Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Paleo Slow-Cooker Shepherd's Pie

I just got back from a trip to Siesta Key, Florida for spring break... yes, I still get spring break, one of the glorious perks of being a teacher- jealous and think it's unfair? Then be a teacher and you get it too. :) Matt, Charlie and I went with my parents and Mara- I don't think we have taken a family vacation with most of the family together which is sad and much needed. We built a different sandcastle every day, ran on the beach, and dropped in Matt's old box CrossFit Lakewood Ranch while we were down there... if you are ever in the Sarasota area I highly recommend it- fantastic coaches, great workouts, and a very clean, well-maintained and welcoming box. Tell the owner Aaron I said hi!

I was reading through the hundreds of recipes I have pulled or printed over the last couple months for inspiration and found two for shepherds pie- one in Real Simple for a slow cooker version, and the other in Cooking Light that was done in a pan and the oven. I decided to combine the two- not use the things I deemed flaws in the recipe and make my own paleo version- I am a fan of stew beef over ground beef and a fan of the slow cooker over the oven so I went with that. :) Peas are debated as paleo or not because they are a legume (not paleo) but eaten raw unlike most beans and contain far less phytates and lectins than most legumes which is what causes the intestinal distress. So the gist of what I read said they are technically not paleo but generally accepted as okay in the paleo diet as long as they are consumed in small amounts... it's your call.

Paleo Slow-Cooker Shepherds Pie

(Printable Version)

- 3.5+ lbs Stew Beef (I used close to four!)
- 1 Sweet Onion, finely chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 Cups Diced Carrot, about 3 carrots
- 1/4 Cup Arrowroot Powder
- 2 Cups Low-sodium Beef Stock (or bone broth)
- 5 Tbsp (6-oz Can) Tomato Paste
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar*
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)*
*** -  You can replace the above two ingredients with 1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce if you check ingredients and aren't trying to be truly paleo**
- 3 Large Sweet Potatoes
- 16-oz Bag Frozen Peas (omit for true Paleo- see paragraph above)

1. Combine the beef, carrots, onion, garlic and arrowroot powder in a large slow-cooker. Toss to coat in the flour. 

2. Add the remaining ingredients except the potatoes and peas. Stir and cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or high 5-6 hours.... during the last hour, stir in the peas and top with the potatoes. If you are going to be gone all day- add the peas before you serve it and just serve the potatoes on the side. 

3. POTATOES- peel and cube the potatoes. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the potatoes and water to a boil and cook until they are fork-tender. 

Drain them and put them in a large bowl- I add butter and milk but I know that's naughty... mash by hand or use a hand-mixer until the potatoes are a smooth consistency.

 Add a generous amount of salt and pepper and stir one more time- tasting here would be a good idea. Set the potatoes aside until the slow cooker is ready for them.  

Servings I used 8, but it is probably closer to 10 for most people :) The ingredients were entered as above, including the peas.
Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 426
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13 g21 %
Saturated Fat 5 g26 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 102 mg34 %
Sodium 260 mg11 %
Potassium 572 mg16 %
Total Carbohydrate 34 g11 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g25 %
Sugars 12 g
Protein 39 g79 %
Vitamin A413 %
Vitamin C45 %
Calcium6 %
Iron20 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Paleo Tandoori Sauce- for Chicken and Veggies

Ahhh the Open is over :) I have such mixed emotions about this year. I know a few things... I should have trained harder after strength was such a glaring weakness last year. I did train, don't get me wrong, I did extra work above the normal programming to increase my strength, but looking back could I have done more? Probably. But the other part of me knows this was a rough year for training mentally for me and I decided to purposely take a step back... it is increasingly hard to compete with girls in their 20s training doubles or hours a day... and I need to stop frustrating myself trying. These last few months I geared my focus towards being a good mom, a good teacher, a good girl friend, and the best athlete I could be managing all of that. I didn't want to look back and think I was shitty at being a mom, but damn I did well in the open! Despite how unprepared I felt going into the Open this year, it was my best year yet place-wise, making it even hard to stomach what I could've done had I tried to work harder. My place in Central East in 2013 was 1507th, 2014- 433rd, 2015- 367, and this year, 2016- 255th. I had my highest placing ever in an open workout- 117th out of 8034 girls in 16.4. Can't be too mad about that! I also dropped 2.5 minutes from 14.5 to 16.5.... everyone else got better too so my place in that was my worst! But it's ok :) Re-focusing my attention to what made CrossFit fun in the first place helped- if I thought I did my best, I didn't re-do the workout. Would I have done better on the second try? Probably, but what's the point? If it wasn't going to help my team I didn't need to do it for my own validation. As I am now moving on from competing for the next few years... assuming I am not on the regional team, a dream I am learning to let go of... I look at my biggest fan and what she sees... She comes to the gym with me frequently- she was there at the beginning (albeit 8 weeks old) when I couldn't do a push-up on my knees and my baby-hands had no calluses having never lifted a weight- she sees me now still working hard to become better, pushing myself. She mimics my movements, tells me she is going to eat well so she can be strong like mommy. She has always been my "why"- she is why I train, why I take days off to be with her, shes always why I don't give up even when I want to. She's my "why" and she thinks I am the best athlete no matter what the leader board says and stepping back I need to keep that in mind- I really did do my best to balance life, work and training and I can still get better even if I next year's open is not my focus.

As I was officially closing up my house and saying good-bye- so sad to see an empty little blue house where a lot of memories and our new beginning was- I found a lot of things I hadn't looked at since before my divorce. Some of them being my cookbooks from my travels. I like Indian spices so when I was flipping through cookbooks from Malaysia I found some recipes from my host-family and decided to re-create one of my favorite spicy sauces. I poured mine over chicken, rice and broccoli because I am still following RP Strength diet programming and figured the coconut milk could be my "fat" so this was what my meals looked like :) 

I also made mine spicier by using more cayenne so this was not kid-friendly! Tandoori is usually used a chicken marinade with yogurt. The chicken is left in the yogurt-spice mixture overnight and then grilled... this could easily be used a marinade, I just prefer it as a sauce. I also subbed the yogurt for coconut milk to make it paleo and I like the flavor and fat it adds! 

Paleo Tandoori Sauce

- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper* (more or less depending on how hot you like your food- I use 2 :)
- 2 tsp Paprika
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Ground Ginger
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Cumin
- 2 tsp Turmeric
- 2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk (or cream)

1. Combine all of the spices in bowl- mix- add the coconut milk and stir again. Test for spice at this point, remember that you are not eating this plain so it can be a little spicy at this point and the food will cool it down. 

2. Store in the fridge and pour it over your veggies, chicken, or rice... yum!