Friday, February 22, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

Happy weekend everyone!  I was up for about an hour in the middle of the night last night, so when I woke up this morning I had a silent argument with myself to decide if I should get my butt to the gym or stay in my warm cocoon (it's extra hard to get up early on those rare days when the Coach is still in bed).  However, I have an odd compulsion to do all 4 days of the Coach's program within one week, so fitness prevailed and off I schlepped to the gym.  I ended up having a great workout, but my body is beyond exhausted now.  I realized belatedly that I have now worked out intensely 7 days in a row.  Probably too much.  I'm really looking forward to taking this weekend off.


Since I skipped out on blogging last night due to my mounting frustration with my 5 year old Mac, I'll give a quick shout out to the 100-rep workout I did yesterday.   This is the same circuit I needed the Coach's motivational vocals for last week: 10 assisted chin ups > 10 push-ups > 10 jump squats > 10 inverted rows > 20 squats > 10 push-ups > 20 alternating lunges > 10 straight-leg sit-ups.  I think I definitely pushed myself to go faster than the first time I did this workout on my own, but I definitely have trouble reaching the intensity that I do when I have a one-on-one trainer.  I tried to make up for it with the jump rope / 12kg squat tabata at the end, and I was pleasantly surprised to conquer 6 rounds of each, twice through.

Today's workout included 25lb squats + 40lb Romanian deadlift, 20 reps each x 4 sets as quickly as possible which immediately had my face dripping sweat.  This was followed by Valslide lunges (maxed at 24kg kettlebell today, woo gluts on fire), TRX face pulls, and side-planks.  Hard.  What was hardest was hauling booty for 7 30/30 sprints on the treadmill from 9.0-10.0mph.  Knowing that this was my last workout until Monday motivated me to push myself harder, but I have to say that that first sprint was rough and my mind was giving me a million excuses to quit.  What got me through?  The possibility of a cruise to the Bahamas in June and the swimwear I will eventually need to be sporting.  Pretty solid motivator right there.


So I made this meal Wednesday night since I knew the Coach would be home early and would be able to help with the clean-up (I've gotten pretty good at knowing when I will make a giant mess in the kitchen).  I just had the leftovers for dinner tonight, and let me tell you, it's just as good today as it was when I made it two days ago.  Holy yum.  This paleo version of shepherd's pie tastes so incredibly rich and flavorful, it might replace meatloaf as my go-to comfort food.  Well no, probably not, let's not get crazy.  But it is damn good.  As usual, I tweaked the recipe so here's my version:

Shepherd's pie
2lb ground beef
2 onions, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1T fresh rosemary
1T fresh thyme
1  small can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2T balsamic vinegar
2T low sodium tamari (aminos, soy, etc)
1 head cauliflower
1 egg
1t dried oregano
1T grass-fed butter
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a dutch oven or oven-proof high-sided pan over medium-high heat and brown your meat with s&p.  Once the meat is brown, add the onions, carrots, and garlic and saute until onions are translucent, add a little more s&p.  Add the herbs, tomato paste, balsamic, and tamari and bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low until most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated.
Meanwhile, prepare your cauliflower topping: chop up the cauliflower (I used frozen here because I find that when I chop fresh cauliflower I find bits of it all over my counters for days afterwards) and steam until very soft.  Throw in food processor with butter, 1 egg, s&p, and oregano and pulse until smooth.
Once the residual liquid has evaporated in the pan, top the meat with the cauliflower mash and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is nicely browned.  Finished product:

Came out pretty, right?  Most of what I make ends up looking like goop in a bowl because I usually make dishes that require a whole mess of ingredients to be stirred together.  It's nice to make something that looks as good as it tastes, plus making a paleo/Whole30 friendly meal that resembles its mainstream counterpart is pretty gratifying.  I can't recommend this meal enough: the tomato paste plus the balsamic give a savory tang to the dish, and the herbs really make it taste fresh.  I usually end up freezing my herbs (rosemary, thyme, or sage) if I have leftovers, and then just take out what I need on a given day.  They retain their flavor just fine in the freezer, and it's a good money savor because I rarely end up using the herbs before the go bad in the refrigerator.

That's all I've got on this Friday night, hope you all have some fun weekend plans lined up!

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