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Life has been pretty crazy around here! I always falsely assume the end of the year will mean a slow down for the Riley's. Nope. It's the opposite.

However, I am going to TRY my best to knock out some recipes for you guys in the next couple weeks. The holidays always make me more inclined to bake and cook so I can't wait to do some of that and share what I make with y'all.

Until then. I thought I would share with your some of my favorite holiday recipes. Some aren't very festive but would make a great dish for that holiday party you are attending! 

My go-to holiday dessert. It's simple and easy to make. And oh so TASTY! You bet these will be made as soon as possible - RECIPE 

I made this for a holiday party last year and it was a huge hit! Those that typically have dairy LOVED it!It'ss a great party pleaser - RECIPE

Another great little recipe I created a while back! You could easily sub peanut butter for the almond butter but regardless it would make a tasty holiday treat - RECIPE 

I love a good Chines Christmas Eve! Years ago we used to do it every Christmas Eve. People would bring their favorite Chines food and we'd create a Chines Buffet. While we haven't done it in years, I could see this being a big hit!  - RECIPE 

SnickerDoodle Cupcakes - Gluten Free + Dairy Free
While these were fall inspired, you could easily christmas-fy these for the holidays! Maybe a little green and red icing? - RECIPE 

Have any holiday recipes you are ready to make for the season?

Have a great Thanksgiving Friends! 


Christmas will soon be upon us friends!
It's time to get those wish list's written for not only yourself but for others too! 
These are just a few of my favorite things I think would be perfect to add to your own Christmas list or to add to a loved ones!  

For the Eco-Friendly Friend - LifeFactory -  I love this company and their products. I have 3 of their water bottles sitting in my kitchen cabinet right now as I type this. They make great gifts that will last forever. They are just so cute while also beig Eco-Friendly!
Image result for lifefactory

For the Old School Friend - Mason Jar Accessories - Have someone that's obsessed with Mason Jars? They are going to love the crazy amounts of accessories that Ball has for their jars. I'm a personal fan of the sip and straw lids. Perfect for drinking out of any mason jar

For the Fixer Upper -  Hearth and Hand - I think any Fixer Upper fan is going to have this on their gift list. You can't go wrong with a little Joanna Gains in your life. I'm so impressed with this collection when I went to go check it out last week. High-quality products for great prices. Her christmas stuff is to die for! The mugs are also super cute for any home!

For the pet lover - Burts Bee's Pet Products - I love these products. They've helped Bruno get through the horrible summer allergies. They are made with simple and natural ingredients that work.
Image result for burt's bees pet care
For my amateur Chef - Air Fryer - These have intrigued me so much. Mostly because in the summer I HATE running my oven but I love baked fries or fried food. I feel like this would solve so many issues! Has anyone else used one? I also think the Ninja blenders need to be one peoples list as well. I can only imagine how smoother my cashew sour cream would be if I had one! :o

Avalon Bay Air Fryer, For Healthy Fried Food, 3.7 Quart Capacity, Includes Airfryer Baking Set and Recipe Book, AB-Airfryer100B
For the book lover- Amazon Kindle - For YEARS I've said I would never ask for one because I love a good physical book. But I've found it harder and harder to read because I don't have the time or room to carry books around. Well, I think along with it being a great gift idea, I may ask for a Kindle myself. It's time for a change friends! 

That's all I got for now friends! I may keep updating this list as time goes on! 

Do you have any gadgets or healthy products on your list this year?? I'd love to hear!


The blogger writing block was real this week my friends. I'm going to blame the cold weather and allergies attacking my forehead.
I get asked a lot of questions about my lifestyle, from healthy living, to food, and even clothing that I wear.
I thought a question and answer post would be fitting for this week and maybe I'll answer one of the questions you've always had for me!

1. What is Simply Samantha?
Simply Samantha is exactly what it says. It is simply me. I consider myself a very simple person. I enjoy the very simple things in life. I hope that is reflective in my recipes and posts. I feel life is just better when it's simpler.

