From Here to Health

My journey back from autoimmune disease

New Blog

After taking some time off, I have begun blogging once more. I believe the new blog represents my authentic self. I hope everyone who has been blessed by this blog in the past will come visit me at my new site, Uncaged Canary.




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Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Brussels Sprouts

Is it Brussels with an s?  When I say it out loud I think I just say Brussel sprouts- no s.  Anywho,  it’s more sausage and spaghetti squash over here.  That’s what happens when you invest in half a hog.  Pork galore.  No problem for me since I love me some pastured piggie:))  I have been wondering though if there is such a thing as too much pork?  Paul Jaminet seems to think so.  This article and the ones that follow are actually pretty disturbing.  I don’t really want to cut down on my pork consumption, (especially since I have about 150 pounds in the freezer), but I am going to keep looking into it.  For those of you that are unafraid….Here goes:)

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Brussels Sprouts

1 Medium spaghetti squash

1 pound breakfast sausage

1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons grass-fed butter

1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

1 teaspoon granulated garlic (fresh would be great too, I just didn’t have any)

1/2 cup canned full-fat  coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon Penzey’s shallot salt

1 teaspoon oregano

salt, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Roast for about 30 minutes.  It should give a little if you poke it, but not be mushy.

3.  Place the brussels sprouts on the same sheet pan and toss with the olive oil and a little salt and pepper.  Roast alongside the squash for about 30 minutes or until desired doneness.

4.  Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium heat, until cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Drain the fat from the sausage.

5.  When the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle,  shred it into the pot with the sausage.  Add the butter, coconut milk, brussels sprouts and spices.  Mix well.  Add salt to taste.


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Egg and Sausage Pie with Spaghetti Squash Crust

Ok, so that was a mouthful of a title, but I wanted you guys to know what you were getting!  Let me say upfront that this recipe was based on one by the amazing Juli Bauer of Paleomg. Juli is AWESOME!  She is totally irreverent and hilarious and her recipes are simple and tasty.  When I saw her recipe for Spaghetti Squash Crusted Quiche, I knew I had to make something like this since I am a spaghetti squash fanatic!  Per the usual, I had a spaghetti squash on hand, so I just used things I had in my fridge and pantry to come up with my own version of this.  Hopefully you guys will enjoy one or the other:)

Egg and Sausage Pie with Spaghetti Squash Crust

1 large spaghetti squash

1 pound breakfast sausage (we get pastured pork from a local farmer that is sooo very good)

6 eggs, whisked

1 Roasted red bell pepper, store-bought or homemade

1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley

1/2 Tablespoon dried basil

salt and pepper, to taste

Coconut oil, for greasing the pie plate

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  This can be a little tricky to do.  I have heard of people cooking them whole to avoid this step, but I have never done it.

2.  Place the spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of water on the pan.  Roast the squash for 25-35 minutes.  Until a fork will pierce the squash with relative ease.  You should not have to stab it violently.  When the squash is done, set it aside to cool.

3.  Crumble the sausage into a skillet over medium heat.  Cook until no longer pink and cooked through.  About 10 minutes.

4.  Whisk the eggs and seasonings together in a medium size bowl.

5.  When the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape out the strands and place in a large bowl or a colander.  Use a clean kitchen towel or paper towels (or some other ingenious method) to squeeze out extra moisture.  This is an important step to me because I don’t like my quiche to be runny at all.  Once this is done, place the squash in the bottom of a greased pie plate and shape it around the sides and bottom evenly.  Sprinkle the spaghetti squash with salt.

6.  Pour the egg mixture in to the pie plate, on top of the squash.

7.  Drain the excess fat from the cooked sausage and layer the sausage into the pie plate.

8.  Next, layer the chopped red bell pepper into the pie plate.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

9.  Bake in a 350 oven for 30-35 minutes until eggs are completely set.

10.  If your “pie” is still too runny for your taste, turn your broiler to high and broil for an additional 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

My entire family ate this up!  My kids do not like spaghetti squash (stinks for them since I make it all the time), but they devoured this!



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Sweet Potato Hash with Pesto (paleo, gf)

So you may have noticed that I am using a lot of pesto these days.  For one, I LOVE it!  I think it makes almost anything tastier.  For two, I have been getting tons of basil at my farmer’s market and I really don’t know what else to do with large quantities of basil.  Any ideas would be appreciated:)

This sweet potato hash recipe is one of my favorites.  And it was even better with the addition of the pesto.  I also like it with lots of fresh sage, but my farmer’s market hasn’t had any sage since early June.  Is there a season for sage?  I’ll have to look into that.  I always associate it with fall, but maybe I’m wrong.

