Sunday, April 20, 2014

Four Quick Easter Recipes (For the Holiday or Any Time)

Raw carrot cake balls!

Sort of last-minute we found out that we'd have two Easter family get-togethers to attend on Sunday (my family = surf session/potluck at the beach (standard, and I love it); and John's family gathering = a more traditional evening dinner! Timing would work out beautifully. Oh ya, plus we have workouts to do prior (hence, why I was up at 4am and blogging right now waiting for sunrise lol). Backing up a bit, I got sick -- hit hard -- last week, so I wanted whatever I had to do for Sunday in terms of my food contributions to be relatively easy, cheap-ish and require minimal grocery shopping. Considering I decided to make four things, I think I kept it pretty close to the goals! Plus, I had my hot dude to help me in the shopping and food prep.... yup, our sexy Saturday night was spent in the kitchen making delicious food and doing dishes... all done and dusted, and in bed before 10 p.m.

I want to share the four things I decided to make for Easter. They're all pretty easy so if you need something to make for your holiday gathering today, or you just want some clean, delicious recipes for any time... here ya go. These are not Tawnee originals, and I've given credit where credit is due!

On the menu*:

Avocado Deviled Eggs
Green Bean, Red Rice and Almond Salad
Simple Kale Salad
Raw Carrot Cake Balls

*keep in mind these are just side dishes/snacks, not main courses. We'll have plenty of animal protein supplied by other family members ;)


Avocado Deviled Eggs

Dude, this is a no-brainer for the clean-eating, fat-loving, low-carb crowd at Eater right?! There are many recipes out there, but the one I tried last year is the one we're going with today and that is:

12 hard boiled eggs (or a baker's dozen like we did cuz that's what we had lol)
1 avocado
1/2 sm red onion, minced
2 garlic cloves
1 lg lime (the juice)
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
vinegar to taste

salt to taste
pepper to taste
(Optional for garnish: paprika or cayenne)

Boil eggs. (Turns out John and I didn't know how to do this, but despite doing it "the wrong way" after actually seeking directions online, somehow we didn't destroy them. If you don't know how to do this either, just google it. I don't need to explain lol.)

Once boiled, slice eggs in half carefully after they've cooled. Remove yolks and combine them in a mixing bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix well (you could use beater for this is you want that whipped texture). Put filling back into eggs white halves. Top with a little paprika or cayenne if desired.

Some other good "clean eating" deviled eggs + avocado recipes:

This is NOT my photo. I borrowed it from We haven't assembled our deviled eggs yet, so I have no photo to share. Once ours are made, I'll replace with my own picture :) PS - I hope mine end up looking this amazing!


Green Bean, Red Rice and Almond Salad (Vegan/Vegetarian)

My grandma got me the sweetest gift just cuz -- a cookbook with a bunch of seasonal recipes, The French Market Cookbook. As the title implies, it's French-based cuisine. And also vegetarian (and not gluten-free lol). She knows I'm not vegetarian, but that's ok because the recipes in this cookbook will make great side dishes to any meat, poultry or fish. (Or you can add protein to any of the recipes if your heart so desires.) I'm guessing if you know about GF cooking, you can easily make some of these things GF too. That said, most the recipes are GF by default and being that it's French she does not shy away from the use of butter and fats -- puuurrrrrfect!

The best part about this book is that recipes are organized by seasons, oh man I love that so much especially being that so much of my shopping is at farmer's markets these days! There's everything from appetizers to main dishes to desserts for spring/summer/fall/winter, with great commentary on seasonal cooking as well. Anyway, the one I chose for today's Easter dinner is something that is not very low-carb, but still gluten-free and pretty damn tasty:


Simple Kale Salad

Ok, so this one hasn't been made and it's also not really a recipe, more like John and I just winging it based on what we know we like in a refreshing, light salad with clean ingredients and nothing pre-made or processed. All natural, all fresh, all organic.


For Salad:
1 bunch dino kale, chopped
3 radishes, sliced
~1 cup sprouted mung beans
~1 cup red cabbage, shredded
2 green onion, finely sliced
~1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Sliced pear or apple

For Dressing:
~5-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
~1-2 tbsp dijon mustard
~2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
~1/2 tsp salt 
fresh ground pepper, to taste 
minced garlic 
minced herbs
minced shallot


Chop kale and add to large salad bowl. Add a bit of evoo and massage kale so it breaks down and isn't so tough/rigid. Add the rest of the salad ingredients to bowl. In separate bowl, whisk dressing ingredients. Add dressing to salad. Mix well. (If you use garlic and shallots in dressing, let it sit for a while to absorb liquids and soften up.)


