August 2015 - Simply Samantha
dairy free

Polenta Lasagna

8:00 AM

Phew. This week has been a doesy. I've already hit my stress level and its only the first week of classes.
I stress myself out though over the littlest of things so its nothing new.
However, I am bless to be at a school with great teachers and one of the easiest and well organized online program out there.

GO Gators.

You can probably file this with the other horrible food photo jobs I've done. Lately the sun has not been my friend so the lack of lighting for my food photos are little to none. You don't know how much the smudge of sauce on the plate is bothering me as I write this post and edited the picture.

Nevertheless, the picture does not do this dish justice.
Polenta Lasagna has become a favorite around out house. My husband thinks its delicious. And I think it's super easy and definitely comes out better then my normal lasagnas.
It is also GLUTEN AND DAIRY FREE. Woot Woot!
Polenta Lasagna. Gluten and Dairy Free.

vegetable broth for sauteing
1/2 large onion, chopped
Minced garlic, chopped
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
16 ounces fresh spinach
A jar of your favorite pasta/marinara sauce (I use Paul Newman Organic)
1 tubes prepared polenta, sliced into 12-15 rounds (I used Ancient Harvest)
4 or 8 ounces vegan shredded mozzarella cheese (I like Daiya brand)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spoon 1/2 cup marinara sauce into an 11x7-inch baking dish to cover bottom, and set aside.

Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable broth and a little bit of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add onion and minced garlic and sauté, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and spinach. When spinach is wilted turn off the heat and set aside.

Arrange 6 (+1 cut in half to fill up sides) polenta slices over marinara in baking dish, and top evenly with half of vegetable mixture. Sprinkle just enough cheese to cover the vegetable lightly. You don't want too much or it will become too cheesy and almost watery. Arrange remaining polenta over cheese. Top polenta with the remaining vegetable mixture.  Place a spoonful of pasta sauce over each "mound" of polenta and vegetables. Gently press each mound and spread sauces with the back of your spoon.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese, enough to cover the dish lightly.

Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to cook or cover (dont forget to spray the tinfoil) and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
 Polenta Lasagna. Gluten Free and vegan
yes, the bread on the side is GF. It is gluten free french bread from Deland Bakery
Happy Cooking Friends! 


BBQ Sweet Potato Sandwiches

10:38 AM

Ladies, want your man to try different meals? Sit down next to him with your computer or ipad and let him look with you.
That's how I stumbled upon and was able to make these DELICIOUS sweet potato bbq sandwiches.

I was meal planning one night and I scrolled past this recipe and he looked over and this is the conversation that followed..

Hub:"Those look really good"
Me: "You like sweet potatoes?? Why didn't you tell me this?"
Hub: "I dont know. I like them if they aren't cooked weird"
Me: "So you would let me make this and you would eat it?"
Hub: "Yes"

Silly Husbands. They're is always something new you can find out about them.

Anyway, Back to this recipe.

Usually when I find and make a good recipe that is husband approved I make it a couple weeks later again and photograph it for the blog. Well, this one couldn't wait to be made again. I had to share it with you and will just have to photograph it later.

Sweet Potato BBQ Burgers Video

1 medium-large or 2 small sweet potatoes (enough to make about 2.5 cups shredded)
1 tsp. oil
salt & pepper, to taste
 1/2 c. BBQ sauce of choice (I used The Shed Southern Sweet which you can find at publix)
Gluten Free Burger Buns (I used Canyon Bakehouse)

Sweet Mayo Sauce
(I "eye" most of this recipe so the measurements aren't the most accurate)
1/2ish cup of Just Mayo
1/2ish tbls of Brown Sugar
1-2ish tsp of Maple Syrup


  • Shred the sweet potato (feel free to leave on the peel) using a cheese grater.
  • If you have more then 2.5 cups. Adjust the BBQ sauce amount
  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet. When hot, add the shredded sweet potato and quickly stir to distribute the oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring and flipping the sweet potato several times.
  • Once the sweet potato is starting to dry out and is browned in several places, add the BBQ sauce and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sweet potato is cooked.
  • Add to your buns and tops with what you'd like. I made a sweet mayo sauce my mom used to make for sweet potato fries. 