2. What made you start blogging?
I first started blogging about 5 or 6 years ago. I love the online community that comes with blogging. Back then I used to blog more lifestyle and random posts. Such as my Hunger Games fandom phase back in Spring of 2012. Starting in 2014 I started documenting my recipes that I made in my first year of marriage as I tried to balance being a newlywed and living/eating healthy. That turned into what the blog is now. I like to mix in a lifestyle post here and there, but recipe creating is something I just love to do.

3. Does your husband eat how you eat?
Yes. Right before we got married I had everyone telling me he was going to eat me out of and house and home (my husband is 6ft 5in - Captian American built). But that was not the case. We knew from the get-go that it was just going to be easier for us to eat the same (gluten-free) dinners. When we eat at home, he eats whatever I make. I try to make meals that I know he will eat. I wrote a post about this here. When we eat out though, he eats whatever he wants.

4. So what are your dietary restrictions?
Gluten - I CAN NOT have gluten. I am not Celiac (I have never been tested). If a piece of regular bread touches my salad it will not kill me. However, I cannot ingest any gluten. I've been gluten-free ever since April 2013 when I went to the ER with severe stomach pains that caused me to pass out. I took gluten out of my diet to see if it would help with some of the symptoms I was having daily. It helped and I feel better ever since.
Dairy - This is the newest one. I'm still trying to figure out where I am at with it. After our trip to Ireland where I had all the dairy daily (note: most of their dairy in Ireland is pasture raised and local), I came back and became sick after a weekend of heavy American dairy intake. I don't know if have a problem with raw dairy (like milk, yogurt) or just dairy in general. I'll keep you posted ;). I figured it's just best to avoid it for right now.
Pork and Beef - this is more of a preference but I do not eat pork and rarely eat any beef.

5. Some of your recipes are vegan... are you vegan?
No. I like the challenge of cooking vegan and sometimes vegan meals are easier, cheaper, and tastier. However, I am a big believer and supporting brands that ethically take care of animals (like Stonyfield, Applegate, Pete and Gerrys). I don't like to support companies that treat their animals unethically. No animal should be tortured just so we can have food.

6. Is Bruno vegan? Gluten Free?
Vegan. No.
He is pretty much a gluten-free dog. He doesn't eat beef or pork either (except for his monthly heart-guard which is beef flavored). He eats a grain free dog food with salmon and potatoes. His treats are typically grain/gluten free as well.

7. Any simple tips for gluten-free?
Always keep the house stocked with options. I always have salad in the fridge and some type of fruit. Healthy nuts and snacks are in the pantry at all times. My go-to snack is popcorn. And I always keep a box of gluten-free + vegan mac and cheese in my pantry.

8. You aren't vegan but do you have any favorite vegan brands that you love to support?
YES! I love Beyond Meat. Great products that are great for substituting for meat from time to time.
Follow Your Heart has the best sliced vegan cheese out there.
Silk and So Delcious are staples in our fridge for almond milk and coffee creamer.

9. Favorite recipe?
I'm always a fan of an Asian noodle recipe. Right now its a tie between Sticky Garlic Noodles or Pad Thai.

10. Any tips for traveling Ireland?
Oh dear Ireland. Take tons of pictures. The whole country is beautiful! Don't be afraid of eating over there. I have never been to a place where my dietary restrictions were never a problem.
Oh and don't spend more than a day in Dublin. And spend more than one day in Galway.

11. Where did you get that shirt!? 
I get this a lot since my instastories are shot mostly from the hips up ;). My favorite places to shop for clothes are TJ Maxx, H&M, and Old Navy. From time to time I find cute stuff at Target but I don't go there for clothes often. I live in Forever 21 $3 leggings on a daily basis.

12. Who's your Spirit animal?
OH, hands down Joanna Gains. My husband and I are literally her and Chip in a nutshell. Similar personalities. My husbands very much the goofy one and I am the quiet but sensible one ;).