Raw Carrot Cake Balls

Last but not least a little sweet treat/dessert that's very seasonal and Easter-ish without all the bad junk. This one I found on the blog, Plaid & Paleo. They're raw/no-bake carrot cake bites. She calls them bites, but I like the term balls better ;) 

These were SO easy to make! Basically just throw a bunch of stuff in a food processor, mix, then roll that into balls, dust with coconut, refrigerate. Bam. Taster? Verdict still out, but the "dough" was delicious when I licked the food processor (after making balls of course).... However, I have yet to try a "finished" ball. Waiting till today, and waiting until after I've worked out and earned the sugar in them ;)

For link to her recipe, click here.Or read below (this is how I use recipes from blogs/internet -- simply take a photo on my phone and use that in kitchen lol).

My ingredient round up.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Breakfast Recipe: Shredded Beets with Eggs and Avocado

I've been happily documenting my cooking and meals lately but have failed to start pouring the recipes on this blog. Honestly, besides being busy as heck, the lack of food posts is mostly because I don't track measurements, cooking times, etc, when I'm just cooking on my own without a set recipe (which is 95% of the time, if not more). I think it's more fun to go with the flow when in the kitchen and it allows for a little wiggle room and creativity (unless you're baking, of course, then it becomes science and you need specific measurements).

But I'm ready to get in the groove of sharing some meals fit for healthy endurance athletes. Starting with something I just ate. This morning I made one of my staple go-to breakfasts, good for pre or post workout IMO. I have a handful of breakfasts that I rotate through regularly, and almost all include eggs, avocado and some variety of veggies (from greens to starchy root veggies). Just depends how I'm feeling, workout status, and so on.

Today's is something a bit sweet and savory and covers all the bases for quality fats, protein and carbs. All fresh energizing foods, nothing processed. The star ingredient is the BEET. I love beet juice and love roasted beets, but I'll be honest -- I get sick of the taste of the juice, and roasting is just time consuming, especially if I want a fast breakfast (which is always). So I got creative one day and created what's now one of my favorite breakfast dishes, it's sorta comfort foodish as well.  I grabbed the cheese grater and just shredded a full beet to make into a hash, like you would hash browns. I add to the mix other veggies -- things like leafy greens, green onion, fennel, mushrooms, or whatever you like or have on hand, really. Of course, mixing creamy avocado and eggs and is a must. After the recipe, I've added some health facts on why this breakfast is super nutritious on all fronts...

Shredded Beets with Eggs and Avocado
who needs shredded wheat when you can have shredded beets
Nearly finished dish of wholesome goodness...
Just add those golden eggs! (I also added hemp seeds but forgot photo of that.)

1 red beet
2 pasture-raised eggs, with yolk
1/2 large avocado
3-5 leaves of dino kale
~1/2 cup fennel, chopped
1 green onion
1 tbsp raw hemp seeds
virgin coconut oil and/or grassfed butter
sea salt, to taste
1 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1 packet stevia or sweetener of choice

Optional Ingredients:
-coconut shreds or flakes
-chopped nuts
-chia or flaxseed
-additional veggies (I've tried it with summer squash, mushrooms, or spinach)

-Chop up fennel, green onion and kale. Shred entire beet with cheese grater or food processor. (I have both, but often too lazy/busy to clean food processor lol.)

-Heat medium pan and melt ~1 tbsp butter or coconut oil (I use butter vs. coconut oil purely based on what my mood dictates, both are delicious, and the amount is always eyeballed). Add fennel, cook that for a bit, then add green onion and kale. Saute all veggies until they're nearly done then add a bit more oil/butter and throw in shredded beet. Stir and cook all together on medium to high heat for just a few minutes. The beet is already so thinly shredded it doesn't need to be cooked for long, and you don't want to burn it. (It doesn't turn out quite as crispy/dense as hash browns, but doing it my way will better preserve the nutrients by not overcooking and frying to death.) At the very end add cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, stevia/sweetener. That cinnamon and nutmeg set this dish apart and really bring out an amazing flavor profile. I'm addicted to cinnamon.... thank goodness it's so full of health benefits like controlling blood sugar.

Note: The beet has a natural sweetness and with the salt it's a beautiful combination of sweet/savory. You don't really need more sweetener than what the beet naturally gives, but if you're like me, you'll like to enhance it just a tad with more stevia. If you don't like stevia, then honey is my next suggestion (although, I've only done it with stevia).

