It does not seem that the cookie cutter Nuxt templates allow for me to communicate back to the app since the serverMiddleware connect stuff only expects to designate a handler, but no way for me to pass a variable to that, if that makes any sense?

Vue.use means adding plugins. However, axios is not a plugin for Vue, so you can not add it globally via use. My recommendation is importing axios only when you need it. But if you really need to access it globally, you may like to add it to prototype. An example Service class wrapper for Axios. GitHub Gist: instantly share code, notes, and snippets.