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!

The Best Thing I’ve Done

I have determined that the best thing that I have done on this diet is cooking all of my meals ahead of time, from scratch. I have been going to the grocery store across the street from where I work and getting a few pieces of their baked chicken every day: “Three baked thighs, please.” The hot bar at the grocery store broke the week before last, so they pre-packaged all of the baked chicken. This is how I found out that the baked chicken had sugar added. Sugar really seems to be my mortal enemy, because I have noticed that I haven’t been sleeping as well (although that is the only thing that I have noticed). I really didn’t think that I was having that issue. My weight loss had stopped, which was aggravating, but it wasn’t creeping upward, so I didn’t think about sugar.

This week I have eaten nothing but food that I prepared over my long weekend, and I can tell a huge difference in how I feel. I have lost two more pounds, and I am sleeping fantastically. My motivation to work out has returned. I went to the gym last night, and I am still thinking about trying Crossfit.

All of these things make cooking ahead the best thing that I have done. It will require more work during the weekend, but I am willing to bet that I am saving money as well as getting my weight loss and motivation back on track.

One thing that I did make this week was mashed cauliflower. My fianc√© and I used to get the bags of steam-in-the-bag garlic cauliflower for mashed cauliflower, but once I was eating Paleo we couldn’t because it has sugar in it. So I took a head of cauliflower and cut it into florets and stem pieces. I threw it in my steamer with some minced garlic and steamed it all for about 10-15 minutes. Then I threw it all in the food processor with a little bit of butter and some salt. That was some of the best mashed cauliflower that I have ever had; it tasted a lot like what I used to make, but it was creamier.