course.  Feel free to play with your favorite flavor combinations here to achieve your ideal granola.  This granola recipe from A Traveling Wife is naturally grain-free, and uses nuts as a base.  I tweaked some ingredients to make my own favorite blend.  You could add oats if you would like, but keep a closer eye on the oven to make sure they brown and do not burn!  This recipe works best with a food processor to chop the nuts and combine ingredients.

You will need:

  1. food processor
  2. 2 cups unsalted almonds
  3. 1 cup unsalted walnuts
  4. 1/2 cup unsweetened dried goji berries (or substitute dried cranberries, ginger or raisins)
  5. 1/2 cup pitted dates
  6. 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  7. 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  8. 1 t cinnamon
  9. 1 t salt
  10. 1 t ground ginger
  11. about 2 t coconut oil


  1. Soak nuts in water for an hour.  In a separate bowl, soak dried goji berries and dates in water for an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. After an hour, drain and rinse nuts.
  4. Combine all ingredients in your food processor, and pulse.
  5. Spread coconut oil on a lined cookie sheet (we used parchment paper).
  6. Spread granola mixture evenly across cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 60.  Turn off heat and allow granola mixture to dry out in the oven for another 60 minutes.
  8. Lift up corners of parchment paper for easy granola removal.  Some granola may clump if not spread evenly, but it still tastes great!
  9. Save any leftovers in an air-tight container.


Recovery Smoothie – serves 2

I love a smoothie for recovery after a hard effort, and this is especially great in the summer months!  Cool off, rehydrate and replenish with this nutrient-dense recovery powerhouse.  Bonus points: Alex thought it tasted like chocolate!  Feel free to add your favorite protein powder (“original” or chocolate would taste especially nice) or have a protein-filled snack to round out this recovery meal.

You will need:

  1. 1 T chia seeds, optional
  2. 2 cups frozen spinach
  3. 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  4. 1/2 cup frozen lingonberries (or frozen blackberries or raspberries)
  5. 1/2 cup blueberries
  6. 1 and 3/4 cup almond milk
  7. 1/4 cup coffee
  8. 1 t turmeric
  9. 1 t cinnamon
  10. 1 t coconut oil
  11. 1 T almond butter
  12. 4 small, steamed beets


  1. Set aside chia seeds in about 1/4 cup water while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender and combine until smooth – the Vitamix smoothie setting works wonders with this recipe!
  3. Enjoy right away or store in the fridge for later consumption (beet juice may separate).


Tuna Salad Two Ways – serves 2

I was not a big tuna salad lover until last November, when I branched out and tried a pre-packaged tuna salad snack – at the San Diego airport of all places!  I had previously avoided tuna salads because they smelled fishy, and I assumed they would taste fishy, too.  The San Diego salad was different because they mixed in diced green olives.  I tested the tuna salad on crackers, and continued to enjoy the tuna when my crackers ran out.  More recently, my sister, Liz, forwarded me a recipe for tuna salad, and suggested I add another ingredient or two for more flavor (Simply Recipes Avocado Tuna Salad).  I experimented with a diced green chile tuna salad and a green olive tuna salad; I will be hanging onto both options!  I also like adding carrot if I do not have celery on hand.

You will need:

  1. 5 oz canned tuna
  2. 2-3 T diced olives or diced green chiles
  3. 1/2 of an avocado
  4. 1/4 cup diced red onion
  5. 1/2 cup diced celery or carrot
  6. 2 t lemon juice
  7. 1 t lemon zest
  8. 1 T olive oil
  9. 2 T chopped cilantro
  10. salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Serve on a bed of greens or a slice of toasted bread for a meal, or with crackers as a snack.


Panzanella/Pozanella – serves 2

Panzanella is so easy to assemble, and requires just one pan and one burner, or a hot plate.  I made one serving of panzanella with two-day-old bread, as the original recipe called for, and a second serving with leftover breakfast potatoes to make it Whole30 compliant.  Alex and I love this recipe served warm, especially when we add peach.  The sweet and savory and spicy flavors marry really nicely after a day spent in the fridge.

I adapted this recipe from my beloved “Good and Cheap” cookbook, and you can find their recipe online as well: Spicy Panzanella.  I have enjoyed many recipes from “Good and Cheap”, and encourage you to consider buying the cookbook or downloading a PDF copy.  Visit Leanne Brown’s website to learn more.

You will need:

  1. 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped into quarters, then diced
  2. 2-3 medium tomatoes, diced
  3. 1 juicy peach or plum, chopped
  4. salt and pepper
  5. 2 slices day-old bread, or about 1/2 cup of roasted potatoes or breakfast potatoes
  6. 1 jalapeño, finely chopped, with seeds removed for less spice
  7. 2 T chopped tomato
  8. juice of 1 lime
  9. 2 T olive oil


  1. If you are using potatoes, roast bite-sized pieces in the oven first at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour.
  2. Set aside 2 T of your diced tomatoes to use in the dressing.  Combine chopped tomatoes and cucumbers in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to combine (salt will bring out the tomato and cucumber juices).  Set aside.
  3. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Sauté jalapeño for about one minute and then add your 2 tablespoons of diced tomato.  Stir to combine, and keep cooking until tomato juice is released.
  5. Sprinkle your dressing with salt and pepper, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Turn off the heat and return your tomato and jalapeño to your cutting board.
  6. Chop tomato and jalapeño as finely as possible and return to your pan with no heat.  Add lime juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste to finish off your dressing.
  7. Add peach or plum to your cucumber and tomato mixture, followed by your dressing.  Stir to coat.
  8.  If you are making one panzanella and one pozanella, prepare produce and dressing and then divide into two bowls before adding bread/potatoes.  Add bread pieces or potatoes.  Stir to coat bread/potato pieces.  If you are using fresh bread, toast in the toaster or skillet for a minute or two before combining with your other ingredients.
  9. Serve warm or cool, to your liking.


