August 2014 - Simply Samantha

Honey Teriyaki Chicken

8:00 AM

Sometimes Sundays come around and I start planning my weekly menu's and I have ideas for dinners later on in the week when I have time to cook but what to cook on monday's is always a struggle to decide.
I saw this recipe online and though "Why not". I didn't have high expectations for this dish. All I knew is I had all the ingredients and it was a quick dish to make.

It was SO GOOD. I even ate the leftovers the next day. Its like something you would get at a Chinese Restaurant except better and gluten free. 

Gluten Free Honey Teriyaki Chicken

Honey Teriyaki Chicken 

  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken tenders
  • ⅓ cup honey or agave
  • ⅓ cup GF teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tbsp GF soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
Cut up the chicken into bite size pieces (see photo above ;) ). 
In a large bowl mix the chicken, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, honey, minced garlic,and salt and pepper. 
In a large/medium oiled and heated pan add the chicken (liquid and all). Place you stove on medium high heat for five minuets. Stirring every now and then. 
Crank the heat to high and cook until sauce has reduced. Should take about 10-15 minuets. When the sauce starts to stick to the chicken, it's ready! 
Even after you turn the heat off it will be easier to see if the sauce has thickened. That is what happened with mine. 
Serve with your favorite type of rice and veggies. 

Like is said before, this dish is delish ;) And totally husband approved and blogger approved I might add! 


School Time

1:00 PM

It's that time of year again. Time for school. This year is full of classes I am very excited to take. I've already gone to two of the three and both classes consisted of watching sometime type of movie. I think I am going to enjoy those classes. ;)

Here is the typical "first day of school" outfit pictures.

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Shirt: TJ Maxx // Shorts: Old Navy // 
// Shoes (which you cant really see ;)):Target // Backpack: Target//

Funny Story, Steve helped me take these photos the day before because I knew I wouldn't have time to take photos in the morning.
And in morning as I was getting ready I soon realized I should have washed my shirt before hand because it was rubbing on my white shorts and turning them kind of green. Which led me to making a wardrobe change 5 minuets before I had to leave for class. Nothing like a little stress before you start school.

Hope all my fellow college friends are having a great start to the school year too! 


My advice: Weddings

8:00 AM

I have a lot of friends nowadays that are either engaged or wanting/close to engagement. I really love sharing my advice with others around my age. I know during my engagement I got a lot of advice from people but it was the advice of those around my age that I seemed to agree on or cherished the most.
I am always up for sharing advice when asked. Especially if its something I care about or have had experience in. So, the other day while I was driving I felt very led to share some advice with you readers about pre-wedding experience. Maybe there is some girl out there about to pull her hair out that needs some advice ;)

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Think before the ring:
Things with my husband and I moved PRETTY quickly while we were dating. Our whole relationship felt super right right of the bat and we both felt we were the one's God had planned for each other RIGHT away. Hence why 3 months into dating we were engaged.
HOWEVER, since we moved so fast we did make sure we took time on dates and together time to talk about our plans past engagement. I say we did this about 2.5 months into the dating period. How long we wanted to be engaged, when we would like a wedding, school, life, and everything in between.
So RELLLY talk to your significant other and try to roughly plan things out. Granted, there are somethings you just can't plan for. But, it will make it easier if you have a plan.
Now if you aren't dating as short as we did, you could hold off talking about these things, but don't forget to. Being lovely dovey with each other is great, but you need to communicate with each other too.

Give yourself plenty of time:
I see couples getting married within like 3 months of engagement and I can't imagine doing that. And doing that to my parents I might add. We got married 9 months after getting engaged. I think between 8-10months minimum is a great time frame. Granted if you could/need to wait longer that would be great too.

Don't overdo pinterest:
Don't get me wrong. I love pinterest. But it overwhelmed me sometimes while wedding planning. I had to eventually declutter my Wedding Bored and focus on what I really needed/wanted.
Don't rely on it too much, grab simple ideas and build of of them.

Dress shopping minus expectations:
When dress shopping have a very open mind with no expectations. I had a few ideas for a dress but some of those ended up not panning out. So don't get stressed or tired when you can't find something or what you thought you'd like looks horrible on you. It happens to everyone.  I thought I was going to get something with some type of sleeve. Turns out sleeves made me hot and itchy like a crazy person. So, always go in with an idea but an open mind.

Never not consider and elopement : 
Now don't get me wrong. I LOVED my wedding, had an amazing time, and I would probably do it over again. Even so, I just didn't figure that my anxiety and panic attacks would go through the roof during the planning period. Looking back I maybe should have contemplated an elopement (my parents even suggested it). So, if you are like me and battle with anxiety and panic attacks. It might not be a bad idea to consider it. You can always still have a big party when you get back ;)

Hold your ground: 
YOU WILL have family members that try to suggest things you don't want. Do not cave. The only input you should consider is your parents seeing that they are paying for the wedding. That is it. End of story.