13. A song you are loving at the moment? 
While I'm a country girl at heart, I love a good pop song - Havana by Camila Cabello is my jam right now.

I leave it at lucky number 13 friends!

 If you have any other question for me, comment below! I'd love to answer them! 


I feel I've made Tuna every which way. From Chickpea to StoveTop. I felt it was time to update this from a couple years ago. It's a family recipe that I grew up on and my husband has come to love.  
The main ingredient is canned tuna. My favorite is Wild Selections Tuna. It's Non-GMO, Certified MSC Sustainable, and sustainably caught.  The way nature intended for tuna to be!
This recipe could also be made vegan if you want to use vegan tuna. I know the products are out there I just have never tried them myself.

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Tuna Burgers - Gluten and Dairy Free
A quick and tasty burger for those busy weeknights. Gluten + Dairy Free too
  • 3 5oz cans Tuna
  • 1/2 cup Gluten Free Bread Crumbs*
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup Mayonaise*
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • Diced Small Onion
  • 4 Gluten Free Hamburger Buns*
  • *Optional Old Bay
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. If you feel like the mixture is too wet, add more breadcrumbs If you feel the mixture is too dry, add more mayonnaiseForm into patties. You can do this ahead of time but I wouldn't do it more than a couple hours before (I did mine in the morning to cook at night)Cook patties till brown on each side. Make sure the middle is cooked through. I say the cooking time varies depending on the size of your pattiesServe on your favorite GF/DF Bun and enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 patties

*GF Breadcrumbs are a must. I would assume you could use Panko breadcrumbs too if you had them on hand.
*I used Just Mayo - but feel free to use whatever Mayonaise you'd like
*My favorite buns in the entire world are BFree. If you can find them near you, get them. They will change your life. 


Let's be real. I hated photographing this meal. Not because it didn't taste good, because it tasted amazing, just because gluten free pasta doesn't hold after a day and looks like mush.

Don't let this icky looking photo job persuade you from making this meal because it's good. I promise!

My husband took the leftovers to work and as he was eating lunch his boss came by and told him that his wife needs to make enough for everyone. Nothing says proud wife moment like you husbands dinner leftovers being the envy of his work office. ;)

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CrockPot Chili Mac - Gluten & Dairy Free - Vegan
Set and forget this Gluten and Dairy Free Vegan Chili Mac!
  • 1 small/medium diced Onion
  • 1 chopped Bell Pepper (red or green)
  • 15oz can, drained Pinto Beans
  • 15oz can, drained Kidney Beans
  • 28oz canned Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 8oz Gluten Free Elbow Pasta
  • 1 package Dairy Free Cheddar Cheese
Throw all the ingredients in the crockpot EXCEPT the pasta and cheese Cover and cook 4 hours on high OR 6-8hours on low. At the end of the cooking cycle. turn up the crockpot to high (if not already there) and add pasta. Stir and cover till pasta is soft.When pasta has absorbed the liquid, add cheese to desired taste (the more the creamier). Save a little to top the pasta and beans. Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes to let the cheese melt
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 - 8 Serving

Happy Cooking Friends!

A couple weeks ago I got to try Color Garden plant-based food coloring a couple weeks ago over on my Instagram. I shared a quick recipe for a super easy boxed SnickerDoodle cupcake.

I am not a baker.

I will always be the first to tell you that. I love a good boxed cupcake/muffin/cake mix that I can doctor up and make special. It's just much easier for me to do that then try to mix 5 different flours to make a dozen gluten-free cupcakes. 

That's where these SnickerDoodle cupcakes came about.
1. I wanted to top the cupcakes with some colored icing. 2.I wanted to have fall inspired cupcakes without the hard work (i know, I'm lazy).

You can use other colored dye if you aren't particular. However, I highly HIGHLY recommend spending the couple more dollars to buy the color garden brand.

