Low-Carb Shepard’s Pie

One of my favorite comfort foods in the fall and winter is Shepard’s pie.  I just love the warm, melty, layered goodness of a Shepard’s pie but being on a low-carb diet has meant that I could not eat Shepard’s pie this winter.  The recipe that I have always used for Shepard’s pie contains sweet corn, a lot of mashed potatoes, and brown gravy: all things that are high in carbs.  The net carb count on my traditional Shepard’s pie has a whopping 27.5g. per serving!  That is just under my entire day’s carb allowance, so because I was wanting Shepard’s pie I decided to make a low-carb version.

I will say that this recipe does not make an exact match for the traditional Shepard’s pie I am used to, but it was close enough that I felt like I was enjoying one of my favorite foods without indulging in all the carbs.  This new recipe has only 7.9g. of net carbs per serving and it makes a lot!  Since I am in the process of making a bunch of recipes to freeze, I split the recipe into two 8X8 square pans.  I cooked one for dinner and froze the other pan before it was baked. However, if you are feeding many people or just want leftovers, the recipe fits nicely into a 13X9 cake pan.

No pictures this time, my family attacked it before I could take any.

Low-Carb Shepard’s Pie

  • 3 lbs. hamburger
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 T. minced garlic
  • 2 t. dried thyme
  • 1 t. dried rosemary
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb. frozen green beans
  • 4 lbs. frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 t. xanthan gum
  • 2 C. cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Fill a large soup pot with water and turn on high.  Bring to a boil.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the hamburger with the onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. When hamburger is cooked fully, drain off the fat. Set aside.
  4. While hamburger is browning, add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook until very tender. 
  5. Drain the cauliflower and place in a food processor.  Pulse until cauliflower resembles rice.
  6. Lay out a clean, thin dish towel and transfer the cauliflower rice to the middle of the towel.  Gather the corners of the towel and begin twisting.  Keep twisting to until the towel is tightly squeezing all the water out of the cauliflower.  
  7. When the cauliflower rice is drained, transfer it to a bowl and add the butter and cream cheese.  You can also add salt and pepper at this time to flavor the cauliflower mash.  Stir to melt the butter and cream cheese into the cauliflower.  When the butter and cream cheese is thoroughly mixed into the cauliflower mash, set aside.  
  8. In a sauce pan, bring the beef broth to a boil.  Once boiling, add the xanthan gum, stirring until completely dissolved.  Take off the heat and mix into the browned hamburger.  
  9. In a 13X9 pan or two 8X8 pans, spread the hamburger and gravy mixture on the bottom.  Next, spread the frozen green beans and then spoon the cauliflower mash on top of the green beans.  Sprinkle the top with the cheddar cheese.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the green beans are heated through.  Makes 12 servings.

*If freezing, do not bake.  Cool completely and then cover with foil.  On the foil write Shepard’s pie, the date, and cooking directions: thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Nutritional Facts*

  • Calories: 487, calories from fat: 253, total fat: 28.1
  • Cholesterol: 162g., sodium: 568mg., potassium: 1106mg. 
  • Total Carbs: 13.3g., dietary fiber: 5.4g., sugar: 5.4g., protein: 45.6g.

*Nutritional facts provided by caloriecount.about.com




Low-Carb Chocolate Chunk Coconut Muffins

The last couple days I have been doing some batch cooking to fill up my freezer with tasty, low-carb meals and snacks.  Since mornings can be a hectic time for many people, my family included, I decided to start with a breakfast recipe.  Before I started this low-carb WOE, I would spend a day baking a bunch of different muffins to freeze and they worked great as an on-the-go breakfast when paired with some fruit.  Because this worked so well in the past, I wanted to create a muffin recipe that was tasty and still low in carbs.  I came up with this chocolate chunk coconut muffin:


These muffins are not that sweet, but they were approved by all three of my kids 🙂  Each muffin has 7.8g. net carbs, compared to the 49.74g. net carbs that a medium sized commercially-prepared chocolate chip muffin contains!  The recipe makes 12 muffins but can be doubled if you want to freeze some.

