Saturday, July 30, 2011

Low Carb August

Cross Fit Wednesday 7/27
Press 3, 3, 3 (50lb barbell)
4 Rounds (completed in 10:39)
10 Pull-ups (black band)
10 Single Arm KB Swings L
10 Single Arm KB Swings R
30 Double Unders (I did singles instead because I'm terrible at jump rope. I thought we were supposed to do 90 singles, but it would make more sense that we were actually supposed to do 60. I was wondering why my time was so slow for this one :P I blame it on the fact that I've been going to the morning classes.. I was probably completely out of it while the instructions were being given.)

Cross Fit Friday 7/29
“Filthy Fifty” - I completed the "Foul Forties" in 24:08
50 Box Jumps (step ups as usual)
50 Jumping Pull-ups
50 Kettlebell Swings (25lb kettlebell)
50 Walking Lunges
50 Knees to Elbows (I had to stop doing these and continue the rest as sit-ups. I'm seeing a chiropractor for some shoulder pain I've had for a couple of months, and hanging from the bar was extremely painful!)
50 Push Press (35lb barbell)
50 Back Extensions (35lb barbell)
50 Wall Ball Shots (10lb wallball)
50 Burpees (aka hell)
50 Double-Unders (double the amount of singles)

Cross Fit Saturday 7/30
Deadlift 3, 3, 3 (145lb barbell - a PR by 10lbs! I also had a 155lb 2 rep max)
15 – 12 – 9 – 6 – 3 (done in 9:22 using 15lb dumbells)
50ft Weighted Walking Lunges
Renegade Rows

Diet Update:
In case you didn't see the comments in the "Crunch Time" post.. I have decided to forgo my beloved fruit and nuts at least through August in hopes of slimming down before the school year. For those keeping track, that means my diet will strictly consist of meats, veggies, and healthy fats. I shouldn't be checking, but the scale went down yesterday morning for the first time all summer :) I know it's too soon to make conclusions, but after just a couple days sans fruit and nuts I'm feeling really great. I've been waking up early with no alarm so incredibly full of energy and just ready to go, go, go! I hope this new found energy continues throughout the school year, I'm going to need it. I just found out that I'll be teaching 3 different subjects... again. Nonetheless, I'm ridiculously excited for this year to start, and I'm feeling like a first year teacher all over again!

I think variety is going to be the key to making this part of my diet work. Please send any clean, yummy chicken/turkey or veggie recipes my way!! 

I made some turkey ragu to put on spaghetti squash and in omelets. It was basically just my zucchini and diced tomato sauce plus some ground turkey.
1) Sautee onion, garlic, and zucchini in coconut oil.
2) Add ground turkey (or whatever meat you want) and brown. I added 1 tsp each of pepper, oregano, basil, and parsley.
3) Add one can of diced tomatoes, stir, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Super good in eggs. If you're using it as a sauce, I'd want it a little more.. well, saucy. Maybe I'd add 2 cans of diced tomatoes next time.

Workout Update:
I took a glance at my calendar and noticed that we are just about done with July. I am happy to report that I only missed one workout (a 3.5 mile run on a day of ridiculous humidity and heat) on my Half Marathon Training Schedule this month. I've be switching and re-arranging days here and there, but making sure I get everything in. I'm pumped for my 7 mile run tomorrow... it will be my longest run ever!

Also - of course, despite my best planning intentions, the professor for my fall grad class changed our meeting day from Tuesdays to Wednesdays. We meet after school for 4 hours until late at night, so I'll be switching my rest day to Wednesdays, and my Wednesday workout back to Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Paleo Protein Bars

Protein bars were a staple in my diet prior to going Paleo. One of my favorites was Clif Builder's Bar with a whopping 20g of protein. At 270 calories, I would grab this for a lunch at school when I was too lazy to put one together the night before.
On the wrapper you can see that it boasts being "the entirely natural protein bar". Here are the ingredients in my favorite chocolate mint flavor:
Soy Protein Isolate, Beet Juice Concentrate, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Palm Kernel Oil, Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Rolled Oats, Cocoa, Organic Soy Protein Concentrate, Organic Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Natural Flavors, Organic Dry Roasted Almonds, Rice Starch, Evaporated Cane Juice, Inulin (Chicory Extract), Cocoa Butter, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Fiber, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Red Cabbage Color.

