Loaded Potato Skins

I’ve been going through a bit of a transitory period in my life, and I haven’t written a post in a while. Ultimately I decided to close my bakery business to pursue a different career path. I love baking and cooking for others, but I quickly found out that owning a business was not for me. Pulling the trigger on closing my business to choose a new path in life has been a mixed bag. I’m excited to make steps towards a new career, but at the same time letting go of something I had worked very hard to build up was stressful. But hey, what’s better for stress than some comfort food? I made these vegan Loaded Potato Skins to fill the comfort food void, so I thought I’d share them with all of you. These are far from healthy, but it’s okay to indulge every once in a while. I think as a whole this has been a pretty stressful year for just about everyone. Have a treat. You’ve earned it.


Loaded Potato Skins

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 5 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • vegan sour cream
  • 5 strips vegan bacon, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegan shredded “cheddar” cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Thoroughly wash and dry potatoes. Poke a few holes in each potato with a fork. Wrap each potato in foil.
  3. Place foil wrapped potatoes on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake for forty minutes. Turn potatoes over halfway through cook time.
  4. Remove potatoes from oven, and allow to cool completely. Remove foils for quicker cooling.
  5. Cut each completely cooled potato in half lengthwise, and scoop out the center with a spoon. There should be about 1/4 inch of potato flesh left connected to the outer skin.
  6. Set the scooped out potato aside, and save for another meal. This can easily be made into mashed potatoes.
  7. In a small bowl combine oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Brush onto both sides of the potatoes.
  8. Return potatoes skin side up to the baking sheet, and bake for an additional fifteen minutes.
  9. Remove from oven, flip over, and add vegan cheddar cheese shreds and chopped vegan bacon. I don’t recommend cooking the bacon before hand, as it can dry out too much and burn in the oven. I used light life bacon strips.
  10. Bake for another five minutes, or until cheese is melted, and bacon is crisp.
  11. Remove from oven. Top each potato with sour cream and chopped chives to taste. Serve with some of your other favorite appetizers, and enjoy.

Quick and Easy Queso

Last week we posted a recipe that we created for Notcho Nocheez to showcase their product. This week we’re doing it again, because we love Notcho Nocheez! The featured recipe last week was for our Veggie Packed Mac & Nocheez, an entree dish, so this week we figured we’d highlight the product as a side dish or snack to showcase its versatility. Notcho Nocheez paired with your favorite salsa makes for an easy queso dip. This recipe is great if you need something in a pinch for a party. Just throw together some Nocheez, a jar of your favorite salsa, and a few other ingredients you probably already have on hand.

For those of you who didn’t read the Notcho Nocheez recipe we posted last week here’s the run down. Notcho Nocheez is a Pittsburgh based company that sells a deliciously dairy free cheese dip that’s available in three flavors; classic, tangy, and hot. They’re all amazing, and the variety of flavors adds versatility to the recipes you can use them for. Nocheez is great as a basic dip and spread, but it’s also a great replacement for dairy cheese in your favorite dishes. Try using it in a cheese sauce for mac & cheese, a cream sauce for other pasta, a sauce for a vegan Philly Cheesesteak, broccoli & cheese soup, or a queso dip like this recipe.

Notcho Nocheez is perfect for queso dip, because it’s already pretty close to the same texture. We added some oat milk to thin it out a little bit, but it’s definitely easier to use for queso dip than solid vegan cheese that you have to melt down. The jalapenos in this recipe are optional, but they add a nice punch of flavor and act as a great garnish. This recipe is enough dip for 2-4 people, but it’s easy to double for a larger party.


Quick and Easy Queso

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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You can use any flavor of the Notcho Nocheez for this recipe. We used the classic flavor with a medium salsa.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of Notcho Nocheez (about half the jar)
  • 1/4 cup oatmilk
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp corn starch (optional)
  • 2 tsp water (optional)

Directions

  1. Dice jalapeno. Cut a few rings if you want to use them as garnish.
  2. Heat olive oil in a small pot on low heat. Add jalapeno. Allow for jalapeno to toast for a minute to develop flavor before adding other ingredients.
  3. Add the Notcho Nocheez followed by the oat milk. Whisk together vigorously.
  4. Add salsa. Whisk together.
  5. Allow queso to simmer for about five minutes, stirring often.
  6. If the sauce is not thick enough create a slurry with the corn starch and water. Whisk into the queso, and allow to simmer until the dip starts to thicken up.
  7. Remove from heat and serve. Top with jalapeno rings if desired.

Easy Trail mix

When I was growing up I regularly played sports, and was an active member of the Girl Scouts of the USA. I was on the go a lot, and frequently away from home for long periods of time. I learned that quick, filling, and nutritious snacks are a necessity when you’re active. Troop and activity leaders frequently provided trail mix to meet this need, and it’s continued to be a long time favorite of mine.

Trail mix offers a lot of versatility. You can add dried fruit, veggies, sesame sticks, nuts, pretzels, and even chocolate! This makes it ideal for even the pickiest of eaters. Trail mix makes it easy to pack a lot of nutrients into a small container to take with you wherever you go.

The recipe that I’ll share today has been our go to trail mix for the past year or so. It’s easy to make, and affordable. You can make the exact recipe, or use it as an outline for a basic trail mix and add whatever you want. Our trail mix contains almonds, dried fruit, and sometimes chocolate. I advise buying dried fruit that doesn’t contain any added sugar, or dehydrating your own fruit if you happen to own a dehydrator.