-In a separate small pan melt more coconut oil or butter and crack in 2 full eggs. Immediately whip them up with a fork for a scramble (I add a dash of water when whipping to help fluffiness of the scramble). Cook those until fluffly and done.

-Lastly slice up and/or mash 1/2 avocado.

-Add beet/veggie mix to a bowl, then mix in any additional ingredients (hemp, chia, coconut, nuts, etc). Top with the avocado and eggs, mix it all together (let the creamy avocado coast the veggies and eggs mmm), and ENJOY!
First cook veggies, then add  leafy greens....
...and add the beets at the very end.

Mix it all up and get those beets coated in oil/butter!

Separate pan, scramble eggs!

Add everything to a bowl starting with beet/veggie mix. Then avocado.

Then eggs, and other add-ons like hemp seeds (oops forgot to catch the hemp on camera).

Why this dish rocks:

-Beets are a great source of carbs with tons of nutrients and health benefits and not tons of calories. Even the non-juice form of beets can have performance-enhancing effects like the juice does. For the athlete this entails increased oxygenation of the muscles and blood flow due to nitrate content in beets (this can also help reduce blood pressure in clinical situations). Additionally, beets aid in liver detoxification and fight inflammation. (See why you don't want to overcook them to a crisp?! Preserve those nutrients!!)

-The cinnamon helps prevent a spike in blood sugar and maintains steady insulin levels. You can always add more cinnamon, as much as you personally can tolerate is fine!

-Dino kale is superior to other kale species. Kale and many greens contain natural toxins called oxalic acid. Oxalic acid (oxalates) originally served as a protection mechanism for the vegetable so it'd survive "the elements" and predators. Unfortunately, oxalic acid has the potential to have ill effects in our bodies, such as muscle weakness, joint pain, blocking calcium absorption, or if you're vulnerable to gout or kidney stones that could be very problematic.Thankfully dino kale is low in oxalic acid, and even lower once it gets lightly cooked in a quality fat source. In fact, all greens/veggies are enhanced in terms of nutrient-quality when cooked in fat!

I love me some fennel.
-Fennel is a nutritional powerhouse. It is rich in antioxidants, folate, fiber, potassium, iron, to name just a few. It can even promote regulation of hormones for females specifically, and prevent gas! Most of all, the flavor profile of fennel complements the beets very well in this dish.

-Pasture-raised eggs with yolk. The ultimate food and ultimate source of protein. Pasture-raised chickens are essentially grassfed, not grain-fed and eggs from this source won't contain GMOs. (Aside: "Vegetarian eggs mean nothing of worth.... that just means they were fed crappy grains likely.)

-Avocado. The ultimate fat source to keep you satiated and a lean machine full of energy. You know what they say, "An avocado a day...." Ok, that's what I say ;)

-The optional ingredients listed all offer healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and sustaining energy that won't lead to spikes and crashes.

... next up will be my ultimate post-workout refueling breakfast.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Run Workout to Try // New Bike // Birthday Weekend

Raw vegan chococalte avocado cheesecake.

Monday morning training hangover. Got to love it. I asked for it. I told Lucho I was feeling ready and motivated to work my ass off over the weekend. And that happened. Each afternoon I'd come home and basically just lay on the floor not even bothering to shower right away, but instead drinking kombucha, eating, Compexing and messing around on the computer. Actually Saturday I was more trashed from a ocean swim/run combo, and Sunday even after a long ass day I had enough brain cell power to make client calls and do real work. It's that Saturday run I want to share for you to try.

Before I blabber about the run, just fyi this blog will be more than just that (lots to catch up on!) -- also new on my new bike and the story behind that, and my birthday weekend recap in pics. Teaser: Ya see that sweet looking piece of amazingness to your left? I had the family go to 118 Degrees (raw vegan restaurant) for my birthday dinner this year... don't worry I ate grassfed beef the night before for dinner ;)

So the run. I normally don't bother posting workout details, but this one is one worth sharing. It was a blast. It felt like four run sessions in one (MAF, hills, tempo/threshold, more hills) and I loved it; went by super fast too. Add this to your workout library when the appropriate fitness is there. I think it's a great example of workout that will test if you are capable of being in control of your body/HR and not let your HR controlling you. In other words -- stick to MAF when MAF is the goal, then go hard as shit when that's the goal, and have the ability to bring it back to MAF and so on...

