Can you answer a question for me? Am I the only person on the planet who spots a potato and a head of broccoli side by side in a grocery store and suddenly a mini motion picture of my life thirty years ago starts playing in my head? That’s what happened to me yesterday, and it inspired me to make this vegan smoky apple & cheddar stuffed baked potato.
I don’t know if this happens to every one when they turn fifty, but I have to tell you that for the last two years, memories of my youth have been jumping out at me from left field.
It’s crazy! I’ll be minding my own business when BAM, a scent, an object, a song, a word, or even a vegetable triggers a memory and transports me back to a time when I was fresh faced, carefree, and clueless.
My most recent This is Your Life reel took me back to year twenty-two. I was working for a jewelry store, in a mall (bleck), in Madison, Wisconsin. I was wearing winter white trousers, brown pumps, a tweed blazer with gigantic shoulder pads (eek), and my hair was past my shoulders and perfect.
It was my dinner break and I was standing in the food court between an Orange Julius and the restaurant that was making my broccoli, bacon, and cheddar stuffed baked potato. I was minding my own business when suddenly this booming voice said, “Well hello there pretty lady, can I buy you an Orange Julius?”
I looked up, and up, and up, to find one of the Harlem Globetrotters standing next to me. I looked around to see who he was talking to and realized that I was the only woman standing there. I don’t recall turning the color of a fire hydrant, but the mini motion picture in my head told the real story.
Photo via Can’t Have Too Many Cards
That was the end of my flashback. It came and went as fast as my twenties did.
In case you were wondering, I didn’t let him buy me an Orange Julius, nor did I give him my phone number, although I was quite flattered that he asked. But I did keep his business card to show my hot boyfriend (who’s now my hot husband), because I knew he’d never believe me.
Looking back I feel horrible about eating that potato, loaded with cheese and bacon, filled with fat, calories, and cruelty. Like I said before, I was fresh faced, carefree, and clueless.
Fortunately, I’ve evolved. I don’t wear clothes with shoulder pads and I don’t consume animals. Whew!
But I have to admit, the memory of that stuffed baked potato kept coming back to me. Maybe the purpose of all of the flashbacks of my youth is a reminder of the simple things that made me happy way back when, and to challenge me to embrace simplicity and create better versions of bacon and cheese baked potatoes?
Probably not, and besides, I really don’t believe in looking back. Onward and upward is my motto. However, when it comes to a cheesy, smoky stuffed baked potato, I say let’s turn back time.
All right, this combination is the BOMB! I mean it, it’s freaking amazing! The sweet apples combined with the spicy chili powder is sooooo good. Add the smoky and slight maple flavor of the tempeh to the sweet and spicy apple, and the cheddar flavored cashew cheese, and it’s like an overload of OMG!
To make this healthy, smoky, and drop dead gorgeous smoky apple & cheddar stuffed baked potato you need to start with a big baking potato. The bigger the better.
Scrub it, pat it dry, and pierce it with a fork several times. Then wrap it in aluminum foil and bake it for an hour or until you can press on it and it gives.
While the potato is baking soak the cashews in boiling water, and marinate the tempeh in liquid smoke, maple syrup, and salt and pepper.
When the potato is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for about fifteen minutes. While it’s cooling make the cheesy sauce, Inspired by my friend, Sophia, at Veggies Don’t Bite, the smoky apples, and the smoky maple tempeh.
The apples are sautéed in water and sprinkled with chili powder. When they’re soft, but not mushy, remove them from the heat.
The tempeh needs to be lightly fried in a tiny bit of oil until it’s crispy. When the tempeh is done remove it from the heat, toss the spinach in the pan, stir, and let it wilt.
Pour the cheese sauce into a small sauce pan and heat it until it thickens like a thick melted cheddar cheese.
Now fill the potato with the “cheddar” sauce, the apples, and the tempeh and spinach. Add more cheese on top, and dig into that bad boy.
The memory of that stuffed potato from the 80s didn’t hold a candle to this smoky apple & cheddar stuffed baked potato. And my heart, my waistline, and my soul felt much better eating this than they did eating cheese and bacon thirty odd years ago.
How often do you have memories from the past sneak up and surprise you?
Have you ever worked in a mall?
Do you remember the Harlem Globetrotters?
Do you like what you’ve seen so far? I sure hope so! Do me a favor, take a trip over to my Facebook page and give it a like, or follow me on Instagram or Twitter, and follow me and share this and other Veganosity recipes on Pinterest. I’d be so grateful if you did.
Need a high powered blender to make your cheese sauce, or nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, or raw cashews? Buy them on Amazon.com and have them delivered right to your doorstep.
Veganosity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We make a small commission when you order from Amazon. It helps us afford the groceries to develop all of our recipes, and to pay for the maintenance of our site. We thank you in advance for your consideration.