Kinda scary. Missing the quick energy and sustenance of a protein bar, I was up for the challenge of making some of my own. Luckily my BFF Mark was ready to help me out with his Primal Energy Bar Redux... my bars are tweaked a little to my taste.

Yummy, Real-Food Ingredients:
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond meal
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of raw honey
1/2 cup unsweetened whey protein powder (or 60g)
1 large egg
1 ripe banana (I added this based on some comments on Mark's page. Some people said theirs came out crumbly, and one person recommended adding a banana for some more moisture)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup dried blueberries

I had trouble finding regular dried blueberries that didn't have any added sugar, so I opted for this freeze dried variety from Trader Joe's whose only ingredient was "freeze dried blueberries". Perfect! What is even more perfect is that the entire bag is only 120 calories and the strawberry variety packs in 230% vitamin C! I was worried they should effect the taste of the bars, but once they were baked they turned soft and mushy just as I wanted. 

Easy Preparation:
1. On a cookie sheet, toast nuts until golden brown. In order for them to cook evenly, you need to shake up the tray at least once during cooking. Try not to take your dogs for a walk while they're toasting - when you get back they will assuredly be slightly burnt :P
2. Once toasted, pour mixture into a food processor and pulse until nuts are chopped and the mixture becomes coarsely ground (sort of the consistency of bread crumbs).
3. In a mixing bowl, melt coconut oil and almond butter (about 30 seconds). Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.
4. Add vanilla extract, honey and sea salt. Mix thoroughly.
5. Fold in nut mixture, almond meal and protein powder until mixed thoroughly. At first I thought the 1/2 cup of protein powder was a little extreme, but its necessary to put the protein in these protein bars.
6. Add whole egg and mashed banana and mix thoroughly.
7. Fold in blueberries.
8. Press mixture into an 8 by 8 loaf pan. (For once I actually had the proper baking pan!)
9. Cook in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and place under broiler until top begins to brown. (OOPS I accidentally skipped this step.. I must have been really anxious to eat! Not to mention that I'm not sure how to use a broiler.. does my oven even have one??)
11. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces/bars.
12. Enjoy or stack on wax paper and store in an airtight container.

I put mine in the refrigerator because they were a little soft (maybe too moist or undercooked) - particularly on the inside of the pan. After they had some time to cool they stuck together a very well! I still would have added a couple more minutes of cook time though. These bars came out so OMG yummy that after I enjoyed two, I had to package them up immediately to keep myself from popping another one in my mouth. I will definitely be making these again. They will particularly come in handy when my schedule becomes overwhelmingly busy again in the Fall.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Crunch Time

I wish this post was about crunchy Paleo foods. Unfortunately it's not, but it does give me a good future post idea! First, lots of WODs to catch up on:

CrossFit Thursday 7/21
50ft Farmer’s walks (150lbs)
Conditioning: (I was able to complete 8 rounds + pull-ups and 9.5 push-ups. Side note: my knees are SO messed up from all those push-ups on my knees... all the more motivation to be able to do real ones!)
Four 3-minute Rounds of:
5 Pull-Ups (gray and red bands)
10 Push-Ups
15 Kettlebell Swings (1 pood, about 35 pounds)

CrossFit Friday 7/22
Overhead Squat 3×3 (50lbs)
AMRAP in 10 (I completed 7 rounds just in time. Went a little light with 10 lb dumbbells, and was doing step-ups instead of jumps)
1 Man maker
2 Box Jumps
2 Man makers
4 Box Jumps
3 Man makers
6 Box Jumps

(Add one Man maker and two box jumps each round.)

CrossFit Saturday 7/23
Barbell Blitz
Partner Workout - 10 total rounds (we each did 5, plus 2 tire flips while the other person was working) of:
7 Power Cleans
5 Front Squats
3 Push Presses
It was really hard for me to choose a barbell weight for this one... my front squats were holding me back. I did my first 4 sets with 45 lbs and the last one with 50 lbs. My partner and I finished in 10:11.