Long run with a mix of intensity
10-12 miles

Warmup: 2-3 miles building to MAF as you loosen. Get loose. (I did 3 miles, needed it)

Hill repeats: 5-6 X ~1:00 hard hill intervals pushing to near max efforts. Jog easy and light back to the start ~1:00-1:30. (I ran a ~0.15-mile hill 6x and got my HR up to the 180s on these!)

MAF: Then cruise for ~2 miles relaxed at MAF.

Intensity: Then 3 miles starting at 7:20 pace and building towards 7:00 by the end. Float around in this range. Translation: hard tempo/sub-threshold effort (my threshold is ~175-177ish bpm and I did this effort at 168-174HR).

Easy: Jog 1 mile.

More hills: Then 5 X 30" max effort HILL sprints. Go hard on these. Recovery is 2:00 easy walk/jog. Ouch.

Cooldown: ~1 mile easy.

.... Yup. I ended up with close to 12 miles, feeling awesomely tired after. We did an ocean swim prior, and it was abnormally freezing in the water (50s), and I think the coldness from that left its mark too. I came home from that run hanrgy and made a HUGE bowl of sweet potato mash with avocado, chia, cacao nibs (yes, chocolate for lunch), melted grassfed butter, almond milk, cinnamon, sea salt and stevia. Topped that with two sunny-side-up pasture-raised eggs cooked in more butter. That combo (and variations of it) is my go-to meal again these days now that I'm training regularly and with volume/ intensity again. Normally I have it for breakfast after an AM workout, but it sounded good for lunch today instead ;) I'm going to post recipe/pics soon. That particular sweet potato was freshly bought from farmer's market and had deep purple flesh, like I get in Kona. Mmmm.

In other news...

I got a new bike.

Headed to pick up the new ride. Selfie-worthy moment, right?!
I'll preface by saying I've been friends with Jim Felt for a long time, and in fact we even have family who worked together years ago, so it goes way back with us. When I got my first Felt B2R in '09 there was a problem with how it was built, and Jim was there to help me get it fixed the right way. We've been buds since. But things happen, and I left the B2R on the back burner for a while when I rode the Shiv last year; however, that deal with Specialized didn't extend past 2013 (which is completely fine -- no hard feelings there, just wasn't meant to be). I got back on my old B2R upon resuming training this year, while brainstorming my next move for a new ride. I was open to explore anything, but partial to Felt. Really, since I've been in triathlon I've had the desire to get more serious with Felt, and it's something Jim and I have discussed. It was time to be more aggressive with that. I started eying the Felt DA and IA, thinking "why not just go for it: IA." It was a long shot to think I'd score an IA in 51cm -- that bike is not easy to get, and I know I'm no Rinny or professional sponsored athlete. But again, my relationship with Jim and Felt goes way back, and I'm also a mere 15 minutes from Felt's HQ here in Orange County, so somehow the stars aligned and I had the opportunity to get that IA, in my size -- an important detail ;). When I got the news -- right before my birthday --  I was, at that point, about ready to give up and move on from the IA dream, so it was a total shocker to have that all change in a matter of an hour. Happy birthday to me, right?! To save some money, I only got the frame and then built it out with my parts. This past week we got it all dialed in and I rode it daily, accumulating 10+ hours in the saddle, and as a result feeling extremely satisfied with the ride, the feel, and so on. It's so great to be building a solid relationship with the whole Felt team, and I couldn't be more thrilled with the direction things are heading in that regard.
Hot new addition to the family. It has yet to sleep in the garage, and is instead living in our living room/dining room area. Dinner time is more enjoyable with this view. I'll also be getting new wheels soon, more details on that to come.

So how is the IA?!?! It's an amazing bike to say the least. It rides like a dream and the fit is incredibly comfortable for me. I'll have to share the evolution of my bike fit soon, my fitter (Dave Jordaan at sent me some rad pics from a year ago when we first started working together some tweaks between, and now.

However, I won't lie, the IA is an extremely high-maintenance bike due to how integrated everything is. Seriously. But I'm not complaining. I'm honored to be on such a high-tech bitchin ride, and equally honored that despite it's complicated nature, I got an education on the bike and how to handle it by the design engineer himself, Anton, over at Felt HQ. I learned a lot and there's no way I plan on being helpless with this bike nor will I leave it to "the boys" to work on it.

