Broccoli Cheese Soup

Monday, August 25, 2014 Alanna Figueira 5 Comments

Today's post is a guest post from whole30 and paleo foodie, April.  You can find April on instagram. Follow her for all sorts of inspiration and fun food pics.  April used my S'Mac and Cheese sauce to make this  creamy Panera style Broccoli Cheese Soup! It looks so delicious and I can't wait to hear what you all think!

From April:
I wish I could say that cooking has always been a passion for me but I can't. The truth is, I couldn't be bothered with it. Cooking involved putting whatever frozen food on a tray and baking it! Since recently transitioning to a Paleo lifestyle I've discovered cooking is a requirement. Not all my recipes are winners but this one just might be. Broccoli Cheese Soup was one of my favorite pre-paleo foods. Alanna's "cheese sauce" was a total game changer and I knew I needed to try to re-create that soup! This is creamy, flavorful and the perfect comfort food! You could even serve it to your non-paleo friends and they'd never know the difference!

Broccoli "Cheese" Soup


1 tbsp. ghee
1/2 medium onion (about 1/2 cup), finely chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
2 tbsp  arrowroot flour/starch
1 cup full fat coconut milk (mixed if separated)
3 cups broccoli, chopped

1 1/2 cups cheese sauce *see below
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste 

Cheese Sauce
*make your cheese sauce first, so it's ready to be added to the soup


2/3 cup avocado oil or light olive oil
1 pastured egg
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup orange sweet potato, peeled and cooked
1/4 cup full fat unsweetened coconut milk 
1/4 cup nutritional yeast 

Directions (for cheese sauce):

1.  Make sauce like mayo.  Add egg, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder to the food processor or blender.  Pulse.  Slowly drizzle 2/3 cup oil in while constantly pulsing.  

2.  Once emulsified, add cooked sweet potato, coconut milk and nutritional yeast to food processor or blender.  Blend it in until smooth creamy sauce. 

Directions (for soup):

 1.  Add ghee, onion and garlic powder to a large sauce pot, cook on medium heat until onion is translucent. Reduce heat to low.

2.  Whisk in arrowroot flour, whisking constantly.

3.  Add in stock and coconut milk, mix to combine. Cook 5 minutes to thicken.

4.  Add in broccoli and simmer 20 min.

5.  Stir in cheese sauce, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.  Enjoy! 


Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Maple Pecan Caramel Sauce

Sunday, August 24, 2014 Alanna Figueira 5 Comments

I know, I know, I know... It's only August!    Let us enjoy summer!  Well, here in NY it already feels like fall.  It's been sort of a strange summer.  The whole month of August felt fall like and leaves are already falling.  Fall is my absolute favorite season, I love everything fall!  Especially pumpkin everything!  Pumpkin pancakes are an old favorite of mine and I never get sick of them.  Even in August!  

These are nice and thick, moist, and delicious.  I use this pumpkin purée.  Pumpkin pie filling works fine also, but it does have added sugar you may be avoiding.  What to do with the rest of the can?  Add it to smoothies, soups, muffins, breads, or my favorite use - make a PSL!  You can use fresh pumpkin or substitute any squash or just skip it entirely.  They will still taste pumpkin-y due to the spices.  Buy  pumpkin pie spice mix, it's so delicious and adds to baking in so many ways.  I use this pumpkin pie spice, but you can also use this recipe:
Pumpkin Spice Mix
 *Makes about 1 Tbsp 
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg 
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp allspice 

Pumpkin Spice Pancake Ingredients:

3 large eggs
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour 
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
2 tbsp grade B maple syrup
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice *or spice mix listed above 
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt


1.  Heat your skillet to medium-low.

2.  Dump eggs in the blender.

3.  Dump everything else in the blender and blend until smooth.

3.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes, allowing the baking powder to do it's thing. 