Don't do anything:
When getting ready for wedding day set up a group of friends, even if they aren't in the wedding party, to come help you set up. I had bridemaids, grandparents, friends, friends of my mothers, and groomsmen helping us set up on the wedding day. Meaning, I had to do NOTHING. Which is AMAZING. I highly suggest giving everyone something to do so you have nothing to do but relax and get ready.

Seek advice:
Now, I said before I really cherished advice from those my age, but I also cherished advice from those beyond my years who have "been there done that".  My husband and I got to have lunch/dinner a couple of times with a wonderful older couple in our church. Their advice still sticks with us to this day. I also appreciated advice from my "boss" who had a similar engagement story. She is only about 10 years older than me and she and her husband dated 3 months and were engaged for 9months. I started working for them 3 months before the wedding and she was always there to hear my plans and answer questions I had. She still answers my questions to this day lol!
But bottom line, seek out the kind of advice you need and want. Pray and ask God to bring those people into your life.

Now, I actually want to write another post about this soon. I saved myself for marriage (yes I know very "Duggarish" of me ;) ) . There are things I wish I did before the wedding day that would have made things easier for me in the long run and there are also things I did that I am glad I did before hand. Without giving to much information, I do want to share somethings in a future post. I know it was hard for me to find advice on certain items and subjects coming from a "saving myself" point of view.
So stay tuned!

Hope this advice helps somebody out there in the internet world! I know everybody's opinions and ideas are different so I don't expect everyone to agree.
 If you have any questions PLEASE feel free to leave comments or contact me on social media. I didn't want to make this page like a book so I left out some other advice that I have stored up.



10:22 AM

I love to read. I used to read like a maniac about 2-3years ago but now I've had to slow down and just read what I can. I love sites like goodreads because I can read reviews of books from other people and decide what to read next. So here are a few are my recent GoodReads "Reads" for you.

Four by Veronica Roth
I was so excited for this book. I am a big fan of the Divergent series (though I have yet to read the last book :o ) and I saw that this recently came out and I immediately reserved at the library. It is so good! It also helps I can CLEARLY see Theo James as Four as I read this book. Which isn't a bad thing in my book. ;)

City of Heavenly Fire
 by Cassandra Clare
The finale of the TMI series. Such a sad day. City of Ashes is my favorite of the series and I was SO hopeing this book would redeem my love for the series since the books after City of Ashes we so "Eh". And it did. This books is a great ending and made up for the lack of joy I found reading book #4 and #5.
It is HUGE. I was surprised I read it in just a couple days. I was thinking it was going to take me at least a week.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
It took me a while to get into this book. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it. I kept reading and it kept getting better. Its a newer dystopian series that everyone should put on their lists to read!

Also some good reads.

Happy Reading Friends!


Mexican Quinoa Casserole

12:00 AM

I love quiona.
No really.

Mostly because (like rice) it is versatile and super healthy and full of protein.

I made a Mexican Quinoa Casserole the other night. It was pretty delicious and now I want to share it with you! It was super simple too! Great for those days when you have time to prep a little before you leave for work!

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 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 
1 onion, chopped 
1 clove garlic, minced
 1 cup quinoa, 1 can diced tomatoes - with liquid
  1 Tbsp tomato paste or sauce 
1 tsp cumin 
1 tsp oregano 
½ tsp chili powder (more if you like things spicy) 
Salt & freshly ground pepper
 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 
1 can corn kernels 
 3 cups baby spinach

Preheat the Oven to 350*

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium frying pan. Add onion and garlic, and saute.

Remove from heat and transfer to oven-safe casserole dish. Try to use a somewhat large one. I used a 9x13 it it was a little difficult to mix everything.
Add quinoa (cook before hand), diced tomatoes (with juice), 
tomato paste (or tomato sauce) and spices. 
Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

 Cover with lip or foil and place in oven and set timer for 30 minutes. Carefully remove casserole from oven and stir in drained beans and corn (with liquid). 
If the mixture looks dry, add a half cup of water. 

Return to oven with lid or foil and set timer for another 30 minutes. Carefully remove casserole from oven and stir in spinach. It will wilt from the heat. 

Top with your favorites. Mine is cheese and some tortilla chips! 

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My husband told me as we were sitting down to eat this that when I blog it I can say its
 Husband Approved.
Happy Cooking Friends! 


Friday Favorites

8:00 AM

I am currently in a bloggers writing block. I cooked a new recipe yesterday but  wont have a new recipe post for a couple days which also means I need to have something else interesting written up to post.

