June 2014 - Simply Samantha

Friday Favorites

8:00 AM

Yay, It's friday! I am excited for this weekend. The hubster and I have some house fixer-upper stuff to do (including finishing up our DIY chalkboard // post to follow sooon!//). And Sunday we are going to enjoy some Jesus praising and then the beach with family. Hopefully Florida's bipolar summer weather will be in a good mood for us this weekend.

Anywhozels. Here are my favorite things from this past week.

::It was my birthday!::
This can be a favorite from my week right?

My husband fed my obsession with mason jars by buying me a stackable mason jar measuring cups. And also drinking lids for my actual mason jars that I drink out of.
(btw these aren't my pictures. Someone *points to self* was lazy and didnt have time to take photo's herself)

::The new teaser for Mockingjay::
Did you feel the feels too!? My heart cried "Pooooor Peta"

::My new chalkboard::
We still need to put trim around it but here is a sneak peak ;) (excuse any spelling errors)
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::New YouTube series::
Call me a nerd but I like finding/watching YouTube videos. I think a lot of people assume YouTube is just for cat videos but sometimes you can find some good content. I binge watched and caught up to the latest episode to a new series called "The New Adventures of Peter Pan and Wendy". It's so cute. I want to be Wendy.

Also if you like watching seires on YouTube. Check out
The Lizzy Bennett Diaries
Emma Approved

::Starbucks Yummyness::
I am not a Starbucks junkie by any means but I do like a nice drink from there from time to time. I will admit, I will take a Dunkin Donuts flavored coffee over Starbucks any day because I find Starbucks coffee to be a bit bitter if not made right. BUT I think I may have found my new favorite flavored coffee drink from Starbucks.
Iced Decaf (this girl gets major shakes from full test)  Vanilla Macchiato with chocolate drizzle. 
aka The YUMYUM drink.
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Have a good weekend my friends!! 


Healthy Shopping

8:00 AM

You've probably been reading my past few post's with recipes and probably thinking to youreself.

"Dang this girl must have money to be able to afford 
all that organic/gluten free stuff she's putting in her recipes"

In all reality. I don't.

Grocery shopping on a newlywed budget is interesting for sure. Add being gluten free and buying organic into that mix and you got quiet a challenge.
I think my husband laughs at me cause I get kind of thrill when grocery shopping. Its like a challenge I need to win.  
I am a coupon connoisseur.I hate going on a full grocery shopping trip and not having at least 3 (or more) coupons to use. 
Anywhozels, I'm not a professional but I thought I would share some of my tips for Healthy Shopping on a budget. These tips are great for the single and just married young women out there. 
( mostly because it's coming from a newly married young women ;) ) 

Find a health food store and price match.
-If you have the luxury of having a health food store in town. Use it. Granted, I know health food stores tend to jack up the price on everything, but I've priced around and found I can get some things cheaper at my local health food store (mainly organic produce) then at my regular grocery store. So, don't be scared to venture into the Health Food Store. 

Find your favorite website.
-For instance I love Southern Savers. Those ladies are the bomb. I shop at Publix for most of my grocery's and they are always on the ball when it comes to the deals at Publix every week. They even post the coupons you can use with the product to save more money. But there are tons of other sites too. Find what works for you. 

Plan ahead
Healthy Shopping on a newlywed budget
- I can't emphasizes how important this is. If you have even a rough idea of what you will be having to eat for dinner each week, it will help you narrow down what you actually need at the store instead of going in with no plan whatsoever. My usual routine is to sit down Sunday, plan dinners for the week, ask my husband what he needs from the store, then write out a grocery list. This way I'm not buying unnecessary items.
(btw that is my grocery list to the side. Cute right?) 

This will sound horrible ...
- but if you can. Shop by yourself. Last time I took my husband grocery shopping i felt like we spent more money then if I just go. And he knows it too lol. And most guys hate grocery shopping anyway so if they dont have to go. Don't make them. But again, if you DO need someone to go with you to help stay on budget, by all means go for it. To each his own.