Easy Trail Mix

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almonds or other nuts (you can use a variety if you wish)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut strips
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried bananas
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened dried strawberries
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened dried blueberries
  • 1 tbsp vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Measure out all ingredients into a container with a lid. We used a ball jar.
  2. Shake well to integrate.
  3. Store trail mix in original container, or portion out into smaller to go containers/bags. Enjoy.

If you do choose to add vegan chocolate chips we recommend that you refrigerate your trail mix until serving if it’s hot outside.

Chia Pudding

I’ve lived with chronic migraine for the past fourteen years of my life. Since I’ve been at home a lot more due to recent events I’ve been taking this time to focus on treating my migraines with a more natural approach. I hate having to take medication with scary side-effects that only treat each episode, instead of actually treating the condition itself and preventing attacks from happening. This journey has involved trying to find out some of my migraine triggers, and to cut them out of my life. I’ve already determined that caffeine is probably responsible for at least half of my migraines. During quarantine I cut out caffeine with the exception of a piece of chocolate or a baked good with cocoa in it every now and then. This paired with avoiding most types of alcohol, and doing yoga and other moderate exercise religiously, has led to me having maybe 4-6 migraine days a month as opposed to 6-12.

While focusing on food triggers I realized a number of my migraines start when I wait too long in between meals. Fluctuations in blood sugar can be a trigger for migraine. I’ve started eating four or five smaller meals throughout the day to try to prevent this. This has meant coming up with a number of low glycemic index snacks that are easy to prepare ahead of time. If I have to stop what I’m doing to make every snack the moment I need to eat it there’s a good chance I’m going to skip it.

This brings me to our versatile snack recipe for today…chia pudding! Chia seeds have been all the rage since 1977 when the Chia Pet came into existence. Now they’re raved about as a “super food”. Personally, I hesitate to label anything as a “super food”. I feel that nomenclature leads to over-consumption of one food. Nothing is a cure all. There can indeed be too much of a good thing. That being said, chia seeds are pretty great. They’re incredibly low on the glycemic index, rich in nutrients, and their ability to hold ten times their weight in liquid makes them very filling.


Plain or Vanilla Chia Pudding

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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If you’re looking for a truly low glycemic index snack you can leave out the maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup oat milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional, or you can use a flavored non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Directions

  1. Combine oat milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract into a bowl.
  2. Whisk together wet ingredients until they are thoroughly integrated.
  3. Stir in chia seeds, and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir mixture thoroughly, cover, and place in refrigerator for 3 hours.
  5. Once the chia seeds have absorbed the liquid serve them in a jar, ramekin, or other serving dish.

To make a more decadent snack layer your pudding with fresh fruit, jam, or other add-ins. Top with non-dairy whipped cream. Just keep in mind that this adds a lot of additional sugar to the dish.

In addition to our basic plain, or vanilla pudding recipe we’ve developed a chocolate pudding and a nut butter pudding. We’ll be working on some fruit based puddings, and hope to post them to the blog when they’re more refined. If you’re trying to incorporate more healthy snacks throughout the day it’s important to have variety, so we’ve included all three recipes here. While chia pudding is a great snack I don’t recommend having it every day, as over-consumption can cause some minor gastrointestinal distress.


Chocolate Chia Pudding

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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If you’re looking for a truly low glycemic index snack you can leave out the maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup oat milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Directions

  1. Combine oat milk, and maple syrup into a bowl.
  2. Sift cocoa powder into the bowl to avoid clumps.
  3. Whisk together wet ingredients until they are thoroughly integrated.
  4. Stir in chia seeds, and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir mixture thoroughly, cover, and place in refrigerator for 3 hours.
  6. Once the chia seeds have absorbed the liquid serve them in a jar, ramekin, or other serving dish.

To make a more decadent snack layer your pudding with your favorite nut butter, or fruit. Top with non-dairy whipped cream. Just keep in mind that this adds a lot of additional sugar to the dish.

When having this chia pudding as a snack I normally serve it plain, but if I’m having it as a healthy-ish dessert I’ll serve it with some decadent add-ins. Some great add ins are chocolate chips, nut-butter, fresh fruit, non-dairy whipped cream, granola and homemade jam. You can also layer different flavors of pudding together. If you make a great new flavor combination that we haven’t mentioned here let us know in the comments!


Nut Butter Chia Pudding

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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If you’re looking for a truly low glycemic index snack you can leave out the maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup oat milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tbsp creamy almond butter, or other nut butter
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Directions

  1. Combine oat milk, maple syrup, and nut butter into a bowl.
  2. Whisk together wet ingredients until they are thoroughly integrated.
  3. Stir in chia seeds, and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir mixture thoroughly, cover, and place in refrigerator for 3 hours.
  5. Once the chia seeds have absorbed the liquid serve them in a jar, ramekin, or other serving dish.

To make a more decadent snack mix in some chocolate chips, bananas, or other add-ins. Top with non-dairy whipped cream. Just keep in mind that this adds a lot of additional sugar to the dish.

When making chia pudding the wait time for absorption is important. Wait at least an hour before consuming if you cannot wait at least three. This is a great snack to prepare the evening before you intend to eat it. We do not recommend consuming dry or under-saturated chia seeds. If chia seeds have not already absorbed liquid they can swell in your throat and form a lump, so consume them cautiously and make sure they’ve already reached their greatest size.