From Here to Health

My journey back from autoimmune disease

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:))

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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!

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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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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.

Enjoy!

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

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Recipe Reviews from Primal Cravings and Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry

Trying to lose weight while cooking 3 meals a day for the rest of my family really blows!  Tuesday was Finn’s “actual” birthday.  We celebrated early with her friends because that was when they were all available.  For her “real” birthday (as she calls it), she was allowed to choose the menu for the whole day.  For breakfast she wanted Hazelnut Coffee Pancakes.   No one in my house drinks coffee so I enlisted my dad (who lives next door) to brew us some coffee the night before.  These were super easy to make, but the batter was thicker than pancakes I am used to?  Not sure if it was something I did or a natural result of the tapioca and coconut flours.  Anyway, the kids and my parents both liked them.  They would have been really good with some chocolate chips:)  I will admit now that I did have one.  Ok two.  But then I ate my sardines.

photo(20)Moving on to lunch, she requested the Bacon Lattice & Tomato Sandwich.  This one, I did not get to try, but the kids loved it!  It was super easy.   The hardest part was making the homemade mayo.  My arm always starts to hurt and I get a little bored waiting on that oil to slowly drip, drip, drip. The kids were hungry (probably because there was no protein at breakfast!) so I got rushed and didn’t get a finished shot.  Let me assure you that they were really pretty, until they were bitten into and then they were a giant old mess!

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Now for the final meal of the day.  We had 11 people so I doubled most of the recipes.  We started out with the Cheese Crackers and Benedict Deviled Eggs for starters.  Keep in mind as you read through this menu that it was chosen by a six-year-old.  There is no rhyme or reason to the menu!  So, the Cheese Crackers.  I had high hopes, but they were too greasy and cheesy.  Not possible you say.  I beg to differ.  I am wondering if it is one of those recipes that doesn’t take well to doubling?  Not sure.  I will make them again in the original proportions and see what happens.  The kids still liked them but I think they didn’t turn out as intended.

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I’m not sure if my crowd just wasn’t an egg crowd or what, but the Benedict Deviled Eggs didn’t get eaten very well.  I didn’t try these because I have been trying to stay away from eggs to see if there is any autoimmune component for me.  Thus far I haven’t really noticed any improvement.  I will probably add them back in the near future.

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For the main course she requested Crispy Chicken Fingers and Hot & Sour Chicken Noodle Soup.  The girl likes chicken!  I had gotten a little behind by this point, so there are no more pictures.  I was running around frying chicken, stirring soup, scraping sorbeta and checking the homemade ice cream churning on the table!  It had gotten a little hairy in my tiny kitchen!  I ended up turning the chicken fingers over to my husband so I didn’t lose my sanity.  He did a great job with them and I think they would have been really good except unbeknownst to me, he covered them with foil and put them in the oven to stay warm.  He wondered later why they were soggy and I told him about his mistake- they had been steaming in the oven and that is a no-no when you want something crispy.  They did, however, crisp back up a little bit when I reheated them for the kids’ lunch the next day.  The kids also drowned their chicken fingers in the Sweet & Sour sauce I made which seemed to be a hit with the whole crowd.

I honestly can’t even speak to the Hot & Sour Chicken Noodle Soup.  I didn’t have a single bite.  By the time I had finished cutting up the 4 pounds of chicken (just for the soup) I had a blister and I had lost my appetite.  I cook chicken thighs all the time so I’m not sure why this time was different, but these just looked super gross to me.  And then I rinsed the Shirataki noodles and they felt really nasty to me.  I am assuming they are made of mushrooms?  Shirataki sounds like a mushroom.  I hate mushrooms.  They feel like boogers going down my throat. Yuck!

For dessert she requested Cherry Lime Sorbeta, Carrot Cake Cream Pies, and the Cookie Dough Ice Cream from Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry.  I know, I know.  I’m CRAZY!  This was a hella lot of cooking for one day.  Let’s start with the sorbeta.  It was ok, but not great.  I think I waited a little to long to scrape it for the first time and then it turns out that I really don’t know how to scrape.  I was basically just mushing it around with a fork.  I don’t think it qualified as scraping.  The consistency just didn’t turn out right and I think that is the real magic of a dessert like this.  It should by light and icy.  Or at least I think it should?  My husband ate it anyway:)

The Carrot Cake Cream Pies were AWESOME!  I made them the night before and they were just as good the next day and the day after that.  They were moist and lightly sweet.  A little bit like the Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies of my youth.  I used to tear up some Oatmeal Pies and Fudge Rounds!  Obviously, my mom did not jump on the health bandwagon until I pulled her on with me a few years ago, so sadly I grew up eating lots of processed foods.  My favorite foods listed in my baby book are M&Ms and bologna!  Oh, mom.  She did breast feed me though, so props for that!