Low-Carb Chocolate Chunk Coconut Muffins

  • 1 cup Hazelnut Meal/Flour
  •  1/3 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Splenda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 squares 70% cacao dark chocolate
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and oil a muffin tin or line with muffin papers.
  2.  In a medium bowl, sift together the hazelnut flour, coconut flour, coconut flakes, salt, Splenda, baking soda, & baking powder.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the coconut oil, apple sauce, & almond milk.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. On a cutting board, chop the chocolate squares into small pieces, about pea size.
  6. Add the chocolate chunks to the batter and stir until mixed throughout.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling 3/4 full.
  8. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes or until tops are springy when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  9. Cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes.
  10. Enjoy

Nutrition Facts*

  • Serving Size 1 muffin
  • Calories 153, Calories from Fat 97,
  • Total Fat 10.8g, Saturated Fat 8.1g, Trans Fat 0.0g
  • Cholesterol 55mg, Sodium 190mg, Potassium 80mg,
  • Total Carbohydrates 10.2g, Dietary Fiber 2.4g, Sugars 6.8g, Protein 3.0g

 * Nutritional Information provided by caloriecount.about.com


     I have made it passed the 10lb loss mark!  This week I lost 3.4 lbs, so a total of 11.4lbs since late December.  The best part of this is not the number though, it’s the fact that I am finally starting to tell a difference in my clothes.  A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had not gone down in clothing sizes yet, but I can now see a shopping trip in my near future.  Yesterday, I put on a pair of jeans that are always a bit snug at the start of the day but after a few hours they fit great, but when I put them on yesterday, they were too big!  They were loose at the waist and in the thigh area as soon as I put them on and by the end of the day they were falling off.  It is so nice to finally be seeing results of the work I have put in.

     In other news, I have not been posting much the last few weeks but that will be ending soon.  I have some recipes and other ideas that will be shared in the upcoming days.  I am also planning a day of batch cooking and freezing some low-carb meals, which should happen on Saturday, so I will post pictures and recipes for that soon after.  

      Have a great day!

Week 8 Weigh-In

     This week, I didn’t manage to lose any weight, instead I gained a pound.  I am not surprised by this because to be completely honest I haven’t stuck to my diet and exercise much this week.  After last week’s realization about how badly carbs affect my body, I still found myself self-sabotaging all week long, even though I knew it would make me feel like crap.  I gave into my cravings, didn’t plan low-carb meals, and rarely exercised.  The entire week was a flop.

     I don’t really know why I did this to myself, except that it felt easy.  I had a week off between classes and we were snowed in for four days, so I could have worked out more and spent more time on preparing low-carb foods, instead I took the easy route.  I felt confined and bored, so I indulged in food and laziness, two things I would indulge on in the past when feeling bad.  I even stayed away from blogs for the most part so that I didn’t have to face everyone else who was doing the right thing, I didn’t want dragged out of my funk.

    But as quickly as all the negativity came, it disappeared just as quick.  Yesterday I was able to leave my house, hang out with some friends, and get my hair done.  I restocked my kitchen with healthy, low-carb foods and bought a new workout game that I can do with my children.  Today the sun is shining, temps are rising, and the snow is finally melting; I am feeling good and ready to put in the work needed to continue losing weight and getting healthy.

     I don’t know what caused my problems this week, but I am glad it is over!



Week 7 Weigh-In & the Repercussions of a High-Carb Meal

     Today is weigh-in day for me and I am down another 3lbs.  That gives me an overall total of 9lbs!  I am pretty pleased with this week’s loss and looking forward to hopefully getting into two digit numbers next week.  

