Skinny Shepherd’s Pie


Happy Wednesday!



I have to admit – I am absolutely LOVING my new Clean Eating cookbook.

I’ve been making things out of there like crazy!

It’s all so delicious and it feels really good to use real, natural ingredients all the time. 🙂

My most recent was shepherd’s pie.

Who doesn’t love shepherd’s pie?!

Well, most dietitians don’t because it’s usually packed with fat and excessive, unnecessary carbs.

Hey, that’s what usually makes it taste so good, right?!

Um, yeah but the regret and potential tummy ache isn’t worth it.

So…make this one instead!

Bison is packed with nutrition – protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron. If you can’t find it, you can certainly use grass-fed beef if you can’t find bison, but don’t let the fact that it’s bison scare you away. Bison and beef are practically the same in flavor.

Adding cauliflower to the mashed potatoes ups the nutrition content and helps eliminate excess carbs. And, the cauliflower has a rich flavor when mashed and baked – you’ll never miss all the butter!

I promise!

Comfort food without the guilt.  Sounds like heaven to me. 🙂


Skinny Shepherd’s Pie
makes 8 servings

2 Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed well and quartered
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 teaspoon each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup skim milk
Olive oil cooking spray
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground bison
1 cup sliced carrots (peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons)
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 cup frozen peas

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

taters n cauliflower

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil on high heat. Add potatoes and cook for 8 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook for an additional 7 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; add salt, pepper, and milk and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Set aside.

3. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add onion, garlic, bison, and carrots and cook for 8 minutes or until no pink remains, stirring often and using a wooden spoon to break up bison.


4. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat oil on medium. Sprinkle in flour and whisk until no lumps remain, about 1 minute. Gradually add broth, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth and begins to thicken. Add Worchestershire sauce and thyme, whisking to combine.


5. In a 10×15-inch casserole dish, add bison mixture, broth mixture and peas; stir to combine.

bison mixture

Spread mixture in an even layer, then top with potato-cauliflower mixture in an even layer. Run a fork over the top in a crosshatch pattern or use the back of a spatula or spoon to create a swirl texture.

ready for the oven

Mist top with cooking spray, transfer to oven and bake until filling is bubbling and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

all done

Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

serve it up


Nutritional information per 1-cup serving:
Calories 191; Total Fat 5g, Saturated 1g; Carbohydrates 19g; Fiber 3g; Sugars 3.5g; Protein 16g; Sodium 332mg; Cholesterol 41mg

Talk to me: What’s your favorite comfort food dish?

– jennifer

Running naked and eating right


Happy first Thursday of 2014!


I hope you had a safe and fun New Year’s celebration! 🙂

I hit the road this morning for a short run. I actually forgot to charge my Garmin so I ran naked.

Um, not naked as in “not wearing any clothes” but naked as in “not wearing a watch.”


Do you know how cold it is out there?

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Anyway, do you ever do that? You should! It’s quite liberating!

I’m sure running in your birthday suit would also be quite liberating. Until you got arrested. Then, not so liberating any more. So, I don’t recommend THAT kind of running naked.

Running without a watch also gives you a chance to run by feel rather than being so focused on running a specific pace.

It’s good for you both physically and mentally. It pulls you out of your head and just puts you out there IN the run.

So, there’s 9 days until the Mississippi Blues marathon!!

I’ve only got one longish run before I really taper next week.

Because it was a short-ish run this morning – I just did 5 miles – I fueled up with some orange juice and a handful of raisins.

If you’re just getting in to running, or your trying to use running as a weight loss tool, you want to make sure you’re fueling your body properly both pre- and post-run.

You certainly don’t want all that hard (and FUN!) work to go to waste. Or, to your waist! 😉

So, the general rule of thumb is, if you’re running less than 30 minutes, you probably don’t need a snack before you head out the door.

If you’re running longer or harder (hills, tempo run, etc), you want to grab a 100-200 calorie snack about an hour before your run.

Now, if you’re like me and you run early in the morning, getting up to eat a snack an hour before a run just isn’t going to happen.

I mean, seriously.

If you’re heading out on your run at 4:30am, who wants to be up at 3:30 just to eat?!


Um, yeah, not me.

That’s why I choose orange juice. It gets the calories and carbs through my system quickly. The raisins hold me through the run.

Of course, if I wake up STARVING, I’ll usually eat a banana and/or a spoonful of peanut butter and skip the OJ and raisins.

For longer runs, I’ll usually have small bowl of cereal with some blueberries or strawberries or some instant oatmeal.

What? It’s early in the morning. You think I’m going to COOK up some oatmeal on the stove?


This is NOT the time to eat Fiber One.

Well, at least not for me. You could have an iron stomach and handle it well but, generally, too much fiber before a run can make a tummy feel really blech.

I don’t like blech.

In fact, I don’t like blech so much that I pack my own food when I travel for races. I’m sure the TSA folk think I’m strange for having packets of oatmeal, Justin’s peanut and almond butters, Larabars and Jelly Bellys in my bag. Don’t care.

Now that you’ve run and you’re back home, what should you eat?

If you’ve done a short, easy-ish run (and yes, easy/hard is different for everyone so you will need to learn to listen to your body), you’re probably fine with just drinking some water (rehydration is KEY! You don’t want to feel bad later. It’s not fun. Trust me.) and then grabbing a healthy breakfast after a shower, etc.

If you’ve done a hard/long run, you want to fuel within 30 minutes to an hour of your workout. Your muscles need it even if your stomach thinks it doesn’t.  Again, trust me. If you don’t fuel then, you’ll eat the entire McDonald’s menu later. And then your belly will REALLY hurt.