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Snickerdoodle Cupcakes - Gluten free + Vegan
Super easy boxed snickerdoodle cupcakes
  • 1 box Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix*
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Icing*
  • Optional Colored Dye
Make cupcakes according to box (including baking temperature and time)After making the batter - add cinnamon and nutmeg* and mixPour batter into cupcake liners- Bake according to box instructions.Sprinkle Cinnamon Sugar on topAfter the cupcakes are baked in cooled, top with your colored icing (or plain icing if you don't want colored icing)
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 10-12 cupcakes

*I used Cherry Brook Gluten Free Yellow cake mix with Earth Balance Butter
* I also used simple mills frosting/icing 

I'm not one for casual drinking. But coming from a strong Irish heritage, I would be lying if I didn't say I enjoy a good whiskey.
A good Irish Whiskey. 
Whiskey is just so versatile how could you not love it! I love this sweet Whiskey Sour inspired by Skinny Pop because it pairs PERFECTLY with their cheddar popcorn.

I'm a huge fan of Skinny Pop...

Especially their Skinny Pop Cheddar popcorn. It's VEGAN and GLUTEN FREE, two of my favorite things! Their popcorn is also
No Artificial Ingredients
Peanut Free
Tree Nut Free
No Artificial Flavors
Zero Transfat

This drink is a perfect pairing with the cheddar popcorn, a lovely fall candle, as you lay on the couch surrounded by decor pumpkins. Because who doesn't love a good decor pumpkin to display in the fall!
If you didn't know Jameson is gluten-free from what I've read and seen (I toured the Dublin Jameson Factory). Their distillation process takes out the gluten component making it safe for those living a gluten-free lifestyle.
However, I know everyone is different in their gluten free/celiac life so please take what I say with a grain of salt. I know I am able to drink Jameson but other may not. So just be careful. 


It's been a hot minute friends! Hurricanes will set your life back like that. 
I've been dying to get back into normal cooking and recipe sharing with y'all! Cooking in the evening is my happy place, it's the time to decompress from work and whip up something yummy and filling to sit on the couch and eat with the hubs.

Fall is here! 

And I don't know about you but I am beyond excited for fall. Granted Florida doesn't get the memos on fall weather and how it's supposed to work, but we make the best of it. The weather does seem to slowly cool down which means oven meals are back, crock pot meals are more plentiful, and hearty dinners and treats are abounding. 

Did someone say Jambalaya? 

Yup! And a jambalaya that can be made vegan! However, I'll admit I didn't make mine vegan. Finding a vegan sausage that was also Gluten Free was VERY hard in my area. I was pretty disappointed but I don't mind buying poultry products if I know the animals were taken care of and not filled with junk. Hence, why I love Applegate as a company. They make sure the animals are treated well and socialized (which is something I'm passionate about) So I grabbed some of their pepper turkey breakfast patties and added them to the Jambalaya. They worked PERFECTLY with this recipe!
Just tweak the sausage to your dietary preference! 

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Jambalaya | Gluten Free & StoveTop |
Easy Jambalaya that can easily be made vegan!
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 diced Green Pepper
  • 2 diced Celery Stalk (optional)
  • 1 medium diced Onion
  • 3-4 minced Garlic Cloves
  • 14oz can Diced Tomatoes (slightly drained)
  • 4.5 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Tbsp Paprika
  • 2 Tbsp Cumin
  • to taste Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • to taste Hot Sauce of your choice
  • 2 Cups Brown Rice
  • 14oz can Red Kidney Beans
  • Sausage*
  • 10oz Okra
In a deep pot, warm oil and saute peppers, celery (if using), onion, and garlic till soft.Then add the rest except the sausage and okra.Bring the pot to a boil. Turn heat down, simmer, and cover till liquid is absorbed. Depends on the type of rice. Mine took about 40 minutes.While the jambalaya is cooking, warm up okra and sausage separately. When the rice is done absorbing, add the cooked sausage and okra and mix together.Add some vegan butter to the rice for some creamy flavor and serve! *To make this recipe vegan. Use a vegan sausage. If not then use a sausage to your taste or diet preference.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings
Happy Cooking Friends!