Back to topic. The hit of the evening was definitely the homemade Cookie Dough Ice Cream.  This is where I splurged.  I couldn’t help myself.  I LOVE ice cream, but for the past few years it has not loved me back.  I didn’t know if this ice cream made with canned coconut milk would be any different, but it was!!! No cramps after I ate it.  Usually I am doubled over in pain after ice cream.  I also forgot how much I love the consistency of homemade ice cream.  It is so light and creamy.  It was also super easy to make. Just a quick blender action and then pour into the ice cream maker. Done.  I have only used my Cuisinart Ice Cream maker once or twice because it always seems like such a hassle (it is stored in the garage which is like 20 feet away from my kitchen;)), but this was just too simple not to do it again (and again).

Even though my results were a little mixed this go around, I still highly recommend both Primal Cravings and Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry.  You should check them out for yourself:)

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Review of Shrimp with Fennel Cream from Everyday Paleo Around the World Italian Cuisine

Whew…that was a looong title!  So before you even think it, yes, I am totally blowing this whole diet thing.  That is what happens when you LOVE to cook and your husband gets you 5 new cookbooks at once!  Most of my meals have been on plan, but I found myself with these wild caught shrimp defrosting in the fridge and really wanted to try something new.  The Shrimp with Fennel Cream from Sarah Fragoso’s new book Everyday Paleo Around the World: Italian Cuisine did not disappoint!  I had my whole family- hubby, me, two 11-year-old boys, 6-year-old daughter- plus my dad and my daughter’s best friend and it was a hit with all 7 of us!  The “cream” was a smooth, vegetable puree of fennel, leeks and garlic and it was my favorite.  The kids, however, left most of the “cream” on their plate.  My husband’s description was- “Outstanding.”  He has been very complimentary of my kitchen prowess lately:)  Despite the rave reviews, this probably won’t be a meal we have super often.  To feed my whole  brood, I had to double the recipe and wild caught shrimp aren’t cheap.  Little did I know, but organic fennel and leeks (in the amount I needed) weren’t cheap either.  It was also a little time-consuming for a week night meal.  Not terrible, but not super quick.  There was a lot of chopping and sautéing involved.  I’m just going to warn you that my picture looks nothing like the picture in Sarah’s book.  It was taken with my iPhone for starters and I have yet to get into any food styling.  I basically just plop it on the plate.  The side dish you see is zucchini and squash sautéed with butter and fresh basil.  It is my new favorite summer side dish.  Soooo yummy!

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Review of Recipes from Primal Cravings

This is going to sound like a really bad idea for someone who is on a mission to lose weight, but I made some treats from Primal Cravings this week.  I’m sure it was a bad idea, but I had 4 “bad” bananas that I couldn’t throw away.  That would be totally wasteful, right? I am going to admit right up front that I did taste each of these items, but I did not throw caution to the wind and inhale entire portions. The first thing I made was Maple Banana Spice Cake.  It was a cross between banana bread and ginger bread.  It turned out great and my kids LOVED it!  They usually won’t eat these types of breads/cakes unless they have chocolate chips or frosting, but they didn’t hesitate for a second on this one.  Score!!

photo(16)I served my kids’ with a big slab of Kerrygold butter on top.  YUM!!!

photo(15)That was 2 bananas.  What to do with the other 2?  Chunky Monkey Muffins you say?  Don’t mind if I do!  These were also really good.  They used a combination of coconut flour and tapioca flour (as did the Maple Banana Spice Cake).  I think this combo comes closest to any I have tried to achieving the “traditional” texture.  While that isn’t always important to me, it can make a difference when trying to feed picky kids- sometimes mine, sometimes one of the many visitors that seem to grace our home on a daily basis:)  My only complaint was that they stuck to the paper liners.  Next time I may grease them or just grease the pan itself.

photo(13)photo(12)Recipe number 3 was B-Butter.  I readily admit that I am a lover of peanut butter.  I know, I know it is so not paleo being a legume and all.  And I don’t have it on a regular basis anymore, but when I saw this recipe and it claimed to be a great substitute I thought I MUST just try a taste of it.  Just a tiny taste;)  My opinion- it is  not peanut butter, but it is good and inside a recipe that called for peanut butter as an ingredient, I think it would be the bomb!  It calls for 8 oz of raw macadamias but I could only find roasted and salted.  The taste was still good, but I neglected to adjust the salt for the salt content of my nuts and so it did come out a touch too salty.

photo(11)And since I had the B-butter and didn’t want to just sit and eat it all by the spoonful, which I totally could have done, I made the No-Bake Granola Bars that called for B-butter as one of the minimal ingredients.  Toasted coconut, coconut oil, honey, B-butter and chocolate chips.  That’s it.  They were super simple to make and incredibly tasty.  I cut mine into smaller pieces than they called for because I thought they were a little rich for a granola bar.  They bordered on a cookie.  A delicious cookie!

photo(14)I encourage you guys to get this book and try these recipes!  There is a picture with every recipe which I LOVE. My daughter, who is 6, loves to help me pick out food and even though she can read, recipes with pictures really appeal to her.  There are a number of things in the book which I can’t wait to make.  It is the type of book that I can really see myself cooking all the way through because the recipes look tasty and simple and the ingredients are easily accessible. Happy Eating!

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