Poached Egg Recovery Feast – serves 1 or more 

I love eggs any way after a long row, but poached or hard-boiled eggs make for the easiest cleanup.  On February 19th, an email came from Well & Good with the tagline “The no-fail trick to making a perfectly poached egg” and, as a newbie-poacher, I was immediately intrigued.  Check out Well & Good’s article here.  I keep a couple hard-boiled eggs on hand to round out a snack or add to add more protein to a salad, so I started poaching eggs for my breakfast for something different.  This recipe requires one burner and one pot; your pot for poaching eggs will be much easier to clean than a scrambled egg pan and spatula!  Finally, poached eggs taste best when they are served hot, so make sure that the rest of your breakfast spread is ready to go before you start poaching eggs.  It only takes about 3 to 4 minutes for eggs to poach; any longer and you will completely cook the yolk, which is not the goal.  I like my eggs with a side of sweet potato to add extra carbs to my breakfast.

You will need:

  1. sweet potato
  2. 2 cups kale or other greens
  3. 1-2 t coconut oil
  4. 1/2 T apple cider vinegar or other vinegar (not red wine vinegar)
  5. eggs (2 or 3 per person)
  6. salt and pepper, to taste
  7. about 1/2 t cinnamon
  8. dried basil or parsley
  9. 1/4 avocado per person


  1. Shortcut!  Rinse your sweet potato and wrap in a wet paper towel.  Poke several holes with a fork or knife.  Microwave for 4-5 minutes and then flip over and microwave for another 1-2, depending on size of your sweet potato.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium and sauté torn kale for about 5 minutes, or until you reach desired crispiness.  Set aside.
  3. Heat a pot of water over high heat until just boiling.  Turn heat down to about medium until you see a steady stream of champagne bubbles at the bottom of your pot.  If your pot has bubbles that are not rising, you need more heat.  Without a little bit of bubbles, your egg will sit at the bottom.
  4. Stir vinegar into pot of water.
  5. Crack an egg into a measuring cup and lower as close to the surface of your water as possible before pouring your egg into the pot.  Egg whites will come together as the egg poaches.
  6. Set a timer for 3 or 4 minutes and remove egg right away.  Use a ladle for easy egg removal, and set egg on a paper towel before plating.
  7. Serve on a bed of greens or sautéed kale.  Top with dried herbs if you have any on hand.  Cut your microwaved sweet potato in half and drizzle with 1 t liquid coconut oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cinnamon, to taste.  Add avocado to your meal for more satisfying, healthy fat.


Team Dinner/Crowd Pleaser Butternut Squash Lasagna – serves 6

Lasagna is great if you have access to a kitchen while you are on the road.  You will need one pot and one burner or hot plate, and an oven.  I did not change this recipe much, but I am writing it out here to guide you through the butternut squash prep!  I also added mushrooms to my meat sauce, because we are big mushroom fans.  You can find the original recipe on Stupid Easy Paleo.

You will need:

  1. 2 medium butternut squash
  2. 2 t coconut oil
  3. 1 red or yellow onion, diced
  4. 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 lb ground chicken
  6. 1 t dried oregano
  7. 1/2 cup sliced green or black olives
  8. 4 oz white mushrooms, sliced
  9. 36 oz canned tomato sauce (Rao’s homemade tastes great)
  10. 4 oz tomato paste
  11. 4 eggs, beaten
  12. salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Microwave butternut squash for two minutes, then flip and microwave again for two more minutes.  This step will make it much easier to cut the squash.
  3. Place a large pot for your meat sauce over medium heat.  Add coconut oil and heat for about a minute before adding your chopped onion.  Sauté onion for about 5 minutes, or until just translucent.
  4. Add chicken, garlic and oregano and turn your heat up to medium-high.  Stir to combine ingredients, and sauté until chicken is completely cooked through.
  5. Next, add olives, tomato paste, tomato sauce and mushrooms.  Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Let simmer over low heat while you chop butternut squash.
  7. Your butternut squash should be a little easier to cut because of the microwave step.  Cut the squash in sections about 3-4 inches wide, starting down from the stem.  Peel your squash one section at a time using your knife, and then set that section on its side to cut into rounds (or hexagons) about 1/8 of an inch thick.  You can find photos of this process in the gallery (above).
  8. Beat together eggs and set aside.
  9. In a lasagna pan, or two, start spreading out your first layer of butternut squash.  Avoid overlapping squash pieces, but try to fill the gaps as much as possible.  The squash will act as your pasta layer.  You may have to trim additional small pieces of squash to fill in the gaps.  Next, spread about 1 cup of meat sauce evenly across the squash layer.  Top with about 1/3 of your egg mixture.  Repeat the squash-sauce-egg mixture until you run out of ingredients.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until squash reaches desired tenderness.


Bauer, Elise. “Avocado Tuna Salad Recipe.” Simply Recipes. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2017. (Tuna Salad)

Brown, Leanne. “Good And Cheap.” Good And Cheap. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2017. (Panzanella)

Gaudreau, Steph. “Butternut Squash Lasagna – Stupid Easy Paleo.” Stupid Easy Paleo. N.p., 27 Jan. 2017. Web. 01 Mar. 2017. (Lasagna)

Jenn. “Grain-free Granola [Whole30 and Paleo Friendly].” Grain-free Granola [Whole30 and Paleo Friendly]. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 01 Mar. 2017. (Granola)

Siegel, Arianne. “The no-fail trick to making a perfectly poached egg.” Well Good. N.p., 24 Feb. 2017. Web. 01 Mar. 2017. (Poached Eggs)






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