Healthy Shopping on a newlywed budget
Coupons, Coupons, Coupons!
- SO important. My rule is if you don't absolutely need it, don't buy it without a coupon. Granted there are some basic stuff I buy without coupons but I try REALLY hard to have a coupon for most of my grocery's.
There are great resources online for coupons. Also sign up for your favorite products websites or newsletter's. Most of the time they will send you emails with coupons. Silk and Stonyfield are my favorite brands that always have coupons on their sites or send me in emails.  
Here are some of my favorite sites.
http://www.mambosprouts.com/ : This is probably my favorite. They ALWAYS have great coupons for Organic and Gluten Free products!! 

Last but not least, shop online.
- I am very blessed that my mom lets me use her Amazon Prime account. Sometimes when all else fails. I go online and try to find some basic organic/gluten free essentials on there. Even if I wasn't under my moms amazon prime account, I would seriously consider buying the subscription to it. It is worth the money. I mostly use Amazon to purchase supplements for the husband and I. 
Amazon's just not the only place to buy online. There is also VitaCost and Iherb that I also check out from time to time. 

Make your shopping trips fun. Print out fun weekly menu's or printable grocery list's off Pinterest. I do that all the time. 

Have fun shopping! AND don't put too much pressure on yourself. I did that the first month of being married. Give yourself a night off from cooking and just have leftovers or something different. My husband and I save Tuesdays for our leftovers night, we either do leftovers or if we have the night off from church we eat somewhere healthy for dinner. 

Good Luck!    


Crockpot Roasted Chicken

5:13 PM

Can I first say Crock-Pot is one of my favorite man made inventions ever. When I can use it. I use it.
I was SO hesitant to start cooking a whole chicken in my Crock-Pot. I was worried I would come home to an exploded chicken all over my kitchen. (hey that rhymed) 
But no chicken pieces exploded over my kitchen and I succeeded in making a tasty whole chicken.
This recipe is great for working into other recipes during the week. I cooked my chicken on a monday and made Fajitas with the leftover chicken on Wednesday.

:: Crock-Pot Roasted Chicken :: 

~ What you will need ~ 

A Whole Chicken
Medium Sweet Onion
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
Garlic Power
Onion Powder
Dried Rosemary (or Fresh) 
Chicken Seasoning of your choice (optional)
Olive Oil 

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First, cut up an onion into half or quarters and your 3-4 garlic cloves

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Then take your fingers and lift the skin of the chicken from the meat and place your garlic cloves all around the chicken as shown above
 (yes I know some people find this gross but it will make the chicken tasty).
 Also, place half of your onions in the "butt" or bottom of the chicken.

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Next, mix your seasoning. Whats nice about whole chickens is you can put whatever you want on them. I wanted to keep mine fairly simple but feel free to spice your's up as much as you want.

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My spice mix was a mix of Dried Rosemary, Onion Powder, A Roasted Garlic chicken seasoning, and garlic powder 
(if you haven't guessed by now, i like garlic) 

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Coat your chicken with Olive Oil. This will help hold the spices to the chicken.

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Place your chicken in the Crock-Pot and let it cook for 6-8 hours on low depending on your Crock-Pot strength. 
(as you can see mine is weird and has 6 hours set as a "HIGH" setting. So I always just places it on 8hrs but only let it cook about 6)
Also if your chicken is pretty thaw'd out. Feel free to add some chicken broth. 
Not a lot but enough to help keep the chicken juicy. I would say no more then 1/2 cup.
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BTW. INVEST in Crock-Pot liners. You're husbands will thank you especially if your husband is like mine and does the dishes for you after dinner.