In addition to many rides this week, I did a T-runs off the bike Thursday and Sunday, after 1hr40min  and 4hr rides, respectively, and man I felt springy and fresh on both runs. HR was at MAF but I was ~30-60 seconds faster than my usual MAF pace, Sunday especially. Gonna be interesting to get into some racing... I am so antsy lol. But enough workout nitty gritty talk.

I'll leave you with some photos from a couple weekends ago. It was my birthday March 29 (last year in 25-29!!!)... it was Oceanside 70.3...there were celebrations Saturday and Sunday nights... and it was a ton of fun on so many levels.

Spent most of Friday working the Bonk Breaker booth at the expo, alongside my athelte Amy.

Friday was nonstop once I got to Oceanside. Chatted with tons of friends and podcast fans at the expo while hanging with my Bonk Breaker family.

This is why I love triathlon, right here. Pictured is the Further Faster Forever team, aka #F3, and they're just a bunch of awesome folks from all over who share a common passion for endurance sports and started a group/club as a result. Bill in the blue F3 shirt and red sunnies is the founder. This was at their pre-race dinner, which John and I hung out at for a while! And yes, those dogs are large, but so sweet and like teddy bears.

Birthday morning - up at 4:45 ish in the morning to partake in race day and try to be everywhere for everyone. That is tough at a "short" race like a half-Ironman. If you follow me on Twitter, you did see that I did a pretty decent job on timely updates on the pro race.

Calm before the storm on race day. Next year I will likely be in another spot on the course at this time ;)

Tracking a 70.3 pro race on foot with iPhone is tough work, but worth it when you see amazing feats of endurance fitness. Here is male winner Jan Frodeno, in the lead, looking smooth.

I had a handful of athletes racing, and I know you've seen this guy before... Ray! He PR'd his half-Ironman, and had his strongest run ever at 70.3, which was our main focus/goal starting back in December, so I'm glad it showed. Ray is a great example of having passion for the sport and being patient -- not expecting overnight gains. When you're busy and have a demanding life outside of triathlon, it can take years to figure it all out. But if you're having fun in the process, living your life and not obsessing over results you'll be golden.

It was the battle of the Heathers for that win, and this Heather (Wuertele) had the edge of the other (Jackson); although, in my eyes they were equally as strong and both put a pretty big gap on the rest of the women's field by the end. I posted more pictures from the race/finish line on my Twitter; so no need to repeat here.

What a feeling that must be. #winning

Remeber this name: JAN FRODENO. He already won gold at Beijing, and now he's stepping it up to long-course with his eye on Kona. Super chill dude and has what it takes. It's not a fluke to beat a 5x Oceanside champ like Andy Potts, ya know what I'm sayin?

Ok, I LOVE triathlon, but I had my fill for a while and needed to escape, so we hit up Mother Earth Brewing in San Diego for some tasters.... then I went home and fell asleep lol (especially knowing that we'd be hitting up the Wattie after-party Saturday night and I needed my energy for that -- it was great night and like a mini Kona reunion; no pictures are taken at such events ;)). And for the record, I lived in those 110% Play Harder Compression all Fri/Sat while on my feet. Necessary. Use code 110CoachTawnee for 10% and free shipping on any Play Harder Compression purchase!
 I (happily) made my own birthday dinner: Organic grass-fed beef and broccoli with onion, garlic and ginger. Picked up the supplies from Jimbo's, which I wish we had in OC.

Sunday we hit up the new Carlsbad pool for a little swimmy swim. I don't know if it was the pool or what, but I felt freaking great in the water cruising some long sets. T-Ran it back to my parent's condo (where we were staying), and that was hot and hilly. Got lost cuz my phone died and I don't know the area, it was awesome.

More b-day fun with my amazing family Sunday night! That includes 2 athletes I'm coaching (mom & sis) so #CoachTawnee gets special treats too ;)

I wanted to go somewhere unique for all of us, so we hit up the raw/vegan restaurant 118 Degrees in Costa Mesa, and ordered a bunch of fun dishes to try and share. I can't even begin to list all the goodness you see here, but it's all raw and vegan (now you know why I had the grass-fed beef the night prior lol -- balance!)

This was my main entree at 118 Degrees -- Raw enchiladas with macadamia filling. It looks "light" and I thought I'd still be hungry but that hearty mac nut filling and everything else was extremely sustaining (plus I tried everyone else's entrees lol).

And that chessecake with avocado and lovely garnish, as well as a banana dulce de leche to the left... Yes, it was very picture worthy not just for me. Sister getting her food porn photo up to the IG!

A'ight... peace!