     About a week into this low-carb journey I noticed that there were some changes taking place other than weight loss, such as my face clearing up.  I have had acne since the age of 9 and at 25 I still struggle with it, but since changing my diet I have noticed that my face is looking much better.  Instead of full-face breakouts, I have only had a few bumps and they cleared up pretty fast.  I attributed this to my change in diet, but I was not absolutely positive that it was these changes that were clearing up my acne.  However, I am now sure.

     Two nights ago, I made my family homemade chicken noodle soup and served it with some crusty bread for dipping.  I decided that I was taking a break from eating healthy so that I could eat some soup and bread too.  Before I was even finished with one bowl of soup, I was feeling nauseous and I had a very sudden, sharp headache.  I used to get this type of headaches close to everyday, especially if I ate very high amounts of sugar that day, but they went away when I started eating low-carb.  

     I didn’t finish my bowl of soup, deciding it was better not to make things worse, but within an hour I had horrible heartburn.  I hadn’t even realized when I started eating low-carb that my heartburn problems had gone away, but once it came back and I went searching for the Tums I realized that I had not needed them in close to two months.  Before changing my diet, I had heartburn every day!  I would go through bottles and bottles of Tums trying to calm it, but it never went away.  

     The biggest surprise that I got after eating this bowl of soup and chunk of bread came the next morning.  I got out of bed and went to wash my face only to find it completely broken out!  My whole face was covered in bumps and red spots, it was not a welcomed sight.

    I am now certain that the change in diet is what caused all of these problems to go away back when I noticed they were gone.  I am also sure that the very high-carb meal that I tried to enjoying was the cause of the problems I dealt with after eating it.  I am amazed at what a change of diet can do for the body and how fast these changes happen, both good and bad, so I think I will continue to refrain from high-carb foods for the foreseeable future.  


    I have had slow, but constant success since starting this low-carb journey.  I am proud of that, I know that slow weight loss is an indicator of being able to keep the weight off and maintaining less saggy skin.  However, yesterday my husband informed me that he already needed a new belt because his no longer fits.  

    My husband is not considered over weight and has not decided to follow my diet with me.  At home he eats the low-carb food I prepare, but he might add some bread as a side and he drinks and snacks on whatever he wants.  When he is away from home he eats as he normally would.  The biggest change for his diet would then be the addition of extra veggies and the reduction of pastas and potatoes as a side dish at dinner.  

     So, I am officially jealous of his weight loss.  

     I don’t feel jealous in a resentful way or anything, but I really wish I was seeing some faster results!

Week 6 Weigh-In

Week 6 is over and I am down 1.7lbs, for a total of 6lbs.  After 2 1/2 weeks of being sick I am finally feeling well again…well, except for this lingering cough.

This week I am going to focus on exercising since I have pretty much lived on the couch the last couple weeks.  I am going to try to do 1 hour of cardio on 4 or 5 days and the other 2 or 3 days I will do a half hour of yoga or pilates.  I know that a lot of people give themselves a day or two of rest during the week, but I don’t do well with days off so that is why I am doing two or three days of a shorter, less intense workout.  When I take days off, I find it really hard to get back into the groove of things and since I know this I am just trying to avoid that problem.  I don’t know if this plan will work, but I guess I will find out.

In regards to my diet, I have now gone a few days without any diet soda and have not suffered any withdraw or cravings for it.  I don’t really crave breads, pastas, or potatoes anymore, but I am still craving sugar, which kind of sucks.  I have tried to make a couple treats with Splenda and liquid Stevia, but it doesn’t really fix the sugar cravings so I think I will just have to wait it out and hope the cravings go away eventually.

Sunday I am going to a Super Bowl party, but I am pretty confident that it won’t be a problem.  My mother-in-law is making a taco bar, so I plan on making cheese chips and having nachos instead.  We are also having plenty of low-carb snacks too, such as buffalo chicken meatballs, Italian meatballs, a summer sausage and cheese tray, and a veggie tray.  I think it will be easy to stay on plan with all the yummy low-carb food that will be available.

So, all in all this week went well and I am going into week 7 feeling better than I have in a couple weeks; hopefully it will go well too.