4.  Pan fry in butter, ghee or coconut oil.  Makes about 9 medium sized (1-2tbsp batter per cake) pancakes. 

Maple Pecan Caramel Sauce Ingredients:

1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped pecans 
1 tbsp butter or ghee
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt 


1.  Add everything to a small saucepan.

2.  Heat on med-low and bring to a bubbling boil.

3.  Boil sauce on med-low for 5-10 minutes, until sauce thickens.


Alanna's Homemade Ketchup

Thursday, August 21, 2014 Alanna Figueira 1 Comments

Super quick and easy post today.  I've been so behind on blogging and I have WAY too many recipes on hand!  My mom visited and stayed with us for 3 weeks, which was so awesome, and I haven't sat down at my computer once! We've also been getting ready for preschool.  Scary and awesome all at the same time.  I still can't believe it's going to be September, I hope you're all ready to be bamboozled with way too much pumpkin everything!  Anyway... This is a quick and easy way to make your own ketchup, save some money, and be sure of what's going in to you and/or your kids bodies!  My son eats this stuff, he's 3, so it is kid tested!  And here's an easy trick- put the homemade ketchup in an old bottle of their favorite processed ketchup!  

Doing whole30?  Skip the coconut sugar and in place add 12 whole pitted dates, soaked in hot water and pulverized in the food processor with some tomato paste.   Just cover them in hot water, let soak for 10 minutes, place in food processor and pulse with some tomato paste until combined into a smooth paste.  In place of the 1/3 cup of water, use the date water that they soaked in, for a little extra sweetness.  

Alanna's Homemade Ketchup
*makes 2 cups


12 oz tomato paste
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coconut sugar *see note above for whole30
1/3 cup water
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper 


1.  Add everything to a medium sized saucepan.  Mix to combine.

2.  Bring to bubbling boil.  

3.  Reduce heat to the lowest setting and simmer 30 minutes to reduce. 

4.  Store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks in an old ketchup bottle.  



Whole 30 Sauces, Dips, Dressings, & Marinades

Monday, August 18, 2014 Alanna Figueira 26 Comments

I am all about flavor when I prepare meals and nothing adds flavor like sauces, dips, marinades and dressings.  They will liven up plain old chicken salad, tuna salad, salads, meats, main dishes and veggies.  I'm a dipper.  I need to dip my chicken fingers, french fries, veggies, you name it. Here are a few ways to liven up your meals. Take this post and tailor it to your own needs. 

A few tips before I get started:
Everyone has a different palate and enjoys different flavors.  For example, heat. I love it.  I use at least 3 tbsp wasabi in my mayo, but it's not for everyone!  Same with horseradish, chili powder, cajun spices, hot sauce... You can always start with 1 tsp and then increase to your taste.  Taste, then add more to the food processor and give another pulse to incorporate. Just remember the wasabi rule! It takes 5-10 minutes to "activate" so you may not taste it right away!

Herbs are almost always interchangeable.  Don't like cilantro?  Try basil instead instead.  Don't have any rosemary?  Double up on basil.  That kind of stuff. 

Homemade Mayo

I'm going to start out with basic good old mayo.  To be honest, I haven't made plain mayo in over a year.  There are so many delicious ways to liven it up and I always flavor it.  There are so many different mayo recipes but honestly it is so simple and involves just a few basic ingredients and the right machine.  

Let's talk about the right machine.  Failed emulsions suck.  Ive tried to narrow down the reasons emulsions fail, based on questioning my reader's and it seems to me the number one reason is the machine.  I make mayo at last once a week and have never had a failed emulsion!  <knocks on wood> I never wait for my egg to reach room temperature and it takes me 30 seconds to make a batch!  I use this exact $40 Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus that always works, I use this thing almost daily. You could even get it cheaper in more basic colors.  I also use my blender for mayo, and it also always works.  It is a Hamilton Beach 12 speed old hunky thing that has never failed me! Almost all of my readers have told me their Cuisinart immersion blenders are excellent and never fail.  Here are a few other machines that my refers have reviewed:

      Blendtec- mixed reviews, a few fails and but most say they like it 
      Vitamix- works so long as your don't power it up too high, use setting #4
      Philips blender- works 
      Ninja- mixed reviews, a few fails and a few say they like it 

I use avocado oil exclusively in my homemade mayo, ranch, and mayo based recipes.  It is light in taste and more nutritious than light olive oil.  I list light olive oil as an option because it is all that is available to some.  Either are very light tasting and make a great mayo.  Light olive oil is available at any grocery store.  It can be labeled as "extra light olive oil", "light olive oil", or "light tasting olive oil".  Don't use extra virgin olive oil.  It will emulsify, but the taste is very strong, and in my opinion, inedible. Don't do it.   You can use half avocado, half light olive.  I do not like coconut oil and I find that it gets hard in the refrigerator, but I have heard of people using it in mayo.  I don't even like taste though.  