CrossFit Monday 7/25
“Fight Gone Bad” –ish
3 Rounds - weights I used after the dash
1 min Wall-balls (20/14) - 10lbs
1 min KB Swings (53/35) - 35lbs
1 min Box Jumps - step ups (I should probably start getting comfortable with box jumps soon)
1 min Push-presses (75/55) - 55lbs
1 min Row (Calories)
1 min Rest
Your score is the total reps/calories completed (272. The push press bar was a little heavy for me, but I'm happy that I was almost able to do this workout as prescribed)

Check out a video of what we did in July at CrossFit Aspire! See if you can spot me self-correcting my knees coming in during a front squat.

Okay now on to the crunch time talk.

To us teachers, July is like a Saturday before a week of school. It's our time to rest and not stress about what's coming up. August, however, is more like a Sunday before a week of school. There is just so much to do in so little time!  August is rapidly approaching, which means September will be here before we know it.

How does this relate to my Paleo diet journey? It has come to my attention that if I don't lean up by September I will have 2 options:
a) Be just as painstakingly uncomfortable in my barely fitting clothes this Fall as I was last Spring.
or b) Spend money I don't have on a larger wardrobe... that I probably hopefully wouldn't need to spend too much time in before finally slimming down and fitting in my current clothes again.

If you couldn't tell by that info, I haven't seen the drastic weight loss that I was hoping for. I know I'm eating right, working out right, and actually getting enough sleep. I'm starting to get a little stressed that this may not happen as soon as I want it to, but I refuse to lose hope! I checked with my new best friend Mark Sisson about why I'm not losing weight. He gave me not just one but 17 reasons... lots of information to "chew" on! Here's my new game plan in association with Mark's reasons:

#2 You're Under Too Much Stress
I seem to voluntarily stress myself out way too much. Even though it's not the school year, I'm still finding ways to stress about September. I need to cut this out and find healthy ways to de-stress.

#8 You're Eating Too Much
I should watch my portion sizes of meat and veggies, maybe I'm just eating more than necessary. I'm also going to be more careful in making sure that I'm only eating 1 nut serving a day... bye-bye mindless extra handful of almonds! I may even need to try cutting out my serving of fruit a day to lower my carb intake, as reason #3 suggests.

#16 You Haven't Given it Enough Time
Mark says that some might get instant results from dropping sugars, grains, and processed foods from their diets, but others won't. My diet was not that different before starting this, so maybe I just need to wait for everything to kick in.

if all else fails...
#7 You Still Haven't Tried IF
Intermittent fasting. Skipping meals is not my idea of a good time considering how hungry I am come meal time, but who knows. Maybe it's the kick start I need, especially if I'm trying to curb my hunger and eat less.

A final word from Mark because he can sum this up much better than I can: "Also, know that The Primal Blueprint lifestyle is about long term goals. Though you can lose weight quickly on the PB, keep your head straight and remember that the emphasis should always be on a healthy, Primal lifestyle – not a get-fit-quick routine. You can do it, but it may take time."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Caveman Chili

CrossFit Monday 7/18
Front Squat 5 rounds of 2 (80lb barbell.. a PR by 15lbs!)
“The Garage”
3 Rounds (done in 7:11)
10 Pull-ups (gray and red bands as usual)
10 Front Squats (45lb barbell)
10 Burpees

Yesterday I bought some ground turkey breast with no plans what I was going to do with it. Inspiration struck when I saw this recipe for crock pot chili by Civilized Caveman to be eaten with cauliflower rice (or spaghetti squash).

1) Saute 1 medium onion, 1 bell pepper, and garlic in coconut oil until they start to become soft. (I didn't have any peppers and didn't feel like going out just for one, so I used what was left of some roasted red peppers in a jar)
2) Add 1 lb ground turkey and cook until brown.
3) Transfer the meat and veggies into your crock pot. Add 1 can diced tomatoes (you're supposed to drain them, but I missed that step), 3/4 cup organic free range chicken broth, oregano, and pepper and mix well. Recipe also suggests cumin and green chilis. Mine was a little too liquidy with both the water from the diced tomatoes and the broth.. next time I'd choose one or the other.
4) Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
5) Serve over a bed of cauliflower rice. Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Turkey & Veggie Meatballs and Cauliflower Rice

