Posts made in February 15th, 2012

clean shepherd’s pie with garlic-chive potatoes


Posted on Feb 15, 2012 in Food

Holla, comfort food!

This is the kind of food you should eat when you just had to pay a small fortune to the IRS.

Or when it’s 17° outside.

Or when your eyelid swells up to the size of a grapefruit.

Or when your dog decides the garbage is her plaything.

Or when you try to edit PHP without really knowing it and break your blog.

Or when you break your favorite pair of glasses.

You know, for example. Not that any (or all) of those happened to me in the past 48 hours. Totally hypothetical.

But if those things were to happen to me, I’d be all over this shepherd’s pie. With its flavorful, saucy filling and fluffy, garlic-chive potato topping, it’s hard not to feel like the world is a better place. I know there are a lot of folks out there that say you should avoid emotional eating, but emotional eating is fine by me. If a nice piping hot plate of this pie (that is packed with veggies) helps me feel better after my hypothetical rough week? Well then I’m all over that. I think people get in trouble when emotional eating becomes emotional overeating.

But none of this matters, because none of those things happened to me and I’m in a totally awesome mood and definitely don’t need to drown my sorrows in this delicious pie.

No. Definitely not.

Clean Shepherd’s Pie with Garlic-Chive Potatoes

by Cassie Johnston

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 6 servings



For the potatoes
  • 1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 4 medium)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For the filling
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1-5 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. To prepare the potatoes, in a large pot, add potatoes and garlic cloves and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes and garlic cloves are fork tender. Remove from heat, drain and return potatoes and garlic to pot. Mash until smooth. Add in milk, yogurt, chives, butter, salt and pepper and mash until well-incorporated. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by browning the beef or turkey in a large skillet. Remove the meat from the skillet, drain on paper towels.
  4. Return skillet to medium-low heat and add olive oil. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic and sweet potato. Cook until veggies begin to become tender, about 12-15 minutes.
  5. Add back in meat, rosemary, sage, salt, pepper, peas, and evaporated milk. Bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Pour cornstarch mixture into filling mixture and stir until it thickens, about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Remove filling from heat and spoon into a greased casserole dish. Top with cheddar cheese and then top that with the mashed potatoes. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are browned and filling is bubbly. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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How’s your week been? Need some comfort food?

If I was having a bad week, know what would make me feel better? A nice outpouring of support in the Cook for the Cure Raffle! Only 20 people have joined the raffle, which means you have a rockin’ good chance to win one of nine amazing prizes (including a KitchenAid mixer).

what i ate wednesday—valentine’s day


Posted on Feb 15, 2012 in Food

I hope you all had the most amazing, filled-with-love day yesterday. Even if you are single, I hope you found a way to share your love with everyone you care about in life. I am, in fact, dragging ass this morning thanks to the lovey dovey dinner I had with Babyface last night. Lots of beer on a weeknight? Probably not my best idea ever, but they were delicious!

Yesterday’s eats were not my cleanest ever (lots of packaged foods, sugar, and alcohol) but whatcha gonna do? It was Valentine’s Day!


I woke up at a not-so-awesome 2:30am yesterday morning. I’m not sure what happened, but my body decided it was time to get up and my mind joined in by forcing me to think about all the stuff I had to accomplish this week. Only sleeping until 2:30 was a pain in the ass, but at least it gave me time to make Babyface heart-shaped pancakes!

For my breakfast, I took the rejects (it took me a few pancakes before I got my heart technique down pat). I topped them with some peanut butter and banana. I also stopped and got a half-caf coffee (which was really more like a quarter-caf) because by the time I got to work at 7:30am, that 2:30 wakeup call was catching up to me. I’m not sure if the decaf pot was mislabeled or if I’m just that sensitive to caffeine, but I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest within the first 10 minutes of drinking it. It didn’t stop me from downing the whole cup though.

Morning Snack

One of my co-workers generously donated a huge bag of my favorite non-chocolate candy ever—Starburst jelly beans! I had two of these little boxes, plus I may have stashed another box in my purse for a rainy day.


I’ve been really loving evol burritos lately (although the cost prohibits them from being a regular thing) and this one was no different. Beans, rice and cheddar. On the side, I had some baby carrots, a yogurt and a clementine.

For lunch dessert, I snagged the last of our mini euforia cakes. Sad these guys are gone.

Afternoon Snack

I got home from work and realized I had about 45 minutes before I needed to get ready for dinner. Not enough time to really nap, but I could at least chill out in bed and rest a little to try to compensate for the early wake-up call. We were having a late dinner, so to hold me over while I rested, I had a Vitatop while reading in bed. I love these things.


After my little rest, I started primping for our night out on the town. My everyday beauty routine is pretty tame, so I completely forgot how long it takes to do full hair and makeup. Yowzers. Luckily, the clothes were easy. I got to wear my new Modcloth dress that was a gift from Babyface. I’d been coveting it for weeks (you might have seen me tweet about it a zillion times) and Babyface surprised me with it last week. He’s awesome. And so is the dress.

I don’t use this word often, but our dinner was epic. EPIC, I tell you. We had tickets to the Upland Brewing Company’s food and beer pairing dinner. We love their beer, and they have an executive chef that can rock the pants off some fancy food. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a meal that good. The pictures are horrible because the lighting was dim and romantical, but it gives you an idea. Also note the insane amount of beer I drank. Hence the ass dragging.

To give you a better idea of what’s in those blurry and dark pictures, here’s the menu:

Course One
Raw oysters with a blood orange mignonette, frisée and chives
*Upland Wheat*

Course Two
Baby arugula, asparagus, shallot, purple potato, and toasted almonds tossed in an avocado vinaigrette
*Preservation Pilsner*

Course Three
Seared scallops on braised oxtail in demi-glace served over roasted garlic and creme fraiche mashed potatoes with watercress and black
*Double Dragonfly IPA*

Course Four
Gingerbread with local persimmon mousse, Teddy Bear Kisses syrup
and dark chocolate decor
*Teddy Bear Kisses Imperial Stout*

It was pretty life-changing. The salad was so good, at one point, Babyface turned to me and said, “This salad is so delicious that I totally forgot to drink the beer.” Salad trumping beer? The chef must be magic!

What’s the best thing you ate yesterday?

My favorite was the entree. I love scallops and they were cooked perfectly. I’ve never had oxtail before, but it was fantastic! I loved everything about that dish.