If you want a thicker mayo, use more oil.  If you want a thinner, and more salad dressing-like mayo/dressing, use less oil and more acid.  I will be more detailed below.  You want to preferably start with a room temperature egg.  The trick to mayo making with a food processor is to add the oil through the holes of the food processor lid. I recommend only using pastured egg and absolutely never using conventional egg in egg emulsions. Because there is raw egg, make sure it stays refrigerated.  It'll last 1-2 weeks.  

Start out with 2/3 cup oil.  Once the 2/3 cup is entirely pulsed in, check the mayo.  I like it just like this.  If you want it a little thicker, add a little more oil until it is the consistency you like.  

You can use any acid.  Lemon juice, lime juice, ANY vinegar (all are whole30 compliant).  I encourage you to play around with the acids based on different flavors.  Vinegars include apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar.  Some people say to add the acid last, but I see no difference at all and always add it in the beginning because its easier.  


⅔-1 cup avocado or light tasting olive oil 
1 egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons acid-lemon juice or apple cider vinegar 
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard or dry mustard (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste


1.  Put everything but the oil in food processor. 

2.  Pulse to combine.

3.  With the lid on, slowly pour the oil, using a spouted measuring cup, through the small holes on the top of the lid while constantly pulsing.

4.  When all of the oil is added, it's ready!  
Here's the fun part!  These are just a few ideas.  Be creative and vary your acids, fresh herbs, spices and condiments.  All sauces are made just like mayo, special instructions will be listed.

5.  Store in a mason jar in the fridge.  Yields 2/3-1 cup mayonnaise.

Mayo Based Sauces & Dips

Alanna's Burger Sauce

The sauce is amazing.  Kind of like one of those "special sauces" from certain burger establishments that no one knows the recipe for.  It's a little sweet, a bit tangy and a tad spicy.  It's amazing on a burger and a great fry dip! 


8-10 pitted dates, soaked

2/3 cup avocado or light olive oil
1 egg
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric 
1/2 cup dill pickles, minced


Cover dates with very hot water.  Soak for 5-10 minutes until softened.  Drain and add to food processor.  Pulverize.  Add everything else except oil and pickles. Pulse to combine.  Drizzle in oil through top holes.  Add minced pickles in last and pulse to combine. 

Chipotle mayo

⅔-1 cup avocado or light tasting olive oil 
1 pastured egg, room temperature
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce OR 1-3 tsp* chipotle chili powder (regular chili powder is also ok) 
*start with 1 and add more after you taste it if you want more heat)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
Make just like mayo.  Add everything except oil to food processor.  Pulse.  Drizzle oil in through top holes.

Spicy mayo

Add 1-3 Tbsp Frank's Hot Sauce mayo batch (or other complaint hot sauce)

Wasabi mayo

*My favorite brand is Eden organic, I've tried a few and I love the flavor.  Wasabi powder takes 5-10 minutes to activate so you may not taste the heat initially! 
Add 1-3 Tbsp Wasabi powder to mayo batch

Roasted garlic and Herb mayo

Add 1 head of roasted garlic and 1/4 cup fresh herbs or 1 Tbsp dried herbs to the initial pulse.  Pulverize, then make mayo exactly as listed above in mayo. 

How to roast garlic:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cajun mayo
Cut the ends off of the whole garlic head.
Put the garlic head in a muffin tin.
Tent with tin foil.
Roast for 45 mins. 
Cool and pop out pieces of roasted garlic.

Cajun mayo

Add 1-3 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning

Horseradish mayo

Add 1-3 tbsp Horseradish