Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SCD Recipe: Jazzed Up Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping

This is not the first Shepherd's Pie recipe I've shared, but sometimes it's fun to change things up a bit. This "jazzed up" version has a couple ingredients not usually found in Shepherd's Pie - bacon and peppers. I also changed up the fresh herbs.

Using fresh herbs and slow cooking make all the difference in a hearty recipe like this. It takes some time, but it's perfect for a cold fall day and it's definitely worth the wait.

Shepherd's Pie with Sauteed Green Beans

Full disclosure, I use prepared tomato paste, which is not listed as SCD legal. However, since Breaking the Vicious Cycle was written, a lot of things have changed in the food industry, particularly the demand for truth in food labeling and the desire for food with no additives. There are plenty of organic tomato pastes on the market that are just tomatoes. I've seen them in glass jars and tubes. However, if you don't feel comfortable using prepared tomato paste, reduce the stock by one cup and add a cup of tomato juice.

I'll admit it, I hate chopping cauliflower

The great thing about it is that you can make it ahead of time and then just pop it in the oven to finish it off when you're ready to eat it. I made mine a day ahead.

Shepherd's Pie filling

Squeezing the water out of the cauliflower helps give it a more tomato like texture.

Make ahead, heat it up in the oven when you're ready.

Baked Shepherd's Pie - leave out cheese for Paleo

Makes four servings

Filling Ingredients:

1.5 lb grass fed ground beef
4 slices uncured bacon - chopped
2 tbsp olive oil (or whatever kind of oil you like to use for cooking)
2 cups chicken stock (reduce to one if you are using tomato juice instead of tomato paste)
1/3 cup tomato paste (sub one cup tomato juice if desired)
1/2 chopped onion
1 cup chopped yellow, red, and/or green pepper
2 carrots - chopped
2 stalks celery - chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 bundle fresh thyme
1 bundle fresh rosemary
1 bundle fresh sage

Topping Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower (or two packages as shown above) - chopped
2 tbsp ghee - melted (or you can use butter or coconut oil - this is just to make it creamier)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese - grated (optional - leave out for Paleo)


  1. Add bacon to large pot - I used my enameled cast iron dutch oven)
  2. Cook bacon until crispy and remove to plate with paper towel
  3. Remove all but about 1 tbsp of the bacon fat
  4. Add ground beef to pot
  5. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned
  6. Remove meat from pan and set aside
  7. Add olive oil
  8. Add carrots, celery, peppers and onion
  9. Cook for 8 - 10 minutes until vegetables are softened
  10. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes
  11. Add tomato paste (or tomato juice) and combine with vegetables
  12. Add ground beef, bacon, salt, pepper, and chicken stock
  13. Stir to combine
  14. Toss in fresh herb bundles
  15. Partially cover pot and reduce heat to simmer (will vary depending on what kind of pot you are using)
  16. Simmer for one hour - keep an eye on the liquid, if it reduces too much add a little more stock or water. Consistency should be stew-like.
  17. Remove from heat 
  18. Remove fresh herb bundles
  19. Add to baking dish - you can use two smaller dishes as shown above or a large dish
  20. Boil chopped cauliflower for 8 - 10 minutes until soft, but not falling apart
  21. Drain in colander and allow to cool
  22. Place cauliflower in clean dish towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can (it's okay to crush the cauliflower in this step) - you might have to do this in batches
  23. Place cauliflower in large mixing bowl
  24. Add ghee, garlic, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup chicken stock
  25. Combine well with electric mixer - this will probably not make it mashed potato consistency
  26. I used a hand blender to get the cauliflower the consistency of mashed potatoes. This worked perfectly. If you don't have a hand blender (immersion blender) you can try a regular blender - you may have to add a little more liquid to get it to blend, just don't do too much or you will water them back down
  27. Stir in cheese if using - add a little more to the top before broiling
  28. At this point you can cover the dish(es) and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them
  29. If serving right away and everything is still pretty hot, you can put it under the broiler - on the middle rack and cook until cauliflower browns and cheese is melted
  30. If heating up later - heat oven to 350 degrees
  31. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until hot
  32. Add a little extra cheese to the top (optional)
  33. Place under broiler for a few minutes to toast the cauliflower and melt the cheese.
That's a lot of steps! But it's really not that hard to do and it's worth the time!

Monday, November 17, 2014

SCD Recipe: Pumpkin Date Smoothie

If you're craving pumpkin pie, but you don't feel like baking (or having tons of leftovers), or if you have some left over pumpkin puree, this smoothie is perfect. It's pumpkin pie flavor in a glass! The almond butter and dates give it a rich, full texture.

I used yogurt for the base, but for Paleo or non-dairy you can sub full fat coconut milk.

Makes two servings


5 - 6 Medjool dates - pitted
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup yogurt (coconut milk for Paleo or non-dairy)
1 small frozen banana chopped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg


  1. Add dates and water to a small saucepan 
  2. Cook over medium heat until dates are soft and water is absorbed - stirring occasionally
  3. Remove dates from heat to cool down
  4. Mash them up a bit with a spoon to make a paste
  5. Add all other ingredients to blender
  6. Add date paste
  7. Blend until smooth

Sunday, November 9, 2014

SCD Recipe: Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

I rarely eat pork outside of bacon, but I do love Carnitas every once in a while. I decided to make up a batch in my slow cooker. This is super easy, doesn't take a lot of time, and only takes a few ingredients.