Sweet Potato Hash with Pesto

1 pound breakfast sausage (I use an amazing pastured sausage from my local farmer)

2 large sweet potatoes, shredded (I use my food processor)

1/2 cup pesto (any kind would work, but I’ll put a recipe below)

1 tsp granulated garlic (1-2 chopped fresh cloves would be good too)

1/2 tsp Penzey’s Shallot Salt ( I just happened to have this and needed to use it up- you could use onion powder or omit it)

salt to taste (potatoes tend to require a lot of salt so just layer it until it seems right to you)

Fresh basil to garnish

Coconut oil or other cooking fat

1. Cook and crumble your sausage over medium heat.

2. When your sausage is cooked through, add your shredded sweet potato to the pan, still at medium heat.  Depending on how much fat is rendered from your sausage, you may need to add a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil or lard.  Add in your salt and spices.

3.  Cook until the sweet potatoes are done, about 15 minutes.  Be aware that your potatoes could stick to the bottom of the pan.  Sometimes mine do and these crusty bits are my favorite part!

4.  Once the sweet potatoes are done, add in the pesto and let it heat through if your pesto is coming from the fridge.  Remove from the heat and add the fresh basil.

Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil (pack it tightly to measure)

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (i have also used almonds or walnuts if that is what I had on hand)

1-2 cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp of salt, or more to taste

1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste

1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

1.  Add all ingredients, except oil to the bowl of a food processor.  Process until nuts are finely chopped.

2.  With the motor running, drizzle in the oil until it is the consistency you prefer.

I sometimes add garlic olive oil or lemon olive oil to change it up.  If you tolerate dairy well, you can always add about 1/2 cup of Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano cheese.



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Paleo Pumpkin Mug Cake with Chocolate Coconut Glaze

September rolls around and I just CRAVE pumpkin!  It started with this pumpkin cream sauce I made to go over spaghetti squash (recipe forthcoming) and then I had lots of pumpkin left.  What to do?  Pumpkin cake!!  I wanted something small and quick because leftovers at my house are a bad idea.  I will sneak a bite every time I walk into the kitchen.  And since I work at home, I am in the kitchen a lot!  So…I made up this recipe based on some others I have tried before.  It required walking next door to my mom’s to use the microwave since we don’t own one anymore.  Another deterrent from making this cake too often;)

Paleo Pumpkin Mug Cake

2 Tablespoons coconut flour (sifted, if you want to be thorough)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

3 Tablespoons canned pumpkin (or cooked mashed pumpkin if you are that good)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 Tablespoons coconut oil (melted)

Coconut oil spray

1.  Spray your mug/bowl with coconut oil spray.  Or just rub a little coconut oil in it.

2.  Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl.  Add all the wet ingredients and mix well.

3.  Microwave for 2 minutes. (This could vary depending upon your microwave)

4.  Pick it up with a towel because it gets VERY hot!

5.  Frost and eat straight from the mug or run a knife around the edge and slip it onto a plate.

Chocolate Coconut Glaze

2 Tablespoons coconut butter (coconut manna works too)

1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

pinch of salt

1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix completely

2.  Spoon or frost onto the slightly cooled cake

3.  Enjoy:))




My kids had these for breakfast this morning so I could get some pictures.  That’s not terrible is it?  They actually have very little sugar, especially since they only had a half and the coconut flour is high fiber and low carb.  So there!  I will say that they can get a little rich first thing in the morning if you add the chocolate glaze.  Next time I might just melt on some grass-fed butter.  Yum!





Fat Loss Protocol

Doug ( that is the hubby) and I are attempting a paleo fat loss protocol that was designed by Jason Seib.  If you don’t know who Jason is, he is the other half of the Everyday Paleo team with Sarah Fragoso.  I have been listening to their podcast for about a year and while Jason does come off as a little gruff sometimes, I think he knows his stuff.  And I believe he cares about the success of his clients.  So when I read this post he wrote about fat loss. I was intrigued.  I have known for a while there was something missing with me and the weight loss/fat loss thing.  I just have not been able to get the equation right!  I’ve tried CrossFit, calorie cutting, zero carb, 21-day sugar detox, and just simply going paleo.  None of those things have resulted in any sustainable fat loss.  I was hopeful when I started reading the post that there would be something “new” in it.  And there was!!  Two things to be exact.  He addresses the two issues that I think are my main obstacles.  Stress and carbs.  I feel certain that stress is part of why I hold onto fat.  I can go on vacation and lose 4 pounds in a week eating out, drinking alcohol and having ice cream every night!  I know this has something to do with stress.  It has to.  Jason addresses this through meditation.  Meditation is something I have long been intrigued by but have never truly given any sort of real commitment.  The other thing that sold me on giving this a try was carb cycling.  In the post he recommends Keifer’s CarbNite program (which we intend to buy).  On the surface I would say this looks gimmicky, EXCEPT….Doug and I have observed and discussed this exact phenomenon happening with my weight.  I will try to “diet” for a while, not lose weight, then decide “Screw it, I’m having some cookies!” and BAM…I’ve lost 3 pounds!  We have both shaken our heads at this outcome.  I think my body is really sensitive to the cycle of carbs and that there is a chance that this plan might work well for me.

