Whenever Shelly Blake took her homemade salsa to social gatherings, people would comment on how good it was and ask why she wasn’t selling it. “So, I decided to give it a try,” Blake says. Using fire-roasted tomatoes, she now makes three versions of red salsa ($7.50) under her Bad Dog Salsa banner, including the scintillating Draw Blood (jalapeños and habaneros); and a special salsa verde, which is chockfull of fire-roasted tomatillos, green chiles, jalapeños and serrano chiles along with cilantro and avocado, an unusual salsa ingredient that lends a creaminess to the heat. “Fire roasting is really a key factor in the flavor,” says Blake, who uses an immersion blender to marry the ingredients, creating a much smoother texture than that found in typical commercial salsas. Bad Dog Salsa donates 10 percent of every sale to Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit agency that rescues children from sex trafficking.
Bad Dog Salsa
Gym buddies and business partners Alexis Brown and Mike Simione have cooked up a winning formula for protein-fortified overnight oats to fill what they say is a void in the local grab-and-go breakfast arena. Made with organic produce, milk and seasonings, O.M.G Overnight Oats ($23.96, sampler four pack) come in four flavors: coconut almond bliss; apple cinnamon and pistachio; vanilla cold brew cacao; and banana nut bread. Each 8-oz. container has at least 17 grams of whey isolate protein or vegan pea protein powder, both sweetened with stevia. The duo experimented with 25 different flavors and will be rolling out new combos as they grow the business. Under consideration: carrot cake and berries and cream. O.M.G oats are great to eat on the run or stash in a purse or bag to enjoy later, Brown says. “We like to say, they’re oat of this world.” Also available in 12-oz. containers. Purchase online and pick up at one of six gyms around the Valley.
O.M.G Overnight Oats
Hot Cocoa Bombs
Marla Giordano has a thing for cupcakes. She baked her first one at age 7, and later started Marla’s Cupcakes to sell them profressionally. But after seeing a how-to video about making hot cocoa bombs ($5 at farmers markets; $18 for four online), she has a new passion. The spheres of chocolate filled with marshmallows and cocoa mix “explode” when you pour steaming milk or water over them, transforming into a tidy mug of hot chocolate. “They’re a big hit,” Giordano says. “Kids love to watch the marshmallows pop out.” To make the bombs, she paints melted Guittard chocolate on silicone molds and then places them in the freezer to set. She then adds the filling, seams the chocolate semi-circles together and decorates the outside. Giordano offers 16 flavors, from Andes chocolate mint to salted caramel milk chocolate to pumpkin spice white chocolate. Find Giordano’s cocoa bombs at Pinnacle Peak Farmers Market and Momma’s Organic Market.