- 1 lb. ground turkey
- Veggies of your choice! I used leftover carrots, onion, and zucchini and added red bell pepper. Original recipe also recommends green pepper and mushrooms.
- Fresh parsley (forgot to put that in the picture!)
- Garlic powder
- Italian seasoning
- Black pepper

1. Cut your veggies and place into a food processor. Blend until well chopped. (I'll spare you the picture I took of the diced veggie glop)
2. With the ground turkey in a large bowl, mix in the diced veggies. Add generous portions of the seasoning to keep the meatballs from turning out bland (no joke about the seasoning.. the more the better!)
3. Cook in a pan with a touch of oil.
How theirs turned out
How mine turned out. I decided to make little patties instead of balls because I didn't know how to cook it through without burning the outside.
These were AWESOME with cauliflower rice (see below) and spaghetti squash. Since they are full of protein AND veggies they make a great snack by themselves or wrapped in lettuce with some Paleo toppings.

Cauliflower Rice
All you need is a head of cauliflower!
1) Microwave in a covered dish until tender, do not add water! I think I put mine in on high for 2 minutes.
2) Process the cauliflower in a food processor until it is the size of rice (I processed mine a little too much!)
If you have a little baby processor like mine, I recommend only putting in a little bit of cauliflower at a time. I kept having to pick out chunks to re-process.
3) Saute the cauliflower in a pan with oil or butter and any additional seasonings you feel like. I kept it simple with a dab of butter and a ton of pepper.
A super simple and tasty veggie side dish. Not to mention a cure for a rice craving!

Microwaved Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash has become a regular in my eggs in the morning so I've been making quite a bit of it. I finally got around to microwaving this guy and I'm so glad I did!
1) Pierce the squash with a knife at least 5 times.
2)  Microwave on high for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally.
3) Let it cool for at least 5 minutes, cut in half lengthwise and prepare as usual.

Pros of Microwaving the Spaghetti Squash (as opposed to baking it)
1) It's fast.
2) It's A LOT easier to cut... no machete is required.
3) It's easier to "rough up" the insides for maximum spaghetti yield.

The only con is that it's hard to not waste the good stuff while taking the seedy stuff out.. it's hard to distinguish between the bad and the good. 
Seeds removed on left; not yet removed on right.

These little guys have been waiting so patiently for me to play with them. Until next time, bye bloggers!

Go Paleo!

Okay I promise the recipes I tried last week will be posted later this afternoon.  Blogging was interrupted by some house hunting (!) and the arrival of this little guy:
Check out the whole photo album of Eddy meeting my 2-year-old shih tzu Bella here.

Before I get those recipes up, I want to spread some wonderful articles by Mark Sisson that I re-read this morning while searching for some motivation for a friend as well as for myself to stay on track. We're over halfway through July, and I have made the decision to make Paleo/primal living my permanent lifestyle. I am throwing around the idea of allowing myself to add in alcohol (one day a week maximum) to make it a little more livable and less anti-social. Giving up grains, dairy, and processed foods has been easier than I thought it would be with the exception of those oh so tempting desserts! I'm working on casting these sugary thoughts aside and trying to find healthy rewards just as emotionally satisfying.

I could get lost in primal info over at Mark's Daily Apple for hours, so I picked out some gems that I think are motivating for ANY healthy change:

How to Break Bad Habits
Rebuttals to Excuses for Not Exercising and Eating Unhealthy

And some for those interested in Paleo/primal living but aren't sure where to start:

10 Baby Steps to Help You "Get Primal"
It's Time to "Get Real"

Saturday, July 16, 2011


CrossFit Wednesday 7/13
Skill Work:
Kipping Pull-ups
KB Swings
3 Rounds (Done in 12:42)
400m Run
21 KB Swings (using 1 pood, about 35lbs)
12 Pull-ups (using gray and red bands)

 CrossFit Friday 7/15
Clean (squat) 2 2 2 (65lb barbell)
21 – 15 – 9 (Done in 8:54)
Cleans (35lb barbell)
Ring Dips (I did tricep dips on a box)

CrossFit Saturday 7/16
5 Rounds (Done in 18:40)
Run Around Building
20 Box Jumps (I did step ups)
20 Wallballs (10lb ball)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Easy Paleo Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas

  (once again, click the link for the original recipe.. below is what I did)

