Homemade Granola and Guinness Shepard’s (lamb) Pie

You guys are going to be SOOOO proud of me!….and then you’re probably going to laugh at me.

Yesterday, I was such a good girl. I woke up, ate some Guinness Chocolate Cake for breakfast (OK bad sounding start but oh my goodness did that cake turn out amazingly!), drank some tea and then after watching the first Harry Potter on TV, dragged myself away to start running. Yes, I started my run training.

After looking over my printout of the Couch to 5K plan, I decided, despite having just gotten off of the couch, that I’m not in such bad shape so I would start on the week 2 schedule. I put my outfit on sans headlamp and vest as it was about 11am and sunny, took a right out of my driveway and started my stop watch.

Within the first 10 minutes I was thinking, “man, this is really way too easy. I should up it a little.” But then I thought, “no. Can’t do that. You still have to keep this up for another 20ish minutes Lindsey.” Yes, I often talk to myself.

I have to say the stopwatch was probably my best investment but all the moisture wicking fabric was pretty darn close….although I still say my Vibram 5 finger shoes are the best. The way down the road was tough. I very quickly realized as my calves got tighter and tighter that I was a complete and utter idiot. By taking a right out of my driveway and headed down (up) my road, I had manged to choose the hilliest, windiest, toughest possible route. By running for 90 seconds and walking briskly for 2, I ended up essentially running UP every hill and walking down them. By the time I had turned around and was almost half way home I was in rough shape. My calves were killing me..but I was still warm and dry thanks to my awesome new moisture wicking workout clothes! Right? RIGHT?! 😀 (oh God help me)

Today, I cannot walk. I hobble. I hobble like an old hobbly lady. My calves are so tight I can’t pick my heels up and my hip flexors are killing me. Matt, in not so many words, informed me that I am an idiot and I should have gone down a different route near our house because it’s much flatter. What can I say, I think the scenery is prettier on the other side! All hills and pastures and hills and trees and hills. I honestly did not think about the hills. Clearly.

When I got back from my very, very Mt. Kilimanjaro type run, I decided I was going to make homemade granola however because, well it seemed fitting.

My aunt gave us a container of her homemade granola for Christmas and we polished it of very quickly. A few months ago I emailed her begging petitioning for the recipe for her super secret squirrel recipe (note: there are no actual squirrels in, or involved in this recipe) and she happily obliged..

I know what your thinking. Your thinking “Ooo we are going to get a secret family recipe!” But alas, you are not. 😦 Bummer dude. I can’t just GIVE you her recipe! She gave it to me in confidence! BUT I can strongly urge you to make your own.

The general principal (s) is this:

  • mix grains like oats (obviously), and other things like uhm…uhm..how can I do this without giving away the recipe? Healthy stuff! And a lot of it. Yes, if it sounds healthy put it in there. Like flax seed! (I didn’t say that)
  • add crunchies and chewies but not at the same time. Add your crunchies (nuts, seeds etc.) BEFORE (you will be baking this) and chewies like dried fruits AFTER. Like don’t even mix them in UNTIL just before you are about to eat it because they will get yuckie..or something. This is what Aunt Barb told me and when she tells you something, you listen!
  • Add some moisture and sweetness: things like a little water, natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup (the REAL stuff obviously) and some healthy fats such as olive or grape seed oil. You need to mix this stuff together beforehand, mix the dried ingredients and then toss them together. If you are making a looser granola like mine, you just add enough to get it wet. If you want it to like stick together and be a little less healthy, pour it on baby! Might I also suggest coconut milk? I was thinking that would be mighty good yesterday as I was making it.
  • Add some flavor i.e. cinnamon or..cinnamon. Or you can add cinnamon AND Chinese 5 Spice like I did. Please note, I’m obsessed just a little with cinnamon. I may or may not have used 1/2 a jar. But that sounds entirely fabricated nonsense to me.
  • Cook it. Mix, spread out on jelly roll pans, bake and toss until…well until it’s done. You want it toasted and nutty smelling. I did mine at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, and then turned it down to about 300 and cooked it for another 10 minutes. Oh make sure you spill lots on your floor when you are tossing it to keep your dog happy of course.
  • Cool it, store it, enjoy it! My recipe yielded 2 very full jelly rolls pans of lovely, cinnamon scented (I also may or may not have sprinkled a little extra 5 spice on the top when I pulled it out of the oven) granola. I let it cool and it is now stuffing various containers waiting to be eaten. I would like to suggest that you pour in some milk or almond milk like I did this A.M. and just let it soak for a good 10 minutes. It’s lovely. Or you might think it’s weird.

So there you have it! The basics of granola making, incredibly vague and very un-helpful but I sincerely hope you have fun with it. Go to the loss grains area or whatever it’s called at Whole Foods and just go bonkers!

Now! On to bigger, but not necessarily better things. Guinness Shepard’s Pie.

Saturday I had an impromptu St. Patrick’s Day shin-dig, because, you know, any excuse to throw a party I’m all over it! I just needed to make sure Matt celebrated his Irish heritage.

The menu was as follows:

  • Smoked & Regular Irish cheese with crackers
  • Ruben Dip with toasted peasant bread
  • New England Boiled Dinner: Corned beef (15 lbs of it) with red potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage.
  • Guinness Shepard’s Pie
  • Guinness Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Whipped Cream

Did you know that almost everyone miss names “Shepard’s pie?” Shepard’s Pie is made with lamb. Cottage Pie is beef. Now you know. As this is Shepard’s Pie it was made with lamb (see your leanring fast!).

Guinness Shepard’s Pie


  • 1 lb of ground lamb
  • 3 large carrots diced
  • 1 box of baby bella mushrooms (diced small!)
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1-2 cups of peas
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 4 Tbs. flour
  • 1 can of Guinness
  • 1/2 cup of beef stock
  • 1 large recipe of Homemade Mashed Potatoes (I like to make mine with peeled russet potatoes (about 8), milk, sour cream, butter and salt and pepper. Make sure it’s a little thin to spread on top)


  • Make your mashed potatoes (Matt made mine. He’s the resident mashed potato maker) and set aside.
  • heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add a small amount of olive oil and add your diced carrots and a sprinkling of salt, sauteing until starting to soften, about 10 minutes.
  • Add your onions next and saute about 5 minutes.
  • Next add lamb and stir until cooked.
  • Add mushrooms and saute about 3 minutes.
  • remove the entire mixture from the pot and place off to the side in a large bowl. Add the peas and garlic to it.
  • In the now empty pan, add your butter.
  • When it is melted and foaming slightly, add the flour and whisk until cooked about 30 seconds.
  • Pour in Guinness while whisking continuously.
  • Add the lamb and vegetable mixture back in with the beef broth and heat until it’s simmering. Turn heat down until it’s just simmering and cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
  • Top with the mashed potatoes, CAREFULLY (this tends to be messy) and top with shredded cheddar cheese if your into that sort of thing (I know I am).
  • Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese is melted and heated through. You can refrigerate this after assembling (as I did the night before) and heat it through, about 30 minutes. It’s best to place it on top of a foil lined cookie sheet because it tends to bubble over and make a mess of your oven.

This is sooo super yummy. It has such depth of flavor. The Guinness really compliments the strong lamb. You can make this beef too of course just don’t be callin’ it “Shepard’s pie” round meyah hear! 😉


About Lindsey @ trail to train

I'm a (somewhat) normal girl with slightly unusal ideas about everything. I do fitness my way because thats the only way I know how and my extensive mishmashed knowledge of food and cooking to make great, fast, healthy meals.
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