But I don't.

Maybe the fact I haven't had coffee in two weeks have something to do with it.

The best I can do is write you some of my favorites on this friday.
It's a little different then normal. I took the time to photograph some things around my house that are my favorites.

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This body butter was a gift from a dear friend at my very low key, but nevertheless awesome, bachelorette party. I love it. It smells like chocolate almonds. I keep it by my desk and will rub some on when my little blogger hands get a little dry.

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 I saw this at the store a couple weeks ago and a couple days after I told my husband what I saw he came home caring this on his back. Needless to say, I was beyond excited.  I will be "that girl" with the R2-D2 backpack at school lol.

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In the later half of high school, I switched over to powder foundation. I have a very natural face with freckles and natural tones that I don't like to cake on make-up on my face.
Plus I live in Florida and it's really not worth it.
I have used a basic powder foundation from Avon for years. And then I decide to change it up a bit. Spend a little more and see if its worth it. Oh my goodness it is. I had the ladies at Sephora color test my skin and they found my shade and it completely matched my skin tone. It has great coverage and I don't see any turning back now!

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A little while ago, I decided I was going to try to start using facial and body products that are free of gluten or wheat. Even though I am allergic to gluten, I have never had a horrible reaction when it comes to my skin. Nevertheless I wanted to see if my skin look better by taking out gluten in my facial products, mostly in my face cleaning products since then are absorbed into my body. After doing some research I found that Neutrogena Naturals is the one of the best "on the market" products that are free of gluten and wheat. I have used the basic Neutrogena cleanser for the past year and have loved it but never though to try the "Natural" brand. It smells amazing and it even feels better than the regular cleanser.

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These are one of my outfit staples. I think every girl needs to own a pair. They are a great go to for everyday. I love my Toms but I might also love these more!

Happy Weekend Friends!


Gooey Chickpea Brownies

11:02 AM

I am not a baker. Let me tell you that off the bat. I am a horrible baker.

Come Christmas time when everyone is making cookies and baked goods for people, I feel so much pressure to be like everyone else though my attempts at baking something delicious fails. Always.
I will never be the mom that gets asked to bake cookies for the PTA or bake sale. End of story.

On one rare occasion I decided to try this recipe I found on pinterest (surprise surprise). It is probably one of the few recipes that actually worked out and I could bake successfully.

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Gooey *Gluten Free* ChickPea Brownies

16 ounces chickpeas
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup almond or peanut butter
1 egg
1/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
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Preheat Oven to 350 degree's.

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In a food processor poor in your can of (drained) chickpeas and vanilla and pulse.

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Pulse till most of the chickpeas are chopped up.
Then add your egg and Almond or Peanut butter (I used PB) and pulse for a few more seconds. 

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Transfer to a bowl and add the oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. It will seem thick but keep stirring  It will smooth out.

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Fold in your chocolate chips.  
Should look like this at the end 

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Transfer to a 9x9 (or a 9x13 like me) baking dish and cook for 45-55 minuets.

AND being the AMAZING blogger that I am. I got caught up with other things and forgot to take a picture of the final product before I took it over to my parents for dinner. Where, last I heard, my brother was very much enjoying the brownies and I am pretty sure they are probably almost gone. lol.
Just imagine they look like this picture here.

Happy Baking Friends!

chris pratt


12:00 AM

  • Thinking about how amazing God is. I mean. He made Spaghetti Squash. That should be something we should praise Him for often.
  • Anticipating Saturday. We have a date night coming up. I see Chipotle and Guardians of the Galaxy in our future. And maybe a stop at Ulta or Sephora if the husband allows ;)
  • Creeped out by this nerdy thing. Saw a spoiler to whats at the end of the credits to Guardians of the Galaxy and needless to say one specific character is creeping me out.
  • Watching this adorable video. I mean, when I have kids, I want a doctor like this.

  • Recovering from 6am gym session this week with the husband. I don't know how I do it. But I am not going to do it on a Friday morning.
  • Missing Coffee. I'm on some meds and can't have coffee or caffeine till Saturday. Its been a loooonnng week.

  • Wanting everything in Her Universe collection.

  • Wondering where my homemade salad dressing skills have gone. The last two that I have made have been less than tasteful. I need to practice more.
  • Wanting mushrooms all the time. I used to hate mushrooms, and I still cant eat them raw. But throw them in a little balsamic vinegar and you have me hooked. Look at these portabellas my mom made the other night! Click here. 
  • Thinking Chris Pratt is the funniest man on the planet right now. Just click here and watch this. 
  • Enjoying some yoga pants time. Sometimes you just need some time in your yoga pants.