Sorry, there is no fancy "How To..." video for this recipe. Have you every tried to handle a camera AND raw chicken. It is no bueno.

gluten free

Veggie Pasta Bake

12:00 AM

I was thinking the other day and I really need to start posting my recipes more.
I was thinking this because during the first couple months of my marriage, I was having a hard time trying to figure out healthy dinner ideas that were simple and quick to make (or make ahead of time). And I thought...

"I can't be the only one on Pinterest for hours at a time looking at recipes"

Sure, I would find super quick recipes but they weren't healthy or something I could eat.  One of my main goals when I got married was not to change my eating habits from living with my parents. I set a goal to make sure I kept close too, if not same, healthy eating habits as my parents (mostly my mom ;))

Anywhozzels, this thought pondered on my mind so much I was motivated enough (and remembered) to document myself making a meal the other night.
I was going to come up with some fancy name for post's when I post recipes but I'm just gonna keep the one I've used before with a twist

Before I go forward. If you like recipes you can cater to your own way of cooking, this is the recipe for you. When it comes to cooking. I don't measure to much. Yes, there are some recipes I follow but if its something I come up with, I kind of just wing it :)
So, if you want a straight forward recipe, sorry. Maybe next time.

Veggie Pasta Bake

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First off: You are going to need these ingredients.
Two Zucchini and Two Yellow Squash (the two squash in the picture are from my garden :D )
Tomatoes (i used a handful of grape and 2 romas from my garden)
An Onion
2-3 Garlic Cloves (not pictured)
Pasta of your choice
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder and Italian seasoning (not pictures :p)
Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese (not pictured)

Pre-Heat your oven to 350 degrees

If you want to be super fancy like myself (and spend more money ;) ),
 you can use all organic veggies and products. 
However, regular non-organic veggies and products will work just as well :)

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Cut up all your veggies and onions like I have them cut above. Basically in 1/2 and 1/4
(except for the little turds I didn't cut on the top...)
Also don't forget to mince the garlic.

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Sauté your onions and garlic (my favorite part) in some olive oil.  I don't have a large enough sauce pan so I have to use my stir fry skillet lol, but if you have a large sauce pan, use that instead.

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While your onions are finishing up. Throw in some tomatoes and spinach to cook down with the onions. Just watch the spinach cause it cooks down fast.

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When you think everything is pretty much cooked down. Throw in your veggies. Add some more olive oil to help coat the veggies. Then take your garlic salt and Italian seasoning and add as much as you want. My hubby is a fan of garlic powder so I add a good amount to mine.

Cover with a lid (or in my case a cookie sheet) and let it cook for a little bit. Just keep an eye on it. 
I'd say no more than 15minuets. Until the veggies are soft.

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While the veggies are cooking. Make your pasta. I've fallen in love with Ancient Harvest Quinoa Gluten Free Pasta's. They are Organic and No-GMO (which is a big deal for me). AND the hubster likes them too so thats a plus since he isn't as effected by gluten as I am and has to put up with my gluten free cooking style.

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My biggest advice when cooking with Gluten free pasta is follow the directions on the box. Gluten Free pasta can be a bit temperamental if you cook it took long or not long enough.

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After your noodles are done cooking and your veggies are finishing up cooking. Throw the pasta into a casserole dish of your choice with some butter. 
I love my CorningWare that I received as a wedding present :D

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Spoon your veggie into your casserole and mix with the pasta.

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The next part is up to you. If you like cheese, add some. If you don't or don't want to. 
You don't have to :D
I like to mix in some parmesan cheese and top it with a little bit of mozzarella.

Place it in your oven. Cook it for about 10-15 minuets. Just keep an eye on it. If the past on top start's looking a little crisp. It's done.

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Serve and Eat! 

Here is a video I made while making my dish if you want to see how I made it in video form! 
My lighting in my kitchen sucks at night so I apologize. 
Oh and sometimes my elbow make an appearance in the video. I can't help it. I'm left handed

Song: Pod Along: Carrie Hope Fletcher 

*this post is all in my own opinion. I was not given anything in this post to review or promote. It's all 100% my opinion.