I know, I know. Another carb filled pasta recipe.... 
But y'all. It's hot. And Pasta recipes are the quickest and less heat creating recipe.
This one is so unique. It has some great flavors and ingredients I don't typically use in my noodle recipes but it packs a great punch. 
As always you can add any protein/extras you want. Some chicken or even chickun' pieces would do nicely in this dish. I added some of our favorite veggies to ours. Broccoli is our go to with pasta dishes.

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Gluten Free + Vegan Kung Pao Spaghetti
A take on a great Asian dish with a gluten free noodle twist
  • 16oz Gluten Free Spaghetti noodles*
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves Minced Garlic Cloves
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup Gluten Free Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Better Than Bouillon Chicken Broth**
  • 1/4 cup (less for less of a kick) Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • thinly sliced Green Onions
  • 2 tbsp (less for less spice) Sirracha
Cook pasta according to the package. Just be careful because gluten free pasta starts to clump if you let it sit for too longWhile the pasta is cooking, add oil to a pan (i used a wok) and cook until fragrant. Stir in cornstartch until incorporated. Then add soy sauce, "chicken" broth. sweet chili sauce, sriracha, and rice wine vinegar. Whisk then simmer for 1-2 minutes. I like to then add the green onions and let them sit in the mixture till the sauce thickens.Add noodles to the pan (or wok) and mix well. Add in any extra proteins or veggies to your liking. *I use Tinkyada White Rice Spaghetti noodles. They are amazing for Asian dishes. **Better than Boullion has a vegetarian "no chicken" chicken broth. I highly recommend it for this recipe.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

***Forgot to mention that you can use the salt and pepper in the recipe to your taste. 

Happy Cooking Friends!

I just realized this is my second pasta recipe in a row here on the blog. Guess I just really like my gluten free carbs ;)
Nothing makes me happier then hearing my husband say a dish is good with out any prompting. Most of the time I wait for him to take the first bite of a new recipe and stare at him intently waiting for response.
 what worried blink stare staring GIF
After I got myself a bowl of this delicious new pasta creation and walked to my spot on the couch in the living room. I hear a very mouthful muffled "This is really good" from my husband. 
I secretly did this on the inside. 
 reaction happy yes win winning GIF

So if you are looking for a good dairy free pasta recipe that  a dairy eating husband will enjoy this is for you!

I know I've made Alfredo sauce (not once but twice) and pasta in the past but I feel this is BY FAR the easiest to make. 

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One Pot Fettuccine Alfredo | Vegan & Gluten Free |
The best dairy free pasta you will ever make!
  • 3-4 minced Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Vegan Butter*
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Cups Organic Soy Milk**
  • to taste salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 12oz Gluten Free Fettuccine Pasta***
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas
  • 10oz Steamed Broccoli
In a pot (or pan) big enough for your pasta, saute garlic in butter, oil and a sprinkle of salt until the garlic is fragrant and the butter is melted. Next, pour in the veggie broth, soy milk, and the rest of the seasoning (GP,OP,S&P, and Nooch). Cover and bring to a boil.Once at a boil, turn the heat down and add the pasta. Push pasta down so its submerged in the liquid.The pasta will absorb the liquid. Gluten Free past is funny so if you feel you need more pasta, add more. Stir often with tongs so the noddles don't stick together. After about 10-15 minutes, add in frozen peas. If you need more liquid add soy milk.Once peas are soft, you can add in steamed broccoli with some garlic salt for flavor. Serve and enjoy!*I used Earth Balance **Soy milk works the BEST. I wouldn't suggest anything else. I used unsweetened Silk Soy Milk. ***I used about a box and half of Deboles GF pasta. Hence the 12oz. I made the leftovers noodles I didn't use in a separate pot just incase we needed more.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

Happy Cooking Friends!