You want to aim for a ratio of 4:1 carbs:protein. I don’t know why that is the magic number but it is. Science is awesome. And chocolate milk is the BOMB-diggity after a workout and gives you the right amount of fuel. This one is my favorite! It’s the perfect size!


If you’re not a fan of chocolate milk (seriously, there are people out there who actually don’t like it. like my uncle. he’s strange.), try to keep your snack around 200 calories.  Then, a few hours later, eat a healthy snack/small meal and continue on with your day.

If you’re like me (okay, fine, I have a somewhat disagreeable tummy), you’re probably going to feel a little ick after an especially long run (for me, that’s a marathon) and you don’t want to eat anything AT ALL.

Don’t do that. It’s bad.

If you can’t do chocolate milk, make a fruit smoothie and add a scoop of your favorite protein powder. Or, if you’ve traveled for a race and you can’t just whip up a fruit smoothie, maybe you should have remembered to pack your blender.  Ha! I’m kidding. 🙂  You should check out the selections by Naked Juice, Odwalla, and Bolthouse Farms. Many of those have a great blend of fruit (and vitamin C!) and have a shot of protein to help refuel your tired muscles. Just make sure you watch the serving size or you may bounce off the walls because of all the sugar!

And then, don’t forget to stretch!


I get a lot of information from Runner’s World. They have a plethora of articles on nutrition for runners, how to fuel for various races and distances, suggestions for both pre- and post-workout meals, etc.  I am not an expert on this subject nor am I an expert on nutrition although I DID stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. No, not really. 🙂 I try to make as many healthy choices as I can and I have learned my own requirements through trial and error and listening to my body (most specifically – my tummy) but I have taken guidance/ideas from them and tried them out. You have to find what works for you as far as what fuels you properly before a workout and what your tummy can handle post-workout.

Question: What’s your favorite blend of fruit smoothie?

– jennifer

Kitchen Sink Cookie Muffins



So, my sister created a recipe last weekend that she called kitchen sink cookie muffins. They actually looked pretty good! She called them that because she put everything but the kitchen sink in them. Pretty cute, huh? 🙂

But, then she made the comment that she would have me take a look at the recipe. Oh – WOOT! – free reign to tweak it, hungry runner style! It’s on!

Here’s her ingredient list:
1 1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 banana
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pulverized almonds
4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup craisins
1 cup peanut butter chips

Aaaannd, her recipe makes about 40 muffins.

Well, the first thing I needed to do was shrink that recipe down. I certainly don’t need 40 muffins! Of course, my sister has 4 hungry, growing, active and busy kids so 40 muffins makes sense. For her. Definitely not for me and possibly not for you.

The second thing that had to happen was cutting down on the butter. Don’t get me wrong – I love butter but it really has limited redeeming health benefits. So, I grabbed my trusty container of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a great substitute for butter in a recipe because of its consistency (much thicker than regular yogurt) and it adds muscle-building protein that you wouldn’t normally get from butter. Plus, you’re really cutting down on the saturated fat. 🙂

The third thing was to cut out some of that sugar. She added raisins and craisins in addition to both brown AND white sugar. The dried fruit has a lot of sugar in it already. It just seemed to me that eliminating any extra/unnecessary sugar was just the right thing to do. So, I cut the white sugar and added a small amount of raw honey. No, you don’t have to go to a special store for raw honey. I got mine at Wal-Mart. Don’t know anything about raw honey? Read this.

The final big change I made was the addition of some peanut butter – natural, of course, with no extra sugars – in place of the pulverized almonds. Honestly, you can do either. I would have used almond butter but I ate it all already. And I’m too lazy to go to the store. If you opt for the almonds, I would cut it down to about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. It will change the consistency a little but it should be fine.

So, here’s what my recreation looks like.


Um, yes, they do taste as amazing as they look! They are light, moist, and delicious. Sometimes, using only whole wheat flour can really weigh a baked good down but not this time. Don’t be afraid of whole wheat flour! Using yogurt and mashed bananas really helps the muffins stay moist and the dried fruit adds a delightful sweetness without being overly sugary.

These are definitely a win!

Make these. Like now. Now.

Kitchen Sink Cookie Muffins
makes 12 muffins

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon raw honey
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with foil liners.

2. In large stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, yogurt, and brown sugar together – mixture will be very liquidy. Add egg, honey, and bananas; mix to combine.

3. In separate bowl, stir flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt with a whisk. Add to banana yogurt mixture and mix until combined. Add oats and peanut butter; mix.

4. Remove bowl from stand and, using spatula, stir in raisins and chocolate chips. Batter will be very thick.

5. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. It will look like too much but trust me.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan approximately 5 minutes; remove to cooling rack.


7. Gobble them up!

(Per the myfitnesspal app)
Calories 286; Fat 11g (saturated 2.4g, monounsaturated 3.2g, polyunsaturated 1.6g); Carbs 41g (fiber 4.7g, sugars 19.5g); Protein 7.5g


These muffins will make a delicious breakfast paired with some Greek yogurt and fruit. They’ll also make a great portable snack with a piece of fruit. Kids of all ages love portable snacks.

You don’t have to use bittersweet chips if you don’t want to. You could easily use semi-sweet or even milk chocolate. Those will increase the sugar some. Also, adding craisins (if you choose to) will also increase the sugar. Just be careful. Kids with energy can be fun but kids on a sugar high can be … ummm… less than fun. 😉

Question – what are your favorite baking substitions?

– jennifer