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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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:)

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ED Day 17 & 18

Ya’ll…I REALLY cheated today!  Not just a drink this time.  My kids all wanted “normal bread” to take in their lunches this week so I made the Sandwich Bread from Against all Grain.  I have made “paleo bread” before and my kids usually turn their noses up at it.  Not this one.  My daughter especially really loved it.  And it looked so good fresh from the oven.  So I took a sliver off the end and dunked it in ghee.  Oh My Goodness!!!!  I haven’t had good fresh-baked bread in about 4 years!  It was such a treat.  As far as I can tell it didn’t give me any digestive distress.  At least not immediately.

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So that was breakfast and it was yummy!

Lunch

1 oz of turkey, 3 oz. wild caught tuna, olive oil, carrot puree

Dinner

5 oz. grass-fed ground beef, olive oil, organic steamed spinach

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Symptoms

I felt pretty good today.  No digestive issues.  Still have itchy bumps and my hair is still falling out a little.

Day 18

Today was hard!  My boys started Veritas Classical Homeschool yesterday and come to find out, we are a week behind.  So we homeschooled for 11 hours today.  And we are still behind.  Oh, and both our vehicles are in the shop. And our hot water heater has a leak.  And our roof has a leak.  And the treadmill broke.  And our phone is only working sometimes.  It would be funny if it wasn’t so depressing.  I tell you guys this to say that I think it was stress that caused my digestive symptoms today.  I was bloated and cramping for a good part of the day, but especially after dinner.

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Breakfast

Organic steamed spinach, turkey cooked in lard, drizzle of garlic olive oil

Lunch

Grass-fed ground beef and carrot puree

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I am finally starting to get really sick of these food, ya’ll!  I think the taste of that bread did me in;)

Dinner

Carrot puree and zucchini with homemade pesto

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I just didn’t feel like eating meat tonight.  I thought just the veggies wouldn’t sit as heavy, but my tummy still hurt really bad after this meal.  STRESS!!!

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ED Day 16

I think this might have been my first symptom free day!!!  If you don’t count the weird bumps.  And I’m not counting them.  Maybe that’s cheating, but I don’t care;)

Breakfast

Still super low on food around here.  Had a little turkey and a little tuna with olive oil and carrot puree.  I also had my bone broth again.  This is the most gelatinous bone broth I have ever made.

photo(37)That is was it looked like out of the fridge!

Lunch

Turkey/tuna and zucchini cooked in ghee. I made ghee on Sunday.  I burned the first 2 batches!  $24 to get one small jar of ghee.  I don’t know what was wrong with me Sunday.  I also can’t believe my sweet hubby went back to the store TWICE to get me grass-fed butter.  It is so wonderful to be loved!

Dinner

Salmon cake with green onions, chives and spices, cooked in coconut oil. The one I made the other day was gross, so my husband made this one and it was much better.  He just has the touch with certain things.  Oh, that sounded a little randy;)  I also had more zucchini with fresh basil and oregano.

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I started taking liver pills today with lunch and dinner.  What are liver pills you ask?  Just what it sounds like.  Cooked liver chopped into tiny pieces and frozen.  It looks just like cat food.  I thought the kids would think I was crazy, but I guess they are getting accustomed to my “odd” eating habits because my 6-year-old daughter asked for a liver pill!  I am trying the liver pills because I really believe in the healing/nutrient powers of grass-fed liver, but I just can’t seem to get it down without it triggering my gag reflex.  I’ll post a picture of my “cat food” tomorrow:)

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ED Day 14

Two weeks done!  Yay!! While I admittedly haven’t been perfect, I have been pretty close.  I still haven’t hit that 5 days no symptoms goal so I have at least another week and probably 2 ahead of me.

Breakfast

Applegate Farms turkey slices, garlic olive oil for dipping, steamed organic spinach with homemade pesto

I also had bone broth this morning.  For those of you who haven’t made it before, let me warn you that it stinks.  I had 1 batch going all day Thursday and 1 batch going all day Friday and my house was stinky until midday Saturday!  And to be honest, I don’t really like the way it tastes.  My daughter says it tastes like buttered toast.  I LOVE buttered toast but I guess I wouldn’t want to drink it.  Bone broth probably has been the single most helpful thing I have done to help heal my gut though, so I will continue to choke it down.

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Lunch

Wild caught canned salmon with green onion and chives fried in coconut oil, zucchini cooked in ghee

IMG_2578[1]Sorry about the dirty plate.  One of these days I am going to start taking pictures as more than an afterthought and you guys are going to think you are in the wrong place:)

Dinner

Carrot puree and sausage

The sausage was “off plan”, but I was very low on protein options here at the house.  It was from pastured pork, but it had some spices added to it.  The only spice listed was celery, salt, pepper and turbinado sugar, but there could have been others.  It didn’t give my any digestive issues that I am aware of though.

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Symptoms

I had mild heartburn at bedtime.  So maybe the sausage did bother me?  I thought once my diet got this limited it would be easy to tell what was causing what, but it’s not!  I still think there is something giving me an issue.  My husband says to trust the healing process and see it through for the full 4 weeks before I go trying to change it.  I am trying to listen to him.  Stay the course. Stay the course.  Stay the course.

My only other issue was that I fell asleep on the couch yesterday for more than an hour! I know, I know, you are saying “what’s the issue there?”  You have to know me.  I can count on both hands the number of naps I have taken as an adult and they all happened when I was either pregnant or REALLY sick.  I just can’t fall asleep during the day.  Maybe I am just getting so old that going to a concert until midnight the night before really wears me out?  Gosh, I hope not!

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ED Day 15

I was really hoping to drop a couple more pounds this second week, but it was a no go.  I weigh exactly what I did 1 week ago.  I know, I know, this is not about weight loss per se.  I just got my hopes up with the 6 pounds in week 1.  And even though it is not about weight loss, resistance to fat/weight loss is one of my issues that I was hoping to help resolve by figuring out what foods agree with me.

Breakfast

I was in a hurry before church and I am still really low on food so I had 3 oz. of wild caught tuna (canned), olive oil and carrot puree.

Lunch

Pulled pork, garlic olive oil, green beans with lemon olive oil

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Dinner

I had the rest of the leftover pork, olive oil green beans.  Thrilling!

Symptoms

I was still a little sleepy.  Not sure if this is delayed carb flu or something else.  I also just felt kinda blah and full even though I didn’t eat all that much.

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