February 2015 - Simply Samantha

Friday Favorites

8:00 AM

Frozen Fever:
Not only am I excited for the new Cinderella but I am also excited for the Frozen Fever short that is going to play before it.
While a lot of people are fed up with Frozen, I am not. Frozen holds a special place in my heart. Steve and I hadn't even been married a week when we ventured to the movie theater to see it. It was the first time we saw a movie that when we left, we went home to the same place together. Call me sappy but not only did I love the movie, I loved the moment I had with my new husband ;)

Silk Cashew Milk:
I was so excited to receive this lovely package from Silk the other day. I can't wait to try their new Cashew Milk. Their almond milk is a staple in our house. I'm already hitting up pinterest looking up recipes I could use their Cashew milk in :D
Silk Cashew Milk

My new computer set up:
My faithful Dell laptop is slowly loosing its power so I thought it was time to update and get a desktop for when I am at home. So, over the weekend we picked up a Mac Mini. I love it. I got a mac keyboard (i love their keyboards) and a Samsung Monitor (which i think its just as good as Mac Monitor and less $$$$). I am super happy with it so far.
 Friday Favorites Simply Samantha

LC Cinderella:
Lauren Conrads new Cinderella Collection for Kohls has me speechless. So, YOU should head over and check it out here!

blogging for books

In Her Kitchen

8:00 AM

In Her Kitchen 
Gabriele Galimberti 

On the eve of a photography trip around the world, Gabriele Galimberti sat down to dinner with his grandmother Marisa. As she had done so many times before, she prepared his favorite ravioli—a gesture of love and an expression of the traditions by which he had come to know her as a child. The care with which she prepared this meal, and the evident pride she took in her dish, led Gabriele to seek out grandmothers and their signature dishes in the sixty countries he visited. The kitchens he photographed illustrate both the diversity of world cuisine and the universal nature of a dish served up with generosity and love. At each woman’s table, Gabriele became a curious and hungry grandson, exploring new ingredients and gathering stories. These vibrant and intimate profiles and photographs pay homage to grandmothers and their cooking everywhere. From a Swedish housewife and her homemade lox and vegetables to a Zambian villager and her Roasted Spiced Chicken, this collection features a global palate: included are hand-stuffed empanadas from Argentina, twice-fried pork and vegetables from China, slow-roasted ratatouille from France, and a decadent toffee trifle from the United States. Taken together or bite by bite, In Her Kitchen taps into our collective affection for these cherished family members and the ways they return that affection.

In Her Kitchen is an evocative, loving portrait of the power of food and family, no matter where in the world you sit down for dinner.

My Review:
I loved this book. Everybody loves the meals their grandmother make, that's for sure. To be able see what meals other Grandmothers make around the world is so interesting and a great idea on Galimberti's part. It is such a treasure and an interesting cook book to have on your shelf. Galimberti captured every country so well in just one shot. I highly recommend getting this cookbook, it would make a great gift for your own grandmother! 

*Blogging for books sent me this book to review. All opinions are 100% mine* 



11:38 AM

Ever have a weekend that goes by so fast that it leaves you scatterbrained???

I feel like that weekend was this past weekend and now its monday and I have to make sure my brain is in check for the start of the week.

Even though my planner is in front of me and sticky notes line my computer, I feel I am missing something that needs to by done or something I need to be working on or planning.

I feel like my little friend Groot this morning. In the sense only 3 words that can come from my mouth are...

"I am Samantha"
..since my brain is in such disarray in trying to keep my priorities straight.

ScatterBrained Simply Samantha

Hopefully by the end of the day I will have my brain straightened out and ready for functioning.

I hope you all had a great weekend and that it didn't leave you as scatterbrained as me :)


Friday Favorites

10:28 AM

Freezer Meals:
It is really "old" of me to like Freezer Meals?? The fact that I am writing this means I am coming to that place in my life where having a pre-made meal that I just have to throw in the crock pot to cook is a highlight of my week. Oh goodness.
As I have said many time's before. Thank God for pinterest. Without it I would not be able to find yummy and veggie filled freezer meals.

My Valentines Day:
Date Day's with my husband are my favorite. You can check out our lastest Date Day here. We had a pretty sweet Valentines Day Date Day.
Our Valentines Day : SmallCakes :

Disney Side:
Disney has (and probably will always have) the best marketing out there. I'm always in awe of what they come up with. Their recent video showing your "Disney Side" is great and so creative!

Wall Art and Sayings:
I am slowly gathering items for our bedroom walls. I want to do a nice wall full of art and sayings. This is by far my favorite print I want to put on the wall. Who doesn't love a little Johnny Cash... 

Have a great weekend friends!!!