Happy Cooking Friends

Canyon Bakehouse

Simple Gluten Free Tips

8:00 AM

I've shared my gluten free story and I've also shared the best way to be supportive of someone living the fun GF lifestyle but now I want to share some simple (and random) tips that can hopefully make living gluten free a little bit easier.

Explore food. 
There are so many interesting foods out there. So many amazing rice, legumes, fish, produce. And it's all gluten free. Take some time to pinterest and explore. I feel like being gluten free seems hard to do but it can actually motivate you to step outside the normal American diet. I love to experiment with the food and meals that are paleo, vegan, vegetarian, and part of the Mediterranean diet.

Don't be afraid of repetitiveness.
Now while its fun to explore new foods, I think its common for GF people to get repetitive with meals. But don't be weary my friend. If it works for you, make that veggie stir fry 3 times a month. There is no shame in making a good meal over and over.

Bring something.
When going to someones house to enjoy some food, don't be afraid to ask if you can bring something.  Not only are you being polite but you will also have something you know you can eat. You don't know how many times I've brought something to a family or friends house and been so thankful I had because there was either very little or nothing I could eat.

Now, I am not the best at this but I think keeping a GF granola bar or a bag of GF chips in your purse or car for those days when hunger strikes is so helpful.

Find your favorites and share!
I think this is so important in the GF community to share our favorite GF finds and products. Not only does it help each other find a new favorite pasta, snack, or sandwich bread (*cough cough* Canyon Bakehouse...*cough cough*) but it also helps the companies making said products grow and expand and the ability to make even more GF goodies!

Find a Support Group!
Facebook is where it's at. Search to see if there is a GF/Celiac support group in your area! It is so helpful and encouraging! I've found so many awesome places to eat at and food to try just through my local support group!

Supplements, Supplements, Supplements
While there are some health perks to being GF, you do miss out on a lot of nutrition if you don't have a very dense diet or the time to make your diet nutrient dense.
I make up for it in supplements. For example. I don't get a lot of fiber in my diet. So I take psylliums husk a couple days a week to fill in the gaps. I also take a multi, immune booster, probiotic, and others just so I can keep my body fueled with nutrients that I might be missing out on.

Always keep tummy soother on hand
This is probably one of my favorite tips. There are some great natural tummy soothers out there that can help whenever you get glutened or even if you just feel a little bloated.
Papaya Enzymes: My mom got us hooked on these a couple years ago. They are great for upset tummies and they taste amazing. I keep them in the fridge at home.
When I'm on the go I've learned to keep some yummy Peppermints in my purse for when my tummy feels a bit upset. I picked up some awesome organic peppermints at Trader Joe's and they've worked amazingly.
CHAMOMILE TEA. I cannot rave about this tea enough. I've drinking it for years but I swear by it. Not only does it help my tummy after a day of really rich food or even a gluten attack, but it also helps keep my hives from flaring up. If you can't stand tea but still want the benefits, you can buy them in supplements.
And I don't know about you but drinking tea always makes me feel more sophisticated. ;)

Do you have any simple and or random gluten free tips?? 
I'd love to hear them! 

Side note:: Whenever I mention "diet"  know that I mean it as more of my food intake from day to day. 
I in no way support going gluten free to "Diet" or "lose weight".

alternative medicine

Buddah Teas Review

8:00 AM

I love tea. 
There is something about a rainy day and a cup of tea. Even during the summer I find myself drinking a cup of tea here and there.
I've found tea is a great way to help calm my body down after a long day or even too much food.
Buddha Teas has such a great story (which you can check out here). I absolutely love the aspect that all of their teas are organic and wild harvested. They also see teas as a form of alternative medicine for many people (me too!) and that is why they strive to make the teas as clean and natural as possible from the harvest of the tea to their non- bleached tea bags.
To be honest I had NO idea that normal tea bags were bleached! Ewwww! Who wants bleach in their tea?

(non-gmo, msg, and kosher!)
I was fortunate enough to try the Digestive Nirvana Tea which is a smooth and sweet smelling blend of licorice, fennel seed, anise seed, papaya leaf, and ginger.
A perfect combination to help with tummy troubles.

It is a very smooth tea but just as you are about to finish a sip there is a mild spicy kick from the ginger. 
While I'm not huge fan of spicy, I found that it really fit well with the tea and I was able to drink it with ease.

*Disclosure* I was sent a box from Buddha Teas in exchange for a review. 
All opinions are 100% my own