September is Month 1 for us and that means 3 things according to Jason:

1. Perfect Paleo

2. Lots of walking

3. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

I have been paleo for over 2 years.  I don’t know about the “perfect” part, but I am pretty dialed in.  I will admit that I am eating some “paleo treats” right now.  Not much, just enough to taste for recipes that I am developing for the blog.  Yay!  So if this plan isn’t working I will know the first thing that needs to happen is cutting those bites out!

My walking is pretty good.  I walk for 45 minutes 6-7 mornings before the kids get up.  Then I walk again for an hour most nights.  I do this either during Finn’s dance, gymnastics or soccer.  Or I just slip out after dinner and troll the neighborhood.

And my sleep is better than it has been since I had my daughter 6 years ago.  I go to sleep between 10-11.  I try for closer to 10, but sometimes I get a little carried away with whatever I am currently reading and the time slips away from me:) I wake up sometime in the 6:00 hour.  I wish I could sleep later sometimes, but I seem to have a very strong natural clock.  We have black out shades in our bedroom because Doug sleeps during the day, but I still can’t sleep much past 6:00.

So there you have it.  I will give you guys monthly updates on Doug and myself and let you know what our results are and how we feel about the program.

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Bacon and Sundried Tomato Pesto Frittata

This will be my second original recipe!  Maybe there is a trend coming.  I do tons of cooking.  Most days I cook three full meals.  I just typically either use an existing recipe or when I don’t it is because I am in such a hurry that I just throw something together.  Alas, being in that type of rush isn’t normally conducive to being precise and writing things down.  However, I am going to try to be more mindful of keeping up with some of these recipes in the future.  Here is one that went over really well with my whole family.  No leftovers:)

This recipe started because my husband bought bacon ends from US Wellness Meats because they were out of bacon.  I didn’t know what to do with “bacon ends?”  I wasn’t really even sure what they were, but I think they are literally the ends of strips of bacon.  Duh!  Anyhow, a frittata seemed like a pretty safe way to use these since they really weren’t going to be great on their own like “normal” bacon.  So here goes….hope you guys enjoy it:)

Bacon and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Frittata

1 Pound pastured bacon ends (regular bacon would be great too)

10 eggs, organic and/or pastured if possible

4 garlic cloves, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

3/4 cup shredded parmesan (my kids still eat some dairy, but you could totally omit this)

1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto (recipe below)

Salt & Pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 350.

2.  Cook the bacon ends until done.  This can vary a lot because some of the ends may be very small/thin and others can be an inch thick.  I had to pull the pan out several times to take off the smaller pieces as they got done.  Of course if you are using regular bacon, cook until done, 20-30 minutes, depending upon the thickness of your bacon.

3.  While the bacon is cooking, beat the 10 eggs and some salt and pepper to taste.  Add the shredded parmesan cheese if using and mix.

4.  When the bacon is done, set aside to cool.  Pour 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat into a oven-safe skillet.  Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and green onions and sautee until fragrant and just beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes.

5.  Once the bacon is cool, crumble or chop it and add it to the skillet.  Pour the egg mixture over the veggies and bacon.  Cook on medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

6.  Remove from the stove top and place the skillet in a 450 oven for 15 more minutes.

7.  Remove from the oven and drizzle/pour/slather the pesto on the top of the frittata.

8.  Serve warm.

Sundried Tomato Pesto

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

2 cloves garlic

3-4 sundried tomatoes

3/4 cup almonds, toasted

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Place all ingredients except olive oil in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until the almonds are finely chopped.

2.  With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil.  Stop and scrape the sides and pulse again.

3.  Will keep in the fridge for up to a week.  Press a piece of plastic wrap on top to keep the basil from turning brown.



