Veggie Load...we mean Loaf with an Apple Butter Glaze sided with Garlic Mashed Potatoes n' The Gravy


We start this very delayed blog post in a weird way, just like each day this year has felt. This is us in our Jeep Charlotte we finally restored after 6+ years, we got caught in the rain running errands- Nikki felt the need to document the precious moment. We needed the laugh. These past months have been an experience for us all. We hope you all have been supporting each other and spreading kindness, love, humor.. to your family and community- we could all use a little uplift!

We have a few updates of what's been going on since we last checked in and what's to come with Atomic and Veggie Reaper. Have you all learned a lesson or two in patience this year, we have, how'd your 2020 plans go?

If you'd like to skip the updates and get straight down to food, please scroll and enjoy. We hope you find comfort in this favorite recipe of ours.

I guess we might as well start at the last time we checked in Jan 30...

Shortly after our blog update, we had the successful Valentines Bake Sale with Iowa Farm Sanctuary. Then ended up getting down with the ickiest of ickies. The no want to eat food, and can’t taste anything, can't trust your body... yukko. Nikki tested positive for Influenza A and Jeff did not. Phew- seriously glad that's over, it was the first time either one of us had caught sickness like that.

Aside from the yuks, good things happened too!

We had a super time at a gifted date for Rawlicious Valentines Dinner with live piano.

We had a great time at Hercules Haven Soup Supper and meeting Sweet Sophie the newest addition at that time. We cannot say we did the best at trivia!

(Sophie now in the first photo, the next two is the day we met her!)

Among events, we had just found a building to possibly rent/buy in our neighborhood and we were wanting to move Nikki’s salon and re-brand her business there. Exciting! Self Care, Retail, Workshops with Yoga, Food etc.. We spent a lot of time getting ready to relaunch the business and update the found building. We decided to put our own home projects on hold in this process. (it’s okay we’re back at it!)

We started working in the found building then - boom, Covid-19 shut down. All plans cancelled but just needed to regroup! We had my brother's dog Blue for a while my brother helped with the National Guard duties, and we spent weekends canoeing with the dogs or working in the shop.

Nikki then spent a lot of time away from the salon and a ton of time brainstorming and working towards her re-branding and full on move. Jeff, continued business as usual- super swamped at work helping Nikki in all his free time. As most of you know, we are always up to something.

In all this chaos, we had to say goodbye to Buffy and Bam Bam our sweet ferrets. They both became very ill with their diseases, - truly- never an easy decision. We miss them very much.

Through all of this, Nikki still hadn’t been feeling the best. She was struck again with another ick. Icky Nikki. The irony. After finally pushing forward to going to the doctor, getting redirected and months and months and months of tests. We are left with no answers, large medical bills, and still having lingering icks of the unknown. Nikki is looking into seeing a functional medical doctor and using her knowledge of food to help her symptoms in the meantime. She feels tons better but has occasional flare ups.

After many GI tests, and Covid-19 set backs lasting longer than all expected, eventually our state re-opened salons and we kept moving forward in opening Atomic at its new location. We had our social distancing planting event for pollinator plants, and our Grand Opening planned along with our 8th year Salonniversary celebration for August 8th. There were many events planned at this new spot.

A few days later, Monday, August 10th- Iowa was hit with a devastating storm called a Derecho. Jeff was out in the field when the storm hit, was eventually able to make it home safely to check on the zoo and later that day catch up with Nikki. Nikki was at the new location when the storm hit, she was getting ready to work on a color with a guest. They decided to wait in case the storm came and shut the power off. Minutes later, the power went out. Which stayed out for over a week and a half. So much went on in this time frame, Jeff continued with work with added tree removal jobs. Nikki stayed home and cleaned up the yard trying to keep the home cool for the animals.

Jeffs parents saved us with a generator- which we were eventually able to chain up and leave home to help the community. We packed up coolers and loaded the jeep and went to addresses of those who hadn’t had a warm meal or needed water. It was unreal, neighbors who hadn’t had a warm meal or cold water in 10 days even! Eventually we just started driving through neighborhoods and we ran out of food and beverages each night.

We reached out to help more online, and soon after we were getting money donated to feed the community veggies! Eventually we were able to use the neighboring yard of the new location for Derecho supply and food pick up. We had friends from all over donate, and help. Shout out to our friends Hailey Dixon with Brightside Kitchen, Jamie Nicolino with The Collective, Hercules Haven, and Iowa Farm Sanctuary for your endless support to the community. Our neighborhood will never forget your kindness. We met many neighbors, and we looked forward to seeing them each day they visited. After power came on, Nikki pushed work back just a little longer as she continued to help the community and get the shop and house set back up. We are still getting donations out to the community.

In the process of Nikki getting back to work behind the chair at the new location, something suddenly changed which prompted a move, and we have Nikki relocating back to Salon Flat’s on 12th. Luckily, her old salon location was never sublet, and we have great friends!