Date day

Our Valentines Day

11:14 AM

I don't know what possess me to travel with my husband to Orlando on/near a major holiday but when you live in a small town sometimes you have to adventure out to the big city to do something different. Regardless of the traffic, tourists, and horrible drivers, we had a very successful Valentines Day.

We started off by having lunch at Toasted. I've heard many good things about this place from other local bloggers so I had to go try it out while I was in the area. I know I would probably like it because...
1. I love grilled cheese
2. I love grilled cheese
3. My husband loves grilled cheese.
(yes i meant to repeat 1 and 2 ;) )

I looked up the menu on our way down so we were ready to order when we got there. I placed my order and asked if I could get it made Gluten Free and without hesitation (or eye rolling), I was told that would be no problem.

Well done, Toasted, well done.

I ordered a gluten free version of As Gouda as it Gets and Steve ordered a Street Taco, we both got a side of truffle oil and rosemary fries as well. Within the first bite we had fallen in love. This is probably going to be a place we visit to every time we are in the area.
Our Valentines Day: Toasted :

Next door to Toasted was a SmallCakes bakery. I have never heard of this place but the big "GLUTEN FREE CUPCAKES" sign in the window had me intrigued. I was sold at "Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake". I have never seen a gluten free cupcake the size of my face before! It was amazing and was so rich I had to split it with Steve. We both agreed that we should have gone back for seconds or to take some home ;)
Our Valentines Day : SmallCakes :

Disney Springs was our last stop. Everything is looking great! I wish traffic getting in there was less hectic but nevertheless I'm excited for all the new additions.
We arrived early for our reservation so we headed over to the shops. On our way I spotted Erin Mckennas Bakery's new store front. I am so excited that it is VERY close to Cooke's of Dublin and Raglan Road. Can't wait for it to open!
 Our Valentines Day : Erin McKenna's Bakery

We checked out the new Disney Marketplace Co-Op. I love this place. The little details are so unique. Especially this one.
Our Valentines Day: Disney MarketPlace Co-op

The Disney Centerpiece section had so much I wanted. I had to make myself walk away.
Disney Market Place Co-op

We headed back over to Raglan Road's for dinner. We immediately ordered gluten free onion rings. These are the best and I could probably eat them all day.
Gluten Free Onion Rings Raglan Road

Every time we go to Raglan Road I always try to get something different. This time I chose the Butternut Squash Risotto with chicken on top (gluten free of course). This is probably my favorite dish I've had. It was so creamy and full of flavor.
Butternut Risotto Raglan Road

Steve got, what I dubbed, the All Man Plate, seeing it had every piece of meat you could eat at Raglan Road. That really wasn't the read name of the dish but it was pretty close.
Raglan Road

We had such a nice Valentines Day. Minus the crazy traffic and maneuvering around tourists all day. ;)

I hope you all had great Valentines Day. Full of love and lot's of chocolate!

I highly recommend Toasted, SmallCakes, and Raglan Road.

Oh a FYI, my husband is not GF so when we go out he orders a normal meal. Non of his dishes were gluten free.


Friday Favorites

8:00 AM

March Movies:
I'm looking forward to two movies coming out in March. AND both these movies just happened to come out with new trailers.
The first being Cinderella...

and the second (and the one I'm most excited about) Insurgent..

Raglan Road:
We are braving the Disney Valentines Day crowds and heading to Raglan Road at Downtown Disney this Saturday. It is one of our favorite places to go. They have amazing gluten free options for me and lots of manly food for him ;) We feel very proud of our Irish heritage when we go there.

LC by Lauren Conrad:
Every time Lauren Conrad comes out with new clothes and or shoes I have to add them to my Friday Favorite list. I love these new flats! Perfect for Spring :)

Have a good weekend friends! 

Allergy Free and Vegan Recipes

Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats

8:00 AM

It has taken me WAY to long to write this review for Mrs.Debbie. 
Nevertheless her book/recipe's are worth the wait!

Sweet Debbie Organic Treats is the best baking book I've seen for Allergy-Free and Vegan baking. Her recipe's are fairly simple and taste amazing. There are a few different ingredients that may people don't have on hand (I know i didn't, thank goodness for my momma that did!) but once you have them the recipe's are super easy to make. I love that she uses all organic products. I myself, try to use all organic products when I cook and bake so this book was a perfect fit.

I made her Mushy Monkey Banana Muffins and the husband (and I) love them!
 Tasty and mushy ;)
Mushy Monkey Banana Muffins: Debbie Adler :
Mushy Monkey Banana Muffins : Sweet Debbie's
Gluten Free Mushy Monkey Banana Muffins

Debbie's new cookbook is filled with recipe's from the famous Los Angeles Bakery that she owns. It has received critical acclaim from the gluten free community in general. It was chosen as a "Best Gluten Free Cookbook of 2013" by Delicious Living Magazine, a "Best Vegan Cookbook of 2013" by Green Vegan Living and a "Favorite Book" by Living Without Magazine.