Pork Carnitas


2 lbs pork tenderloin (I used two one pound pieces)
1 1/2 cups fresh salsa
1 cup chicken broth (you can use whatever kind of broth you want)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp smoked sea salt (make sure this is not smoke chemicals - you can also just use some regular sea salt)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro (fresh or dried)


  1. Line slow cooker with plastic slow cooker liner (you don't have to do this, but it will make your life easier)
  2. Combine all ingredients, except pork, in slow cooker
  3. Add pork
  4. Cook on high for two hours and low for three hours
  5. Remove pork from slow cooker and place in big bowl
  6. Add about half of the liquid to the bowl with the pork
  7. Use fork to pull apart the pork
  8. Add more of the liquid from the slow cooker as needed - depending on how you like your Carnitas
  9. Make sure you keep some of the liquid if you are going to store left overs in the fridge so it doesn't dry out

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cheese and the SCD Diet Infographic

Do you ever lose track of what kinds of cheese are okay to eat on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet? I made this infographic to help you keep track of what kinds of cheese you can eat whenever you want, what kinds are for once in a while, and what kinds you should avoid altogether.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

SCD Recipe: Caramel Apple Nests

I always used to enjoy making caramel apples for Halloween with my mom. Of course in those days we just bought a big bag a caramels, melted them down and covered the apples with them.

But since those caramels are not allowed on SCD we need to make our own caramel. While I like the taste of caramel apples, they are not always that fun to eat. They can get messy and you always end up eating all the caramel before you finish your apple.

Since I recently received a veggie spiralizer I thought I would give caramel apples a bit of a twist and I came up with these nests. You could always do this as a big plate of apple spaghetti, but I like to keep things in single servings.

Makes six.


1 medium Granny Smith apple (or whatever kind you like, I like the tartness mixed with sweet)
1 tsp lemon juice

Caramel Sauce:

1/4 cup raw cocoa butter*
1/4 cup coconut butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp butter (coconut oil for paleo)
1/2 tsp vanilla

*If you don't have cocoa butter increase coconut butter to 1/2 cup


  1. Use spiralizer to create apple "noodles"
    1. If you don't have a spiralizer you could try to julienne the apples
  2. Toss apples with lemon juice to keep them from browning
  3. Line jumbo muffin tray with paper liners
  4. Evenly divide apples into each of the cups
  5. Add all caramel ingredients except vanilla to small sauce pan
  6. Stir over medium heat until everything is melted
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir for another 4 - 5 minutes until mixture darkens
  8. Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken a little (just a few minutes)
    1. You will probably notice the cocoa butter separate a little
      1. Stir again before pouring over the apples
  9. Pour evenly over apples - any way you like
  10. Chill in freezer for 30 minutes to an hour
  11. Store in refrigerator
  12. You may notice the cocoa butter separates a little from the caramel and hardens on it's own. If you don't like this you can use all coconut butter ad leave out the cocoa butter

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SCD Recipe: Caramel Apple Crisp

I have been experimenting with baking without adding a sweetener like honey. This recipe uses dates as the only sweetener. Using honey more sparingly decreases sugar cravings, reduces calories, and it saves money. When I first started SCD I found myself buying honey all the time. I also started getting a little tired of the taste of honey.

This is a small serving recipe. You can double it if you want more, but a lot of times I don't want to have leftovers. I want to move on to something new. This will serve two to four depending on your serving size. Since it wasn't too sweet, it also works for breakfast.

Filling Ingredients:

5 Medjool dates - chopped
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 + 1 to 2 tbsp of water
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large granny smith apples
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

Topping Ingredients:

1/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tbsp cold butter - chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Peel, core and chop or slice apples (I like them thinly sliced)
  3. Toss apples with lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl
  4. Add dates and 1/4 cup of water to a small saucepan 
  5. Bring to a simmer and stir until dates begin to break down
  6. Continue stirring and smash dates to mix them with the water
  7. Add 1 tbsp butter
  8. Add 1/4 tsp sea salt
  9. Simmer and stir until dates begin to darken
  10. Add 1 - 2 tbsp water as needed to keep a sauce consistency 
  11. When sauce darkens to a dark amber color and looks a little shiny remove from heat
  12. Stir in vanilla
  13. Allow to cool a little before mixing with apples
  14. Mix the rest of the filling ingredients with the apples
  15. Stir in date carmel
  16. Add mixture to lightly buttered 8 x 8 baking dish or you can use two 4 x 4 dishes
  17. Combine all topping ingredients to a mixing bowl
  18. Combine with butter to make pea-size lumps
  19. Pour evenly over apple mixture
  20. Bake for 35 minutes - until apples are soft

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New SCD - Gluten-free, Grain-free and Sugar-free e-Zine

Looking for a round up of SCD - gluten-free & grain-free news and recipes from around the web? I just started one of those online magazines just for that.

Gluten-free, Grain-free & Sugar-free Daily

You can subscribe via email by clicking the link above or you can follow @SCDForLife on  Twitter and you will get the daily update there.

The majority of links will be SCD but I did a few from my favorite Grain free and Paleo bloggers.


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