Work after Derecho for both of us has been hectic. The salon is booming, and Jeff’s work title and duties are changing with the business he works full time, and we are still in search for the perfect building for Nikki’s businesses.

To add to all the business, we had many events we participated in these past few months, we rescued a pupper, and bought a food truck! FUCK YEAH!

Told you 2020

It’s been a 50/50 year. Good/ Bad.

Let’s finish this blog post with the goodness of 2020.

We were so happy to be able to be a part of socially distanced events during this pandemic. Nikki taught a lot of yoga at the farm sanctuaries, both at Hercules Haven and Iowa Farm Sanctuary. Local 4 in the Quad Cities did a small covering on one of the yoga classes Nikki taught.

Local 4- Quad Cities Iowa Farm Sanctuary Sunset Yoga <-- click here to watch

We participated in Hercules Haven Chili cook-off and didn’t take the trophy home this year. We catered a friends wedding of 80+ and got excellent feed back, Nikki also did the wedding parties hair that morning! Just last weekend Nikki made cookies for 120+ guests and a cake for Carl the cows 4th birthday. Yes, as per tradition she even got to feed the big boy his cake. It was a great party!

All events for 2020 have come to and end for the Grim's, and there will be many events in 2021 to look forward to!

Over a month ago wandering the woods for who knows how long , this little girl found my friends on a walk. Covered in fur mats that pulled her soft pink skin, emaciated, flea infested, covered in cuts from a bad shave, exhausted, she was still eager for human compassion and love.

(Her progression from being found to loved)

This weekend marks a month of Grimlin’s stay at our Zoo. Yes, we named her Grimlin, don’t get her wet, or feed her after midnight okay?! Her story unknown, she has adapted very well here, she's very smart, loveable and everyday she grows more into her personality. We are absolutely smitten by her. Who rescued who?

Even though we don’t have a building to move forward with our original plans, doesn't mean we are not moving forward with our business plan.

We went with our gut feeling this past month, and went ahead and got us a food trailer! We purchased from a dear friend of ours, who also has a plant based business.

What! 2021, we have plans for you. We might even have plans in 2020 yet, but in all honesty we are working out all the kinks of a new biz, the food biz... while working our other jobs full time and caring for the zoo. We will keep you in the loop when Veggie Reaper hits refrigerators and parking lots near you! Trust me.. it's like a dream come true. We are so excited to nurture this new adventure!

For now, check out the updates we will be launching on our website and on our facebook and IG! Be patient with updates, Nikki get's at it when she can!

You can also support us getting our business ready by purchasing some merch online! For now we have t-shirt, long sleeves, ad sweatshirts available at

Veggie Reaper Apparel on Bonfire

They will be shipped directly to your door and support the plant based food dream!

Okay- Now for food talk. You ready?

Comforting food, cause we all need the extra comfort.

It is one of the Grim's favorite time of year. Not only because it is Jeff's birthday month, and there's more spook about (We LOVE Halloween!), but its perfect weather for savory belly filling food. Leaves are falling season is changing- heck there was a dust of snow out this morning.

Veggie Loaf with an Apple Butter Glaze

Rich in a variety of veggies, textures and flavors. Veggies can be subbed out for other veggies, same with seasonings. This is a playful recipe, and is perfect for cupboard or leftover fridge food hanging about. There is an option to make your own apple butter too, and we've included that in this write up. Shred, mix, shape, cook and enjoy!

Mashed Potatoes and The Gravy

These potatoes will make you go coconuts, literally. They are in the dish, this recipe is oil free because of them! Replace the coconut with your favorite plant based butter if need be. The Gravy is oil free, and ultra savory. This dish is going to leave you wanting seconds, or more.

Veggie Loaf with an Apple Butter Glaze Recipe

Written by: Veggie Reaper

Nut Free . Gluten Free . Soy Free . Oil Free

Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees

Cook Time: 1 Hour

Servings: 6-8

Apple Glaze Topping:

1/4 C Ketchup

1 TBSP Pure Maple Syrup

2 TBSP Apple butter or unsweetened applesauce

2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar

*Mix all ingredients into a bowl and set aside for when your loaf is molded

Veggie Loaf:

Milled Flax or Chia: 3 TBSP, 1/2 Cup Water

("Flax/Chia egg" make first, mix and set aside for later)

4 Garlic Cloves Minced

1 Onion Chopped

1 C Shredded Potato (quick tip- frozen shredded hashbrowns)

2 C Slaw (1 C Cauliflower, 1 C Broccoli food process/ chop into fine pieces)

1 Jalapeno Diced

1/2 C Cooked Beans (mash 'em)

1/2 C Corn

1 Fuji Apple Diced

1/3 C Dried Fruit (Cranberries, Raisins, whatever you're craving)

1/2 C Gluten Free Flour (Oat, Chickpea, Potato, whatever is handy)

3/4 C Nutritional Yeast (Optional, cheesy and delicious)

3/4 C Gluten Free Bread Crumbs (As needed if messy loaf)

1 tsp Pink Salt

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Rosemary

1 tsp Sage

1 tsp Oregano

*Heat skillet with 1-2 tbsp of water or oil

*Saute Onion and Garlic 3-5 min medium to high heat

*Add Potato, Slaw, Jalapeno, Beans, Corn, Apple, and Dried Fruit and cook for 5-10 more minutes - Remove from heat - place in a large mixing bowl

*Add Salt, Pepper, Herbs, GF Flour, Nutritional Yeast, GF Bread Crumbs, Flax/Chia egg and mix -it all up until it gets sticky like a meatless loaf should be.