I highly recommend this book to all your vegan and allergy-free baking friends! 

You can check it out here on amazon!

gluten free

Pizza Hut and Udi's

8:00 AM

I was SO excited to hear that Udi's and Pizza Hut were teaming up to start offering a gluten free pizza. I was even MORE excited when I heard how Pizza Hut was doing it the right.
Pizza Hut is doing the best they can to make sure you are getting the safest GF pizza available.
I've read numerous reviews from bloggers about how pleasant and amazing their experiences were when ordering the new GF pizza's from Pizza Hut.

I got a lovely tweet from Udi's last friday night asking if I wanted to try some of their new pizza from Pizza Hut.

Um Yes.
Udi's Gluten Free Pizza Hut Pizza

So that night my wonderful husband picked up a GF pizza for me on his way home. When he got home he was amazed of how knowledgeable our local Pizza Hut employees were and how they explained to him everything they do in order to make sure my pizza is untouched. My husband is a past Pizza Hut employee so he knows how things work around that place. He was so happy to hear how professional they were being with my pizza and making sure it was taken care of the right way.

My husband has also had to watch me deal with unprofessional people who think gluten allergies are just a "fad" and not important. So, he was just as pleased, as I was to hear, how serious Pizza Hut and it's employees were being.

Pizza Hut Gluten Free Pizza Udi's

I ordered a pizza with half spinach and onions. Now, if you order toppings, your pizza can no longer be considered GIG certified. Meaning you are taking a risk that the spinach/onions or other toppings of your choice, though being naturally gluten free, have touched something containing gluten.
Everyone's health is different. I for one, don't have an issue with cross contamination, but I know others that do, so just know you do take a risk in order other toppings.

The pizza was great. It is a normal Udi's pizza crust so the taste itself is not that different if you have had it before.But to me the sauce is my favorite. It reminded me of my pre-GF days of eating Pizza Hut pizza.

It is SO NICE to know that my local Pizza Hut is ready and waiting to make me a perfect and safe GF pizza when I need it :D

Thank YOU Udi's for being amazing and Thank YOU Pizza Hut  for taking us GF people seriously and doing it right!

If you'd like more information or want to see if a Pizza Hut near you is serving Udi's, you can visit here, 
: https://order.pizzahut.com/glutenfree : 

*discloser* Udi's did not ask me for a review in exchange for trying the pizza. However, I was so honored that they'd sent me coupons for free pizza that I just HAD to right up something for them. All opinions are 100% mine.

Artisana Organics

Cashew Butter Cookies

8:00 AM

I personally have never had anything but peanut butter my entire life.
So when Artisana Organics asked if I want to try some of their yummy nut butter's, I said "Absolutely!". They sent me a lovely package with a jar of their Cashew Nut Butter and snack packets of all their other flavors.

Just a little note about Artisana Organics
Their products:
Nut butters: almond, cashew, walnut, pecan, macadamia
Coconut spreads: coconut oil, coconut butter, chocolate coconut spread (Cacao Bliss)
All available in 8 oz jars, 16 oz jars, or 1.06 snack size squeeze packs.
Their philosophy:
At Artisana, we believe better butters start with better ingredients. We source the finest, raw nuts and coconuts directly from small, organic farmers. We hand-select and sort only the best, then puree them in small, temperature-controlled batches to preserve their raw, living vitamins, minerals and enzymes. All our products are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free, raw and organic.
Check out: Artisanafoods.com 
When I received my package with the goodies, I immediately hopped on pinterest and started looking up recipe's for cookies I could make with cashew butter.
I found this awesome recipe and made the best gluten free cookies I have every made!
And they are super easy!

Cashew Nut Butter Cookies. Gluten Free!
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup cashew butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (use dark chocolate for a dairy free option)
  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Whisk the egg and sugar together until well blended. Beat in the baking soda and cashew butter and then fold in the chips.
  3. I use a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop to scoop out balls of dough. Space them 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Flatten the balls of dough just slightly with your fingers or a spreading knife.
  5. Bake for about 12-13 minutes. The cookies will puff up and just barely begin to get golden on the edges. They will look soft and a little under done, but will firm up as they cool.
  6. Cool the cookies for a few minutes on the pan, then transfer to a rack.
Cashew Nut Butter Cookies *Gluten Free*

I highly recommend Artisana Organics! 
 I definitely will be picking some more cashew nut butter up to make cookies! ;) 

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*Discloser* Artisana Organics set me products in exchange for a review. all opinions are 100% my own

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