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast, cut in thin strips
  • about 1.5 bell peppers
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oregano and 1 tbsp coriander (the original recipe also recommends chili power and cumin but I didn't have any so I sprinkled in some red pepper flakes as well)
  • chopped garlic
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp cooking fat (I used my favorite coconut oil)
  • lettuce to serve
  • your choice of toppings (I used a Paleo-friendly salsa)

  1. Combine the chicken, peppers, onions, spices, garlic and lemon juice in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and cook the whole preparation with the cooking fat until the chicken is cooked through and the onion and bell pepper are soft.
  3. Prepare your fajita in a lettuce wrap with your favorite toppings.
All cooked and ready to be wrapped!
My attempt at rinsing and drying lettuce wraps: hanging them over the sides of a colander
A very quick, filling, and easy dish! It was loaded with flavor, but there was one flavor in there I wasn't enjoying. It took me a while to figure out that coriander is actually the same thing as cilantro.. and of course I'm one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap. I even found a nice community of friends with the same problem ( I would definitely make this recipe again sans cilantro, and maybe I'll even spring for some cumin and chili powder. Two more recipes to come as soon as I get motivated enough to post!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Seltzer Report

CrossFit Monday 7/11
Deadlift 3, 3, 3 (135lb barbell... a PR by 20lbs!)
5 Rounds (I completed this in 8:02)
5 Deadlifts (90lb barbell)
7 Sit-ups
9 Bar Jump Burpees

As per Lesley's suggestion, I decided to check out some seltzer waters to see which ones would be Paleo friendly.

The Bad:

Calorie, sodium, and sugar free BUT what is aspartame doing in there?! Not to mention the other chemicals and phenylalanine.
Has the same claims as the first one, but if you look towards the bottom right, you will see that it contains Splenda.

The Good (I think!):
Sodium free but I'm still unsure about this "natural flavor"... does anyone have any insight into this??
I couldn't resist trying this white chocolate flavored seltzer (sodium free as well). I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it has an odd taste for the first second of your sip that might resemble white chocolate if you really use your imagination, and then the rest of the sip tastes like plain seltzer water.

Blueberry Crumble

CrossFit Saturday 7/9
Back Squat 5, 5, 5 (This was my first time back squatting. Although my squats in general are getting better, I still have a lot of work to do on my form. I focused on technique instead of adding a lot of weight on, ending up at 60 lbs I believe)
AMRAP in 15 (I completed 5 rounds + 10 squats and 4 pull-ups)
10 Back Squats (I did goblet squats instead using 1 pood, about 35 lbs)
10 Pull-ups (assisted with gray and red band)
2 Tire Flips

We visited Eddy on Saturday, he is now 6 weeks old and just as cute as ever! He is also starting to bite everything
We played for about an hour then he passed out... when I picked him up to say bye the little guy couldn't keep his eyes open! Eddy's vet appointment is on Friday which will determine when he will be able to come home to us.
Yesterday I made the Berry Cocoa-Crisp that I mentioned earlier, minus the dark chocolate chips because the dessert seemed sweet enough to me without chocolate.
The blueberries ready to be topped with the macadamia/pecan/walnut mixture.
Fresh out of the oven!
Next time I will make this I will add more berries/less nuts. I wanted more warm, gooey, blueberry goodness! I'm pretty sure I also chopped the nuts a little too finely in the food processor. Since the dish didn't have the chocolate to bind the ingredients together, it came out as more of a crumble.

I have 3 new recipes this week, I'll let you know how they turn out :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Couple Real Food Solutions...

... for un-real food cravings.

Recently I've been craving something sweet at nighttime. Cookies, froyo, and candy relentlessly force their way into my mind. Ideally I'd like to get rid of the idea of "dessert" altogether, but for the time being I'd rather have something Paleo ready for dessert than find myself reaching for the, for lack of a better term, crap.  I have found the solution:

Fruit (sometimes with nuts) = Dessert!

Here's what kicked my craving last night:
a) Either halfway freeze some fresh strawberries or halfway defrost some frozen strawberries.
b) Dip in raw organic honey.

