Paleo Shepards Pie

It has been amazing how much things have changed just in the past month. I am taking a much-needed break from business planning to pursue other interests that I have been neglecting in the process. One of those interests is this blog. I am also trying to be more consistent with my CrossFit workouts. And I have started taking classes in Gracie Jiu Jitsu with my fiance.

Listen to me! I talk a great game, but I promise you – the last CrossFit workout that I did was last weekend, and I was so sore ALL WEEK that I could barely walk. I was lucky to be able to get through my Jiu Jitsu class last night! Actually, it feels great to be active and not sitting on my butt so much. I guess that needs to be the next step in my journey. After a year of cooking and eating Paleo, I am very comfortable with it – even under stress. Getting myself off of the couch is the logical next step.

One thing that I am nervous about is overdoing it. It seems that every time that I start a new exercise program I overdo it and get sick. I did my CrossFit workout last weekend and was super tired and sore all week. I was okay through the week, trying to take it easy so that I could recover. It wasn’t until the end of  the week that I felt like I might be getting sick. In fact, this morning I feel it even more, and I had a Jiu Jitsu class last night. I guess I should just make sure that I get some rest this weekend.

On another note, I developed a Paleo modification of one of my favorite comfort foods: Shepards Pie. And boy, is it good! The only problem that I have had recently with it is getting the ratio of filling to mashed cauliflower correct. I’ve only made it twice so far and I haven’t quite gotten it right either time. But it is so good that I can’t keep from sharing it any more!

Paleo Shepards Pie

1 lb ground beef

One head cauliflower

butter or other oil (for mashed cauliflower)

1 yellow onion, diced

1 bell pepper, any color you want

1 yellow squash, diced

1/2 c mushrooms, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano

salt & pepper to taste

3 bunches of fresh basil (I use the basil in the tube, about a quarter to a half of the tube)

Preheat the oven to 350.

First, chop up the cauliflower and steam it. You don’t want to steam the cauliflower for too long because if it is too wet it will not cover the pie effectively. Keep it firm but not too firm.

Next, cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. When it is almost browned, add the garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. When it is completely browned, add the vegetables and the basil and cook until the vegetables are tender. While the vegetables are cooking, mash the cauliflower.

After the vegetables are done cooking, pour the meat and vegetables into a pie plate and spread the mashed cauliflower evenly on top. Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Take it out and enjoy!

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What In The World?

So this week has gotten off to an interesting start: I have been mad thirsty for almost twenty-four hours, and I am willing to bet that I have guzzled more water in this time than I had the previous two weeks. Which also makes me think that I had been eating something that I shouldn’t have. The problem is, I have no idea what it would have been; my diet has been very clean (or at least I thought it was). I really can’t recall what I ate last week because the week was pretty much a blur. I do know that I was glad that it was over. I also know that I didn’t sleep very well and I didn’t drink enough water all week last week, and maybe the week before also.

So today my body is feeling like I have deprived it of something, I have been drinking water like crazy all day, and I have been so freaking hungry! I am not sure what has happened or what I ate, but I will be so happy when my body gets over this and gets back to its old self. The roller coaster rides are killing me!

As I am typing this I am still trying to figure out what I ate that would have caused this insanity, but I can’t figure it out. I guess at this point all I can hope for is that I don’t do whatever I did again, which should be pretty easy since I have been going strong since September (with no cheats and absolutely no desire to!).

I do seem to remember that my weight went down early last week and then it spiked, and I remember that I wasn’t surprised that it spiked, so I must have known that whatever it was that I had eaten was going to cause that to happen.

I did manage to do something cool: I figured out how to make my own breakfast sausage. I love sausage and eggs for breakfast, but I can’t get by with just eggs. I stay hungry until lunch if I just eat eggs, and every type of breakfast sausage I have looked at not only has crazy ingredients, but sugar! So I began to look at different recipes, and I did a little bit of experimenting, and this is what I came up with:

Breakfast Sausage

One pound of ground pork

garlic powder

salt

1  tsp cumin

2 tsp sage

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

crushed red pepper to taste

During my first experimental batch, there were entirely too many spices involved, and some of them weren’t the right ones. It was good, but it needed work. This was my second batch, and it came out very nearly perfect. I found out that the key (for me) was the garlic powder and salt. I don’t have measurements for them in the ingredient list because I didn’t measure them. I put in quite a bit of garlic powder – to the point that I was worried that I had put in too much. I know that people’s tastes differ when it comes to salt, too. I usually use more than I think a lot of people would. So just salt it to taste. Let the sausage sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours after you mix all of the ingredients together so that the flavors will meld, and then cook it up and enjoy it!

 

 

Spicy Shrimp and Scallops

I found this recipe in the Paleo Diet Cookbook  and I had to try it.

What you need:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 pound raw, peeled, deveined shrimp

1 pound scallops

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp paprika

2 tsp fresh chopped cilantro

lime juice to taste

cayenne pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in your skillet. Add the garlic and saute for one minute, stirring so that the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the tomatoes and stir, cooking for two minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp turn pink. Remove from pan – put them in a bowl – and cook the scallops, about five minutes (or until they are done, whichever comes first). Add the scallops to the shrimp and tomatoes, and stir in the remaining ingredients.

This was a pretty good snack for my fiance and I. The scallops were definitely a treat, but the recipe in the book doesn’t even call for them. I added them simply because he and I both like scallops, and they worked really well. I think that as everything sets the resulting sauce may pick up the subtleties of the different flavors involved; we ate the majority of the shrimp and scallops right after they were done cooking and felt that there was too much lime juice (the recipe called for juice from half of a lime). But when I went back for more, I felt that the flavors had melded a little better.

Crusty Chicken

About a week ago I cooked chicken drumsticks. I was looking for a new chicken recipe, and this one seemed to be pretty good. At least it was different.

It was good, but it wasn’t impressive. One thing that I like about cooking Paleo is all of the options available as far as spices go. I love sauces because they add big, bold flavor to food. While sauces aren’t forbidden on a Paleo diet, it is hard to find sauces that add wonderful flavor without added sugar or crap ingredients. But spices are totally okay on a Paleo diet, and they are so versatile – you can mix up spices in different ways and create entirely new dishes with your creations.

This is what I did with my chicken tonight. I looked at a few different recipes, got an idea of what I wanted to do, and began to mix it up. I can honestly say that this was a huge experiment since my knowledge of what spices work together is pretty small, but it worked so well that my fiance named the resulting dish “Crusty Chicken.” So, here is the recipe:

Crusty Chicken

4 to 6 chicken quarters

3 tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp paprika

4 tsp garlic powder

3 tsp poultry seasoning

1 tsp cayenne pepper

Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Melt the coconut oil, then mix the all of the spices into the oil. rub the spice mixture onto the chicken quarters and place in a shallow cooking dish. Cook for one hour.

You may want to watch the chicken as ours came out a little dry. I’m considering trying the recipe again using a baking bag for the chicken. However, I do like the crust of the spices on the skin of the chicken – it gets kind of crunchy which adds a nice texture. I know that I won’t get that with a baking bag.