*Line a pan with parchment paper, press the loaf mixture firmly into the pan

*Glaze the top of your loaf generously, and cover with foil

*Cook for roughly an hour or hour and 15 minutes, let it set 5-10 minutes with foil on before serving, cut and enjoy while it's hot

*Tastes great with The Gravy

Garlic Mashed Potatoes and The Gravy

Written By: Veggie Reaper

Nut Free . Gluten Free . Soy Free . Oil Free

Cook time: 1 hour


Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

6 Large Red Potatoes

1 Head of Garlic

1 can Full Fat Coconut

1 TBSP Mushroom Seasoning/Broth or add some Veg Broth seasoning of any kind

1 tsp Pink Salt and Black Pepper to taste

*Roast the Head of Garlic by cutting off the pointed tip, and covering with or without foil on a cookie sheet. (try adding a tsp of water to help infuse garlic) Set oven for 375 and cook for 20 min. Set aside for later use.

*Boil washed Potatoes until mashable. Roughly 30-45 minutes depending. When ready to mash, drain potatoes, put the potatoes back to the pan and squeeze the roasted garlic in along with the full fat coconut milk, mushroom seasoning/broth, salt and pepper, reheat to keep em hot. Save the rest of the flavors for The Gravy.

The Gravy:

1 Onion Diced

5 Cloves Garlic

4 tsp Nutritional Yeast

4 TBSP Soy/ Tamari Sauce

1/2 C Gluten Free Flour

2 1/2 C Broth

1 tsp Sage

1 tsp Rosemary

1 tsp Thyme

1 tsp Pink Salt

1 1/2 tsp Black Pepper

*Heat 1/4 C water in a medium sauce pan over medium heat

*Saute Onion, and Garlic until soft and translucent, 5 minutes

*Stir in Gluten Free Flour, Nutritional Yeast, and Soy Sauce to form a smooth paste

*Gradually whisk in the broth

*Add your Herbs and Spices

*Bring to a boil, use a immersion blender if GF Flour gets clumpy

*Reduce Heat and stir till thickened

Bonus Recipe: Pressure Cooker Apple Butter

Written by: Veggie Reaper

Nut Free . Gluten Free . Soy Free . Oil Free

Cook Time: 30 Min

Servings: 4 Cups


8-10 Sweet Apples

½ C Water

¼ C Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup

1 tsp Pink Salt

Apple Pie Spice:

¼ C Cinnamon (6 sticks)

2 tsp Nutmeg

1 tsp Ginger

1 tsp Cardamom

*Wash, core, and chunk apples

*Place in pressure cooker

*Add Brown Sugar, Pink Salt, Apple Pie Spice, and water.

*Stir, and Pressure Cook for 15 minutes. (We use 70kPa on our adjustable pressure cooker).

*Natural release for about 15 minutes before manually releasing. Use tongs to remove cinnamon sticks.

*If using an immersion blender, get to work. Get it nice and smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender then allow the mixture to cool. Transfer to blender and go crazy. We like ours smooth but you can stop at any chunkiness. Ready to use right away, will last sealed and covered in fridge up to 10 days.

Bonus Recipe: Fancy Ketchup

Written By: Veggie Reaper

Nut Free . Gluten Free . Soy Free . Oil Free

Estimated Time: 5 Minutes

Serving: 1 cup

This tomato ketchup is so easy, it takes minutes in the blender. It has been fun exploring with different spices, I encourage you to explore the world of fancy ketchup.


¾ C Water

5 Large Pitted Dates

2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar

1 can Tomato Paste 170g

½ tsp Dijon Mustard seed/ or mustard

½ tsp Cumin

¼ tsp Cinnamon

¼ tsp Onion powder

¼ tsp Garlic powder

Pinch in: Cloves, Nutmeg, Cayenne

Pink Salt to taste

*Combine all ingredients in a pan, mix with medium to high heat for 2 minutes.

*Removes from heat, and allow to cool.

*Place ingredients from the pan to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy

Adventures of flavors, bursting at every taste. Be prepared to make more, and double this recipe for a double batch! Store in a sealed container for a couple of weeks to a month in the fridge, and enjoy. Mix well before serving.

We hope you enjoy these flavorful creations, please tag us on social media and show us your Veggie Reaper Creations! If you made it through this whole blog post, we hope to see you in front of the lines at one of our first events!

Eat like it's your last meal
-The Grim's

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