That's it! The partially frozen fruit tastes like strawberry frozen yogurt and the honey adds a sweet flavorful kick. This "fruit = dessert" rule works with some recipes I've already posted like the Cherry Balls and the apple/raisin/almond meal dish. There are literally a TON of Paleo dessert recipes on the internet if you are looking to indulge. I'm trying to steer clear of recipes designed to replace un-Paleo favorites (like cookies, cakes, breads, etc), but I have found some more reasonable recipes that I am dying to try on a special occasion like Berry Cocoa-Crisp, Paleo Pumpkin Pie, and Apple Crisp.

Another issue I always have is with water. I've never been a water fan, so it's hard to for me to get as much H20 as I need. My beverage cravings are typically gatorade, diet soda, or lemonade... all full of sugar/chemicals/sodium/etc. Sometimes squeezing lemon juice into water helps to add enough flavor to make it appetizing, other times it doesn't. I've found a nice carbonation fix for me: sparkling water. I've been drinking this kind from Whole Foods.
Now that I take a second look at it, I am a bit concerned about what these "natural flavors" consist of (I guess that explains the 25mg of sodium). I should probably start looking for unflavored sparking water and add my own fresh squeezed fruit juices in.

Unrelated to the theme of the post, but a couple days ago I baked the most delicious tasting spaghetti squash thus far. I don't know why this squash was so special (I wish I knew so I could pick it out again), but it had almost a natural buttery taste to it. This morning I decided to implement it into my breakfast:
Chicken Sausage from Whole Foods meat counter + Spaghetti Squash + 2 Eggs = A very tasteful breakfast surprise. One of those sausage links turned out to be much larger than the chicken sausages I'm used to from Trader Joe's, so next time I'll just use half.
I'll leave you with an amusing, albeit true, take on real foods from Naturally Engineered: 10 Signs You Are Eating Real Food

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Paleo Shepherd's Pie

CrossFit Weds 7/6
Front Squat 3, 3, 3 (65lb barbell)
4 Rounds (I completed this in 11:07)
10 Front Squats (35lb barbell)
15 KB Swings (25lb kettlebell)
Run Around Building

Followed by a little run in compliance with my Half Marathon Training Schedule and then filling in at my friends' softball game. My softball skills are next to nothing, but thanks to a lucky hit and some awesome batters after me, I scored a run!

CrossFit Thurs 7/7
Power Snatch 2, 2, 2 (45lb barbell)
5 Rounds (I completed this in 8:16)
10 DB Snatches (5L & 5R) (15lb dumbbell)
10 DB Clean & Jerks (5L & 5R)
20 Double Unders (I am atrocious at jumping rope, let alone double unders, so I did 40 single jumps instead)

Paleo Shepherd's Pie
(Strongly based off of this recipe from Mark's Daily Apple, with some changes to suit my taste. I'm just going to list what I used... click the link if you want to check out the original recipe.)
Cauliflower Puree Ingredients:
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons butter (I use the Paleo-friendly Kerrygold unsalted butter, it's made from the milk of grass fed, pastured cows)
- 1-3 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste

Meat Mixture Ingredients:
- 1 lb ground turkey breast
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- chopped veggies of your choice (I used 1.5 large carrots, most of the canned peas, and about half of the canned green beans. Peas and green beans are borderline Paleo, in a gray area for most people, but I decided to let it go for this recipe)
- most of a little can of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 3/4 cup organic free range chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- salt & pepper to taste

1) Break the cauliflower into chunky pieces and steam until just tender
2) Put in the food processor with 2 tablespoons butter and process until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste. Optional: Add cream 1 tablespoon at a time until smooth. Set aside.
3) Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute several minutes until soft. Add meat and brown, stirring to break up the meat. 
4) Add peas, carrots, green beans, and tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes.
5) Stir in the coconut flour. Add broth and herbs and reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
6) Remove from skillet and put into a 9-inch pie pan (I didn't have one, so I improvised with a square baking pan). Spread the cauliflower on top. 
7) Bake 30-35 minutes at 400 degrees.
This tasted great and it was extremely filling! The meat and veggies were full of flavor, and the cauliflower puree was smooth and creamy. If I were to make it again, I would add the carrots in sooner because some of them were still a little too crunchy. Also, my ideal shepherd's pie is a little bit more tomato-ey so maybe I would use a can of diced tomatoes instead of the paste.