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First Soccer Game

So Finn had her first soccer game this morning.  Promise me no judgement for what I am about to say, but….she sucked!  I know that is probably super harsh to say about a 6-year-old, but it’s true.  Don’t get me wrong, she looked cute in her uniform and  I was proud of her regardless, but it would be dishonest to say anything other than…she sucked!  The game as a whole was pretty hard to watch. It was 11-1 when I quit keeping up with the score.  I actually had to disengage by the fourth quarter because I didn’t want to be one of those parents screaming, “Just kick the freakin’ ball!!!”  I think I was judging myself for not being one of those moms who don’t care how their kid performs and just wants them to have fun.  I definitely want her to have fun, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t want her to engage and do her best. And kick the ball.  I REALLY wanted her to kick the ball! Maybe soccer just isn’t her thing?  She’s good at lots of things so maybe it was just odd to see her try something she didn’t have a natural aptitude for?  I’m bringing this up on a “health” blog because I believe that our thoughts about ourselves are powerful and this situation had me judging myself for not being the “perfect” mom.  I didn’t yell at her.  Or shame her.  Or make any negative comment at all.  But I also didn’t gush on and on about how great she was (like I heard some other parents doing) when she honestly wasn’t great.  Was I supposed to?  I did hug and kiss her sweaty little body and ask her if she had fun and she said yes.  So I left it at that.  Until we got home.  Then I told her I would take her to get frozen yogurt after the next game if she kicked the ball 3 times.  Was that wrong? I’m trying to remember that God gave her to me specifically for a reason.  I am the “perfect” mother for her.  When I compare myself to other people (perfect soccer moms in this situation, but I can find someone to judge myself against for any situation), it never works out in my favor.  There is always someone seemingly doing better than me.  Looking better than me.  Performing better than me.  Achieving more than me.  I always feel better when I’m not comparing myself to others, but living confidently in my own skin.  This is really hard to do on a consistent basis.  It’s one of those things I do for a season and then something comes along to disrupt it.  This seems to be a lesson that I  need to learn over and over again.  One of many:)  And while I would never say it to her now, I hope when she is grown, we can talk and  laugh about the things she sucked at because she is so confident in her skin that those things will just roll of her back.


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Banana Almond Paleo Pancakes

So I think this may be my first original recipe.  Yay!  I’m sure there are other very similar recipes out there because there seem to be about a million paleo pancake recipes floating around the blogosphere.  However, I am still going to call this one mine since I made it up on the fly for the kids one morning while I was still doing the Elimination Diet.

Banana Almond Paleo Pancakes

2 ripe bananas

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup smooth almond butter

1/2 tsp cinnamon

coconut oil or butter for greasing griddle or pan

1.  Preheat pan or griddle.  I set my griddle to 375.

2.  Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

3.  Drop a couple of tablespoons of batter onto hot griddle and allow to cook until bubbles form, about 3 minutes.  Flip and cook another minute.

4.  Serve warm with maple syrup or honey or another slather of almond butter.  Grass-fed butter would also be divine. My mom said she could eat them totally plain, so that might float your boat too.

I didn’t get to try these because I was on the elimination diet, but the kids and my mom loved them.  They are a little on the thin side, but they cook up easily every time.



Just FYI- that is a chicken apple sausage from US Wellness Meats.  My kids love those too!

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ED Day 21- Finale

I’m done!  No, I am not supposed to be done, but I am calling it quits.  I made it 3 weeks, but I did not make it to the goal of 5 symptom free days.  I am not even going to bore you with the last few days of food.  You all already know basically what it was!  I do, however, want to give you guys an overall assessment of my 3 weeks and what I learned.  The first 2 weeks were pretty darn good.  There were still some minor tummy troubles along the way, but I shed some weight and overall I felt pretty good.  This last week was the pits!  I needed a nap almost every afternoon.  I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open.  I really feel like it was some version of the carb-flu phenomenon.  I don’t know why it took so long to hit me, since most people seem to experience it within the first 5 days.  I also had a lot of digestive issues the last few days.  Bloating, cramps, gas, constipation.  Either something I was eating in my limited diet was giving me a lot of trouble, OR the high stress level of the past week was to blame.  I am leaning towards the stress.  My boys started a new homeschool program and we were behind and needed to homeschool up to 11 hours on a couple of days just to catch up.  Add that to homeschooling my daughter, soccer, dance, gymnastics, church, family obligations (it was my brother’s birthday and there was lots of cooking), cooking 6 meals a day (3 for my family and a different one for me), household chores, and the ongoing financial stress we are under.  I think I have really underestimated how this ongoing stress can garner acute reactions in me.  I had noticed in the past how my husband and I could have a fight and my stomach would “blow up” a few minutes later, but I always tried to downplay it.  I think this is probably because the stress factor seems like the hardest thing to change.  Stress is always going to be there.  My doctor has told me that I am hyperreactive.  My body overresponds to all sorts of stimuli.  The one that he has dealt with the most is my over reaction to any medications (I can only take really small doses).  But I think that I just naturally hyper react to all sorts of stimuli in my life even if you don’t see it on the outside.  It feels like this is just in my nature as a person and the power to change it may be out of my reach.  This is why I go from diet (Candida, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, elimination diet, FODMAP free) to diet.  I am always hoping that something will click and give me this perfect health I am so desperately searching for.  Of course, it is not that simple.  So for now, I am taking it day-to-day.  Trying to keep my stress level low.  Only fixing one meal for the entire family and seeing how it goes.  Of course, I will keep you updated of any progress I make:)